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Ebulum Elderberry Black Ale - Williams Brothers Brewing Company

Ebulum Elderberry Black AleEbulum Elderberry Black Ale

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

464 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 464
Reviews: 354
rAvg: 3.79
pDev: 11.61%

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)
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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 464 | Reviews: 354 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of CFHMagnet


3.85/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Best before June 2012 printed on the label.

An average steady pour yields a finger and a half of sand colored head. While this slowly dissipates, I observe that the body appears black until held up to the light, when one can see that it is a deep dark brown. An attempt at lacing is noted, and head retains a good ring and thin layer up top.

A good deep malt aroma is coupled with a berry aroma that must be the elderberry. There are also the faint aromas of earthy hops and a light chocolate.

A gentle elderberry flavor guides you into this beer. It is followed up by light toasty malt, earthy hops and the suggestion of bakers chocolate.

Mouthfeel is light to medium. Carbonation doesn't have much to say unless you hold the beer on your tongue. It isn't sticky or coating, nor is it dry. It's simple.

Serving type: bottle

03-13-2012 02:16:58 | More by CFHMagnet
Photo of MoreThanWine


3.75/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured an eighth inch mocha colored head which vanished within a few seconds. The body is a clear burnt umber brown color, nearly coffee. Smell comes across rich and malty. Taste has the malt, an acidic zing which persists through the finish, and a touch of fruit which must be the elderberries. There's both coffee and cocoa coming across in the finish and the acidity adds a spicey nature. Body is fairly light. An interesting and somewhat unique beer.

Serving type: bottle

02-05-2012 02:14:05 | More by MoreThanWine
Photo of buschbeer


4.1/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

330ml bottle
Served in a perfect pint glass

A - It pours very dark brown with ruby highlights. It is capped with two fingers of mocha head.

S - I get a nice mixture of milk chocolate and elderberries. It reminds me of cherry cordial.

T - I get a lot of roasted malt in the taste. The main flavor is the milk chocolate. I get some of the elderberry through the middle and am left with some coffee flavors in the finish.

M - Medium to full

O - This is a very enjoyable beer. It has the perfect ratio of roasted malt to fruit presence. I get a little burnt aftertaste that slightly detracts from the overall experience.

Serving type: bottle

01-30-2012 20:33:43 | More by buschbeer
Photo of Kartoffeln

Ontario (Canada)

3.85/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours practically black with chocolate brown around the edges and a modest head of frothy, tan foam. Decent retention, dissipating to a ring with minimal lacing.

S: Chocolate, biscuit, and a bit of black malt with mild sweetness and a charred hint of roasted grain, mixed with fresh elderberries and grassy, slightly floral hops.

T: Chocolate and roasted malt with notes of caffe mocha, cinder toffee, and a lingering toasted grain undertone with some oat sweetness. Mild elderberry note, a bit tart and a bit sweet. Earthy, herbal hops, nutty yeast, and biscuit in the finish.

M: Medium-bodied with mild, creamy-smooth carbonation and a slightly sticky mouthfeel. Well-balanced between the palate and lingering bittersweet finish, but the elderberry note feels out of place and somehow a bit cloying.

D: A solid ale but in spite of being a gruit; the elderberries are integral to the style, but I think that in this case it'd be better without them as a plain stout or porter. Still, it's far from ruined and worth a try.

Serving type: bottle

01-28-2012 00:44:56 | More by Kartoffeln
Photo of horshack7


3.53/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Well it's very dark brown to black mostly opaque. On top is a very thin beige head.

Aroma: At the start the is a little bit of a mossy aroma very earthy. Licorice root, roasted malts, floral hop, the nose does have a dark bread dry finish a wisp of pumpernikel.

Taste: Light bodied very smooth mouthfeel a little on the thin side. Coffee, a few indications of ripe dark fruits. Spice and herbal touches are scatterd about. Malts are a little bit sweet.

Notes: It's somewhat thin decent flavor and some decent sweetness. Cheers.

Serving type: bottle

01-22-2012 00:36:51 | More by horshack7
Photo of DrDemento456


3.83/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - little to no head with what little lace ring is pretty sticky. Color is pretty pitch black.

S - Smells like a sweet black ale. Subdued roast along side of some berry smells and malts.

T - Well I never had a Gruit but it tastes pretty nice. Mild roast with berry sweetness and a touch of hops in the finish. Leaves an "herbal" taste lingering on the palate. Not bad.

M - Light to medium very nice.

Overall I picked this up since I like strange beers and an elder berry black ale actually worked pretty well. Would consider trying other things from this brewery.

