Corporal's Bitter Brown Ale
Scotch Irish Brewing Company

Corporal's Bitter Brown AleCorporal's Bitter Brown Ale
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Scotch Irish Brewing Company
Ontario, Canada
American Brown Ale
3.38 | pDev: 19.53%
Sep 10, 2012
May 16, 2009
No description / notes.
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Ratings by ThatWineGuy:
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Reviewed by ThatWineGuy from Canada (ON)

3.46/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3
Bottled March 28 (C28). Very little to no head at all, a few large bubbles at first atop a topaz brown that paled to a brown-yellow under a bright light. No lace or ring and a swirl regenerated nothing. Quickly went flat. Smell of caramel, noughat (sp?), dark honey or molasses, sweet. Taste is bitter, malt, dry log finish, brazil nut astrigency with malt. Body is rather thin, flat.

This beer was a bit of a challenge to review. The label boasts complexity and additional flavours that I did not detect initially: coffee, dry chocolate, woody hops, citrus notes. A chocolate porter quality emerged after a lot of air and warming but none of the other attibutes claimed on the label stood out to this reviewer. I'd recommend trying this although I'm not particularly convinced it's all it's purported to be.
May 30, 2009
More User Ratings:
Rated: 4 by Molson2000 from Canada (ON)

Sep 10, 2012
Rated: 3.5 by hopsolutely from Canada (ON)

Jan 20, 2012
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Reviewed by bylerteck from Canada (ON)

3.2/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3
A - Dark copper /light brown body with no visible carbonation and one finger of soapy white head that fades to a cap. Bright.

S - Really earthy. Very distinct to me. Slight burnt coffee element.

T - Same earthiness with good malty backbone and a bitter hop finish. Sort of mild. This starts well but should develop into something more than what happens.

M - Enough carbonation to lift it off the tongue. Light body. Sort of watery.

D - I might need a fresher bottle but this seemed to fade for some reason. Not bad considering I used to love this beer but nothing I would reach for again soon.
Dec 23, 2010
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Reviewed by spinrsx from Canada (ON)

3.42/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5
341ml bottle poured into a pint glass

Appearance - The beer pours an amber red colour, with a lot of carbonation showing and a tiny head. The small head was gone in a flash and there is some light lacing.

Smell - an apple cider like scent mixed with hops and some toasted nuts and malts.

Taste & Mouth - The beer has a fairly good mouth feel. The carbonation is decent, perhaps it could use a little more. It tastes pretty good; I notice floral hops at first, followed by a apple juice sweetness and a pepper spice mix, and then it finishes on a bitter hop note.

Drink - An above average brew that is worth a try. I'd drink this again and would say that it is sessionable for sure.
Sep 06, 2010
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Reviewed by TheHammer from Canada (ON)

2.88/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5
I was going to review Stuart's session ale, but the bottle I had was sour and certainly past due, which seems to be an ongoing problem this brewer has been experiencing.

Appearance: A bit of a cloudy brown with half a finger of head that at first glance makes me think that this bottle has also gone bad. However the beer does lace decently and retains it's head well.

Smell: A light caramel malt gives way to a dominant nut and woodsy smell. Warming helped it out, but it made it's case well enough while it was still waiting.

Taste: Starts with a mild caramel malt that can't seem to wait to give itself to a dry nut taste with light oak notes, which are then accented by a kick of of earthy hops that are just dry enough.

Mouthfeel: The head stuck around nicely and the carbonation is alright, but the dry hop and nut aftertaste overstays it's welcome. The shifts between flavors could use some work too.

Drinkability: I dunno, it comes off as a bit too dry for my liking. I mean it's drinkable and refreshing and light bodied which is nice, but that nut taste desperately needs to be reigned in.

Final Thoughts: It wouldn't shock me if this beer was also slightly off due to poor quality control. I know it wasn't refrigerated when I got it from the LCBO, and this brewery has had a history of quality control issues. Still, even if this was fresh, I can't see it being anything more then a B-.
Aug 28, 2010
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Reviewed by pootz from Canada (ON)

2.95/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3
Tapped an amber-brown with a 2 finger white cap...laced the glass well.

Aromas of light caramel over citrus-hay tones Medium-light body, sandy mouth feel, hoppy-citrus character. You get a momentary chew on light crystal malts up front before a rush of brown ale flavors hit: light nuttty-woody- toasty, then fruits, citrus-pine hopping....all wrapped in a mild body...finishes bitter like an ESB..

