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Heritage Ale | Bear Republic Brewing Co.

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very good
52 Reviews
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Brewed by:
Bear Republic Brewing Co.
California, United States

Style: Scotch Ale / Wee Heavy

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
True to the Norgrove's Scottish Heritage, this Wee Heavy is brewed with Scottish malts and lightly hopped with East Kent Goldings. Big and Malty sweet, this ale will have you hearing bagpipes.

Added by xlperro on 09-27-2002

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Reviews: 52 | Ratings: 111
Photo of Slatetank
3.6/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I had this on tap at Deep Ellum -served chilled in a shaker pint.

A - very dark tobacco brown w/ gentle haze and quick dropping pale head w/ tiny bead

S - A roasty nose -sweet & nutty w/ mildly yeasty ester and slight diacetyl hint

M - The feel is moderately full bodied w/ medium carbonation and toasted texture of malt w/ evenly spiced feel w/ a slightly sweet finish

T - The taste is decent w/ a bit of roasted malt flavor and nutty sweetness w/ hints of pine from the hops and subtle caramel notes w/ mild buttery sweetness. The taste has a earthy mild toasted, tobacco-like leaf brown taste w/ mild tang of fruit and nuttines w/ a sweet flavor like dark brown sugar in the finish

D - A tasty scotch brew - nowhere near 8% abv taste-wise - not the top of its class, but a solid brew nonetheless.

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

Clear, dark orangy amber with minimal frothy off-white head, little retention & lacing. Smell of sweet carmel malts with an earthy hop presence. Taste is earthy yet carmely and brown sugar sweet. Hints of roasted nuts and earthy hops. Medium bodied, could use another notch of carbonation. Decent beer, slightly too sweet but with a nice roasted charachter.

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Photo of Thorpe429
4.27/5  rDev +13%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a lightist brown with a bit of crimson in there. Nice head and plenty of legs as it went down. Nice malt presence, with a few backing hops. Lots of dark fruits and a bit of red fruit. The taste is quite sweet and a bit cloying, but not overly so. Mouthfeel is medium and drinkability is very nice. This was one of my wife's favorites of the California leg of our trip.

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Photo of jwillcourt
3.88/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Served on tap in a tulip glass.

A - Dark chestnut brown, almost black, with a purple/reddish tint when held to the light. Finger-sized, beige head that dissipates quickly into a white ring of foam. It leaves sticky lacing and a sheen down the side of the glass.

S - Sweet malt, slight peat and nutty smell.

T - Overall sweet flavor. Very fruity, with notes of plum, fig, grape, melon, and cider. Slightly bitter aftertaste with a bittersweet cocoa quality.

M - Medium bodied with higher than average carbonation. It looks and feels a little chalky.

D - The fruitiness is refreshing but I certainly feel the alcohol.

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Photo of ppoitras
3.01/5  rDev -20.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

On-tap at The Armsby Abbey, Worcester, MA.

Presented in an imperial pint glass, a 3/4" beige head over the slightly cloudy reddish brew. Head lasts well, with sticky lasting lace. Aroma is sweet, lightly fruity. Taste starts sweet, goes a bit off tart in the middle, which carries through the moderately hoppy close. Mouthfeel is creamy but still prickly tart, and drinkability is okay. The slight sour just was out of place for me in a Scotch/Scottish Ale.

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Photo of Phoenix2443
4.17/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 5

Had this on tap at the Alamo drafthouse south Lamar last night, I was very impressed with the drinkability as well as the even transition from the sweetness to the slight bitter aftertaste:

A - the beer pours a reddish amber with a very light white head. Looks like your average Scottish.

S - the beer has sweet smells of fruit - cherries, figs, etc. The beer didn't have a strong nose to it but it fit the style.

T - the beer has a sweet almost honey taste. Again, fruits and a nice complexity. Aftertaste was slightly bitter, letting you know the hops was present.

M - nothing special here

D - the beer was very easy and incredibly enjoyable. I could drink this throughout a night out easily. Hopefully they'll bottle this even as a limited time beer.

