Dismiss Notice
Curious about recent updates to the site and app? Check the Announcements forum for updates.
Dismiss Notice
Love Belgian Beer?

Join us Sep 17 in Portland, Maine for Return of the Belgian Beer Fest, featuring hundreds of authentic Belgian beers and Belgian-inspired offerings.

Tickets + more: beeradvocate.com/belgian

Traquair House Ale | Traquair House Brewery Lld

YOUR RATING = None |
BA SCORE
93
outstanding
603 Reviews
Traquair House AleTraquair House Ale
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Traquair House Brewery Lld
United Kingdom (Scotland) | website

Style: Scotch Ale / Wee Heavy

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.20%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by kbub6f on 06-07-2000

BEER STATS
Reviews:
603
Ratings:
1,023
Avg:
4.16
pDev:
13.22%
 
 
Wants:
137
Gots:
105
For Trade:
2
View: Beers | Events
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Reviews: 603 | Ratings: 1,023
Photo of Hoppsbabo
4/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bought this at a garden centre of all places.
A: Black in this light. Large creamy head.
S: Cakey and slightly metallic. Some sort of detergent-like citrus flavour. Not unpleasant though.
T: A rummy flavour profile. Slightly smokey and halfway sweet. Quite a nicely defined flavour. Nice creamy finish.
O: Good.

 311 characters

Photo of IckyT2012
3.97/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Smells delicious, but the taste doesn't quite fill the promise. I love scotch ales but prefer them with a little more weight, and sometimes a little smoke. This one is on the light side with a hint of sweetness. Drinkable and goes down smooth, but if I want a scotch ale, I'll reach for a Skull Splitter

 303 characters

Photo of JohnnyHopps
4.22/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Appearance - The beer was a murky brown color with little head.

Smell - Notes of booze and butter are measured in the aroma.

Taste - My initial impression is the sweet malts with a slight grassy impression. Notes of nuts, brown sugar and sweet berries are also present. In the aftertaste, the smooth sweetness lingers.

Mouthfeel - I can't get over how smooth this is. Low carbonation allows for a long aftertaste.

Overall - This import is both special and underrated.

 475 characters

Photo of WoodButcher
3.55/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured mahogany brown with no hazziness. Head was somewhat thin and creamy but dissipated fairly quickly leaving some fine lacing.

Smell was slightly sour, a bit of caramel and slightly bready. The smell was surprisingly minimal.

Taste was a bit thin, malty with mildly bitter finish. There is a bit of caramel/butterscotch flavor, but I was surprised at the one dimensional profile and thinness. There are some subtle notes to reveal the 7%+ alcohol but less than some other wee heavies. Mouthfeel is a bit watery with light carbonation. As it warmed the flavor came alive a little more, but still a bit underwhelmed.

Overall it is a very good beer, but not great.

 671 characters

Photo of Brutaltruth
4.1/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Enjoyed from the bottle in a snifter, this fine ale pours a light mahogany color with a very light tan head that dissipates to a moderate ring of foam and spotty tight beaded lacing. Nose of dates, figs, some barrel elements, and strong alcohol blending with the wood. Flavors are light brown sugars and figs to the fore and sides with barrel and light bittering hops coming in the background for balance. As compared to past bottles of this fine ale, which I admittedly have not purchased in a number of years, is much more carbonated than in the past making for a more lively mouth feel, lightly crisp and thirst quenching. Some barrel and light sugars come in on the background.

Nice, just different from past memory.

 727 characters

Photo of interzen
4.72/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Look: Pours a deep, deep mahogany brown with ruby-red hints when held up to the light. Fairly deep tan/off-white head which diminished to a froth cap leaving minimal lacing.

Smell: As others have noted, the smell is quite sweet - quite malty with hints of toffee, caramel and some woodiness. No hops evident, at least to my less-than-sensitive nose.

Taste: Woody and malty, with quite a few of the aforementioned aromas coming through as well. It's a very malt-forward brew, so if you're looking for a hop-bomb then look elsewhere. That said, there is some hop bitterness coming through in the aftertaste, so there's quite a nice balance there.

Feel: On par for a Scottish heavy - not an excessive amount of carbonation either.

