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: 213
Photo of FreshHawk
3.86/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.5

A - Deep brown/black with some ruby hues on the edges. Foamy and creamy light beige head with good retention and a good amount of lacing left over.

S - A good amount of roasted chocolate. Roasted malt makes up most of the smell. Also hints of tobacco, earthy, and nutty scents. Just a whisper of dark fruits.

T - Roasted malt and some bitter chocolate. A lot of earthy, woody, and nutty flavors as well. Also a bit of licorice and star anise along with some fruity flavors. Balanced beer with an overall bitterness.

M - Light body with decent carbonation. Fairly smooth and slightly drying. A touch watery as well.

D - Very drinkable beer. Light and easy to drink and the flavors build up while drinking it.

Notes: A lot of earthy, woody, and nutty flavors that are a little bitter. This is balanced with a very slight chocolate, caramel malt. Very sessionable beer that doesn't blow me away but is a good beer to just drink a couple.

 940 characters

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.

 585 characters

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.

 587 characters

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.

 597 characters

Photo of damndirtyape
3.11/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Single bottle (has markings...but I can't interpret the date) served in a nonic glass.

Appearance: Indeed is a dark ruby ale, but more towards the brown shades when I hold it up to the light. Some lacing on the glass as I drink it down and there is a thin layer of foam across the top. I got 1/3" light tan foam when I first poured it, but that dissipated fairly rapidly.

Smell: This is a beer that needs to warm up before drinking. When swirling I get a strong musty smell, but upon letting it settle I get a very faint hint of chocolate along with smoke and that musty smell again.

Taste: It's a mild ale alright. Not a lot going on here in flavor but I wonder if I've just had my taste buds spoiled by other porters and ales lately on the stronger side of taste. There is malt up front, then something metallic, and then a creamy finish. If I take a big swig I get more of the chocolate at the end which replaces the metallic and creamy. Not a sipping beer this one.

Mouthfeel: Very little carbonation on the tongue, just thick enough to coat and quench. Nothing special to me anyway.

Drinkability: Well it's low in alcohol so certainly one could drink plenty of it with no ill effect, but I don't find it to be a beer that really inspired me to reach for another one. Maybe if I was in a real pub and this was from a cask maybe I'd be inspired to try another one, but I'm not loving it. Not bad, but not great for me.

 1,429 characters

Photo of MrStark
3.95/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 500ml bottle into a nonic pint glass.

Appearance is a dark brown with bits of red through the light. A one-finger tan head that dissipated rather quickly leaving a little sticky lacing.

Smell is fairly faint, with just hints of roasted malt and maybe a little coffee and chocolate.

Taste is fairly malty and sweet with some roasted character up front as well as coffee. There is some fruit flavor as well and only a hint of hop bitterness in the finish.

Mouthfeel is light to medium bodied with a nice dry finish.

Drinkability is pretty good. I don't feel its the most flavorful, but it goes down very easy and makes a definite session beer! Especially considering the low abv of 3.4%. Overall a pretty good brew!

 732 characters

Photo of mcbiydw2
3.77/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Good roasted aroma and smooth drinking. Very palatable and shows good flavour for strength. No major flaws but a little thin and light.

Appearance is dark brown to black but a little more transparent than I would like. As a result the beer leaves little lasting impression in the mouth and the flavours do not last beyond the initial rush.

 340 characters

Photo of WYVYRN527
3.98/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a very dark brown, with a slight red tinge. Head is cream colord and has good retention. Very nice lacing as well.

S: Not alot on the nose. Some roasty character with hints of chocolate, and coffee. Hops are slightly present in the backround.

T: Begins roasty with coffee, chocolate, and toast. Also has mild fruity notes as well. The finish is short, but drying with a lightly bitter hop character.

M: Light bodied, but you wouldn't think so given the beer's color.

D: Low alc, dark, and very flavorful, This is a beer I could drink for hours on end.

 566 characters

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.

 734 characters

Photo of nickfl
4.1/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - A vigorous pour yields one finger of light tan head that settles quickly and leaves a nice coating of lace on the glass. The body is and opaque, dark brown with bright, ruby highlights.

S - Fruity yeast notes of red apple and plum with bready malt. Some toffee and spicy hops as well.

T - Sweet, toffee malt up front with plum yeast flavor. Some light roasted malt flavor appears in the finish with mild, spicy hops. Finishes with caramel and milk chocolate malt with light hop character balancing.

M - Medium-light body, moderately low carbonation, and a slightly dry finish.

D - A nice, dark and fruity English ale. A good dose of roasted malt makes this beer seem a little heavier than its 3.4% avb, but it is still appropriately light and drinkable. This is a great session beer with a surprisingly nice brown ale flavor.

