McEwan's Scotch Ale | The Caledonian Brewing Company

Your Rating: None
Want it   Got it 
McEwan's Scotch AleMcEwan's Scotch Ale
Very Good
McEwan's Scotch AleMcEwan's Scotch Ale

Brewed by:
The Caledonian Brewing Company
Scotland, United Kingdom

Style: Scotch Ale / Wee Heavy

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
None provided.

View: Beers | Events
User Reviews & Ratings
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 470 | Ratings: 743
Photo of jkblr
3.89/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

11.2oz bottle bb 7/31/18 (Whoops) poured into a thistle glass at fridge temp 8% ABV. The beer pours dark brown with ruby highlights and light tan colored head. The head recedes to a thin ring and leaves a little lacing. The aroma is smoked malt and a hint of alcohol. The taste is light smoke over chocolate, cherry and raisin flavored malts. No real bitterness, but not really sweet either. Mouthfeel is thin to medium bodied with medium to low carbonation. The finish is mostly dry. Overall, very good. Thin mouthfeel and lack of genuine peat smoke flavor are the only thing keeping the score down for me. Really enjoyable beer though.

 647 characters

Photo of Prometheus75
4.37/5  rDev +15%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had my first one about 15 years ago and confirmed my love for Scotch Ales.

Has been harder to come by lately. Was happy to grab one and flash back to the business trip that led me to the first one.

To me, it's the standard-bearer for a Scotch Ale. Not the best-in-class, not a "must-have" to be sought by collectors. Just exactly what it says on the label - an 8% Scotch Ale that's as malty and delicious as it should be. So refreshing to get this flavor without the heaviness of a stout or quad.

 502 characters

Photo of Raime
3.64/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

This beer has become increasingly rare as the years have gone by according to my father. He used to drink these up decades ago. Never had one but found a sixer at a gas station tonight and since I have a rare weekday off work tomorrow and a few straggler beers laying around to supplement I figured I'd give it a whirl.

Look - Deep garnet with a finger of off white head that rapidly dies down to cloud formations amongst the top of the glass. Clarity is clear when held to the light and carbonation appears quite low. No lacing or stick amongst a finished glass.

Smell - Kind of a cherry robitussin thing that happens immediately upon a whiff but luckily the other malty aspects show up rapidly and put that into the back of your mind.

Taste - Cherry at the forefront though not medicinal thankfully. Burnt bread aspects are all apparent with a hop bite showing up around the end.

Feel - Cold and slightly creamy with a low carbonation. Exceptionally sweet and swallows a touch sticky.

Overall - Pretty solid scotch ale without a lot of off the wall frills. The scent is a bit of a whirl but everything else is pretty nice. Won't have a problem tossing back the rest of the sixer. Could definitely take these on a hunting trip.

 1,233 characters

Photo of Premo88
3.9/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

12 oz. bottle poured into snifter
(5/15/18 best-by date printed on bottle neck)

L: pours dark brown, looks black in glass until you hold it up to the sun and see the deepest, darkest, clearest claret/crimson ... stunningly beautiful; pushes up thick 1-inch head of beige foam; only a little sticking and lacing, does keep a big-bubbled soapy-looking collar and a piece of skin on top

S: can smell a little roasted wood as you pour, then sweet dark dried fruits, figs, dates as it settles in glass; plum; fruitcake ... and the aroma has a smokiness in the "after" aroma if such a thing exists, not sure I've ever run across it like this

T: almost quadrupel-level dark-malt fruitiness, candied dates, sugar-coated figs ... quite sweet but a subtle-yet-strong earthy something entrenches itself in the background and sorta just sits there, balancing it out; yeasty dustiness ... in fact some of that earthy flavor is just yeast, not hops or charred/burnt/roasted malt

F: light middleweight, arguably watery for the style but the carbonation gives it a body; I could see aficionados of the style hating the lighter weight but it does make for easy drinking

O: count me as a big fan of McEwan's ... while this beer arguably lacks the complexity and body of the world's great wee heavies, it still delivers a good amount of roasted malt flavor with enough balancing earthiness to keep the sweet notes in check; I can't remember the price, but whatever it is, I'll not hesitate to grab some more of this in the future

 1,520 characters

Photo of Tstromer
4.23/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A little different then the scott(ish) ales. I thought it was much darker like a mahogany, with a quick dissolving head. Had a wonderful malty taste. Couldn't tell that it was 8% abv which most likely helped the flavor of peated malts and something sweet that I couldn't quite distinguish. A-/B+

 296 characters

Photo of Lone_Freighter
3.75/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

The pour is a dark brown color that leaves the same colored body. Two fingered white foamy head that once it dies a nice spider web lacing sticks around the sides of the glass. The aroma has peat, light chocolate, deep malts, just a touch of caramel all coming through smokey and sweet The taste is sweet through the malts, chocolate and caramel. Sticky sweet aftertaste with a long dark sweet finish. On the palate, it sits about a medium, shows that its more of a sipper and has a smooth carbonation to it. Overall, I’d say this is some pretty good stuff that I would have again.

