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Kelpie Seaweed Ale - Williams Brothers Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Kelpie Seaweed AleKelpie Seaweed Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.

398 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 398
Reviews: 278
rAvg: 3.62
pDev: 13.81%
Wants: 20
Gots: 14 | 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: 398 | Reviews: 278 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of CBFanWish
3.86/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Who the hell had ever heard of seaweed beer? Not me, at least not until recently. Boy, was I surprised.
The pour was a dark brown, mahogony colour that was almost black. The head was moderate and light tan.
The smell was mostly chocolate and coffee and was perfectly mirrored by the taste. There were only slight hints of seaweed, which seems to be the point of this beer, moreso than an overwhelming seaweed taste, which could have been either too much or a little borring.
In all, it is a fun beer that I rather enjoyed and will buy again on occation.

Photo of dauss
3.05/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: slender 16.9oz bottle with a seaweed on the label.

Appearance: Clear deep ruby. Small tan head, no lacing and poor retention.

Smell: sweet and malty, light roasty character, grainy, and a little caramel. Smells like a brown ale or an alt.

Taste: starts off a little sweet, finishes dry with a little astringency. Very watery, thin, and bland. I really couldn't taste much of this beer.

Notes: Disappointing, not really any seaweed or salinity in the taste or smell. its very drinkable because there isn't much taste. The label gets your attention, but this beer lets you down.

Photo of WesWes
3.63/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

The beer pours a translucent dark brown color with a thick frothy tan head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is great. It has a rich and creamy chocolate malt scent that also boasts of patent and roasted malts. The taste is decent. It has a thin, but smooth and flavorful, dark malt taste that boasts of pale, chocolate, and roasted malts. It goes down easy and finishes slightly watery with an earthy aftertaste. The mouthfeel is average. It is a medium bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a nice concept brew. I love the look and aroma, but it falls flat on the mouthfeel. All in all, a decent drinker.

Photo of jclovebrew
3.12/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 16.9 ounce bottle stamped best-by 2/2006.

Very dark ruby black in color. Was suprised by this as I had no idea what to expect of "Seaweed Ale". Aroma was like old but not quite rotten ale. Smell of the sea, but not at all "fishy". Feel like I'm standing on an ocean pier on a cold damp day. Taste is like a stout with seaweed finish. After a few sips I can notice some hops in the background. Mouthfeel lighter bodied and more effervescent than a stout. Overall was suprised that this was drinkable at all. Not bad. Enjoyed the experience. Would not order a second one.

Photo of acrawf6
4.15/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I have never had this style of beer, so my rating might be tainted, but i thought this was a great beer. Poured out very dark, almost black and opaque, but shown a little light.

Smell was very refreshing and seemed a little light for the color of the beer. The taste was great! Great flavor with tastes of chocolate and coffee. The mouthfeel was quite full and almost seemed like a porter beer.

I think this is a great beer! i'll be visiting scotland to see my brother in the next 2 weeks so i will definetly have to try some more styles like this when i'm there.

Photo of IronDjinn
3.4/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I managed to find a fresher bottle of this stuff, so I decided to re-review it, I think it may have gotten a bit of a bum rap on the outdated bottle I initially reviewed.

The Kelpie seaweed ale has always held a mild fascination for me, trying to wrap my brain around a briney character in beer. It pours out a dark cola colour, reddish chestnut highlights when held to the light. There is very little head, deep tan the few seconds it lasts, with no retention whatsoever. I thought salt would add to retention. There are notes of rich caramel and chocolate malts on the nose before the salt barges in and takes over the show. After that the brine dominates, the malt only breaks through in small gasps. Curious, and not a bad thing, just very curious. At first the flavour possesses a rich sweet caramel malt character, even a touch of currants can be detected, but the brine picks up momentum on the finish, acting in the place of hops. The mouthfeel is watery yet full, it rolls over the tongue but possesses some body to it. The aftertaste is sweet at first, and then turns to salt. This is certainly not a session beer by any means, although it possesses its own charm of sorts, a sort of drinkable museum, replecating a style of ale that has long since become obsolete, except possibly in small pockets in Scotland with no export distribution or demand outside of local counties.

