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Blackfriar - Inveralmond Brewery Ltd., The

Not Rated.
BlackfriarBlackfriar

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
88
very good

142 Ratings
THE BROS
85
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 142
Reviews: 118
rAvg: 3.91
pDev: 10.23%
Wants: 14
Gots: 0 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Inveralmond Brewery Ltd., The visit their website
United Kingdom (Scotland)

Style | ABV
Scottish Ale |  7.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: daledeee on 12-02-2003)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 142 | Reviews: 118 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Sammy
3.2/5  rDev -18.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Mellowed scotch taste. Nice colour, some scotch aroma. My mates liked it a bit, but not very much. 2002 bottle moving from big stores to small stores. Moderate representative of the style. Had hops, but could use more something to enrichen taste. Light mouthfeel.

Sammy, Oct 24, 2005
Photo of brentk56
4.13/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a cloudy amber cloudy with a massive beige head that leaves some sudsy lacing behind on the glass

Smell: Sweet butterscotch nose with rum-raisin and dried figs

Taste: Starts out with a biscuity milk chocolate and butterscotch flavor that adds a bit of figgy fruityness to boot; mid-palate, the hops startle the tastebuds bringing a tobacco flavor that balances the malt through to the finish (which also has a chocolate and cherry touch); a touch astringent but otherwise very flavorful

Mouthfeel: Medium-heavy bodied with moderate to low carbonation

Drinkability: A most intriguing but unusual beer; the lack of hops on the nose leads to a total surprise when they kick in on the finish

brentk56, Dec 30, 2005
Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.8/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark orangish copper with brighter orange accents. The head is faded ecru in color and displays an upper surface of frantically popping bubbles that then settles down to a more serene descent. Blackfriar looks lighter than expected, almost like an IPA. Although very few bubbles can be seen within the beer itself, the cap is persisting admirably. Unfortunately, no more than smatterings of lace end up on the glass.

There isn't much in the nose that reminds me of a Scottish ale. It smells more like an English pale ale with a hop deficiency. How is it possible to brew a beer in a certain style and then give it virtually no characteristics of that style? I can appreciate lightly buttered pale malt and a whiff of herbal hops. No roast, no peat, no smoke. No good.

The beer makes a spirited, if not a wholly convincing, comeback on the palate. It still doesn't evoke images of Bonny Scotland however. It's well-malted with a butterscotchy sweetness and a pleasing toasted barley flavor. Enough hops are present to even out the see-saw, but not enough to make an impression.

As the beer warms, I sense an attempt, however weak, to impart some earthy smokiness to the flavor profile on the finish. The body is strictly medium with a smooth, unfailingly polite mouthfeel.

If I reset my expectations and my palate and think of this as a pale ale brewed by Scots and not as a Scottish ale, granting scores becomes much easier. Lia Fail, its lower ABV brother, is better beer in my opinion. You won't be sorry you bought Blackfriar. Just keep an open mind when you open the bottle.

BuckeyeNation, Mar 01, 2005
Photo of Phyl21ca
2.65/5  rDev -32.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Bottle: Poured a light brown color ale with a nice foamy head with good retention and some lacing. Aroma consists of grain and cereal with some dry notes and limited sweetness. Taste is also dominated by dry cereal with lightly unrefined grain notes and minimal residual sugars. Body is about average with good carbonation and no apparent alcohol. A bit too dry and grainy for my taste.

Phyl21ca, Jul 07, 2010
Photo of oberon
4.28/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a nice bronze color with a light soapy head,great fruity aroma,fruit just bursting real nice.Taste is more malt tilted wich I expected nice and fruity with a light hop bitterness that comes thru more as it warms along with a light earthiness.Seems to be a tad watery but really drinkable for the alcohol content,a nice find.

oberon, Feb 23, 2004
Photo of NeroFiddled
4.5/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Blackfriar's perfumey, hop-laced aroma welcomes you to a magical elixir that's almost equally akin to an American ale as it is to its Scottish brethren. And that is the magic of the tiny Inveralmond brewery! But there's more...

