Pipers Scotch-Style Ale | Sprecher Brewing Company

124 Reviews

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

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Reviews: 124 | Ratings: 234
Photo of Pegasus
4/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Clear reddish-amber with a large white head, which soon collapses to a thin layer of foam on the surface, with a thick scattering of lace that resembles an ancient bas-relief in miniature. The carbonation is fairly robust and slow-rising.

Aroma: Abundant peat vies with caramel and cocoa, and a generous note of smoke, as well as sweet alcohol.

Taste: Opens with robust notes of peat, which soon turn smoky. As the taste progresses, the smoke intensifies. Its not to quite the level of a rauch bier, or Liquid Smoke (tm), but its not subtle at all. There is sweet alcohol as well, and dark caramel and bitter cocoa, but they are mere accomplices to the smoky peat. Finishes with a lingering smoky, earthy note.

Mouth feel: Smooth, soft, very pleasant.

Drinkability/notes: Very well-done, very close to being an over-the-top example of a Wee Heavy.

Packaged in a standard twelve-ounce brown glass long-neck bottle with a twist-off crown, served in a New Belgium Brewing chalice.

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Photo of maximum12
3.91/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

First, let me say that the food at the Sprecher Restaurant & Brewpub in Wisconsin Dells absolutely kicks ass. The beer? Lessee. Six-ounce sampler of this brew to start out with.

Arrives with little fanfare, mild brown hooking up with mild red, low carbonation. Nose is also mild, bits of caramel, sweetness.

Pipers Scotch Ale was probably not the right beer to start out with. The caramel is rich & vibrant, & there's a gorgeous scotch-like quality to the beer, even though it's clearly not barrel-aged. Nice sweet kick in the middle, Finish is all that peaty scotch again. Lush & lovely. Six ounces? Bring the keg over, kid, just set it next to the silver Christmas tree.

A bit surprised to see the lowish score on this one, perhaps it's simply a beer one needs to have on tap. A hard-hitting linebacker of a scotch ale that sets a high marker for others: excellent.

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Photo of NuclearDolphin
4.2/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a Pint Glass

Appearance - Dark Brown with a very strong haze. Head pours around 3 fingers and has good retention. For some odd reason, it looks very thick or dense.

Smell - Butterscotch, Floral Hops, Rum, Caramel, Scotch and Malts. The sweetness can best be described as a Lighter Sweetness; lighter as in more sugary than say malty.

Taste - Scotch, Caramel, Butterrum, Oak, and Barley. Very robust and malty flavor; I was taken completely by surprise as to how flavorful this was going to be. Slight booziness to the flavor, but I'll let it slide. With that said, this is more of a sipper than anything else.

Mouthfeel - My earlier suspicions that this had a thicker body are proven to be true. Carbonation is mild so the body has a nice creamy feel to it.

Overall - The flavor is excellent and the creamy feel of it makes it a pleasure to drink. I've always had Sprecher's Craft Sodas before and am a regular buyer of Puma Kola (Best Soda Ever!), so it's awesome to see their beers are shaping up to be as good as their sodas.

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Photo of JackieTH
3.03/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Part of a sampler flight of 5-ouncers at Sprecher's in Wisconsin Dells. Coppery colored liquid with a thin head that didn't leave any lacing. Nose was faint, roasted malt and slight toffee elements so far as I could discern. Taste similarly was fairly lacking across the board. Malt elements were roasty, caramel, toffee, slightly sweet. Not much else, and the mouthfeel was too thin for the style. No complexity. I found this wee heavy to be totally average, fairly bland, in most in every way.

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Photo of 1Nrwyscotch
3.46/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle poured into a pint glass.

Appearance- medium to dark brown with a fingers width head which stays for a little while.

Smell-earthy and smoky with some alcohol present

Taste-Smoky and not very sweet with less alcohol present in the taste. enjoyable

Mouthfeel- seems rather light for this style of beer.

Overall- A decent Scotch Ale but does not stand out and lacks the depth of other Scotch Ales I have tried.

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Photo of WastingFreetime
3.65/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed from session notes.

A. Clear mahogany-tinted amber with a fizzy single finger of sand colored head that stays for about a minute and a half, no lacing left behind.

S,T. Tobacco smoke and milk chocolate over a mildly roasted malt aroma in the nose, medium-light peat smoke and caramel nougat with a dash of milk chocolate in the front of the sip that partially bitters up with a light ash astringency towards the end of the sip.

M. Medium body and low carbonation levels. Could stand a boost in heft to support the flavor profile.

This scotch ale focuses a bit too much on the smokiness aspect of scotch ales to the detriment of the malt sweetness aspects.

