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Kelpie Seaweed Ale - Williams Brothers Brewing Company

Kelpie Seaweed AleKelpie Seaweed Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

380 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 380
Reviews: 276
rAvg: 3.63
pDev: 13.77%

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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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Latest | High | Low | Top Reviewers | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Kelpie Seaweed Ale Alström Bros
Ratings: 380 | Reviews: 276 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of LacquerHead


3.58/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured a really dark brown, practically pitch black

S: the aroma was a little thin. Roasted barley malt was at the forefront, with a slight sweet smell towards the end. It also had a "water" smell.

Like the aroma, the taste was thin. It was like a watered down porter at first, but as it warmed up the malts came through. It had a roasted malt flavor - semi sweet, on the chocolate side. I think I detected some dry hops. But this is caught my attention; there was a mineral water taste in the background.

MF: it was like a porter mixed with sparkling mineral water (I'm thinking Apollinaris). At first every sip started off with a roasted malt flavor, but then a mineral taste came up to finish things off, leaving a relatively clean mouth feel.

D: it's drinkable enough. With such a low ABV it was easy to drink. Despite its ease of drinkability, it didn't really make me want to have another.

Conclusion: it was interesting. The mineral aspect seemed to make this distinctive. I'm glad I bought it, but I don't think I'll buy it again. This was a one-time only beer for me.

Serving type: bottle

02-09-2011 01:49:28 | More by LacquerHead
Photo of rudzud


3.83/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Picked up on a whim. Hmm...seaweed beer? Gotta try this!

A - Pours almost like a stout with a very dark not quite black but as close to it from brown as one can get pour. Clear but very dark. It took a vigorous pour into my tulip glass but I got a big fluffy two finger tan head from this beer that faded slowly leaving nice thick clumps atop the beer and some nice side lacing.

S - Aromas are alright. Nice sweet malts and just a slight, faint ocean salt aroma. I mean very faint, one second its there, the next its gone. Is it weird I want this to smell mor elike seaweed?

T - Solid taste here. Nice sweet dark, roasty malt flavours. Very close to a stout in that sense, followed at the end by some more light salt flavours. More than on the nose with an even more salty aftertaste.

M - Good mouthfeel, though again similar to a stout. Really wish this was a bit thicker though. Feels a little thin with the appropriate amount of carbonation. Wish it was a bit thicker.

D - All in all this is an interesting beer. Nice malty flavours with that slight salty addition. This is quite unique. I dig the seaweed in this, though maybe want it pushed a bit more with even more seaweed power!

Serving type: bottle

01-30-2011 06:12:31 | More by rudzud
Photo of BeerAdvocate


3.65/5  rDev +0.6%
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.

Serving type: bottle

01-21-2011 23:27:00 | More by BeerAdvocate
Photo of Rhettroactive

District of Columbia

2.73/5  rDev -24.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

From bottle to Bruges hybrid glass

A: Dark brown, almost royal purple in color. When put up to the light, it is quite easy to see my hand on the other side. Zero lacing and head retention.

S: Yeasty, stouty, biscuity. It's easy to pick up the little alcohol that this beer contains. It certainly drew me in.

T: Malty up front, then falls off almost immediately, at which point a dirty, low tide twinge snuck up and bit me on the mid palate. A very short finish that wraps up quickly.

M: The forced carbonation is sharp and unappealing, like drinking seltzer water. It's deceptively thin and lightweight.

O: This is something I have been looking forward to trying, and am really glad I finally got a chance to split one of these with my Pops. Having said that, I respect what is going on here and truly appreciate how different it is, but I can't say it is something I'll go back to. Give it a spin though, as I can't think of another beer quite like it.

Serving type: bottle

01-17-2011 05:37:43 | More by Rhettroactive
Photo of coachdonovan

Rhode Island

3.13/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Best before February 2012, although based on when this appeared in my local store, it should be fairly fresh. I have my fears that this one's a bit gimmicky, from the name to the seahorse on the label to the "MICROBREWED FOR MAXIMUM FLAVOUR!"

Pours a dark dark brown with a little crimson hiding in there. No head/lace to speak of. Aroma is a nutty cocoa flavor and reminds me of a chocolate porter. But that roastiness disappears when I take a sip. Mouthfeel is very very thin and not as chocolatey as the nose would suggest. I guess I can't hate on this beer too much, if indeed it is authentically brewed to style and tastes like it's supposed to. I just don't understand why you'd make a big deal about the seaweed if it's completely undetectable. All in all I wasn't impressed.

Serving type: bottle

12-28-2010 18:43:08 | More by coachdonovan
Photo of EwaldEichstaett


3.65/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

I was expecting a unique experience from this beer. It turned out to be disappointing. I don't mean to say that I did not enjoy the beer, but I did not really taste any seaweed infused characteristics-- perhaps a slight hint in the smell.

