Scottish Pale Ale
South River Brewing Company

Scottish Pale AleScottish Pale Ale
Rate It
Beer Geek Stats | Print Shelf Talker
South River Brewing Company
Ontario, Canada
Scottish Ale
Ranked #61
Ranked #25,644
3.62 | pDev: 9.12%
May 22, 2022
Mar 26, 2012
Scottish Pale AleScottish Pale Ale
Notes: Bright copper colour; toasted malt, a hint of caramel and a touch of fruit aromas; Medium body, with coffee and dark chocolate notes, nice hop balance and nutty finish.
Recent ratings and reviews. | Log in to view more ratings + sorting options.
Rated: 3.87 by CRObighit2 from Canada (ON)

May 22, 2022
Photo of pootz
Reviewed by pootz from Canada (ON)

3.43/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5
I have upgraded my review of this beer from the first samples I had some 3 years ago - the reworked recipe is a decent cross between a Scottish pale ale with micro brew copper-red color, big puffy cap, aroma is demure with toasted cereal tones fruity esters - taste is roasty-toasty-caramel malty in front with good hop bite - goes to a clean drying finish punctuated by a nutty-toasty maltiness. A great session ale. I will have a few in the fridge when it is available
Jan 09, 2018
Rated: 3.97 by Nost from Canada (ON)

Apr 01, 2017
Rated: 3.75 by Jotora from Canada (ON)

Nov 15, 2015
Rated: 3.87 by DRenaud from Canada (ON)

Aug 26, 2015
Rated: 3.96 by Electros from Canada (ON)

Mar 01, 2015
Rated: 3.63 by thteam from Canada (ON)

Jan 19, 2015
Rated: 3.75 by Bf_89 from Canada (ON)

Nov 24, 2014
Rated: 3.75 by WillAndSarah from Canada (ON)

Oct 19, 2014
Rated: 3.75 by patre_tim from Thailand

Jul 19, 2014
Rated: 3 by JohnKenn from Canada (ON)

Jun 21, 2014
Rated: 3.5 by TerryW from Canada (ON)

May 04, 2014
Photo of biboergosum
Reviewed by biboergosum from Canada (AB)

3.96/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
650ml bottle, 5.4% ABV. Nice coat of arms imagery depicted on the label.

This beer pours a clear, medium copper amber hue, with two fat fingers of tightly foamy, chunky, and near-creamy off-white head, which leaves some decent layered dissolving cloud lace around the glass as things bleed away.

It smells of bready, crackery caramel malt, a bit of sourdough, mild earthy yeast, soft drupe fruit esters, and leafy, somewhat floral hops. The taste is quite malt-forward - caramel, toffee, and a touch of molasses - more sourdough and dark wheaty breadiness, weak grassy peat notes, and mild leafy, earthy hops.

The carbonation is fairly stilted, hardly exhibiting a bare frothiness, the body a pleasantly plump medium weight, and smooth, I suppose, though a sort of steely flintiness lingers from its just out of the fridge state. It finishes well off-dry, the malt still the headliner, but moderated well enough by the lesser biscuit and hop essences.

A flavourful and enjoyable Scotch-tinged pale ale, the malt complex and well drinkable. That's four for four (and yet I'm not on the floor) for this brewery, who seem to have a predilection for traditional UK styles (if their name didn't give it away) - and that's a-ok by me, especially when they are this proficiently turned out.
May 03, 2014
Rated: 3.75 by RedAleMan from Canada (ON)

Mar 07, 2014
Rated: 2.5 by byronic from Canada (ON)

Dec 05, 2013
Photo of ckollias
Reviewed by ckollias from Maryland

3.59/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5
Enjoyed this beer out a Belgian tulip glass.

A: Pours an amber brown hue with a solid white lace that lasts for awhile before ending in a wispy lace.

