1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Black Cat - Moorhouse's Brewery (Burnley) Ltd

Not Rated.
Black CatBlack Cat

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

200 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 200
Reviews: 162
rAvg: 3.84
pDev: 11.2%
Wants: 30
Gots: 2 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Moorhouse's Brewery (Burnley) Ltd visit their website
United Kingdom (England)

Style | ABV
English Dark Mild Ale |  3.40% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 03-26-2002)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Black Cat Alström Bros
Ratings: 200 | Reviews: 162 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of texashammer
3.23/5  rDev -15.9%

reviewed on cask at salisbury winterfest. dark ale with thin head that fades quickly, with nice ruby tones. roasty flavors in the nose give way to coffee and chocolate, some fruitiness. a little sweet in the finish, not enough balance provided by hops.

texashammer, Feb 09, 2006
Photo of NClifestyle
3.85/5  rDev +0.3%

a great mild english ale. easy to drink, but enough flavor and mouthfeel to keep you interested.
looks quite dark brown, some head that leaves rather quickly. no lace.
smell is sweet, malt, cocoa/caramel.
taste is similar to a brown, without any hint of nutty flavor, malty and tingly sweet. just a tinge of hop bite in the back of the mouth.
thin to medium, but creamy and extremely smooth.
very little alcohol with a nice dose of taste gives a high drinkability score. good stuff.


NClifestyle, Jan 09, 2006
Photo of WesWes
3.63/5  rDev -5.5%

The beer pours a dark brown color with a thick frothy tan head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is good. It has a rich and creamy malt scent that is sweet and smelling of burnt toffee. The taste is decent. It has a smooth black and crystal malt flavor that goes down easy and finishes dry and bitter. It's light and easy drinking, but lacking a rich malt presence. The mouthfeel is decent also. It is a medium bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a decent beer, but nothing special. It has pretty good flavor, but lacking in body.

WesWes, Jan 06, 2006
Photo of Schwarzbart
3.98/5  rDev +3.6%

Not much head when poured, but there is a pillowy fluffy ring that stays around the outside edge that provided good lacing. I thought maybe the glass had some soap residue which provided the odd fluffy ring, so I poured the other half of the beer in another glass which I made sure was clean and it did the same thing. The pillowy ring reminded me a little bit like blow bubble solution that had been slightly shaken. The beer was also dark, but clear like a cola that had gone flat. Smell was heavy in the roasted malts section with some molasses and also a hint of black licorice. Taste was of roasted malts, a little sweet and slightly astringent. Mouthfeel was thin and smooth. An interesting beer that I'll beer eager to try again to see if it tastes the same.

Schwarzbart, Dec 07, 2005
Photo of BitterBrian
2.58/5  rDev -32.8%

Appearance - poured into pint glass a burnt brown with a half inch off-white head. Looks pretty much like a cola. Head disappeared quickly and left some decent lacing.

Smell - Definite malt presence, toffee and pine. It smells like the house after you wrestle the christmas tree in place. The malts smell sweet though.

Taste - The first taste was a chocalatey malts, but they fade quickly leaving a watery feel. Back of the throat also felt like I was drinking an overly carbonated cola.

Finish - Did I just drink a beer? Why do I feel like brushing my teeth now?

Overall, wouldn't buy this again. It says on the label that it won awards. . . in 1998. At first it was reminiscent of the looks and feel of Xingu and the taste of a brown ale, but that faded as quickly as the taste. blah.

BitterBrian, Nov 16, 2005
Photo of Frozensoul327
4.22/5  rDev +9.9%

Good beer. Poured out to a deep cherry mahogony color with a good head of about 1/2 inch. Lace is well formed around the interior of the glass. Aromas of toffee, caramel, sweet herbs, earth and some woodiness are present. Taste is very quaffable yet still mild and complex. Flavors of mild malts and cocoa mix with some pepper and earth. Finish is slightly zesty and sweet. Nice. Mouthfeel is calm and mild, very easy going down. Drinkability is good; low ABV makes it possible to put a couple of bottles back without any guilty feelings or a heavy stomach. A very good mild ale. Recommended.

