Bagpiper's Scotch Ale
Allentown Brew Works

Bagpiper's Scotch AleBagpiper's Scotch Ale
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Style:
Scotch Ale / Wee Heavy
Ranked #294
ABV:
8.5%
Score:
85
Ranked #37,597
Avg:
3.69 | pDev: 10.84%
Reviews:
27
Ratings:
50
From:
Allentown Brew Works
 
Pennsylvania, United States
Avail:
Rotating/Seasonal
Wants
  4
Gots
  4
SCORE
85
Very Good
Bagpiper's Scotch AleBagpiper's Scotch Ale
Notes:
Reviews: 27 | Ratings: 50 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Reviews by Ego:
Photo of Ego
Ego from New Jersey

3.11/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

eyes...
crazy out of control head with a careful pour, snap crackle and popping it dissipates at a good pace, dark ruby hue and holding it up to the light reveals even more carbonation streaming up like rush hour traffic, pretty good lookin' brew.

nose...
musty malt, some weird dry dustiness, a touch of booze, some dark caramel sweetness.

taste etc...
mildly cough syrup flavor with a nice touch of carbonation, easy drinking with nary a bit of booze overtone, pretty middle of the road on all counts. Some warming in the gullet later on from the ABV.

Verdict?
not bad, nothing to go nuts looking for.

May 19, 2010
More User Reviews:
Photo of Speartron
Speartron from Maryland

3.82/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Very rich, very malty, somewhat sweet.
Amber-caramel in color, like a amber ale. A slight bitterness coming across in the strong malt perhaps?
Overall very good. Could be a good session ale.

Nov 05, 2018
Photo of NonicPanic
NonicPanic from Pennsylvania

3.5/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Jun 29, 2020
Photo of BeerAdvocate
BeerAdvocate from Massachusetts

4/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Review from BeerAdvocate Magazine Issue #42 (Jul 2010):

With a little fizzle from a big head, this Scotch Ale is nearly pitch black with an edge of garnet. A massive malt nose, sweetness and overtones of toasted bread meet a light, spicy note from the alcohol. The fullish slick body is smooth enough. The malt character peels back complex layers; toasted bread, treacle, dried grass and fresh bis- cuits. Light hopping is where it should be. This Scotch Ale packs an interesting alcohol warmth and vague spicing. The long malt finish is on the dry side with some of that spice as well. This brew is a real beaut and a great malt fix.

Jan 11, 2011
Photo of Fr33man
Fr33man from Maryland

3.59/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

May 30, 2021
Photo of Sammy
Sammy from Canada (ON)

3.57/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Malt bomb Bomber from New Jersey. Initial smokey malty was nice aroma and tasty,a spot of peat, above average mouthfeel, caramel, brown colour and lots of lace. Some hop bitterness. However unbalanced sweet. So-so drinkability. Passable for the style, which I am just Ok on the style.

Dec 28, 2011
Photo of brentk56
brentk56 from North Carolina

4.03/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a slightly hazy russet color with a large head that left quite a few strands of lacing behind

Smell: Caramel, toasted bread and figs

Taste: Caramel and figs, up front, with the toasted bread adding another dimension; some earthy hop elements add balance at mid-palate, but the finish drives home the sweeter flavors

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body with moderate carbonation

Overall: A very drinkable version of the style; I like the balance that keeps its sweetness from becoming cloying though I would prefer to see some peaty complexity that, to me, really separates the top notch examples of the style

May 25, 2012
Photo of jzeilinger
jzeilinger from Pennsylvania

3.53/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours a deep cherry mahogany color with a super thin caramel colored lacing ring. Very dark and very clear.

S - Toffee and roasted caramel with some smokiness. No hops, and all malts in the nose.

T - Mimics the nose with lightly roasted toffee and caramel even throughout the sip with a slight bit of smokiness. Slight pine bitterness in the finish. The flavor is lightly robust.

M - Thick medium body, sticky on the lips,

O - A solid Scotch ale with a few GABF medals to its credit. I was bummed out because I had this at the Bethlehem location and it was served from a bottle...WTF!!! No kegs?? Really???!!??

Oct 13, 2011
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t0rin0 from California

4/5  rDev +8.4%

Aug 18, 2012
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beerthulhu from New Jersey

3.85/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Consumed at recommended temp. of 50F.

