Allagash Pictavia

I hate being sick. I’m not good at it and I hate that Val has to take care of me. But, at least I get to update the blog. This is a beer that I was very excited to try. Let’s see how it was.

ABV: 9.3%

Style: Scotch Ale/Wee Heavy

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Pictavia (the former name of Scotland) has sweet honey and caramel notes balanced by oak and a light tart bitterness. It’s brewed with Special B, Munich, pale, and Caramel malt in addition to roasted barley and our two row blend. It’s then hopped exclusively with Northern Brewer. After fermenting on an abbey-style yeast, we age it in scotch barrels—that first held port, before scotch—for around four months.”

Random: The brewery suggests that this beer is consumed within a year.

This beer poured with a half a finger of off white head. It dissipated almost instantly and left no lacing on the glass. The body was a murky brown color that was cloudy with very little carbonation visible. The nose of the beer started off with some caramel and toffee and booze. There was some scotch and vanilla as well. The taste had some hot booze to it. It had vanilla and toffee as well. Tobacco and scotch barrel came through next. The body was on the medium thickness side and had light carbonation. It had a lengthy finish with scotch and smoke. I thought this beer was pretty good, but it could use a year to calm the booze.

Untappd Rating: 4.0/5.0

Davidson Brothers Scot

Here’s another beer from Davidson Brothers out of New York. This one is part of their Signature Series.


ABV: 9.1%

Style: Scotch Ale/Wee Heavy

Trivia: According to the brewery
, “Our Scotch Ale is more technically called a Strong Scotch Ale, and it doesn’t fail to live up to its name. There is a profusion of maltiness, with a heavy body and full flavor. This is a very sweet ale, full of malty goodness without any sense of being cloying. The hop profile is very slight, with little bitterness, flavor or aroma. Definitely a big beer, the overall impression is of a very sweet, malty beer with little hop flavor. This is a favorite among wine drinkers, with its sweet profile and high alcohol content.”

Random: I’ve always wanted to go to Scotland.

This beer poured with a half a finger of light brown head that dissipated slowly. It left no lacing on the glass, but instead left a small crown on top of the dark mahogany body. There was a lot of carbonation visible. The nose was sweet with caramel and lots of peat. The booze note in the nose was aggressive and abrasive. The taste was incredibly sweet with caramel, then went into booze and smoke and peat. The beer was completely unbalanced. It had an overly thick body with high carbonation. The finish took forever and was sickly sweet and filled with booze. This beer was a gift, so I have no idea how much the bomber was, but this beer was another miss for me. The flavors didn’t transition well and the booze was too aggressive.

Untappd Rating: 2.0/5.0

Neshaminy Creek Scottish Pillow

Tonight’s selection is a beer from a relatively local brewery to me. I’ve been to the brewery a few times since moving into our house and the space is quite large, although not air-conditioned, so it’s a bit warm in the summer. If you haven’t been there, I would highly recommend a visit.


ABV: 8.6%

Style: Scotch Ale/Wee Heavy

Trivia: This was Neshaminy Creek’s 4th anniversary beer.

Random: Wax topped bottles are such a pain to open. I need to get one of those openers that makes it easier.

The beer poured with a one finger, off white head that dissipated quickly and left no lacing on the glass. The body was a murky, mahogany color with no visible carbonation due to the cloudiness. On the nose, I picked up toasted grain, peat and some spice with oak. It had a pleasant amount of earthiness to it as well. The taste was remarkably balanced with oak and a touch of bourbon at first. Then, peat, brown bread and rye came out. Some vanilla came through at the end, which was a nice treat. The body was thick and chewy with light carbonation. The alcohol didn’t make much of an appearance. It had a lengthy peaty and woody finish. I don’t remember how much I paid for this bomber, especially since I picked it up during the 4th anniversary weekend and left it in the fridge for awhile. This was an impressive beer and one that I would definitely have again, although I’m not sure if they’ll ever make it again.

Untappd Rating: 4.5/5.0

Magic Hat Wee Heavy Champ

Val loves the artwork on the Magic Hat bombers, so whenever there is a new one, it comes home with us. Magic Hat was one of my gateway breweries to getting into craft beer, so with their bombers, I expect something decent, but not mind-blowing. Let’s see how this was.


ABV: 8%

Style: Scotch Ale/Wee Heavy

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Just to the west of Burlington lie the majestic waters of Lake Champlain. A diverse population of creatures resides in and around her shores, including the mythical lake monster Champ. This Scotch Ale, or Wee Heavy as the Scots say, is brewed in celebration of Lake Champlain, all of its inhabitants, and the legend of Champ himself. Catch him if you can. Wee Heavy Champ is a Scotch Ale nearly as dark as the deepest depths of Lake Champlain. A rich, robust, yet smooth, malt character rises to the surface where notes of caramel, chocolate and wheat can be discovered. A light addition of hops is present for balance in this big, complex and soon-to-be legendary brew.”

