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

very good
1,106 Ratings
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

For Trade:
View: Beers | Events
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Ratings: 1,106 |  Reviews: 637
Photo of huxcrunner
3.68/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Redish brown in color with two fingers of off white head ok retention and good lacing

Smell is of carmel malts very good overall aromas

The tatse of these beer is well balance itt is smooth and has a good balance between bitter and sweet

This beer has good body and is very enjoyable to drink it is very smooth and drinkable

Overall this is a very good full ritch flavor beer would highy recommend

 401 characters

Photo of ism
4.24/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Dark red from the Munichs, topped with a taupe one-finger head. Head dissipates fairly quickly, leaving moderate lacing.

Caramel malt in the nose, earthiness from hops, and faint hint of smoke.

Sweet caramel, a small but moderating earthy hop presence, and a complex peat smokiness hit the tongue. The hops open up a bit more in the finish, and more smoke exits in the exhale.

Thin body and a below-average carbonation, but the flavors and ability to savor the brew works better in this regard.

I am a Scotch drinker and a big fan of Islays, so this is right up my alley. It can definitely be sessioned. Shame there are only 2 in the Spring Variety Pack.

 658 characters

Photo of mikeal1917
4.24/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

My third beer on my Sam Adams exploration was the Scotch Ale from the originals 12 pack.

Appearance: Amber/Reddish hue that reminds me of tea or Red Sox red (GO SOX!). Has a wispy head that disapates quickly.

Smell: This brew smells absolute amazing, with a smokey, wood-like smell that is intoxicating. One of my favorite so far.

Taste: Lots of malty flavor, with the obvious peat overtones from scotch barrels.

Mouthfeel: Quite heavy, smooth beer that is satisfying, though makes it filling.

Drinkability: Not for the brew pounding type, this is definitely a heavy beer, thought very satisfying.

 603 characters

Photo of BelgiumBill
4.45/5  rDev +17.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured a 12oz bottle into a Sam Adams glass which produced a one finger beige head that dissipated quickly leaving some light lacing throughout. Poured a clear medium brown.

Pleasant toasty clean smell.

The first half of the flavor was a sweet smokiness followed by a campfire smokiness on the back end.

Very well balanced with the right carbonation to let the flavors come through. Bitterness is low but there to hold things together. A solid mouthfeel and very approachable. I could drink more than one at a time.

This is probably one of my favorite Sam Adams offerings, along with Old Fezziwig and Chocolate Bock. I would buy this by the case if I could.

 661 characters

Photo of WoodBrew
4.17/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

So I'm coming off a vacation (cruise) where all they had was mostly American/Mexican balony beer...I was Jonesin' for something with some taste and body...OOOHHH Yes....had two bottles of Samuel Adams Scotch Ale chillin in the fridge....soldiers from a recent Mixed pack! What a cure for the beer!!!! This beer has a great malt flavor. Its dark amber color and white head give way to perfect lacing as I drink down this wonderful libation. The drinkability and mouthfeel are excellent...SESSION...NO QUESTION! Could drink this all night long!!! Enjoy my friends!

 576 characters

Photo of Kooz
3.33/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

I remember trying my first scotch ale in 1998. I hated it. I have generally avoided them until now.

Poured from a bottle into a Sam Adams special pint glass. I like how this looks--reddish/orange (too dark to be called amber), good foamy tannish head.

Smells malty and slightly sweet.

First thing that hits me with the taste is the bitterness. That fades almost as quickly as it came, and leaves a lingering sweetness. The sweetness turns slightly sour as an aftertaste. Overall, and interesting experience. Not exceptional, but not too shabby.

Good mouthfeel, as usual from Sam Adams. Foams up nicely, good body.

It's complexity works against it here. I think it's a bit too sophisticated to drink much of.

 716 characters

Photo of NickMunford
3.06/5  rDev -19%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: Pours a dark clear red with a thick foamy head. Moderate retention & little lacing.

S: Subtle aromas of dark roasted malts with a hint of caramelization.

T: The roasted malt flavors come through, along with a hint of caramel and a light hops.

M: Feels smooth and moderately carbonated in the mouth.

D: Another easy drinker from the Sam Adams Spring seasonal multi-pack.

 376 characters

Photo of beyah
3.88/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

P - From Sam Adams Brewmaster's Collection 12-pack, 12oz brown bottle poured into a tall pilsner glass.

A - Deep amber colour off-white head and decent lacing.

S - Caramel, esters, very light smokiness.

T - Very interesting slightly sweet and slightly smoky, some diacetyl, some faint toasted malt. There is a very sligt earthy hops.

M - Slightly slick carbonation level perfect, very drinkable.

Overall - A pretty decent example of a Scotch Ale

 452 characters

Photo of Shoegaze99
3.92/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Scotch Ales, aka Wee Heavys, are a sadly overlooked style these days, especially in the American craft market, where IPAs, imperial stouts, and more recently saisons and Belgian styles are king.

