Blackfriar | Inveralmond Brewery Ltd., The

very good
166 Ratings
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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 BBM
4.1/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is one of the more powerful Scottish ales I've had (not to be confused with a Scotch Ale), and it does a nice job of blending the rich malts and caramel character with a nice subtle dose of English hops. The aroma is sweet and inviting, and the mouthfeel is delightfully smooth and full. The alcohol is masked to the point where it's undetectable; impressive considering this is 7%. Overall a very nice job.

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Photo of shaebs99
3.95/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Best before Nov. 07 according to this bottle

Poured into a pint glass. Pours a nice deep copper color with good sticky lacing. Slight bit of sediment got into the glass (presumably bottle conditioned, I hope :) )

Aroma is mostly of sweet and toasted malts with some tangy/sour notes. Light bit of hop aroma

Taste is primarily of toasted malts. Lots of caramel and toffee flavor. With a decent amount of hop bitterness. Perhaps a touch of smokiness.

Could hardly believe this was 7% from the bottle I had. Nice, drinkable and enjoyable. I might want a bit more malt or smokiness in my scottish ales, but this one was still quite enjoyable.

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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 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 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 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 albern
4.02/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This is a very nice Scotch ale. It pours a deep reddish amber, plenty enough cloudy, with a good head, good lacing, and very moderate carbonation. The smell is sweet malts, a little whisky, burnt sugar, and some other floral sweetness. The taste is full bodied, brown sugar, sweet whisky, burnt malts, perhaps a little burnt straw too, maybe some molasses with a raisiny flavor. Although this beer has loads of malts, there is some hoppy balance too, the aftertaste is not cloying sweetness, but it is a warming alcohol on the tongue. The mouth feel is a bit heavy, and you would think this beer closer to 10 ABV with its heaviness, and alcohol in the aftertaste. If you like the burnt sugary malt flavors of a Scotch ale, then you will like this ale. It doesn't have as much of the burnt flavor as other Scotch ales I've tasted, and it is a little sweeter, but it is still a nice representation of the style. L'Chaim.

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