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

very good
293 Reviews
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

For Trade:
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Reviews: 293 | Ratings: 551
Photo of PBoegel
4.12/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep amber to brown with a modest cream white head.

Aromas are smokey at first, but as it warms the smoke is more subdued and deep maltiness, chewy grain and some chocolate notes.

The flavor profile is much the same. The peat smoke flavor which I have heard so often does not belong in a Scotch style ale is just a hint in the flavor and perfect to me. Give me that touch of peat, let the style guidelines debate its merit. This beer has no hop profile other than a restrained bitterness. Very deep well rounded malt profile with hints of sugar/caramelized fresh ground barley and bittersweet chocolate.

Mouthfeel is heavier side of medium body with a slight creaminess.

Big but very drinkable, probably not more than a bomber in an evening but certainly a couple of points is not out of the question if you had it on draft.

 837 characters

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.

 833 characters

Photo of avylover
3.75/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Smuttynose, always interesting and I never quite know what to expect with thier brews, which is refreshing.
This one pours a clear brown with some ruby highlights and a good foamy head that seems to sit still(note-then it died quick). Aroma is heavy on the malt. Bit of a chocolate milkshake aroma, and some barely detectable hops. Taste is smooth & chocolatey. Not too sweet but very flavorful. Malted milk and creamy coffee come to mind. The finish is quite hoppy for the style, and in a way clashes with the creamines of this brew..this is not balancing, the hops just kind of seem "there". they do help the overall aftertaste, preventing a very sweet residue from poking it's head out. The mouthfeel is slick with a bit too much carbonation. Not really all that drinkable though, as expected for the style IMO.

 815 characters

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.

 335 characters

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

Pours out a golden brown, with a fizzy head that disappears quickly.

Malts all over the smell. Faint bready notes. I was figuring this would have a bigger, bolder aroma.

The taste is a bit bolder. The sweet maltiness really warms the body. I feel as if the alcohol flavor is too much. There's a bit of booziness in there, and I would have liked it to be hidden better. It's a very sweet, warming beer though, but I wouldn't drink it over the ultimate wee heavy, that being Belhaven's.

 492 characters

Photo of purplehops
3.97/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This ale pours a beautiful chestnut brown with an off-white head that clings to the sides of the glass. Looks grand in a scotch thistle glass. The aroma is lightly malty with hints of carmel and alcohol. The taste is very malty from start to finish. Background flavors of peat, carmel, alcohol, and toffee intermix with the malt to create a tasty scotch ale. The aftertaste is a pleasant fading of the flavors. The mouthfeel is rich and smooth.
A very drinkable scotch style ale. It has everything you could want in a scotch ale with the exception of the aroma. It is there but it is very weak. It is also missing that drink half a scotch ale and feel like you ate a whole turkey feeling. I guess a good trade off for the missing aroma. This can be drank all night long.

 771 characters

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.

 399 characters

Photo of MrSeth
4.21/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours an almost opaque brown with small red highlights and a frothy head. The nose is basically non-existent, but that isn't surprising for this style of ale. The taste however is really rich. Deep toasted malt that is slightly smokey but without any rough edges. It is not really hoppy or bitter, the malt is the center piece. The mouthfeel is smooth and refreshing. I'm a big fan of Belhaven, and this is a comparable offering at a very good price (around $5 a bomber).

 471 characters

Photo of chaduvel
4.17/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Deep crimson caramel color with creamy head. Smell is intense malts, biscuit and bread with a touch of smoldering peat bog. Taste is amazingly smooth and full of complex but not over-bearing bread and biscuit malts. Touch of hops to round things out. Would never know that this guy is nearly 8% abv. Nice work by the folks at Smuttynose.

 337 characters

Photo of Terp96
3.7/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I think it is unanimous that this one is a definite malt bomb.

I poured this bomber into my dimpled 22 oz mug. Deep red, brownish color with very little head retention. I even made sure it was an even pour into the middle of the glass and I managed to get the whole thing in the mug at once. Small amount of sediment was left in the bottle.

Smells of malt and not much else. No hop aroma but a tad bit of smokiness.

Tastes pretty good and what I expected for a wee heavy. Malt up front and malt in the back. There is a definite caramel sweetness that takes over about mid way through disguising any alcohol presence.

Mouthfeel is a little strange. I expected this beer to be smoother but it was too prickly up front. The finish is not as long as I would like.

