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

Samuel Adams Scotch AleSamuel Adams Scotch Ale
BA SCORE
3.74/5
1,108 Ratings
Samuel Adams Scotch AleSamuel Adams Scotch Ale
BEER INFO

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

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

BEER STATS
Ranking:
#22,421
Reviews:
638
Ratings:
1,108
pDev:
14.17%
Bros Score:
4
 
 
Wants:
52
Gots:
101
Trade:
0
HISTOGRAM
 
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Ratings: 1,108 |  Reviews: 638
Photo of AdamBear
2.21/5  rDev -40.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

A-transparent dark amber with a thick light tan head. has a nice lacing that stays.

S-smells like another malty mess of a Sam Adams. All i'm picking up is a faint and salty caramel scent. This is a weak scent for any style.

T- comes in with an off taste of malted caramel...more malty than anything, its actually extremely disappointing and a bit gross. The after-taste is slightly pleasant with the caramels, but it does have a slight bitterness to it as well. I admit, even from Sam Adams, I expected a lot more from this one. I've had some good examples of this style, but this one is by far the worst yet.

M-has a pretty high carbonation with a finish that resembles carbonated water.

D-I had a difficult time getting through this one. The tastes really get to me. If I had any cookable food in my bachelor apartment, I wouldn't have finished this beer and would've kept it for marmalade. It came in the variety pack so I have one more left. I don't know what to do with it.

 982 characters

Photo of MurphyMacManus
3.68/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

12oz. bottle into pint glass.

A: Looks like a brown ale. Deep copper. Off-white head that fades to nice lace and leaves rings. Kinda nitro-like, but the bubbles aren't quite that small.

S: Caramel, something vaguely herbal/floral, and smoke.

T/M: sweet up front, with some caramel. Bacon-like smokiness in the middle. Somewhat drying, slightly bitter finish -- maybe black tea? Moderately full body. The smoky flavor tends to dominate, but not in a bad way.

D: I generally like Scotch and Scotch ales, but I didn't find this one especially drinkable.

 556 characters

Photo of dcook11
4.44/5  rDev +18.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Two finger head with spider web lacing. Fades o pencil thin head. Low carbonation. Amber color. Smell is very sweet like 1 percent milk mixed with cereal. Slight chocolate and a hint of vanilla. touch of hops at the finish. Same with taste, but with a touch of bitterness and a dry finish.

 289 characters

Photo of BaronRogue
3.88/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Hmm, so i wouldn't normally go out of my way to drink something like this, but it was in the variety pack so why not? Ill disclose that i have no idea what a scotch ale is supposed to taste like, so this review is just going by my gut (ha).

Poured from bottle to chalice, deep brown color, decent head and average lacing.

Could smell the malts as soon as i started pouring. Nothing too exciting, in my opinion.

Tastes... good! Malty as expected, and i could pick up on that smokey peat malt that they yammer on about on the label. Tastes a bit like their Boston Lager except with more hops and that smokey addition. Not bad.

Feels really smooth in the mouth, and still smooth after you swallow. Pleasant.

Could drink these all the time if i really had to, and im picky about malty beers so this one gets a tip of the hat from me.

 835 characters

Photo of malty
3.96/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Purchased variety 12 pack and this one 1 of the 6 styles. Best before Sept. '11 notched on the back of the label.

Pours into my Sam Adams scientific glass a perfectly clear garnet/copper color with a dense and creamy 1" settled light beige head. A fair amount of visible fine uprising carbonation is seen. Small splats and droopy lines of lace here and there.

This baby smelled malty sweet when pouring into the glass. As I put my nostril over the rim, a Russel-Stovers Pecan Turtle, without near as much chocolate scent, comes to mind. Caramel apple scents evoke as I swirl my glass several times to disrupt the surface. Definitely apple skins and a bit of toffee.

