Lia Fail | Inveralmond Brewery Ltd., The

very good
87 Reviews
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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Reviews: 87 | Ratings: 126
Photo of seanyfo
3.46/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pint served by handpump into imperial pint glass at the Cloister bar Edinburgh.

A- Dark mahogany body with a 1 finger head producing good lacing. Head retention is average to good leaving a crown.

S- Faint toffee malts, minimal hops

T- A minimal toasted malt beginning with a juicy hopbite in the finish. Hops linger on

M- Low carbonation with creamy mouthfeel

D- Hops are refreshing throughout the flavour but malts are too minimal for me on the tongue to be trully sessionable.

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Photo of benclimbs
4.3/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had on cask at the halfway house - Edinburgh, meticulously kept, perfect temperature...syked.

This is the bomb for sessionable Scottish brown ales

amber brown with a one finger head and tons of lacing.
Smell is all caramel and nuts - really nice

Taste is more of that, round hazelnuts, malty nice caramel, then goes just a tad bitter at the very end - finishes clean and just slightly sweet - very smooth and rich in the mouthfeel, but not heavy or sticky - not nearly as sweet as many of the heavier wee-heavies and scottish ales.

Wow, i was very very impressed by this...and it was my first pint so i know my tasters were on it. One of the best browns i've had period.

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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 canucklehead
4.35/5  rDev +16%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Real solid thick moutfeel with lots of malt and chocolate notes coming to the fore kinda like porter mixed with a Scottish Ale. I thought the beer was much stronger than its 4.7ABV with all the flavour packed into the finish. I would definately buy this again as it combines complexity with drinkability in a sessionable package.

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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 MaineBirdMan
2.88/5  rDev -23.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from a 16.9oz bottle into a pint glass. Nice little legend/story on the back of the bottle.

color: dark amber

There was a nice quarter inch head.

Taste: I could really taste the hops as well as some sweet chocolate tones.

Nose: Man, I really stuck my nose down into my glass. But I wasn't able to get any real bouquet. There was some floral hints but not much.

Mouthfeel: Easy on the tongue with a good amount of carbonation.

Drinkability: I could drink quite a few of these beers if it weren't for the price ($5.99 per bottle from the store). Low in alcohol so the legs don't get wobbly after a few.

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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 ReDave
3.71/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Not much head at the pour, in fact, I thought it might have been a leaky bottle and/or flat. But then at the end a nice but very little off white head emerged.

Dark Brown somewhat cloudy color. Some red when held to the light.

Kind of a fruity aroma.. not what i was expecting, especially at first, but sort of grew on me later...

First minor sip Liquorice, wow very interesting. Second sip malty, molasses a little nutty some smoke [ ooh later on especially at the burp haa] Some hop spiciness nice surprise I would like to try this again, this bottle was about a month after it's "best before" date...

carbonation is thin but i like it.

not much lacing

Some day i need to have this "in country" over in Scotland.

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

I am a big fan of Wee Heavy, so digging into the world of the lighter version of these ales will be nice to expand the palate.
Pours out a murky tawny amber color, light to no head, dissapates quickly. A low level of carbonation is definatley apparent.
Smell is rendolent of hard apple cider. Fermented fruit, caramels, a spicy alcoholic finish suprising given the low abv. A dark currantlike note, apple butter, bitter cocoa, ovverripe bruised apples ready for the cider press. Almost an oaklike sweetness.
Taste is predominated by the caramel. Lighter bodied than expected yet this turns into more of a caramel coated apple than cider in the flavor. The apple/caramel combination would make this a nice falltime festival beer. The sweet light toffeness in the sweetness is balanced by the bittering hops, and remains neither sweet, nor bitter.
The apple/caramel combo I think would pair nicely with caramelized scallops, or maybe a hot doughnut at a festival. A salty beef pie(think of scottish food) would be nice. If this were reduced down and made into a apple/ale compote. It could make a nice pastry filling for flaky fillo dough

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Photo of Richardberg
3.72/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: poured from a 500mL bottle into a pint glass. Cloudy copper color with a rather small head.

S: caramel malts predominate. Light hopping lends a bit of citrus and floral aroma but nothing overt. I'd like strong smells overall but apparently this is right on target for a Scottish.

T: crisp, straightforward presentation of the malts...not much else. Pleasantly bitter finish.

M: standard medium ale, fizzy but not overly so

D: easy to drink, if not altogether my favorite

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Photo of roddwolff
3.65/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

This one is the first beer of Scotland i drink. In the appearance, have a brown tamarind color, very opaque, regular foam head, in the logo have a landscape; the smell is fresh, with essences of plum and peach; in the logo says "distinctively rich" and it's true; frutal taste with flavors of peach, a little coffee, orange and banana; the mouthfeel is citrus, light carbonation and medium bitterness, it is acceptable, and the flavor in the mouth lasts; in the drinkability, possibly be too citrus, excellent to accompany any food

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Photo of SaCkErZ9
3.83/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Dispensed from a 500ml bottle into pint glass. Pours a ruddy and hazy dark amber color with a small white head.

Aroma is fruity and floral and very malty. A touch of chocolate in the aroma as well.

Malt and dark grains in the flavor. More floral flavors and a great deal of fruitiness. Not much smoky or peaty characters that are usually present in Scottish ales.

Thin on the mouthfeel yet somewhat slick on the tongue. Low carbonation make this one finish slightly dry. Good beer indeed.

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

[Eyes] Great dark brown colour like the bootle! Small creamy brown head that quickly byeeee

[Nouse] A little bit of coffe and chocolate... caramel and some honey?.

[Mouth] Sweet, chocolate, nut, coffe and vanilla. Great and nice balance with good hop in aftertaste, i just get of some carbonation... or maybe more temperature???

