Scotty Karate Scotch Ale
Dark Horse Brewing Company

Scotty Karate Scotch AleScotty Karate Scotch Ale
Rate It
Beer Geek Stats | Print Shelf Talker
Scotch Ale / Wee Heavy
Ranked #24
Ranked #5,382
4.05 | pDev: 11.11%
Dark Horse Brewing Company
Michigan, United States
Scotty Karate Scotch AleScotty Karate Scotch Ale
Notes: For those of you who don’t know who “Scotty Karate” is… He is a local one man band who plays an amazing slurry of honky-tonk influenced, punk-country songs. (Check him out at A big bold musician deserves a big bold beer, that's why Scotty and our Scotch Ale are a perfect tribute to one another. Scotty Karate is brewed with cherry wood smoked malt instead of the traditional peat smoked malt offering up warming notes of coffee, caramel and sweet caramelized brown sugar. Scotty finishes earthy giving this beer a character all it's own, just like the man himself.
Reviews: 624 | Ratings: 1,873 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of GMoneyMagic
GMoneyMagic from Michigan

4.08/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4

I want to start by saying "I do not care for scotch ales"!
I would also like to say " I don't like scotch". I am more of an Irish Whiskey man.
There now that we have that out of the way.

Dar Horse is an UNDERRATED brewer here in Michigan and not many outside of of the Mid-west have probably heard of or ever had a Dark Horse beer. This is a World-Class brewer, brewing World-Class beer!

I personally did not like this one (for the reasons quoted above), but I can appreciate what they are doing here and what connoisseur's are trying to convey in their reviews.

If you like scotch ales, by all means, you should be trying to get your hands on one of these. If you don't like scotch ales stay away because you ain't gonna like this one either.
If you are that weird guy, who thinks, what the hell, I drink a lot of light beer and I really want to be more sophisticated and I'm not sure I want to buy a whole bottle of Dewar's just yet, but if I show up to my cousins trailer on Thanksgiving with a 6'er of this, they will really think I am a sophisticated dandy. Please do yourself a favor and and pass!

Dec 30, 2020
Photo of StoutElk_92
StoutElk_92 from Massachusetts

4.43/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Old bottle, smells oxidized and sweet, nutty, chocolatey, like a candy bar with some caramel and nougat notes, dark dried fruit, prunes, raisin, cherry, plum, apricot, and floral earthy hops. Tastes like prunes, plum, dark cherry, figs, raisin, apricot, dried fruit, chocolate, caramel, dark toffee, molasses, nougaty candy bar, wood smoke, with floral earthy hops. Feels medium bodied, creamy smooth with moderate low carbonation. Overall a nice wee heavy scotch ale.

Mar 10, 2020
Photo of tp1962
tp1962 from Illinois

5/5  rDev +23.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Great Tasting Scotch Ale!
Look is a caramel brown color
Smell is a smoky pear
Taste of fruits and dark sugar
Feel is full and rich
Overall One of my new favorites. I picked up a 4 pack to enjoy over the holidays with friends

Dec 23, 2019
Photo of GuyFawkes
GuyFawkes from Illinois

3.75/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Drank 10/31/15 on draft @ the Bangers and Lace Wicker Park.

Semi-opaque purple/brown appearance.

Minimal khaki head; minimal lace.

Candle wax, plum & raspberry notes in the nose.

Medium thick mouthfeel.

Cream & plum flavors up front; faint booze heat notes on the finish.

Pleasant but kinda boring; I won't avoid it but I won't seek it out.

Sep 14, 2019
Photo of Iceman112387
Iceman112387 from Minnesota

3.4/5  rDev -16%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Very dark amber color. Subtle smell of raisin. Moderate scotch bite that reminds me of when you're nearing the end of a glass of scotch after the ice has melted. Good hearty beer for fall or winter.

May 25, 2019
Photo of hof_1991
hof_1991 from Wisconsin

4.33/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Tastes so smooth and yummy that you can forget that it’s 9%. A scotch ale that isn’t bitter or overwhelming. The alcohol can sneak up on you though.

May 11, 2019
Photo of flyingpig
flyingpig from Scotland

4.22/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

355ml bottle from (£2.80):
A caramel brown coloured beer with a thin, bubbly head that's got more of a build up in the centre of the surface but is finer around the sides. It's definitely a sweet nose with caramel & toffee notes initially followed by a few burnt malts & sugars. There is some darker fruits, raisins & prunes a little further on as well as touches of boozy alcohol right at the end. The taste is similar with lots of caramel, toffee & slightly darker malts coming through with a sugar sweetness & some alcohol sneaking in towards the end & giving a pleasantly warming feel to proceedings. Its a heavy & fairly smooth beer that's very well balanced with some darker fruits, prunes & raisins right at the end but it goes down really well for such a strong beer. 

