McEwan's Scotch Ale | The Caledonian Brewing Company

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McEwan's Scotch AleMcEwan's Scotch Ale
Very Good
724 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:
No notes at this time.

Added by UnionMade on 08-17-2001

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Ratings: 724 |  Reviews: 466
Photo of BeerAngel
3.66/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear dark amber/brown with a massive cream colored head that lasts fairly well. The smell is that of a semi-sweet cough syrup and light bread smell. The ultra creamy mouthfeel is quite nice and contains a very light caramel and licorace taste with fresh baked bread taste in the background. Pretty nice tasting brew overall and is nicely balanced with light hops. I personally like a little more hop, but that's just me. An interesting experience. Slainte!

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Photo of BeerBuilder
3.83/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours to a deep ruby color with a creamy off-white head. It has a caramel-like smell, and a sweet-malty smell. There is a definative malty-sweetness to the taste, along with a bit of spiciness. It has a sutble bitterness and a soothing alcohoic warmth in the finish. Overall, it is a rich, full-bodied beer the would pair well with a good book, and a cold winter's night.

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Photo of Gusler
3.6/5  rDev -5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This is a "Staple" beer, one I keep on hand at all times, as I do Optimator, and a few others. Pours a nice deep brown, generous beige head, and fair lace. The nose is malt laden and slightly sweet, hints of lightly toasted grain, front is sweet and has a fair malt profile, the top is moderate in its feel to the palate. Finish is hop spicy with a fair to average acidity, the hops relatively spicy and the aftertaste quite dry, good drinkable scotch ale.

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Photo of putnam
4.37/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I bought this bottle in 1999.
It looks fine with a mocha cream head that lasts. The aromas are shy at first but, as it warms, there is a deep, integrated complex of black walnut, Russian black bread, and perfect cappucino. The flavors are perched atop a rich velour of beaver fur and feature notes of sweet broiled caramel, rarebit, maple timbers and Alpine spring water. Better than it was three years ago, but not exactly bliss either (a little watery in the mid-palate.)

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Photo of kunzbrew
4.1/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Well I really like this beer, dark full bodied scotch ale with a small off-white creamy head. The carmel malt is very very good, and not to to strong. A light hop taste that does not bitter and and has no after taste. The taste of the strong alcohol content is not that strong which is what I was afraid of, but it did not happen. Do not drink to many someone will have to cary you out.

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Photo of DerKaiser
3.78/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I'll have to admit, my ability to gauge scotch ales has been forever skewed after I had an absolutely spectacular version at the Steelhead Brewery in Burlingame, CA. McEwan's isn't even in the same ballpark (hell, it's not even the same sport), but it's still a fairly good beer.

A nice mahogany color, it pours into a one-finger head that soon dissipates, but leaves some lace all the way down. The flavor is dominated by a malty sweetness that hangs around all the way through the finish. Warming alcohol notes quickly flow through mouth and nose. This is definitely a big beer but, as others have noted, it's just not very complex. And the $10.50 per six pack price pretty much precludes me from coming back.

P.S. Four or five of these, and you won't remember what you’re drinking.

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Photo of Murph
4.57/5  rDev +20.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

The brew pours a dark amber/ruby color with a great dark tan/light brown head that rings the glass excellently. The aroma has an excellent caramel malt aroma to it that has some nice breadiness to it along with the nice alcohol aroma that accompanies it with some weak peatish characteristics. Great sweet maltiness with some nice caramel qualities to it and a nice peatish flavor with some very nice bready qualities to it that give the brew an excellently smooth mouthfeel and there is also a great slightly warming alcohol quality to this brew. This is an excellently drinkable brew that I will be looking forward to trying again.

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Photo of ZAP
4.82/5  rDev +27.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Deep dark brown with a fizzy white head....nose is of alcohol and sweet fruit sugars...very little carbonation in the can't taste the alcohol at first but the alcohol bites a little on the finish...I love the flavor....very sweet..almost like you drink this it becomes a little overwhelming but it's right up my alley....a big sweet beer that would go perfect with desert. I may make this my after Thanksgiving dinner pie eating beer....might pair better with caramel rolls or chocolate cake....I haven't eaten either in about a year(all extra calories go for beer right??) but I think it would be a nice combo...this isn't for everyone but I sure enjoy first Scotch Ale...I must try more....

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Photo of Lupe
3.61/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Deep, dark -brown color with a creamy head that that leaves nice lace. Roasted and slight coffee aroma. Very full-bodied with a rich flavor and hints of scotch. Real nice mouthfeel. Tasty but more of a sipping brew. Nice as a nightcap but I doubt I could swallow down more than a bottle of this.

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Photo of hyuga
4.1/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Dark with a very light tan head with decent retention. The color and head alone make you want a taste of this beer. As it reaches your nose, there's no doubt that this is a scotch ale. Strong scotch/alcohol smell with hints of creamy coffee. Smoky, chewy, and malty flavor with definite alcohol presence. Makes me want to eat spicy chicken. When served at the proper temperature, this is one of my favorite beers. To me, very drinkable, but it can be too strong for some.

