Ballast Point Piper Down is considered a Scottish Ale. This style of beer is typically noted for being less hoppy and more malt centered than most English or American ales. Piper Down is no exception. This is a malt forward beer with very little hop taste. Piper Down had been available at tasting rooms at Ballast Point breweries but is finally available in 22-ounce bottles. I was happy to see one for sale at Servall Liquor for $5.50, so I picked it up, along with a cigar to enjoy my night.
The beer poured a dark amber color. You could barely see light through the beer but you could see that the beer was not hazy at all. The cascading carbonation pushed up a tan head that left a nice thin layer throughout the length of the pour that left a nice lacing down the entire glass.
The aroma was of crystal malts, molasses, caramelized sugar and nutty. I got more of the nutty aroma as the beer warmed up. The taste was sweet with caramel, brown sugar, nuts, smoke and a slight hop spice. The flavors of the beer were quite nice. This beer was sweet, but not as sweet as some others I have had. I have had Old Chub by Oskar Blues, and it tends to be over sweet. This one was not annoyingly sweet.
After a few more sips, I noticed that the mouth on Piper Down was smooth. The carbonation was low and felt slightly sticky. The alcohol is 8.5%, but you would not know it from tasting it.
Piper Down is a decent Scottish Ale, but not one of the better ones I have had. The price is very reasonable but if you want a better beer for the style, I recommend Wee Heavy by AleSmith or Bellhaven’s Scottish Ale.
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