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Riggwelter Yorkshire Ale - Black Sheep Brewery PLC

Not Rated.
Riggwelter Yorkshire AleRiggwelter Yorkshire Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

244 Reviews
very good

(Read More)
Reviews: 244
Hads: 304
Avg: 3.85
pDev: 11.17%
Wants: 17
Gots: 9 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Black Sheep Brewery PLC visit their website
United Kingdom (England)

Style | ABV
English Brown Ale |  5.70% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 05-31-2002

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 244 | Hads: 304
Photo of inebrius
4.68/5  rDev +21.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Label claims this beer's name is derived from lazy English sheep or something. Pours a deep mahogany with a creamy bone white head that leaves a sticky lace. Really nice looking brew! Nose of coffee, raisin and fruit. Malty, roasty and complex finishes tasty English hop and lip smacking good. Awesome beer! Highly recommended.

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Photo of huxcrunner
4.6/5  rDev +19.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

a- a nice darker amber- to brown appearance tan-white head

s-very nice fragrance of a hint of coffee and nice chocolate flavors that emmit from this beer

t- has a taste of coffee or a darker chocolate taste that makes for a very good combination of flavors and is very smooth with a slight bitter taste of chocolate for the aftertaste of this beer

m-good feel medium like body it is very smooth and you can always find something new about this beer to enjoy

d-this is a good beer that should be enjoyed, possible to have more then one and still taste good

Ive had this beer several time after the first time i reviewed it and each time ive had this beer i love it a little bit more. This has become one of my personal favorite beers and would recommend it to anyone

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Photo of BedetheVenerable
4.55/5  rDev +18.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

16.9 oz brown bottle, with a classy sheep-themed label and a raised hop-flower design on the shoulders of the bottle.

Apperance: Magnificent. A dark brown beer with ruby highlights and excellent clarity. A decent pour produces a massive fluffy white head with good retention and awesome lacing.

Smell: Caramel, sweet toffee, roasted grains, chocolate, a little bit of fruitiness, and the unique yeastiness so typical of Black Sheep's brews.

Taste: Heaven. It's rich and creamy, full of chocolate and dark caramel, supported by a full, earthy bitterness from the English Goldings hops. Finishes dry and bittersweet, with good length.

Mouthfeel: Medium-heavy bodied, with a crisp bitterness from the roasted grains and decent hop rates.

Drinkability: It's 5.7% abv, and fairly full-bodied. That being the case, it's not a session beer, but it goes down remarkably easily for its depth and weight.

Conclusion: In my opinion, THE best English or English-style ale out there. Pure and simple. Every time I have this I discover something new to like about it. It's complex, robust, and quite unique. This beer was a mainstay on my trip to Yorkshire, and the Black Sheep Brewery is fantastic if you ever get a chance to go. This beer is absolutely perfect for a chilly fall afternoon after raking leaves or a cold winter night by the fire. Definitely in my "top 10 beers of the world."

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Photo of the42ndtourist
4.53/5  rDev +17.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

500 mL bottle. Impressively thick and rocky head in a light beige (more annoying than impressive as I poured hard expecting a thin head, but it would have been great from a normal pour). Dark, slightly murky brown, with garnet tinges. An expressive aroma, some malts and fruit. The flavour is something, though. Early currants and blackberries, moving to heavier fruits like dark plums (like a plum pudding), following through with a slightly sour finish. GWAR has a good word for this: Sexcellent! Absolutely Fabulous (wait, why did I reference that, I never liked that show...)

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Photo of TheLiterati
4.53/5  rDev +17.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Once again, the beer guru at my local Whole Foods suggested I might like this one. And once again, he was dead on.

The label, a black and crème motif on a brown bottle with a raised leaf design, hints at the color of the ale. It pours a deep red-brown and has a nice, frothy cream-colored head…a real beauty.

The smell was much hoppier than I expected. There were also hints of chocolate, coffee and fruit (raisins? grapes), but what really struck me was an undertone of what smelled like barley wine, which was off-putting for me at first because I’m not a barley wine fan.