The beer poured very dark with a poor head and lacing. The smell was mostly chocolate malts with perhaps a slight spiciness to it. It tasted like an English stout. Nice toasty chocolate character. The feel of the beer was very wet and watery. The beer had lots of flavour and it went down very easily. It was quite drinkable, but I paid for the novelty of the beer and was let down.

Serving type: bottle

12-07-2010 21:17:09 | More by EwaldEichstaett
Photo of metter98

New York

3.83/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: The beer is very dark amber (near black) in color and poured with a thin and creamy tan head that slowly fades away. A moderate amount of carbonation is visible.
S: There are aromas of roasted, chocolaty malts in the nose along with some notes of the seaweed.
T: The taste is dominated by flavors of chocolate malts. Notes of seaweed are also well incorporated into the taste, which is well balanced.
M: It feels light-bodied on the palate and has a light to medium amount of carbonation. There is a slight amount of overall dryness.
D: The smell and taste of seaweed is very mild, which makes this beer rather drinkable. I would definitely try this again because it is a unique beer.

Serving type: bottle

11-25-2010 15:34:33 | More by metter98
Photo of AdamBear


3.33/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

A-dark brown, almost black. good amount of tan head

S-dark roasted malts with a spicy sweetness to the end...quite impressive actually. its a strong smell. there's chocolate in there as well.

T-well its a short experience. it hits with a small blast of the dark roasted malts. its accompanied by a weird tanginess. the malts slightly stay in the palate for awhile but the tanginess stays there as well. its not a very flavorful beer. its not a terrible beer either. its just average.

M-soft carbonation with a watery finish

D-to my surprise i enjoyed drinking every ounce of this beer. it seemed to get more friendly towards the bottom of the bottle. maybe the less desirable flavors started to mesh out. the low abv makes this a great drinker.

Serving type: bottle

11-22-2010 03:38:57 | More by AdamBear
Photo of PicoPapa


3.55/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

16.9oz bottle with a Best Before Date of FEB 2012. $4.29. Here goes nothing...Pours about as dark a color I've seen on a beer in a long time. Basically black with a thin head. Some lacing. Smells like roasted malts, earthiness, and a bit salty. Surprisingly for being a "seaweed ale" this brew does not taste like Poseidon's beard. Almost takes like a porter. Somewhat smokey with some roasted malt flavors. A bit chocolatey. Not what I expected. Like I said before, it tastes like a low ABV porter. Not bad.

Serving type: bottle

11-10-2010 03:22:22 | More by PicoPapa
Photo of alkemy


3.73/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Such a dark brown that it could pass for black. There are some mahogany highlights visible when held directly to light. About a finger of thick tan head that dropped to just a cover over the top of the brew but stayed throughout. The aroma is earthy and nutty. There's also chocolate and a mossy kinda briny note. Maybe I'm just adding this subconsciously, but to me, it was there. Taste is rich bitter chocolate up front with slight burnt sugar and roasted nuts. There's a smoky/briny note in the flavor as well, but it comes across more in the after taste than during the drink. Really creamy feel and very easy to drink. I had no idea what to expect from this, but it certainly exceeded the feeble expectations I had for it.

Serving type: bottle

10-13-2010 22:53:39 | More by alkemy
Photo of chumba526


2.65/5  rDev -27%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

Appears black with a sizeable tan head.

It smells slightly smoky, chocolaty and slightly sweet. It pretty much smells like a stereotypical English style porter.

It tastes much like it smells. It's a bit smoky. There is a bit of roasted nut flavor and a chocolate flavor. There is a very slight seaweed flavor but it blends with the smoky and roasted flavor of the beer.

The carbonation is way too high for the style. It has a very carbonated soda pop feel which is very unappealing.

Overall it's as drinkable as an average light porter. However the high carbonation makes me want to only have one.

Overall an ok beer but it doesn't have that interesting of a taste and the carbonation is too high.

Serving type: bottle

09-12-2010 23:17:26 | More by chumba526
Photo of damndirtyape


3.58/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Single bottle (best by Aug 2011) poured into a milkshake pilsner glass.

Appearance: On the table - black with brown at the edges. The beer has a persistent 1/8" dense tan head. Held up to the light it's a dark ruby red shading into brown. Sheets of lacing here and there.

Smell: Not a lot. When first poured I got some chocolate and roasted malts, but now that is gone. I can get it back on deep inhales, but it's still faint. The smells come back a bit when it warms up, but they're still best on deep inhales. I'm not getting the sea smell though.

Taste: The roasted malts are dominant here, with some coffee and chocolate notes coming through, but more of a bitter roasted coffee and bittersweet chocolate flavor. There is something else in here at the end, but I cannot tease it out when it's cold nor when it's warmer.

