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!

Blackfriar - Inveralmond Brewery Ltd., The

Not Rated.

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

138 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 138
Reviews: 118
rAvg: 3.91
pDev: 10.49%
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)
View: Beers (12) |  Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Latest | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Blackfriar Alström Bros
Ratings: 138 | Reviews: 118 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of sulldaddy


4.28/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I picked this bottle up at Kclingers. I am sampling a chilled sample in an english pint glass.
The beer pours a clear chestnut color with a few small streams of carbonation rising to the surface. A creamy beige head foams up about 1 cm and rests as a surface layer on the brew.
Aroma is sweet caramel, some biscuity yeast and a hint of red grape and raisin fruitiness. Some light roasted malt hits as well.
First sip reveals a slightly lighter body than I expected but still a full mouthfeel.
VERY fine carbonation that tingles just a little as it rolls over my tongue.
There is a bit of syrupy texture, but not much it may be more flavor than feel.
Flavor is sweet up front with caramel and toffee mixing with some brown sugar too. the middle gets roasty and then gives way to a mix of earthy and grassy hops that leave a lite bitterness in the back of my throat.
INcredibly drinkable for 7% ABV on the label.
Very good beer for sure I would try again!

Serving type: bottle

08-23-2005 02:12:38 | More by sulldaddy
Photo of putnam


4.78/5  rDev +22.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I found it is important to drink this beer no colder than 50 deg. F. For me 60-65 was ideal.

Quite deeply red in color, scummy lace. Toasty aromas of moist, malty bread and nuts with links to roasted herbs. Cherry and redcurrant jam fruits mount on the first drink. Bitter, burnt sugars can be compared to Italian nougat or Scottish toffee. Tangy brown spices and parroasted coffee beans join with seasoned hardwood and nutshells. A mouthful is big and round without any sense of syrupy malt. Rooted tarry bitterness muscles fragrant fruits and spices. Beautifully dry and poundable.

Serving type: bottle

08-06-2005 22:54:19 | More by putnam
Photo of WesWes

New York

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.

Serving type: bottle

05-26-2005 01:34:53 | More by WesWes
Photo of Gagnonsux


4/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The color is dark copper with an average-sized, light brown head. The aroma is of dark earthy malts with a strong dark fruit smell. A sip has an initial dark fruit bite that melds into dark earthy malts. A light sugary sweetness is noticed in the finish. A touch of hops balances this out and adds another layer of flavor. Drinkability and mouthfeel are very good. Strong scores across the board here, recommended.

Serving type: bottle

05-08-2005 04:00:10 | More by Gagnonsux
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.

Serving type: bottle

03-01-2005 15:53:22 | More by BuckeyeNation
Photo of Wonka


3.73/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

1 PT. 9 FL. OZ.
7% Alc. Vol.

Appearance – reddish-brown body; tremendous, tightly carbonated off-white head that doesn’t hang forever but it certainly is strong enough to paint an ample set of lace

Smell – big sweetness; toffee; some dark fruit; some grains; very enjoyable

Taste – toffee, caramel and a solid roasted malt flavor take off to open and they almost make it to the end before being tripped up by a good slam of hops and a moderate dose of metallic for a close; bitterness carries a bit strong for the aftertaste

Mouthfeel – medium body; rather smooth; hops barge in late to send the experience in a downward spiral

Drinkability – aftertaste takes the drinkability down a bit since it carries the strong bitterness into the next experience; the initial smoothness helps the cause

Serving type: bottle

02-24-2005 22:42:43 | More by Wonka
Photo of unit555


4/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

First I will say I only got to drink half of this beer. When I walked out of the room my hound jumped up on the couch and finished the glass. She thinks this ale is double plus excellent and didn't seem to be even slightly phased that it cost $4 a bottle.

I was disappointed that there was virtually no head when I poured it into the glass. The color was a semi dark amber that I would expect from a scottish ale but it was a bit cloudy.

It had a velvety feel in the mouth with a long finish. The taste was VERY malty and slightly sweet.

I think you will be pleased with this brew if you normally like scottish ale.

Serving type: bottle

01-13-2005 12:56:29 | More by unit555
Photo of Suds


3.88/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This liquid is a hazy brown with a lightly reddish hue and a thick, cream-colored head. It’s aroma is appropriately sweet and malty, with a doughy, break-like quality and a roasted-smokey undertone. It’s a pleasing, well-positioned smell that starts the beer off right. There’s also a little alcohol in the smell, which transfers over into the taste. The beer is relatively sweet, with a big bitterness running through it. The finish is particularly bitter, with some hop flavor as well. It’s a simple, well-made, satisfying beer.

Serving type: bottle

12-26-2004 20:28:56 | More by Suds
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!

