Black Scotch Ale | O'so Brewing Company & Tap House

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Black Scotch AleBlack Scotch Ale

Brewed by:
O'so Brewing Company & Tap House
Wisconsin, United States

Style: Scotch Ale / Wee Heavy

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.30%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by dirtylou on 06-13-2009

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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Reviews: 21 | Ratings: 44
Photo of alarmclock314
3.33/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

On nitro tap at Baumgartner's in Monroe, WI. Review from notes. The smell/taste was largely roasted malt, char, and overly roasted peat; no detectable caramel notes. Moderately strong bitterness. The body was average and improved by being on nitro. Overall, it's not well classified as a Scotch Ale and I'd recommend buying something else.

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Photo of Stevedore
3.95/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

12oz bottle. Uncertain bottling date, but it was just freshly delivered to the store, so it should be reasonably fresh. Poured into an O'so snifter 11/6/2014.

A- True to the name, dark cola brown body that is nearly pitch black. One finger offwhite head with minimal retention time. Drops quickly into a thin collar. No lacing. [3.5]

S- Rich roasty malt and rich toffee aromas permeate the nose. Some cold brewed coffee, a bit of earthiness on the finish. Well, this is certainly quite rich even if it's not superbly complex. Very much like a stout, but sweeter. [4]

F- Lightly smoked malts, toffee, earth. Roast. Slightly bitter dark chocolate. Roasty espresso. Finish is slightly smoked tootsie roll. Pretty nice. The toffee and the roast go together very well here. [4]

M- Thinner side of medium body. Sticky, slick and soft on the tongue. Smooth, but with sufficient carbonation. Finish is more roast than toffee on the tongue. [3.75]

O- This is a pretty cool beer. Lots of different flavours that combine what I enjoy from stouts/porters and scotch ales. I find scotch ales to be relatively one-dimensional and too sweet. The black aspect gives it a chocolate-forward roastiness that is balanced out by the sweet toffee-like malts and the mild peat/smoke of the scotch ale. Overall, very interesting and a nice one to try. [4]

Final score: 3.95

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Photo of radioscooter
2.46/5  rDev -31.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Wow. Infected? Maybe. hard to tell.

Dark fruits, malt and it seems like the intention was to kick out a killer, robust, islay malt Scotch Ale - but we're well into sour territory and the hop-forward, roasty char is not helping anything.

I can kind of taste where they were heading but sadly it's too sour and possibly infected to finish or know for sure. The carbonation is too present and acrid.

Sad. Loads of promise here.

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Photo of drpimento
2.35/5  rDev -34.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

I let it warm a tiny bit before trying. Poured with an average light tan head that quickly subsided to a very thin cover, ring, and a tiny bit of lace. Color is hazy/cloudy brown amber. Aroma is malt, toffee, roast, caramel. Flavor is similar, plus has the carbonic tang, a little peat, and not much sweet also has a shade of sour that makes me think it's turning.. Body is perhaps a bit thin and carbonation a bit forced. Finish is like flavor and of average length.

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Photo of emerge077
3.33/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Made it through six and never reviewed it... here goes with the last bottle.

Into a tulip it pours a dark mahogany, capped off with a billowing head of khaki tan foam on the first pour. Not much lacing, but the foam stays put for quite awhile.

Smells like dried plum and prune, a little sweet with brown sugar and some mild cardamom and nutmeg lingering around the periphery. No smoke or peat here... this is coming from an avid Islay malt fan.

Flavors of dark fruit, cola, some indistinct spices, lightly earthy roast becoming dry and woody in the aftertaste. Even after a few swirls of the glass, it's still sharply carbonated and a bit astringent. Making my way through the six pack over several weeks, it seems this astringency has amplified somewhat. Don't know if it's intentional or not... potentially infected. It's listed as a current seasonal, so I have to think it's fresh... and it's been kept refrigerated. Overall it's interesting at the very least, but may be starting to turn. Be aware there's a good chance of infection unfortunately.

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Photo of rmaste6282
1.94/5  rDev -45.7%
look: 3 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Not much to add, but yes it is infected. Sourness is coming on and for a tart/sour beer it isn't all that bad. Surprisingly the beer isn't overly carbonated, I'm assuming a Lacto infection. Some metalic aroma, dark malts, dark fruits are apparent in the aroma. Mouthfeel is thin.

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Photo of Thorpe429
2.34/5  rDev -34.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Bottle courtesy of BeerFMAndy. Served in a tulip.

Pours a very dark brown with some crimson highlights. Half-finger off-white head stays around for awhile before falling into a thin cap with some bubbles on top. A bit of spotty lacing. The nose carries some roasted malt and dark fruits, but also shows early signs of an infection. Slight acidic character along with some cherry. The flavor shares the same components with a slight acidity in the finish. Other than that, medium body and low carbonation with a moderate amount of sweetness. Could be a decent enough beer without the sanitation issues.

