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

For Trade:
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Reviews: 598 | Ratings: 1,798
Photo of BearsOnAcid
1.59/5  rDev -60.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 3 | overall: 1

Scotty Karate is a dark chocolate liquid with a khaki head. Pretty nice presentation. That's pretty much when the good part ended.

The head fell and I took a sniff. It smelled like alcohol and rubber (yeast autolysis?). I shook up the glass to get a head back and could smell a strong wood/smoke character with some sweet malt and caramel. But it was all dominated by alcohol. As soon as the head fell back down The rubber aroma came back. It's sort of smokey but in an artificial way.

The taste was a bit like the smell. Rubber and alcohol. I let this one sit to warm up before I dumped it out. After a little while I came back and tried it again. The rubber turned into a slightly smokey malt flavor but still lingered in there. Alcohol dominated any sort of flavors coming through.

I just didn't enjoy this beer at all. If I ever cross paths again with this beer I'll re-review it. Seems like it will be easier now that Dark Horse is available in MA.

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Photo of gfreed
2.23/5  rDev -44.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

I know, I know... don't judge a beer by its label. Yet as I reached for this on the shelf at the store I thought, "This thing is definitely going to be over-hopped. Look at the label." Sure enough, for a Scotch ale this thing is over-hopped. The hops aren't very apparent in the aroma, and the slightly smoky malt is the dominant force. But the taste tilts toward citrus and even seaweed. I like nori as much as the next sushi lover, but not in my beer. If you're looking for a good American Scotch ale, you'll do far better with those from Geary or Founders. Leave this one on the shelf.

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Photo of brewdlyhooked13
2.25/5  rDev -43.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

Appearance - pours a murky chocolate brown. A nice little tan head crops up. Some good swirls of lace, not many though. Maintains a very thin cover through most of the bottle sampling.

Aroma - a boozy chocolate smell, some light whiskey/peat supporting it. The result is an almost fruity, hard-Christmas-candy-with-the-chocolate-filling-center kind of smell.

Taste - sweet, quite tart, with a bit of what almost tastes like early stage infection. A nice smoky component in the background is trying to get through. The swallow is too tart, though, and covers it, going to a lemon juice sourness that I don't like. The end is dry, sour, and unpleasant.

Mouthfeel - a bit smooth, well-carbonated, but of no aid.

Drinkability - a few pleasant spots, but the bitter lemony sour part ruins the beer for me. I had to discard probably eight to nine ounces of the 12.

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Photo of enfield249
2.34/5  rDev -41.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

A - Really pretty dark red. No head, small ring of foam.

S - A little roast, slight toffey.

T - Up front it's not bad at all, some good roastiness, then some alcohol, 'bout what I would expect for a wee heavy. However, the after taste is a wet cabbage. Not so good. Now that I see that this beer is retired, it makes me wonder how long it was at the store. Maybe it's been rereleased and I'm just to the first guy?

M - Not bad, some decent carbonation.

D - Thumbs down. Don't buy this. It may have been good at one point, but it's hard to tell now.

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Photo of beer2day
2.66/5  rDev -33.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Dark brown and orange pour with 1-finger of darkish cream head. No retention and no lace. Very grainy and thick.

Smell is light caramel malt, a touch of raisin, and a hint of alcohol. All are very light, though. For a 90 shilling, just too light.

Taste is light as well. Get the caramel malt, light peat, and sweet bread malts. But just not enough flavor. Underwhelming.

Feel is better, though. Nice grainy quality that stands up well.

Overall, disappointing. Especially for the price. I like many of their other beers, but this one doesn't make the cut.

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Photo of gordavidson
2.68/5  rDev -32.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

A- Dark brown in color, almost murky with some floaters drifting about in the thick looking liquid. The head is small and white and settles to a semi-top covering sheet.

S- Well... this smells like booze. Once I got past the nostril burn, I picked up some caramel, cinnamon, and earthy malted milk balls. This would be spectacular if I could get past the alcohol wall.

T- The alcohol is very noticeable at first, and takes some getting used to. The rest of the flavors are carmely, peaty, smoky, chocolaty, and hints of cinnamon to boot. I was really torn with this... The booze is very distracting, but the other flavors are complex and somewhat tasty. It got better as I worked my way through it.

M- A little thin and slightly harsh in the aftertaste. I can't believe for a beer this dark and heavy it can't hide the 9.75%. Overall it is surprisingly smooth though.

