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!

Ebulum Elderberry Black Ale - Williams Brothers Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Ebulum Elderberry Black AleEbulum Elderberry Black Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
86
very good

484 Ratings
THE BROS
83
good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 484
Reviews: 356
rAvg: 3.8
pDev: 11.58%
Wants: 30
Gots: 8 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Williams Brothers Brewing Company visit their website
United Kingdom (Scotland)

Style | ABV
Scottish Gruit / Ancient Herbed Ale |  6.50% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
Introduced to Scotland by Welsh druids in the 9th Century, elderberry black ale was part of the Celtic Autumn festivals when the "elders" would make this strong ale and pass the drink round the people of the village. The recipe was taken from a 16th Century record of domestic drinking in the Scottish Highlands. Elderberries were used for many natural remedies to cure sciatica, other forms of neuralgia, influenza and rhumatism as they contain tannins and fruit oils. Ebulum is made from roasted oats, barley and wheat boiled with herbs then fermented with ripe elderberries.

(Beer added by: Mitchster on 09-18-2001)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
« first ‹ prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | next › last »
Ratings: 484 | Reviews: 356 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by Fatduck:
Photo of Fatduck
3.9/5  rDev +2.6%

33cL bottle, bottled Dec 2007.

Pours a deep black with no head, a few bubbles around the edge.

Smells of some spice, maybe star anise, who knows, nothing reminds me of elderberries.

Tastes a little odd, spiced certainly but fruity, sweet. there is something a tad sour, or tangy, it must be the elder berries.

This bottle was pretty flat, I don't know if it is supposed to be that way or this one bottle was flat, so ill go easy on that rank. But like my SO said, wow that's nice, I could have a few of those. it is a very drinkable brew.

Fatduck, Feb 05, 2009
More User Reviews:
Photo of RoyalT
3.58/5  rDev -5.8%

Appearance – Black body with a modest, darkened head.

Smell – This smells a lot like a porter. I can easily pick up coffee and chocolate, for instance. There is though a faint sent of fruity sweetness in accordance with the style.

Taste – The berry flavors come out more in the taste. The porter-like flavors are there as well, giving this one a nice balance.

Mouthfeel – No carbonation and medium-bodied.

Drinkability – This one was quite smooth. I’d drink this after supper to be sure, as it will nicely finish a meal and probably kick off the after-dinner conversation.

Comments – I’ve never eaten an elderberry before, so it’s difficult to say whether this ale is picking up the correct taste. It is supposedly a dark berry, so in this manner it is right on target. Strange, but well done.

RoyalT, Sep 14, 2003
Photo of DaPeculierDane
4.03/5  rDev +6.1%

Poured into a pilsner flute at Opus in Madison.

Black body, pink head. Nice looking. Very appealing.

Aroma reminds me of the roasted malt profile of a good Schwartz beer. Fruits just barely come through, mostly blackberry and maybe a few strawberries or cherries. Hints of licorice?

Taste is dominated by dark roasted malts but has some nice mulberry/blackberry character. Smooth, silky, almost oily full bodied brew.

What a beer. I really, really enjoy this. This is a man’s fruit beer. It’s loaded with roastedness, a bit of booze, and some nice vinous berries.

Solid brew.

DaPeculierDane, Feb 16, 2007
Photo of beerhunter13
3/5  rDev -21.1%

beerhunter13, Jan 14, 2012
Photo of Zakk
4.5/5  rDev +18.4%

Zakk, Jun 12, 2012
Photo of JasonA
4.35/5  rDev +14.5%

Pours an oil dark, but when exposed to light rays of mohagany show through the edges. Ample head included with lacing will stride down the sides cresting the sides of the glass.

Fruity. Medium to dark malt, though not black patent. Some ABV, though Im getting more port wine chocoalte than carmelized malt.

Hmmm. Light chocolate espresso with malty body and amazing fruity finish. Well done with the trip down tastebud lane. No real hops, some biscuit though no real bittering. Some fruit tar also.

Balance is almost perfect. Could use a bit more body at the finish. The tartness lingers is a positive manner. Almost a Wee Heavy type finish, might be from the yeast strain.

Well done, Id love some more of this. I could definitely get into trouble with these.

JasonA, Jan 25, 2010
Photo of shapudding
3.48/5  rDev -8.4%

Notchless date box on the bottle...
Dark, rootbeery brown and pitch dark. Thick beige ring of head at the edges with a thin dusting swirling through across the top. Strong burgundy/port scent with dark berries. With that scent I really expected to get a sweet/sour flavor, but this is more of a dry and dark flavor. Dry house red wine, with a bit of black coffee in the aftertaste. Thin mouthfeel with low carbination. Maybe a hint of chocolate in the after-taste. Decent drinkablity due to the low carbination. Ok flavor, but not one I will be going back to again.

shapudding, Dec 06, 2004
Photo of generallee
4.05/5  rDev +6.6%

Presentation: It was poured from a brown 330ml bottle into a small mug. The label lists the abv at 6.5% and there is a "Best Before End" date.

