Alba Scots Pine Ale

Alba Scots Pine Ale

Rated 3.449 by BeerPals

Brewed by Williams Brothers (Heather Ales)

Kelliebank, Alloa, United Kingdom

Style:  Scottish Ale

7.5% Alcohol by Volume

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Introduced by the Vikings, spruce and pine ales were very popular in the Scottish Highlands until the end of the 19th century. Many early explorers, including Captain Cook, used spruce ale during long sea voyages since it prevented scurvy and ill health. Shetland spruce ale was said to "stimulate animal instincts" and give you twins. Alba is a triple style ale brewed to a traditional Highland recipe from Scots pine and spruce shoots pickled during early spring. Pure malted barley, is boiled with the young sprigs of pine for several hours then the fresh shoots of the spruce are added for a short infusion before fermentation. A tawny brown strong ale with spruce aroma, rich malt texture, complex wood flavour and lingering finish.

ID: 10597 Last updated 1 year ago Added to database 19 years ago

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Overall Rank4304
Overall Percentile92
Style Rank84 of 680
Style Percentile87.6
Lowest Score2.5
Highest Score4.4
Average Score3.478
Weighted Score3.449
Standard Deviation0.504

Rating Distribution

Beer vs Style

46 Member Reviews

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  • RICHSBEER 1928 reviews
    rated 3.2 11 years ago

    Aroma: 7 | Appearance: 7 | Mouthfeel: 6 | Flavor: 6 | Overall: 6

    Pours a very cloudy pale orangish/amber color with a small off-white head with a creamy looking lacing. The aroma has a strong scent of pine and herbal notes. Nothing else stands out. The taste has a very strange sweetness to it, like pine sap, but it's good. Very herbal along with a strong honey flavor. Maybe a little bit of lemon citrus? The alcohol doesn't show through too much and has a mild bitter finish. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with low carbonation.

  • RJA 2975 reviews
    rated 3.2 12 years ago

    Aroma: 5 | Appearance: 7 | Mouthfeel: 7 | Flavor: 7 | Overall: 6

    A bright amber colored beer with a small frothy textured, white head rising oh so briefly above. Settles into a barely noticeable soapy ringlet. Despite the nameI don’t get any pine. I get a lot of sweetness, maybe some candy sweetness in both the nose and more forcibly in the taste. A medium to medium thick beer with a resin syrupness on the palate. Certainly different, but by far not the preferred of the historical Scottish ales I’ve tried to date.

  • HONKEYMOFO 1000 reviews
    rated 3.8 13 years ago

    Aroma: 7 | Appearance: 8 | Mouthfeel: 7 | Flavor: 8 | Overall: 8

    It pours a hazy dark-amber with no head and a ring of lace. An aroma of caramel malts, hops, cinnamon applesauce, citrus blend, brown sugar, plums, and spices. The mouthfeel is smooth, zesty, and rich. Flavors of caramel malts, hops, cinnamon applesauce, orange/citrus, brown sugar, plums, and an excellent sting of spices. Wow!!! .. although not noticing too much pine.

  • MIKET 200 reviews
    rated 3.8 14 years ago

    Aroma: 7 | Appearance: 8 | Mouthfeel: 7 | Flavor: 8 | Overall: 8

    Pours a nice rosy/amber/orange.... well whatever color it is it looks nice, with a small, creamy off white head. The small head does stick around for a bit though and leaves some light lacing. Aroma is primarily malty, faint sweetness with some pine. Good flavour from the pine, I had no idea this was a 7.5% until I looked at the bottle, the alcohol is extremely well hidden with just a hint in the flavour. Medium mouth and carbonation. Interesting beer, It's unique, I like it.

  • MITCHFORGIE 683 reviews
    rated 4.2 14 years ago

    Aroma: 7 | Appearance: 8 | Mouthfeel: 9 | Flavor: 9 | Overall: 9

    This ale is fantastic, definatly a departure from what you may have imagined infact. Initially I thought it would be quite sweet, maybe have a rain like freshness and then a taste of pine, similair to a pine infused tea. This was not completely the reality. It was quite bitter but I found the malt to be reminiscient of tree resin, perhaps from the spruce shoots and not the malt. Definative dry taste to it, the pine was noticeable on the nose. Light carbonation probably contributed to the drinkable element in this beer, and the 7.5% was lost in all the flavours. Fantastic, I would love more of this and would love to try a few other brewers takes on this, if they exist...

  • BLUESANDBARBQ 2568 reviews
    rated 3.6 14 years ago

    Aroma: 6 | Appearance: 8 | Mouthfeel: 7 | Flavor: 8 | Overall: 7

    Very different - pours a murky light butterscotch color with little head and no lacing. Very little carbonation. Sweet malty aromas with an almost sour butterscotch presence accented by a touch of spruce and oranges. Taste is at first sweet with a thickish mouthfeel, then the very slight sourish buttery flavor with a touch citrus. Unusual but tasty.

  • KAIJAPSKA 67 reviews
    rated 4.4 14 years ago

    Aroma: 8 | Appearance: 9 | Mouthfeel: 9 | Flavor: 9 | Overall: 9

    An unusual combo, but it worked for me. They say it is an old method of flavouring beer in Scotland, and I say bring on more. Lovely aroma and flavour.

  • JABAH 1780 reviews
    rated 2.5 14 years ago

    Aroma: 5 | Appearance: 5 | Mouthfeel: 5 | Flavor: 5 | Overall: 5

    Best Before June 2009: After trying a couple other beers from Heather (Elderberry and Gooseberry), I decided to give this a try. Not sure if this is a little past age (only 2-3 months?), or just has a slight sour taste to it...but I'm not diggin' it. I can kind of see where they are going with this, and I like trying new stuff and reading the history and all. Now I can say that I tried, but don't think I'd pony up the $2 and change again for this. Got a decent buzz though from the 7.5%.

  • LENUSIK 2067 reviews
    rated 3.1 14 years ago

    Aroma: 7 | Appearance: 6 | Mouthfeel: 6 | Flavor: 6 | Overall: 6

    This is a hazy gold pour with a thinj loose white head. The aroma is earthy, almost saison-like with hints of pine and grainy malt. The flavour is mild with no strong presence coming through. One cast taste the malt and citrus tones throughout

  • CYBERCAT 11711 reviews
    rated 4.3 14 years ago

    Aroma: 8 | Appearance: 9 | Mouthfeel: 8 | Flavor: 9 | Overall: 9

    Has a nice clear amber ale-ish color, typical but good. Aroma is malty with strong fruit and spicy hints and some hop tone. Flavor is strong, both malty and hoppy, with an overtone rather like the way a pine tree smells. Bitterness is minimal. This is unlike any ale I have ever tasted, pleasant and distinctive.

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