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Kelpie Seaweed Ale - Williams Brothers Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Kelpie Seaweed AleKelpie Seaweed Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
82
good

400 Ratings
THE BROS
84
good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 400
Reviews: 280
rAvg: 3.62
pDev: 13.81%
Wants: 19
Gots: 16 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Williams Brothers Brewing Company visit their website
United Kingdom (Scotland)

Style | ABV
Scottish Gruit / Ancient Herbed Ale |  4.40% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 09-18-2001

At least four hundred years ago, the coastal & Island farmers of Scotland used seaweed beds to grow their cereal crops. This barley produced very interesting flavors in the ale and whiskey they produced. Including bladderwrack seaweed in the mash tun along with organic barley gives this wholesome dark ale a distinctive flavor.
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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 400 | Reviews: 280
Reviews by MJR:
Photo of MJR
3.53/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours what appears to be black, but it shows red and brown highlights when held to a light. The body is mostly opaque, with a tan head that settles to a thin, mostly complete cap.

Smell: Fairly weak aroma of roasted and chocolate malts. There's a streak of sharp, artificial sweetness in there too. Do I detect a bit of sea air, or am I imagining it?

Taste: First off, the flavor is extremely laid back...it's there, but it doesn't jump out at you. Starts off with a slight bitterness that 'probably' comes from the roasted malts. After that, it opens up a bit with some more roasted flavor and chocolate malt. There's a touch of diacytel, but not much after that. Finishes with a faint acidic sting on the tongue and lips.

Mouthfeel: Medium in body, with a subtle harshness and sting in the mouth. Interesting...

Drinkability: I had no idea what to expect when I bought this beer. Fortunately, the seaweed aspect isn't noticable, and this comes across as a decent, if not too thin in flavor, porter. I could drink this again, though I won't actively seek it out.

More User Reviews:
Photo of oberon
3.58/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a deep brown with a few deep orange hints thru out with a slight off-white head that settles nicely leaving a slight sheet of lace behind,kind of an odd aroma of roasted malt,chocalate and saline solution very different indeed.Taste starts out more like a nut brown ale some roasted flavors with some earthiness and then I picked up that ocean-like kelp flavor not heavy at all but I picked up none the less even more in the aftertaste.Not a bad brew at all some little oddities to it I am glad I gave it a try.

Photo of StoutHearted
4.47/5  rDev +23.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Sweet mother of toned-down hyperboles, is this an great beer! I chose it for the label: It was something new and I thought a seaweed ale would make me daring. (Some folks get tattoos, I buy quirky beer.) However neither the smell nor the taste gave off the salty, oceanic taste I was expecting. Rather, I got a chocolate ale that was somewhere between a porter and a stout. It poured brownish-dark with little to no head, but retained a strong aroma. The taste was very pleasing and featured a subdued chocolate malt backbone. The seaweed contributes an earthy vegetal quality to the brew. It's almost too easy to drink, especially at 4.4%.

I had this beer with spicy Mexican food and it went together fabulously. I was truly sorry to see the bottle drained to the last drop.

Photo of BeerAdvocate
3.67/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Review from BeerAdvocate Magazine Issue #45 (Oct 2010):

Mashed in with bladderwrack seaweed, which is know for its unique flavor and supposed medicinal qualities. Dark, let's call it black... impressive lacing to say the least. Sweet treacle maltiness with a faint ocean saltiness in the nose. Smooth and wet with a delicate, moderately sized body. Small hop character is there to balance and nothing else. Dry toasted malt flavor seems to play the same tune but at least sticks to the palate. A bit of earthy yeast and vague fruit in the dry and lightly salty finish. A great example of what an extreme beer can be; dark ale with seaweed, BAM! Extreme! Aside from that, this ends up being a great session ale that lands outside of the box.

Photo of shapudding
3.7/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Tag dated October '05. 1pt 9oz. Poured out a dark and clear rootbeery brown. Just a bit of large bubbled khaki froth that settled mainly to the one side as a thin ring. No real head to it. Toasty malt scents, merlot and chocolate. I was surprised with the tastes, very nice and dark. Roasty malt flavors, thin coffee, bit of burnt toast. Bit of house red wine left in the flavor at the end. Fairly thin mouthfeel, low carb. Easy drinker, the taste is not too intense and this is thin bodied enough to make it easy to down quite a few in a sitting. Very nice surprise in the flavor, I really did not know what I was getting into with this one when checking out the name, kinda went into it expecting a sea-water flavor, hey- ya never know with some of the experimentation going on out there! But even if it was, I probably still would have tried it!

Photo of Jason
3.75/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Presentation: 500 ml brown slender Euro style bottle with a “Best before end” date on the label.

Appearance: Nearly black in colour but the light seems to make a dim yet brown tinge to the dark colour, acceptable foaming head with a lace that has trouble sticking to the glass.

