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Arran Dark - Isle of Arran Brewery Company Ltd.

Arran DarkArran Dark

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
82
good

37 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 37
Reviews: 35
rAvg: 3.63
pDev: 14.33%


Brewed by:
Isle of Arran Brewery Company Ltd. visit their website
United Kingdom (Scotland)

Style | ABV
Scottish Ale |  4.30% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: brewdlyhooked13 on 10-03-2003)
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Ratings: 37 | Reviews: 35 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of Doppelbockulus
Doppelbockulus

Florida

3.88/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Happy I tried this.

It is a wonderfully clear pink bronze beer with a faint dusting of foam on the surface.

Upon opening the bottle I immediately smelled a fruitiness nearly identical to J.W. Lees Harvest. After pouring it the smell developed into oatmeal cookies and coffee grounds, with dark fruit like raisins or dried figs in the background. It is light, but pleasant.

The taste is also light and pleasant. It's a combination of tea biscuits with faint raisins in the aftertaste.

The feel is similar to a cup of cold tea, mildly tannic. It is also very fluid, light body. A faint tingle is present.

Overall this is a pleasing, but not amazing beer, and very sessionable.

Serving type: bottle

01-09-2013 01:03:02 | More by Doppelbockulus
Photo of charlatan
charlatan

United Kingdom (Scotland)

2.9/5  rDev -20.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

No best before date on neck of bottle as promised. It could be this one has hung around long enough for it to disappear...

This has a big fluffy off white head which seems keen to stick around. The beer is a dark amber colour and a tad cloudy (is this due to its age?). It smells dusty, chalky, unappealing...

The taste reflects this chalky nose to begin with but then that gives way to an altogether more pleasant roasted malt finish.

Serving type: bottle

08-21-2012 21:39:01 | More by charlatan
Photo of flyingpig
flyingpig

United Kingdom (Scotland)

3.4/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Mild chestnut brown colour with a thin looking, foamy head that is light brown in colour and fades from a centimetre tall to a soapy lacing after about thirty seconds.

Dark roasted malts and an earthy hop aroma with some burnt toast in there as well. There is a strong and rich bitterness to the aroma and overall the beer is well balanced on the nose without really exciting.

Earthy malts make up most of the taste here along with a little bit of spice, some bitterness and a touch of caramel and vanilla. It seems a bit more complex that the aroma but again without truly standing out.

Medium and smooth with mild to moderate carbonation and a crisp finish that has a touch of bitterness as well as some sweetness to it.

Not a bad pint that as I mentioned probably won't stand out from the crowd but still goes down pretty well and taste good. I enjoyed it but I'd probably not pick it up again.

1001 Beer Blog:
http://abarwithnoname.wordpress.com

Serving type: bottle

04-14-2012 19:02:07 | More by flyingpig
Photo of crusian
crusian

Oregon

1.3/5  rDev -64.2%
look: 3 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 3 | overall: 1

bottle from Tesco in Port Greenock.
Pours a nice color, but going to skip everything and get right to it. I was actually afraid to drink this. it had a strong odor of bleach, and so was the taste. I drain poured this very quickly. I have never been afraid to drink a beer before...

Serving type: bottle

11-28-2011 21:28:34 | More by crusian
Photo of Zimbo
Zimbo

United Kingdom (Scotland)

3.53/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Well, it looks good. Deep reddy brown this came with a dense firm head and some promise. Full, roasty and fairly earthy, there is also a nuttiness which all combine to make somewhat more acidity than I expected. A bit too firm really and the bitterness is somewhat on the astringent side without any of that potential appetising quality. Sort of sucks so much potential juice leaving just a hard edge. Fairly good but it could do with more balance.

Nice to try but it lacks the engagement required for me to routinely seek it out.

Serving type: cask

04-11-2011 09:18:14 | More by Zimbo
Photo of brentk56
brentk56

North Carolina

4.1/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours a clear amber color with a modest head that still manages to leaves dots and dashes of lace all around

Smell: Toffee malt, with an earthy, peaty aspect that is rather unique

Taste: Toffee, up front, with a developing stone fruit character; in the back, an earthy/peaty gentle hop presence is detected that lingers after the swallow, though the toffee re-emerges in the finish

Mouthfeel: Medium body with gentle carbonation

Drinkability: Though well past the 2/09 date listed on the label, this is a very nice sessionable drinker; low in alcohol but full of unique character

Serving type: bottle

02-08-2011 21:16:32 | More by brentk56
Photo of Offa
Offa

California

4.15/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

This beer is a restrained, not overly complex but characterful and very good beer, far better than their Blond. It is an excellent example of a good, light, malty easy-drinking traditional Scottish ale.

