Smuttynose Scotch Style Ale (Big Beer Series) | Smuttynose Brewing Company

Smuttynose Scotch Style Ale (Big Beer Series)Smuttynose Scotch Style Ale (Big Beer Series)
Liked This Beer
4 w/ 556 ratings
Smuttynose Scotch Style Ale (Big Beer Series)Smuttynose Scotch Style Ale (Big Beer Series)

Brewed by:
Smuttynose Brewing Company
New Hampshire, United States

Style: Scotch Ale / Wee Heavy

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.20%

Availability: Fall

Notes / Commercial Description:
Our Scotch Ale is a bold amber beer that balances smooth rich sweetness with a hint of peat smoked malt. The infusion of this subtle smokiness invites images of heather fields, platters of haggis, & the poetry of William McGonagall. Enjoy one with your mates!

2007 - 8.2%
2008 - 7.1%
2013 - 8.0%

Added by Bierman9 on 12-26-2001

User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 556 |  Reviews: 295
Photo of sprucetip
4.2/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From notes. Pours brown, but orange/amber when backlit. Clear, 1 finger tan head with good retention and some patches of lacing.

SMELL Caramel malty, earthy, and some lightly fruity boozy esters. Richer and more complex as it warms and breathes, and with a good swirl.

TASTE Maple like malty sweetness, lightly roasty, almost smoky peaty flavors all balanced well by backing hops. Earthy and grainy layers add complexity. Very smooth, and balanced.

FEEL Moderate fiz leads into med/full bodied pleasant texture. Some alc warming and drying in the finish.

OVERALL Very rich and tasty. Fairly complex, and goes down pretty easily. Grateful for the opportunity to try it, and recommend trying it if you can.

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Photo of augustgarage
3.99/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Obtained in trade from ShogoKawada (thanks!). Bottled in 2008. Poured from a 22oz bomber into my Gordon's thistle glass. The thistle illustration is beautiful - so much so that I was distracted from the beauty of the beer itself for a moment.

Bole and copper body with faint ruby highlights - however, when held to the light, the glass glows a stunning alizarin crimson. Excellent clarity. Two fingers of foam reduce to a dense stack of steamed-milk. Wonderful retention. Heavy legs and thick uniform lacing slather the sides of the glass.

Rich caramel malt aromatics with a very faint undercurrent of iodine and peat (though you wouldn't mistake this for a Laphroaig). Light alcohol notes present with just a touch of spice and fleeting oxidation. Aged for another couple years, I wouldn't be surprised to find more pronounced sherry notes...

Strong malt on first sip, which expands into a mildly-astringent roasted nut flavor mid-palate, adding on a bit of earthy smoke (peat I presume), stale soda bread, figs, and rooibos tea into the finish. Hops provide suitable balance but also make the flavor profile slightly less coherent or traditional. Dry, almost oaky aftertaste. Subtle, rustic, and complex - a nice mix.

Medium-heavy body with a slowly building warmth accentuated by mild astringency and smoke on the gums. Very well done.

A sipper, as it should be - but more due to the potency of flavor than any sort of assault from alcohol.

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Photo of ShogoKawada
4.07/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Smuttynose Scotch Ale... best label I've seen in a long time. 22oz into pint glass.

A- A rich, penny copper ale, with a slightly off-white, foamy, thick, and long-lasting head. Three fingers at least. Not going anywhere anytime soon.

S- Scotch... who would have thought? Caramel-esque... single malt comes through in spades. Mild vanilla, maple syrup, and banana. Yes, I know it makes no sense. But that's what I'm getting. Really, the scotch comes through strong and fairly complex. One of the more interesting bouquets I've encountered in a while.

T- Caramel, single malt.. perhaps the smokiness that is usually associated with bourbon. Very nice. As observed in the nose, the mild vanilla notes come through in the finish. A very tasty scotch ale... oodles of flavor. Fairly hopped, too, which is an interesting turn. The bitterness of the hops does a lot to counteract the sweetness/richness of the malt/scotch flavors.

M- Thick... slow-moving, deliberate, and very nice. The brewer was going for a specific mouthfeel... 'thick but not too thick'... and they hit it right ont he mark. Heck yes.

D- Moderate.. but very nice. I enjoyed this bomber. One is enough... but I'll be buying more. Thank you (again), Smuttynose!

