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Sgt. Major India Pale Ale - Scotch Irish Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Sgt. Major India Pale AleSgt. Major India Pale Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.

65 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 65
Hads: 69
Avg: 3.58
pDev: 15.64%
Wants: 2
Gots: 0 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Scotch Irish Brewing Company
Ontario, Canada

Style | ABV
English India Pale Ale (IPA) |  5.50% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 02-03-2003

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

No notes at this time.
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Reviews: 65 | Hads: 69
Photo of
2.49/5  rDev -30.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Appearance - copper-orange with an inch of off-white head that leaves some very nice lacing. The head, while lasting, is weird; it is dense and sticky and somehow seems too solid.

Smell - Malt dominates with very little hops; odd for an IPA. Perhaps this is mis-categorized as an American IPA, but it's low on hops even for an English IPA. Malty aroma is accompanied grassy, hay-like and sulphur notes.

Mouthfeel - moderately carbonated and light to medium bodied.

Taste - Some fruity hops and a touch of astringent bitterness with an odd pencil-lead flavour.

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Photo of spinrsx
3/5  rDev -16.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12oz Bottle – Thanks Swedes21

Appearance - Clear orange/copper colour with a fairly large size frothy beige coloured head. There is an average amount of carbonation, and there is some faint lacing on the sides of the glass. The head lasted for only 2 minutes before it began to dissipate.

Smell - Malts, caramel, hops, hay/straw

Taste & Mouth - There is an average amount of carbonation and the most noticeable flavours are malts, caramel, and grains. There is a little bit of a hop presence and also a metallic taste. Only at the very end could I taste a little bit of a grapefruit zest flavour. There is a malty aftertaste with only a little bit of a hop/grapefruit bitterness.

Overall – I’ll admit that the beer seemed to get a little bit better as it got warmer, but something still just wasn’t quite right. It’s sad that this is one of the few choices of IPA’s available at the lcbo. I wouldn’t drink this beer again.

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Photo of Swedes21
3.1/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance - very clear coper in colour, some good carbonation, head is about 2 fingers then sticks around. off-white with some nice lacing occurring.

Smell - hops, caramel and slight earthy tones, very good smelling beer.

Taste - found this to be very disappointing, actually think i'm drinking it from a plastic bottle. there is a slight flavour of hops, but min caramel and other earthy tones. there is almost a plastic taste to this beer.

Mouthfeel - little added carbonation brings the hops out, no bitterness or lingering taste.

Overall - little upset i cracked a 6 pack open at the lcbo to get this single beer, not worth the risk! overall the smell and app are nice, but then the wheels came off.

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Photo of JohnnyBarman
3.46/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Single squat bottle from the LCBO. Poured into a nonic pint glass.

Amber-golden in colour, slightly murky. Thin, creamy head that holds well and creates some nice bubbly lacing patterns. Looks pretty good to me.

The nose is surprisingly mild - mostly caramel, pale malt, chocolate, with only the faintest use of aromatic hops.

Not to worry - the hop character is all here in the taste. Hops abound with notes of citrus, tropical fruit and pale malt sweetness to open things, with earthy and grassy tones to close things off. A mish-mash of bitter and sweet, citrus and earth. A bit frazzled, but it still works.

Medium bodied, good crisp carbonation that doesn't feel overbearing. Slight creamy texture.

Would I drink this again? Probably, considering the dearth of IPAs in the LCBO. It's a bit harsh, and I think the brew needed some more aromatic hops and a bit more balance, but nevertheless I still enjoyed it. When I first had this brew years back (before I truly began to explore craft brews), my friends and I thought Sgt. Major was a foul, evil piece of work; now I consider it to be a serviceable IPA, well worth sampling. Tastes like something an officer of the 19th century would have consumed, which I imagine was the goal in mind. Good work from Scotch.

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Photo of Kartoffeln
3.58/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a clear, coppery orange with a generous, dense tan head. Slowly dissipates to a layer of foam with a fair amount of lacing.

S: Sweet, slightly roasted malts dominated by herbal, fruity hops with a bit of a spicy edge.

T: Somewhat bready caramel malts, but the hops dominate the flavour profile. They come on with a somewhat vegetal bitterness that gives way to grassy, floral overtones and a prominent, tart citrus taste (grapefruit, particularly - I suspect Cascade hops).

M: Smooth, light carbonation, a somewhat light body, and a clean finish with long-lasting citric bitterness. Feels a bit cask-like altogether.

