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Beer – #664 – McLeod’s – Horopito Scotch Ale

Tonight it’s all coming up Millhouse with the McLeod’s Horopito Scotch Ale, a  Wee Heavy, aHeavy vibe, Heavy on the numbers and Heavy petting.

.. the fern had to be batch dried and added after ferment so as to not kill the yeast..

From the keg, a 1 litre bottle of a 7.2% ABV beer , that’s 5.7 standard drink units,  and 216 calories a serving size,

Brewed by McLeod’s Brewery in the style that is the  Scotch Ale and they are in Waipu, New Zealand

The first in a series of Northland-inspired beers, the Traders Scotch Ale includes the native New Zealand fern, horopito.

Horopito was used extensively in traditional Maori medicine, its antiseptic properties made it a diverse cure-all for many ailments.

Squinting like a pro

Squinting like a pro

Due to its antiseptic properties, the fern had to be batch dried and added after ferment so as to not kill the yeast.

This seasonal release pours a rich medium red, with balanced hop character while the horopito adds an earthy, almost smoky aroma and peppery, smooth mouthfeel.

So take your medicine, drink up and enjoy this delightful malty monster.

So, what could possibly go wrong?

I thought that this was lighter than other Scotch Ales I’ve had, but then I had another look and it’s pretty dark as beers go.

There is a lovely lemony type aroma on opening which then settles to a sweet smooth thing that is just real pleasant.

Lovely grassy aromatic in the pint glass that I got out specially, and the had that was is now a full over film. Really enjoying that grassy zinger of an aroma.

Taste is a very full mouth experience, big wash of bitterness, and quite a tart and dry finish.

Peppery might be right, but also it might be an alcohol tang, let me mull on that a bit, seems early in the piece to be picking up an alcohol note I think.

McLeod’s Horopito Scotch AleBut naturally I’m wrong and this is far more interesting with that really unusual taste note being, at a guess, the addition of the exotic Horopito herb which is adding the peppery heat thing.

Which just leads to the question of how good is it?, or perhaps, does it even work? To which I might answer that this beer, as it warms (Also know as as I drink more) evolves and changes so that flavours soften and sharpen, the caramel becomes stronger, the finish softer, the bitterness the same though, and that is a good thing.

MrsPhil just commented that I was making a lot of noise drinking this, and asked if I was enjoying it?, That’s that changing taste thing and trying to get my tongue around it. Might be that I’m struggling with this but don’t want to give up on it.

I finished the first pint, of two, and it finishes with a sweet floral aromaticness, but it’s not something that I’m really looking forward to getting into again for no reason. I’m going to leave it it a few minutes and come back

/ interlude for the biannual Friday Fish and Chips\

And we’re back …  after a salt and vinegar chips and fish dinner, it’s important to preface that my next pint, the mouthfeel and taste – much the same, a rather peculiar drinking beer  that has all the malt and bitterness and a rather full mouthful of the unusual, but not off, middle bit that is sort of spice and pepper without being so much that, enough to be a distraction and a rude counterpoint to the mellower parts of this beer.

But what a beer, full of wonder and intrigue, the same but a bit different , not reliant on the malt content to bring you back, not reliant on a balance of hops to bright up the palate, but just that little bit different and odd.  Enough to make it one of those love/hate beers possibly.

The pdubyah-o-meter rates this as 8 of its things from the thing. 8 is very good as beers go, and whilst I might be enthusiastic and then maudlin about it the overall result for me is that this is good but challenging to drink, and I love a challenge.

The double dip review

  • Am I enjoying it? This is such a beer, there is a myriad of unfolding things, I am one mouthful and then not so much the next.
  • Would I have another? I had two, I’d probably last another before crying off.
  • Would I share with a friend on a porch and set the world to rights? I would because this has a brilliant back story of the Horopito, and it sets up a beer that is enjoyable and challenging and rewarding.

Music for this: I was thinking Northern Soul, which would have been a miss in so many ways, but I did settle on  the ” Robert Cray Band ”  and ” In my soul ” of course on the Spotify


Scotch Ale was the name given to a strong pale ale from Edinburgh in the 19th century. This was typical of the strong pale ales brewed in Britain at that time – mainly pale barley malt and moderate hopping, and were not that stylistically different to English Strong Ales or Barley Wines. The name however became regionalised so that a strong pale ale from Scotland became known as a Scotch Ale or Wee Heavy. Beers using the designation Scotch Ale are popular in the USA where most examples are brewed locally. Examples of beers brewed in the USA under the name Wee Heavy tend to be 7% abv and higher, while Scottish brewed examples, such as Belhavens Wee Heavy, are typically between 5.5% and 6.5% abv.


2 comments on “Beer – #664 – McLeod’s – Horopito Scotch Ale

  1. Pingback: Delicious Christmas Recipes For Homemade Drinks | deliciousmustards.com Food Magazine

  2. Pingback: Homemade Christmas Drinks Recipes

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