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Photo of StevieW
4.23/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Deep dark rich copper color, with a tight tan head. Slight malty earthy smell, very rich and inviting. Taste was noticably malty, alcohol, wood, earthy undertones. Roasted barley malt, hints of scotch. Very complex, rich beer. Much better tasting than I thought. Balanced flavors, no one dominates. This is a definite belly warmer, only one at a sitting for me. This would the perfect treat, after a windy, rainy, cold winter round at St. Andrews.

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Photo of BitteBier
3.41/5  rDev -10%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Pours with a uniform darkness with dark copper tones. Head is compact but surprisingly persistent. Aromas are muted but taste is straightforward: a sweet start bowing to alcohol warmth. Mouthfeel is excellent--as smooth as the taste. This beer has always been among my favorite nightcaps.

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Photo of DarthMalt
4.12/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Line up double bock fans! This ale will vie for your affections.

Solid malt/alcohol one-two punch, with low hop presence. The added woody, scotch tones make these beers truly unique.


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Photo of Jason
3.28/5  rDev -13.5%
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 Bierman9
4.45/5  rDev +17.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A big, frothy, 1-inch head sits on top of a great-looking mahogany-garnet colored bier. Head shrinks down to a fine, thin layer, with excellent lacing in the glass! Has a smoky, peaty nose with good malt notes. Good body, and makes it's way very well over the tongue! Malty-sweet up front, smoky peat notes, smooth dry finish. My kind of Scotch Ale! Even with 8% abv I did not find that that made it too heavy, or detracted from the drinkability. Cheers!!

overall: 4.45
appearance: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | mouthfeel: 4 | drinkability: 4.5


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Photo of packetknife
4.09/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Reddish-brown, thin head. Smells like maple syrup. Maly and maple, sweet and thick. Heavy but smooth. I really like this on its own, no food close to it.

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Photo of stoutman
4.2/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Like malt? Like Scotch? Try McEwan’s Scotch Ale. This Scotch Ale packs quite a punch and actually made me sweat while quaffing.

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Photo of ADR
3.93/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Deep, clear chestnut brown appearance. Head settles at a thin 1/4 of an inch around 30 seconds after the pour. Sweet and powerful semi-molasses aroma. Malty, maple sugar taste, nice and coating in a full-bodied way. Notes of alcohol and raisins. A little orange rind flavor, maybe from the malts or maybe from the subtle English hops. Nice and flavorful, represents the style well but close to a Doppelbock in stickiness. A little heavy for high drinkability.

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Photo of jackndan
2.85/5  rDev -24.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

McEwan’s Scotch Ale: nice looking, deep garnet color, with little head. Nice understated aroma, black cherry? First taste, whoa, who put the booze in my beer? Shockingly sweet, with overwhelming malt and alcohol. Highly carbonated. If this what Scotch Ale is supposed to taste like, I’ll have to pass.

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Photo of marc77
3.23/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

The tan head is persistant enough to leave a lace. Dark garnet in hue w/ a bit of chill haze. Lots of sweet toffee and sugary prune notes in the aroma. Slight roasted grain sharpness is there as well. The hop nose is secondary, but a hint of floral Kent Goldings can be perceived. Medium bodied, and the low carbonation provides a very smooth mouthfeel. Roasted barley bitterness hits the palette initially, and a strong sugary sweetness follows. Hop bitterness is far too low to offset the residual sweetness. Finishes w/ no surprises-- roasty, sweet and almost syrupy. It's a pretty good Scotch Ale, but the sweetness borderlines on being cloying, and malt complexity was a bit lacking. A good brew if you're in the mood for something sweet. This would make a great (albeit expensive) vanilla ice cream float!

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Photo of rastaman
2/5  rDev -47.2%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Thin, not even that malty, sweet, ever so slightly peaty and smokey, but hardly even. Really average, scotch ale has never been a favourite of mine, and this is among the worst examples i've had, distgustingly industrial and sweet, what other raters see in this beer, is beyond me, very nasty stuff. Scottish ghetto swill.

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Photo of Reverand
3.16/5  rDev -16.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

First off I love Scottish ales and was really excited to taste McEwans. Unfortunately I was somewhat disappointed with the over all tasting. First off the color is incredible, a deep mahogony color with a decent head. Taste wise, the high alcohol 8% certainly is predominent and not some of the other flavors. This brew is definitely a sipping beer not one to pound down with your friends.

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Photo of bmills1608
3.92/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

This beer is very sweet, almost wine-like with a little spice (cinnamon) and maybe black cherry. Very interesting flavor for a beer. 8% abv was noticeable, adding to the wine-like flavor. Low hop flavor. I enjoyed it quite a lot, but be warned, it is strong and very fruity. If you really like a pronounced hop flavor in your brews, you may not care for this.

The only other scotch ale I have had was Sam Adam's, and they are quite different. Sam's was definitely less sweet and had a smoky peat character that McEwan's did not

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Photo of Brent
3.06/5  rDev -19.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Dark ruddy color with a tangy, alcohol aroma that hits you up front. Very assertive, tangy caramel and prune with a bittersweet finish. A little cloying in the end. You would have to really like Scotch ales to be completely taken with this one.

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McEwan's Scotch Ale from The Caledonian Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.79 out of 5 with 724 ratings