Rahr & Sons Iron Thistle Scottish Ale

Many times, I have discussed the difference between a Scottish Ale and a Scotch Ale. Here's the thing about this beer: they haven't chosen. Yes, this particular can says Scottish ale, but I did a quick search on the brewer to find out a little more about them (like to see if they were founded by Scotsman or similar) and I found that this beer has been labeled as both kinds. You can't believe anything you read on the internet these days, am I right?

The red-hued beer is deep and dark like the depths of a giant ruby. The head is pretty minimal, and the little that you can see in this picture is the result of some serious coaxing on my part, but it winds up patchy and white. The aroma is distinctly that of a wee heavy ale with wood, caramel, and toasted grains.

First sip is caramel malt forward with a toasted grain giving substance to the whole endeavor. There is a slight coffee to the toastiness, but it's not taking over or anything. If you're going to have coffee in your beer, you want to do it with the right malt, and this seems to be it. So, the sip is good. How is the swig?

Tip-in is sweet caramel with a slight bitterness and those delicious toasted grains. The middle comes with a sudden and overwhelming smoothness that comes with the fine grains and more of the caramel. The finish is a hit of bitterness as the carbonation sparkles and the toasted grains trail off into the distance.

Bottom Line: When a Scottish ale is done right, it is done right.



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