Samuel Adams Scotch Ale
Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)

Samuel Adams Scotch AleSamuel Adams Scotch Ale
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Scotch Ale / Wee Heavy
Ranked #276
Ranked #31,420
3.78 | pDev: 14.02%
Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
Massachusetts, United States
Very Good
Samuel Adams Scotch AleSamuel Adams Scotch Ale
Reviews: 638 | Ratings: 1,120 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Reviews by the Alström Bros:
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BeerAdvocate from Massachusetts

3.66/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Review from BeerAdvocate Magazine March 2007

One of the more talked-about beers from Boston Beer Company--at least from the beer geek's point of view. BBC utilizes a bit of peat-smoked malt to add depth and give it a traditional flare. It can be an acquired taste as well.

The lacing is absolutely amazing, leaving rings down the glass after each sip; the deep but clear mahogany color glows in the light. Malty, sweet aroma lends a kiss of smoke and an even-more faint, herbal hoppiness. Moderate carbonation leaves an unbelievable smoothness that rides the medium body. Semi-thick caramel maltiness has a quick rush of smoke, chocolate and toasted grain. Very quiet fruitiness does not stake much ground. A small bite of spicy bitterness from the hops, with a mild, lingering flavor. Finishes sweet with a dim- ming, chocolate/smoke mix.

We've always been fond of this brew, even though it doesn't hold its own against many of the other American-brewed Scotch Ales that are double its size. That said, it's without a doubt one of the most drinkable Scotch Ales. Combine it with some herb-crusted, grilled pork chops and broiled, stuffed apples.

Apr 07, 2010
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Todd from California

4.35/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: 12oz brown bottle. Old style, more reserve Sam Adams on the label. Label states a Triple Malt brew, brewed with peat smoked malts. This particular bottle is from early 2000 with a best before of May 2000.

Appearance: Rich looking ruby/dark amber colour with a rocky, creamy off-white head that has very nice staying power and stickiness.

Smell: Caramel, butter (diacetyl), esters, cardboard (oxidation), smoke and an overall syrup sweetness.

Taste: Wow! This beer has really held up nicely for its age. Body is full, rich and chewy with a smooth and well-rounded mouthfeel that is slicked with sweet caramel, some diacetyl, faint burnt sugars, light chocolate and toasted malt flavours. A distinct layer of smoke permeates the palate and raises the beer's overall complexity -- gotta love that unique peat flavour. Hops come into play, but are delicate with herbal and earth flavours that give the malt dominance just enough balance. Slight sherry flavours also pull-thru, a result of oxidation. Finishes sweet, slightly dry and the smokiness lingers for a bit.

Notes: A moment of silence please ...

Sadly this beer is no longer part of the Samuel Adams line-up of beers, which is a damn shame as this was one of their best brews and Scotch Ales are hard to come by these days. One of my all-time favourite beers. I had to review it, or it would spoil otherwise and I'd go to hell. I go cry now. Update: you can still get it at select establishments in the Boston area, but only on tap from the JP/Boston brewery.

[ Edit: now available in the Sam Adams Brewmaster's Collection 12-pack ... but you only get 2 of them. )

May 19, 2001
More User Reviews:
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57md from Pennsylvania

3.94/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a mahogany color with a finger of head. The nose is both malty and bready. The flavor is deeply malty with a smokey peat essence for good measure. The finish is semi-dry but a note of sweetness sneaks in as well.

This is a rare beer that drinks "bigger" than it actually is. I would have pegged this as a 8% (or so) ABV beer.

Mar 05, 2016
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Deus1138 from Georgia

5/5  rDev +32.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Got this out of a sampler pack. I wrestled over trying this, or just enjoying the Black Lager.

Where has this beer been all my life?? WOW!! Pours a reddish copper color with not too much carbonation, but an ample amount of head. The smells is mostly of sweet caramel malts. Taste: WHOA! Talk about smooth, sweet, and balanced!! There' s just so much right about this beer! I have always been a huge fan of Boston Lager and pretty much everything (I don't think anyone really likes the Cranberry Lambic) they put out, but this one takes the cake! I have a new favorite from Sam Adams, and possible a new favorite beer! Drinkability is excellent!! You can sip and savor, or throw it back fast. It's just so delicious and easy to drink!