Overall: Definitely a keeper - Scottish beer has come a long way from the bad old days of Tennents Extra and Special Brew. I could easily imagine partaking of a few of these whilst enjoying a plate of haggis and neeps. Again, the hop-heads will probably hate this but for me there's a spot-on balance of malt and hops to complement the various other flavours that are present.

 1,109 characters

Photo of SomethingClever
4.21/5  rDev +1.2%

poured into a nonic pint

A: almost no head very dark Carmel color light filmy head at rest

S: smells like peat moss, a little oak, maybe some roasted toffee a lot like watered down scotch would smell

T: Light sweet feel of watery scotch, a little burnt carmel and toffee a little barrel it's very smooth

M: soft carbonation And a little watery doesn't linger much on the tongue

O: it's pretty pleasant it's very smooth with a soft light taste that isn't overwhelming I wouldn't go out of my way for it but I'd grab it if I ever saw it again.

 548 characters

Photo of BuckeyeSlim
3.6/5  rDev -13.5%

Best Before June 2018

Big pieces of toffee up front. Chewy caramels on toasted malts slowly emerge. Hints of rough, sanded barrel wood. Nose needs time to warm and open, but it's well worth waiting for, as the caramels on a touch of ABV come forward along with notes of sticky, fig-like fruit.

Darker caramels than the nose served on unfinished oak. Malt is well toasted, with hints of a very light roast underneath. Woody bitterness turns up in the finish and leaves the sugars dark and almost burnt.

Overall, just a bit too dark and bitter for my preferences in a Scotch Ale. If only the taste could feature more of the nose of caramel and toffee.

 658 characters

Photo of cjgiant
3.75/5  rDev -9.9%

Bottle dated BB June 18 (2014?):
Beer appears dark aubun brown (its clarity is obvious later in the drink). Large bubbles lie amidst an otherwise mildly foamy edge head. Nose is dark caramel to molasses sugariness, sugar plum, fig/date, with an obvious if indistinct tart bitterness as well.

Taste follows the nose, but the sweet scents are much more muted. An English bitter flavor lays over the flavors, which to me also adds a thinning feel to the beer. The carbonation is light doesn't add anything (more just preventing flatness), but does prevent a total failure in feel. After half the beer (which also gets it to a better temp), a woody dryness becomes noticeable.

I am seriously wondering about the age. As a wee heavy, I would think it might not matter as much, but I can't see this being rated so highly. The beer is decent, and not being an English bitter beer fan, I am trying to adjust for that. However, the feel really kills this beer for me from being rated highly, even for me.

 1,005 characters

Photo of rangerred
4.25/5  rDev +2.2%

500ml bottle into a nonic.

Pours an opaque very dark brown, nearly pitch black, with a one finger medium tan head. Pretty good head retention but the lacing is lacking.

Aroma is full of toffee and caramel with some hints of sherry. Touches of oak along with dark fruits and some smoke poking through.

The flavor is very heavy on the figs and plums with more of the sherries note present in the aroma. Some burnt toffee and smokey notes in the background but the flavor is overwhelmingly fruity. It works in this case, though. Some woody notes in the background but they are very restrained. Subtle sweet mouthfeel with a bit of lingering stickiness.

Overall, a very good scotch ale and more fruity than many of the other ones I have had. Great interplay between the wood, smoke, and fruit and well balanced. A great beer.

 826 characters

Photo of tillmac62
4.25/5  rDev +2.2%

BBD June 18. Dark amber pour with a deep dark ruby cast. Exceptional head, lacing and retention. Rich nose of dark fruit and malt - figs, raisins and plums against a rich malt sweetness. The body is heavy medium with a nice slick, almost creamy, texture. Normal carbonation with a bit of effervescence on the finish. The flavor profile is complex and well balanced. While not as intense as Jacobite, it follows the nose as well. The dark fruits flow into a light hop bitterness over a slightly sweet dark malt background. The smooth finish leaves a bit of lingering oak.

 579 characters

Photo of MaineBrewing
4.4/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A - poured a dark mahogany, held to light revealed a brilliant clear ruby. Had was 1.5 fingers and dimished to a nice frothy cap.

S - aroma is very sweet, lots of molasses, toffee, buttery, slight canvas.