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Photo of barnzy78
3.46/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle, pours a rusty brown with red hues when held to the light. Bubbly off-white head holds some retention and eventually fades to a thin layer of foam atop the ale. Not much for lacing on the glass. Aromas are earthy peat, faint roasted malt, with a musty yeast presence - kind of odd. Tastes are more interesting and actually quite complex - peat, mossy, earthy, smoky, and musty with vanilla and white pepper on the finish. This beer reminds me of something that would have come from my grandfather's basement - I remember it being dark and dank, but he did have a kick-ass bar/homebrew set-up down there! Anyway, back to the ale - mouth-feel is thin-to-medium bodied, with low carbonation. It's a bit boozy, but not overly. Overall, this is different than most Scotch Ales I've had, and I do like it. When I first smelled it, I wasn't expecting much but it is quite good actually.

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Photo of Durge
3.5/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The color of this Scotch ale is a deep, brownish copper with a thin but full near oatmeal colored head and modest lacing follows. The nose picks up thick caramel and alcohol vanilla, with the emphasis on booze (considerably more than I expected for 8.27% ABV). Fairly intense and not a lot more complex than I've described. The flavor jumps out with tart roasted malt and a scotch whiskey theme. The booziness remains pretty clear but maybe a little less dominant than the aroma brought. It's medium bodied but the feel is a bit on the thin side with pretty tingly carbonation throughout. It's very warming when it reaches its destination yet drinkability is fair. There's a subtle grassy edge in there with a little of the peat base that others have described, but the sweetness stays with the caramel ideas. Though this is not the most inviting Scotch ale I've had, it isn't too bad. I tend to think of this style as being at its best with a somewhat thicker body and feel and more malt dominated than this one offers. Still, worth a try though I would not revisit right away.

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Photo of Merkur
4.22/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Beer pours a nice, dark red color with a bit of white foamy head.

Beer smells very caramelly and roasty.

Beer has a nice malty taste. Also, has a very strong, smoky taste almost like a smoked beer. Very tasty.

Beer is a bit on the thin side, but very drinkable.

Very good scotch ale.

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Photo of Pintofbrown
4.02/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

I had this in a shaker pint.

Appearance- The head is a small, beige affair. It actually has decent retention and is just barely maintaining full coverage of the cap.

The body is a very dark auburn that looks very hazy through the glass. There are just a few small slivers of copper highlights shining.

Smell- This is big on the malty smells. I get a little bit of milk chocolate, some brandy character, and toffee malt. There is a little bit of smoke too. Man it smells good.

Taste- There is a lot more of the smokiness on the palate than what was in the nose. It is prevalent all the way through to the finish.

The fruity brandy flavor is really present mid-drink and is a nice touch in this beer. I was expecting much more toffee and heavy malt, but these are really the main two flavors.

I suppose I detect some slightly bitter hop flavor in the finish, but not much. A good drink all around.

Mouth feel- This is probably the weakest part of the beer: a little watery and slightly over carbonated. This needs to be much bigger and creamier.

Overall- I really enjoy the flavors of this beer. A little more sweet and heavy malt could have carried this a long way. A bigger, creamier mouth feel would have certainly been welcome as well. I would gladly drink this one again.

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Photo of cdkrenz
3.62/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Transparent reddish brown body with a pale tan head that fades rather quickly from a quarter inch to leave a nice wispy finish at the surface that receives a consistent sustaining from below.

S - Roasty and thick caramelized malts.

T - Caramel malts with a noticeable alcohol presence.

M - Medium bodied beer with a mild carbonation feel and a smooth finish with a slight stickiness in the end. It could be a bit heavier.

~ This is certainly a drinkable beer. One I would recommend to a friend and I will enjoy the rest of this 4 pack of 16 ouncers.

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Photo of yankeej13
3.62/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Wanted to try something new and came across this so figured I would give it a shot.

A- A nice darkish red color, with little to no foam head which dissappears seconds after pour. little to no carbonation.

S- Has a nice malty smell with a tiny hint of sweetness.

T- It is actually pretty thin, has a nice malty taste, has a sweet finish as well.

M- Great drinkability, really smooth and has a great after taste.

Overall- Really good choice to try this and will def be looking forward to buying it again.

