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

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Smuttynose Scotch Style Ale (Big Beer Series)Smuttynose Scotch Style Ale (Big Beer Series)
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

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 556 |  Reviews: 295
Photo of BWH3
3.46/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A lovely rich copper with slight haze (a slight flaw). A coif of light tan foam tops the ale. Overall still. The head clings to the sides nicely and has excellent legs for style. The aroma is primarily smoky peat and earthy minerals. The hops are robust for the Scotch ales almost too its detriment. The caramel malts are also absent. Tastes of roast malt and smoky flavor. The mineral flavor as well as a dry assertive tannins dominate the finish. Smooth with an alcoholic warmth. Too thin for style. Interesting and fairly complex. I enjoyed the beer but it really strays from the style too often and in the wrong directions. I feel the hops presentation is more in line with a Scotch Export.

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Photo of brewcrew76
3.68/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Dark muddy brown, tea like, with amber highlights and a 2 finger tan head.

S - Very subtle aroma that you need to search for. Slightly smokey, caramel and bready malts.

T - Sweet with hints of smoke. Caramel and sweet malts, chocolate and a bit nutty.

M - Light side of medium, creamy with mild carbonation.

D - Very drinkable but not as complex as others in the style.

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Photo of Gmann
4.15/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a slightly hazy brown color with a creamy tan head that settles into a light cap. The aroma is of brown bread, malty, hint of peat and smoke. Nice aroma, though not very strong. A bigger smoked peat presence in the flavor, along with a bready malt backbone, carob, and a hint of hops. The feel is thick and chewy, fizzy carbonation makes for easier drinking. There is some belly burn from the ABV. I like my scotch ales with some smoke flavor and this delivered nicely. I didn't pick up on the heather, which would have been nice but this is still a great brew. Another great Smutty.

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Photo of kasper
4.28/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a very dark, opaque mahogany with amber highlights; two fingers of foamy, fluffy cream colored head that produces some nice lacing sheets.

S: Aromas of smoke malts, chocolate, beech wood, and hints of subtle sweet dark sweet fruits. In general, the nose is sweet, smokey but subdued and really inviting.

T: What a mix of flavors. This is a compelling, complex brew. All sorts of things going on here: smoked malt, chocolate malt, roasted grains, tamed raisins, fleshy red fruits like plums, and an alcohol kick. Finish is a tad spicy and bitter, and somewhat dry.

M: Medium bodied, mild carbonation, incredibly smooth on the palette.

D: I'm loving this one. They changed the recipe this year year to a beech wood smoked malt from peat smoked malt. Just a really drinkable big brew. Smuttynose is sooo underrated.

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

Thanks to damienblack for sending this as an extra in a recent trade!

A- Body is a dark brown hue. Pours with a small 1/2-1 finger creamy dark tan head that eventually subsides to a thin collar. Some traces of lacing are left behind in the glass.

S- Nose is subtle and offers a balance of caramel and chocolate with a hint of roasted malt.

T- Flavor is much like the smell-only more pronounced. A big chocolate flavor is upfront with hints of caramel and toffee. The finish has a hint of roasted malt.

M- Carbonation is high and somewhat prickly and mouthfeel is medium weight; but much thinner than I like in this style.

D- A decent Scotch Ale overall, and one I wouldn't mind giving another shot. Definitely worth a try-but doesn't have a lot of pizazz and comes across as a text book example of the style-but nothing more to me.

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Photo of Bung
4.13/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle. Nice ruby/amber pour with a tan ring of little bubbles. Carmelly sweet malty aroma. Taste has the standard sweetness of carmel/toffee and malt, but accented with some raisin and a bit of apple. More lively in the mouth than it appears like it would be, yet sticky enough to represent the style well. Nearly no bitterness. Brown sugar nicely melts away nicely. Drinkability is good and improves at it warms. Another solid performer from Smuttynose.

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Photo of bort11
4.08/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

big thanks to johnnnniee. Included as part of Black Booty 09.

22 oz bottle poured into a Duvel tulip. Light cream colored head that stands a full two fingers, though recedes to a foamy cap. Not a lot of stickage, but does stand on the surface nicely. Color is a murky caramel brown.

Smell is a musty, slightly caramel and chocolate. Not very powerful in the smell. Taste is more pronounced. It's nutty, sweet with a caramel/chocolate mix. A lot like a Tootsie Roll. Fruity plum character is in the background.

