Ebulum Elderberry Black Ale | Williams Brothers Brewing Company

very good
537 Ratings
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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 bashiba
3.41/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured a very dark black with an inch of off white head with good retention.

Smell was very sweet and alcoholy. A little to much.

Taste is nice, burnt and roasted malts and oats with a mild and sublte sweet berry undertone. Finishes with the same stout qualities slightly burnt and bitter with mild bitter chocolate flavors.

Mouthfeel is light and slightly oily, a little sticky.

A nice offering easy enough to drink, and unusual in its taste.

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Photo of Blakaeris
3.7/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours opaqu black, with a frothy tan head that dissipates to a thin skin of large soapy bubbles.

Smell is dark roasted grain, smokey with hints of chocolate. Subtle underlying dark fruit notes as well. High ABV is noticable.

Taste is similiar to the nose, but the dark fruit flavor is in control. Roasted malt, smokey burnt grain and chocolate still have a presence. However, there is also an herbal woody quality as well. Finish is rather dry with an herbal bitterness, warming alcohol, and lingering dark fruit flavor.

Mouthfeel is medium bidied and smooth.

Surprisingly good fruit flavored stout. Well worth a try. Flavor is complex and enjoyable.

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Photo of Fugazme
3.27/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Murky and dark brown in color with a 1/4" tan head... nicely tight and steady... stays well through the drink.

Sugary sweet aroma... smells of grape jam and apple juice... tons of bubble gum overtones... a bit of plastic or rubber.

Malty flavor... quite "stout-like" and chalky on the palate. Sweet in the middle but no fruit flavors detectable... Flavor doesn't match the aroma at all IMO.

A good one to try...

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Photo of tallar
4.2/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a deep purplish black and a huge tan head. Nice head retention! Once it fell, I got some really nice lacing on this one.

Aroma is mostly dark chocolate, coffee and elderberries in the background, with the taste being very much the same. Mostly coffee up front, followed by dark chocolate, coffee and a hint of fruit. The elderberries become more pronouced in the finish. Very smooth and creamy, with good carbonation.

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Photo of clickpush
2.45/5  rDev -35.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 1 | overall: 2

Pour: 33cl bottle to wide mouth glass. Pours a very pretty dark brown with a cask like lack of head and not much in the way of visible carbonation in the glass.

Nose: Aha! So that's what elderberries smell like! Smells slightly sour and/or hoppy.

Mouth: Nice, dark roasty flavors co-mingle with the rich flavors of the elderberries. Unfortunately, the first flavors are the best. From there we go to a weak showing in the back of the mouth, with almost no bitter balance and a slightly plastic, very undesirable finishing taste. The mouthfeel is horrible - it's like a cask ale except thinner. There's absolutely no carbonation aside from a tine twinge on the front of the tongue. I won't be buying this one again.

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Photo of chunkylover53
3.87/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Got this in a "Historic Ales of Scotland" gift pack.

Pours black, with a slight reddish hue if you hold it up to the light. Which you're apparently not supposed to do, so forget I said that.

Rather strong and pleasant smell of dark fruits, liquorice and malt.

Liquorish, slightly smoky taste. Mouthfeel a bit thinner than I expected.

This is pretty tasty. It's too bad I only have one.

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Photo of claytri
3.74/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer poured a rich black that was intriguingly flat with little head. The aroma was of dark fruit almost wine like. The taste was surprisingly light with a good dose of bittered fruit. The feel was heavy, and very dry. I purchased this beer because I wanted something different and this fit the bill. The lack of carbonation and the winelike qualities were nice. While I doubt I'll ever by a six, I'm sure I'll pick up the occaisional single.

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Photo of BEERchitect
3.6/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Enjoyable and nicely drinkable. I have a great appreciation for experimental and challenging brews, though this one falls a little unsettled. A medium viscous black hue with light head retention and fair lacing. Smells quite 'Schwarzbier'-like with a soft, powdered sugar sweetness. Stong with the berries (raspberries and blueberries) in the flavor and lightly in the aroma. Turns to vineous or wine-like midway through the drink with a grapelike flavor and sweetness in the finish. A moderate alcohol feel and flavor shows in the finish as well. Good, but off on the toasted quality and underlying sweetness. Lacks boldness for such character.

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Photo of tastybeer
3.85/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Black, brown with a hint of purple...and opaque. Redish tan head has nice retention but leaves sparse lace. Smells of soft ripe berries over roasted chocolate malts. Tastes of tart berries with an sweet oak-like maltiness. Wine like finish balenced by a lingering malt sweetness. Slick and ultra smooth, almost thin. Extremely drinkable.

A nice beer to have a lot of if you want a dinkable fruit beer with nice malts. I'll probably have this again sometime.

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Photo of wedge
3.7/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours black with hints of amber and a frothy, bubbly light tan head. Aroma of berries mixed with a creamy maltiness - sweet and fluffy. Roasted malt flavor, oats, and an underlying berry sweetness. Finishes earthy with a hint of wine. Creamy smooth medium mouthfeel that ends dry.