Notes of shoe leather and a mild smack of peated malt greet my palate upon the initial quaff. Toasted malts reinforce the toffee notes I smelled just a few minutes ago, albeit the flavors are more charred than milky. A ghostly rich apple cider flavor is way in the back, but still makes its mark. Bitter walnut skins.

The body is a perfect example of medium, with an oily and slick texture. The carbonation is at a perfect moderate level, being very fine, airy and lifting. The finish is a bit acrid and slightly smokey, with the leather staying strong throughout.

Drinkability is very good. Not too heavy-handed and still very full flavored.

This is a great example of a plain and simple Scotch Ale. It's not going to blow anyone away with it brute strength or melt your digestive tract with its intense alcohol. It will, though, give you a great indication of what a flavorful, malty and multi-dimension Scotch Ale can be. ANd this one does the job very admirably.

 1,639 characters

Photo of AlexanderSelby
3.72/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Beautiful, clear, deep mahogany color with a fine, lasting, off-white head. Subdued smell, slightly caramel. Taste is wonderfully sweet with peanut-brittle toffee flavors, but the slight hopping and peat-smoked barley brings out a certain earthy spice to the mix to keep this guy from being too desert-y. I didn't detect the smokiness until I read the bottle and looked for it - I took that flavor as a unique hop and roasted malt blend. Although I don't find it particularly smokey at all, there is no doubt that it attributes to the depth and balance of this brew.

As with most Sam Adams beers I've tasted (yet there are a few more to go in the variety pack), this brew is balanced and slightly reserved. This very easily could have been a malty, syrupy, or smoky over-load, they scale it back just a touch so that nothing gets too far out of hand. This is something I like and dislike about SA, but in this case, I like it.

 927 characters

Photo of TMoney2591
3.56/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a Sam Adams sensory pint glass.

Another blizzard, another variety pack. This participant pours a clear sunrise garnet topped by a nice finger of cream/ecru froth. The smell is kind of a letdown, as there ain't much happenin' here, despite the glass's best efforts. Some faint caramel does manage to come through, but that's about it. The taste does better, bringing in some toffee, some minor pine, some mild coffee, a tinge of dark chocolate, and an allusion to light orange peel. A light haze of peat smoke hovers over the proceedings. The body is a hefty-feeling medium, with a very light moderate carbonation and a lightly chewy feel. Overall, a pretty nice Scotch ale, not the best I've tried but a highly drinkable one regardless.

 747 characters

Photo of Bouleboubier
3.43/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I find conflicting information regarding the historical or (modern, Scottish-domestic) practical use of (peat-)smoked malts in actual wee heavies of the Motherland. The great majority, I'm talking at least 95-100%, of the "/-" ales I had in Scotland did not have remotely as pronounced a smoke character as this SA version has. Scotch ales should have: big rich malts, toffee, caramel, some mellow roasted character, and some dark fruity esters of varying degrees. To their credit (I suppose), SA states on the box that this is their "unique interpretation of [the] style, brewed with a peat smoked malt not used in classic Scotch Ales." So there.

There's a pretty true, tasty 80/- or so ale underneath the overdone rauch injection. All they need to do is take it down two notches and let the malts shine - it's called balance. SA really kills me (not so much recently, but I thought this in the past) when they try to tell you what a style/namesake is supposed to taste like by over-accentuating certain aspects of it (see: Cherry Wheat, Chocolate Bock, and their terrible Hefeweizen, for instance)...

Other thoughts: looks alright - the color needs more depth/rouge and it's a little too clear for my taste and a wee bit more head/retention would go nice. Smell: too much smoke...can't get past that (okay, the malt shows well). Taste? Not bad, 'cept for the smoke (cough!)....

I hate to admit it, but the cleanness and malt flavor is, out of many of the domestic Scotch ales I've tried, perhaps closest to what you'll generally get from the run-of-the-mill wee heavies in the pubs in Scotland. A lot of the requisite flavors I mentioned up top hold true here to some extent. Just cut down the damn smoke, sell this in a sixer, and I'll buy the damn stuff. That's all I ask.