Mouthfeel is slick and a little creamy. Slightest hint of alcohol just adds to the experience.

Smuttynose Big Beer Series has never disappoints me. Always quality

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Photo of Pencible
4/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This poured a clear, dark mahogany with tan head. It smelled like nutty malt and earthy caramel, with copper hops and a bit of roasted coffee, sour yeast, and alcohol. It tasted like earthy caramel and nutty malt and copper hops, with a bit of creamy yeast and grassy hops. It was somewhat thick with moderate carbonation, and had a bittersweet aftertaste with alcohol warming. Overall this was a pretty tasty beer with a nice, clean malty character. It had good body and was fairly easy to drink, but the alcohol was a bit harsh. Maybe some aging could help mellow this out? It was still enjoyable fresh, although not terribly exciting.

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

a: into my piraat snifter, a pillowy khaki head is produced and a slow recession leaves a superbly retained cap atop the beer, which is itself a dark chestnut brown in color

s: dark toffee malts of a subdued sweetness with a pervasive current of delicate peat smoke, raisin, light toast, glimpses of chocolate or carob, earthy hop aroma, pleasant aroma of slightly above average complexity

m: delicate light-medium carbonation and a body that's extremely smooth, and full without being sticky or overbearing, nice

t: flavors of peat smoked malts on a body of dark toasted toffee, brief carob, earthy hop flavors, a roasted malt astringency precedes the finish, dries out quite well, hints of smoky roast and a mild bitterness linger long

d: a nice one to sip on a sub-32 degree night

bomber from whole foods, reston, va purchased a few months ago

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Photo of Oxymoron
4.29/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Whose idea was it to but a purple flower on the label? Pours a mostly cloudy soft mahogany brown color with a light red hue. Soft but rocky head with an off white hue. Great retention but limited lacing through the entire tasting.

The nose is mostly malty with some noticeable yeast notes. To start there is a good combo of sweet caramel and kettle caramel notes. Some light bready notes but mostly malty. There yeast comes out with some fruity and ester notes. Some light red wine and plums. Some yeasty notes and some minor fusel but mostly alcohol aromas.

The taste is very similar. The malt comes out more versus the nose but a little more muttled. Some malty notes with more of a combo of bready and caramel notes. The kettle/melanodian flavors really come out nicely. The yeast backs off a bit but still some alcohol notes. The fusel backs off versus the nose but some nice plum, raisins and vanilla notes. There is a light purple grape juice notes on the back end.

The body is closer to full than moderate. Easy drinkability but leaves some flavor into the finish. Overall very nice Wee Heavy. To be really picky, I would like more of a malt character and less on esters/alcohol but really a nice beer.

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Photo of beerthulhu
3.48/5  rDev -13%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: Poured a dark, hazy Brazilian cherry with a foamy, sticky, khaki colored head that was well lasting. A nice splotchy lacing coats the glass on the way down. A moderatly strong carbonation makes its way to the surface beneath the dark, hazy color.

S: The aroma was light overall, with maltiness and some alcohol notes being the most dominant. A fresh wildflower hopping adds subtle highlights while an advertised soft smoked peat moss rounds things out. Overall the aroma was quite soft and wished to have experienced more of it.

T: The flavor opens up with some scotch and water upon first impressions. Some dry whiskey booziness with a thin scorched worty hints were also detected. Overall I think the flavor lacked the depth and body typically per style. The flavor seemed a tad thin at times with an overly aggressive carbonation that distracted. A nice smoked peat moss was perhaps its finest quality and strongest point here.

M: fizzy and left a dry boozy alcohol lacing on the tongue. The body was medium with a light creminess though I think still lacked depth and fullness per style.

D: only slightly above average at best. It takes awhile to warm up to this beer, thankfully it's a 22oz. Bomber. Think it falls short in comparison to others top in class (Founders' Dirty bastard) and was only moderatly good in overall enjoyability.

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Photo of macster
3.9/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

22 oz. bomber.

Pour shows a dark amber-brown, slightly hazy color. Creates a solid and thick 1" bone white head with excellent retention throughout the entire glass.

Nose reveals a pleasant array of aromas of peat smoke, burnt caramel, figs, raisins and toasted malts.

Mouthfeel was disappointingly a bit too thin and watery in the finish for such a big beer.

Flavor department shows a classic Wee Heavy Ale with an ample amount of peat smoked malts, caramels, toffee and dark fruits. Finish is bittersweet with a touch of spice hoppiness coming through to balance the sweetness. Not a top-shelf Scotch Ale but worth the try.

