McEwan's Scotch Ale | The Caledonian Brewing Company

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McEwan's Scotch AleMcEwan's Scotch Ale
Very Good
741 Ratings
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.

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Ratings: 741 |  Reviews: 469
Reviews by steelreign:
Photo of steelreign
4.28/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Man....I must have gotten a different batch than some of these people reviewing this brew... this is a much better brew than I would gather from reading the overall score for it.

The appearance leaves some room for improvement - it pours a dark amber color, looks like a Pepsi. Head retention is almost non existent. The aroma lends some nice malty, bready notes and very slight hop aroma. Do I detect some alcohol as well?

Taste. Well, what can I say? This is a MALT BOMB!! Like a velvet hammer!! This is where it is at for a wee heavy scotch ale to me. The sweet taste of dark malt, dark fruit, nuts, molasses...etc. Whatever. This is a winner for me.

Mouthfeel is so creamy and lush...truly awesome. No bitterness to be found. Slightly sweet aftertaste, which is fine by me. I guess I am different, but I love this beer! Recommended!

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More User Reviews:
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.

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Photo of LordofthePings
4.25/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from 12 oz bottle into mug, new version from 2014.

I seem to remember this beer being maltier with less alcohol flavor before they discontinued it and began rebrewing. Maybe thats just nostalgia though. Dark brown, lots of smokey malt. Alcohol comes through in flavor and smell. Oak and whiskey notes. One of my favorite examples of the style with lots of good memories. Glad they brought it back even though I have to drive 5 hours to buy it. Prefer it just under room temp, fridge temp takes away a lot of the flavor.

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Photo of oberon
3.66/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Liked the mahogany rich color,reasonable head very appetizing looking.Smell was a little punget on mine,I liked the malty sweet taste very alcholic tasting but that is fine with me.Had this on tap the first time I drank this at Molly McQ's in Lakeland ,Florida

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Photo of DaPeculierDane
2.03/5  rDev -46.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Thin, weak, bland, and boring.

I used to love this beer when I was a kid but since having the opportunity to get to know several better scotch ales, this one just doesn't stand up anymore.

I'm a big scotch ale fan but McEwans first and foremost, doesn't have the body. Secondly, there is almost no peat in the aroma. The malts are sweet but very light in flavor. There isn't much of anything roasted going on here either.

Very smooth but no complexity at all. Some hints of currants and coffee. Burnt molasses in the flavor.

This is an alright beer but it doesnÂ’t stand up in the category when others are available.

Very smooth but no complexity at all. Some hints of currants and coffee. Burnt molases in the flavor.

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Photo of beerhunter13
5/5  rDev +31.6%

Photo of tbryan5
3.75/5  rDev -1.3%

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

This is my first scotch ale and I have a feeling there must be better ones out there. This one poured a decent dark brown color with a nice brownish head that was nice a thick. The smell was inviting with great sweet fruit scents and a nice sweet malt smell as well. The taste was a bit of a let down though with a kind of one dimentional oak flavor and lots of vanilla sweetness. Those flavors were good, but they needed to be balanced out a little by something else.

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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.

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Photo of EsoxLucius
4.22/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Alright, got this one in a 6 pack and I'm glad I bought it. First time trying this beer out and I'm thoroughly impressed and will definitely be getting it again.

A: Very nice looking beer, pours a dark red-brown with a light tan, fluffy head that gradually dissipates into a nice slick of the same color that remains throughout the drink. Lacing is also notable as, though thin, does remain throughout as well.

S: Definitely a sweet toffee smell with pronounced roasted malts that combine to give a noticeable black cherry aroma. The more I put my nose in it, the more it smelled of cherry mixed with a slight nutty blend. The 8% ABV is concealed nicely, though even the smell has warmth, hinting at the potency.

T: The best part has a sweet, malted taste to it with soothing warmth to it. Fruity notes are pronounced, though aren't as definitely pegged as being cherry-like. It's not bitter and if I find fault, the ABV, though hidden well, does bite back as the drink warms, especially in the aftertaste.

M: Good, it has just the right body going in and going down, though a bit dry. Its low carbonation lends it to feel quite smooth until the slightly dry finish.

D: Not a one after another beer, though a very nice change of pace and incredibly enjoyable. It's a bit too sweet for me to session with, but definitely a beer to savor when one does have one.

Very nice drink and is now on my recommended/re-purchase list.

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Photo of Doomcifer
3.65/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Poured a very dark, amber brown with a nice head and left pretty nice rings round my glass with each sip.

Smell: Biscuity, raisins, sweet malts, honey, wood...

Taste: Sweet caramel and toffee, bready malts up front, bitter finish, alcohol very present. Finishes very dry.

Mouthfeel: Good carbonation, medium to heavy body, very dry.

Drinkability: I could enjoy a couple of these very easily, but not all night.

Goes very well with these chocolates.

