Pipers Scotch-Style Ale | Sprecher Brewing Company

Pipers Scotch-Style AlePipers Scotch-Style Ale
234 Ratings
Pipers Scotch-Style AlePipers Scotch-Style Ale

Brewed by:
Sprecher Brewing Company
Wisconsin, United States

Style: Scotch Ale / Wee Heavy

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.27%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Gold Medal Winner in the Strong Scotch Ale category at the 2004 Great American Beer Festival (GABF).

Added by battlekow on 08-14-2005

Bros Score:
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Ratings: 234 |  Reviews: 124
Photo of mariposafan
3.15/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a dark red/brown with claret highlights. One finger head with decent retention, though it does fade to lacing.

The smell is sweet - toffee or caramel - with some smokiness.

The taste is a little strange for me. There's the sweet maltiness that I expect with some balancing bitterness - maybe a tad too much, but not bad. Then there's a smokiness that comes forward and obliterates the other flavors. It's not bad, but it's overwhelming. Some alcohol noticeable as well, which almost seems to enhance the smokiness.

The mouthfeel isn't bad either, but a little more viscosity would have helped the drink feel richer. Fine carbonation.

Drinkability suffers due to the excess smoke character and too thin mouthfeel.

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Photo of MNJR
3.35/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Pours the color of iced tea, with a full, tan head that leaves thick, foamy lacing, but the head disappears quickly. Smells of slight plum, apricot -- sweetness is apparent in the nose. Overall smell is clean. Flavors of raisin bread and toffee with smokiness. The mouthfeel lowers the score, because it is a bit thick, flat and grainy on the tongue. The carbonation is there, but it gets lost in the thickness. Drinkability is not high since it has such a high ABV and I'm not enjoying the flattish rinse down my gullet. I've had many Scotch ales, and I'd say this is average for the style. It lacks the syrupy quality of some, which for me is a plus. The alcohol is well hidden. The flavor is strong and well put together, but it lacks spark and well defined character. If it were on special for $4 a pint at a Wisconsin bar, I'd buy it and enjoy it... but I'd hesitate to shell out $6 a pint for this one.

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Photo of LairdChisholm
4.03/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - A dark brown color with a ruby tint. A small tan head fizzes out after a short while leaving a ring around the edge of the glass. Some but not a lot of lacing here.

S - Not as pungent as other Scotch Ales that I've had. Very faint malts with some spices that I can't identify.

T - A really complex, great taste. Up front it's the sweet malts that one would expect then subtly drifts to notes of nutmeg, chocolate and caramel with maybe a hint of cinnamon. After taste consists of a wonderful smokey finish with a slightly bitter after taste. Wow.

M - Nice and thick. Perfect amount of carbonation.

D - I've had better but I had worse. Even though the taste is incredibly good, it's incredibly complex that makes one of these beers probably enough.

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Photo of kiddynamite920
3.7/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Dark red and brown with a tan colored head.

S: Deep caramel malts and some dark fruits, nothing out of the ordinary here. Some plum and raisin, some caramel and burnt sugar/molasses.

T: Tastes exactly like the nose. Malts are very forward here with not enough bitterness to counter. Lacked the spice most scotch ales tend to have. Needed more bite.

M: Big and thick on the palate, creamy head was a plus here.

D: A relatively easy drinking scotch ale, especially for the abv being so high. Found my way through a glass of this in no time. Didn't leave any lasting impressions though.

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Photo of beveritt
3.55/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Presentation: Poured from a 16 oz brown bottle into a Shaker ping glass. Label is different than the one currently on BA. It displays a picture of a piper with a close up of a tartan. Name of the beer is below in a distinctly medieval style font. Description say "This hearty red-brown ale has a slight, smokey aroma complexed with caramel and lightly toasted malt." No clear freshness date.

Appearance: Pours with 3/4 finger of light tan head. This settles quickly to an incomplete coating of foam. The beer itself is a perfectly clear deep mahogany.

Smell: Sharp, coppery aromas of caramel malt.

Taste: Unbelievably rich flavor of caramel; extremely candy-like. Smokey bite in the finish.

Mouthfeel: Average carbonation level. Body is good.

Drinkability: Sprecher makes it to my area, but not a lot of variety. Glad I was able to try this one. A little too smoky for my tastes.

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Photo of revolution
4.15/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - reddish brown ale with small off-white head
S - malty, slightly smoky aroma with caramel notes
T - sweet, malty, caramel apple, hint of smoke/peat, slight alchol
M - medium-full body, mild-moderate carbonation, late alcohol warmth, smooth, slightly dry finish
D - a solid, malty sweet, enjoyable ale with great flavors.

