Traquair House Ale | Traquair House Brewery Lld

616 Reviews
Traquair House AleTraquair House Ale

Brewed by:
Traquair House Brewery Lld
Scotland, United Kingdom

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

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Reviews: 616 | Ratings: 1,053
Photo of BuckSpin
4.57/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Thanks to Ron at Vintage Estates in Boardman, OH for getting this and Jacobite per my request.

Saved this for a quiet Saturday evening. In a thistle glass, it had a warm, ruby glowing, deep caramel hue with a noticable carbination and a lively 1/2" head of mixed tan foam that faded quickly, yet laced beautifully on that first sip. Nose, while understated, was interesting. Dry, peaty, wisps of crackers, lightly sweet, malts (of course) and some light oak.

The understated quality of the nose was a hint of things to come. This is one well crafted, smooth, understated ale that is just beautiful - especially to a Scotch Ale afficianado. Its initially rich, yet not overbearing. Oak is present, but not overbearing, along with soft malts, a nice warming glow, hints of dried fruits and some mild peat. The tastes all compliment each other wonderfully, yet no one stands tall. Perhaps the biggest surprise was the finish - so clean and even, smooth on the throat, still warming as it fades, leaving a whisper of a scotch aftertaste.

While most beers have dominate tastes that yell, this one is so seemless, truly less is more. There are no sharp corners to this, all the tastes & experiences have rounded edges that flow seemlessly. It was an eye opening to a new type of beer construction. I highly recommend this, especially if you enjoy Scotch Ales or barreled spirits.

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Photo of mentor
4.33/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Bottle obtained from John's Grocery (Iowa City) in summer 2004, cellared for a year, and consumed in June 2005. Freshness notch on the label was 2004. Pours a thin layer of tan foam that quickly settled to a ring around the glass. The beer is cloudy and ruby-brown in color. Smells of alcohol, raisins and chocolate. The taste is thick malty, with some alcohol and a late sweet chocolate rising. The aftertaste is chocolate that then fades leaving a sweet malt left behind. Thick and bready. Caramel toffee is strong-almost to the point of having a twang. Warmed it has a woody quality and the raisiny/toffee flavor is sweeter and hangs around as a nice aftertaste. The alcohol is tamer and places a nice dry on the side tastebuds to temper the malt sweet. All around, a good beer. Thick mouthfeel and mild carbonation. No lacing on the inside of the glass.

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Photo of mdagnew
4.3/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

330ml Bottle bought from The Vineyard, Belfast

Poured a dark brown colour with a hint of red . Had a small tan head which quickly disappeared and left a little ring round the top of the glass…

Aromas – sweet, malty, caramel, dates and some nuttiness.

Taste – quite sweet with a little bit of spiciness.. chocolate.. hints of caramel as well..

Mouthfeel – smooth and creamy.. not too heavy

Overall – another amazing beer from these guys. Very drinkable…

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Photo of Brent
3.36/5  rDev -19.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured a copper-tan. Aroma was quite assertive, promising harsh alcohol and dense malt in a barleywine sort of way. Flavor was much, much more muted and mellow than the aroma suggested. Broad malt flavors with butterscotch, toffee and brown sugar swapping back and forth. A touch of dark fruit barely peeked through toward the end, with a bit of thinning out in the mouthfeel. Interesting, and unlike other Scottish ales in the complexity of the malt.

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Photo of packetknife
4.2/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The only thing I don't quite understand how to take/do/rank is the appearance of smell of great beers that aren't stouts. Anyhow.

A medium to dark brown with slight yellow tones when put to the light. The head was minimal but held until the bottom, even though it was a bit sparse. Smelled a bit sweet but not too much there. The taste has great malts, solid sweetness, a bit of acid residue, a bit of smoke. Bloody smooth and very drinkable for a 7+. It was good enough to be a desert beer while not reminding you of a sweet tooth.