Mouthfeel: Mild carbonation, a bit chewy with some lingering on the teeth.

Drinkability: This reminds me of a weak English porter overall. If you were to put this in front of me and not tell me where it was from and what bottle you poured it from, I'd think it was an English porter and not a beer with seaweed mashed in. Went okay with a meal and I think it would be fine by itself as well. Overall okay but I think my favorite by this company is the Alba Scotch Pine ale.

Serving type: bottle

08-19-2010 22:11:19 | More by damndirtyape
Photo of meatyard


3.63/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear, very dark mahogany with a light tan, 1-finger head that has some retention and some dabs of lacing.
The smell is a rich, dark malt and chocolate. Oh yeah, there's also the aroma of the salty, ocean air. Ha.
The taste is burnt, bitter malt and a hint of chocolate.
Mouthfeel: At first it seems like it will be full but once in your mouth feels very light almost watery. Has a dry ending.
Drinkability: I suppose this is almost good but it doesn't quite hit the spot for me. The burnt flavor doesn't suit me. This beer really does seem like a porter and one that is just a bit above average.

Serving type: bottle

08-17-2010 01:16:34 | More by meatyard
Photo of DrDemento456


3.63/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Passed by this beer every time I went to D's and finally asked around if anyone tried it and the price. Picked up a 500ml for 5 bucks.

A - Pours (into my tulip glass) a thin yet dark see thru amber with an inch of head. Expiration date Feb 2011

S - Well it smells mostly like a bitter porter but with something extra to make it smell extra bitter. I assume it's the seaweed.

T - First it was kind of nauseating since the bitterness from the seaweed was kind of strong at first but it rounded to a robust coffee and chocolate taste that I did enjoy. The "green" tea flavor was only mildly present.

M - Really thin and kind of cloying. Enjoyed it to an extent.

D - Overall not a bad brew. Defiantly a great Scottish craft beer and kind of high on the weird scale but it didn't deliver enough bang for my buck to bring me back. Also the 500ml instead of a 12oz is kind of a chore to drink for such a distinct beer so it was sort of novelty. Would pass on future purchases.

Serving type: bottle

07-20-2010 04:13:48 | More by DrDemento456
Photo of biglite351


3.2/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

A - a good bit of red through the edges. Short creamy white head leaving no lace. Very porter like.

S - mild roasted malt, like the look, rather porter like.

T - different. Mild porter like flavor with a,little green in the after taste.

M - very pop like, carbonation burn pm the tongue. Coats like a pop too.

D - you could drink this whole playing cards. The carbonatiom would get annoying though.

Serving type: bottle

07-03-2010 00:36:39 | More by biglite351
Photo of tone77


3.35/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured from a brown 11.2 oz. bottle. Has a black color with a 1/2 inch head. Smell is mild, some notes of coffee. Taste is good, malts and coffee, maybe a touch of chocolate. Feels full bodied in the mouth and has average drinkability. Overall this makes for a good quality brew.

Serving type: bottle

06-20-2010 16:42:45 | More by tone77
Photo of eric5bellies


3.58/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Drank from my Duvel Tulip

A - Pours a dark mahogany colour with almost no head.

S - Briney chocolate aromas and roasted malt.

T - Very briney with earthy notes, the maltiness leads to chocolate and coffee.

M - Medium body and low carbonation, quite smooth

D - Quite an unusual beer and recommended

Serving type: bottle

06-19-2010 15:40:43 | More by eric5bellies
Photo of Aenema


3.68/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance - Dark brown, deep ruby highlights and cola-colored along the edges. Two-finger light brown head.
Smell - Roasty malts/slight chocolate.
Taste - Roasted malts with a slightly chocolate flavor, hint of brine.
Mouthfeel - Light medium-bodied, on the high end of moderate carbonation. Clean finish
Drinkability - Easy drinking. Smooth beer with much more flavor than most 4.4% beers.

Serving type: bottle

06-05-2010 20:28:06 | More by Aenema
Photo of buschbeer


3.9/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

I poured into a pint glass to a couple inches of tan head. It is brown in color about the same as a bock. The smell is of chocolate roasted malt. The taste is dominated by roasted malt as well. It definately leans more towards the chocolate side. I also get some burnt toffee. The mouthfeel is watery. Other than that this is a pretty tasty brew. It reminds me of a watery stout. I had no idea what to expect and am glad I gave it a try.


Serving type: bottle

04-22-2010 23:21:30 | More by buschbeer
Photo of pwoody11


3.8/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

From notes:

Poured brown with a thick tan head.

Aroma is mostly dark roasted malt, sea salt, and fig.

Taste reminded me somewhat of a stout. Again, dark malts, brine-like salt and a bit earthy.