But Scotch Ales are a damn nice style. Samuel Adams used to offer this one in six packs. These days we have to be satisfied with getting it two bottles at a time in seasonal mix packs. Damnit. At one time this was a class American version of a Scotch Ale. Does it hold up?

A - Pours a rich brass color with a finger and a half of cream colored head with an aggressive pour. The head lingers longer than most Sams and clings nicely to the side of the glass.

S - Has that nice, roasted Scotch aroma of a good Scotch ale. Faintly boozy but in a very pleasing way.

T - Starts smooth and low-impact with the watered-down taste of (too) many Sams, then quickly opens up with a nice, sharp, malty Scotch taste. Faintly metallic tastes here are mildly distracting, but that quickly dissipates with the highly aggressive (and quite delicious) finish. Let it pause in your mouth before swallowing and this one starts to show its stuff. This is a beer that starts like a lamb and leaves like a lion.

M - Almost NO discernible mouthfeel at first, then that bold finish comes and slathers your mouth in heavy carbonation and a feisty taste. It's not full-bodied, exactly, but it does scrub out the mouth.

D - Like any Scotch ale this one is relatively aggressive, suggesting it doesn't want to be guzzled -- the longer you let it linger in your mouth the bolder it becomes -- but in typical Sam Adams fashion it drinks nice and smooth and effortlessly.

Bottom line? The same as most beers in the Samuel Adams lineup. There are better examples of the style out there, but Sam's Scotch Ale is a very drinkable, suitably tasty beer that is a nice example of the style for someone new to it while also being highly sessionable for someone who likes Scotch Ales and wants to drink more than a few.

I bought the spring mixer for this beer specifically, and don't regret doing so.

 2,063 characters

Photo of merlin48
3.88/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours an attractive clear copper body with a healthy beige head that is long lasting before yielding to some sticky patch lace.

Aroma has toffee and some floral hops, but a bit too subdued.

Medium body and carbonation, crisp and clean.

Taste has a toffee malt backbone that is pleasantly balanced by a herbal/floral hop bitterness. Peat smoked malt emerges nicely as it warms but makes no effort to overwhelm. Clean finish.

Solid example of the style and very approachable.

 477 characters

Photo of donkeyrunner
3.58/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Brass colored with a friendly light beige head. Head quickly settles into a thin, but persistent, skim. Few lacey speckles.

Aroma is mostly Sam Adams house slick, metallic ale yeast character but with enough peat smoke and toasted bread to make it passable.

The peat that is noticable in the aroma because blessedly dominant in the taste. Some bready back up is no match for strong peat smoke given a bitter hop push forward. I'm a fan.

Yeah, it's not Old Chub but it's not 8% either. A bold sessionable wee heavy. One of Sam Adams' more robust regular offerings. Love that peat! I pretty much bough the Sam Adams Spring (released in February btw) mixer just for this beer. It's as good as I remember it.

 710 characters

Photo of ramseye4
3.9/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a sharp red color with a one finger head with good retention and lacing. Strong malt in the aroma, but a bit weak smelling overall. Taste is much stronger, with toasted malt and a very smokey taste overall with a bit of nut and a bit of a woody taste. Mouthfeel is excellently carbonated and full bodied with a pleasantly bitter aftertaste. This is also a very gulpable beer. Very good overall, I'm very impressed.

 420 characters

Photo of greenmonstah
3.87/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle poured into pint glass

A - Pours a dark deep amber. Clear with a small white head that dissipates rapidly.

S - Oh so malty. Very sweet maltiness dominates. Slightly scotchy and a only a bit smokey. Could smell it from a foot away.

T - Up front it is almost like a dopplebock. Sweet and roasty malts coat the mouth. Aftertaste is wonderful. Sweet, bready and oaky, the finish exemplifies a combination of the best parts of beer with a scotch hue.

M - Coats the mouth well and has a great finish which stays with you for a while. Nice carbonation.

D - Just above average drinkablility. Goes down easy for a while, but eventually slows me down a bit. I like it a lot, but I'd only have one in a night.

 716 characters

Photo of ColdPoncho
4.42/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

To be enjoyed by october 2011

A - Deep burnt red with a medium creamy tan head. A pretty beer, for sure. Not as dark as I'm used to.

S - roasted caramel malt, vanilla and toffee undertones. Actually a very good smelling beer.

T - A very nice smoked character and dryness compliments very nicely the earthy and roasty malts. This is a good tasting beer!

M - a light and fairly thin mouthfeel. quite smooth, a bit dry.

D - Yeah this is very drinkable. A good taste, interesting, not heavy, not high abv.