S: Malty caramel aroma

T: Similar to the aroma there is a malty caramel flavor that finished slightly dry

M: Medium body and medium carbonation

O: Decent brew - good flavors and aromas.
Oct 03, 2013
Rated: 3.5 by bigox420 from Canada (ON)

Aug 02, 2013
Photo of andrenaline
Reviewed by andrenaline from Canada (ON)

3.53/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 2.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75
A random score at the local LCBO...

A - Pours a nice dark amber colour, thin layer of head with no retention or lacing.

S - Loads of bready malts, sourdough, rye and a hint of peat. Sweet caramel and buttered bread come through on the finish.

T - Peat notes are subdued by the heavy breaded malts, hints of smoke and leather come through on the finish alongside burnt caramel, toffee and some leafy greens.

M - Medium bodied, smooth and wet.

O - A tasty scotch ale, decent flavour profile and worth a try. I would probably buy it again, but I doubt it will see the shelves of Northern Ontario again.
Jun 15, 2013
Rated: 3.5 by seinfeldette from Canada (ON)

May 16, 2013
Rated: 3.5 by yancot from Canada (ON)

May 10, 2013
Rated: 3.5 by KrisDLSmith from Canada (ON)

Apr 11, 2013
Rated: 3.75 by GoHabsGo from Canada (ON)

Mar 28, 2013
Rated: 3.75 by BigGruntyThirst from Canada (ON)

Mar 24, 2013
Rated: 3.75 by sbarre from Canada (ON)

Mar 05, 2013
Rated: 3.5 by DaPan from Canada (ON)

Feb 13, 2013
Rated: 4 by Ammon from Canada (ON)

Feb 07, 2013
Rated: 3.75 by polloenfuego from Canada (NB)

Jan 26, 2013
Rated: 3 by cfalovo97 from Canada (ON)

Nov 06, 2012
Rated: 3.5 by Molson2000 from Canada (ON)

Oct 11, 2012
Photo of Kremlock
Reviewed by Kremlock from Canada (ON)

4.35/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
Served from bottle in a Pokal glass. Bought at the LCBO

A: head builds up to about 1 inch and then settles down to a nice 1/8 inch across the top. Colour is hazelnut, very clear with no particles. There is a bit of lacing also.

S: Caramel and toffee do dominate the smell. You can smell the caramelized malt in here. No bitterness, just sweet malt

T: Toasted nuts, caramel, toffee and all very clean and balanced. Residual sweetness is low and there is a low dryness to it in the finish which makes the sweetness very well balanced and leaves you to wanting more. Allowing the sip to finish and waiting for your next you can taste raisins and baked pear.

M: Thin (in a good way) well carbonated, dry finish

O: This is the 5th bottle I buy and it's now a must have in the fridge. I just love the balance of flavours with the bitterness that finishes it. This is a amazing Scottish Ale and a must try.
Sep 20, 2012
Photo of korguy123
Reviewed by korguy123 from Canada (ON)

3.57/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5
500ml Bottle into tulip.
Best before October 14th, 2012

A- Crystal clear burnt copper/ brown pour. Short lived fizzy off white head. Lacing is decent.

S- Toasted bread, biscuits, almonds and some caramel. dark stone fruits and a little bit of butter.

T- Fresh baked bread, short bread or digestive cookies. Dark stone fruits and loads of caramel.

M- Light bodied, wish it had more chew to it. Carbonation is a little high.
Aug 12, 2012
Photo of mick303
Reviewed by mick303 from Canada (ON)

3.48/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5
Colour is a nice dark chestnut brown, with a good lace, and active carbonation.

Aroma is of quite malty, a bit heathery/floral. A slight earthy pepperiness. Slightly retrained but interesting.

Taste is of strong caramelized malt, very malty and rich. Sugar is present and sweetness is very assertive for a time, and then dry on the finish. My impression of the flavour is strong, but a bit of refinement seems lacking.

Mouthfeel has an initial carbonation then a strong dry malt, medium bodied, perhaps a bit unbalanced for the style, quite dry to the end.

