Lia Fail | Inveralmond Brewery Ltd., The

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Lia FailLia Fail
Very Good
126 Ratings
Lia FailLia Fail

Brewed by:
Inveralmond Brewery Ltd., The
Scotland, United Kingdom

Style: Scottish Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 4.70%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 04-01-2002

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Ratings: 126 |  Reviews: 87
Photo of Sammy
3.48/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Well carbonated, good summer drink. Brown, big initial head of cream. Lace and off-white head. Malt and sourness significant contributions. Scotch, barleywine aroma. Grassy,hops present copper of UK ales, fine when you share the bottle. Easy drinking.

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Photo of Knapp85
3.7/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer poured out as a nice amberish copper color with a foamy looking white head on top. The smell of the beer gives off a nice soft earthy aroma with a subtle sweet malts and grains on the nose. The taste of the beer is sweet with some subtle hints of caramel. The mouthfeel of the beer is smooth and lightly carbonated. Overall this beer is pretty good, I would try this one again someday if I came across it.

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Photo of BEERchitect
4.1/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

With such complexity, elegance, masculinity, and earth; the beer remains remarkable light and drinkable without giving up on its malty body or rich taste. This shows that Scottish ales don't have to be strong to be top notch.

Pouring a mostly clear light mahogany hue, the beer casts a mild glow when back lit. A short statured head forms on the head with creamy texture, fulfilled retention, and islands of foam- it portrays a gentlemanly yet understated appearance.

Not exactly delicate, but not robust either; the aromas seem of strong scents of peat moss, toffee, fruit, bread crust, and butterscotch, but without the power that's normally associated with these flavors individually. Their lighter-than-expected culmination gives the beer a delicate aroma profile that's unmistakably Scottish.

Flavors play out in similar fashion as the taste of toffee and its low-lying sweetness invites complementary tastes of caramel, bread, butterscotch, campfire, damp soil, peppercorn, grapes, and a light confectioner's sweetness that reminds me of jelly beans. Even light coffee grounds, chocolate, and pecan rise as the beer warms to contribute more and more variance and balance to the beer through mid palate and into finish. And that's a good think, because with highly restrained hop character the beer relies heavily on malt complexity and yeast notes to achieve balance and flavor development well into aftertaste.

With so much flavor, the palate expects more weight and richness than the beer actually delivers. However, its understated creaminess never waivers and allows a powdery sweetness to carry the beer from the middle palate into finish where the beer calmly fades away and leaves only a memory of hickory wood and fruit on the breath.

This Scottish ale delivers enough flavor and punch to win over the most enthusiastic Scotch whiskey fan, but light and drinkable enough to caress the palate of their opposition as well.

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Photo of brentk56
3.65/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a slightly murky ice tea brown color with a frothy head and some lacing

Smell: Malted milk chocolate and hazelnuts; rather bready

Taste: Starts with a very clean malty base which turns a bit earthy and coarse in the aftertaste

Mouthfeel: Very smooth but a tad below medium bodied; moderate carbonation

Drinkability: A very pleasant Scottish that is marked down a bit for its mediocre finish

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Photo of Phyl21ca
3.53/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle: Poured a dirty light amber color ale with a rather large foamy head with good retention and some good lacing. Aroma of dry English hops with lingering peats malt notes (or maybe I was dreaming but seems there was definite smoke notes). Body is quite full with good carbonation and light alcohol level makes this even more enjoyable. Easily drinkable though quite complex - finish was maybe a tad too dry.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4.5/5  rDev +20%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

From the Inveralmond Brewery in Scotland comes an astonishingly full-flavored session ale. Its slightly hazy (it's bottle-conditioned), deep copper colored body borders on chestnut; resting gently geneath a long-lasting head of creamy white foam as its very fine bubbles slowly rise to the surface. The nose displays a distinctly rich, caramel-drenched maltiness. The body is surprisingly full, adding to a fuller perception of malt in the flavour; and its very fine, natural carbonation leaves it exceptionally creamy and smooth across the palate. In the flavor, a hint of some darker malts (perhaps a touch of roasted barley) lend depth to its rich, caramel side; and some subtle, delicately spicy and grassy hops round it out. The maltiness is perfectly balanced by its firm bitterness, and leads to a dry finish (that's again surprising given its full maltiness). A really well brewed beer that shows a clean fermentation and impeccable sense of balance. Quite exceptional, and certainly one of the best Scottish ales available at this time!

