Blackfriar | Inveralmond Brewery Ltd., The

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166 Ratings

Brewed by:
Inveralmond Brewery Ltd., The
Scotland, United Kingdom

Style: Scottish Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by daledeee on 12-02-2003

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Ratings: 166 |  Reviews: 123
Photo of Imbiber
4.85/5  rDev +24.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This beer is hellfire, just about a perfect Scottish 'Wee Heavy' in my opinion. The bottle label on this one is hard to read from any distance because it allegedly was printed on shiny paper by mistake.

Anyway, the beer is darkish-amber-coloured with a grey-tinged head. Fresh peat and malt is big on the nose. The flavour is complex and satisfying with plenty of earthy malt, smoke, balanced with caramel and a bit of butterscotch. Hops are way back in the background, but gain prominence as the other flavours subside.

A winner.

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Photo of RedBaron
4.85/5  rDev +24.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I simply had to pick up this 16.9oz bottle because, A) It's a Scottish ale (one of my favorite styles), B) It had a picture of a forboding looking monk on it, and C) I've never had it!

Appearance: Poured this dark, autumnal red brew into a 20oz. imperial pint glass. Decanted for 10min. before trying. Nice, off-whtie head sustained nicely before I even put my lips to it.

Smell: Very Scottish! Which is to say malty, biscuity, and in the case of this beer, slighty peaty.

Taste: Complex and roasty, this beer is very malty from start to finish. Bready, in a great way. Taste like a touch of rye may have been added. Certainly taking great cues from the scotch culture of the country. But, the brewers know the value of adding a healthy component of bittering hops, too. They're there, they're spicy, and they're basically picked up in the finish -- they just yield, a bit, to the brillance and complexities of the malt. Yum!

Mouthfeel: Solidly malty, but not as chewy as you might surmise from my taste results. I think this is beer has just the right attenuation, as there is a faint dryness in the finish.

Drinkability: Wow, what can I say?! A beautifully crafted Scottish ale. This beer makes me want to don my tartan, pick up some bagpipes, and wander from glen to glen on a brilliantly sunny fall day, declaring the joy and pleasure of this ale. Small wonder it won Best Beer of Scotland in 2002. Aye, summ'un haand me unotha! (But be careful: the abv is 7%!)

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Photo of putnam
4.8/5  rDev +23.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I found it is important to drink this beer no colder than 50 deg. F. For me 60-65 was ideal.

Quite deeply red in color, scummy lace. Toasty aromas of moist, malty bread and nuts with links to roasted herbs. Cherry and redcurrant jam fruits mount on the first drink. Bitter, burnt sugars can be compared to Italian nougat or Scottish toffee. Tangy brown spices and parroasted coffee beans join with seasoned hardwood and nutshells. A mouthful is big and round without any sense of syrupy malt. Rooted tarry bitterness muscles fragrant fruits and spices. Beautifully dry and poundable.

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Photo of ncbeermonger
4.55/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

WOW, before I had this beer I had not had a scotish Ale I could say I enjoyed. Now I am searching for others that live up to this avail!
It pours rich and brown with hints of amber. The bottle was a bit pricey, but well worth it! I don't know of many places around here that serve this beer but any time I see it be sure I will become a regular at that bar!

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Photo of TheSarge
4.52/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The bottle label is a bit different now, but not so much. The diabolical looking monk is still stirring the brew with a very intent look.

I poured this brew into an imperial pint glass, and the beer produced a deep amber colored and clear body, with a finger and a half of off white crown. The lacing sticks well to the glass.

Aroma characteristics are of floral and lemony hops, as well as vanilla and perhaps sour cherry.

The taste is very complex. I detect chocolate, some coffee, cherry, herbs, and God knows what else. This is a treat.

On the palate, this is coarse with lots of CO2; however, this leaves the palate wet and warm.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4.5/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Blackfriar's perfumey, hop-laced aroma welcomes you to a magical elixir that's almost equally akin to an American ale as it is to its Scottish brethren. And that is the magic of the tiny Inveralmond brewery! But there's more...

