Black Cat | Moorhouse's Brewery (Burnley) Ltd

very good
166 Reviews
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

For Trade:
View: Beers | Events
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Reviews: 166 | Ratings: 214
Photo of JayQue
3.41/5  rDev -11%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

My first beer of this style. I was expecting a real thin, lightly flavored beer because of the low abv. I was pleasantly surprised. Pours a dark brown with lots of ruby highlights when held to a light. Big light tan head, nicely carbonated that faddes to a covering, then a ring at the top of the glass. Moderately sized rings of lacing.

Smell on the first pour was mild roasted malts, a second pour after the beer warmed up left less aroma.

Taste is pretty good. Roasted malts a little chocolate malts...the flavor is strong enough to get your attention and appreciation.

Moutfeel is light and nicely carbonated. I would not call it watery like the Anhauser Busch Stout they used to have at Busch Gardens.

Overall this is a solid session beer. At 3.4 percent, you could drink a good few of these with some good conversation and still enjoy each one. I would love to have this on cask or on tap.

 899 characters

Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.27/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Pours an almost opaque dark reddish brown with a 1 inch tan head that fades to an oily film. Small random spots of lace form here and there on the glass on the drink down. Smells of dark malt, slight chocolate, and some roasty notes. Taste is of roasted malt, cold coffee, and slight chocolate on the finish. There is a very slight bitterness on the palate after each sip that fades quickly. This beer has very light carbonation with a very watery mouthfeel. I am not too impressed with this aspect of the beer. Overall, this is a pretty good beer and the first of the style I have had. I am not sure if the mouthfeel is like this for other beers of the style but I am not too fond of the watery aspect.

 703 characters

Photo of bum732
4/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

S: Dry rich cocoa, dark chocolate, touch of vanilla.

L: Very dark brown, ruby highlights, off-white head that dissipates to a dusting.

T: Light chocolate and roasty malt with a slightly charred component. Mild earthy bitterness followed by a very dry, slightly roasty component. Some toasty marris otter malt persists throughout.

M: Fairly thin mouthfeel, low carbonation.

Pretty solid, probably a million times better on cask. Great mild overall.

 452 characters

Photo of codsmith
3.75/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a tulip

A: Deep black with a hint of red towards the top. Very thin white head head that dissipates rather quickly.

S: Heavy raisin & chocolate smell that is backed by a mild floral hop aroma coming off the top.

T: Very interesting and mix of chocolate malt and raisin flavors that have a roasted and bitter finish on the malt portion. There is a slight hop finish that comes through with a soft and grassy hop finish.

M: Surprisingly light bodied and carbonated well. I was hoping for a little more body to tie these flavors together.

O: It has a interesting aroma and taste, with a nice balance on the hops, but it seems a bit thin and could better if it had a thicker body.

 696 characters

Photo of aasher
3.95/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This beer pours a Coca-Cola brown in color with red highlights. Once fully poured it resembles a dark, dark brown on the verge of black with a one finger, frothy cream colored head. It smells of lightly roasted malts, light coffee with cream, and possibly even espresso. It kind of smells like a frapuccino and it tastes like an iced coffee. It is overly drinkable and is a great session beer, fit for a pub. It drinks light to medium in body, more reminiscent of an iced coffee, which is fine. The aftertaste does the light mouthfeel some justice. All in all this beer was pretty impressive. It's hard to find a quality session beer but this one seems to pull it off and even has good flavor. It's worth a try.

 711 characters

Photo of Franz4
2.98/5  rDev -22.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

A- pours dark, almost black with just a small head, color was darker than I expected.

S- very mild throughout as would be expected for the style, some noticeable peat smokiness but that's really the only thing I can pick out.

T- smokiness is present in the taste as well, bottle says chocolate should be there, but I'm not getting it.

M- very light, could be described as watery.

O- My American senses didn't really appreciate this Mild Ale. It wasn't quite what I expected, but it was mild/average in nearly every sense of the word.

 538 characters

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.


 1,331 characters

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.

 375 characters

Photo of BlackHaddock
3.48/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Tall, brown 500ml bottle, best before the end of Feb 2011, drank and reviewed 25th Jan 2011. Poured into a UK pint sleeve.

Good, really dark brown body, teak wood red when held to a bright light. On top a well formed light brown head, which gave some heavy lacing.

