Great Divide Brewing Company

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Scotch Ale / Wee Heavy
Ranked #133
Ranked #19,239
3.88 | pDev: 11.34%
Great Divide Brewing Company
Colorado, United States
Very Good
Notes: Named for a medieval Scottish sword, Claymore Scotch Ale is our tribute to the legendary “Wee Heavy” beers of Scotland. This malty, deep-ruby beauty features lots of caramel sweetness, a reserved hop profile, and a subtle warming character. Unlike its namesake, this beer only requires one hand, but it’ll still make you feel like nobility.
Reviews: 521 | Ratings: 1,592 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of mscott

4.35/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.5

Really a very good Scotch Ale that I enjoy even more than McEwans but not as much as Belhaven which is the best in class I have had. Have brewed many Wee Heavy's and love the the smoked notes which are authentic for class. This is best Scotch Ale made in USA I have had. A very drinkable beer. A pleasure that is true to the Scotch Ale class though not best.

Aug 01, 2021
Photo of KT3418
KT3418 from Colorado

3.94/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pitch black brew, hint of red in tge sun, very light head, good and malty, upon first sip i got tons of malt which kind of reminded me of the porter vibe but I have littke experience with Scotch ales. Good stuff, ready to have again.

Mar 23, 2021
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TheBricenator from Oregon

3.79/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Look: Dark brownish red and looks black in the glass with a huge beige head that forms and settles quickly, leaving good lacing behind
Aroma: Dark fruit – raisins, prunes, and plums, wafts of smoky malt, brown bread, toffee, and earthiness
Taste: Huge dark fruit notes hit first and followed by nice smoky and toffee led sweet malt. Breadiness and earthy notes come in as the initial punch starts to fade and then fruity smoky notes regain strength and hold through the finish
Mouthfeel: Full, big and bold but soft, a little chewy, and quite soft on the finish without showing almost any hint of its ABV
Overall: I like this one. A little more dark-fruit-forward than several Scotch ales I occasionally drink in that those seem more bready and malt-forward with the dark fruit as a complimentary part, but this is still good. Almost a Belgian Strong Dark Ale-esque flair but then the smoky notes confirm it’s a Scotch. Nice and warming too and hides its alcohol well. Tasty and recommended

Jan 23, 2021
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Iamaskier from Idaho

3.74/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Very dark on the pour, a walnut brownish black. Smell is fairly faint, only really able to discern a malty sweetness. Taste is an upfront sweetness, roasted malt, and a very stout-like chocolate. Carbonation is spot on. All in all a good beer, can’t really go wrong with this style and a meal.

Jan 21, 2021
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barneyrubble from Colorado

3.78/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a can into a tulip glass a short lived 1F medium tan head is formed.

On the nose deep roasted barley malt with a stout like fresh green hop aroma. Molasses, caramel, and dark sugar fill put the aroma profile.

On the palate a sweet smoky caramel malt and a touch of dark barley emerge. Brown licorice, chicory and Ovaltine add to the flavor. A touch of light green hops, lends some dryness on the finish.

Mouthfeel is stout like medium and slick. Carbonation is on the lighter side of medium and texture is round and finishes slick without becoming cloying.

Overall a very good brown beer, with a shot of smoke. On the lower side for hops and leans more toward sweet caramel malt. It is not bitter and not like coffee or too sweet. The smoke note takes it down a bit as it is really not authentic or needed.

Jan 14, 2021
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milkshakebeersucks from Maryland

3.94/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Deep mahogany appearance with a large tan head that faded quickly but left good lacing. Caramel malt aroma, some roastiness, some dark fruit. Rich, malty, earthy taste, gently hopped, with toffee and nuts in the background. Medium bodied, modestly carbonated mouthfeel with a long lasting finish.

Dec 07, 2020
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wmscottsimpsonjr from Missouri

3.61/5  rDev -7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Very dark brown with a one finger, tan head. Warm, heavy malt on the nose, with dried fruit, caramel, a bit of chocolate. The flavor is a little different, with a substantial ashy, smoky peatiness I'm not terribly found of. Sort of sweet, but not for the style, with an almost astringent bitterness. Medium full mouthfeel.

