BeerAdvocate — Scotch Ales are strong ales, also known as “Wee Heavy.” In the 19th century Scotland, they’d also be known as 160/-, a nomenclature based on the now obsolete shilling currency.
Scotch Ales traditionally go through a long boil in the kettle for a caramelization of the wort. This produces a deep copper to brown in colored brew. Compared to Scottish Ales, they’ll be sweeter and fuller-bodied, and of course higher in alcohol, with a much more pronounced malty caramel and roasted malt flavor. A low tea-like bitterness can be found in many examples. Best served in a “thistle” glass.
Pour Dirty Bastard into a glass and you find a creamy dark khaki head which dissipates quickly. Hold it up to light, and Dirty Bastard exposes a copper top which quickly transforms to a rich mahogany. Upon closer inspection, particularly at the bottom of rastal glassware, you will see a distinct ruby-red coloration.
I did say this beer is complex, and this intricacy begins as soon as you bring the glass to your mouth. The aroma is very hard to describe, but it definitely has hints of dried fruits like apricots or even mangos as well as brown sugar. As you take a sip, there is a roasted, almost smoky quality. It’s at this point you realize, if you didn’t know it already, you are drinking a malty beer.
Carbonation is kept at bay, allowing for a mostly silky smooth finish. You know you are drinking a fairly strong beer, but even so, the alcohol content can definitely sneak up on you. Dirty Bastard clocks in at 8.5% ABV, which will definitely give you a nice buzz if you drink it fairly quickly, as I did while writing this review. This is definitely a beer that transforms with temperature. As with most beers, in this humble reviewer’s opinion, Dirty Bastard is definitely at it’s best when it’s had a chance to warm up a bit. And as that happens, it morphs and changes the balance between all the complex elements.
Founders — So good it’s almost wrong. Dark ruby in color and brewed with seven varieties of imported malts. Complex in finish, with hints of smoke and peat, paired with a malty richness and a right hook of hop power to give it the bad attitude that a beer named Dirty Bastard has to live up to. Ain’t for the wee lads.
I don’t recall the price for a six-pack. This batch of Dirty Bastard was part of Founders’ variety pack, which also includes their Centennial IPA, Pale Ale, and Porter, all of which are excellent. I believe the case went for $41 locally (Southeastern Pennsylvania) which means Dirty Bastard probably runs around $12 for a six-pack. I’ll update the pricing in this article next time I’m at my local Wegmans for a craft beer run.