Serving type: bottle

12-13-2004 22:42:04 | More by NeroFiddled
Photo of meathookjones


3.85/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This came in a 500ml bottle. Pours out a fairly hazy deep amber color with about one inch of tan foamy head forming on top. The head dropped quickly but left thick rings of lace around the glass. Malty sweetness in the aroma with fruits and chocolate being most dominate. Also in the nose was a nice smokiness that mixed well with the sweetness, but overall the aroma was a bit mild. Taste starts of with a big fruity sweetness that is mixed with a bit of caramel and chocolate. The smokiness is quite noticeable in the taste as well. Mouthfeel was a little lighter than expected. Pretty drinkable stuff here with the nice mix of flavors. Pretty solid beer that I would definitely pick up again.

Serving type: bottle

12-03-2004 15:50:10 | More by meathookjones
Photo of aracauna


3.95/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

The body is a clear, medium reddish brown. The head is thick, dense, and lasting. It's an attractive beer. The aroma is slightly spicy hops, cake-like malt and a bit of apple. The flavor is very low in bitterness (as it should for the style), with an apple peel flavor that sets off the mellow malt nicely. This is extremely drinkable. Not a bad beer by any means.

Serving type: bottle

11-21-2004 03:24:15 | More by aracauna
Photo of Crosling


3.05/5  rDev -22%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3


Mildly aromatic, unpleasant, meaty, hearty, earthy nose with notes of dark fruits, clean supplies, toasted malts and bread.

Quite malty and dry but very hoppy as well with notes of various dark fruits, pine, toasted malts and deep caramel. Odd.

Serving type: bottle

10-19-2004 06:57:32 | More by Crosling
Photo of Tballz420


3.88/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This brew is a somewhat hazy brown/orange color, with a tiny white head. The scent is mainly caramel malt with some citrus aspects from the hops. Bitter hop whack when the brew hits the tounge, slight alcohol flavor, some spice/pepper taste, mild malts. Medium bodied. Pretty good overall but im not left craving another one.

Serving type: bottle

09-10-2004 06:22:32 | More by Tballz420
Photo of PorterLambic


3.68/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Beautiful artwork on this 500 ml bottle.
Poured out a coppery red with a thin head (due to the pour mostly) that receded to a film that stayed but produced no lace.
Smell was less than I expected, but what came across was a malty sweetness, hops and grass.
Taste was a touch weaker than expected also for this style but consisted of malt, hops and alcohol presence late.
Mouthfeel was very smooth, medium-full bodied, almost creamy in texture.
Drinkability was quite high, would be better if the smell & taste were more pronounced. Still, a good beer.

Serving type: bottle

09-08-2004 20:56:10 | More by PorterLambic
Photo of GCBrewingCo

North Carolina

4.28/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

The beer poured amber brown with an off-white head which fell quickly but lasted to lace the glass.

The aroma was malty with caramel and slight fruitiness and a slight smoke.

The flavor was malty caramel and fruity with a smoky complexity. Definite chocolate presence in the flavor. Also roasty flavors were present on the tip of the tongue. Bitterness keeps the malt in check and leads to a roundness in the flavor.

The finish was off dry with a lingering smoky fruity flavor that took the beer to definitely dry. The body was medium to medium full.

16.9 ounce bottle. I this is 7%, then I need 7% all the time. No alcohol presence to note, only smooth complex flavors.

Serving type: bottle

09-07-2004 23:47:30 | More by GCBrewingCo
Photo of RedBaron


4.88/5  rDev +24.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I simply had to pick up this 16.9oz bottle because, A) It's a Scottish ale (one of my favorite styles), B) It had a picture of a forboding looking monk on it, and C) I've never had it!

Appearance: Poured this dark, autumnal red brew into a 20oz. imperial pint glass. Decanted for 10min. before trying. Nice, off-whtie head sustained nicely before I even put my lips to it.

Smell: Very Scottish! Which is to say malty, biscuity, and in the case of this beer, slighty peaty.

Taste: Complex and roasty, this beer is very malty from start to finish. Bready, in a great way. Taste like a touch of rye may have been added. Certainly taking great cues from the scotch culture of the country. But, the brewers know the value of adding a healthy component of bittering hops, too. They're there, they're spicy, and they're basically picked up in the finish -- they just yield, a bit, to the brillance and complexities of the malt. Yum!

Mouthfeel: Solidly malty, but not as chewy as you might surmise from my taste results. I think this is beer has just the right attenuation, as there is a faint dryness in the finish.

Drinkability: Wow, what can I say?! A beautifully crafted Scottish ale. This beer makes me want to don my tartan, pick up some bagpipes, and wander from glen to glen on a brilliantly sunny fall day, declaring the joy and pleasure of this ale. Small wonder it won Best Beer of Scotland in 2002. Aye, summ'un haand me unotha! (But be careful: the abv is 7%!)

Serving type: bottle

09-01-2004 01:37:31 | More by RedBaron
Photo of mzwolinski


3.63/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Very clear chestnut in color with a thin, light tan head. Not much of an aroma at first, but as with most examples of this style, the toasted malt comes through more strongly as the beer warms. Full mouthfeel with hints of diactyl and a big malt profile. A bit rough in the finish, but overall pretty satisfying.

