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Monty Python's Holy Grail Ale - Black Sheep Brewery PLC

Monty Python's Holy Grail AleMonty Python's Holy Grail Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

974 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 974
Reviews: 578
rAvg: 3.34
pDev: 17.07%

Brewed by:
Black Sheep Brewery PLC visit their website
United Kingdom (England)

Style | ABV
English Pale Ale |  4.70% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: stcules on 05-24-2002)
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Ratings: 974 | Reviews: 578 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of putnam


3.95/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Sticky, fine white head plasters everything it touches with residue. The color of the beer is burnt orange.

The smell. Ripe, sweet blueberry cream is the first impression and it obscures a damp, earthy notion that is hard to grasp at first. Then, it comes: moist bluegrass, clay, dried orange peel...these are liberated yeast here. They are the microbial equivalent of free-range chickens, offering an airy, easy complexity that comes from being allowed to pursue whatever bliss a yeast might want to pursue. Happy, innocently beautiful, not too smart, but useful...and tasty.

The taste: Very gassy. Bright sharp prickles of gas disallow any richness from registering at first. Its there though. A cottony, weathered, dried malt flavor that delivers, in addition to the elements available to the nose, graphite and toast.

Serving type: bottle

07-13-2003 13:13:17 | More by putnam
Photo of Brent


3.48/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

"Tempered over burning witches." With a tag-line like that, how can you not buy a bottle? Fortunately, this is not a gimmick beer - very much the traditional "ordinary bitter." A little tannic in the hops bite, but not so much as to pose a problem. Slight acidity in the background, smoothed over by some nice malt flavors. Won't be a regular in the fridge, but certainly worth a try.

Serving type: bottle

07-06-2003 19:15:41 | More by Brent
Photo of Morris729


3.53/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a medium amber color with lots of visible carbonation (tiny bubbles stuck all over the sides of the glass in the beer) and a thick and frothy whipped cream head that slowly dissipates in chunks leaving a heavy and patchy foam behind. Nose has a bit of an herbal and grassy twang with notes of musty grains and wet wood. Medium in body with a slick mouth feel. Taste starts off with flavors of iced tea and diacetyl followed by some oily hop resins and notes of green apple peel with a bit of tobacco in the finish. Being a fan of Monty Python, I was really looking forward to trying this beer, and while not great, it was still quite enjoyable. Thanks to Loki for the sample!

Serving type: bottle

06-26-2003 21:21:36 | More by Morris729
Photo of Indybeer


3.48/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Like everyone else it was the label that caught my eye first. This pours a deep hazy golden with a huge head that lasts, and leaves fine lace to the bottom of the glass. The aroma was a mild maltiness. Nothing jumps out at you in the taste, and seemed to be a little thin, with no real finish. But still I enjoyed this ale. Would love to try this as a draught, to see how it compared.

Serving type: bottle

05-28-2003 15:05:16 | More by Indybeer
Photo of hotstuff


4.22/5  rDev +26.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer poured a large head. It had good lacing that clung to the side of my mug. The aroma to me was a combination of fruity and nutty. The beer went down smooth with a bit of a sweet aftertaste that was noticed. It had a lot of carbonation. All in all this beer was drinkable.

Serving type: bottle

04-24-2003 06:47:42 | More by hotstuff
Photo of Loki

North Carolina

4.22/5  rDev +26.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I, like many of the other reviewers, purchased this beer out of sheer novelty. The fact that it made me laugh out loud the moment I caught sight of it I knew that it at least deserved a purchase for that. I too had very low expectations for this beer.

The Ale poored a slightly cloudy light amber to copper color, with a nice thick, creamy head. The nose gave off proment malt, with a bread and a slight toasted nut smell. Very subtle hints of fruit.

The taste was very good. Malt and hops came across very balanced, with hints of apple and bread. Very thin mouth feel, with very smooth finish.

All-in-all, a great pint of beer and much better than I believed due to the packaging. Tried twice, must better when chilled than slightly warm.

