Kilt Lifter Scotch Ale - Moylan's Brewery

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Kilt Lifter Scotch AleKilt Lifter Scotch Ale

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662 Ratings
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Ratings: 662
Reviews: 382
rAvg: 3.71
pDev: 12.94%
Wants: 20
Gots: 34 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Moylan's Brewery visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
Scotch Ale / Wee Heavy |  8.00% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: kbub6f on 06-07-2002)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 662 | Reviews: 382 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of JMad
4.15/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I poured a 22 oz bomber into my tall beer glass...

The beer was a murky, brownish, red copper color with a thin filmy off white head.

I could smell sweet caramel malt, dates and chocolate, it was almost like candy.

Tastes like toasted, buttery biscuits, fig, and a very slight smokey bitterness.

It's so smooth, it's a little warming and has low carbonation.

This is a good brew, it hides the alcohol extremely well.

Photo of Metalmonk
3.75/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

That's a damn fine lookin' beer. The head is stunning -- dirtied white and creamy, with a pockmarked surface that sort of looks like clustered puffed rice. Color is a fiery, burnt reddish color. As the head slowly sinks, it's replaced by big wide sheets of lace.

Smell-wise, most of what I get is alcohol-draped malts, and those malts are musty-smelling, peat-like, very English in character. Smell of Boston baked beans (the candies) is here too, which is a combination of nut husk, hop greenness and lightly burnt malt. Quite nice, with some subtleties that are appreciated. Good depth here.

A pretty wild taste as this crosses over the tongue. Not a terribly traditional take on the style, but that would be expected from a brewery known for a heavy hop bias. Indeed, green hop goodness provides a sharp bitterness to the proceedings. Malts are musty, nutty and toasty and, as with the aroma, quite English in character. Toffee just barely ekes its way through. Alcohol makes its presence known, but doesn't stomp all over everything else. Light citrus sweetness adds depth, as does a pretty big herbal tea essence, and there's a dark fruit sort of thing happening, somewhere between fig and raisin. Interesting. Kilt Lifter finishes with a serious bit of citrus rind tartness.

Lots of spritz to the feel, a bright and tickling texture, yet having a slick, round, almost syrupy side, which keeps it from feeling abrasive.

The label calls this "robust and strapping," and I would totally agree. While it didn't totally blow me away, it's enjoyable enough and well-balanced enough that I can't award it anything less than a "4" for drinkability. A unique take on the Scotch Ale, one that will have style-fascists running for the hills...and I like that.

Photo of GPHarris
3.75/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

a - poured a one finger thick tan head into a snifter that settled into a thin ring of lace. head retention was lacking. the body was a dark amber color.
s - big, dark malts.
t - dry hops, raisins.
m - medium thickness.
d - good beer and i enjoyed but i've had better wee heavies.

Photo of jj311
2.93/5  rDev -21%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: Pours a dark copper color with slight orange hues. What little foam-head it does have dissipates very quickly. No lacing.

Smell: A sweet malty aroma, bourbon barrel, slightly hoppy.

Taste: Fruity up front, followed by sweet malt (overly sweet) and some brief woody flavors. A faint presence of hops can be detected, but not allot. A Slightly bitter, light bourbon finish.

Mouthfeel: Thick, syrupy, somewhat creamy. Abundance of carbonation.

Drinkability: Average at best.

Overall: Well, I am glad that I got to try this one, but I'd have to say I was pretty disappointed. Aside from a few minor flavor variations, it's not much different then drinking a cheap 40 oz. of malt liquor. The buzz is there, but that's about the best thing going for this one.

Photo of charlzm
2.63/5  rDev -29.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Consumed at Tony's Darts Away, Burbank, CA on December 21st, 2010. Labeled on menu as "barrel-aged" with no information regarding barrel type.

Beer is a rusty caramel with a thin head that barely covers. Mostly clear, a bit hazy.

Aroma is of scotch whiskey and caramel malt. Fairly subdued.

Flavor is somewhat weak, with a dominant smoky wood flavor (probably from a whiskey or bourbon barrel). Sweeter than I would like. The caramel malt and fruity character I normally associate with this beer is there, but watered down or faded. Some bitterness on finish, more woody than hoppy.

Mouthfeel is thin, more watery than expected.

Not a successfully barrel aged beer, in my opinion.

Photo of dotsonjamesg
3.83/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A - Pours thick, foggy, and dim amber. Almost no head, or fizz. 

S - Dark fruits, hops, and alcohol are big and present with the nosr.  

T - flavor of dark fruits is somewhat present. Rich malts and hops is also in there with it. The aftertaste is delicious. Nice bitterness too. 

M - there is just enough fizz to make this brew feel comfortable in your mouth. Thick and syrupy. 

D - if you can enjoy a rich brew, you can drink this one. 

