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Copper John Scotch Ale | Madison River Brewing Company

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Copper John Scotch AleCopper John Scotch Ale
Very Good
96 Ratings
Copper John Scotch AleCopper John Scotch Ale

Brewed by:
Madison River Brewing Company
Montana, United States

Style: Scotch Ale / Wee Heavy

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
This is a Scottish ale like no other. The brewers use the finest smoked malt for flavor complexity and then combine it with roasted barley, and caramel malts for a rich distinctive and smoky flavor. These ingredients give it a deep, dark color with a smooth, rich finish that is surprisingly drinkable.

19 IBU

User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 96 |  Reviews: 36
Reviews by ChrisCage:
Photo of ChrisCage
3.55/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

From Notes Jan '15.....

A- Pours a coppery brown with reddish hues and is yeast hazed. The head is off white with a most excellent of retentions.....a thick meringue like texture! The lacing is modest with small patches sticking to the side of the glass. Hard to tell how finely carbonated this one is.

S- Upfront there is plenty of sweet malts that are rich and deep. Other aromas are of caramel/molasses, yeasty biscuit, toffee a hint of milky chocolate and a tinge of booze pokes through. The finishing smells are of mild hop bitterness but it does linger in the air slightly.

T- This is surprisingly clean and refreshing! Citrus like tang balances the sweet malt richness....also detecting some piney and/or cedar bark like flavors. Overall the rich sweet flavors are balanced by some interesting tartness. I don't taste any bitterness on the finish and the general flavor does not linger on the palate either.

M/O- Nice fine carbonation allows the well balanced flavors to hit the palate, coat and then clean all at the same time. This medium bodied brew would be very nice on a hot day surprisingly and while it's good, it's not my favorite version of the style and is drinkable. I would probably buy this again when in Montana, as I think it has potential to go well with a spicier dish.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of Bitterbill
3.13/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Deep brown colour, reddish highlights, small head of foam, not much lacing.

Big sweet and bready malts in the smell, a hint of fruit.

Bread and sweet malt dominate the taste, some toffee, kind of a citrusy taste when I swish the beer in my mouth. Or maybe it's my imagination.

Good mouthfeel. A hard style for me to give a thumbs up to and this brew keeps it that way. I won't get more.

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Photo of sulldaddy
3.91/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Sampling a cellar temp 22 oz bottle poured into a snifter. Beer is part of a trade from mt_griz99, thank you!
The beer pours a deep mahogany color with fluffy khaki colored head of 3 cm even with a gentle pour. The foam fades to a sturdy surface layer and clingy edge layer that leaves tight lattice after each sip.
Aroma is roasted malt with some caramel and a bit of mild smoked hint. I dont get any hops here and any booze is hidden on the nose as well.
The first sip reveals an average to light body with mild spacious carbonation that gently rolls across my palate. Pretty easy drinking physical traits on this beer.
Flavor is all malt, as the nose advertises in my glass. I get roasted malt and caramel with some toffee and other mild sweetness, but also a bit of mild smoked flavor on the finish that lingers just a little after each swallow. I dont get any hops not any booze as I am drinking this beer.
It is an easy drinking malty brew from start to finish, not overly robust or complex but an enjoyable brew.

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Photo of Sammy
3.5/5  rDev -7.7%

Photo of blackie
4.1/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

the name might be misleading - seems to fall more within the scottish ale style

a: deep amber in color, light layer of carbonation

s: husky toffee grain, peaty but with no smoke, dark bread crust, nutty, well rounded all around but the malt stands out, balanced with a mild hop side, earthy

m: carbonation on the light side, medium body

t: a mostly malty flavor, but not thick or heavy, toasty grains with some sweet toffee sugars, a touch peaty and nutty, dark breads, little hop flavor and a mild-moderate bitterness

d: sessionable...a simple, well crafted scottish - not bad for a shot-in-the-dark purchase

picked up a 6 on special at the Albertson's Liquor Store in Jackson, WY

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Photo of Mebuzzard
3.5/5  rDev -7.7%

Photo of JohnGalt1
3.75/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle picked up at the Albertsons in Lewistown MT.. had a bunch of these with Brenda's brother.. Brad never drinks anything but macros.. but I think I got him thinking on this trip... he's actively seeking out Pig's Ass Porter and Sierra Nevada Stout.. This one last bottle is poured into a glass that sorta resembles a pint glass at Brenda's parents' house.

2" lite tan head.. The brew is a dark chestnut color.. perfectly clear with great lacing and a good cap.

Aroma is a deep maltiness with a touch of kettle caramel .. the peat malt is muted by the malts... some complexity is lacking.

