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Kelpie Seaweed Ale - Williams Brothers Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Kelpie Seaweed AleKelpie Seaweed Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

389 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 389
Reviews: 277
rAvg: 3.62
pDev: 13.81%
Wants: 15
Gots: 10 | 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:
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.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 09-18-2001)
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Ratings: 389 | Reviews: 277 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of BDTyre

British Columbia (Canada)

3.8/5  rDev +5%
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

Serving type: bottle

01-31-2005 08:36:07 | More by BDTyre
Photo of GClarkage


4.35/5  rDev +20.2%
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.

Serving type: bottle

01-14-2005 05:19:45 | More by GClarkage
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.

Serving type: bottle

01-13-2005 04:40:10 | More by Skidz
Photo of shapudding


3.73/5  rDev +3%
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!

Serving type: bottle

01-09-2005 20:15:05 | More by shapudding
Photo of Kookiekwan


3.68/5  rDev +1.7%
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.

Serving type: bottle

12-21-2004 21:08:41 | More by Kookiekwan
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.

Serving type: bottle

12-18-2004 03:37:53 | More by mntlover
Photo of Guinness4me


4.18/5  rDev +15.5%
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.

Serving type: bottle

12-05-2004 21:28:25 | More by Guinness4me
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.

Serving type: bottle

11-26-2004 17:49:57 | More by mschofield
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.

Serving type: bottle

11-10-2004 14:04:16 | More by clvand0
Photo of BrewMaster


3.4/5  rDev -6.1%
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.

Serving type: bottle

10-20-2004 01:33:49 | More by BrewMaster
Photo of blitheringidiot


3.68/5  rDev +1.7%
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.

Serving type: bottle

10-03-2004 03:12:19 | More by blitheringidiot
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.

Serving type: bottle

09-29-2004 01:19:01 | More by Gagnonsux
Photo of NJpadreFan

New Jersey

3.15/5  rDev -13%
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.

Serving type: bottle

09-18-2004 21:50:48 | More by NJpadreFan
Photo of oberon

North Carolina

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.

Serving type: bottle

09-08-2004 21:27:50 | More by oberon
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

Serving type: bottle

08-05-2004 16:33:24 | More by BeerBuilder
Photo of ADR


3.35/5  rDev -7.5%
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.

Serving type: bottle

07-25-2004 19:29:27 | More by ADR
Photo of Bighuge


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

Beer is almost black, but there are streaks of dark ruby present. Bubbly light brown head caps the bitch off. And it sticks around for awhile. Aroma is quite chocolatey. And a little dank. The taste is also chocolatey. Dark grainy malts and slighy weedy notes add some depth. The malts are thick and chewy. Body is damn near full. And the carbonation is on the light side. This is enjoyable.

Serving type: bottle

07-22-2004 03:35:43 | More by Bighuge
Photo of CortexBomb


3.05/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Hmm, I said to myself...seaweed ale, that has to be a new one. Hence, my purchase and this glass of what look to be dark ale sitting in my pint glass. The colour is darkish brown, the head is light coloured and about 2 mm thick. The aroma of this concoction isn't what I was expecting, primarily it's chocolate, with some fruit tones lurking in the background, almost like a Belgian, but with a slight difference that is probably the 'ocean' tone (salty?) that other reviewers have noted.

Odd flavour, chocolate, malts, a soft bitter on the back of the tongue, and a bit of that oceany / salt tone at the very end which confines itself to the top of my mouth. I was expecting something a bit stronger, this kind of meanders around in your mouth, but doesn't really make a big statement.

Mouthfeel and drinkability on this are both meh, I don't think this would be a hard beer to put down in short order, but multiples? I would think that the ocean effect would stop being novel and start being a liability. Mouthfeel was very thin, much moreso than I like (being a Russian Imperial fan), so it gets an average mark there.

Novel simply for the experience of drinking seaweed beer, but the price combined with the very average flavour will combine to keep this out of my fridge in the future.

Serving type: bottle

07-16-2004 23:13:39 | More by CortexBomb
Photo of niknar


4.03/5  rDev +11.3%
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.

Serving type: bottle

07-11-2004 22:25:11 | More by niknar
Photo of finepaws

North Carolina

3.55/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

An unexpected pleasure in this beer. Never got a chance to pour this one, but the bottle was cool. Smelled like mocha salt, and sea. Is that a smell? I thought it would taste like the seaweed I've had, but no, it wasn't salty at all. Did have a coffee like flavor to it, with a mildly, bitter tang. The after taste was where it kicked in that sea taste. Not sure how to describe it, but this is one I would definetly reccomend. I let my neighbors have a taste without looking at the bottle, and they loved it. When I showed them what it was, they flipped. Not sure I'd buy it again, but surely won't pass it by if offered!

