Samuel Adams Scotch Ale is also part of the Sam Adams ‘American Classics’ beer variety pack. (Not recently, I found this post buried under some dust but decided it should see the light of day!)
From what I can recall, I think this beer was part of the regular Sam Adams lineup because I remember enjoying this beer way back in 1998 or so! Needless to say, I was happy to see it as part of the variety pack, and I was looking forward to trying it to see if it was as good as I remembered.
Doing a little more digging, I see on the Sam Adams website that this beer is a seasonal I’ve just been missing it in the January-March variety packs over the years. My bad!
Also blatantly stolen from their site is the brief, but useful description of the beer, and why its so special to them anyway. Here goes…
“To create our own interpretation of a Scotch ale, the brewers use a peat smoked malt only found in Scotland that is a signature ingredient to their scotch whiskies. Although this malt may not be used in a classic Scotch Ale, the peat is a distinct aroma and flavor of the region. To achieve that character, the malt is smoked over peat to give it a distinct flavor that provides the beer with a subtle yet desirable smoky character and deep amber hue…”
OK, so we’ve got peat-smoked malt to make this beer a smoky, peaty treat. Off the top, I’d agree.
The beer is malty and sweet with some hop balance and a little bite. I’m not convinced that the smoked peat action really comes through as they make it seem on their website. One might think they should be tasting an ashtray, but that’s not the case.
Its more like an earthy warmness that the beer has, rather than some smoke-fest. The flavor was OK, but not something that really impressed me overall. I won’t remember it like I used to!
The body is definitely not ‘full’ as the Sam Adams people seem to indicate. Its more of a medium-body, bordering on thin I think.
The best part of the Sam Adams Scotch Ale, I think, was the aftertaste. After each sip, I made it a point to take some time to see how he flavors would evolve – ant they did. This is where I really picked up on some of the peat-smoked malt I think, especially so after the beer warmed a little.
Overall, I’m glad I got to revisit this old, long-lost favorite beer of mine, but being reunited was less than spectacular for me. I’d say its a good beer to help wind down the Winter with, but I’m not going to clamor for the Scotch Ale to be produced in six-packs like some of the other Sam Adams limited-release beers.
While good, I think that for now, two are enough for me and will get me through to next year.