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Black Cat | Moorhouse's Brewery (Burnley) Ltd

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Very Good
215 Ratings
Black CatBlack Cat

Brewed by:
Moorhouse's Brewery (Burnley) Ltd
England, United Kingdom

Style: English Dark Mild Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 3.40%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 03-26-2002

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Ratings: 215 |  Reviews: 166
Photo of crossovert
3.56/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

500ml bottle.

It pours a deep balckish brown with a light tan head this is creamy and dissipates with some nice lacing.

It smells a bit weak, and almost like a non-alcoholic beer. It has a very caramally smelling, almost table sugary malt scent with some cocoa powder. There is a hint of roastiness.

It tastes a lot like the label proclaims "A rich, dry chocolate malt taste". It reminds me of chocolate pudding. There is also some peaty flavor and a touch of earthy hops. There is a mineral water character as well, but it is welcome.

The mouthfeel is velvety smooth, you rarely have this thick of a mouthfeel with such a low abv. It is easy to drink, but it isn't something I would session, it becomes a chore on the back end.

It is a decent beer, only the second of this style that I have had as it is extremely rare.

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Photo of bark
3.58/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

The colour is very deep brown-red; the liquid is clear. The finger thick head is pale brown; it sinks slowly into a lid. Some lacing.

The smell is malty and a bit sour with some roasted notes and lots of dough, brewer’s yeast, baker’s yeast, gravy, meat and small beer. It is a little too “unfermented”…

The taste is at first quite bitter. But those notes are complemented by some mild yeasty lightly roasted flavours. I found notes of yeast, and some fresh flowery bitterness. The body is (as it should be) low. The aftertaste is fresh and lightly bitter with some hints of roasted malt.

The carbonation is medium strong, but the small bubbles fade quickly. The liquid is mid-watery.

This is a beer that is quite simple in taste, but at the same time, well balanced and highly drinkable.

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Photo of UncleJimbo
3.58/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Sampled on cask at the Priory Arms, Oct. 2004.

This beer poured a dark, almost opaque black with red around the edges. The foam was light brown and sudsy and settled after lingering a while. The smell was malty with a bit of caramel and a hint of sourness. The taste was sweetish and malty with some tanginess and a touch of licorice. The hoppiness was modest. The mouthfeel was smooth with medium body and low carbonation. The aftertaste was malty and slightly bitter. This was an OK Mild Ale.

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Photo of soju6
3.59/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.75

A: Pours a dark mahogany color with a thick tan head that fades to traces of lacing.

S: Aroma of roasted malt, chocolate and a bit nutty.

T: Taste of roasted malt and chocolate with a bit of nuts trown in. Mild bitterness and a dry finish.

M: Medium body, smooth and creamy and a nice balance.

O: Enjoyable and flavorful beer for the style.

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Photo of prototypic
3.6/5  rDev -6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Black Cat is dark mahogany brown and far from black. Plenty of light gets through giving it nice burgundy highlights. This cat's topped with a light tan head that's lucky to reach a finger deep. It ran away quickly and left trace amounts of spotty lace behind.

While the nose isn't strong by any means, it accomplishes a decent amount with what's there. Roasted and chocolate malts are the primary components. It features a light, sweet chocolate aroma. There's an overall earthy character to it and it features a very light hop aroma toward the end. Perhaps a slight yeasty, biscuity aroma, as well. Pretty good for being as light as it is.

The flavor profile continues the trend of floating above average. It has a definite malty base, but it doesn't quite taste like it smells. Toasted malts are the primary feature with very light chocolate malts following. The chocolate flavor is faint, cocoa-ish, and not very sweet. It's more grainy than I expected and definitely has an earthy character. Hops are light, but noted. They add bit of a buzz and seem to make it very dry. It's not exactly loaded with flavor, but for what it is, it's pretty good.

The body is light, but working toward medium. It has nice carbonation with very light bubbles. It's not smooth by any means, but it's not bad. Drinkability is good. Given the 3.4% abv and semi-light body, it goes down way too easy. Personally, I'd like a little more flavor, but it still does a nice job here.

