Dismiss Notice
Subscribe to BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99! (Limited time offer, US delivery only)

Alexander Keith's Tartan Ale | Alexander Keith's

Your Rating: None

Want it   Got it 
Alexander Keith's Tartan AleAlexander Keith's Tartan Ale
29 Ratings
Alexander Keith's Tartan AleAlexander Keith's Tartan Ale

Brewed by:
Alexander Keith's
Nova Scotia, Canada

Style: Scottish Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.10%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by peensteen on 03-15-2011

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Bros Score:
View: Beers | Events
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50  | nextlast
Ratings: 29 |  Reviews: 14
Photo of Melomanemusher
4.25/5  rDev +32%

Photo of rbuisson
4/5  rDev +24.2%

Photo of ChrisCage
3.85/5  rDev +19.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Pours a crystal clear amber color and has a beige colored head that starts out a couple fingers thick, quickly dissipating to a thin layer over the beer. Lots of apparent carbonation within the liquid but it rises slowly in many columns. The lacing is so-so with small clumps of foam clinging to the glass.

S- Rich malts and a hint of smoked meat are the primary aromas here. After this, there is small amounts of sweet malt, caramel and/or toffee and there is a distinct hint of banana on the finish. The finish is negligent of any real bitterness but that is how I've found any Scotch Ale. Overall this doesn't have a real dominant smell but I'm guessing this is typical of a product that comes from a more/less mass producer.

T- There is more of a robust flavor of toasted sweet malt that have lots of caramel/toffee in it. The aforementioned hint of smoke is noticeable as well but it doesn't overpower the general flavor profile. The finish does have some hops, albeit they are mild....but they are noticed at the back of the palate and linger after the swallow. Nicely flavored beer!

M- Not quite as full bodied as other Scotch Ales that I've tried but a solid medium fullness is noted! The slightly stronger alcohol is a little more noticeable but otherwise this is a relatively creamy carbonation to this, with good sweetness and balance.

O- Overall this is a very decent offering from Keiths...much better than the Red Amber....wish they'd switch that out for this! Good flavor, nice mouthfeel....it's like a Scotch Ale Lite to be honest, which isn't a bad thing really! I'll finish up the 6 pack that I bought and get a couple more while it's around! Hope to see this again in the future!

 1,705 characters

Photo of Camjmorton
3.75/5  rDev +16.5%

Photo of Converge
3.59/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

341ml bottle poured into a 16oz pint glass.

A - Pours with just over a two fingers of bubbly yellow-white head; fizzes out quickly. The beer itself is a medium copper-orange hue. No lacing to speak of.

S - Caramel malt and bread aroma upfront, with sweet grassy undertones. I enjoy it quite a bit.

T - Taste opens up with a strong smoky punch, rounded out with really sweet butterscotch and candy-like flavor; was not expecting this at all.

M - Medium bodied mouth-feel, with little carbonation.

D - The finish in the flavor really caught me off guard, I certainly expected something much more rich and amber-like, but I have to admit I enjoy the smoky sweetness a lot. Probably my favorite Keith's brew thus far.

 719 characters

Photo of thehyperduck
3.5/5  rDev +8.7%

Photo of TheBeermin
3.5/5  rDev +8.7%

Photo of joemcgrath27
3.45/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A - crystal clear copper, respectable fluffy white head retained pretty well
S - toasty amber malt, leafy, slightly peaty scotch aroma, with a metallic note
T - toasty and molasses maltiness, light peaty woody scotch flavour builds, leafy hop note, metallic finish
M - fairly thin and somewhat watery, slightly bitter finish with the metallic hanging around
O - glad to see a mass producer of generally generic beers take a chance with a more uncommon style, its a fairly mild scotch ale in the grand scheme, but tasty enough and a step in the right direction

 559 characters

Photo of SebD
3.45/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: It has a nice amber/copper colour to it. It has a nice slightly off-white head that dies down moderatly but has minimal lacing.

Smell: The aromas definitly give out hints of caramely/toasty malts with a slight fruitness and a bit of alcohol.

Taste: Like the aromas, it has a sweet caramely maltiness but the hops are very light.

Mouthfeel: It has a low/medium carbonation with a light/medium body.

Drinkability: It's a smooth drinkable beer accompanied with decent flavours and aromas considering it comes from Keith's.

 539 characters

Photo of ZachT
3.38/5  rDev +5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Photo of marty21
3.38/5  rDev +5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a clear golden copper with two fingers worth of off white almost tan head. Settles to a ring around the glass. It doesn't leave any lacing.

S: Not the strongest aroma but there's some caramel and malt with a faint sourness in there. There's also some alcohol in the aroma.

T: It's a little sweet with some caramel malt. There's hardly any complexity to it but it's pretty good for Keith's. It doesn't have the weird after taste most Keith's beers have.

M: Light to medium carbonation with a medium body.

O: It seems more of a transition beer for someone going from macro to craft beers. It's a lot better then any other Keith's offering and probably my favorite from them.

 690 characters

Photo of andrenaline
3.3/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Cheers to joemcgrath27 for passing a bottle of this along.

A - Pours a crystal clear copper colour, finger of head with some retention and no real lacing.

S - Pretty mild o nthe nose, some light caramel, grassy hops and a touch of peat.

T - Definitely the most flavourful Keith's offering I've had with the caramel and toffee dominating the palette. Slight peat notes also come through and linger alongside some biscuit flavours.

