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

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 166 |  Reviews: 123
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 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 Frozensoul327
4.05/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A pretty darn good Irish Ale. Love the name. Poured out to a autumn red / amber color with a tiny head. Lower carbonation. Minor notes of lacing in the glass. Aroma of hops and roasted malts, with some sweetness. Also, for some reason, this beer made me think of an IPA, like there was a hidden hop somewhere in the mix. Taste is solid; flavors of hops, caramel, wood and toasted malt go amazing well together. Mouthfeel was kind of syrupy and thick, but still very palateable. Drinkability is fair; I probably wouldn't drink this everyday, but when I was in the mood for a Scotch Ale, this would be it.

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

I picked this bottle up at Kclingers. I am sampling a chilled sample in an english pint glass.
The beer pours a clear chestnut color with a few small streams of carbonation rising to the surface. A creamy beige head foams up about 1 cm and rests as a surface layer on the brew.
Aroma is sweet caramel, some biscuity yeast and a hint of red grape and raisin fruitiness. Some light roasted malt hits as well.
First sip reveals a slightly lighter body than I expected but still a full mouthfeel.
VERY fine carbonation that tingles just a little as it rolls over my tongue.
There is a bit of syrupy texture, but not much it may be more flavor than feel.
Flavor is sweet up front with caramel and toffee mixing with some brown sugar too. the middle gets roasty and then gives way to a mix of earthy and grassy hops that leave a lite bitterness in the back of my throat.
INcredibly drinkable for 7% ABV on the label.
Very good beer for sure I would try again!

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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 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 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 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 Wonka
3.77/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

1 PT. 9 FL. OZ.
7% Alc. Vol.

Appearance – reddish-brown body; tremendous, tightly carbonated off-white head that doesn’t hang forever but it certainly is strong enough to paint an ample set of lace

Smell – big sweetness; toffee; some dark fruit; some grains; very enjoyable

Taste – toffee, caramel and a solid roasted malt flavor take off to open and they almost make it to the end before being tripped up by a good slam of hops and a moderate dose of metallic for a close; bitterness carries a bit strong for the aftertaste

Mouthfeel – medium body; rather smooth; hops barge in late to send the experience in a downward spiral

Drinkability – aftertaste takes the drinkability down a bit since it carries the strong bitterness into the next experience; the initial smoothness helps the cause

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Photo of unit555
3.99/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

First I will say I only got to drink half of this beer. When I walked out of the room my hound jumped up on the couch and finished the glass. She thinks this ale is double plus excellent and didn't seem to be even slightly phased that it cost $4 a bottle.

I was disappointed that there was virtually no head when I poured it into the glass. The color was a semi dark amber that I would expect from a scottish ale but it was a bit cloudy.

It had a velvety feel in the mouth with a long finish. The taste was VERY malty and slightly sweet.

I think you will be pleased with this brew if you normally like scottish ale.

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Photo of Suds
3.87/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This liquid is a hazy brown with a lightly reddish hue and a thick, cream-colored head. It’s aroma is appropriately sweet and malty, with a doughy, break-like quality and a roasted-smokey undertone. It’s a pleasing, well-positioned smell that starts the beer off right. There’s also a little alcohol in the smell, which transfers over into the taste. The beer is relatively sweet, with a big bitterness running through it. The finish is particularly bitter, with some hop flavor as well. It’s a simple, well-made, satisfying beer.

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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 meathookjones
3.83/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This came in a 500ml bottle. Pours out a fairly hazy deep amber color with about one inch of tan foamy head forming on top. The head dropped quickly but left thick rings of lace around the glass. Malty sweetness in the aroma with fruits and chocolate being most dominate. Also in the nose was a nice smokiness that mixed well with the sweetness, but overall the aroma was a bit mild. Taste starts of with a big fruity sweetness that is mixed with a bit of caramel and chocolate. The smokiness is quite noticeable in the taste as well. Mouthfeel was a little lighter than expected. Pretty drinkable stuff here with the nice mix of flavors. Pretty solid beer that I would definitely pick up again.

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Photo of aracauna
3.93/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

The body is a clear, medium reddish brown. The head is thick, dense, and lasting. It's an attractive beer. The aroma is slightly spicy hops, cake-like malt and a bit of apple. The flavor is very low in bitterness (as it should for the style), with an apple peel flavor that sets off the mellow malt nicely. This is extremely drinkable. Not a bad beer by any means.

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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 Tballz420
3.87/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This brew is a somewhat hazy brown/orange color, with a tiny white head. The scent is mainly caramel malt with some citrus aspects from the hops. Bitter hop whack when the brew hits the tounge, slight alcohol flavor, some spice/pepper taste, mild malts. Medium bodied. Pretty good overall but im not left craving another one.

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

Beautiful artwork on this 500 ml bottle.
Poured out a coppery red with a thin head (due to the pour mostly) that receded to a film that stayed but produced no lace.
Smell was less than I expected, but what came across was a malty sweetness, hops and grass.
Taste was a touch weaker than expected also for this style but consisted of malt, hops and alcohol presence late.
Mouthfeel was very smooth, medium-full bodied, almost creamy in texture.
Drinkability was quite high, would be better if the smell & taste were more pronounced. Still, a good beer.

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

The beer poured amber brown with an off-white head which fell quickly but lasted to lace the glass.

The aroma was malty with caramel and slight fruitiness and a slight smoke.

The flavor was malty caramel and fruity with a smoky complexity. Definite chocolate presence in the flavor. Also roasty flavors were present on the tip of the tongue. Bitterness keeps the malt in check and leads to a roundness in the flavor.

The finish was off dry with a lingering smoky fruity flavor that took the beer to definitely dry. The body was medium to medium full.

16.9 ounce bottle. I this is 7%, then I need 7% all the time. No alcohol presence to note, only smooth complex flavors.

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