Black Cat is a very drinkable beer that's consistently above average all around. For the style, I'm not sure it can be done much better than this. It's intended to be a light, session beer and it's exactly that. If you're looking for something with a deep range of flavors, move along. That's not here. I'm guessing most BAs pick this up simply to try the style. I know I did. It's not something I'd seek out frequently, but I've enjoyed it for what it is.

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Photo of Gmann
3.6/5  rDev -6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a deep brown color with a smallish soapy tan head that settled into a light ring. The aroma is sweet with toffee and a coffee candy. Almost smells like kaluha. The taste is of coffee with mineral water added to water it down. The coffee flavor is nice but light. There is some grain flavors, with toffee sweetness. Pretty good flavors for a low abv brew. The feel is very light and water with fizzy carbonation, almost seems like I am drinking carbonated water with coffee flavoring. Drinks very easy as there is not much body to this brew. I can see why these are session brews.

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Photo of StJamesGate
3.6/5  rDev -6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On cask at the Belfast Beer Festival.

Pours ruby black with no head - a gravity pour, so not its fault. Coffee and seaweed on the nose. Earth, red currant, espresso and smoke in the malts, with orange tea hops. Clean, drying finish. Light to medium, some stick, crisp.

Not up to the standards of Batemans DM, but good, lighter mild.

Surprised to see so many reviews and so many high - this tells me the best of English Milds still aren't getting to the US.

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Photo of GCBrewingCo
3.6/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

The aroma is the best thing about the bottle I sampled. It has a chocolate/winey aroma. The flavor is chocolate/treacle and the finish is dry and bitter. The body is fairly thin, probably due to the low alcohol content. I expected more flavor in the beer.

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Photo of TLove
3.61/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Kind of nice. Not really remarkable in any particular way, just a smooth-drinking, very enjoyable and easy English brown. I prefer something with a heavier body to match the beautiful color, but this is both thin and flavorful.

Lacey foam that pours a dark brown, ruby reddish body. Very light carbonation. Smells of raisin, smoked paprika, and caramel.

Sweet, soft, and a touch dry. Very thin in body, but remarkably creamy nevertheless. Has an excellent texture in the mouth that holds all of the roasted flavors, molasses, hops, and earthiness that exudes from this brew. Interesting malt structure. Almost sheetlike on the roof of one's mouth, the roasted caramel and sugary malts that tastes kind of like a smoked Schwartzbier.

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Photo of jwc215
3.62/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours dark ruby/garnet with a thin tan head that leaves dotted lacing.

The smell is of chocolate/cocoa with a touch of roast/smoke and an earthy/fruity undertone. Has the classic Maris Otter and Fuggles aromatics.

The taste is roasty/smoky with Maris Otter maltiness. There's an earthy/woody with slight anise undertone. Malt not as chocolatey as the nose led me to believe it would be. It has a bitterish finish.

Towards thin, though grows as progresses (never reaching more than medium-bodied at most, even after slow sipping)... Mild-to-medium carbonation. A dry, roasted aftertaste lingers.

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Photo of marcobrau
3.63/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A very dark brown mild with a hint of ruby. Pours with plenty of carbonation and sustaining off-white head of foam that leaves a little lace on the side of the glass. The aroma is wonderful mix of toffee, chocolate and molasses. The mouthfeel is decent, could be a little softer. This ale starts out a bit fruity with the taste of plums and maybe even figs, until some of the roasted/chocolate malts start expressing themselves. The harsh bite of the carbonation accentuates the bitter finish. A fine mild, but I'd much prefer to have this one off a cask -- too fizzy.

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Photo of JohnGalt1
3.63/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

17oz bottle picked up at the Coop today for $3.50.. poured into my New Belgium snifter.

1.5" light tan head dies back leaving pretty nice lacing ... brew is damn near black .... but shows crystal clear dark ruby highlites when held to a bare bulb.

Aroma is fruity with caramel and lite chocolate notes .. and an odd background aroma of "jerky".