Copper amber, it has a smallish off-white head soon thinning to a foamy ring and with a little weak lace.

Aroma is toasty grain, dusty wood, hints of caramelised grain, dry leaves - very strong, hint of orange marmalade.

Taste is good, light but characterful and firm. It has lightly toasty grain and bread crust, light butterscotch, light leafiness, hints of peppery spice and mineral. It is dryish with finish that is sweeter with light leafy-toasty-peppery bitterness. Feel is a bit thin but pretty good, flavour is well-rounded with some light complexity and somewhat reminds me of MacTarnahan's Amber Ale. It is overall very good and highly drinkable.

Serving type: bottle

09-21-2010 21:18:28 | More by Offa
Photo of biboergosum
biboergosum

Alberta (Canada)

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

I sure like the whisky made on this remote Scottish isle - let's see how they take to making beer.

This beer pours a hazy medium burnt orange colour, with one thin finger of creamy ecru head, which settles quickly, leaving a consistent ring of big bubbled lace around the glass. It smells of strong toffee caramel, some buttery alcohol, and floral, seaweedy hops. The taste is butterscotch malt, a bit sour, in a boozy way, but minus the heat. A bit of dry breadiness, and musty, earthy hops round things out. The carbonation is moderate, the body medium weight, smooth, with a bit of sugary clinginess, and it finishes off-dry, a leafy, root-like dryness offsetting the toffee malt sweetness.

The inexplicable sensory associations to Island whisky make me wonder if there is something in the air on Arran. Whatever it is, this is quite drinkable, if not quite thoroughly balanced, an example of the Scottish bias toward the malt (BrewDog notwithstanding).

And the mp3 shuffle gods deemed a song by Idlewild a suitable accompaniment to this beer review...

Serving type: bottle

09-06-2010 04:36:21 | More by biboergosum
Photo of allforbetterbeer
allforbetterbeer

Colorado

4.05/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a 12 oz tall thin glass. Best by date seems to be marked on the bottle, but it is hard to tell. It might say Feb 09, in which case this beer is 1 1/2 years past, however I obtained it from a store that pays attention to its beer, so I question my ability to read the smudged numbers.

A: Slightly rusty orange and deep, very vibrant especially right after the pour. Head is two fingers thick and slowly receeds leaving a little mountain in the middle, and lacing all over the glass. A fine looking Scottish ale.

S: Rich and textured malts dominate the smell, with caramel and an ever-so-slightly bitter field-grass being the most prominent. Something salty as well, alongside a bit of caramel-dipped hops.

T: What is here is complex, but not bold. Follows the nose with rich malts, caramel, grass and sweet notes. Hops are minimal but detectable, in their right place for this style. There is more here than what I have described, but the rest hides in the shadows, and is hard to pin down for reviewing purposes. This beer isn't quite like anything I have ever drank, but then again it is certainly a Scottish ale. If I tasted this blind, I would say that it must have been either aged or bottled conditioned (in a good way). It has that sort of feel to it...

M: Thin by American standards, but this is a sub-5% ABV session beer, true to its style, but not exceptional.

D: Very drinkable, and mostly so because it isn't just a low ABV malt bomb, this beer rises above that level in the area of complexity.

Overall: A bit mysterious in my opinion, and that is what gives this beer its charm. I would love to drink one fresh while standing on the coast of the Isle of Arran. If there was some way to get this cheaply here in CO, this would become my new session beer. However, since I am a university student and it is currently $6.50 a bottle, it will remain a mysterious and interesting beer once tried.

Serving type: bottle

08-12-2010 01:12:05 | More by allforbetterbeer
Photo of albern
albern

Massachusetts

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

Not a bad beer and quite light as far as the ABV goes. It pours a slightly cloudy musky amber color with a nice off white creamy and slightly foamy head. Not much lacing, some retention. The nose is deep caramel toffee, some diacetyl, with some alcohol like liqueur aromas eminating as well. The nose is mostly just old fashioned English malts of the toffee variety.