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Photo of MuddyFeet
4.26/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I do believe wee heavies are becoming one of my favorite beer styles. Pours much darker brown than I thought with a centimeter deep head that receded to the edges of the glass. Light lacing around the sides too. Aroma is heavy on the malts. Flavor is hoppier than I thought too for an English brew. The malts provide a nice sweet base, but the hops provide a great balance. There are also tones of caramel and lots of dried fruits: figs, prunes and apples. Mouthfeel has a great full body. Only slightly carbonated. Has a nice syrupy feel to it. This is a great beer to sip with dinner or even better as an after dinner drink.

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Photo of kmpitz2
4.18/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This brew pours a solid brown color with a slight tinge of ruby. A small head falls to a fine ring over top. The nose is raisiney, peaty/slightly smokey, and some brown sugar sweetness. The flavor is nice and peaty and smokey with raisin dancing in the background. I like it. Very flavorful, but not offensive as others in the style have been to me. The feel is moderate, with a slight carbonation. Maybe a touch more thickness would help it. Overall, I really like the brew. The flavors are intense, but not offensive. The alcohol is not present at all in the nose or the flavor. Very solid.

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Photo of brewQ
4.2/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The tan to brown head over a red/brown body presents a very solid look.

The aroma is sweet, of dark fruits.
The taste is woody and well rounded, with malt and hops in the back. Finish is gently warming.

This is an excellent savory sipping ale- perhaps best in winter but great on a cool summer night, as well.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.3/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Deep crimson-dark bronze with orange accents at the periphery; a truly stunning color when run through with sunlight. The cap is small in size and pale brown sugar in color. It doesn't appear as if much lace will be forthcoming, but the rest more than makes up for it. This beer isn't a stunner, but it's definitely a looker.

The nose fits the style to a 'T'. My only (admittedly minor) complaint is that it could be a tad more complex. I smell heavily toasted dark malt, along with more than a little dark fruitiness. I expect some smoke and/or peat with my Scotch ales, but don't pick up any here.

Traquair House Ale tastes remarkably like it smells... 'cept better. There's a more than solid malt undercarriage that provides flavors of dark butterscotch, treacle and even cocoa. As in the nose, dark fruits are front and center, with sticky dates, dried figs and raisins leading the way. There's now a wee bit of smoke and a pinch of peat that limns this portrait of a classic wee heavy.

I can also appreciate just a whisper of well-integrated alcohol that isn't bothersome in the least. Port wine notes weave in and out; or at least they would be port wine-like if they were more concentrated and more forceful. The mouthfeel is in the upper ranges of medium with a light (just right) degree of mouthcoating. That ever so slight syrupiness promotes appreciation of the deep flavor profile long after the swallow.

Traquair House Ale is the second best wee heavy (Belhaven) to ever cross my lips. I love this style and I wish more breweries would dedicate themselves to making just such a rich, complex, traditional Scotch ale as the one I just consumed. If you love this style as well, this one should be on your short list of 'must tries'.

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Photo of GClarkage
4.17/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

5/14/05- Purchased at a wine shop in Sonoma, CA

Presentation- 11.2oz bottle with no dates. Poured into my Duvel tulip.

Appearance- Darker red in color, maybe a dark cherrywood color. 1/2 inch head and light lacing.

Smell- Mainly of sweet malts and various spices.

Taste- Malt, hops, spices, fruits all blend together pretty nicely. Maybe even an oak background. Mostly a sweeter caramel flavor with some prune or plum tastes.

Mouthfeel- Maybe a tad watery on the finish, but a nice sweet flavor on the back of the tongue. Fairly thick. Low carbonation.

Drinkability- A very good brew, but a costly one. Not sure it warrants $5.50 for 11oz, but maybe for a treat, pick one up. You won't be tricked.

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Photo of alexgash
4.32/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a murky dark shoe leather brown with a small light tan head. Nose is made up of peaty, caramelly, brown sugar malts, hints of smoke, oak, sherry, and some whiskeyish alcohol. Very nice. Taste starts off with toasted caramely malts. Oak and peat moss come on as I detect a slight whiskey burn. Traces of vanilla, smoke, and grapes before a malty, yet slightly bitter finish. Medium bodied, with a little too much carbonation. A very good beer, but not my favorite Scotch Ale. In fact, I liked the Jacobite more.