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Photo of Tone
3.89/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a clear, ruddy copper color. 1/5 inch head of an off-white color. Slight retention and slight lacing. Smells of sweet malt, slight roasted malt, alcohol, slight dark citrus (raisin), and slight pale malt. Fits the style of a Scotch Ale / Wee Heavy. Mouth feel is sharp and crisp with an average carbonation level. Tastes of sweet malt, slight roasted malt, slight smoke, dark citrus, and a hint of a floral aroma. Overall, a good aroma, body, and blend.

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Photo of rmolledo
3.6/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A: Nice dark Red/Brown with a nice retentive head.

S: Peaty, Malty, Roasted Malts, Caramel Notes. No Hop Aroma

T: On the more smokey side of the style. Nice Kettle Caramelization but perhaps a little too sweet for my tastes. Low to Moderate flavor Hops.

MF: Moderately Carbonated. Slight Alcohol burn.

D: Not a bad scottish ale. A little on the smokey side but that adds character and identity to this beer. I would only drink just one of these in a night so my drinkability rating isn't that hight. I wouldn't be opposed to having this again in the future.

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Photo of ibbjamin
3.11/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Paid $1.79 for a 16oz bottle from Discount Liquor in Milwaukee, WI. Poured into a large snifter to review.

Half inch light tan, tightly knit head after a standard pour. Head dissipates leaving only a ring of retention on the edge of the glass. Color is dark brown with reddish hues in light.

Rather sweet and medicinal aroma of sugary caramel, candied fruits, smoke, butterscotch and figs. Hints of rummy alcohol.

Taste is really sweet with butterscotch, smoke and caramel dominating. Rather one dimensional.

Medium carbonation, finish and body.

Sprecher's Black Bavarian is pretty good, but this one as with all others I've tried are below average.

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Photo of josefnewsong
3.68/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - ruby red with lacey head
S - caramelized malts, hints of alcohol and smoke
T - super-sweet caramel malts with a hickory smoke bite and a tiny bit of alcohol warmth in the sticky finish
M - medium bodied
D - fairly drinkable because of the lighter body but gets a little too sweet after a while

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Photo of SteveS1
3.21/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

poured into a tulip pint from the bottle:

Look- Ruby red and clear, nice tan foamy head with small bubbles and a bit of retention

Smell- Sickeningly sweet, I could smell malts before approaching the glass, strong carmels

Taste- Immediately sweet on the tongue, then a warming earthiness fills the mouth. Finishes like syrup, but leaves a sweet aftertaste.

Feel- Heavy, thick, syrupy, call it what you want. I found it a bit overwhelming. Fair amount of carbonation.

Drinkability- It is tasty, so you could down it just fine. Better to stick with sipping considering the alcohol and overall richness.

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Photo of SkeeterHawk
3.75/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Actually this bottle is one of the "Brewmasters Reserve" collection that I have had in my fridge for at least a year. I don't know why, but tonight seems like the night finally.

Appearance: After a rather aggressive pour, there is a quarter inch head of tan bubbles that is thick and creamy and looks like it is going to be there for a while. The beer itself is clear dark brown with red highlights. There don't appear to be many bubbles rising, but the head is still sticking around anyway. There is some pretty thick lacing left on the glass after drinking the beer, so it is a pretty well presented beer.

Aroma: My first impression was of dark caramelized malts as it should be. There is a tad of oxidation in this beer that is not a detractor, but gives it some more depth in the aroma. It has a really woody aromatic coming out as the foam settles and the malts are inter-playing to give it a dark cherry nose to it as well. Overall the aroma is quite nice for the style.

Taste: The flavor is much thinner than I suspected form the aroma, but it follows the aroma pretty closely anyway. The caramel malts are a huge part of the flavor profile and linger long into the finish. The alcohol is noticeable as a spicy component that is a pretty big player in the whole flavor profile and gives you some evident warming to linger long into the finish. For being such a high gravity beer, the overall mouthfeel is pretty thin. This makes it dangerously easy to drink for being such a "butt-whooper".

Opinion: This beer is pretty good, and one of the better ones I have had from this brewery. This example has some age on it which helps it overall as I imagine that a fresh example may be somewhat simple. Regardless, this is a pretty good beer and one that I wouldn't mind drinking again someday.

