Alba Scots Pine Ale
Williams Brothers Brewing Company

Alba Scots Pine AleAlba Scots Pine Ale
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From:
Williams Brothers Brewing Company
 
Scotland, United Kingdom
Style:
Gruit / Ancient Herbed Ale
Ranked #11
ABV:
7.5%
Score:
85
Ranked #21,100
Avg:
3.79 | pDev: 13.98%
Ratings:
699
Status:
Active
Rated:
Dec 09, 2021
Added:
Sep 18, 2001
Wants:
  48
Gots:
  36
SCORE
85
Very Good
Alba Scots Pine AleAlba Scots Pine Ale
Notes: Introduced by the Vikings, spruce and pine ales were very popular in the Scottish Highlands until the end of the 19th century. Many early explorers, including Captain Cook, used spruce ale during long sea voyages since it prevented scurvy and ill health. Shetland spruce ale was said to "stimulate animal instincts" and give you twins. Alba is a triple style ale brewed to a traditional Highland recipe from Scots pine and spruce shoots pickled during early spring. Pure malted barley, is boiled with the young sprigs of pine for several hours then the fresh shoots of the spruce are added for a short infusion before fermentation.
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Recent ratings and reviews. | Log in to view more ratings + sorting options.
 
4.71 by sorsh_a_ghlinne from Scotland on Dec 28, 2020
 
3.99 by Oleg85 from Russian Federation on Aug 13, 2020
Photo of StoutElk_92
4/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25
by StoutElk_92 from Massachusetts

Pours a murky hazy red-orange amber with loads of sediment and a creamy off-white foam head. Smells like toasty bready malts, juicy concord grape, blueberry, berry jam, concentrated dark fruits, dark caramel syrup, with some herbs and spices. Tastes like fresh pine, spruce sprigs, grainy malted barley, toasted bread, dark caramel syrup, sweet concord grapes, dark berry jam, dark fruit, with spices and herbs. Feels medium-lighter bodied, smooth with moderate carbonation. Overall a nice Scottish gruit ale.

Jun 10, 2020
Photo of octortus
3.9/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
by octortus from Canada (ON)

330 mL Bottle. ABV 7.5%.
Appearance: Honey, Half a finger of light beige head, Medium carbonation, Clear, Thin but creamy broken cap remains.
Aroma: Caramel malt, Grape, Apple, Very nice floral aromas, Slight honey.
Mouthfeel: Medium body, Quite smooth, Slight warmth, Dry.
Flavour: Caramel malt, Grape, Floral, Slight spice, Pine/Spruce on finish.
Overall:

Review: 97

Dec 15, 2019
Photo of Goity
4.61/5  rDev +21.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75
by Goity from Scotland

Taste: Rasperry jam with sweet malty tones and a woody aftertaste
Pours: Amber with a half inch head that laces nicely
Aroma: honey and toffee, with a lovely bitter note
Wankiness: no comment on the type of glass I poured it into
Overall: one of my top 10 considering 7.5% for a £1.50 330ml bottle. WB & Aldi outdone itself here.

Nov 25, 2019
 
3.96 by Eric_Standard from Canada (BC) on Mar 27, 2018
 
4.21 by namasaya from Canada (ON) on Jan 02, 2018
 
3.62 by bixby1971 from Canada (ON) on Dec 31, 2017
Photo of VoxRationis
4.06/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
by VoxRationis from New York

Decanted from a 11.2 oz (330 ml) bottle into a Weissbier vase; had refrigerated, but allowed to warm prior to drinking.
A: Pours a hazy copper- orange with a half inch head. Good retention and some lacing.
S: Aromas of honey, caramel, wood, and pine.
T: Very sweet up front, almost like pine sap, with malty caramel to toffee and raisin flavors. Very little bitterness and fig to raisin aftertaste.
M: Medium to full bodied and nicely and persistently carbonated.
O: My experience has been mixed with these reconstructed historical styles, but I would try this again.

Aug 11, 2017
 
3.8 by Glorithm from Canada (ON) on Mar 13, 2017
 
4.47 by Jodio from Texas on Feb 05, 2017
Photo of Boo-urns
3.58/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5
by Boo-urns from Canada (ON)

Heavy, sweet copper ale...malty....very unique taste, but there is something that is a miss for me about the strong aftertaste....can taste the alcohol....I don't really taste pine either and miss the hop bitterness. I never had beer like this so harder to describe the taste. This could be a beer I could enjoy down the road if had more and developed a taste for it ...but for now....I'll pass on another.