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Photo of maximum12
3.55/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Smuttynose for shipping this to Wisconsin where us poor Minnesotans can at least travel a short ways to sample your brews. Send more! It is good to see these seasonals starting to show up on a more regular basis.

Pours a deep, dark red, vaguely bloodish, pretty close to opaque. Smell is good but not terribly forward, sweet malts dominate.

This is a Scotch ale that's good but not great. Sweet malts are hogging the limelight here, with subdued notes of scotchicity & caramel loitering about. A fairly heavy brew.

Smuttynose's good game led me to hope for something more. This is a straightforward interpretation, good, but without any of the singular character I've come to expect from Smuttynose.

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Photo of ClockworkOrange
3.73/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A 22 ounce bomber bottle picked up at Jessup Beverage over a year ago. Bottle conditioned in 2007 printed on the lower right corner of the label. Uncapped and poured into my nonic Imperial pint glass. The ale appears a hazed copper color with crimson hues and a two finger thick, tan head. Nose and flavors consist of smokey peat malt, brown sugar, unripe bananas, toffee, more caramelized malt, scotch whiskey notes, drinks as though it's higher than 8.2%. Higher than average carbonation levels with a medium body and a dry bitter finish. Leaves the tongue a bit numb and tingling after every sip. Glad I tried it. Check it out if you are a fan of the style.

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Photo of tpd975
3.62/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a nice shade of brown with a small fizzy head. Looks pretty still in the glass, no real retention or lace.

S: Aroms of sweet malt, brown sugar, and toffee. Subtle hint of smoked malt as well.

T: Malty sweetness mostly. Brown sugar and toffee up front. Like smoke, booze with some dark fruit. Sort of mild for the style to be honest.

M: Medium in body, still carbonation.

D: Not bad wish the beer was a bit more bold in flavor though. Being on the milder side it is drinkable though.

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Photo of washburnkid
4.02/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to jdmek9 for this one.

A: small beige head retains as a ring. Brew is dark brown.
S: sweet roasted malts...lots of them! Dark fruit esters are sweet on the nose; very malt heavy here.
T/M: slightly smoked sweet malts are reminiscent of a smoked porter. Nice, thick mouthfeel with some alcohol settling on the palate. Sips end in a slight, almost unnoticeable tang.
D: this is a great brew to sip after dinner.

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Photo of boatshoes
3.6/5  rDev -10%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Split a bomber with a friend during dinner yesterday. Not gonna lie, picked it up because I like the style and I liked the label...

Appearance-Pours a handsome deep shade of dark brown that still lets in a little bit of light. Not too aggressive pour yields two fingers of nice tan head that quickly fades down to just a ring around the edges. Carbonation appears fairly minimal, and a decent amount of stick lacing left down the side of the glass as I drink.

Smell-A nice whiff gave me a good dose of booziness and malt with this one. Very sweet smelling with a lot of malt and a lot of caramel toffee. I had a hard time getting past the sweetness of the smell to some of the more complex nuances, but they did seem to be there...perhaps a bit of peat in the background on the second and third whiff.

Taste-Lots of caramel and sweet malt. I enjoyed the flavor on this one. The caramel sweetness covered up the booziness just enought to my liking in a scotch ale, with just the right amount of warming alcohol coming through in the aftertaste. Again, a little surprised because I thought the flavor profile was going to be a little more complex than I was able to detect, but I certainly liked what I did pick up on and found it to be very representative for the style.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability-Mouthfeel was nice and sticky as complementary per the sweetness. Carbonation level was nice, present but not too overwhelming. The only area where the mouthfeel suffered for me was that I found it to be a little bit on the thin side compared to other scotch ales that I've had before. Regardless, it felt nice in the mouth and nice going down. Sweetness however did kill the drinkability of this one for me a bit, though certainly average for the style

Overall, very solid scotch ale. Not my favorite that I've encountered and could have been a little thicker for my liking, but I'd have it again.

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Photo of philbe311
3.77/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Dark rich mahogany color... Tan batter-like head rises to two fingers worth and quickly fizzes away to one fingers worth where it displays some moderate retention before ultimately giving way to a thin veil of splotchy lacing... Some light carbonation is noticeable at the top of the glass clinging to the sides of the glass...

S - Sweet malts... Caramel... Brown sugar... Some dark fruits... Hints of vanilla... A subtle smokiness... A slight booziness... More than textbook for the style, this is superior...

