Samuel Adams Scotch Ale | Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)

very good
637 Reviews
Samuel Adams Scotch AleSamuel Adams Scotch Ale

Brewed by:
Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
Massachusetts, United States

Style: Scotch Ale / Wee Heavy

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.40%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by Todd on 05-19-2001

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Reviews: 637 | Ratings: 1,105
Photo of NEhophead
3.05/5  rDev -19.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

12 fl oz brown bottle; served in a nonic.
Enjoy before 08.2008.

Pours a clean oak with cranberry highlights. Creamy, thin off-white head that retains as a thin sheet. Webbed lacing that slowly recedes.

Semi-sweet caramel malts with aged, vinous fruit: plum, fig, raisin, cranberry. Slick whaffs of alcohol with a lingering phenolic aroma.

Aged fruit with a moderate sweetness: fig, raisin, apple. Bready, toasted malts with a buttery diacetyl and a very noticeable phenolic astringency. At mid-sip is a bland, rubbing alcohol flavor followed by toasted wheat and grains.

Medium bodied; a very slick mouthfeel due mostly to the bland, over-the-top alcohol presence.

A bulky, bland tasting 'Scotch Ale' that is really hurt by the alcohol presence. Some poor flavors, lack of balance, and little resemblance to the style.

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Photo of Enola
3.03/5  rDev -19.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This beer poured out with a thick creamy head. The color is a deep brown-mahogony.The smell is a malty caramel like scent. The taste is a little overpowering. Not as bad as others of this style though. It has sweet backnotes to it. The mouthfeel is affected a bit by the tangy taste but again, not as much as others of this style. The drinkability, I could drink one of these every now and then but not every day. An average beer that I would not mind having again.

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Photo of Kemmerlin
3.03/5  rDev -19.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: Dark amber red in color with a two finger width long lasting head.

S: Hoppy, malty, and smokey. Has smells of oak or some other type of hard wood. Descent for the style.

T: Strong woody taste with a nutty flavor in it and a slight glue aftertaste that I would relinquish to be an alcohol taste.

M/D: Slightly bitter definitely not sweet and the glue taste kinda hurts the mouthfeel. The drinkability is ok not my favorite to enjoy. I have definitely had better scotch ales and probably will not pick this one up again.

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Photo of WJVII
3.03/5  rDev -19.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Dark amber color with a 1/2 inch head that didn't last, but nice lacing. This beer has a very earthy smell, with hints of smokiness. I think of a mossy damp field when getting a whiff of this beer. The taste matches the smell. This is a very earthy flavored beer with a strong smoky flavor. The beer has moderate carbonation and is fuller in body. There is a malty after taste once you break through the overwhelming initial hit of must. This was one of 6 in a Samuel Adams variety pack. I don't think I would buy it on its own. Not my pint of beer, but as all beer I am glad I tried it.

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Photo of GDMFSOB
3.03/5  rDev -19.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

For year's this has been my favorite Sam Adams offering. While it still is, I would say it only is because Sam's quality has declined across the board. I bought the twelve pack that it comes in a couple of months ago for the sole purpose of getting two scotch ales. They were not anything like the ales I fell in love with years ago. Thinking I might have got a bad batch I've bought two more of these very mediocre twelve packs within the past two weeks. I don't think I've just bought three bad batches. This beer lacks the zing it once had. The qualities that I once admired, the delicate balance of smoke and malty sweetness, have either been carelessly overdone or removed from the formula. In there place is an unimpressive tanginess and a confused jumble of flavors. Obviously Sam Adams is going for quantity over quality. I just wish they'd give this new ale a new name because it is not the Sam Adams Scotch Ale that I had grown so fond of. An average offering at best, which is sad because it is just about the best ale that Sam Adams is offering these days.

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Photo of Looneybiz
3.03/5  rDev -19.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured into a pint glass and had a very nice appearance. An inch of head with a deep amber hue. Left a moderate amount of lacing.

Smell was fient but malty, nothing to really impress you.

The flavor was what you would expect from the style and Sam Adams. A Malty start with a slightly bitter finish.

Mouthfeel was light for the style. Feels like low carbonation.

I would drink it again but probally just in the sampler packs. Couldn't see me buying a pack of just this beer.

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Photo of jdhilt
3/5  rDev -20.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Pours a three finger light tan head that fades to a thin layer leaving a good lace. Nice clear amber color. Medium carbonation and light bodied. Malty nose. Flavor is malty with some hop bite, medicinal, watery finish. Disappointing example of a scotch ale. $1.50 for a 12oz bottle from Capitol Convenience Concord, NH.

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Photo of warmstorage
3/5  rDev -20.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12 ounce bottle from a mixed-12 pack.

Pours a deep tan with a moderate beige head, leaves little lacing.

Nose is sweet and smoky, but muted, even as it warms.

Taste is sweet, tangy, and predominately peaty and smoky. It's hard for me to tell which it is, peat or smoke, though I lean a little more towards peat. Taste has a muted but present metallic hint, especially on the finish.

