Blackfriar | Inveralmond Brewery Ltd., The

very good
123 Reviews
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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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Reviews: 123 | Ratings: 166
Photo of kojevergas
2.45/5  rDev -37.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Reviewed from notes taken during a January 2011 trip to Glasgow, Scotland. Served from a cask into a pint glass. It was served off a just-freshly tapped cask; this beer couldn't be fresher unless I were at the brewery.

A: Pours a clear dark amber. Thin head of fair retention.

Sm: Fresh albeit musty scent of barley. Difficult to detect individual notes with me broken nose.

T: Nice body - multiple notes unexpected from the nose. Near malty finish, it's lacking in unique flavour.

Mf: Very smack-your-lips crisp like, but a bit too smooth. Nice cream on the finish. Too wet.

Dr: Hides its ABV extremely well, but it's pricey. Overall, I'm unimpressed.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
2.66/5  rDev -31.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Bottle: Poured a light brown color ale with a nice foamy head with good retention and some lacing. Aroma consists of grain and cereal with some dry notes and limited sweetness. Taste is also dominated by dry cereal with lightly unrefined grain notes and minimal residual sugars. Body is about average with good carbonation and no apparent alcohol. A bit too dry and grainy for my taste.

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Photo of budgood1
3/5  rDev -23.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

pours out of the half litre bottle a cloudy amber colour. thin fine head with little lacing. malty aroma...choco, caramel, figs...some plum and prunes, too. some floral hoppiness, too. all of it subdued but very nice. interesting flavours in the taste profile. the first thing i notice is how heavily hopped this scottish ale is. very surprising is the bitterness. there are some smoky/burnt notes...alcohol pepperiness, and some caramel/toffee undertones. kind of scattered and not really well balanced. the body is medium and the mouthfeel seems thinnish for the style. lingering bitterness in the finish. drinkability suffers for the fact that it's just not a well balanced scottish ale. and it's way over hopped for the style. cool looking label with the mad looking friar cooking up a batch of brew.

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Photo of Crosling
3.06/5  rDev -21.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3


Mildly aromatic, unpleasant, meaty, hearty, earthy nose with notes of dark fruits, clean supplies, toasted malts and bread.

Quite malty and dry but very hoppy as well with notes of various dark fruits, pine, toasted malts and deep caramel. Odd.

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Photo of JMD71
3.15/5  rDev -19.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance: Cloudy brown. Hazy. Looks more like a wheat beer than a Scotch Ale. Little to no head when poured which is expected. As with the style, little carbonation noted.

Aroma: Malty aroma with mild alcohol undertones. Sweet caramel also detected.

Taste: VERY sweet, malty flavor. Overly sweet IMHO. Alcohol very evident which lends a slightly harsh aftertaste. Slight hop flavor detected.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied. Thicker than expected. Slightly cloying. Does have a semi-crisp finish.

Drinkability: Medium to low drinkability. A bit too clying & alcohol notes make it a slow sipper. Could only drink one at the most.

Comments: Not my favorite of the style. Too thick & cloying. The alcohol notes are overly present.

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Photo of rhoadsrage
3.18/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

(Served in a nonic)
A- This beer pours a hazy glowing deep copper body with a chunks of yeast suspended with a strong carbonation. The head is a bubbly light tan that last for a few sips.
S- The aroma of cooked apples and malt has some fruity qualities and some light toffee notes underneath but the aroma is otherwise very clean.
T- The tart bitterness in the finish is the stronger flavor although even that is soft. There is a softer sweetness of malt with some dry biscuit and honey malt notes followed by a water wort flavor. There is a solventy alcohol tasted in the finish but the bitter flavor lingers after the finish.
M- This beer has a medium-light mouthfeel with a tight fizz in the finish and some alcohol burn that grows a bit as the beer opens.
D- The bitterness of hops dominates and that doesn't even have the hop flavor to support it. The malt has some floral cleaner quality with the alcohol heat and that makes this a bit tough to get through.

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Photo of Sammy
3.23/5  rDev -17.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Mellowed scotch taste. Nice colour, some scotch aroma. My mates liked it a bit, but not very much. 2002 bottle moving from big stores to small stores. Moderate representative of the style. Had hops, but could use more something to enrichen taste. Light mouthfeel.

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Photo of juzy
3.3/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance: hazy, amber/copper, almost clear. Not a huge head, vanished quickly, left a ring of small lace around edge of glass.

Nose: whiskey, caramel

Taste: malty, bit of hop bite, slight note of grapefruit, more hop profile than I expected.

Drinks easy enough. Overall a decent beer, nothing fantastic, but solid.