Drinkability is okay. It tastes good enough to leave you wanting more and it makes a good beer to relax with by the fire on a cold night. I will pick this up occasionally but it will not be one of my go-to's.

 984 characters

Photo of wailingwench
3.75/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Eye Candy: Deep brown with garnett edges. Initial thin tan head that quickly vanished. Thin edges, no lacing in the center. Looks like Captain Morgans in a pint glass.

The Nose Knows: Cold: rich deep malts with a touch of cocoa and toffee. As it warmed, fruity alcohol esters emerged. Slight candied fruit, heavy on the plum/raisin. Finished with a light smoked maple.

Tongueland: Medium to thick m/f. Toffee and caramel initially, a touch of cocoa, finished with fruity alcohol esters. Amazingly complex and interesting cold to warm transition. Finishes light and dry on the tongue.

Bender Factor: This brew will seriously degrade your typing skills. The ABV is detectable, not astringent. Bombers are the real deal. I have had better Scottish Ales, maybe this one needs to age awhile to develop its character.

 822 characters

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

Smuttynose Scotch Ale comes in a 22oz bomber with a nice big thistle on the label. Pours a slighly hazy red-brown color with a thick tan head. Aroma is roasty and malty with a hint of peat, with maybe a slight touch of spicy hops. Taste is dominated by caramel and roasted flavors, with some chocolate as well, but a nice dry finish to balance out the sweetness of the malt. Mouthfeel is full without being slick, due to an ample amount of carbonation. No sense that this beer is 7.8% - extremely drinkable. Excellent brew. Can't wait for next in the series.

 558 characters

Photo of airheadmtrcycle
3.78/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Just finished two at the Taco Mac at Prado in Atlanta. I was stunned to see it on the menu. Couldn't wait to have my first gulp. Both pours lacked much head. They were a hazy-brown color, but still transparent. Did get some lacing.

Smelled malty with some dark fruit essence. Taste was on the earthy side. Smokey malts and some fruit with an alcohol presence. Not too sweet, the alcohol seemed to help.

Mouthfeel was good. A higher carbonation gave it a more refreshing effect than I expected from a Scotch ale.

Very drinkable. I wanted a third but I had to drive home.

A solid beer that I would order again. Alcohol was listed in the menu as over 8%. Not what I expected from a Scotch ale. Much lighter in body and color than others of the style I've tried. Let's face it, Smuttynose does not make a bad beer and I really enjoyed these.

 841 characters

Photo of JackStraw22
4.28/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a dark amber with golden highlights. Good amount of tan head, nice retention.

Aroma: Lots of malt in this one. There's a yeasty smell that comes through, grassy, a lot like a belgian.

Taste: Oh the malty taste is nice in this. It's not overly sweet, though. There doesn't seem to be anything that's poking out tastewise, but whatever it is is blended beautifully.

Mouthfeel: A little bit chewy, really coats the mouth.

Drinkability: Good, not sure I could down another 22oz, but another glass, sure.

 531 characters

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.

 663 characters

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.

 828 characters

Photo of jtfest
4.1/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

As far as the appearance, think Pepsi. Not, darken it a shade or two and you know what this brew looks like. The aroma is pleasant, but very subtle. A bit of malt, some floral hints -- and just a tinge of alcohol. The mouthfeel is full and smooth -- this is a brew that feels good. The taste, however, is what makes this brew remarkable. It is extremely complex, and I found myself experiencing different beers with every sip -- sometimes even during the same draw. There were woody flavors, spices like clove and cinnamon, and a world of other tastes. Every time I tried to "capture" the flavor to describe it, it would morph into something else. This is a chameleon-like brew that just keep surprising me. Very drinkable and highly recommended.

 746 characters

Photo of BierManVA
4.14/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A creamy malty mouthfeel that glides pleasantly past the taste buds. Average pour. Smell is fruit and malt and a nice hop finish.

Goes down very easy. Pleasant to the palate. Excellent aftertaste.

A very good example of this style. Highly recommended.


 265 characters

Photo of WaltTrombone
4.22/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

You find yourself in the land of the Celts as the sun fades away. The night is black, but is dark red where the sun has slipped below the horizon. Small tan clouds rapidly give way to the night. As you approach the campsite, you smell a whiff of peat smoke, then scotch, smoked malt, currant, and chocolate. It seems that a feast is about to begin! You step into the firelight, your broadsword at your side, and are heartily welcomed to the feast. Fruit, chocolate, scotch, faint hops, lots of malt, and caramel are all at the table, as we toast a fine Scottish day. Huzzah! It all goes down smooth, leaving an oily slick feeling on your wild beard and gullet. You smack your lips, still tasting the malt, the small tangy citrus, and of course, the scotch whiskey. Now that the feasting is done, a comely lass has you lay by her side, and soon you lay asleep, sated and ready for another day of pillaging...