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Photo of chinchill
3.79/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

500 ml brown bottle with a BB date of June 2016. Consumed in Largoward, Fife on 2 May 2015.
Nice fresh mix of hops and malts in the aroma with a solid punch of caramel.
The flavor is more malty but about equally bitter and sweet. Marginal 8.

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Photo of oberon
3.8/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured a deep brown with a reddish hue with a thinner light brown head some chunks and floaties swirling around.Light aromas of choclate malt and caramel maybe a hint of hard water or iron.A very soft malty flavored brew up front light chocolate and caramel flavors with an underlying herbal English hop flavor that comes thru more in the finish and as it warms.A thinner bodied beer but very sociable, a nice Scottish "small" beer.

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Photo of olradetbalder
2.75/5  rDev -26.7%

Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.88/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours out a relatively clear, ruby-hued body with a frothy, airy, ecru head.

Smell: Malty aroma scented with dry caramel and chocolate powder and rounded out with a hint of fruit and some popping notes of grainy barley.

Taste: Toasted bready maltiness enveloped in a thin coating of chocolate and caramel. Minor dark fruitiness. Mild bitterness imparted by the English hops, though the taste remains predominately malty. Hint of grain on the drying finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-thin body. Medium-low carbonation.

Drinkability: A pleasant, easy-drinking Scottish brew with an appreciated low alcohol percentage.

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Photo of Hopheadjeffery
3.75/5  rDev 0%

Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.1/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

"Unless the Fates shall faithless prove,
and prophets voice be vain,
where'er this sacred Stone is found,
the Scottish people shall reign."

--The Stone of Destiny is the coronation stone of the Kings of the Scots and dates from 840 A.D.

Translucent, dark, reddish copper with more than a little rust orange for good measure. The beer is capped with a smallish, almond colored head that is tight-bubbled, yet airy, with miniscule surface pits that eat away at the foam with a furious persistence. A stubby collar of lace is the extent of the glass coverage.

Although the nose could be stronger, it's a good one. Dark caramel and dark toffee are in the lead with faint chocolate and peat following along behind. I'd like a little more depth and complexity however. The same general description applies to the flavor. I have to keep reminding myself that this is a Scottish ale, not a wee heavy. I prefer the stronger, heavier style, but can still appreciate and enjoy the lighter one.

Sweet dark malt is uppermost, but it never becomes too sweet or too malty; a relatively generous amount of hops sees to that. Dark fruit (black currant) is more prominent on the palate than it was in the nose. I can also appreciate dark caramel, cocoa and strong English Breakfast tea. More faint yet are molasses and peat, while wispy hints of smoke fade before they can settle into the flavor landscape.

Lia Fail is good beer that makes no missteps during the short journey from bottle to stomach. I would prefer that it have a bit more heft and a more assertive flavor, but then it wasn't designed as that sort of beer. Devotees of the style could do much worse than this fine, representative Scottish Ale.

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Photo of jwc215
3.9/5  rDev +4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

500 ml bottle, best before April 2009, poured into snifter glass:

Pours brown with ruby highlights. A thin head quickly diminishes to a thin wisp and a thick ring that leaves dotted lacing.

The smell is of toffee and chocolate-ish notes with a subtle, pine-like backing.

The taste is of chocolate-y maltiness with a balancing piney, slightly citric, leafy hop support. On the hoppy side for a Scottish Ale - though they are clearly secondary to the chocolatey malt, which is itself not very robust or rich, but the blend is delicious. There's a mild bitterness balancing the sweetness and a woody dryness in the finish.

Even at (or near) room temperature, I wouldn't classify this as the "full-bodied" beer it claims to be. It does reach medium-bodied, though, and has a certain velvety smoothness to it. The carbonation is mild.

