1. American Craft Beer Fest returns to Boston on May 29 & 30, featuring 640+ beers from 140+ brewers. Tickets are on sale now.

Lia Fail - Inveralmond Brewery Ltd., The

Not Rated.
Lia FailLia Fail

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

122 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 122
Reviews: 86
rAvg: 3.76
pDev: 11.44%
Wants: 3
Gots: 1 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Inveralmond Brewery Ltd., The visit their website
United Kingdom (Scotland)

Style | ABV
Scottish Ale |  4.70% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 04-01-2002

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
to view all ratings, reviews and sorting options.
Ratings: 122 | Reviews: 86
Photo of NilsFrisk
3.61/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A dark amber/brown colour with a thick head, with a very foamy texture. smells a bit metallic along with hops, some chocolate there too. taste of aromatic hops with a malty taste to back it up, the malt and the hops kind of blends together, really well balanced.

Photo of marty21
3.58/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A: Pours a deep orange/copper with a two fingers worth of thick creamy off white head. Settles to a thick cap and leaves lot's of dense lacing.

S: Malty with milk chocolate and caramel. I get some hops faintly in the background.

T: The same as the aroma. It's malty with some milk chocolate and caramel. There's a bit of a hop bitterness at the end but nothing too strong.

M: Light carbonation with a light to medium body. Very easy to drink.

D: Quite a easy drinker. Nothing overpowering but it's not weak on anything. Would make for a great session beer.

Photo of soju6
3.88/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a hazy dark copper-brown color with a good head that slowly fades to some lacing.

S: Has a solid malt aroma with some caramel and chocolate mixed in with a trace of herbal spice.

T: Mild malty flavor with a nice touch of chocolate and caramel, not overly sweet. Has a mild bitterness and a slight herbal finish.

F: Medium body, well balanced. Smooth and creamy.

D: Good Scottish Ale, easy drinker. A nice brew while relaxing at home. I imagine this would be best on tap at the local pub.

Photo of charlatan
3.68/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Finally a reasonable deal for this brewery's beers (3 for £4 at a major supermarket). This is a reddish peaty hued beer with a generous offwhite head poured from 500ml bottle with a more tasteful label than the one pictured at present.

The nose is has pleasant hints of blackcurrant and chocolate suggesting a malt heavy beverage. The beer tastes more tart than I was expecting, a chocolate raspberry affair with considerable carbonation and more biscuity and herbal flavours in the aftertaste. A good sipper.

Photo of AgentMunky
3.4/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Served in a half-pint glass.

A: A gorgeous ruddy colour; transparent with a nice head and heavy lacing. Lia Fail positively glows in the light.

S: Smells of caramel malt with a sour twist. Nice.

T: Hm. My nose was right -- a malty base with a bit of sour mash taste. The aftertaste is bit rough (i.e., not smooth) with a hint of coffee or roasted malt.

M: Wishy-washy and thin in feel if not in flavour.

D: Light, but weirdly sour and not that great. It's pretty good at first, but can't even last half a pint. Grab something else.

Photo of Offa
4.57/5  rDev +21.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This is an excellent Scottish ale with nice subtle complexity.

Red-brown amber, it has a big, rich tan head slowly shrinking to thin foamy top and leaving a few hints of lace.

Aroma is very toasty barley, bread crust, chocolate, hints of tea, leaves, woody earth and later some hints of fruit. It is very nice with good, subtle complexity.

Taste is toasty bread crust, dryish, woody-earthy leaves, hint of chocolate. Balanced sweetness and bitterness, the latter just dominating the finish, which is earthy, leafy, and a little spicey-peppery. Feel is firm.

Photo of AndyAvalanche
4.12/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

One of several birthday presents from my in laws! Poured into a Duvel tulip glass. It wasn't as dark as I expected especially since the label states "Dark Scottish Ale," but still pretty good looking. It comes out a little bit of an orange brown color, "rusty" if you will. Very hazy and a thick creamy white head, very decent lacing. The smell isn't overly strong, but it's got complexity and depth and overall pretty good. A little citrusy and bready. Almost like a orange loaf of pound cake. It's followed by dark sweet malts. Taste is good, malty, but not too aggressive. Caramel and toffee, not too sweet though. There is a good balance between the malt and hop flavor, citrus hops. Not really bready like the smell. Mouthfeel is good, fairly light, almost smooth. A little complex, not as creamy as other Scottish Ales I've had in the past. It's strange, not really like any of this style I've had in the past but really enjoyed this. I like the balance and it's very unique. Good, I'd get it again, but more of a summer Scottish Ale, I like it.