Photo of Russellmania
3.78/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

When i poured this beer it had a dark caramel color. It had a light head and it went away very quickly. I smelled roasted malts and even had a little alcohol smell. Roasted malts was the the first taste I got and it quickly went bitter like cacao chocolate.
I really like how big this beer is and how easy it is to drink. I will defiantly be buying this beer again and getting my Kilt Lifted.

Photo of cbg79
2.55/5  rDev -31.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

This is the second of Moylan's brew I have had and the first scotch ale I have tasted. Not really sure how to rate this one as it is the first "scotch ale" I have had. Sadly I didn't care for it much at all. It has a bland taste which I was not at all impressed with. The smell was very nice, If Moylan's could bottle the smell and make a candle out of it the candle lovers of the world would be astonished. Which for me the taste fell very short. I'm gonna try some other "scotch ales" so i can give a better review, but who knows maybe I'm just not a "scotch ale" fan.

Photo of stevenseg
3.7/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I found Moylan's Kilt Lifter as I roamed my local craft beer store in search of a solid scotch-style ale. I truly think we can leave"style" off that description as these beers are known for their sweet caramely characteristic and low hop profile. When you're looking for Scotch ales, the term "kilt" anywhere in the name is a dead giveaway.

So I pulled this bomber off the shelf, paid $5.99 plus deposit, and stuck it in the freezer to chill as I made dinner. I think it came out a little lower in temperature than the style is intended to be served, so I will let it breathe and warm up.

I expected its appearance to be a little darker given its body and earth notes. It is a hazy amber with virtually no head. However, I have a tendency to baby my pours so as to not lose the carbonation, so a more aggressive standard pour may beget a more impressive head.

I love the roasty earth notes. A little bit of caramel and virtually no hops, just as it should be. Scotch ales are so different than standard pales and such in nose, the power of the mellow notes is a great element of the style.

Kilt Lifter seems sweet only. Its taste isn't as robust as its nose suggests it may be. I think a bit more roasted malt could have been added in place of sugar, which I'm sure was used to increase the ABV. I expected a huge malt character and it just didn't come through, but I should have known given its color/alcohol characters, both of which indicated the use of sugar and lack of deep malts. Dang it smells good though!

Even though I don't think I let it warm long enough, the chewiness of the beer came through. The carbonation is subtle, and the body is outstanding. A little more malt flavor would have topped it off.

As far as Scotch ales go, I have definitely had better, though I wouldn't kick Moylan's out fo bed. While an entire night or tipping back this alcoholic sugar water at 8% ABV might not be advised, the 22oz. bomber was just enough to get my fill.

Photo of radioscooter
3.68/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I'm currently on a Scotch Ale taste test to try to replace (and if possible, eclipse) my long-time favorite Mcewan's. We can't get McEwan's anymore in the US.

Skip to the chase - this ain't it. Another Americanized (read HOPS) version of a very specific style that doesn't do it enough justice. Again, I don't know why these hop-crazy American craft brewers can't just stuck with the styles that use all the hops and just work on that 24/7. Why they feel they need to reinvent Wee Heavys, Quads and Barleywines is beyond me. But here we are.

There is also a big difference between Scottish Ale and Scotch Ale. I shouldn't even have to say that here and certainly the Moylan brewmaster knows it. Or do they?

No creamy head to speak of. Just some lacing. With some styles this shouldn't matter. With Scotch Ale it does. You want a sweetish, creamy froth to chase down the blackness. Nothing here.

Taste is heading toward Scotch Ale flavors, there's a bit of malt, a bit of caramel. But certainly not enough. And right when you think that warming it up might help, in drive these hops like a freaking redneck truck through the heather field.

As a "Scottish Style Ale" made in America, it's fine. I could drink a few in a night. But if you're expecting a Scotch Ale, move on. Grab the Duck Rabbit, which kills this one and nails the style.

Photo of KickInTheChalice
4.4/5  rDev +18.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured from a 22 oz. bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance: Kilt Lifter comes out of the bottle in a dark amber color, with a ferocious off-white head. Actually not much retention though, and just a bit of lacing down my pint glass.

Smell: Lots of dark, roasty, chewy caramel malt combined with some great oak and earthy notes.

Taste: The flavor of this beer is big enough to really keep my interest but not cloyingly sweet. Great malt profile, with some complex spices and oakiness. Figs and dates start to emerge as it warms up a little bit. Just a bit of earthy hops toward the end help to round out the flavor nicely. The finish is malty and sweet.

Mouthfeel: Creamy and smooth, maybe just a touch heavy on the carbonation for my taste. Leaves my lips feeling a bit sticky.

