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Blackfriar | Inveralmond Brewery Ltd., The

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Very Good
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

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 166 |  Reviews: 123
Photo of July2Nov
3.88/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Beautiful sunburst auburn with hardly any carbonation at all.
S: Sweet malty smell with the hint of caramel.
T&M: Deep with a smoke taste of malt. Tastes much the same way after eating a bunch of peanuts: that chalky taste. Also has a sort of pine taste.
D: It a bit on the heavy side but taking that into account, I can envision drinking more of this. If only I could find more of it.

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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 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 canucklehead
4.17/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

New to BC, this is another great Scot beer that really puts forth the malty goodness. An opaque dark brown with a fine head this beer has nose full of quality malt and brown sugar. The beer packs a punch with big notes on the front and back. The balance is there but I love the bigness of the beer. Most definitely worth a purchase if you can find it.

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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 BretSikkink
3.82/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Not as black as I thought the Friar might be, still a dark cloudy amber. Great lacing lasts from minimal head. Aroma is huge, with a ton of sweet buttery malt, dark fruits, and floral hops.

Flavor is all about the grains, multiple malts bring in some diacetyl and alcohol. Hops are herbal, with a pepper finish. Some fruit and flowers again on the palate but less so than on the nose. Alcohol is very present.

Very Scottish take on a doppelbock type brew, a little one-sided and overly sweet, but that gives it points for truth to style. I tend towards the darker side of Scottish ales, but this one is a good counterpoint to a British Extra Strong Bitter. Depends on your fancy.

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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 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 atigerlife
4.08/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured a nice brown with reddish highlights. A creamy 1 finger light brown head. Good heat retention and decent lacing.

Aroma of dark fruits, alcohol, malts, grassy/hay and some sweetness. Interesting.

Taste is of dark cherries, wood, malts, alcohol on the back end and a light hops backbone. Not quite what I was expecting, but quite nice.

Mouthfeel is very creamy and smooth with a dry finish. Lightly cleansing. Medium bodied.

Overall, a very nice brew. Wish I had more. While not a session beer due to the alcohol, it is quite drinkable and nicely warming.

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Photo of penguinjive7
3.72/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy brown color with tan head that dissipates quickly and leaves a ring throughout.

The smell is strong with toasted malts and caramel.

The smell in echoed in the taste. The flavors become more apparent as the brew warms and that is when it really shows it's worth. There is definitely a buttery, toastyness to it.

This is a full-bodied brew that is not too thick, but the cloudy appearance could set you off. The carbonation is done very well and it is balanced.

This is a very drinkable brew, although I could not have too many of them in a row due the very full body.

Overall this brew is different from any I have had. EXTREMELY malty and full-bodied. Not something I would go out of my way to get again, but it was definitely worth the try.

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Photo of BuckSpin
3.98/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: 500ml bottle (best by date of 11/07) in a classic pint glass

Sweetened malts on the nose, a creaminess, crackers, light oak quality that grows as it warms, some florals, caramel, a mild citrus scent, wet rocks, soil.

Rich, full, rudy, sherry casked, dark cherry amber hue with noticable sediment held in suspension, almost lava lamp like in its very lazy circulation...odd, yet somewhat hypnotic. A solid 2 fingers worth of tight, French vanilla like foam, almost a little nitro like, creamy, sporadic lacing that settled to a 1/8" of final covering.

Its smooth and creamy on the tongue, a pleasing bittersweetness of rich malted sugars, oak, a little earthy, the caramel building up on the palate, it grows richer in maltiness as it warms and melds. The finish is more of the same, leaving a pleasing bittersweetness behind that coats the mouth in a warm, alcohol enfused, slightly caramel taste that is pleasant.

A well done Scottish Ale, and a nice example of the genre. Aside from the unusual suspended sediment, its very easy to drink but not one that you want to drink fast anyway. I fould myself slowing down and enjoying the subtle qualities and allowing it to warm and change, which is nice. Its comforting, like hanging out with old freinds, listening to jazz on Saturdays, or that favorite sweatshirt that makes you warm, comfortable, relaxed, at ease. This could easily be sessioned, but at a leasurely pace. I'm enjoying the downshift.

A very nice example of the genre. Would certainly recommend it and will make sure to have a couple bottles around for those Saturdays in, listening to smooth jazz while relaxing in that old sweatshirt. Check it our & chill out.

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Photo of taez555
3.8/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This beer poured an opaque bright brown/amber body with a small white head.

Rich malt nose. Caramel, biscuit, milk chocolate, dark fruits, raisins, plums and dark cherries. Has some surprising Belgian phenol and fruit hints as well. Touches of alcohol. Pretty intense nose for a true Scottish scotch ale.