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Photo of pentathlete
4.03/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a gorgeous dark brown with a sturdy small beige head. Smell is malty and then a little more malty. Taste is bubbly malts with some slight bitterness. Finish is not as mellow sweet as I was anticipating. Mouthfeel was somewhat less than full, and dissapointing considering the beer's reputation. Of course, even with the slight bitterness this beer is wonderfully smooth. It was delicious. I'll have it again.

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Photo of Gaisgeil
5/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

"O in the sweetest plums there's stanes,
And in the fairest beef there's banes
Rum turns ye rude, wine makes ye pale,
There's life and love and soul in ale:
Gude ale's the medicine oft spae'd of,
The very stuff that life is made of,
Dropt in a receipt from the moon,
To haud men's sinking hearts aboon."
- Robert Burns, beloved Scottish Bard. 1795.

I've been saving this ale to put me over the 100 karma mark, just the ale to do it!

This is honestly the best beer I have ever partaken of. Combined with my affinity for Scotch and complete adoration of beer, not to mention my natural propensity for anything of my land of ancestry, Scotland, all in all I would drink this every day if I had the means. So naturally I of course have a natural inclination toward really liking this beer as a result. I was quite aware of my "slight" bias in reviewing this one with my background. But in then end, with lots of thought and honest effort toward being fair and unfettered I really do love this beer as it stands alone, on it's own merit. It truly is a work of art in my book and I'm totally convinced even if blindfolded this beer would hit my beer nerves perfectly every time, sip after sip. It being Scottish is simply the icing on the cake. Truthfully, I never saw myself giving any brew all 5's, but I can't help myself, there isn't a thing I don't love about this one.

This beer pours a deep brown, with red highlights, chestnut in color, just a tad cloudy with just a bit of carbonation apparent, quite unlike many Scotch ales which tend to be much darker in color. A creamy and perfect slightly off white head accompanied with great retention, lots of lacing along the way. Nose is dark and almost musky, slight hint of smoke, reminds me of a library for some reason, old leather armchairs, fireplace, natural bound texts. Taste is wonderful, following the nose of course but with even more layers, reminded me slightly of Scotch whisky as one might expect, a bit smokey. The oak is definatly strong and present. Quite malty, only enough mild hops to balance the whole affair out perfectly. Stewed fruit, plums, maybe a little fig, a very slighty peaty nuance and a bit of vanilla. Notes of sherry are apparent toward the finish with a detectable, but not overpowering alcohol character. I also detect a slightly herbal tone as well, almost tea-like. Finish isn't overly dry, just a tad bit so. Mouthfeel is medium, but coats the palate quite well. Definatly best served slightly under room temperature, otherwise you are missing out on a lot of the complexity.

This is a gorgeous product and I was pretty sure I would adore it as much as I love the Jacobite but as it turned out I love this one even more. This brew is like the heir to the throne, while the Jacobite is more of the rebel younger brother. I will be bringing lots of this home with me during my future trip near Edinburgh. This truly leaves me a happy man.

Slàinte maith, h-uile latha, na chi 'snach fhaic! Gun cuireadh do chupa thairis le slàinte agus sonas!

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Photo of cypressbob
4.25/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

330ml bottle

Pours with a deep browny burgandy body, off white head almost tan, good retention, very creamy head

Smell, estery malt, sweet vanilla. Some hint of chocolate covered dried fruit

Taste, thick creamy malt mouthfeel, some chocolaty bitterness. This would pair really well with a nice dark chocolate. Not an overly heavy body

Fantastic, pricey (£2.50 a bottle) but well worth the money. Would work great as an after dinner beer, or with a chocolate dessert

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Photo of horndecker
4.52/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

The color is tobacco-stained walnut, clear and intense, with a foamy latte of a head yielding mucho lace.
The nose is chocolate, pepper, leather, figs ; a hint of canteloupe (!?), and cabbage. Complex and fabulous.
The flavors are predominant malt, roasted and slightly bitter up front, along with unsweetened cocoa, and a hint of something woody and nutty.
The mouthfeel is very creamy, perhaps slightly oily, with a warming alcohol prescence.
A wonderful beer.

