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Laughing Lab Scottish-Style Ale - Bristol Brewing Company

Laughing Lab Scottish-Style AleLaughing Lab Scottish-Style Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

161 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 161
Reviews: 88
rAvg: 3.72
pDev: 13.44%

Brewed by:
Bristol Brewing Company visit their website
Colorado, United States

Style | ABV
Scottish Ale |  5.30% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 03-04-2002)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 161 | Reviews: 88 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of BEERchitect


3.6/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

As a dog lover myself, I find great satisfaction seeing the panting Labadore on the label- always make these K-9 friends of ours appear to be laughing. Of course I give the beer all 5's, right?

Bright but dark in appearance, the conflicting descriptors seem an oxymoron at first. But dark garnet, ruby and mahogony in its saturated hues, the beer prevails in a brilliant depth of clarity- albeit slightly ominous. Medium-stern in its ivory-stained foam stance, the beer retains fairly well but it laces with blanketed quilted patterns in its wake.

Toffee and toast take hold in its sweet and malty scent. Backed by the dark fruit-fermented fruitiness of cherry and plumb- its complex nose does more that just imply simple syrups. Lightly charred bread, toasted peanuts and deep caramel give impressions of peanut brittle. Heavily caramelized sugars bleed into the alcohol scent to provide an overall roundness of fruitcake with spiced rum masculinities.

Malty-sweet and strong caramelization gives its taste a bread pudding flavor and feel. Sweet alcohol support is rummy, peppery and offers a dash of cinnamon. Light cola nuts, coffee grounds, and chocolate can be found underneath the caramel and bread taste.

Medium-full with hearty malt structure, its deeply embedded carbonation and starchy feel results in a firm creamy texture. The beer slowly proceeds toward a semi-dry finish with light spicy bite, rummy alcohol warmth, and mild grain-derived astringency.

Laughing Lab is a classic example of a Scottish-inspired, American-brewed crafted ale done well. But it needs more boldness in character, depth, and dryness to compete with the best that Scotland has to offer. But any fan of Porter or Brown Ales won't have any qualms about this beer in their glass.

Serving type: bottle

04-11-2013 06:30:04 | More by BEERchitect
Photo of spoony


3.54/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

From a 355 ml bottle (bottled during the 4th week of December 2012) into a nonic.

A-This brew pours without any head. The beer is a nice color for the style; sort of a deep, rusty amber. It is clear with no visible carbonation.

S-The smells is mild, with dark toasted, lightly sweet malts being dominant. I detect a little bit of caramel and toffee, but unlike some Scottish Ales, there is not a ton of sweet, sugary flavors here.

T-This brew tastes much like it smells with lightly sweet malt flavors (toffee, caramel, nuttiness) being the most noticeable aspect. There is a slight hop twang that provides just a little metallic counterpoint to the maltiness. The finish is long and slightly bitter.

M-The feel is medium to lighter in body for the style with very little carbonation. Easy to drink.

O-This brew is a touch underwhelming. I prefer a bit more chutzpah in beers of this type, whether that means more spice, toffee/chocolate, or caramel...whatever. On the plus side, this beer does provide a nice, long finish, without cloying sweetness. In sum, this is a fair representation of a Scottish Ale that should appeal to those looking for something with a lighter, easy-to-drink flavor profile and feel.

Serving type: bottle

03-17-2013 21:52:03 | More by spoony
Photo of riored4v


3.98/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured in to a tulip. 1/2 finger, khaki colored head. Clear, ruby colored body.

Aroma was malty, a bit roasty, sweet and a hint of metallic. Some notes of dark fruit and a bit floral.

Taste had a good amount of malty sweetness, but still clean on the tongue. Maltyness upfront, with a chocolately, roasty flavor in the mix. Mild sweetness comes up before the hop flavor. A bit of dark fruit flavor, slightly bitter in the finish helps clean up the sweetness. Slightly floral.

Medium body, medium/high carb, crisp finish.

Nice Scottish Ale. Easy drinking. Sweet and malty, but finishes light enough to enjoy quite a few.