D: The flavour profile is definitely off-balance as a lot of others have noted, but it's still a decent IPA and sessionable (if on the heavy end of the ABV).

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Photo of tbeckett
3.7/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A - Pours a copper body with minimal carbonation and one finger of off white head that fades to a cap. Bright.

S - Juicy hops, mild biscuity aromas, and some pinesol.

T - Hops dominate with that pinesol/pine taste. Could use more balance with that biscuity character that came through in the aroma but this is nice.

M - Sort of thin. Body is too light and not enough carbonation.

D - Slightly more balance would make this better and it could use more body but otherwise tasty.

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Photo of MattyV
3.53/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a copper colour with orange highlights. It yields a creamy off-white head of moderate size that leaves a good amount of lacing.

More malt and less hop than expected in the nose... largely a bready malt aroma with bits of grassy hops and grain

The taste is once again of the bready malt with hints of caramel, along with decent grassy and citric flavours from the hops. Overall, the flavour profile was pleasant but the level of hoppiness was underwhelming.

Medium-bodied, slightly creamy mouthfeel. Goes down almost too easy; is so well-balanced there is no lingering bitterness as I expected. While not as hoppy as I first expected, would occasionally reach for this as a session ale.

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Photo of soju6
3.78/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Served on tap @ Kingston Brewery.

A: Served a copper color with a decent head that fades quickly to lacing.

S: Clean aroma with a citrus overtone.

T: Citrus with a sweetness & bitterness mixture.

F: Medium body that is smooth. Hits the spot.

D: Good brew well worth a try.

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Photo of kwjd
3.38/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Volo. Pours a copper-orange colour with a nice white head. Smell has floral hops, but it's a bit muted. Flavour is also not huge, but still pleasant bitterness and floral hops. It doesn't seem to have a lot of malt balance, which seems a bit weird in an IPA that isn't anywhere close to a hop bomb.

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Photo of kjyost
2.61/5  rDev -27.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Had on cask at Bar Volo as part of IPA cask challenge. Served as a half-pint in a tulip glass.

Pours a really nice hazy yellow & light orange with a nice head and light lacing. The aroma had a bit of bready malt and a slight whiff of what seemed to be a C hop, but was stunningly light. This was a premonition of the body of the beer that was thin, not terribly bitter and lacking utterly in hop flavours. No discernible malt could be tasted either. The cask nature allowed for an enjoyable sip, even with the rather thin beer.

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Photo of drinkininthewood
2.88/5  rDev -19.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Served from a 341 ml stubby into a snifter. Production date of june 10. I guess?

A- pours a nice clear copper red with very minimal head to speak of.

S- Aromas of grain and malt with a hint of floral hops and citrus.

T- Malty sweetness, caramel, slightly herbal, hops in the finish are grassy and somewhat citrussy but subdued.

M- mouthfeel is smooth and medium bodied. Carbonation is ok.

D- Drinkable.

Overall not a bad beer but just a little bland.

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Photo of cratez
3.73/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

341ml bottle from a six pack purchased at the Cooper Street LCBO in Toronto, ON. Pours a slightly hazed amber/bronze with a thin ring of white head and strings of lacing on the pint glass. Smell and taste are toffee, caramel, doughy bread, a bit nutty, floral, maybe some perfume, sweet pale malts, and a huge grapefruit hop bitterness to end. I also get a tiny trace of buttery diacetyl. IBUs are in your face, especially for a beer of this weight (5.5%). Mouthfeel is light side of medium, a little juicy, almost cask-like, bitter and citric. Drinks like an excellent pale ale, rather than an IPA. Not amazing, but still flavourful and quaffable. I personally enjoy it. More goodness from Scotch Irish.

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Photo of papat444
3.63/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Purchased directly from the brewery on a recent trip to Ottawa.

Enjoyed last Friday night with my supper, ribs!

Poured from a 341ml. bottle. Label has no months, days and years to notch, different from the Corporal.

Appearance: Pours an orange honey-like body, rather clear with a creamy head that's barely 2 fingers though it does hold strong.

Smell: Biscuity with a dose of hops though not as strong as i would have liked. Smells a little chemical but not much. A little weird.

Taste: A bold hops taste right off the bat, a bit vegetal though not entirely unpleasing. Bitterness lasts quite a bit of time on my tongue. I was on the fence at first as i thought the hops tasted a bit weird but i really liked how it was present and it grew on me. It was good.

Mouthfeel: Remarkably clean. One thing i didn't like though was that it was kind of unbalanced. It was like the hops and malt were entirely separate entities. No segue or anything between initial hops and subsequent malt character. Didn't mesh at all. It wasn't unpleasant but certainly demonstrated a flaw IMO.

