Sgt. Major India Pale Ale | Scotch Irish Brewing Company

Your Rating: None
Want it   Got it 
Sgt. Major India Pale AleSgt. Major India Pale Ale
69 Ratings
Sgt. Major India Pale AleSgt. Major India Pale Ale

Brewed by:
Scotch Irish Brewing Company
Ontario, Canada

Style: English India Pale Ale (IPA)

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.50%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 02-03-2003

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Bros Score:
View: Beers
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Ratings: 69 |  Reviews: 65
Reviews by Ralphus:
Photo of Ralphus
3.93/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Sgt Major is brewed about 10 minutes away from my home.. so it's unfortunate that it's taken me this long to give it a shot. But now that I have I'm glad I did. There's good beer to be had here.

It pours with nice color, a clear amber brown with a creamy looking white head. Thousands of pinpoint sized bubbles rise to the surface keeping the head in good shape and making a steady trail of lacing possible while you drink.

In the smell you will find frutiness, mainly berries but with an undercurrent of earthy hops. It's quite nice. The taste has more of the same.. initially some sweet fruit, transitioning well to a smooth caramel like body and followed by a very long, drawn out hop finish with strong bitterness. It's very well balanced and the earthy tones towards the end are excellent.

Mouthfeel is very good.. the carbonation being just right to provide some bite but also smoothness. And finally we have drinkability, which despite all the favorable characteristics in play I would rank somewhat lower than you might think. While the beer is very good it doesn't have you immediately thinking of another. That said, it's definitely not out of the question!

 1,170 characters

More User Reviews:
Photo of Popsinc
3.95/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: pours a golden amber. small-medium white head.
Smell: sweet malt. light hops. some citrus notes. slight metallic hint.
Taste: malt sweetness is up front. citus creeps in mid sip and makes way for the hop bitterness and and mild orange peel. nice lingering hop-bitter finish. not over-powering. this has a sloid balance of hop & malt.
Mouthfeel: medium bodied. some fizziness, adequate carbonation.
Drinkability: very drinkable. pronounced without being over the top. solid without being too generic. a good IPA.

 527 characters

Photo of blitz134
2.83/5  rDev -22%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Chill hazed caramel body. Off-white head. Solid 1"+ to start with and reduced in a lumpy mass to a quarter inch layer. Sporadic lacing is left on the glass.

Interesting aroma really. Has a sugary, caramel smell. An herbal, green hop aroma. A little whiskey alcohol too.

Dirty malt base in this, whole grain dinner rolls. Herbal hops with a little lingering bitterness. I don't care for this flavor at all really. Tastes a little soapy actually.

Thin to medium mouthfeel. Low carbonation. Flavor lingers a bit. Overall I dont' care for the flavor to be honest. The other parts are alright.

 597 characters

Photo of JohnnyBarman
3.46/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Single squat bottle from the LCBO. Poured into a nonic pint glass.

Amber-golden in colour, slightly murky. Thin, creamy head that holds well and creates some nice bubbly lacing patterns. Looks pretty good to me.

The nose is surprisingly mild - mostly caramel, pale malt, chocolate, with only the faintest use of aromatic hops.

Not to worry - the hop character is all here in the taste. Hops abound with notes of citrus, tropical fruit and pale malt sweetness to open things, with earthy and grassy tones to close things off. A mish-mash of bitter and sweet, citrus and earth. A bit frazzled, but it still works.

Medium bodied, good crisp carbonation that doesn't feel overbearing. Slight creamy texture.

Would I drink this again? Probably, considering the dearth of IPAs in the LCBO. It's a bit harsh, and I think the brew needed some more aromatic hops and a bit more balance, but nevertheless I still enjoyed it. When I first had this brew years back (before I truly began to explore craft brews), my friends and I thought Sgt. Major was a foul, evil piece of work; now I consider it to be a serviceable IPA, well worth sampling. Tastes like something an officer of the 19th century would have consumed, which I imagine was the goal in mind. Good work from Scotch.

 1,274 characters

Photo of Swedes21
3.1/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance - very clear coper in colour, some good carbonation, head is about 2 fingers then sticks around. off-white with some nice lacing occurring.

Smell - hops, caramel and slight earthy tones, very good smelling beer.

Taste - found this to be very disappointing, actually think i'm drinking it from a plastic bottle. there is a slight flavour of hops, but min caramel and other earthy tones. there is almost a plastic taste to this beer.

Mouthfeel - little added carbonation brings the hops out, no bitterness or lingering taste.