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Photo of farrago
4.01/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Little over a finger’s worth of tan to camel hair colored foam, poor retention with it swiftly fizzing down to not even a full surface covering, in turn the lacing is close to nonexistent. Dark reddish copper color with more brown than orange, no filminess but slight translucency, a few random bubble beads to be seen. The nose has a very smoky nature with peat moss, tar, metallic earth and mineral water notes, behind this wall you get caramel, vanilla, banana and butterscotch, some apple and pear fruit, the rambunctiousness of the smoke keeps it in the forefront. Full-bodied, the carbonation is average and there’s not a strong sense of movement, however, it never feels really “heavy.” This may be attributed in part to that smokiness, has a sweeter complexion with honey, mesquite, caramel notes. The peat qualities more part of the whole here, not as acrid. Still has a metallic rust ring to it, enough so to challenge the banana, peach, apricot, fig fruit flavors. Smattering of mixed citrus zest. Mouth feel gets drier as it finishes. This is a very interesting beer with some unique qualities, would show best with a cigar or a hearty meal like beef brisket.

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Photo of Dmorrison
3.2/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

A unique taste. It starts off mild, but slowly a strong sourness, like sharp cheddar, and a dark sweetness hit the palate. I've never had a scotch ale that tasted anything like this.

The head and carbonation disappear rapidly though, and the flavor goes flat when the bubbles do.

8oz is probably the ideal serving size, so split the 16 oz bottle with an adventurous friend.

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Photo of dstc
3.97/5  rDev +10%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep, ruby brown color with a light tan head. Head falls to nil. Very thin lace.

Aroma is of malts with a smoked peat quality to it. Actually, smoke is what you smell the most.

Nice full malt taste with a pleasant sweetness to it. Flavor gives way to a noticeable smoke flavor. Caramel flavor in the finish.

Medium bodied in the mouth and rather biting.

Good stuff, I like it. Rarely do you find an American Scotch Ale with a smoked peat flavor.

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Photo of rhollman
4.42/5  rDev +22.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - Dark reddish brown hue

Smell - Peat smoke and some sweet

Taste - Hash peat smoke with caramel and some sweet

Mouth Feel - Lingering sweetness and notes of smoke

Drinkability - I have fallen in love with this beer. The first time I tasted it, I felt that it was too harsh, too bracing, too much of a shock. But now - I love it! The harshness comes from the peat smoke, but that harshness is wonderfully balanced by the caramel malt and slight sweetness that makes you want the next sip. It's the hash/sweet that makes it - Extraordinary!

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Photo of Huhzubendah
3.85/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle shared by drabmuh. Thanks Matt!

A: The beer is mostly clear with a very slight haze. the color is a burnt orange hue. The head is a half inch thick and leaves some fair lacing behind.

S: The beer smells of sweet malts, alcohol, peat, and smoke.

T: The taste is decent, with a bit more smoke than is usual. I have no complaints with this, as I prefer smokey Islay single malt scotches such as Ardbeg, Laphroaig, and Lagavulin.

M: The feel is OK, with a lingering sweetness and notes of smoke, along with an alcoholic finish.

D: A decent beer. I would drink it again, though I probably wouldn't purchase it.

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Photo of Thorpe429
3.23/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottled shared by drabmuh. Thanks, Matt.

Pours a light caramel color with a single-finger of head. There are a few bits of spotty lacing here and there along with a pretty bubbly head. The nose is pretty light with a tad bit of chocolate and caramel. The taste is slightly cidery along with some caramel, peat, and toffee. The feel is quite thin and slightly astringent. This drinks well enough until the finish, which is quite off.

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Photo of drabmuh
3.95/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Beer poured into a becher glass. Beer is caramel and mostly clear with a slight haze, and a tan head of medium and large bubbles, minimal lacing.

Beer has a smokey / peaty aroma, mildly sweet.

Beer is medium bodied, not carbonated in the mouth, its smoky in the late palate and mildly sweet up front. I was expecting less smoke and more caramel, I got the opposite. It is OK, but I probably wouldn't have it again.

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Photo of keithmurray
3.18/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

appearance - murky copper color with serious beige head from an aggressive pour

smell - cherries, bourbon,

taste - molasses, peat, malt, bourbon

mouthfeel - medium bodied beverage, ample carbonation, chalky in mouthfeel, unrefined when put up next to other representations of the style

drinkability - not as enjoyable as other scotch ales/wee heavys that I've sampled, was nice to try it out, but I won't be seeking it out again. Tough to get past that chalky mouthfeel that I've described

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Photo of mariposafan
3.15/5  rDev -12.7%
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 -7.2%
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 +11.6%
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 +2.5%
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 -1.7%
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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Pipers Scotch-Style Ale from Sprecher Brewing Company
3.61 out of 5 based on 234 ratings.
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