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Photo of SkeeterHawk
3.36/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours pretty clear reddish copper color with a small 1/8" head of small of white bubbles. The head mostly falls within a minute and a small layer of bubbles hangs around on top of the beer for quite a while after the pour.

Aroma: This beer smells totally British. If it didn't say "scottish ale" on the side of the bottle, I would swear it was an ESB. The hops are very noticeable as is the minerals in the water...just from the nose! Lots of toasty British malts make up the rest of the aroma.

Taste: It doesn't taste as much like an ESB as it smells. The hops are not as assertively in the bittering as they are in the aroma. The water is not as harsh as I expected from the aroma. The beer comes across the palate quite thin for this style, and finishes somewhat watery with only a very slight balance toward the malt. There are plenty of toasty British malt flavors left on the palate quite a while after the sip.

Opinion: This is a pretty decent beer overall. I wouldn't call it a Strong Scotch Ale by any means, but it may classify as some sort of Wee Heavy or some such. I expect these beers to be more of a dessert-like experience, but this one starts to walk the line to the South and come in like a bitter. Anyway, it is a decent beer to drink.

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Photo of lackenhauser
3.4/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Usual amber color-nice small head. A fair amount of floaties in this one. Ok aroma-somewhat metallic and copper smelling. Solid malt flavored beer. Slight caramel flavor and a slight oak taste. Some bitterness in the finish-somewhat sharp tasting overall. Smooth and creamy body. A notch above average. Lose the sharpness to it-it gets quite in the way for me. Otherwise quite enjoyable.

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Photo of Indybeer
3.45/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

500ml bottle. Poured a dark amber, with a moderate head, that very quickly fades leaving very little lacing behind. Aroma of malt and hops, and very little else. Taste is caramel and malt with the hop twang that is kind of overpowering for style. Mouthfeel is moderate carbonation and smooth. As a stand alone it is a very good beer, and fairly well balanced, but to me not really like the style.

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Photo of JamesS
3.45/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a nice dark amber/copper color with good head, a lot of initial carbonation, and a bit of lacing. Nice scent, very deep, more smoke with less peat, and a lot of malt. Mixture of tastes, there's a definite maltiness, a deep smokey flavor, a burst of sweetness (as a milk stout), followed by more smoke and a not very well covered alcohol hit. It does go down fairly smooth for a higher ABV brew, though.

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Photo of malibujohnny
3.45/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Best before date of Nov 2007.Pours into my tall Starfleet academy pilsner glass.A deep very old dirty penny color with minimal bubbles at best.Got a strange amount of floating sediment throughout the glass,not a bad thing,just was not expecting it.Smells like a brown Belgian to me.Ripe fruitiness seems to overpower the maltiness that i was expecting from a ale from Scotland.The carbonation is on the lighter end and the taste was close to what i smell.It tastes like a light brown Belgian with the minimal malting i wanted from the champion beer of Scotland 2002.If i drank this at a blind taste test i would have never guessed a Scottish ale.It is very drinkable and smooth.After it warms a bit the 7% gives it just a little bit more warming character that is ver pleasant.

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Photo of heygeebee
3.48/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

BB Jan 13

Pours a dark brown mahogany body with a two finger fluffy white head. Head stays for a while lovely clingy lace.

Aromas of butterscotch caramel roast malt toffee. All to style.

Taste is a malt driven version of all of the above. Starts well but begins to fade in mouth and become slightly watery and too light of flavour for the ABV.

Mouthfeel light carbonated and somewhat watery

Not sure if this wants to be a Big Beer or a sessionable beer. The ABV should say big, but the end result is a sessionable tasting ale, at a non-sessionable ABV

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Photo of GuinnessSmurf
3.53/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This is one of those beers that was purchased for the fancy artwork. The bottle is nice - the beer is medium.

Pours a nice redish brown color with a medium sized rocky head on top.

Smell is a combination of toffee, caramel and alcohol.

Taste has a nice bite to it, more than suggested by the smell. The sweetness dies off quickly and leaves you tasting mostly alcohol which I found surprising.

The body was a little thin for me. I was hoping to have a thicker smoother drinking beer from this one, but it was a little light and bubbly going down.

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Photo of Backer2004
3.55/5  rDev -9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Thanks to bruskiator for letting me try this one. Lots of smoke, lighter color than expected, nice tan head, burnt roasted malts noticeable in the taste and smell. lots of maltiness (peat?). not one of my favorites of this style, a bit hard to finish a pint.

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Photo of codyhotel
3.55/5  rDev -9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - pours with a large, thick head that holds well which I very much enjoyed. Clear, orange-ish to amber colour.

S - More hops than I expected, fruitiness. Good amount of toasty malts, bit of yeast.