D- Damn. I had high hopes for this, but the alcohol is a beast. I don't foresee myself getting this harsh mistress again.

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Photo of wagenvolks
2.72/5  rDev -31.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

12oz bottle into a Duvel tulip. Thanks to screach for leaving this one behind for me after a recent tasting.

Somewhat under-impressive appearance, with a thin auburn-ruby body capped by a listless head. The tan bubbles retreat to a thin ring around the edge of the tulip, while the center dissipates quickly. Nose, a little better. Dark Belgian fruits don't really belong in a Scotch Ale, but the notes of raisin, black cherry, fig, and orange peel are pleasing. Toffee and molasses malts make up the backbone, while traces of vanilla and bourbon waft about.

The taste of Scotty Karate struck me as bacon soaked in hop-flavored coffee. Unique, sure...creative, perhaps...but tasty? Not a chance. Charred, beefy malts fight with medicinal phenolics in the finish, flooding an otherwise pleasant chocolatey scotch malt profile. Pine sap bitterness on the end tastes out of place and overly-complex. At least the near 10% ABV is well-hidden. Mouthfeel is muddled and over-carbonated, giving it a thinner body than it should have. Juicy at times, crisp and dry at others. I'm normally a big fan of Dark Horse, but this beer is a hot mess. Avoid.

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Photo of DavoleBomb
2.81/5  rDev -29.6%
look: 2 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured into a snifter.

2.0 A: Dark brown color. Less than one finger of tan head that falls super quickly and leaves no lacing. Some crap collected at the bottom.

3.5 S: The nose on this is pretty subtle, which I find quite surprising. Anyway, caramel, toastiness, and brown sugar. Light booziness. Not bad, but too subdued to get anything else.

2.5 T: The taste is nearly as soft as the nose. Mild booziness, caramel, toastiness, plum, and brown sugar. Light earthiness. This would be good if it were more intense.

3.5 M: Medium body. Good moderate carbonation. There's some creaminess in this, but I want some more. Smooth enough.

2.5 D: I expect a lot more from Dark Horse. Somehow they managed to make an almost 10% beer with almost no intensity.

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Photo of IntriqKen
2.85/5  rDev -28.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

A nice golden orange mahogany color topped with a very small white head that disappears way too soon.

Aromas are sweet amber malts, brown sugar, lots of dark fruits (plums, prunes, raisins, etc) and a hint of alcohol. More of a peat than a smokey aroma is present.

Taste is very sweet and syrupy dark fruits...almost cloying as it coats the tongue. A little smokey peat tries to come through at the end but gets overpowered with strong alcohol. As it warms and as you drink it and the palette adjusts, more of the smoke flavors come through. Initial cloying sweetness never dissipates, however.

Mouthfeel is cloying syrup.

Aftertaste is slightly smokey and strong alcohol.

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Photo of mdwalsh
2.85/5  rDev -28.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

A: Not a huge head, but that's okay, though really it fades to nothing pretty fast. Tan head. The beer is very cola colored but has some good active carbonation going on. The head is now totally gone.

S: Mildly grainy, but mostly malty sweet. No Alcohol, but really not much of anything. Perhaps it's smoke. Yep, it's a very artificial smokey aroma.

T: The taste is really quite bad. No specific off flavors I can detect, but it's very dry, not sweet at all. I get maybe roasted grain. Maybe. No alcohol, which is good, but something just bad about it. I've now had 4 of these beers on different days months apart and they all had this same taste that I really haven't tasted anywhere else. It's not undrinkable, but it's not likeable and it's not something I want in a scotch ale.

Ok, upon reading some others, I identified the flavor as smoke, but I think it's very poorly executed. I think it's totally artificial tasting and way to strong.

M: Again, dry, it's light and a little sparkling, just not what I want in a Scotch Ale, totally not to style.

D: No thank you.

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Photo of cadenwhitaker
2.86/5  rDev -28.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Poured a medium dark cloudy color. Taste was smoky, full, earthy and... did I mention smokey? I've had a few beers that are over-smoked (no real way to put it) and this beer could almost fall in that category. I'm not a fan of smoked beers as, like hops, if overdone it can drown out all the other flavors, but it is kept in check well with this beer.