Drinkability: I'd have to say yes. Not a regular purchase maybe but i'm open to try it again for sure.

Overall: Worth seeking. Though it's not the best example of the style, it was rather good.

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Photo of Mit
3.72/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured into tall Pint Glass...

A-Pours a nice golden reddish colour with a long lasting head.

s-Hoppy spicey and very prevalent hoppiness.

t-hoppy...reminiscent of an american IPA. Very slight malt flavor....bitter finish.

m-def in keeping with the 5.5% abv.

d-good drinkability but I imagine the bitterness may wear on you after 5-6 beers.

On the whole very happy to see a hoppy Canadian IPA that is actually within geographical reach. I will buy this again and again as long as it's available...my only beef is that it's not in the Beerstore where I can get it in more than 6 packs.

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Photo of EatsTacos
3.42/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark golden yellow with a small white head and no real lacing on the glass

The nose is citrus and grapefruit. My guess would be cascade hops are used to some extent.

The flavour is bitter and hoppy but there really is not enough sweetness in the malt to balance out this degree of bitterness. Either that or the hops are not being added late enough in the boil. Still a very good beer, and spicey and dry

The mouthfeel seems a little thin, but the carbonation is perfect and sharp.

Good overall beer and recommended. I'd like to see more Canadian micros making hopped up beers like this one.

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Photo of brewdlyhooked13
3.21/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Appearance - a good caramel / burnt orange color, much like Sierra Nevada. A good foamy head gets cratery as it falls, leaving chunks of lace behind.

Aroma - a soft citrusy scent with a light malt backing. Fades a bit on setup but is still pleasant.

Taste - a good opening pull reveals some biscuity, slightly buttery malts. This is covered fairly quickly by a rush of alpha bitterness. Some hints of grapefruit pith but mostly pure hops here. Pushes into medicinals a little too much for my tastes. Ends dry with intense bitterness lingering.

Mouthfeel - medium body, nicely crisp.

Drinkability - a little too ratcheted up hop-wise, but I knocked the good Sgt. major back with minimal resistance. I think it could use more citrus/floral presence or a bigger malt statement to balance out the raw bitterness. Thanks to Viggo for bringing me a bottle of this at DLD 09!

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Photo of ritzkiss
3.28/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Re-drink on cask: Just tapped an hour ago and when this beer is fresh and on it's game it's a nice IPA, juicy hops, nice pillowy carb out of the cask - just make sure you get it fresh on the right day!

Edit: Again on cask at Volo. Odd vegetable notes, an "off" bitterness, one of the worst on cask that day. Inconsistent?

On cask at Volo. Pours a nice hazy, dark golden - almost looks Belgian. Thin head that doesn't stick around.

Nose is bready, hints of citrus hops, sweet caramel malts.

Taste is smooth and a good representation of the more malted English style of IPA; can't say it really reminds me of an American IPA. Lemons and oranges, caramel malts bold throughout, slight bittering finish. Smooth smooth carbonation, easy drinking.

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Photo of MeisterBurger
3.26/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours a rich dark amber with not a lot of head. It dies down to a thin, spotty head with some fine lacing.

Aroma is almost a peppery hops at first, definitely more in the pine and leafy green arena than the citrus fruits.

Toasted malts with a pervading leafy, earthy hops and it's almost like someone put a drop or two of Pine Sol in it. It's peppery, a touch nutty perhaps. It's very bitter and could really use more malt sweetness for balance. I'm a hophead. I like bitter. But if you're not a fan of bitter then run, run now, run in the opposite direction and whatever you do, do NOT look back.

Mouthfeel is a little thin and watery, but there's some decent crispness from the carbonation to keep things interesting.

It's very bitter, kind of an okay and average (if more bitter) English IPA...and yet I find it really drinkable. Huh.

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Photo of ClockworkOrange
3.21/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a cool little stubby 341ml bottle into my nonic pint glass. This ale appears a clear deep apricot color with about an inch of quickly fading off white foam. The foam leaves behind a thin lace in it's path. If this wasn't classified as an American IPA, I would give it higher marks because it it a decent beer. To me, this is simply an APA at best. Aroma and flavor are of mild grassy, earthy hops, medium toasted grains, bready, followed by a hit of sweet malt. Medium in both body and carbonation with a crisp finish. Glad I was able to try it.