Random: I am surrounded by cats.

The beer poured with a plentiful, three finger, tan head. It took awhile to go away, but it did leave a slight amount of lacing on the glass. The body was a dark mahogany color. I couldn’t see a lot of carbonation due to how dark the beer was. The nose had peat, alcohol, and spicy dark malt. It also had some toffee and caramel sweetness with a touch of molasses. The taste was more towards the spicy side. The peat note was big and up front. It was quickly followed by vanilla and date notes. The sweetness was there, but not as pronounced as the nose. The sweetness was more of a molasses/caramel note than toffee. It had a thick body with light carbonation. The booze was hidden with no throat burn. It had a long and sweet finish with molasses and peat. A bomber of the was $9.99, which came to $.45 per ounce. I was impressed by this beer. I would definitely have it again, especially on a rainy night.

Untappd Rating: 4.0/5.0

Barrier Cairn

The second beer I had at Whole Foods was this Scotch Ale from another New York brewery that I’ve heard of, but never had anything from. It’s been a long time since I’ve had a Scotch Ale, so I thought I’d give it a try.


ABV: 7.2%

Style: Scotch Ale/Wee Heavy

Trivia: The brewery is located in Oceanside, NY and open from Wednesday through Sunday. Their new website is “coming soon,” so I couldn’t find any other information.

Random: When I was a kid, I always wanted a Cairn Terrier. I thought they were adorable.

The brew poured with a smaller than average head at barely a half a finger. It was light-tan in color and dissipated rapidly, leaving very little lacing on the glass. The body was a deep mahogany color, but relatively clear with moderate carbonation. The nose started with sweet, nutty malt and quickly went into peat. There was wood smoke as well and some alcohol at the end. The taste was really smooth. It had the same nuttiness to it, hazelnuts primarily, but they quickly gave way to the peat. Wood smoke was there and if I didn’t know better, would have thought that it had some barrel aging from all the oak I picked out. It had a slight maple character as well. The body was thick, without being cloying, and had light carbonation. The finish hung around forever with the same peat and wood smoke. I really enjoyed this beer. It’s definitely one of the better American interpretations that I’ve had of the style.

Untappd Rating: 4.0/5.0

Central Waters Brewer’s Reserve Bourbon Scotch Ale

Man, I haven’t had a Scotch Ale since October of 2015. I tend to pass by the style, although I really like the flavors that I get from it. One of my goals is going to be finding a list of outstanding Scotch Ales and hunting them down. Until then, I’ll have this one from Central Waters to tide me over.


ABV: 9.5%

Style: Scotch Ale/Wee Heavy

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “This rich, malty ale has been aged to perfection in our barrel house. Subtle and smooth, this is a decadent display of patience and process. Join us in a toast to good health. Slainte!”

Random: I wish I had a neck support pillow at work. Sitting at a computer all day has been killing my neck and back lately.

This beer poured with half a finger of tan head. It dissipated slowly, but left no lacing on the glass. The body looked almost like a stout. It was dark brown with no visible carbonation. The nose had a lot of bourbon barrel characteristics. It had vanilla, bourbon and wood. It had a bit of rye spice as well. The taste was softer than I expected, given the nose. It had vanilla and bourbon, but quickly went into smooth malt. It had some spice at the end, along with booze warming. It almost had a cognac quality to it. The mouthfeel was smooth and full and had very light carbonation. It had light carbonation as well. The finish was shockingly quick with vanilla and bourbon. A single of this was expensive at $4.87 ($.41 per ounce). I enjoyed this beer a lot and it had some really nice flavor. I just wish that the scotch ale characteristics were a bit stronger.

Untappd Rating: 4.0/5.0

Renaissance Stonecutter Oak

Val and I tried a new place for lunch that looked like it had a really good beer list. When we got there, the service was exceptionally slow and every beer I tried to order, they magically didn’t have. The food was alright at best and they screwed up our order. Needless to say, I’m going to think twice about going back there.


ABV: 7%

Style: Scotch Ale/Wee Heavy

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Nine malts are blended together to produce layers of caramel, toffee, liquorice, chocolate and smoky flavours. These layers are balanced by a tart, raisiny fruitiness that give this dark beer a lingering dry finish.”

Random: Every time we go out to eat, it seems like there is always a problem. I really wanted to like this place because it seemed like one of the few gastropubs in the area and the menu looked great. Alas, it was not meant to be.

This brew poured with half a finger of white head that dissipated quickly. It left no lacing on the glass. The body was a dark, cloudy brown color with no visible carbonation due to the haziness. The nose was strong, filled with peat, smoke and scotch notes. The taste was really nice. I picked up a lot of oak and vanilla up front. Then, peat and smoke came through. Finally, some sweet nuttiness came through at the end up the sip. It had a thick and chewy body with low carbonation. The finish was long with oak and peat. This beer was really nice and the oak aging of the beer really enhanced the flavor. I would definitely have this beer again.