Frozensoul327, Nov 14, 2005
Photo of smcolw
2.93/5  rDev -23.7%

Quickly dying head, some lace; a color just on the pale side of a dry stout.

Very mild smell. Nearly no hop, some darker malt aromas. For me, I smell mostly the refridgerator.

Tastes like a very thin stout. Very thin body for the color and smell. High carbonation. The initial sip has hints of chocolate, the swallow has a sprig of hops. Rather bland aftertaste, although I detect some coffee flavors.

This is a step up from Michelob Dark, but shares many of the characteristics. If this is a Mild, it is very dark and still fairly thin. If this is anything else, it falls short of expectations.

smcolw, Oct 30, 2005
Photo of Backer2004
3.55/5  rDev -7.6%

Hmmmm . . . I can't really compare it to other milds, since I'm unsure if I've ever had the style before. Served a bit on the warm side, no real hoppiness, a bit of a fruit smell. Sweet with no carbonation or head. Smooth mouthfeel and rather easy to finish off. May try this gain but if I see this one out at a restaurant, then I figure the selection will be too good to just go for this one.

Backer2004, Oct 10, 2005
Photo of Beertracker
4.15/5  rDev +8.1%

Black Cat should be served at cellar temperatures (50-55F) from a traditional pear shaped pint glass. This Mild Ale pours up soft with moderate carbonation into what I would define as, "The Perfect Pint." Black Cat has a beautiful deep mahogany color topped with a tight tannish-brown head. This one makes a person thirsty just gazing upon a full glass.

The "dusty" maltiness is predominate in the aroma with just a hint of fruitiness and maybe a whisper of floral hops. As this one warms, the wonderful aromatics begin emerging more readily. The flavor starts off slightly chewy with some nice buttery treacle & licorice notes in the background and then finishes slightly dry. The body is light-medium with a very smooth silkiness to it. The depth of character and complexity is truly amazing for such a small beer! If I had to make a simple comparison, I would swear that this ale is Theakston Old Peculier's little brother.

After having enjoyed a pint of Black Cat, it's very easy for me to understand why it has won so many CAMRA awards and why it was the Champion Mild of Britain in 1998. Enjoy Black Cat anytime as a restorative or paired with a hearty plate of traditional bangers & mash. Don't be superstitous about this Black Cat!

CHEERS! Beertracker

Beertracker, Sep 05, 2005
Photo of blitheringidiot
3.9/5  rDev +1.6%

Puuurrrr-ple black with glints of light escaping. Frothy lace laden head cap with little bubbles on top.

Blackberry scents & graint notes, Sugar scents.

First swigs: Smooth burnt carameland table sugar sweet. Mixed fruit of red cherry and black grape. Grainy with a touch od charcol & tobacco. Slightly chalky with lingering aftertaste.

Silky feel nearly chocolately smooth with medium body.

Last swigs: Sweet molasses malts. Nearly milk stout but lighter and cocoa taste.

Beer is good. Happy beering.

blitheringidiot, Feb 22, 2005
Photo of oberon
3.95/5  rDev +2.9%

Pours a near black color but with some ruby highlights shining thru in a few places with a nice creamy off white head,some caramel and brown sugar in the aromas with a lighter earthy not becoming more prevelant as it warms.There is some complexity to this ale some earthy notes up front with some fruit and caramel melding nicely in the finish.A very nice soft well rounded mild here one of the better I have had to date,I think this is the way all milds should be.

oberon, Jan 27, 2005
Photo of UncleJimbo
3.58/5  rDev -6.8%

Sampled on cask at the Priory Arms, Oct. 2004.

