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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.
very good

501 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 501
Reviews: 357
rAvg: 3.8
pDev: 11.58%
Wants: 30
Gots: 12 | 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
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Ratings: 501 | Reviews: 357 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of sulldaddy
3.05/5  rDev -19.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I split a bottle with Stopper at cellar temp and poured into a snifter. The beer pours a cola brown with some garnet highlights. A fizzy tan edge layer is all that develops. Aroma is malty with brown sugar and molasses and some general fruity sweetness too. First sip reveals an average body and slightly syrupy texture. Very mild carbonation. Flavor is similar to nose with sweet malt and molasses no hops or alcohol are detectable. The finish is a little like rootbeer. Im not sure what an elderberry should taste like, but I dont think I get any fruit flavors here.
Not a very complex beer but no bad or off flavors either.
Probably wouldnt seek it out again.

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 dedrinker
2.98/5  rDev -21.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Murky dark brown - almost black with a tiny cask head. Aromas of distant nail polish and pretzels at the mall. I found that rather intriguing. The flavor was similar with some tartness thrown in. Someone at the bar said, "horse blanket." I tasted horse blanket. Medium body and a slightly sour finish. The night it was on cask I had just missed one of the main guys from the brewery who was there to meet and greet. They said he was cool. Then I found out there was a half-empty cask (now fully up to room temperature) of Bell's Porter in the back that had been taken off the beer engine to make way for this new beer under current review. Which was not in the "cellar temp" cooler long enough to be any cooler than tepid. Then I got mad. The bartender said not a lot of people even showed up for this event either. Great.

Photo of brendan13
4.08/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Poured a very dark brown, almost black with a solid inch of frothy beige head that falls away quite quickly.
S - Roasty chocolate notes like a stout at first but a subtle berry note comes through as well.
T - Roasty, almost burnt coffee and chocolate backed up by a nice dark berry fruitiness.
M - Medium to full bodied, low to medium carbonation.
D - A very nice beer. Roasty chocolate and berries work well together. An interesting & complex beer without being overpowering.

Photo of Dukeofearl
4.22/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

$2.49 for an 11.2 ounce bottle from Hi Time Wine in Costa Mesa, CA., purchased in late 2007; tasted in February 2008.

Pours a deep dark stained mahogany with a frothy tan head- smaller head than most stouts, but in the same family. Reminds me more of a black lager.

Aromas are, well, what can I say, weak. Or Faint. or Light. How about almost non-existent? A light toasty malt is about all I get.

Fortunately, the flavor is MUCH more interesting. A nice roasty malt base, roasty toasty and all-round tasty. Mellow flavors, a little fruitiness (of a flavor I can't pick out- I don't know what elderberry tastes likes, so I'll assume that's what we have), nothing stands out strongly, but it all works together very well. The finish is where some herbal notes and the final fruitiness peak and then wash away.

A bit dry in the mouth, but it works. Overall, quite tasty.

Photo of dnichols
3.9/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I poured a 330 ml capped bottle into a chalice.

A: An aggressive pour down the center of the glass produced a minimal tan head (it barley covered a small portion of the liquid). The body was black as a moonless night in the jungle.

S: It had a hint of dark malts with hints of chocolate and coffee. It has a nose full of aromas including berries, dark spices, hops.

Taste - It presented a nice balance of toasted malts that gave a firm foundation for the berries and spices that dominate the flavor. The alcohol is well hidden.

M: Thin bodied and no carbonation. It has a clean finish leaving only residuals of the spices and berries lingering after each sip.

D: It was very smooth and refreshing. The balance of spices and malts was pleasing. This is my first experience with this style and I will be back for additional brews.

Photo of joepais
3.95/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into a pint glass black with a beige head quickly goes to lace.

Toasted malts, chocolate aroma some fruity sweetness

Lightly sweet fruit, coffee just a hint of a bitter finish

Wonderfully creamy mouthfeel

Great ale hope to find it again

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

This poured an almost perfect black, with a nice tan head, some slight lacing apparent on the glass, doesn't linger around for long. Smell is very malty and is somewhat reminiscent of a porter. Flavor is also much like a porter but much lighter bodied and without the aggressive roasted aftertaste. The fruit is evident in the finish, it's there but it doesn't really jump out at you. The light body gives this beer a very refreshing mouthfeel but the roasty aroma reminds you that you're still drinking a beer. Pretty drinkable and easy going beer.

Overall not bad, I'd get this one again.

Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.45/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance: Pours a black body with brown edges and a bubbly, beige head.