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Photo of corey0212
3.64/5  rDev -9%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a beautiful deep ruby red color, big foamy tan head is very slow to fade, and leaves big sheets of lacing in the glass. Deep, rich malt aroma, almost a burnt caramel smell, some floral & citrus hops in the mix too. Smokey flavors, earthy, some big, yet somehow dark (?) citrus flavors. Pretty full-bodied, some lingering bitterness. This isn't blowing my mind, but certainly tasty and well worth a try.

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

A - Murky brown nice head... leaves a ring and sticky lacing.

S - Nice deep malt smell.

T - UGH. I HATE PEAT. I have had SAs that have little or no peat and love them. This taste like a beer that got dumped in an ashtray. Obviously not my style, so scoring as style and not preference.

M - FIne.

D- See taste.

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Photo of Proteus93
4.16/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I didn't dig into this one like I do with most... and, as such, I'm finding myself wanting to start the review kinda backwards.

D + M: I don't notice the big 8.2% here at all... it's INCREDIBLY easy to drink, and I almost find myself quaffing it, consequences be damned, swirling the body of it around in my mouth, and taking back the full flavour of the brew on the way down. Nice, mellow carbonation. Perhaps one of my very few 5-scores on drinkability.

A: Rusty and coppery. Slightly off-white cloud of head, nice and puffy, leaving thick patches of chunky lace behind

S: A big, sweet malty scent with some slightly doughy aromas in there. Some fruitiness and a light hint of caramel. Not too shabby, though a little uneventful

T: Flavour comes through more than the scent. Bready and rather spicy malts. Some nice hoppy notes that I just don't get out of the aroma. Quite nice and full... maybe not as complex as some, but very good still. It drinks well! Prost!

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Photo of JayNH
3.65/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A- pours a nice deep brown with a decent foamy head.

S- Sweet, slightly smokey and a stiff scent of alcohol.

T- Starts smokey and slightly sweet. The sweetness intensifies and followes with a bite of alcohol on the tongue.

M- Not overly carbonated but has some zip on the tongue.

D- Not bad but one would probably be enough for me.

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Photo of raverjames
3.97/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

I am always happy to see another smuttnose brew on the shelves of the Charleston Beer Exchange. This was one of their first big beer series brews to enter SC. This scotch ale looks like a typical scotch ale. It is dark brown/copper with little to no head. It may have been too cold, in smutty's defense. It smells of caramel, biscuit malts, and light neutral hops. The taste is very light on bitterness. It has a nice bready and malty finish. Medium body allows for an easy consumption. The 22oz is not difficult to consume if you are drinking alone. Over all, this brew is decent. I didn't expect any extreme flavor or exotic spices, so this met my expectations.

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Photo of akorsak
3.84/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A 650 mL bottle from State Line.

A: The scotch ale is a dark ruddy brown color, concentrated tea. Amaretto highlights at the bottom of the glass add a nice visual. A finger of creme-colored head laced in patches around the glass.

S: The aroma is rather pedestrian. I searched for a long time before anything popped up. What did emerge was malty with a floral, non-hopped element. I expected a little more oomph.

T: The taste is a significant improvement over the nose. Thick malts dominate, vegetal with a a concentrated, smoked element. Underneath the malts are flowers, sweet and juicy, that are not a result of hops. That;'s not to say that there aren't any hops though, they have a citrusy flavor and linger alongside the heather. A veritable meal in a glass.

M: The mouthfeel is lush. The thick malts, heather and touch of peat mix nicely.

D: Except for the underwhelming nose, this is a great wee heavy. The meatiness is filling with no sign of of the slightly high alcohol.

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Photo of markskar
4.56/5  rDev +14%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Disclosure: Portsmouth, NH, Hometown Favorite. Some bias may apply, but the only reason I'm even writing this review is that the 2008 Vintage is a far superior brew to any Scotch Ale they've released within the past 2 years (that I can remember *ahem*). Smuttynose brewed a proper and wonderful Scotch Ale in 2008. Cheers!

That said, I have to mention that the biggest difference to me this year is the reduction in the "smoked" flavors. To me (IMHO--and I have thoroughly enjoyed each and every offering in the Big Beer Series), Smutty's Scotch Ale was netheir good for the style nor my palate for the past couple of years (2006 & 2007).