The berries are mostly in the smell of this beer. Overall a very earthy beverage that leaves a sour taste on the tongue. More complex and malty than I expected and well worth a try.

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Photo of tgbljb
4.05/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured a virtually black color with attractive tannish head. Nice lacing on the side of the glass as the head very slowly fell to a thick ring. Smell is porter-llike with nice toasted notes, chocolate and coffee undertines, and a bit of fruitiness (elderberry?). Taste shows miuch more of the fruitiness, and forces the toasted and coffee tastes to the background. Some alcohol presence is also noted. A nice creamy mouthfeel combines with a mild bitterness at the finish to create a very enjoyable beer. Very easy to drink. Would be an excellent after-dinner drink.

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Photo of thesquire
3.18/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This came from a 4 beer variety pack. It pours very very dark if you hold it up to the light there is no change. Very little head that fades quickly. Faint aroma with an almost sweet red wine smell. Mouthfeel is fair but the flavor is pretty weak. I would call this an interesting novelty beer but must admit I am not that familiar with the elderberry.

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Photo of crwills
4.32/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This was great! I got this in a 'Scottish Ales' gift pack and expected something weird and gimmicky, but instead I found a porter-like brew that I could honestly drink a whole lot of! Wish I had more.

Poured from a tall, long-necked bottle into a pint glass. A solid, motor-oil black with almost no head and no lacing. Rather intimidating, actually.

Smell was a complete surprise. I was expecting cloying fruityness or artificial sweetener -- instead, I encountered rich chocolate and cocoa, red wine, ripe fruit, and some in-your-face alcohol (whiskey-like) that was not unpleasant at all.

Taste is dominated by bitter chocolate and roasted malts. Slight burnt toffee and pear or raspberry aftertaste. Or maybe elderberry -- I'll be honest, I have no idea what elderberry tastes like. As the beer warms, the wild berry flavours, whatever they are, become much more prominent, as does the alcohol. Would actually probably make a good after-dinner or pre-bedtime beer.

Highly recommended. Hoping this is available outside of Christmas gift packs, as I'd definitely like to have some in stock!

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Photo of karst
4.2/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours dark with crimsom purple margins along with a fairly dense brown head and moderate enduring lace on the sides of my "Southern Bald Eagle" French stemware glass. I mention the glass because the aroma of elderberry is faint by comparison to the excellent malts (roasted, black caramel and woody wine) that made this beer so delightful to the nose. Select your glass to capture the nose.

When flavors follow aromatics like these your in for a treat. Be sure to serve it on the warmer side to allow the complexity of the grains emerge. 50's is a great temp for Ebulum tasting. The elderberry flavor is authentic reminding me of our use of fresh blueberries in several homebrews (California Steam, Pale Ale, mead ). The berries come across no so much as having a mouthfull of fresh elderberries but more like the smell on your hands after picking them.

Body is medium light with some help from roasted oats - but seems to support this "style", as I am a little picky about mouthfeel and found this acceptable. The folks at Heather Ale Ltd. have a berry nice beer here! I am encouraged to try the other offerings. My guess is that will 6.5 abv ale is truly brewed with natural flavors and think that as far as the Elderberry element, the fresher the better.

Ahhh to try this just out of the fermenter in the brewery!!

Maybe followed by a pint from the cask -The stuff of dreams.

Label has Best before April 2007 and a brief Scottish beer history.
Thanks to Christy and Vincent - purveyors of tasty delights.

 1,526 characters

Photo of walleye
3.83/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

poured dark brown small tan head. aroma dark berries and molasses, alcohol, dark brown sugar and hints of coffee I hop the flavor is as good as the aroma. flavor sorry to say but no weak.strange as I tasted this I kept getting differant flavors with each sip.!st sip was molasses 2nd the berries came out, 3rd malts and honey.than it started over. It wasnÂ’t as sweet as I thought it would be. not a bad beer

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Photo of mrasskicktastic
2.52/5  rDev -33.7%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

This beer should be consumed at higher temperatures (50-60F).

A - Dark brown with a small dark brown head that is quick to vanish. No lacing.

S - Hmmm. A bit of a slightly offensive floral character. Like flowers that are meant to be seen and not smelled. A very faint coffee odor underneath. After the temperature rises the offensive floral character vanishes and a slight elderberry and apple odor appears. It is no longer offensive, but it is still weak and not that good.

T - A slighty medicinal fruit character paired with a blackened coffee. It sounds worse than it is, but it still isn't great. There is a lingering faint medicinal character in the aftertaste, but it is predominantly a burnt coffee bitterness. It is a mild flavor. It isn't overwhelmingly unpleasant, but is not anything good to say about it. The medicinal character vanishes at higher temperatures and all that remains is a faint coffee bitterness

M - Carbonation is a bit high, thick, and pretty refreshing.