The taste follows the nose for the most part. The beer is quite light but does have some boozy tinges that are quite noticeable for a 4.3% ABV beer. The toffee, caramel, cream soda tastes predominate. The carbonation is quite low and that adds to the old English feel to the beer. There is a slightly peaty quality, maybe slightly burnt straw as things warm and settle. The mouthfeel is light and the aftertaste has some charring notes on the tongue. Not a bad beer.

Serving type: bottle

07-08-2009 22:41:19 | More by albern
Photo of nick76
nick76

Florida

3.43/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

The aroma has caramel malts, hops, and some fruit. The appearance is amber brown with a small head. The flavor is nice with a mild hop bitterness and earthy malts. It seems to have a hint of coffee as well. The palate is thin. This is not as good as I was hoping.

Serving type: bottle

11-18-2008 08:31:07 | More by nick76
Photo of jwc215
jwc215

Wisconsin

3.93/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours hazy - almost murky - brownish orangeish amber - not quite as "dark" as expected - with a thin, bubbly, off-white head that sooon becomes a patch. Some vanishing spots of lacing slide down the glass without much stickage.

The smell is of caramel - towards toffee with nutty and earthy notes and a hint of vanilla. There's also a hint of peat.

The taste is of caramel - towards toffee - with a nice, subtle earthy spicing. Vanilla/whisky notes are present, but in the background. A slight hint of peat and soft tea-like herbal notes give some bitterish balance to the sweetness in the finish, which leans towards dry.

It has a nice, soft texture, though the body could use a bit less water and more heft and not hurt the drinkability. There's enough carbonation to keep it gliding along without interfering, making it on-spot, for me. It leaves a nice aftertaste of maltiness with a hint of whisky.

An easy-drinking, enjoyable brew - malty with subtle complexities and balance.

Serving type: bottle

10-09-2008 15:04:43 | More by jwc215
Photo of JamesS
JamesS

Indiana

4.33/5  rDev +19.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a very nice copper color with good (initial) head and some very nice lacing. It has a great peaty scent with great malty undertones and a little hint of bourbon cask. It has a great taste, very deep, with great peat flavors, along with a hint of butterscotch, and a wee flavor of vanilla. It goes down quite smoothly, an excellent beer all around.

Serving type: bottle

07-29-2008 19:36:40 | More by JamesS
Photo of animal69
animal69

Louisiana

3.03/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

on sale for $3.49 prob due to the BBD, 1/08 ; pours a cloudy med. copper color w/ a thin white head which dissipates quickly leaving little lacing in my nonic ; an odd smell, like sweat socks in a whiskey barrel (apparently this is normal for scotch ale) some toasted nut/spice presence as well ; a bit more nuts here with some caramelish(?) and whiskey flavors throughout, a faint "mildew"-like flavor detected, but could be due to age, mineral in finish ; a bit on the thin side, little co2, could be dry but feels "watered-down" instead ; not a bad beer, just not a good one either...

Serving type: bottle

05-04-2008 01:07:31 | More by animal69
Photo of dsa7783
dsa7783

New Jersey

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

Fat, stout bottle copped singly for $3.99 from Super Saver in Somerville...
First time I've ever heard of this beer or brewery, so I was interested in giving this one a shot...
An aggressive pour yieled a ruby-red, dark, mahogany brown-colored hue with a minimal head that soon receded and left a small amount of lacing...
Strong, Scottish Ale aroma, with obvious malts, sugars, and yeast...
The malt factor was likewise evident in the taste, well-balanced by a slight touch of hops, caramel, vanilla, and honey nuances...
Dehydrated fruits and figs were also prominent in this one...
For a modest alcohol percentage, this beer packed quite a punch in terms of flavor and character...
Mouthfeel was slightly watered down, but the overall level of drinkability was really good due to the modest ABV and lack of cloying flavors...
Easily drinkable, clean, crisp, and refreshing...
Not bad...

Serving type: bottle

03-19-2008 01:51:25 | More by dsa7783
Photo of zeff80
zeff80

Missouri

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

Reviewed from notes from a couple weeks ago.

A - Poured out an orange/amber color with a small, bubbly, off-white head that left some lace.

S - It smelled mossy and of dried fruit.

T - It tasted malty and of mild hops.