The carbonation and texture makes for a refreshing mouthfeel. Very pleasant on the palate. And the taste…also much hoppier than I expected, again ever so slightly reminiscent of a barley wine, but not cloying, sweet or syrupy.

Very, very drinkable.

This is a damn fine ale.

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Photo of ChrisCage
4.5/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- This pours a cola color, and is for the most part clear hued. There is a modest looking taupe colored head that starts out about one finger thick but settles quickly to a thick patch ridden layer over the beer. It would appear that there is very mild carbonation, which is a good sign I would say! As for lacing, there is all sorts of sticky goodness clinging to the side of my glass. A very good looking beer, especially if the head would stick around a little longer!

S- There is a distinct roasted aroma going on here. It is primarily of roasted coffee beans, burnt almonds and with a hint of burnt brown sugar...there is even a bit of black licorice on the nose. The finish is a blend of fruitiness....more like bitter rinds, and a hint of hops too.

T- This is a very tasty beer....very rich indeed! I find it contains an oak character, even though this isn't the case. Deep toasty malt sweetness followed by small doses of slightly unripe banana or even plantain fruit. Also blended in here is dark chocolate, coffee and I have to say again, a hint of licorice root. The finish is dry more so than bitter, but clean.

M- Solid medium body and very smooth to drink, as the carbonation is very mild and refined. The alcohol is very well hidden, as a good English Brown should be. The flavors really shine with this one and the roastiness of the malt is very noticeable.

O- Another stand out English Ale, and to be more specific, by Black Sheep! Nice strong flavors, well hidden alcohol, and very easy to drink! As it warms, it becomes even better...I let this review linger over an hour, which I never normally do! I very highly recommend this one and consider this to be amongst the great English brews!

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Photo of Psilo707
4.5/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Very ruby red appearance underlying a dark brown thick shade. Solid foamy head that dissipates slowly but surely. Good looking beer.

The scent of this brew is absolutely awesome. Chocolately/malt aroma with a hint of brown nut and dark fruits.

One of my new favorite tasting beers without a doubt. A dark hazelnut, musky flavor enters your mouth and explodes with a solid flavor that leaves little to be desired. Very good stuff.

A bit lower on the scale than the other aspects, the mouthfeel is on the thin/light side, despite the appearance and overall texture of the beer. Still, very much above average.

Good drinkability, and definitely not one to chug although doing so did not provoke too much of a negative thing.

One of my favorite recent beers without a doubt and I will definitely be buying more in the future.

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Photo of goethean
4.5/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

poured into an imperial pint at 50f. amber. overcarbonated. nice english strong ale-like vinous malty aroma. eaasy drinking, smooth, malty flavor profile. nice (earthy?) hops flavor at the end. definite aftertaste of hops. highly quaffable. great malt depth for such an easy drinking pint, and real hops flavor, too, thus achieving a nice balance.

English brown ale? I thought this was an excellent English bitter. Oh well...

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Photo of Brad007
4.47/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a darkish brown color with a thick foamy head. Aroma is fruity and malty at the same time with a small hint of raisin and caramel. The taste is full-bodied and malty with a very nice aftertaste that is just right. Let's review again: full-bodied, malty, smooth and a nice aftertaste. This is definitely what I like in a brown ale. Very, very drinkable. Subtle. Nothing too fancy. Excellent beer.

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Photo of hustlesworth
4.46/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A- clear reddish mahogany with a very nice creamy khaki colored head. looks really great for an english brew due to the richness of the foam. leaves tons of sticky lace.

S- caramel and lightly metallic, nutty and sweet, brown sugar, cassia, some milk chocolate, woodsy, banana, fig, date, and sweet red holiday fruits.

