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Arran Dark - Isle of Arran Brewery Company Ltd.

Not Rated.
Arran DarkArran Dark

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
83
good

39 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 39
Reviews: 35
rAvg: 3.63
pDev: 14.05%
Wants: 1
Gots: 1 | FT: 0
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)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 39 | Reviews: 35 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by cypressbob:
Photo of cypressbob
3.75/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

500ml bottle

Pours with a thick dark body, off white head with some retention

Smell, slightly chalky nose, some thick roasted malt on the nose

Taste, smooth character, little bit of chalkiness on the initial but no last flavour, some roasted malt, some sweetness on the finish

A tasty ale, but nothin world changing

cypressbob, Jan 14, 2006
More User Reviews:
Photo of oberon
3.83/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

First of likely many beers today as I get geared up for the Tigers tonight and a house full of people.A nice a shade of copper this poured with a thinner but quite sticky head that left a few sheets of lace around my impy pint glass,nice fruity esters in the nose they really jump out at ya along with lighter brown sugar and caramel notes.Its a quaffer no doubt pleasantl fruity up front but really quite dry thru into the finish with some wood and earth that linger,a very sociable pint perfect for a day like today with all thats going on for the Michigan sports fan the Wolverines in a tussle with Iowa and of course the Tiggers later.On cask Iam sure a jewel as is a nice subtle but flavorful Scottish ale.

oberon, Oct 21, 2006
Photo of rastaman
3.85/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Really liked this. Caramelly malt, peaty, salty, with some floral hops on the finish, really well balanced, lots of flavour and entirley skullable. The finish was also dry, and very morish, subtle in a lot of ways, but god its great. Good stuff, lovely beer. (Cask-GBBF 03')

rastaman, Oct 03, 2003
Photo of biboergosum
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...

biboergosum, Sep 06, 2010
Photo of Doppelbockulus
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.

Doppelbockulus, Jan 09, 2013
Photo of Jerseyislandbeer
3.25/5  rDev -10.5%

Jerseyislandbeer, Sep 08, 2014
Photo of BuckSpin
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!

BuckSpin, Mar 11, 2007
Photo of JimWaddell
4/5  rDev +10.2%

JimWaddell, Jan 09, 2013
Photo of Dithyramb
3.93/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

On cask at the Guildford Arms in Edinburgh
Poured a dark, slightly hazy brown with an off tan head
Caramel toasted malts on the nose
Smooth creamy malts were superbly balanced with a decidedly herbal hop mix. Originally thought there was some residual rosemary in my teeth from dinner.
Went well with desert and was very easy drinking. Had a nice medium mouthfeel

Dithyramb, Mar 18, 2005
Photo of dsa7783
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...

dsa7783, Mar 19, 2008
Photo of jwc215
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.

jwc215, Oct 09, 2008
Photo of Sigmund
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.

Sigmund, Sep 15, 2007
Photo of mdagnew
3.6/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

500ml bottle bought from Asda...

Poured a dark coppery brown colour... Slightly off white head poured small and faded to almost nothing...

Aroma - Biscuity treacle malts, malt vinegar notes, spicy fruits (over ripe apple, some raisins and figs), leathery notes, woody, spicy hops, some light sweetness...

Taste – Oaky, winey notes, light maltiness, spicy hops, some mild nutty sweetness, floral hints, light fruits (grapes and raisins), slight soapiness...

Feel - Very smooth - little carbonation. Medium body. Pretty drinkable...

Overall - An OK beer... maybe worth a try once...

mdagnew, Apr 24, 2006
Photo of crusian
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...

crusian, Nov 28, 2011
Photo of allforbetterbeer
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.

allforbetterbeer, Aug 12, 2010
Photo of animal69
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...

animal69, May 04, 2008
Photo of Suds
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.

Suds, Nov 18, 2006
Photo of seanyfo
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.

seanyfo, Nov 10, 2006
Photo of Zimbo
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.

Zimbo, Apr 11, 2011
Photo of zeff80
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.

zeff80, Feb 16, 2008
Photo of WesWes
3.73/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The beer pours a ruby red color with a thick frothy offwhite head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is good. It has a light and bitter aroma that boasts of pale, light crystal, and roasted malts. It is full of hops. The taste is decent. It has a nice, malty flavor that goes down smooth and finishes bitter and watery. The mouthfeel is decent as well. It is a low bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This beer would be so much better with more body and malts. It drinks well, but this is one that I wouldn't buy again.

WesWes, Apr 16, 2005
Photo of bark
3.93/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The colour is brown-red, the liquid is clear. The foam is white and very thin, making the brew look a little sad.

The smell is loaded with a complex and rather tricky, chemical flavour of hops. I found notes of bitter lemons, bitter almonds and a touch of yeast.

The carbonation is rather mild giving it a nice, soft feel. The small bubbles make it more like a cask beer than a bottled brew.

The taste is dominated by the bitter and aroma hops, but the somewhat sweet malt gives it a good body and a balanced tasting experience. The aftertaste is a bitter one with a complex, dry taste.

This is a session beer that might need some time to get into, but it is worth it!

bark, Feb 01, 2005
Photo of albern
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.

albern, Jul 08, 2009
Photo of JamesS
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.

JamesS, Jul 29, 2008
Photo of brentk56
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

brentk56, Feb 08, 2011
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Arran Dark from Isle of Arran Brewery Company Ltd.
83 out of 100 based on 39 ratings.