Jan 27, 2017
 
4.54 by ramseye4 from Virginia on Sep 14, 2016
Photo of brureview
4.27/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25
by brureview from Massachusetts

Served in an Orval chalice as recommended by the Brewer at room temp.

Poured a semi clear copper- red color with a 1/2 finger head.

The aroma is phenomenal. Deep honey, toffee, woody, pine.
Unlike any beer aroma I have experienced. The aroma remains strong through the tasting.

Piquant, light hoppiness.

Light fruit taste- not citrus. More like stone fruit.

This is a sipper to be slowly enjoyed.

Wonderful beer brewed in an older style. I will be looking for more.

Jul 02, 2016
Photo of JamieDuncan
4.17/5  rDev +10%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
by JamieDuncan from Maryland

The biggest point that needs to be made is read the bottle. I cracked this open, poured it into my tulip and took a sip. Didn't much care for it. But then I started reading the bottle and it said best at room temperature. So I let it sit and warm. Big difference, I enjoyed this beer very much at the warmer temperature. My recommendation is to not even put it in the fridge. Just stick it on the shelf and open when you are ready to try it.

May 16, 2016
 
4.18 by arkanu from Romania on Apr 16, 2016
 
3.75 by Burkbom23 from Connecticut on Apr 16, 2016
Photo of Beginner2
4.1/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
by Beginner2 from Illinois

Fascinating.
Each time I have this (and let's say it has been a dozen times), I find something new in it... and each time it tastes better.
Also fascinating because local spices -- such as pine -- gave beer its dominant flavor... just like the role that hops plays today in the greater part of the American craft market.
Williams Brothers have 4 of the 5 most "Had" ales in this style.
I'm glad this brewery built their business around showing us how we used to drink beer... and how some of us, at least, want to drink it again.
MJ's 1999 "Guide" gave it 3 of 4 stars and called it "oily and peppery."

Mar 26, 2016
Photo of LiquidAmber
4/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
by LiquidAmber from Washington

Poured into a MacAndrew's thistle glass. Pours a hazy orange amber with fine particulates and a thin slightly off-white head that dissipates to thick patches. Aroma of caramel and bready malt, apple juice, apricot, toffee and a hint of pine. Oddly similar to a dubbel. Flavor is caramel malt, light and dark stone fruit, pine; starts sweet and dries out a finish of dry caramel, pine and bitter herbs. Medium bodied with nice light creaminess. An interesting, off-beat ale, that alternately reminded me of a well aged dubbel and a mild scotch ale. Surprisingly mild pine notes considering it's name and labeling. The finish is like a gruit in that the bittering seems due to herbs rather than hops. Pleasant and fun to drink. Although I would have liked a bit more pine flavor, this was a nice take on a regional ale.

Feb 07, 2016
 
3.33 by Furbato from New York on Jan 24, 2016
 
4.25 by RochefortChris from North Carolina on Jan 22, 2016
 
4.13 by sherillc from Canada (ON) on Jan 19, 2016
 
3.97 by Jaydee01 from Canada (QC) on Jan 14, 2016
 
3.21 by Hanglow from Scotland on Jan 09, 2016
 
3.86 by BcCraft710 from Canada (BC) on Jan 06, 2016
 
2.63 by boszormeny from Canada (ON) on Jan 02, 2016
 
3.91 by paulytasker from New York on Dec 27, 2015
 
4.03 by al_al1357 from Canada (ON) on Dec 24, 2015
 
3.96 by GSS from China on Dec 13, 2015
 
3.75 by GoHabsGo from Canada (ON) on Dec 11, 2015
Photo of Svingjo
3.55/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5
by Svingjo from Canada (BC)

Pours a clear copper colour with a finger thick beige head comprised large bubbles. There is a sweet malt forward nose with notes of pine, banana and caramel. The taste is very fruity with pine notes. It's almost cloyingly sweet with a slightly bitter finish. The carbonation is in the mid-range. An okay beer but slightly too sweet and syrupy to be more than a one off

Dec 05, 2015
 
4.25 by louislouis91 from Ireland on Dec 04, 2015
 
4.04 by hozersr from Pennsylvania on Nov 23, 2015
 
2.75 by atsir on Nov 16, 2015
 
3.75 by DSWeller from Iowa on Nov 09, 2015
 
3.83 by dcotom from Iowa on Oct 22, 2015
 
4.12 by Kiro from Russian Federation on Oct 20, 2015
 
3.86 by natesabat from Massachusetts on Sep 13, 2015
 
3.56 by spycow from Illinois on Sep 05, 2015
Alba Scots Pine Ale from Williams Brothers Brewing Company
Beer rating: 85 out of 100 with 699 ratings