... a tad off balance and missing the mild maltiness we drink Brown ales for. Although well crafted this ale seems to have an identity's too hoppy, unbalanced and muted in the nutty yeast and toasted caramel tastes of a Brown ale, it has a the sharp mouth of an ESB and too dark for a pale ale..I have to ask what's the point? Is the brown ale label just a legitimizing vehicle to carry alpha oils in an unbalanced hop-forward dark ale? Not my cup of tea in a brown ale
Jun 08, 2010
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Reviewed by papat444 from Canada (QC)

4.2/5  rDev +24.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
Purchased directly from the brewery on a recent trip to Ottawa.

Poured from a 341ml. bottle, bottled Feb. 17, 2010.

Appearance: Copper brown body with some reddish hues and barely 2 fingers of foam.

Smell: Healthy dose of hops with large malt overtones and a bit of nutty caramel.

Taste: A dried fruit taste upfront with a bit of a lactic feel and prolonged hop bitterness that lasts well after my sip. Though i don't pick up any nut-like characteristics, i find the taste quite good.

Mouthfeel: Very good balance of the malt & hops. Though hops edge out the malt-like aspects, it's still not over the top.

Drinkability: Yeah, i liked drinking this one and would try it again.

Overall: My experience was quite different than the previous reviewers. I found this beer packed quite a hop punch considering the low ABV. I think purchasing directly from the brewery is the way to go for their beers.
May 23, 2010
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Reviewed by ritzkiss from Canada (ON)

3.25/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 3.5
12oz stubby, I usually skip by this one due to their quality control issues but I thought, hell why not give it a go.

Pours an auburn light brown with a glint of ruby in there, pretty light in color. About a finger of head builds and leaves rings of lacing down the glass.

Nose reveals a pleasant nutty roast, just a hint of leafy hops. Appealing.

Taste and nose is night and day. Thin, weak malt base - none of the nutty roast in the taste - where did it go? Instead a slightly astringent, grassy, vegetal hop bite that rips through with no restraint and no malt to balance. Odd sort of hop juice, though it's not entirely unpleasing, I mean I like hops....

Just way too thin, though the bitterness hopes to hide it. Just not well put together, would love to see it add a robust nutty malt base along with the hops, could be a killer beer.
Apr 13, 2010
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Reviewed by kjyost from Canada (MB)

3.41/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5
I love nut brown ales, and am glad to have found this one to test out.

It is poured into a drinking glass and the head quickly goes away. I am most surprised by how clear it is... It is brown, but it is almost as clear as a pale ale (if not more so), which I find distinctly different than I am used to. I catch hints of nuttiness on the nose along with the maltiness.

My first reaction upon taking a sip was the thinness of the beer. I was expecting a more robust initial flavour for this style. As I continued to drink the beer its flavour profile grew. There was a definite enjoyable nuttiness to the beer and I caught a hint of coffee before it all got all washed out by the bitterness. Yes, I know it is advertised as bitter, but I found it distracting from the other parts of the beer. It is advertised as their most complex beer, but I find the subtleties of the beer to be killed by the bitterness.

A different take on what I know of brown ales, but not necessarily one that I am fond of.
Dec 28, 2009
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Reviewed by TerryW from Canada (ON)

3.62/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5
Pours only a moderate head despite an aggressive pour. Head settles to a thin partial film, but lays down steady curtains of lace. Clear copper brown.

Bread and sugar in the nose. Noticeably malty with only a hint of hops. Some fruitiness or flowers as well.

Thin bodied. Bitter up front, but not something that lingers overlong. Buttery somehow in the first few swallows, but that disappears down the way. Slightly drying. Nice hop bite.

Interesting and well made, but not brilliant. Morphs as its sits, so its almost like drinking a couple different beers. Might have to drink a couple of these in order to really decide.
Dec 28, 2009
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Reviewed by MeisterBurger from Canada (ON)

1/5  rDev -70.4%
look: 1 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1
Stubby from the LCBO. According to the label it was bottled on "G" and somewhere between 24 and 25. I guess that just means July 24 or 25.

This beer is now brewed by Heritage and I had a bad experience with their premium lager, which was an overly carbonated mess of a sour beer. I fear the same thing has happened here, as my initial pour yielded about one inch of beer and foam all the way up to the top the glass.

