Home > Scotch Ale / Wee Heavy, Traditional Ale > Renaissance Stonecutter Scotch Ale (286 of 1001)

Renaissance Stonecutter Scotch Ale (286 of 1001)

Rating: 3.9

My first beer from New Zealand in quite a while now, this one is yet another that features on the 1001 beers list and is from a brewery start by two brother-in-laws from California in 2005. Last year was also the brewery’s best with them winning ‘Champion International Brewery’ at the Australian International Beer Awards as well as being named ‘New Zealand Champion Brewery’ as well in the same year. This beer, their Stonecutter Scotch Ale is one of the first beers the brewery produced and is known as the ‘red wine’ of their range, a 7% beer whose class is complimented by the elegant label design on the bottle. I spotted this bottle in my local bottle shop, Good Spirits Co. in the run up to Christmas and was almost put off by the price but changed my mind at the last minute since the bottle looked so good and as I’ve said already, it’s not often I get to try a new beer from New Zealand with this one being only my fifth from the country and my first since reviewing Steinglager Classic back in May last year. Hopefully this one, a beer that follows on from Epic Mayhem as only my second New Zealand beer from the 1001 beers list, will prove to have been worth the wait and the price I paid for the bottle; lets find out if it was.

Renaissance Stonecutter Scotch Ale

Appearance (4/5): Pouring a very nice, deep copper colour with a touch of mahogany, the beer is topped with a two centimetre tall, bubbly white head that holds better than I expected judging by it’s look just as I poured it. It slowly fades over the course of the opening thirty seconds to leave a fine surface lacing with more build up around the edges before eventually turning patchy a minute or so lager.
Aroma (9/10): Sweet on the nose and very rich, this one has a lot of ripe fruits coming through early one with some caramel malts and toffee backing them up. There is a slightly nutty smell to the beer at times but the sweetness is what dominates, some figs, plums, raisins and berries coming through with various of dark fruits sitting at the back and a peaty, malt like aroma seeing things out.
Taste (7/10): Quite sweet initially but not quite as in your face as the nose, there is some caramel malts and sugar with a little toffee in there as well before the darker fruits come to the front. Like the nose there is some raisin and figs with a little plum too, some touches of alcohol appear to be present as well. Peaty malt flavours follow along with further sweetness and alcohol see things out.
Palate (4/5): Very sweet on the palate, the body is about medium with quite a complex array of flavours. There is a little more alcohol coming through than I would have expected, perhaps the sweetness is showing it up more than would otherwise have been the case. The beers carbonation levels were about average, maybe a little lower than I was expecting and beer feels quite soft with a slightly dry finish.

Overall (14/20): Quite a nice first beer from Renaissance Brewing for me, I’m never quite sure about Scotch Ales going in due to the fact that most of the mass-produced Scotch Ales out there are quite poor and loaded with alcohol, at least in my experience anyway but this one was a pleasant beer to sip away at. There was a lot going on, particularly with the smell but the beer had a good balance that stopped it from seeming overly sweet or sickening; good stuff but probably not one I’d be likely to pick up again.

Brewed In: Blenheim, New Zealand
Brewery: Renaissance Brewing
First Brewed: 2005
Type: Scotch Ale
Abv: 7.0%
Serving: Bottle (500ml)
Purchased: Good Spirits Co. (Glasgow)
Price: £5.80

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