It was intense--and interesting--don't get me wrong. But it tasted like bacon. That's right, BACON. Too much of the smoked flavors. I used to call it the "Bacon Beer," and avoid it at all costs.

This year is a different animal altogether, and a champion in the making. The smoke is there, but it's just right. Mouthfeel is exactly what I seek--complexity that leave's something to remember. Smooth and rich with rich malts at first, but the abv% (Smutty's website says 8.2%, not 7.8% which BA has posted above) allows for a delayed crisp finish.

A: Dark Copper. Faint, dark haze, but crystal clear at the bottom of the glass. Excellent and seemingly proper clarity for a fresh Wee Heavy. Minimal head retention, moderate lacing.

S: Bit yeasty at this point--should change with longer conditioning. Beyond that, intensely malty and floral. Best part: No smoked ham!

The 2008 Smuttynose Scotch Ale is the reason I stay loyal to Smutty's Big Beer Series offerings.

T: Deliciously malty, with faint hints of smoke that doesn't overwhelm the malts.

M: Smoth at first, but finishes with a refreshing crispness.

D: Outstanding drinkability. Can't wait for tomorrow night!

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Photo of MrMonkey
4.13/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep dark amber with bright red highlights and a thick and creamy two plus-finger tan head. A sticky sheet is left behind as it slowly recedes to a thick ring and floating cap.

Smell is somewhat restrained, but there's some smoked malt, a hint of caramel, molasses, cocoa powder, and some dried fruits like raisins or prunes.

Taste starts smokey and sweet, with caramel and molasses. Finishes with some prunes before a bit of alcohol warmth. I remember last year's version being much smokier with the peat smoked malt, and it was too much for me. The smoke is present, but it doesn't overpower the taste this year.

Medium-bodied mouthfeel, with a slight tingle on the tongue.

Great drinkability, and another great Big Beer from Smuttynose! A wonderful early winter release that I look forward to enjoying all season long.

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Photo of MrHurmateeowish
4.16/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22oz bomber from Hannaford. Pours a dark copper hazy body with a good inch of khaki colored head. Smells smoky/peaty with hints of chocolate. Chocolate, coffee, burnt malt, peat/smoke, caramel... Rich full body with just enough carbonation. A bit of a sipper, but one sip definitely invites another. I wish my review were more glowing, but this honestly is the best wee-heavy I've ever had, and another slam-dunk for Smuttynose!

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Photo of OtherShoe2
4.2/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a red amber with a slight bubbly head.

Great aroma of sweet malt, some dried stone fruit.

Wonderful flavors with this one. Sweet caramel maltiness, some herbal/leafy notes, a little hop bite, and some sweet brown bread elements.

Full bodied and mouth coating, a terrific beer for the cool weather. Great before, with, or after the big holiday meal. And at 7.8%, not the overkill on the booze, taste or effect. It was great to share one of these before Thanksgiving dinner.

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Photo of bum732
4.35/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a nice frothy head, beautiful dark amber color. Smells like bready malt, hint of smoke, faint hops in the background. Taste has nice sweetness up front balanced by just the right amount of hops near the end. Finishes smooth and a tad dry.

Another great beer from Smutty, most scotch ales IMO are heavy and drinking more than one is difficult. Not in this case, very drinkable, nice balance and just a hint of smoke. Great beer!

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Photo of evanackerman
4.08/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Beer pours a beautiful deep amber into a tulip glass, substantial tan head.

aroma is peat, malt, alcohol

taste is nice smoky malt with a touch of dried prunes a slight bitter finish and alcohol is present as warmth in the throat more than in flavor.

mouthfeel is medium bodied with mild carbonation.

overall, a thoroughly enjoyable take on the style, another winner from Smuttynose. worth a try.

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Photo of Brad007
4.05/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark red color with a one-finger head into my pint glass.

Aroma is sweet with peat smoked malt peeking through. Warm and inviting.

Taste is sweet at first with the peat smoked malt showing through in the middle, giving way to a bit of alcohol heat in the middle. Smooth. Warming. Just the right balance of malt sweetness.

Mouthfeel is compromised of the remnants of the peat smoked malt and alcohol heat. Throat is coated with warmth.

A rich and warm brew that works well on a cold day such as this one (gotta be at least 25-30 degrees out now). It's not the most complex at first but with some aging, this beer surely can only get better with time.

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Smuttynose Scotch Style Ale (Big Beer Series) from Smuttynose Brewing Company
Beer rating: 4 out of 5 with 556 ratings
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