I hope to find it in cases or six packs, but some of the posts here lead me to believe that might not be possible!

Sep 15, 2008
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TheMadJack from California

4.68/5  rDev +23.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured from 12oz. Bottle into Pint Glass

Beer is a warm, coppery brown. Lumpy, persistently foamy beige head that sticks a bit to the glass, but doesn't really lace, per se. Still, I wish it were as easy to get my shaving soap to lather up like this.

Smells of peaty smoke, oak barrels, caramel, bit of spiciness, almost like nutmeg.

The flavor is similar to the smell: good amount of peat smoke, oak, butter, and a caramelly sweetness. Nice tannin bitterness.

Mouthfeel has nice body, creamy and full.

I'm going to say right here that this is one of my favorite Sam Adams brews. One of their more challenging offerings and it reminds me of an Islay Scotch ...but not so much that I'd rather just have the scotch. I could drink these all day, and I'm still waiting for the brewer to produce a twelve pack of these exclusively.

Feb 09, 2010
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tjsdomer2 from Illinois

4.67/5  rDev +23.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Beautiful dark orange amber that changes shades depending on light with foam and lacing everywhere.

Smell: Smells pretty malty, not hoppy. Extremely smoky, unlike any beer I've seen although I'm sure others exist. Almost smells like...dirt? I guess that's the peat they use. This stuff is very sophisticated salt-of-the-earth beer!

Taste: Wow! Smoky, sweet, creamy, malty...all in perfect proportion for me. Very little carbonation. It definitely tastes like whiskey as well, including the oak. Paradoxically, Scotch Ale is very thick but also a tad bit watery. I could say instead that it's "watery whiskey" which makes it sound better I guess. Despite this, it warms you almost immediately. Flavors also change as the beer warms. Thumbs up!

Drinkability: Would not want a keg of this. That said, it's very relaxing to drink.

Overall: In my opinion, this is Sam Adam's at its best. Whiskey lovers will like this one. Anyone will appreciate it.

Apr 10, 2010
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Czequershuus from Minnesota

2.8/5  rDev -25.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2.5

This beer pours a deep, rich copper with an average head and decent lacing. The The aromas are of smoke, caramel, toffee, and apricot. The flavor presents a semi-rich toffee and caramel, with mild peat smoke on the back end. The mouthfeel is quite thin and somewhat astringent. Overall this is a unsatisfying and somewhat unpleasant beer. The smoke sticks out and is not well integrated in the rest of the brew, the moutfeel is very thin for a Scotch Ale, and nothing seems to harmonize.

Feb 14, 2016
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MSchae1017 from Georgia

3.97/5  rDev +5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer was tasted in a pint glass from the bottle.

It has a great head that holds well. The color is a little murkey brown. It has a great complex smell. One can dectect both hops and sweet malts. THe taste is even more complex than the smell. Hops and malts are once again present but there is also a definite bitterness. Smokey malts are present along with some woody flavoring. The beer has a good body and carbonation. Overall this is a great beer that can bring something totaly different to one's palate

Nov 29, 2005
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kemoarps from Washington

3/5  rDev -20.6%

Dec 01, 2011
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cdwil from Texas

3.5/5  rDev -7.4%

Dec 30, 2011
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DaveMiller from Minnesota

3.5/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Apr 01, 2015
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Burt from Rhode Island

4/5  rDev +5.8%

Nov 15, 2011
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kinger from Ohio

3.97/5  rDev +5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is tasty, rich and full bodied a nice treat from the sampler. Heavy aroma very malty and somewhat bitter with a good hearty breadiness. Dirty copper pour good light tan head and ample lacing. Creamy on the palate with a nice smooth finish. Flavor is grand full of thick malts with well balanced hops. There is a real nice smoky taste that sets this beer apart. As I sip I can also detect the smoke in the aroma. Every once in a while Sammy breaks through with another great recipe, here's one of them.

Aug 13, 2008
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krazyboi from Illinois

3.43/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a globe glass.

