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

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Reviews: 293 | Ratings: 551
Photo of glid02
4/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at the Porter in Atlanta. 2009 vintage.

Pours a hazy golden-honey color with a half-finger slightly off-white head. The head recedes into a patchy layer on top leaving decent lacing.

Smells of sweet caramel malts with moderate amounts of light toffee and small amounts of vanilla. Also present are syrupy medium fruit aromas that intensify as the beer warms.

Tastes similar to how it smells. Sticky caramel malt flavors kick things off and are joined quickly by solid amounts of smooth toffee. Midway through the sip hints of light toasted malts and vanilla make an appearance. Near the end of the sip hints of syrupy pears and ripe green apple flavors come into play, fading out into a mildly bitter ending.

Mouthfeel is good. It's got a nice thickness with decent carbonation.

Drinkability is also good. I didn't have a problem finishing my glass and could have another.

Overall this was a solid beer for the style but it's nothing something over which I'd clamor to have again. Worth a shot.

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Photo of ThisWangsChung
3.83/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

That subtle smokiness I get on the nose really sets this apart from other Scotch ales (which only feature a wisp of smoke at best, usually). It's a fantastic compliment to the dark fruit esters and rich caramel malts typical of the style. It also brings nice touches of brown sugar and molasses - any beer that reminds me of Kansas City-style BBQ is going to make me stand up and take notice. The flavor profile follows up with a big initial hit of smoke, just like the nose indicated. As with many (good) smoky beers, continued drinking of this will unfurl its base beer more and more. While I'm disappointed in the lack of estery goodness, the malt backbone (which is the size of Mississippi) brings plenty of caramel, brown sugar, vanilla, and molasses like it should. It feels fairly thick on the palate, yet it has enough of a 'bite' to go down easily. It's well carbonated in spite of the fullness, maybe that's it? Yet another solid Smuttynose beer; this was an easy bomber to kill for yours truly.

3.83/5: The smokier bend of this is so likable

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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 Cyberkedi
3.94/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

Strong, malty aroma has notes of cloves, cinnamon, wood and caramel. Pours a clear sepia with a fluffy and thick, if not too persistent, dark buff head. Flavor - hoo ha, now this is good! Malty, woody, earthy, with hints of cloves and hops, subtle bitter and sweet notes. Smooth texture has average body and fizz, but leaves a nice woody, malty and slightly hoppy texture. This is no wee beer, laddies and lassies!

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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 OWSLEY069
3.94/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clean orange-ish to brown in color with an off white head. In the aroma, a sweet caramel roast, with notes of peat. In the taste, Alcohol stands up, a sweet roast, small caramel roast, and a hint of smoke. A smooth and medium to bigger bodied mouthfeel, with a dry smoke and sweet caramel and peat in the aftertaste. A really nice balance, dry to sweet, nice presence of smoke, caramel and peat.

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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 Treyliff
3.68/5  rDev -8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A- pours bright copper in color with a small creamy light-tan head that reduces to a small sayer skimming the top, leaving no lace

S- sweet and malty, as expected. Some fruity estery notes come through with herbal notes. Sweet caramel rounds it out

T- malty sweetness up front gives way to highlights of fruity estery flavors, caramel and a lightly toasted malt with just a bit or tartness in the finish

M- medium body with medium-high carbonation leads to a supr foamy mouthfeel and finish, ABV is hidden brilliantly

O- lots of fruity I notes not typically experienced in a scotch ale, which works nicely with the caramel malty sweetness.

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

Hazy burgundy color with a small ivory head. Chocolately, malty aroma - almost porter-like. Roasted malt grains, slight fruits, caramel, slight alcohol presence. Flavor is very malty - chocolate, again a burnt porter-like taste, bitter but very low on hop flavor. Smooth, robust mouthfeel, with moderate carbonation, slightly dry.

My tongue says "porter" for some reason. More robust than expected. Full bodied and pretty easy to put down. A solid offering from the Big Beer Series.

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Photo of arizcards
4/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Picked up a bomber from Kings Convenience in early April for $5.99. Bottle Conditioned August 2015.