The peat is alot more prevalent in the flavor.. caramel malts and fleeting notes of toffee.. a little nutty in the middle.. but I'm honestly searching on this one.. it seems a little flimsy.. the "peat smoke" seems about right, but I don't think there are enough proper Wee Heavy flavors there to make this one something I would probably buy again sometime soon... sorta like a beginners Scotch ale.

Despite my above negatives.. this is a pretty descent brew.. just don't go looking for the knockout.. I am drinking this one very fresh.. and would recommend it for sure.. just not to any of my beer geek buddies.

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Photo of zeff80
3.78/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

22oz bottle. Poured out an opaque, black color with a small, off-white head of foam. It smelled of peat, smoke and roasted caramel malt. Earthy and smoky flavor with coffee, toffee and roasted malt.

 198 characters

Photo of juneauscott
3.5/5  rDev -7.7%

Photo of casapy
3.5/5  rDev -7.7%

Photo of NickMunford
3.25/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Photo of Tone
3.82/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.75

Pours a hazy, dark copper color. 1/4 inch head of an off-white color. Good retention and slight lacing. Smells of sweet malt, slight alcohol, slight caramel malt, slight sugar, slight yeast, and a hint of roasted malt. Fits the style of a Scotch Ale / Wee Heavy. Mouth feel is smooth and clean, with a low carbonation level. Tastes of strong sweet malt, hint of roasted malt, slight caramel malt, hint of alcohol, and slight yeast. Overall, good body, aroma, and feel, but cloying as well.

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Photo of bcsbeer
3.76/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Photo of Foyle
3/5  rDev -20.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance: pours a 1" cream colored head that recedes slowly with moderate lacing. Color is a mostly clear deep red-brown. Moderate carbonation bubbles streaming through the body. Aroma: smokey roasted malts, cocoa, earthy hops
Mouthfeel: light and watery with a somewhat dry finish.
Flavor: dark roasted malt, toasted whole wheat bread crust, cocoa, a bit of earthy hop flavor, and a lingering smokiness in the middle and finish.

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Photo of biboergosum
3.88/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle, from a grocery in Helena a few months ago.

This beer pours a clear, dark red brick hue, with a single skinny finger of fizzy pale beige head, which disappears in an instant, leaving but a low ring of remnant 'lace' around the glass. It smells of caramel, toffee, singed brown sugar, and leafy, earthy hops. The taste is sweet caramelized malt, a bit of peat - more bog than smoke - and lightly bittering earthy hops. The carbonation is on the low side, the body a solid medium weight, and quite smooth. It finishes still pretty sweet, bread-like, but with a balancing effort put forth by the understated hops.

A decent enough scotch ale, the expected (and unspecified) upped ABV is nowhere to be found - I guess I'd have to have a few more of these to really find out...

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Photo of chinchill
3.36/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.25

12 oz bottle in Idaho.
Excellent appearance with a clear but very dark brown body and a large, durable tan head.
Somewhat unappealing, peaty aroma. Similar but better flavor. Good bitter-sweet balance.
Very good feel: near creamy smooth and full body.

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

poured from the bottle into a tulip glass

A - Pours a gorgeous, semi-transparent amber brown with a constant stream of bubbles rising to a rocky, towering 4-finger head.

S - A nose is greeted by the pleasant scent of sweet caramel malt and brown sugar upon opening the bottle with faint green tea-leaf hops lingering in the background. Head stays mostly intact until the bottom of the glass. Leaves behind several large splotches of lacing on the top and bottom of the glass.

T - Caramel malt upfront. The body is a decent blend of caramel malt and lightly floral hops, but lacks the strength and complexity required for a Wee Heavy. A flash of caramel and hops as the beer passes over the back of the tongue provides a welcome flavor increase, but quickly subsides to a slightly bitter caramel and tea-leaf finish.

M - Medium bodied with a too much carbonation to meld with the rather weak flavor profile. The beer expands in the mouth, but this only amplifies the flavor deficiency

Copper John is a solid attempt at a Scottish Ale from a rather obscure brewery in Montana. Although there is nothing offensive about this beer, the flavor isn't rich and bold enough to make me lament not having this readily available. Still, if you're camping in Yellowstone or fishing in Montana, it is worth trying. I would buy a bottle or two again if I spent another couple weeks doing research out there.

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Photo of callmescraps
3.43/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

In the beer of the month club, the other from this brewery was a dud, hoping for better.

App- Brown with amber highlights. Minimal head. Thin ring. Minimal lacing. Quite clear.

Smell- Sweet, malty, definitely some caramel. Brown sugar. Some toffe as well.

Taste- Sweet, caramel and toffee. The toffee lingers on the sweet, slightly burnt finish. Plum? Perhaps. Malty. A little thin? The taste mellows very quickly, sort of dissipates. A small roastiness or smoke lingers.

Mouthfeel- Decidedly thin.

Overall- A nice, sweet and malty beer. Sort of reminds me of a doublebock, or another smooth malty lager. But I like it overall.

