Dark Horse Scotty Karate Scotch Ale | Dark Horse Brewing Company

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very good
592 Reviews
Dark Horse Scotty Karate Scotch AleDark Horse Scotty Karate Scotch Ale

Brewed by:
Dark Horse Brewing Company
Michigan, United States | website

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: 592 | Ratings: 1,753
Photo of Gehrig
4.47/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A thin finger of slightly tan froth rests atop a cloudy mahogany body with toasted orange highlights. Modest duration and lacing somewhat deter Scotty Karate's presentation, making mine based on a great color. Rich aromas--cinnamon, toffee, chocolate, roasted hazelnut coffee--delicious.

The taste is a wonderfully complex amalgam--part dense, malt, part sour, but more sweet--like a sweet-and-sour sugar cookie, honestly. This is a testament to the bready malt pervading Scotty Karate. A hint of raspberry finishes this off.

Splendid mouthfeel, with the smooth malty texture carrying the day but not without more carbonation than I expected. Very delicious but also strong, the 9.75% ABV catches up before this is through. Yet this us a tremendous Scotch Ale, ranking right there with Founders Dirty Bastard, the perpetually underrated brewery Sprecher Pipers, and Traquair Jacobite atop my personal list of favorite Scotch Ales. Very delicious and not to be passed by.

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Photo of mentor
3.34/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Pours a half finger light brown head over a clear rich brown liquid. Head soda pops away. Smells toffe, rich caramel, mild chocolate. Wet overall with tame clean alcohol. Mild citrusy and a tannic earthiness.

Tastes robust. Rich wet sweet with dark grains and dark fruits. Malt is toffee, dry chocolate, and a gentle sour astringency. Fruits are fig, dark raisin, and berry. Finish dries from alcohol and a bit too strong carbonation, which is good as the beer would be way too sticky sweet otherwise. Smoked grain is very low and comes across mostly in the end. Blends well into the chocolate. Thick sticky mouthfeel and medium, yet aggressive carbonation. Drinkability is meh.

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Photo of deereless
3.55/5  rDev -11%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Dark latte color, medium layer of foam, somewhat murky, no lingering signs of carbonation - 3.50, S: Slightly vinegary, some alcohol aromas, overly ripe to rotting plums that remind me of a plum brandy, heavy on the malts - 3.25, T: Strong bitterly sweet malts, mildly sour, dates and black raisins - 3.50, M: Heavy - 4.00, D: Scottish Ales are outside of my area of expertise but this one is very pleasant and drinkable - 3.50

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

Pours a dark, cloudy brown color. Great head of an off-white color (2/3 inch) , good retention, and decent lacing. Smells of sweet malts, slight fruit aroma, and a few other ingredients that are beyond me at this time of rating. By far, the most complex beer I've rated up to this point - wow. Fits the style quite nicely. Tastes of roasted malts, some sweetness possibly from malts, low carbonation, sharp bitterness in the background (some herb or spice). There's a tart aftertaste and a dryness after a sip or two. Overall, a strong beer with lots of flavor and body. Complex from beginning to end - worth a try.

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Photo of Beertracker
4.37/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Dark Horse presents Scotty Karate Scotch Ale. Scotty Karate pours up with a modest carbonation that creates a sustainable, cream colored head that neatly rings the murky, mahogany brown-deep russet body. The clarity becomes much brighter as the beer comes to room temperature. The doughy, sweet aroma shows some nuttiness with a touch of perceivable roastiness along with plenty of caramel, treacle & toffee character. There's a lovely fruity, spiciness that's reminiscent of freshly baked persimmon stollen along with an earthy smokiness that emerges as the beer warms in hand. The generous flavor starts off big & bold with a rich caramel, chocolate laced maltiness that's barely contained by a moderate bitterness which brings a touch of balance to this malt monster! There's an interesting dark, spicy, ripe fruitiness e.g. black currants, blackberry cobbler, figgy pudding that underlies each sip which eventually leads into a rich, satisfying, cheek warming finish. This is a fine Scotch Ale for those long, cold winter night's ahead. Here's to Scotty Karate!

