Gordon Highland Scotch Ale (John Martin N.V.) | The Caledonian Brewing Company

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Gordon Highland Scotch Ale (John Martin N.V.)Gordon Highland Scotch Ale (John Martin N.V.)
Very Good
33 Ratings
Gordon Highland Scotch Ale (John Martin N.V.)Gordon Highland Scotch Ale (John Martin N.V.)

Brewed by:
The Caledonian Brewing Company
Scotland, United Kingdom

Style: Scotch Ale / Wee Heavy

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.60%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by GreenCard on 10-16-2003

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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 33 |  Reviews: 22
Reviews by rvdoorn:
Photo of rvdoorn
4/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Look: the beer pours a deep dark red-brown color with a big brown head.
Smell: Rich toasted malts, caramel, sugar, vanila, and some spicy herbs
Taste: Toasted malts, caramel dark fruits and nuts. Aftertaste is hoppy and spicy alcohol
Mouthfeel: Medium-thick body, medium carbonation.
Overall: Nice brew. Resembles the xmas brew

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More User Reviews:
Photo of PartyBear
2.95/5  rDev -22.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Unfortunately, I didn't have a traditional thistle shaped glass to pour the beer into, so had to make do with a Chimay goblet.

A - This Scotch ales displays an impressive warm ruby in colour, almost verging on black. The head was minimal, which resulted in an unevenly patchy covering, however, it was creamy white in colour, which made the colouring of the ale all the more warming.

S - Distinct caramels, and noticeably strong malts came through.

T - The taste was thick and syrupy, as you would expect with a Scotch Ale, with a caramel hint coming through . There was a very heavy aftertaste, which I personally didn't find too pleasant, like burnt praline. In fact, the aftertaste was not that dissimilar to overly burnt toast.

M - Thick and sticky, with a chewy characteristic.

D - The overpowering aftertaste doesn't sit well, and towards the end it begins to adversely influence the initial pleasant taste of the ale. One would be enough for me!

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Photo of OldFrothingSlosh
4.13/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

33cL amber bottle courtesy of AKSmokedPorter.

A: Poured into my Duvel tulip glass. Color is a clear amber-tinged dark copper. Very, very thick off-white head. Almost a nitro-tap consistency. Long-lasting and lots of distinct rings around the glass.

S: The nose is dominated by lots of sweet caramel. There's a citrusy fruit note as well, with a twang of medicinal alcohol thrown in for good measure.

T: Up front hit of thick and chewy caramel flavor, followed by some dark fruit flavors. ABV shows up near the end with a prickly dance on the tongue. Finish is strangely dry and pairs nicely with the bitterness on the palate.

M/D: Thick and chewy mouthfeel. Coats the palate until the end where it drys out. Very drinkable. As it warmed, the flavors really blossomed.

Notes: Quite a nice little gem from AKSP. Thanks for a great beer.

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Photo of tempest
3.97/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Came in a 16 ounce pounder at a Ghent restaurant. I'd call this a simple, but tasty scotch ale. It's most notable for its dry balance and finishing roast. The malt flavor is a bit tame, but the true-to-style toffee malts come through enough to make this a satisfying ale. Worth a try for something different in Belgium.

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Photo of frontalot
4/5  rDev +5.3%

Photo of Dukeofearl
3.82/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

33 cl bottle purchased at The Bottle Shop in Brugge, Belgium in April 2007 for about 2.50 euros. Pours a nice clear solid brown with a nice tan head. No visible carbonation.

Aroma is rich, partly roasted malt, almost a bit smoky. A slight tang is there too.

Flavor is big and rich and powerful. It almost explodes in my mount, along with the alcohol burn that goes with it- that's a downer. Definite hop bite, but it takes second place to the big malt profile. I like the flavor, but it's too big to be much more than an occasional choice. I'm drinking it on a nice spring day- this one is probably better on a cold winter night.

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Photo of patre_tim
4/5  rDev +5.3%

Photo of drmeto
2.56/5  rDev -32.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

-pours a clear dark brown with ruby tinges and a small,quickly dissipating beige head
-caramel,toffee,vinous tartness,cherries
-corn,ridiculous amounts of sugar,caramel,toffee,underlying tartness with a toasty finish
-medium body,low-medium carbonation
Ridiculously sweet Beer,possibly to hide the tartness.
Don't know how close this comes to a proper scotch ale,since this was my first

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Photo of Absumaster
4.05/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer pours a dark brown color with a 1 inch head that collapses after some minutes.
Smell was really interesting, lots of botterscotch and burned, chocolate flavors.
Taste was also butterscotch (diacetyl) with chocolate and burned notes. A slight bitter taste of the hops and burned malts was present. To complete all this heavy tastes, the body was pretty full and sweet and sticky, which make the beer less drinkable, but more sessionable. Nice!

