Kelpie Seaweed Ale | Williams Brothers Brewing Company

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Kelpie Seaweed AleKelpie Seaweed Ale
420 Ratings
Kelpie Seaweed AleKelpie Seaweed Ale

Brewed by:
Williams Brothers Brewing Company
Scotland, United Kingdom

Style: Scottish Gruit / Ancient Herbed Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 4.40%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
At least four hundred years ago, the coastal & Island farmers of Scotland used seaweed beds to grow their cereal crops. This barley produced very interesting flavors in the ale and whiskey they produced. Including bladderwrack seaweed in the mash tun along with organic barley gives this wholesome dark ale a distinctive flavor.

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Ratings: 420 |  Reviews: 291
Reviews by mattmaples:
Photo of mattmaples
2.42/5  rDev -33.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

They are at it again!!! This time it is a beer made with sea weed. This is a dark beer bordering on porter. The sea weed give it a bit of a funk smell and after taste. Not the best idea they ever had. I do have customers though that have come back and bought this more than once.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of oberon
3.58/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a deep brown with a few deep orange hints thru out with a slight off-white head that settles nicely leaving a slight sheet of lace behind,kind of an odd aroma of roasted malt,chocalate and saline solution very different indeed.Taste starts out more like a nut brown ale some roasted flavors with some earthiness and then I picked up that ocean-like kelp flavor not heavy at all but I picked up none the less even more in the aftertaste.Not a bad brew at all some little oddities to it I am glad I gave it a try.

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Photo of beerhunter13
3.25/5  rDev -10.2%

Photo of StoutHearted
4.47/5  rDev +23.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Sweet mother of toned-down hyperboles, is this an great beer! I chose it for the label: It was something new and I thought a seaweed ale would make me daring. (Some folks get tattoos, I buy quirky beer.) However neither the smell nor the taste gave off the salty, oceanic taste I was expecting. Rather, I got a chocolate ale that was somewhere between a porter and a stout. It poured brownish-dark with little to no head, but retained a strong aroma. The taste was very pleasing and featured a subdued chocolate malt backbone. The seaweed contributes an earthy vegetal quality to the brew. It's almost too easy to drink, especially at 4.4%.

I had this beer with spicy Mexican food and it went together fabulously. I was truly sorry to see the bottle drained to the last drop.

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Photo of BeerAdvocate
3.67/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Review from BeerAdvocate Magazine Issue #45 (Oct 2010):

Mashed in with bladderwrack seaweed, which is know for its unique flavor and supposed medicinal qualities. Dark, let's call it black... impressive lacing to say the least. Sweet treacle maltiness with a faint ocean saltiness in the nose. Smooth and wet with a delicate, moderately sized body. Small hop character is there to balance and nothing else. Dry toasted malt flavor seems to play the same tune but at least sticks to the palate. A bit of earthy yeast and vague fruit in the dry and lightly salty finish. A great example of what an extreme beer can be; dark ale with seaweed, BAM! Extreme! Aside from that, this ends up being a great session ale that lands outside of the box.

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Photo of shapudding
3.7/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Tag dated October '05. 1pt 9oz. Poured out a dark and clear rootbeery brown. Just a bit of large bubbled khaki froth that settled mainly to the one side as a thin ring. No real head to it. Toasty malt scents, merlot and chocolate. I was surprised with the tastes, very nice and dark. Roasty malt flavors, thin coffee, bit of burnt toast. Bit of house red wine left in the flavor at the end. Fairly thin mouthfeel, low carb. Easy drinker, the taste is not too intense and this is thin bodied enough to make it easy to down quite a few in a sitting. Very nice surprise in the flavor, I really did not know what I was getting into with this one when checking out the name, kinda went into it expecting a sea-water flavor, hey- ya never know with some of the experimentation going on out there! But even if it was, I probably still would have tried it!

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Photo of Jason
3.75/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Presentation: 500 ml brown slender Euro style bottle with a “Best before end” date on the label.

Appearance: Nearly black in colour but the light seems to make a dim yet brown tinge to the dark colour, acceptable foaming head with a lace that has trouble sticking to the glass.

Smell: Earthy, ocean-like with fresh seaweed. Not fishy but rather a fresh salty seaweed aroma. Mild chicory roasted malt nose with some sweetness also.

Taste: Firm medium body, crisp with a developing smoothness and a semi creamy mouth feel. Carbonation is bordering brash and lets the roasted malt bitterness ride on its back while it crashes on to the palate. Not excessively earthy but it is definitely there, fresh and in the face with hints of salty neutral flavour seaweed. Malt sweetness is creamy with a near chocolate flavour but closer to a rich carob. Hops fit like a glove with out getting in the way and doing a great job to balance. Light salty earthy finish that is comes down dry.