Sláinte! Beertracker

*Trader's Note: Thanks to aqsprint for the opportunity!

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

Thanks to Scoobydank for this extra.

Pours a muddy, dank brown with about half inch of foam. Not much retention.

Nutty malts, caramel, brown sugar, cola, vanilla, fruity, and a slight peaty aroma in the background. Slight smoky with overtones of oak. A bit of raisins and plums.

Loads of caramel, toffee, vanilla, oak, cherry, and raisins. Nutty and cola flavors in mid-palate. Toasted finish. Fruity alcohol finish.

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Photo of xfactor9600
4.39/5  rDev +10%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a snifter by the bartender from the tap.

A-Deep, dark brown beer with a quickly disappearing tan head.

S- Wafts of caramel and hops.

T- Virtually no bitterness. Strong hints of toffee, which I did not perceive in the initial aroma of the beer.

M-Carbonation was somewhat low, but it made the beer very smooth.

D-After a long week at work, it was a nice change of pace beer. I liked it so much that I had a second one and convinced another at the table to give it a try.

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Photo of CHSLBrew
3.8/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a snifter.

A-Deep, dark brown beer, appears to be opaque. Poured a thin tan head, low retention down to nearly nothing.

S-A wallop of caramelly goodness! Under this, there were some hints of toffee and some light fruits.

T-Strong, deep toffee with a rather smooth alcohol on the finish. Even a bit of biscuity, toasted malt flavor is able to poke its head through. Some highlights of fruitiness. Bitterness is imperceptible.

M-Creamy and smooth, medium-full body. Carbonation was medium-low.

D-Wow. Although not my typical beer choice, this Scotch ale is pretty darn good. Deep flavor, though perhaps a bit more one-dimensional than expected.

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Photo of MacDomer
3.53/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into my standard pint glass.

A - Delivers a great big creamy light tan head on the pour. Very nice rich, clear dark maroon/mahogany with ruby highlights. No lacing whatsoever.

S - Dark fruits, dark cherries, the faintest hint of vanilla, and a hint of alcohol. Then lots a lots of caramel malts.

T - Tasty, but not very complex. Dark fuits, toasty caramel, slight smokey notes. A bit milky? Not much alcohol in the taste.

M - Feels undercarbonated to me. Very, very smooth, but a bit thin.

D - This was nice to try, but I won't seek it out. I generally like Dark Horse, but this wasn't one of their best brews. Alltogether this was decent enough.

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Photo of SaucyA
4.05/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Fresh 2008.

A - Sniftered. Pours with a nice off-white head that quickly disappears into a little ring around the glass. The color is a deep chestnut with amber highlights. Carbonation moves through the body at a slow rate.

S - Dark fruits, cherry juice, slightly smokey malts, no booze. An almost German hefe yeastiness, underlying melted caramel.

T - Well put-together, if a little muted. I'm gonna wait for this to warm up a minute. A huge malt-bomb. Earthy characteristics, little to no bitterness on the finish. This is just a sweet, peaty, malty brew with nothing off... and nothing stand-out. Worth drinking, and well worth the price of admission.

M - Right on as far as I'm concerned. Medium-light bodied plus a creamy, fine carbonation.

D - Quite drinkable, as there's nothing that'll stop me, aside from the ABV.

Notes: Scotty Karate may not be the best Scotch Ale ever made, but it's nothing to scoff at. For the price, and the taste, there's no better option in Michigan.

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Photo of littlekidlover
4.32/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I poured a bit of the Scotty Karate into a wine glass. The beer is a transparent reddish brown. Smells of caramel and raisin, little bit of smoke, less smoke thanThree Floyds Robert the Bruce. I was overall fairly impressed, for the style it is one of the better ones I've had. I like Robert The Bruce a little more, but just a little more.