Feb 27, 2020
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maxpower from Missouri

3.46/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz can pours a hazy reddish dark brown, has a nice foamy clingy tan head that leaves a some lacing in my glass, has a sweet fruity and smokey aromas. Nice sweet fruity smoked raisin flavors, medium body with a smooth and creamy mouthfeel, lingering sweetness in the finish.

Feb 05, 2020
Photo of Mister_Faucher
Mister_Faucher from Washington

3.99/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Six pack of cans picked up at Total Wine in Lynnwood, Washington.
Canned on SEP 24 2019. Poured in to a pint glass.

Look- Slightly hazy dark mahogany color, nice light khaki head that recedes fairly quickly, a fair amount of lacing. Light carbonation streaming as it sits.

Smell- Caramel/toffee type malt, coffee, dates and raisins, creme brule, chocolate, light roasted nuttiness and spice notes.

Taste- Follows the nose well, pretty sweet with a bit of a tangy cherry cola type finish.

Feel- Medium bodied, creamy, smooth with a lightly bitter finish, nicely balanced. Moderate carbonation on the tongue.

O- Tasty, not as good as Old Chub imo, but definitely works.

Dec 25, 2019
Photo of daliandragon
daliandragon from Maryland

3.93/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

This is another beer I figured I reviewed a decade or more ago but apparantly was mistaken. The color is a very dark brown with a crescent of ruby at the bottom of my pint glass. The nose is complex, with heavy malt and yeast, peat, a multitude of dark sugars.

The flavor here is obviously malt dominated, with a pretty smothering sweetness. It is only in the aftertaste that you get the complexity: smoke and peat and molasses and dark chocolate are among the flavors.

Solid, but not quite as legendary as the broadsword.

Apr 06, 2019
Photo of Amendm
Amendm from Rhode Island

3.87/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A 12-oz. can, canned on OCT 9 2018 needed a strong pour to reach a finger sized foamy beige head with short retention and small spots of lace.
Semi-opaque deep dark brown with red-amber highlights.
Caramel malt dominates the sweet smell with prune, baking spice and faint roasted malt.
Taste begins semi-sweet and lightly bitter, caramel malt leads the way. The middle features roasted malt and spice with an alcohol bite. The finish is quick and semi-dry, faint coffee, chocolate and spice linger briefly. Light on hop bitterness and smoked peat.
Medium body, below average carbonation. Smooth and buttery with a light astringency.
Easy drink, malty rich and smooth. Dangerously drinkable.

Jan 24, 2019
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DADZIG83 from Pennsylvania

4/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

To me it has a malty, slightly coffee-like, pruny, doppelbock taste. Dark with off white lacing and medium mouthfeel and carbonation. I found this for $14 a case while it was still within the sell by date so that was a fucking awesome buy. I like this stuff.

Jan 23, 2019
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jkblr from Indiana

3.88/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

12oz canned 8/30/18 (2 months ago) poured into a tulip pint glass at fridge temp 7.7% ABV. The beer pours bright dark brown with copper highlights. The head is light brown in color and recedes to a cap and thin ring. The aroma is somewhat earthy with a toasted malt & cocoa note. The taste is a little smokey with some of the cocoa mixed in with tobacco and leather. It is neither sweet nor bitter and finishes almost tangy like a porter but with a gentle earthy, smoke flavor. Mouthfeel is medium to full bodied, adequately carbonated and mostly dry in the finish. Overall, very good. This is a great beer and good representation of the style.

Nov 01, 2018
Photo of Nass
Nass from Florida

2.31/5  rDev -40.5%
look: 2 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.75

I do like the bottle artwork on this beer. Since I am a fan of what the Great Divide Yeti lineup has to offer I expected some more from this beer. There is no caramel note, no sweetness, all I'm getting is an overpowering dark fruit note, but hey if your into beers like that then this might be the right one for you but not this fella right here. Cheers! C-

Oct 09, 2018
Photo of JimboBrews54
JimboBrews54 from Michigan

4.5/5  rDev +16%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Toffee all the way through this one. It is sweet and it is good, gives you that warm up feeling on a cold winter day. Then again this could be enjoyed in any season which it is not too heavy. This beer is a versatile wee heavy!

