Alba Scots Pine Ale | Williams Brothers Brewing Company

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Alba Scots Pine AleAlba Scots Pine Ale
Very Good
693 Ratings
Alba Scots Pine AleAlba Scots Pine Ale

Brewed by:
Williams Brothers Brewing Company
Scotland, United Kingdom

Style: Scottish Gruit / Ancient Herbed Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.50%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
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.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 09-18-2001

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Ratings: 693 |  Reviews: 476
Photo of jmdjsm
5/5  rDev +32.3%

Photo of NatsnSkinsDC
5/5  rDev +32.3%

Photo of Harimad_Sol
5/5  rDev +32.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Photo of josefnewsong
5/5  rDev +32.3%

Photo of OzmanBey
5/5  rDev +32.3%

Photo of RichH55
5/5  rDev +32.3%

Photo of mclem06
4.82/5  rDev +27.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Out of the beers that are not extremely hard to find, this is what normally starts my night off at the local establishment. Specialty beers are normally not my cup of tea but this one is a must try if you haven't already. Instead of hops the Scottish brewed beer back in the day with Spruce and Pine so it is very different than a hop brew. The flavors come together for a heavier sweeter malt with a light fruit finish leaving a wonderful aroma and taste on the palet. It's a perfect start to the night, goes down extremely smooth and is delicious. My mouth is watering for one right now!! I only gave it a 4.5 on drinkability, mouthfeel and appearance and not 5's because modestly i have not had a beer that I would give all 5's to. The fact that this beer has 2 of the 5 ratings at 5 sets a high standard for others to live by for me.

 837 characters

Photo of corpseshredder
4.79/5  rDev +26.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Delicious. Robust with a sweet start and an equally sweet finish. Relatively powerful though far from overkill. Definitely not something the average consumer would enjoy, but for an evolved palate this beer is an absolute treat. Very good with meals, and even better after.

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Photo of obywan59
4.79/5  rDev +26.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

11.2 oz. bottle

Mine pours a crystal clear amber with a 2 finger tannish head that left moderate lacing. Quite lovely.

One of the best smelling beers ever!!! Reminded me of sweet-tart hard cherry candy.

Again, hard cherry candy, just not as sweet. Very refresthing. The most fruity beer I've ever tasted.

Moderate mouthfeel. Just sticky enough to bolster the hard candy theme, but not overly so.
Very drying, especially early on. Almost astringent to the point that it nearly mimics the bitterness of hops.

No problems downing this beer. I could've handled a couple more.

By far, the best of this style I've tasted.

 622 characters

Photo of bluelynbrewing
4.75/5  rDev +25.7%

Photo of Gottesverachter
4.75/5  rDev +25.7%

Photo of srsev
4.75/5  rDev +25.7%

Photo of Wobbly
4.75/5  rDev +25.7%

Photo of jewellrunner
4.75/5  rDev +25.7%

Photo of Vyronian
4.75/5  rDev +25.7%

Photo of IronMickey
4.74/5  rDev +25.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

My girlfriend got me this as part of a "Scottish beer" pack. Had low expectations-- I've had it for months without giving it a second thought. Stuck it in the fridge this evening and picked this one at random from the 4.

A: colored like an IPA: murky, fizzy, caramel hue

S: some citrus fruit, but lots and lots of real pine-- not hoppy, actual pine. has some hints of spruce and needles

T: red Twizzlers was my first reaction, real pine, some citrus fruit. Incredibly delicate, tasty, PINE. this isn't hoppy pine or piney hop, it's pine. I've never had anything like it.

M: thick, creamy, syrupy, but pleasant. some sweetness.

D: very drinkable! I had low expectations but this is just terrific

Overall: great! would love to have more

 740 characters

Photo of bluHatter
4.72/5  rDev +24.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Bottle Best Before MAR. 2012

Poured first into a beer glass, and then transferred to a wide wine goblet as suggested on the bottle.

A: Poured thick, but just a little bit of misty head. Thick deep red. Not translucent at all.

S: Of the woods, for sure. I do smell thick pine, sweet - there's something hard to place but exceedingly pleasant ... it smells thick, old, nostalgic ... like a great old Scottish movie put in a glass.

