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

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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: 1,097
Photo of Duff27
3.92/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- Pours a dark dark mahogany, with a thin head. Below average lacing and head retention I feel. No effervescence. Love the color, everything else leaves more to be desired.

s- Smoked wood.

T- No hops present. Great smokey undertones during the aftertaste. "Well balanced".

M- Feels nice in my mouth, medium to medium-thin. Good carbonation.

D/O- Enjoyed this one. "Drinkability" was there, even with the hints of peat-smoked malts. Props to BBC for this offering. Would probably buy a six pack of it if offered.

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Photo of Stinkypuss
4.03/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A stoway found deep in the fridge from another time...

Pours an amber brown with a solid foam head. Good lacing forming rings to remind of sips gone by.

Aroma of bready malts. Seriously bready, like fresh baked bread.

Flavors of scottish style malt. Characteristic of whisky malt, peat and caramel. Slight roasted edge. Hops have died down to an earthy bitterness. Toffee and caramel prevelent. Hints of cocoa. A well rounded brew all in all.

Mouthfeel is full bodied with a malty finish.

A solid ale with a good amount of character. Not overly strong and a nice session beer.

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Photo of plaid75
4/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a medium amber hue with a one finger frothy white head. There was good retention and lacing.

The smell featured a moderately sweet malt with a peaty smokiness.

The taste consisted of a smooth smoky sweetness and a light grassy hop.

The mouthfeel was toward the lighter side of the style.

Overall a very tasty malt driven ale.

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Photo of biegaman
4/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Samuel Adams Scotch Ale may be flat, but it's a fine looking beer all the same. Its blood red body is dark but shows brilliant ruby highlighting and pristine clarity; the beer's richness is apparent in its complexion which itself shows a great deal of depth.

The aroma is deeply malty, with far more smoky peat apparent than caramel. Already you start to notice a resemblance to whiskey - why do I get the feeling this peaty smell will stick to my clothes after? Of course, it has far more malt and far less alcohol than any blend or single malt, but it does share the smoky grain and even a touch of oak.

The one thing every Scotch Ale must have is rich malty and peaty flavour. This one has plenty of both of those features as well as a firm kettle caramelization, hints of smoky grain, black cherry-like fruitiness as well as some nutty character. Still, it's not terribly sweet. Notching so many different rungs obviously places this one high on the flavour ladder.

The beer drinks with much more weight and character than the reasonable 5.4% notching would lead you to assume. Although not even a shadow of alcohol can be noted, I would have guessed this closer to the 7% range simply for its depth and complexity. It has smoky notes, sweet and nutty notes, an earthy bitterness and a ton of peat flavour.

Samuel Adams doesn't just provide a superficial glimpse of the scotch ale style as many brewers do, they provide you with a bona fide example that is indistinguishable from the immemorial ales of Scotland. While it doesn't take the style to the same extremes as other American micros, I'd still consider this one of my favourite examples this side of the pond.

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Photo of Halcyondays
3.89/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle from the mixed 12er,

A: Pours a clear brown with a medium 1-finger off white head, good retention, spotty dots of lacing on the glass.

S: Strong peaty whisky notes, smells a lot like a Laphroig 10 year with out all the ethanol, very pleasant.

T: Light toffee malt and cookies mixed with a pronounced whisky character. Much more upfront peat and smoke than something like Belhaven Wee Heavy, strong flavour though it can be too much at points, but overall quite enjoyable. Definitely the scotchiest of any beer I've had with the exception of Ola Dubh 30 Year.

M: Mild carbonation that kind of explodes in the mouth, quite light in comparison to the strength in the flavour. Dry, sea water and iodine finsh, with a considerable smoky aftertaste.

D: I liked this beer a lot, if you want a beer that tastes like whisky go for it, good for a couple of pints, but the character and strength of the flavour would make it difficult to session.

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

Reviewed through the miracle of BIF 43 NC Lotto and BA hoppedup and a little help from FedEx.

This beer pours a clear brown colored ale with a good tan colored head. Unfortunately the head doesn't stick around.

Smell is sweet and malty with a strong scent of vanilla. Faintly smoky this is more peat like in scent with its earthiness. Lots of sugar aroma here, mostly the scent of toffee candy.

Taste is fairly sweet and very malty in the first taste. Quite a lot of bitterness here for the style really more of a level that you would expect in an Altbier which this tastes much like. Smoke flavor confines itself to the taste of a peat fire, earthly and ever so slightly muddy and with a faint taste of tar. Toffee and vanilla show up in the flavor and pretty much define the flavor of the sweetness.

Mouthfeel is good and creamy.

How shall I assign drinkability to this? The bitterness is too much for the style. As a different very malty beer style this is a truly exceptional Altbier that is among the best. As just beer, this is a good one with an assertive bitter snap. I will just say that this is a good beer.

 1,132 characters

Photo of John_M
3.82/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Slatetank had aged this for some years (think he said this was from 2001), which IMHO probably improved it a bit.

