Tag Archives: Scotch Ale

2017 Advent Calendar – Day 13 – Duck Rabbit Wee Heavy Scotch Ale

Photo Credit

So, with the half-way mark behind us, I have officially caught up and am back on track with the Craft Beer Advent Calendar. As a special note on yesterday’s beer, Nickel Brook has indeed determined that their beer is infected and have been amazing at connecting with beer drinkers who got tainted beers across the country. This is excellent. A brewery acting when one of it’s beers isn’t where they want it to be. Glorious to see.

For Day 13 we go to a brewery that has a great name. This beer, a Scottish Wee Heavy, comes to us from Duck Rabbit Brewery.

Located in Farmville, North Carolina, is a brewery.  It has an interesting name and makes interesting beers.  The Duck-Rabbit Brewery was founded by Paul Philippon and sold its first beer in 2004.  It was a long journey to arrive at this point for Paul.  Pursuing a career teaching Philosophy, Paul first got he idea to open his brewery in 1987.  After working over the next number of years at three different breweries, he was finally able to open his own.  In 2004, Duck Rabbit Brewery sold its first beer and has continued to grow since.

Paul came up with the logo for the brewery using his experience as a philosophy teacher.  The image is one of those which when viewed from a different perspective looks like more than one thing.  Like the old lady and young lady picture, this logo is based off one which looks like both a rabbit and a duck, depending on how you look at it.  Hence the name, and the logo.

The Duck-Rabbit brewery team includes many folks helping out with the various tasks. The brewery uses a 20-barrel brew house and brews into 20, 40, 60 and 80-barrel tanks.  The focus of the brewery is not on brewing a wide variety of beer styles, but focusing on being the “dark beer experts”.  For them, the dark styles of beer are under represented in the marketplace.  Given the enormous flavour and style possibilities in brewing the darker styles of beer, they hope to be able to make something that will suit the tastes of every beer fan.

A Scottish Wee Heavy is a historical ale that originated in strong ales of the 1600 and 1700s and eventually moved into a “schilling” classification in the 1800s. The “schilling” classification had to do with the alcohol content. Typically, these beers would range from 60 schilling (light) to 90 schillings (wee heavy). These are rich, heavy, and sweet. Bringing big caramel malt and dextrinous (corn sugar) sweetness. Overall, they can bring what might be described as a “dessert” characteristic. In many ways, the Scottish Wee Heavy is like an English Barley Wine in it’s malt and flavour profile. I’m excited to give this one a try, especially since I really enjoyed the Baltic Porter they included in the 2015 calendar.

Appearance –  Pours a clear amber with a puffy beige head.
Smell – Caramel, bready malt, sweet breads, toffee, and dark fruit notes on nose.
Taste – Grainy caramel malt, toffee, and sweet bread come through on the taste. There are also some raisin notes and some dark fruit, plum or fig, that come through as well. There is a sweet husky floral finish.
Mouth feel – Soft carbonation, medium bodied, sweet floral finish.
Overall – Very nice. Malty, boozy, sweet, all of the characteristics I’d expect from a wee heavy. While the booze doesn’t come through in the flavour (it’s surprisingly smooth for 8%) it brings a lot of really nice malt and dark fruit character along with some pleasant sweetness.
Do I like it? 
– I do like it. It’s a sipping beer, that’s for sure, and while I compared it a bit to a barley wine above, it is lighter in character then something along those lines. It brings a nice malt, dark fruit, and sweetness that warms on a winter’s night, while at the same time not being overly heavy.


Craft Beer Advent Calendar – Day 13

Beer 13

So begins the second half of the CraftBeer advent calendar.  The first half of it was rather good.  As a recap on the countries we have visited so far we have: Norway, Finland, England, United States, Italy, Australia, New Zealand, Germany, Mexico, Iceland, Brazil, and the United States.  So, thus far we have visited 11 unique countries on 4 different continents!

Today’s beer takes us back to the United Kingdom, this time to Perth in Scotland!  Perth is located to the north of Edinburgh, 42.8 miles away and within the city we will find the brewery who has made us our beer today – the Inveralmond Brewery.

Founded in 1997, this brewery has certainly made a name for itself in Scotland.  The head brewer, Ken, officially joined the brewery in 1999.  A year later he smuggled some yeast to Scotland from the Czech Republic giving the brewery the claim of having the only “official” Czech Pilsner in Scotland.  In 2002, they won Champion Beer of Scotland, no easy task, and continued to grow from that point on.

In 2009 they had grown too big for their original space and laid the ground work to build their brand new brewery.  They moved into the new brewery in 2011 and have continued to expand their production from brewing 8000 pints at a time to now brewing over 32000 pints at any given time. When their local team, St. Johnstone, made it to the Scottish cup for the first time in 130 years, they brewed a special blue beer to show their support.  They are truly a Scottish brewery through and through.

The beer we have the pleasure of tasting from them today is their Blackfriar Scotch Ale.  It’s named for one of the three ancient orders of monks who are central to the history of Perth.  The monastery of the Blackfriar was built in 1231 and was the location of the assassination of King James I by traitors.

Scotch Ales are strong ales which are traditionally known as a “wee heavy” in Scotland. Scotch ales are typically very malty and balanced with hops to land somewhere in the middle ground between sweet and bitter.  This particular beer has been brewed with not only barley malts but also wheat which will give it a heavier, creamier feel.  Balancing with four different kinds of hops this brew promises to have a number of flavor notes and I’m excited to see what it tastes like.

Rating: 78/100

Appearance:  Copper brown beer, clear, 1” of head that retains well.
Smell: Chocolate notes as well as the floral notes of hops.  Smells a bit of caramel as well at the very end.
Taste: Malts come through at the beginning with a creaminess that comes from the wheat malt.  Balances really well with the hops providing a mild bitterness to combat the sweetness of the malts.  Flavours of chocolate come through from the chocolate malt used in the beer.
Overall: Creaminess is really pleasant and goes well with the richness of the malts and the balance of the hops.  This beer has flavours that work well together with the specific body of it and I really found that I was enjoying the beer while drinking it.   The use of wheat and barley malts was really smart and added a lot of character to the beer.
Do I like it: I’m not a huge fan of this style of beer. While I wouldn’t necessarily seek this one out at the liquor store, I did enjoy it and would be happy to drink it given another opportunity.  I feel the hops came through really well to balance the sweetness.  Overall, a beer I really enjoyed.