It's hazy dark-chestnut body has a deep ruby cast and reveals glowing crimson highlights beneath it's frothy head of tan. The head retention is quite good (especially considering it's alcohol content), and it leaves some very nice spots and splashes of lace about the pint. Smooth and mildly creamy across the palate, it's very fine and natural carbonation helps to enhance it's maltiness. It's firm bitterness, however, is wide and unyielding - anchoring it and leading to a drying, semi-sweet and bitter finish that lingers with notes of burnt caramel. Floral, grassy, and leafy hops swirl here-and-there throughout it's deeply caramel accented, toffee-ish, toasty, nutty, slightly candy-sweet, and subtly roasty maltiness; bringing it to life and lending it a delicate charm that leaves it amazingly drinkable. It's not overly complex, but the interplay between the hops and the rich maltiness is exquisite. Finally, fruity notes from the yeast surface almost immediately as it warms, and lend another level to it's character; leaving it as an almost perfect session ale! And the only thing that hinders that is it's alcohol content of 7%, which is entirely cloaked throughout the first serving at the very least. Impressive!

NeroFiddled, Dec 13, 2004
Photo of Jason
3.75/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

$4.45 @ Charles Street Liquors, Boston, MA:

http://beeradvocate.com/beerfly/user_reviews/1008/

Presentation: 16.9 oz brown bottle with no freshness date.

Appearance: Dark tawny color shows it has dropped bright, excellent lacing clings to the glass like a champ.

Smell: Steely malt with a mild caramel sweetness, faint diacetyl and a ghost like figginess. Mild hopping though enough to take on the heavy malt profile.

Taste & Mouth Feel: A subtle mix of toasted and roasted malt … more toasted. A kiss of buttery diacetyl with a long drawn breadiness. Black pepper and herbal hop, warming alcohol and a hard toasted grain in the end.

Drinkability & Notes: Close to a meal in a bottle, certainly a malt lovers brew.

Jason, Jun 29, 2004
Photo of russpowell
3.95/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Review based on notes

Pours an effervescent & semi-hazed caramel with a pinky of tan head. clears half way through the bottle. Good head retention & lacing

S: Plums, other dark fruit & cinnamon

T: Plums, leafy hops, figs& & orange slices up front. Charred malt & dark fruit show up as this warms, plus grapefruitty hops??? Finishes dry & fruitty with a touch of honey

MF: Medium body with low carbonation

Drinks pretty easy, This drinks more like an American Strong Ale IMO. Still a nice one to sip one cool December evening

russpowell, Dec 29, 2008
Photo of feloniousmonk
4.15/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: a clear, bright cherry red is the color, and the head exists briefly as a thin, white layer of foam, then disappears.
Aroma, subdued, though giving off malty, nutty characteristics.
Taste: full flowering malt all over the palate, with very small showing from hops. Lavish fruit, cherries most dominant, but also some peach, banana, sweet and tasty, but arching towards a darker, even burnt feel, putting one in mind of a cognac, or a sherry. The body is medium, flavor develops sharper, stronger, and the finish clings, lingering on the palate. Rich, maltiness remains the prevailing tone in this flavor profile,toffee, caramel, and the sweet fruit factor returns and pleases the senses with every new sip.
Part of me wanted something fuller and thicker, for it feels a bit mild in texture and body at times, resulting in easy drinkability, for sure. Part of me, too, is just pleased aspunch by this beer as it is. (Though for $5 per 500ml bottle, I do feel that I over paid on this item, and probably won't go back for more.)

feloniousmonk, Jan 04, 2004
Photo of WesWes
4/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours a ruby red color with a thick creamy offwhite head that fades to lacing. The aroma is good. It has a rich malty scent that boasts of pale, crystal, and roasted malts. It is sweet, yet dry. The taste is good. It has a warm, roasted malt flavor that is slightly sweet with crystal malts and dry on the finish. It has an elevated abv., but it's well hidden. The malt bill is not that complex. The mouthfeel is fine. It is a medium/full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a good drinking beer. It has good flavor and nice warm feel.

WesWes, May 26, 2005
Photo of Mora2000
3.75/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to jkwalking for sharing this beer.

The beer pours a murky orangish-brown with a white head. The aroma is sweet fruit with some caramel malts. The flavor is very sweet with some caramel and toffee malt. Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation.