An interesting beer to drink, definitely a welcome switch up. Probably not the best everyday drink, flavours are strong but come across a bit unbalanced.
Aug 07, 2012
Photo of thehyperduck
Reviewed by thehyperduck from Canada (ON)

3.97/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25
500 mL bottle from the LCBO; best before Oct. 14 2012. Another new brewery for me - seems like they've been popping up like dandelions all over the province over the last year or so. I tend to like these Scottish-style ales, but this is the first new one I've seen in a while.

Pours a clear copper-amber colour, topped with approximately one finger of frothy, off-white head that wilts away before a minute's time has passed. It is survived by a soapy film on the surface, foamy collar and some modest lacing smeared onto the glass. The aroma is pleasant, if a little understated in intensity - mostly malts here, with some toasted nuts, biscuits, poundcake, molasses, butterscotch, as well as some light peat and dark fruit notes. Unique and enjoyable.

The aroma certainly got my mouth watering, and the taste does not disappoint in the slightest. Dominated by a multitude of malty flavours - buttered biscuits, toasted hazelnuts and molasses are probably the most prominent. Some light plum and raisin fruitiness adds additional variety to the profile. Not overly sweet, despite the abundant malt flavours - it finishes with floral, leafy dryness and some light, musty smoke/peat flavours that linger only briefly. Medium-bodied, with mild carbonation and a smooth, slick mouthfeel. Highly sessionable - I could drink this stuff all night without tiring of it.

Highlander Brewing's Scottish Ale makes for one damn fine pint in my opinion, and I'll certainly pick it up again some time. There is something about this stuff I find highly satisfying. I really hope this stuff makes its way to Sarnia eventually (this particular bottle is from a London shop), because I can definitely see myself craving it again. It's also pretty good value at only $3.25 a pint. Definitely worth a try for any fan of malty UK session ales.

[Updated Jan 9 2016]

Bomber from the LCBO - still a fairly good deal at $5 per 650 mL. This remains one of my favourite Ontario-made examples of a lighter Scottish-style ale - not that there is a lot of competition in that category. If you are just looking for something malt-forward, simple and sessionable, this is a beer that will probably be right up your alley.

Final Grade: 3.97, a B+
Aug 02, 2012
Photo of cratez
Reviewed by cratez from Canada (ON)

3.55/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5
500ml bottle from the Main & Bronte LCBO in Milton, ON.

Pours a clear coppery bronze with one finger of eggshell white head and a few spots of lacing on the pint glass.

Smell is toffee, toasted malt, treacle, bruised pit fruit, earthy hops, trace of diacetyl, mild mineral note, and raisin.

Taste is caramel, toffee, brown bread, biscuit, molasses, raisin, light plumy and apple-like fruitiness precedes an earthy-musty finish.

Mouthfeel is medium-bodied, average carbonation, sugary-viscous middle transitions to a bone dry finish with fleeting afters.

Overall, this is a solid Scottish Ale with some English Pale and Brown Ale elements. Worth a purchase as the style is hard to come by in Ontario.
Jul 21, 2012
Photo of spinrsx
Reviewed by spinrsx from Canada (ON)

3.38/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5
500ml Bottle from the LCBO Ottawa for 3.50$

Appearance - Clear amber/copper yellow colour with an average size fizzy beige coloured head. There is an average amount of carbonation showing and there is some faint lacing. The head lasted for only a short while.

Smell - Malts, breads/grains, butterscotch/caramel

Taste & Mouth - There is an above average amount of carbonation and I can taste malts and corn mixed with some caramel/butterscotch. There is also a bit of a hop bitterness and some grassy notes and just a hint of dark fruits. It ends with a malty semi sweet aftertaste.

Overall - Something that seems relatively well crafted and very drinkable.. but not all that exciting. It reminded me of some of the offerings I have had from Picaroons. I wouldn't pick this particular beer up again, but I'd surely try more beers from this brewer.
Jul 11, 2012
Rated: 3 by ucsbmullet from Colorado

Jun 11, 2012
Photo of TheHammer
Reviewed by TheHammer from Canada (ON)

3.79/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
Appearance: Poured with half a finger of head that did not stick around or lace. The body however does well, as a deep brown with solid carbonation is present.