Photo of champ103
3.63/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a dark ruby red color. A two finger white head forms with good retention. Some patchy lace is left behind.
S: Toasted malts, grain, and sweet caramel. A light floral bitterness lingers.
T: At first a sweet caramel flavor is up front. The sweetness is a bit cloying at first. Then a suprisingly strong bitterness takes over. A little one dimensional, but enjoyable.
M/D: A medium body. A little under carbonated, and thin. Not hard to drink. Something I can quaff at the pub with no problem.

A decent beer on cask. Nothing special, but enjoyable for what it is. Worth a try if you see it on cask.

Photo of ivanwatling
3.75/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Rich, thick, creamy head that lasted a long way down the pint. Mid-brown colour

Aroma: Malty, spicy, suggesting sweetness

Taste: Predominantly malty with slight hop biterness in the background. Not as strong and rich a taste as the aroma suggested

Mouthfeel: Some pleasant aftertaste, moderate carbonation

Drinkability: Easy to drink, so good of you're after a session beer.

Other notes: Bought in a brewery gift pack from a visitor centre shop on the outskirts of Perth

Photo of beerthulhu
3.47/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: Poured a dull weathered cranberry color with a 1 finger spongey head that was short lived and was beach sand in color. The head lapsed to a patchy covering filled with bubblewrap type bubbles that produced a thin film ring band for a lacing. Held against the light the coloring appeared a bright cherry-cranberry and showed random bursts and release of carbonation bubbles.

S: The nose was fruity with a brief show of apples upfront before quickly giving way to a toffee and caramel presence. Sugary grains and wort appear while the finish rounds out with a caramel chew candy fade.

T: My initial impression was the flavor came off a bit thin in delivery. There appeared to be a decent level of maltiness trying to come out but never quite convinces me. A spicy hopping of fuggles seems oddly mis-paired here producing fruity tones. Red grapes, juicy pears, and melons are noticeable and again oddly misplaced. For the finish the caramel malting finally comes back into play giving a scotchy caramel character with light peat and a dry spicy fade of nutmeg. The label claims this to be distinctively rich which I think is a bit of a stretch of the imagination if you ask me.

M: The mouthful was light to medium bodied but felt lighter the longer you held it. Oily texture with very little, if any carbonation detected. Overall was rather boring with the exception of the swallow which finally produces some maltiness and scotchy caramel character. Despite its limited abv of 4.7% this did give the impression it was slightly higher. Finishes with a dry spicy coating with a slight malty residue lacing.

D: Drinkability was fair, though one would be it for me. Rather boring, lacked maltiness, and incentive to have more. A bit thin and almost watery at times makes this go down rather easy but the lack of flavor and heart certainly don't help matters here and made me hesitant towards the next sip. Overall a good aromatic experience that goes down hill from there.

Photo of seanyfo
3.46/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pint served by handpump into imperial pint glass at the Cloister bar Edinburgh.

A- Dark mahogany body with a 1 finger head producing good lacing. Head retention is average to good leaving a crown.

S- Faint toffee malts, minimal hops

T- A minimal toasted malt beginning with a juicy hopbite in the finish. Hops linger on

M- Low carbonation with creamy mouthfeel

D- Hops are refreshing throughout the flavour but malts are too minimal for me on the tongue to be trully sessionable.

Photo of benclimbs
4.3/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had on cask at the halfway house - Edinburgh, meticulously kept, perfect temperature...syked.

This is the bomb for sessionable Scottish brown ales

amber brown with a one finger head and tons of lacing.
Smell is all caramel and nuts - really nice

Taste is more of that, round hazelnuts, malty nice caramel, then goes just a tad bitter at the very end - finishes clean and just slightly sweet - very smooth and rich in the mouthfeel, but not heavy or sticky - not nearly as sweet as many of the heavier wee-heavies and scottish ales.

