Scotty Karate Scotch Ale | Dark Horse Brewing Company

very good
1,800 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 Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Ratings: 1,800 |  Reviews: 598
Photo of Ultraman9000
4/5  rDev +0.3%

Photo of bmoney
4.25/5  rDev +6.5%

Photo of BarryMFBurton
3.74/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The label and the name got me again: really, how could you pass up a beer called Scotty Karate, especially when it’s emblazoned in a crazy purple and yellow designs? Plus, it’s my first Dark Horse beer, and that certainly helped me make the decision.

No freshness date to be found, but it was probably brewed recently (since I just began seeing it on the shelves).

A: Classic Scotch ale murkiness on the body, pouring a brownish-maroon color that lets just about 20% of light through. As I swirl it, I’m imagining what it would look like if you liquefied a chocolate Tootsie Pop; I’m guessing it would look something like this. Short and creamy white was the head – I say “was” because it’s down to nothing in a matter of seconds, without even a thought of lacing. For now, some bubbles hit the top of the body and make fizzy little patterns of film, and that’s all there is to the head. Though it’s 9.75% ABV, it doesn’t show off a thick character – on the contrary, its body color and lack of a head put a watery spin on the appearance.

S: Wow – I love this beer’s nose. Scotch ales have a tendency to have this overpowering booze and peat aroma, usually distracting me from everything underneath, but not this time: turns out that Scotty has a predominantly sweet profile, with notes of everything from cherry and strawberry to peach cobbler, pear, and raisin. This light, cheerful presence is contrasted by a wave of malt soon after, rising up high on aromas of maple syrup and caramel before crashing (smoothly) into the peat, wood, and chocolate aromas that have defined my previous Scotch ale experiences. Going along that same theme, there’s a noseful of whiskey at the end, almost as if Scotty needed to confirm with my memory that this really is a Scotch ale.

T: Miso soup. How the hell…? I’m seriously getting a crazy taste memory of that brothy Japanese dish every time I take a drink. And you know what? I kind of like it. It’s probably due to the buttery, grainy, somewhat salty malt/hop balance that casts its character over the rest of the beer’s palate – to me, though, it brings a good sensation to the taste buds, and that’s all that really matters in the end. Between the two, the hops are probably the main culprit, which are astringently pale but without so much as a second of pine or citrus taste. The malts give off that buttery straw feeling, but with some apple butter, fresh pear, and grape jelly flavors. Yeast and alcohol, playing second fiddle to the Asian food profile, give some rye bread and bourbon spice before hitting the aftertaste with a nutty earthiness. Some bitter hop notes end up mixing in to form a lightly-salted finish.

M: Not as watery as the appearance made it seem, though thankfully not as thick as miso soup. Good balance between the two extremes, you might say, though the watery tone wins out in the end.

O: I had an odd, yet pleasant experience with this beer. At least it left with something to remember it by, at least; and even apart from that, it certainly was a good beer. Give me a month and a second bottle to see if I get some more tastes of Japanese food…

 3,169 characters

Photo of MajorBuckeye
4.25/5  rDev +6.5%

Photo of 2dogbrew
3.75/5  rDev -6%

3.75/5  rDev -6%

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

A - Pours a clear deep amber/copper with one finger of creamy tan head. Head has pretty good retention, eventually fading to a collar. Some lacing.

S - Sweet caramel malt and earthy brown bread, some spice,and a faint raisin aroma. Didn't really get any alcohol aroma from this.

T - Starts with a big rush of sweet caramel and quickly turns quite dry. Very bready, with a nice dense brown bread taste. Some subtle dark fruits and a faint tea-like flavor on the finish.

M - Starts a bit sticky sweet and very creamy. Finishes earthy and dry.

O - One of my favorite Scotch Ales. Very drinkable. Nice combination of initial sweetness eventually yielding to an earthy dryness.

 676 characters

Photo of andrewengler
1/5  rDev -74.9%

Photo of Fitzmke
4/5  rDev +0.3%

Photo of MordorMongo
4.5/5  rDev +12.8%

Photo of SHCC
4/5  rDev +0.3%

Photo of tourdot
4.25/5  rDev +6.5%

Photo of JTSbeerislife
4.21/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Purchased from a reliable bottle shop 11/2011 and well stored at 45 degrees since.