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Photo of cosmicevan
4.3/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Picked this up from my local bevy in a growler when I saw it on tap.

A - Poured a rich brown amber with not much carbonation and a frothy creamy head. Sticky lacing.

S - Cherries, figs, grapes...malty caramel. Almost maple syrup like.

T - Delicious. Sweet and malty. Cherry, plum, grape with a subtle hop.

M - Feels like a good beer with an even balance of carbonation and flavor and hops.

D - Extremely drinkable beer. Tasty and well balanced. Sweet & malty without being too much so that it becomes filling.

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Photo of sraimondi
3.98/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Having this one at Moe's in Lee, MA as it is snowing out--yes, a perfect backdrop for this quite traditional Wee Heavy.

A--Light to medium brown with nice ruby notes. Typical head retention for an 8% brew. Nice lacing throughout.

S--I don't pick up on much peatiness, but definite malt substance, little hops, as it should be. This is quite interesting as the published IBUs are at 75. I also get some other sugary notes.

T--Interesting. Malt sweetness is upfront for sure. However, the IBUs work well to keep this one from being cloying. Especially notable is the fact that there is still little hops profile; almost non-existent, except in the very finish, where there is an ever so slight bite. As in the nose, very slight peat, although definite caramel present.

M--Medium feel, a bit light for the style IMHO.

D--Nice, smooth drinkability.

Overall a very nice and traditional Wee Heavy, a style not normally well done in the USA, IMHO. Compares well to Belhaven, which I think is the current style target. More peatiness would have moved this one up.

Thanks to Josh for getting this one on draft.

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Photo of loving44
3.92/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance - This one poured a deep orange-brown in color with a thin layer of head, not much head retention...

Smell - deep sweet malts, sugars, peat, earth, very hearty aroma. lots of toasted malt.

Taste - Again sweet but not overly sweet or syrupy. Lightly toasted grants, peat, and raw brown sugar.

Mouthfeel - medium body, sticky with constant carbonation.

Drinkability - I like a little more peat or toasted grain to mellow out the sweetness of the malts of this style, but this was highly drinkable and great on a cold rainy night.

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Photo of david18
4.5/5  rDev +19%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is on tap at the Amsterdam Ale house as a part of Craft Beer Week in New York City. An excellent beer. I had no idea what the style was when I tasted it but the maltiness came through immediately. Very good color, great flavor, excellent mouthfeel and drinkability.

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Photo of Nickls
3.7/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

(From notes)

A - Deep rich brown with coppery hints; thin tan head

S - Prune-like sweetness; whiff of smokiness; dark fruits

T - Much less fruity than in the aroma; dry peat; earthy; roasted; decent

M - Thicker to medium MF; virtually still in terms of carbonation

D - Not bad, but got to be a little tougher as I went through the sample

Overall, different enough in the style that was semi-interesting and the sweetness apparent in other examples was absent here, which was alright. Not bad.

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Photo of Arbitrator
2.76/5  rDev -27%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

On tap at the Rose & Crown.

A: Pours a chestnut body with a faint line of bubbles that pass for a head, but it was poured very, very cold. As I warmed and agitated it, it produced a respectable finger of off-white foam, but retention was short and lacing was only a few streaks here and there.

S: Dark malts: caramel, toffee, and brown sugar. It's not very pungent, even when warm, and there isn't any depth beyond this.

T: Follows the nose precisely. Kind of a watery blend of caramel, toffee, and brown sugar. I'd love to taste some peat or smoke or other flavors in here, but this was a very middle-of-the-road flavor that neither offended nor impressed.

M: Medium-bodied. Pretty smooth with some residual sweetness. Low-medium carbonation.

D: Meh. Kind of a weak beer. A surprise from a usually fantastic brewery.

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

I had this beer as part of a flight of samples at the Healdsburg, California restaurant. From tap and in 3oz sample glasses.