 583 characters

Photo of dfconnor
3.5/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

As scotch ales go, this one is OK, but nothing special. It has a somewhat sweetish bland flavor that actually improves once you let the beer warm up a little bit. The texture was a little too flat for my taste.

 212 characters

Photo of chinchill
3.66/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

330 ml brown bottle.
Pours clear but very dark reddish-brown. A weak head soon becomes a partial coat and a thin ring. Minimal lacing.

Lightly sweet with partially hidden alcohol. High ABV is particularly well hidden in the feel. Hints of dried plums and raisins.

 268 characters

Photo of fscottkey
3.83/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A: [3.75] The bottle lists the ABV (8.0%) there is also a date code (04/11/17). Obviously a best by date but I am not sure if it is April 11 or Nov 4. Either way it is in the future at least by a little. The beer is a cola color and very transparent. It produces 1 1/2 fingers of thick tan head.

S: [3.75] Peat, leather, cherries, rust, maple syrup, cocoa.

T: [4.00] Mellow flavors of maple syrup (sweet), peat, cherries, cocoa. The cherry is more pronounced as it warms.

M: [3.50] A little thin for 8% with lower carbonation.

O: [3.75] This is a nice overall Scotch Ale. The flavor of cherry is a bit unique. Normally I do not like cherries but it works in this flavor combination. The biggest detraction was the body. It was kind of watery for an 8%.

 767 characters

Photo of VoxRationis
3.98/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Decanted into a conical pint glass. Pour a dark copper which is translucent yielding a garnet color in light; khaki head that dissipates with modest lacing. Nose rich with roasted malt with a tobacco note; tastes remarkably mild with little complexity. Light to medium body. Refreshing without much distinctive character.

 325 characters

Photo of pat61
4/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

L: pours ruby highlighted deep dark brown with streams of fine bubbles rapidly rising to join a thin, light tan foam collar.

S: Rich malt and caramel aromas rise from the glass with traces of spice, earth, and faint smoke. Fruit and hop aromas are low.

T: The flavors start rich and creamy showcasing rich malt, slight roast, a hint of smoke, light fruit and nuts. Malt and nuts dominate a slightly sweet finish balanced by a medium low bitterness. There are traces of plum and raisin in the background.

F: McEwan's Scotch ale has a medium full to full body and medium low carbonation.

 591 characters

Photo of Reef
3.54/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

From a bottle that probably took the slow boat from Edinburgh. Scores probably suffer from the age and handling by the time I got it.

Appearance: Dark brown not quite opaque. Can't think of another beer this shade darker than Amber, lighter than mahogany. Scant head despite a vigorous pour. Narrow ribbons of lacing.

Scent: Gingerbready malt, fig, prune, stone fruits, spice cake.

Taste: Follows nose, starting with the spices and stone fruits, and a hint of peat and cinnamon following. Taste seems more subdued than I remember, perhaps due to age. Not much change as glass warms.

Mouthfeel: Low carbonation, fairly flat, a little aqueous.

Overall: This was the first wee heavy In my drinking career. I guess the term je ne sais quoi is applicable as it has some quality that I don't find in others. I wished the flavors had a little more pop. Maybe I'll have to go to Edinburgh to try it fresh.

 918 characters

Photo of puboflyons
3.41/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

From the 330 ml. Bottle. Sampled on March 18, 2017.

Brown pour with a short lasting off-white head and some selected lacing.

The aroma has a kind of barnyard shed malty note with a touch of moss, butterscotch, and tobacco. Low hop profile.

The body is around medium. I might've preferred heavier.

The taste is most definitely malt forward with a slight molasses note and generally sweet. It is easy to drink at 8% and the liquor is muted.

 446 characters

Photo of Troy-Hawaii
3.5/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bought a single $4.25 Liquor Collection
Dark black color
Medium-heavy mouthfeel
Medium-light carbonation
Chocolate, malty flavor, sweet molasses, hides high alcohol well
Overall an ok beer. Probably won't buy again

 215 characters

Photo of Brutaltruth
3.94/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A personal favorite from the bottle in a pint glass. This fine scotch ale
pours a dark brownish mahogany with a nice head of off white foam that
settle to a thick ring and layer with excellent lacing. Nose of toasted malts,
light grain notes, and dark dried fruit notes with brown sugars. Flavors as
always impress with prune and fig notes surrounded by brown sugars and toffee
with light grain flavors on the back finishing sweet and perfect for the style.
A legend in the scotch ale category and readily available, this is a classic that should
not be missed.....although I DO MISS THE 6 PACKS FOR THE SAME PRICE AS THE 4
a few years back.


 656 characters

Photo of LaurenZ
3.76/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

Overall this was a decent beer. The head is fizzy and there is a nice grain and roast aroma. The body is clear an sparkling. Colorings are dark and brownish amber. I tasted slight malts and chocolates with some cloves too. The texture was smooth. There is slight bitterness.

 274 characters

Photo of Angela1956
3/5  rDev -21.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Fizz and dark head. Fair lacing, murky and muddy body. Brown/tawny color. Aroma smells like smokey malts, caramel, and dark fruits like plums. The palate for me was unpleasant. It was full, alcoholic and thick, and a little bitter.