T - The terrific appearance and aroma my have provided lofty expectations for the taste which proved to be an slight let down... All elements from the aroma are present as expected, but they tend to get lost in one another and are far from distinctive... The vanilla and smokiness tend to dominate, especially as part of the aftertaste... Still solid and very respectable...

M - Medium to full bottled... A surprising amount of fizzy carbonation... Good balance beginning to end... Coats mouth fully and evenly...

D - A solid and interesting Scotch Ale... The appearance and aroma are top notch, while the taste and mouthfeel are slightly above average... This is my first experience with the Smuttynose Big Beer Series and it has peeked my curiosity to try some more...

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Photo of treyrab
4.23/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked this one up about 6 months ago and just cracked with jac5084 into two glasses...

A: Pours a very dark mahogany with some clear crimson and red hues. Pretty darned clear with a nice eggshell white head.

S: Some nice caramel and peaty malts. A tad sweet with a bit of scotch and bourbony characteristsics.

T: A tad light but very nice and flavorful with a bourbony/scotch with some sweet caramel, smoke and woody flavors.

Overall, a very well done beer. Nice and flavorful but drinkable as well.

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Photo of grayburn
4.15/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Another great offering from smuttynose. The beer pours a dark reddish brown with an oddly light colored head, a couple fingers tall and composed of small bubbles. Lacing on the glass is moderately heavy.

The smell is all malt, sweet big thick chewy malt. The taste goes down the same road, thick chewy sweetness. Warming on chilly evening. The mouthfeel and drinkability of this beer are the strongpoints. The thick viscous mouth is complimented by just enough carbonation to keep things from being cloying. I could sip on this all night.

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Photo of ThreeWiseMen
4.35/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Sampled this at an epic tasting hosted by EinWeizenbitte. Thanks a ton Todd!

Served in a little sampling glass. Two sampling glasses as a matter of fact (somebody else didn't want theirs).

Appearance: Clear auburn body shows fairly active carbonation within. Not a whole lot of head in this small serving, but what exists is small, white, and probably foamy. Head hangs around in the form of a thin halo.

Smell: Smokey, woody, meaty, floral, and syrupy. Lots of malt in this one. Pleasant.

Taste: Smoke, sweet malts, wood, and molasses. Finishes with some grassy hops. Mild Scotch accents throughout. Well balanced and delicious.

Mouthfeel: Sugary, malty, kinda sticky, and kinda warm. My notes say, "Oily feel w/ good carbonation. Maybe not oily." Hopefully you can do a better job of decoding that than I can.

Drinkability: A very mellow Scotch ale, but also one that's brilliantly balanced and delicious. This was probably the consensus favorite from Todd's tasting.

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Photo of chinabeergeek
3.63/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22oz bomber. label is notched as "bottle conditioned in: 2008"

poured into tulip. tasted in late march/early april 2009

dark ruby brown. no sediment on first pours. mod, light tan head recedes to wispy thin layer. a few thin rings of lace.

aroma: fruity plum, dark caramel, though somewhat light. moderate earthy hop note with hint of pine resins. whiff of alcohol

taste: caramel maltiness, with plum and apple fruit hints again. earthy, hay-like hop is just a tad more than i'd like, with moderate bitterness. touch of acidity. all a bit watered down however. mild note of alcohol and booziness.

light to medium body, slightly more watery than expected, with acidic touch into the finish. moderate carbonation.

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Photo of pinotboy007
4.02/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - Root beer like appearance with a decent, dense cap that slowly settled to a chunky ring; modest lacing coats the glass. I can see bits of yeast.

S - Malt, peat, chocolate and some mild floral hops.

T/M - Delicious. Tastes like it smells. Reminds me a bit of Tootsie Roll but without the sweetness. It has a nice smoky flavor going on, too that leads to a touch of sourness on the finish that's quite nice. Nice creaminess which leads me to believe this would also be good as dessert, assuming you allow it to warm up a bit.

D - Strong stuff. Not sure on its food friendliness but otherwise this is a damn fine brew.

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Photo of SFLpunk
3.73/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz brown glass pry-top. Bottled conditioned in 2008.

Appearance: Pours with lots of carbonation. 3 inch head takes minutes to come down leaving nice lacing. Cloudy tawny/mahogany. Tan head.

Nose: Toasted malts, slight biscuit, cream.

Palate: Medium-bodied and crisp with some acid from the hops. Lightly smokey and pleasantly sweet. Toasty notes and the alcohol shows at midpalate giving the beer an evaporating feeling.