Serving type: bottle

01-19-2013 00:45:12 | More by riored4v
Photo of kojevergas


2.65/5  rDev -28.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Bottled April 2012. 12 fl oz brown glass bottle with standard pressure cap served into a conical Guinness pint glass in me gaff in high altitude Castle Rock, Colorado. Expectations are high on account of me friend Brendan's recommendation. Reviewed live.

Served straight from the refrigerator and allowed to warm slightly over the course of consumption. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

A: Pours a 3.5 finger head of beige colour, nice cream, good thickness, and great retention. Colour is a clear textbook amber. No yeast particles are visible. No bubble show.

Sm: Yeast, heavy toasted malt, cream, and clean malts. Quite light amber hopping. A mild strength aroma.

T: Amber hops and malts, some caramelization and toasted character, cream, and hints of light barley. Fairly balanced and built. Not horribly complex or subtle. I guess I like it.

Mf: Smooth and wet. Adequately carbonated. Fair thickness.

Dr: Drinkable but somewhat boring. I wouldn't have it again. A decent example of the style.


Serving type: bottle

06-11-2012 06:23:53 | More by kojevergas
Photo of LittleDon


3.6/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Hazy brown-red. Pours a decent enough head that quickly fades. Very little lace. It takes a bit of swirling to coax a malty aroma from this brew, where there appears to be a bit of caramel sweetness. Very dry compared to the majority of Scottish Ales I've had. Not much going on flavor wise, but this is possibly due to age (purchased 6 months ago, stored refrigerated). Mouthfeel is where this beer shines. Rich, soft, creamy, consistent flavor from start to finish. A mild hint of earthy bitterness at the end.

Serving type: bottle

03-29-2012 20:14:37 | More by LittleDon
Photo of bilyboy65


4.55/5  rDev +22.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This beer is one of the first I had upon relocating to Colorado. I'm glad that it was a first because this was delicious.

Beautiful brown color that gets lighter around the edges. This includes a nice tan head. Plenty of bubbles from carbonation. The nose on the beer is just as nice. I smell some coffee with caramel and brown sugar. Nice grainy hops round off the smell. From there the taste is delectable. The coffee flavors stay away until the after taste, but before that seems to be a fruity flavor that isn't apparent in the scent.

This beer is crisp and light body beer. Goes down easy and with little stress to the system. Perfect for anytime of year, activity or food.

Serving type: bottle

01-09-2012 18:10:51 | More by bilyboy65
Photo of agirlandherpen

South Carolina

3.33/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

I purchased this at a local beer/wine store in a mixed 12 pack. The label indicates it was bottled in late October (and it is now December 19th). It poured a dark brown, clear with very small head to it. Excellent carbonation with a nice mouthfeel to it. I find it on the thin side in taste, as I was hoping for a more robust beer. However, It definitely has roasty malt overtones. Its good if you just want to sit back and watch some TV, but I am not a huge fan.

Serving type: bottle

12-20-2011 04:32:52 | More by agirlandherpen
Photo of Tone


3.55/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear, brown color. 1/5 inch head of a white color. Slight retention and poor lacing. Smells of caramel malt, slight earthy malt, hint of nut, slight chocolate, and a hint of grain. Fits the style of a Scottish Ale. Mouth feel is sharp and crisp, with an average carbonation level. Tastes of caramel malt, sweet malt, hint of earthy malt, hint of chocolate, and a hint of grain. Overall, poor appearance, but good aroma, body, and blend.

Serving type: bottle

11-22-2011 13:57:39 | More by Tone
Photo of bigaltemple


3.88/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours cola-brown in color, with red hues at the edges when held to light. Two finger, soapy, tan head settles to a fingernail width cap leaving some spotty lacing.

S - Rich, dark caramel malt backbone. Some hints of baking bread. Mild hops underneath.

T/M - Sticks close to the nose. Roasted breadiness with caramel/toffee notes. Finishes with a nice hop bitterness, leaving a mild aftertaste. Smooth, medium body with light carbonation.

O - Consistently good local brew. Always a pleasant treat, as I tend to pass it up because it is always around.