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Photo of Chaz
3.05/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Black Scotch pours a darker amber-brown in color, with excellent clarity and a one-fingered, medium-tan head of average duration. The head hangs around for a relatively average duration before dissipating, and leaves behind just about the right amount of lace as it does so.

The nose is sweet-ish, malt-focused, and very-lightly peaty/smokey. Some alcohol presence, and with very little hop presence; nothing out of the ordinary so far...

Lightly-sweet and smokey on the first sip, with a fairly-light body for the style: reminds me a bit of Bert Grant’s (where are my notes for that one? Hmmm…) Hops bitterness picks up in the mid-palate and carries this through to the finish, which is just a touch dry. Notes of smoke and bitter-sweet/darker malt notes linger, along with a lighter tanginess (I’m thinking Nut Brown ale here). With its complexion and aroma this one tricks you a little into thinking it’s gonna kick in with the booze, but that never happens, making this a “session-worthy” Scotch Ale.

While I’d heard good things about this one (and have generally found the offerings from O’so quite favorable) this one strikes me as a fairly average Wee Heavy altogether. Still, this is surely a good thing to have around when the occasion calls for just that sort of thing! Also worth mentioning (maybe…) that although they’re notably different beers, this one also reminds me favorably of Brau Scotch Ale. This one is worth trying and might be worth picking up a couple of sixers.

Served chilled, in a bulb.

Date code (printed-on-bottle beneath label): 4121012110338

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Photo of mwilbur
3.38/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from 12 oz bottle into shaker pint glass.
A: Pours a dark brownish amber with high carbonation producing a 1/4 inch light tan head. Some retention.
S: Smoke, peat, caramel malt, and a hint of funky wood which is a little off-putting.
T: Sweet peat, sweet-ish caramel malt, wood smoke, and again that mild funk. A bit overly sweet.
M: Sweet, smooth, and oily. Light-medium feel. Mildly acidic finish. Lingers nicely on the palate.
D: A nice and enjoyable brew, but not tremendous. It grew on me, but still overly sweet.

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Photo of Jwale73
3.62/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Thirstybird for sharing. 12oz. bottle served in a Portsmouth tulip. Pours the color and clarity of cola with a thin head that dissipates into a tight band around the shoulders and an oily slick across the surface. Some spots of lacing revealed during the tasting. Nose is earthy and malty with some grape notes. Taste is a bit watery; however, there's also a smoky/earthy/malty and slightly vinous and acidic quality in the flavor profile. Mouthfeel light-medium in consistency (fairly thin for the style) with a carbonation that falls slightly short of lively. All and all, a fairly mediocre Wee Heavy. Not bad, but nothing spectacular here.

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Photo of richkrull
4.03/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured a dark dark brown color with some beige head. Smell was mostly malt, not a whole lot else coming through. Taste is really good. Again a lot of malt in it. Probably a medium bodied mouthfeel. Overall a pretty good beer. I like it, wouldn't mind trying it again sometime.

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Photo of levifunk
4.13/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

had this last year, enjoyed it, grabbed it again this year and thought i should put down a review. new label looks nice ;)

a - pour is a really dark brown, almost black. tan head dissipates quickly but leaves a film of bubbles.

s - familiar scotch ale smell of dark fruits, grain, and roasted malts. The roasted malt is amped up a bit. Not getting any caramel sweetness on the nose.

t - I get the caramel sweetness now, big roasted malt flavor, faint hops bitterness, and not much raisin/plum flavor. Flavor is somewhat weak for a scotch ale. It is *only* 6.3%. I think an imperial version of this would be a phenomenal beer, but it is enjoyable as is.

m - medium body. good carbonation level for the style.

d - lower abv makes for a very drinkable scotch ale.

O'so has been a fairly underwhelming brewery for me, but this is a very good beer. I would like to see a "reserve" batch of this made with a bigger body and flavor. Its hard to say that because its a full flavored beer.

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Photo of homebrew311
3.7/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Received as an extra from guyinchicago at DLD. Thanks!

A: pours a dark brown, minimal light passes through, i finger tan head, decent retention, some splotchy lacing

S: rich notes of caramel and a touch of butterscotch on the front, some sweetness and bready notes

T: like the nose, the taste is very rich and full of caramel notes, there is a bit of sweetness by mid palate and the finish has a soft bite of hops, things are pretty nicely balanced and refreshing

MF: surprisingly smooth and creamy, has a velvety texture

D: an interesting brew, and my first from Oso's. Haven't heard of a "black" scotch ale, but I don't think the color effects the flavor profile much. This drinks similar to an English iIPA or ESB.

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Photo of WJVII
4.02/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a pint glass this brew has a nice dark chocolate color with a thick milk chocolate brown head that left nice lacing and settled into a 1/2 inch head. The aroma is so sweet with caramel and vanilla dominant. The taste is a surprise as with most scotch ales I have tried the peat moss smokey taste is overpowering where with this brew it is subtle and adds to the flavor. This is a sweet brew with caramel and brown sugar up front and a mild smokiness that is more of an afterthought than a dominating flavor. This is one of the best I have had from Oso's. I have been very critical of this brewery being down the block and lately they have delivered. Try their brews!

