About Scottish Style Ale

About Scottish Style Ale
Classic examples of Scottish ales are dark brown in color and average between 4-10% in alcohol. They are less hoppy than their English counterparts and often have a slightly viscous and sweet caramel malt character due to incomplete fermentation. Included in this category are Scotch ales, or “wee heavys”, which typically sit at the high end of the scale in terms of alcohol. These beers can be found all over the world, including the US market where many craft brewers produce more toned-down versions of the otherwise strong and malty Scottish originals. Some Scottish-style ales feature a slight, peat-like smokiness, but this is not a defining characteristic of the style.

Noteworthy examples of this style include: Founders Dirty Bastard, Oskar Blues Old Chub Scottish Style Ale and Moylan’s Kilt Lifter Scotch Ale.

Top Picks for Scottish Style Ale

Bravo! Chewie Bastard Wee Heavy Scotch Ale
94 points
Clear dark brown color. Green, citrusy aromas and flavors of mixed citrus peels and lavender, white balsamic vinaigrette, mustard greens, and jasmine tea with a supple, vibrant, finely carbonated, sourish medium-to-full body and a peppery, delightful, medium-long finish conveying notes of baking chocolate, peppercorn focaccia, salty rapini, and charred nuts finish. A big, hoppy, peppery Scottish ale sipper; try with cigars.
Pearl Street Brewery Haggis Scotch Ale
94 points
Medium brilliant walnut color. Sweaty, smoky aromas and flavors of smoked jerky, bbq rub, dark caramelized nuts, and cigar embers with a velvety, bright, effervescent, off-dry medium body and a seamless, elegant, medium-long finish that shows overtones of honeyed dried fruits, kale, chocolate caramel apple, and Worcestershire sauce finish. A super sessionable and nuanced smoked beer that will be a great intro to the style.
Samuel Adams Scotch Ale
93 points
Dark copper color. Bright, toasty aromas and flavors of buttered dark rye toast, lightly smoked nuts and jerky, and dried fruit with a supple, vibrant, finely carbonated, dryish medium body and a tingling, compelling, medium-long finish imparting overtones of chocolate espresso beans and orange peels, creme brulee, pepper roasted nuts, and lapsang tea finish. A spot-on Scottish ale that delivers loads of sweet and lightly smoky flavor.
Innis & Gunn Brewing Company Rum Finish Scotch Ale
92 points
Brilliant dark copper color. Aromas and flavors of buttery caramel corn, date bread, and smoked nuts with a supple, bright, dryish medium body and a tingling, interesting, relaxed finish imparting overtones of watercress, citrus marmalade, brown spices, and apple pie finish. A nice spicy, creamy Scottish ale.
Church Street Brewing Company Tale of the Shony Scottish Ale
91 points
Mahogany color. Aromas and flavors of chocolate toffee, dark raisin toast, and citrus spritzed melon with a supple, bright, effervescent, dry-yet-fruity medium body and a tingling, interesting, medium-length finish displaying nuances of arugula and hint of spice finish. A lovely, smooth and chewy Scottish ale with great drinkability and authentic UK style.
Shoreline Brewery Beltaine Scottish Ale
89 points
Clear bronze color. Aromas and flavors of caramelized fruits and nuts, cocoa, and blueberry danish with a supple, bright, dryish medium body and a smooth, relaxed finish revealing notes of peppered kale and brazil nut finish. A solid, very even and sessionable Scottish ale.
The Great Dane Pub & Brewing Co. Stone of Scone Scotch Ale
88 points
Pale burnt sienna color. Aromas of chocolate cream puff, caramelized fruits and root vegetables, and hard cheese with a round, bright, effervescent, dry-yet-fruity light-to-medium body and a tingling, interesting, medium-length corn pudding, spice cake, and chocolate nuts finish. A nice Scottish ale for the table.
Bad Sons Beer Co. Mr. Roper Scotch Ale
87 points
Hazy deep amber color. Sweet aromas of toasted fruit cake, savory pastry, and pumpkin custard with a round, vibrant, finely carbonated, dry medium body and a smooth, interesting, medium-long toasted almond skins, butterscotch, and bitter greens finish. A bitter-style scotch ale with ample roasty goodness.
Innis & Gunn Brewing Company Original Scotch Ale
87 points
Minutely hazy amber color. Aromas and flavors of spiced jerky, buttered dark raisin toast, bbq woods, and clay pot with a silky, lively, effervescent, dry-yet-fruity medium body and a warming, appealing, medium-long finish with accents of spiced dried fruits and herbal honey finish. A rock solid Scottish ale with a nice blend of fruitiness and delicate smokiness.
Capital Brewery King George Wee Heavy Scotch Ale
85 points
Brilliant reddish mahogany color. Bright, woody aromas and flavors of dried green apples, clay, nut butter on dark toast, and hint of glue with an even, soft, effervescent, fruity sweet medium body and a tingling, medium-length finish evoking impressions of honeyed fruits and nuts, root beer, and chocolate macaroon finish. A fruity, easy drinking Scotch ale.