Scotty Karate Scotch Ale | Dark Horse Brewing Company

very good
1,798 Ratings
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:
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 598 | Ratings: 1,798
Photo of Sammy
3.75/5  rDev -6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A good one really, on tap at The Hunt Club. This is about a year aged as an old seasonal. Above average mouthfeel from a creaminess, with really chocolate coming through. A tad of roast, but I was not finding the smoke. Not what I would expect from a scotch, nevertheless pleasant.

 281 characters

Photo of StonedTrippin
3.78/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

this is a fireside beer, one to curl up with on a cold night in front of a blazing hot fire and sip on. the nose here is great, smoky even for a scotch ale, with some caramel malt and brown sugar sweetness, as well as a pronounced earthy richness. its alcohol strength is only hinted at in the smell. candied malt and bonfire smoke greet my palate warmly. woody malt flavor to this beer is central, the smoke and sweet are secondary. layers of grain come and go, with caramel and toffee sweetness being the residuals and an almost lactose milk stout type of sugar sticking around too, but these sweets are tempered by earthy smoke, a robustly flavored and pretty well balanced brew. fuller bodied and only boozy when it warms up, a good beer for sharing and a fun winter seasonal from dark horse.

 796 characters

Photo of Knapp85
4/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Ordered this beer on tap a while ago at the Tap & Table when it was still open. This beer has a very nice looking deep brown color to it with a creamy tan head on top. The lacing wasn't too sticky but left a few lines on the glass. The smell of the beer was sweet and malty, like it should smell for this style. The taste of the beer has a really nice sweetness throughout, it's a very malty brew. The mouthfeel is smooth and creamy feeling with some light carbonation. Overall I would enjoy having this one again one day.

 522 characters

Photo of metter98
3.9/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A: The beer is very hazy brownish red in color and has a light amount of carbonation. It poured with a thin light tan head that quickly died down, leaving some lacing on the surface and a thin collar around the edge of the glass.
S: Light aromas of dark fruits and sweet malts are present in the nose.
T: The taste is similar to the smell but isn't as sweet and has complex flavors of dark fruits, raisins, tea and toffee. Although no bitterness is detectable, there's enough hops to prevent this from being sticky and sweet.
M: It feels nearly medium- to full-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: The complex flavors in this beer make it a nice one to sip but it is rather easy to drink because the alcohol is well hidden from the taste.

 767 characters

Photo of BEERchitect
4.15/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On tap at Rich O's Gravity Head '08:

As fine a Scottish Ale as I've ever tried. Strong and steady on all fronts. Sweet and peaty with herbal hop character and a complex malt meaty character. The texture is a bit less syrupy than big malty Scottish Ales, but sweetened more and makes it more drinkable. A little cleaner in the flavor than most, and less dirty or smoky. The 9%+ alcohol is hardly noticed, hidden well. A stern copper / ruby hue with fair coabonation / head retention. Spicy and sweet throughout. Deserving of better scores than most BA's have given.

 565 characters

Photo of brentk56
4.5/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours a fairly clear light mahogany, with a one finger head that displays good retention and leaves a number of lacing dots on the sides of the pint glass

Smell: Beyond the realm of the typical Wee Heavy, this beer has considerable fruit on the aroma, with berries, nectarine and pineapple front and center; also, the more expected caramel and peat aspects

Taste: Opens with a fruity aspect, with dark dried fruits and caramel flavor; the caramel builds by mid-palate, along with some peaty elements; after the swallow, the flavors mellow and there is a hint of citrus in the finish

Mouthfeel: Full body with moderate carbonation

Drinkability: Certainly at the top of the Wee Heavy list in my book; adds some nice American elements to the style that make it eminently enjoyable

 793 characters

Photo of emerge077
3.85/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Cool label illustration of a crazed hillbilly one-man-band.

Pours a ruddy brown tone into a tulip glass, with deep vermillion highlights under the light. One finger of foam is formed, that subsides in a few minutes. Tiny spots of lace, not much since the glass wasn't completely dry. Stubborn layer of yeast dregs in the bottle.

Slight sweetness in the nose, banana, a little nutty. Reminds me slightly of a Dopplebock after tasting it. Very malty and earthy, toffee, with a nuttiness that comes through again in the first sip. There's a restrained but pleasant hit of smoky peat, that becomes dry in the finish. Alcohol is somewhat hidden for the high ABV.

