Scotty Karate Scotch Ale | Dark Horse Brewing Company

Your Rating: None
Want it   Got it 
Scotty Karate Scotch AleScotty Karate Scotch Ale
1,842 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:
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.

Added by ypsifly on 01-28-2006

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Ratings: 1,842 |  Reviews: 611
Photo of BeerBelcher
3.58/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I've had several Dark Horse beers lately, and have been fairly impressed by their offerings, and the smokey flavor of this beer makes it no exception.

Appearance is a hazy red-brown with abundant white head. Aroma is a sour oakiness. Flavor to me is like a smoked butterscotch with a bit of sourness at the finish. Mouthfeel is slightly sticky...the flavor of the beer lingers on the tongue quite awhile. Rather drinkable for this style.

 440 characters

Photo of neonbrown82
4.04/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

This is a decent scotch ale, if not a bit sweet for my tastes. Pours to a dark nutty brownish amber color. Fairly clear when held up to the light. Very little head to speak of, thus retention is a non-issue. No lacing either.

The smell is great. Has a heavy caramelized malt aroma with a hint of woodsmoke. A hint of ethanol burns the nostrils. From the smell of it, it's shaping up to be a good scotch ale.

The taste is good, though it is a bit cloying in sweetness. Too much caramel malt perhaps? Maybe could have gotten better caramel flavor from a longer boil without the cloying sweetness of overusing caramel malt. Has a hint of smoked malt, like rauchmalt as opposed to peated malt. Just enough to give it that hint of smoke without the smoked bacon flavor. Has a decent alcohol burn in the finish with a light hop bite. Almost tastes like a scotch whiskey.

The body is very thick from the caramel malts. The carbonation is so soft on the palate it almost seems flat. It is also very warming, as one could imagine. It would be tough to drink more than one in a sitting, but it would make a nice pairing with a fine scotch.

 1,139 characters

Photo of merlin48
3.92/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Interesting label art on the bottle, as pictured. Pours a hazed, dark caramel body with absolutely no head and just a wisp of lacing. Aroma is malty sweet with notes of brown sugar, toffee, and dark fruits. Hints of smoke and floral hops. Medium body with low carbonation. Taste is sweetish malts balanced by a slight floral hops bitterness. Some dark fruits add more sweetness. The alcohol is slightly warming. Has some characteristics of a Belgian dark ale but still an interesting and enjoyable take on the style.

 516 characters

Photo of rhoadsrage
4.35/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

(Served in an American pint glass)

A- This beer has a dark brown opaque body with a red glow from the base where the light comes through. There is a thin creamy head that creates sticky layers of foam after each sip.

S- This beer has a soft dark toasted malt but not black roasted malt notes. There is a hint of bacon or wood smoke that is very soft and adds a nice depth. There is a caramel malt hint that comes through as it warms a bit.

T- The taste of dark roasted malt has some caramel malt and chocolate malt notes to it. There is a soft smoke note in the background and a light nougat note at the finish that adds a nice depth. There is a light hint of Band-Aid but it is a nice touch. There is also a soft cola note in the malt aswell.

M- This beer has a medium-full mouthfeel with a soft fizz fills out the mouthfeel. There is a very soft alcohol warmth in the finish.

D- This beer has a smoke that is very well done and great malt depth. So often American Wee Heavys are tons of peat flavor that is nasty but this beer really has the perfect peat hint in the background to support the great malt flavors. This beer is still very drinkable.

 1,167 characters

Photo of mjd83goblue
3.67/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz single for $1.99

A: Pours a ruddy brown, somewhat cloudy/dirty looking. Small head, very little carbonation.

S: Smells quite fruity, not as much caramel/toffee as I would expect. A big sweet malty smell.

T: Dark fruits, some buttery toffee. A hint of peaty smoke. Only the slightest warming from the alcohol

M: Sweet without beeing sticky.

D: Quite good. The alcohol is pretty well hidden here.

Overall a pretty good beer, as are most from Dark Horse. This one makes a nice nightcap.

 512 characters

Photo of objectivemonkey
3.79/5  rDev -6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Into a pint glass, pours a dark unappealing brown, no head, then some, then none, with a sickly looking film on top, and bubbly ring. Looks like sludge, unfortunately. Aroma is highly sweet malts, dark fruits, plums and over-ripe apricots, some boubon maybe or some other liquer I can't distinguish. Taste is powerful, boubon, fruits, similar to aroma, but the mouth is kind of thinnish to medium, which doesn't mingle well with the noticably higher alcohol content. Its decently drinkable, but a bit quirky, as most Scotch Ales are for me I guess.

 548 characters

Photo of hoppymeal
3.65/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a murky orangish brown with basically no head, even a fierce swirling produces only a few loose bubbles. Aroma is burnt paper, peaty and smoky, a little rubbery with some fruity malts behind it. Sweet and slightly syrupy on the tongue, the sweet berry and sugary maltiness is at first dominant in the taste but then is taken over in the finish by a bit of the smokiness and a nice small prickly tingle on the tongue. A medium dry finish. Overall a nice easy drinker, rich but not too rich, I enjoy the lack of carbonation and the nice bit of smokiness.

