Counter Culture ‘Dark Unicorn’ Salted Choc Scotch Ale


“According to age-old accounts, at the drawing of each winter, the Dark Unicorn makes its way down from the cliffs and into the towns to deliver strength to the Scottish people to carry on through the final dark days of the long, cold season. Taking inspiration from this tale of power and majesty, Counter Culture presents Dark Unicorn: a malt driven scotch ale, aged in Starward Whiskey barrels with lashings of Chocolate a touch of salt and an ABV of 7.6%. The perfect companion for winter’s last cold days, capture the magic of Dark Unicorn while you can, for it may not be seen this way again.”

Glassware: Tulip.

Appearance: Deep amber with an evident candy red tint. A tan head swells to about a thumb in height before gradually peeling off. It weaves a nice wavy lace down the walls of the glass.

Aroma: At first it’s a proper malt bomb…oodles of toffee and salted caramel, cocoa powder, doughy bread, golden raisins and honeysuckle but as it settles the slightly peaty and ashy Scotch begins to creep through – albeit conservatively. A very muted hop character provides hints of dank and earthy herbs, orchard fruits and woody notes. Not bad, could do with a stronger Scotch profile though.

Flavour: Follows on from the nose. A blend of sweet, toasty and chocolate malts which display burnt toffee, salted caramel, cooking chocolate, burnt toast, dark fruits and tobacco. The Scotch eventually enters the fray with soft ash and peat and the old world hops bring a certain ESB/English strong ale quality of old woody notes and musky florals. Nice roasty/toasty finish with a lingering hop dryness.

Mouthfeel: Pretty slick and chewy. A definite dryness developing in the swallow. Medium body, mild-medium Co2. The 7.6% ABV is pretty well concealed.

Overall: Not a whole lot of Scotch in this Scotch Ale. Lucky the adjuncts work in really well! At its core it’s a good beer though…comes off like an English strong ale with the Scotch qualities a little restrained. Not bad.