Slightly sticky and dry in the aftertaste, just ok. Carbonation is a touch high at first, but smoothes out as it sits in the glass for a bit. I've never had more than one at a time, but a hearty drinker sure could.

 884 characters

Photo of Phyl21ca
3.75/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle: Poured a cloudy dark brown color ale with a small foamy head with minimal retention and some minimal lacing. Aroma of sweet malt with some toffee and caramel notes. Taste is a mix between some toffee and caramel malt with some quite sweet malt notes with some light dry hops. Body is quite full with some limited filtration and some good carbonation. Well done overall but I would have enjoyed it even more with some peat smoke malt notes.

 447 characters

Photo of oline73
3.92/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a standard pint glass. This is a bottle that was in the cellar from last year.

Appearance: Pours a cloudy mahogany color with some red around the edges. There is a half a finger of tan head that fades quickly to a ring around the glass.

Smell: Quite sweet with notes of brown sugar, dark fruit, and vanilla.

Taste: Follows closely from the smell. Not quite as sweet, but there are still some brown sugar notes. Also some ripe dark fruit and a hint of vanilla. There is a mild bitterness and a hint of warm alcohol in the finish.

Mouthfeel: Just on the thick side of medium. Mild carbonation and a slightly slick finish.

Overall: Nice and complex. I liked the dark fruit and vanilla notes. Would have again.

 737 characters

Photo of zeff80
3.64/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

No date. Purchased on 12/31

A - Poured out a brown hue with an orangish tint at the bottom of the glass. It had a small, short lived head that left no lace.

S - It smelled earthy and mossy. A good malty nose, too.

T - It tasted of a strong malt flavor. It was biscuity and had a slight spice kick.

M - It was sharp and smooth with a warm alcohol presence. A medium-bodied beer.

D - Don't know when this was retired, but it did lack a little in appearance. I guess I expected a little more overall, too.

 507 characters

Photo of Thorpe429
3.35/5  rDev -16%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Picked this up in Michigan over Christmas. Served in a tulip.

Pours a very dark brown with a bit of a crimson hue. Off-white head starts out fairly high and falls somewhat quickly into a nice cap and collar. Some spotty lacing on the edges of the glass. The nose is pretty sweet with quite a bit of caramel and some dark fruits. A bit of a smoked character there as well. The peated malt really comes through quite a bit more in the taste, overwhelming some of the other characteristics. Some dryness in the finish; almost woody. Slight bitterness. Drinkability is pretty good, though this is a bit too far toward the peaty end of the spectrum for me.

 652 characters

Photo of superspak
4.3/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 ounce bottle into snifter, bottled 8/6/2011. Pours very cloudy dark reddish brown color with a good 1 finger dense khaki head with good retention, that reduces to a thin cap that lingers. Some decent spotty lacing on the glass. Aromas of big caramel, molasses, apple, toasted biscuit, peat, leather, raisin, toffee, light chocolate, and spices. Very nice and complex aromas with great balance and strength. Taste of caramel, molasses, smoke, toasted biscuit, toffee, apple, raisin, wood, light chocolate, earth, and spices. Light spicy bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of caramel, toffee, biscuit, smoke, molasses, and wood on the finish for a good bit. Great flavor balance with a good amount of robustness; and absolutely no cloying sweetness. Light-medium carbonation and fairly full bodied; with a very creamy, lush, and slick mouthfeel. Alcohol is insanely well hidden for being almost 10%, with only a small warming well after the finish. Extremely smooth to sip on for such a big beer; drinks much smoother than some lower gravity beers. Overall this is a fantastic scotch ale! Great balance of flavors with good complexity; and extremely smooth.

 1,170 characters

Photo of oberon
3.88/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a snifter glass a ruddy brown with an orange haze to it a thinner off white head atop.Earth and smoke show thru most in the nose along with some buttery caramel,a good mix of earthiness and peat and sweet caramel and fruit pretty nicely rounded.A good stab at a wee heavy decent complexities but it wont blow you mind.

 330 characters

Photo of jlindros
4.2/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Glad Dark Horse finally made it to MA. Next up in the lineup is Scotty.

A: Pours a frothy 1/2 finger head that fades slowly over hazy dark molasses colored brown beer.

N: Some dark malts, crystal, touch of roast, I think some aromatic, etc. WIth that is tons of brown sugar with a little molasses, lots of maple as well, and touch of creamy smoked malts.

