Blackfriar | Inveralmond Brewery Ltd., The

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167 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

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 167 |  Reviews: 124
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 biboergosum
3.82/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

330ml bottle, day 13 of the 2014 Craft Beer Advent calendar - so this is a sort-of monk-adjacent Scottish ale?

This beer pours a clear, medium bronzed amber hue, with two fingers of puffy, lazily foamy, and bubbly off-white head, which leaves some low-lying rocky shoreline lace around the glass as it slowly recedes.

It smells of musty, sugary fruit - kind of like that stuff they jam into fruitcake - semi-sweet bready caramel malt, a bit of yeasty phenols, muddled bruised drupe fruit, a touch of sour cherry, and herbal, leafy hops. The taste is grainy caramel malt, a touch of toffee pudding, broad black fruit notes - plum, date, and maraschino cherry - subtle bittersweet cocoa and cafe au lait, a hint of butterscotch, orange marmalade, faint smoked peat, and more staid leafy, herbal hops.

The bubbles are quite engaging in their coy frothiness, the body a dense medium weight, and mostly smooth, with perhaps a bit of acrid fruitiness, and a burgeoning booze warmth taking it down a notch. It finishes off-dry, the complex malt and various aged fruit essences swirling about a musty hoppiness.

An interesting, and generally drinkable Scottish Ale, with lots going on, and even exhibiting a few Old Ale impressions along the way. I'm guessing that the dark monks of titular lore would find this appropriately "braw 'n nae peely-wally".

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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 brentk56
4.15/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a cloudy amber cloudy with a massive beige head that leaves some sudsy lacing behind on the glass

Smell: Sweet butterscotch nose with rum-raisin and dried figs

Taste: Starts out with a biscuity milk chocolate and butterscotch flavor that adds a bit of figgy fruityness to boot; mid-palate, the hops startle the tastebuds bringing a tobacco flavor that balances the malt through to the finish (which also has a chocolate and cherry touch); a touch astringent but otherwise very flavorful

Mouthfeel: Medium-heavy bodied with moderate to low carbonation

Drinkability: A most intriguing but unusual beer; the lack of hops on the nose leads to a total surprise when they kick in on the finish

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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 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 Gagnonsux
4/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The color is dark copper with an average-sized, light brown head. The aroma is of dark earthy malts with a strong dark fruit smell. A sip has an initial dark fruit bite that melds into dark earthy malts. A light sugary sweetness is noticed in the finish. A touch of hops balances this out and adds another layer of flavor. Drinkability and mouthfeel are very good. Strong scores across the board here, recommended.

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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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Photo of russpowell
3.95/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Review based on notes

Pours an effervescent & semi-hazed caramel with a pinky of tan head. clears half way through the bottle. Good head retention & lacing

S: Plums, other dark fruit & cinnamon

T: Plums, leafy hops, figs& & orange slices up front. Charred malt & dark fruit show up as this warms, plus grapefruitty hops??? Finishes dry & fruitty with a touch of honey

MF: Medium body with low carbonation

Drinks pretty easy, This drinks more like an American Strong Ale IMO. Still a nice one to sip one cool December evening

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.76/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark orangish copper with brighter orange accents. The head is faded ecru in color and displays an upper surface of frantically popping bubbles that then settles down to a more serene descent. Blackfriar looks lighter than expected, almost like an IPA. Although very few bubbles can be seen within the beer itself, the cap is persisting admirably. Unfortunately, no more than smatterings of lace end up on the glass.

There isn't much in the nose that reminds me of a Scottish ale. It smells more like an English pale ale with a hop deficiency. How is it possible to brew a beer in a certain style and then give it virtually no characteristics of that style? I can appreciate lightly buttered pale malt and a whiff of herbal hops. No roast, no peat, no smoke. No good.

The beer makes a spirited, if not a wholly convincing, comeback on the palate. It still doesn't evoke images of Bonny Scotland however. It's well-malted with a butterscotchy sweetness and a pleasing toasted barley flavor. Enough hops are present to even out the see-saw, but not enough to make an impression.

As the beer warms, I sense an attempt, however weak, to impart some earthy smokiness to the flavor profile on the finish. The body is strictly medium with a smooth, unfailingly polite mouthfeel.

If I reset my expectations and my palate and think of this as a pale ale brewed by Scots and not as a Scottish ale, granting scores becomes much easier. Lia Fail, its lower ABV brother, is better beer in my opinion. You won't be sorry you bought Blackfriar. Just keep an open mind when you open the bottle.

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Photo of Jason
3.73/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

$4.45 @ Charles Street Liquors, Boston, MA:

Presentation: 16.9 oz brown bottle with no freshness date.

Appearance: Dark tawny color shows it has dropped bright, excellent lacing clings to the glass like a champ.

Smell: Steely malt with a mild caramel sweetness, faint diacetyl and a ghost like figginess. Mild hopping though enough to take on the heavy malt profile.

Taste & Mouth Feel: A subtle mix of toasted and roasted malt … more toasted. A kiss of buttery diacetyl with a long drawn breadiness. Black pepper and herbal hop, warming alcohol and a hard toasted grain in the end.

Drinkability & Notes: Close to a meal in a bottle, certainly a malt lovers brew.

