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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

486 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 486
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
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Ebulum Elderberry Black Ale Alström Bros
Ratings: 486 | Reviews: 356 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of GClarkage
3.53/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

01/23/05- Purchased at a wine and spirits store in Sonoma, CA

Presentation- 11.2oz bottle with a best by Dec 2005 on back of label. Poured into my Duvel glass.

Appearance- Very dark almost black. Maybe a purple hue. Nice inch white head and light lacing.

Smell- Scents of very dark roasted malts and maybe some dark fruits in the very back.

Taste- The first thing I tasted was the heavy smokey flavor. Not usually my thing, but it wasn't too bad with this beer. It worked decent with the heavy malts and the nutty coffee flavor.

Mouthfeel- Average carbonation and a mid range mouthfeel.

Drinkability- Pretty smooth and different tasting beer. Probably wouldn't try again, but I'm glad I did and would recommend it to those who like the smokeir type beers.

GClarkage, Jan 25, 2005
Photo of aquatonex
3.2/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I was very excited about this beer, but I was a little disappointed...

Pours dark brown, almost black. A little head, good lacing though. Smells at first of some berries (elderberries I assume) but then there is a strong astringency from alcohol. Also, there is some malts present in the nose. Taste follows the smells, with some berriness in the background, some solid sweet licorice malts, and a strong astringency. It would be better if the alcohol was more incorporated into the brew. Overall, eh.

aquatonex, Jan 23, 2005
Photo of GCBrewingCo
3.2/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

The beer poured pitch black wiht a low off white head that persistently lasted to lace the glass.

The aroma was fruity with vinous and roasty aromas.

The flavor was vinous and winey with slight roasty flavors and some slight sourness. The taste was strong of black patent malt.

The finish was dry with lasting black patent flavor. The body was medium and the carbonation low.

11.2 ounce bottle. Best before Jun 2005. I hate to say I don't like this beer, but I do not. I would not recommend it and don't plan on having it again although I did not find enough flaws to rate it poorly.

GCBrewingCo, Jan 05, 2005
Photo of GuinnessSmurf
3.78/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nice, shiny black surface color...at first, it seems thin.

Has a slight roasted malt odor. It otherwise a little weak in the nose.

This is a great tasting beer. I was surprised by how large the flavor and body were - really impressed. Has a nice mix of dark roasted malts and a deep cordial fruit taste to compliment.

GuinnessSmurf, Jan 02, 2005
Photo of baiser
3.93/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured a dark solid brown, with ruby highlights and a tan coloured head. Aroma of berries, burnt coffee and slight alcohol. Taste was certainly distinctive. I expected a fruity beer, but this was it at all. It was dark, roasted coffee with a pleasant berry flavour that accompanies the bitterness. Excellent balance, great creamy mouthfeel. A unique ale. Recommended.

baiser, Dec 09, 2004
Photo of shapudding
3.48/5  rDev -8.4%
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.

shapudding, Dec 06, 2004
Photo of TerryW
3.53/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This comes across a bot like a weak-kneed stout, but that said I still managed to find enough things to like about it to be able to recommend trying it.

Dark, almost black, pour with a decent medium brown head. The head settles to a heavy film and leaves good lacing down the glass.

Gentle aroma of berries in the beer, some dark malt, a hint of chocolate. The taste of the beer is interesting, but gentle. Malts and oats quite distinct. If you're a stout drinker this will come across as a little thin, but could serve nicely as an introductory stout to the uninitiated.

Overall, enjoyable enough.

TerryW, Nov 30, 2004
Photo of Gagnonsux
4.47/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance- Almost pitch black in color. Head is tan colored and fairly creamy.

Smell- This aroma of Ebulum is excellant. Dark berry smells are immediately apparent, which then give way to a dark, roasted malt aroma. Chocolate is definently noted.

Taste- Taste is strongly of chocolatey roasted malts. Dark berries are subtle throughout a sip, giving the beer a little twang. Finish has a mild lingering sweetness.

M.F./Drinkability- This has that nice roasted feel on the palate. This goes down incredably easy, and is something I will want to drink many, many more times in my life. The only downside is that this style very filling. In my opinion this is a world class brew.

Gagnonsux, Nov 23, 2004
Photo of CAMRAhardliner
4.53/5  rDev +19.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This is one hell of a good beer. It pours a near opaque black with a vanishing head and no lace to speak of. The aroma is of roasted cereals, chocolate malts, and a subtle berry fruityness. The taste is an excellent blend of roasted barley and thick malts and dark berry notes. Its like a fruit stout. The hop rate is low but good. The mouthfeel is chewy and thick with low carbonation. This finish is an excellent blend of black malts, hops and an understated berry flavor. The fruit isnt overpowering at all, and very natural tasting. A great beer from a very cool brewery.