T: Starts with a creamy smoked malt actually, quite a bit of smoked malt flavors, that contain maple. hickory, and smoked bacon even. I almost want to call this a heavy Rauchbier rather than scotch. Then comes more sweet malts, heavy thick malts with some crystal, little roast, obvious smoked malt, and even Munich I think. Some chewy malts too. Touch of bitterness. Then comes more sweet flavors, with some brown sugar, some maple flavor, and molasses. The beer overall is semi sweet. There's a touch of booze as well.

M: Medium body with lower but decent carbonation. A little warming booze.

F: Still some sweetness with lingering brown sugar and molasses as well as maple. Smoked malt lingers quite a but as well. Some sticky sweetness also comes through. It does have a weird dryness with the sweetness. Some bitterness comes out more on the finish than on the taste which stems from some interesting earthy hops.

Overall a nice beer. Closer to a heavy Rauchbier than scotch ale, but has its heavy sweetness. Perhaps this is more what a scotch ale should be. I really enjoyed it.

 1,448 characters

Photo of chinchill
3.61/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle served in a snifter.

Pours with a mahogany colored body and a very good tan head. Gunky sediment in the bottle with a bit in the glass too.

Nice caramel malt aroma and flavor. Well hidden alcohol: I was surprised to see 9.75% ABV listed.

Full body with a light touch of alcohol.

 299 characters

Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.67/5  rDev -8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Acquired from brewcrew76, so a big "Thank You" goes out to him. Poured from a 12oz bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a medium brown color with a very thin off-white head that fades quickly and leaves a thin lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of caramel, vanilla, dark fruit, bourbon, roasted malts and a touch of hops.

T: The taste is malty and a little boozy up front with sweet flavors of caramel, dark fruit, apples and vanilla. There's a significant alcohol sting that hits from the beginning. The hops presence is mild but brings a little bit of balance. The after-taste is sweet.

M: Smooth and crisp, medium-to-heavy body, light-to-medium carbonation, finish is pretty clean for the style.

D: Tasty, goes down ok, slightly filling, strong kick, decent representation of style, not quite the best Scotch Ale that I've had but it's still a decent beer.

 882 characters

Photo of Rifugium
3.38/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

First had: on tap at Pinocchio's, Media, PA

Really smooth, but so much so that it didn't really resemble a Scotch ale at all. Still good though. Brown body with a tan head, and slightly carbonated. Malty aroma and taste, and a bit of dark fruits, and not much alcohol bite. Medium mouthfeel, and moderate drinkability.

 319 characters

Photo of mactrail
3.73/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sweet and smoky powerful ale. Dark amber with a beige head. Nose is not so substantial but there is a little spice and a hint of Scotch whiskey. Sharp and even acidic in the mouth. Sweetness wears off as the dark, sourish burnt malt comes on. Quite hoppy but bitterness is certainly within bounds. Dark caramel and brown sugar. Fruity tang of dried figs.

This seems more complex as you sip. A very good example that shows restraint with sugar and smoke, but then goes wild with the alcohol. A great sipping beer.

 514 characters

Photo of dcmchew
3.9/5  rDev -2.3%

Pours dark mahogany with a thin off-white head that slowly turns into a frothy lace and a few floating specks.
Caramel and toffee splashed with alcohol, somewhat close to bourbon. Plum jelly, some raisin, sweet nut, buttered toast, faint chocolate. All right.
Caramel, toffee and single malt spirit up front, like a mix of scotch and bourbon. A smokey note, faintly peaty. Raisin, fig, some date, plum and faint blueberry, with a mild jam sweetness. Toasted malt, some butterscotch, brown sugar rock candy, faint toasted chestnut. Finishes with that "spicy, grainy" scotch dry feel and a minimum of bittering hop.
Nice body, a bit sticky and palate-coating, smooth carbonation. Aftertaste has a lot of caramel, a bit of toast, even less dark fruit, but a bit of slightly mouth-numbing alcohol.
A big scotch ale that's a bit linear, i guess almost boring for some, but it was tasty enough for me. Still, not a direct contender with the traditional heavies.

 955 characters

Photo of ChainGangGuy
4.25/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a medium brown body with a thin, beige head.

Smell: Rich caramel maltiness with an intensely bready scent, akin to a fresh-baked loaf of multi-grain bread. Notes of dehydrated fruit chunks, some wood, and a lil' peat.

Taste: Dark caramel maltiness, a taste of sweet sugar. Then, you get your face smooshed into that loaf of bread. Slight peat character. Dried apricots and cherries. Medium earthy bitterness. Drying, wood-hinted finish.