Notes: Pretty well balanced and not as sweet as I had expected. Great edges from the hops and alcohol. A little boozy, but a nice beer. Very drinkable and "smooth." (Wow, I can't believe I just used the word smooth!)

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Photo of aquatonex
3.53/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours dark brown with 1-2 fingers head that eventually dissipates. Good carbonation, a little bit of lacing, but really just leaves a thing ring of foam around the edge of the beer. Slightly smoky and malty nose with a powerful following of malts, alcohols, and toasted malts in the taste. Mouthfeel is good considering the ABV, but as it sits the alcohols start to come out in force. Not a summer beer, but good for cold days.

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Photo of CrellMoset
4.02/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22 oz. bomber from Beer Run, Charlottesville, VA. Poured into a large brandy snifter.

Appearance: Pours a moderately thick, deep mahogany-hued brew, capped by a stylistically-accurate, fizzy, bubbly, fast-fading, lightly-tanned head that fades pretty much entirely within seconds. What it leaves behind is nice though - a light, fine-bubbled collar, thick and sticky, almost creamy, with quite a bit of volume, probably from all the fizzy carbonation replenishing it from below (see mouthfeel below). The lacing leaves a lot to be desired - it doesn't stick much, preferring to glitter and run all streaky-like down the sides of the snifter, and when it does, it's sparse, thin, blobby. Then again ... that's the style.

Aroma: Spicy, phenolic, dry, wholesome. Cherries and pears dominate higher up, though they're accompanied by toffee and grassy, earthy, wholesome goodness. A varied aroma, if somewhat light and "higher up," missing a lot of the solid goodness you expect from a Scotch (ale, that is).

Taste: A well-rounded and complex mouth. A little light on the malt side of the ledger, not in volume but in sweetness - it's a relatively dry brew, with flourishes of medium to full roast coffee, dry dark toffee and butterscotch, heavily caramelized sugars, multigrain crusts. The fruitiness is also well-rounded, with phenolic notes of cherry, grapes, apricots, faint tart citrus (though the latter is accentuated by the dryness). There's a very subtle, mild hop presence - I'd guesstimate 10 IBUs, heh - and it doesn't really need to be more, given the style and the relative dryness of this example. The whole thing is also very earthy, slightly dirty, perhaps accentuated by some slightly leafy, mildly spicy hop notes, though again, they're not too prominent.

Mouthfeel: Surprisingly light and zippy. The body itself is medium, thin even for the level of alcohol and sugar that you might expect (though won't find here) for this style. Despite this perhaps extreme puff, it's still remarkably even, both crisp and creamy. Creaminess enhances as it warms, which works well with the style. If the carbonation were slightly less ... vigorous, it'd be perfect (or at least, near-perfect enough to warrant a 5.0).

Drinkability: Not my favorite style, and this one's an interesting interpretation - it's complex and pleasant, but a little on the dry, fruity end, too. Do I like it? Yes. Would I like perhaps ever so slightly a little more? Sure, wouldn't hurt. Either way, this one's good, another solid Smuttynose brew, and I wholeheartedly recommend it for a good drink.

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Photo of HeyItsChili
4.12/5  rDev +3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Poured from a growler into a pint glass. Pours clear amber with a thick, ecru head that remains strong for a while.

S - Not a lot but malt gets past the booming head.

T - Extremely malty, robust, with a really powerful peaty smoke flavor that sets this apart from other Scotch ales I've tried.

M - A bit watery, good carbonation.

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Photo of Gambrinus1184
4.37/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22-oz. bomber into a pint glass at ohoove's.

A: Poured a clean caramel amber color with a sticky head of ivory foam. Carbonation was adequate and it left soem nice lacing.

S: Smells sweet and malty, with a bit of boozy oak underneath. Slightly fruity smelling with a rich brown bread quality.

T: Taste is robust and pretty damn clean. A heavy hand of roasted caramel malt and buttery sweet biscuit flavor are combined with a low profile hoppiness that is accentuated with a light spiciness. I liked the actual boozy bourbon cask flavor that seems to come naturally with this brew.

M: Mouthfeel is full and a little sticky, but it's a satisfying feel and flavor.

D: A very sessionable Scoth Ale with a great malt profile to it. A little bit of that deep smokey and fruity sweetness beloved by Scoth drinkers finds it's home in Smuttynose.