Notes: No fishy ocean flavours or aromas. There is that fresh ocean flavour and smell though, salty and earthy. With that on a beer that is somewhere between a hearty brown ale and a brown porter it is quite and intricate mix. An interesting beer to say the least and well worth a try.

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Photo of merlin48
4/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

500 ml bottle pours an almost opaque dark brown colour, with a medium beige head that recedes with a few sheets of lacing. I didn't expect a seaweed ale to be so dark. Aroma is chocolate malt, fresh brewed Columbian coffee, Cuban cigar smoke, and a hint of dulce. Dulce is a dried seaweed delicacy that I encountered in August of 2003, in the Canadian Maritimes. I wish this Kelpie Ale had a bit more dulce flavor. Nevertheless, this ale is packed with an ample roasted malt spine: coffee, cigar smoke, and bittersweet chocolate. I did find a bit of a salty aftertaste here.
Similar to a Porter, but with some wild historical twists.

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

Due to a lack of glassware, I drank this out of a wine glass that was refilled several times. It has a lovely dark brown color, with little head and carbonation. The scent is rather unique, it reminds me greek olives, and a little bit of ocean air-- just the saltiness, I guess, though since its flavored with seaweed, that makes sense. The flavor is a lot like other darker beers-- not as rich as a barleywine or stout, but with a lot more flavor and weight than, say, Anchor Steam. I'm still not quite up to my beer knowledge to be able to pick everything out, but the flavor does have a little bit of bitterness to it, and in some ways reminds me of the brine of olives even-- though that might just be because of the scent. It felt nice in my mouth, a thick feel without too much carbonation, easy to drink. Its different, unique, and maybe not something I'd like a lot of in one sitting, but my one 500mL bottle? pretty nice serving size, especially since this particular booze is weaker than I typically drink. I wouldn't drink several in one night, but I would buy it again.

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Photo of tigg924
3.12/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance: dark brown, no head, no carbonation

Smell: slightly earthly, slightly floral, slightly salty--very unique

Taste: dark, malty, somewhat porterish

Mouthfeel: dry going down, a bit of a sweet lingering after taste.

Drinkability: I could drink this like any other porter-

Overall I was expecting more. This to me is an average beer made with a different ingrediant

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Photo of Hugh37
3.5/5  rDev -3.3%

Photo of pat61
4.25/5  rDev +17.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

This pours brilliant dark brown under a thin light tan head and looks every bit like a Scott’s ale but the musty, herbal, caramel aromas tinged with iodine point to a deeper past. This is a gruit ale made with seaweed and you can pick up on a little iodine and salt on the palate along with anise, licorice and malt flavors and a dash of pepper on the finish. Medium full body and medium carbonation. A delightful surprise.

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Photo of fionn13
3.25/5  rDev -10.2%

Photo of jazzyjeff13
3.7/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A 500ml bottle with a BB of Aug 2012. Given to me for my birthday last year, so I've been sitting on it for a while. The label mentions that this ale includes bladder wrack seaweed in the mash.

Poured into a tulip pint glass. A deep reddish-brown hue with medium carbonation. Yields a decent head of creamy tan foam that lasts for a few minutes before collapsing to a surface layer. A sweetish aroma of chocolate malt with hints of caramel, dried fruit, ale yeast and a touch of brine in the background.

Tastes of chocolate malt with a dry, faintly salty finish. A slight, lingering sweetness. Notes of dark grainy malt, caramel, hints of dried fruit, faint yeast and a subtle briny quality. Dry upon swallowing, with virtually no bitterness. Mouthfeel is smooth and tingly, with good body and a mild 'salty' sensation. Lightly astringent. Aftertaste of chocolate malt with a hint of the sea.

An unusual brew, but goes down nicely. Could be described as oyster stout for vegetarians. The aroma has a distinct chocolate note that is rather pleasing, while the flavour is balanced but a tad less substantial. Lies somewhere between a brown ale and a porter, with plenty of dark malt character. The seaweed doesn't exactly come through, but it possesses a mild salty twist. Tasty, and well worth trying.

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Photo of niknar
4/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours out a dark, blackish color with a thick frothy almond colored head. After a few minutes the head settled to a respectable collar, but left very little lacing on the side of the glass. The smell is quite interesting. To me, it smelled something like spices, malt, salt, and chocolate. Wonderful complexity. The taste was excellent as well. Thick flavor of roasted and chocolate malts, delicately ballanced by hops and spices. It started nice and sweet, then finished slightly dry with lingering flavors. The mouthfeel aspect was slightly thinner than I expected, and left a slightly oily feel in my mouth. Not terribly unpleasant, but not what I was looking for. Overall, I feel this is a moderately drinkable beer. Not something I would drink 3 or 4 of on a hot summer day, but definitely a worthy beer for anyone who enjoys dark, malty offerings.