Drinkability: There is no two ways about it - this is just a great value. I ordered this out to try something new without knowing anything about it, and I was quite satisfied with how that decision worked out. Full bodied, smooth, and quite drinakble, I may have to pursue some Scottish Ales and Scotch Ale/ Wee Heavy's to really explore this style.

Photo of rhoadsrage
2.95/5  rDev -20.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

(Served in a dimple mug)
A- This beer pours an orange hazy body with a thick creamy fizzy head of light tan that soon fades to a ring. There is a gentle carbonation of tiny bubbles that glide to the surface.
S- There is a soft dry toasted biscuit malt aroma with some perfumed qualities to it that fade into a vegetable pickle aroma that is off putting with a slight salty note in the finish.
T- There is a soft dry toasted malt flavor that bends to the carbonic acid bite in the finish. There is a tartness that has a hint of apple and watermelon to it in the finish.
M- This beer has a medium-light mouthfeel with a scrubbing bubble carbonation that is a bite abrasive on the tongue.
D- This beer has a thin and soft flavor that is missing the nice rich malt backbone but the odd flavors get in the way of what little malt was there. It wasn't worth finishing the bomber.

Photo of wmtxbb
3.93/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle poured into pint glass

Appearance: Layer of lacing sitting atop a dark caramel brew.

Smell: Berries, pine and cherry.

Taste: Cotton candy, thick sweet malts, cherry. Also some herbs I can't put my finger on.

Drinkability: Great brew, just interesting enough to keep me drinking but just shy of "greatness". More herbs and a different hop profile might elevate this brew.

Photo of Boitnott
3.2/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

First beer from Moylan's for me and it was poured from a 22-oz. bomber into a tall tulip glass. The appearance is a brick color with dark red and brown mixed throughout, with a medium, frothy head and excellent lacing. The beer looks spectacular when first poured with a two-finger deep, cream colored head. However, it quickly dies.

A strong smell of apple ruminates from the beer. After notes of sweet malt and hops are also present, but not enough to really make the beer stand out.

An odd combination of tastes prevails through the tasting. The nose tastes of bitter hops but not at an IPA level; an underlying sweetness comes to the front of lingering in the mouth. It is hard to describe the finish of this beer. A lot is going on here... sweetness and bitterness from the hops attempts to mix with caramel malt flavor (imagine a caramel covered apple). The result of this mix is many different competing flavors that do not integrate. While some are good alone (the caramel malts), the flavors do not balance each other. Some come to the forefront and die and then come back again. These flavors leave overall bitter after taste, which is not enjoyable. The high ABV only hurts the beer by adding bitterness.

The mouth feel does go well with the beer. It is not as full bodied as other Wee Heavys I have tried, and the medium carbonation is a little too much because it accentuates the bitterness.

Overall drinkability is average. The flavors are good by themselves, but its the integration that hurts this beer for me. Very different from previous Wee Heavys because it is much sweeter with almost no scotch taste. I would only recommend the beer to those who prefer sweeter beers, but overall it is only average.

Photo of TheLVBeerGuy
3.28/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

A- pours a dark amber with almost no head but the white lace border

S- releases nutty notes like a brown or a stout but gives off the hoppy sweetness of a pale ale.

T- nice strong earthy hop flavor. a bit "herby" to me

M- strong fight with the pallet here. not particularly good

D- its a mediocre beer...probably would not refuse a bottle, but definitely wouldnt go out of my way to get one.

Photo of Thorpe429
3.1/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Reviewed from notes.

Poured into a snifter. The color is an amber-brown without any real head, lacing, or legs. Not much going on here. The nose is some caramel, dark fruits, and a bit of booze. The flavor doesn't really bring much other than a bit of malt and some alcohol. Booze on the palate and in the finish. Not my cup of tea.

Photo of keithmurray
3.05/5  rDev -17.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

appearance - pours a deep rich copper colour, little tan head

smell - scotch, booze, caramel, malt, peat

taste - whoa - scotch is prominent, caramel, brown sugar

mouthfeel - this one is a little rough, low carbonation, thick body, unrefined, unbalanced unlike other representations of the style

drinkability - just wasn't my cup of tea, will not be revisiting

Photo of Zimbo
3.95/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Always keen to try a Scottish inspired beer brewed outside this dark wet land. My experience with Moylan's has been good so my expectations were reasonable.

Foamy head, not dense leaving some nice lacing before becoming rather wispy. Rather surpisingly light transparent brown with some sparkle. Smells of honey roasted cashews. Nice.

Initially seems thinnish on the palate before developing a slight whisky-ish/rummy quality with nuts. Not intense mind and perhaps a bit simple and light in body for this style. But as others have pointed out perhaps the intention was to brew something between a 90 (ie 'wee heavy') and an 80 Shilling and if that is the case then this is a success. But if is meant to a straight interpretation of a 90 Shilling then it falls a light short and thin. Probably wouldn't warm me up on a cold Winter's evening but still quite tasty.