Wow, i was very very impressed by this...and it was my first pint so i know my tasters were on it. One of the best browns i've had period.

Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.88/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours out a relatively clear, ruby-hued body with a frothy, airy, ecru head.

Smell: Malty aroma scented with dry caramel and chocolate powder and rounded out with a hint of fruit and some popping notes of grainy barley.

Taste: Toasted bready maltiness enveloped in a thin coating of chocolate and caramel. Minor dark fruitiness. Mild bitterness imparted by the English hops, though the taste remains predominately malty. Hint of grain on the drying finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-thin body. Medium-low carbonation.

Drinkability: A pleasant, easy-drinking Scottish brew with an appreciated low alcohol percentage.

Photo of canucklehead
4.35/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Real solid thick moutfeel with lots of malt and chocolate notes coming to the fore kinda like porter mixed with a Scottish Ale. I thought the beer was much stronger than its 4.7ABV with all the flavour packed into the finish. I would definately buy this again as it combines complexity with drinkability in a sessionable package.

Photo of Brad007
3.95/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a nice amber color with a two-finger head that fades into some lacing on the sides of the glass.

Aroma is mild with a hint of sweet, smokey malt. A bit of bread is detected as well as part of the malt.

Taste is smoky, chewy and sweet with a hint of bread as well. Very basic and yet, desirable.

Mouthfeel is full of lingering bread and smoky malt. Ditto on the sweetness as well. Neither thin nor thick.

Not bad but I believe I've had stronger versions of the style. Highly drinkable and easy to enjoy but far from the best example I've had. Worth a shot if you're a fan of the style.

Photo of MaineBirdMan
2.88/5  rDev -23.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from a 16.9oz bottle into a pint glass. Nice little legend/story on the back of the bottle.

color: dark amber

There was a nice quarter inch head.

Taste: I could really taste the hops as well as some sweet chocolate tones.

Nose: Man, I really stuck my nose down into my glass. But I wasn't able to get any real bouquet. There was some floral hints but not much.

Mouthfeel: Easy on the tongue with a good amount of carbonation.

Drinkability: I could drink quite a few of these beers if it weren't for the price ($5.99 per bottle from the store). Low in alcohol so the legs don't get wobbly after a few.

Photo of Phyl21ca
3.53/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle: Poured a dirty light amber color ale with a rather large foamy head with good retention and some good lacing. Aroma of dry English hops with lingering peats malt notes (or maybe I was dreaming but seems there was definite smoke notes). Body is quite full with good carbonation and light alcohol level makes this even more enjoyable. Easily drinkable though quite complex - finish was maybe a tad too dry.

Photo of ReDave
3.71/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Not much head at the pour, in fact, I thought it might have been a leaky bottle and/or flat. But then at the end a nice but very little off white head emerged.

Dark Brown somewhat cloudy color. Some red when held to the light.

Kind of a fruity aroma.. not what i was expecting, especially at first, but sort of grew on me later...

First minor sip Liquorice, wow very interesting. Second sip malty, molasses a little nutty some smoke [ ooh later on especially at the burp haa] Some hop spiciness nice surprise I would like to try this again, this bottle was about a month after it's "best before" date...

carbonation is thin but i like it.

not much lacing

Some day i need to have this "in country" over in Scotland.

Photo of czfreeman
4/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I am a big fan of Wee Heavy, so digging into the world of the lighter version of these ales will be nice to expand the palate.
Pours out a murky tawny amber color, light to no head, dissapates quickly. A low level of carbonation is definatley apparent.
Smell is rendolent of hard apple cider. Fermented fruit, caramels, a spicy alcoholic finish suprising given the low abv. A dark currantlike note, apple butter, bitter cocoa, ovverripe bruised apples ready for the cider press. Almost an oaklike sweetness.
Taste is predominated by the caramel. Lighter bodied than expected yet this turns into more of a caramel coated apple than cider in the flavor. The apple/caramel combination would make this a nice falltime festival beer. The sweet light toffeness in the sweetness is balanced by the bittering hops, and remains neither sweet, nor bitter.
The apple/caramel combo I think would pair nicely with caramelized scallops, or maybe a hot doughnut at a festival. A salty beef pie(think of scottish food) would be nice. If this were reduced down and made into a apple/ale compote. It could make a nice pastry filling for flaky fillo dough

Photo of Richardberg
3.72/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: poured from a 500mL bottle into a pint glass. Cloudy copper color with a rather small head.