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Photo of nate_lyon
4.25/5  rDev +17.4%

Photo of ADR
3.38/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Very dark mahogany appearance, seems clearish in the bit of light coming through on the bottom. Builds a greenish yellow head of 1/2 an inch for about a minute. Ring laces. Mocha aroma, slightly piquant but with a chocolate sense. Mouthfeel is medium but consistant with lower carbonation. Interesting profile for flavor, but slightly strange for me. Carob flavors, malted milk, huskiness early -- but a rather de-constructed soapy surfactant quality. The final flavors dominate the close and linger into the aftertaste. An interesting beer, differs in scores for traits widely to me -- not one that rings any bells, however.

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Photo of WVbeergeek
3.55/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Interesting concept seaweed ale, I figured after searching though the shelves and taking nearly an hour in D's Six Pack one day, this beer found it's way into my selections. Pours a deep, very dark ruby brown almost black really had to hold it toward the light to see the ruby tinged edges of this black abyss. The tan creamy head pours thick but then dissipates rather quickly leaving trickled lace in my Gulden Draak 20 ounce tulip shaped glass. Aromatics are much of a coffee porter with deep roasts filled with dark chocolate and cocoa. A bit milky with an air of sea air in the background, I am not trying to force the seaweed but it is evident there not dominantly but traceable. Taste is creamy smooth dark roasts slightly bitter, slightly harsh from the dark roasted barley in this beer. The salty finish tingles the back of the throat, but it's not overbearing at all not like gargling salt water just reminiscient of it. This beer works suprisingly I didn't know what to expect here, but I am rather pleased. As for mouthfeel just a little thin bodied not much fireworks or exciting textures going on here. Drinkability is decent but I wouldn't put it on my must taste list something of a novelty beer, but not bad very drinkable just not a classic in my book. Creativity was flowing here and along with the other beers from Heather Ales brewing ancient beer is their art.

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Photo of navband
4.25/5  rDev +17.4%

Photo of stereosforgeeks
3.75/5  rDev +3.6%

Photo of glid02
3.8/5  rDev +5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Got this from the Liquor Loft in Tallahassee.

Pours a black color with a half-finger off-white head. The edge of the glass turns dark red when held up to the light. The head dissipates into a wispy layer of bubbles on top with a ring around the glass. Lacing is not very sticky.

Smells like roasted malt. There's not a lot else than I can distinguish - maybe just a hint of chocolate.

Tastes the same as it smells. A robust roastedness with a mild bitterness at the end.

Mouthfeel is alright. Could be a little thicker, and the carbonation is a bit too much until it warms.

This is a pretty drinkable beer. It reminds me a lot of O'Hara's Irish Stout. Very roasty, but not a whole lot else.

Overall this is an interesting beer. I'd love to taste a version of this made without seaweed to see how much the seaweed contributes to the taste and mouthfeel. Worth a shot, most of all because there are not a whole lot of other beers that can claim to use seaweed in the brewing process.

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Photo of rastaman
3.06/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I was quite dissapointed that it didn't taste like seaweed. Tasted like stout-light or an slightly thicker schwarzbier, only with a slight saltyness on the finish. Chocolatey malts, with a lightly hoppy, lightly bitter finish, nice soft roastyness. Not to bad, tasty.

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Photo of JIMTRK16
3.25/5  rDev -10.2%

Photo of rhoadsrage
3.18/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

(Served in an imperial pint glass)

A- This beer pours a black body with a slight hint of deep brown in the light. There is a thin film of light tan that breaks up a bit but last a good bit. The body is too dark to see any carbonation except for the random bubble stuck to the glass.

S- This beer has a light clean flavor with notes of dark toasted malt and a hint of salty spice.

T- The soft taste of coffee roasted malt and black malt has a watery taste to it followed by a dark nougat note. The finish has a light tangy note that is just a bit earthy.

M- This beer has a medium-full mouthfeel with a watery texture.

D- This beer has some dark malt flavors but the most memorable part is the watery texture, smell and taste. I was expecting some note of seaweed or something of interest. It does have some weak Bock notes but not enough to make me want another glass.

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Photo of Sauron2012
4.67/5  rDev +29%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I had seen this on the shelves and not known what to think, so I finally grabbed it.

Pint bottle poured into my Crimson Tide pilsner glass.

A: Super dark and rich looking, essentially a porter, but not quite as dark when held to the light.

S: Rich and malty.

T: Brilliant the malts and hops are traced by a slightly foreign flavor that I assume is the kelp. A delicious dark ale indeed.

M: Impressively smooth and drinkable, not a bad flavor left anywhere at any time.

Overall: I'd recommend this for sure, it's an interesting recipe with some pretty solid results.

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Kelpie Seaweed Ale from Williams Brothers Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.62 out of 5 with 420 ratings