Mouthfeel: A hair above medium-bodied. Medium carbonation.

Drinkability: Plenty tasty! I certainly wouldn't hesitate to have another.

 592 characters

Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.15/5  rDev +4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Turbid pumpernickel brown that lightens to blurry orange peel at the borders. A barely audible escape of CO2 on crown cracking made the small ecru lid a foregone conclusion. The foam melts within minutes and leaves the pint glass virtually untouched. Not a good start, though the beer itself looks fine.

The aroma almost gets the quality train back on the tracks. It's caramel malty and smells more earthy than sweet. Some peat smokiness would be nice, but quite a few American wee heavies fall short in that department. Let's see if it opens up and displays a little hidden depth as the beer gains a few degrees.

When it comes to flavor, Scotty Karate delivers in a major way. *This* is what I expected this big American-brewed Scotch ale to taste like. With a bigger body, we could be looking at greatness. Although there isn't an abundance of barrel-aged character, I wouldn't be a bit surprised if Dark Horse put SKSA in bourbon barrels for at least a brief time.

Flavors include chocolate, golden toffee, butterscotch, sugared pecans, medium-dark fruit, and a tobacco, tea, and hop leaf bitterness that concludes each mouthful with a gradually tightening, focused flourish. It may be nothing more than an overactive imagination, but a phenolic peaty tanginess and a puff of smoke are present as well.

The mouthfeel tends to settle in over time and bulks up just enough to earn the above score. Surprisingly, the understated carbonation works extremely well. I wouldn't add even one more bubble.

Forget the first two scores. I don't drink beer because of the way it looks or smells. I drink beer because of the way it tastes. Scotty Karate Scottish Ale is the real deal and should be sought out by anyone who loves a good wee heavy. Thanks to bakerslp for the bottle.

 1,777 characters

Photo of billab914
4.09/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into my 2xIPA glass. It poured a dark caramel color with a modest off-white head covering the top of the beer. The head faded away rather quickly and didn't really leave much for lacing as I drank it.

The aroma has a sweet malty flavor to it with some caramel and toasted malts coming through. I get just a hint of some roasty flavors to it as well.

The taste is rich with malty flavors. Caramel, toffee and toasted malts come through up front. As you get to the finish the toffee turns a little more roasty with a little coffee flavor to it. I get a pretty good dose of smoked malt in the finish as well, which I really like.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Drinkability is good, it had some very nice flavors going on. I really liked the addition of the smoke flavors in the finish, it really made it a little more complex and delicious for me. Very nice beer overall and a cool and different take on the style compared to others I've had.

 999 characters

Photo of russpowell
3.97/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Got this one from czotch75, cheers Clint, this is my first beer from Dark Horse!

Pours an effervescent caramel with a finger of tan head. Good lacing, nice viscosity & above average head retention

S: Much smokeyness, some oak, & toffee

T: Smokeyness, toffee, oakyness & some leafy hops up front. Toffee, smokey oak & hickory with whispers of caramel as this warms. Finishes dry & oaky,with pecans & toffee; more malt base please!!! Almost pulled a 4.0

MF: Kind of wet, low carbonation, skews a bit malty, like it should

Drinks alright, hides the abv well, but a touch too dry

 581 characters

Photo of mdaschaf
3.97/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Review from notes 2/25/11. Thanks to Cuzco for this one!

A: Pours a dark brown, small head formation which dissipated quickly leaving a small layer of foam on top. Decent lacing.

S: A little smoky, some brown sugar, raisins, and nutty.

T: Some caramel malt, the brown sugar returns as well. There is a distinct bready flavor and some darker fruits - cherries.

M/D: Slightly bigger than medium bodied with very nice carbonation. Has a nice smooth mouthfeel. A flavorful beer that is a nice treat. Solid for the style for sure.

 532 characters

Photo of smcolw
4.17/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark brown broth with a beige, thick head. Despite that, there's no lace. The beer itself is a cloudy brown where the smallest of light shines through the glass.

Sweet caramel aroma. Very much like brown sugar.

Absolutely superb flavor. There's a great blend of darker malts without any burnt notes. More hoppy than most Scotch ales, but I think this adds to the flavor. At nearly 10% abv, it is stunning how little alcohol shows up on the tongue (some comes through on the swallow). This is a deceptively strong beer.

 520 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Scotty Karate Scotch Ale from Dark Horse Brewing Company
3.99 out of 5 based on 1,798 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.