A-dark amber body with a thick beige head

S-smells like a jolly rancher candy

T-candy-like flavor, just a little hop kick at the end


D-I kind of expect some smoke to come with this one. I didn't get any. I would like to try this in a pint glass next time and not in a sampler. I may have enjoyed it more. Otherwise the base of malt and hops is fine, but I just feel that a scotch ale should have some distinctive earthiness to it as well as some smoke character.

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Photo of SurlyDuff
3.4/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A copper color with just some lacing, no head.
Malt forward, with some hot alcohol and some light earthy peat in there. I usually like my scottish ales packed so full of peat that i feel like i'm eating landscape chips, but this was rather light.

Taste has a pronounced sweetness, then the big alcohol fusal heat hit, making it seem perhaps 10%, not 8. The sweetness in in the form of molassass or brown sugar. This reminds me a lot of Lagunitas Brown Sugga.

It's not highly drinkable, and the alcohol is a bit hight to enjoy more than one. I'd rather save my sobriety for a couple of their ips or another high abv offering.

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Photo of drtth
3.78/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Served in a goblet. Glass of cold water on the side to sip from periodically.

Appearance: The beer arrives at the table with a short lived off-white head that initially covers the liquid and then recedes fairly soon. The beer is dark brown with undertones (mahogany) color. Initially sipping leaves some light scattered lacing but that soon is over.

Smell: Rich sweet dark caramel malts creating an aroma of toffee and brown sugar.

Taste: As expected from the aroma the taste is dominated by sweet brown sugar and toffee from the dark malts with no hops really detectable.

Mouthfeel: The mouthfeel is medium bodied, smooth and a just a bit sticky from the sweetness. There is some faint carbonation in there for most of the beer. The finish is medium long and is all about the sweetness of the malts with no real hop presence so all the flavors are brown sugar and toffee.

Drinkability: This is a beer where one in an evening is enough, but it is a great way to end the evening, just sipping and enjoying. I could return to this beer in the future if given the chance, but on the other hand, if given a choice there are other Scottish Ales I'd probably give the nod to.

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Photo of FtownThrowDown
4.02/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

On draft.
Pours a dark ruby brown in color. There's a head for a few seconds, but then it's gone by the time your first sip is done.
Smell is huge malts and some toffee. Taste is the same with some brown sugar and spice coming through at the end. Alright tasting and highly sessionable. Glad I had the chance.

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

On tap at Birreria Paradiso, Washington, D.C. - they'd just run out of 3Fs Gumballhead, and I was told that tap had been replaced with the "Bear Republic Scottish Ale." Intrigued, I ordered it. Served in a traditional American pint glass.

Appearance: A light reddish-brown bodied beer, not as dark as perhaps I'm used to, with a one-finger tan head of average retention that leaves a great deal of sticky lace and a big ring of foam. It's light, but it's not transparent - it's in fact very close to opaque. Bubbly and foamy.

Aroma: Very biscuity, with lots of spicy overtones over a caramel and "malty" malt foundation. It's nice, but perhaps a little simplistic.

Taste: Earthy and very sweet. It's bready, with tons of brown sugar and blackstrap molasses, various other caramelized sugars. Whew. Hints of anise, too, particularly as it warms, which I think may be what I'm tasting as "earthy." More malt notes come through as it warms - toast, most prominently, though sweet toast, white bread toast. There's also a faint minty, herbal, hop presence, with an imperceptible bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Smooth and even, though also big and fluffy and crisp. A little big and over the top for a Scottish, but still nice. Leaves a bit of a stick with all the sweetness.

Drinkability: A solid Scottish, with well-hidden alcohol, though I'm going to have to knock it slightly for being a little "too" sweet. There're tons of residual sugars here, and though they're interestingly complex, they're a little over the top. Tone down the carbonation on this one, burn up a few more of the sugars, and you'd have a really great Scottish. Still worth a try, though.

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Photo of DoubleJ
3.78/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On-tap at Hollingshead's, on to the beer:

I had never heard of this beer, so I had no idea what style of beer I was getting. It's brown in color, maybe ruby brown, lighter hues of color found on the edges. In the nose, I found some dark fruits and a pinch of cocoa. To taste, my tongue found a lot of fruit skins of dark fruit flavor. There were also figs to be found. Cocoa is revealed, and the overall taste becomes powdery as it dries in the mouth. Worthy of a pint...if you can find it.