Semi-sweet dark chocolate smells, toasted/roasted malts too.

The taste is typical dark mild malty, without anything being too rich or overpowering. Very little if any hop presence detectable. It does get a bit bitter towards the end of the mouthfeel, otherwise the beer is mid-dry, leaning towards semi-sweet in flavour.

Slightly over carbonated for me, others may find it 'lively'.

Not a great beer, but a long way from being a bad one.

 707 characters

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.

 825 characters

Photo of mountsnow1010
4.01/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Quick review because I have guests to attend to .

a - black with white head - looks similar to guinness
S - not much going on but smells nice
T - great clean taste. a bit of smoky/burnt choco. malty too.
M - smooth! a bit light
D - could easily do a skixer.

 259 characters

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.

 460 characters

Photo of rhoadsrage
4.17/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

(Served in a Nonic)
A- This beer has a black body with a brown glow at the base of the glass. There is a big bubble light tan net of head that soon fades to a thin ring. The few tiny bubbles that can be seen trail up the side of the glass.
S- The nice roasted black malt has a soft berry not to it with some chocolate aromas coming through the roasted notes as the beer opens.
T- The mineral water and cream flavor give way to a mellow rich roasted black malt flavor. Like the aroma there is a berry quality to the malt flavor. The dry mineral note in the finish has a light licorice quality and a light bitterness of roasted malt that lingers for a moment after each sip.
M- This beer has a medium-light mouthfeel with a tight little fizz in the finish.
D- This is a very easy drinking beer with a good dark roasted malt flavor but it is to light for a stout or porter. This good session beer as some subtle depth to it but the rich flavor is the many player.

 966 characters

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.

 373 characters

Photo of IllNate
4.23/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Courtesy of sibling imports, cheers sis!

A - Dark brown with ruby red highlights, nice colour. Finger of tan head, subsides to lacing.

S - Roasted and biscuit malt. Nice english malt aroma. As it warms a fruity note is prominent.

T - High quality roasted malt flavor, mostly chocolate, coffee and caramel. Bready/biscuity background. A light hop bitterness that lingers. Very fine indeed! As it warms a fruity ester is palatable.

M - Very smooth mouthfeel, carbonation is spot on.

D - Highly drinkable, each sip begs another.

 533 characters

Photo of buschbeer
4.05/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

I poured into my glass to a thin mocha head. This beer is dark brown in color with ruby highlights. The aroma is milk chocolate and bread. The taste is milk chocolate and finishes with some roasted malt. The mouthfeel is pretty thin. This is a very drinkable beer as the ABV suggests. It has great flavor and is not heavy. It could be consumed into the wee hours of the night.

 376 characters

Photo of skenyon1811
3.83/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

16 oz bottle poured into a pint.

A: Like the name implies, this beer is black. When poured it only had a small amount of brown/amber colored head. It left a nice film of foam on top of the beer. When you first pour this beer it just looks delicious.

S: This is a strange smell to me. It has a nice sweet and nutty smell but I also get this weird note in there. All I can compare it to is a jar of green olives. It does not make for a bad aroma, just makes it more intriguing.

T: This beer has great flavor. The initial taste is very mild. Then you get this sweet and roasted flavor at the same time that finishes with a bitter kick. The roasted malt is the star in this beer. It provides that excellent aftertaste that slowly fades out till you take another sip.

M: It has a heavy and creamy mouthfeel, which is exactly what it should have. As it says on the bottle it is a dry beer and that is a fact. Perfect amount of carbonation.

D: It is a pretty heavy beer but fairly low in alcohol. I could drink a couple of these 16oz bottles without a problem. Although I am reviewing this in the summer, I feel that Black Cat better suits the cold winter months.

 1,161 characters

Photo of ByTor2112
3.51/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark brown, slightly opaque with some ruby shaded hues coming through with the light. A smaller, foamy tan head forms. Good soapy lacing is left behind after one sip.
Aroma: Nothing really dominating or up front on the nose. A little nutty with avery faint cocoa powder aroma. A deep inhale right on the top of the brew gets some coffee notes.
Mouthfeel: Medium carbonation delivers a very mild, plain ale. Some sweeter malty flavors tease the palate, briefly. A vigorous froth releases some hop bitterness. This dark ale with a lower ABV is not bringing anything spectacular. BUT... this ale does taste good and would be very sessionable. Would also be thirst quenching. Possibly fresh on tap or cask in England would have a little more oomph. Solid, average and drinkable.

