Sunday, 25 December 2011

Scottish Brewing History Lesson #4-Alba Scots Pine Ale

Alba is a Scots Pine Ale, which means it is brewed using pine and spruce sprigs rather than hops.  It is a slightly cloudy, brownish ale topped by a foamy head.  It looks deceptively like a pint of bitter.  However, one whiff tells you that this brew is a wholly different animal.
Alba contains a mighty 7.5% alcohol and it shows.  Actually, more than anything, it smells.  The beer has a strong aroma of malt and alcohol.  There is some pine notes, but these are understated.  Similarly, the evergreen flavour I was expecting was less than dominant.  Rather, the flavour was reminiscent of a Belgian abby--extremely malty with a high alcohol content.  There are brown sugar notes, as well as butter and a bit of raisin living alongside the slight foresty taste of pine.  The aftertaste is where this beer shows its high alcohol content most--it tastes a bit warm.

This is not a particularly drinkable beer, but it's pretty smooth.  It is solid, interesting and definitely worth sampling.

Happy Holidays from the Stout Man.  Drink responsibly, but drink.

Rating: 7.5 out of 10.

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