CAMRAhardliner, Nov 14, 2004
Photo of Bighuge
3.73/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Ink black appearance. Bubbly, yet thin, brown head. Lacing is better than average and the retention is adequate. Thick roasted aroma mixes with berries nicely. Char and burnt malt is evident on the nose. Mouthfeel is low on carbonation and body. Only slightly spritzy, barely noticeable. The taste is pleasant though. Blackened malts, char and burnt toast combine nicely with the dark berry characteristic. Pretty enjoyable. Worth a try.

Bighuge, Oct 23, 2004
Photo of xgrigorix
3.65/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Brown 33cl bottle. Best by date notched on label.

Fairly dark black, topped by a dense tan head.

Deep roast grain aroma, along with fresh doughy notes.

A taste thats difficult to describe. Muted fruitiness, oat flavours, & some roast grain. Medium bodied, light carbonation.

xgrigorix, Sep 23, 2004
Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.38/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Opaque mahogany with lighter brown highlights at the edges, capped by a wheat toast brown head with a finely pitting surface. Within minutes, the head deflates to a dense one finger disk beneath a thin, unbroken sheet of lace that extends partway up the glass.

The nose is of dark roasted malt with a generous shot of blackberry brandy. It's an intriguing aroma and is one that I find appealing. Ebulum Elderberry is some kind of flavorful; definite points for boldness. It's equal parts heavily roasted malt with a vinous black currant-blackberrry-anise flavor that is both different from anything that I've had before and tasty as hell.

The concentrated dark berry essence is strong enough to easily be the dominant flavor, yet not so overpowering as to be annoying or to limit drinkability. The biting, sweet licorice-anise flavor is a bonus and gives a depth and a badass character to this bewitching brew. The medium-full, slightly viscous body matches the flavor profile perfectly and the mouthfeel can only be described as silky.

I like Ebulum Elderberry Black much more than I thought I would. This is no pansy fruit beer, but is a bold, sweet-spicy, darkly fruity concoction that pushes my buttons and makes me say 'hell yeah'. If I ever decide to become a Druid, this will be my official daily quaff.

BuckeyeNation, Sep 19, 2004
Photo of TastyTaste
3.6/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours as black as night, small tan head dissipates quickly, leaving only a ring of bubbles around the top of my gobblet. Smell is a sour berry and hops scent, a little coffee-like. Taste is again very sour, probably due to the elderberries (I don't have a clue what an elderberry is supposed to taste like). Definietely a sipper, not seessionable at all. Still, not bad, I don't know about the whole elderberry concept...

TastyTaste, Sep 05, 2004
Photo of malthead
3.93/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Great almost black color and nice light brown/grey head. Aroma is cocoa, toasted (but not burnt) malt and grains - very nice, but not terribly strong. Taste is kinda like a porter (although it reminds me of Weyerbacher's Raspberry Imperial Stout.) The blackcurrent is especially noticable at the end, which has the same aftertaste as a Ribena. Good mouthfeel, it's not full-bodied by any means, but fairly light and smooth for the malt presence - good drinkability, but i think two would be the limit for a night before needing something different.
Not a particularly strong fruit presence, but one that very nicely accents the porter qualities - a very nice little beer.

malthead, Aug 23, 2004
Photo of Reidrover
3.95/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bought in the 330ml brown bottle.
Poured into my glass this is a very dark, thick looking ale..some purplish tinges show through when held close to a bright light, small tan head.
the aroma as befits a Scottish beer is very malty..milky somewhat some ":curranty" aroma shows through.
The flavour again is very malt dominated at first,,then I begin to get hints of wine, red wine like it says on the label..a little peaty too..also i detect an oatmeal stout like flavour somewere in the background.
Itsgood on the palte though I thought it a little "thin".
Nice sipper of a beer, quite complex..not a session ale by anymeans.

Reidrover, Jul 18, 2004
Photo of Hunter
4.3/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I really enjoyed this brewery's Heather ale (Fraoch) so I thought I'd give this a try. The history on the label says this one was drunk during Autumn festivals, so I'm a season off but - oh well. Freshness date of April 2005.

Beer pours a dark, mysterious ruby. Only by holding it to a strong light did I find some color. Head is thick and tan, almost Guinness-like, but it falls quickly. Resusitates well upon agitating. Thin lacing that doesn't cling.

Intriguing aroma. Smoke, berry, oat and barley. Bit of hops, just barely. My first inclination is to let this warm a bit and so I did. After, lovely things just starting popping out of the woodwork. The previous scents were joined by cola nut, coffee, dark chocolate, floral notes, and spice. Very nice.

One is struck upon tasting first by the dryness of it. Like its Fraoch sibling this one has a crisp, wine-like essence to it. Not nearly as sweet as you'd expect, although I've never had elderberry so I'm not sure if they're sweet or not. Mouth feel is thin but silky, and other than a lingering of barley and oat on the palate it finishes clean. Not as striking on the tongue as in the nose, but good all the same.