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Photo of Soneast
4/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a burnt brown in color with some touch of orange and amber coloration. Grows a 1 inch tan colored head that receded relatively quickly leaving a small layer of creamy suds.

The aroma has some burnt malt character, not roasted, per say, but certainly a coffee/chocolate edge to the grain. Some nuttiness and mild toffee aroma rounds it out.

There's no denying the roasted character in the flavor. It starts out like weak coffee, leading into some more mellow malt characteristics such as brown sugar and a hint of smoke in the finish. Take a swig...swallow....A HA! there's the smoke.

Black Scotch Ale is a great representation of the style. Certainly malt forward. The very mild smoke character does not overpower everything else and the slight roastiness keeps the sweetness to a manageable level. The alcohol is handled well and the mouthfeel is creamy smooth and quite delectable!

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Photo of wheatyweiss
4.17/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 once bottle into a thistle.

Pours a murky, dark brown, damn near black. One finger head recedes to a thick cap and leaves a veil of lace.

Aroma is of dark roasted malt. Metallic and smokey with a hit of roastiness. Roasted nuts and grain with a rider of dark earthiness and dark cocoa.

Flavor is of dark roasted grain, fruity yeast and smoky peat. There is a distinct smoke and peat roasted flavor here that is VERY appealing. Malt is very sweet and earthy, but is balanced by the bitter roast and smoke.

Mouthfeel is lush and thick, perfectly to style. Soft carbonation and a thick body.

This is what I have been missing in a heavy. Exceptional.

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Photo of cdkrenz
3.88/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Dark brown body without any light able to get through. The head starts out at about an inch and fades rather quick to a nice trace of pale brown at the surface. There's some obvious sticky residue where the head receded.

S - Moderately strong sweet brown sugar aroma.

T - This brew certainly has a smokey flavor over a slight spice and very subtle chocolate. There's also a hint at a bitter-sourness. I rather enjoy it.

M - The feel is more watery that it appears. there's a slight coarse texture toward the end but in the start and middle this brew is very smooth.

~ Overall I recommend this beer. It has some good character and its nice to see a local brewery knockin' out an interesting style, such as the wee-heavy.

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Photo of cokes
4.07/5  rDev +14%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Very dark auburn brown with a tight grip of beige foam which fails to stand very tall, but leaves a decent amount of lace.
Toasted whole grain bagel nose, with backup from caramel, peat smoke, and dark chocolate. Some low-lying coffee ground astringency provides balance, accompanying an even lower level herbal hoppiness.
The malt rolls over the tongue, all buttered biscuity- lightly grainy, but moreso doughy. A wave of chocolate follows. Some coffee appears as the sweetness ebbs, as does the peat smoke. Caramel materializes, pushing it sweeter again. As that fades, the smoke reclaims its ground, earthier and ashier now, and slightly more pungent. A small upwelling of herbal bitterness dots the swallow, and brings balance if nothing else. There are no weird yeast/fermentation-driven off-flavors here, which have plagued many of my experiences with O'so.
A bit gassy right away, this settles into a sleek, silky malt blanket. It's rich without feeling obese. And this, along with its sweet-dry balance, makes for a completely quaffable Scotch Ale.
I got off on the wrong foot with O'so. But stuff like this is winning me over quickly.

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Photo of robbyc1
4.32/5  rDev +21%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Deep off black look, small off white head.

Hints of smoked peat and big malt backbone.

The taste is outstanding, smoked malt hits first, followed by a balanced malt ending, great for this style. Easy drinker, don't know the abv but it hides it well, whatever it is. Get this if you can, a wonderful wee heavy and perfect for this style.

Update: I've had it in the bottle now and it's unchanged, one of the best Scotch's I've had, beautiful smokiness which most don't have, but not overpowering. Very rich and a great drinker, find it if you can.

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Photo of blackearth
4.22/5  rDev +18.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Purchased from Three Cellars in Franklin, WI. Pours a very dark brown to almost black body with no head. Aroma is smokey and earthy. Full bodied and smooth, even creamy, mouthfeel. There is a nice smoke flavor that plays well with the roasted/burnt malt character. The first sip had me thinking chipotle peppers. I thought this one would be a burden to finish off, but it just kept tasting great to the last drop.

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Photo of dirtylou
3.7/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

on-tap at the old fashioned, paired with the lovely grilled chicken sandwich on a friday lunch

cell phone notes

appearance: served in a standard pint, very dark mahogany body, almost no head

smell: rich and robust...peat, smoke, chocolate

taste: extremely flavorful, rich sweet chocolate, light booze, licorice, huge roasted malts. so much flavor, almost too much as it leaves a really sweet lingering finish and is overly filling

mouthfeel: creamy, sweet finish

drinkability: hindered by extremes

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Black Scotch Ale from O'so Brewing Company & Tap House
3.57 out of 5 based on 44 ratings.
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