Smell: Earthy, ocean-like with fresh seaweed. Not fishy but rather a fresh salty seaweed aroma. Mild chicory roasted malt nose with some sweetness also.

Taste: Firm medium body, crisp with a developing smoothness and a semi creamy mouth feel. Carbonation is bordering brash and lets the roasted malt bitterness ride on its back while it crashes on to the palate. Not excessively earthy but it is definitely there, fresh and in the face with hints of salty neutral flavour seaweed. Malt sweetness is creamy with a near chocolate flavour but closer to a rich carob. Hops fit like a glove with out getting in the way and doing a great job to balance. Light salty earthy finish that is comes down dry.

Notes: No fishy ocean flavours or aromas. There is that fresh ocean flavour and smell though, salty and earthy. With that on a beer that is somewhere between a hearty brown ale and a brown porter it is quite and intricate mix. An interesting beer to say the least and well worth a try.

Photo of merlin48
4/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

500 ml bottle pours an almost opaque dark brown colour, with a medium beige head that recedes with a few sheets of lacing. I didn't expect a seaweed ale to be so dark. Aroma is chocolate malt, fresh brewed Columbian coffee, Cuban cigar smoke, and a hint of dulce. Dulce is a dried seaweed delicacy that I encountered in August of 2003, in the Canadian Maritimes. I wish this Kelpie Ale had a bit more dulce flavor. Nevertheless, this ale is packed with an ample roasted malt spine: coffee, cigar smoke, and bittersweet chocolate. I did find a bit of a salty aftertaste here.
Similar to a Porter, but with some wild historical twists.

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

Due to a lack of glassware, I drank this out of a wine glass that was refilled several times. It has a lovely dark brown color, with little head and carbonation. The scent is rather unique, it reminds me greek olives, and a little bit of ocean air-- just the saltiness, I guess, though since its flavored with seaweed, that makes sense. The flavor is a lot like other darker beers-- not as rich as a barleywine or stout, but with a lot more flavor and weight than, say, Anchor Steam. I'm still not quite up to my beer knowledge to be able to pick everything out, but the flavor does have a little bit of bitterness to it, and in some ways reminds me of the brine of olives even-- though that might just be because of the scent. It felt nice in my mouth, a thick feel without too much carbonation, easy to drink. Its different, unique, and maybe not something I'd like a lot of in one sitting, but my one 500mL bottle? pretty nice serving size, especially since this particular booze is weaker than I typically drink. I wouldn't drink several in one night, but I would buy it again.

Photo of tigg924
3.12/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance: dark brown, no head, no carbonation

Smell: slightly earthly, slightly floral, slightly salty--very unique

Taste: dark, malty, somewhat porterish

Mouthfeel: dry going down, a bit of a sweet lingering after taste.

Drinkability: I could drink this like any other porter-

Overall I was expecting more. This to me is an average beer made with a different ingrediant

Photo of jazzyjeff13
3.7/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A 500ml bottle with a BB of Aug 2012. Given to me for my birthday last year, so I've been sitting on it for a while. The label mentions that this ale includes bladder wrack seaweed in the mash.

Poured into a tulip pint glass. A deep reddish-brown hue with medium carbonation. Yields a decent head of creamy tan foam that lasts for a few minutes before collapsing to a surface layer. A sweetish aroma of chocolate malt with hints of caramel, dried fruit, ale yeast and a touch of brine in the background.

Tastes of chocolate malt with a dry, faintly salty finish. A slight, lingering sweetness. Notes of dark grainy malt, caramel, hints of dried fruit, faint yeast and a subtle briny quality. Dry upon swallowing, with virtually no bitterness. Mouthfeel is smooth and tingly, with good body and a mild 'salty' sensation. Lightly astringent. Aftertaste of chocolate malt with a hint of the sea.

An unusual brew, but goes down nicely. Could be described as oyster stout for vegetarians. The aroma has a distinct chocolate note that is rather pleasing, while the flavour is balanced but a tad less substantial. Lies somewhere between a brown ale and a porter, with plenty of dark malt character. The seaweed doesn't exactly come through, but it possesses a mild salty twist. Tasty, and well worth trying.

Photo of niknar
4/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours out a dark, blackish color with a thick frothy almond colored head. After a few minutes the head settled to a respectable collar, but left very little lacing on the side of the glass. The smell is quite interesting. To me, it smelled something like spices, malt, salt, and chocolate. Wonderful complexity. The taste was excellent as well. Thick flavor of roasted and chocolate malts, delicately ballanced by hops and spices. It started nice and sweet, then finished slightly dry with lingering flavors. The mouthfeel aspect was slightly thinner than I expected, and left a slightly oily feel in my mouth. Not terribly unpleasant, but not what I was looking for. Overall, I feel this is a moderately drinkable beer. Not something I would drink 3 or 4 of on a hot summer day, but definitely a worthy beer for anyone who enjoys dark, malty offerings.