Now that the foam has settled down a little it looks more like an average golden lager than anything that should have brown in its name.

The nose is mostly spritzy pears for now, because all I can smell is the chunky foam on top.

The first sip is sour, roasty and solventy. Very dry. Caustic. Abrades the senses...and is there really any point reviewing an infected beer?

It may be bad form to review an infected beer, but if you pop over to The Bar Towel you'll see that this is a problem not unique to me. Further, this is the product Heritage released for sale which speaks to their quality control, or lack thereof. So I think I'm well within my rights to suggest that anyone who wants to try this beer may well get an infected foamy mess of a beer.
Nov 11, 2009
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Reviewed by Reinheitsgebot71 from Canada (ON)

3.51/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4
I decided it's time to give some Scotch Irish/heritage breweries beers a chance again. First up is Corporal punishment or now as it's known, thanks to the LCBO's ludicrous uptightness Corporal's bitter brown ale.

It pours a nice light mahogany with a fine white head of decent retention. There appears to be little carbonation, stark contrast to the last one I had which must have had some bottling issues as it was extremely carbonated and poured almost all head.

Notes of toffee and unrefined sugar first greet the nose. Some bread malts reminiscent of well done toast are very prevalent alongside hints of butterscotch diacetyl's. There are some mild floral hop notes but overall the malt aromas overpower.

Sweet burnt malt flavours fist hits the taste receptors quickly balanced by a mild astringent feel from the hops. The light body also lends notes of watery coffee. A dry hoppy finish plays out to a lingering maltiness that stays with the mouth well after the swig.
This is a very nice and sessionable beer provided you avoid bottles struck with production run problems. The malt notes are nice but rather one dimensional and the hopping provides bitterness but could give more fragrance.
Nov 09, 2009
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Reviewed by ZorPrime from Canada (QC)

2.89/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5
Received from a recent trade with Bobsy. Tasted on September 11, 2009.

Nice foam head that looks like clouds. The beer is copper color. The smell is... hmmm, how can I say this... I would say strange. Very earthy or maybe it is woody. I never smell that in a beer. I smell the bitterness! In the taste, it is definitely woody. I get wood... I can't get past it. This is not a beer for everyone. Not sure I like it. I drank all, but I wasn't impressed...
Sep 13, 2009
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Reviewed by mintjellie from Canada (ON)

3.24/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5
What a pale colour for this "brown" ale. It's pale copper-orange with two fingers of white head. The head dissipates pretty quickly, leaving a thin cap over the body and very little lace behind. It smells of nuts, caramel, and wood. There's a hint of chocolate so faint I might be imagining it. There's something damp and earthy to the scent. It tastes of leafy hops and nuts. There's a faint citrus flavour that comes out toward the end. It's dominant character, though, is an unbalanced hop bitterness that drowns everything else out. I wish the malt flavours were a bit more robust in this beer, it would even things out a little bit. Almost medium-bodied with low carbonation. It's pretty smooth. This is a once in awhile beer for me. I'll pick it up when I want something different, but usually stick to more traditional English-style browns.
Sep 10, 2009
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Reviewed by biboergosum from Canada (AB)

3.47/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5
I'm quite fond of the stout little stubbies that these beers are sold in. A roo-coo-coo-coo-koo! And such...

This beer pours a pale medium amber hue, with a few fingers of soapy off-white head, which leaves pretty solid webbed lace as it recedes. It smells of strong bitter musty tobacco, light roasted malt, and green, vegetal hops. The taste is bitter, astringent, dusty hops, some bitter nuttiness, and white cracker malt. The carbonation is pretty average, the body light and a bit chalky, and it finishes dry and musty.

This is definitely an interesting beer. Not nearly as malty as I would expect for the style, and the dryness is quite unique, the earthy, musty, dustiness a bit of a shock at first take.
Aug 18, 2009
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Reviewed by biegaman from Canada (ON)

3.5/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
I wish I could have seen my own face when I discovered this brown ale was actually a clear, resplendent caramely golden colour - this could be considered pale even by pale ale standards. Its fare complexion is everywhere highlighted in sunny golden beams and it becomes aglow when held into the light. Its head is nothing more than a mere outline; the outline itself hardly thicker than a guitar string. Are you sure this is a brown ale?

The aroma is more convincing. The scent of sweet malts is just roasty enough to begin taking resemblance to other things, notably cocoa, toffee and pecan pie. There is a good amount of caramelization, enough to simulate the 'nutty' character that is essential to brown ales. The aroma is strong enough alright, but not overwhelmingly attractive.

