Scotty Karate Scotch Ale | Dark Horse Brewing Company

very good
598 Reviews
Scotty Karate Scotch AleScotty Karate Scotch Ale

Brewed by:
Dark Horse Brewing Company
Michigan, United States

Style: Scotch Ale / Wee Heavy

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.75%

Availability: Fall

Notes / Commercial Description:
Available September to March.

Added by ypsifly on 01-28-2006

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Reviews: 598 | Ratings: 1,798
Photo of ta_hagen
5/5  rDev +25.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

By far the best scotch ale on the market in my opinion... Medium body, smooth and medium/low carbonation. The alcohol is really well masked in this beer. A great Scotch Ale, and I love the label design to boot. Great dark fruit taste though with that toasted bread as well. Medium lite body but some what syrupy. Light carbonation. Full bodied, velvety, lip smacking sticky, and coats the mouth with scotch toffee with a lingering bitterness buried underneath. Another great job by Dark Horse... Thumbs up!!!

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Photo of nickapalooza86
4.88/5  rDev +22.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Grabbed from the basement for a review this evening.

Poured a clear brownish amber. With little to no head.

Smell is toffee, sweet candy malt, caramel.

Taste is what every scotch ale should me molded after. Starts dry then the caramel, toffee, sweet malt and a slight bourbon like? flavor hit you.

Mouthfeel is very creamy and full, very nice and not something I would expect for the style. Carbonation is very low, also nice.

Well by now you know this is my favorite scotch ale. Scotch ales have always been one of my favorite style and this is better then every other one I have tried.

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Photo of BaronRVH
4.88/5  rDev +22.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Simply complex... Dried fruits, breads, malts, completely hidden ABV, caramel sweetness. Such a clean finish. This is what I imagine a great wee heavy tastes in Scotland when fresh from a brewery... Hopefully because the ones I've had on this side of the pond aren't this good.

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Photo of ElevinoFive
4.87/5  rDev +22.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A pour emits Scotland's bold spirit. Chill, artistic, fa'sho- a very palatable unfiltered ale. Malty-martial arts that could provide a hearty folical boost.

September - March

STEAK TONIGHT! (or kale)

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Photo of mwa423
4.86/5  rDev +21.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A - pours a very dark but hazy brown. Head is nearly non-existant.

S - Roasted malt, sweet malt, coffee and chocolate.

T - Rich oak flavors, malty sweetness, slight frutiness, excellent taste, I can't wait to find more of this

M/D - Rich, thick, great drinker that doesn't seem like half the alcohol it does. Wow!

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Photo of paxtonthegreat
4.85/5  rDev +21.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Just like any good scotch ale this beer starts and finishes with an exceptional carmerlized carmelly taste with slight smoke and roast. At 9.75% it hides it's alcohol very very well. Always looking forward to this one come fall in hopes of drinking these at dark horse while watching scotty perform too.

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Photo of yuenglingfan101
4.83/5  rDev +21.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

brownish color with minimal head. smells a bit hoppy, and taste wonderful. recommend beer for a good time buzzz. well wortth trying this beer. 5 stars. hip hip hooray. also i poured this into my trusty pint glass. get it today and experience greatness.

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Photo of BlindPig
4.77/5  rDev +19.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A- Thin airy tan head ontop of a muddy dark brown body.
S- Alcohol, big earthy tones, some grass hops, big malt body, some dark fruits, maybe just a hint of cherries, and there is just something I can't pin point.
T- YUM! A very nice blend of all the different flavors (which follow the aroma). Nothing is over powering which is VERY surprising sayings its 9.75% ABV. The alcohol does warm the back of throat but very smoothly and then gets hot after awhile but it is a soothing hot (kind of like a heating blanket where it slowly gets warm until it is pretty hot but it feels really nice). The big earthy tones linger on from start to finish with a nice dry aftertaste too. Smoke is buried in with all the flavors. Light bitterness lingers on but not much hop flavor besides few hints of grass. Cherries do come through along with some other fruits. Maybe some raisins? Just very complex with tons of layers to it. Just amazing.
M- Medium t full body with low carbonation which helps to make it a smooth feel. Also has the sticky feel to it from the raisins or grapes?
D- Just a great beer. I hope I can get my hands on some more of this before it is not to be found any more. It would also be interesting to see how this would be with more age on it. Not sure if it would just start to go down hill or if it could get even more rounded and complex (which would be hard to do).