Photo of ADR
3.38/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Very dark mahogany appearance, seems clearish in the bit of light coming through on the bottom. Builds a greenish yellow head of 1/2 an inch for about a minute. Ring laces. Mocha aroma, slightly piquant but with a chocolate sense. Mouthfeel is medium but consistant with lower carbonation. Interesting profile for flavor, but slightly strange for me. Carob flavors, malted milk, huskiness early -- but a rather de-constructed soapy surfactant quality. The final flavors dominate the close and linger into the aftertaste. An interesting beer, differs in scores for traits widely to me -- not one that rings any bells, however.

Photo of WVbeergeek
3.55/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Interesting concept seaweed ale, I figured after searching though the shelves and taking nearly an hour in D's Six Pack one day, this beer found it's way into my selections. Pours a deep, very dark ruby brown almost black really had to hold it toward the light to see the ruby tinged edges of this black abyss. The tan creamy head pours thick but then dissipates rather quickly leaving trickled lace in my Gulden Draak 20 ounce tulip shaped glass. Aromatics are much of a coffee porter with deep roasts filled with dark chocolate and cocoa. A bit milky with an air of sea air in the background, I am not trying to force the seaweed but it is evident there not dominantly but traceable. Taste is creamy smooth dark roasts slightly bitter, slightly harsh from the dark roasted barley in this beer. The salty finish tingles the back of the throat, but it's not overbearing at all not like gargling salt water just reminiscient of it. This beer works suprisingly I didn't know what to expect here, but I am rather pleased. As for mouthfeel just a little thin bodied not much fireworks or exciting textures going on here. Drinkability is decent but I wouldn't put it on my must taste list something of a novelty beer, but not bad very drinkable just not a classic in my book. Creativity was flowing here and along with the other beers from Heather Ales brewing ancient beer is their art.

Photo of glid02
3.8/5  rDev +5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Got this from the Liquor Loft in Tallahassee.

Pours a black color with a half-finger off-white head. The edge of the glass turns dark red when held up to the light. The head dissipates into a wispy layer of bubbles on top with a ring around the glass. Lacing is not very sticky.

Smells like roasted malt. There's not a lot else than I can distinguish - maybe just a hint of chocolate.

Tastes the same as it smells. A robust roastedness with a mild bitterness at the end.

Mouthfeel is alright. Could be a little thicker, and the carbonation is a bit too much until it warms.

This is a pretty drinkable beer. It reminds me a lot of O'Hara's Irish Stout. Very roasty, but not a whole lot else.

Overall this is an interesting beer. I'd love to taste a version of this made without seaweed to see how much the seaweed contributes to the taste and mouthfeel. Worth a shot, most of all because there are not a whole lot of other beers that can claim to use seaweed in the brewing process.

Photo of rastaman
3.06/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I was quite dissapointed that it didn't taste like seaweed. Tasted like stout-light or an slightly thicker schwarzbier, only with a slight saltyness on the finish. Chocolatey malts, with a lightly hoppy, lightly bitter finish, nice soft roastyness. Not to bad, tasty.

Photo of rhoadsrage
3.18/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

(Served in an imperial pint glass)

A- This beer pours a black body with a slight hint of deep brown in the light. There is a thin film of light tan that breaks up a bit but last a good bit. The body is too dark to see any carbonation except for the random bubble stuck to the glass.

S- This beer has a light clean flavor with notes of dark toasted malt and a hint of salty spice.

T- The soft taste of coffee roasted malt and black malt has a watery taste to it followed by a dark nougat note. The finish has a light tangy note that is just a bit earthy.

M- This beer has a medium-full mouthfeel with a watery texture.

D- This beer has some dark malt flavors but the most memorable part is the watery texture, smell and taste. I was expecting some note of seaweed or something of interest. It does have some weak Bock notes but not enough to make me want another glass.

Photo of Sauron2012
4.67/5  rDev +29%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I had seen this on the shelves and not known what to think, so I finally grabbed it.

Pint bottle poured into my Crimson Tide pilsner glass.

A: Super dark and rich looking, essentially a porter, but not quite as dark when held to the light.

S: Rich and malty.

T: Brilliant the malts and hops are traced by a slightly foreign flavor that I assume is the kelp. A delicious dark ale indeed.

M: Impressively smooth and drinkable, not a bad flavor left anywhere at any time.

Overall: I'd recommend this for sure, it's an interesting recipe with some pretty solid results.

Photo of NJpadreFan
3.18/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Kelpie Seaweed Ale

Appearance- dark brown almost black with a decent creamy head.
Smell- light roasted nut and chocolate and a slight hint of salt water.
Taste- pleasant. Like a watery stout. Slight chocolate and coffee bean flavor with a ever so slight seasalt taste.
Mouthfeel- very smooth and no bitterness or aftertaste.