Appearance: It has a black body which is nearly opaque. When held up to the light there is dark reddish hue near the edge of the glass. A light tan, two finger tall head rests on top. It is thick and long lasting. Lacing is minimal and slick.

Smell: The aroma has dark roasted maltiness with hints of roasted coffee. Elderberry notes are noticeable but very light and subdued. I would like just a bit more of the berry.

Taste/Palate: Its flavor runs right with the aroma. There is a dark roasted base with notes of dark chocolate/bitter coffee and just the slightest hint of elderberry. The finish has a mild herbal and berry tartness to it. Its palate is medium bodied with a very smooth light texture.

Notes: I found this beer to be very interesting. The fruit is light and delicate. I think it is better to be light on fruit vs. heavy and syrupy.

generallee, Mar 15, 2011
Photo of Doomcifer
4/5  rDev +5.3%

Doomcifer, Aug 16, 2014
Photo of Jason
3.68/5  rDev -3.2%

Presentation: 11.2 oz slender Euro style bottle with a “Best before end” date on the label.

Appearance: Black as night with a thin, almost wispy, tan lace that has a decent retention.

Smell: Earthy with a sweet-tart fruitiness and a soft sweetness from the oats and barley, charred wood comes to mind also.

Taste: Silky smooth with a moderate carbonation, medium to full bodied and a slick mouth feel make this brew slide down the throat easier. Sweet-tart fruitiness of lemon and wild berries come through though are mild. Maltiness throws both sweetness and roasted flavours with a charred wood and earthy flavour that are more in contrast to the sweetness. A softness from the oats is noticeable with a mild sweetness also. Hops are light yet balancing, alcohol is deceiving with faint esters towards the end. That same woodiness flows into the finish and helps with the drying effect.

Notes: Eclectic and complex with a juicy sweet-tart fruitiness within, I’d put this in my dessert beer category and pair this one with chocolaty and / or fruity desserts. Certainly a specialty brew and nothing less.

Jason, May 25, 2002
Photo of merlin48
3.83/5  rDev +0.8%

Another historical ale from Brewery Craigmill, this style was supposedly brought to Scotland, by Welsh Druids according to the label. Appearance is a deep purple, almost black body that shines a clear, radiant ruby hue when held to a strong light. Small beige head quickly dissipates, leaving no lace. Aroma is subdued, with dark roasted grain notes and a hint of berry. Light medium bodied with low carbonation in the mouth. Taste has a mildly bitter coffee note, porter like in nature, and a softness from the oats. Mild berry presence could be a bit more assertive in this one, but the taste is well balanced and pleasant to sip. I wouldn't mind having two or three of these at a sitting.

merlin48, Jul 09, 2005
Photo of tigg924
3/5  rDev -21.1%

Appearance: dark red-brown in color, minimal head, clear, moderate carbonation

Smell: faint berry and roasted malt

Taste: roasted malt and coffee, slight berry at the end

Mouthfeel: dry, slightly bitter with sweet undertones, medium-heavy body, medium-low carbonation

Drinkability: Probably my least favorite of the Scottish Ales pack. This tastes like an ok dry stout with some additional berries. Not a bad beer, but nothing I would rush to get.

tigg924, Jun 14, 2010
Photo of JohnnyBarman
3.73/5  rDev -1.8%

The last of my Historic Ales of Scotland pack...

Poured into a chalice. Very dark - almost completely black with just a hint of brown around the edges when held to the light. Thin off-white head that settles as a ring. Some lacing struggles to cling to the sides of the glass.

The nose is slightly roasted malts, purple berries (since I'm not really sure what elderberries smell like, I'll say grape and blue berries). A slight hint of cocoa as well.

Taste is similar to the nose, but with a woody character to it as well. Finishes with a tart, grape-berry flavour that lingers for a few moments after sipping.

Mouthfeel is well-carbonated, a bit thinner than the other brews in the pack, but with a sticky-tartness to the finish. Goes down like slightly flat cola.

An enjoyable little brew. Not something I'd pick up too often, but certainly well worth a try.

JohnnyBarman, Apr 29, 2010
Photo of andrewdanks
3.5/5  rDev -7.9%

andrewdanks, Jul 15, 2014
Photo of Swedes21
3.65/5  rDev -3.9%

330 ml served in a chilled glass..

Appearance - very dark pouring beer, can not see through as the beer is a solid black in colour. The head is a light brown, reflects the beer colour. Some carbonation present in the head, as well, minimal lacing occurring.

Smell - i can smell some roast malts, almost coffee based. There is a slight hint of fruit as well, however, very hidden.

Taste - defined taste to this beer is a coffee bean base, there is a slight bitterness to this beer as well. you do not taste the fruit come through at all as a dominant taste, however, there are hints of it in the background.

Mouthfeel - decent amount of carbonation added that brought out the coffee base to this beer. Added a little bitterness as well, but its a nice touch.

Drinkability - I think i can have one of these a sittings. I am glad i bought it as part of the Scottish pack at the LCBO not sure i would hunt down again as a must need.