Mouth is slightly tingly and moderate to high carbonation, especially for the style.

All of the 3 scores are intended; this is a deeply average beer. Little is technically wrong with it, it's just not impressive or interesting.

Overall, a decent beer, and certainly one of SA's better beers (though not better than Triple Bock, Double Bock, or any of the super specialty offerings like Millennium or Utopias.) It definitely beats the hell out of standard Sam offerings like Boston Lager; however, it's far from overwhelming. Like I said: average.

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Photo of packetknife
2.98/5  rDev -21.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

A remarkably average scotch ale for what I was expecting. The pour was a bit darker than I've had in other scotch ales and the head but a bit denser but that's about it. Light malty and 'dry' smell. Perhaps unbleached paper. Not really malty or sweet, not enough lowland scotch sensation either. Not bad but nothing remarkable about the taste. Perhaps a bit undercarbonated, readily drinkable.

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Photo of jnn4v
2.93/5  rDev -22.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

A: Dark to medium brown color and thick texture. Looks about right for a Scotch / wee heavy.

S: Malts, some caramel, possibly a hint of vanilla, but also some things that confused me for a Scotch ale (ie. yeastyness, and maybe sour fruits?)

T: Not nearly as sweet as I would have expected or hoped for the genre. Slightly more hoppy than is usual, but not too much to be detrimental. Unfortunately, there was a significant breadiness and yeastiness combined with a moderate sourness start to finish that I found inappropriate for a Scotch Ale.

M: Good medium body. Moderate carbonation. Nothing out of the ordinary, which I suppose is good.

D: The pungent and almost sour tastes combined with breadiness and relatively low sweetness don't help here. It also tastes higher than its 5.4% alcohol.

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Photo of elgiacomo
2.92/5  rDev -22.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle, best by Sep 2010. Pours a brown/copper/red with a two finger fizzy and foamy off-white head that leaves big clumpy rings of lacing but doesn't retain much head.

Aroma is pretty quiet, a bit of caramel malt, a little earthy hops, and a hint of smokiness.

Flavor is better, smoked malts up front, some caramel, toffee, finishes with some hop bitterness. A fair amount, in fact.

Mouthfeel is highly carbonated, thin to medium body, a little sticky.

OK Scotch Ale, but Dirty Bastard has me absolutely spoiled.

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Photo of AltBock
2.91/5  rDev -23%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

12 oz. bottle in the brewmaster's variety pack.
Appearance: It pours a wonderful dark amber with an inch of foam that left some lacing in the glass.
Smell: The only thing I could smell was a strong roasted malt smell. At times it smelled like vegetables.
Taste: A strong smoky, bitter, dry roasted malt flavor.
Mouthfeel: Medium bodied and carbonated. The bitter aftertaste was a bit too much for me.
Drinkability: I couldn't see drinking more than one of these in a sitting. It was nice to see that Sam Adams brewed something that was different from other breweries. Nice to try, but not my favorite.

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Photo of PDXHops
2.88/5  rDev -23.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12 ounce bottle poured into a La Chouffe tulip. See-thru reddish copper with a lazy finger or so of off-white head that soon becomes a skim. A little lacing.

Not as much caramel aroma as I expected. A little chocolate, a little roast, a very small hint of smoke. The flavors are slightly more bold. In particular, the smoke is stronger, lending a touch of meatiness. Overall, though, it's lacking in both sweetness and robustness. Fairly thick, but not exactly coating. A tasty enough beer, but somewhat frustrating in its tameness.

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Photo of sarahspat
2.86/5  rDev -24.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Dark rusty brown, but clear. The head is a shade darker than eggshell; thick and frothy.

Smells very musty and mossy. Some caramel.

Tastes smokey, like a fire roasted pizza. Also more moss and earthy qualities. Small amount of caramel in the background. Also, a hint of sweet chocolate. Overall, it's decent, but I do detect some artificial-tasting notes, which bring it down.

It's alright, but really doesn't come close to some other Scotch Ales I've had.

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2.86/5  rDev -24.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Pours an apparent mahogany color. Reveals itself to be a deep, dark orange when held up to light. Sparse yellowish head leaving equally sparse lacing. Very nice clarity on this one. Little evident carbonation. It smells lightly of sweet caramel, smoke, and roastiness. Overall the smell comes across as mildly sweet & earthy. It hits the tongue first with strong caramel & grain. Very sweet before becoming nearly overwhelmingly smoky. There's a very strong peat smoked character that crosses the line from mild smokiness into a kind of foul seawater iodine taste. Finishes salty, woody, and somewhat metallic. Moderate carbonation; smooth in the mouth with a pretty good body.

I seem to remember last year's version being better than this. After skimming a few of the most recent reviews, the peated malt seems to have come off a lot more strongly to my palate than to most others who tasted it. Maybe my palate is just more sensitive to it, but it seems to me that the beer would be much improved by dialing down the peated malt just slightly.