D - I can't forsee this one matching with foods well. Sessionable? Not likely, it is too strong anyway. I don't think I'll partake in this one again. The fruit presence is subdued, this is more like a porter than anything. A not so good porter at that.

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Photo of Hhawk06
4.19/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Wasn't expecting a lot out of this beer....shame on me!

It poured with a very thin layer of head, even though I poured fairly vigorously. That was probably the only disappointing part about this experience. The color is very close to pitch black and is certainly opaque. The nose is a highlight, malty/brandy/chocolate lends ideas that this may be a treat. The mouthfeel is syrupy and robust, expected from the look of it. There are mostly chocolate and toffee notes throughout, with underlying tones of elderberry (of course). But they act as a good compliment and as a character developer. The finish is a little more roasty with a wine-like dryness. Its surprising how easy to drink this beer is.

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Photo of russpowell
3.97/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Part of a variety 4 pack,

Poured Mahogony with a bubbly 1" deep tan head. Minimal head retention, but good lacing

Smell: Sweetness, malt, floral notes and a whiff of berries

Taste: Chocolate malt, slight sweetness, & an almost like sweet (think home made) wine/jam taste. Choclate, dryness, and a hint of sourness in the finish.

MF: A little under gassed for me, slick & well balanced otherwise.

Idiosyncratic beer that I'm guessing gives us a glimpse into the past & future of home brew. Seek it out!

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Photo of allergictomacros
3.82/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark red-brown. Porter-like colour. Head is small and retention not very good.

Pronounced alcoholic aromas. Dark malts and roastiness.

Slightly tart. Lots of fruitiness but not super strong like a kriek. Some sweetness as well. If I was told that this was not a fruit beer, I wouldn't dispute it. Some hops manage to come through in the finish.

Creamy and smooth, with a bit of a tannic residue.

Quite good.

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Photo of Citadel82
4.2/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark garnet with a short-lived one finger head in a Pokal settled down slowly to a thin collar. Good lacing in the wake. Aroma of berries was prominent as brew warmed later malt and alcohol surfaced, I was prepared for sweet blueberry pancake syrup but was pleasantly suprised with a dryish complex brew. There was some a hint of berries, maltiness, some dark chocolate black coffee and chicory or field greens and a touch of alcohol with a rather dry finish. A mostly satisfying brew.

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Photo of rebel1771
3.65/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours near black with decent off white head. The aroma is malty and chocolately with a subtle berry scent buried in back. The taste did not contain as much elderberry flavor as I thought it would. The flavor of this ale is made mainly of chocolate malts and coffee flavors. The elderberry flavor, much like the elderberry aroma, is buried in the back and is not that noticeable. This is a pretty good ale that I wouldn't mind having a second round of.

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Photo of Derek
4.1/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Best before Oct. 2006.

This 'fruit beer' is basically an oatmeal stout.

A: Dark black. Pours with a little tan head, which disappears, but leaves a hint of leg/lace. As an oatmeal-stout, I'd dock marks for lack of retention... as a fruit-beer, it's impressive.

S: Mmmm... berries. Some bready and roasty malt.

T: Nice bittersweet balance. Dark, roasty malt. Dark, wild berry flavour is subtle, but adds a pleasant depth.

M: Fairly full, thick body. Moderate carbonation. Nice.

D: Great!

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Photo of canucklehead
3.9/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours Dark black/brown with amber highlights. The head is dark tan and the nose is old dried fruit and malt. I loved the full mouthfeel of this beer with all its jammy notes combined with a big malt backbone. Almost a rougher relation to Traquair's Jacobite Ale. Very tasty and unique.

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Photo of cypressbob
4.17/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On cask at the NI CAMRA fest, 2005

Pours with a a dark almost black body, some hints of ruby. Zero head, just a few off white bubbles

Smell, strong fruity aroma, some vinegar and a little citrus too

Taste, tart vinegar, a range of tart fruit, some malt in the background, lasting acidity on the finish

A really interesting beer, almost flanders red like with the fruitiness and tartness

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Photo of sevineyes
3.64/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Poured from a brown bottle. The label featured the beer name in a celtic design.

A: Deep black. Only touches of deep mahogany on the ends. Thin head the color of chocolate milk froth. Little lacing.

S: Burnt, roasty smell with touches of fruit. Some tart cherry and smoke.

T: Great complexity that caught me off guard. Malt, licorice, burnt bread followed by a smoky, caramel, berry, prune flavor. Ends dry with a coffee presence. Not a very smooth transition between some of the flavors, but the complexity is still interesting.

M: Coats the mouth nicely. Not too much carbonation. Feels like there's a touch of warming at the end.

D: Decent to drink, but not the most drinkable of beers. Better suited as a once-in-a-while change up.

Overall: Bears a great deal of similarities to a milk stout but enough differences to stand on its own feet.

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Ebulum Elderberry Black Ale from Williams Brothers Brewing Company
3.8 out of 5 based on 537 ratings.
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