Dark malt flavors dominate with lite chocolate and caramel .. not as sweet as I would expect... I think I am mistaking the "roastiness" for a "smokiness". Has a pronounced smoky characteristic .. No real hops to speak of .. light body and carbonation... sorta nutty as it warms. Very drinkable, but not for me and I will not dock it for that .. just simply not something that I would ever really want.. the roasty flavor overpowers the other flavors in my mind.

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Photo of Realale
3.63/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I'm a big mild fan (its probably my second favorite style), and was excited to try this beer that won Champion Beer of Britain at the 2001 GBBF. Very nice almost black color - just a hint of brownnish-red when held up to the light. The head dissipated quickly to a thin cap of foam. The nose is all about licorice, with some hint of malt. On the palate, the licorice was there, as was a bit of length due to a muted hop note, but there was not enough malt to make me think "mild" and not enough complexity for me to think "great mild." While it was definitely high enough on the drinkablility scale to be a session beer, it was unable to pull off that key trick of a great mild - tons of flavor in a low alcohol beer. I'd love to give this one a shot from cask though!

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Photo of feloniousmonk
3.63/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Color's a sturdy brown, though flooded from behind with crimson shades, and enhanced by a big, bubbling, creamy-tan head, leaving lace behind.
Aroma, smooth, creamy, some nutty notes, glimmer of cocoa, hints of butter and spice, mostly malty.
Taste: tidy bitter hop notes flank the palate at first, then disappear altogether, and all is mellow, silky smooth. Medium-bodied, at best, with a short, nutty finish. Tasty, though, and quite a quaffer.
Easily encompasses the best aspects of the "mild ale" style, a better sort of brown. But not the kind of thing I'd normally reach for, nonetheless...

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Photo of CrazyDavros
3.65/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours ruby-tinged brown with an off-white quickly fading head. Nose shows lots of caramel and light roasted malt, quite sweet. Some hints of coffee in there to. Really nice despite not being overly bold Flavours are more roasty but still light and mild. Sot much caramel, but still a little bit of sweet malt towards the finish. Great moderate carbonation and light-ish body.

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Photo of WesWes
3.65/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The beer pours a dark brown color with a thick frothy tan head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is good. It has a rich and creamy malt scent that is sweet and smelling of burnt toffee. The taste is decent. It has a smooth black and crystal malt flavor that goes down easy and finishes dry and bitter. It's light and easy drinking, but lacking a rich malt presence. The mouthfeel is decent also. It is a medium bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a decent beer, but nothing special. It has pretty good flavor, but lacking in body.

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Photo of drabmuh
3.65/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

There needs to be more English Dark Mild Ales in bottles that are distributed to my area. Its a pretty hard style to review.

Beer is brown and clear with a thick off white head of small bubbles that leaves some lacing on the glass. Carbonation moderate.

Light in body and really roasty. OK, this is really really thin. Its like cold coffee. Not my bag but I guess its OK.

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Photo of Proteus93
3.67/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Dark, dark brown... almost unusually so. The head is almost a stark white (more of a slight offwhite, really, but still)... it seems shocking in contrast. Interesting. Very bubbly.

S: Sweet malts, raisins are quite strong, Bready, with some interesting yeast notes.

T + M: Quite a light flavour... almost watery, both in flavour and feel. Some dark fruit hints are there, with a little touch of soft powdery chocolate.

D: Nice and easy to drink. It's in quite a good drink, though a little light for my personal palate, perhaps. Worth checking out, if nothing else.

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Photo of woosterbill
3.67/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

500ml bottle, best by April 2010, into a Birra del Borgo tulip. Shared at a tasting. Thanks go out to my buddy Jim for picking up this style tick for me in London, and to Michelle for shuttling it across the pond. You guys are awesome!

A: Clear, tawny brown body with a thin, fleeting coating of tan bubbles. A swirl reactivates the head, but only ever in a coarse, soapy display of ephemerality. Lovely clarity, disappointing carbonation.

S: Clean, light chocolate malt with an understated, balancing touch of earthy hops. Straightforward and pleasant.

T: Fairly sharp, actually, with rather thin, acrid maltiness up front, turning into a dry chalkiness on the tail end. I guess it's got a good amount of flavor for such a low ABV, and it's extremely clean and dry, but it just isn't all that pleasant.