The hops - Challenger, Fuggles and Cascade - according to the label - play a supportive role to the toffee-ish chocolate-y maltiness that is not quite rich, but works well to produce a well-balanced tasty treat. Very drinkable/"sessionable"!

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Photo of feloniousmonk
4.1/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A portentous name...omens speak of it's promise before the cap is cracked...Stone of Destiny...I feel priveleged to sip it, already.
Gorgeous looking ale, all crimson, with deeper, darker amber edges, and a luscious, utterly creamy cap of foam lay on top. Really good looking brew.
Aroma is vast and epic, a mystic mix of dark fruit flavors, plus coppery, nutty aspects, sweet spices, a real joy to have in the nose.
Nice taste, too, surprsingly mellow entry on the palate, rich, luch, creamy. Full malt, little hops, medium body...feels just too thin for the promise the look and smell evoked, but I do not believe they intended to make a blockbuster beer, just an easy-drinker with a Scottish flair. Long, sweet and nutty finish, this is a handsomely put-together ale. Tastes as good as any Scotch I've ever tried on. Although the label says it's "generously hopped", I'd have to know who they compare it to, or maybe the words mean something different in Scottish? In any case, whatever small hoppiness happens is handily drowned out by the thick, caramel-y malts.
Defineitely a damn good beer, definitely worth anyone's time, but have to wonder if it's really worth the $5.29 I paid for the 500ml bottle...once, or twice, maybe, but not too often.

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Photo of Rochefort10nh
4/5  rDev +6.7%

Photo of afsdan
4/5  rDev +6.7%

Photo of BillRoth
4/5  rDev +6.7%

Photo of WesWes
4/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours a brown color with a thick frothy offwhite head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is good. It has a rich malty scent that is full of roasted and caramel malts. It is dry, yet sweet with a bitter hop aroma. The taste is good. It has a solid "amber" base consisting of pale, crystal, and roasted malts. It is sweet on the swallow and bitter on the finish. It has a sweet malty character that is well balanced with hops. The mouthfeel is fine. It is a medium/full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a good Scottish ale. It's full of malt flavor along with a good hop character; a fine sessions beer.

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Photo of BlackHaddock
3.63/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Christmas Eve 2012 at home with my Dad: we shared a few bottles of beer together. This 500ml offering being the last before Santa came! Best before Apr 2013.

Like the cask version, it had a clear mahogany body with an off-white head: the nose a nutty, semi-sweet malty feel to it. The taste was malts all the way: chocolate and toffee being the strongest flavours within the maltiness. Dryness, with a pronounced bitterness comes later with the hops showing their worth as initial maltiness drifts away. The cask review is just pipped at the post by the overall niceness of it being Christmas!

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Photo of beerthulhu
3.47/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: Poured a dull weathered cranberry color with a 1 finger spongey head that was short lived and was beach sand in color. The head lapsed to a patchy covering filled with bubblewrap type bubbles that produced a thin film ring band for a lacing. Held against the light the coloring appeared a bright cherry-cranberry and showed random bursts and release of carbonation bubbles.

S: The nose was fruity with a brief show of apples upfront before quickly giving way to a toffee and caramel presence. Sugary grains and wort appear while the finish rounds out with a caramel chew candy fade.

T: My initial impression was the flavor came off a bit thin in delivery. There appeared to be a decent level of maltiness trying to come out but never quite convinces me. A spicy hopping of fuggles seems oddly mis-paired here producing fruity tones. Red grapes, juicy pears, and melons are noticeable and again oddly misplaced. For the finish the caramel malting finally comes back into play giving a scotchy caramel character with light peat and a dry spicy fade of nutmeg. The label claims this to be distinctively rich which I think is a bit of a stretch of the imagination if you ask me.

M: The mouthful was light to medium bodied but felt lighter the longer you held it. Oily texture with very little, if any carbonation detected. Overall was rather boring with the exception of the swallow which finally produces some maltiness and scotchy caramel character. Despite its limited abv of 4.7% this did give the impression it was slightly higher. Finishes with a dry spicy coating with a slight malty residue lacing.