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Photo of jmv0009
2.83/5  rDev -25.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

L- pours a nice dark amber with a white head that sticks around. Sam Adams beer is always well presented.
S- smokey up front and hops.
T- well, they got the peated taste right, but that's about it. The beer is too bitter for a scotch ale, and too light. I think the smokey malts would work better with a darker heavier beer. I love peated drinks, beer or scotch, but the combinations in this one are weird.
F- way too light and watery for a scotch ale/wee heavy.
O- the smokey flavor is nice and it looks nice, they could have a good thing here if they changed a couple things but I won't get this again.

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Photo of Czequershuus
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.

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Photo of TechMyst
2.8/5  rDev -25.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

355ml bottle. Not bad, Malty with a little bit of tastes must not be able to detect the deepness BBC is trying to produce. I think they have decent other beers. Has a higher alcohol content than I would have imagined. I think they may be spreading themselves too thin with all these spceialty beers.

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Photo of happygnome
2.76/5  rDev -27%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

a: pours a nice amber red color with about a half inch of head that dissapears fast leaving no lacing except a narrow ring around the edge of the glass
s: sweet caramel, toffee butter scotch, an overwhelming sweet nose
t: sweet butterscotch, toffee caramel
m: medium bodied beer

overall, this is good but i dont see myself buying it again

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Photo of KingEdward
2.71/5  rDev -28.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

I poured this beer from a bottle into a pint glass. This beer is amber colored with a one finger tan head that was gone quickly. This beer has minimal lacing. This beer barely had a smell but their was a hint of smokey malt. This beer has a light smokey malt and hop taste. The mouthful is crisp and carbonated. This is not a beer i would have again. I saw it had some good reviews but i don't understand. This beer did not have much flavor in my opinion. I wish I had something more to say about it but?

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Photo of mattcrill
2.68/5  rDev -29.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Aroma: Mild dark bread malty character. Light caramel notes. Low fruity esters.

Appearance: Clear brick red pour with an off-white head.

Flavor: Phenolic, artificial smoky character. Why does everyone think that all Scottish Ales have to be over-smoked? Some mild caramel-like character but that is under-stated.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with medium-high carbonation.

Overall impression: Big miss. Too much artificial smoke character and not enough true Scottish Ale character.

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Photo of chicagoabbot
2.63/5  rDev -30.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

12 oz into a snifter...let me preface this by saying I am in fact a big fan of the style...not this beer...I'll try to be constructive, but this one is fairly bad...this style is supposed to have a lot of malt depth, but it's pretty much all in one layer to my taste buds and has a slightly unpleasant astringency. This was purchased out of a sample pack and I'd never buy this on it's own, especially not now. It has some characteristics of scotch ales, but is not as impressive as the standard bearers of the style. I'm not sure what it is about Sam Adams, they seem to get their lagers and pilseners done with flying colors, quite good brews, but I've never to this day had a top quality ale from them.

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Photo of kkipple
2.53/5  rDev -33.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Got this in one of the Brewmaster's packs, this is a 2005 bottle.

Pours a dark amber into my pint; with a bubbly head that settles quickly.

Smell is of unidentified malts and yeast, along with an odd sweetness that reminds me of corn syrup.

Taste is mostly a blend of malts, rather slick and with a slight bitterness that hits the sides of my tongue. Very few hops evident. It's got a sweetness to it with a decidedly corny aftertaste. There's a mild smokiness and yeast in there too. Can't taste any peat flavor. Odd... it reminds me of the finish left by Sam Adams Hefe, which I really don't enjoy. It also makes my breath smell like corn. Blech.

Mouthfeel is fizzy and slightly dry. Again there's that odd grain / corn flavor that shines through.

This is a very different brew, and I didn't much care for it. The combination of malts tasted off to me, and the sweet corn flavor was a big turn off. Just not my style, I suppose.

Edit: In reading over other reviews of this beer it seems that either the consistency varies greatly or people are tasting something very different... I may revisit this one in the future and see if it's any better than what I've had this time.

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Photo of hardy008
2.53/5  rDev -33.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Appearance - dark bark brown with ruby highlights, off white foamy head which leaves a decent lace behind.

Smell - Some sweet malt and bitter hops.

Taste - Some sweet malt and bitter hops. Not sweet enough for this type of beer.

Mouthfeel - Too light for this type of beer.

drinkability - Average. An ok beer, nothing more.

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Photo of KTCamm
2.5/5  rDev -33.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Maybe I'm just not a scotch ale person, but I didn't like this beer. Color started off nice, reddish brown pour. Smoky, peat moss kind of smell. The barrel aging taste that comes through with the malt was largely unsatisfying - like someone had spilled some bourbon in my beer. For me, the drinkability wasn't there - I can see sampling this one in a 2 oz. taster to appreciate the style, but not more than that.

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Samuel Adams Scotch Ale from Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
3.78 out of 5 based on 1,105 ratings.
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