Serving type: bottle

04-19-2003 11:00:42 | More by Loki
Photo of Winter


3.9/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Received as a gift and probably something I would not have purchased figuring it was purely a gimmick beer. I was wrong indeed, as it ended up actually being an enjoyable ale.

1 pint, 9 oz bottle. Pours a deep amber with a delightful frothy white head that remains throughout comsuption. Aroma consists of malt and toasted bread with a pretzel dough-like quality to it. Thinnish mouthfeel is not a detraction. The taste is actually pretty decent. Hops and malt balance are kept in check. Light hop bitterness is washed away with a pleasant doughy pretzel flavored finish. Bitterness imparts some residual saltiness. Not bad, certainly worth a try at the very least.

Serving type: bottle

04-18-2003 10:56:42 | More by Winter
Photo of Suds


4.13/5  rDev +23.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Solidly good ale...in fact, much better that I'd hoped. I figured this would be a gimmick beer, but I should have guessed better. I've not been disappointed by anything from this brewery.
Nice, puffy white head. Chestnut to almond color...relatively clear. Doughy and sweet with a great hop aroma. Extremely drinkable and satisfying.

Serving type: bottle

03-16-2003 13:58:41 | More by Suds
Photo of purplehops


2.98/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Holy Grail Ale pours a cloudy yellow-orange with a white head that leaves plenty of lacing on the sides of the glass. The aroma is sweet and floral with some malt notes. The taste starts watery and then develops some malt flavors along with some honey and herbal flavors. The finish is maltier with hop bitterness coming into play along with some continual sweet flavors. Aftertaste is citrus and floral hop flavors with a hint of sweetness sneaking in from moment to moment. Mouthfeel weak to light with some effervescence.
Overall an average English style pale ale/bitter. The label seems more entertaining than the ale itself. Enough said.

Serving type: bottle

03-01-2003 14:12:40 | More by purplehops
Photo of StevieW


3.68/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

1 pt 9 fl oz brown bottle. The bottle has cool hop leaves etched into the top. Yellow label with Monty Python's Holy Ale. "tempered over burning witches." No doubt imported to Florida under the wing of a European Swallow. Uh em.... Enough.
Clean pale copper color. Medium sized rocky head, faded rather quickly but left some nice lacing. Smell was very floral, and hop filled. Faint fruitiness as well, apricots maybe. Taste was pleasant, combining both sweet toasted malt upfront ans some super sharp, puckering bitterness. Some very nice hop bitterness toward the finish. It's no Hop Devil, but it's very flavorful. Lacked the rich bready, biscuit like malty goodness. Feel was a touch on the thin side. Flavors fall apart toward the bottom of the glass. Just a touch to watery to be really good, but close. I would choose it over a bass, but take a London Pride on tap before it.
Paired with a grilled barbecue chicken breast and greenbeans. Left off the cornbread, that would have made the redneck trilogy complete. It was very good paired with dinner, but not a beer that stands alone. For $3.99 a bottle here, a bit pricey. I am looking forward to the other 2 beers from this brewery I bought, the Black Sheep Ale and the Riggwelter.

Serving type: bottle

02-24-2003 18:05:31 | More by StevieW
Photo of UncleJimbo


3.43/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

1 pt 9 oz brown bottle. "tempered over burning witches"
This ale poured a hazy, golden amber color with creamy, white foam that left very good lace down the glass. The smell was malty with a trace of citrus, but no hop nose. The taste was malty with some bitter hops in the background (sort of like a thin Bass ale). There was a very, very faint caramel flavor. The mouthfeel was medium-thin bodied: clean, crisp, with a light, astringent hop finish. The drinkability was OK, but this ale was thin on flavor and body.

Serving type: bottle

02-20-2003 22:17:04 | More by UncleJimbo
Photo of jdhilt

New Hampshire

3.43/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours with a good head that leaves a lace, color is a hazy orange probably caused by the burning witches. Nose is very slight with malt. A nice pale ale that is very smooth and a slightly hoppy finish. Even though the ABV is on the low side, there is good flavor and is not as hoppy as some English pales.

