Heather Ales: Alba Scots Pine Ale (Scotland: Traditional Ale:  7.5% ABV)

Visual: A darkened amber Irn Bru colour. Good sized heather coloured bubbled head and a fair pace of small carbonated bubbles.

Nose: Fresh lime jelly, tiny acidity. Strawberry jam. Pine cones and resin. Syrup. A very sweet set. Light wheat.

Body: Very sweet, fudge. Liquorice. Gooseberry and resin. Sharp citrus flavours – lime. Quite the malt core. Woodland imagery called to mind. Slight bready character. Strawberry jelly.

Finish: Fluffy, liquorice and wheat. Big malt loaf and dry bitter touches. Dry bitter touches. Pine needles. Ground dirt. Milk chocolate.

Conclusion: A real puzzler of a beer this one.  Sweet syrup nose that’s filled with fruit, but makes you think you’re in for a fun, but pretty standard beer. Thus the tales of a pine ale seems to be more a marketing ploy that an important element of the beer initially.

The body then, comes as a surprise with the woodland influences making themselves fully known. It’s still sweet with almost Belgium blond style characteristics, and the fruit jelly touches still being there at the back.  The contrast between the nigh artificial flavouring jelly imagery and the dirt and woodland style creates a striking counterbalance of the flavours into a bitter end.

Overall this works and works well, with the woodland flavours winning out in the finish.  For once an interesting traditional ale experiment that also brings it as a good quality ale as itself.

Background: Thanks to Dylan for the Christmas gift of this beer.  Heather ales seem to do a set of beers patterned on old brewing styles. This beer is listed by the description as being introduced by Vikings, and that spruce and pine ales were used to prevent introduction of scurvy. All interesting touches in the background of this ale