Scottish Ale?

This is the last style I’m ISO. I thought I had one last year but it turned out to be a wee heavy which got (correctly) changed to a Scotch Ale if I remember right.

In England, just 13 exist in the Ratebeer database with the most “popular” one having only 5 ratings:

In Scotland itself things aren’t much better with just 15 existing:

I’m assuming bottled versions of these beers don’t see much distro as I don’t recall ever seeing one in a bottleshop? Will it require me taking a trip up to Scotland to find one on cask somewhere? Or perhaps even further afield to the US where it seems most are brewed these days.

A quick look on Untappd at one of the more well known names there (Harviestoun Original 80/- caught my eye) shows me that the many people drinking this are in places like Germany, Netherlands, Belgium etc. not many in the UK.

Finally, why are some (few) wee heavies classed as Scottish Ale here with most others as a Scotch Ale. Is this user error or is there an actual distinction? I know very little about either, and on Ratebeer both styles mention wee heavies in their respective descriptions so it’s a little unclear.

1 Like

Theres a Chance 10 Story Malt bomb is in bottle. Has been in past

I def saw a “Cock Up Your Beaver” in glasgow last month.

I know i still owe you a promised beer (ive been so disorganised) let me tweet and see if malt bomb is out there

1 Like

While it’s not exactly an excellent example of the style, you might be able to find this one:

At this point I’m not too bothered if it’s a good or bad beer, just want to have all the styles ticked.
We do get some Svyturys beers over here, and although I haven’t seen that one I will actually keep a look out for it. I hadn’t even considered European examples.

@cgarvieuk Ha, I’d completely forgotten about that, no worries though! Let me know if you’re able to get hold of malt bomb. If it’s not online and you don’t mind sending a bottle down to me I’ll certainly send up some fresh Deya beers your way as thanks :slight_smile:

I have had US examples including Port City’s Tartan Ale, Brooklyn Winter Ale, and Three Floyds Robert the Bruce are all bottled.

I was also going to suggest Brooklyn Winter Ale as a possibility. I got that from the Canterbury Bottle Shop, they don’t seem to be stocking it at present but it might be worth looking at other online me retailers for it.

I got one of these in a lincoln supermarket. Their stock changes regularly, but happy to pick one up tomorrow, weather permitting, if they have it.

This is pretty funny because you’re actually over in the old country and a so called Scottish is an American creation!

You’d think a real, so-called, Scottish would be easy to come by in the old UK!


Scottish Ales are often categorized wrongly. No matter what this style is really about, according to the ratebeer style descriptions, it should be clear that wee heavys are Scotch Ales and nothing else.

On the other hand, brewers often call their beers Scottish Ales while the beer itself is actually a Scotch Ale, either because the brewer doesn’t know shit about the distinction of both styles (on ratebeer at least) or because they don’t give a fuck. A good example is this one, a 12.2% abv bomb classified as Scottish Ale:

I often have the impression that even admins on ratebeer don’t really get the distinction right, but I think that style descriptions are clear enough that only beers in between those styles provide for some wiggle room.

Scottish on RB is just a mild friendly shadow of a real Scotch. Its well behaved and easy to take compared to the kick ass real thing.

It’s not even just a Ratebeer thing, both Untappd and BeerAdvocate also have separate styles for Scotch and Scottish, so presumably it is or at least was two distinctive styles, I guess the distinction have been blurred over time through brewer misnaming and user error in equal parts.

The reason I asked in the first place is because before making this thread I was looking at various other users and Scottish Ales they’d rated to see which ones might be available to me. Came across examples like this one:
Which clearly says in the description it’s a blend of two Wee Heavys. So surely that one should be Scotch rather than Scottish?

Personally I don’t really get the distinction either and apart from that I think we need less styles instead of more (there is talk about that every year when a new thing comes up like neipas last year). There’s a Scottish ale available in my local store though. So if you want I can get you a bottle.

Very true. Or maybe a re-creation if you go far enough back in time? Who knows?

There’s certainly no evidence that those stories about Scottish ales - lighter hopping, peat dried malt etc etc - have any foundation in fact once you fast forward to the more industrial era. And the fact that Scottish brewers (as well as others around the UK incidentally) started using the shilling designation around that time - before it fell out of use but made a comeback in the 1970s - doesn’t mean that any beer with shilling in the name shares or shared those high malt, low hop characteristics. Certainly when I first drunk those 70/- and 80/- beers back in the 1970s nobody was putting them into a specific Scottish Ale category (there were only a handful of them anyway) and there was no systematic difference to a large number of English & Welsh bitters.

Ironically, there probably are a few “genuine” Scottish Ales made in the UK these days, not so much as a revival from historical roots but more because modern brewers are much more likely to be influenced by things American these days.

Scotch Ales, I believe have their roots in the strong ales made for export to Belgium and subsequently made there, and in France. In more recent times, those remaining examples made in Scotland would have more likely been exported to the USA, and subequently made there. I’d imagine that Scotch Ale and Wee Heavy are essentially the same thing, with higher abv being the main factor in the separate classification.

that’s because it’s a non-style which we should not list as a style :stuck_out_tongue:


Although I’m no advocate for the BJCP style guidelines it can be instructive to take a gander at them from time to time. They place Scottish Ales (sub-divided into Light, Heavy & Export) and Scotch Ale (referred to as Wee Heavy) into different groups - the latter being in the Strong British Ale category. Looking at the characteristics for Wee Heavy you might be forgiven for seeing liitle difference between it and its fellows in that category - British Strong Ales and (some) Barley Wines.

The BJCP guidelines are presumably about characteristics, not origin. However, for any style with a geographic descriptor in the name, when it comes to listing commercial examples they almost always gravitate towards beers from that location - and widely available ones at that. So, all the exampes of Wee Heavies are Scottish and all the examples of English Barleywines are English. It almost seems to me that they defined the styles and then hunted around for examples from the nominal country of origin that could conceivably fit there, only resorting to examples from other countries when completely stumped. So, when it comes to the examples given for the Light, Heavy & Export subdivisions of Scottish Ales, I take those with a very large pinch of salt…

1 Like

I take those with a very large pinch of salt…

Oh great so we’re getting Gose/Scottish Ale hybrid now


Could be the New Trend of 2018

1 Like