Apr 26, 2019
Photo of Amendm
Amendm from Rhode Island

4.1/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A strong pour from a 12-oz. bottle yields a skinny finger of light beige creamy froth with short retention and minimal lacing. Murky translucent copper penny color (almost new).
Baked sugar greats the nose with baked apple and fig, Faint roasted malt and alcohol.
The taste is a sweet and lightly bitter, malty rich and even throughout. Very light peat flavor and smoke. Bakers chocolate and coffee add some bitterness during the long finish, the aftertaste is similar with faint alcohol and a roasted malt astringency.
Medium-full bodied, plenty of carbonation in reserve. Sweet, smooth and balanced, roasted malt bitterness replaces hop bitterness. Alcohol is cleverly hidden by the sweetness.

Mar 16, 2019
Photo of ajm5108
ajm5108 from Pennsylvania

4.19/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Pours a deep autumn brown, thick foamy head. Aroma has some amber & scotch malt but some sweet undernotes of caramel & butterscotch. Could pop a little more. Taste is pretty smooth and isn’t as chewy as some wee heavys. It has that traditional malt profile but has mild elements of charred oak, coffee & caramel. None of those notes are too dominant and really provide some depth to the style. Finishes a tad smokey with a medium malt density

Feb 17, 2019
Photo of jkblr
jkblr from Indiana

4.14/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

12oz bottled 10/29/18 (I think?, please get a better system Dark Horse) poured into a shaker pint at fridge temp 9.75% ABV. The beer pours mostly bright medium brown with amber & chestnut highlights. The head is khaki colored and recedes to a thin film. The aroma is malty and earthy. The taste is slightly smokey toasted malt with notes of chocolate and coffee on the finish. Overall bitterness is low, but I would never say I get sweetness either. The mouthfeel is thin to medium bodied, adequately carbonated and mostly dry in the finish. No trace of the ABV. Overall, excellent. Really a must try if you are a fan of the style.

Feb 11, 2019
Photo of Official_space_cadet
Official_space_cadet from Wyoming

5/5  rDev +23.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This beer, for me, always reminds me of home (midwest). My absolute favorite scotch ale around . 100/100 . The high ABV is hidden really well, the finish is smooth and leaves a delicious taste in your mouth, and the color is beautiful.

Dec 22, 2018
Photo of Drak-Nib
Drak-Nib from Nebraska

4/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Smooth, dark, just plain good drinking. A bit of caramel in there? Nice! I was pleased with this and looking forward to trying another. From a taster. 2018/11/25

Nov 28, 2018
Photo of JimboBrews54
JimboBrews54 from Michigan

4/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Extremely malty, not as clean tasting as some of the other scotch ales I have tasted. This one is still full of flavor and definitely a good one to seek out.

Oct 05, 2018
Photo of MonDak_Joe1953
MonDak_Joe1953 from Minnesota

4.09/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 12oz bottle into glass. No dating information found on bottle or on label. Some sludge left at the bottom of the bottle.
Murky, amber brown colored body. Light tan head dissipates to thicker ring. Leaves behind a spotty sheen on the glass. Lots of tan sediment particles in the beer, some of which rise with the bubbles.
Aroma of caramel, toffee, a little tea, dried fruit (figs), burnt brown sugar.
Taste is sweet from brown sugar, caramel, and toffee. Has the dried prunes and figs. Some coffee and chocolate in the background. Lots of roasted malts. A little peaty smoke at the end.
Medium thick to syrupy mouth feel. Lots of rising bubbles but felt carbonation hits on the tongue and is short in duration.
Quite the appearance with all the tan particles floating and moving in the beer. Pleasantly sweet with the dried fruit and dark roasted malts.

Jul 07, 2018
Photo of ovaltine
ovaltine from Indiana

3.99/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This pours a rich brown color with a voluminous tan head - and floaties. A TON of floaties. I’ve never had a scotch ale with floaties, so I’m curious to see what is going on here.

Everything is copacetic - nose is big toffee and caramel notes, and that carries over to the taste, and the mouthfeel is on point. But those floaties - they’re freakin’ me out, man.

Jun 09, 2018
Photo of mothmanscott
mothmanscott from Georgia

4.19/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a murky, reddish medium brown, producing slightly more than a finger of tan, shortlived, frothy head which leaves only a few splotches & wisps of lace. The look of the beer suffers somewhat due to the murky appearance & tremendous amount of particulates swirling in the brew. Aroma is deeply roasted malt, brown sugar, burnt caramel, dried figs, booze, faint coffee & smoke. Taste is heavily roasted dark malt, molasses/caramel/toffee, dried figs & prunes, smoke with thin semi-sweet dark chocolate & coffee with a buttery, smokey & boozy finish. Afrertaste is sweetish roast, a burnt hint & sulfury molasses. Mouthfeel is medium to the light end of heavy bodied, low-moderate carbonation, silky with a little peppery prickle.

Apr 22, 2018
Photo of brureview
brureview from Massachusetts

4.24/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Served at 50° in a Gordon Scotch Ale glass. The best glass for this style.

