Not Quite Excalibur

Brewery and Country of Origin: Great Divide Brewing Company of 2201 Arapahoe Street, Denver, CO, 80205, USA

Date Reviewed: 9-16-12

This perennial offering out of The Centennial State pays tribute to a large two handed longsword originating from Scotland during the late medieval period. The sword was a powerful tool which, in the right or wrong hands could be used with potentially catastrophic results. The blade was 45 inches in length, double edged, and weighed about five pounds, making it agile as well as sizable. And though it was lighter than most, it was used with both hands, enabling it to deliver maximum striking power as well as the ability to make quick, repeated blows. The weapon was used by the Highlanders for three centuries until the early 1700s, and the name today (from Gaelic claidheamh mor meaning great sword) is still used to name military ships, a globally used anti-personnel mine, a small town in Wales, and a strong Scottish ale from Great Divide. Like its namesake, this beer is as strong and Scottish as any Highlander would approve, and not taking this beer seriously will most likely bring monumental consequences.
Date Sampled: 9-07-12 At: 7 Prescott Place, Allston, Boston, MA, 02134, USA
Beer Style: Scotch Ale/Wee Heavy
Alcohol by Volume: 7.70%
Serving Type: 12 oz Bottle, 16 oz Stange Glass
Rating: 3.42


Claymore features a dark brownish color with a clear, yet somewhat dull glow. The beer pours smooth with little carbonation action, giving it a thin, weak foam head with low retention. There is some lacing on the glass with this beer, but it doesn't last for a long time.


This beer has a malt filled smell, dominated by darker caramel and coffee roasted grains. There is almost no hops presence, as reflected in the overall flavor. Despite a relatively high alcoholic content, there is only very little evidence of this in the aroma.


This is a medium full bodied beer with a high viscosity, a low level of carbonation, and a smooth feel overall. This beer's relatively high alcoholic content gives it a cold weather enhancing warming effect. A somewhat dry finish closes out this stronger, bold beer.


As promised with the aroma, this is a very malty beer full of coffee and sweet caramel malt flavors. Dominated by darker grain, this heavy brew covers most of its alcoholic presence (but still noticeable), contains almost no hoppy flavors, and finishes with a short lived roasted character.

Our Take

A genuine tribute to a very traditional and bold beer style, the Claymore is a great beer for colder nights and the fall and winter seasons. As the summer comes to a close, the beaches no longer look fun, and summer ales are disappearing from the shelves, expect to see more of these heavier, malty, and higher ABV content beers with the changing seasons. And as we stated earlier, though this beer has an above average alcoholic content, it can be easy to get too ahead of yourself in the rich, malty disguise which leaves the normal drinker wondering where it has all gone (or if the label is fibbing). But don't let this beer's rather forgiving presence fool you. Too many of these too quickly will send you straight to the nearest porcelian God. But if you do drink responsibly, you're a fan of fall and winter beers, and you know to respect a good, solid beer when you should come across one, the Claymore is definitely going to put a smile on your face. And if you're saddened by the recent departure of your summer and your favorite hot weather seasonal brew, you might want to look elsewhere for any amelioration. As any soldier in the Glorious Revolution will tell you, a Claymore on the shelf is much better than one in your chest.