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Photo of sweemzander
3.8/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

16oz. bottle poured into a siedel. Bottled sometime in the Fall of 2009. Thanks to BeerFMAndy for the trade.

(A)- Pours a clear red amber color with brown highlights that produced a fluffy off-white head that dissipated quickly.

(S)- A rich yet light hickory smoke with some sweet yet toasted caramel malts.

(T)- A rich & sweet malted flavors of caramel & toffee with a spicy hickory smoke peat. Finishes slightly dry & lightly hoppy.

(M)- Good carbonation level and balance. Smoky, but not overly so. Rather sweet though.

(D)- A unique Scotch Ale with the inclusion of it being smoked. Generally, I am not a big fan of smoked beers, but this one is done right due to it being a balancing agent & adds to the complexity of the beer instead of being the main focal point of the beer. Solid stuff. Just a bit too sweet to have a few of.

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Photo of blackearth
2.89/5  rDev -18.1%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Purchased from the Sprecher gift shop in Glendale, WI. Pours a very dark amber to brown body with a thick, rocky light tan head. Aromas of smoked malt and a bit of sweetness. Medium bodied with medium carbonation, this beer has an over-powering smoke malt flavor that lingers well into the finish clouds any hop bitterness. I find this beer to have too much smoke flavor going on. On the other hand, if that's your thing, you will love this beer.

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Photo of nickfl
3.17/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A - Hazy brown body with red highlights, topped by a small head os off-white foam. The head settles quickly and leaves little lace.

S - Strong peated malt aroma with toffee and dark caramel. Some honey and red apple as well.

T - Toasty brown malt and earthy smoked malt followed by caramel and light coffee flavors. Finishes with some grassy pine hop flavor and light bitterness, leaving lots of smoke and toasted malt on the palate.

M - Medium body, moderate carbonation, and a slightly sweet finish.

D - The peat is dominant and excessive. The aroma had some promise, and I wanted to like it, but the flavor is muddy, syrupy, and unfortunately band-aid like. This could be good if they toned the smoke down a bit and did something to liven up the malt, but as it stands, it is almost a drain pour. The fact that this apparently won a GABF medal just goes to show how hit and miss the judging at those events can be.

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Photo of indiapaleale
4/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pour - Pipers pours a lot like unfiltered apple cider. The head is a big, off-white and composed of lots of little bubbles. Strings of tiny bubbles rush upwards through a rather murky looking beer.

Aroma - Very sweet. Brown sugar and caramel with some baked apples. There is a great smokiness to this as well, it reminds me of some of the peatier Scotch whiskeys I've had.

Taste - Like a smoked candied apple. Sweet and smokey, a very nice combo. Reminds me of an apple orchard with on a fall day with someone burning wood nearby. Toffee notes combine with the fruity esters to make for one full bodied and flavorful beer. The alcohol is definitely noticeable and provides some heat along with a somewhat dry finish.

Overall - Excellent smokey scotch ale. The combo of sweet and smokey is a great one. I am warm and happy.

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Photo of johnnnniee
3.95/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Picked this up on a recent trip to NY.
Pours a clear reddish brown with a good sized bubbly beige head. Smells of smoke and bacon initially. Huge smoky aroma dominates my nostrils. Faint dark fruits and maybe some walnuts hide deep in the bowels of my glass. Taste is sweet with caramel, molasses, and tobacco flavors that are scissored by some smoke to finish with a lingering cured meat/alcohol finish. Definitely a sipper here. Carbonation is medium to high, a bit prickly on the tongue affecting the creaminess of the mouthfeel a little bit. Big body. This is a nice sipper. Its a bit more smokey than I normally like, but what the hell it's pretty good.

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Photo of rebel1771
4.27/5  rDev +21%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a dark amber color with very little head. Caught in the right light it kind of looks like cider.

S: Candied apricot smell right up front with notes of caramel and hints of vanilla.

T: Creamy mouthfeel, candied fruit flavor at first with caramel and earthy undertones coming in the end.

D: This is one easy drinking brew, very smooth. I could easily down more than one of these.

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Photo of connecticutpoet
2.64/5  rDev -25.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

$5.99 for a cobalt blue, 1 liter swing-top bottle with graphics painted in gold on the glass. Picked up at Julio's in Westborough. While supplies last, they got a good deal.

Body was a nice clear reddish amber, with almost no head. What little there was disappeared, and there wasn't even a ring on the rim.

Aroma was quite nice. Sweet, estery brandy, earthy. honey, dark fruits, and a little bit musty. This was a malt bomb.