Oct 08, 2018
Photo of cyclonece09
cyclonece09 from Wisconsin

3.59/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass. Pours black red with a very small off white head. Smells of fruitiness with berry tones dominating. Tastes of darker grain with very slight fruitiness. Beer is full bodied yet easy drinking, good carbonation. Overall, an above average beer.

Apr 26, 2018
Photo of Parmesan
Parmesan from Colorado

4.36/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

L: Pours a dark brown-black with a creamy medium khaki brown head and no lacing on the glass.

S: Caramel, some stone fruit, roasted malt and notes of smoked wood and ash with hints of smoked meat. Very inviting aroma.

T: Caramel, earthy malt, roasted malt, smoke, and ash, with notes of jerky and smoked meat. Very malty, I don't get a lot of hops, some light notes of tart cherry and stone fruit.

F: Heavier body, a little bit of cola like carbonation, wish it was slightly creamier but still nice.

O: I hadn't had this beer in a long time and recently picked up a six-pack and I had forgotten how much I loved this beer.

Mar 27, 2018
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D1noB from Oklahoma

3.39/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

A toasty, malty smoothness then the smoke takes over and lingers.

Taste rating in words: it's the storm that rolls in at dusk and lights the sky back up with the roaring Thunder.

Feb 23, 2018
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Lingenbrau from Oregon

3.99/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Definitely on the darker side of the Wee Heavy spectrum, Claymore pours the deepest of browns, almost black. A thin, creamy, foamy tan head persists and laces the glass moderately.

Sweet and toasted bread, burnt caramel, and the faintest suggestion of smoke meander all around. It smells very rich.

The smoke is indeed subtle, but very welcomed. It cuts through the caramel sweetness, and compliments the roasted nuttiness, allowing for each element to compliment each other wonderfully. An earthy and mildly spicy hop contribution rounds it out in the end.

Fittingly, the body is full, rich, and smooth. It has a stickiness to it, but it's not overbearing. The mild carbonation is just right, and though it has sweet elements, overall this seems well balanced due to the roasted and smokey characters.

Claymore Scotch Ale is a very nice American interpretation of a standard Wee Heavy. It's one I've come to enjoy year after year, and will continue to do so. Yet another well made to style offering from Great Divide. Slainte!

Jan 02, 2018
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Brutaltruth from Ohio

3.93/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From the 12 oz bottle in a snifter. This always welcome ale pours a deep
and very dark mahogany with cola highlights and a decent head of off white
foam that fades to a thin ring with scant lacing. Nose of mild smoked malts,
brown sugars, and subtle berry notes. Flavors hit the perfect note for the style
with a nice lightly smoked peat malt flavor mingling with brown sugars and light
berry notes of blackberry and mild peach with a lightly balanced bitterness from
herbal hops. excellent mouth feel----medium light carbonation, medium mouth feel,
and a rich lightly smoke touched malt driven finish.

Overall, this is what I look for in a good scotch ale.



Oct 18, 2017
Photo of Scott17Taylor
Scott17Taylor from Iowa

3.94/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured dark brown with beige head that dissipated within the first couple minutes.
The aroma was caramel malts with a faint smokiness and a little bit of dark fruit.
The flavor was very sweet and caramelly with a pronounced toastiness and a light piney ness on the finish. The butteriness was lighter than in most scotch ales I've had, but was there.
The mouthfeel was coating and sticky.
Overall it's a solid beer, I'm a pretty big great divide fan and this beer is no exception. It's a very solid option in a style that is not my favorite.

Sep 28, 2017
Photo of skoomd
skoomd from Colorado

3.03/5  rDev -21.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

My first ever irish ale coming from being a hop head.

A: Very dark but ever so slightly opaque color Very little head, but lots of bubbles.

S: Lots of sesame oil/nutty smell, a bit of smokiness, lots of malty sweetness

T: Very similar to the smell. Sweet malts rush over the tongue initially, then you get a deep nutty/smokiness and a bit of hop bitterness at the end. Nutty/smokiness stays in mouth for a very long time.

M: Fairly full bodied and highly carbonated.

O: Since this is my first irish ale, i have nothing to compare it to. But im not the hugest fan, it honestly tastes a lot like sesame oil with a bunch of malts, but it's still easy to drink and has a great mouthfeel.

