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: 1,104
Photo of ZAP
4.35/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A tasty, malty, Scotch Ale....pours a deep reddish orange...noser is big on the peat...close to full-bodied..medium carbonation...a nice tasting beer....sweet and malty....hints of the peat and a spiciness on the finish....very tasty...seems to warm up the belly some which would contradict it's ABV rating some....

One ofthe better SA beers and an enjoyable drink...nowhere close to McEwens but that is a truly special beer...this is simply very good..

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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 mynie
4.28/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Nice pour. Golden honey brown that gets darker as the bubbles cascade downward and foam up inot a large, retentive cream colored head.

Smells nice, but a wee bit light for a wee heavy. Crisp and fruity bock malt rings out with nodes of nuts, caramel candies, and berries.

Tastes much like it smells only with a smokier finish. Bock malt starts things out, rubbery and nutty, moving into caramel, and then finishing on a dry, lightly sour node of smokiness.

Crisp, refreshing, and immensely drinkable. This is a session ale for the ages.

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Photo of BeerFMAndy
3.74/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle in a Duvel Tulip (closest to a Thistle I've got). Best by Nov 09 notched.

A - Dark mahogany ruby color topped by a small and weak head with little retention. Needs agitation before smelling.

S - Strong sweet malty caramel smell with some yeast and bread hints. Also, smoke is in this beer slightly. A little spice too.

T - Dry and malty, not as sweet as the smell. Slightly hopped with a bitter finish and a smokey flavor. Yeasty flavor is evident too.

M - Dry and crisp with a nice bite to it while still being fairly smooth on the way down.

D - Good interpretation of the scotch style that is quite drinkable for its flavor. I enjoy this beer.

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Photo of Pencible
3.46/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: This poured a clear dark copper with moderate light tan head.
S: It smelled like banana nut bread and copper hops, with some roasted barley.
T: It tasted like caramel and banana nut bread and copper hops, with some roasted barley. It had a fairly dry metallic and bittersweet aftertaste.
M: It was slightly thick and viscous with a little carbonation. Pretty good body.
D: This wasn't bad, but not terribly impressive. Below average scent, and not very clean or delicious taste. Not difficult to drink, but not overly enjoyable either. There are lots of better scotch ales out there.

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Photo of KarlHungus
3.59/5  rDev -5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This brew pours a dark brown color with a huge fluffy white head. The aroma is rather subdued. It is sweet, and buttery. The taste sweet with no detectable hops. Still, it is not overly sweet. There are also some buttery flavors. The mouthfeel is slightly no the light side of medium bodied, and mildly creamy. Overall, this is a decent brew, but there are better Wee Heavys available in my area.

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Photo of Durge
3.96/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A dark brown liquid with a thick tan head, good lacing. Smell is more subtle than I would anticipate with such a dark and bubbly brew. A hint of chocolate and raisin, touch of malt. The feel of this is smooth and very drinkable. You get a mild malt and brown sugar taste mix with a dry, almost licorice quality. After a few minutes you start to smell and taste some butterscotch which eventually becomes a prominent flavor. Very nice. A nice carbonation. Went down real easy for a heavy-ish beer. This is a scotch ale that I would think most beer lovers would like, if not love. Nice job Sam.

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Photo of twiggamortis420
4/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle pours a fairly clear amber color with a medium sized tan foam. Not too much in the way of retention or lacing.

Nose is caramely sweet with a touch of toffee and bread loaf. Not much in the way of hops and is low on any sort of fruitiness. Clean, fresh smelling but has an almost oxidized malty-sweet aroma. Pretty good nose overall.

Taste is similar to the smell, with the flavors somewhere in between a Scotch Ale and a Winter Warmer. Sweet malts blend with a nice biscuity, bready yeast flavor. Reminds me just a bit of AV Winter Solstice...even tasting a little bit of spice flavors. Hints of peat and smoke. Hop bitterness does not go completely unnoticed on the finish. Its a bit thin and somewhat astringent near the end...not smooth, but yet easy to drink. One of Sam Adams' better concoctions, I would buy a sixer of this every once in a while if they made it available that way.

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Photo of morimech
4.11/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a rich mahogany with a solid tan head that stays around for awhile. Also plenty of lacing noted.

The smell is sweet malt and a little citrus. A bit surprised by this in a Scotch Ale.

The flavor is dominated by the taste of roasted malt. A little smoke and hop bitterness leaves this a very balanced brew. It feels medium bodied and nicely carbonated. A beer that probably could be helped by a slightly higher ABV. I think this is Sam Adams most impressive beer. I had the lowest expectations for this beer and I am pleasantly surprised.

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Photo of MattyG85
3.76/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from bottle into a Sam Adams glass.

Appearance: Deep reddish brown with a decent head that quickly goes.

Smell: Mild caramel malt with a mild scent of hops.

Taste: Earthy with a slight sweetness and light Scotch whiskey like flavor.