Smell: Aroma of roasted barley and elderberries (which come across as a smokey wild grape). Notes of chocolate as well as molasses.

Taste: Chocolatey, roasted barley flavor with a hint of smoke and, of course, a firm elderberry fruit taste and sweetness - like a blackberry-grape mix. Dash of spice. Light sourness to the roasty finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-thin body. Medium carbonation.

Drinkability: Interesting and certainly fine enough for a single bottle, but not something I'd want to make a habit of.

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

Bottle from the LCBO, which was packaged with three other beers from the brewery. Pours very dark with a small tan head. It’s appearance reminded me of a stout, and when I held it up to the light I couldn’t see through, and felt like I was regarding the darkness of my own soul... Aroma is fruity, and reminded me somewhat of an abbey ale. This beer is thick on the palate, and in wine terminology it has long legs. The predominant flavour was a dark fruity sweetness, which conjured up images of dates. I couldn’t 100% place it, and I suppose I should go out and taste an elderberry. A tasty brew, but not as satisfying as the Alba.

Photo of iceball585
4.2/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Pitch black color, non-transparent, one finger thick tan head that lowered to a thin ring

S- Berries, dark malts, coffee beans, sweet, earthy, a slightly roasted feature

T- Fruity (mostly berries, hint of lemon), coffee beans, roasted malts, earthy, creamy, light hop finish

M- Medium/heavy body, medium carbonation, smooth, semi-oily finish left on the palate

D- Definatly worth trying

This beer is definatly different from anything I've had before. Mostly dark flavors but also has fruity berry flavors as well. Not an instant favorite but I'd definatly buy it again. So far I've been impressed w/ every ale that I've tried by this brewery.

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

Pours an opaque black with a dark tan head that leaves a lot of lacing. Nose is licorice, berry, and earthy. Flavor is smooth and with much depth. Hearty like a stout with roasted qualities, but just a bit of hearty berry edge. Feel is thick with character, but with a lower carbonation. Drinkable? This is one brewery that I want to try everything they put out. Unique, well balanced, and worth the time, money, and pleasure.

Photo of nanchen
3.2/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

The beer poured a dark brown, almost black. The head falls quickly and the lacing sticks to the sides. The aroma is strong, almost pungent. Lots of roasting, and I suppose elderberries (which I've never seen and only heard on Monty Python). I got hints of cocoa, chocolate, coffee. The taste was powerful, big roasted malts, smokyness, and coffee beans. Good mouthfeel, very smooth.

I'd drink it again, but would probably pair with some food. I thought the taste itself was really overbearing sometimes. Tasty, but by itself can be too much.

Photo of nickfl
4/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Two fingers of medium brown head on top of a black body with minor, ruby highlights. Average retention, not much lace.

S - Fruity, aromas of blueberries and blackberries (perhaps just elderberries, but I am not sure what an elderberry smells like). Dark malt notes of chocolate and coffee and a bit of medicinal, phenolic funk lingering in the background.

T - Bright, berry fruitiness followed quickly by coffee and roast malt. A bit of malt bitterness and caramel in the middle that quickly fades and gives way to a nice, ripe blueberry character that lingers, along with weak chocolate notes, into the finish. The flavors don't linger on the palate and the finish is pretty clean, except for a surprising alcohol note.

M - Surprisingly light body with moderately high carbonation. Finishes fairly dry.

D - Quite drinkable; in fact, this may be the most drinkable "historic beer" that I have had. It kind of reminds me of a black lager (except for the coffee notes) with a nice, subtle fruitiness. The elderberries really add character to this beer and rise above the level of the gimmick I feared they might be.

Photo of irishkyle21
4/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Another tasty and different beer from those crazy Scots. Ebulum pours with a fluffy tanned head that fades into a thin collar and some lace. Has a dark black color.

Smells of molasses, a bit of coffee, roasted malt (some smokiness) and sour fruits (elderberry? I guess).

Tastes of sweet toasted malt, sour fruits, molasses and some chocolate.

Photo of Erdinger2003
2.75/5  rDev -27.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Get this at Cyclone Liquors.

Pours a nice head that quickly falls thin and doesn't disappear. The lacing is very good, sticks great. The color is black and unsee-through able. Smell is dark roasted and a little earthy. Like a black ale with some mossy smells to it. There are some chocolate notes as well. Taste is slightly roasty with those mossy flavors and some off-flavors almost rubbery-like flavors. Good mouthfeel very pillowy. Overall, I wouldn't have another one of these. Unless I was in Scotland I can never know when these Gruits are still good.

