Small Batch Export Scotch Ale
Black Isle Brewery Co Ltd

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Beer Geek Stats:
Scotch Ale / Wee Heavy
Needs more ratings
3.7 | pDev: 0%
Black Isle Brewery Co Ltd
Scotland, United Kingdom
Retired (no longer brewed)
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Jugs_McGhee from Louisiana

3.7/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

BOTTLE: Purchased at Appellation Wines in Edinburgh. Branded black pry-off crown cap. Classy understated label. 330ml. Brown glass.

Expectations are high given the brewery. Served cold into a pilsner glass and allowed to warm over the course of consumption.

7.90% ABV. 2013 vintage. #517 of 1368.

HEAD: ~3 inches wide. Khaki colour head. Nice soft consistency. Creamy and even. Retention is superb for the high ABV - ~7-8 minutes. Leaves no lacing as it recedes.

BODY: Deep auburn. Translucent and transparent. No yeast is visible within. Nice vibrance/glow.

Appears well-carbonated. It's a nice looking Scotch ale - especially considering its high ABV.

AROMA: Treacle, rich amber malts, caramel, ample syrupy malt sweetness, baked bread, and bread crust. Attenuation seems perfect, with the aroma announcing a spot-on ideal sweetness for a beer in this style.

To style, there's no overt hop character. I find no booze or off-notes.

Suggests an impeccably balanced Scotch ale of the highest order. Aromatic intensity is above average.

TASTE & TEXTURE: The moderate body is perfect for this style and flavour profile. The smooth wet feel of the beer coupled with its creamy syrupy texture sets off the amber malts and unrefined treacle-y sugars wonderfully. Sweetness is ideal for the style, though some nice baked/toasted character on the fringe keeps it from ever coming across cloying. Malt-forward to style, with no overt hop profile. I'm taken aback by its complete absence of booze at this high an ABV. Heavily caramelized. Notes of bread crust, biscuit malt, raisin, and faint dark fruit lend this added complexity - though each note is subtly incorporated into the gestalt whole of the build.

Damn well balanced, with plenty of depth of flavour. In short, it's excellent, and there's an obvious marriage of texture and taste. The mouthfeel elevates the beer beyond the excellence of the taste, pushing this beer easily into the upper echelon of beers in the style. Sure, it's a biteen overcarbonated, the body should be more robust, and there's room for still more intricacy (e.g. via oak/bourbon, maple syrup, etc...), but these are minor quibbles - and that my only criticisms concern ways this could be better (rather than any flaws) is testament to its high quality.

OVERALL: A traditional Scotch ale with a classic taste and high drinkability, this pleasant malt-bomb may be a high water mark in the style. American paragons in the style like Founder's Backwoods Bastard or Oskar Blues' Old Chub bring new world experimentation to the style successfully, but this nails the tradition and convention of the classic malty style, and will reward even the most discerning of drinkers. A marvelous Scotch ale expression and a must-try. Hat tip to the cats at Black Isle.

High B (3.70)

Sep 12, 2015
Small Batch Export Scotch Ale from Black Isle Brewery Co Ltd
Beer rating: 3.7 out of 5 with 1 ratings