Ebulum Elderberry Black Ale | Williams Brothers Brewing Company

Ebulum Elderberry Black AleEbulum Elderberry Black Ale
537 Ratings
Ebulum Elderberry Black AleEbulum Elderberry Black Ale

Brewed by:
Williams Brothers Brewing Company
Scotland, United Kingdom

Style: Scottish Gruit / Ancient Herbed Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.50%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Introduced to Scotland by Welsh druids in the 9th Century, elderberry black ale was part of the Celtic Autumn festivals when the "elders" would make this strong ale and pass the drink round the people of the village. The recipe was taken from a 16th Century record of domestic drinking in the Scottish Highlands. Elderberries were used for many natural remedies to cure sciatica, other forms of neuralgia, influenza and rhumatism as they contain tannins and fruit oils. Ebulum is made from roasted oats, barley and wheat boiled with herbs then fermented with ripe elderberries.

Added by Mitchster on 09-18-2001

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Ratings: 537 |  Reviews: 366
Photo of rohrbachsfan
4.16/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Dark opaque brown (almost black). Medium head.

Smell: Sweet malt.

Taste: Roasted coffee, malt, herbs, and a subtle taste of berry. There’s sweetness but the sweetness seems to be more from the elderberries rather than from the malt in my opinion (quite a different flavor). Tastes like a very sophisticated porter.

Mouthfeel: Rich crispness from the carbonation. Finishes dry but there's a subtle sweet aftertaste (elderberries?).

Drinkability: Very nice. This is the second ale imported from Scotland that I have tried (first was Belhaven’s Scottish Ale) and I have to say that the Scots have brewing down to an art. I would definitely buy this one again and look forward to trying more from Scotland.

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Photo of fightingirishcmk
4.03/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Poured black into a pint glass. A fairly good sized tan head was obtained, which dissipated rather slowly. There was some good lacing left on the glass.

S: Never had anything with elderberries in it, but smells great of chocolate and berries, some caramel, very sweet.

T: Very unique taste, beginning with a berry flavor that morphs into a drying coffee like finish. It really changes a lot in your mouth as it warms up. I do enjoy the taste, there are also elements of toffee, oats, and a good amount of hop balance.

M: Feels very good, not too thick or thin, with the slightest amount of berry taste.

D: I would definitely drink this again. Its complex flavors allow for a truly pleasurable experience. It goes down fairly well, and theres very little I can complain about.

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Photo of Atlas1
3.84/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Picked up a bottle of the Ebulum Elderberry Black Ale the other day on a whim. Never had an elderberry beer, after all. And hey, I liked the bottle cap.

Pours pitch black with a foamy, bubbly brown head that thins out quick but keeps a hearty ring of big bubbles alive around the edges of the glass. Not much lace to speak of. The bouquet is, well, fruity. So THIS is what elderberries smell like! Interesting. I like this. I've never smelled a beer like this before, which makes sense not having had an elderberry beer before. Very pleasant aroma. I get some raisin and plum scents here too, as well as some apple scent. The taste is strange. It's really thin up front, but after it sits in the mouth and warms up a bit there is a noticeable change in composure. Perhaps it has something to do with the brewed qualities of the elderberry, but the flavor is very muted, almost nonexistent, at first. Then, after a second or two, the fruit flavors present themselves and the whole thing livens up a bit. Finishes fruity and tart with the slightest hint of hops. And then, after you think it's all over, it actually gives off a bitter coffee aftertaste. It's subtle at first, but the flavors here are much more complex than you think in the beginning. I am surprisingly impressed by this beer for a number of reasons. If you try this, be sure to let it sit a bit and warm up to really give the flavors a chance to make their presence known. Not exactly what I would call a session beer, but one that I would definitely try again. Would go very well with certain berry-centric desserts.