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Photo of Sigmund
4.5/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

33 cl bottle, bought at Selfridge’s, London. Beautiful brown to ruby colour, good beige head. Complex aroma of oak and sandalwood, some pine too, old sherry, leather, pipe tobacco, sour cherries, prunes, hints of smoke . Flavour is woody with a pronounced roastiness, coffee notes, strong tea, hints of bitter chocolate, excellent hoppy bitterness. A truly delightful beer!

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Photo of ManekiNeko
3.77/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle was given as an Xmas gift and consumed on Burns' Day. Served lightly chilled in a Rapscallion goblet.

Appearance: Clear dark reddish chestnut capped by a small frothy tan head. Fades to a smallish film of bubbles that left "wee sneekit cowrin' timrous" amounts of lacings.

Smell: Intense and dark aromas of prunes, raisins, and molasses. Some smokey/peaty notes. Mild herby overtones.

Taste: Bittersweet dark malts, kinda caramelized, blended with herbacious hops. Grapefruit citrus hops on the finish. Would have like a bit more fruitiness and/or peat/smoke tastes.

Mouthfeel: Weakly medium bodied, slithgly watery. Light carbonation. Flaccid.

Drinkability: To quote the Scots Bard:
"Strong ale was ablution,
Small beer persecution,
A dram was memento mori;
But a full-flowing bowl
Was the saving his soul,
And port was celestial glory."

Traquair is neither ablution, persecution, or celestial glory. It's not quite memento mori either... not that earth-shattering. What we have is something in between all of these. It's good and worth a shot due to the sheer age of the brewery and presumably the basic recipe. Mad respek to the brewers for keeping this up. There's some strange shit going on in the Hibernia, man.. this is proof.

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Photo of Shultzerdugen
4.28/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured a dark reddish brown with a lovely cream colored head that almost looked nitro-pushed. Stayed pretty, great head retention and lacing.

Smelled tart fruitiness as soon as I poured it. Oak, buttery toffee, port-wine, which became stronger as I drank.

Oak, cognac, port-wine, caramel, apples and prunes, smokey malt. Each drink seems to bring one of the aforementioned traits to the front of the palette, the others blending in an almost subliminal way. A bit sweet, hops and smokey grains helped with this.

I've tried quite a few beers aged in uncoated oak vessels, but Traquair House Ale has by far the strongest oak flavors and smells, which I found unrelenting by the time the beer was done. Amazing things going on, a juggling act of flavors, but not one I'll be back for any time soon.

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Photo of garymuchow
4.32/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Interesting array of fruitiness that comes off as not just complex but intriguing.
Poured with a nice creamy firm one inch head. Amber of brown and reds. A rather dirty color. Somewhat clear.
Dessert like in its fruitiness (figs?), but not cloy or excessively sweet. Tickles the top of the tongue with a sweetness, then more of an overall fruitiness finishing with a mild dryness that is moderate in taste and length.
Appropriately flat and smooth. Moderately thick. Not very rich.
Good. Interesting. Enjoyable. Expensive.
Thanks to Todd (my brother-in-law) for this sample.

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Photo of Guinness4me
4.07/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Muddy, red with hints of gold, this beer poured darker than I expected with a beige, welcoming head.

The smell was rich in peat with a musty, grape-like edge.

This beer started dry and smoky and hid the alcohol until a slight burn kicked in the back of my throat. Tastes like a slightly carbonated merlot?

Surprisingly smooth and pleasant on the tongue. I found it lightly carbonated which I feel brought out more of the malt flavor.

I could do some damage to this beer, but not before it did some serious damage to me at 7.20%.

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Photo of Dukeofearl
4.1/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A handmade brew in the oldest inhabited house in Scotland; 7.2% ABV. (I read about this place in a travel book recently- I need to go there!). I recently tried the sister product, the Jacobite Ale, and really enjoyed it, so I came to this one with great anticipation.

Pours a deep chocolate brown with slight amber/ruby tint, and a thin but dense (small bubbles) off-white head. A beauty. Aroma is rich, with chocolate, molassas, and dark, heavy, brandied fruits. Very nice.