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

I'm sure I was expecting more of a surprise than I got, but this was actually less strange than I thought it was. Pours a dark brown with a smallish off white head. Not extremely bubbly. Smell is where the seaweed comes in. Definately a briney seawater note to the nose, but it is replaced more by roasty chocolaty notes. Very Porter like. As it warmed a bit there might have been a little note of saline, but nothing that made me go MMMMm ocean water. Mouthfeel was a bit undercarbonated and a tad thin. Drinkability was OK, I would drink this again if it were offered. I dont think i will buy it for the cost, but it was not nearly as strange as I thought it might be.

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 aquatonex
3.03/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A very unique offering...

Pours deep dark brown with a small coffee-colored head that quickly dissipates. Smells of malt, hops, hints of chocolate and seasalt in the nose. Taste follows the smell, with some heavy malts, medium hops, chocolate. However, the body is lacking. It's a bit bitter without the fullness of a stout. Reminds me of a Young's Double Chocolate that was left out for awhile and watered down. I don't know if I'd have this again, but it definitely could have been worse.

Photo of BDTyre
3.77/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A unique brew, and one that I perhaps feel a historical connection to.

In the glass, it looks like cola. Distinct carbonation bubbles, thin off white head.

Smell is distinctly coffee; if served very cold you can detect the seaweed.

Taste is somewhat like a stout, but with a slight salt-metal tinge from the seaweed. Again, this is more prominent the colder the beer is served. If served lightly chilled, it works well and taste quite good.

Based on the look and flavour, one would expect the thickness of a stout but this is a little watery. However, it has a great flavour and is easy to drink.

Overall, well done. The taste and history alone are enough to bring me back

Photo of GClarkage
4.32/5  rDev +19.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

01/13/05- Purchased at Mollie Stones Market in Burlingame, CA

Presentation- 16 oz bottle with a best by Dec 2004 date on back. Poured into my Ayinger weizen glass.

Appearance- Dark brown pour with a minor white head and minor sheets of lacing.

Smell- Heavy roasted malts and a musty chocolate smell.

Taste- Tastes like a sweet porter. Lots of chocolate tastes as well as roasted malt. Definitely on the sweeter end of the spectrum. I didn't taste any seeweed though.

Mouthfeel- Lightly carbonated brew with a sweet taste gives this one a moderate feel.

Drinkability- This was pretty tasty. I would recommend it to those who like porters, milk stouts or IRS. Worth a try for sure. Very enjoyable.

Photo of Skidz
4.1/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Pours out sienna brown and sits dark mahogony in the glass with a good sized tan head, fading to a light skim leaving spotted lacings over the glass.

Smells true and malty, nice roasty aroma with plenty of caramel and toffee pouring through. Overripened apples and pears come forward with a hint of light roasted coffee.

Tastes rich and malty, full roasted flavors. Wooden and lightly nutty, some walnut and toasted almonds here and there. Herbal presence is nice, fresh leafy flavors and chocolate to balance it all out. Finish is mildly bitter, roasty and uneventful.

Luciously smooth and creamy in the mouth, soft carbonation across every cubic centimeter. Will put you to sleep while it massages your insides.

Tasty all the way, easy to drink. I was sceptical, but it came though. A solid beer, a good drinker.

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 Kookiekwan
3.72/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This bees pours mahogany has a one finger tan head with very little lacing and good retention. The aroma is of sweet roasted chocolate malt with hints of coffee and some earth tones. The beer is medium bodied, smooth, has a roasted malt bitterness flavor with some hints of chocolate in the dry finish.

Reflection: Kelpie is an interesting beer, it looks and tastes more like a porter than an ale but it's not as full bodied and it's highly carbonated.

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

This is a dark brew with some red showing thru when held to the light a nice tan head falls quick. Aroma is good chocolate with hints of coffee and some musty ocean like hints in the background. Taste is roasted malt carbonation almost flat not a bad thing just different. Nice coffee flavors with chocolate hints kind of backwords from the smell for some reason. Some musty flavors also present assuming it is the kelp with some light citrus hops and a touch of bitterness in the finish. Mouthfeel is mediumish a little flat like tasting but not bad at all, kind of adds to the experience in a way. Drinkability is good bought this because it sounded strange and didn't know what to expect, but I would buy it again its slightly different and good to boot.

Photo of Guinness4me
4.14/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

What a surprisingly refreshing beer! As our buddy at World of Beer said, this beer is good because it's honest. It tells you right up front what to expect and follows through. With this brew, I found it held even more than the label promised.

Did I expect a greenish tinge? Of course, but I only got a dark brown, stout-ish color but still impressive. It poured a slight tan head that quickly disappeared.

