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 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 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 Reidrover
4.1/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Ok my Scottish weekend continues.
Poured into my pint glass this is a semi dark brown coloured ale..with a small off white head..that goes fast but a ring of lace remains all the way down.
Nice aroma of slightly roasty malts..very slight peat smoke aroma...this smells fresh though.
mm nice tasting beer ..sweet malts of course ,but not quite as sweet as many scottish type ales..chocolaty flavours, roasty aftertaste..a slight touch of smoke.
very nice on the palte..quite smooth, well carbonated.
I found this beer very easy to drink and liked it a lot..couldnt really detect the alcohol..but give me 4 or 5 and I am sure i would be buzzed!

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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 marc77
4.15/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

Clear ruby topped by a rocky off white head with respectable retention. Lace remains. Soft esters of a red apple nature along with mellow notes of carob and dark toffee are prevalent in aroma. Trace floral hop and butterscotch hints. Well rounded and understated aromawise. In flavor, the dominant malt impression is of molasses sweetened whole grain biscuit. Diacetyl undertone adds an agreeable richness complementary to the static, mild caramel malt presence. Hints of roasted barley along with the light hop bitterness facilitate a transient drying sensation, which is superceded by an agreeable surge of buttery dark chocolate and nutty brittle mid palate. A touch too light in body to match malt character, but dangerously drinkable as a result. Finishes mostly clean, with hints of treacle and woody hops fleeting quickly. Quite a tasty and well crafted brew that's intermediate in character between an 80 Shilling and Wee Heavy. Superbly drinkable and soft on the palate. Very tasty.

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

Another free sample... nice brown color, with no idea of how the head would pour into a regular sized glass.

The malt aroma was strong and rich, and the alcohol was prominent.

The taste was of complex malts and a niticeable alcohol aftertaste. Exactly what a good Scotch ale should be. It was a little too strong on the alcohol for me (I prefer it to be masked by the other flavors). Still, a good beer overall.

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

Clearish red caramel brown color, small compact beige head lifts slowly up then back down to a thin skim and rough collar where the lacing moslty sticks in small spots and globs. Aroma has lots of soothingly calm caramel, a bit of roasty/toasty toffee, quite soft and inviting overall and rounds out with brown sugar and maple syrup notes. Taste has small and easy front, a bit empty, smooth and gentle caramel work there way in around midway. Some toastier factions come to play with a toffee roast and hard grain breadyness. Hops help finish it off with a leafy and dried variant thats biting more so in texture then with bitterness. Keeps its toasty edge fairly long and even later smaller efforts of the caramel make their way through too. A long holding finish. Feel starts out light and smooth with a gradual building base of malts and toast and a eager little finish with a good lasting quality that was the clincher for me into liking it. But it could have a bolder, richer body throughout, it really only has a strong hold towards the finish and within the finish. Still enjoyable enough for a Scotch Ale. I have to keep reminding myself its not a wee heavy scotch which I like much more then these regular ones.

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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 Skidz
4.16/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours out a light brown and sits a deep reddish brown in the glass. Small white head sits atop this attractive looking brew. I'm not usually attracted to most beers just by looking at them, but this one just gleams and screams when held up to the light; it's a beatiful gradient of oranges and reds, and just a tinge of yellow near the bottom, and the condensation on the glass only strengthens the appearance.

Smells of caramel, butterscotch, candi sugar, raspberries, cherries and malts all over. Big, sweet, full aroma.

Tastes of raspberries, cherries, caramel with a sweet tanginess that brings you back for more. Some nice hop bitterness way at the end, good feelings in the back of my mouth.

The mouthfeel is wonderfully smooth and rich, boasting a medium body with mild carbonation. Easy to drink, delightful to taste. Great for drinking at the end of a meal in lieu of dessert, as this itself is quite a tasty treat.