NO MENTION OF (PEAT-) SMOKED MALTS AS NECESSARY
http://www.beerhunter.com/styles/scotch_ale.html
http://www.sinclairbreweries.co.uk/skull_splitter.html
http://www.smuttynose.com/beers/the_smuttynose_big_beer_ser/scotch_ale.html

 2,008 characters

Photo of gabedivision
4.2/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 12oz bottle to a snifter glass.

A- Pours a deep clear brownish red, 2 finger head that slowly goes away.

S- Smells very malty with almost a cherry or fruit scent.

T- Fresh, sweet and malty. Very clean and sugary.

M- Smooth and fresh.

D- Very drinkable, i don't taste many home runs from Sam Adams sampler's, but this is one.

 342 characters

Photo of theo871
3.66/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark brown with an off-white head that leaves behind exceptional lacing.

Smells sweet, malty, hints of smokiness.

Tastes smoky, with a spicy malt finish that lingers for a good deal of time.

Mouthfeel is spicy, with a nice balance of carbonation that goes down smooth.

Drinkability is high, would make a nice session beer.

I've been enjoying this beer for many years in the various mixpacks that Boston Beer Company releases. It's always a highlight for me. A good interpretation of the style.

 506 characters

Photo of JDew
4.2/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Deep rich red with frothy tan head, one finger and nice lacing

S - Smoky, deep malts, wood and charcoal, smells like some porters

T - More smoky goodness, fireside charred wood taste, smooth as cream and malty throughout. No bitterness to speak of here

M/D - Could drink it all night long, its a tricky body, tastes full, but on the tongue is a medium ale.

 363 characters

Photo of Kinsman
3.93/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Chestnut colored red with some ruby red highlights and a creamy looking light beige colored head. Some sticky lace remains around the glass for awhile.

Aroma is noticeably sweet with lots of caramel and toffee notes. Maybe some toasted/roasty notes and hints of the smoked peat but these all seem to linger in the background.

Taste is a bit more diverse than the aroma, with sweet caramel maltiness but more toasted flavors and a nice but a little to subtle smokiness from the peat. Whether or not "traditional" scotch ales have this smoky peat has been debated, but as someone who enjoys single malts, I would love to see more of it.

Mouthfeel packs a nice creamy and almost chewy full body feel, especially for something under 6% abv. Overall, Scotch Ale is probably one of BBC's better representations of all the various styles they try. This style overall really needs more love from the craft beer scene.

 914 characters

Photo of gdrydenc
3.4/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A - Pours with a small amount of cream head. Dark brown pour, not really an amber, more like a brown style.

S - Smells like sweet malts, a bit of alcohol shines through. Caramel and smoke as it warms.

T - Tastes similar to the smell, but smokier. The sweetness of the malts is still present, but the caramel is not as much.

M - Slightly creamy and filling, the carbonation is alright, but it could certainly be creamier.

D - Not very drinkable. The smokiness of it prevents it from being a solid session beer.

 513 characters

Photo of GregBlatz
3.54/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 2.5

According to BJCP guidelines I'm guessing that this falls into the 80 shilling category. 1.040 - 1.054 range sounds about right.

A - Very dark red color. Head is khaki in color and rocky as hell. Laces the glass dramatically as it settles to the surface. Extremely clear beer when held to the light.

S - First impression is sweet malt and diacetyl. Second impression is alcohol.

T - Caramel malt and very strong smoke flavor. Slight bitterness but no hop aroma or flavor. Finish is cloying and smoky.

M - Very smooth creamy and full. Great mouthfeel.

D - Sweetness lends this to an after dinner drink, smokiness might go well with the meal. either way you probably only want one of these.

Overall - A pretty bold expression. I'm impressed, it is a very good beer and they went further with it than you might expect them to.