Serving type: bottle

10-27-2011 13:13:57 | More by bigaltemple
Photo of StonedTrippin


3.4/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

not a scotch ale as i am used to having them, but distinct in its own way. pours a lighter shade of brown, with a fair head. nose is sweet roasted malts, and a hit of smoke? burnt sugars in the taste, this is a very very sweet beer. doesnt quite stack up to the best scotch ales ive enjoyed, but a decent brew nonetheless. has a nice warming effect and goes will with just about anything in the fridge. above average

Serving type: bottle

10-08-2011 04:58:25 | More by StonedTrippin
Photo of blakelive784


3.9/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into a standard pint glass:

A - Pours a non-transparent, dark amber/brown color. Head is off white, 1 finger, and fades fast.

S - Toasty malt, a hint of smokiness, and some tart fruit all present and in balance on the nose. Quite nice.

T - Strong malty caramel tones balanced by light, fruity hops. Quite sweet, with a nice smoky bite.

M - Smooth and wet. Medium bodied.

D - A very fine example of the style. Nice, malty and simple, this one I'd have again.

Serving type: bottle

10-03-2011 01:44:42 | More by blakelive784
Photo of KickInTheChalice


3.75/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance: Laughing Lab pours a full amber brown color, mostly transparent except for the darkest parts of the glass, with a small off-white white cap.

Smell: Caramel malt, some bruised red apple and orchard fruit, toasted grains, a bit of woodiness.

Taste: Caramel sweetness sits on top of toasted grains. Muted orchard fruits precede a soft wood flavor and a lightly citric finish.

Mouthfeel: There is a soft creamy feel stemming from a fairly light carbonation. Medium bodied.

Overall: I thought this was a decent beer, but so far nothing in this style has truly inspired me.

Serving type: bottle

09-20-2011 05:46:27 | More by KickInTheChalice
Photo of cbonham


5/5  rDev +34.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I'm with the others here. I've purchased this beer several times (most recent purchase was just on Sunday night), and cannot get enough of it. The color is a darkish amber, and you can definitely smell the malts in the beer. It goes down very smoothly as well.

Compared to all of the other local brewing companies, such as Trinity and Phantom Canyon, I think this scottish ale really stands out. The head, once the beer is poured, is manageable. I'll definitely continue to drink this in the future.

Serving type: bottle

05-27-2011 18:33:58 | More by cbonham
Photo of rawfish


3.78/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours with a slightly haze but a nice deep amber with auburn highlights when held up to the light. Capped with a thin off white half inch head which doesn't retain very well and trails of spotty lacing on the glass.

Initial aroma is full of raw and toasted grain and chewing tobacco and as the beer warms a bit of sweetness mixed with cocoa powder comes out. Hop profile sits in the back, rather grassy. Nice mix so far not overly sweet.

Sweetness is very muted for the style though not a bad thing malt profile is bready with a light syrup coating, lots of toasted grains, somewhat gritty. Hops are layered back grassy and herbal not very bittering but adding to the raw grainy taste of this brew. Slightly acidic on the finish.

A little below average on the body and a high biting carbonation, which doesn't seem necessary since the beer isn't overly sweet. Aftertaste is a bit acidic but well drying and no stickyness.

Props to Bristol's on this brew, there's nothing intense about it but it's well made and constructed with a good knowledge of the style. A bit less carbonation or increased sweetness could've done this some good, appreciable grain and malt feel.

Serving type: bottle

05-07-2011 21:26:44 | More by rawfish
Photo of KJay1408


4.65/5  rDev +25%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

I'm really pumped to be reviewing this brew, I tried it on tap at the Bristol Brewing Co in Colorado Springs CO. and had to get some more before I traveled back to Nebraska.

