I poured a 12oz bottle into a mug. It has a best by date of 3/8/14 and cost $2.70 ($0.23 per ounce).
Appearance: Clear, bright shade of copper/burgundy. Pours to an average
size, white, foamy head which mostly dissipates and leaves minor lacing
on the glass.
Smell: General malty aroma with hints of the usual scents for the style. Smells more like an Oktoberfest than a true Scotch Ale.
Taste: Scotch Ales are, in my opinion, an acquired taste. They’re very
rich in character, has a smoky/peaty astringency and tend to be big in
body. Wachusett Winter Ale has those qualities, but with less intensity.
It’s remarkably drinker-friendly, making it a good introductory beer
for those unfamiliar with the style.
The palette starts out with a nice malty flavor, similar to that of an
Oktoberfest with distinct toffee and caramel flavors but without any
lager character at all (as well it shouldn’t since it’s an ale).
Slightly dry bitterness at the crest of the swig with subtle notes of
chocolate and peat moss on the finish. There’s a slight tang or
astringency on the back end, though I wouldn’t considering it a
distraction per se. Hints of butterscotch on the aftertaste, at least
Drinkability: While Wachusett Winter Ale may not be the best Scotch Ale
ever, it’s in contention of the smoothest and most drinkable of the
style I’ve ever had. The mouthfeel is somewhat thick, but soft with a
smooth texture and easy finish. This would be an ideal accompaniment
with cheese, or as an after-dinner beverage or nightcap. Though at only
6.1% ABV it’s not that heavy of a beer, but not light enough to consider
sessioning. A single serving is satisfying.