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Photo of ppoitras
4.03/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

330ml bottle from AKSmokedPorter as part of Secret Santa 2005. Thanks for the opportunity.

Poured into a Rapscallion glass, formed a 3/4" tan head above the clear bright burgundy brew. Pillowy head lasts and lasts, with heavy coating tan foam lacing. Aroma is hearty dark malt, with a tinge of fruit and wisps of alcohol. Taste is grain sweetness upfront, with the same fruit twinge as the nose in the middle, and then a tending towards alcohol close. A bit of a lingering bitter aftertaste as well. Fruitiness is present in the middle, and alcohol slightly warms the throat. Mouthfeel is velvety smooth, and drinkability is not a problem either. Another nice scotch ale from this package.

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

330ml bottle bought from Belgianshop.com...

Poured a dark copper / chestnut colour. Creamy head poured thick and foamy then faded quite slowly to thickish layer... sparse carbonation... lots of sticky lacing coats the glass almost until the end..

Aroma - Nice lightly toasted biscuity malts, fairly strong toffee / caramel sweetness, nutmeg hints, spicy / peppery hop bitterness, typical Belgian bready / yeasty notes, spicy fruits (raisins, figs, oranges), quite strong rum / whiskey traces, some butterscotch...

Taste - Quite strong sweet toasty caramel malts, buttery, some treacle notes, toffee, alcohol soaked fruits (figs, apples, dates, bitter orages), peppery hops, oaky hints, creamy notes, bready, quite nutty...

Feel - Very smooth and velvety... medium bodied... This would be a little too sweet and strong to be very drinkable - more of a sipping beer...

Overall - A very good example of a scotch ale although it may be a little sweet for some... a nice winter warmer though.. recommended

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Photo of GreenCard
3.9/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: a beautiful ruby brown, crystalline clarity, a spongey layer of tannish head which slowly collapses on itself

Aroma: richly sweet maltiness with an underlying caramel note, a touch of hops and pear-like fruitiness, a wee bit of diacetyl (I think), ethanol

Flavor: malt sweetness is rich here as well, though there's a substantial hop bitterness to add a little balance; some clove, caramel, speculoos, alcohol; finish is initially sweet, but dries out somewhat to leave a mellow caramel aftertaste

Mouthfeel: medium body, creamy, gentle carbonation, belly-warming

Overall Impression: I'm not sure how this compares stylistically to real Scotch Ales, as I've not had many. It's a good beer though. It seems to have been designed for the discerning Belgian strong-ale drinkers as it has some yeast-characteristics similar to typical abbey ales.

This beer is actually brewed by Brouwerij Palm (as are the rest of these Gordon beers).

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Photo of ernie
3.45/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Strong, sweet and sticky - just what we expect from Scotch Wee Heavy. They say it's similar to McEwan's 80/- and is bottled in Belgium. Maybe. Anyway, a typical Scotch, with lots of malt and caramelized sugar, rich fruity tones both in aroma and body, complex finish and a wish for something else after emptying the bottle. A [perfect dessert drink and of course worth a try - in small volumes, although.

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4/5  rDev +5.3%

Photo of educorgan
4/5  rDev +5.3%

Photo of knot
3.75/5  rDev -1.3%

Photo of BrewMaster
3.73/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours with a nice red, amber, and brown head. The head on this beer is small and does not billow up too much. This beer seemed to lack a good nose. Some spiciness in the nose but not much else. The taste and mouthfeel are very good. A full bodied beer on the palate and it goes down very warm. It feels like a much bigger bear than it really is. Some nutty flavors along with sweet alcohol makes this great beer. I can't seem myself drinking this beer very often so it loses a bit in drinkability.

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Photo of Travlr
4.33/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Very dark, almost black, with a big head and massive lacing.
S: Aroma of a highland caber with a few herbs attached.
T: Flavor begins with butterscotch and malt, background of light spice, and then progresses to a slightly dry, bitter finish. Very complex.
M: Good body.
D: definitely to be sought after, a nice wee brew.

