Arran Dark - Isle of Arran Brewery Company Ltd.
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Ratings: 38 | Reviews: 35 | Display Reviews Only:
3.88/5 rDev +6.6%
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.
01-09-2013 01:03:02 | More by Doppelbockulus
United Kingdom (Scotland)
2.9/5 rDev -20.3%
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.
08-21-2012 21:39:01 | More by charlatan
United Kingdom (Scotland)
3.4/5 rDev -6.6%
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:
04-14-2012 19:02:07 | More by flyingpig
1.3/5 rDev -64.3%
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...
11-28-2011 21:28:34 | More by crusian
United Kingdom (Scotland)
3.53/5 rDev -3%
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.
04-11-2011 09:18:14 | More by Zimbo
4.1/5 rDev +12.6%
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
02-08-2011 21:16:32 | More by brentk56
4.15/5 rDev +14%
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.
09-21-2010 21:18:28 | More by Offa
3.6/5 rDev -1.1%
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...
09-06-2010 04:36:21 | More by biboergosum
4.05/5 rDev +11.3%
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.
08-12-2010 01:12:05 | More by allforbetterbeer
3.5/5 rDev -3.8%
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.
07-08-2009 22:41:19 | More by albern
3.43/5 rDev -5.8%
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.
11-18-2008 08:31:07 | More by nick76
3.93/5 rDev +8%
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.
10-09-2008 15:04:43 | More by jwc215
4.33/5 rDev +19%
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.
07-29-2008 19:36:40 | More by JamesS
3.03/5 rDev -16.8%
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...
05-04-2008 01:07:31 | More by animal69
3.7/5 rDev +1.6%
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...
03-19-2008 01:51:25 | More by dsa7783
3.73/5 rDev +2.5%
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.
02-16-2008 18:18:29 | More by zeff80
United Kingdom (Scotland)
3.7/5 rDev +1.6%
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.
11-30-2007 23:29:02 | More by Stephen63
United Kingdom (Scotland)
4/5 rDev +9.9%
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.
11-08-2007 20:38:52 | More by kmacphail
3.98/5 rDev +9.3%
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.
09-25-2007 04:48:23 | More by July2Nov
3.43/5 rDev -5.8%
500 ml bottle, bought at Peckhams, 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.
09-15-2007 21:14:59 | More by Sigmund
3.58/5 rDev -1.6%
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!
03-11-2007 01:45:47 | More by BuckSpin
2.95/5 rDev -19%
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.
01-14-2007 01:11:57 | More by careforapint
Arran Dark from Isle of Arran Brewery Company Ltd.
83 out of 100 based on 38 ratings.