Serving type: bottle

08-22-2004 07:25:08 | More by mzwolinski
Photo of Reidrover


4.1/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Ok my Scottish weekend continues.
Poured into my pint glass this is a semi dark brown coloured ale..with a small off white head..that goes fast but a ring of lace remains all the way down.
Nice aroma of slightly roasty malts..very slight peat smoke aroma...this smells fresh though.
mm nice tasting beer ..sweet malts of course ,but not quite as sweet as many scottish type ales..chocolaty flavours, roasty aftertaste..a slight touch of smoke.
very nice on the palte..quite smooth, well carbonated.
I found this beer very easy to drink and liked it a lot..couldnt really detect the alcohol..but give me 4 or 5 and I am sure i would be buzzed!

Serving type: bottle

07-19-2004 04:10:08 | More by Reidrover
Photo of newyawker

New York

4.47/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The colour of dark tea. however, this brand of tea produces a pretty big head which is tan. Funk and caramel are the odors it represents. Tastes smooth. Big full and soft on the palate, there are notes of molasses present. A bit tart on the finish. Quite the good drinking big beer.

Serving type: bottle

07-11-2004 01:27:59 | More by newyawker
Photo of marc77


4.15/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

Clear ruby topped by a rocky off white head with respectable retention. Lace remains. Soft esters of a red apple nature along with mellow notes of carob and dark toffee are prevalent in aroma. Trace floral hop and butterscotch hints. Well rounded and understated aromawise. In flavor, the dominant malt impression is of molasses sweetened whole grain biscuit. Diacetyl undertone adds an agreeable richness complementary to the static, mild caramel malt presence. Hints of roasted barley along with the light hop bitterness facilitate a transient drying sensation, which is superceded by an agreeable surge of buttery dark chocolate and nutty brittle mid palate. A touch too light in body to match malt character, but dangerously drinkable as a result. Finishes mostly clean, with hints of treacle and woody hops fleeting quickly. Quite a tasty and well crafted brew that's intermediate in character between an 80 Shilling and Wee Heavy. Superbly drinkable and soft on the palate. Very tasty.

Serving type: bottle

07-09-2004 00:41:42 | More by marc77
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:


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.

Serving type: bottle

06-29-2004 01:28:16 | More by Jason
Photo of connecticutpoet


3.95/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Another free sample... nice brown color, with no idea of how the head would pour into a regular sized glass.

The malt aroma was strong and rich, and the alcohol was prominent.

The taste was of complex malts and a niticeable alcohol aftertaste. Exactly what a good Scotch ale should be. It was a little too strong on the alcohol for me (I prefer it to be masked by the other flavors). Still, a good beer overall.

Serving type: bottle

06-21-2004 04:10:44 | More by connecticutpoet
Photo of GuinnessSmurf


3.58/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This is one of those beers that was purchased for the fancy artwork. The bottle is nice - the beer is medium.

Pours a nice redish brown color with a medium sized rocky head on top.

Smell is a combination of toffee, caramel and alcohol.

Taste has a nice bite to it, more than suggested by the smell. The sweetness dies off quickly and leaves you tasting mostly alcohol which I found surprising.

The body was a little thin for me. I was hoping to have a thicker smoother drinking beer from this one, but it was a little light and bubbly going down.

Serving type: bottle

06-19-2004 16:00:40 | More by GuinnessSmurf
Photo of tavernjef


3.95/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Clearish red caramel brown color, small compact beige head lifts slowly up then back down to a thin skim and rough collar where the lacing moslty sticks in small spots and globs. Aroma has lots of soothingly calm caramel, a bit of roasty/toasty toffee, quite soft and inviting overall and rounds out with brown sugar and maple syrup notes. Taste has small and easy front, a bit empty, smooth and gentle caramel work there way in around midway. Some toastier factions come to play with a toffee roast and hard grain breadyness. Hops help finish it off with a leafy and dried variant thats biting more so in texture then with bitterness. Keeps its toasty edge fairly long and even later smaller efforts of the caramel make their way through too. A long holding finish. Feel starts out light and smooth with a gradual building base of malts and toast and a eager little finish with a good lasting quality that was the clincher for me into liking it. But it could have a bolder, richer body throughout, it really only has a strong hold towards the finish and within the finish. Still enjoyable enough for a Scotch Ale. I have to keep reminding myself its not a wee heavy scotch which I like much more then these regular ones.

Serving type: bottle

06-18-2004 23:46:42 | More by tavernjef
Photo of ADR


3.58/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Clear and lightly reddish brown. The head is slightly weak, kind of gives up after a few seconds. Stringy lace. Smells of maple sugar, malty in most aspects. Starts light in mouthfeel, gets heavier in the stomach, a weird sense of released carbonation to me. Taste is fine across the board, malt-defined and moving in a spiced caramel direction. Finishes up at the back with a touch of crocus-like bittering. A bit of cashew nutiness on later sips. Pretty good, the texture seemed a bit off for me, and its a little on the one note side.

Serving type: bottle

06-04-2004 15:01:20 | More by ADR
Blackfriar from Inveralmond Brewery Ltd., The
88 out of 100 based on 138 ratings.