 829 characters

Photo of thespaceman
4.3/5  rDev +15%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a Samuel Adam's perfect pint glass

Appearance: Pours a beautiful dark amber in color, nice size head floats to the top of the glass and slowly recedes. Thin wisps of lacing coat the inside of the glass. Very nice.

Smell: Up front I get alot of smokiness, almost along the lines of a rauch beer, very malt driven aromas. Light chocolate aromas peek through here as well, I also get a tinge of some earthy wood like aromas.

Taste: Big smoke flavors here, almost like sucking on a piece of wood that's been thrown in a fireplace, very authentic and bold. Malt backbone is lightly spiced, I get hints of toffee here towards the finish and more of that flavorful smoke flavor. Very tasty!

Mouthfeel: Creamy and big on the tongue, carbonation offsets this beer perfectly. No real hints of bitterness but this beer has a solid showing when sitting in the mouth.

Drinkability: One of Samuel Adam's better one off beers, I can see why they don't put this in six packs anymore, this beer is awesome for a ale drinker like me but people used to SA's regular profile of beers might get thrown off by the flavors here. I find the smoke flavors very authentic and the malt backbone thick and viscous yet not overbarring. The low ABV makes this a decent session beer even though 2-3 of these would be enough in one sitting. Glad to see this one back in the Spring mix pack, I truly missed this beer!

 1,420 characters

Photo of tbern007
3.64/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Taken from the 12 bottle brewer's multipack. You get 2 in there.
Appearance is great: mohogany/ruby/brown like cherry wood, clear. Very little head but decent lacing.
S - pretty light and difficult to detect much besides some light malt, light smoke.
T - Like a light American red with some smoke. Malty, light chocolate. The smoke is not "fake" tasting, nor is it like an oak aged smokiness. More like mesquite smoke. Adds a nice touch. This beer would go well with pork, beef, smoked deli meats and cheese. Very light hops. Good blend and good balance.
M & D - pretty smooth. Good balance, good carbonation. Needs to go with certain foods and cannot have more than one or two at a time.

 689 characters

Photo of DovaliHops
4.05/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a clear amber-red color with a small white head that diminishes quickly.Scent is very malty with hardly any hop profile. I also get a lot of caramel and some brown sugar with cinnamon. Taste is surprisingly smokey...very smokey. I've never had a scotch ale with this much smokiness to it. It has a nice balance with the malts and caramel flavors. Mouthfeel is full-bodied and leaves the lining of the mouth with a nice crisp feeling. Drinkability is high. Tasty scotch ale.

 479 characters

Photo of phantomwyse
3.95/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours out moderately brown with just a tinge of red. One finger head is just a shade darker than tan and relatively dense.

S: Fresh baked rolls, oatmeal, ash, brown sugar.

T: Buttered toast that just a bit over toasted, the way a campfire smells the day after it's doused, molasses cookies.

M: Medium bodied and moderately dry.

D: Not bad, not bad at all. A little too slated on the smoky-peat end of things, but over all enjoyable.

 439 characters

Photo of mithrascruor
3.95/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle poured into a mug.

Appearance: Pours a clear, dark ruby-copper color. Light off-white head is more of a film, with decent retention. Just a small amount of visible carbonation.

Smell: Slightly spicy malt aroma; hints of caramel and florals.

Taste: Deep malt flavor up front. It is quite earthy, balancing out the caramel. Mildly bitter (and perhaps slightly smokey) finish and aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Lots of light yet very tingly carbonation, which is a tad distracting. Almost medium-bodied, and generally smooth.

Drinkability: Pretty easy to drink - flavors are fine and the ABV is fairly low.

A decent beer - nothing too remarkable, but one of the better attempts at a Scotch Ale here in the US (and better than a few imports too).

 754 characters

Photo of kaybort
3.95/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured a dark reddish brown hue. Still appeared bright though. Good clarity. The smell came off strong, kind of bitter, with a flowery aspect. The taste really stood out. The smoky taste was strong. It wasn't too heavy though. Accompanied by a malty, woody taste. Overall was a good balance between the woody, smoky, and sweet. Goes down easily, especially with a meal.

