Great Divide Brewing Company

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Scotch Ale / Wee Heavy
Ranked #147
Ranked #15,596
3.87 | pDev: 11.37%
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: 512 | Ratings: 1,572 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of daliandragon
3.93/5  rDev +1.6%
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.

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Photo of Amendm
3.87/5  rDev 0%
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.

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Photo of DADZIG83
4/5  rDev +3.4%
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.

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Photo of jkblr
3.88/5  rDev +0.3%
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.

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Photo of Nass
2.31/5  rDev -40.3%
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-

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Photo of JimboBrews54
4.5/5  rDev +16.3%
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!

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Photo of cyclonece09
3.59/5  rDev -7.2%
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.

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Photo of Parmesan
4.36/5  rDev +12.7%
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.

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Photo of D1noB
3.39/5  rDev -12.4%
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.

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Photo of Lingenbrau
3.99/5  rDev +3.1%
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!

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Photo of Brutaltruth
3.93/5  rDev +1.6%
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.



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Photo of Scott17Taylor
3.94/5  rDev +1.8%
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.

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Photo of skoomd
3.03/5  rDev -21.7%
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.

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Photo of woodychandler
4.31/5  rDev +11.4%
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!

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Photo of Shade1951
3.95/5  rDev +2.1%
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.

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Photo of cjgiant
4.02/5  rDev +3.9%
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.

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Photo of Just-the-sip
4.31/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

My first Scotch Ale was duck rabbit. And I loved it. Therefore it's my bar. Yes this is a top notch Scotch Ale, but I just didn't go Gaga over it like the duck rabbit. Look isn't red. This is much much darker. Smell is solid. Sweet cherry and a lot of cereal smell to me. Taste is great. No booziness at all great job hiding that. Alkali, bready and sweet bread. Feel is good. Great carbonation. Just enough. Overall I'd drink this again. It's a great beer. But if I saw Duckrabbit sitting side by side I'd choose that over The Claymore.

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Photo of mothmanscott
4.08/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours dark brown with ruby tint. Has tall, 2 inch, tan, shortlived, head leaving a splotchy & wispy lacing. Aroma is musty roasted & burnt malt, cocoa, coffee grounds, toffee, vanilla & butterscotch. Taste is a Mecca of heavy roast, dark malt, molasses/caramel/toffee, yeast, roasted nuts, semi-sweet dark chocolate & faint coffee with a buttery, smokey & faintly scotch whiskey finish. Afrertaste is sweet but deeply roasted malts, roasted nuts & sulfury molasses. Mouthfeel is medium to heavy bodied, creamy, slick & a little peppery prickle.

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Photo of superspak
4/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle into snifter, bottled on 4/24/2017. Pours clear very dark brown color with a 1 finger dense and fluffy light khaki head with great retention, that reduces to a small cap that lingers. Nice spotty soapy lacing clings around the glass, with a fair amount of streaming carbonation retaining the cap. Aromas of big caramel, brown sugar, brown bread, toasted biscuit, and nuttiness; with lighter notes of chocolate, cocoa, coffee, toffee, smoke, raisin, plum, fig, herbal, wood, pepper, and roast/toasted earthiness. Damn nice aromas with great balance and complexity of dark/bready/light roasted malts and light-moderate earthy hop/fruity yeast notes; with great strength. Taste of big caramel, brown sugar, brown bread, toasted biscuit, and nuttiness; with lighter notes of chocolate, cocoa, coffee, toffee, smoke, raisin, plum, herbal, wood, pepper, and roast/toasted earthiness. Light-moderate herbal/woody/spicy hop and roast bitterness on the finish. Lingering notes of caramel, brown sugar, brown bread, toasted biscuit, nuttiness, chocolate, cocoa, coffee, dark fruit, herbal, wood, pepper, and roast/toasted earthiness on the finish for a while. Great complexity, robustness, and balance of dark/bready/light roasted malts and light-moderate earthy hop/fruity yeast flavors; with a great malt/bitterness balance, and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Light dryness from hop/roast bitterness, lightly increasing through the glass. Medium carbonation and medium-full body; with a very smooth, creamy/bready/grainy, and lightly sticky/chalky balanced mouthfeel that is nice. Minimal warming alcohol for 7.7%. Overall this is a great scotch ale. All around great complexity, robustness, and balance of dark/bready/light roasted malts and light-moderate earthy hop/fruity yeast flavors; very smooth and easy to drink for the ABV. This was not as yeasty and more bitter/roasty than I would typically expect in the style; but it was still a very enjoyable offering and nice example of the style.

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Photo of Roguer
3.72/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poor head retention to this purplish-brown brew.

The nose features sugar, brown sugar, toffee, and fruitbread. The palate follows, along with a slightly tart hint of plums. Not overly sweet; a classic Scotch ale taste.

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Photo of LAp
3.93/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours a ruby-brown with a characteristic white head that quickly recedes. Great candy nose (rock candy and fruit) with a comparable palate. Mouthfeel is medium-to-medium-light. Not usually a huge fan of single scotch ales (wee heavies are another story), but this one manages to impress. The predilection of the nose and palate for a more hard candy note works well.

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Photo of Suds
4/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thick and dark brown in color from a twelve ounce bottle. The head is light tan and the aroma is malty. Toasted notes and a bit of vanilla. The taste is sweet, malty, and with faint background hops. Full and thick in body. Nice.

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Photo of Czequershuus
4.13/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

This beer pours dark brown with a smallish head. The aroma features chocolate, smoke, peat, brown sugar, and mild coffee. The flavor starts with chocolate and some cream, then a mellow smoke and semi-sweet peat, with touch of sourness at the finish. The mouthfeel is medium to full, with lacy carbonation. This beer has a certain richness, but also a certain dourness and moderation. The accent flavors of smoke and sour bread really serve to temper the chocolatey core of the beer.

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Photo of Mongrel
4.1/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pretty much the quintessential scotch ale. Bright, but rich with caramel, dark fruit, plum skin, vanilla and a touch of peat smoke. Coats the palate, but never approaches cloying. Relatively clean, dry finish. Killer beer.

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Photo of akolb
3.9/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Subdued caramel and toffee aroma. Sweet and malty. Pours a deep brown with a minimalist head. Taste has big sweet malty flavors up front. Vanilla, caramel, toast, a little roast. Richness and spice.

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Claymore from Great Divide Brewing Company
Beer rating: 87 out of 100 with 1572 ratings