S: caramel malts predominate. Light hopping lends a bit of citrus and floral aroma but nothing overt. I'd like strong smells overall but apparently this is right on target for a Scottish.

T: crisp, straightforward presentation of the malts...not much else. Pleasantly bitter finish.

M: standard medium ale, fizzy but not overly so

D: easy to drink, if not altogether my favorite

Photo of roddwolff
3.65/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

This one is the first beer of Scotland i drink. In the appearance, have a brown tamarind color, very opaque, regular foam head, in the logo have a landscape; the smell is fresh, with essences of plum and peach; in the logo says "distinctively rich" and it's true; frutal taste with flavors of peach, a little coffee, orange and banana; the mouthfeel is citrus, light carbonation and medium bitterness, it is acceptable, and the flavor in the mouth lasts; in the drinkability, possibly be too citrus, excellent to accompany any food

Photo of SaCkErZ9
3.83/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Dispensed from a 500ml bottle into pint glass. Pours a ruddy and hazy dark amber color with a small white head.

Aroma is fruity and floral and very malty. A touch of chocolate in the aroma as well.

Malt and dark grains in the flavor. More floral flavors and a great deal of fruitiness. Not much smoky or peaty characters that are usually present in Scottish ales.

Thin on the mouthfeel yet somewhat slick on the tongue. Low carbonation make this one finish slightly dry. Good beer indeed.

Photo of bark
3.7/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The colour is deep amber with a tint of brown. The finger thick airy head is off white. The liquid is clear. Lots of lacing occurs.

The smell got notes of caramel and dried fruits. A generous bitterness hits the nose. Some nuts and almonds. Hints of apricots.

The taste is grand and inviting, yet a little demanding (although the body is just medium). Flavours of fresh exotic fruits, clean bitter notes and a pleasant, lightly roasted malty taste. The aftertaste is pleasant with a genuine bitter flavour with hints of flowers, grass, consommé and a touch of citric acid. Some plastic hints in the finish - Fuggles hops?

The carbonation is medium strong; the liquid smooth.

Lots of character in this ale, still very balanced.

Photo of jwc215
3.9/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

500 ml bottle, best before April 2009, poured into snifter glass:

Pours brown with ruby highlights. A thin head quickly diminishes to a thin wisp and a thick ring that leaves dotted lacing.

The smell is of toffee and chocolate-ish notes with a subtle, pine-like backing.

The taste is of chocolate-y maltiness with a balancing piney, slightly citric, leafy hop support. On the hoppy side for a Scottish Ale - though they are clearly secondary to the chocolatey malt, which is itself not very robust or rich, but the blend is delicious. There's a mild bitterness balancing the sweetness and a woody dryness in the finish.

Even at (or near) room temperature, I wouldn't classify this as the "full-bodied" beer it claims to be. It does reach medium-bodied, though, and has a certain velvety smoothness to it. The carbonation is mild.

The hops - Challenger, Fuggles and Cascade - according to the label - play a supportive role to the toffee-ish chocolate-y maltiness that is not quite rich, but works well to produce a well-balanced tasty treat. Very drinkable/"sessionable"!

Photo of gerardoluna
3.95/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

[Eyes] Great dark brown colour like the bootle! Small creamy brown head that quickly byeeee

[Nouse] A little bit of coffe and chocolate... caramel and some honey?.

[Mouth] Sweet, chocolate, nut, coffe and vanilla. Great and nice balance with good hop in aftertaste, i just get of some carbonation... or maybe more temperature???

Serving type: bottle

to view all ratings, reviews and sorting options.
Lia Fail from Inveralmond Brewery Ltd., The
85 out of 100 based on 122 ratings.