Serving type: bottle

02-04-2003 16:28:32 | More by jdhilt
Photo of kunzbrew


3.58/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This brew pours a light coppre color with no head or collar or lace. Not very impressed so far. The smell of hops are present and quite strong. The first sip brings an apple taste to the palate but a dry flat finish kills the beer and wine after taste with little to no carbonation. I only bought one of these just because of the movie, nice marketing plan.


Serving type: bottle

01-27-2003 18:19:10 | More by kunzbrew
Photo of OldFrothingSlosh


3.05/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I burst my pimples at you and call your door-opening request a silly thing.

And now for something completely different...

I was in the library perusing a Hugh Wallpole novel when I became a bit peckish for some fermented grain. Dispensing with any pleasantries whatsoever,and curtailing my Hugh Wallpole-ing activities, my good friend (Mr. A.E. Gumby) and I made haste to the nearest purveyor of said grain to try some Monty Python's Holy Ail.

Presentation: 1pt 9fl oz amber bottle with elderberries (of which your father smelt) cast in the glass bottle itself. Printed on the bottle itself are the letters: "BBE Apr 03". Purchased strictly on the fact that this beer has "Monty Python" on it.

Appearance: Looking somewhat a 1969 Coc Du Rod Lever (which itself boasts a fine bouqet of Aborigenese armpit), this quaffable entity poured a smashing copper color with a huge (despite a non-aggressive pour) frothy head that laced the glass quite nicely.

Aroma: Clearly lacking any aroma of burned witches (over which this beer was supposedly tempered), I nonetheless could perceive an "earthy" hoppy aroma (albeit mixed with a whiff of fruit bat).

Taste: Not a bad beer, but one that I wouldn't purchase again. Flavor was definitely "earthy" and also had a rather metallic aftertaste to it, combined with the hoppy flavor. I should think that this beer would go well with some Japanese sage darby or Norweiegan beaver cheese (though one would be advised not to try these cheeses with a dog turd and tonic).

Mouthfeel: Better than average. Not as good as rat tart or spam, spam, spam, spam, eggs, bacon, sausage, and spam (bloody Vikings) or even a raw, unboned jugfish.

Drinkability: The earthy flavor and metallic aftertaste really rubbed me the wrong way. This was a one-time purchase.

All Monty Python references aside, not much to this beer other than the label.

Serving type: bottle

01-21-2003 15:58:34 | More by OldFrothingSlosh
Photo of MJR


3.3/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: Pours a light amber colored body with faint copper edges. A light tan head starts out decently and fades to a small cap. A touch of chill haze adds a touch of cloudiness to an otherwise clear body.

Smell: Aroma of English hops, slighty sweet malt, and Terry Jones. A touch of apples too...

Taste: The bitterness from the hops seems to capture my attention most, as it starts strong and lasts long into the aftertaste. There's a good malt background, but it takes a backseat to the hops. Just like in the aroma, I pick up on apples. Interestingly enough, the apple flavor seems to get quite coarse on the tail end, while picking up a slight burnt flavor. I'm picking up on a strong John Cleese character as well...very nice and unspamlike! Simply put, the flavor seems very 'sharp.'

Mouthfeel: Fairly thin body with a sharp, crisp mouthfeel. Finishes dry.

Drinkability: Decent. The faint burnt flavor at the end doesn't sit well with me. Take that away and you have a very average brew with a cool label. I won't go out of my way to buy this one again.

Serving type: bottle

01-19-2003 22:42:16 | More by MJR
Photo of Thrasher


4.28/5  rDev +28.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

In the late '70s, Python member Terry Jones funded a brewery to make its own porter, in an attempt to re-launch a very important style which, at that point, had completely disappeared from the UK. It didn't catch on, but was a truly admirable effort and perhaps gives indication of Monty Python's sentiments toward beer, despite their irreverence towards everything else. Indeed, this is no novelty swill, but a serious and valid brew. Hazy orange-gold with superb head, tempting aroma. Wonderful malt base with grassy, herbal hops, very little bitterness, with the unusual yeast providing a surprising amount of complexity. Perfect for washing down any meal, especially minstrels, mothers, members of the British Navy, spam, and of course ram's bladder cup. A solid pale ale, as good as any other British offering, save perhaps a freshly squeezed Mallard Fizz. Those who cannot see past the label are missing out on a quality brew that Mr Creosote would be happy to drink by the crateful. Just watch out for the wafer thin mint.