This would be a good compliment to a cooler evening where stouts and porters are being served. In fact, if you don't normally like the more robust stouts you might enjoy this, as it seems to take on the best characteristics of a fine stout without some of the harshness/bitterness of the style. Slainte!

Hunter, Jul 16, 2004
Photo of connecticutpoet
4.1/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer poured a very dark brown with no head. Perhaps it was because of the way I poured it.

The aroma was rich and malty, with wine-like notes to it. Very appealing.

The taste was of roasted chocolate malt, with carbonated berry flavors blended in. An unusual combination... I hadn't expected it to be so roasty (if that is a word)

A good beer to have on a nice warm evening kicking back watching the sun set.

connecticutpoet, Jun 27, 2004
Photo of moulefrite
3.58/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The pour is jet black. The beer does not offer much in the way of head, but proffers elegant lace throughout. Aromas are of roasted malt, mocha, and some fruity/berry notes as well. The mouthfeel is nice-medium to full bodied with a velvety texture-some-what slick in the mouth. Flavors fight between fruit and grain. I pick up loads of roasted goodness, and I pick up a kiss of tangy berry, and fruit tannin with each taste. This is an interesting drink. Perhaps this would be interesting to try with wild game dishes-boar, venison etc?

moulefrite, Jun 19, 2004
Photo of gentlebubbles
3.9/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Freshness date of June 05

When they say "black ale", they mean it! Opaque black under light tan head built of medium size bubbles that soon falls. Citrus scent with a raisiny, winey underlay. More of the same when you drink: raisins, currants, a spritz of lemon. The winey quality makes it seem even stronger than 6%.

Pretty cool.

gentlebubbles, May 29, 2004
Photo of canadianbarman
3.4/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

--Thin, brown style of bottle with the freshness date marked on back.
--Poured a great black in color, with a thin head. There was some good lacing.
--Smell was a crazy mixture of wood/earth with a hint of fruit.
This was one of the better fruit/vegetable specdialty beers I have tried. Not much of a session beer but a nice taste every now and then.

canadianbarman, May 04, 2004
Photo of Suds
3.93/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Deep and solid black liquid pours from the bottle with a thin tan head. The head doesn’t last long, but leaves small tufts of foam clinging to the glass. The aroma is an unrestrained mix malt and fruit. The berry in the smell seems mis-placed at first, but as you start drinking the beer, it settles into a very nice harmony. The smell is hints at a sweeter beer than actually follows. The taste is dry, grainy, and full of roasted malts. Berry flavor is folded very nicely into every aspect of the beer. They did a great job of matching the sensations. Rich and complex with medium body. Mildly oily. Finish is dry and somewhat bitter, but has a nice berry follow-through. Nicely done.

Suds, Apr 24, 2004
Photo of edchicma
3.85/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Not a bad fruit beer. Poured black with a very little head. Smell was distinctly malty and fruity, very pleasant. Taste was almost wine-like, with an alcohol presence, but not overbearing. Mouthfeel was a bit astringent which took away from the overall experience IMO. Drinkability was certainly passable, though you don't want to guzzle for sure.

edchicma, Apr 22, 2004
Photo of Naerhu
4.6/5  rDev +21.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

As black as midnight at the bottom of the ocean. As frothy as a completely empty tea cup.

Complex and beautiful aroma. Dark roasted malts and (what a surprise) elderberries. This is all over the place, Sumi, cocoa, light berry flavors on this dry yummy beer. Focused bitterness, complex maltyness. A fruit beer with an stout or porter. Amazing. No trace of the big alcohol. Charred wood.

Although the flavor is not very juicey, the mouthfeel is extremely juicey.

Naerhu, Apr 19, 2004
Photo of putnam
4.43/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Dry beer.
Combining toasted grain and berries must be difficult. One may easily overwhelm the other. I've smelled $50 Merlots that didn't have this much poise and sophistication. Chunky, brute surges of raw cocoa are decorated with flavors and aromas of deep, concentrated, pasty blackberry reduction. Gamy, wild and peppery attitude rises up from the dry, tightly organized palate. Very Scottish in the sense that it displays all of the coffee-tinged maltiness one expects from that country's ales. The berry fruit is strictly a condiment, but pure, natural and Good.

putnam, Apr 05, 2004
Photo of Hobbz
3.88/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Deep, dark and nearly light-impregnable appearance. Minute attempts at foam unsustainable. Aroma is hintingly malty-fuity-sweet. Taste was not complex in the big-beer sense, but indeed complex in its subtle characteristics: Not overtly sweet in realms of malt and fruit and not acidic. What it does convey are hints of berries against its malt bill of sweet dark and roasted dark malts, though elderberries would contribute in their own right to the beer's dark color.

Interesting beer experience.

Hobbz, Mar 30, 2004
Ebulum Elderberry Black Ale from Williams Brothers Brewing Company
86 out of 100 based on 486 ratings.