It's hazy dark-chestnut body has a deep ruby cast and reveals glowing crimson highlights beneath it's frothy head of tan. The head retention is quite good (especially considering it's alcohol content), and it leaves some very nice spots and splashes of lace about the pint. Smooth and mildly creamy across the palate, it's very fine and natural carbonation helps to enhance it's maltiness. It's firm bitterness, however, is wide and unyielding - anchoring it and leading to a drying, semi-sweet and bitter finish that lingers with notes of burnt caramel. Floral, grassy, and leafy hops swirl here-and-there throughout it's deeply caramel accented, toffee-ish, toasty, nutty, slightly candy-sweet, and subtly roasty maltiness; bringing it to life and lending it a delicate charm that leaves it amazingly drinkable. It's not overly complex, but the interplay between the hops and the rich maltiness is exquisite. Finally, fruity notes from the yeast surface almost immediately as it warms, and lend another level to it's character; leaving it as an almost perfect session ale! And the only thing that hinders that is it's alcohol content of 7%, which is entirely cloaked throughout the first serving at the very least. Impressive!

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Photo of Leperstone
4.5/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of SonOfKyuss
4.5/5  rDev +15.4%

Photo of BDTyre
4.47/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I couldn't agree with Canucklehead more...

Dark, burnt amber colour with dense, tan head.

Peat-smoked malt smell with faint, sweet caramel undertones.

Pleasant, bitter burnt malt taste, with a nice hop profile. Coffee bean and whisky flavours. Rich, but not cloying or overpowering.

One of the better Scottish ales I've had. This almost borders on a Wee Heavy, but is still light enough to be drinkable but not heavy.

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Photo of newyawker
4.47/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The colour of dark tea. however, this brand of tea produces a pretty big head which is tan. Funk and caramel are the odors it represents. Tastes smooth. Big full and soft on the palate, there are notes of molasses present. A bit tart on the finish. Quite the good drinking big beer.

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Photo of gfreed
4.42/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Medium-colored and slightly foggy with a deep head, somewhat off-white and large-bubbled; almost like iced-tea with a root-beer-float head. From the first sniff I could tell this would be a good Scottish ale; it has plenty of malt in the aroma with a teeny bit of a sting from hops; perhaps a little bit sour as well. Some caramel and even a little WW bread is present as well. The body is not too dense but there's a enough resistance that it doesn't feel all that thin; low carbonation makes it feel a little heavy as well. Caramel and lightly smokey malt predominate in the taste-- I could have had five of these except at 7% ABV I'd be wobbling across the kitchen in no time. A pint was enough for this evening, but I'll be buying more.

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Photo of Winter
4.42/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Hazed dark brown in color with copper hues. Thin head reduced to surface bubbles. Intriguing compley nose. Very vinous. Sweet malty aroma with caramel, toffee and red grapes. The mouthfeel is medium-bodied and well carbonated. Rich bold malty taste. Caramel flavors abound. Ale smooths out as it warms and loses some of its carbonation. Dark fruit flavors in the middle. Toasted malt follows with a slight dryness toward the back. Feint smokiness in the finish has an earthy peat-like quality to it.

This Scottish ale is a great sipper that's best enjoyed slow and not over chilled.

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Photo of Drew966
4.42/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Blackfriar Scottish Ale pours a hazy dark orange with an off white, fluffy head. The aroma really gets me, just a great smelling beer. Malty and even citrusy smell. Any beer that smells this good is likely to taste good too, so here goes... mmm, this is excellent. Everything I like in a beer, strong bold flavors that balance well with each other. Strong malt flavor but balanced with hops that assert themselves at the right time and in the right amount. An excellent beer.

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Photo of MacPhergus
4.39/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Red-ish amber color, big head that falls nicely. Aroma and taste more pine than citrus or other fruit, bitter dry finish. Medium body, style right.

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Photo of FightingEntropy
4.37/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Christmas Eve day outing with my nephew, and digging for beers in the lackluster list at Old Chicago in Sioux Falls. Picked Black Friar before pulling it up on my database and realizing I've had it before. However, the last bottle was highly rated from 2004, so not a bad idea to try it again to see how my tastes have changed.