This beer poured a dark, almost opaque black with red around the edges. The foam was light brown and sudsy and settled after lingering a while. The smell was malty with a bit of caramel and a hint of sourness. The taste was sweetish and malty with some tanginess and a touch of licorice. The hoppiness was modest. The mouthfeel was smooth with medium body and low carbonation. The aftertaste was malty and slightly bitter. This was an OK Mild Ale.

UncleJimbo, Dec 07, 2004
Photo of shapudding
3.9/5  rDev +1.6%

Very dark and clear ruby brown, with a very thick and creamy beige head. Very wonderfully nice sour scent. The first sip bites your tongue at the sides. Bery nice malty flavors, toasty and good. Pretty balanced and very nicely drinkable. Leaves a nice malty tingle on your tongue for a moment, with the flavors staying around for a bit. Not too think, just enough body there to make it feel good. Perfect amount of carbination. Would like it more if there was a bit more going on flavor-wise.

shapudding, Dec 06, 2004
Photo of RedDiamond
3.45/5  rDev -10.2%

Black Cat was once judged Supreme Champion at the Great British Beer Festival – a momentous achievement, especially for a mild ale. I’m sure the half-liter bottle I drank had lost a bit of character after crossing both an ocean and a continent, but the essence of Black Cat did come through with a faintly dry-stout flavor and an intriguing complexity suggesting both peat and molasses. The aftertaste has a welcome tendency to linger with notes of coffee and cola nut, and a slight touch of smoke.

My Black Cat delivered fair head and lace. I found the body a bit thin, but that may be expected for this most un-American of styles – a mild ale. A beer this dependant upon subtlety and nuance is not likely to travel well. But Black Cat did tend to grow on me and I’d love to try this at the source in jolly old England.

RedDiamond, Nov 29, 2004
Photo of pezoids
4.38/5  rDev +14.1%

This was dark brown in color with burgundy highlights and was topped with a thinning head of coffee and cream colored foam. The aroma is inviting and softly complex. Smoky, almost ashy notes with caramel and toffee, cherries, candy and cake-like. Smells sort of like a freshly baked and warm chocolate pound cake. The taste is smooth, creamy and sweet. Dark roasted grains with hints of vanilla and licorice. The body is a bit light and watery, but flavorful. Overall, this comes across as an easy drinking and very enticing dark ale. Not overly heavy or sweet. Just perfect.

pezoids, Nov 04, 2004
Photo of Brian700
3.88/5  rDev +1%

Pours dark with a light tan head that sits about 1/4" tall.
Smells almost peppery and burnt. Taste a little like chocolate. Sort of reminds me of a tootsy roll not very hoppy. Decent mouthfeel. Good carbonation and a medium body. Overall a very drinkable beer.

Brian700, Oct 09, 2004
Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.1/5  rDev +6.8%

Tobacco leaf brown suffused with red, topped by a creamy, pitting head the color of the inside of a malted milk ball. Sufficient blown fiberglass-like lace stubbornly sticks to the opposite side of the glass. The nose is gently dark malty with more than a hint of cocoa and less than a hint of English hops.

Black Cat is pretty flavorful stuff given the shockingly low ABV. The malted milk ball comparison works for the flavor as well, but there's very little sweetness. The lightly roasted malt base is reminiscent of unsweetened chocolate shavings and contains echoes of fruity hops.

The mild ale designation is certainly appropriate. Although there's a lot of it, the taste is mild, as is the exceedingly light body, and they go together like hand in glove. The beer fairly evaporates in the mouth and is as drinkable as oxygen is breathable.

This beer screams 'session'. It's flavorful enough to remain interesting throughout multiple pints, but innocuous enough that flavor fatigue or palate fatigue will never be a problem. Far from feeling unlucky, I feel fortunate that this Black Cat crossed my path today.

