Ride The Lion
Clown Shoes

Ride The LionRide The Lion
Write a Review
Beer Geek Stats: | Print Shelf Talker
Scotch Ale / Wee Heavy
Ranked #22
Ranked #4,401
4.07 | pDev: 9.09%
Clown Shoes
Massachusetts, United States
Ride The LionRide The Lion
Reviews: 72 | Ratings: 483 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of EMV
3.6/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

2019 edition. Poured from a tall bottle into a Dogfish Head tulip

L: Cloudy copper brown pour with a finger of fizzy white head. Falls fast... modest lacing. I do like the bottle artwork.

S: Caramel and malts mixed with bourbon. Best part of the beer.

T.F: Toasted grains and brown sugar. Strong bourbon... vanilla and booze. Modest sweetness... earthy... lacking in flavor a bit. Lightly carbonated. Medium bodied. Warming and a bit boozy.

O: Lacking in flavor... I guess I expected more, but the malts/brown sugar/toffee didn't live up to the bourbon which dominates the brew. Very much a poor man's 'Backwoods Bastard'... and it's not terribly close. Not one I'd pick up again.

 700 characters

Photo of Brutaltruth
4.34/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

From the 22 oz bottle in a snifter. This fantastic ale pours a
luminous ruby tinged mahogany with a nice head of off white foam that
subsides to a thin ring with light lacing. Nose of bourbon, light smoke,
peat, vanilla, oak, and booze with subtle orchard fruit notes. Flavors
nail it for the style---bourbon; big and rich. Oak and vanilla marry with
brown sugars and peat smoked malts with touches of brandied apples
and figs with a hint of zesty hops on the rear in between the layers
of warming bourbon. excellent mouth feel; medium body, light carbonation,
smooth, rich, warming, and finishing faintly dry.

The Clown folk know their stuff----this one hits the mark!


Seek this one out!


 720 characters

Photo of ChrisMon02
4.28/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2019 version.

Deep Amber color. Small head with little lacing.

Sweet bourbon, malt, smoke, Red Apple skins, berries, peat and vanilla on the nose and palate. Quite complex and delicious.

Very smooth. Subtle carbonation and although chewy, not difficult to navigate through. Some warming in the chest but not hot at all.

Very nice, well crafted beer. Complex and flavorful. I will definately be revisiting soon.

 417 characters

Photo of LifesAnesthesia
4.33/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

L - Ruby amber with a thin light tan head that dissipates quickly leaving behind minimal lacing
S - Sweet malt, caramel, smokiness, wood, peat, sweet bourbon
T - Follows the nose: sweet, rich malt up front and throughout, followed by sweet bourbon that also is throughout the palate, with sweet caramel, smoky wood notes and some peat as well as vanilla.
F - Medium bodied with a light to moderate amount of carbonation. Sticky and somewhat chewy
O - A really nice example of a wee heavy - the bourbon barrels definitely add to the overall flavor profile.

 557 characters

Photo of stephens101
4.15/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours a bright ruby red with a thin white lace atop. Sweet and boozy to the nose. Tastes of brown sugar, persimmon, plum and black cherry in the finish. A faint woodiness comes out quickly followed by a hint of herb and pine. Sweet and heavy with a good amount of boozy heat to keep you on your toes.

There will always be a place for the classic styles that lie on the sweeter end of the spectrum in my fridge. And this one will be at the front of the line.

 465 characters

Photo of avalon07
4/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

*2019 version

L: Poured from a bottle to a pint glass. Had a dark amber color and a mostly clear consistency. There was a quarter inch of foamy, off white, somewhat long-lasting head. Very good lacing.

S: A solid aroma of malt, caramel, bourbon, toffee, vanilla, and wood.

T: Tasted of a moderate amount of sweet malt (present throughout), a good shot of bourbon (and its accompanying barrel), some caramel, a tinge of vanilla, and a bit of toffee as well. This is a much more subtle flavor than expected, but still rich. It has a certain booziness to it, but it's not excessive. It's quite sweet and tasty.

F: A fair amount of carbonation with a slightly slick, yet warm finish. Medium-bodied.

O: A solidly made scotch ale. Worth a look.