A: Poured into a glass. Pours a beautiful deep copper/red, slightly cloudy, with about one finger worth of head, which quickly dissipates to a bit of white lace. 4/5

S: Some hops, blended with a good dose of malt aroma, slightly bready. A great smell for a Scottish style ale, but could use just a hair more hops. 4/5

T: Excellent, starts out slightly sweet and malty with hints of biscuit flavor and hops. Soon it transitions to a beautiful light to mild hop bitterness balanced by a lingering malty sweet/biscuit taste. 7/5

M: Very good, a nice substance feel that isn't thick like a milk/cream stout, nor is it watery like mega brewery "Beer". It is a nice balanced feel that seem appropriate for the brew

O: Easily one of the best beers I've had, and the best Scottish ale I've gotten to try. It is a very balanced brew that leans toward the malty side of things, but doesn't go overboard. The hops are minimal but detectable, which is appropriate for the style. If you're a fan of Scottish Ales this one is more than worth a try, and if you're not a fan of Scottish ales this one might change your mind. An awesome brew. 4.9/5

Serving type: bottle

04-27-2011 23:14:52 | More by KJay1408
Photo of JayS2629


3.7/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A nicely balanced copper/brown beer with a medium white head, nice retention, and ok lace. The smell is of sweet malts, toasted grains, caramels, toffee, and earthy, grassy elements. Nutty flavors with a hint of roasted qualities. Nice toasted malts, caramels and sweet toffee with some earthy, grassy hops balanced in well. A nicely balanced, medium bodied, very drinkable beer. Very well done.

Serving type: bottle

03-06-2011 06:00:20 | More by JayS2629
Photo of ScorpyX


4.08/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Beautiful, cloudy dark amber brown with a small off0white head which quickly dissipates.

S: Love the malt smell. It has a sweetness to it to be sure. Caramel and sugar are the accompaniment. Doesn't engulf the sense, but it's there.

T: Pretty malty and a toasted quality leads the way. Not too complex, but it works. It has the usual sweetness, but it doesn't dominate.

M: Medium-bodied and smooth. It might be the drink's strongest quality.

D: Nothing about it really blows me away, but the decent taste and good moderate body make it quite drinkable. This is definitely a beer I can return to.

Serving type: bottle

02-25-2011 11:16:28 | More by ScorpyX
Photo of cyrock1


4.15/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Mahogany with a dull white head that dissipates quickly.

Smell: Some carmelized notes, light toffee.

Taste: Mildly sweet with nice roasted hints.

Mouthfeel: Carbonation is just enough to cleanse the palate each time you take a sip leaving you wanting more.

Drinkability: Very clean finish leaves just enough flavor on the tongue to make you want to refresh the tastebuds of the flavor and have another sip.

Serving type: bottle

02-13-2011 05:41:55 | More by cyrock1
Photo of evanlarkin

District of Columbia

4.25/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Brown, with dark ruby accenting. About an inch of tan head with decent retention, which slowly laces around the glass.

Sweet and malty, and a hint of roasted malt. Nothing to say about hops here. Not as full of a smell as dark beers often have, but it's nice.

Malty and caramel-y, some more of the toasted smell comes through with the taste. Not much alcohol hanging around, but the taste lingers for some time.

Medium-bodied and soft. You could probably argue that it's slightly chewy.

Drinkability: Pretty high. It doesn't have such a strong flavor that you need to recharge afterwards, and it tastes very smooth. Despite not kicking your taste buds, it certainly has a nice flavor to it. A good poster boy for the brand.

Serving type: bottle

01-31-2011 00:16:41 | More by evanlarkin
Photo of jmbranum


4.65/5  rDev +25%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Tasting one of a few bottles I brought back from Colorado Springs. Saw this beer all over town while I was there btw. It was quite yummy on tap but am reviewing the bottle right now.

A superb Scottish ale with excellent balance.

Aroma is very good. Very malty with caramel and roasted notes.

Flavor is extremely balanced. Lots of malt but not cloying. Fairly dry at first with a sweetish finish. Nutty with some slight herbal notes. Slight caramel in the background.

Smooth medium mouthfeel. Extremely drinkable. Very much recommend this beer.

(I should have brought back more than a six pack.)

Serving type: bottle

01-26-2011 02:42:30 | More by jmbranum
Photo of SickGnar


4.1/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Tawny mahogany with a garnet hue and bright crimson highlights. Quite clear despite dark color. It has a good sized light tan head that sticks around a bit and leaves nice lacing.

S: Smells like a nice lower gravity Scottish ale. Steely clean malts, some caramel (but not too sweet), nutty, softly roasty. Some light fruity esters. No hops. A tad stronger would be okay, but it is very good.

