I try to review beers that are available locally, whenever possible. I was surprised to find this one recently at a local retailer and thought I’d share my thoughts. Moylan’s Kilt Lifter has won several awards over the years in California and elsewhere and offers a unique perspective on the Scotch ale style. Here is my review, from notes, for your consideration.


This scotch-style ale pours a slightly hazy, orange-amber color with a whipped cream-like head of pale tan that is persistent. Sheets of lacing stick to the inner rim of the glassware as the head of foam slowly subsides.

The nose betrays what makes this beer interesting – there is a subtle earthiness that leaves a slight twang in the nose, not unlike a single-malt scotch whiskey. Dancing around the base of roasted caramel malt and delicate fruitiness from the yeast, the distinct aroma of peat is revealed.

The palate is likewise interesting, yet somewhat lighter and thinner than I’d hoped for. A decent backbone of roasted malts intermingle with the earthy peat notes you’d expect from a scotch ale/wee heavy. There is a faint astringency present here as well, lending to the dry character of this beer. Dryer than what I’ve come to expect for the style as well. Only light bitterness and virtually no detectable alcohol despite the 8% ABV. In flavor, this beer has more in common with a Scottish ale than it does with a Scotch ale, to my taste.

My biggest knock on this beer is it’s relatively thin mouth feel and slight over-carbonation. These don’t combine to make a bad beer, by any means, but they do make this particular beer deviate from the style parameters somewhat. I’d suggest letting this one warm to cellar/ambient temperature before drinking, as this seems to help round the beer out just a bit. Over all, an enjoyable “scotch light” ale. If you’re not accustomed to tasting peat in a beer, this is a good place to start since the peat character is kept subdued. Worth a try, for sure.


Available in 22oz. bombers.

  1. Rob says:

    Funny, I had one of these tonight (12 oz – they’re also available in sixers). Odd too, that such a small local brewpub would be representing so far afield (of course, I’ve never bothered to check if they’re contract brewed anywhere else, being as lazy as I am). I think the younger you have this beer – on tap at the pub, preferably – the sweet malty scotchiness comes through best. Bottled versions dry and thin a bit, it seems. I’d be curious how old the bottle you had was.

    And I’m not convinced they use peated malt, but I’ll taste it again some other time with that in mind. Come visit and I’ll run you up to the pub.

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