A: A loud pop from the uncorking reassured of its carbonation factor. A foamy monster was born, sand colored, as the head dominated and occupied near full capacity of the glass upon first pour. The head slowly retreated, squatting on top of a toasted ruby-brown coloring. Carbonation was medium, barely visible, but showed glimpses of macro-bubbles that were well spaced and moderately paced. Some sloppy patchwork was left for a lacing.

S: Dry caramelized malts combine with notes of nutmeg sprinkled applesauce from the yeast. A medium strong delivery with a bit of nuttiness (almonds) is also detected with no signs thus far of the 8.5%abv.

T: A rich full maltiness lays heavily and is first detected on the tongue indicating a lower fermentation that gives this a residual laced body. Dry caramelized grains meets peat and a light offering of wet coffee grounds to deliver an earthy, and moist, as well malty experience. The alcohol offers some spicy tones as well of scotch soaked apples and cinnamon. The finish rounds out with dry scotch and caramelized grains along with coffee and a big residual silty lacing. Overall per style it definitely delivered malt wise, had a dry sweetness of grains and leaned towards the higher end of the spectrum alcohol wise.

M: A bubbly feel with some creaminess, but overall much lighter then expected with a dry caramelized grain and scotchy warmth. An appreciable sility coating ensures on the swallow.

D: While the alcohol was tame on the nose it did figure quite prominently in the flavor. A robust malting, moderatly high abv will limit this as a session, but think with its malty content and abv you probably wont be venturing much more beyond the typical bomber serving. Moderate drinkability but no less found this enjoyable due to its full maltiness and warmth and alcohol tones.

Jun 17, 2010
Photo of maximum12
maximum12 from Minnesota

3.72/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Before I even come to the traditional thanks, Allentown, WTF? Went to pop the cork & what began as a 30 second pop-and-pour turned into a 15 minute struggle. First the cork broke off. Get cork extractor. Goes right through, succeeds only in pulverizing cork & getting cork-bits everywhere. Spend more time wheedling the crippled cork out. Finally, grudgingly, it comes. More picking cork bits out of the two glasses. Grumble, grumble. Get a new cork provider - now! This crap sucks.

Anyways, thanks to unclejedi & stormking47 for these bottles, the first vanished in a wintertime tasting. This is the survivor.

Post-nonsense, this brew pours like liquid clay, a sluggish, dark red. Smell is purebred caramel malts.

Bagpiper's Scotch Ale pleases the palate. Loads of caramel dominate, almost to the exclusion of anything else. Nuts, brown sugar might be teased out if one used one's imagination. But this is a caramel sledgehammer. Luckily, I like caramel. Smoothly lovely.

Ultimately, this is a good beer without a lot of depth but hey, I like wading pools, too. But that f-ing cork...

Jun 22, 2011
Photo of philbe311
philbe311 from Pennsylvania

3.28/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Not much fanfare for this 2009 GABF silver medalist, but I'm excited to try none the less...

A - Three fingers worth of fluffy yet chunky light tan / khaki head with a even, but slanted top... Very modest retention gives way to a slightly fizzy unbalanced lacing... Rich warm dark brown color... Some light leaks into the glass around the edges and produces some ruby highlights... Mostly still, but some minor carbonation can be created by slightly rocking the glass back and forth...

S - Rich and Buttery... Toffee... Dark fruits... Figs... Raisins... A slight medicinal presence... A touch of dark chocolate... Pleasant and fairly complex, just a bit too subdued...

T - Not nearly the malt bomb that I was expecting... Light roasted malts... Lots of dark bread tones... Perhaps just a touch of raisin sweetness... Subtle amounts of peat and smoke... Surprised to find loads of black licorice on the finish...

M - Bristling with prickly carbonation that sits on the tongue... Medium bodied... Heavy... Dense... Slightly sticky... A little bit of a burnt or charred feel...

D - Respectable and drinkable, but an average at best Scotch Ale... Really falls short in terms of mouthfeel... I'm not qualified beer judge, but the silver medal at the GABF surprises me in this case... While there is nothing wrong with this offering, there are many many better offerings out there...