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Photo of chugalug06
2.47/5  rDev -34.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Huge, straw, colored, thin, foamy head. nice clarity on the blood red brew.

Wheaty, bready, caramel, dry scents stand out. Sweetness too.

Bit heavy on the carbonation. Moderate sweetness with missing flavors. Not too much stands out on the tongue other then your basic brew characteristics. Lots of caramel and american yeasty (breay) notes. A bit bland.

Underwhelming and unexciting. Not recommended. Nice for a hot day, but it drinks too much like a BMC..

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Photo of TheSixthRing
3.59/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Appearance - Pours cola brown with a khaki half finger's worth of head. Sub-par retention, fizzing away to a near barren surface with a broken island of suds in the center.

Smell - Nice aroma, with caramel met by an undertone of smokiness. Faint cocoa.

Taste - Follows the nose. Moderate caramel and just a touch of chocolate met by a fair smokiness that comes in near the finish.

Mouthfeel - Medium-bodied with a lively amount of carbonation. Smooth, slick delivery with a wet finish.

Overall - Decent scotch ale. Nothing off-putting, but doesn't quite have the depth in flavor that the better examples of the style show. That said, it's damn easy to drink, so I'll have no problem killing the sixer, even if it's a no thinker drinker.

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Photo of alpinebryant
2.93/5  rDev -22.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Pours a dark copper with a healthy light tan head. Heavy lacing

Aroma of mostly sweet malt, a tiny hint of scotch yeast

Taste is pretty week overall for a scotch ale. Perhaps I am now thinking that imperial scotch ales are the norm and that is throwing me off, but I just do not think this compares to some of the great scotch ales that I have had.
Taste is mostly consisting of a sweet malt backbone, that finishes cloying, a tiny hint of scotch ale yeast and a bitter bite at the start.

Light mouthfeel and medium carbonation. Overall not bad, just nothing standing out to make it great or better than good.

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Photo of wordemupg
3.9/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

355ml bottle poured into tulip 13/3/12

A hazy dark amber with a thumbs width of light tan head has decent retention and leaves a bunch of polka dot lacing

S fruity nut bar with some raisins and toffee, straight forward but quite nice

T mimics the smell with a little cola and some earthy woody tones, again I thought it was pretty good

M a little thin and flat but not too bad, just a little heat but its mild, this would be an area for improvement

O pretty solid stuff but not mind blowing, not the smokey beer I expected from reading the bottle

decent stuff with well concealed booze, I thought the feel was average but pretty solid in other areas

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Photo of flagmantho
3.69/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poured from 12oz bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance: rich, dark red-brown hue with a haze-free body and a light effervescence. Head is half a finger of creamy tan foam. Attractive, and quite appropriate for the style.

Smell: very rich caramel aroma with lots of sweetness and maltiness. There's more biscuity character than I care for, but it's largely quite good.

Taste: biscuity and bready right off the top, with a fair dose of caramel character as well. Bitterness is light with little to no hop flavor. Well-crafted and stylistically within bounds, but perhaps not my favorite.

Mouthfeel: medium-rich body with a good level of carbonation. There's a velvety soft creaminess here which I love.

Overall: this beer is stylistically very good and definitely worth a try for enthusiasts. On the scale of wee heavy flavors, though, it edges more toward biscuity, which is not my personal favorite.

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Photo of bagpiper2005
3.92/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pour: Dark reddish-brown in color. One finger of off-white head that dissipated quickly an left no lacing on the glass.

Smell: Caramel and brown sugar dominate the aroma. Light hint of smoke as well.

Taste: This one is on the sweeter end of the spectrum of Scotch Ales. Flavor primarily consists of caramel, toffee, an a bit of burnt sugar. Touch of peaty smoke at the end. Pretty good.

Mouthfeel: A bit thin for the style. Average amount of carbonation. Smooth.

Drinkability/Overall: A simple Scotch Ale that's not just overbearing. Great session beer.

Final Notes: A good, inexpensive Scotch Ale. Not super impressive but a good beer nonetheless. Deliciously sweet and slightly smoky, I can see plopping some vanilla ice cream on top of it and making a float with it. Also a good introduction to the style.

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Photo of Brandt
4.2/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

this beer pours a nice clean caramel brown color with a small amount of white head

the smell here is all of malts and give hints of caramel, as well as some more toasty german tasting malts. well balanced between toasty and sweet.

the flavors in this beer are of toasted malts and a touch of a nearly smoke like character as well as some caramely sweetness that follows a minimal bitterness down the hatch

this one finishes great, a realy drinkable beer that leaves a nice bit of sweetness on the tongue and leaves you wanting another sip.

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Copper John Scotch Ale from Madison River Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.79 out of 5 with 96 ratings