Serving type: bottle

01-16-2012 03:31:48 | More by DrDemento456
Photo of scott451

Ontario (Canada)

3.7/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A vigorous pour into a pint glass produced a one finger tan head on a very dark ruby, nearly black. The head soon diminished to a ring. Pretty good head for a gruit, a style not noted for heads. Some thin lacing.

Spicy smell with some berry undertones. Tastes somewhat like a dark ale with some fruit. Can’t distinguish elder as a specific taste.

A very creamy texture. Well melded and balanced. Another winner from Williams Bros. The herbals are subdued in this one but it’s a pretty fine ale.

Serving type: bottle

01-02-2012 15:20:48 | More by scott451
Photo of BeerResearcher


4.13/5  rDev +9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

11.2 oz. brown bottle. Best before date stamped on back label.
It pours a ruby-hued black oil color with a thin beige head.
Lovely smells of blueberry...and I suppose elderberry mix with the smell of rye malts, oatmeal and crushed dried flowers.
It tastes much like it smells with the added taste of plum brandy rolling in the bachground.
I absolutely love the silky smooth mouthfeel.
It goes down so easy, yet there's a nice warming punch in the finish.

Serving type: bottle

12-27-2011 23:41:55 | More by BeerResearcher
Photo of WVbeergeek


4/5  rDev +5.5%
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.

Serving type: bottle

12-17-2011 19:35:03 | More by WVbeergeek
Photo of liamt07

Ontario (Canada)

3.88/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle from the LCBO giftpack, 330ml into a tulip. Best before December 2012.

Pours a deep dark violet, bordering on black but some deep shades of red come through in the light. Finger or so of bubbly mocha head sit atop this, a bit of sticky lace and mild retention. Nose has some roast, toasted/lightly burnt breads, some berry notes (elderberries I'll presume). Hints of chocolate and cocoa. Taste has more roast notes, dark malts, milk chocolate and subtler berry notes than the nose had presented. Slight metallic and smoke. Mouthfeel is medium, with a relatively low carbonation - similar to almost all of the other beers in this pack, but this doesn't detract from the experience at all, and almost makes this somewhat creamy. Although categorized as a gruit/herbed ale, this could pass as a black ale as well and is certainly much better than several I've had from that style. Nice.

Serving type: bottle

12-13-2011 03:36:00 | More by liamt07
Photo of peensteen

Ontario (Canada)

3.98/5  rDev +5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Deep brown, ruby highlights, light ring of soapy tan head, no retention or lace. Smell is incredibly roasted, malty, coffee, chocolate, forest fruit, berries, quite fruity and works well underneath all that roast, mild smoke notes as well. Taste is of roasted malt and a floral berries initially, some coffee, quite bitter, subtle chocolate, roast malt in finish with a fruity aftertaste that lingers for what seems like forever. Light-med prickly carbonation, medium body, thin at points, lightly creamy. Quite an interesting brew, some nice flavours and scents here, would revisit gladly.

Serving type: bottle

12-06-2011 19:01:47 | More by peensteen
Photo of bryehn

Ontario (Canada)

4.03/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Following the brewery guidelines included in the gift pack I'm trying this lightly chilled in a straight (St. Peter's signature) glass.

Pours an opaque black with a cola-like dark brown visible around the edges. The light brown head is fairly large and quite frothy, leaving behind a nice amount of lace.

Smells of fresh berries, roasted malts, chocolate, coffee and fresh grains. A nice, floral and hoppy bite comes through after warming. Very pleasant.

Very well-balanced in taste. Coffee and chocolate are joined by a nice bitterness and fresh berry flavour. The finish is dry and tart.

Full-bodied with a medium carbonation level. Nice pop and slightly oily character on the tongue. Clean aftertaste with berry, earthy and wood notes.

Quite a solid beer, I'd make this a go-to in the cold weather months if I could get it outside the Historic Ales of Scotland gift pack.

Serving type: bottle

12-02-2011 19:40:04 | More by bryehn
Photo of Stocean1

Ontario (Canada)

3.98/5  rDev +5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a one finger head into my pint glass from the bottle with its ancient gaelic print. This is a dark brown brew with an almost purple hue. The head was short lived and reduced to a thin collar with fine bubbles. The lacing is a fine film that quickly slides down the side of the glass back into murky bottom.

Unripened sour berries and roasted malt come through in the aroma.

The taste follows the nose with oats and herbal hops coming through. This is a dry and slightly tart brew. As it warmed I detected dark chocolate and fruit. Very well balanced and refreshing for the style.

This is a medium bodied brew with little carbonation. It is slightly bitter and dry but again very refreshing and definitely drinkable.

This was the last of my taster pack from the LCBO and I enjoyed all four of the brews immensely. Will definitely seek out anything I see from this brewer in the future.