From the Inveralmond website: Blackfriar is one of three ancient orders of monks central to the history of Perth in Scotland. The monastery of the Blackfriar was built in 1231. In 1437 James I of Scotland was assassinated by traitors there.

Hazy light copper ale with shimmering amber with light from the window. Head thin and disappears quickly. Dishwater brown with irregular bubbles while it lasts. Caramel, toffee on top of light biscuit and earthiness. Mineral in background that's characteristic of Scotch ales. Light spice or sharp note that I'm note sure of the source. Strong caramel and malt taste. Same spice from yeast, maybe, that leads to an assertive aftertaste that's pleasant. Warmed up, the beer opens up and is more balanced. Mineral background disappears and just leaves a clean spice.

In looking over some of the other reviews, I'll definitely will be on the high end of this beer--2004 and now. In part, I'm going to guess that some drank the beer too cold and too fast, as it changes character significantly as it warms. Or, this beer just matches my palate.

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Photo of seanyfo
4.35/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pint served by handpump into imperial pint glass at the Guildford Arms in Edinburgh

A- A copper brown body with a creamy tan 2 finger head that produces lovely lacing and with impressive head retention

S- Caramel/toffee malts. Faint background fresh hoppy bitterness.

T- Lots of caramel sweet malts, hint of creamy chocolate, a roasted malt note with a very understated hop bitter finish. Nicely balanced.
Alcohol well hidden!

M- Low carbonation, full body

D- Excellent scottish malt profile which is not overdone with a clean refreshing hop note in the finish. ABV dangerously hidden.Delicious

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Photo of DogFood11
4.35/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a pounder glass it forms a nice tan cover with tons of spotty lace left behind each pull. Cloudy amber body.

My initial thought was that this has a very high level of herbal hop that spikes out halfway through. This is followed by some floral zip and a peppered spicy backend. Damn! this is a mighty fine brew and one of the few scottish ales that have caught my attention. There was a slight buttery side on initial contact and a slightly metallic feel to it but those were more of an afterthought. Malts are sweet and laced with caramel. Hops and spices are the theme and a well put together theme.

Notes: I was surprised by this brew as it was pretty bold compared to those I've tried in this style. If the malt bill had a bit more complexity this would be a staple in the fridge. For now its a purchase when I see it. I'm on a roll tonight, 2 great beers that crack my top 200 in one night? Yep, this is worthy.

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Photo of Offa
4.33/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is a very tasty Scottish ale that is a little on the hoppier side for the style.

Hazy reddish amber, it has a very big tan head, shrinking very slowly and leaving a little bit of lace.

The aroma is caramelly toast, raisiny alcohol, chocoltae, hints of coffee, citrus, and pine.

The taste is raisiny and fruity with a hint of rum, caramel, leafy and ctirsuy, a mostly fruity-grainy, raisiny sweetness with light hoppy bitterness taking over in the end along with hints of bitter chocolate and coffee.

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Photo of cokes
4.3/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Shadow-laden bronze with a capping of beige cream.
Aromas of cranberries and black cherries slathered in a caramelized peat glaze.
Begins by flaunting its malt muscle as it cycles through toffee, butterscotch, raspberries, and cherries. All of this laid upon a toasty caramel base. Tangy peat arrives by the midsection. Ah yes, the wonders of a tradtional Scotch Ale.
But wait.
Hops arrives late, but quite loudly. Savory, dried herbs twisted with orange rinds and cold metal. The mouth is slapped clean of its malt gluttony. At this point, it seems equal parts ESB and Wee Heavy. Completely coalescent, if shocking at first.
Seemingly as a reminder of why you came in the first place, toffee and peat reassert themselves post-swallow.
A bit waif in the mouth initially, but this fattens nicely as it gains temperature. Pert near full as the glass empties it final gulp.
This is too damn drinkable given that I don't have another waiting.

Similar yet very different that I had expected, but it still covers the required topics. The extra hopping is merely a bonus. Find it if you can. And buy a few.