A: Dark mahogany color with a pale tan head that dissipates fairly quickly.
S: Sweet malts, slightly smokey, not much hoppiness.
T: Malty, smokey, citrusy hops.
M: Medium thickness, medium carbonation.
D: I would have liked to describe this unique beer better, but I was at a loss of words. It has a very interesting taste and is easy to drink. I would suggest you try it!

Mar 23, 2011
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Pog-Mo-Thoin from Michigan

3.75/5  rDev -0.8%

Jan 12, 2014
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kkosmoski from New York

3.57/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Longneck into a standard pint. Produced a 1/2 inch light tan head and was deep red in color. Took a while for the head to fade, and it did leave some lacing. Aroma was dominated by malt with some caramel sweetness and a scotch or whisky-like smell. Taste was very malty and caramelly-sweet up front with some light roast. This was balanced by a nice, earthy hop presence, and finished peaty with a whisky feel. A medium-bodied brew with moderate carbonation and a slight alcohol warming. This malt-bolstered brew is heavy and complex, and it is probably better in smaller amounts or as the end of a session. One is enough for me.

Jan 24, 2007
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CHSLBrew from Minnesota

3.61/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint glass.

A-Light tan head, quickly reduced down to a thin but persistant layer of head. Deep copper color and transluscent.

S-Very little aroma. What was there felt earthy and bitter on top, with an underlying toffee/caramel.

T-Initial bitter, followed by a toasty and nutty maltiness. This has that "scotchy" flavor, mingling with caramel/roasty malt. A noticeable bitterness keeps these malts in check.

M-Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation. Feels too thin going down.

D-A very drinkable one, as it's flavor is pleasant and it's goes down easy.

Nov 04, 2008
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EricCioe from Montana

3.5/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This pours copper with a small white head disappearing to almost nothing with a little lacing. On the nose it's a mixture of sweet caramel and a smokiness underneath that. I didn't get the peaty, seawater, iodine notes that someone else mentioned, which to me would be a positive. In the mouth it's the caramel that comes out first, with a medium but somewhat cloying feel carrying down the slight smoke later on. Overall it's a decent beer but nothing I'd really go out of my way to get.

Feb 19, 2011
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Shy5 from Oregon

3.68/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Mar 24, 2016
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ZimZamZoom from West Virginia

3.95/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Nice autumn brown color and a small tan head that clings nicely to the glass as it falls. Pretty.

I get some deep caramel maltiness with a slight peat smoked edge to it in the aroma. The taste is really heavy on the peat malt, with some nice sweet caramel flavor trying to get through as well. It does go a bit bitter in the end, with the peat smoke flavor fading slowly along side.

A nice medium bodied sipper here. It's not going to kick your ass of course but I would probably not hit two of these in a row just because the flavor is a bit intense. I'm not saying it's bad in any way. Just...bold!

Glad to finally try this beer.

Apr 26, 2009
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brownbeer from Missouri

3.83/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Reddish in color with a fluffy, tan head.

The aroma is earthy, with wood smoke and caramel.

The flavor is of slighty caramel balanced by a hint of smoke.

Pretty good beer. It's clean, malty, and smooth but fails to really distinguish itself as a scotch ale, aside from the slight smokiness. Unique but not great.

Jan 23, 2010
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harrylee773 from Illinois

4.25/5  rDev +12.4%

Nov 15, 2011
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Steve_Trick from Ohio

3.75/5  rDev -0.8%

Jul 16, 2014
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jwc215 from Arizona

4.29/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Best before April 2008:

Pours slightly hazed dark amber/mahogany with a tan head that slowly descends to a patch.

The smell is of caramel/toffee with roasted malt and peat smoke.

The taste is of roasted grain, caramel/toffee and a touch of peat smoke. Scotch-whisky-like, it has a supporting/balancing earthy/woody characteristic in the back and a roasted, malty finish.

It is just about full-bodied without being syrupy or too thick. Pretty smooth it is.

This Scotch ale has a nice malt complexity with a subtle smokiness. It's a shame that it is only available in the variety pack, as I would have enjoyed having more than two of them in my fridge.

Dec 08, 2007
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Jstark5150 from California

5/5  rDev +32.3%

Nov 14, 2011
Samuel Adams Scotch Ale from Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
Beer rating: 85 out of 100 with 1120 ratings