The beer pours a brownish amber color with OK head retention and lacing. Nose is odd, with a lot of sweet malt, but with butterscotch, smoke and sweet fruit. Flavors replicate the nose on this moderately sweet beer, but with some noticeable soy sauce and apple juice. The beer is fairly peaty and sweet, and there's something of a couph medicine flavor to this beer. Mouthfeel is medium bodied and drinkability is OK.

An interesting beer. I think it's starting to fade, but time has done some interesting things to the nose and flavor profile.

 659 characters

Photo of puboflyons
3.33/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

From the 12 fl. oz. bottle with an expiration date of June 2016. Sampled on January 24, 2016.

Honey-amber-red pour with a modest off-white head up top.

The aroma has a caramel malt sweetness and a good peat moss note.

The body is light to medium and I would have preferred a bit more depth to it.

Very sweet malt character in the taste with that back yard peat moss flavor. Little to no bitterness.

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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 clayrock81
3.65/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Just got two bottles in the 2007 Brewmaster collection (the one with the Irish Red that I have yet to try). Poured one into a pint glass and it had very little head, natch, and a dark mahogany color with small lace patches left on glass. This label doesn’t say triple malt like the picture on this site, but they are there. Smell is rather malty, with some caramel picked up – I didn’t pick up much else. You can taste the roasted malt immediately, and it gives this rather full-bodied ale (it doesn’t look like a traditional heavy ale) a mildly dry backbite. I think the malts overpower this ale a tad, but you can still pick up some earthy tones. I don’t know; I can’t put my finger on it but this is one of those instances where I am not thoroughly impressed w/ a beer, yet I can’t really find anything negative to point out. I will probably “cellar” the other brew and I would recommend this, yet there is a part of me that is probably being pessimistic because it isn’t a “real” Scottish Ale.

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Photo of akorsak
4.12/5  rDev +9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A 12 oz bottle from Phatz.

A: The ale is very dark, a deep cola-colored brown that does not allow any level of translucence (and therefore is opaque, thank you vocabulary!). The head was near 1.5 fingers and laces nicely in the glass.

S: The nose is very grainy with a strong bread-like quality and a great deal of caramel sweetness. There is a faint smoked aroma that adds a pleasant bite to the sweetness.

T: The flavor is very thick, full of caramel malts and darker roasted chocolate hints. The ale has a very subtle smoked body that nicely rounds out the caramel flavor, injecting a significant flavor into the mix. The combination of smoke and caramel takes the beer to another level.

M: Smoky caramel malts, this beer packs a nice punch using that formula. This is a solid drink.

D: Few things can top a nice wee heavy. This one has it all, a low abv, strong caramel (especially in the nose) and a great smoked caramel flavor. Very enjoyable.

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

12oz bottle purchased as part of the Brewmaster's Variety Collection 12-pack from Yankee Spirits, Sturbridge, MA.

Poured into an imperial pint glass, formed a 1/2" beige head over the clear brownish copper brew. Head recedes at fast clip, with average lacing. Aroma is malty, slightly smoky. Taste follows along, but I find myself wanting to use "slightly" over and over. Slightly sweet to start, slightly smoky, slightly hoppy at the close. Wish it wouldn't be so nondescript. Mouthfeel and drinkability continue the trend of being pretty good. This is not something that I'd buy the 12-pack for, but it holds its own.

 621 characters

Photo of bluejacket74
4/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle says best before November 2007. Served in a pint glass, the beer pours dark brown with a half inch off-white head. It smells like smoky, roasted malt, raisins and caramel. It tastes the same way, but very peaty/smoky and malty. It also has a nice bitter finish. Mouthfeel is medium, with just the right amount of carbonation. Drinkability is good too, it's smooth and good to drink. Not a bad beer, I'd definitely drink it again.

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Photo of DrJay
4.07/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Clear coppery dark amber with a fluffy eggshell cap of foam. Lots of lacing, mostly chunky-style, with good head retention. Malty aroma, notes of caramel and sugary sweetness, plus the added bonus of well-balanced peat and smoke character. I certainly didn't expect that! Low bitterness with caramel and malt sweetness that didn't end up cloying. Peat was more subdued in the flavour, but made its presence known in the finish. Medium bodied with decent texture, average carbonation. Easy drinking for a beer with some peat character. A pleasant surprise, but seems more of a scottish than scotch ale to me.

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Photo of tigg924
3.53/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a Sam Adams perfect pint glass

Appearance: one inch head, clear, caramel in color, high carbonation

Smell: peat and toasted malt

Taste: toffee, caramel malt, earth, and chocolate

Mouthfeel: light body for the style, sweet start with a semi-bitter end, high carbonation

Overall: This is a good Scotch Ale that is nice for all the floavor you get from a lower abv version of the style. I tend to like this style and there are others out there that I would choose over this. That said, it is probably one of the first ones I will claim out of the Sam Adams variety packs.

