Granville Island Auld Skill Scottish Ale

granvilleisland_auldskoolBrewer: Granville Island Brewery, Vancouver, BC
Style: Scottish Ale
ABV: 6.25%
IBUs: 20

Description: This Scottish-style ale is part of Granville Island’s Black Notebook Series – a series of small-batch, limited-release beers. In honor of Robbie Burns Day, this beer is brewed in the traditional Scottish Ale-style, consisting of darker, richer malts that are subjected to a longer boil and a mild hopping.

Tasting Notes: Like most of GI’s Black Notebook Series, this brew was a somewhat subdued, but definitely landed in the requisite flavor departments. These included the darker, heavier malt base, the notes of sugar and dark fruits, and the hint of peat moss and general smokiness. Definitely a solid Scottish Ale for those who want a milder variant.

Appearance: Amber-brown, cloudy, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Rich, sweet malts, mild smoke and peaty aroma, dark fruits and caramelized sugar
Taste: Semi-sweet malt, burnt sugar, mild tang, hint of smoke, peat moss, dates, raisins
Aftertaste: Lingering malt flavor, sugars, minerals
Overall: 7.8/10

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Big Rock Scottish Style Heavy Ale

big-rock-scottishBrewer: Big Rock Brewery, Calgary, AB
Style: Wee Heavy Ale
ABV: 7%
IBUs: Unlisted

Description: As part of their Signature Series, this Scottish ale is brewed in the “Wee Heavy” tradition, employing a combination of Pale, Caramel, Munich and Peated malt, and then bittered with Northern brewer hops.

Tasting Notes: This is my second sampling from the Family Jewels pack, and is one which I have had before (but didn’t review). Again, a but on the light side, but this brew certainly comes through in the flavor department. Like a good Wee Heavy, it has some rich malts, a touch of sweetness, hints of peat moss and whiskey, and a respectable 7% alcohol.

Appearance: Deep red, clear, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Rich malt, syrup, sugars, smoked peat, whiskey
Taste: Sweet malt, hint of peat, syrup, biscuits, smoky tang
Aftertaste: Lingering malt, peat flavor, smoky and tangy finish
Overall: 8/10

Spinnakers Jameson’s Scottish Ale

Next up in the weekend from Spinnaker’s lineup, we have the traditional cellar ale known as Jameson’s Scottish Ale. Though it is not a new brew, or particularly summery, it’s been some time since I sampled it last. As such, I could not resist picking it up so I could re-familiarize myself.

And for the most part, I was pleased and not the least bit surprised. But that’s a good thing in this case. For many years now, I’ve known Scottish Ales to be rich, heavy and malty affairs that generally come dry hopped and smack of the peat moss and smoky flavor of Scotch whiskey.

Named in honor of the Jameson clan who settled in Victoria in 1889, and grew rich of the tea, coffee and spice trades, this beer is a nice take on the traditional Scottish ale, being at once malty and complex, but lighter and less sweet than many of its stronger variants. In addition, the dry hop characteristics provide a slight bitterness that helps balance the flavor.

Appearance: Dark amber/brown and slightly translucent
Nose: Sweet and slightly smoky with a note of bananas
Taste: Heavy malt flavor, slightly coarse, giving way to slight hop bitterness
Aftertaste: A touch of smokiness with a mild bitter aftertaste
Overall: 7.5/10