D: Drinkability was fair, though one would be it for me. Rather boring, lacked maltiness, and incentive to have more. A bit thin and almost watery at times makes this go down rather easy but the lack of flavor and heart certainly don't help matters here and made me hesitant towards the next sip. Overall a good aromatic experience that goes down hill from there.

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Photo of jdhilt
3.65/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours with a off-white two-fingered head that fades and leaves some lace. Clear, deep amber color. Medium carbonation and medium bodied. Starts with a rich mix of malts and hops, finishes smooth with a trace of hops; good Scottish ale. $4.20 for a 500ml bottle from Colonial Spirits Acton, Ma.

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Photo of wl0307
3.95/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

First time to try the bottled version, and I'm so surprised to see a huge difference with the cask-conditioned one tasted last winter~~
BB APR 2007, served cool in a straight imperial-pint glass.

A: light russet hue, coming with a thik and tight creamy off-white beer head sustaining ve...ry well; gently carbonated.
S: juicy fruits as well as creamy malts upfront, mixing together rich scented dried berry (dried dates, raisins, longan-fruits), flowery scent of hops, aromatic tea-leaves, and an assertive edge of brown sugar... all rolled in one, making a creamy, aromatic malty nose with good depth of fruitiness and hops. Good~~
T: semi-roughly textured caramely malts and roasted tea-leaves hit the palate upfront, followed by black-tea-ish hops hand in hand with a toffee-ish, nutty, and brown-sugary maltiness expanding on the palate; subtly, the bitter edge intensifies step by step, underlining a lingering aftertaste of chewy, floral hoppyness with a slightly spicy touch, due to three kinds of hops used in the brew I suppose (Challenger, Fuggles, Cascade), while the lingering dried fruity aftertaste simply refuses to budge.
M&D: softly carbonated on the palate, quite light for the full flavour; A malty+fruity Premium Bitter style beer, with a complex hop flavour and and a much lighter body than the flavour suggests, yet ever so quaffable. Now I really wonder if my previous encounter with the cask-conditioned version suffered from the "nearly off" factor, as the hop characteristic was too mild to be noticeable.

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Photo of bark
3.7/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The colour is deep amber with a tint of brown. The finger thick airy head is off white. The liquid is clear. Lots of lacing occurs.

The smell got notes of caramel and dried fruits. A generous bitterness hits the nose. Some nuts and almonds. Hints of apricots.

The taste is grand and inviting, yet a little demanding (although the body is just medium). Flavours of fresh exotic fruits, clean bitter notes and a pleasant, lightly roasted malty taste. The aftertaste is pleasant with a genuine bitter flavour with hints of flowers, grass, consommé and a touch of citric acid. Some plastic hints in the finish - Fuggles hops?

The carbonation is medium strong; the liquid smooth.

Lots of character in this ale, still very balanced.

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Photo of Brad007
3.95/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a nice amber color with a two-finger head that fades into some lacing on the sides of the glass.

Aroma is mild with a hint of sweet, smokey malt. A bit of bread is detected as well as part of the malt.

Taste is smoky, chewy and sweet with a hint of bread as well. Very basic and yet, desirable.

Mouthfeel is full of lingering bread and smoky malt. Ditto on the sweetness as well. Neither thin nor thick.

Not bad but I believe I've had stronger versions of the style. Highly drinkable and easy to enjoy but far from the best example I've had. Worth a shot if you're a fan of the style.

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Photo of lordofthewiens
3.24/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A 500ml bottle poured into a pint glass. It was a cloudy brown with a thin head that had an oily sheen to it. Nice aroma: toffee, butterscotch, dark fruit. However, something happened between the aroma and the taste. Initially sweet, then nothing was there, then some sharp hops showed up. Not a very pleasing taste. Doubt that I'll try this particular Scottish Ale again.

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Lia Fail from Inveralmond Brewery Ltd., The
Beer rating: 3.75 out of 5 with 126 ratings