Recently we were fortunate enough to receive a preview of Samuel Adams' American Originals Collection Variety Pack. Featured in this assorted six pack was their signature Lager, Belgian-style Wit, Revolutionary Rye Ale, Irish Red, Noble Pils, and their Scotch Ale. For us with the spirit of Valentine's Day in the air we elected to sample the Scotch Ale.
Brewers Association Guidelines
Scotch ales are overwhelmingly malty and full-bodied. Perception of hop bitterness is very low. Hop flavor and aroma are very low or nonexistent. Color ranges from deep copper to brown. The clean alcohol flavor balances the rich and dominant sweet maltiness in flavor and aroma. A caramel character is often a part of the profile. Dark roasted malt flavors and aroma may be evident at low levels. If present, fruity esters are generally at low aromatic and flavor levels. Low diacetyl levels are acceptable. Chill haze is allowable at cold temperatures. Though there is little evidence suggesting that traditionally made strong Scotch ales exhibited peat smoke character, the current marketplace offers many Scotch Ales with peat or smoke character present at low to medium levels. Thus a peaty/smoky character may be evident at low levels (ales with medium or higher smoke character would be considered a smoke flavored beer and considered in another category). Scotch Ales may be split into two subcategories: Traditional (no smoke character) and Peated (low level of peat smoke character).
Sam Adams Scotch Ale pours dark reddish-brown and clear. As the beer begins to settle in the glass a strong, tan, almost khaki-colored, foamy, head; forms on top. Over the course of the tasting the head slowly evaporates leaving behind remnants of lace inside the glass.
Swirling the glass under our nose, there is a burned caramel character that makes me ponder caramel corn from the market. It’s worth mentioning there is some evidence of diacetyl, but nothing to be alarmed over.
Sipping on this we detect minor fruitiness, before a wash of caramel, takes hold, both in the middle and the finish. Overall this beer provides the perception of a medium weight as it rests on the tongue.
This is a brew for adventurous beer drinkers. Made with seven malts: two-row pale Harrington, Metcalfe, and Copeland pale malts, Munich, chocolate malt, and a rare peat smoked malt commonly used by distillers of Scotch malt whiskey. This unique malt gives Samuel Adams Scotch Ale its distinct, subtle smoky character and deep amber hue. Its smokiness is balanced with the subtle earthy character of the traditional English hops, Goldings and Fuggles. This is a big brew dominated by malt flavors and aromas, rich and full bodied with a slight sweetness. Its layered malt complexity lingers to a smooth and silky finish.
You Should Try This. We tried this beer with Theo's chocolates and found this to be a great pairing. If you are feeling up to something more savory you might try some smoked meats or maybe some fatty cheeses, like Gouda. A month and half has passed on this beer so we don't advise you to sit around too much longer in regards to getting this beer.
Thoughts by your Colleagues
About the photo’s author
Paul “Fruit Trees” Orchard, is an amateur craft beer enthusiast and amateur photographer. Throughout the many years in craft beer he is always carrying a camera (smartphone, digital, traditional) and is invites you to see that beer can also be exciting even if you can’t drink the photo.
In accordance with new FTC regulations regarding bloggers and endorsements, the aforementioned company has provided me a free sample that was used for research prior to writing this review.