Serving type: bottle

12-02-2011 11:50:22 | More by Stocean1
Photo of SebD

Ontario (Canada)

3.75/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: It has a nice almost fully black color to it with a bit of amber. It has a nice tan head that dies down moderately and leaves very little lacing.

Smell: The aromas definitly give out hints of dark fruit, with some roasty malts and some chocolate.

Taste: Like the aromas, it has a nice sweet dark fruit sweetness with elderberry i'm assuming, nice roasty malt character and a light chocolate bitterness.

Mouthfeel: It has a low/medium carbonation with a nice overall balance and feel.

Drinkability: It's a very smooth drinkable beer accompanied with good flavors and aromas.

Serving type: bottle

11-29-2011 00:38:13 | More by SebD
Photo of WYVYRN527


3.75/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a snifter from a 11.2 oz. bottle.

A: Almost black in color with a thin eggshell head that settles quickly to a thin film along the side of the glass.

S: Dark fruit and spice up front with an almost vinous quality. Roasted malts and chocolate aromas appear in the background.

T: almost opposite as to what the nose reveals. The elderberry is almost invisible on the palate, with bitter chocolate and roasted grains dominant. Finish is slightly bitter, with just a touch of dark fruit emerging.

Notes: This beer has less body than I expected it to. Slightly thin mouthfeel with a full flavored palate. It's definitely a drinkable beer and a unique experience, but nothing that stands out amongst other beers of the style. Still worth a try.

Serving type: bottle

11-15-2011 00:33:17 | More by WYVYRN527
Photo of bluHatter


3.85/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A: Deep dark black, looks somewhat thick and syrupy as it pours and settles in the glass. Little head.

S: Dark berries (elderberries, of course). Also, maple syrup, pine wood notes.

T: Dark chocolate, rich coffee, very faint on the berry flavor - it's more of a smell thing. The slight sweetness really balances out well and removes any hint of the bitterness you'd expect from such a dark ale.

M: Syrupy. Very smooth and actually pretty light feeling despite its thickness... probably because the flavor has very little bitterness.

O: An excellent dark ale. Very smooth and easy but really blossoms when you take the time to taste its subtler qualities. Very good.

Serving type: bottle

10-09-2011 23:25:27 | More by bluHatter
Photo of Morey


3.98/5  rDev +5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big thanks to my sister-in-law Kayla for this mixed box of 4!

Pours black in color with a beige colored head that stood about one finger tall following a medium pour. Foam settled rather quickly and leaves only minimal lace behind as you drink. You can see some deep purple/dark brown hues around the edges if you hold your glass up to a bright enough light.

Definitely getting the elderberries in the aroma. Some roasted barley, burning coals, and a touch of a medicinal smell in the nose as well.

Nice combination of ripe fruit and roasted malt up front followed by just a touch of bitterness. Things start to mellow/balance out towards the middle setting up a fairly smooth finish.

Medium bodied with a bubbly carbonation up front that subsides some on the back end.

A good beer overall. I gave it a 4 in all but one category because everything is well done, but nothing jumps out and absolutely WOWs you.

Morey's Bottom Line: Really glad that I got to try this beer. I would gladly drink it again, but I probably wouldn't go out of my way for it.

Serving type: bottle

09-18-2011 23:41:09 | More by Morey
Photo of spitInTheOcean


4.35/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

looks black and opaque. when held to the light it lets just the least amount of mahogany through. creamy brown head. fair lacing.

smells of roasted malts. slight fruit, like maybe raisen, but mostly roasted malt.

taste is sweet. tastes mostly of roasted malts some slight fruitiness in the middle, the fruit flavor is really interesting, very deep and rich i want to say. roasted malts in the finish. finishes sweet some roasted malt bitterness, but mostly sweet. no hop flavor or bitterness detected.

kind of heavy on the palate. i would guess the f.g. to be kinda high. but the complexity of flavors is appreciated. soft carbonation

this is a damn good beer for those who like a good malt forward beer. this is my idea of a stout.

Serving type: bottle

08-30-2011 04:35:38 | More by spitInTheOcean
Photo of JayS2629


3.83/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

It pours a black color with dark brown edges, a thich off white head that fades quickly but leaves nice rings.

It smells very balanced between fruity, bright and sweet elderberries and a nice chalky chocolate and caramel backbone.

The tast follows the nose with a deep, fruity but dark sweetness of elderberries in the bakc of a big caramel with notes of chocolate and toast.

A bit thin for its style, but creamy and well balanced.

Overall it is a nicely balanec and enjoyable beer.

Serving type: bottle

08-20-2011 04:39:56 | More by JayS2629
Photo of tbeckett

Ontario (Canada)

3.88/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A friend left this at my house a while back. Givin' it a shot.