(Yes I'm a dork)

Serving type: bottle

12-08-2002 15:27:00 | More by Thrasher
Photo of Dogbrick


2.68/5  rDev -19.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

I think you are taking your chances with any "novelty" beer like this. I am still having nightmares about the "Romulan Ale". This one wasn't nearly that bad but I still won't get it again. Cloudy honey color with a medium foamy white head. Sweet malt and caramel aroma. No sweetness in the flavor though, the bitterness was prevalent throughout. The beer really ended up thin and too sour toward the end, which really detracted from the whole experience.

Serving type: bottle

11-14-2002 07:32:33 | More by Dogbrick
Photo of jackndan


3.83/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Monty Python’s Holy Grail Ale: “Tempered over burning witches.” In a half liter bottle, with embossed hops on the side of the bottle. Great looking beer, deep copper color, thick creamy white head. Soapy aroma. Initial taste had a very powerful cider taste, but as it warmed up, and I got used to it, the taste seemed to improve considerably. Some bready malts, and a crisp bite of hops. Not bad for what I assume is a novelty item.

Serving type: bottle

10-20-2002 19:45:42 | More by jackndan
Photo of RonfromJersey

New Jersey

4/5  rDev +19.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a hugh airy sticky head, which setttles into a nice top. Body is a light orange hue, with some mild carbonation. Nose is herbs and grass and a pinch of good English sulfur, and maybe a little caramel. Taste is a swirling blend of malt and hops basically exchanging pleasantries as you drink. Malt, hop, malt, hop. Neither overpowers, neither runs away and hides. A fine English ale. What's next, Fawlty Towers Porter?

Serving type: bottle

10-05-2002 21:41:44 | More by RonfromJersey
Photo of UnionMade


4.25/5  rDev +27.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Let's see...a Monty Python beer from Black Sheep brewery. Bonus points already. Inspecting the bottle, I find some authentic Monty Python artwork, and a brew that claims to be "tempered over burning witches". That's by far my favorite beer adjuct. Far superior to blackberry, raspberry, and all the other berry ales my girlfriend likes. (I like them too.)
The holy grail's pour is something spectacular for me, particularly from a bottled beer. The head was so dense Gary Coleman could breakdance on it. I had to take a quick sip so the head would start to die down, and I could pour the rest. Incredible lacing, leaving thick clumps of head sticking to the glass.
Color was pretty nice. It reminded me of Bass, or any other classic english pale. The aroma was great. Mellow and subtle. A balanced aroma, with floral and a light estery undertone.
I have to say that this review is gonna be biased. I love this style. Holy Grail tasted great, with mild hops, medium body, light floral aftertaste, and all the trappings of any english pale worthy of Britain. One thing of note about this beer, odd for the style, is that it held a big head throughout, and formed little islands of foam on the side of the glass. Not flat little circles, but half inch thick mounds that oddly resembled the white rabbit from the movie.
The ale was a little pricey, but it'll be in my fridge again. I liked it a lot. Like Arnie said..."Oll be bock!"

Serving type: bottle

09-05-2002 22:45:08 | More by UnionMade
Photo of Murph


3.83/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a nice pale amber/copper color with a decent creamy off-white head that slowly sinks to a nice film that completely lines the glass. Nice toasty/biscuity malt aroma with some nice fruity esters as well, apples and others. After the great nose on this brew the taste is a little dissappointing. Light toasty maltiness with some vague fruity esters again but I was hoping for a little more definition here, there is a nice lingering light bitterness in this one though. Very creamy and fairly smooth on the tongue, but a bit of tangyness that I didn't really like, this brew is rather drinkable however.