Look: dark chocolate brown, 1F head.

Aroma: full plum and fig, some malt. Lingers throughout the tasting.

Taste: plum, fig, malt.

MF: very creamy, smooth. Unlike a light bodied approach in some other Scotch ales.

Finish: lightly bitter.

Overall: excellent approach to one of my favorite styles. Full flavor, creamy body, light bitterness, Not overdone. Great brewery.

Apr 19, 2018
Photo of WoodBrew
WoodBrew from Ohio

3.47/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I tried this at the Wexford Ale House in Wexford, PA. It poured a clear amber with no head and no lace. The scent had sweet barleywine presence. The taste was also sweeter in nature. The mouthfeel is lighter in body with smooth carbonation. Overall it's ok....there are better scotch ales out there.

Apr 11, 2018
Photo of StevenTowne
StevenTowne from New York

4.32/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Bought a growler of this beer on a recommendation. It pours a dark amber. Nice head but it dissipates quickly. Flavor is nicely complex. The scotch, raisins, molasses, but only light. Very drinkable. No notice of alcohol at all. Overall a great beer.

Jan 31, 2018
Photo of slaminsammyF
slaminsammyF from California

4.51/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Look: Deep Brown caramel with mild head
Smell: Figs, Vanilla - a wonderful rush of sweet aromas .
Taste: Molasses with more of that dark fruit fig/prune sweetness. Super tasty, and a ton of flavor
Feel: Pretty mellow but certainly with body. Surprised by 9.75 alc... very drinkable!

Overall: I loved this beer. I was expecting to be impressed by malts and alcohol, but I had no trouble finishing a bottle rather quickly. It is plenty sweeter than other Scotch Ales, but I enjoyed that aspect of it. Not overwhelmed by a particular scotch quality (which was nice), but it has a tiny after taste of peat. Will certainly buy again!

Jan 30, 2018
Photo of HopsAreDaMan
HopsAreDaMan from Missouri

4/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

5/2018 UPDATE: This beer is very good. Increasing scores to all fours.


12 oz bottle, bought this summer; "8.29.27 KAR 215" on neck of bottle.

Appearance: nice clear, amber hue, with lots of off-white head.

Aroma: distinctive: alcohol, dark fruits (raisin or plum), and something else good I can't quite put my finger on.

Taste: malty, carmal-ly sweetness. Great Flavor.

Mouth-feel: Medium and creamy.

I drank this in a side-by-side with Backwoods Bastard and Schlafly's Ibex Scotch Ale. I used it as a base line. A solid Scotch ale.

Dec 23, 2017
Photo of scotorum
scotorum from Massachusetts

4.19/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25


I have wanted to try this high-rated Scotch ale for years but seldom saw it available until now. Still have not had the BBA version, which costs twice as much.

Poured from the 12 oz. bottle into a Samual Smith English tulip.

a; Clear dark ruby/copper with an inch and a half thick offwhite head which receded slowly to even surface foam and very dense lacing. Spectacular.

s; Mainly caramel malt, a little dark fruit.

t; Follows the nose with some alcohol bite (9.75 ABV). Sweet finish with bitter notes from the alcohol.

m; Lighter side of medium, good body and considerable carbonation tingle.

o; Comparisons naturally occur to more common Scotch ales such as Founders' Dirty Bastard, as well as more difficult to locate ones such as Belhaven's. This has richer flavor and more alcohol presence than Founders (which has 1.25% less alcohol). I would rate it in between Founders and Belhaven. At about the same pricepoint as Belhaven it's close to a tossup which is better but I would go with Belhaven. However, Founders beats them both on price at under $2 a can, especially when purchased in a twelvepack.

Nov 20, 2017
Photo of vette2006c5r
vette2006c5r from Minnesota

3.96/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Scotty Karate pours a dark deep brown color, with a very small, lacing head. Nice sharp malty aroma, with hints of sweet alcohol. Taste is smooth, hints of peat and a sweet malty and boozy aftertaste. Goody body and feel. Overall, an easy drinking, smooth yet full scotch ale.

Oct 09, 2017
Photo of Blackop555
Blackop555 from Michigan

4.02/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours dark brown. Foamy, short, off white head that fades fast.

Smells caramel malt, light roast malts and dark fruit.

Tastes dark fruit, light chocolate, roasted malt hints, caramel malts and light earthiness. Finish is semi dry with an earthy linger. Medium body and fizzy medium carbonation.

Jul 28, 2017
Photo of Just-the-sip
Just-the-sip from California

4.44/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Exceptional Scotch Ale here. Smells of cherries. Looks like dark red cherry juice. Tastes like candied dark cherries and dark chocolate, smoke, malty. Feel is full bodied and heavy. Hid that 9.75% remarkably well. Should've bought more!

Jun 23, 2017
Scotty Karate Scotch Ale from Dark Horse Brewing Company
Beer rating: 90 out of 100 with 1873 ratings