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Photo of grub
3.5/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

330ml bottle, best before dec 2007

pours very dark brown, nearly black and not quite opaque. a vigorous pour gives a scant head that disappears almost immediately.

aroma is nice. roasty and fruity. molasses. alcohol. sort of cola-like aroma.

taste is nice. roasty and smokey, with a pleasant fruity character and a nice light sweetness. bit of molasses and toffee. very light bitterness. hint of coffee and bittersweet chocolate.

mouthfeel is good. medium body with very light carbonation. would be nicer with a little more carbonation.

drinkability is good. nice balance between the sweetness, alcohol, and light bitterness.

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Photo of longarm
4.5/5  rDev +18.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Light tan, thick and creamy carbonation out of the bottle. Head doesn’t fade and caps a very dark brew.

Fruity aromas mix with the smell of green branches, raspberries and dark chocolate.

Dark malts noticed, but not prominent or overwhelming. The malt creates a nice foundation and lends some complexity, but it also leaves plenty of room for the elderberry to make an important and flavorful contribution. A very well-balanced beer. No off-flavors.

Oh so smooth, with medium body and exceptionally clean finish.

Wow, I really like this beer. This brewery keeps pushing the edge with interesting and nearly forgotten recipes, and it continues to impress me. Give me a fridge full of this stuff!

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Photo of DaPeculierDane
4.03/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a pilsner flute at Opus in Madison.

Black body, pink head. Nice looking. Very appealing.

Aroma reminds me of the roasted malt profile of a good Schwartz beer. Fruits just barely come through, mostly blackberry and maybe a few strawberries or cherries. Hints of licorice?

Taste is dominated by dark roasted malts but has some nice mulberry/blackberry character. Smooth, silky, almost oily full bodied brew.

What a beer. I really, really enjoy this. This is a man’s fruit beer. It’s loaded with roastedness, a bit of booze, and some nice vinous berries.

Solid brew.

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

Pours a clear black with a light tan head that laces very well. Aroma fruit esters and probably elderberries (as I don't know what they smell like). Taste was stoutish, with roasted malt, burnt toast, and a long dry finish, didn't notice much berriness to it though. Mouthfeel was smooth and dry. Had this in a gift set including Alba, Fraoch, and Grozet, and this one was definitely my favourite.

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Photo of brentk56
4.3/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours a coffee brown color with a modest tan head that leaves ringlets and spots

Smell: Earthy dark fruit and dark chocolate tones

Taste: Initial pruny flavor is quickly joined by black coffee; slightly smoky; after the swallow, the chocolate flavor bursts forth and provides a slightly sweet finish with a bitter coffee elements

Mouthfeel: Medium body with moderate carbonation

Drinkability: Mellow tones with an interesting panoply of flavors make this one of my favorites from this brewery

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Photo of donotknowme
3.18/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This beer poured black with a hint of red. The red being most noticeable at the edges where more light could filter through. Any head quickly disappeared to leave a hint of lace at the edges. The nose was malty sweet with a hint of berry and some smoky notes at the end. Smooth mouth with a hint of after taste and very little carbonation. I tried it, won't drink it again, but I do not like dark beers.

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Photo of stephendr
3.8/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle- color of brownish purple , with medium tan quickly departing head - nose of malts , mold , cocoa , hopps , and dark red fruit – taste of , dark red fruit , earthy , red wine , chocolate , and malts - body medium , and creamy – aftertaste of malts , chocolate with hint of jammy red wine (zin)

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Photo of kernalklink
4.38/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This was a great brew. The ale poured a deep dark mahogany with great lacing and a thick dark head. Fruity, hoppy aromas gave way to a perfectly balanced flavor profile- slight berry sweetness with an aggressive bitterness which lasts to the end. Slight earthy and cherry notes enhance the beer as it warms. Very well crafted, refreshing beer.

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Photo of zuggy9
4.37/5  rDev +15%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I found this one and knew I had to try it. It poirs and very darkih red with a dense tan head that reduces down into a good lacing and a crown. The smell is rich and warm, with sweet berry accents. The taste is rich, with chocolate and berries flavors, and it finishes a bit tart. It goes down smooth too. A very good herbed ale and very enjoyable.

