Ride The Lion
Clown Shoes

Ride The LionRide The Lion
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Scotch Ale / Wee Heavy
Ranked #23
Ranked #5,188
4.07 | pDev: 9.09%
Clown Shoes
Massachusetts, United States
Ride The LionRide The Lion
Reviews: 76 | Ratings: 488 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of imscotty
imscotty from Massachusetts

4.05/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

2014 bomber aged in my cellar.

Appearance: Pours golden brown, a flash of foam that quickly fades, some lacing. There was a fair amount of sediment at the bottom of the bottle - it did not bother me.

Smell: Caramel & booze.

Taste: This is a hot boozy sugar daddy. Caramel overwhelms. malt and bourbon too, has a long hot boozy finish.

Mouthfeel: Not a viscous beer, but it coats the mouth and it stays. Long, long finish. A nice sipper on a cold winter night.

Overall: I thought this beer would have legs, and it did. At this age it may have lost some of its complexity, but if my memory is correct I thought it was too sweet when fresh so I prefer it aged. What I appreciate most in the beer is the lingering, burning finish. Might not be to everyone's taste, but I consider this beer a good value.

Feb 02, 2021
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SpeedwayJim from New York

4.07/5  rDev 0%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

22oz. capped bomber into a wine glass. From 2014

At this point this beer is flat as a pancake. Not particularly good looking either. Nose is brown sugar, molasses, and a very mellow booziness. Decent but muted. Beer opens brown sugar, molasses, and maple syrup. Notes of toffee and the slightest touch of booze in the middle mixed with more maple and a sprinkle of dried leaves. More brown sugar with a tickle of oak at the finish. Unbelievably good at this point. Body is medium to full with low carbonation. Smooth and chewy on the palate and goes down filmy with a lingering aftertaste. So drinkable at the ABVs.

Too bad it takes 6 years for this beer to get to this beer. Taste and feel are phenomenal.

Dec 25, 2020
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hopley from Massachusetts

4.53/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2014 bottle, drank 11.10.20 out of a tulip. Aged beautifully. Best Scotch Ale I’ve ever had. Look was caramel with a little head that diminished. Smelled the same with a little booze. Taste was exceptional - caramel and booze, but neither was too strong. Mouthfeel was heavy. Just a delight to drink. Might try to track down a 2019 bottle eventually, but need to savor this moment! Cheers!

Nov 10, 2020
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REVZEB from Illinois

3.89/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Typical wee heavy body until the lighter top half and the white ring. Bourbon, toffee, slight smoke, wood and a kiss of vanilla make up the aromas. Taste is the same of the nose but very hot with booze. Medium body with hot booze and smooth malt. Good but not great, get the booze under control and more peat smoke to unlock the potential

Apr 17, 2020
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EMV from Pennsylvania

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.

Oct 05, 2019
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Brutaltruth from Ohio

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!


May 27, 2019
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ChrisMon02 from Ohio

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.

May 13, 2019
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LifesAnesthesia from Virginia

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.

May 04, 2019
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stephens101 from Oklahoma

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.

Apr 01, 2019
Photo of avalon07
avalon07 from South Carolina

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.

Feb 28, 2019
Photo of clayrock81
clayrock81 from Florida

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.

Feb 18, 2019
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charlzm from California

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.

Nov 06, 2016
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darktronica from Indiana

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.

Sep 30, 2016
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brewskis from Indiana

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.

May 15, 2016
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MNAle from Minnesota

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.

Jan 17, 2016
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mtomlins from Canada (ON)

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.

Dec 22, 2015
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Treyliff from West Virginia

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

Dec 20, 2015
Photo of Jadjunk
Jadjunk from Georgia

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

Oct 22, 2015
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JandJMD from Maryland

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.

Aug 10, 2015
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Chcshammonde from California

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.

May 31, 2015
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ZAP from Minnesota

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.

May 09, 2015
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philbe311 from Pennsylvania

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...

May 03, 2015
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J-Rye from New Jersey

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.

Apr 24, 2015
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pat61 from Minnesota

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.

Mar 23, 2015
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TreyIsWilson from Michigan

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.

Mar 07, 2015
Ride The Lion from Clown Shoes
Beer rating: 91 out of 100 with 488 ratings