T - really complex malt forward flavor that has a surprising amount of Bittering hops to even it out. The complex malt is greatly enjoyable with tons of candi sugar, molasses, toffee, and raisin notes. The Bittering hops are spot on for what's needed to support the heavy malt character, surprisingly for something from Scotland, would have figured it would be more subdued. I also feared diacetyl, I sensed some in the nose, however the taste was clean and it's presence was only slight. Oak was also very slight but was present and played well this balanced brew.

M - mouthfeel is on par for the style, ample carbonation.

O - overall a great example of the style, looks amazing and the complex smooth malt flavor is accentuated well with ample hop bitterness. Very drinkable, but still complex and enjoyable.

 1,023 characters

Photo of brureview
4.41/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured a dark chocolate brown, almost opaque color into a snifter with a 1/2F head.

Aroma: plum, raisin, fig, which continue strong throughout the tasting.

Mouth feel: pleasantly carbonated- more than other wee heavies I have tasted.

Taste: smooth fig, plum and raisin with a light alcohol finish.

This is a classic wee heavy. The flavors are similar to American beers in the same style which are only slightly more pronounced. This is an impressive beer- low ABV, yet a sipper. The body is lighter than American styles, making it easier to drink.

This is the real deal.

 575 characters

Photo of Hoppin_mad
3.85/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A very good ale, refreshing with grassy and licorice notes. Mouthfeel is probably the best I have had in an ale and with a lack of any real hoppy flavor, it leaves a clean, earthy taste in the mouth. 7.2 abv is well hidden and makes this beer almost worth the price.

 266 characters

Photo of Wobbly
4.86/5  rDev +16.8%

Probably the best wee heavy I have ever tried. No U.S. example (even those from Founders and Stone and the like) can match it, in my opinion. Where I live it is pricey, so I only get it once or twice a year. A great beer for the holidays.

 238 characters

Photo of superspak
4.22/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

500 ml bottle into tulip glass, best before 6/2018. Pours fairly crystal clear dark reddish brown color with a 2 finger dense light khaki head with great retention, that reduces to a nice cap that lingers. Spotty soapy lacing clings around the glass. Aromas of big raisin, plum, pear, apple, molasses, toast, toffee, brown sugar, brown bread, oak, light vanilla, light clove, herbal, floral, and yeast earthiness. Incredible aromas with great balance and complexity of dark/bready malt and fruity yeast ester notes with moderate oak presence;and good strength. Taste of big raisin, plum, pear, apple, toast, brown sugar, brown bread, molasses, toffee, oak, light clove, light vanilla, herbal, floral, and yeast earthiness. Minimal bitterness on the finish; with lingering flavors of raisin, plum, pear, apple, toast, brown sugar, brown bread, molasses, toffee, oak, light clove, and yeast earthiness on the finish for a good bit. Damn nice balance, robustness, and complexity of dark/bready malt and fruity yeast flavors with light-moderate oak presence; with a great malt/yeast balance and zero cloying sweetness after the finish. Medium carbonation and medium-full bodied; with a smooth and lightly slick mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is very well hidden with minimal warming present after the finish. Overall this is an awesome scotch ale! All around great balance and complexity of dark/bready malt and fruity yeast ester flavors with light-moderate oak presence; and very smooth to sip on. A highly enjoyable offering.

 1,525 characters

Photo of artoolemomo
3.89/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Appearance- Pours up a good amount of head which has better than average retention. The head is a creamy and very light beige which has a slight rosy tint to it while the body is a mix of chestnut brown and dark maroon that appears as a dark amber to maroon when held up to the light. Some lacing that is close to sheeting near the surface of the beer.

Nose- Very Scotch Ale but also very Traquair in its subtlety. Starts off with caramel, brown bread, raisins, toffee, and some vanilla. All of this is well integrated and seems to portend a beer more sublime than the Jacobite. Light notes of butterscotch and hints of melanoidin from the malt and possibly the oak aging. Perhaps a suggestion of coconut. Some honey.

Taste- A bit of a disappointment after the rich nose- lots of bubblegum that seems derived from the caramel aspects but still overrides it. There are subtle hints of most aspects of the nose but they can be difficult to notice. Some vinosity, a little bit of raisin. Some bitterness on the back end- mostly light oak. Starts to settle and the candy/bubblegum aspects fade while more of the aspects of the nose start to show. Some pepper, a little bit of cinnamon. Brown bread, less caramel and toffee than on the nose. Seems a little bit thinner and not as complex as the Jacobite if my memory serves me correctly. Still a good to really good beer. Some banana- this is a lighter and airier beer such that I begin to forget it is a Scotch ale. Light points of oak along with the pepper seem to punctuate the flavor profile.