T- rich, deep, and complex, with notes of chocolate covered nuts and burnt caramel all over the place. roasted peanuts, hazelnuts, and almonds make up the nutty flavors and the chocolate roast adds to that depth. stone vats and mineral water, metallic, tree bark, old wood, figs, dates, cranberries, and goldings are sublime with a delicate earthy spicy hop flavor in the finish. supremely balanced.

MF- slick and dessert like, but leaving a dryness on the cheeks. lingering aftertaste leaves a a roasted feeling. low carbonation fits perfectly with the near full body.

D- very thirst quenching for such a full flavored brew and maybe the best brown ale i've had to date. the brewery calls it an english strong ale and as for that, i don't know. i could drink this until i'm on my back like that sheep.

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Photo of stoutman
4.45/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Nose of coffee, with nice long lasting head. steady carbonation, even long after being poured. Served cool, this beer is rigged and mighty tasty. Malty, roasty with a complex hop finish.

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Photo of StevieW
4.38/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

1 pt. .9 oz brown bottle. Hop leaves etched in the glass like the others from this brewery. Label depicts an overturned black sheep, seemingly drunk or rather happy. "Riggwelter" is stamped to appear that you are seeing double. Pretty cool.
"Riggwelter: from the Old Norse:rygg-back and velte-to overturn. When a sheep is on its back and cannot get up without help, local dales dialect say it's rigged or riggwelted"
Deep Mahogoney color, shimmering in the light. Hints of dark ruby also present. Dense and creamy beige head foams up, laced the glass to the bottom. Smell is very earthy, peat and hints of smoke. I immediately thought scotch ale. First taste response was "oh wow good !" Earthy malt richness hits the tongue. Lots of toasted malt, carmel malt toasted over and over. Coffee bitterness also present. Very easy going down. Raw hop taste also hits hard. Earthy and very stark. Resounding Hop burps, even Venom would appreciate. Medium to light bodied for a dark flavorful beer, but very drinkable.
Ed's Note: I was really surprised this one fit into the Robust Porter Category. It lacked any chocolate flavors that I usually associate with Porters. Also it was lighter bodied, and more in line with a dark ale, or maybe a scotch ale. Tasted like a barleywine or scotch ale, but lacked the warming abv. Very interesting, unique, flavorful beer and worth a try.

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Photo of John
4.37/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Rich ruby-brown/mahogany color. Creamy head. Toasted grain, bordering on dark roasted malt, fruity (concord grapes) aroma. The aromas are further defined with the first sip. The flavors consist of a blend of caramel, toffee, chocolate, coffee and dark ripe fruits. Alcohol is underlying, providing a subtle warming. Hops provide a leafy character and a dry snap. Mouthfeel is medium-full with moderate carbonation. I'm particularly fond of these type of English ales...brilliant. I'd stop short of catagorizing this as a robust porter, but no points off here, this is a fine brew.

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Photo of BEERchitect
4.35/5  rDev +13%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Largely impressed with this choice. Upon the pour, the color is a bright and rich ruby - brown color with a fim and dense head. Solid, creamy aromas of nuts, caramel, chocolate, and barley malt. Tastes even better than aromas. Throw in big roundness in flavor with heavy creaminess and smoothness. A very good brown ale. Only a light grain texture and bitterness exists in the back of the throat. Finishes sweet and a bit minty. Will have this one again.

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Photo of WetCoaster
4.34/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Appearance: Almost opaque initially, but to the light a deep auburn. The head is insane, huge, dense vanilla cloud. Incredible retention, eventually falling to a quarter-inch layer of froth. Lace welded to the glasswall. Impressive start.

Smell: Bready, nutty, yeasty, a bit of roasted malt, and hop spice. Mild, a bit weak.

Taste: Wow, very nice. Bright, fruity, apple, with a bracing -- but surprisingly balanced -- bittering hop bite. Mouthfeel is also top-notch, crisp, but with good weight and a nice round smoothness.

Drinkability: LOVE this brewery. Another all-day drinker, just a terrific beer.