M - It was smooth and soft. A medium-bodied beer.

D - This is a pretty good brew. A little pricey for the quality, but still drinkable.

Serving type: bottle

02-16-2008 18:18:29 | More by zeff80
Photo of Stephen63
Stephen63

United Kingdom (Scotland)

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

A - Nice dark body but blink and you miss it head.

S - Flowery, sweet almost caramel like.

T - Hoppiness quite evident but felt the follow up to the nose was a bit lacking.

M - Good carbonation, not too fizzy however came acroos as a bit thin.

D - Easily drinkable but perhaps not something I'd come back too so often.

Had this on cask in the past and certainly my memory is that the cask version is vastly superior to the bottled one.

Serving type: bottle

11-30-2007 23:29:02 | More by Stephen63
Photo of kmacphail
kmacphail

United Kingdom (Scotland)

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

I sampled this at the Ullapool Beer Festival, October 2007.

The amber-brown coloured beer poured nicely into a pint glass with a decent off-white head.

The nose was very fruity and pleasant. A good variety of fruits with citrus and orange proving to be the most dominant.

Malts dominate the initial taste and again the citrus and orange combination work well in the aftertaste leaving the drinker feeling satisfied about the taste and feel of the beer and yet surprisingly refreshed with a clean and fruity after note.

A very nice beer, ideal summer drink for a person that prefers a darker beer.

Serving type: cask

11-08-2007 20:38:52 | More by kmacphail
Photo of July2Nov
July2Nov

Hawaii

3.98/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Butterscotch brown with a lot of carbonation.
S: Slightly sweet with a nutty aroma.
T&M: Same as the smell would indicate. Ends with a dryness that also leaves the mouth with a sweetness.
D: Nice and mild. Could easily drink this throughout a day.

Serving type: bottle

09-25-2007 04:48:23 | More by July2Nov
Photo of Sigmund
Sigmund

Norway

3.43/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

500 ml bottle, bought at Peckham’s, Glasgow. ABV is 4.3%. Copper coloured beer, moderate off-white head. Nice aroma: nutty, fruity, moderately roasted malts. The flavour is moderately malty and fruity, notes of moderately roasted malts and toffee. Moderate hops. The weird finish is both sourish, soapy and "dusty" at the same time.

Serving type: bottle

09-15-2007 21:14:59 | More by Sigmund
Photo of BuckSpin
BuckSpin

Maine

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

Presentation: 500ml bottle in a clasic Guinness style flared pint.

Poured noisily with a nice crackle on the head. The nose is lite, a little citrusy, straw, sweet but not sugary, some light pit fruits (cherry, apricot, peach) are noticable. Malts and carmel and those orange qualities are becoming much more of a presence as the head, a nice fat finger of lively, blanched almond hued mixed foam fades to a thin film but does lace nicely in thick open perls.

Color is a nice burnt orange amber, warm, honey like, brassy. A soft parade of bubbles slowly rise to the surface.

Its initially a little understated, soft, even timid on the tongue. Some mild tannins and earthiness, very quiet, almost could be mistaken for a loud English bitter. Malts are soft, a little creamy, no real oomph or any noticable traits coming forward. A peep of a bitter quality rises on the palate as everything merges together. Its rather unevenful, but I'm not minding. The more I have some of these actual "Scottish" Scottish Ales the more I begin to notice the soothing, calming quality and lack of any roller coaster rides of taste experience. I find myself slowing down, relaxing, perhaps in an effort to try to find those qualitues? Who knows? All I know is that these brewed in Scotland ales have a calming quality, which is nice for a change and something I would trade some noticable taste qualities for. Can easily see sessioning this no problem in that it shares a lot with a tradition English ale or bitter.

The finish is more noticable than the initial taste as malts and creamy sugars rise and wash the throat in a calm, lightly creamy but not filmy sweetness.

This is not the best Scottish Ale I've had, and there are others I would recommend over it. That said, I would be willing to enjoy one of these every now and then as a change of pace , as a way of gearing down. Perhaps if it was surrounded by real Scots in a pub in the highlands it would be a lot better...dunno. Not a taste bomb by any means, but a nice, quiet beer. Give one a shot.

Aside - bonus for a really well designed & cool label!