Overall - little upset i cracked a 6 pack open at the lcbo to get this single beer, not worth the risk! overall the smell and app are nice, but then the wheels came off.

 708 characters

Photo of wjimson
3.87/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

6 pack from LCBO, it is unfortunate that one can't get this at a beerstore yet. The stubby bottle had some appeal, although this was poured into a small sized tumbler like glass. Smells very hoppy and floral, with a decent herbal back. The taste is packed with malty goodness, slightly metallic, and very bitter. The bitterness is from the well balanced and complex hop flavour, and not the alcohol. This to me is a big plus when compared to an also very good Magnotta IPA, of which the 6.5% or so alcohol takes over in the bitterness and aftertaste. Whereas the after taste in this one is straight on herbal bitterness. A very wholesome IPA and the best tasting thus far found in Ontario. Drinkability is limited by its heaviness. Highly recommend.

 749 characters

Photo of biboergosum
3.75/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Tried this in Toronto during the summer; I got the impression that this is the only American-style IPA made in all of Ontario. It was certainly the only one I could find after scouring the downtown's pubs and LCBO locations. I grabbed a stubby (hell yeah) to try back home amongst its West Coast progenitors.

The label gives me an Upper/Lower Canada vibe that I get from mis-remembered Canadian History classes in junior high school.

This beer pours a medium copper hue, with two fingers of foamy white head, which sticks around for a good while, leaving lots of lacing around the glass. The aroma is straight ahead grapefruit hops and sweet malt, very nice. The flavour is a whole lot more hoppy than the aroma gave clue to, with strong citrus and pine hops. The malt backbone has to struggle to keep up the balance, which it does, just barely. The carbonation is moderate, and there is a slight warming from the alcohol. The finish is quite clean, with a dry hop essence lingering a bit. This is true to the West Coast American style, but is a bit thin in comparison. Overall, this is a decent example of a proper IPA from East of the West; good to see.

 1,157 characters

Photo of Sammy
3.97/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nitro killed it in previous review. Much better just getting chinook hops. Grapefruity dominance..not too carbonated. Nice. And leaves the hoppy aftertaste. With malt for balance. It will be a winner in Canada.Amber with white head. Second batch of bottles and colder worked for me in bottles too. Had it on nitro at Volo Cafe and was smoothm, but hoppiness vastly reduced.

 373 characters

Photo of CanuckRover
4.35/5  rDev +19.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

I think this was probably the first craft brew I ever really had (at a food and wine show here in Ottawa). Love at first taste and it taught me what an IPA should taste like (a British one) as opposed to that satanic Keith's stuff. This is my first time having another for about, well, 2 years now.

Awesome bottle, can't beat a stubby and the homemade label is grand.

Nice pour, lighting makes it golden on bottom turning amber around the good offwhite head. Foamy and fleeting. Lacings are sort of uneven and watery.

Really fresh aroma. Citrus and lots of pine, like an evergreen forest after a good bit of rain or snow, nice. Touch of grapefruit and you can smell the bitterness.

Tip of the tongue picks up a nice backbone of sweet, caramel, malt. Quite buttery. The back has a nice bitterness. Pine really takes over, resinous. Little nutty as well, comes off like peanut skins. Some warming alcohol, but it doesn't go overboard.

Mouthfeel is pretty good. Maybe a little watery in the finish, but carbonation is good and it comes across as a nice, strong, sessionable ale.

This is a Canadian IPA. Nice English style malt base with a rough around the edges hop bitterness. Well balanced ale, not super sweet or sandpaper bitter. Nice to have another.

 1,263 characters

Photo of Goldorak
4.19/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Got a six pack from the LCBO in Ottawa, couldn't wait to try it out.

Appearance: Golden blonde, with a decent head.

Smell: Whoh! I've never smelled so much grapefruit in a Beer before! Chinook all the way. It had a borderline medicinal and solvent scent, but not at all unflattering.

Taste: It felt prickly on the tongue as you take a first sip, then it coats it nicely and then dries it out completely. The malt is very shy but is there, the astringency of the grapefruit hops is totally in charge here.

I will have no trouble dusting this 6 pack off, and will be in my shopping list next time I make an east-bound Beer run. People kept telling me Scotch-Irish is the best micro in Ontario, with the few I've sampled so far I would be hard pressed not no believe them.

 782 characters

Photo of Phyl21ca
2.88/5  rDev -20.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bottle: Poured a clear medium brown color ale with a huge bubbly white head with average retention. Aroma is quite dominated by bitter hops. Taste is also dominated by bitter hops leaving not enough places for floral hops to really come out. Good but lacking a few thing to be great.