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Photo of DaftBrew
3.83/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

First review, hopefully these will become more descriptive as I progress. Recommended when I mentioned "hopped beer".

A- Poured bottle into goblet style glass. Lovely clear, coppery appearance. Minimal lacing, and head dissipated quickly.

S- The crisp scent hops are immediately evident. Perhaps undertones are masked by slightly chilling the brew.

T- Crisp, clean, with mid strength hop finish. Perfect for summer days, when lighter ales. Although, I feel the flavours may have been more complex.

Overall, will drink again given the chance. This brew wasn't my favorite, but nothing to shy away from. Give it a try.

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Photo of bobsy
4.17/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Rereview: Finally I got to this on tap, and what a markedly improved beer it is. Bursting with citrus and earthiness, but with great balance from some bready malts. More than ever this struck me as a hybrid of the US and English styles. Aroma and taste adjusted upwards.

Older review: Poured a clear copper with a quickly diminishing white head, that finally settled into a wispy film. The lack of head was disappointing, but redeemed by the brilliant clarity and depth to the colour of the body. A slight aroma of grapefruit is married to a strong combination of grass and fresh hops in the nose - I don't think this smells as citric or piney as most IPAs.

The flavour is delightfully hoppy beer, and far more bitter than an average IPA. The dominating taste was a very dry hoppiness leading through to a chewy breadiness, before finishing strongly bitter at the sides of the tongue. Very much an english style IPA, and fairly true to the style, although I think it would benefit from more balance provided by a touch less hopping or more malting. This is ridiculously easy to drink and was gone before I knew it, so the other 5 should not last too long.

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Photo of Shadman
3.35/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Cool stubby bottle and awesome label. Brilliant copper color with a so-so head. some lacing.

Aroma of grapefruit and roasted malt.

Interersting taste. Definitely hopped up. The roasted malts are there, but generally get lambasted by robust grapefruit hops. Some slickness on the palte. Grapefruit rind clings to the back of the throat like a lamprey on a salmon.

If yo like your IPA hopped up and bitter then this is one worth picking up or trading for. A bit too one dimensional for my tastes.

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Photo of Ralphus
3.93/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Sgt Major is brewed about 10 minutes away from my home.. so it's unfortunate that it's taken me this long to give it a shot. But now that I have I'm glad I did. There's good beer to be had here.

It pours with nice color, a clear amber brown with a creamy looking white head. Thousands of pinpoint sized bubbles rise to the surface keeping the head in good shape and making a steady trail of lacing possible while you drink.

In the smell you will find frutiness, mainly berries but with an undercurrent of earthy hops. It's quite nice. The taste has more of the same.. initially some sweet fruit, transitioning well to a smooth caramel like body and followed by a very long, drawn out hop finish with strong bitterness. It's very well balanced and the earthy tones towards the end are excellent.

Mouthfeel is very good.. the carbonation being just right to provide some bite but also smoothness. And finally we have drinkability, which despite all the favorable characteristics in play I would rank somewhat lower than you might think. While the beer is very good it doesn't have you immediately thinking of another. That said, it's definitely not out of the question!

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Photo of biboergosum
3.75/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Tried this in Toronto during the summer; I got the impression that this is the only American-style IPA made in all of Ontario. It was certainly the only one I could find after scouring the downtown's pubs and LCBO locations. I grabbed a stubby (hell yeah) to try back home amongst its West Coast progenitors.

The label gives me an Upper/Lower Canada vibe that I get from mis-remembered Canadian History classes in junior high school.

This beer pours a medium copper hue, with two fingers of foamy white head, which sticks around for a good while, leaving lots of lacing around the glass. The aroma is straight ahead grapefruit hops and sweet malt, very nice. The flavour is a whole lot more hoppy than the aroma gave clue to, with strong citrus and pine hops. The malt backbone has to struggle to keep up the balance, which it does, just barely. The carbonation is moderate, and there is a slight warming from the alcohol. The finish is quite clean, with a dry hop essence lingering a bit. This is true to the West Coast American style, but is a bit thin in comparison. Overall, this is a decent example of a proper IPA from East of the West; good to see.

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Photo of irishkyle21
4.1/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours with a small head. Nice lacing but not to much retention. Has a copper color. I had this beer on cask awhile back and I find it has a stronger hop presence in the bottle.

Smells of pale malts, caramel and piney/grassy hops.

Tastes of bitter hops, malts (slightly sweet) and some fruitiness.

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Sgt. Major India Pale Ale from Scotch Irish Brewing Company
82 out of 100 based on 65 ratings.