 907 characters

Photo of TK5150
3.82/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2007 Vintage.

A- Pours a murky, hazy amber with a small beige head. A nice amount of lacing is left on the glass.

S- The smell is light caramel/toffee/vanilla, a bit old and funky, with just a hint of smoke.

T- Crystal malt, vanilla, berries, herbs and spicy smoke. A hint of iced tea flavor as well which I always get with beers aged a bit too long. Not bad, actually.

M- For the most part, medium bodied. I drank this too cold at first, and it felt thin, but as I let it warm, the body grew into heavy medium bodied. Smooth, with just a bit of a kick at the finish.

O- Aged too long, but I still like it. I bet this would have been quite nice into MAYBE 2009 at the latest. Still an enjoyable beer for sure, but nearly 5 years of age is certainly too long. Smutty is bringing this beer back this year after a several year hiatus, and I would suggest drinking it fairly fresh for best enjoyment.

 901 characters

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!

 861 characters

Photo of villainchiwwin
4.23/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

poured from 22 oz. bomber into tulip glass, 2005 edition consumed from cellar temp. on 4-11-06. sunny bliss.

vibrant, deep red with mahogany hues at bottom of glass. thin head retained well, sexy abstract and intricate lacing left behind by beer as artist (maybe it's my mood). caramel malty sweetness in the nose balanced well with a touch of hops, tho it is a bit too faint - maybe a bit herbal? wonderful upon the sip: big malt sweetness with hazelnut and caramel - even chocolate way back there somewhere, swishing it around; then the Williamettes steps forward, swelling with a sort of sweet bitterness that segues well out of the initial maltiness, smack of coffee in a last death spasm before the swallow. . . nice long finish after this final impression with a gradual sweetness replacing it. smuttynose nails the mouthfeel - excellent carbonation tickles the tongue intensely and then settles into an impressively full and malty body, actually seeming fuller than it is (a neat trick, really), some alchohol-type warmth and a nice soft malty remainder bringing up the tail. A brew that's not hard to quaff, and important to savor. Seems half a year to a year in the cellar for these scotch big beers yields balanced and ripe results.

 1,245 characters

Photo of soccerman7
3.98/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Had this on tap at Holy Smoke

Appearance - Really nice deep brown with a minimal head.
Nose - nice malt and toastiness. can pick up the sweetness and smoke faintly.
Taste - Great malt and and warmth from the alcohol. The smokiness is there and flavors linger.
Mouth - Tasted fairly smooth but had a slight sharpness on the end (possibly from the alcohol or maybe an older keg?) still very good.
Drinkability - Very good. Definitely a Fall brew to brush the chill off.

 470 characters

Photo of KarlosT
4.23/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had this on tap in a tulip glass at the RiRa pub in Portsmouth (waiting in line for Kate the Great).

Given the dates on the other reviews, worried that I am evaluating a different brew. The menu simply mention it was part of the Big Beer Series, and had to rely on the waitress who called it a scotch ale.

None the less, it was quite good. Very sweet, malty flavors.

 368 characters

Photo of FirstMan
3.96/5  rDev -1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a deep amber out of the bomber bottle leaving a nice full head that takes its time reducing into an uneven level on the top of the liquid. No lacing on the sides from the head reduction. Love the label with the big thistle on the front - actually I like the label on most of the Smuttynose big bottle series.

Color is fairly cloudy, which is fine for a scotch style, but there are little chunks of unfiltered yeast floating in there, which is always a downer for me. I've had enough run-ins with spoiled bottles to get a little scared by floaters.

That said... it smells great. Nice malty, peaty, rich aroma with just enough hop floral character to even it out.

The first thing I notice is the chewy mouthfeel and the quick tang of alcohol. That's quickly followed by a nice malt sweetness tempered by a dry hop note. Not overly sugary like some scotch ales and not too heavy on the esters like others. Well balanced. The finish is a little less than I'd like, but it leaves me feeling warm the way a good scotch ale should.

Good for a cold day on the moors, to be sure.

 1,091 characters

Smuttynose Scotch Style Ale (Big Beer Series) from Smuttynose Brewing Company
4 out of 5 based on 551 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.