 744 characters

Photo of clayrock81
4.13/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Copper brown body with minimal head and a lace ring around the glass. Boozy, malty aroma with caramel and toffee. Sticky, heavy body, sweet vanilla, caramel, toffee and clean finish with well-hidden abv and a woody smoothness. This beer, for me at least, the version I’m having on tap, is just sweet and easy to drink and hits the spot.

 341 characters

Photo of charlzm
3.97/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Consumed on November 5th, 2016. That makes this bottle about two and a half years old. Poured into a tulip glass.

Beer is a very deep brown with dark garnet highlights. A two-finger light tan head of dense, creamy foam slowly recedes to a crown around the rim.

Aroma is boozy and metallic. Sugar cane and vanilla notes are in there as well.

Flavor is very sweet with melanoidin characteristics in the finished. Only mildly bitter. Cane sugar, vanilla, and some woody notes round out the palate.

Mouthfeel is slightly thick, a little creamy, and hot with alcohol. The time spent in the cellar did nothing to mellow the booze bite. Or maybe it did? The mind boggles.

Overall, not one of the best wee heavy ales I have ever had. Certainly drinkable.

 756 characters

Photo of darktronica
3.98/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

June 2014 bottle, and I have low expectations relative to when I had it fresher. Now pours a murky light brown, with a smidgeon of light foam that quickly dissipates. Smells a bit tangy from oxidation and barrel oak, along with brown sugar, spiced apple cider, and amaretto. The taste still has a nice malt backbone but also has a hint of tartness to it, suggesting it has passed its prime.

I still have one more bottle, which I'm planning to open alongside bottles of the base beer, Royal Standard, and a cognac-aged version, Ride the Wendigo. Shame that they can't all be fresh at the same time, but it should make for an interesting tasting.

 646 characters

Photo of brewskis
3.63/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottled 6/18/14. Been in my cellar for about 18 months.

Pours a clear deep, dark brown amber color. A good finger of a creamy tan head.

Aroma is carmel, brown sugar, bourbon-soaked dark fruits (plums and raisins), oak, and some vanilla.

Taste starts with rich carmel and brown sugar sweetness along with dark fruit and bread. The barrel presence makes itself known mid-palate and brings oak, bourbon, and some vanilla. The bourbon barrel and dark fruit flavors intensify into the finish, but some (what I would guess is) oxidation also creeps in. It's an astringent metallic and tangy note, almost like a sherry flavor. Pretty dry finish given it's sweetness up front.

Medium body. Smooth, creamy, and oily mouthfeel.

Overall, this would be a solid barrel aged wee heavy if it wasn't for the weird tangy finish. Not sure if this is oxidation (which I can't really blame on them) or if this was an intended flavor. As it warms, this flavor starts to fade a bit. Decent stuff.

 981 characters

Photo of MNAle
3.49/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.5

May 2014 release opened 1/15/2016, so this has aged on the store shelf for 18 months or so. Consumed about half the bottle. Stoppered the rest, consumed it on 1/16. Dark, orangish, muddy, hazy. The look is not particularly attractive. Little to low carbonation. 1 inch cream-white head after a vigorous pour that fades at a moderate rate leaving some lacing, ending in a ring with bubbles. Aroma dominated by whiskey with sweet malt. Hints of dark fruits, earthy, but it mostly smells like whiskey. Substantial to thick mouth feel. Smooth initial taste, malty, but transitioning quickly to whiskey. It is hard to pick up the more subtle flavors of the beer due to the dominance of the whiskey flavor. Stong whiskey aftertaste with alcohol warming in the back of the mouth and the breath. The overall impression is a sipping whiskey, not a beer. Tasty, just like a smooth, but thick, bourbon. But if you are looking for malts and hops, this is not the beer you are looking for. I have no idea how to rate this beer, since I have no baseline, so mostly I'm rating on my like/don't like scale. But, it seems to me they overdid the barrel aging flavors.

 1,149 characters

Photo of mtomlins
3.79/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Pours a deep amber brown with 2 fingers of creamy tan head. The nose is pleasant, just not very full; lotsnoc caramel malt, raisins, toffee, vanilla and some boozy bourbon. The taste is similar with caramel malt, toffee, vanilla and bourbon dominating but finishing a touch metallic and astringent. Good creamy body and carbonation. Overall, a really nice beer.

