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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

360 Reviews

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Reviews: 360
Hads: 512
rAvg: 3.79
pDev: 10.82%
Wants: 38
Gots: 17 | 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.
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Reviews: 360 | Hads: 512
Photo of tbeckett
3.87/5  rDev +2.1%
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. (1,012 characters)

Photo of BeerForMuscle
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. (689 characters)

Photo of CPeterson
3.61/5  rDev -4.7%
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. (543 characters)

Photo of CharlieMurphy
3.96/5  rDev +4.5%
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. (894 characters)

Photo of IronMickey
3.84/5  rDev +1.3%
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. (440 characters)

Photo of DrinkingDrake
3.94/5  rDev +4%
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. (789 characters)

Photo of Knapp85
3.85/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer poured out as a nice looking black color. The head had some good body to it but didn't last very long. The lacing was scattered and thin. The smell of the beer has a faint fruity aroma mixed with some roasted malts. The taste of the beer had some Elderberry sweetness to it upfront that faded into a dark toasted dry flavor. The mouthfeel of the been is very smooth and had just enough carbonation to it. Overall I find it to be a pretty enjoyable beer. (463 characters)

Photo of Interfectus
3.92/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This was a unique beer. Probably the strangest thing for me was the mouth feel. It left my mouth feeling...raw (?), though not necessarily in a bad way, and even a little numb! It pours nearly black, which I always like! I, like others, am not all that familiar with the taste of elderberries. However, the unique flavor of the berries (i think?) shines through without being overpowering or too sweet. It's fairly carbonated (which I was surprised about). It's not really very bitter, though it does have a slightly sour flavor (that could be the alcohol peeking through at the end). I enjoyed it. If it were readily available, it'd be an occasional buy, but not a frequent fridge addition. As part of that Historic Scottish Ales variety pack, however, it was a great addition (the heather beer is awesome). I love trying beers from all over the world (and even beers from across time (ie: Dogfish)), and this was certainly a unique one! (938 characters)

Photo of Rifugium
3.5/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

First had: bottle from Pinocchio's beer garden, Media, PA

Poured dark brown, nearly black, with a small whitish head. Smell of dried fruits, and a little bit of molasses. Taste was of dark dried fruits (I've never had an actual elderberry, so I don't know exactly what they taste like) and, but not very sweet, with some molasses and semi-sweet chocolate. Finishes off pretty dry with a tiny acidic twinge. Medium body, and fairly drinkable, but a little disappointing. (470 characters)

Photo of socon67
3.82/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Poured into the glass dark brown with some swirling drakness. Not much foam.

S - Smells of oak and wild berries. Very interesting and enjoyable combo. Just an earthy vibe to it.

T - The base of this beer is mellow with obvious grains; wheaty feel to it. The eldrerberries have a tartness to it that is almost like one would find in a lambic. This is a beer best had after a heavy meal.

M - I could see this being a bit much after one or two. The tart finish is dominant.

O - I like this and found it to be an interesting ale. On cask it was very tasty. (560 characters)

Photo of SgtStout
4.22/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours almost opaque, letting some light through, dark dark brown colour. About one finger of light brown head, with good retention but minimal lacing.

The aroma is mostly dark fruits; plums, raisins, some grape, and a hint of coffee.

The taste is very well balanced with a smoky malt character and predominant plum, date, and raisin notes. The raisin notes really came to the front as the beer reached room temperature. I didn't really get specifically elderberry, but there was some general 'berry' flavours in there.

Mouthfeel is a little thin for my taste, but overall a very interesting beer with lots of distinct fruity characters. (641 characters)

Photo of atis
4.3/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

330 ml bottle

Pours very dark brown with rich creamy brown head. Excellent retention with patchy downsliding lacing. Aroma is toasted dark malt with berries, I have never seen neither eaten elderberries, so I can not say it is them.

Taste is pleasant roasted malt with tart notes and even more roasted flavours in the long lasting aftertaste. Mouthfeel is smooth medium with moderate carbonation.