 283 characters

Photo of irishkyle21
4.1/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours with a small head. Nice lacing but not to much retention. Has a copper color. I had this beer on cask awhile back and I find it has a stronger hop presence in the bottle.

Smells of pale malts, caramel and piney/grassy hops.

Tastes of bitter hops, malts (slightly sweet) and some fruitiness.

 298 characters

Photo of Brent
3.7/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I would most certainly put this in the English IPA class. Substantial body with a touch of toffee malt in the background. Big hops profile, with a blunt bitterness and no citrus, floral or herbal notes to speak of, just straightforward bittering. Cleaned up nicely toward the end. Not a lot of depth of flavor, but overall well made.

 333 characters

Photo of IronDjinn
3.93/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

This one's courtesy of Viggo from this year's Can BIF #3, and I've been hankering to sample this for years now.

Comes in a 341 ml brown stubbie, awesome! Call me nostalgic for the stubbies.... Pours out a deep clear rustic copper, and the head is massive! Cream coloured and chunky, like you'd expect from a Belgian ale. Took 3 seperate pour attempts to get it all in there, the retention is amazing.

Orange, citrus, pine and spice on the nose from the hops, plus a good dose of white grapefruit rind. Sweet toffee malt lays the base for all this.

Seems to push all the right buttons in all the right places in the flavour, at least for me. Sweet and hoppy at the same time, the hops appear right from the beginning, but the malt never gets too overwhelmed either. Not over the top, it's a pleasant blend. The orange and pine really stand out from the hops, the grapefruit rind predominant on the aftertaste.

And then it's gone too quickly! Mouthfeel is on the lighter side, smooth with a splash of carbonation on the finish, and helps make it all the more quaffable.

Great stuff, easily a session ale that would disappear fast. High time Scotch Irish started exporting this to the West.

 1,192 characters

Photo of Antilochus
4.02/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured transparent amber copper into a gold-rimmed Stella Artois glass. Large off-white foam head, minimal lace.

Chinook hops apparent - citrus (grapefruit), peels, juniper, kind of woody. Notes of caramel, bread, spice. Very fresh.

Medium to light mouthfeel, lots of carbonation. Fairly dry on the palate, has some bitter sharpness. Malt gives some subtle buttery caramelness. Lots of wood in this one!! Finish is malty and smooth, alcohol comes out a bit but it is very drinkable. Overall a well designed palate and a nice IPA.

 531 characters

Photo of ritzkiss
3.28/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Re-drink on cask: Just tapped an hour ago and when this beer is fresh and on it's game it's a nice IPA, juicy hops, nice pillowy carb out of the cask - just make sure you get it fresh on the right day!

Edit: Again on cask at Volo. Odd vegetable notes, an "off" bitterness, one of the worst on cask that day. Inconsistent?

On cask at Volo. Pours a nice hazy, dark golden - almost looks Belgian. Thin head that doesn't stick around.

Nose is bready, hints of citrus hops, sweet caramel malts.

Taste is smooth and a good representation of the more malted English style of IPA; can't say it really reminds me of an American IPA. Lemons and oranges, caramel malts bold throughout, slight bittering finish. Smooth smooth carbonation, easy drinking.

 745 characters

Photo of papat444
3.63/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Purchased directly from the brewery on a recent trip to Ottawa.

Enjoyed last Friday night with my supper, ribs!

Poured from a 341ml. bottle. Label has no months, days and years to notch, different from the Corporal.

Appearance: Pours an orange honey-like body, rather clear with a creamy head that's barely 2 fingers though it does hold strong.

Smell: Biscuity with a dose of hops though not as strong as i would have liked. Smells a little chemical but not much. A little weird.

Taste: A bold hops taste right off the bat, a bit vegetal though not entirely unpleasing. Bitterness lasts quite a bit of time on my tongue. I was on the fence at first as i thought the hops tasted a bit weird but i really liked how it was present and it grew on me. It was good.

Mouthfeel: Remarkably clean. One thing i didn't like though was that it was kind of unbalanced. It was like the hops and malt were entirely separate entities. No segue or anything between initial hops and subsequent malt character. Didn't mesh at all. It wasn't unpleasant but certainly demonstrated a flaw IMO.

Drinkability: I'd have to say yes. Not a regular purchase maybe but i'm open to try it again for sure.