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Photo of Morbo
4.52/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a lovely clear sienna, with just a finger of pale beige head that doesn't stick around for very long. There is quite a bit of sediment, but luckily it all stayed in the bottle. Be careful when pouring!

The nose is sweet maple, raisins, and just a hint of smoke.

Flavors are earthy, with tons of dried fruit, particularly raisin and cherry, a hint of red apple is in there too. A touch of cocoa in there somewhere. There is some honey-like sweetness, but it is not cloying. A touch of herbal hops and some peaty smoke in the finish, especially as it warms.

The medium body and low amount of carbonation make for a wonderful creamy mouthfeel, with just a bit of dryness in the finish.

The 9.75% alcohol is barely perceptible, which can be dangerous in a beer that is this creamy and delicious. This is incredibly drinkable for such a potent brew.

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Photo of cokes
4.35/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Mostly cloudy, blackened, cherrywood-highlighed in color, with a thinning beige dome.
Aromatic of cranberries, currants, roasted grain, almonds, coffee, sherry, brandy, and an ever-growning smoked peat mistiness as it warms to room temperature.
It flows sweetly into the mouth with toffee and honeyed grains with some dryish,background java notes. Fruits pop up and disappear. An apple here. A bruised pear there. A date someplace else. Some scattered raisins. A plum, or two. Some sort of jammy berry mixture. Brown sugar and bread sweep everything up, and then it's suddenly cookie-like...a booze-dipped Fig Newton. Smoke peeks out, wispy but muddy, ancient, and maritime, and discernably Scotch. Alcohol is grapey, present, with a bit of woody (or Scotchy) sherry presence.
Full bodied. Virtually no carbonation. Notably boozy. Balanced all the way toward malt. Still, this manages to drink with some haste.
This is simply a massive, multi-faceted, malt missle.
Gotta love it.

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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 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 beckje01
4.25/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A- A muddy brown color with a thin head.

S- A slight peaty malty nose but a dry smelling.

T- Nice a dry malty flavor a slight bit of peat and earthiness to the flavors goes very well.

M- Nice smooth feel a slight touch of bubbles but nothing big.

D- Very drinkable and I would probably seek this one out again.(Which is a big deal considering how many good beers there are left to try for the first time.)

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

Pours a murky/dirty looking brown with grayish colorings at the edges. Almost no head is created on a pretty heavy pour,maybe the smallest head I have yet to encounter. The nose smells of roasted malts,heavy wheat bread notes,raisins and smoked beef jerky. This is a nice Scottish Ale with some unique flavors. Reminds me of heavily toasted raisin nut bread with some dry almost dusty flavors. The mouthfeel is soft for such a big beer and helps offset the warming alcohol that bites at the throat a little on the finish. This is a solid Wee Heavy with lots of personality to spare.

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Photo of GRPunk
4.22/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle poured into a tulip glass

A- It poured with a tan lace, never really acheiving a real head on top off a very dark brown body.

S- Very nice aroma. It was scotch-like with a sweet mash scent with some light smokiness.

T- Really whiskeyish. There was a light peat smoke and slightly sweet flavor with some warming alcohol in the back of the throat.

M- Low carbonation and a thick/solid feel made or a really smooth beer.

D- It's a nice slow sipper and a great cold weather beer.

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Photo of Buebie
4.29/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to pwoods for this bottle.

Poured from a 12oz brown bottle into a snifter.
Color is a dark brown with redish hues when held to light. Light brown 1 finger cola like head. Fizzles down to a very thin layer of retention.
Not much from the lace department.

Big oaky aroma from this, its either barrel aged, or toasted oak chips have been added.
Some raisins and plums, loads of sweet caremal malt smell. Maple syrup, faint wiff of alcahol. Hints of vanilla, but I attribute that to the oak.