Untappd Rating: 4.5/5.0

Grimm Cherry Oak Shapeshifter

This was the beer that I popped open last night when I got in from the rain. I wanted something with a bit more body than what I’ve been having lately and I’ve been excited to crack this open ever since I picked it up. It was also the last bottle on the shelf.


ABV: 8.3%

Style: Scotch Ale/Wee Heavy

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Cherry Oak Shapeshifter pours a deep mahogany with ruby highlights and a luscious cream-colored head. This beer has been aging for six months on tart Montmorency cherries in second use brand barrels. Aromas of caramel, hazelnuts and a hint of brand waft from the glass, to be followed by decadent flavors of tart cherry, vanilla and marzipan.”

Random: New York is putting out some insanely good beers lately.

This beer poured with a half a finger of off white head. It dissipated slowly and left some lacing on the glass. The body was a hazy, reddish-brown with light carbonation visible. The nose was fragrant with peat and cherry. The taste had a lot of oak and then sweetness from the cherry as well. There was not as much peat as I would have liked, but it was present. There was also some vanilla and hazelnuts too. I didn’t pick up the marzipan, which would have been a welcome addition to the brew. The body was on the medium side with light carbonation. I didn’t pick up any booze. The finish was lengthy with cherry and oak. This bomber was $16.69 at Half Time ($.76 per ounce), which is a bit on the expensive side. As seems to be the norm with this brewery, I loved this beer and would definitely have it again.

Untappd Rating: 4.0/5.0

Belhaven 90/~ Wee Heavy

One of the joys of owning a house is that I get to take care of the lawn. I got my battery-powered lawnmower on Friday and left work at a decent time so I could mow it. Despite the fact that the grass was probably too high since I let the backyard get slightly overgrown, I think I did a good job. My grass seed should be coming any day now so I can plant it in the bare spots. Once it looks decent, I’ll post some pictures. Anyways, let’s see how this bad boy from Scotland was.


ABV: 7.4%

Style: Scotch Ale/Wee Heavy

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “While 1719 may be the earliest documented evidence of the Belhaven Brewery, there may well have been beer production on the site pre-16th century as the wells and certain cellar vaults are known to date from around the time of the Reformation. Monks (noted for their brewing skills) settled in the area from the 12th century. Luckily, they had access to both fine water and top quality local barley.”

Random: I need to buy a trimmer for the areas that I can’t get to with the mower. Maybe that will be my end of quarter gift to myself.

This beer poured with less than a half a finger of off white head. It dissipated instantly with no lacing left on the glass. The body was a cloudy, dark brown with high carbonation visible. The nose was really rich and peaty with sweetness. Smoke was present too. The taste was better than the notes with more peat and smoke. There was some booze and then deep sweetness, almost like molasses. There was also some bready malt as well. It had a thick and chewy body with high carbonation. The finish was long with peat and molasses. For $2.70 a bottle (with the NJCB discount), this broke down to $.23 per ounce. This was a good beer, but was missing something that I couldn’t put my finger on. It wasn’t the best of the style that I’ve had, but was far from the worst. It’s worth a shot.

Untappd Rating: 3.5/5.0

Cigar City Big Sound Scotch Ale – Bourbon Barrel Aged

This was the last beer that I picked up on my birthday run to Half Time and what a beer to save. Let’s not waste any time and crack this one open.


ABV: 8.5%

Style: Scotch Ale/Wee Heavy

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “As a tribute to our love for fast and furious punk rock, we defiantly brew this rebellious Scotch ale as a slap to the face of lowest common denominator, insipid and utterly BORING beers! We won’t settle for the libations forced upon us by the establishment and neither should you. Raise a glass to the sound and the fury that we know as punk rock lest you be labeled as a milk sipping, mummie’s boy, poseur!”

Random: I really want to find some new beer review blogs. If you have any recommendations, leave them in the comments.

This brew poured with a three finger, thick, tan-colored head. It dissipated slowly and left very little lacing on the glass, but a crown on top of the deep, sienna body with moderate carbonation visible. The nose was very strong vanilla, bourbon, oak and alcohol. The taste was just mind-blowing. There was a significant vanilla and bourbon flavor, along with leather and tobacco. Figs and dates came through as well. Milk chocolate and toffee came through with some booze warming after a few sips as well. The body was on the thick side with generous carbonation. It had a long finish with some smoke, vanilla and bourbon. For $46.99, this beer was most definitely going towards overpriced, except for the fact that this was one of the best Scotch ales that I’ve ever had. The booze was relatively well-hidden and the bourbon barrel aging really made this beer outstanding. I would definitely have this again, despite the hefty price tag.

Untappd Rating: 5.0/5.0