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Photo of cnbrown313
4.75/5  rDev +19%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Scotch Ales are typically not my favorite style of beer, and I used to shy away from them, but Scotty Karate changed that for me. This is by far my favorite Scotch Ale and my 2nd favorite Dark Horse beer, behind Plead the 5th.

A - Pours a dark, caramel color - with very little head.

S - Smells of sweet, dark fruit and a little bit of oak too.

T - At first, Scotty Karate tastes a little sweet and boozy too, but that quickly dissipates and you get some nice dark fruit flavor and lots of malt. The high ABV is masked nicely by all of the complex flavors. Truly, a tasty Scotch Ale.

M - The mouth feel is perfect. It's almost chewy and viscous as you swirl it around your mouth.

O - Like I said, this is the best Scotch Ale I have ever tried. If you are a fan of malty and complex sippers, you won't be disappointed by this.

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Photo of Jeffreysan
4.74/5  rDev +18.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

12 oz bottle, poured into a pint glass

Appearance: Pours a beautiful, completely opaque, deep, dark, mahogany color with half of a finger of white-colored head that quickly dissolved away into a thin lacing of foam that almost completely covered the top of the beer.

Aroma: Very aromatic with tons of toasted malt and dried stone fruit, such as raisins, prunes and figs. There’s also lots of brown sugar and toffee, and maybe hits of licorice and coffee. Rich and inviting.

Taste: Very nice, with strong flavors of toasted malt and brown sugar or dark molasses-like sweetness up front, followed by lots flavors of dried stone fruit, such as raisins, prunes and figs. The flavor isn’t quite as rich as the beer’s aroma, rather it’s a little bright, but still very, very nice. Good beer!

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied and smooth as silk, as there is very little in the way of carbonation. With an ABV of 9.75%, I’m really surprised at how well masked the alcohol is. There is none on the palate at all!

Overall: This is a really, really good Scotch ale! I’ll certainly get it again!

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Photo of JeremyHB
4.7/5  rDev +17.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Caught this beer kind of by surprise as it was 'on sale' for 9.99 a 4 pack of 12 oz bottles.
Poured off with just a slight head that developed slowly. Had some tiny bubbles near the sides of my goblet that seemed to be hanging on for dear life. Didn't have the complexity I expected but certainly not a plain beer by any means. Typical scotch ale nose of dark subtle maltiness, the scent fills your nose but does not give up a lot without the drink and swallow to go with it.
A really high ABV is well hidden, I don't get too much booziness or even warming but I expect that to pick up as the glass warms a bit through drinking.
For those familiar with the style I think this will be remembered as a 'forgettable' Scotch ale, and I do not mean this in a negative way, i.e: The Italians use this as an incredible compliment in wine because it is so utterly drinkable that the flavors melt into the palette causing you to go back for another taste as soon as it is 'forgotten' by the palette. Not an exceptional finish, but a very malt forward: chocolate, caramel (60L?) and bready backbone with a nondescript hop character.
This style is certainly defined by its malts and the malts in this brew are in harmony with each other. Without the hop bitterness offset there is little to hide behind. This is a true craftsman beer and very drinkable for the style.
Recommend drinking at a higher temp than I did (fridge temp approx. 35 F) because as it warmed the flavors became more decipherable and more palatable.

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Photo of Oakenator
4.7/5  rDev +17.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours medium brown with a hint of amber color. Slight off white head - healthy at pour with minimal lacing. Finer carbonation that excites easily with a swirl. Smell is caramel scented and sweet. Flavor is also sweet but detect caramel, chocolate, and maybe some plum or other similar fruit. It masks its high ABV well - not noticeable. Could be compared to a barley wine but without the alcohol presence. Really enjoyable brew.

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Photo of Schimms
4.7/5  rDev +17.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

L: Pours with beautiful red-brown; thin, creamy head. Very nice lacing.

S: Minimal malt. Maybe it's my nose, but I'm not picking much up in comparison to the taste.

T: Slight fruity, excellent malt. Hides the alcohol well.

F: Perfect creamy mouthfeel, finish, and carbonation balance.

O: Great beer - took the whole four pack to appreciate it's depth.

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Photo of Frosty80
4.67/5  rDev +17%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Color: pours a light brown/thin carame and syrupyl. sits a very thick, cloudy caramel color. no head.