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Photo of mak83
4.33/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Was surprised at strength of this ale, reminds me of porters I have tried. Very strong smell and taste of coffee, good lacing, lots of carbonation but not overpowering, really well balanced which alll of the black sheep beers seem to have this in common. Fantastic beer. Enough said.

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Photo of Blakaeris
4.33/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours murky mahogany with a monstrous off white head. Sheets of intricate lacing. Very nice.

Aroma is musty, earthy, with a faint metallic note that is prevalent in English beer. Underlying mild fruit and roasted malt.

Taste is dominated by smokey roasted malt. Chocolate, dark fruit, and dry woodiness. Fuller in flavor than expected, especially the generous earthy hops. Finish is musty and slightly sour with crisp hop spice.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and quite chewy.

I like to enjoy the subtle complexity of English ales from time to time, and this is one of the best I've had. The flavor is balanced, but assertive. A wonderful treat.

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Photo of DrainBamage
4.33/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark mohagany color with many very small bubbles of carbonation. Has a half of an inch of head that's there until you're down to the bottom. You don't see better head on a beer than this. Ah, smell those roasted malts with a touch of hops. The flavor stays on your tongue for awhile and you're left with a sensation of hops and your palate that's not too strong. Not as carbonated as you'd think based on so many carbonation bubbles you see. Drinkability is high and I recommend this beer to anyone who enjoys a good ale.

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Photo of wl0307
4.33/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

For 80% of the beers tasted this week, I surprisingly find myself going on revisiting beers first encountered almost exactly a year ago. This one is no exception. BB 28/07/2007, served cool in a straight imperial-pint glass.

A: dark caramely brown colour, great clarity; the beige-hued tight and capuccino-froth like beer head is stunning, retaining that 3cm thickness for a good while, leaving uneven traces of laces along the way; gentle streams of very tiny fizziness. Looking great for a non-bottle-conditioned beer.
S: very smooth yet focused note of buttery and roasty tinge of chocolate-fudge upfront, chewy in its maltiness, along with a prominent nose of sour-sweet black stone fruits, bitter-sweet roast nuttiness, Fuggles' leafy and earthy hops, and a touch of lively hop resins at the back; a swirl reveals more buttery yeasts and that chewy bits of chocolates, and a faint trace of citric-hops is also at presence. How enjoyable...
T: savoury-sweet, sweet coffee-ish, roast-nutty, and chewy brown malts all approach together, on top of a creamy/fluffy bubbly texture... gradually the lightly roasty bitterness of crystal or black malts develops, mixed with flakey Fuggles' hoppy edge (I think) and a faint fruity aroma like plum-jam, turning up on intensity bit by bit and leading towards a profoundly bitter and lingering aftertaste, revealing more bitter dark chocolates' rough texture and more earthy hops in the end... Lovely!
M&D: the texture is pretty moderate, benefiting from non-intrusive fizzy flows yet not as creamy and subtle as I'd like it to be; perhaps the rough and bold roasted-malty taste comes at the expense of the texture, yet overall the beer is just balanced and so... enjoyable. The consistant bitterness from the start to the end makes this "Brown Ale" very distinctive from all other "Brown Ales" I've tasted, and I do wonder if this style fits in with this particular beer (vice versa)! Anyhow, I truly enjoy it, and would recommend it to all bitter-ales lovers.

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Photo of Offa
4.33/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This lively, complex, yet smooth ale is a lot like a lighter, more lively and flowery version of Old Peculier.

Very dark red brown, it has a big, dense tan head and leaves some lace.

The aroma is rich, toasty and caramelly with light earthiness.

The taste is toasty and lightlyearthy with hints of chocolate, dark caramel, coffee, slightly flowery with a bitter sweet finish.

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Photo of erosier
4.32/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Very Dark amber color with a nice lacy tan head. It has a very sweet aroma of deep roasted malts and it even has almost a minty smell to it. The taste is really good. It is a creamy sweet malty base with some hops mixed superbly at the end to even out the taste. It even has almost a minty/scotchy aftertaste that is really pleasent and relaxing. It has a velvety mouthfeel and is perfectly carbonated. It is a very drinkable beer and I am glad it comes in a real pint as opposed to a 12oz bottle. If you get a chance to pick up this beer, do it.