Photo of BMoney575
3.13/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Sampled on 11-19-07
Best before August 2007

Pours very black in the center, with no real head to speak of. A clean lacing rings the glass as you drink it.

Smell is very roasty, with a definite peaty earthy aroma. Maybe a little dark fruit if you look for it, and a little anise in the back.

Taste is much like the smell, a sizable roasted malt character followed by an earthy, fruity bitterness. Woody and dry on the finish, with a good smokiness.

Mouthfeel is a bit thin for the big roasty flavors.

Drinkability is good, although the contrasting maltiness and bitterness is a bit overpowering.

Overall, a very different kind of beer. Not really my bag, but very redeeming as a change of pace.

Photo of BBM
3.93/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This gruit pours a very dark brown, almost black, into a pint glass. Loose tan head rests atop the brew. Not much lacing or head retention. The aroma has a distinct berry scent, along with an earthy almost musk-like smell. There are hints of oats as well.

The flavor is a bit more complex than I was expecting, with the burnt malts interacting well with the barley and oats, and what I assume is the elderberry. A nice tartness and a subtle red wine flavor rounded out the beer nicely. It reminded me a bit of a schwartzbier, which is not a bad thing. Mouthfeel is a bit thin, but well carbonated. This is a really unique beer, and I'm glad I tried it.

Photo of CanuckRover
3.48/5  rDev -8.4%
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 albern
3.75/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This beer is a complex melange of sorts. You'll start out with a very dark, almost porter like, color with very little head and only minimal lacing. The beer is medium to full bodied with moderate carbonation. The smell is sweet molasses, charred wood, blackberry, maybe some cocoa in there as well. The taste is where the complexity really shines. It begins with a sweetish maltiness, a bit like caramel, berry, and tangy citrus. The mid section segues into a more semi-sweet chocolate, almond configuration, and ends with more of the burnt wood, smoky peat, and warming alcohol notes flavor. The mouthfeel leaves a bit of a film on the tongue, perhaps from the residual berry. The aftertaste is moderate and brings out the warming alcohol notes. Drinkability ... that's a question mark and it really depends upon the season and the dish that one is eating. Standing alone, this is a beer I wouldn't contemplate having more than one, but coupled with an entree, there are more possibilities I would be open to. This beer is characteristic of the Scotch ale style and would complement heavier pub fare. This beer is truly complex and for that alone, well worth seeking out. L'Chaim.

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

A: Started off almost flat, but a fine head of latte colored bubbles came forth from no where and lingering for just a few minutes before dissipating. The body is cola colored and quite still.

S: Fresh roasted coffee beans, chocolate milk and raspberries.

T: Starts off with some muted choco-malt flavors with lingering strawberries notes. Little bit of graham, caramel and perhaps some marshmallow. Sort of milk stoutish with fruity notes. Finishes more roasted than it started with earthy moments.

M: Thin and hard across the palate.

D: Tasty brew. Lacks some carbonation which would have made it a bit nicer in my book. Flavors are good but a tad cloying after a bit.

Photo of JamesS
4.15/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This wonderful black ale pours out dark with a wonderful tan head, giving it a very porter-like appearance. It has wonderful malty/oaky/smoked peat scents with no one dominating smell, but rather a nice mixture of them all. This beer goes down smoothly and it would be easy to drink quite a few at one setting. It has a nice dark, oaky flavor with a hint of smoke and a tiny hint of elderberry in it. A wonderful dark ale to try.

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

330 ml bottle, at Haket, Göteborg. Black colour, moderate but lasting creamy head. Strong aroma of roast malts, chocolate and elderberries. Flavour is mellow and rounded with chocolate and elderberries, surprisingly well balanced. Now also available in Norway at Cardinal pub, Stavanger. Good beer!

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

dark brew, not an impressive head, though I don't think fruitty beers are often of big headedness.

strong malt smells, but dry, nto sweet, a note of cherry. not a strong smell but pleasent.

it tastes liek a mild stout, nothing overwhelmingly strong. matching the smell, it's just kinda mild.

smooth and drinkable, but kinda boring.

Photo of flowerysong
4.45/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Appearance: Another cola-brown beer with a brown foamy head.

Smell: Soft berry fruitiness and hints of roasted malt.

Taste: Nicely integrated dark berry taste with malt and charred coffee in the background. Some soft tannins contribute to an astringent finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-full and creamy.

Drinkability: Very drinkable; while the berry flavour is noticeable, it's not overpowering and the base beer is quite well done.

Ebulum Elderberry Black Ale from Williams Brothers Brewing Company
86 out of 100 based on 501 ratings.