Scotch Ale (Berkshire Brewing Company)

Style: Scotch Ale

7.0% ABV

40 IBU’s

From: South Deerfield, MA

Brewer’s Note: “Sweet and malty with a warming alcohol finish, this beer is perfectly suited for cool evenings during the late summer months. A handful of peat kilned malt lends a slight smoky flavor that harkens back to the traditional brewing techniques of Scotland, when kilts and bagpipes were all the rage. Slàinte!”

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The beer’s label is admittedly, not my favorite.  Berkshire’s design has always been a little “old” in feeling, and a little goofy, and this label continues that.  The kilted gentleman with their barrel and flag are odd, but the eye is really not drawn to them at all and instead hovers on the two very bold “Local” and “Fresh,” which is too bad.  The background design is actually awesome, and consists of twisting lines that seem to make a Celtic knot, but they are lost a little to the “Local” and “Fresh.”  Overall this is a mediocre label.  Clutter is under control, but the focus of the label is off.

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The beer pours a rich, caramelly brown with amber notes.  It forms a small head of tight knit, yellowing bubbles that fizzle to a scrim around the glass.  With a little agitation a nice, smooth, half-finger’s width head forms and leaves a lacing of stringy lacing on the sides of the glass.  In body, the beer is clean of particles and dark with a nice haze. On the nose, this beer is richly fruity, with thick plums, caramel, toffee, green apples, and doughy bread wafting into the nostrils.  Soft roasted malt with a touch of peat smoke and the faintest touch of booze play gently on the nose, but rich fruity malts are the big player on the nose and are slightly reminiscent of a quad.  On the tongue, the beer tastes richly sweet with a touch of herbal bitters coming from the hops and even a touch of savory richness coming from the malt.  At the finish there is a touch of very faint, tart acid and a whisper of booze.  In the mouth, the beer feels on the light side of heavy in body, with a chewy, thick mouthfeel.  Carbonation is gentle and velvety on the tongue.  In flavor, the beer tastes of raisins and plums dipped in brown sugar.  The flavors mingle into rich caramel malts with a very light touch of roast, chocolate, and soft banana-notes.  Light green apple skins lay behind most of the other flavors and build a complexity into the sip.  The finish is long and fruity, bringing more plums, figs, and brown sugar to the tongue with a touch of roast malt.  Overall, this beer is very rich and tasty, and is a real pleasure to sip.  Rich malt character is nicely balanced by fruitier yeast character and very light hopping.  This beer is cheap in price, rich, and delicious, showing far more complexity than beer’s three times its cost.  Try this beer.

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4.21/5, A in Style

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