Jun 07, 2010
Photo of bonkers
bonkers from New Jersey

4/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I poured from a bomber into 2 snifters, deep amber pour, moderate head. The aroma was fruity, medicianal, hints of booze and caramel. The caramel and figs are prominant, hints of peat and booze, finishes with a lingering dark fruit sweeetness. The body is full, nice carbonation, easy drinking for a wee heavy. I split this with my neighbor and we both found this to be very enjoyable.

Sep 11, 2011
Photo of brokensail
brokensail from California

3.88/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Michael for sending me this one as an extra.

A: The pour is a dark amber color with a thin off-white head.

S: A nice sweet nose with plenty of caramel and toffee notes. A light spice note as well as some dark fruit such as raisins, figs, and plums.

T: The sweetness follows through to the flavor. Great caramel, brown sugar, and toffee on the malty/sugar side of things. Some light citrus notes, a touch of peat, and minimal spice notes.

M: The body is medium with a lively but moderate carbonation.

D: Pretty nice beer from a brewery I never would have ever heard of otherwise. I'm not always the hugest Scotch Ale guy, but this was enjoyable.

Sep 19, 2010
Photo of anthonypw
anthonypw from Pennsylvania

4.75/5  rDev +28.7%

Apr 19, 2013
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magine from Pennsylvania

3.25/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a nonic.

Pours a hazy, brownish dark amber color with a light tan head. Carbonated head fades to a very active soda like head. Lace along the rim of the glass and very patchy island head remains. No lace stays behind. Brew is not much of a looker. Average looks.

Brew smells of caramel malts, a little booze can be picked up. Nuts, some hops in there, bitter. Dark fruits as well. The brew is kind of average for the nose.

Brew is on the medium to thin side, sweet malts; caramel, dark fruits. Maybe a hint of earthy hop. The brew is average as far as taste goes. The booze and tartness tip the scales in the wrong favor. A bit acidic as well. The brew doesnt drink heavy which helps in terms of drinkability. Average.

This brew is ok, very middle of the road for a scotch ale. I love this style brew, and there are so many great ones out there. But this is one to pass on.

Sep 24, 2010
Photo of fester71
fester71 from Pennsylvania

3.5/5  rDev -5.1%

Dec 19, 2011
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kiddynamite920 from Pennsylvania

3.7/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

750 ml bottle popped quite aggressively. POP!

A: Poured out with some voluminous head building. Color is a golden brown with some red tones.

S: Has a spiced apple aroma, almost has the aroma of a pumpkin beer as well. Where is the caramel and sweet malt aroma? Sweetness is on the back end, but this clove and cinnamon aroma is what makes up most of the aroma for me.

T: Taste is more characteristic of a wee heavy. Caramel notes and a deep malt profile are what make up the palate the most. I am still getting the spice notes, but they are muted enough that it's not a bother taste-wise. Alcohol is hidden well. Good burnt sugar and caramel malt flavor.

M: A bit thin and highly carbonated. Was expecting a heavier body with lower carbonation.

D: Easy drinking wee heavy for sure, just a little bit off style. Good beer nonetheless, interesting flavors going on here.

Sep 05, 2010
Photo of cooch69
cooch69 from Pennsylvania

3.57/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

This brew pours a very dark amber color with a nice tight compact 1-2 finger head. It has a brilliant glowing character and is only a little clear.

Nose of caramel malts, dark sugars, a bit of dark fruit(raisin) and an earthy cocoa hint, but not chocalatey.

Smooth and refined maltiness, this one has a fair amount of bitterness up front as well as a little lingering in the finish. Not enough to get that much in the way of the malt of coarse.

Not Bethlehem's best, but a worthy addition to the finest of Breweries.

Dec 26, 2010
Photo of tlazaroff
tlazaroff from Virginia

3.65/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Quite a beautiful looking beer, looks brown in the glass but when held to the light it shines a brilliant clear ruby color. Topped with a thick foamy light mocha head, and leaves a little lacing, but it doesn't matter, this beer looks great.

S: Sadly, the smell is lacking a bit. I get a little toffee on the nose, and a possible burnt sugar smell - like when you're making homemade caramel, but not much else.

T: My first thought, was "That's F***G good." It has this really smooth caramel flavor. No hops on the palate, but it does have a little bitterness. Don't let it fool you though, this is a malt-forward beer, as it should be. The flavor lingers from first sip to well though the finish. Quite a nice experience.