I love it when brewers go the American route with their brown ales and load them up with hops. Scotch Irish kind of did that. No matter, I don't think it's required to make a delicious brown ale - not by a long shot. That said, a burly, beefy malt bill is and this, unfortunately, lacks that as well. The beer tastes good but not great; impressions of coffee, cocoa, nuts and toffee (and hops!) are present but short-lived and unpersuasive.

I assumed the brewery didn't use a lot of hops because I couldn't taste or smell much of them but it turns out I may have been wrong. Maybe not in taste but this is hoppy. A very scratchy, almost choking kind of bitterness just simply refuses to go away. (This must be the "woody hop" feature the label describes?) It's an appreciated attribute although it can honestly become a little astringent. 84 IBU, I see now why they call it "bitter" brown ale...

The brewery is probably correct in claiming this as their most complex beer but that's not exactly a difficult title to earn. Besides, I think describing the beer as "wonderfully bitter and incredibly malty" may be a slight exaggeration - I wouldn't call it 'wonderful' or 'incredibly' anything. I'd consider it good, that's all. Final ranking: the Corporal's Brown Ale earns a spot above private but has a lot of work to do if it ever plans on making sergeant.
Jul 27, 2009
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Reviewed by notdan from Canada (ON)

4.19/5  rDev +24%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5
I want to give this brewery some praise for using the vintage stubby bottles for all of their beers. I think it just adds a nice little touch. This beer is lighter in colour than most brown ales I've tried but still looks quite appealing. Its bubbly head lets you get a good whiff of hops, caramel, citrus, and a bit of coffee. The taste starts with caramel and nuts and leads into grapefruit and hop bitterness with just a bit of coffee. This is a pretty damn complex beer. I'm really amazed at how much flavour they pack into it for its low ABV, though they also achieved that with their imperial stout (which was only 6.7%). The mouthfeel had just the right carbonation, but was a bit oily. Very drinkable. Overall, the beer is not as malty as I would expect from a brown ale, but the bitter aspect worked far better than I expected.
May 28, 2009
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Reviewed by bobsy from Canada (ON)

4.22/5  rDev +24.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5
(Note: moved from listing under corporal punishment - it appears there have been recipe changes for the bottled version and a lower ABV.)

This past Friday night I did a blind tasting of brown ales with my wife, because I figured it was time for me to re-evaluate a style I don't think much of. We each poured samples for the other, noted what was what and then brought out the beers, so while we couldn't taste the same beer at the same time, we were both able to taste without bringing any bias to the table.

Of the five, the Corporal's was the clear winner for me. In every category it was impressive, and blew away its competition. The defining characteristic that set it apart, however, was the extremely high bitterness that is not normally associated with they style. It worked really well and added a dimension the others seemed to lack.

However, it was also the most divisive beer, as it ranked at the bottom of my wife's tastings. While she thought the flavour was okay (she's partial to high IBU drinks), she didn't like the aroma at all.

The body is a fairly bright copper, with a decent white foamy head, that slowly diminishes, but leaves little lacing. Excellent aroma of toasted bread, nuts and grassy hops. Flavour has wholesome brown bread, nuts, caramel, and some nice herbal/grassy hops. The balance between the malts and the hops is excellently executed and far more in equilibrium than I remember from past versions. There's a nice nutty aftertaste that lingers alongside a very decent bitterness (this beer packs 84IBUs but conceals them well). The body also seems better than I remember it, a bit fuller and less watery. Also a touch drying. Quite a marked improvement.

This beer went through a difficult transition stage, but I'm glad to see it back on form. Ontario has another fine brown ale that it can add to Black Oak's. I'll be buying lots more soon!
May 21, 2009
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Reviewed by Voonder from Canada (AB)

3.3/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5
Pours golden color, a lot lighter than expected from brown ale. One finger off-white head. Good retention. Smell - malty and hoppy at the same time, slightly bitter, hints of citrus. Very nice aroma. Taste - bitter, hint of coriander, coffee, citrus, very strong hops. Dry finish. Interesting beer. Creamy, fairly smooth, somewhat balanced. Pretty drinkable.
Thanks bobsy for this one!
May 21, 2009
Corporal's Bitter Brown Ale from Scotch Irish Brewing Company
Beer rating: 80 out of 100 with 21 ratings