Taste - caramel malts, very sweet, a little bitter, hints of smokiness. Nowhere near as much as I have read about. It would have been welcome.

Mouthfeel - somewhat thin and flat. Not overly objectionable, but below average for the style.

Drinkability gets a hit. I am going to finish this bottle, I am not going to pour it down the drain, but I will have to down it in long swallows. Reminds me of Olde Burnside Father Christmas Highland Ale. Great bottle, and that suckered me in.

Maybe I should drink it through my nose? :-P

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Photo of Sammy
3.6/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Darkish brown with a moderate white head, that leaves some lacing. Nice smoke and tabacco odour. A tad weak mouthfeel, decent taste, malt and spicey sweet peat, and tabacco smoke taste. above average carbonation.
A decent scotch beer from this decent brewer.

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Photo of mwilbur
2.73/5  rDev -22.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Poured from 1 L bottle into shaker pint glass.
A: Pours a dark murky caramel brown. Very thin tan head.
S: Malt and smoke notes...hint of bitterness too which is a little off-putting.
T: Bitter caramel malt and strong smoke comes through after a few sips. Certainly not the best tasting scotch ale around.
M: Average. Light-medium body.
D: Honestly, a disappointment. I like Sprecher, but this one was a miss. Pissed at myself for buying the over-priced 1 L bottle.

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Photo of NEhophead
3.62/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

1 liter cobalt blue, swing-top bottle; served in a tulip.

Thin oak in color with faint burgundy highlights. Creamy, carbonation-filled tan head that recedes rather quickly to a not quite intact, thin film. Attractive, pin-drop lacing, but not much strength.

Heavily sweetened caramel and toffe aromas; notes of additionally sweet nutmeg and brown sugar. Alcohol-soaked fig, date, and raisin flavors. Despite mingling nicely with the previously mentioned earthen-fruity esters, the alcohol character is cutting and gaseous.

Sweet caramel, toffee, and faint milk chocolate. The spices are dry and rich: nutmeg, brown sugar, cinnamon. The fruity esters are present, but not as intense as the aromas promise: fig and raisin with hints of nuttiness. Hints of peat-smoked malt at mid-sip admist a watery thin aspect which certainly hurts this Scotch Ale's sweet, rich flavors.

Full in body; slightly creamy, but mostly a dry texture throughout. Just sweet enough to prevent a filmy/chalky mouthfeel. The flavors suffer from a watery thinness at mid-sip.

A pretty good Scoth Ale. Nothing overpowering in terms of flavor, which is pretty unfortunate as the aroma shows much promise. A little thin and subdued, but not a bad stab at the style.

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Photo of Buebie
1.72/5  rDev -51.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 4 | overall: 1

Poured from a 16oz bottle into a tulip. 2 finger fluffy white head. Redish brown in color that really glows when held to light.
Spiderweb like lace.

Aroma is quit the malt bomb. hints of rose pedals, honey and brown sugar, some oaky woody aroma. Overal light in aroma with just the faintest of these items listed.

Thin watery mouthfeel with some carbonation.
I never thought I'd say this, but this beer tastes funny.
Its like a weird misture of liquid smoke and flat rootbeer. Tastes like no other beer I've ever had and by no means is it good. Is there glue in this? I've never tasted sweaty balls, but this is what I'd imagine they taste like.

Yuck. Drainpour.

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Photo of tempest
3.85/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked up a single from Princeton Liquors in Maple Grove. Poured a red-brown with a short head. The flavor, straight out of my fridge is a rubbery smoked malt, but it smooths out as the beer warms up. The flavor has a slightly meaty roasted caramel taste to it, with a bit of candy sugar sweetness. The aroma also has a bit of apple to it, and the body is reasonably drinkable. This is a nice beer, though, worth a try if you like smoked beers.

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Photo of Birchgrove77
3.43/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Purchased from Woodmans Grocery (Algonquin)

Appearance: Dark brown color, with a very nice creamy off-white head.

Smell: Caramel and vanilla, with a slight bit of earthiness.

Taste: Dominant caramel maltiness. A slight hint of vanilla,nutmeg, and nougat. Was expecting more smokiness, even a bit of peatiness based on labeling.

Drinkability: Alcohol was well hidden and it would be easy to put away a couple of these. I think had the beer been a little less carbonated could have brought up a few of the more subtle notes. Not my favorite wee-heavy, but very drinkable.

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Pipers Scotch-Style Ale from Sprecher Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.53 out of 5 with 234 ratings
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