A - Pours a very deep ruby red. Some carbonation coming up the sides. A one finger, rocky, fluffy head of a very light brown colour. Some slight lacing and a half finger cap of retention.

S - Very nice with some light roasted malt, some good dark fruit notes blend together with that nicely.

T - More dark fruit and roasted malt. Drinks more like a quality crafted stout. Some licorice or root type groove goin on. Never had an elderberry but there is definately some sort of wild berry note.

M - Proper carbonation, right around medium and a medium to full body with a sweet move towards a roasted finish.

O/D - I have to admit that this is pretty good. It's almost like a stout with roots/berries added. It drinks smooth and is quite enjoyable. The aroma is more fruity while the body is stouty-er so I'd prefer the fruit to carry on, otherwise good. I wouldn't reach for this for a session, but it's tasty and well-crafted. A nice suprise.

Serving type: bottle

08-20-2011 01:04:07 | More by tbeckett
Photo of BeerForMuscle

New Jersey

4/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Dark brown stout body with a large choppy, foamy brown head.

S - Fruit skin twang with roasty grains. Some yeasty mineral hints and cherry cordial alchohol. Some faint dark sugar and syrupy malt present. Deep inhalation shows some sweet rubbing alcohol.

T - Fairly malty base with a kick of brown sugar and toffee. Some coffee notes and bitterness in the back of the throat. The berry essence is very subtle here. This tastes more like a mild stout with berry essence. Or a sweet schwartz.

M - Soft and faintly carbonated, this one is smooth and easy to sip. Subtly dry end.

O - Not a bad beer but hoped for something bolder from an elderberry black ale. Nice for a mild dark beer.

Serving type: bottle

08-08-2011 01:33:55 | More by BeerForMuscle
Photo of CPeterson


3.65/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A -- A translucent black brew pours to a one finger tan head which settles to a thin skim, leaving subtle traces of lacing.

S -- Berry and dark fruit are softly sweet but present, remnants of roast and earth linger and counter them.

T -- Roasted malts, charred wood and earth, subtle tones of berry and coffee, lightly bitter on the back end.

M -- Medium body and light carbonation give this a smooth and slick mouthfeel, with a light drying effect on the end.

D -- Good brew overall, worth trying, definitely different yet still familiar.

Serving type: bottle

08-01-2011 02:51:39 | More by CPeterson
Photo of CharlieMurphy

New York

3.98/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Preeeety dark. Just ruby amber around the edges. No head but cyst pockets of bubbles rise and bud like constellations of meteoric moss. Laces and traces. Unique indeed.

S: I can only smell roasted malts and dry coffee. Smells good but one dimensional.

T: Very coffee like brew, but works backwards compared to most coffee-esque beers in the sense that it finishes lighter and is more up front with the roastiness. The secondary fruit flavors don't even knock until your gullet's well dry. Almost has some bock undertones.

M: Full and satisfying, esp for 6.5%. Amply carbonation compliments the roast. Finish is dry but fades immediately, barely any residual, and whatever is left doesn't detract from wanting lots more.

O: This beer seemingly encompasses many different beer styles that I enjoy - stout, saison, porter, bock? Would enjoy enjoying again and multiple times in a sitting.

Serving type: bottle

08-01-2011 02:10:56 | More by CharlieMurphy
Photo of IronMickey


3.8/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: heavy, fizzy head that recedes quickly. black color but translucent

S: huge nose, I really enjoy wafting this one. malt, caramel, some syrupy sweetness, some heat

T: a little bit of a letdown after the nose. strong molasses, the same caramel, and just a hint of heat that wraps up quickly

M: strong carbonation, nice and medium in body per the style, tight metallic finish

D: smooth, rich, complex, but not at all overwhelming. Good.

Serving type: bottle

07-31-2011 20:50:40 | More by IronMickey
Photo of DrinkingDrake


3.95/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured out black with of hue of deep red. A small amount of head formed and then dwindled to nothing but a ring around the glass. Aroma is huge. A lot of molasses and earthy notes. Dark/fruity(elderberry,figs). Some roasted malt character but a lot of it is covered up by the molasses. Alcohol also cuts through the nose even though it is 6.5%. A carbonation tingle upfront with some elderberry fruitiness which leads to a metallic/sugary flavor. Shortly after roasted grains comes through with a subtle chocolate finish. Sweet and metallic at the end. Also very dry with a lot of the dark fruit characters coming through. A medium body with a good amount of carbonation. Complex flavors transition throughout sipping this beer. Interesting flavors you may typically find in a barley wine.

Serving type: bottle

07-16-2011 00:02:11 | More by DrinkingDrake
Ebulum Elderberry Black Ale from Williams Brothers Brewing Company
85 out of 100 based on 464 ratings.