Mora2000, Mar 05, 2010
Photo of Rochefort10nh
4/5  rDev +2.3%

Rochefort10nh, Dec 02, 2011
Photo of Gueuzedude
3.85/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours with a brilliantly clear, dark, ruby amber color. The head is topped by a frothy, tan colored head that quickly disappears to a ring of froth. The aroma is rich with candied, caramelized malt notes that evoke thoughts of dark, concentrated fruit. Notes of prunes, raisins and figs are prominent, in fact these seem to be the dominant aromatic notes. The fresh malt is not to be left out though, notes of molasses, a touch of maple syrup, and rich caramel. I really like the caramelized dark fruit character of the aroma. Such concentrated notes of malt and fruity are quite a welcome aural greeting.

Rich fruit notes greet my taste buds from the get go, sweet concentrated notes of plum move to full on prune as well as enticing notes of fig. The beer finishes with rum like notes of alcohol and sweet, yet fermented molasses. Something here definitely reminds me of a sticky, yet fully caramelized sticky bun. I also can't help but think a dark, darker than I have ever had, brown sugar. While the malt notes are rich and concentrated, this beer still manages to finish a bit on the thin side, though only at times. A touch of roasted, slightly burnt flavors add a touch of balance and even bitterness to the finish of this beer.

Gueuzedude, Aug 20, 2006
Photo of kojevergas
2.45/5  rDev -37.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Reviewed from notes taken during a January 2011 trip to Glasgow, Scotland. Served from a cask into a pint glass. It was served off a just-freshly tapped cask; this beer couldn't be fresher unless I were at the brewery.

A: Pours a clear dark amber. Thin head of fair retention.

Sm: Fresh albeit musty scent of barley. Difficult to detect individual notes with me broken nose.

T: Nice body - multiple notes unexpected from the nose. Near malty finish, it's lacking in unique flavour.

Mf: Very smack-your-lips crisp like, but a bit too smooth. Nice cream on the finish. Too wet.

Dr: Hides its ABV extremely well, but it's pricey. Overall, I'm unimpressed.

kojevergas, Mar 08, 2011
Photo of wl0307
4.3/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Got this bottle at the Bacchanalia, a fantastic small beer+wine shop in Cambridge. BB NOV 07, served cool in a straight imperial pint glass.

A: the 90% transparent light reddish-copper gem is carefully poured with an air-tight and creamy beige froth with a superb retention, on top of constant flows of tiny fizziness ascending from the bottom. Looking gorgeous!
S: salty-sweet marinated prunes and burnt+creamy+metallic malts assume the dominance, underlined by a deeper, sticky and aromatic fruity undertone mixed of coconuts, caramelised apple-slices, more berries, some (random) orangey-citrusness, on top of slightly-earthy-yet-aromatic Fuggles hops. Smelling like a Scottish Ale, but a sweeter version of Premium Bitter also springs to mind - the hop mixure is reminiscent of Young's Special London Ale to me.
T: a semi-sharp flow of bitter hops and sour-sweet redcurrant cordial fall heavily onto the palate (with a touch of coughing-syrup like phenolic-berries on the side), while an utterly dry, burnt bitterness gradually cuts deep down the palate, providing plenty of dried tea-leaves, tangy dried grapefruit-zests, bitter Chinese dried herbs, on top of a soothing flow of warming alc. The aftertaste remains extremely dryish & chewy bitter, balancing off the cara. & creamy malts just beautifully.
M&D: as this is an unfiltered ale (judging from the sediments left in the bottle), the mouthfeel is really fresh and soft, not fizzy or artificial at all. Despite its alc. strength, the tremendous hop bitterness and burnt flavour both render it a more-ish and quaffable drink. The flavour doesn't boast as much toffee and peat-smokeness as many of its counterparts, but the end result is all the same - solid and delicious. A lovely crossing b/w ESB and Scottish Ale.

wl0307, Jun 22, 2007
Photo of rhoadsrage
3.18/5  rDev -18.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