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Photo of jwc215
4.03/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Label indicates best before end of February 2007.

Pours jet black with a lasting thin tan head. Some broken lacing sticks to the glass.

The smell is of licorice, rooty, with hints of red wine. Different, but pleasant.

The taste is winey with licorice-like characteristics. (Not unusual, as elderry is related to licorice. No hops are used, so the bitterness comes from herbs. A very slight medicinal touch comes along with the bitter herbs. This one is more sweet than bitter, though. Sweet roasted grains - oatmeal and barley give it a sweet character. Toffee is noticeable as well.

Silky, even slickly, smooth. It slides right down. The flavors linger.

This is an unusual drink and good for what it is. This is the fourth of a four-pack series I bought and it is my favorite. Not something I would want with any regularilty, but a nice "something different" rare treat.

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Photo of xav33
3.82/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Heather Ale Ebulum Elderberry Black Ale
12 oz bottle
Medium pour in an English Pint
Best before 02/08, picked 12/06

Poured a dark mahogany with a small frothy somewhat lasting light brown and slightly pink head with a tiny ring of lacing.

Smelt of moderate dark chocolate, dark berries, brown sugar, roasted burnt malt, vanilla.

Taste was upfront moderate dark roasted malt and coffee bitterness, light dark chocolate, fruit and vanilla sweetness, and some tartness followed by a moderate to strong dark bread bitterness and dark chocolate sweetness and faint Elderberry essence on a long finish. Palate was medium bodied, slightly creamy, lively carbonated, with moderate astringency.

Overall, the aromatics of the elderberries are there but subtle, overtaken by the rich nature of the darker malts. Satisfying.

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Photo of IntriqKen
3.65/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours black with a tan head that lasts and lasts.
Aromas are burnt wood, molasses, and brown sugar.
Flavors are the burnt wood with a tart fruitiness.
Mouthfeel is nice...slightly creamy from the carbonation and then drying from the tart fruit.
Aftertaste is vinous and dry.
Interesting and personally prefered to their spruce beer.

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Photo of pootz
3.83/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4


Puts a deep black ale in the glass with a smallish sticky mocha cap that reduces to a ring and laces lightly.

Aromas of bitter-sweet cocoa over succulent-tart berry tones...some musty wet grass and woodsy tones in the back...excellent subtle nose.

Profile: Imagine a rich coffee stout infused with wild botanicals and musty berry fruit and you will nail this dark elixer...finish is wet and long and infused with the stout-fruit tastes but slightly bittering from the hops...very nice dark ale....more like a fruit and herb flavored thick porter or stout.

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Photo of Viggo
4.03/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a very dark red/black, thick tan head forms, settles to a layer and ring with nice lacing. Smell is sweet and roasty, smells like a stout with a nice smooth berry aroma, coffee and chocolate. Roasty chocolate in the front, sour berries in the middle, chocolate and berries in the finish, really neat. Real tartness down the throat. Mouthfeel is medium bodied with low carbonation, very creamy and smooth. I really enjoyed this, hopefully good things to come from this set of beers. Definately interested in trying more old school Scottish ales.

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Photo of kmo1030
4/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

this beer is a deep burnt looking clear bown with maybe a hint of purple and a small bubbly head.
it's got a warm inviting scotch ale type smell. toffee and light chocolate, with a faintly peaty character. interspersed throughout is the elderberry.
in the flavor the berries are much more prominant, adding a sweet tangy aspect to the roasty toffee and powdered cocoa scotch ale flavors which now take a little bit of a backseat. there is also a tobacco-y leather type flavor. this as are most of the other flavors, is subtle.
it's got a light-ish medium body and pretty moderate carbonation. this looked a lot thicker pouring then it actually was in the mouth.
really quite drinkable, and pretty tasty. i'd pick up a six pack...