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Photo of dogfooddog
3.12/5  rDev -17.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I am under the impression that this used to be brewed in Scotland (edinburgh?) but this bottle appears to have been brewed in benelux. Contract brewing advances, I never did try the scottish version. I do enjoy classic scottish ales but hve no idea if this is going to taste like one.

Pours absurd huge head in a pint glass. Smell is roasted and smoked and I could almost say it has peat-smoked malt in it, something I have not read or heard in reference to this beer. The classic scottish malty nose is not present here.

Taste is a surprise, something kicks the tastebuds, very bitter up front which dissapates and lets the roasted malt escape. Alcohol is very strong in the initial taste.

I do not know how long this beer has been brewed in belgium, but maybe an ingredient change or other item has resulted in the smoky beer I am drinking, or maybe the brewing location was changed recently. Unlike the reviews here, and unlike any traditional scottish ale. Pleasant enough, after that.

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

The beer was clear deep maber with an off-white frothy head which lasted well to lace the glass.

The aroma was malty caramel with a light toffee and slightly nutty impression. The beer also contained a slightly fruity nature.

The flavor was lightly malty witha nice hop bittering that had a bit of a citrus character, but was not so high as to remove the malty presence. The other flavors were caramel and a very slight bit of chocolate.

The finish was dry with a light and lasting peppery hop bittering. the body was medium with a creamy mouthfeel due to the carbonation level. The beer also contained a slight spice that I never could put my finger on exactly. A nice beer, very interesting.

33 cl bottle served in proper glassware at Monico in Antwerpen on 9/12/06. The beer goes very well with Flemish Rabbit and Mussels.

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

Beer (33 cl), tasted in 2006.

Appearance: beautiful ruby color, with tan foam head (not persistent).
Smell: malty nose
Taste and mouthfeel : alccol predominates, final dry toast.
Drinkability: a good beer in the scottish style strong ale.

Review translated from french 5-14-2008.

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Photo of DutchBeerDrinker
3.75/5  rDev -1.3%

Photo of drpimento
3.54/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Got this bottle from a shop on the corner across from the train station in Schaerbeek, Brussels, Belgium. Think there's something wrong there as a lot of the beers have off flavors and aromas - even in cans. No idea why. Anyway, this one poured with an excellent head and lots of lace. Great mahoganey color. Aroma has definite skunk. After being open for a bit fades. Good scotch ale, but a little oversweet in a neutral way. Very nice body. If it weren't for the skunk thing, good beer. Scotch ale finish, a bit warming. Little too sweet and strong for a session.

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Photo of PapaEugene
3.93/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Poored it into my Uhrtel glass. A nice amber/brown color and a cream colored medium head that slowly dissipates.

S: Toffee, roasted malts and citrus.

T: Roasted malts, chocolate, slightly bitter, apple/pear and caramel.

M: Creamy! Medium carbonation and a medium body.

D: I like the creamy texture of this beer. It makes up for the medium body.

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Photo of MrDell
4.09/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25


Gordon Finest Scotch Ale
Scotch Ale / Wee Heavy - 8% - 330ml Bottle - Best before 13.03.2016

Appearance: Dark mahogany coloured beer with a rocky, off white, three finger head. Medium levels of carbonation. Loads of lacing. Very nice.

Aroma: Sweet malt whisky, toffee, ground pepper and, unfortunately, what smells like skunked hops.

Taste: WOW! Certainly no evidence of the skunked hops here, perhaps I was off there. What we have got are lots of lovely sweet malt flavours, with toffee and caramel upfront (reminds me of the ‘Highland Toffee’ chewbars I used to eat as a kid), this is backed up by a nice warming scotch taste in the finish, which becomes more and more pronounced as this dark ale warms up.

Mouth feel: Very smooth and gentle on the palate

Overall: I was really surprised by how much better this tastes than I thought it would , going by the aroma. This is a lovely nightcap type beer and I will definitely be re-visiting it as I did thoroughly enjoy it and, I would be interested to see how a fresher bottle would compare aroma-wise (this one has travelled all over Europe with me, before finally being opened in Germany, and the best before date is looming). Overall, is a sloid 8.5 / 10 beer for me, which could score higher if a) the aroma was better, and b) it was bottle conditioned.

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Gordon Highland Scotch Ale (John Martin N.V.) from The Caledonian Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.8 out of 5 with 33 ratings