T: Like the nose, but more - all the way around. Caramel fades back a bit and toasty, nutty, and roasty come out a bit more along with some present but reserved, mostly estery, dark fruits. Sweetness is a bit candy-like, but reserved and with a slight toffee character from some faint diacetyl. Some bready, not quite biscuity, grainyness works its way in too. Hint of a faint smokey note that might be from yeast or all in my head. Faint powdered cocoa is softly layered way back in finish. Not much of any hops found. Might show as a slight earthy/grassy flavor note, and could be helping contribute to dryness, but not giving any real bitterness. This is really nice and easy drinking. Dead on for style.

M: Just medium body with a medium-low carbonation. Right on for style and works well with the flavors. Softly chewy and trending toward dryness.

D: Very nicely done. Super drinkable. Flavorful and sessionable. It is nice to see a flagship brew in this style (especially at this gravity level/strength). Some how in this style, like too many others, competition takes a hold. People expect Ur /- beers Jeez people - there is a range to the style. I have, um, found some of those... ahem, unclean bastards to be right nice - but not every Scottish beer needs to make kilts fall off.

Serving type: bottle

12-09-2010 21:02:52 | More by SickGnar
Photo of twiggamortis420


3.35/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle with freshness notches of Dec 2009. Pours a pretty clear, light red color with a swiss-cheese bubbled tan foam. Fades quick and no lace.

Smells like earthy, buttery popcorn and caramel sweet malts. Light on the smoke and almost no peat. Not unpleasant, but not exactly a great representation of the style, more like an amber ale really.

Has a bit of a buttery diacetyl flavor emboldening the sweet caramel and slight peat flavors. Pseudo-scottish/amber ale? Hints of sour malt and thin for the style. Flagship brew, hmmm...there are a few other Bristol brews I like better. It is a fairly pleasant, easy drinker, but falls short as a Scottish style ale. Drinkable? Yes. Introductory? Maybe. Certainly is better on tap as a local option.

Serving type: bottle

06-24-2010 01:41:29 | More by twiggamortis420
Photo of htomsirveaux


3.4/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle tried 1 May 2010.

Served in a 0.5 L Adambrau becker. Small tan foamy head. Well carbonated. Clear ruby mahogany brown color. Aroma of roasted malts, touch of soapiness. Nutty to start. Sweet, sugary, caramel. Lingering sweet aftertaste. Just a hint of bitterness at the finish. Mild ethanol. Medium body.

Not bad.

Serving type: bottle

05-29-2010 04:28:07 | More by htomsirveaux
Photo of Mora2000


3.68/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to bman1113vr for sharing this bottle.

The beer pours a murky orangish-brown color with a white head. The aroma is very malt with bready and toffee notes, but I really expected some sort of peat smoke aroma. The flavor is peat smoke as well as toffee and caramel malts. Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation.

Serving type: bottle

03-27-2010 16:23:51 | More by Mora2000
Photo of JerzDevl2000

New Jersey

3.68/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Yet another beer I picked up during the summer because I've never had it before and one of the workers at the store I was in recommended it. I'm not one to drink Scottish Ales that much, and this seemed to be pretty run-of-the-mill to me. Nothing great, nothing bad, but I'm glad I tried it regardless and it went down pretty easily!

No surprise - this had a dark pour to it. Good lacing, decent head, and a thin appearance. The taste was also thin, but had a strong peat taste to it with a hint of smokiness. I tend to prefer my Scotch Ales to have the mouthfeel and thickness of an actual Scotch but this came up just a wee bit short. It reminded me more of a Brown Ale in terms of it's consistency, but the taste and mouthfeel resemble more of the maltiness that would expect from a brew of this style.

Even though the alcohol content isn't that high, I wouldn't consider this to be a session beer. One for a sitting after dinner is good, just like I would have with a nice single malt Scotch and a snifter to bring the aroma out. There isn't as much of a "nose" on this beer, but it's still worth finding and enjoying before a night is called. I wouldn't mind having another one once the weather cools off a bit more!

Serving type: bottle

10-08-2009 01:46:57 | More by JerzDevl2000
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Laughing Lab Scottish-Style Ale from Bristol Brewing Company
84 out of 100 based on 161 ratings.