Overall: Worth seeking. Though it's not the best example of the style, it was rather good.

 1,273 characters

Photo of baiser
4.07/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

My first bottled Sgt major.

Pours an amber orange colour, clear body, less than average head, rather disappointing lacing. Not the best looking beer. Aroma was excellent. Floral, fruity, grapefruit, citrus. Taste was just as good as I remembered from the tap. Grapefruit, malt, and wonderful hop bitterness. However, I felt the body and mouthfeel was somewhat inferior to the draught version. A bit sharp and overly carbonated, and thin bodied. Nevertheless, still one of my favourites from ontario.

 502 characters

Photo of spinrsx
3/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12oz Bottle – Thanks Swedes21

Appearance - Clear orange/copper colour with a fairly large size frothy beige coloured head. There is an average amount of carbonation, and there is some faint lacing on the sides of the glass. The head lasted for only 2 minutes before it began to dissipate.

Smell - Malts, caramel, hops, hay/straw

Taste & Mouth - There is an average amount of carbonation and the most noticeable flavours are malts, caramel, and grains. There is a little bit of a hop presence and also a metallic taste. Only at the very end could I taste a little bit of a grapefruit zest flavour. There is a malty aftertaste with only a little bit of a hop/grapefruit bitterness.

Overall – I’ll admit that the beer seemed to get a little bit better as it got warmer, but something still just wasn’t quite right. It’s sad that this is one of the few choices of IPA’s available at the lcbo. I wouldn’t drink this beer again.

 940 characters

Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.38/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Acquired via trade from biegaman, so a big “Thank you” goes out to him. Poured from a 12oz bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a light golden brown color with a thin white head that fades quickly and leaves a thin lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of pale hops and some caramelized malt, but a little bit pungent.

T: The taste is of caramel, tea and a good amount of hops. This one definitely has an English IPA flavor to it. The after-taste is bready and hoppy.

M: Crisp with a little smoothness, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is clean and dry.

D: A little tasty, goes down ok, not too filling, decent representation of style, it’s a pretty good beer overall.

 703 characters

Photo of Shiloh
4.3/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A very nice brew by the Scotch Irish Brewing Company.

On arrival it was a cloudy deep amber, with very lively carbonation resulting in a two finger head then thick full lace and mountainous glass cling.
The aroma was very fresh and that of citrus.
The taste is exclusevly of grapefruit with maybe a slightlike honey back to mellow.
The body is lighter than anticipated, at best medium/full.
I need to find some more of these.

 432 characters

Photo of GreenWBush
3.33/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Light iced tea coloration with a caramel glint in the sun. Mild and cask-like nose, biscuits with slight noble hop aroma. Not an overpowering sense of hops in the nose department – but the flavor is probably the hoppiest I experienced in Canada. Awash in bitterness that trickles down the palate slowly but steadily. Less fruity or ripe than downright bitter. Hints of diactyl. Oddly lagered characteristics show throughout. Tasty if modest – and gets repetitive and overpoweringly caustic over a few days’ session.

 518 characters

Photo of BigBry
3.92/5  rDev +8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Big Thanks to Pootz for the 341 ml stubby bottle, from a recent trade. Red label with a 'red coat' staring back at you - very old school to match the bottle. Poured into my pint glass.
The beer is slightly hazy with a few tiny suspended chunks. Nice looking deep orange color, with a short white head. Foam does shrink and the thin lace disappears quickly. A hoppy aroma with grapefruit and grass. A nicely balanced flavor of malt strength and hoppiness. Lots of citrus and grapefruit bite. Slightly herbal, resin bitterness in the aftertaste. Full flavored, medium mouthfeel keep it refreshing. A well built beer - this is what an IPA should be.

 647 characters

Photo of DaftBrew
3.83/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

First review, hopefully these will become more descriptive as I progress. Recommended when I mentioned "hopped beer".

A- Poured bottle into goblet style glass. Lovely clear, coppery appearance. Minimal lacing, and head dissipated quickly.

S- The crisp scent hops are immediately evident. Perhaps undertones are masked by slightly chilling the brew.

T- Crisp, clean, with mid strength hop finish. Perfect for summer days, when lighter ales. Although, I feel the flavours may have been more complex.

Overall, will drink again given the chance. This brew wasn't my favorite, but nothing to shy away from. Give it a try.

 620 characters

Photo of FirstBrewsoon
3.5/5  rDev -3.6%

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Sgt. Major India Pale Ale from Scotch Irish Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.63 out of 5 with 69 ratings