Mouthfeel- Almost medium bodied with appropriate carbonation that has a tiny bit of zip. Some syrup to the texture and a degree of smoothness and creaminess. Fairly solid.

Drinkability- Very easygoing with just enough complexity to keep it from being boring. But while the Jacobite might be worth it's 8 dollar price tag, I'm not sure this is.

Overall- Halfway between good and really good. Very accessible for a Scotch ale so much so that it sometimes does not seem like one. While somewhat lacking in complexity and presence, it's still quite an interesting beer. I wouldn't buy it again but I would put down the 8 bucks to give it a shot. It is subdued enough while maintaining a good amount of character that it might just become one of your favorites.

 2,308 characters

Photo of Landar
4.64/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Aroma 11/12
Sweet malts and caramel with strong plums and a hint of raisins. Very malty. No hops or diacetyl whatsoever.
As it warms the plums and raisins come out more and balance the malts and caramel out.

Appearance 3/3
Dark reddish-brown but just light enough to see through. Completely clear. Large foamy off-white almost tan head with long lasting retention. A thick layer of foam sticks to the side of the glass and stays there.

Flavor 18/20
Rich sweet malts and strong sugary caramel. A hint of nutiness as the sweet malt/caramel starts to fade at the finish. Just at the finish hints of plum and raisin present themselves. Medium-dry finish with a alcohol warmth in the aftertaste. The alcohol warmth lingers as the malt sweetness fades and gives way to the plums and raisins until nothing is left but the alcohol warmth and a hint of raisins on the tongue. As it warms it becomes a bit watery and becomes very salty, which starts to push out the other flavors.

Mouthfeel 5/5
Medium-high carbonation. Medium-dry finish. A littly thick. Smooth. Warm alcohol finish that lingers pleasantly.

Overall Impression 9/10
Excellent beer for this category. It could use less salt in the taste and a touch of smoke or peat in the taste and aroma to balance it out.
Toning down the carbonation just a touch would be advisable - but it could easily just have been the particular bottle I purchased.

46/50

 1,405 characters

Photo of scotorum
3.98/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured from the 16.9 oz. bottle into an Innis & Gunn flute.

a; Clear copper-ruby with an inch tall tan head which receded rather quickly to even surface foam and dense lacing.

s: Intense caramel malt.

t: Caramel malt with slight dark fruit undertones and significant hop bite at first which fades to let the malt dominate more as it warms.

m: Medium.

o: A tasty brew, although at first surprisingly and lingeringly bitter, moreso than I expected from a top-rated ale of this type.

 485 characters

Photo of Cervezaconcalor
4.81/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Drank from a snifter

A - Beautiful dark color with a finger high head that leaves some lacing.

S - Sweet scotch with cocoa, oak and dark fruit.

T - The dark fruit nose is the first flavor you get followed by a slightly creamy caramel, toffee and cocoa flavor with a slight bitter alcohol finish.

M - Medium and creamy in the mouth.

O - World class beer that should age well or drink great fresh. Like great food it is not overly complex with to many competing flavors but the couple of flavors that are present are just right and that is what makes it the great beer it is.

 578 characters

Photo of StonedTrippin
4.04/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

fellow BA claystation left this one in my fridge, and darn it all, I need a beer, so here goes. ill make it up to him. lovely pour, rich caramel color, deep dark, almost brown, with a dim red orange glow when held to the light. a quick flashing inch plus of just off white head that settles back to patchy spots, but leaves great lace. it smells dusty, timeless, ancient in some way, preindustrial, gorgeous. heavy earthen grain and a bready yeast strain that gives this a very genuine vibe, warming. there is that classic scotch ale sweetness to the taste, but it gives way to bolder roasty flavors, toffee and buttery richness, and a soil quality. its low key for its robustness, and the ale yeast on top really makes it sing. traditional and delicious, exemplar of the style. not sure ive had a wee heavy I like more. drinkably full bodied, warming booze that can be felt and not tasted. perfect for late fall. I have nothing but good things to say about this, and am now curious to try more of their beers. how cool would it be to visit this place? great beer.