 833 characters

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

Many believe that session beers are the new wave of craft brewing. If so, it'll be because of the surprisingly complex flavors and high drinkability that's found in this beer.

This moderate brown beer shows highlights of copper and tan with a medium creamy head that forms on the beer then fades to an smatering of pockets of lace before holding firm. Low carobonation promises an understated creaminess and weight. Off white ivory foam seals the deal on this classy looking Engish Ale

Maltiness in the name of the game here. Light toast, nuts, plumb, prune, and chocolates round out the dark malts without going all coffee or cocoa on me. Above that, the dark caramel (nearly toffee) taste comes to play. Kinda sweet up front but dries out with a Schwarzbier-like powdery cleanliness. Herbal and earthy hops are hardly noticible from the nose but give the beer balance and complexity from the taste stand point.

This is a little beer with big flavor. Beers with this much complexity generally carry much more body and alcoholic power. It's good to know that great beers can be had without risk of serious inhebriation.

 1,122 characters

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

NOt too sure about how this 500 ml bottle is going to go, it was sitting all alone and forlorn on a bright lit unrefridgerated shelf in Cost Plus World Market.
Well here goes.
Good looks, dark ,dark brown, lovelly full creammy tan head.
Ah great the aroma is OK..cocoa powder and figs,rum and raisin.
Ah nice taste too all of the above with a nice semi-=bitter finish.
Ok on the palate, thin finish to be expected from this style.
Drinkable Mild..oh I would love to taste this fresh at the source. If its this good after such treatment as I saw today it must be near a "5" beer fresh.

 585 characters

Photo of SaCkErZ9
4.65/5  rDev +21.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours from a 16.9oz bottle into an imperial pint glass. Pours a dark brown, fig color (according to the bottle, this color is known as "dark Ruby") with a small and bubbly tan head. The head doesnt really have any substance but shows the carbonation is there.

Aroma is slightly roasty and bready, with some caramel and earthy tones.

Really outstanding flavor. I am fairly new to the low abv beers but they are really growing on me: This beer may be the best yet. Some good fruity flavors with dark roasty notes and a touch of chocolate. A bit of brown sugar. Burnt toast.

Thin mouthfeel but not really watery. Its just right for the abv. I cant believe how good this beer is. At 3.4%abv, the drinkability is off the charts. With the solid and complex flavors, this is an awesome beer and one I can imagine is sessioned quite alot across the pond.

 849 characters

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

this brew pours up pitch black with a nice bubbly tan head. great lacing. the nose is faint chocolate malts, yeast, pretty dry. the taste is also dry, chocolate malts, low amount of hops, with a bitter finish. medium bodied, medium carbo. Very easy drinking. The ultimate session beer.

 285 characters

Photo of soulgrowl
4.25/5  rDev +11%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Not exactly black, but almost. More of a cola, red, actually, with a beige, unremarkable head. Smoke billows out from this ale, with a lovely charred wood aroma mingled with a bit of buckwheat honey and raisins, as well as mocha, nuts, and resinous hops. It tastes how it smells: smoky yet fruity and light. It is an odd, but delicious, duck. (Speaking of, it would probably be excellent with duck.) Burnt marshmallow plus hickory and raisins on in the center ring, with other dark notes of cola and cocoa in the periphery. Mysteriously complex. As for mouthfeel, I can't decide if it's pleasantly dry, or a touch too light on the palate... but I'm afraid it may be the latter. Overall it is a very interesting ale, and what an achievement for 3.4%! Must try with all manner of cheese and meat.

 794 characters

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.

 1,922 characters

Photo of wheelinshirt
4.3/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

german style shoulderless half liter bottle, purchased from Abe's in Bethlehem for $2.50 (50% off!) and poured into a dimple mug after allowing it to warm up from fridge temp.

Just as the label states, this one pours a nice ruby color with a modest, single finger sized off white head that sports moderate retention but no lacing.

Smell is faint, light chocolate notes from the dark malts, no noticeable hop or alcohol aromas (obviously). A bit weak, but understandably so.

Taste is also subtle makes itself known more effectively. Dry chocolate and a very slight fruitiness, from the ale yeast presumably.

Mouthfeel is light with low carbonation. Very appropriate.

Rating a beer like this is difficult. For me, this type of beer is much more out of my norm than most 'extreme' beers. It is a bit weak and watery, but that is exactly the point. It never feels watered down, just intentionally light, which is basically what a mild is. Very good and I would love to try some more english milds if it weren't for the price (this one was originally $5) and limited availabity stateside.

 1,088 characters

Photo of tmoneyba
4.1/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours dark brown with an average frothy off-white head that diminished slowly with fair lacing.