Flavor- this isn't as descriptive/objective as I would like, but my finest compliment to this beer is that it reminds me a lot of the flavor profile of Rochefort 10. Not that it tastes the same, but the wonderful fond feelings of richness and complexity are there. A little sharper, and with a greater spice profile than the Belgians. Is that coriander?

This is a heavy brew, and because of it the mouthfeel is almost too big and strong, and drinkability is lower on the scale.

Overall 9for me), a very good brew, but one to have occasionally only.

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Photo of Knuckles
4.87/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This beer is truly magnificent. I don't know any other way to describe it.

The appearance is deceptive. The color of almost any other scotch ale, with a bit more insistent head than you might expect. 7.2% is nothing to sneeze at, but still a good 2% less than most wee heavy's I have at my disposal around here. All of them with a slightly darker appearance (perhaps the peated malts make the difference.

Smell: Oh my freakin' god, it's like I'm taking a bath in a whisky barrel. Good christ what a nose. This isn't a beer I smell, it's heaven.

Taste: Remarkably light. Served cold, the whisky character truly doesn't come out in the taste, but let that beauty warm and those incredible oakey flavors run wild with the malts across your tongue. Good god, it's like goddam "Misty of Chincoteague" with freakin' beer. Never did finish that goddam book. I'll finish the beer.

Mouthfeel: Again, cold it isn't that impressive. Once it warms however...yow. It's Salma Hayek's pants (if I could drink them).

Drinkability: I'm giving this a 4.5 as this is one badass muthaf**** of a 7.2% beer. I love it, but couldn't session the crap out of it like I can with beers like Fat Bastard (the closest comparison I can come up with). The nose on this, along with the complexity of flavors that arise once it warms to room temperature make this one imposing, and difficult to session, scotch ale. But jesus eatin' beans, it's an amazing beer (and the highest rating I've given yet).

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Photo of Shiredave
4.83/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

When I first tried Traquair House Ale 10 years or so ago, it was by far the best beer I'd ever had. I've had hundreds of beers since, and pound for pound, flavor for flavor, it still may be the best.

Deep ruby brown color, crystal clear when back lit, lazy carbonation, very dense, tiny bubble head with remarkable retention and lacing. Visualy, a work of art.

Amazing aromas - soft and very unique resulting from the 200 year old Oak fermentation vessels. Leather and hay, toffee and wet wood, melon and hints of whisky all combine to make me want to plunge my nose deeper into the glass.

Velvety smooth up front flavors of caramel malts and scorched apples mix perfectly with chalky, mildly peppery hop flavors. Medium bodied and packed full of complex fruity / earthy flavors that you wont find in any other beer. Soft and refined while still being rich and bold.

Finish is long and pleasingly bitter with warming, smokey alcohol notes. Truly outstanding and unique, hand crafted Scotch Wee Heavy.

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Photo of dgallina
4.72/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a coppery chestnut with giant tan head which subsides quickly, but leaves a creamy film and good lace. Smells of caramel malts on a slightly smoky, hoppy, and spicy alcohol base. Starts with an initial bitter hop kick, develops dark rummy fruits balanced with sweet, toasted and smoky malts, and finishes with a bone dry flowery hop bitterness. Stupendously creamy and well-balanced in the mouth. Easy to drink, but quite heady. A superbly balanced and tasty brew.

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Photo of HardTarget
4.49/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Picked this baby up in Hawaii and hand carried it back to Texas.
Aroma: Light malt, peat, maple syrup, and smoke smells all blend into an inviting mix.
Appearance: Deep brown with clear edges. A thin collar of off-white graced the first pour, no head at all on the second.
Flavor: Hershey’s Chocolate Syrup. Nowhere near that in the mouthfeel, but that is the main taste that I just couldn’t get past for a long time. As I struggled to find more, I experienced some of the malt/peat smoke and a bit of spice and alcohol tastes, and a mild hop finish, but the main flavor I experienced was: Hershey’s Chocolate Syrup
Mouthfeel: Medium body that left a light coat that quickly faded to memory.
Overall Impression: Great Beer! The chocolate I so strongly tasted really fits into a great Scottish ale. I can see why this one is rated so highly.

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Traquair House Ale from Traquair House Brewery Lld
4.16 out of 5 based on 1,053 ratings.
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