T: Sugar cube, malt, massive amounts of maple syrup... wow this is good. No wonder this was once a popular style. Tasting it makes me feel more in tune with nature. It's phenomenal.

M: The sweetness encroaches on my tongue, but it is thick enough to adequately work against that effect. Not much carbonation.

O: I am very impressed by this ale. I wish I had purchased a full 6 pack so I could investigate it further... it seems to grow and change with every sip I take. I didn't expect much and I got blown away... well done.

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Photo of BenJames1984
4.72/5  rDev +24.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured into my Centennial IPA pint glass.

A- Copper, with a tinge of haze. Head was light and thin, with minimal lacing.

S- Within the first wave of aromas, I definitely picked up on the scent of blueberries, and maybe raspberries.

T- The taste held much more surprises in store than what the smell set me up for. In addition to the sweet, tart splash of raspberries, there is a backing of "earthly" tastes that hit the palette. I can't quite describe them myself, but it's damn good.

M- Very unique balance to this beer, even though it retains a light body.

D- This beer is almost rejuvenating for me. It's very crisp, and possesses a refreshing flavor. A great session beer.

Note: For some reason, I only find this in single bottles. Do you guys happen to know if their even packaged in four- or six-packs? Or are they just packaged to be sold individually?

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Photo of iceball585
4.64/5  rDev +22.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Brownish copper color, semi-cloudy, very thin white lacy cover that lasted well

S- Caramel malts, spices, fairly sweet smell

T- Fruity (mostly berries), caramel malts, earthy, chewy, spices, sugar, hint of pine, slight bite of alcohol

M- Medium body, low/medium carbonation, smooth, fairly dry chewy finish

D- Very good, definatly worth trying

This beer has a very interesting taste. All the flavors seem to brend together really well making it hard to describe what you're tasting. Over all I think this is very good.

 526 characters

Photo of flowerysong
4.62/5  rDev +22.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours a clear reddish amber with two fingers of off-white head that quickly dissipates.

Smell: Spicy malt with a hint of pine and a lot of fruit notes.

Taste: Sweet and fruity up front, leading into a wonderful mix of malt, apples, caramel, and pine on an earthy background. Long soft finish.

Mouthfeel: Smooth and full with light carbonation.

Drinkability: An excellent strong ale with lots of depth.

 425 characters

Photo of francisweizen
4.55/5  rDev +20.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Excellent. A ruby red liquid with a small off-white head of foam. Aromas are extremely fruity and sweet and reminiscent of a belgian triple with fruit added. The taste is fruity and sweet up front, chewy and piney in the middle and fruity on the end with a noteable emergence of raspberry flavors in the after-taste. The mouthfeel is a bit watery, but that only lends to this brews extremely good drinkability. give it a try!

 425 characters

Photo of ramseye4
4.54/5  rDev +20.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Photo of lou50rp
4.52/5  rDev +19.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

It has a definite amber color with a slight head and little lacing. Its smell is sweet with a definite spruce smell.
Its taste is unique. A mixture of sweet with a spruce taste. A fresh taste, pleasing to the taste buds.
Mouth feel is medium-not watery, and not syrup. Goes well with the taste.
It is an exceptional drink.
While not a session drink, a bottle or two at time is great. Worth the price and effort to find it.

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Photo of JISurfer
4.52/5  rDev +19.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Very nice Pine Ale. The best I've ever had. It's a nice pale yellow color w/ a white head. The head started out nice, but disappated quickly. Tastes like a pine nut, mixed with malt. Very light aftertaste, but still had left over tastes of pine. Finished lightly and went down smooth. All in all, a very good brew.

 314 characters

Photo of CaptJackHarkness
4.51/5  rDev +19.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Appearance is a cloudy brownish liquid with no visible carbonation nor head. Aroma is sweet herbs, chamomile like. Taste is unexpectedly mild, not the bitter bite I would imagine a brew made with evergreen needles to have! Actually delicious. Mild warming mouthfeel. Drunk as suggested at room temperature from a goblet.

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Alba Scots Pine Ale from Williams Brothers Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.78 out of 5 with 693 ratings