Good malty aroma.

Medium body with a sticky texture and soft carbonation.

Light bitter sweet flavor with a medium bitter finish of moderate duration.

Good drinkable beer and very good for style.

 294 characters

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.

 573 characters

Photo of PatrickJR
4.07/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 16.9 oz bottle into nonic pint glass.

A - Black, opaque, with just a hint of light coming through on the edges. Small, light brownish 1/8 - 1/4 inch head forms and dies quickly, though there is a persistent collar. Minimal lacing as well.

S - This is got an amazing smell to it. Big mix of both chocolate and vanilla along with pronounced buttery aroma. Roasted and smokey aromas make a solid appearance as well.

T - There's a mild sweetness early on, but this beer is suprisingly smokey. The majority of the taste tastes something like a fireplace (in a good way) with a big mineral/stone component, furthering the "fireplace" taste.

M - Soft carbonation, with a medium body that thins out during the sip to a nearly watery consistency.

D - As expected, this would be a great session beer. Very easy to drink with a mild flavor, even if the smokiness may be someone unapproachable. A memorable first experience with this style.

 947 characters

Photo of Beerzebub
4.1/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured in a tulip shaped pint glass at 58 F/ 14 C.

Deep reddish dark brown color, big frothy beige head that diminishes fairly quickly, substantial lace.

Smells like dark bready malt, with some toffee and chocolate.

Tastes like clean good grain, with some roastiness. Dry. A touch of acidity. Nice clean expression of the malt. Quite enjoyable and refreshing.

Fine carbonation, soft smooth texture. Exceedingly drinkable and refreshing, I enjoyed this.

 456 characters

Photo of brdc
4.43/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Small capped bottle, poured into a pint. Thanks grandq for this one.

Dark, near black with some bright reddish hue, a fine and steady light tan carbonation.
Aroma of toasted malts, some cocoa. Nice but not powerful, as expected.
Little carbonation, smooth, very easy to drink and amazingly flavorful for the ABV. Toasted, sweetish malts, milky, chocolate notes, with a dry finish. A fantastic session beer.

 409 characters

Photo of notafood
3.8/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured black to dark red from top to bottom in the pint glass. Buff colored 1 inch head that dissolved to a steady quarter inch of foam.

Smells like the horse feed at a farm I once lived on. Oats, molasses, malts. Very grainy. It even smells kind of dusty like a barn.
Rich chocolate and molasses. Excellent roasted malt flavor.

Very light and drinkable for a such a dark beer. Not much carbonation, very easy to drink.

Excellent session beer. Not very filling, easily quaffable.

 483 characters

Photo of BedetheVenerable
4.02/5  rDev +5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: 16.9 oz brown bottle; a simple, very "British" label with a black cat slinking along.

Appearance: This beer pours a very deep brown, almost black color, with hints of ruby. It's capped by a nice (though fairly thin) dense, creamy, light-tan head, which soon recedes to a thin ring. No lacing to speak of.

Smell: Mmmmm. Molasses, dark chocolate, and rich caramel notes. There's something in there reminiscent of old-fashioned chocolate-cream soda as well.

Taste: Rich, dark roastiness dominates the flavor profile. Dark roasted malt leads with a mild bitterness; in the background are bittersweet notes of chocolate soda, just the slightest hint of roasted coffee, a mild peat-like smokiness, and a little sharp minerality (maybe from the brewing water?) Hops are present, but minimal.

Mouthfeel: There's a decent malt presence, and fairly bold flavor, yet the mouthfeel is quite light leading to...

Drinkability: Immense drinkability. This is the perfect session beer for dark beer drinkers. It's light-bodied, full of flavor, and at a mere 3.4% alcohol, you could drink this all night long.

Conclusion: Bottom line: THE session beer for beer drinkers who prefer a dark beer.

 1,199 characters

Photo of SickBrew
4.29/5  rDev +12%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Purchased from Biggs Beer Wine & Tobacco in Vancouver WA in a 500ml bottle. This brew, what I would call the English version of a Schwarzbier. It pours a dark mahogany to almost black with a small tanish head. Aroma is pleasant with roasted malts, some campfire smoke a bit of caramel and even some raisin like fruitiness. Flavor is complex, just like the aroma but it has that signature black beer taste with the roasty, malty, smokey thing going on - me likes. Mouthfeel is medium to light with fair carbonation. For anyone who hasn't tried the black beer style yet give this one a try! You will like it.


 613 characters

Black Cat from Moorhouse's Brewery (Burnley) Ltd
3.83 out of 5 based on 213 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

    No fake news here. Get real beer content delivered to your doorstep every month.