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Photo of feloniousmonk
4.1/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: a clear, bright cherry red is the color, and the head exists briefly as a thin, white layer of foam, then disappears.
Aroma, subdued, though giving off malty, nutty characteristics.
Taste: full flowering malt all over the palate, with very small showing from hops. Lavish fruit, cherries most dominant, but also some peach, banana, sweet and tasty, but arching towards a darker, even burnt feel, putting one in mind of a cognac, or a sherry. The body is medium, flavor develops sharper, stronger, and the finish clings, lingering on the palate. Rich, maltiness remains the prevailing tone in this flavor profile,toffee, caramel, and the sweet fruit factor returns and pleases the senses with every new sip.
Part of me wanted something fuller and thicker, for it feels a bit mild in texture and body at times, resulting in easy drinkability, for sure. Part of me, too, is just pleased aspunch by this beer as it is. (Though for $5 per 500ml bottle, I do feel that I over paid on this item, and probably won't go back for more.)

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Photo of Rochefort10nh
4/5  rDev +2.6%

Photo of avalon07
3.8/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Poured from a bottle to a pint glass. Had an amber color and a slightly cloudy consistency. there was a huge amount of foamy, very long-lasting head. Average lacing.

S: Smelled like most Scottish Ales: Caramel, malt, maybe a little fruit.

T: Tasted of roasted malt, caramel, molasses, fruit, and alcohol. Not as dynamic as you'd expect, but it does get better as it goes along.

M: A good amount of carbonation with a dry finish. Medium-bodied.

D: Despite some unevenness, this is a drinkable beer.

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Photo of puboflyons
3.75/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

From the 500 ml. bottle marked 2310. Sampled on December 16, 2012. The label is very nice so I expect I will add this bottle to my collection.

It pours a very milky amber-copper with a soft mocha head that sticks around for awhile.

The aroma has all of those Scottish Wee Heavy sweet esters including caramel malts, toffee, bubblegum, and brown sugar.

The body falls into the medium range.

The aroma is sweet but the taste is significantly more bitter with caramel hops evolving into a lingering hop finish. Biting to a degree but very nice.

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Photo of afsdan
4/5  rDev +2.6%

Photo of Derek
3.75/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

At 7% I might be inclined to call it a Scotch ale, though it's not very malty.

A: Cloudy copper with a light tan head, light retention, some lace.

S: A big nose: earthy, orange rind, caramel, dark fruit.

T: Dark fruit, earth, orange rind, pineapple, mango; good bitterness, alcohol is warming. Not really typical for a scotch ale... it's not very malty, a little more bitter, and there's some tropical fruity esters (yeast shouldn't get that warm in Scotland).

M: Well attenuated, pleasant mouthfeel, but it lacks malty body I generally associate with a Scotch ale.

D: Good drinkability.

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Photo of BillRoth
4/5  rDev +2.6%

Photo of WesWes
4/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours a ruby red color with a thick creamy offwhite head that fades to lacing. The aroma is good. It has a rich malty scent that boasts of pale, crystal, and roasted malts. It is sweet, yet dry. The taste is good. It has a warm, roasted malt flavor that is slightly sweet with crystal malts and dry on the finish. It has an elevated abv., but it's well hidden. The malt bill is not that complex. The mouthfeel is fine. It is a medium/full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a good drinking beer. It has good flavor and nice warm feel.

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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 Mora2000
3.73/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to jkwalking for sharing this beer.

The beer pours a murky orangish-brown with a white head. The aroma is sweet fruit with some caramel malts. The flavor is very sweet with some caramel and toffee malt. Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation.

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Photo of Latarnik
4/5  rDev +2.6%

Photo of Gueuzedude
3.84/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours with a brilliantly clear, dark, ruby amber color. The head is topped by a frothy, tan colored head that quickly disappears to a ring of froth. The aroma is rich with candied, caramelized malt notes that evoke thoughts of dark, concentrated fruit. Notes of prunes, raisins and figs are prominent, in fact these seem to be the dominant aromatic notes. The fresh malt is not to be left out though, notes of molasses, a touch of maple syrup, and rich caramel. I really like the caramelized dark fruit character of the aroma. Such concentrated notes of malt and fruity are quite a welcome aural greeting.

Rich fruit notes greet my taste buds from the get go, sweet concentrated notes of plum move to full on prune as well as enticing notes of fig. The beer finishes with rum like notes of alcohol and sweet, yet fermented molasses. Something here definitely reminds me of a sticky, yet fully caramelized sticky bun. I also can't help but think a dark, darker than I have ever had, brown sugar. While the malt notes are rich and concentrated, this beer still manages to finish a bit on the thin side, though only at times. A touch of roasted, slightly burnt flavors add a touch of balance and even bitterness to the finish of this beer.

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Photo of jdhilt
3.96/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a white, one finger-head leaving a nice lace. Nice clear amber color. Good carbonation. Medium bodied. Nose is raeson/cider. Starts malty and sweet, finishes with a good mix of hops and malt but a slight bitter/hoppy aftertaste. $4.20 for a 500ml bottle.

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Photo of harpus
3.75/5  rDev -3.8%

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Blackfriar from Inveralmond Brewery Ltd., The
Beer rating: 3.9 out of 5 with 167 ratings