M: This one is full bodied and sticky-sweet. Literally, the beer sticks to your lips, it's awesome. Carbonation is on the moderate side, pretty much perfect.

D: The thing about this beer, is that the alcohol is so well hidden, it sneaks up on you really quickly. Defiantly a fine sipping beer, and I personally wouldn't have more than one in a sitting.

Oct 19, 2011
Photo of Kamahl75
Kamahl75 from Pennsylvania

2.83/5  rDev -23.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

A- Very typical scotch ale color, brown/ruby red. Decent carbonation but head disappears quickly.

S- Caramel sweetness to the smell but a slight off-note of harshness. A little green maybe.

T- Caramel and vanilla but a harshness. Strong flavor to start but an aftertaste that isn't great.

M- Coats the mouth with the strong malt flavor but leaves a little alcohol and bitter feel.

I would maybe try this beer again in a month or two. I feel maybe this will clear some green beer feel. Overall an average to sub-par scotch but might improve.

Goblet
4/25/10

Apr 25, 2010
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mactrail from Washington

3.46/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

An orangey-red brown color in the snifter. Oddest aroma of leather and horse blankets. Rich, creamy mouthfeel. A fair amount of sweetness that seems to grow with each sip. Not sticky, but quite malty. Balanced with a tart, almost sour flavor. Seems to have a good dose of smoke with a fair charry hint. Some dry fruitiness, figs perhaps.

Quite drinkable. A bolder style of Scotch Ale but not weighed down with sweetness.

Jul 18, 2011
Photo of DrDemento456
DrDemento456 from Pennsylvania

4.04/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Got a bomber of this for $6.40 from the house of 1,000 beers. Into a pint glass
A - Quite an explosion of carbonation a very bubbly full inch of opaque colored head atop of a very dark mahogany brown. Great lacing.
S - Loaded with molasses, chocolate malts, mild peat, some piney hops, and Toast bread. I am even picking up some caramel sweet action from the malts.
T - Wow I never had such a pronounced yet balanced earthy hop profile. It lifts the flavors of brown sugar malts, a touch of peat, some molasses, bread pudding, and a touch of toasted bread to a tasty nirvana.
M - Quite possibly the smoothest scotch ale I had in a while, even though while bubbly it greatly masks the ABV which is pretty big,

Overall a treat at around 6 bucks tax included. I believe I liked this better than their stout.

Jul 01, 2013
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BricksandPorter from Pennsylvania

2.99/5  rDev -19%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

22 oz. Bomber cold into a Tulip.

Pour - Hazy amber with hues of purple, green and dark chestnut brown. Light, bone colored head that sits for a second and is gone. Dont blink or youll completely miss the head on this - typical of american style Scotch Ales.

Nose - dark chocolate undertones combine with a fruity, deep candy sweetness. Organic but industrial with a strong, pungent character - actually quite nice for the Scotch Ales I've been trying lately. At the end of the day, it was probably the best part of this beer.

Taste - Sour cherries overwhelmingly dominate the front end. Lots of fruity acids line the palate and overwhelm any sense of balance. No hops, astringent malts and no attempt whatsoever at hiding or even disguising the alcohol. This is the second beer Ive had from ABW and its the second time I find myself wondering just what the hell they are doing down there. The finish is a calm sweetness once you get to the end and are acclimated to taste of raw ethanol on your tongue.

Mouthfeel - I'm not a huge fan of virtually flat dark ales, despite my Scottish heritage, and this one follows suit. Carb is weak, body is medium to full with a complete lack of balance or consideration for a proper presentation. Character would be nice but the alcohol kind of ruins it - cant believe I just said that.

Drinkability - Not a session beer, but definitely one to at least try.

Aug 09, 2010
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micromaniac129 from Pennsylvania

3.38/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A fast fading foamy head atop a deep brown almost black colored beer. Very well carbonated.
Aromas of malts, slighty roasted I think, with sutle hints of spice.
Very malty and rich. Maybe some hints of spice, but more like candied malt. Some earthiness.
Thin mouthfeel with a spritz or dry tart finish.
An okay beer, but really not that good. i thought I was drinking a dubbel.

Feb 13, 2011
Bagpiper's Scotch Ale from Allentown Brew Works
Beer rating: 85 out of 100 with 50 ratings