Smell: caramel. dark fruit. little bit of alcohol comes through. some secondary smoke. fantastic aroma

Taste: lots of alcohol, of course. caramel and dark fruit with some smokiness to accent it. leaves a roasted finish. awesome

Mouthfeel: full body. low carbonation. pretty rich and smooth

Notes: this beer is so good its unfair to the majority of scotch ales out there, even the well known ones, like Dirty Bastard. age it for a year or more and it seems to get better. just awesome. one of my favorite beers

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Photo of JamieDuncan
4.63/5  rDev +16%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Ok, this one is very surprising. Good looking beer, decent aroma, and outstanding taste, surprised me. Plus, it is very easy to drink and I was extremely surprised at the ABV. Overall this is an outstanding and extremely underrated Wee Heavy. I have no experience with Dark Horse but will explore then further.

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Photo of Dubbledown
4.62/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Friday, 3/18/11
Scotty Karate - Scotch Ale
Dark Horse, Alc. 9.75%, 12 oz.

Purchased warm and refrigerated at home for 2 hours. Poured into a 14.9 oz. nonic, 52 degree temperature. Good head, which quickly recedes. Low to moderate lacing. Color is a deep, almost black-reddish-copper-gold. First sniff reveals heather, toffee and caramel, with a faint scent of sour apple. First taste is of caramel with a good hop-alcohol backbone, apple, fresh heather, other flowers and a hint of black coffee. The mouthfeel is silky and remarkable. The brew evaporates on the tongue and palate, like a fresh iced cola. It doesn't taste like cola but it feels like a cola. Quite a funny experience, but very enjoyable. As one continues to drink, one tastes dark winey, almost port flavors. This is a very great American scotch ale. In my opinion, this beer is in the same league as Orkney's Skullsplitter, and that is the best compliment I can pay this ale. Serving temperature was 52 degrees. Serve it even 5 degrees colder and you'll likely lose half these flavors. Fifty to 55 degrees, get ready for a healthy ride; it's strong. One of these per session is enough.
Final taste: a little dark chocolate.
Highly Recommended

Saturday, 3/19/11

After 24 hours of home refrigeration, the ale was served at 40 degrees, and indeed most of the delicate flavors were gone. How often do we review a beer at too cold a temperature? I guess it's a lesson to us all.

Sunday, 3/20/11
Addendum to Scotty

Had another Scotty today. Took beer from the fridge and put it on the sideboard for 45 minutes before consuming. Tasted better than at 40 degrees, but even though the temperature was back to the same 52 degrees as Friday's beer, it didn't taste as good. Many sharp, spicy notes came through but most of the subtle sweet notes were lost.
Don't let this beer get too cold. Never lower than 52 degrees.

Grade A+
Purchased at Stoney's, 4 pack $8.99

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Photo of warrenout330
4.62/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a Growler into my duvel glass

A- poured a deep dark brown, thick white head... dissovled quickly to nothing... slight lacing to the glass

S- caramel bready malt, chocolate malt, peat moss and a balance of smoke

T- sweet bready chocolate layer cake, earthy balance... smoke balance

M- medium body... chewy mouthfeel... earthy dryness in the back

O- second offering from dark horse... this is one of the better wee heavies out there.... well done

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Photo of Pointman
4.61/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

From the pour to the last drop, this is a quality Scottish Ale.

Poured into goblet. Ok pour, light head with the bubbles going non-stop, lt lacing. Nice reddish brown color with a slight creamy head. Slightly cloudy and a constant effervesence.

Nice malty nose.

Excellent malts, caramel and milk chocolate on the first taste with a strong dry finish. Not too much of an alcohol overtone, which is nice, too many Scottish Ales have an overbearing alcohol presence.

Overall, an excellent strong Scottish Ale.

Dark Horse is becoming one of my favorite brewers here in Michigan, and there is a lot of strong competition.

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Photo of Trooper92292
4.61/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

I let this beer age for 6 months and after the long wait I finally had it. Worth the wait. So much better aged. It's really smooth and just tastes fantastic. Beautiful color and just fantastic finish. Buy a pack and let it age for 6-8 months.

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Photo of bashiba
4.59/5  rDev +15%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured dirty brown with copper highlights, slightly cloudy and a thin soap ring head.

Smell is great, a nice big malty sweet odor, almost desert like with hints of smoke, chocolate, and caramel.

