Founders “Dirty Bastard”
This Scotch Ale (aka ‘Wee Heavy’) is available year-round, and is my personal go-to brew. Aromas are delightfully malty like brown sugar glazed over toasted dark bread. A darker edge adds a touch of chocolate. Brighter notes come across like berries and dried fruits. Additional complexities mimic smoked earth and leather. Hops give a weak touch of herb and spice.
The flavor profile starts with a honey-flavored sweetness over bready malts. Meanwhile, a quick mix of bitter and elements converge for a flavor akin to orange. Fruity notes fill in the middle with suggestions of guava and strawberry. Roasted malts slowly begin to develop into a muted body of milk chocolate, followed by a hint of smoked peat. Hops gently rise on the back-end, stirring up modest herbal flavors paired with a modest bitterness of 50 IBU’s. Finishing flavors give an impression of cola, a drop of vanilla, and one final touch of spice. Mouthfeel delivers a smooth body over a well-rounded body with slightly abrasive carbonation. Alcohol leaves behind footprints of light warmth.
This is a malt-forward ale with simple delivery of a complex arrangement of flavor. Sweetness barely takes the lead, but remains in proper balance to the bitterness. I’ve found 8.5% is the fulcrum between light and heavy, the point at which the detrimental flavors of alcohol don’t impose (so long as malts or hops are there for support). Despite this above-average ABV, the alcohol really hasn’t much negative effect on the palate. This is actually one of the biggest factors which set the Scotch Ale apart from the Scottish Ale. I don’t see enough of this wonderful style, so I continue to happily return to this Dirty Bastard. I recommend it!
Grand Rapids, Michigan