Smell: Plenty of nutty roasted malt, with a slight undertone of peat and smoke. The malt is very dominant, and didn't need a lot of warming to come out either. However as it warms it just keeps getting better.

Taste: Starts with well roasted malt, backed up with a smoky peat and plum taste. It builds up as the smokiness takes over and a nutty taste of almonds and hazelnuts come forward as the two combine with one last touch of peat. Solid stuff.

Mouthfeel: Well done as the nuttiness and peat mildly linger and the carbonation helps out the entire body. Transitioning is good too, but points are lost for the lack of head.

Drinability: Medium bodied and not exactly for summer drinking, but pretty much this beer could work out for any other time. Easy going down, easy staying down and certainly something I could drink all night.

Final Thoughts: I had never heard of, nor seen this brewer before, so I thought I'd pick it up. Having done so, I am glad I did. If this is this brewer's flagship beer, I think I would expect great things. Well worth the price.
Jun 11, 2012
Photo of cyrenaica
Reviewed by cyrenaica from Canada (ON)

3.15/5  rDev -13%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3
500ml bottle
5.0% ABV

I tried this beer on May 21, 2012 after purchasing from one of the local LCBO outlets. The beer poured translucent coppery-brown colour with a thin tan coloured head. The aroma was sweet malt, molasses, caramel, and some floral hops. The mouthfeel was medium bodied with medium carbonation. The flavour is a disappointment. Quite metallic for a Scottish/Scotch ale
Jun 09, 2012
Photo of CanuckRover
Reviewed by CanuckRover from Canada (ON)

3.89/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
Pours a near-reddish brown. Clear. Thin film on top. No lacings aside from a few stubborn bubbles.

Wonderful aroma. Roasted nutty sweetness, subtle and pleasant.

Clean malt from beginning to end. Nice dark malt flavours complemented by a rich woodiness. Nice toffee notes, but again it's not sticky, flavours are very clean, slightly slippery even.

A nice one to have in the fridge for a Scottish Ale with all the requisite flavours, but that doesn't go overboard.
Jun 05, 2012
Photo of biegaman
Reviewed by biegaman from Canada (ON)

3.9/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5
Highlander Scottish Ale has a toasty, chestnut-brown color and clear, glossy complexion. Bubbles float about idly although patch little together except a skirting along the perimeter of the glass. Not really what I'd consider 'head'. It's somewhat unique to see something so dark yet simultaneously transparent and so resplendent.

The aroma boasts a lot of malt, but not a ton of malty sweetness. This is definitely not dessert. It has the toast, some dark fruitiness, and is accentuated by peat. While ultra fine, hints of earth, heather and smoke add subtle complexity. Floral elements gradually come to life and become hard to ignore. It really keeps you sniffing!

As the aroma let on, Highlander Scottish Ale has a very simple but succulent maltiness that is enlivened by the odd hint of smoky peat. It's not sweet enough to throw around words like 'caramel', although there is some degree of sticky-sweet fruitiness. The most prominent taste is that of toasted nuts (hazelnut, in particular). Pretty delicious.

It's nice the beer can afford bits and pieces of sweet flavors (raisin, toffee, nougat, plum) without having them linger. The sweetness is really restrained. Same goes for the roast - you get a trace of smoke, just enough that it's noted but nothing more. It has a very subtle complexity that's intriguing and urges quick, repetitive trips back to the glass.

I'm never sure what to expect from Scottish Ales. And then there's "Scotch" Ales, which is a whole other thing. Variations abound. Brewers are hardly as precise and consistent as beer judges insist they be. Highlander's is an enjoyable, well crafted example and is certainly worth trying (and buying again), especially for those fans of the style.
May 27, 2012
Scottish Pale Ale from South River Brewing Company
Beer rating: 83 out of 100 with 43 ratings