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Photo of ehammond1
2.93/5  rDev -26.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Bottle (2012)

Acquired via trade

Dark brown with ruby edges and a thin dark khaki colored head that leaves messy sheets of lacing down the glass.

Sweet and bready aroma with caramel along with some smoke and meat character, interestingly enough.

This doesn't taste particularly good, with lots meat (pork?) and alcohol character, along with sweet malts and a moderate bitterness. Bready as well, but dominated by a strange campfire/meat flavor.

Medium bodied with moderate carbonation.

I don't really care for this one too much.

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Photo of Czequershuus
2.98/5  rDev -25.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 2.75

This beer pours a rich dark brown with a miniscule head. The aromas of smoke, vanilla, dark chocolate, raisin, honey, and oak predominate. The flavor leads with a hershey's milk chocolate tone, followed by smoke, and a tiny bit of raisin and prune. The mouthfeel is medium rich, but a bit thin on the swallow. Overall this is a disappointing beer - something about the flavors just does not harmonize - there is too much of an odd smokey flavor, like burned white meat rather than wood smoke, and the kind of not-quite-real chocolate you get with a hershey's bar.

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Photo of Bitter_Echo
3/5  rDev -24.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

My first and maybe last of the style. This one pours a dark, rust brown. Smells sweetish and of caramel and alcohol and malt. Tastes sweet and malt and malt and malt. It 'punches' weirdly I think, and is not bitter in the least. I should have known better. Mouthfeel is finely carbonated and not too much on the syrup side. Not my style, I guess.

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Photo of Jimmys
3/5  rDev -24.8%
look: 2 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

12 oz bottle. no bottled on date.

A: dark, murky. looks like an old pot of coffee. head is non-existent. literally, has a ring of foam around the edge and that is it.

S: a lot of chocolate. almost milk chocolate in its aroma. a little bit of toffee. there are also wisps of heather in there, but they are minor. chocolate is definitely at the forefront here.

T: similar to the nose, the first thing I think is lots of chocolate malt. the alcohol is completely masked, cant even remotely tell this brew is close to 10% abv. however, drinks more like an English stout than a wee heavy. finding this flavor a bit one-note.

M: mild carb on a medium/full body.

D: read my taste statement. pretty much sums up my feelings on this brew.

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Photo of wcudwight
3.09/5  rDev -22.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Dark brown in color with some red hues. Lot's of sediment floating around. I guess I should have been more careful with the pour. No head. This beer looks thick.
Nice earthy peppery aroma. Alcohol is also present in the smell.
Tons of toasted malt. In fact nothing else really shows through except a heavy booziness on the back end. This one packs a lot of punch.
Mouthfeel is thick and syrupy with a lack of carbonation. It feels a bit flat.
The thick syrupy mouthfeel and booziness make this one a bit tough to finish.
This is a highly regarded beer from one of my favorite styles. I hope to revisit this one later and will update my review then.

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Photo of stouty1
3.1/5  rDev -22.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Must have gotten a bad bottle. Picked this up at the brewery in March. No head and flat. Ruby red highlights that glows orange around the rim. Smells of dark chocolate with caramel. Very malty with a nice bitter finish that stings the tongue. I will try again and hopefully change my review.

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Photo of eddocron
3.1/5  rDev -22.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

This is my first review and hope it looks well, even if not my favorite beer.

A dark brown pour, little foam and ring that doesn't last long.
Very malty - molasses like. fruit hint. The alcohol seemed detectable in the sample I had.
Taste was initially tangy, almost bitter, but not quite. Leaves a malt taste on the roof and tongue. It seemed to improve as AI let it breathe.
This is the first Scottish Ale I've tried. For comparison, I love dark ales, like Ommegang Abbey Belgium ale and Founders Breakfast Stout. This overall was more bitter and had an after taste I didn't like much.

Bottle serving.

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Photo of CortexBomb
3.14/5  rDev -21.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Pour is murky brown, almost like prune juice. No head to speak of. The nose offers up intense dark fruit aromas...plums, with caramel in the background. An alcohol edge and warming is present even on the nose.

Taste starts out with figs and caramel. Very malty. Off sugary. Slight earth flavour. Decent but not remarkable. Alcohol is fairly big on the finish.

The mouth on this, decent, but certainly not impressively thick for the style and ABV. Some tingles, but nothing special. The drinkability score reflects the my overall impression combined with my liklihood to rebuy and how it compares against other locals. It's a decent scotch ale, but it's just about the bottom of the heap for MI.