 231 characters

Photo of Lewnanny
3.56/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

At first the color is a dark brownish, like a pespi pop. The beer smell like dark roast coffee and the taste is a nice pronounced roast grain aroma.

This beer have a high ABV of 8.0 %, giving it a strong and fun aroma.

The bottle is a 330 ml format, the color SRM is in the 30 or so.

This is an interesting one.

 318 characters

Photo of tomakara
3.59/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

This beer had a heavy malt smell and taste to it. It contains unfermented sugar and was very dark. It had a little bit of fizz to it which added an extra pop of taste.

 167 characters

Photo of Dinglehacker
3.52/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured bottle into oversized wine glass. Cola color and fizz.

Cool malty aromas, light chocolate.

Taste is soppy caramel, chocolate, roasted malt.

Smooth but dry mouth.

Kind of rough going. Hinted flavor that kept me intrigued, but got bogged in water. Give me mulch in my scotch ale. Drink it in front of your Guinness friends, you'll at least get cool points.

 366 characters

Photo of AlarmClock314
3.72/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

11.2oz bottle, expiration date of 7/14/16. Pours transparent amber with a medium sized off-tan head. Smells of sweet malt, caramel, and some dark fruit; lower intensity. The taste follows closely with sweet malt, peat, dark fruit, caramel, and white wine. Some moderate sweetness and light dryness. Above average body and carbonation. A pretty average Scotch Ale overall; nice body, but is could use more caramel richness.

 427 characters

Photo of Ninjakillzu
4.6/5  rDev +21.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

L: Dark brown body with a thin ring around the glass.

S: Smokey malts, sweet caramel, dark fruits.

T: Same as the nose. Mildly sweet.

F: Medium bodied with mild carbonation. There is a slight warmth on the swallow.

 217 characters

Photo of biegaman
3.89/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Think what you will about Scottish people, but Scotch Ales are extremely good-looking; deep garnet in colour, McEwan's is handsome enough to qualify for Time magazine's 'sexiest man alive' list. Its reddish highlights are reserved yet it boasts perfect clarity. Its head looks like shattered pieces of seashells.

While it won't quite match up to your favourite dram, this aroma nonetheless makes good fireside accompaniment; there's more than enough worthy of sniffing and savoring. Dried and lightly sherried fruits abound, leaving caramelly maltiness to sink into the backdrop. Smells delectable!

McEwan's Scotch Ale was the first example of the style I tried as well as one of the first dark beers in general. I liked it immediately; the flavour profile was not like anything I had tried before. While the taste is more familiar nowadays I'm still very much fond of its characteristically sticky, figgy, nutty maltiness. well as the faint suggestions of red grape, currants, toffee, molasses and, naturally, peat. A note on the latter, the peaty presence isn't strong enough to elicit the vegetal, sea-drenched scotches of Islay but there is a subtle smokiness buried in there somewhere (note: not roastiness, only smoke).

Despite intricate flavours, the mouthfeel is a little light, almost cola-esque on some sips. By the same token it drinks exceedingly easy for an 8% beer. Some will view this positively, others negatively. I'm on the fence - I'd like more body but prefer to enjoy a beer rather than have to fight through it.

McEwan's Scotch Ale is right beside haggis, porridge and deep fried Mars bars on the list of classic Scottish gastronomy. It is unarguably one of the best examples of the style - seriously, look it up in the BJCP - and continues to be one of the most consistent through the years. Definitely recommended.

 1,849 characters

Photo of Darkmagus82
3.96/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from bottle into a pint glass

Appearance – The beer pours a deep mahogany amber color with a one finger head of thick white foam. The head has a decent level of retention, slowly fading over time to leave a decent sum of lace on the sides of the glass.

Smell – The aroma of the brew is rather strong of a caramel smell mixed with a big brown sugar and dark fruit aroma of raisin, cherry, and prune. Along with these smells comes some nice aromas of warming alcohol and a little bit of a bready and slightly oaky aroma. A rather nice smell overall.

Taste – The taste begins with a rather thick bready taste with a bit of a fruit flavor that consists of raisin, plum, and cherry. Upfront there is also some light caramel and brown sugar which grow stronger as the taste advances. While the booziness is very light upfront, it grows stronger as the taste advances, bringing on a nice warming taste more toward the end. With more fruit and a little bit of grain mixing in with the booze and fruit, one is left with a warming dark fruit taste to linger on the tongue.

Mouthfeel – The body of the beer is moderately thick and heavy with a carbonation level that is on the lower side. For the rich, malty, and sweet flavors of the brew the feel is rather well done and makes for a rich slow sipper as a scotch at 8 % should be.

Overall- Not a bad more heavy hitting scotch brew with a good blend of an alcohol burn (which I think a strong scotch should have) with a somewhat sweet and malty flavor.

 1,520 characters

Photo of VABA
4/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-Pours a dark amber color with a slight head and lacing
A-Aroma has malt hints
T-The taste follows the nose with a malt flavor
M-A medium bodied decently carbonated beer
O-A decent ale

 186 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
McEwan's Scotch Ale from The Caledonian Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.8 out of 5 with 743 ratings