M: Thin, watery, and lightly carbonated. Easy to drink.

O: Whenever I make it to England, I think I'll be steering clear of Dark Milds - give me the punch of a good ESB any day over this rather insipid (albeit clean, balanced, and easy-drinking) concoction. Black Cat seems to be a pretty decent example, but even with 6 people at the tasting we didn't manage to kill the whole bottle. Hate me all you want for not appreciating "subtlety" and "complexity," but this beer was long on boring and light on tastiness.


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Photo of Onenote81
3.68/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Been wanting to try this one for awhile now. Bottle poured into a mug. Pours a dark ruddy brown with some ruby highlights on the edges. A small tan head caps it off. Disappears to just a ring around the edge. Little lace sticks. Scents of molasses, licorice, plums, and some faint cocoa powder.

The body is decent. Crisp carbonation, moderate depth. Flavors of mild bittering hops, lots of bittersweet malts, a light sour note in the middle, and a faint chocolate finish. This is my first of the style, but I think I like it. Very simple, but full of flavor and character. Nicely done.

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Photo of Viking
3.68/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This looked like a good brew for Halloween season. The body is extremely dark, almost black. It pours to a thick, tan head with good retention. Leaves plenty of thick rings clinging to the glass. Sweet roasted malt smell, with hints of chocolate and a bit of smoke. Flavor is mild, with the sweet taste of malt dominating. Has a lightly smoky taste, but is very subdued. Hints of chocolate present. Slight taste of hops comes through in the finish. Smooth, creamy mouthfeel. Easy drinking brew, low abv helps make it very drinkable.

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Photo of jettjon
3.68/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From a 500ml bottle with no date in evidence, into a classic English stout glass. Dark brown, virtually opaque color capped with one finger of brown-tan foam. Slow fade down to a scattered cap and ring along with bits of clingy lacing along the side. Pretty good looking so far. Nose of toasted barley with some sweet malt peeking through. Taste has a surprisingly strong, yet pleasant smokey character yielding to toasted barley. Hints of sweet malt, finally finishing on clean, ever-so-slight bitter note. Mouth is middle-viscous leaning toward thin, with good mild carbonation, and overall smooth, thirst-quenching character. Drinkability is quite good, aided by a low 3.4% ABV. This, my friends, is a “session” ale.

Overall: A great “sessionable” dark ale, in the traditional sense of the word. I can imagine drinking pint after pint of this stuff along with fish and chips in a dark English tavern somewhere.

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Photo of DrAnnaNemis
3.69/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.75

Kind of nice! A dark brown ale with no head. Smells of earth and wood. Maybe some tea. Taste is similar with some ash. Thin, watery and no carbonation. Seems to work. Nice pint!

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Photo of DrewBeechum
3.71/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewed from a new pint bottle purchased from by my new local BevMo and sampled in one of my big Imperial pint tulip glasses.

Beer pours a deep dark black to the initial observation in the pint with virtually no head. Dark rubies twinkle out of the late night velvet of the glass and a clarity is discernable amongst that inkiness.

Aroma is both roasty and surprisingly smokey with just a touch of caramel sweetness first discernable. At first blush if I didn't know better, I'd swear someone had blended a bit of rauchbier into my mug.

Flavor is nutty with a deep brown malt flavor on the fore palate. As the beer moves back in the palate a roasty toasted note grows cleaning the palate of the nutty sweet caramel flavors in the fore. As the beer leaves, a smoky tone grows largers and larger as the roast dries the palate out and gears you up for the next immediate sip.

A vague sweetness is left behind on the lips as the tongue aches for more moisture.

Who went and put this smoke in my Black Cat? I definately preferred it when it was first brought in and was less roasted and more caramel. But still as one of the few commerical examples of true mild that we see here in the states, I'm a big fan. (It was better on cask back in England, but hey.. nothing's perfect)

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Photo of jdhilt
3.72/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This is considered a mile ale because they are not heavy with the hops, which is fine. Very dark, low carbonation, good taste but slighly thin.

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Black Cat from Moorhouse's Brewery (Burnley) Ltd
Beer rating: 3.83 out of 5 with 215 ratings
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