Overall, it is simple, yet very drinkable and tasty beer. (457 characters)

Photo of generallee
4.05/5  rDev +6.9%
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. (1,000 characters)

Photo of paxkey
2.84/5  rDev -25.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

excited to try this beer on a blind pick from the store. celtic symbology and graphics and font..very cool.

best before date march 2012.
listening to blind faith sea of joy.

pours black with nice head and lacing

smells amazing. i get creme brulee with a bit of underlying funk. powdered hot chocolate, artificial but yummy.very heady smell. lovely rich and inviting. blowing me away.

the elderberry is a bit hard to construe but being a dark fruit lover i can pick its taste out. if that makes any sense.

i take it back the elderberry is in the repeat. the belch.lol. lots of it and more powdered hot chocolate.

interesting interpretation of an elderberry beer. but a little flat with its message. a little too beery yet fruity, a weird not fantastic mixture.

glad i tried it but would not seek this out again. started out so promising. (844 characters)

Photo of BrewCrew2010
3.97/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a black body with garnet highlights. Head is brown and is short lived.

S: A very earthy nose with notes of malts, herbs, fruits, & spices. Barley can be picked up in the smell as well.

T: Taste follows the nose very well with earthy notes, sweet roasted malts, tart fruit, and herbs.

M: Mediumd body and carboantion with a slick, almost lean, texture.

D: I didn't expect to like this beer, but I enjoyed it very much. Could drink quite a few of these with very little problems. (490 characters)

Photo of jmvecchio1
3.57/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Drank on the beginning of the best by month marked on the label.

L - Black a night (slight garnet when you hold it to the light) with really thin light chocolate head.

S - Sweet (elder)berry with a roasty almost chocolatey aroma

T - Just like the smell, you get a tart elderberry throughout the taste balanced with the malty sweetness of the black ale style.

M - Smooth with medium carbonation. Feels nice on the tongue.

D - Drinks alright. Overall it's a nice beer, but it's probably something I wouldn't order again. (523 characters)

Photo of Thorpe429
3.73/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle at Big T's in Lawton, Michigan. Served in a pint glass. Currently the #1 Gruit.

Pours a dark brown color with a bit of a garnet hue. Light tan head sits atop the brew for a bit before falling back down. The nose brings forward a good amount of the elderberry along with some floral notes and a bit of malty sweetness. The taste hits the fruit notes pretty well with the gruit herbs playing a supporting role. Done quite well. The body is medium with average carbonation and no apparent alcohol. Overall, a nice beer I was glad to try. (542 characters)

Photo of rudzud
4.15/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Been eyeballing this at Austin Liquors and figured I would give it a try.

A - Poured into my Duvel tulip a nice dark brown almost black with a light one finger head that rapidly faded to leave a nice halo.

S - Getting some roasted? sweet malt aromas with some big, big herbal almost medicinal aromas too. A super nice berry note can be found too, presumably that is the medicinal note.

T - Much like the nose there are some great malty sweetness but the dominant quality here is the elderberry. There are nice sweet fruit notes as well as the herbal/medicinal qualities too. Very good.

M - Low carbonation here. Feels almost thin or watery at certain points.

D - Stuff is different for sure, which is what I was hoping it would be. Not sure if I would want to drink more than one glass of this stuff though. (813 characters)

Photo of beer4colin
4.2/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Read the history of this first. BTW, Williams Brothers say this is NOT a gruit but a black ale.

A - dark as night poured in pint glass w/ minimal head at UBH from cask.
S - Berry aroma rises above all.
T - nice roasted malt! Not superheavy and still let's the fruit flavor come through. A very muted finish almost disappears...
MF - Nice and round.
D - For some, this could be a session pour. I would enjoy an evening of this but not a football game's worth.

This is an ancient beer and deserving of multiple tastes. Go for it!! (533 characters)

Photo of airheadmtrcycle
3.83/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Excellent looking black beer with a nice tan head that receded quickly, left lacing and a nice tan skim.

Nice fruit and malt aroma and taste. I allowed the beer to warm to get the full aroma. There's a vinous quality as well. Despite the reasonable ABV, my belly warms with each swig. It's a unique and good tasting beer. The mouth feel is slightly luscious and thicker than I expected with a nice carbonation. One is all I care to drink, but this one is going down very easily.