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Photo of Halcyondays
3.87/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On-tap at Hollingshead's,

A: Pours brown with a small off-white head with good retention, no lacing.

S: Heavy malt, molasses, soy sauce.

T: Sweet malt, definite soy sauce note to the beer. Not really peaty, like I get in the more tradtional versions of the style, but the malt flavour still is quite tasty. I know this is a low hopped style, but it needs a bit of hops for balance in this one, it's a malt bomb.

M: Full-bodied, robust, nice carbonation character, not overdone, sweet finish.

D: A good beer from Bear Republic. I really liked it at a bit cooler temperature, I thought it became more cloying as it got warmer. Still a nice one, I'm glad this made its way out of the brewpub.

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

Pours a deep orange. Inch or two of tan head. Smells like malt and ... brown sugar? Interesting flavor. Mostly sweet, with caramel/toffee malt backing.

Yeah, it's an overwhelmingly sweet brew. Maybe a bit of peat/moss/earthiness to it, but pretty one-note.

Decently quaffable mouthfeel.

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Photo of lhaqq
3.64/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A great scottish ale; not my favorite, but definitely up there. Had it on tap at Jupiter's in Berkeley.
Served with a centimeter of head, not much of a smell that I could detect. Brown in color, dark copper if held up to light.
The mouthfeel is really smooth, creamy, and round.
Tastes largely of malt, and raisins or figs.
There is a bit of butter in the aftertaste, though the aftertaste isn't particularly lingering.

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Photo of Offa
4.2/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is a really nice, smooth, well-rounded wee heavy-scotch ale type.

It's brownish red with a somewhat dense, light orangish tan head. The head is somewhat long-lasting with moderate lace.

The aroma is rich, caramelized grain, caramel and hints of stwed fruit and nuts.

The taste is fairly full, sweet, malty caramel and fruit, a hint of nut, faint yeasty and chocolate elements and with a light bitterness, making it nicely balanced. It has a moderately thick, oily palate. The alcohol is unusually well-hidden for the style, but noticeably contributes to the body and the full, warm feel.

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

On tap at Dilly Deli. Notes via text.

A: Pours a light chocolate brown that lets plenty of light through. Head was only about 1/2 finger without much retention. A few wisps of lacing here and there.

S: Toasted grains with an underlying sweetness. Good but not very complex.

T/M: My first thought was a slightly weaker Dirty Bastard(and Dirty Bastard was tapped right next to it, lol. I did get the right one, though). Robust malt character with a very slight whiskey note. Malts also a brown sugar sweetness. Mouthfeel is mostly creamy but a little thinner than I would have liked.

D: Overall, not a bad brew and could be easily sessioned. Maybe not quite a good as a Dirty Bastard but it can definitely hold its own.

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Photo of Mebuzzard
3.03/5  rDev -19.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Muddy orange body, minimal head. This one looks average, but tastey.
Smells of slightly roasted malt and brown sugar. Maple comes through in the nose as well, as does some molasses. Smells too sweet.
Taste isn't too sweet, but a bit weak. the brown sugar and malt are predominate, yet not held together very well. Seems flat or something, no zip or anchor to hold it.
Not bad, not spectacular.

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

Appearance – This one poured a deep orange in color with a decent head that didn’t show much retention, which is typical of the style.

Smell – The malts here are heavily-toasted and soaked with sugars. There is a light, easy peat to this nose that rounds out the bouquet nicely.

Taste – The sugars here are very tasty. They are stiff and dominate the flavor profile. I can also pick up some light peat and a bit of brown sugars. The malts at the tongue are just like the ones at the smell: heavily toasted.

Mouthfeel – This medium-bodied Scottish Ale is super sweet and sticky in the mouth.

Drinkability – This is on the very sweet end of the style, but it was very tasty and went down quickly.

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Heritage Ale from Bear Republic Brewing Co.
3.78 out of 5 based on 111 ratings.
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