Medium bodied with a thick rich malt. Layers of rich malt, caramel, lots of dark brown biscuit, tree bark and earth. Leafy and earthy hops give a nice balance and bitterness and are definitely there but don't overpower. Although it is a bit hoppier than your typical classic Scotch ale. Ends with a lingering bitterness and some rather dry tastes.

Overall a very enjoyable Scotch Ale. Rich and malty with a nice hop balance. Alcohol really kicks in the back-end and reinforces that this is a sipping beer. Very nice.

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Photo of daliandragon
4.03/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Comes packaged in a handsome, squat brown bottle with a sweet label with brewing monk in his cavern. I never heard of this beer before seeing it at Grapes and Hops in Fayetteville.

The label may say black but this dark clergyman pours a murkey brown color with reddish tints. The medium tan head lasts for a while but eventually melts to a cap. Nose is spicy and highly malt dominated, with a smoky hue in the backround.

A surprising balance of hop and malt is finally taken over by the latter with a thick smoked meat presence over the close of each sip, akin to a rauchbier.
Mouthfeel is medium to thick and very oily, resulting is an extra long aftertaste.

This is really good, it's too bad it was kind of expensive ($4.75). Still, I could see this when in the mood for something different.

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Photo of scruffwhor
3.97/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A coppery luminescent amber ochre hue greets me with a slight off-white. MIld bubbling and a through and through head. The aroma is a strong malt. Not overpowering or gfake smelling. Good toasty malts make me think of baking bread or coffee cake. The taste is nice and smokey in the front. Very evident. I like the tosty middle, like sweet tea biscuits. The fifnish is just smooth malted grains. The palate is sweet, smooth, and chock full o' malty goodness. A little burn felt in the front of the tongue too. Nice Scottish ale.

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Photo of dgallina
3.74/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

1 pint, 9 fluid ounce brown bottle with somewhat amateurish labeling. Notched best-before November 2007.

Pours lightly-sedimented dull copper after a very careful decanting. No head and sparse lace. Smells of rich and slightly smoky caramel malts with a strong and spicy alcohol base. Heavy with complex flavors. Nuts and caramel lead the way, but are balanced with earthy and leafy yeast notes. Finish is laced with peppery dark fruit alcohols. Oily and syrupy thick body with minimal carbonation.

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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 ybnorml
3.69/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A clean coppery brown beer. Has a small creamy beige head. A nice aroma of dried fruit, figs and raisins, and a hint of chocolate. With a strong threat of alcohol in the background. A light sweet caramel and dried fruit note runs over your tongue quickly. Followed by the alcohol and a bitter tabaccco like finish.

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Photo of EvilKeith
3.79/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Blackfriar poured into the glass a reddish brown color with a vast quanity of suspended particles. The head was tan in color and fell to a cap. The lacing was spotty.
The smell is big sweet malt, toasty and roasted malts, molasses, and a faint fruity citrus from the hops. The taste was the toasty and roasted malts, caramel, green herbal hops, and the alcohol coming across as a bit peppery. An adequate amount of hops keep the malty sweetness in check. A touch dry on the finish, not that it detracts in any way.
The carbonation was at a moderate level on a medium body. The mouthfeel was creamy and smooth.
My only problem with this Scottish Ale was the HUGE amount of suspended particles. I actually considered pouring the bottle down the drain. Luckily, I stuck with it.
I’ll have to check other reviews to see if this is a common thing.

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

Shared one of these at Moanin with the gf...

Pours dark burnt orange, not so cloudy and a nice hue. Good carbonation, bubbly, effervescent head with some decent lacing as well. Smells of a nice blend of malts with coffee, caramels, smokiness. Taste follows suit, good flavors and the blend is nice and easy. Smooth transitions of flavor with maltiness, sweetness, and smokiness that pleases the palate. I would definitely have this one again.

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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 mntlover
4.12/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a redish brown with a thumb sized tan head that falls to clumped bubbles fed by lots of rising bubbles. Pretty decent amount of lacing left also.

Aroma is wow nice big molasses, rum soaked raisins, dates some wine like hints all on huge amounts of malt very inviting.

Taste is nice caramel mingled with the molasses and rum soaked fruits that give it a nice kick. Finish is lingering wine like flavors along with a good dose of hops.

Mouthfeel is a big medium nice carbonation that seems perfect for this beer.

Drinkability is good a great sipping brew that warms your body and soul. Not your average Scottish Ale it is different but sometimes thats a good thing.

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