Ebulum Elderberry Black Ale - Williams Brothers Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Ebulum Elderberry Black AleEbulum Elderberry Black Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

508 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 508
Reviews: 360
rAvg: 3.8
pDev: 11.32%
Wants: 37
Gots: 15 | 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:
Beer added by: Mitchster on 09-18-2001

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.
View: Beers (41) | Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
« first ‹ prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | next › last »
Ratings: 508 | Reviews: 360
Reviews by lillitnn92:
More User Reviews:
Photo of RoyalT
3.58/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

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.

Photo of DaPeculierDane
4.03/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

Photo of JasonA
4.33/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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.

Photo of shapudding
3.57/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

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.

Photo of generallee
4.05/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

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.

Photo of Jason
3.7/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

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.

Photo of merlin48
3.8/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

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.

Photo of tigg924
3/5  rDev -21.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

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.

Photo of JohnnyBarman
3.7/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

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.

Photo of Swedes21
3.62/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

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.

Photo of ADR
4.05/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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

Photo of WVbeergeek
4/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

Photo of chinchill
3.43/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

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.

Photo of rhoadsrage
3.77/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

(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.

Photo of r0nyn
3.6/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

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.

Photo of nickthegun12
3.58/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

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!

Photo of IntriqKen
3.65/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours black with a tan head that lasts and lasts.
Aromas are burnt wood, molasses, and brown sugar.
Flavors are the burnt wood with a tart fruitiness.
Mouthfeel is nice...slightly creamy from the carbonation and then drying from the tart fruit.
Aftertaste is vinous and dry.
Interesting and personally prefered to their spruce beer.

Photo of mintjellie
3.18/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Black with brown highlights and a dense mocha head. Somewhat poor retention and no lace. Mild roasted aroma shows coffee and cocoa powder paired with fruit. Roastiness takes the back seat when it comes to flavour, with the elderberries planted firmly behind the proverbial wheel. Sharp, tangy, and sweet, their fruity flavour put a little bit of something interesting into an otherwise mediocre beer. It's like a generic macro "dark ale" with some berry flavour thrown in. Light bodied with soft carbonation. Feels slight, but not thin or watery. Easy drinking and mildly interesting. A more developed roasted malt character would really set this off.

Photo of tastybeer
3.85/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Black, brown with a hint of purple...and opaque. Redish tan head has nice retention but leaves sparse lace. Smells of soft ripe berries over roasted chocolate malts. Tastes of tart berries with an sweet oak-like maltiness. Wine like finish balenced by a lingering malt sweetness. Slick and ultra smooth, almost thin. Extremely drinkable.

A nice beer to have a lot of if you want a dinkable fruit beer with nice malts. I'll probably have this again sometime.

Photo of cokes
3/5  rDev -21.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Pours imperial stout-esque. Very black with almost no carbonation. A small brown head pops up for a moment.
Smoky tones on the nose along with some berries and touches of roastedness.
Interesting flavor. Starts off with mildly sweet black malts coupled with the elderberries (never had them before but think "blue-raspberry flavored"). Berries aren't a big deal, but enough to be noticed. Turns a little roasted, before fading out into a smoky, muggy finale
Body is akin to 3 day old soda. Flat and thin. Probably doesn't deserve the 2.0 I gave it on mouthfeel. No wonder they raped and pillaged (anachronistically or not).
Interesting history lesson, but I won't be studying it again any time soon.

Photo of Sammy
4/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

What's not to like? A fruity smooth stout with the aroma of its roasted barley, good stout like thickness, no coffee. Good complexity, mild acidicty in the finish. And elderberries are as healthy as wine because they are blue, seriously.Oh, and chocolate too.

Photo of CanuckRover
3.51/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Looks like a porter, dark brown with little head and less lacings.

Certainly roasted oats on the nose with some coffee bitterness but the fruit comes through as well, complimented by some nice chocolate. At times the aroma can seem almost sickly sweet, but it doesn't take away too much.

It's hard to tell what comes first. Roastiness, fruity malt and even fruitier uh... fruit all come at once. Very complex. Chocolate seems to jump right out at me and is noticeable throughout. Roasted oats take the form of charcoal providing a porter like bitterness. Can't make my mind up about how much I like the fruit, seems like a bit much sometimes. Combination of the actual berries with a fruity ale malt. Noticeable alcohol in the backend.

Seems a little watery to me. Moderate carbonation. Not the most drinkable beer ever, but it's certainly interesting.

Photo of pmcadamis
4.44/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - This one is WAY more dark than I expected. It's almost like a blackberry juice stain on a white T-shirt: reddish-black-purple with no trace of light coming through. The head is minimal, but it's a frothy white-chocolate thing, although it reduces to a wispy haze within the span of a few minutes. Lacing is sporadic at best, and only a few spots are left on the snifter after a swirl.

S - This smells like a porter to me. I know that its supposed to be an ancient replica of an old tyme brew, but it really smells like a lightly chocolaty porter. There are gentle creamed coffee notes with what I would describe as blueberry, since I have no idea what the hell an elderberry smells like. It smells really friggin' good though! Tootsie rolls, mild coffee with milk, and a vinous wine-like note that I quite like.

T - Honestly, I'm still getting more milk chocolate than anything here. Not that its a bad thing by any stretch of the imagination, its just that I don't know if I would peg this as a beer that has ANY fruit in it. To me, it's a well done mild porter with nice chocolate and coffee notes well rounded with a creamy flavor that reminds me of hazelnut coffee creamer. I like it, but elderberry? For real?

M - Medium bodied with a mild silken carbonation and a slighlty dry cocoa powder finish.

D - Honestly, I like this better than any of the other Ye Olde Scottish brews for the simple fact that it is much more like a "real" beer. In my mind, this is a tasty and well made porter with a good deal of milk chocolate smoothness. I can' fault it for its lack of elderberry notes because I have no idea what an elderberry is, but it doesn't really taste like any kind of berry to me. There is a gentle fruitiness that is not uncommon to any yeasty ale, but it doesn't immediately strike me as "fruit" per se. This is a really nice beer that I would buy a six pack of if it came in that format. Sadly, this is found as part of an "historical" exercise in beer brewing and he other members of the four pack are enlightening, but nowhere near as drinkable.

Photo of Golden2wenty1
3.88/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Picked up a single at Whole Foods Market here in Madison. Never had an elderberry before, so this should be interesting.

Pours like a stout, black with a coffee-colored head. Smells like dark cherry and old coffee. Taste is quite complex: dark fruits, stout-like bitter malts, and a medicinal, tart berry with a prominant coffee ground aftertaste. It was hard to pick everything out. I would have given a higher taste score if the flavors meshed a little better, but still enough to keep me interested. Really reminded me of a sweet stout. Says it's a black ale on the bottle, so that's kind of vague. Mouthfeel was smooth, a little undercarbonated for my liking, but alright. I don't know if I'd want more than one or two of these, but it was a good beer, kept me interested throughout, and certainly worth a try.

Photo of secondtooth
3.59/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours pretty well black, with only slight carbonation. No lace at all.

Aroma is roasty -- actually very stout-like with some definite fruit notes.

Tastes just as roasty and fruity, with tones of chocolate, raisins, dried berry, and an unusual herbal tone. A curious melding of a roasty stout and a fruit ale, this one is well worthy of a try.

« 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 508 ratings.