I approached this beer expecting it to be hard to finish. I mean, really, seaweed beer? This actually was a pretty good beer. If anything, I didn't pick up enough seaweed. I would've liked to have the seaweed been a little more prominent in the brew.

Serving type: bottle

04-13-2010 16:53:48 | More by pwoody11
Photo of bluejacket74


3.75/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

500 ml bottle, best before May 2011. Served in a nonic pint glass, the beer pours a brown color with a half inch light tan head. Not much head retention, but there is a lot of lacing. Aroma is peat, earth, chocolate, and a bit of salt and seaweed. It really does have an aroma that reminds me of being by the sea or lake. It tastes like chocolate, salt/brine, earth, nuts, and some roasted malt. Mouthfeel/body is light/medium, but not watery at all. It also has moderate carbonation. Drinkability is good, it's smooth and easy to drink. I think it's a decent overall brew. For a brew that's only 4.4%, it has a lot of flavor and wouldn't be a bad session beer on occasion. Worth a try, but I don't think I'd buy this very often.

Serving type: bottle

03-26-2010 23:42:58 | More by bluejacket74
Photo of Kallessin


4/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours very dark brown with some Ruby highlights. Has a foamy tan head with nice lacing on the glass that settles to a ring around the beer after several minutes.

Smells of light roasted malt and chocolate. There's an aroma I don't really recognize that's a little herb like, but kind of briny (maybe it's the seabreeze mentioned on the bottle). I also get some slight earthy/musty hop notes in there.

The strong roasted malt and chocolate flavors hit you first with some fruitiness, then the flavors quickly lighten up to a strangely pleasant saltiness. The salty flavors with the chocolate adds a unique complexity to this beer that's actually very good. There is only some mild bitterness to offset the sweetness.

It's medium body (although on the lighter side) and smooth and creamy with some prickly carbonation. Has a clean, but dry finish.

This really is a good beer. Easy to drink, nice flavor and that unique chocolate/salty thing works very well.

Serving type: bottle

03-26-2010 21:38:27 | More by Kallessin
Photo of FreshHawk


3.83/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Deep brown/black cola color. Small beige bubbly and foamy head. This disappears about as soon as you pour it with minimal lacing left over that collects on one side.

S - Nice aroma that is much like a porter or stout. Dark, roasted, chocolate malts, slightly bitter and vaguely similar to coffee. Also a background whiff of brine. A bit of earthy peat smell too.

T - Starts with a rich, roasted chocolate/coffee taste with a bit of bitterness. A lot like a lighter porter or stout. Also a slight bready malt taste. Then some earthiness and brine along with some other taste come in. This earthiness has some peat characteristics and has somewhat of a soil earthy taste along with the brine.

M - Medium body and low carbonation. Fairly smooth and creamy.

D - Pretty good. A bit of bitterness, a bit of sweetness, a bit of saltiness, and a bit of savoriness makes me want to keep sipping it. Goes down smooth and while the flavors aren't great, they are good and unique.

Notes: Really unique beer. Wasn't sure what to expect with this. Not too much seaweed flavor really, just some brine and soil-like flavor. A little disappointed as I would like to try a beer with seaweed front and center as far as taste, but this beer as it is isn't bad. A lot like a porter or stout with some interesting taste in the middle and at the end of the sip.

Serving type: bottle

02-27-2010 02:24:46 | More by FreshHawk
Photo of joshstevens87


3.6/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A-pours a choclate brown with a inch of so tan head
S-chocolate with a funny sort of nose to it i can't really but my finger on what it is but is some sort of peat/earthy/slightly saltiness to it and a bit of roasted barley notes in the background
T-much like the smell, a very good brown ale with just a different characteristic to it with a dominate roasted barley withh choclate and a very slight coffee note, not much going on with the hops but has a bit of definition given to it by the seaweed which gives it a nice earthy slightly salty flavor a bit different not bad but i just prefer hop flavor
M-medium bodywith a slightly reserved carbonation, overall it resembles a nice full brown ale quality to it
D-this beer is certnly resfreshing but the seaweed can present a challenge to some people. overall its a beer i would enjoy a few of but would certanly not drink it all night

Serving type: bottle

02-14-2010 22:07:20 | More by joshstevens87
Photo of StJamesGate

New York

3.7/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours ruddy brown with a creamy stout-like head that fades to no lace. Nose is earthy and kola with a hint of vegetal. Mulch, spice, and dried fruit malts followed by tea and twig hops. Ash and salt at the end. Dry light and round.

A brown ale edging towards old English stout, flinty and clean. But why talk up the seaweed then bury it in a dark beer? Definitely some salty twang, but nothing to get fussed about.

Serving type: bottle

02-11-2010 00:15:19 | More by StJamesGate
Kelpie Seaweed Ale from Williams Brothers Brewing Company
82 out of 100 based on 380 ratings.