This is a really nice wee heavy, and not to be confused with a Scottish Ale. A big brew with complex flavors, but so damn drinkable - be on alert for it's release dates.

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Photo of Durge
3.91/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Enjoyed at the first Warwick Drinking Society's Beer Tasting Session of the year at Ohoove's last night, this donation from Ben the Pull Up King, pours a murky grey-tan color with a full and lasting light oatmeal colored head and similar lacing. The aroma is not nearly so meaty as the appearance but hints weakly at malty smoke, but it's hard to pick up the subtleties here. The flavor comes charging back with a bready/earthy malt blended into a smooth, somewhat resinous brew that goes down quite nicely. I like how this captures that "Scotch" quality, a touch of burnt peat and alcohol while holding the neutralizing sweetness in grainy overtones to make for a drinkable pint, or two, or three. This is the side of Scotch Ales that I like, although perhaps it is not everyone's definition of the style. Put this one on your shopping list.

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Photo of BirdFlu
3.68/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a very dark shade compared to other scotch ales, whereas they are usually very cola-like this is more like root beer... Smell is a bit malty but not too noticeable unless you really focus on it, when drank in a more social setting it can go completely unnoticeable.. Taste is a bit similar, its got a roasy malt character, but its not as assertive as you find in say skullsplitter or such.. a bit of dark fruit is in there, as well as an earthy, wood-like flavor.. Mouth is fairly light with good carbonation. Its easy to drink down the whole bomber, though not one of the best scotch's..

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Photo of StrangeBrewer76
4.65/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Classic brown with way too much head due to the temp and aggressive pour but after a bit it settled out nicely.

I don't think I've ever smelled anything but an under=ripe apple that smelled more like an under-ripe apple than this at first sniff. It's a great smell in nature but a little disturbing to have in a beer.

Taste belies the smell. This is a perfect brown ale with just the slightest hint of malt sweetness. I would have a hard time identifying this as a Scotch ale in a blind tasting. I would expect more malt sweetness and more boozy texture but I'd rater drink this tan that. Very well done.

Mouthfeel is good like beer. A little sharp with carbonation but medium to light bodied enough to be scanned and accepted as good and moved along. No complaints.

Drinkability is as good as it gets. I could drink this all day.

Score another for Smutty!

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Photo of Crosling
2.72/5  rDev -32%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Dark brown-mahogany colored ale with a flimsy, wispy light tan head. Nose dominated by smoke & caramel tinged malts, with a touch of apple. Flavor lacks malt depth, has a poor, thin mouth feel. Only a light hint of smoke, with a touch of caramel. A major disappointment.

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Photo of JohnQVegas
4.3/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle into red wine glass.

Pours dark brown, hazy and at the edge of opacity, with red peeking through in front of a light. Fluffy light khaki head that thins out to a creamy, long lasting cap.

Nose is sweet - notes of candy sugar, caramel, and dark fruits. Toasty and a bit nutty, bit of cocoa - the peat may peek through a bit, or perhaps some heather? Some spices as well, almost Christmas-y. So much going on that it's hard to pick everything out.

Taste is toasty, rich with brown sugar and a distinct earthy peat note. A bit of nutmeg comes through on the back end. Finish has remnants of the sweet brown sugar, hints at caramel, and a lingering, earthy, smokey peat note. Dark fruits come out as well. Not a hint of alcohol. Absolutely fantastic balance.

Mouthfeel is soft and fluffy, full but not heavy.

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Photo of Jmamay22
4.08/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I typically enjoy Smuttynose and their Big Beer Series. I'm hoping for more of the same with their Scotch Ale.

This ale pours a cola colored brown with a creamy tan head that retains well holding its half inch height. Smells of sweet molasses and smokey malt. The beer is certainly malt centered and to style with a subtle herbal undercurrent.

Well this is quite delicious! Initially sweet with a brown sugar and maple flavor. Finishes semi dry with some smokiness peaking through as well as a warming presence of alcohol to round out the beer nicely. Smooth and soft mouthfeel with just the right touch of carbonation. Highly drinkable even at this elevated alcohol content. I will be picking up more if I can still find it on the shelf. Should be sublime with roasted game birds, lamb, and beef.

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Smuttynose Scotch Style Ale (Big Beer Series) from Smuttynose Brewing Company
Beer rating: 81.3% out of 100 with 556 ratings
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