Swedes21, Oct 31, 2010
Photo of ADR
4.1/5  rDev +7.9%

Very deep brown appearance, just slight light transmission. A big-bubbled tan head emerges but fades in about half a minute. Just a slight bit of fruit to the aroma, but not a lot of smells come off of this one. The major flavor that arises is very close to Smith Brother's Original Cough Drops, slightly medicinal and tangy but pleasant and sort of soothing. a subtle bit of background flowery tartness suggests a spare use of hops. Different and drinkable, I like how the folks at Heather are reviving beers that are close to hypothetical styles that are long extinct.

Source: Liquid Solutions

ADR, Sep 28, 2003
Photo of WVbeergeek
4/5  rDev +5.3%

Pours like a porter thick body dark caramel ruby almost black with a light tan mocha head, fine speckled lacing. Aroma has dark roasted malts with a light fruitiness, really roasty like a porter with dark chocolate and a touch of coffee roasts. Flavor is great a big rustic porter labeled as a berry infused black ale, that works to. It still tastes like a creamy dark chocolate/roasted coffee beer. This is probably the best base beer with the ancient ingredients having less effect than any of the other ancient ales. Mouthfeel is medium bodied creamy texture very enjoyable with mellow carbonation goes down easy the glass literally drains itself. Overall a solid black ale that regardless of the label they're putting on it, is damn good.

WVbeergeek, Dec 17, 2011
Photo of chinchill
3.4/5  rDev -10.5%

Poured from an 11.2oz bottle with a best by date of May 2013 into a snifter. The beer is clear but black, with a very thin off-white head that fades quickly and leaves a thin lace on the glass. Some deep red highlights under bright light. The aroma features berries, elderberry with hints of blueberry, faint malts, alcohol and a hint of hops. The taste has a much more solid dark malt base but the berries are still fairly prominent. A bit of peat and smoke in the finish. A touch of dark chocolate too. The after-taste is bitter-sweet with hints of smoke and coffee.

M: Smooth, medium-full body; near medium carbonation.

O: Rich and unusual flavor. Carries the aura of an ancient ale.

chinchill, Feb 04, 2013
Photo of dsauter
3.5/5  rDev -7.9%

dsauter, Dec 07, 2011
Photo of JIMTRK16
4.25/5  rDev +11.8%

JIMTRK16, Feb 26, 2014
Photo of rhoadsrage
3.8/5  rDev 0%

(Served in an American pint glass)
A- Dark, dark brown opaque body with only a few small bubbles visible and a few random bubbles make a thin head around the edges.

S- nice roasted malt, cold coffee aroma

T- nice roasted dark malt taste with a light bitterness from roasted grain. Finishes with a faint berry flavor. Roasted malt and berry flavor linger a bit on the tongue.

M- slippery mouthfeel with a full body. A slight stringency but very subtle

D- This is an interesting beer. It has a nice balance of maltyness and bitterness even though there are no real hop presents in this beer. The fruit is a secondary character that compliments the grains very nicely.

rhoadsrage, Apr 05, 2005
Photo of TheLevi4000
4/5  rDev +5.3%

TheLevi4000, May 09, 2013
Photo of r0nyn
3.58/5  rDev -5.8%

Poured from a bottle into my Otter Creek nonic.

Pours a dark brown hue that coalesces into a nearly opaque blackness in the glass. Some pronounced ruby edges around the sides. Half inch light tan head recedes down to a thin cap, leaving some loose lacing. There's a definite sweet quality to the nose, fruity and sugary. I can only assume that these are the titular elderberries. There's also quite a bit of malt and just a slight bit of wheat. Some barley as well.

Sweetish to start, but not cloyingly so. The berry taste is subdued and balanced well with the malts and roasted barely that follows it up. Some grain and wheat are also detectable, with some very light hop bittering on the back end that lingers into the aftertaste. There's a mild astringency that permeates the entire flavor experience. Mouthfeel is on the light side, with a little bit too much carbonation that gives the drink somewhat of a soda-ish feel, which coupled with the taste, didn't sit to well on the tongue. Finish is quite drying, more so than I've experienced with other beers.

Drinkability is above average. Not your typical everyday beer, this elderberry ale. Quite a unique flavor experience, one that might take some getting used to. Wouldn't really down more than one or two of these in a given night, either.

r0nyn, Dec 05, 2010
Photo of jmdjsm
5/5  rDev +31.6%

jmdjsm, Nov 27, 2011
Photo of nickthegun12
3.58/5  rDev -5.8%

not as good as some of these other ales ive tried by these guys!
the smell is very dark, some chocolate, some dark fruits
the taste is very much dark fruit, slightest bit chocolate
the feel, oh i can taste a little carbonation, almost a velvety texture to it
this ale is decent at best, but its still how they used to make it, so for that i have a great deal of respect!

nickthegun12, Nov 05, 2010
« first ‹ prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | next › last »
Ebulum Elderberry Black Ale from Williams Brothers Brewing Company
86 out of 100 based on 484 ratings.