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Photo of BeerResearcher
4.3/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Dark Brown 16.9oz bottle with the image of a spooky looking Friar stirring a brew kettle.
It pours a shiny, deep dark amber color with a fair-sized off-white head, which fades to a lasting rim.
A sweet malty aroma blends with a peaty grassy smell. A mild smell of hops and faint rummy alcohol fuminess begin to emerge as it warms.
Sweet slightly burnt caramel, fresh bread and a light herbal malt taste make for a nice full-bodied ale. Lemon zest, fresh oranges and a bit of spiciness offer a good blend of hoppy flavors. The alcohol, while noticeable, is well proportioned to the rest of the ingredients.
This is my new favorite Scottish Ale.
Thanks Genaro!

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Photo of Shovelbum
4.29/5  rDev +10%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a thin creamy off-white head over a deep amber body. The head dissipates fairly quickly. The aroma jumps out of the beer before I even raise my glass. It smells of raisins, caramel and sweet malt with a slight herbal character too. An impressive malt complexity made up of light biscuit, caramel and a slight roasted character. There is a nice supporting herbal hop bitterness to boot. A smooth full body.

A nice higher-shilling ale, with well-hidden alcohol. As with any good Scottish ale the emphasis is definitely on the malt, but not to the point of excess or total lack of balance. Great complexity and smooth drinking.

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Photo of marcobrau
4.28/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Scottish malty goodness is what I find in this amber to light brown ale. This ale has a wonderful biscuit-like aroma. It smells like my homebrewery does while I'm mashing the grain. The head falls to about an eighth-inch collar of foam enhancing the appearance. The body is full, which to me, is an important quality in a stronger Scottish ale. The brew is all about the cookie or biscuit-like malt flavors mixed with a nutty character and a touch too much bitterness for the style but I'm guessing some of that might come from amber or roasted malts. Despite some style issues and possible over-hopping, this is a damn fine ale.

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Photo of Lodisgrisen
4.28/5  rDev +9.7%

Photo of wl0307
4.28/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Got this bottle at the Bacchanalia, a fantastic small beer+wine shop in Cambridge. BB NOV 07, served cool in a straight imperial pint glass.

A: the 90% transparent light reddish-copper gem is carefully poured with an air-tight and creamy beige froth with a superb retention, on top of constant flows of tiny fizziness ascending from the bottom. Looking gorgeous!
S: salty-sweet marinated prunes and burnt+creamy+metallic malts assume the dominance, underlined by a deeper, sticky and aromatic fruity undertone mixed of coconuts, caramelised apple-slices, more berries, some (random) orangey-citrusness, on top of slightly-earthy-yet-aromatic Fuggles hops. Smelling like a Scottish Ale, but a sweeter version of Premium Bitter also springs to mind - the hop mixure is reminiscent of Young's Special London Ale to me.
T: a semi-sharp flow of bitter hops and sour-sweet redcurrant cordial fall heavily onto the palate (with a touch of coughing-syrup like phenolic-berries on the side), while an utterly dry, burnt bitterness gradually cuts deep down the palate, providing plenty of dried tea-leaves, tangy dried grapefruit-zests, bitter Chinese dried herbs, on top of a soothing flow of warming alc. The aftertaste remains extremely dryish & chewy bitter, balancing off the cara. & creamy malts just beautifully.
M&D: as this is an unfiltered ale (judging from the sediments left in the bottle), the mouthfeel is really fresh and soft, not fizzy or artificial at all. Despite its alc. strength, the tremendous hop bitterness and burnt flavour both render it a more-ish and quaffable drink. The flavour doesn't boast as much toffee and peat-smokeness as many of its counterparts, but the end result is all the same - solid and delicious. A lovely crossing b/w ESB and Scottish Ale.

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Photo of oberon
4.27/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a nice bronze color with a light soapy head,great fruity aroma,fruit just bursting real nice.Taste is more malt tilted wich I expected nice and fruity with a light hop bitterness that comes thru more as it warms along with a light earthiness.Seems to be a tad watery but really drinkable for the alcohol content,a nice find.

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Blackfriar from Inveralmond Brewery Ltd., The
Beer rating: 3.9 out of 5 with 166 ratings
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