The smell was coffee, chocolate, malt and a bit seaside funk if you can imagine. I was a bit apprehensive but I'm glad I wasn't intimidated enough not to try it.

Now one of my favorite beers, the flavor is more coffee and chocolate than anything kelpish. It has a mild carbonation and a light, refreshing mouthfeel that surprised my tastebuds and quenched my thirst.

I'd drink many of these malty goodies.

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

Pours a dark brown/black, topped with a two finger creamy dark khaki head, leaves webs of lacing.
Malt and grass aroma, caramel and chocolate.
Chocolate, coffee, earthy and grass notes in the taste. Fairly acrid but sweet.
Not really a seaweed taste (like with sushi wrapping), more grassy.
Medium, creamy body, soda like mouthfeel. Reminded me of a thin dry stout.

Photo of clvand0
3.58/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

What an odd idea for a beer. Seaweed. Hmm. Pours a dark brown color with a medium head that dies off quickly and leaves a little lacing on the glass. The aroma has a coffee and roasted grains smell. The flavor was surprisingly good. Tastes like a thin stout - nice chocolate and coffee flavors. Finish is nice and slightly dry. Not sure where the seaweed part comes into this, but it's a good beer.

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

A 500 ml bottle labeled "best before Nov 2003." Well, it's October of 2004 right now so we'll see how good it is. I must admit I was lured into buying this beer simply because it was brewed with seaweed in the mash tun.

Pours a very dark brown with amber tint. It has a thick tan head that thins down about a minute after pouring but still completely covers the beer. The aroma is soft with roast and dark malt aromas. Nothing too spectacular in the nose.

The flavor is a pungent and sweet roast flavor with a touch of coffe, molasses, and dark chocolate. It finishes with a light alcohol flavor lingering in the roasty notes. I honestly don't taste any kelp flavor. If it wasn't on the label I would have no idea there was any kelp involved. Still, it is certainly a good beer.

In the mouth it is a bit thin and slightly over-carbonated which takes away from the experience.

Having not been familiar with this style of beer before today I would have guessed this beer to be porter. It definately has a lot of the characteristics of a porter.

Photo of blitheringidiot
3.67/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Label Lore: Ancient sketched cartoonish seaweed with a face. 4.4% ABV and a brief history about how farmers centuries before used to grow their malts in seaweed beds. Freshness date: Best by Oct 2005 notches.

Suggested to be poured into a chilled wine glass, this went into a goblet instead with a deep mahogany brown hued thick non-see thru pour collared by a razor thin white ring halo and some bubbles released with each swirl. Sliding lace slips quiclky down the glass. Second pour from this 500 mL had more “sand” colored head cap that also quickly faded.

Aromas of roasted coffee malts and porter-esque toasted grains.

Sweet zesty oily dark malts. Watery almond nutty caramel toffee notes. Aftertaste is a lingering toasted malts and some root beer and salts that didn’t appear until a minute after it was finished. Interesting.

Tight crisp sizzle that last throughout with a medium body.

Last swigs: A bit light in the kisser on feel and flavor. Watered down English Porter and Coca-Cola flavors and sea salt hints. Don’t be afraid to try this due to the word “Seaweed.” Became more robust as the temperature rose above fridge level. Another “Try it if you dare to seek interesting beers” category. Other than that, satiating my curiosity was the highlight. Paid $3.85+tax at Circle Liquors in Ewing, NJ.

Beer is good. Happy beering.

Photo of Gagnonsux
4.05/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Kelpie pours a solid coffee black color with a full, somewhat creamy head. Aroma reminds me of coffee with a hint of dark chocolates. Very strong and inviting. The flavor is very coffeeish, slightly roasted, with just a taste of chocolate. I only noticed saltiness at the very bottom of my glass and in the slight feel on my lips. Mouthfeel is moderately creamy and adds nicely to the expirience of this beer. This is something I would gladly have again anyday.

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 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 BeerBuilder
4/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours black with ruby highlights. It forms a creamy light brown head that leaves good lacing. The aroma is of milk chocolate and it is malty, with a slight roastiness. The flavor is rich, malty, and chocolatey with a slight roastiness, and a slight dry, bitter finish. It is a very tasty medium-full bodied brew with a creamy mouthfeel. I like it.

Sampled 4/29/04

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.

Kelpie Seaweed Ale from Williams Brothers Brewing Company
82 out of 100 based on 398 ratings.