Serving type: bottle

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Photo of MAB
4.3/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Outstanding effort from this brewery!

Color is beautiful, deep amber and clear.
The head is fairly tight and yellow-brown in color. Dies down to a nice froth that remains for the whole pint.
Smell is sweet, some smoke, and hops. Lovely.

The back of the label reads (in part): "Challenger, Fuggles, and Cascade hops produce a spicy aroma with a balanced bitterness and full bodied flavour".

I couldn't describe it more perfectly than they've done it themselves.

Also noted: They use "full leaf hops".

I picked up aged wood notes, almost like scotch.

Mouthfeel was pleasing- not watery but not heavy.

Superb beer.

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Photo of CHADMC3
3.53/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a fair brown with hints of orange, a frothy cream-colored head appears with nice tight carbonation bubbles and a nice lacing to follow.

Aroma consists of sweet caramel or molasses and slight hints of hops.

Smokey flavor with a roasty caramel again and hints of hops on the back of the palate.

Well balanced with medium carbonation.

This beer improves as you progress through, still a bit light on flavor for my tastes.

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Photo of trevorwideman
3.85/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

500ml bottle bought at the LC and poured into a pint glass.

Pours a deep, clear orange-red colour with a massive rocky head that retains really well. Webs of lace coat the glass all the way to the bottom. Carbonation is mild. Aroma is very floral and honey-sweet with a bit of clover and heather. Lightly herbal. Strong crackery malt backbone holding it together. Sweet, but surprisingly balanced and hoppy.

Taste is a bit more watery than I'd like, but there's a great crackery malt backbone balanced very well by a lightly herbal hop bitterness. Light clover honey sweetness. Old school flavours here, it's not hard to imagine the highlands while drinking this. Clean and simple, medium body, and it dries nicely in the finish. Mild carbonation. I could session this no problem, it's really tasty and slides down really easily.

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Photo of thesultan
3.66/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A - Beautiful, dark brown colour. Almost the same colour as the bottle it came out of. Thin, creamy brown head that quickly went away.

S - To begin with a wee bit of chocolate but as it warmed up starting giving caramel and some honey.

T - Quite sweet, with lots of chocolate and vanilla. Nicely balanced by robust hop taste.

M - Felt it was too heavy on the carbonation. still not bad though. Probably better on cask if I can find it somewhere.

D - No problems putting a few of these away.

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Photo of findlayfan
3.85/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured 500 ML into Imperial pint: dark amber body with modest off-white head that was gone quickly.

Caramel/malt nose with a hint of hops. Nothing really stood out but very pleasant overall.

Good carbonation and moderate mouthfeel. As with the smell, nothing stood out in the taste: a nice, middle-of-the-road combination of malt and hops.

Decent lacing left on the glass - more than I expected from the minimal head.

Not as complex as some Scottish ales I've had, but it's certainly not bland, either. A good session beer - wish I had more than the one.

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Photo of Graham5161986
4.12/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: pours a beautiful copper colour with a one finger fizzy head that quickly reduces to a thin film. Upon close inspection, you can actually see tiny particles floating around. Leaves a nice sticky lace.

S: aromas of caramel malts and bitter hops dominate. I also get hints of chocolate and vanilla.

T: quite heavily hopped, with a sweet bready, nutty flavour and a dry finish.

M: heavy and very creamy, tingly carbonation and a very smooth satisfying finish.

D: This is an excellent brew! Beautiful flavours,well crafted and is highly drinkable given its relatively low ABV. I could definitely see myself drinking more than one of these in a night. I look forward to my next one! A great find.

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

Has a wonderful copper color, if just a little on the light side. Not much of a head, but wonderful lacing all around. Has a great malty/peaty scent that fills the nose without overpowering. Great warm scotch ale flavor, a nice and deep maltiness with a bit of smoky peat. Does have a slight hint of chocolate, though not as much as promised. Goes down exceedingly well! It will not be a problem at all to finish the 1+ liter bottle.

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Photo of Gusler
4.07/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The beer dispense from the 500ml bottle an almost opaque brown with tinges of ruby at the edges, head admirable, creamy and light tan in color, stays for a while, then leaves the lace to conceal the glass. Nose has a deep rich malt sweet aroma, caramel, toffee and a bit of peat, maybe a twig of heather, quite nice, clean and crisp to the senses. Start has a sweet malt presence, touch of spiciness at the back, light to moderate in feel. Finish has a pleasant acidity, the hops understated, but adequate, sweet toffee to the dry end, quite a good drinking beer, seems I find less and less Scottish ales.

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

Pours out a hazy muddy copper colour with a standard, slightly off-white head.

Sweet-sour malt smell with a hint of smokiness and a very light hint of peat. Caramel in the background.

Smokey dry malt taste. Coffee-caramel flavours, light hop tastes. Note as thick or overpowering as some of the Scottish ales I've had...and certainly not as underpowered either.

A tad thin at times on the mouth, but a nice thick finish. A good session Scottish.

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Photo of jbsteiny
3.63/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

A really interesting color, this one. Like a muddy brown ale -- hazy dark copper -- with a decent head and lacing the color of extra-light coffee. Strong carbonation. Smells strongly of malts, with a bit of smoke & earth -- quite Scottish.

Didn't really do it for me, though. I found it a bit metallic and medicinal with a thin mouthfeel for the style. Certainly easy to drink, though, with interesting flavor characteristics that you don't find in most American ales. I'd get it again if looking for something different, but I prefer most other Scottish ales / wee heavies I've tried.

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Lia Fail from Inveralmond Brewery Ltd., The
3.75 out of 5 based on 126 ratings.
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