M - A tad overly carbonated for my liking, but goes down smooth and finishes nice and wet.

O - Tasty and decent for a macro offering. Hats off to Keiths for producing something a bit different. Could easily session this beer. Don't expect to be amazed, but i certainly wasn't terribly disappointed.

 733 characters

Photo of peensteen
3.3/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours amber orange, one finger soapy head, no lace. Smell is malty, caramel, slightly fruity, light smoke, biscuity, sweet like notes present as well. Taste is smoky, good malty presence, caramel, light bitterness, fruity in the finish and mildly hoppy. Medium mouthfeel, lightly syrupy, good weight and decent carbonation. Really good beer as far as Keith's goes, this is the only beer I have had from them that I would willingly drink again, drinks well and is pretty flavourful.

 481 characters

Photo of Kremlock
3.25/5  rDev +0.9%

Photo of JohnnyBarman
3.21/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at the Whale and Ale pub in Kitchener.

Poured into a tall nonic glass. Dark amber, almost into ruby territory. Thin head, some lacing.

Nose is pretty faint, but amazingly it lacks that bizarre Keith's funk that permeates every other one of their brews. Malt, caramel, a bit of bread, some fruit.

Actually, I'm pleased to say that this wasn't bad. Malty, sweet, with a bit of fruit that gave the brew a mild bock feel to it. Little to no hops as per the style. Tasted like a sweet red ale, a style that will yield few complaints or criticisms from yours truly.

Credit where it's due, this wasn't a bad little brew. Unlike Keith's Red and Dark, Tartan ale actually tastes like its own beer, rather than simply being the basic Keith's recipe with some food colouring in it. If you're looking for rich, hearty Scottish ales, certainly look elsewhere; but if you simply want a decent red in bars that offer few alternatives, Tartan Ale might do the trick. Certainly my favorite Keith's brew thus far.

 1,008 characters

Photo of spinrsx
3.2/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12oz Bottle

Appearance - Clear copper colour with a large size frothy beige coloured head. There is a low amount of carbonation showing and there is some fairly good lacing. The head lasted for around 4 minutes before it was gone.

Smell - Malts, toasted/roasted nuts, butterscotch

Taste & Mouth - There is an average amount of carbonation and I can taste malts mixed with butterscotch and a bit of a rustiness. There is also some faint dark fruit flavour and a bit of a roasted/toasted nutty smokiness. The beer finishes with a malty slightly smokey aftertaste.

Overall - It is definitely the best Keith's beer I've had so far.. not sure that is saying much though. The taste isn't bad and it's pretty drinkable. If your stuck at a local bar with no craft options, give this one a try.

 789 characters

Photo of BigBry
3.19/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

On tap at Real Sports in Toronto.
Dark amber brown color, thin head and lacing.
Thin aroma of caramel malt, some fruity sweetness.
Malty, slightly sweet flavor. Little to no hops, maybe a touch of smoke at the end, rather than bitterness.
Thicker than expected body and mouth feel.
A nice surprise, try to put the "Keith's" bias away with this one.

 350 characters

Photo of biboergosum
3.08/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

341ml bottle.

This beer pours a slightly glassy medium amber colour, with two digits of tight foamy off-white head, which leaves but a few minor specks of lace around the glass as it quickly recedes. It smells of weak, stale orchard fruit, mildly sour caramel malt, and very, um, subtle, yeah, subtle, earthy hops. The taste is more of the same - un-fruity, bland fruity malt, but now with the bonus of a sour, ashy mustiness, which pretty much takes the driver's seat for the remainder of this flavour ride. The carbonation is average, the body an adequate medium weight, and generally, inoffensively smooth. It finishes off-dry, the caramel malt not letting go, and rightly so, as that weird, Scottish seaside character readily abates.

Given this company's heritage, I would like to expect a lot out of their 'Scottish' ale. However, given their track record, for better, and for much worse, this is about what I actually expected, and about what I got - the right idea, mostly, but still ineptly rendered - the trash-bin sourness is the fly in this particular ointment. As with the rest of AK's recent (new and improved!) one-offs, this is a step or two in the right direction, but still, caveat emptor.

 1,208 characters

Photo of DamageCase76
3/5  rDev -6.8%

Photo of DreamDeath
3/5  rDev -6.8%

Photo of TheBeeraholic
3/5  rDev -6.8%

Photo of oldp0rt
3/5  rDev -6.8%

Photo of GlendonTT
3/5  rDev -6.8%

Photo of bylerteck
3/5  rDev -6.8%

Photo of Sammy
2.92/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Smokey aroma but not a good taste. Pours a smokey dark colour, fast fizzing head. Aggressive carbonation, thinnish mouthfeel. Some peatiness in taste but not all that drinkable. even at this abv seemed boozy.I am sure they know what this style should be about, but minimized ingredients.
Thanks Peeno.

 301 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50  | nextlast
Alexander Keith's Tartan Ale from Alexander Keith's
Beer rating: 3.22 out of 5 with 29 ratings
  • About Us

    Founded in Boston in 1996, BeerAdvocate (BA) is your go-to resource for beer powered by an independent community of enthusiasts and professionals dedicated to supporting and promoting better beer.

    Learn More
  • Our Community

    Comprised of consumers and industry professionals, many of whom started as members of this site, our community is one of the oldest, largest, and most respected beer communities online.
  • Our Events

    Since 2003 we've hosted over 60 world-class beer festivals to bring awareness to independent brewers and educate attendees.
  • Our Magazine

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