Taste is great, big smoked malt flavor with hints of chocolate and caramel and a bit of earthy hops, a minor bit of noticeable alcohol.

Mouthfeel is thick and oily with a bit of a dry and warm finish.

Very drinkable for a 9.75ABV beer, Love it, The only thing I didn't like was the shockingly bad label, but I just won't look at it and put all of them in my fridge backwords.

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Photo of BB1313
4.59/5  rDev +15%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.75

12oz bottle poured into a snifter. Pours a very hazy ruby brown, lots of sediment and floaties; not much head and lacing at all. There's a great nuttiness in the aromas. Tons of maple, tons of chocolate. Lots of caramel and butterscotch. There's also a touch of vanilla and hazelnut. The nuttiness translates in the flavors, very nice. Wood and oak are present in the nose and flavors, although it's isn't aged on either. More chocolate in the flavors. Dark fruits and fig is there. Mouthfeel is nice and on the lighter side of full-bodied. Moderate carbonation, smooth and easy drinking. The alcohol isn't really noticeable at all. This is a treat!

I forgot how great this beer is. This is a great example of the style.. very, very enjoyable. Wow!

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Photo of hoplover82
4.57/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

A-Pours an unfiltered dark brown color with some copper notes with a small off white, fleeting head that leaves only spotty lacing.
S-Just by the first sniff, I can tell this beer is very aromatic and flavorful. Huge malty, sweet caramel with dark fruits. Very fruity indeed, with figs and dates and candied sugar. This beer needs no time to warm up, the aroma is pungent out the gate. The aroma reminds me of a good double bock. There is fresh pulled toffee candy notes hidden there as well. No "hot" alcohol detected.
T-The flavor is much of the same. Very sweet with dark fruits and caramel with a little bitterness to JUST keep it from being cloying. Plums and prunes and sweet summer stawberries. There also seems to be very faint notes of earthy hops in the flavor and the nose.
M-This has a huge, slick, and silky body with a balanced finish and mild carbonation.
O-I really like this beer and HIGHLY recommend this beer (especially to malty beer lovers) SO glad I got to try this, thanks to my friend in Minnasota! You are awesome Sarah-Jane!

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Photo of c014572
4.55/5  rDev +14%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Oh my. Wonderful smell of warm bread and grains on opening. Pored a wonderful dark amber. Flavor was wonderful. Huge malt body with just enough hops to almost balance it out. Just what I love in this style. One of the best I've had.

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Photo of EK33
4.55/5  rDev +14%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A-Poured into a mug producing a 5mm head that quickly dissipated to a 2mm ring with lacing over the top of te beer. Good amount of carbonation with slightly dark amber cloudiness.

S-Great with Caramel/Toffee hinted with Vanilla up front and background notes of Dark Cherry/Plum and only hints of medium hops. No alcohol smell whatsoever.

T-Great with it supporting nose. Caramel and Toffee followed by OK Vanilla. Finishes with the dark fruits and the medium hop. Once again for being 9.75%, alcohol nicely hidden.

M-Wee Heavy/Scotch Ale and Barley-Wine makers take note, this is perfection. It nails the right amount of Creamy-Chewiness for the style.

O-Flavor notes not robust enough and I am seeking the Barrel Version of this brew as it could make it perfect. As with my other 2011 brews, will cellar and check back at 5 and 10 years.

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Photo of geexploitation
4.53/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Pours exceedingly thick, just short of black, with dark mahogany edges and a deep, deep brown center. Huge head of yellow cream that fades to a collar and a dusting across the top of the body. The nose is very solid for a scotch ale, with raisin fruits, nice spiciness, lots of sweet smells (sweet cream, brown sugar, caramel), some Maris Otter and just a touch of raw alcohol. In the mouth, though, this beer is heaven. Rich and thick and silky, the malts slide over the tongue while just enough carbonation backs it up and wakes up the palate. Sweet cream, caramel, pears flambee and fruitcake, with a long, sweet, nutty finish at the end. There's a slight burn of alcohol here, but for a beer this big and this good, who cares? This beer grabs you and holds on, tickling your tongue for a good 60 seconds between sips (I counted). This beer could take the chill off a Scottish winter. Hell, it could take the chill off a Antarctic winter.

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Scotty Karate Scotch Ale from Dark Horse Brewing Company
3.99 out of 5 based on 1,798 ratings.
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