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Photo of Jason
3.28/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Presentation: 12 oz brown bottle with no freshness date.

Appearance: Dark brown with a tarnished bronze hue, good head retention that leaves behind some sticky lace.

Smell: Sweet and mildly alcoholic with undertones of dark sugar, roasted malt and black currants. Smells of a coffee liquor or similar.

Taste: Incredibly smooth and creamy with a slick and almost syrupy mouth feel within the full body. Quite sweet on the palate, cloying at times. Lots of residual sugars floating around with very little hop character at all. Fruitiness is very light with hints of black currants. Malt flavours lack a bit in depth and complexity. Alcohol warms the mouth. Faint roasted malt flavour give a coffee like influence and a bitty dextrin grain leaves an odd feeling in the mouth further in the finish.

Notes: Undoubted as good dessert beer or as a night cap with a cigar, to drink on its own is too much for some. Big time sipping brew that should be consumed at cellar temperature. As far as Scotch Ales go, I have had better and locally brewed at that.

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Photo of ThePostmaster
3.88/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours dark with a good creamy head. Taste is very malty and sweet. Very faint hoppiness. The malt is where the taste is. Heavy alcohol going down. Almost an iodine type aftertaste. This is a good starter beer for Scotch Ale drinkers. It's quite expensive $7.99 and up for a six pack but worth a try.

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Photo of merlin48
4.02/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a clear dark mahogany with a small beige head. The head quickly dissipates and left only some minimal lacing. Plenty of malt on the nose, toffee and butterscotch abound. Exquisite mouthfeel, thick and chewy with minimal carbonation. Taste is smoky sweet, with plenty of butterscotch and toffee. A lot of dark fruit around, as well. Hops aren't really apparent other than to lend a decent balance to the sweetness.Nothing here that conceals the alcohol burn, but not a bad thing on a snowy night that's way below freezing outside. Somewhat smoky and syrupy aftertaste that ends up rather clean. This very tasty Scotch Ale is an excellent addition to a winter cellar.

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Photo of Billolick
4.2/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle, no freshness dating. Pours dark molassas in color. Peat, earthyness and malt in the nose. White, tiny bubble head and leaves a fair bit of lace. Sticky, smooth malt, carries the day. Notes of earth, must, peat, caramel,toffee, cinnimon etc come foward here. Rich and syrupy, tasty stuff. Nice rich flavors balanced by a dry finish. Worth trying, nice brew for a cold damp night.

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Photo of Byeast
3.45/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: dark brown , quarter inch head , moderate lace.

Smell: Unfermented Malt sweetness, some slight roasty qualities ,Tad bit of cedar , yeast , slight dark fruityness , and some alcohol.

Taste: Sweet , dark malts flavors ,slight bit of spicy bite in the back , toungue coating sweet sugars and darker fruit , little bit of coffee , little hop.

Mouthfeel: Creamy and smooth , with a bit of biting carbonation in the finish.

Drinkablility: Quite drinkable , but more so as a dessert pairing or sipper , on the sweet side.

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Photo of bsp77
3.88/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Serving glass: Poured from bottle into Snifter.

Appearance: Dark brown with ruby highlights. Thin tan head.

Smell: Brown sugar, toffee and lots of very overripe dark fruit.

Taste: Very sweet with brown sugar and dark fruit that has been sitting on the counter for a few days. Some light toffee and chocolate. The finish has some counterbalance from spicy hops, but this still stays in sweet territory. The mix of overripe fruit and spice really reminds me of Dark Belgian Ales.

Feel: Full body that is fairly sticky. Low carbonation. Slightly warming.

Overall: This was one of my favorite beers from many years ago and I am thrilled to try it again. It actually tastes somewhat similar to what I remembered but, at the time, I did not recognize that there were Belgian elements to this Scotch Ale. Overall, it is sweet and decadent but not quite cloying. Good stuff.

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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+

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Photo of greasycog
3.53/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I tried this beer in a chalice. It had nice lacing but lacked a good head. Nice dark color. Smell was musty. Taste was strong with a similar aftertaste. Slight bitterness but mostly sweet. While this beer wasn't unpleasant, my taste tends to go more for flavors along the lighter flavors.

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Photo of BCborn
3.38/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Photo of jsolack
4.43/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Pours thick with very rich and creamy head. Color is a very dark brown/red. Overall looks great!

Sweet caramel and very light hops. Great smell.

Bright and creamy in mouth. Finish is sweet caramel flavor and virtually no bitterness.

Smooth and thick in mouth... coats tounge great. Thickness is perfect. Overall great.

A fantasic beer. Tastes great and goes down easy. Excellent!

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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.

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Photo of bpfrush
3/5  rDev -21.1%

Photo of Mantooth
3.75/5  rDev -1.3%

Photo of Cynic-ale
3.25/5  rDev -14.5%

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McEwan's Scotch Ale from The Caledonian Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.8 out of 5 with 741 ratings