BuckeyeNation, Sep 10, 2004
Photo of feloniousmonk
3.63/5  rDev -5.5%

Color's a sturdy brown, though flooded from behind with crimson shades, and enhanced by a big, bubbling, creamy-tan head, leaving lace behind.
Aroma, smooth, creamy, some nutty notes, glimmer of cocoa, hints of butter and spice, mostly malty.
Taste: tidy bitter hop notes flank the palate at first, then disappear altogether, and all is mellow, silky smooth. Medium-bodied, at best, with a short, nutty finish. Tasty, though, and quite a quaffer.
Easily encompasses the best aspects of the "mild ale" style, a better sort of brown. But not the kind of thing I'd normally reach for, nonetheless...

feloniousmonk, May 17, 2004
Photo of drewbage
3.7/5  rDev -3.6%

Reviewed from a new pint bottle purchased from by my new local BevMo and sampled in one of my big Imperial pint tulip glasses.

Beer pours a deep dark black to the initial observation in the pint with virtually no head. Dark rubies twinkle out of the late night velvet of the glass and a clarity is discernable amongst that inkiness.

Aroma is both roasty and surprisingly smokey with just a touch of caramel sweetness first discernable. At first blush if I didn't know better, I'd swear someone had blended a bit of rauchbier into my mug.

Flavor is nutty with a deep brown malt flavor on the fore palate. As the beer moves back in the palate a roasty toasted note grows cleaning the palate of the nutty sweet caramel flavors in the fore. As the beer leaves, a smoky tone grows largers and larger as the roast dries the palate out and gears you up for the next immediate sip.

A vague sweetness is left behind on the lips as the tongue aches for more moisture.

Who went and put this smoke in my Black Cat? I definately preferred it when it was first brought in and was less roasted and more caramel. But still as one of the few commerical examples of true mild that we see here in the states, I'm a big fan. (It was better on cask back in England, but hey.. nothing's perfect)

drewbage, Mar 04, 2004
Photo of Zorro
3.8/5  rDev -1%

A deep black brew that is really clear if you hold it up to the light.

Smell is malt and molasses, slight chocolate smell here too.

Taste is crisp and a little sweet with lots of chocolate and coffee flavors to it. Mild flavor that isn't harsh at all. Very mild flavor.

Mouthfeel is light.

Very drinkable, mild flavor in a serious looking beer.

Zorro, Mar 01, 2004
Photo of Imbiber
4.5/5  rDev +17.2%

Deep ruby with a good tan head. Aroma is malty and with a hint of caramel, Soft on the palate, lightly carbonated, this beer imparts a nice, malty, slightly sweet taste with hints of fruit and caramel. The finish is dryer, with mild hoppiness balancing the dark malt lingering on the tongue; a slight nutty flavour also comes out to a degree.

A nice, easy-drinking dark mild ale.

Imbiber, Feb 26, 2004
Photo of DrunkMcDermott
2.6/5  rDev -32.3%

Dark pour belies a strangely sugary taste. Then a rather out-of-character smokiness pops in, almost like the smoked cheese taste of an Aecht rauchbier. Have to rate it downward since I don't think this was what the style was supposed to be. That may be because I only got a taste of it at our homebrew club sampling.

DrunkMcDermott, Jan 19, 2004
Photo of TheLongBeachBum
4.45/5  rDev +15.9%

Presentation: Well surprise, surprise! I spotted this old English friend at the WineCountry in Long Beach recently, and decided that I would give this one a go. Cost $3.25 for a 500ml brown glass bottle. Wide bodied with a thin, but tall, neck stem. The obverse gold label has the silhouette of a black cat set against a red oval. No freshness date but it is listed as 3.4% Alc/Vol.

Now, I "know" this beer originally as 'Black Cat Mild' from when I first drank it on Cask when I lived in England. However, rather sadly, it seems that the word ‘Mild’ has been dropped from the name. This word appears to strike fear in all marketing men as it sounds far too lame and a little "girlie" to sell good tasty Ale it seems. This is probably why the brew is classified, rather mysteriously I have to say, as a ‘Black Ale’ on the bottle label.