(Served in a nonic)
A- This beer pours a hazy glowing deep copper body with a chunks of yeast suspended with a strong carbonation. The head is a bubbly light tan that last for a few sips.
S- The aroma of cooked apples and malt has some fruity qualities and some light toffee notes underneath but the aroma is otherwise very clean.
T- The tart bitterness in the finish is the stronger flavor although even that is soft. There is a softer sweetness of malt with some dry biscuit and honey malt notes followed by a water wort flavor. There is a solventy alcohol tasted in the finish but the bitter flavor lingers after the finish.
M- This beer has a medium-light mouthfeel with a tight fizz in the finish and some alcohol burn that grows a bit as the beer opens.
D- The bitterness of hops dominates and that doesn't even have the hop flavor to support it. The malt has some floral cleaner quality with the alcohol heat and that makes this a bit tough to get through.

rhoadsrage, Jan 04, 2011
Photo of DoubleJ
3.55/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

There's a half-liter of (hopefull) joy sitting inside the bottle. "Champion Beer of Scotland 2002" is displayed left of the name. On to the beer:

The beer pours a murky brown caramel color into my snifter with visible yeast and a short head. Caramel, berries, and smoked wood appear to be the flavors of the day in this beer. Cabonation is extremely light, though it could be a sign that the bottle I got was old. Not bad overall, but it's likely better fresh.

DoubleJ, Feb 12, 2008
Photo of jdhilt
3.95/5  rDev +1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a white, one finger-head leaving a nice lace. Nice clear amber color. Good carbonation. Medium bodied. Nose is raeson/cider. Starts malty and sweet, finishes with a good mix of hops and malt but a slight bitter/hoppy aftertaste. $4.20 for a 500ml bottle.

jdhilt, May 03, 2004
Photo of afsdan
4/5  rDev +2.3%

afsdan, Aug 06, 2014
Photo of BillRoth
4/5  rDev +2.3%

BillRoth, Dec 07, 2013
Photo of Latarnik
4/5  rDev +2.3%

Latarnik, May 27, 2014
Photo of harpus
3.75/5  rDev -4.1%

harpus, Sep 23, 2013
Photo of Derek
3.73/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

At 7% I might be inclined to call it a Scotch ale, though it's not very malty.

A: Cloudy copper with a light tan head, light retention, some lace.

S: A big nose: earthy, orange rind, caramel, dark fruit.

T: Dark fruit, earth, orange rind, pineapple, mango; good bitterness, alcohol is warming. Not really typical for a scotch ale... it's not very malty, a little more bitter, and there's some tropical fruity esters (yeast shouldn't get that warm in Scotland).

M: Well attenuated, pleasant mouthfeel, but it lacks malty body I generally associate with a Scotch ale.

D: Good drinkability.

Derek, Aug 26, 2007
Photo of Gusler
3.93/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This is the first new “Scottish Ale” I’ve seen in a long time, and a style I find quite drinkable, but one that seems to be getting rarer by the year!

The beer debouches from the 500ml bottle an unclouded burnished copper color with a planetary size head that is creamy in texture, the color a light tan, as it evaporates, and the lace forms a sticky and clinging sheet upon the glass. Malt dominates the nose, sweet, crisp and fresh, hints of caramel, a tad earthy and the start nicely malted, somewhat sweet, top is fair to middling in its feel to the palate. Finish is brisk in its acidity, the hops forceful in their spiciness, very dry aftertaste that lingers long on the palate, a quite nice Scottish Ale”.

Gusler, Jan 11, 2004
Photo of Brad007
3.63/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Yet another brewery from Scotland. Always nice to see what the Scots are producing.

Pours a nice amber color with a frothy head into my glass. There's a bit of cloudiness but otherwise, seems about right.

Aroma is full of sweet, lightly smoked and chewy malt. Seems right for the style. Nothing out of the ordinary.

Taste is sweet and once again, full of lightly smoked chewy malt. Not much else beyond that. Seems very drinkable for the style.

Mouthfeel is full of the lingering flavors mentioned. Nothing harsh and certainly not cloying.

The best part about this style is that it's usually very accessible to a newcomer. This is a good example that offers an emphasis on malt that is typical for the style. Certainly worth checking this out if you're a fan of the style.

Brad007, Nov 10, 2009
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Blackfriar from Inveralmond Brewery Ltd., The
88 out of 100 based on 142 ratings.