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Photo of RBorsato
4.97/5  rDev +31.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Dark amber color (Bronze-ish) with a low brown head and light bits of lace. Strong malt aroma and light smoky aroma. Big carmelized malt flavor with a nice smoky aspect. Full bodied , rich and creamy ! Ages very well ! This bottle was over 3 years old !

Probabaly the best Sam Adams beer made - shame it is essentially gone...

Label States: "Triple Malt" & "Brewed with Peat Smoked Malt"

Purchase Before: June '00
Tasted: 04/08/03

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Photo of rodbeermunch
3.16/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 3.25 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Dark brown and dark red together at last. Small thin beige head 1/4". Aroma wafts some serious alcohol, almost fusel like in its harshness.

Taste is like a tempered McEwans Scotch Ale (they still make that?) The smoke/peat/earth/tobacco malt and yeast impressions are tame relatively speaking. You could say its a complex Sam Adams beer. Its not my jam style wise, but I do like when this style is mixed up with some oak and bourbon, this one could use some of that treatment I was thinking.

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Photo of Brad007
4/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark, ruby red color with a decent head that fades into a one-finger head with mild lacing. Aroma is strong and malty with the smoked peat showing through nicely. I really enjoy the aroma. Taste is malty/fruity upfront and fades to a nice smoked peat finish at the back of the tongue. Definitely a smoky beer. A second sip catches more of the smokiness .

The finish is somewhat dry and lingering. I can see why this beer was so popular, that Sam Adams had to bring it back.


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Photo of Bighuge
3.72/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Nice deep burgandy tone to this one. A decent sized creamy brown head sits on top. Retention is solid. Pretty good whiff of malt on the nose mixed with some smokey and chocolatey tones. The body of this one is a little light for the style. It checks in around medium at best. Could use a little less carb as well. Average mouthfeel. The taste is caramel, toffee, molasses, smoke, chocolate and raisin all mixed to varying degrees. Not bad. But not outstanding either. I chalk this one up as pretty good.

Now bring back the Honey Porter, dammit!!

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Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3.41/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

A dark brown red to amber appearance, aroma of alcohol, not excited going into this.

Taste, not quite as good as McEwans, but reminiscient and durable. Not we're exceeding expectations. Peat and smoke are detectable but far from overwhelming. Not your standard SA beer, nicely unique, smoke, sweet and peat, not too many like that. Lots to think about and find throughout this beer. Not necessariy the easiest or cheapest beer to drink.

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Photo of Jwale73
4.03/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Best before November, notched on the label. Served in my SA Sensory Pint. Translucent amber in appearance with reddish-brown highlights. Luscious off-white head was barely contained in the glass (went from the stripe surrounding the bowl up to the lip of the glass) leaving behind lots sticky white lacing. Good head retention eventually dissipated into a thin consistent layer of foam. Fair amount of lacing with decent adhesion during the tasting. Lots of sweet malt (perhaps a hint of caramel) in the nose as well as a subtle smoky quality. Flavors are consistent with the nose; however, sweetness is less pronounced and a nice earthy-peaty flavor at the finish. Mouthfeel is medium-bodied with just the right amount of carbonation to round out some of the flavors. Decent drinkability for the style, although I personally wouldn't have more than two in a session.

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

A- Crimson red with a creamy white head. Good retention and a nice web of lace from a nice ring.

S- A nice scotch peat smoked note over dark fruit and caramel malt. Somewhat fades with time.

T- A lighter overall Wee Heavy but this one brings a good balance of peat smoke, dark fruit and caramel malt. Nutty hints.

MF- Creamy light body that pretty much is synonymous with most Sam Adams brews. High carbonation level.

The smoky edge here is a nice flavor and kind of unexpected for me. Another solid offering from Sam Adams, the mixed packs are pretty much a must buy a few times a year.

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

Reviewed 08/14/02
The beer on the pour appears deep dark amber with a modest light tan head, frothy and the lace a fine sheet. Nose is heavy, strong malts and hops a beer that fights back, start is sweet, malt laden and the top middling in feel. Finish is spiteful in its acidity, hops personable in their spiciness, very dry and a good drinking beer all around.

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Photo of rlee1390
3.88/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Part of the Sam Adams American Originals Pack

A-Clear amber red with one finger of head, leaves behind near perfect lacing.

S-Roasted malts, peat and very smokey

T-Starts with roasted and smoked malts. Peat flavor follows. Heavy on the malts, some hops in the finish but not much.

M-Medium, smooth with some carbonation.

D-A good beer, you can get the sense of what the start of making the new Imperial Serials Wee Heavy is from. The Wee Heavy seems to be this beer ratcheted up a notch or two.

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

A dark amber color with a small head that dissipates quickly. The fun starts with a good sniff. A sweet smoky odor, almost like a burned caramel. It has a similar taste, with a grainy background. Some hoppiness also. A smooth feel to it, and fairly substantial too. A good beer to drink, but not too many in a single sitting.

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Samuel Adams Scotch Ale from Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
3.78 out of 5 based on 1,097 ratings.
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