 365 characters

Photo of Treyliff
3.98/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

22oz bottle poured into a teku. Bottled 6/19/14

A- pours a deep ruby brown with a one-finger creamy off white head that retains long after the pour

S- bourbon forward aroma with notes of sweet caramel/toffee malt, raisins, fig, peat moss

T- sweet caramel & toffee malt with notes of raisin & fig. Plenty of bourbon on the mid palate with woodsy notes and barrel juice, more bourbon on the linger

M- medium-heaven body with moderate carbonation leads to a foamy mouthfeel and a slightly warming finish

O- nice and sweet, bourbon forward wee heavy

 552 characters

Photo of Jadjunk
3.63/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

"Descended from a notorious clan of Scottish lore, head brewer Dan Lipke channeled the Tartan tapestry encoded in his DNA to create a formidable Wee Heavy. The beer has been aged one hundred percent in fresh bourbon barrels. Ask yourself, 'Who needs a reason to ride the lion?'" Brewed in the style of a Wee Heavy Scotch Ale, available in limited release 22 oz. bottles and on limited draft.

Poured from a 22 oz. bottle to a snifter glass.

(Appearance) Pours a frothy foam head of a caramel cream color over a medium hazy caramel-amber body with faint sediment and little carbonation. Retention is below average and lacing is light and patchy. 3.5

(Smell) Toasted caramel malts with a moderate graininess, mild sweetness and mild, tangy acidity. Reserved alcohol notes. Potency is moderate. 3.5

(Taste) Viscous syrupy caramel malts with a mild graininess, tangy and acidic finish. 3.75

(Mouthfeel) Texture is slick, residual, mildly syrupy, medium dry. Carbonation is medium, generating a medium frothiness and a medium crisp finish. Body is medium for the style, medium/heavy overall. Balance is nearly evenly sweet to tangy and funky. Alcohol presence is light and there are no off characters. 3.75

(Overall) I'm not sure if it was intended or not, but this wee heavy ale has a uniquely different tangy and acidic side to contribute to the sweet viscosity, which distracts notably from the wee heavy body. At best, it's a variation from a traditional style with mixed results- at worst, a bottle infection and an unintended flavor and aroma. I think my biggest criticism of this beer is a reserved malt profile, very underdeveloped for the style, allowing these subtleties, welcome or not to shine through brightly. Not a very elegant spot in Clown Shoes' lineup. 3.5

Clown Shoes'
Ride The Lion Wee Heavy Ale

 1,827 characters

Photo of JandJMD
4.09/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Look is pretty ugly actually. Just a murky, ruddy brown mess. Not much head. Just a thin ring. But, look doesn't make a beer.
A hint of the bourbon on the nose.
Taste is caramel, brown sugar, and a little vanilla. Just sweet and sticky.
Nice body. All around good and nice to have a BA wee heavy.

 304 characters

Photo of Chcshammonde
4.03/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Bottled in June 2014. Almost a year in the bottle! Bourbon on the nose, lovely mixed with the natural wee heavy malty-sweet smell. You can taste the base beer and it's a good one. Enjoyed this one! Only complaint is that the mouthfeel and finish are thin. Maybe though it was a tad different when fresh? Dunno. But the one-year-old bottle still good.

 358 characters

Photo of ZAP
4.15/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

L-Burgundy colored...nice frothy off white head

S-Great aroma of caramel, vanilla, nougat....real heavy on the caramel.

T-Loaded with caramel....notes of vanilla, oak, nougat and to a lesser degree dark fruits (plums) as well. Has some earthy characteristics but caramel is the big flavor.

F-No heat...smooth and creamy...full bodied...lower carbonation

O-Enjoyable beer. I really liked it the first few sips but deeper in it becomes simple very good.