Mouthfeel: Medium, creamy and smooth.

Overall: A good version of a Scotch.

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

Pours a slightly hazy honey brown color with a small yet dense head which dissipates into a slight cap. The aroma is of light roasted malt, some grape wine notes, perhaps a touch of butter, not much of, if at all, peat or smoke presense. The taste is of a nice malt base, not too thick or roasted. Definitely pick up on the smoke/peat flavors, not too powerful but noticable. Some tea like hop bitterness in the end. The feel is moderate, a little chewy but is cut by the active carbonation, finishes with a slightly dry/astringent bitterness. Perhaps a touch thin for the style. While the feel may be a touch thin, it leads to some good drinkability. Not very heavy in the feel or in the smoke flavor, which would allow you to drink more than 2 if that was available.

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Photo of argock
4.05/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from 12oz brown bottle into a clear pint glass

A: Deep ruby-brown color with thick off-white head and tons of lacing

S: Smoky and sweet caramel with more esters than I expected.

T: Very caramelly sweet and malty with mildly smokiness with a stiff hops bitterness which works well with the burned sugar and buttery flavors.

M: Chewy and full-bodied with light, smooth carbonation and smoky aftertaste.

D: This is a tasty beer with a great feel and characteristic smokiness from peat that is really distinctive.

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Photo of illidurit
3.65/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle poured into a mug. Crystal clear maroon color with a centimeter of tan head. Average retention and lacing.

Smokey peaty malt and a dash of toffee sweetness characterize the aroma.

Flavor has a caramel/toffee base with a nice big smokiness that runs throughout the palate. The finish is brown malts and bread crust with some lingering smoked meats.

Mouthfeel is smooth but a little watery for the style. Robust flavors like smoke need a burly body to match, and this beer doesn't have it. Definitely more wee than heavy. Other than that, this beer is tasty, and clearly one of Sam Adams' best.

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Photo of jsh420
3.56/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

best by OCT 2010

pours dark ruby brown with a 1+ finger tanish head that left spotted lacing down the glass

smells of some roasted malt - not much to it

taste is better - roasted malts nutty carmel malts - not very strong but it is only 5.4% - has some hops so it is not too sweet

mouthfeel is very light - good carbonation crisp and creamy

drinkability is good - this is the lightest scotch ale i have had and one i could see drink a few at a time

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Photo of birchstick
3.68/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A - nice hickory brown with a decent head
S - smells of sweet malts and a bit of candy
T - definitely one of the more interesting scotch ales I have tried. I had to double check that this wasn't a rauchbier. It tasted a lot like smoked meat. It was malty and had a smokiness that is typical of the style. However, the smokiness was kind of amped up, which isn't a bad thing, just wasn't expecting it.
M - thin and very carbonated
D - this beer is good and would go well with a cigar or some smoked meat. Like I said earlier, this is almost too smoky to be a scotch ale, but it is good nonetheless.

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

An awesome rocky head of foam sits atop a beautiful burgandy color...patches of lacing are immediately present. Smells rich and malty; sweet, almost buttery caramel and smokey peat. Malt dominates the flavor, as it should, more toasted than the aroma, smoky, nutty, briefly sweet, and a faint dry earthy hoppiness follows adding a low bitterness. Shadowy plum and cherry esters add some depth to the flavor. Mouthfeel is smooth and well-rounded.

Not as strong as most scotch ales but man, there's some tasty maltiness going on here. I really like the peaty overtones too. Why can't we get this in 6-packs? Its a damn shame...

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Photo of Bierman9
3.92/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I was able to sneak out of town with Alewife to enjoy a pint of this on tap at Redbones.... It's been years since I've had this....and never on tap, at that. Glad to see Sammy still cranks out the really desirable stuff now and then....

Color was dark brown, with attractive garnet hues peeking through. Our 'tender filled the pint right to the top, so any head that might have been there was long gone.

Nose displayed a good, partially-sweet, malt backbone, with some peaty notes also coming forth. Now that's what I'm talking 'bout....

Body was a pinch less than medium. Seemed to be a bit fuller than this when I had it in bottles a while back. Still traversed the tongue in a respectably smooth manner.

There was a decent amount of malt in the flavor, with peaty/smoky aspects shining through. Malty sweetness was less than in past versions. Hoppiness was more accentuated in this bier. As it warmed the malt started to become more pronounced, along with the accompanying sweetness. Much tastier near the finish of the pint.

It seemed like it tasted a whole lot better in years gone by, and maybe it has been tweaked some. But perhaps I thought it was tastier back then without the benefit of having learned to discern more flavor nuances. still is a nice bier, and one I wish were still produced regularly. Prosit!!

overall: 3.85
appearance: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | mouthfeel: 3.5 | drinkability: 4


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Photo of RonaldTheriot
3.19/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Samuel Adams Scotch Ale has a thin, bone-colored head, a clear copper appearance, and some lacing splotches left behind. The aroma is muted, but the drinker might pick up some sweet bread. Taste is of peat smoke, predominately, but sweet, brown bread crust and low-level, rounding bitterness is present. Mouthfeel is light to medium, and Samuel Adams Scotch Ale finishes crisp and semi-dry.