Slight inkyness to the texture, this is smooth. Carbonation is very mellow.
More chewy oak toasty flavors. Caramel, vanilla, maple syrup, some sweet unfermented sugars.
Finishes dry and smooth with a mellow linger of toasted oak. Slight sour fruit flavors as well.

Damn good stuff right there.

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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.

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Photo of johnd513
3.62/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

This beer pours a dark amber ale. Smells of scotch and is a bit spicy. The taste is similar to the smell and is very sweet. The big problem I had with this beer was the mouthfeel. I know I am not the only person who feels this way so I do not think I got a bad bottle. This beer just tastes really flat to me. Still, this beer is a nice sipper. Drinkability was decent considering the high abv. I could see myself drinking two of these.

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Photo of imperialbigswig
4.22/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I love this stuff, definitely one of my favorite scotch ales, I wish more of the scotch ales came out like this one.
A- dark rich amber, heavy sediment in the bottom of the bottle.
S- heavy, malty, sweet, smoke?,
T- malty
m- medium weight, not light not heavy
D- another dangerous high abv brew, too easy drink for the high abv, Nice Work!!
Note: I really think this needs to be available year round

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Photo of Dalem
4.07/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pouring a very dark mahogany in color with all kinds of non-filtered sediment goodness floating around and a minimal head that's gone in seconds and lacing that is slight they're off to a good start to at least what yours truly looks for in this style. A sweet caramel & toffee scent are right up front. Yep! Big and malty! They are then complimented by some smokey and earthy undertones.
Whole lotta caramel flavor in the first sip with something like a dark roast coffee with a chocolate covered cherry soaking in it chaser right on directly behind it. There's a lot of fat end body in this brew so it coats as it goes down leaving a coffee/chocolate/cherry taste on the back of your mouth and a very warming sensation down the throat and through the body. Woo! Watch out though cuz a bit of a peppery alcohol bite snaps at you in it's finish. The sweet and bitter balances are full of all kinds of flavorful complexities.

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Photo of bluemoonswoon
4.22/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a deep, dark roasted brown, with deep and dark, amber highlights. The beer is topped with a half inch of creamy, sandy white head that fades rather quickly and leaves little lacing. Maybe I should rinse out my glasses a bit more, but damn, I am cleaning these things as best I can: washing my hands with soap, then washing that off with salt then finally handwashing with baking soda, followed by a long rinse in hot water, really can't see a flaw in this system. Can recover some head with a swish or two of the glass, but still not much lacing to be had. Could be a result of the beer's size but still I'd like a little something.

S: Opens very peaty, earthy and with a mild smokiness. Given a bit more time to warm the aroma becomes much sweeter, but still does not lose much in the way of smokeiness. Nice malty caramel sweetness mixes well with the smoky aspects of this beer.

T/MF: Slight smokiness comes through quite quickly and moves on just as fast to a dark (slightly friuty) sweetness, while still maintaining those smokey edges. Mouthfeel is balanced nicely between chewy malt sweetness and tongue scathing hop bitterness. I should clarify, the hops are not neccessarily tongue scating, they can be felt more in the finish as they have a nice drying aspect on the tip and center of the tongue, otherwise this beer is defined by nice and chewy malt sweetness.

D: Damn good I would say, the mixture of sweetness and smokiness is something I have not encoutered very much in any beer, so any chance I get to experience this makes me happy. ABV on this is hidden quite well and the feel and body of this beer make it go down almost too fast. But I wish it just looked a bit nicer to round out the whole drinking experience.

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Photo of Yesac
4.12/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Got this on trade from jspruit - thanks!

A - Solid caramel brown in color, small white head that fades away.

S - Caramel, spice, and scotch

T - Sweet caramel, malts in the middle along with a hint of floral hops.. a subtle alcohol warming finish. The 9.75% well very well hidden.

M - Very smooth..

D - So smooth and extremely well balanced. Easy drinker..I'd have a couple

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Dark Horse Scotty Karate Scotch Ale from Dark Horse Brewing Company
89 out of 100 based on 592 ratings.
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