Serving type: bottle

03-11-2007 01:45:47 | More by BuckSpin
Photo of careforapint
careforapint

Virginia

2.95/5  rDev -18.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I didn't care for this beer. It's color and smell were fine, but the taste was off. I'm not sure if it was my bottle or the style. There was a definate pumkin taste. Not the spicy pumkin, but more like squash. It is not a very complex ale either. There was little to no aftertaste either. Not to say that it finished clean, it just wasnt' there. I can't say I'd try this beer again. Someday, when I get back to Scotland, I'll judge it again if I can find it fresh.

Serving type: bottle

01-14-2007 01:11:57 | More by careforapint
Photo of Suds
Suds

Pennsylvania

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

This is a beautiful looking brew…a dark wood-like color with red highlights and a dense off-white head with nice retention. The aroma is a mix of malt smells…a little roasted and slightly smoky malts, caramel, and some bread-like smells. Very light hop smell. The taste is nice, with a focus on the roasted malt character. There’s a toast-like presence that lingers through the entire taste. There’s less initial sweetness that I’d expected, and a little oily slickness. Other than that, this is a smooth, enjoyable brew. Modest carbonation and relatively full bodied. The finish has a slight but sharp bitterness that creates a nice balance. Pretty good.

Serving type: bottle

11-18-2006 13:34:45 | More by Suds
Photo of BuckeyeNation
BuckeyeNation

Iowa

3.85/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Deep, brassy orange with almost enough red to be considered blood orange. Atop the lovely looking liquid is a firm, compact cap of lightly toasted ecru that features hundreds of miniscule bubbles on its superior surface. Nothing really stands out about Arran Dark's appearance, I just like it because it looks like quality beer.

The nose, while not the most aromatic that I've ever sniffed, is interesting. I can't quite pull the trigger on good though. It's floral and herbal and woody above as else. The label will only admit to 'natural ingredients', but I wouldn't be surprised to learn that something other than malt, hops and yeast is present.

Arran Dark's biggest fault is its mildness. The flavor would have an excellent chance to impress if it was amplied; two-fold at least. I can still appreciate that woodsy flavor that puts me in mind of balsam or sandlewood, something along those lines. If it wasn't hoppy-bitter (moderately), I'd almost be tempted to think of it as a gruit for those qualities alone.

Thankfully, the beer becomes a trifle more flavorful as it sits. Even though my taste buds aren't swooning, I'm going to bump the flavor score because I'm so intrigued by what I'm drinking. Originality can't always carry a beer, but it's enough in this case because Arran Dark is actually good; in an odd, Scottish sort of way. Thanks to the sub-5% ABV and the endlessly fascinating flavor, this sucker was built for sessioning.

The body/mouthfeel, while not out of line for a low-ABV ale, could stand to put on a few pounds. I don't want to be too unkind though because it fits the rest of the beer's attributes like hand in glove. Even the laid back amount of carbonation contributes to drinkability.

I liked Arran Blonde and I like Arran Dark. This 500 ml bottle isn't worth the $5.99 that I paid for it, but I'm glad that I gave it a whirl. Someday, if I ever take that single malt whisky tour of Scotland that I've been dreaming about, I just might visit a Brodick pub for a pint or three.

Serving type: bottle

11-11-2006 14:49:43 | More by BuckeyeNation
Photo of seanyfo
seanyfo

United Kingdom (Scotland)

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

A- mahogany brown, nutty creamy brown 2 finger head, that slowly reduces as the pint stands. Moderate brussels lace down the glass


S- lots of roasted nut and strong coffee bean notes, slight hoppiness, but the roasty character is most apparent. Flowery,floral notes do come through as the beer warms in the glass

T- first thing i notice is a floral presence much like an english pale ale, but this soons turns into a nutty bitter chocolateness with a well balanced not overly bitter finish. The nutty quality lingers on the tongue

M-Good body, not overly thick, a delicate creaminess, with a medium carbonation. No watery finish.

D- The roasted nutty flavours made me want to keep drinking the stuff, but wasnt too sure with the fruity/flowery notes in the start of the taste, this is more what i would like an english pale ale to be. However, these roasted qualities combined with a pleasant bitter chocolate finish makes this a well rounded balanced scottish ale, worthy of a few pints.

Serving type: bottle

11-10-2006 20:32:26 | More by seanyfo
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Arran Dark from Isle of Arran Brewery Company Ltd.
82 out of 100 based on 37 ratings.