Great Divide Brewing Company Scottish Ale Beer Review
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Overall Rating: 3.5
Blend: Scottish Ale
Brewery: Great Divide Brewing Company
How the brewery describes the beer: Named for a medieval Scottish sword, Claymore Scotch Ale is our tribute to the legendary “Wee Heavy” beers of Scotland. This malty, deep-ruby beauty features lots of caramel sweetness, a reserved hop profile, and a subtle warming character. Unlike its namesake, this beer only requires one hand, but it’ll still make you feel like nobility.
During the late 80s, Brian Dunn spent 5 years overseas building farms in developing countries. Having grown up in a family that appreciated good food and drink, Dunn expanded his knowledge and passion for beer during his travels. Dunn eventually returned to Colorado, started homebrewing and went to graduate school. Upon graduation in 1993, when Denver’s craft beer scene barely existed, he set out to found what would eventually become one of America’s most decorated and celebrated craft breweries.
Beginning with a marketing study and a business plan, Dunn saw an opportunity in Denver’s Ballpark Neighborhood to brew uniquely balanced, flavorful beers. With financial help from family, friends and a loan from the City of Denver, his dream of brewing commercially became reality in 1994.
The brewery started small and in the beginning Dunn was the only full-time employee…brewing, bottling and selling to accounts all in the same day. As the brewery grew, the beer spoke for itself. Dunn’s beers were balanced, flavorful and representative of a lifestyle that is uniquely Colorado. While Great Divide’s ethos may be globally-inspired, our beers are distinctly Denver.
Since 1994 we’ve brewed all sorts of exciting beer styles, added lots of brewing capacity and we’ve assembled a great staff. In 2001, we bought our building – which used to be an old dairy processing plant – and set out for over a decade of exponential growth.
Thanks to our 45 hardworking, creative and passionate employees, Great Divide has grown into what it is today: winner of 17 Great American Beer Festival medals, recipient of 5 World Beer Cup awards, 14th in Ratebeer.com’s 2012 “The Best Brewers in the World” and 7th in Beer Advocate’s 2010 “All-Time Top Brewers.”
The brewing process begins with malted grain. 2-row malted barley is run through the mill, cracking the husk and opening each kernel to expose the enzymes in the endosperm. Once milled, the malt is ready for the mash tun.
The malt is mixed into the mash tun with hot water, allowing the exposed enzymes to begin converting starches into sugars. Once the conversion is complete, the sugary liquid called wort (which becomes the basis of beer) is drained off and transferred to our brew kettle in a process called lautering. The left over malt, referred to as spent grain, is picked up and used by a local cattle farmer to add roughage and nutrition to livestock feed.
Once the wort is in the kettle, heat is applied until it begins to boil. In the early stages of the boil, our brewers add bittering hops. In later stages of the boil, we add flavor and aroma hops, which provide the distinctive citrus, pine and floral hop notes that our hoppy beers are known for. After this process is complete, the wort is whirlpooled to separate the hops from the liquid. The wort is then cooled and transferred to one of our fermentation tanks (those big, shiny behemoths in our tank farm and cellar).
In the fermentation tanks, the wort is mixed with yeast which eagerly gobble up sugars and coverts them into alcohol and CO2 in a stage called primary fermentation. Primary fermentation can take anywhere from 5 to 14 days. Secondary fermentation is called cold conditioning and can take another 2 to 8 weeks, giving our beers the round and balanced character that you’ve come to know from Great Divide.
Once the beer has completed its secondary fermentation, it is filtered and packaged into cases or kegs and shipped out to a neighborhood near you. Our brewing process is a labor of love. If you’re in our neighborhood, we invite you to join a tour and take a first-hand look into the entire brewing process. Come on by; we’d love to show you where great beer is born.
Price: $11/ 6 pack
Would I Buy Again: Yes
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