Serving type: bottle

08-16-2002 11:03:10 | More by Murph
Photo of NeroFiddled


3.9/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Clear, light to deep copper in color throughout the length of an Imperial Pint glass - let's just call it tawny. It has a light cream colored, massive, rocky head which dies down but holds a very good collar and whisp across the glass. Immense lace at the top of the glass, although it receeds as it lowers in the glass. The aroma is herbal (and I mean Ganja), somewhat metallic, grassy, with some light caramel malt at the back (and possibly some very light diacetyl butterscotch). There are surely some Fuggles in here. Quite an interesting and complex aroma, but not necessarily more than pleasing. The body is light-medium, but with a gentle creaminess. The flavor is quite metallic in nature, but has more of a mineral-like quality as opposed the the "bloodiness" of Bateman's XXX for example. This beer needs to be served at cellar temperature to be enjoyed, otherwise this becomes the leading note of the beer. Combined with a slight fruity character (that reveals itself quite readily on the lips but not so well in the mouth), there is also a dryish, woody maltiness that is quite enjoyable as it lays itself across the mouth and tongue. This is the flavor that represents the beer in the finish, along with a nice dose of bitterness and a dull, lightly tart note. Extremely English. So much so that I believe it will be misinterpereted by most. I don't think alot of tasters will be able to find the complexity here.

Serving type: bottle

08-13-2002 14:15:45 | More by NeroFiddled
Photo of Jason


4.4/5  rDev +31.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

16.9 oz brown bottle with some humor on the label. No freshness date. Awesome head, looks like the top of a meringue pie and sticks all over the place. Mildly hazed pale copper colour.

Grassy herbal hop aroma with some malt sweetness in the back that is breadier than anything else. Faint diacetyl and fruitiness in the nose also.

Impeccably smooth with a slick and flowing mouth feel. Big tea-like hop character is herbal and lemony with a ghost like tobacco flavour. Bitterness is modest but stern. Touch of musty diacetyl and some vague fruitiness also. Grain with a bread crust like flavour, malt sweetness provides a good base yet is seldom seen. Finishes slightly with lingering aleish flavours.

Ohh yeah, this is a beauty. I love English ales like this, pack with flavour and complexities yet very quaffable at the same time. This was worth every penny of the $3.50 I spent.

Serving type: bottle

08-08-2002 12:19:35 | More by Jason
Photo of Todd


3.38/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Presentation: 1pt 9fl oz custom brown bottle. Yellow label with some Monty Python graphics. "Tempered over burning witches" says the label.

Appearance: Hazy medium amber with a massive, thick, white, rocky, sticky foam head. Nice head retention on this one.

Smell: Slightly apple-like in the nose. Fruity, floral hop character with faint notes of citrus rind, background must and strong herbal characters.

Taste: Sharp bite on the palate, with raw apple-like flavours -- more like a Granny Smith apple, complete with apple skin, apple must and slight sour/tart character. Medium-bodied, with just enough smoothness. Herbal flavours quell, then mix in with a very light sugary sweetness and flavours of flowers. The faintest touch of diacetyl is present. Oily hop residue is left on the palate, along with a leafy hop feel that blends in with the apple skin. Tannins and more apple skin flavours and feel on the palate follow and fade gently into the dry finish.

Notes: An interesting ale, however, remove the "Monty Python" branding and you're left with simply a typical ale from the UK. Apple flavours and tannins might be a bit too much for some.

Regardless, a nice little treat from our beer brothers in the UK, and well worth seeking out for at least one try -- especially if you are a fan of traditional UK ales and/or Monty Python.

Serving type: bottle

08-07-2002 18:24:12 | More by Todd
Photo of rastaman

United Kingdom (England)

3.5/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Maybe it was just me, but it had a funky sweet herbal taste, besides this it was quite nice, malty body, soggy hops and Ok bitterness, medium bodied and different, quite a cool name, but a bit gimicky and tacky.

Serving type: bottle

07-24-2002 16:10:43 | More by rastaman
Monty Python's Holy Grail Ale from Black Sheep Brewery PLC
76 out of 100 based on 974 ratings.