Scotch Ale for Arkansas Highlanders

Review:  Moylan’s Kilt Lifter Scotch Ale

Drink if you like: Caramel apples, hearty meats like bratwurst, things covered in cheese, caramel, toffee, plaid man-skirts, and the music of Ewan MacColl.

If this doesn't make you thirsty, please see a doctor.

What the heck is a Scotch Ale?  Scotch Ales are strong ales, also known as “Wee Heavy.” If you giggled at that, it’s ok because we always do too.   In 19th century Scotland, they’d also be known as 160/-, a name based on the now obsolete shilling currency.   We are drinking history here!  For some reason I felt like an ancient Scottish Highlander when I was enjoying this beer.  No, not the really mean guys who live forever unless a fellow highlander decapitates you; the ancient people who lived in Scotland and dined on haggis and deer hooves.  Let’s get back to the beer, shall we?  Scotch Ales traditionally go through a long boil in the kettle for a caramelization of the wort. This produces a deep copper to brown in colored brew.  There is also a sweeter and fuller-body, and of course higher alcohol, with a much more pronounced malty caramel and roasted malt flavor. A low tea-like bitterness can be found in many examples.

I’ve got some Scottish in my family history, and you may as well.  We Arkansans have a great mix of European descent.   So let’s all celebrate our history while drinking this beer.  And while it may make me indulge in lifting my kilt or slur the very unpopular “Slap me I’m Scottish,” I will still proclaim to be a proud Scottish Highlander.

Let’s imbibe.

Good beer from good people in California.

The beer smells like rich caramel with some toasted oats and some faint raisins.  It pours with a beautiful rich and thick head.  Translucent ruby red in color with a very few bubbles escaping now and then.   It tastes a little spicy up front.  The mouth feel is not overly carbonated; it’s not nearly as thick as you’d expect.  This lack of carbonation makes this beer nice and smooth; our distant cousins over the ocean love a great smooth beer.  Next, the sweet caramel malts – yummy!  It’s like the caramel you would get right off a candy apple.  You can taste some English toffee as well.   In the body of the beer there is some very golden biscuit like malts to compliment the sweeter malts.  It is amazingly hard to taste the high alcohol content in this beer, but you can just pull out some peppery alcohol notes in the end.  A word of caution: As the Scottish say, this beer will make you “oot yer face”.  In the back you taste some dark fruit like plum and raisin, then some peat smokiness and finally some faint hops in a losing war against this malt explosion.

What a rich, flavorful beer!  If you have never tried a Scottish ale before, this would be a great one to start – but it would be prudent to pair this rich beer with some caramel or toffee.  At your next dinner party you could really impress your friends with caramel-covered mutton and kilt lifter scotch ale.

We give this beer a rating of 4 diamonds.

Get this beer from the following quality people:

Jack’s Package Store – Mountain Home

Have a drink with caramel or toffee candy and experience a favor explosion.

Arka Valley Liquor – Atkins
Westside Liquor – Morrilton
Ace Liquor Store – Cabot
Beer Depot and Liquor – Royal
Colonial Wine & Spirits – Little Rock
Count Line Liquor – Springdale
Crossover Liquor – Fayetteville
Diamond Liquor – North Little Rock
Dickson Street Liquor – Fayetteville
Eastside Liquor – Elkins
Fiesta Liquor – Springdale
Flying Saucer – Little Rock
Last Chance Liquor – Springdale
Lawson Liquor – Little Rock
Liquor Mart – Fayetteville
Macadoodles – Springdale
Marina Liquor – Hot Springs
Premier Wine & Spririts – Fayetteville
Spirits Shop – Fayetteville
Springhill Wine & Spirits – Little Rock
The Bottle – Fayetteville
The Ridge Wine & Spirits – Little Rock
The Wine Rack & Spirits Shoppe – Hot Springs
Town & Country Liquor – Fayetteville
Wedington Liquor – Fayetteville
WestRock Spirits & Wines – Little Rock
The Vineyard – Fort Smith
Beef O’Brady’s – Fort Smith
In Good Spirits – Fort Smith
71 South Liquor – Fort Smith
Empire Liquor – Fort Smith
Lucky’s Liquor – Fort Smith
Liquor Mart – Fort Smith
Shamrock Liquor – Fort Smith
Fianna Village Liquors – Fort Smith
Vincent’s Fine Wine & Liquor – Texarkana
Khalil’s Pub & Grill – Little Rock
Lake Liquor – Maumelle
Hillcrest Liquor – Little Rock
Crush Wine Bar – North Little Rock
Markham Street Liquor – Little Rock
O’Looney’s – Little Rock
Cork and Bottle – Little Rock
On The Border Wine and Spirits – Fort Smith


8 thoughts on “Scotch Ale for Arkansas Highlanders

  1. Jason Skerbitz says:

    I just found ur blog/site and am very excited to see this thing taking off for u guys. I’ve been drinking me some Kilt Lifters down here at Beef’s Fort Smith (Beef-O-Brady’s) for the last few months, and am LOVING IT!! Ur post & review is pretty much spot on! Great job & Great beer!

  2. Michael says:

    I have to say, Jonas, I really hated this one. Normally, Scotch-style beers are good to me, including some of our local offerings from Vino’s and Bosco’s. This Moylan’s brew is just far too sweet from front to back for me – there’s no balance to the sweetness at all, just a cloying flavor from start to finish. Gotta tell ya, I’ve got genealogy tracing the fam back to Scotland from the 1600’s, and I spent some time in that fair country a few years ago…and this just doesn’t do it for me.

    For the record, the best beer I tried in Scotland was a beer called Ebulum Black – would that we could get that one in Arkansas. Cheers to you!

    1. arbeergeek says:

      Sorry to hear that you didn’t like the beer, Michael. I noticed you said there was no balance to the sweetness, so there is always the chance that your bottle was a little stale…. therefore the hops, that normally add some balance, were turned down. Or, maybe the beer just didn’t cut it – either way – keep drinking beer! Cheers.

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