 782 characters

Photo of RickS95
3.98/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Very dark, almost black, with just a touch of red. A small dark head appears for a short time.

Nice smell of malt and coffee notes with chocolate in the background.

It tastes like it smells, a bit of malty chocolate covers the tongue.

For something so dark, it's surprisingly light in the mouth. A nice mix of sweet tastes, with only a hint of bitterness in the finish...a nice session beer.

With a desserty taste and low alcohol, a very drinkable beer.

 457 characters

Photo of morimech
4.51/5  rDev +17.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Not that impressive looking but it is hard to believe how much flavor is packed into such a low ABV beer. What head did form quickly faded to just some fine bubbles. Light amount of lacing is left on the glass. Wonderful aroma of chocolate malt and Fuggle hops. Classic English Ale aroma that I absolutely love. The malt and hops work perfectly together in the flavor as well. Notes of chocolate with some herbs and earth. A nice body for such a light beer. Feels much stronger than what it is. A beer cannot get much more drinkable than this. A relatively harmless ABV but still wonderfully flavorful. American brewers could learn much from this beer.

 652 characters

Photo of lackenhauser
3.9/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Deep chestnut color. Some head and lacing. Not much aroma wise-mildly metallic and tinge of sweet, caramel like aromas. Very solid malty flavor. Again a trace of caramel like sweetness. Just enough hop bite to be noticed. Toasted and nutty goodness to be found in here. Very solid mouthfeel for the style. Wow-what a boat load of flavor for such a low abv beer. The Brits really know how to do it well. Just great in general.

 425 characters

Photo of DoubleJ
3.92/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Here we go, a true English session beer found stateside. The previous two dark milds I've had were locally brewed in SoCal, so this will be my first taste at an English one. On to the beer:

An attractive ruby brown color with lovely copper hues starts things off well, as does the soft settling head that leaves some lacing in the glass. The nose is a pleasant one, stronger than you'd think being that it is just 3.4% ABV. Dry cocoa dominates the aroma, with hints of smoked malt. Very intoxicating.

Quite light in the flavor department, even lighter than I expected given the two other examples of this style I've had. It's not bad though. I'm getting subtle flavors of smoke and chocolate, and also a little husky malt. Very light in the body, carbonation is very soft, drinks very easy...if only it was a bit mroe interesting to drink though.

A light ale that's intended to be served on cask is probably not best represented from an imported bottle. Solid as it, but I remain more optimisitc about it in the homeland.

 1,026 characters

Photo of treehugginslug
3.22/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

S - Smells of malted barley and chocolate. Subtle in my opinion.

T - Taste is similar to smell, but please note* DRINK THIS COLD!!!! I drank this at fridge temp and was not impressed. Once I chilled it, I really wound up liking it.

M - Easy

D - Drinkable enough

Buy Again? No
Recommend? Maybe
Drink at party? If the only option is Bud Light.

Overall: Good when chilled, but not too impressed, even though ABV was low.

 424 characters

Photo of DmanGTR
4.28/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Review from notes on 4/17/10. Big thanks to Laura for bringing this to our tasting :)

Rich chestnut brown with ruby hues in the light. Nice light beige head retained well, with lovely lacing. Richly malty with caramel and a hint of cocoa, perhaps a touch of English hops as well. As far as taste goes, this is probably as much flavor as you can pack into a very low abv beer. Rich and smooth with a hint of chocolate but ample bread and a touch of bittering in the finish, this drinks extremely easily but will probably never cause your palate fatigue. Wonderfully sessionable. I wish I had the whole thing to myself!

 618 characters

Photo of Minkybut
3.3/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I poured this beer into my tumbler at 45 degrees. The beer was almost black as tar.. The beer poured a really nice frothy tan head that was like a pillow. The beer had a beef jerky kinda smoky taste. It was too bitter though and watery tasting. Good lacing but thats it. I will buy again though to give tis one another chance.

 326 characters

Black Cat from Moorhouse's Brewery (Burnley) Ltd
3.83 out of 5 based on 214 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.