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

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Samuel Adams Scotch AleSamuel Adams Scotch Ale
1,114 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

Bros Score:
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Ratings: 1,114 |  Reviews: 638
Photo of JizackFH
3.8/5  rDev +1.6%
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.

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Photo of ItsTheLimit
3.22/5  rDev -13.9%
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.

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Photo of nickthegun12
3.73/5  rDev -0.3%
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

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Photo of BeerMeInMS
4.08/5  rDev +9.1%
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.

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Photo of smibroncos
3.68/5  rDev -1.6%
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.

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Photo of PicoPapa
3.85/5  rDev +2.9%
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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.


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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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).

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Samuel Adams Scotch Ale from Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
Beer rating: 3.74 out of 5 with 1,114 ratings