Not exactly the real McKay (pronounced MacKie) but much more than a young pretender.

Photo of megahurts4
4.5/5  rDev +21.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Moylan's Kilt Lifter Scotch-style Ale is the first Moylan I've had. I have just finished drinking it and must say that it is something you could drink all day. It is extremely smooth. It has that perfect balance of flavor to drink-ability. It reminds me of the Mikkeller Beer Geek Breakfast drink-ability and smoothness. This was brewed in Novato, CA and is 8.0% alcohol by volume.

It does remind me of scotch, but without the harshness down the hatch. It also reminds me of a Belgian Ale. I recommend trying this.

About 55 degrees in the pint glass.

Dark Brown with a bit of cloudy-ness. Large head from the initial pour subsides to a lacing.

Smells very similar to most Belgian Abby and Trappist Ales.

Extremely smooth and flavorful. Not watery at all.

Scotch-like hops with a similarity to Belgian Abby and Trappist Ales. The perfect balance without being overbearing.

It truly is outstanding. I wish I had another!

Photo of avalon07
3.23/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A: Poured from a bottle to a pint glass. Had a bright ruby color and a clear consistency. There was a half inch of foamy head that quickly dissipated. Almost no lacing.

S: Smelled faintly of roasted malt and a little caramel.

T: A thin flavor of roasted malt up front and some caramel in the finish. Slightly watery and uninteresting.

M: A good amount of carbonation with a dry finish. Medium-bodied.

D: Not the worst thing I've ever tried, but hardly great, either. Average.

Photo of Parrotshake
3.55/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I've had this once before, from a 24-hour pharmacy in the US late one night. I remember it smelling excellent and not much else. Let's go again: -

Pours a rusty reddish-brown with little notable head. Little spots of lacing here and there.

My memory serves me correctly - this smells lovely. Malted milk, burnt sugar/golden syrup, some kind of Christmas dessert with plums and a green hoppy smell.

Taste-wise it doesn't quite match up. To be completely honest I have never had a Scotch Ale that I LOVED. Malted milk balls at first and then... not much. Taste mirrors the nose but despite the more bitter than usual finish, this is too sweet. Like someone poured a bit of maple syrup on pine needles. Probably an amazing dessert beer.

Mouthfeel is about right for the style - not much carbonation, almost syrupy but not quite. Makes me want to go to sleep. This is probably a fine thing to drink in Winter.

Photo of BogleHill
3.23/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A medium amber colored brew with little head. carbonation is medium. Sweet, earthy aromas. Flavor is heavy and sweet and very muddy-earthy. Let this one warm a bit and it'll taste a bit better. I have brewed with peat smoked malts before and wish pro brewers would put more "smoke" into this style to balance the intense sweetness. Finish on this one is a bit herbal. The ABV comes through on the backside. Thanks to Glid02 for this one.

Photo of LairdChisholm
3.88/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours a deep, dark caramel color. It has a one finger than head that has sub-par retention. It fizzles out to a slight film rather quickly. Very slight lacing to be seen.

S - A good nose on this one. I get some deep roasted malts. There is a touch of caramel and some dark fruits. Maybe some figs and a very slight touch of alcohol.

T- Pretty complex. Up front, I get some very deep, roasted, caramel malts. The notes here are very unique with hints of dark fruit consisting of raspberry and figs. The after taste is satisfying bitter. Reminiscent of dark chocolate.

M - Nice and thick here. Somewhat syrupy. This is how wee heavy scotch ales should feel.

D - Considering the ABV this is a pretty easy ale to drink, although I have had better.

Photo of Georgiabeer
4.22/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at the Brick Store Pub. Pours a beautiful glowing reddish/orange amber with little head. Smells sweet and malty and firm with a nice Horlick's aroma and a touch of a maple syrup. Tastes firm and dry, but with that typical Scotch ale syrupy malt flavor, a little spicy, and with some underlying fruit. Firm, and smooth in the mouth. Pretty nice.

Photo of steve8robin
3.18/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Got this as an extra in a trade. 22oz bomber...

A: Copper and deep dark ruby color blend. 1 inch off white head that fades at a decent pace. Good.

S: Faint hints of sugary fruits with very faint hints of dark cherries. Almost a strawberry scent blended in there. Decent.

T: A very good blend of strawberry and raspberry immediately followed by watery malts. Not very good here. Not much complexity here. Eh.

M: Too watery on this one with decent carbonation. Decent.

D: Goes down good after you get past the lack of flavor. Good.

All in all, this is not a great brew by any means. Not worth hunting down and not worth your time and money. Started decent, but ended up not good.

Kilt Lifter Scotch Ale from Moylan's Brewery
84 out of 100 based on 662 ratings.