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Photo of Stimack
3.92/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Brew pours to a dark brown if not black color and does not seem to let much of any light through. Has a nice medium tan colored head that has some retention and leaves a fair amount of lacing down the side of the brew. The aroma has a lot going on, coffee, fruit (berries) and a wine like scent seem to be very noticeable. Notice chocolate and coffee flavors from the onset from the nice roasted/burnt malt. In the middle I notice some fruit/berry flavors coming through, a very nice tasting brew. Also has a somewhat dry finish to it. Overall I like this brew, reminds me of a porter but what do I know! I would get this one again.

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Photo of AlexJ
3.68/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nearly opaque black pour with a lovely mahogany head that is tight and thick.

Aroma is subtle and pleasing, dark chocolate roast, dark fruit, hints of coffee, and lightly scorched brown sugar.

Flavor is malty as expected, powdery cocoa, black bread drizzled w/ molasses, a tough of creamy roasted oat tartness, and a dark fruit note that is very subtle. There is a very faint hop flavor of earthy wood and dry leather. Reminds me a bit of a Porter. Very simple yet interesting.

Body is medium, creamy, and very slippery smooth. The oats add a nice fullness and the carbonation is very gentle and soft. Much better than their Grozet.

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Photo of numenor1
3.73/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours dark brown/back, not too viscous. Modest head, yet nice collar and some lacing. Has a slight sour smell on the nose, but with obvious chocolate and roast. Given their other beers, i was expecting a little more from this one. Starts out soft with some chocolate roast, and a little tartness (elderberries?), tartness is coupled with the bitterness from the dark roast and melds well, drying off into the finish. Nice flavor, but relatively simple. This has a certain similarity with their other beers, common yeast maybe? Medium, medium light mouthfeel with soft carbonation. It is fairly drinkable.

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Photo of hunteraw
3.95/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Very dark russet brown in appearance with a nice two-finger head. Surprisingly rocky head, good retention, and minor lacing.

Smell: Malty aroma, with some oats and a dark, fruity sweetness in the background.

Taste: Surprisingly roasty, which for me at least became the dominant flavor, with the berries in the background. Finishes dry. Reminiscent of a porter, with bitter chocolate and a touch of coffee flavor present. Woody, tannic aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Rather slick, carbonation seems right.

Drinkability: This is my favorite of the pack so far (only the Alba remains). I'd buy this again, if it was available on its own. I did think the elderberry would be more prominent, though.

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

Extremely dry beer as it hits the back of the both with a strong body to it that hits with sherry notes, fruity, and spicy. Dark black in color. I often have a hard time getting back to beers that I like--always distracted by the new beer to dry, but this is one that I often pick up a bottle of when out shopping to have again and again. Very good beer, and it warms up very well (not like an old ale but ok), so you can sip it for a while.

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Photo of SilentSabre
4.23/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I was very surprised with this one. It caught me totally off guard. It poured very dark, almost black, in fact. Of course now that I look at the label, it *does* say BLACK ALE. I don't quite understand how I overlooked that, but anyhow...
It had a large, frothy, sand coloured head that actually stuck around for a while. Reminded me of 100's of porters and stouts I have had throughout my life. Smell is semi-sweet chocolate, coffee, and plenty of roasted malt. If you are looking for it, there is a slight presence of berries hidden deep, deep down. Taste is sweet and malty with plenty of coffee bean-like bitterness following the initial malty sweetness. This is quite good and lovely surprise. Mouthfeel is very soft and gently with a medium weight body. I feel I could drink 3 or 4 of these in a sitting, and certainly feel it would accompany a meal well. I'll certainly buy this again.

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Photo of gnoff
2.9/5  rDev -23.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Bottle, brought by a friend from England.

Black color, tan to beige "cafe latte" head; beautiful, but non-lasting, head.
Soft gentle a bit chocolate and burnt scent, but more towards the chocolate bit. Warming up the beer grows a fresh fruity scent.
Soft but a bit thin mouthfeel.
Low bitterness.
Small chocolate taste mixed with alcohol, mellow burnt aftertaste.

Can't taste the elderberry and the entire beer is a bit too weak for my taste.

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Ebulum Elderberry Black Ale from Williams Brothers Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.8 out of 5 with 537 ratings
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