Beer poured reddish brown with a decent white head.

Nose is sweet caramelized malts.

Taste is caramelized malts and dark fruit. Hopping is sufficient to keep sweetness at bay.

Feel is medium bodied and pretty smooth.

Overall this is a pretty nice representation of the Scotch Ale style.

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Photo of Bierman9
4.35/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Ever wonder why this is called Scotch "Style" Ale? Because our "friends" in Washington think we're too dumb to differentiate between this and some distilled beverage from Scotland. Thanks a lot!
Well, this years (2002) version has a dark, mahogany-chestnut hue, with a little ruby, too. Head, I'm afraid, was just a miniscule little layer. Nose presented itself well, with malty sweetness co-mingling with a nice smokiness. They are using some German rauch malt this year as opposed to peat smoked malt (read the Brewers comments at Body was medium-plus, and the brew slid easily and smoothly over the tongue. Quite an enjoyable mix of flavors...great maltiness partnered with a fair dose of sweetness (without being cloying). Smokiness lingers throughout, and the finish is a bit dry, like a good rauchbier, with an ever-so-subtle hint of hop fruitiness. This years version ( at 7%, btw) seems to be head and shoulders above past-years offerings. Zum Wohl!

overall: 4.3
appearance: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | mouthfeel: 4.5 | drinkability: 4.5


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

Bomber courtesy of SmuttyJim, enjoyed at a recent bottle share at NEBCO. From notes.

A: Clear russet body under some fine tan froth. Ok retention, spotty lace. Not bad.

S: Sweet malt, some cotton candy, and lots of vinous dark fruits. Quite good.

T: Opens with figs and grapes, followed by toffee, vanilla, and some chocolate. Tasty.

M: Lively medium body. Nice.

O: Solid brew. The wine barrel notes add some welcome complexity.


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Photo of BEERMILER12
4.2/5  rDev +5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2012 bottle

A: Pours a nice amber color with a tiny head

S: Nice and malty, with a bit of fruitiness. Simple, but good

T: Again, very malty with a light wave of sweetness and fruit. Rich. Get a very light hint of smoke as well, but it's far behind the wall of malt

M: Medium-full bodied with moderate carbonation. Smooth

O: A good example of a more classic style. Doesn't just throw smokiness in there, it's nice and subtle. Leans highly on the malts as well, which is also very to-style. This would definitely age well simply because it is very malt forward. Absolutely worth picking up

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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 Boto
4.2/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle: I was suprised that it came out of the bottle a dark amber hue: I was expecting more of a brown color. A bit of an off-white head that died down rather quickly. The aroma has hints of roastiness, peat, maybe some hops down in there. The taste hits you with a balanced mix of chocolate, coffee, roastiness. Very malty. There is some smokiness and some fruits hidden in there as well. This gets better with each sip.

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Photo of canucklehead
3.95/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to Venom for this beer.

Poured a reddish brown with a nice white head. The nose was fairly hoppy rather than malty. This beer is not a true Scottish ale in that the hops really make the finish bitter. Lots of malty goodness but a lack of sweetness that I come to expect from this style. I liked this beer as a variation of this 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 justintcoons
4.03/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Aged 2 years; vintage 2008

A: Pours a hazy dark brown with a reddish tint. Two fingers of foamy head that dissipate slowly. Very nice lacing with hardly any carbonation.

N: Sweet caramel, booze, watermelon, vanilla and flowers.

T: Blast of rich caramel, smoke, some earth and wood notes and ends with hints of vanilla, floral hops and maybe even some cabbage.

M: Medium bodied and very balanced.

D: Very good drinkability.

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

Thanks to chaduvel for this. Dark ruby red body with an off-white head. Smells of big, toasted, caramelly malts, with smoky overtones. Taste: peaty, sweet, caramelly malts. Some smokiness. Finish is rich, carroty, and bittersweet. Oh, a touch of warming alcohol as well. A fine scotch ale, though not a standout.

