While some reviewers on the internet talked about a modest head, my very aggressive pour resulted in little more than a modest dusting of off white head which dissipated virtually instantly leaving little if any lacing. The carbonation was modest and reasonably long-lived but it's only visible when held up to a bright light. Of course, that's because of the extraordinarily deep red colour that is so rich and dark as to render the ale virtually opaque.
A sweet, malty aroma carried through to the flavour - malt, bittersweet chocolate and some molasses, caramel or maple. Thankfully, the flavour, while powerful and sweet was strong but not cloying. As a matter of fact, the tongue feel and the after taste was quite pleasant. The carbonation, the sweetness and the body of the beer somehow conspired to leave a very pleasant overall coating on the tongue that I've never really experienced before. For those with a scientific bent that might attach some meaning to this, the sensation was most pronounced at the back sides of the tongue.
Have a care ... we're talking 8% alcohol by volume here so it's easy to imagine reaching your initial buzz from only a single sampling.
Enjoy. Definitely recommended as a one-off sipper (dare I say, like a glass of Scotch). This beer is simply too sweet and too strong to recommend as an all-nighter session beer during an evening out with the boys. I'll also add the disclaimer that this beer is not for everybody ... everyone's unique taste buds will react to this level of sweetness differently. I save one reviewer who likened it to cough syrup, LOL, so be warned!
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William McEwan opened the Fountain Brewery in 1856, in the Fountainbridge area of Edinburgh. By the time it became in public company in 1889, the brewery was valued at £1 million. At the beginning of the 1900s, the brewery had a large share of the market throughout Scotland and north-east England, and was exporting to Australia, New Zealand, India and South Africa. McEwan's merged with William Younger's Brewery (founded in Edinburgh in 1749) in 1931, becoming Scottish Brewers. The company merged again in 1960, joining with Newcastle Breweries to form Scottish & Newcastle.
In February 2004 Scottish & Newcastle announced the closure of McEwan's Brewery, at the same time as partially buying Caledonian Brewery in Slateford, Edinburgh. McEwan's brewery finally closed in June 2005, with production of the McEwan's keg beers being transferred to Caledonian and cans of Mcewans export now being brewed in England at Dunston brewery. .