A very cool beer. The history and alternatives to hops used make this a must try beer. I was excited to finally get my hands on one, and I'll get another now that I know where to get one (Hop City in Atlanta).

Highly recommended. Get out there and try a taste of history. (753 characters)

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

330ml Bottle

Appearance - The beer pours a black/brown colour with a below average size frothy light brown coloured head. I can't tell how much carbonation there is and there is an average amount of lacing. The head lasted for only a few minutes before it was gone.

Smell - malts, chocolate, coffee, raisins, cassis (elderberries?)

Taste & Mouth - The beer has an average amount of carbonation and it comes across as slightly syrupy. Most of the taste consists of malts, coffee, and chocolate. There is also a dark fruit flavour from raisins and elderberries. The beer finishes with a dark fruit and coffee aftertaste.

Drink - I actually enjoyed this beer a fair amount. It had an interesting flavour and I'd drink it again if offered. (741 characters)

Photo of BeerLover99
3.83/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: deep black with shimmering hues of cardinal red. minimal head on top, sporadic lacing in glass.

S: elderberry, date/fig, spices, hint of malt.

T: dried sweet fruits and hint roasted with mild bitter finish.

M: medium body, good carbonation.

D: Another riveting ancient Scottish beer to savour. I suggest you give it a try, not a must have, but fun to sample something rather uncommon. I could drink a 6 pack of these and really have a fun evening. (457 characters)

Photo of nickthetick
3.4/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: pours a opaque brown black into a shaker glass with a finger of tan head. The head dissipates slowly and leaves a moderate amount of lacing.

S: dried fruits and a smokey malt.

T: same dried fruit and smoke with some tart dark berry.

MF: Effervescent with a medium body, creamy.

D: not a whole lot going on here. A mangled flavor profile makes this a beer I probably wouldn't buy this again. (401 characters)

Photo of OnThenIn
3.72/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: Tight finger of head that is a lighter brown on top of a lighter black body.

S: Smell is extremely unique. Lots of fruit and berries with an interesting floral and almost honey like aroma. Maybe a little herb like aroma and hints of various other things I honestly can't name. I thoroughly enjoyed the nose of this beer.

T: I was getting really excited about this beer from the aroma, but the taste just didn't live up to the hype built up by the aroma. Slight roast character with dried fruits and a hint of berries. Also that floral honey that was apparent in the nose is apparent towards the backend of the taste. A hint of some tartness, wish there was more.

M: Medium to full body with slightly lower carbonation than I would have liked in this beer.

D: The flavor profile is too strong and unconventional for this to be easily drinkable for me. I did find it to a good purchase and am glad I have tried it. This beer made me interested in other beers with elderberry more so than actually drinking more of this beer. (1,029 characters)

Photo of nhindian
3.78/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

11.2oz bottle poured into a New Belgium globe.

This is a bottle from a gift box called 'The Historic Ales of Scotland'. I was unable to find the whole set, but did find this neat looking one from it.

A - This beer is black as night with no highlights at all. It builds a brilliant 3-fingered head that is velvety smooth, almost as if it were from a nitro-tap. Retention is good as well. Unique lacing that bunches up on the side I drink from rather than the opposite sides.

S - Smell is an interesting combination of malts, chocolate, berries, fruits, and earthy tones. If I have had any prolonged exposure to elderberries I'm sure they would be familiar here, but as I don't, I just have to trust that they are present.

T - The taste blends together the unique bouquet into a great flavor. Can get some molasses, dried fruits, and a bit of a tar flavor. The berries add a nice sweet and tart twist that is welcome. Bit of a hoppy finish, but no alcohol bitterness at all.

M - Mouthfeel is medium bodied with low carbonation. I feel this could benefit with a bit more pop to it. Finish is sweet and tangy. A bit watery, however.

D - Drinkability is high. This beer is pretty unique but doesn't suffer from trying to be different for the sake of it. It's a nice change of pace and drinks very easily. (1,305 characters)

Ebulum Elderberry Black Ale from Williams Brothers Brewing Company
85 out of 100 based on 360 ratings.