 506 characters

Photo of wmtxbb
3.67/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle poured into pint glass

Thin head that quickly dissipates into nothingness on top of a dark caramel brew. Slightly below average appearance.

The scent is sweet tea with a slice of malt.

Soft caramel malts with a quick jab from the smoke character. Tea, toffee and a slight chocolate flavor are present in layers.

Overall, the light carbonation and smooth malt profile make this brew easy to drink.

 409 characters

Photo of EricCioe
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.

 488 characters

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.

 1,047 characters

Photo of JizackFH
3.8/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - This beer pours a deep brown color, that has a nice clarity to it. It has a 1-finger off-white head. The head leaves behind some decent lacing behind on the glass.

S - This smells of toasted malts and bread. There are some notes of caramel and brown sugar as well. Overall the smell is a bit faint.

T - The taste is sweet and malty up front. There are notes of caramel and smoke that work nicely together. The finish has a touch of bitterness to it.

M - This has a medium-heavy body and medium-high carbonation. It goes down smooth, and the taste has pretty good flavor. I wish the body had a bit more to it though, it's a bit lacking.

D - The drinkability is good. It goes down easy, and leaves you wanting more. For me, this is a bit light for a scotch ale, but I could and would drink quite a few of these in a sitting. I recommend giving it a try.

 859 characters

Photo of ItsTheLimit
3.22/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a standard pint glass.

Label notched October for a freshness date.

A: Pours a nice transparent ruby/amber color with a thick, lasting head. Leaves nice lacing down the glass with each sip which sticks throughout consumption.

S: Fairly one-dimensional, with a lot of earthy, malty aromas coming through. Some smoke/roasty characteristics are apparent too. Not great.

T: Slightly sweet from all the malt. Slightly bitter finish with roasted and smokey flavors on the back end of the taste. Long finish leaves a nice aftertaste.

M: Well-balanced and medium-bodied. Nicely carbonated as well. Based on mouthfeel alone, this is a sessionable beer.

D: If only the smell and taste were a little better I could put away quite a few of these. Very easy to drink without being too light.

All in all, this is a pretty decent beer, and better than a number of other Sam Adams brews, however I was expecting a bit more from this one. Perhaps I'd have been a little more happy with the purchase if I didn't buy their spring sampler pack specifically to get to this brew.

 1,090 characters

Photo of nickthegun12
3.73/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

pretty decent, not bad session beer....

a dark ruby red....nice for the style...a fading head....with nice lacing...

smell is less than impressive....typical sam adams....very light peat malt in the nose....

taste is pretty damn good....very true to the style full bodied...i'm impressed....the peat and light roasted malt comes out well in the taste..

nice full mouth feel...creamy...with a little dryness too....

great drink ability....not much alcohol....although it is full bodied...but still very drinkable

 516 characters

Photo of BeerMeInMS
4.08/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Drinking Date: 1/10/11
Best by: October 2011

Glassware: Tulip-shape chalice

Appearance: Deep, deep reddish copper. The bottle states amber but it seems darker and redder than that. Moderate beige head that only hung around for a bit, but left some nice lacing all around the glass.

Smell: bread-like aroma and roasted smell. Not weak but not pungent.

Taste: The beer immediately tastes of the smoked malt they use. The beer also had a nutty taste, which, combined with the smokiness, reminds me of smoked almonds or pecans. The nutty/smoky taste worked nicely against the heavy roasted flavor. A hoppy, spiciness poked through midway into the flavor adding some variety. The smoky/nutty flavor was present and strong for every sip of the brew. Very interesting and tasty.

Mouthfeel: Creamy and medium-bodied. moderate carbonation.

Drinkability: I only had one, but I could see having two. The smoky flavor would probably get old for me after a couple...BUT the flavors stayed interesting and strong throughout the drink making it one that you can continuously enjoy.

Notes: Recommended. Pretty big flavor and the smokiness was delicious.

 1,144 characters

Photo of smibroncos
3.68/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A Poured a clear dark carmel, witha a nice frothy two finger tan head decent lacing on the glass.

S. Cookie, carmel, nuts, earthy

T. Sweet and malty, slight bitterness that finnishes. Some soapy flavor.

M. Slightly thik on the toungue nice carbonation, medium duration

D. This a a decent brew the balance was good, the only negative was the slight soapy flavor.

 366 characters

Photo of PicoPapa
3.85/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle with a Best Before date notched at Oct. Pours a reddish copper color with a thin head. Minimal lacing. Aromas of caramel, malts, bread, and earth. Taste is a boozey caramel with some earthiness to it. Large amount of malts. One of the better beers of this mix 12 pack (American Originals). Good amount of flavor and lower ABV make it rather drinkable. Good beer.

 374 characters

Photo of AdamBear
2.21/5  rDev -41.5%
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 -2.6%
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

Samuel Adams Scotch Ale from Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
3.78 out of 5 based on 1,106 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

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