Poured into a Dogfish Head Signature Snifter.

Pours a huge two finger head, frothy, this reduces very slowly to a ¼ “ head, then to a very nice opaque cap, which is excellent progression for a bottled beer, picture perfect.
Very deep reddish amber with fine bubble carbonation. Excellent thick lace which clings to the side of the glass. Beautiful Ale look.

Malt and yeast dominated aroma when first poured, followed by candish sweet malt and a sense of richness, sorry this is the best I can do because I sense there is more here than I can detect.

Big, crisp, frothily carbonated and malty entry on the palate followed by rich, faintly chocolate, candied, yeasty ale flavors. Rather refined and elegant flavors. Full mouth feel, with the acidity and carbonation just balancing everything out. There us no sense of this ale being 9.7 % ABV. Delicious!

Good smooth finish of candied malt.

For whatever reason, visually, tonight’s pour was a classic. Bravo!
While maybe not overly complex it has what it takes to be a Scotch Ale.
With no bottle date info and the fact that I had stored it for a while, this ale may be past its prime, I really don’t know.
That being said, take the chance, it was delicious and a very enjoyable ale, and one that I will be drinking again.

 1,378 characters

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

Bottle poured into a tulip

A: Pours a very cloudy, milk chocolate brown color with a thin tan head.

S: Gratuitous malty sweetness fills the nose and lingers beyond anything else while hints of Belgian yeastiness and dark, heavy fruits meander their way through as well.

T/M: Tastes sweet with plum, dates, even some chocolate. Really very nice and one of the sweeter scotch ales. Faint traces of alcohol become apparent at the end, but it's not terribly potent and it tends to balance the sweetness for a cleaner finish.

An interesting and unique scotch ale, but a great one at that.

 610 characters

Photo of dwduncan2
4/5  rDev +0.3%

Photo of Zachtheporter
4/5  rDev +0.3%

Photo of outsider
4.5/5  rDev +12.8%

Photo of Beezee
4.5/5  rDev +12.8%

Photo of Harvey98
3.75/5  rDev -6%

Photo of coz
3.5/5  rDev -12.3%

Photo of SaintJonah
4.5/5  rDev +12.8%

Photo of Pintofbrown
3.95/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I was kung-fu fighting with a nonic pint glass. A big thank you to Geneseohawk for this one.

Appearance- The ecru-colored foam gets to about a finger in width. The frothy stuff dies pretty quickly, and no lace is present on the side of my pint glass.

The body is a smidge better, sporting a dark hazelnut hue that has a vibrant wash of ruby colored highlights.

Smell- The distinct caramel, peaty quality of a Scotch Ale is present. Also some woodiness, grassy hops, and a dark fruit tang. I guess it is more like dark cherries after a couple more sniffs.

Taste- More sweetness on the palate than the woody and smokey peat. Vanilla and a dash of caramel. I still get some dark cherries rolling up onto the palate.

Mid-drink there is a little smokiness and a touch of peat. The finish actually devolves into a char-like quality chocolate, caramel note. This drink is pretty rich, and has just a little edge.

Mouth feel- I was surprised this aspect of the beer was not better. It is a little thin for the luscious flavors that this beer contains. A decent enough medium body, I feel that this could be a bit bigger as well.

It rolls over the tongue nicely enough, and is in no way hard to drink. It would be nice if there was a little more coating to get this good finish to last longer.

Overall- This beer is very solid, and will certainly be one I will have again. The flavors are a nice mix of sweet and smokey, although the vanilla should hang on a little longer and not get muddled behind the smokiness.

The feel is by far the biggest "problem" with Scotty Karate. Just not full enough, and it lacks the coating that could let you really savor the beer.

 1,664 characters

Photo of IBSRJOE
4/5  rDev +0.3%

Photo of imperialking
4/5  rDev +0.3%

Photo of cynical1027
4/5  rDev +0.3%

Scotty Karate Scotch Ale from Dark Horse Brewing Company
3.99 out of 5 based on 1,800 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.