Monday, July 13, 2009

When the Piper plays...

Today Jungle Jim's finally had the Stone 13th Anniversary ale, so I picked up a couple of bottles. I'll let them sit for a bit and will review it later. Up tonight is Sprecher's Piper's Scotch Ale.

As there are two styles of Scotch Ale, I read the label to determine how to set my brain. This one belongs in the smoked malt category. Awesome, let's get started.

On the nose, there are hints of smoked peat and a smell that reminds me of biscuit malt. A peek at the website reveals Aromatic and Vienna, so perhaps that is what I am detecting. I will need to make something with these to better differentiate in the future. No hops or other malts on the nose. It has a nice light brown head, though not thick, and a red-brown color.

On the tip of the tongue is a bit of alcohol and smoked malt. As it continues to mid-mouth, the malt sweetness comes up to meet everything else. Crystal malt provides the sweetness and toasted malt aspects are well balanced. Nothing gets out of hand here. The delivery of a Scotch ale is excellent.

The finish is an interesting blend of smoked malt and Vienna malt sweetness. The alcohol presents a little stronger and lingers longer than anything else. A few swirls of the beer around the mouth will numb up the gums a little. Very nice.

The brew reminds me quit a bit of Highlander that used to be brewed by Henninger Bräu. Sadly, this beer is no longer available in favor of Radler. Papazian is right, the German beer culture is being lost. Highlander is a beer that was reported to be brewed with Whiskey Malt. I am not sure what Henninger Bräu meant by that, but it was a smoky flavored beer. Beer Advocate puts it in the Märzen/Oktoberfest category, but I'm not sure that is correct. At any rate, my mother really liked it and I've long been looking for a replacement for her to try. Perhaps now I've found one. I'll have to get more and see.

Overall, it is a nice Scotch Ale of the smokey variety and is one I would have again. I'd give it a B+.

A quick Google reveals that Henninger Bräu was purchased by Binding-Brauerei in 2001. Kind of a bummer for a brewery started in 1655.

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