 461 characters

Photo of philbe311
4.41/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Barrel Aged Scotch Ale - Yes Please! A cascading audibly fizzy pour yields slightly more than a fingers worth of tightly packed rich creamy khaki colored froth... Limited retention as this one quickly fades leaving a splotchy lacing and thin collar... The color is a slightly murky medium brown with some faint ruby highlights when back lit... A moderate bit of slightly sluggish carbonation rises towards the top of the glass... A subtle but very robust aroma... Notes of caramel and toffee ebb and flow with delicate barrel aged nuances... Hints of vanilla and brown sugar... Simple and straight forward, but deeply rich and satisfying at the same time... Lots of complexity lingers beneath the surface... The palate is a continuation of the nose... There is the addition of some peat... A light boozy presence on the finish... On the fuller side of medium bodied... Slightly dense and a bit chewy... Velvety smooth... Light to moderate carbonation... Sleek and slightly sticky... This an a world class brew... The barrel aging is as it should be... It's subtle and adds a ton of depth and complexity without taking away from the wonderful base beer that lies beneath... One of the smoothest barrel aged Scotch Ales that I've encountered... Highly enjoyable... High recommended... Grab one if you can still find it...

 1,343 characters

Photo of J-Rye
4.83/5  rDev +18.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Poured from tap at Cloverleaf in West Caldwell, NJ, into a snifter. Fantastic beer from a great brewery. The aging was done just right to bring out the vanilla tones but not be overbearing.

 191 characters

Photo of pat61
4.5/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Brillliant chestnut to brown tinted ruby under a thin finely bubbled white foam cap. Produces thin lace and has good legs. Smell: Darker malts, grain, kettle sugars, light caramel, faint smoke. Very slight floral hop aromas. Taste: Big malty palate with grain and kettle sugars, low to moderate esters, finishes dry. Mouthfeel: Full bodied, malty sweetness moderated by slightly warming alcohol. Carbonation moderate.

 429 characters

Photo of TreyIsWilson
3.99/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours a cloudy murky reddish-brown with a one-finger off-white head. Thin amount of soapy lacing.

S - Aroma of bourbon, vanilla, toffe, and caramel.

T - The flavor is follows the nose. Lots of bourbon upfront with toffe, vanilla, and caramel malts. There is good amount of booziness in the finish.

M - Medium bodied with medium carbonation. The mouthfeel is soft and creamy. Sticky and dry finish.

O - A nice Wee Heavy. The flavors are a bit overshadowed by the booziness of the beer.

 493 characters

Photo of metter98
3.69/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A: The beer is rather hazy amber in color. It poured wit a quarter finger high off white head that died down, leaving a thin layer of bubbles on the surface, a collar around the edge, and some lacing down the sides.
S: Faint aromas of bourbon and alcohol are present in the nose along with some hints of toffee.
T: Similar to the smell, the taste has flavors of alcohol and bourbon along with underlying hints of caramel and toffee.
M: It feels a bit more than medium-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation along with some warming from the alcohol.
O: This beer isn't that difficult to drink considering that it is a wee heavy and a bourbon barrel aged beer, but seems like there could be more in the way of malty undertones of caramel and toffee.

Serving type: bottle

 796 characters

Photo of kojevergas
2.91/5  rDev -28.5%
look: 2.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

BOTTLE: Purchased in Austin, TX. 1 pint 6 fl oz. Brown glass. Branded pry-off pressure cap. Generally appealing label art. 2014 vintage (bottled 06/18/14).

11% ABV. Served cold into a snifter and allowed to warm over the course of consumption. Expectations are above average; I'm not usually very impressed with this brewery but the description makes it sound nice.

Reviewed live as a bourbon barrel wee heavy.

No bubble show forms as it's poured.

HEAD: 1 finger wide. Pale khaki colour. Fairly thick and full, with nice creaminess. Could be softer looking and more supple. Retention is fair for the high ABV - about 2 minutes. Leaves no lacing as it recedes.

BODY: Orange-auburn. Doesn't really suit a wee heavy; darker would be better. Translucent, nontransparent. No yeast particulate or hop sediment is visible.

Overall, it doesn't look like much of a wee heavy, but there's nothing egregiously wrong with it. It's just underwhelming.

AROMA: Fruit dominates, much to my shock. Raisin, grape, some sugarplum...maybe even dates and/or prunes. Caramel is huge here as well, and there's no doubt as to its sweetness. A hint of buttery diacetyl off-character makes an appearance, unfortunately, but the cream disguises it nicely.