T - Lots of sweet caramel malts and honey, some earthy fruits, and a hint of chocolate on the finish. Hops give it a nice dryness and tartness for balance, but the flavour isn't really there.

M - Medium body, medium carbonation, very smooth feel. Dry finish, leaves the palate fairly clean.

Overall, a pretty good beer. Very drinkable, great to sip on.

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Photo of Phelps
3.57/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Beeradvocate has this one labeled as a Scottish ale, while the brewery lists it on their site as a Scotch Ale. Poured from a bottle with a best before date of Nov. 2007. Rather old, but in this state I'm not bound to find it any fresher.

Pours a deep maroon caramel color, slightly hazy and topped with half-finger head of sandy tan that lingers for a while. Some fat stripes of lace are left behind as I drink.

Smells a little oxidized. Buttery toffee mixed with caramel, dried apricot and raisins. Sweet and rich.

Butter again in the flavor, but tempered with a nice bready toastiness. Lightly bitter dark malt hits the sides of the tongue, along with raisins, apricot, caramel and a slight tinge of ethanol. Sweet before a dryish finish

Medium light body, very slightly fizzy, with light massaging, tongue-numbing carbonation. A little weak and runny.

From reading other reviews, it seems the buttery toffee notes are a common occurrence with this beer. In that case, it's stood up well to the test of time. A sweeter interpretation of the style, but decent.

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Photo of DoubleJ
3.57/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

There's a half-liter of (hopefull) joy sitting inside the bottle. "Champion Beer of Scotland 2002" is displayed left of the name. On to the beer:

The beer pours a murky brown caramel color into my snifter with visible yeast and a short head. Caramel, berries, and smoked wood appear to be the flavors of the day in this beer. Cabonation is extremely light, though it could be a sign that the bottle I got was old. Not bad overall, but it's likely better fresh.

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Photo of ADR
3.59/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Clear and lightly reddish brown. The head is slightly weak, kind of gives up after a few seconds. Stringy lace. Smells of maple sugar, malty in most aspects. Starts light in mouthfeel, gets heavier in the stomach, a weird sense of released carbonation to me. Taste is fine across the board, malt-defined and moving in a spiced caramel direction. Finishes up at the back with a touch of crocus-like bittering. A bit of cashew nutiness on later sips. Pretty good, the texture seemed a bit off for me, and its a little on the one note side.

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Photo of barefootbrewer
3.6/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This beer poured a cloudy brown/burnt orange color. It had a big rocky head which quickly dissipated. The smell is malty with caramel and smoke aromas present. The taste is mostly of malt. There are some hints of bitterness and slight smoke as well. The mouthfeel is full and seems quite appropriate. Overall, this is a nice flavorful brew that I’d consider solid.

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Photo of mzwolinski
3.62/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Very clear chestnut in color with a thin, light tan head. Not much of an aroma at first, but as with most examples of this style, the toasted malt comes through more strongly as the beer warms. Full mouthfeel with hints of diactyl and a big malt profile. A bit rough in the finish, but overall pretty satisfying.

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Photo of Brad007
3.63/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Yet another brewery from Scotland. Always nice to see what the Scots are producing.

Pours a nice amber color with a frothy head into my glass. There's a bit of cloudiness but otherwise, seems about right.

Aroma is full of sweet, lightly smoked and chewy malt. Seems right for the style. Nothing out of the ordinary.

Taste is sweet and once again, full of lightly smoked chewy malt. Not much else beyond that. Seems very drinkable for the style.

Mouthfeel is full of the lingering flavors mentioned. Nothing harsh and certainly not cloying.

The best part about this style is that it's usually very accessible to a newcomer. This is a good example that offers an emphasis on malt that is typical for the style. Certainly worth checking this out if you're a fan of the style.

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Photo of eric5bellies
3.64/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Drank from my Duvel tulip

A - Pours a nice red mahogany coulour with a tight two fingered, off white head that retains very well.

S - A little bit of hop and malt but not massive.

T - Nioce toffee flavours and complimented by some small hop and roasted malt.

M - Medium body and carbonation

O - A solid Ale without being spectacular

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Photo of Travlr
3.68/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: murky chestnut colored with a very large light tan head that evaporates quickly and leaves nice lacing.
S: nutmeg and cinnamon, with scotch and malt.
T: starts sweet and progresses to spice then bitterness. Somewhat complex, with a nice combination of spices.
M: very full bodied, yet does not show its alcohol.
D: Overall a nice scotch style ale, good on a cold winter's day.

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Blackfriar from Inveralmond Brewery Ltd., The
3.9 out of 5 based on 166 ratings.
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