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Photo of BeerAdvocate
3.66/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Review from BeerAdvocate Magazine March 2007

One of the more talked-about beers from Boston Beer Company--at least from the beer geek's point of view. BBC utilizes a bit of peat-smoked malt to add depth and give it a traditional flare. It can be an acquired taste as well.

The lacing is absolutely amazing, leaving rings down the glass after each sip; the deep but clear mahogany color glows in the light. Malty, sweet aroma lends a kiss of smoke and an even-more faint, herbal hoppiness. Moderate carbonation leaves an unbelievable smoothness that rides the medium body. Semi-thick caramel maltiness has a quick rush of smoke, chocolate and toasted grain. Very quiet fruitiness does not stake much ground. A small bite of spicy bitterness from the hops, with a mild, lingering flavor. Finishes sweet with a dim- ming, chocolate/smoke mix.

We've always been fond of this brew, even though it doesn't hold its own against many of the other American-brewed Scotch Ales that are double its size. That said, it's without a doubt one of the most drinkable Scotch Ales. Combine it with some herb-crusted, grilled pork chops and broiled, stuffed apples.

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

Appearance: It's very clear and reddish amber in color. Head is off white and roughly two and a half fingers deep. Excellent retention and lacing.

Smell: Roasted malts come through loud and clear initially. That's followed by a nice smoky aroma. Caramel malts are notable. Dark fruit scents emerge (raisin and plum). Hop aromas round it out.

Taste: Initially, an excellent combo of hops and roasted malts hit the palate. It does have an excellent smoke flavor. Caramel malts add a sweet element. Raisin and plum flavors mix very well and add a lot of depth.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability: It's medium bodied. Carbonation is excellent. Very, very smooth and drinkable. I could drink a number of these. Overall, this is an excellent offering from Sam Adams. I wish they sold it in six packs. Definitely recommended.

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

a: Frothy khaki head shows good retention. The beer is a rich chestnut brown in color. Light lacing. Looks good.

s: Surprisingly aromatic nose, but I have come to hold SA to a higher standard than I used to so it's not a huge surprise. Peat malts seem to dominate, bringing a subtle smoky note in addition to various earthy aromas. Moderately sweet with some light fruity esters and a touch of cola and chocolate.

m: Carbonation smooth, just around medium with a full medium body. Creamy.

t: I feel more malts than I taste at first, most seem to be on the benign side flavorwise, but there is a bit of nutty toast. Immediately after swallowing, a great smoked peat flavor comes in. Love the smoke, present in good quantity but not overdone, accompanied by toasted grain bread flavors. Gently hopped, with a mild bitterness in the long finish.

d: a nice beer, pretty drinkable for the style and somewhat rich character

part of a SA mixed 12

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Photo of BEERMILER12
3.93/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a nice orange-red color with a small head

S: Smokey malts and earthy tones

T: A very nice smokey flavor come out first followed by a nice malty finish with smoke lingering

M: Medium bodied with little carbonation. Smooth and not too prickly from carbonation

D: Extremely drinkable. The smoke taste is very enticing and makes you want more, which is very possible with the 5.4%. I'd love to session this, but unfortunately it only come in 2's with the mixed pack

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

I liked this when it was formerly brewed and sure glad it's back.
Aroma is sweet, somewhat smokey (that gives off a bourbon quality), somewhat rich with just a hint of diacetyl.
Quite an attractive beer. Deep red with golds and brown. Thinnish head but creamy looking when first poured. Shows a little around the rim eventually.
Flavor is nice deep and rich malt flavor. Taste is pretty consistent start to finish. Ending is a very long malt dryness. Slight caramel notes.
Wonderfully smooth and somewhat creamy. Contrasted by slight bite from malt bitterness.
I've always liked this beer. This didn't disappoint.

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

Pours a hazy reddish copper in color with a foamy 2 finger off white head that had lots of bubbles in it and faded slowly, leaving very good foamy lacing; another good looking Sam Adams beer.

Smells of sweet malt, roasted grains, caramel, wheat, herbs, peat moss or charcoal; a nice roasted aroma that is malty overall.

Tastes of malt, roasted grains, caramel, wheat, charcoal, oaky notes, red wine, dark fruit, light citrus hops, lemon zest, cinnamon and some light pepper; a sharp roasted malty flavor that was mild and tasty considering the malts seemed smoked and almost burnt.

Mouthfeel is creamy and smooth, with a metallic twang, a light body and mellow carbonation. A decent beer that's tastes alright, but just is a little off base for my palate preference. OK beer that I enjoyed, but not something I'd drink on a regular basis.

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Samuel Adams Scotch Ale from Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
3.78 out of 5 based on 1,104 ratings.
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