The bourbon barrel character is disappointingly reticent. There's some vanilla, some barrel sugars, and I guess a hint of oak, but it doesn't have a very evocative bourbon character at all.

Aromatic intensity: moderate.

No hop character, yeasty notes, or booze is detectable.

Not good for a wee heavy, nor for a bourbon barrel beer of any style.

TASTE: That obnoxious fruit is more toned down than the aroma suggested, but there's some off-putting orange marmalade character that I despise, and it intensifies until the third act, where it dominates. A heavy caramalt sweetness is present throughout, veering this about as close towards cloying territory as you can get without quite reaching it. The vanilla tastes artificial, and the bourbon character is poorly integrated, failing even to evoke basic oak tones. The bourbon barrel doesn't feel married in any way whatsoever to the base beer, and fails to accentuate any individual constituent note from the flavour profile.

The fruit - while not apt in a wee heavy - is of some interest. As this warms, I pick up on the fruit from the aroma as well as fig and even apple. Odd indeed for a wee heavy.

The malts aren't dark enough and it has all these weird fruity notes, but it's not imbalanced and it's not a bad brew outside of style conventions. If I approach it as a strong ale, it makes more sense. I think they got lucky in that the flavour profile isn't the chaotic mess it could be, but the ingredients don't seem well chosen.

As it warms still more, some faint coconut emerges, the caramel opens up (grr...), and the booziness becomes obvious. The buttery diacetyl is fleeting but present, alongside a kiss of butterscotch - which is as boozy and disgusting as it sounds; it's a good thing its presence is minimal.

By no means a great build (regardless of style), and certainly not a subtly handled brew. But it boasts fair complexity and has a lot going on for what it is.

Depth of flavour: Average.
Flavour duration: Average.
Flavour intensity: Average.
Flavour amplitude: Below average.

TEXTURE: Creamy, fairly coating, smooth, wet, and ideally medium-bodied. Overcarbonated, unrefreshing, and aptly moderately thick. This texture doesn't elevate the beer, nor does it coax out additional nuance from the notes in the flavour profile, but it suits the taste decently. Could definitely use some fine-tuning and dialing in. Its lightly sticky and syrupy feel isn't doing it any favours.

Not oily, gushed, astringent, harsh, rough, or scratchy. It does have some alcohol warmth, but it's tolerable.

OVERALL: A sad attempt at a wee heavy (especially a bourbon barrel aged wee heavy), but a respectably average offering outside of style conventions. This is more mundane work from Clown Shoes and I won't be buying it again, but it could be far worse. I'm not sure what they were after with the bizarre orange marmalade emphasis and the absence of any interesting bourbon notes, but the result is wanting. I'll definitely finish this bottle alone (it's good enough for that) but I hoped for a more true-to-style offering. As a side-note, I'm not sure what the "natural flavor" mentioned on the label was, but it can't be helping this. Try taking the artificial crap out of your grain bill and then get back to us, Clown Shoes. And let's take down the caramel a good six or seven notches. I can't see this beer doing well in markets in which it competes with something like Founders Backwoods Bastard. Backwoods Bastard's infinitely higher quality aside, the price point comparison alone is sufficient reason for wee heavy fans never to buy this.

The best element is the vanilla, artificial though it tastes.

The butterscotch/diacetyl gets more obnoxious as it warms.


 4,979 characters

Photo of StraightNoChaser
4.35/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Look: A bit murky Honey-Brown. Tan head with lacing that lingers.
smell: Oak and vanilla. Not a lot beyond that, but that's enough.
taste: Much like the nose up front. Very interesting finish develops with some spice and a touch of burn.
overall: Tasty, different. Kudos.

 273 characters

Photo of Blueowl
2.35/5  rDev -42.3%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.75

This is currently one of my favorite styles of ale. I feel confident that I know what to expect and appreciate when tasting this style both imported and domestic. However, I have to admit that I have limited experience with bourbon barreled Scotch Ales. That having been said, I still have to say that I found this example just a bit "Wee Heavy" in the ABV and bourbon flavor. I plan on purchasing another bomber and will hold it for a while to see what evolves.

 462 characters

Ride The Lion from Clown Shoes
Beer rating: 91 out of 100 with 483 ratings