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Photo of ElGallo
4.42/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I live in Smutty's backyard, so this beer is readily available around the NH seacoast when its spot in the Big Beer rotation comes around, but so few locals realize how good this beer is.

This beer just seems perfectly balanced and tastes so damn good. I've had far too many standard scotch ales (not wee heavies, mind you) where the malty sweetness overpowers everything else, and the whole drinking experience is a letdown. Such is not the case with this beer. I wish it were available a little bit longer each year, but I also enjoy looking forward to the next release.

I like most - but not all - of Smuttynose's offerings, but the Scotch Style Ale is my favorite.

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Photo of PorterLambic
3.99/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours a rich, deep, clear, dark chestnut color. Head is well sized, nearly an inch high from a solid pour. Off-white in color, dissipation happens gradually and evenly over several minutes until a slightly lumpy film remains. Lace is minimal.
Smell is roasted malt, fruit (apples?), light smoke, and some faint wheat notes. Good balance.
Taste is nicely roasted malt, some hops, light fruits, faint smokiness, some wood, and just a whiff of what seems like thistle. Nicely done, well balanced.
Fairly smooth, not too rich but it makes a statement. Alcohol is present but not overpowering. Warming. Not as much body as I'd like, coming in just a bit over medium. Effervescence is as expected, enough to cut the malt and sweetness (in concert with the hops) without getting fizzy. A really nice brew, would gladly drink several of these.

One question though: It says "bottle conditioned" on the label. Shouldn't there be some wee yeasty bits in here, then? I can't find any.

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Photo of sulldaddy
3.95/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This brew pours a rich, clear copper color with ruby red tints mixed int. I get an off white head that fades very quickly to a thin layer around the edge of the glass. Aroma is all malt, with a mixture of caramel and toffee. No hop presence.
The first sip reveals a slightly syrupy texture on the front of my teeth and mouth in general. The flavor is sweet malt from start to finish. I get a mix of caramel, toffee and maybe some hard candy sugar in there.
The beer is very smooth to drink and the ABV is covered up nicely. Average body with slightly prickly carbonation. Very drinkable scotch ale no hints of the alcohol punch that I know is in this bottle.

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Photo of WanderingFool
3.8/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Smuttynose Scotch Style Ale pours a cloudy brownish red (oak perhaps?) color with a frothy light tan head on top. The foam dissolves quickly to a thick ring around the surface of the beer leaving a few traces of lace behind. An earthy aroma of roasted malt, nuts and raisins greets you before each sip.

This medium to full bodied beer is soft on the palate. The flavor is mainly roasted malt and brown sugar. A nice combination of nuts, raisins, apples and clove blend together to balance out the malt in each sip. It finishes with a mild bitterness and a hint of alcohol leaving behind a malty taste on the tongue.

Another tasty Big Beer Series by Smuttynose. The full body on this beer lets you savor every drop, however it also lowered my score on drinkability.

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Photo of UncleJimbo
3.5/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This ale poured a very cloudy brown with light foam. The aroma was modest with some citrus and fruity smells. The taste was sweet and malty. The mouthfeel was OK: smooth, moderate carbonation, but a bit thin bodied. The drinkability was OK. I guess I expected a little more body and "oomph" for this Scotch style ale in the "big beer series".

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Photo of Todd
4.45/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: 1pint 6 fluid oz brown bomber bottle.

Appearance: Pours a clear, bright mahogony / ruby red beer with a thin, retaining, creamy off-white head.

Smell: Extremely malt, fruity, estery, fresh, herbal with a nose full of caramel.

Taste: Ultra-smooth mouthfeel, creamy, juicy. Very malty, thick and rich with a solid full-body and slick feel. Malt sweetness is high and fruity with buttery caramel, toasted malts, light carob and biscuity malt finish. Hop bitterness is mild with a tea-like infusion of herbal and floral flavours, and a touch of spice that lingers off into an alcohol presence. Finish is slick with malty/bread notes.

Notes: Perhaps one of the best offerings from Smuttynose, IMO. Malty, but magically balanced and so damn drinkable. A spot on Scotch-style Ale too; malty, low hops, some caramel and hefty.

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