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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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 693 |  Reviews: 476
Photo of 31Sam13
4/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of Ian_B
3.34/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Hazy caramel coulour -- short white head and decent retention.

Sticky sweet caramel-candied apple and banana esters, with a very faint earthy/herbal pine sap aroma.

Taste is, again, very sweet; verging on cloying. Candied apple, with slightly more pronounced pine sap and slightly less banana. Very little to no bittering. Not much complexity. I really like the flavours that are there, and really want to like this, but overall the sweetness and balance are not doing it for me.

Sticky sweet mouthfeel without much carb or bitterness. Why so sweet?

Overall, slightly cloying with little going on to balance. Flavour is nice, but disappointing. Wish it was more dry or I had a spicy meal to balance this out.

 712 characters

Photo of mothmanscott
3.94/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours an almost clear amber producing a rapidly diminishing, effervescent, off-white head that leaves no lacing. Aroma is toffee, light toasted malt, candy apple fruity, faint banana, lime zest & booze, no pine. Taste is malty, fruity & boozy comprised of toast, toffee, caramel, banana, apple, berries with a herbal, grass, bitter finish. Aftertaste could be called medicinal. Again nothing that I would call pine. Mouthfeel is medium bodied with similar carbonation, silky, oily, juicy becoming slightly dry at the end. Unique & very drinkable. Puts me in mind of certain American craft brewery Bock beers minus much of the bitterness.

 637 characters

Photo of hansavijaticar
3.08/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Caramely and piney and, unfortunately, too parfumy for me.

58 characters

Photo of abcdefghijkyle
3.75/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of Tim-reed
3.57/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

look : burnt amber
smell : pine, spruce , orange
taste , barleywin-ish , strong alchohol taste with floral notes
mouth feel : velvet with lingering silkiness
over all moderate

 178 characters

Photo of bigred89
4.04/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of DaveBar
3.79/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Purchased as part of a 4pk called Historical Ales of Scotland for a reduced $10.00. Served at 4deg C in a draught glass

A- Opens well and pours a thin head that is gone in no time. Dark and filtered clear.

S- A weird hint of lime popsicle.

T- There's that lime popsicle again. Sweet and syrupy thick. Surprisingly light

M- Creamy and pretty ok.

O- Not my cup of tea. Bought as a flavor change and have a second 4pk that can sit until guests from over the pond arrive.

Food Pairing

This sickly sweet beer went well with....... Pad Thai. The savory and sweet from the beer goes well together.


 607 characters

Photo of iain_reeve
4/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of BogAl
3.75/5  rDev -0.8%

Photo of PostRockandCats
4/5  rDev +5.8%

Photo of 57md
4.05/5  rDev +7.1%

Golden copper color. Herbal nose with a touch of pine. Complex with a decent malt backbone and a touch of dankness. Dry and piney finish.

Very sessionable in spite of the high ABV.

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Photo of Socialiste
3.5/5  rDev -7.4%

Photo of mojohawk21
3.75/5  rDev -0.8%

Photo of R_Kole
1.75/5  rDev -53.7%

Photo of AlexAfonin
4.5/5  rDev +19%

Photo of srsev
4.75/5  rDev +25.7%

Photo of outsider
4.25/5  rDev +12.4%

Photo of BamfBacon
3.25/5  rDev -14%

Photo of seedyone
4.5/5  rDev +19%

07/17/13 From bottle at Rattle n Hum, NYC. This is one of the most unique tastes I've had in along time. Don't be afraid of the pine in the description, it's is as well managed as a white tiger in Vegas (without the mangling stuff.)

The balances here are beyond admirable, they are astounding. There are no tricks or gimmicks here. It's a very honest brew. No pretense, despite the off beat approach. I can't believe I'm saying this, but I could drink this every day...and gladly.

A real refreshing change.

 509 characters

Photo of Kerne
3.96/5  rDev +4.8%

Photo of Mattias
3/5  rDev -20.6%

Photo of LennyBound
3.75/5  rDev -0.8%

Photo of killcore
3.72/5  rDev -1.6%

Photo of Sellen
4.25/5  rDev +12.4%

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