 369 characters

Photo of gillis
4.03/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Beautiful reddish, deep amber color. Substantial head, about two fingers' worth, that lasted for two or three minutes after pouring and then dissipated into a thin layer on top of the beer.

It smells sweet and malty, with an almost flowery aroma. A tiny hint of smoke.

The taste was malty, not overly sweet, with just a touch of bitterness in the finish. Just like the smell, I only got a little bit of smoke, but I did notice it.

The mouthfeel is substantial without being overly heavy. It lingers for a few seconds. Full-bodied and very nice.

Overall, this is very drinkable. I tend to think that the Sam variety packs are kind of hit or miss, but this one is certainly a hit. I will seek it out again.

 711 characters

Photo of DrStiffington
3.98/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark red color, with a two finger head. Looks really good. Not getting much in the way of smell. A lot of lacing on the glass as I drink. I'm getting mostly earthy malts as I sip this. Taste-wise, this doesn't stand out very much to me. It's good enough, like most Sam Adams beers, but this is not my favorite. Having said that, it's going down nicely and quickly as I type this.

 387 characters

Photo of shand
4.21/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a nonic.

Another great looking Sam Adams. A deep red, transparent color that's absolutely gorgeous, crowned with two fingers of off-white head that laces awesomely. The smell is malt heavy, with some vanilla, with some smoky and earthy aspects. Smells good. The taste is also very nice. Roasty malts and vanilla combine, along with very nice earthy and smoky aspects that stop this from being too sweet like other scotch ales I've had. The smoke also doesn't over-do it, it's in perfect balance. Truly a great edition to a style I don't tend to enjoy too much.

The mouthfeel is good, there's really nothing to complain about here, it's paired well to the style. A touch more body wouldn't hurt. The drinkability is absolutely superb. It goes down very easily, coats the throat perfectly, and leaves you wanting more. A great Scotch Ale that I wish were in wider distribution. This is a great one, for sure.

 944 characters

Photo of slowbie
3.94/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a brilliant deep amber with some red hues and amazing clarity. Two finger head stays around for at least five minutes, pretty impressive in a scotch ale.

Heavy on bready malts in the aroma. A hint of that smokiness advertised on the bottle. Not an overly complex aroma though.

More smokiness in the taste than I expected. I like it though. The caramel malt flavors balance nicely with the smoke. The taste is good, but I can tell it's not as high of ABV as most wee heavies, which is not so good.

The mouthfeel on this one is well matched to the carbonation. Pretty thick but with enough of a carbonated bite that it balances well.

Overall, an interesting take on the wee heavy style and one that I wouldn't mind drinking another of.

 743 characters

Photo of TheSarge
3.76/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours pretty good with a finger and a half thick light tan head, and has a crystal clear dark copper colored body.

In the aroma there are vanilla, sweet caramel, along with metallic hops and herbal notes.

The taste is very smokey and sweet. I could see this pairing well with some cheddar or gouda cheese, but there is a tangy sweetness too that would pair well with ribs or chicken.

This is a very meaty brew. I've had scotch ales before, but were much more stronger. This is a lot more drinkable due the sacrifice of alcohol, but it does quite well when compared with other scotch ales.

 591 characters

Samuel Adams Scotch Ale from Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
Beer rating: 3.74 out of 5 with 1,108 ratings
  • About Us

    Founded in Boston in 1996, BeerAdvocate (BA) is your go-to resource for beer powered by an independent community of enthusiasts and professionals dedicated to supporting and promoting better beer.

    Learn More
  • Our Community

    Comprised of consumers and industry professionals, many of whom started as members of this site, our community is one of the oldest, largest, and most respected beer communities online.
  • Our Events

    Since 2003 we've hosted over 60 world-class beer festivals to bring awareness to independent brewers and educate attendees.
  • Our Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.