Traquair House is Scotland’s oldest inhabited house with a history of just over 900 years dating back to 1107 when it was a hunting lodge for Scotland’s royalty. The house is currently owned by Lady Catherine Maxwell Stuart, whose family has been living there since 1491. Traquair House has had a brewery off and on over its long history, with the last one prior to the current one stopping production around 1800. Although the beer produced was used for the staff, residents, and guests of the house. The current brewery, revived in 1965 by Catherine’s father Peter Maxwell Stuart, uses the equipment from that brewery! This includes a 200+ year old copper kettle and oak fermenting vats.
The Traquair House brewery is still a tiny operation, only producing about 900 British Barrels of beer a year. A British barrel is approximately 43.2 US gallons. In US beer barrels, Traquair produces about 1,250 bbls a year. This is a tiny amount. The currently produce two beer: a House Ale and a Jacobite Ale.
Jacobite Ale was brewed in honor of the 250th anniversary of the 1745 Jacobite Rebellion. The Jacobites, which derived their name from the Latin form of James, were Scottish, Irish, and Northern English rebels/revolutionaries who were fighting to return the house of Stuart to the throne of Great Britain after James the II had been deposed from the throne in 1688, allowing his daughter Mary II and her husband William of Orange (The king and queen from which The College William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia derives its name) to claim the throne. 1745 marked the last attempt by the Jacobites to press their claims. They were defeated soundly in 1746.
Jacobite Ale proved so popular that it went into full-time production.
Appearance: Brown, tan head, solid retention.
Aroma: Coffee grounds, toffee, chocolate, light citrus, spicy, tobacco, dark rum.
Taste: Mossy, caramel, oak, tobacco, light coffee, rich earthy and woodsy notes
Overall Impression: Jacobite ale has a long, pleasant finish. For a higher alcohol Scotch ale, this beer isn’t too sweet. It’s fermented fairly dry and is balanced with oak flavors. This is a big, rich, and flavorful ale, one that should be sipped and enjoyed over an extended period of time. You really can’t go wrong with either Traquair ales, but the Jacobite takes things to the next level compared to the House Ale.
Availability: Look for where British beers are sold or where Merchant du Vin imports are carried.
You can read other reviews and more about on my page dedicated to Traquair House.
Note: This was a sample bottle provided by Merchant du Vin.
It is impressive, isn’t it?
Nice article Chris and interesting beer!