 558 characters

Photo of Westsidethreat
3.75/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Oddly, this beer starts out looking like its flat as a board....but then a medium tan head pops up out of no where. But as fast as it came, it went leaving just a slick across the top. Body is very cloudy, dark mahogoney color with sediment lurking at the bottom of the glass.

S: Rootbeer, chocolate, caramel, mushrooms and a minor waft of smoke.

T: Starts with fruity esters hitting the tongue; primarily raspberry, blueberry and blackberry. Surprisingly bitter for the style, more than one usually finds in a wee heavy. Small amounts of chocolate with hints of butterfinger can be found after the fruit flavors subside a bit. I'd imagine these will become more pronounced once the beer warms. Some peat like flavors dance around the center of the tongue and are some of the last flavors remaining after the swallow. Finishes slightly cloying, little bit malty with moments of maple syrup.

M: Medium body, smooth and soft.

D: I don't know why I had in my head I was going to be head over heals in love with this beer. It was good but nothing like some of the top notch wee heavy's out there.

 1,108 characters

Photo of nortmand
4.27/5  rDev +6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours reddish brown and a bit hazy with a tan white head.

Sweet honey and flowers in the nose. Molasses and caramel.

Strong malt up front. Balances on the back of the tongue by a resiny hoppiness. Pretty nice.

Huge, chewy body, high alcohol and really big, but very drinkable.

 285 characters

Photo of scruffwhor
3.84/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark, rusty, caramelized plum skin. No real head to speak of. Has some coppery highlights with no bubbles. The aroma is awesomely malty and full of dark, toasted, fruits. The taste is a little more complex, bringing some caramel and moe specific fruits like , plums, prunes, and black cherries to round out the fruity malt. The alcohol mixes well with this malty obslaught. Could be better of a plain malt was detected than a just fruity malts. The palate is smooth and a little hot from the alcohol.

 508 characters

Photo of brewcrew76
4.32/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours a deep brown with ruby and amber highlights when held up to the light. A very thin tan head floats on top and disappears quickly.

S - Toffee, raisins, dark fruits, a slight hint of chocolate and sweet brown sugar.

T - Sweet caramel, raisins, dark fruits, sweet brown sugar and just the slightest hint of smoke. Sweet but not cloying.

M - Medium bodied and smooth. Warming alcohol presence that is not noticed in the taste.

D - I have had this one several times on tap and haven't been a big fan. It was very tasty from the bottle.

 552 characters

Photo of geexploitation
4.53/5  rDev +12.4%
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.

 941 characters

Photo of Golden2wenty1
3.98/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Picked up a single at Riley's here in Madison.

Pour: a ruddy mahogany hue, nearly clear under a smallish cream head.

Nose: simple caramel malts, hint of smoke, nut and vanilla

Taste: sweet caramel malts, toasted grain, vanilla smoke

Feel: light from the booze, slick and dry

Drinkability/Overall: Drinkability is quite high for nearly 10% abv. A solid all-around wee heavy, no Lake Louie, but impressively tight.

 427 characters

Photo of Winter
4.1/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark brown in color with copper hightlights. Very little head, but I guess that's somewhat expected with the 9.75% abv. Alluring aroma of brown sugar, caramel, sweet malt and just a hint of raisins. The moutfeel is smooth and medium-bodied. Taste starts off with sweet caramelly malt. Brown sugar follows. I begin to pick up flavors of dark fruit (raisiny) toward the middle and a real light smokiness follows. Sweet malt flavors return in the finish with a very low hop bitterness.

This was a very enjoyable. The alcohol is barely detectable and makes for a smooth, flavorful drinking Scotch Ale.

 608 characters

Photo of jj21
3.85/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a very hazy murky brown color with some carbonation leading to a good, creamy tan head. Muted aromas of Caramel and sweet malts with hints of yeast. Disappointed at the subtlty of the aroma. Sweet caramel flavor with dark fruits and an extremely well balanced citrus hoppiness and roasted malts in the finish. Not an overly sweet Scottish with the hops balancing very well. This beer is so smooth to drink. The unexpected hoppiness leaves you wanting more.

 462 characters

Photo of benito
3.8/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Picked up a bottle at Cloverleaf's earlier this week, and I'm excited to give this a shot.

A copper colored and headless Scotch ale with a sweet, tea-like aroma that really shines when it crosses the palate: this beer is the perfect accompaniment to flank steak, and over the course of a pint, it reveals a myriad of flavors, including cinnamon, ginger, sausage, and cotton candy. I loved the various flavor combinations, all of which seemed to mix well with this medium-bodied brew.

A worthy food pairer from Dark Horse. Recommended.

 540 characters

Photo of aforbes10
4.26/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

another beer tried at the Great Lakes Brewfest. I was excited to try a dark horse beer that i hadn't had before. poured cloudy hazlenut brown color. smells peaty and smokey. taste is a big old smack of alcohol, wet peat, and scottish smokiness. Reminds me a lot of some good old single malt scotch. top notch...and they said to expect this year's line of bottles soon.