 1,064 characters

Photo of RoamingGnome
4.27/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Traquair House Ale

Poured from a 500 ml bottle into a CBS snifter. Served lightly chilled.

A) Deep dark brown brew with 2 fingers of tan head that settle to a dusting. Plenty of lacing. A very nice looking beer.

S) Pleasantly sweet and malty. Toffee and a little raisin. A bit of the oak barrel too.

T) Sweet, but not too sweet, as earthy flavors balance it out. A touch of brown sugar, dark fruits, a bit nutty. A little warmth on the finish, but the alcohol is well hidden.

M) Medium bodied, and quite mellow. Perhaps not as heavy as I anticipated, but so smooth. This was a pleasure to sip on.

O) You read aged in oak barrels, but need to keep in mind you are not drinking a barrel aged beer from an American brewery. The intent is different here, and the execution is nearly flawless. This is a top notch Wee Heavy. Glad to recommend...

 846 characters

Photo of Sark
4.23/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance- finger of head so luscious it could be caramel itself and just stays forever, dark red-brown hue

Smell- dark toasted grains and sweet caramels, touch of anise, definite bite of oakiness, hop profiles take a back seat but still noticeable

Taste- lighter toffee on the start with a mild fruit hint of cherry followed by some dark grains give a complex finish with just a bit of astringent bite

Mouthfeel- Full bodied yet not of a super heavy consistency on the tongue

Overall- awesome, definitely of the older Scotch ale variety that's not as up front as the U.S. style and most certainly better because it isn't.

 627 characters

Photo of ONovoMexicano
3.95/5  rDev -5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle (11.5 ounces) into a snifter.

The beer pours a dark brown, near black with a healthy glug, glug out of the bottle. The head is initially faint, but then surges to form a finger and a half high. There's good lacing and the beer shows a healthy carbonation.

Smell wise, there is a strong aroma of something resembling licorice alongside a spice that to me reminds me of rye. The nose isn't exactly seductive, but the taste offers more complexity and richness. The beer is semisweet, peaty, with a slight tinge of hops then followed by a variety of malt flavors. There's some roasted smokiness and hints of caramel or toffee.

The beer is silky smooth, offers a wide variety of sensations on the tongue, from the spiciness, to a slight bitterness from the hops. It's a fun beer to drink and is really quite good. I'd get more of this in a heartbeat.

 871 characters

Photo of CaptainStubing
4.79/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

1st, let me say that I was introduced to Wee Heavies with McEwan's Scotch Ale. To me, that will always be the target to aim for. Others may feel that is not the best example of the Ale to base one's opinion on, but apologies - it's how I was raised.

But this Traquair House Ale... wow! what a superb example of what a Wee Heavy SHOULD be. As Nacho Libre would say, "Let us get down to the neety greety" -

A - Beautiful coloring. Perfect shade of caramel - as dark as the bottle itself. When gently poured into a tulip it produced a rather large head - 3 fingers in height - and soft, compact foam. Dissipated quickly enough to not cause my wife (who can't stand it) not to enjoy a sip.

S - THIS is what a Wee Heavy should smell like. Gentle herbal notes, not overpowering. So gentle in fact, one might have to put their proboscis well into the glass - but it is worth the gamble.

T - Very soft. Sweet, but not sickeningly. Gentle carbonation. Slightly peaty aftertaste.

M - Light enough that it doesn't feel like cough syrup, but thick enough that it doesn't feel like an Anheuser-Busch product.

O - Just the slightest ding in my rating that has nothing to do with the beer itself - the price. At nearly $8, this isn't something I can buy often enough. But as far as the beer, if you enjoy a good Wee Heavy, this is a wonderfully delicious example.

 1,355 characters

Traquair House Ale from Traquair House Brewery Lld
93 out of 100 based on 603 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • Return of the Belgian Beer Fest

    BeerAdvocate Brings its All-Belgian Fest to Portland, Maine on September 17, 2016. Tickets are on sale now.

    Learn More
  • Get the Mag

    Become a BeerAdvocate magazine print subscriber today.

    Subscribe