Overall- not a bad beer. I was expecting a novelty taste (actual seaweed) but was surprised it wasn't such a bad beer after all.

Photo of GratefulBeerGuy
3.83/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

500 ML bottle>mug

Ap: Dark brown/rootbeer color with some red hues. 2" thick, mocha colored head, decent amount of lacing remains til' the end.

Smell: Very malty, sugar-like malt nose with minimal hop scent.

Taste: roasty/chocolate malt flavor with barley. Mild bitterness in the hop. There is a very sublte complexity in the malt and barley dominated flavor.

Feels> Medium body, Not the most lively of feels, almost flat, but thick and substantial on the palate. It really has a similar feel to a English brown ale, maybe even cask conditioned.

Good looking beer with nice complexity and really easy to drink at 4.4 % ABV.

Photo of ojclark
3.45/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Opaque black/brown color.Small tan head diminished quickly. Roasty and iron-like flavors in foreground. Nice bitterness from roast malt and hops. Slight sourness/acidity present as well. Medium-bodied. Smooth, creamy mouthfeel despite low carbonation. Interesting beer.

Photo of sullysbeer
2.78/5  rDev -23.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

Aroma: Chocolate, toffee sweetness. Not much hop aroma detected. Hershey's chocolate with a slight earthy aroma.

Appearance: Dark deep brown with a slight ruby hue when held up to the light. Light brownish head retention that lasts with a tad bit of Brussels lace.

Flavor: Watered down roasted and chocolate malt flavor with a hint of toffee. Light bitterness at the end of swallow.

Mouthfeel: Light bodied and light carbonation.

Overall Impression: Very light bodied dark ale. To me it tasted like a watered down stout. Roasted character is distinct. A session beer for sure. Wouldn't run out and get another bottle anytime soon but well brewed.

Photo of secondtooth
3.92/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This unique and inventive Scottish ale pours black, with ruby highlights. Light carbonation and almost no lace.

Nose is chocolate and roast. I also get some booziness, although this one is only 4.4%. Odd.

Taste is sweet and roasty, like a good session-worthy porter, and with a light body. There's a slight brininess in there, but it's quite subtle, as the chocolate maltiness and dark roasty qualities come to the fore. A solid and enjoyable ale.

Photo of swamiswamu
3.5/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Meh. It is like a brown ale brewed with waterr piped in the the outer Hebrides coastline. A novel concept, but not neccesarily the best formula for a great beer. Flavor is dominated by roasted malt, with hints of salt chocolate and, umm, sushi. It is a little thin, but overall fairly drinkable. Worth trying, but not worth seeking out.

Photo of cjgator3
3.45/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

16.9oz bottle poured into a pint glass. Best Before Feb 2009 etched on the label. Pours a dark brown color with a light tan head. The aroma is very similar to a porter with dark roasted malts and chocolate. The taste, like the aroma, features dark roasted malts and hints of chocolate and coffee, but comes across a little watered down. The mouthfeel, like the taste, comes across as being a little watery. Overall, Kelpie Seaweed Ale is a pretty decent beer, but there is nothing that really stands out to make me want to purchase again. I was expecting something to be different about this beer considering it was brewed with seaweed, but I really did not notice any effect.

Photo of prototypic
3.53/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: It pours a dark, nut brown color with a few red highlights around the edges. It's topped with a light brown colored, one finger head. It was very quick to disappear and left minimal lacing on the glass. Can't blame the abv for that one.

Smell: The nose is ultimately a little weak. Perhaps it will open up as it warms a little. It does feature a good mix of chocolate and roasted malts up front. Roasted malts seem to be the stronger of the two, but not by much. There's a very light coffee scent at the secondary level. There's some underlying grainy/earthy scents, but that's about it. If seaweed's there, you sure can't smell it.

Taste: The flavor profile is dominated by chocolate and roasted malt flavors early on. They're sweet and flavorful. There is a hint of coffee, but it's not very strong. It is a little earthy and grainy. Oddly enough, the seaweed actually does have an impact on the flavor. It's a little more subtle than it should be, but it's there in the form of a salty aftertaste. Frankly, on second thought, I'm not sure that that's enough market the "seaweed" aspect. A bit of a let down.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability: It's light bodied and feels a little too thin for what it is. Carbonation is low and it's passable as far the smooth feel goes. Drinkability is okay, but not great. I honestly don't like it enough to have more.

At the end of the day, this is an okay beer. I feel ultimately disappointed. I was stoked try a beer brewed with seaweed, but it really has such a nominal effect that it goes virtually unnoticed. Bummer. For what it is, there's a number of other better beers, namely porters, that are preferable to this.

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Kelpie Seaweed Ale from Williams Brothers Brewing Company
82 out of 100 based on 400 ratings.