Sep 04, 2017
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woodychandler from Pennsylvania

4.31/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

I have several Great Divide bottles hanging around & what with today being NBS (Week 653), I decided to make this the third beer in my next brewery horizontal. There is an upside to The Bottle Backlog here at Chez Woody & the opportunity to conduct & CANduct such horizontals is it.

From the bottle: "CLAYMORE SCOTCH ALE Named for a medieval Scottish sword, Claymore Scotch Ale is our tribute to the legendary 'Wee Heavy' beers of Scotland. This malty, deep-ruby beauty features lots of caramel sweetness, a reserved hop profile, and a hearty character. Unlike its namesake, this beer only requires one hand, but it'll make you feel like nobility."; "Great Minds Drink Alike"; "Suggested Food Pairings: Braised pot roast, seared lamb chops, rosemary white beans, grilled sweet potatoes, Morbier cheese, bourbon bread pudding." OMFG, ALL of those sound marvy, just on their own!

I begin this review with a quote from Jarhead (why do the Marines get such great movies & the Navy gets short shrift?): "Hey, Swoff. Which way do I mount this? (pointing towards a Claymore land mine)" "What does it say?"; "'Front toward enemy.' Oh, yeah." "Got to be a clue." "Thanks. Sorry." Hahaha!

Let's see, which way do I Pop! the cap on this bottle? Upside down, behind my back? NO! I am a retired sailor who learned how not to piss all over his hands & feet in boot camp & I can actually count to 100 & recite my ABCs, unlike my jarhead brethren who need to be reminded to breathe & who can count to potato on a good day after intense study.

There was movement in the wire & when the first Claymore exploded, I Pop!ped both smoke & the cap for an emergency dust-off. We're f**king surrounded by beer here, man! I was gentle in my pour, but once it was sufficiently decanted, I gave the insurgents a vigorous swirl to remember me by as the evac choppers began to land. Besides the dust, I managed to raise just over a finger of dense, foamy, light-tan head with decent retention. Color was Dark Brown to Very Dark Brown (SRM = > 27, < 34) with NE-quality & garnet highlights. Nose was rich & sweet with notes of peat malt, chocolate, coffee, napalm, death & other hazardous adjuncts. I fully expected metal spikes to erupt once I got a mouthful. Mouthfeel was medium, surprising light for the style, but now I stood alongside MacBeth, cutting m'f'ers from the naves to the chops! I hear that Lady of his is one hot number. A psycho, but hot as Hades. She must be a ginger. Man, from the jungles of Viet Nam to the foot of high Dunsinane, concealed within Burnham Wood, just from one sip! The taste was very much of smoky, peaty Scotch whiskey. I am more into Rye, but I will drink the occasional Scotch. They just fired a Willy Peat (sorry) flare into the castle & now, the inhabitants are evacuating & in retreat! I must join my brethren in glorious battle against this traitorous, murdering ascendant to the throne. Finish was dry, smoking from the heated battle as they parade MacBeth's head on a pike! Gad, I miss those days!

Aug 27, 2017
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Shade1951 from Pennsylvania

3.95/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured from bottle into pint glass, maybe not vigorously enough as there is no head and no lacing at all. It looks like flat cola. Fortunately, the smell and taste are better, as is the mouthfeel. Now that my palate seems to have grown weary of super-hopped *everything*, I am pleased that there is little hop bitterness here. The flavor is earthy - kind of dirty, but in a good way. Carbonation is moderate even though it looks flat sitting in the glass.

It's not my favorite, but it is solid.

Jul 21, 2017
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cjgiant from District of Columbia

4.02/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

On tap:
Pours a dark, near black to deep mahogany, though the edges show a little dark ruby. Cap of beige just sits there, rolling with the flow - almost looks like a nitro pour.

Nose is quite peaty, almost like a smoked beer. Smoked meat with the lightest roasted note behind it.

Thin feel with medium heft. The nose comes through in the beer. There's a nice little malty sweetness to this beer under the peat/smoke. An amber ale base sneaks through as it warms.

A tasty brew, malty and smokey. Could maybe use a hint, just a little, of extra bitterness.

Jul 11, 2017
Claymore from Great Divide Brewing Company
Beer rating: 87 out of 100 with 1592 ratings