Appearance: I’m stunned, from the off this offering immediately impresses me. A gorgeous thick & plush carpet light tan head readily forms above a dark brown body that has some ruby red hints at the edges. The light tan head is smooth and laces the wall of my Mug with some impressive visually stunning markings. Served to me unknowingly in a blind tasting, I would swear this was from the Cask, and probably loose a handsome amount of money doing so.

Nose: Dark malts and caramel with toffee. As it warms I get dark chocolate. Sometimes this has a real fruity aspect, which convinces you that it may even contain some dark fruits.

Taste: Roasted malts, mixed with a sharp biting caramel that is balanced by a malt sweetness that lends a nice structure. Finishes with some mild hop bite, and a chocolate roll swish. Some lingering chocolate bitterness in the finish. Very nice and incredibly tasty for the strength.

Mouthfeel: It sits in the mouth extremely well and has a comforting solid presence that allows all of the beers taste profile to disseminate in the mouth.

Drinkability: I find no fault with this Mild whatsoever. Smooth, tasty, light & airy yet with a solid malt profile. Highly Quaffable. A damn fine drinking English Mild that personifies all the traits to absolute perfection.

Overall: I have had the fortune to tour Moorhouse’s Brewery, not just the once, but twice, when I lived in England, and I have drunk this marvelous beer on cask many, many times. It is a damn fine Mild (there I used that 4-letter word). I will be the first to say that I never thought that this would transfer so well to the bottle, given the fact that the Cask can really bring out the finest nuances of a Mild. But it does, and it excels.

If you think a 3.4% Mild in a bottle will disappoint – think again! This is quite Excellent and a marvelous drinking beer. If it was a little cheaper it would most certainly fill my fridge.

Highly Recommended if you want to try a real English Mild from the bottle.

TheLongBeachBum, Jan 16, 2004
Photo of KroMagnon
3.8/5  rDev -1%

cool logo with a shrieking cat and a witch zooming off into the air. This is a 500 mL bottle and it says "Real Lancashire Ale" above the cat. The beer pours a bit thin, with little head, but has a wonderful black color with ruby highlights if you hold it up to a light. The beer has a subtle aroma, with a hint of malt and roastiness. The flavor is dominated by roasty bitterness, but it is not as intense as a Murphy's Stout (for example). There is also a soft maltiness and slight sweetness to provide balance. Overall the lightness of the beer is evident but it is certainly not a light beer! The back label says they use English malt, roasted malt, sugar and hops to make it. The sugar probably lightens it up a little but this is definitely a flavorful beer, and it would be a great thirst-quencher. This is the only non-homebrewed "mild" I've had and this particular one strikes me as a light-bodied porter.

KroMagnon, Jan 08, 2004
Photo of Thrasher
3.88/5  rDev +1%

This is an interesting beer. At first glance and swallow, it seems to be a porter but ends up being closer to a mild. I don't know much about milds but I am guessing this is a particularly dark and roasty one. Poured perfectly into a 20oz glass with creamy, rising head that eventually dwindled to a small ring. Not much lacing. Very appealing aroma with mixture of burnt roastiness, a light yeasty fruitiness, and a malty graham cracker flavor that is unmistakeably British. Flavor is a little difficult to grasp, at first it seems watery and thin with a metallic undertaste. As the beer warms and the palate gets accustomed to it, some more appealing flavors jump out. You REALLY need to let this one warm up to cellar or even room temperature. Remarkably fruity, with some coffee/burnt flavors at the edges. Mouthfeel watery but somehow it works. This would be a great breakfast beer to go along with crispy toast and fruit jams. ABV is thankfully low, a refreshing change of pace from US beers which are 5% or higher.

Thrasher, Jan 08, 2004
Black Cat from Moorhouse's Brewery (Burnley) Ltd
86 out of 100 based on 200 ratings.