 368 characters

Photo of alexgash
4.03/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark, slightly hazy amber brown body with a thick, long-lasting, khaki head. Rich, malty brown sugar mingles with rummy fruit, charred campfire logs, and spicy hops. Sweetish, toffee-heavy malt flavor is yummy. Roasted, toasted alcohol rolls into a bitter, biscuity, syrupy finish. Full-bodied with a warming glow. Very good.

 325 characters

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

appearance: The pour gives a low, tan colored head that soon recedes to just a ring around the glass and a small island of carbonation. The beer is a reddish chestnut brown in color.

smell: Upfront are notes of sweet, peaty malts ferried to the nostrils on big waves of boozy ethanol. Raw sugars and the fruits full of them, like date and plum, are found in abundance. I also find hints of milk chocolate and vanilla as well as a woody, bourbony aroma. Just a little hop aroma is noticeable.

mouthfeel: The carbonation is on the far low side of the medium range, and smooth. The body is slick and full.

taste: Big, highly sweet flavors of peaty and some lightly toasted malts bring to the table notes of dark, sugary fruits including plum and maybe some date. The hop flavor is nondescript and light, with a subtle bitterness lasting into the finish with some sugary flavors. Nice ethanol presence...enough to make itself well known, but not distracting.

drinkability: Based mainly on the aroma but also the flavor, I'd almost call this a Scottish barleywine...very rich and boozy with heavy dark sugars. A pleasure to drink.

12 oz. bottle shipped to me from dirtylou in WI and cellared for a few months

 1,218 characters

Photo of RoyalT
3.89/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance – This is a dingy brown in color with a nice brown-white head that somehow formed in this pool of darkish booze.

Smell – The rich sweets and light alcohol dominate the nose. The sweets are dark, like plums, prunes, and apricot pits. The peat is faint and reminds me of beer aged in whiskey barrels. There’s some noticeable malt in the nose as well.

Taste – The sugars explode at the taste, so prepare yourself for that first sip. The smoky character comes out a bit more at the taste as well, but it’s still not what I would consider strong.

Mouthfeel – This is a medium-bodied ale with a light, raunchy alcohol presence but not stinging.

Drinkability – This is a mouth-watering Scottish explosion that will surprise even those familiar with the style.

 782 characters

Photo of Mitchster
4.15/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours out to a cloudy dark amber, forming a creamy soft yello-khaki head with average retention and sparse lacing. Carbonation is mild to moderate. The aroma is rich and pleasing with an assortment of rotting apples, dates, sticky amber malts, raisins, a touch of distant smoke and biscuits. As it warms, alcohol becomes quite noticeable. The mouthfeel is smooth and creamy with a big, dense, syrupy body. The taste begins with a smattering of herbal hops, followed by big amber malts, dark rum, rotten strawberries and black cherries, and dark fruits in the middle. The aftertaste is of prunes, leather and tobacco with mild bitterness. Alcohol is noticeable and distinct, but not overly offensive. The finish has distant grain husk and faint overtones of soap.

A big beer as is tradition for Dark Horse. This is closer to a "Double Scotch" as it's so over the top for the style. The alcohol is a touch too aggressive and limits it's drinkability. Despite this, this is a very good brew but I'm not compelled to buy it again.

 1,029 characters

Photo of lou91
4.2/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to CRJMellor for this sample. This beer poured dark rich and thick and smelled and tasted like it looked. Big malt flavors with hints of chocolate covered fruit and a great alcohol burn. It took me an hour + to drink this and as it warmed it tasted like an old ale. I wouldn’t call this a scotch ale but a nice hybrid of wee heavy, old ale and a bit of Belgian dark ale.

 378 characters

Photo of nflmvp
4/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to CRJMellor for this sample.

Poured a dark cola brown with a nice 3 finger head that disappated very slowly.

Smell was sweet and fruity. Perhaps a little caramel too.

Taste was malty, sweet and caramel.

Mouthfeel was moderate to thick. The alcohol was VERY well hidden.

Overall drinkability was good.

Wish I'd have gotten more than one of these in trade.

 380 characters

Photo of meathookjones
4.18/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Body is a very dark brown color with a nice size light tan head. Nice rings of lace clumped around the glass as it was consumed. Plenty of ripe dark fruit sweetness with some alcohol hinting at the strength of it in the aroma. Light earthiness peaks through as well. More ripe fruits upfront in the flavor with a nice backing of earthy smoke. Light alcohol and caramel. Sweet fruit and smokiness on end. Pretty hefty body that’s quite smooth. Goes down quite easy for a big brew. Very nice overall beer.

 504 characters

Photo of xgrigorix
3.68/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Twelve ounce brown bottle, no dates.

Tawny dark brown. Thin tan coloured head leaves no lace.

Nose is heavy on malt & dark stone fruit.

Tasty malt. Plenty sweet / big caramel flavours. Light fruitiness (touch of plums). Medium bodied, moderate carbonation. Off dry finish.

 281 characters

Scotty Karate Scotch Ale from Dark Horse Brewing Company
Beer rating: 4.03 out of 5 with 1,842 ratings