The bottom line: Dark Horse has some hits and some misses with me, and this is one of the misses. The beer is passable, but there are a number of other local options that I favour that are in the same price range (i.e.: Dirty Bastard, Arcadia Scotch Ale) and have more of what I'm looking for.

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Photo of Wisconsinality
3.15/5  rDev -21.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12oz bottle poured into Delirium Tremens tulip.

A- Pours a milk chocolate brown that is pretty opaque. A decent finger worth of head that recedes quickly but leaves some ok lacing on the side of the glass.

S- Big amounts of malt up front, some caramel and brown sugar. I also pick up some saltine cracker. The alcohol is completely hidden which is nice.

T- Again the brew is pretty malt forward on the tongue. A little bit of brown sugar and a bready/cracker taste as well. The aftertaste reminds me a little bit of Kix cereal. The alcohol is very well hidden, I would have a hard time telling this beer is 9.75%.

M- Medium to full bodied with good carbonation. A bit dry on the finish and the carbonation makes it feel a little rougher than expected.

D- Nothing really wows me about this beer. The flavors are a little subdued and it is kind of harsh going down. Probably a good thing considering the very well hidden ABV.

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Photo of mcallister
3.2/5  rDev -19.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Basically what you would look for in a Scottish style. Nothing extraordinary but it is a nice looking brew. A burnt caramel/amber color with a small tan head that fades quickly into a ring and leaves no lace. Sporadic floaties wonderously navigate the sea of gold.

Toffee and caramel stick out with a milk chocolate edge. Peat smoky pockets lie deep within. Plum and fig fill out the dark fruit profile with a hints of earth and leather.

This isn't a bad Scoth ale but it's mediocre middle is very discouraging. Big alcohol burn on the finish in the chest. Caramel is full and up front. Things fall apart and come back together in the finish with a chewy toffee, semi sweet chocolate, raisin, plum, tobacco, leather, and the big sky.

Mouthfeel is really hurt by the lack of a mid palate. If not for that and the alcohol burn this could hit the average mark in drinkability.

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Photo of gillagorilla
3.21/5  rDev -19.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

12 oz. bottle poured into a MD snifter

A: Muddled dark brown with a little bit of head, no lacing and no collar.
S: Extremely light, with nothing really standing out. Just a tad of sweet malt.
T: Light on the scotch and flavor. It seems age does not agree with this one. Just a one note type of beer here.
M: Just the faintest tickling of carbonation.
O: I don't really get anything out of this beer. That being said, I did let it warm up for an hour after I opened it. But I did it in the bottle with a wine stopper, however, I did have to pour the beer back into the bottle.

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Photo of zdk9
3.23/5  rDev -19%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I believe this is my first taste of a wee heavy, so it'll be an interesting review.

A- Pours a dark and cloudy light mollasses color. Just a film of head and just a small pocadotting of lacing.

S- Carmel and a little more carmel. There's some hoppiness just in 'aftersmell', very earthy.

T- Carmel taste hits the forefront of my tongue, accompanied by brown sugar. There is some slightly citrusy hoppiness, with bitterness in the back of the tongue. Interesting but somewhat one-demensional.

M- Very syrupy, with just enough carbonation to cut through.

D- A decent beer, not something that I would prefer over other dark horse offerings, but maybe I'll change my mind after some more wee heavy examples.

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Photo of 57md
3.23/5  rDev -19%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.25

Appearance is a muddy brown with copper and honey yellow hues on the edges. The thin layer of head dissipated quickly. The nose certainly contains malt notes, but it is dominated by a less-than pleasant tart presence. The taste is overwhelmingly sour and boozy - like someone tossed a shot of cheap whiskey into a brown ale. The alcohol burn dominates the finish and completes an unpleasant drinking experience for this offering.

I usually like Dark Horse. but I'll mark this one as "not recommended."

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Photo of ColdOneKev
3.25/5  rDev -18.5%

A - Dark brown, highlights at the edge. Barely any head fades quickly, leaves no lacing.
S - Malt, peat
T - More malt, peat, vanilla, licorice, alcohol burn afterwards
M - Medium, low carb
O - I'm not a huge fan of scotch ales in general. Others have said this is a relatively low flavor scotch ale. So it appeals to me. Glad to have tried.

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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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