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Photo of BDTyre
4.32/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Whoa! Packed with flavour! Poured a nice ruby colour with a decent, sticky head. Initially smell is a good balance of malt and hops; as it warms, it takens on a grainy malt smell. Taste is like a very rich version of their Black Sheep ale, with a bit more emphasis on the malts A bit more bitter than some of their other ales.

Tastes good; fairly dinkable in my opionion.

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Photo of kiya
4.32/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

Pouring this into a glass the first thing you'll notice is how creamy the head is and how quickly it forms. Building to an inch tall creamy tan head, the initial aroma is an almost sweet stone fruit scent that mellows out with time and forming more into a slight yeast scent with roasted hops in the backdrop.

This beer definitely works better served at a slightly higher than cellar temperature, the aromas really start to work their magic as the beer warms up and reduces a bit of the slightly astringent aftertaste that you'll get if enjoyed straight out of a refrigerator.

Being a big fan of bitter ales, i was excited to taste something so bold and not afraid to have it's bitterness so upfront with flavors of burnt caramel and a strong hop flavor. As i said before, the flavors really start to come out as the beer warms up, with short bursts of a nutty flavor giving away to some of the more dark hoppy tones that i initially noticed.

The mouthfeel is surprisingly light considering the flavor and aroma of this brew, and the carbonation really plays a strong role here, making itself known at first contact. Due to it's accessible mouthfeel this would make a great session beer and something that can be enjoyed every day of the week.

All in all, i am very impressed by this beer, a bold dark flavor that goes places most don't.

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Photo of n0315
4.3/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 5

This is the first yorkshire ale I have ever drank, so take my review with a grain of salt. The smell was good, but it almost smelled like a porter, which from the reviews I have read thats about what to expect. The taste was a strong but not overpowering of mault. Overall a very drinkable ale, just not quite as strong or think as a porter, but I think I would have been confused if not for knowing what it was when I bought it. I'll have to drink more to get a better idea of what it should be. Nice drinkability though.

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Photo of wertperch
4.3/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Here's a beer that I've loved for years, and I make no apologies about singing its praises. It's a perfectly delicious brown ale that I first sampled at the Black Sheep Brewery in Yorkshire's Wensleydale (yes, the place where the other great English cheese comes from).

It's the brown of dark chestnuts, topped by a dark-cream head. Lift the glass to your nose and get that roasty-toasty nuttiness, a hint of coffee and some brown sugar. There's little floral about this one, it's a little more rugged, and that ruggedness continues as you sip your way down. There's the dark malt, there's the slightly warm-bread flavour, and at the back of it all is a nicely balanced sweetness, and then the hop. Not to forget the caramel, coffee and (did I dream this?) cinnamon.

The body is smooth and creamy, the slight carbonation makes your cheeks laugh, as my Grandpa would say. In short, it's a delightful drink, and at 5.7% alcohol, not too strong. The flavour is full enough to satisfy, and yet it's light enough to enjoy daily, assuming you're lucky enough to get it. It was enough for me to go back to the Davis Co-op and ask Tom Nolte to get it in on a regular basis, which to his great credit, he did.

Of course, this tasting was from a bottle imported from England, and whilst it's very good, my best memory is of Riggwelter on draught at the pub. There it's better yet, smoother and easier to drink. One of these days I'm going to work out (or have someone tell me) why beer on tap is usually so much better than bottled. Presumably, there's some science involved, possibly a little art and certainly a lot of magic.

Meantime, go out and find this great English ale and forget forever about Newcastle Brown. You'll thank me, I have no doubt.

(Some of this review is cross-posted on my blog.)

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Riggwelter Yorkshire Ale from Black Sheep Brewery PLC
86 out of 100 based on 244 ratings.