Serving type: bottle

06-20-2004 04:12:38 | More by finepaws
Photo of GuinnessSmurf


3.78/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Come on! You know you've all seen this beer and thought - "I have to try a seaweed beer." I mean, the two elements were made for each other. Joking aside, this beer does combine the two in a way that is interesting without sacrificing drinkability.

It pours a dark black/brown color with a nice hat of beige head floating on top. The smell has that "sea" quality (salt water, rotten fish, pollution?) mixed with some sweet malts (chocolate).

The taste starts out with almost no seaweed in it. It is as if you have a mocha stout in your hand. Then the seaweed bumps its way in to say hello - mostly attacking the roof of the mouth. As I continued drinking, the beer maintained character and interest. I was worried that I'd lose interest in the seaweed flavor.

This is a good beer to check out. It isn't at the top of my queue to try (ie. buy) again, but I'd definately drink one if offered to me.

Serving type: bottle

06-19-2004 15:26:20 | More by GuinnessSmurf
Photo of FormatKid


3.78/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I picked up a 500ml bottle of this from Riverside Beverage in Chattanooga on a whim.

Out of the bottle it is an extremely dark shade of brown, almost black. A creamy white head forms at the top, needing a little coaxing to even get up to a finger’s width. Thin strands of lacing cling to the sides.

The scent is unique and somewhat different from what I was expecting (although I didn’t really know what to expect anyway) Very porter like, coffee and bitter chocolate tones are immediately present. I do detect a faint saltiness or something that I would imagine to identify as seaweed, although this may be the power of suggestion.

Again, the taste is identifiable with a porter with some added twists. It possesses a very full, rich flavor. Slightly astringent on the tongue. Flat bitterness leads, then makes it’s way into a thin dark coffee flavor. A briney, saltiness is faintly evident through the middle. Earthy pangs of bitter hops make their final say in the finish. Carbonation is on the mild side.

This is a quality product with a unique flavor that I really enjoyed. It makes me want to try the other offerings from this brewer and now I can say I’ve had a “Seaweed Ale”.

Serving type: bottle

05-23-2004 03:47:14 | More by FormatKid
Photo of Afterburner


3.68/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Dark, opaque brown with a rocky, beige head. Moderate head retention, no lacework.

Smell: Malty, in the main. Flowery smell, almost briny, although I don't know that I would have attributed that character to it if I didn't know it was brewed with seaweed. Faint smoky aroma as well.

Taste: Dryish black malt flavor on the whole, without a lot of complexity. A very rounded sort of flavor, without much of a start. The finish brings out what I presume to be the seaweed, which is faintly flowery and vegetable in nature, but also has some woodiness to it.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, like a nitro-cannister stout.

Drinkability: I think the novelty of this beer keeps it from being much of a repeat drinker. I think the Alba Scots Pine Ale from the same brewery is more interesting and more worthy of repeat drinking.

Serving type: bottle

05-18-2004 00:35:00 | More by Afterburner
Photo of RedDiamond


2.65/5  rDev -26.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Kelpie begins with porter-like properties. It is dark brown, nearly opaque, and pours with a light tan head. It initially tastes porter-like as well, with a fair measure of roastiness. But the further it strays from its porterish attributes, the less good can be said of it. And it does stray afield.

The brew is faintly carbonated with an aroma that floats like a sea breeze across berries – raspberries perhaps. The body is thin; the aftertaste is dank and unwelcome. Thankfully, the taste itself is not overtly suggestive of seaweed as I feared it might be. The fleeing porter notes are supplanted by a berry basket of raw twigs, which in turn is subsumed by wet cardboard.

I gave this highly improbable concept every honest opportunity to win my favor but can only report that the experiment was a ghastly failure. Kelpie is flat and fails on many fronts -- as an ale, as a porter, as an herb-flavored brew, and as a Scottish novelty. By comparison, I have long enjoyed the Fraøch Heather Ale brewed by the same company.

Kelpie has a brief moment of budding potential, but the paint smock of an aftertaste and the coarse woolen mouthfeel destroy any enjoyment that may hope to linger.

Serving type: bottle

04-28-2004 03:21:22 | More by RedDiamond
Photo of Dukeofearl


3.13/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This "brewed with kelp" oddity was a gift from a friend that knew I was into beer tasting, and for that I thank him. Pours a very dark brown/black as tar color with medium tan head- not my favorite look, but actually well done. Aroma was moderately malty, creamy and toasty. The flavor was sharp with a hop afterglow, and I found myself reviewing not by what was there, but by what wasn't there- no kelp, no feelings of being at the seashore, no exotic Scottish notes, just a moderately heavy beer that was somewhat sharp and not all that exciting.

Serving type: bottle

04-05-2004 14:30:38 | More by Dukeofearl
Kelpie Seaweed Ale from Williams Brothers Brewing Company
82 out of 100 based on 389 ratings.