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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 moulefrite
4.25/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Deep amber, borderline mahogany color. A thin veil of foam and a tad bit of lace throughout. Aromas run deep, and rich with caramel malt-dark roast-taking the lead. A toasty/sweet malt component chimes in as well. A chunky mouthfull of brew here-full bodied and almost chewy in texture. Flavors are deep and brooding with gobs of buttery caramel-dark roast again, and a very strong black coffee like bitter coming from the hops. The brew is almost sweet in flavor, and it is very extracted and concentrated, almost ice-bock like in flavor, but milder. The finish continues well into the two minute zone! Not a slammer, but one to kick back with and savor. Gracious-Shelton

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Photo of TheLongBeachBum
4.22/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: Stumpy brown 500ml glass bottle. One label runs almost 360° around the wide body of the bottle. The label is at times difficult to read thanks to its highly reflective shiny metallic look. No freshness date but listed as 7%.

Appearance: A rather appealing perfectly lucid dark chestnut brown body with some orange hue. The head is smooth and a creamy mix of light tan and beige.

Nose: This smells great. Malts, Toffee and soothing Caramels. Damn fruity and quite pungent to boot. Deep inhalation is rewarded with a classic fruity Scotch Ale. McEwan’s take note.

Taste: This is quite amazing, it seems to constantly change, either that or my simple brain is merely unable to distinguish the myriad of flavors all at once, and just picks them out randomly at times. A nice thick fruity malty start builds into toffees, nuts, burnt brown sugar, bonfire toffee, raisins, a Twix like milk chocolate covered biscuit & caramel, some dark skinned berries soaked into Edinburgh Shortcake with some faded Curacao and some more dark toffee in the finish. Get ready to be hit by some sharp hops in the back end also. This is a very good Scotch Ale.

Mouthfeel: Beautifully creamy, smooth yet fruity, sharp and ultimately bitter in the dying end. Thick, but nicely balanced and a way above average feel that is carpet-like at times as it coats the tongue.

Drinkability: Well, I absolutely “demolished” this bottle, the half litre was gone in absolutely no time. Guess it’s rather drinkable then?! LMAO.

Overall: Cost me $4.79 at AJ’s Fine Foods in AZ, but this was well worth it.

“Occhk, cee ewe, ah reet feckin’ lark dis wee canni bru”

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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 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 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 hyuga
4.1/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours into my nonik glass, which is the perfect size for 500 ml of beer and a nice sized head, a burnt sienna colored brew. Very nice looking. The white head stays pretty well for a while, but then all but disappears. Caramel malt and sweet orange citrus in the aroma along with a toasted character. Hop crispness is ever-present as well. Caramel and lots of grain on the tongue, plenty of crisp hop bite too. Hints of peat are noticeable here and there. Hops are of rind-like character, and they come out a bit more than the malt in most places, making for a very crisp brew all around. This kind of hopping you don't find often outside of the States. A very enjoyable beer, but I'd pick Belhaven's over this one for the style (out of what I've had, we don't get many Scottish ales here in Arizona, or Scotch ales for that matter, much to my chagrin). Actually, this is almost more like an ESB. Disregarding that, a pleasure to drink. Recommended.

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Photo of Gusler
3.92/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This is the first new “Scottish Ale” I’ve seen in a long time, and a style I find quite drinkable, but one that seems to be getting rarer by the year!

The beer debouches from the 500ml bottle an unclouded burnished copper color with a planetary size head that is creamy in texture, the color a light tan, as it evaporates, and the lace forms a sticky and clinging sheet upon the glass. Malt dominates the nose, sweet, crisp and fresh, hints of caramel, a tad earthy and the start nicely malted, somewhat sweet, top is fair to middling in its feel to the palate. Finish is brisk in its acidity, the hops forceful in their spiciness, very dry aftertaste that lingers long on the palate, a quite nice Scottish Ale”.

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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 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 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 daledeee
3.91/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

New to my local beer store. Comes in a 550ml bottle. Pours a beautiful shiny coppery brown color. A small head that leaves incredible lace. The taste is immediately dry but goes away. The finish is dry but just right. Taste is malty but a little more hops comes through than some other Scottish ales I have tried(not that many). This is a good beer worth trying no matter what your tastes.

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