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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.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 09-18-2001

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Ratings: 420 |  Reviews: 291
Photo of Howlader
1.5/5  rDev -58.6%

Photo of John_Squires
1.75/5  rDev -51.7%

Photo of Nachos4two
2/5  rDev -44.8%

Photo of prisoner1572
2/5  rDev -44.8%

Photo of BDeibs
2/5  rDev -44.8%

Photo of Sloppymilkshake
2/5  rDev -44.8%

Photo of chefdejour
2.06/5  rDev -43.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

A: Dark Mahogany/red when held to some light, otherwise dark brown/black. Poured with almost no head, and no lacing.

S: Chocolate malts, vegetal and very little hop aroma. Kind of "salty?"

T: Some veg flavors, mostly dominated by the astringent salty and chocolate malts.

M: thin and crisp with med. carbonation.

D: to astringent for more than the 1/2 bottle I shared.

 372 characters

Photo of seymourbottoms
2.1/5  rDev -42%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Ok, here it goes. Long-time crafty drinker, first-time reviewer.

Pours very dark and quite uneventful. Even with a heavy pour, there is minimal head and little more than a dense and dark looking brew here. Carbonation looks to be somewhat minimal, however will be addressed later.

Smell is not surprising with this style, so neither a disappointment or a surprise, just merely, and mostly, non-existent.

On to the taste. We have a beer that uses seaweed as its primary highlight and it shows here. This is definitely the saltiest beer that I have had, and the salt is well balanced. However, I get very minimal accompanying flavors. If you are into very straightforward taste in your beer, then this could pique your interest.

On to the only surprise that i had with this beer. While I saw very minimal head, and little signs of carbonation with this beer, it does have quite a bit of soda-like carbonation on the tongue while drinking. Still a relatively light feel, and somehow it reminded me of drinking a coke if i took all of the sugars out and replaced it with a bit of salt.

There it is... my personal breakdown of this somewhat mediocre beer. At least in this advocate's eyes.

 1,189 characters

Photo of Zbeetleman
2.25/5  rDev -37.8%

Photo of tubaguy
2.29/5  rDev -36.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Imagine this scenario: you're at the beach catching waves and your beer is firmly planted in the sand near your beach towel. Meanwhile, waves, seasalt, squid, seaweed, microorganisms, and fallen sandcastles are all falling into your brew.

Pour some ocean water in a guinness and then you'll have a Kelpie. The kelp and seaweed tastes were not subdued enough to enjoy this stout-like ale. I could almost taste the sand in the beer.

Smells like ocean and tastes like ocean. Coming from a guy who loves the beach and beer, trust me you can skip this one. Just go to the beach and grab a Corona.

 595 characters

Photo of flyingpig
2.38/5  rDev -34.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Dark brown in colour with an almost black look to it and a lively looking body. There is a thin, centimetre tall head on top that is an off white colour and settles to a patchy lacing after a few seconds.

Almost nothing in the way of an aroma here when I first smelt it. There is some roasted malts and a hint of chocolate along with a faint stout like aroma. There is also a smell similar to miso soup as well but none of the smells are strong ones.

Basic in taste as well with some basic dark malts and a hint of chocolate along with that same basic stout characteristic. It does seem a lot stronger than the 4.4% mentioned on the bottle though.

Light medium bodied with an alcohol laced flavour and medium carbonation. There is a slightly gassy feel to the beer as well.

A rather poor beer for me here, it was far too light on the nose and tasted with a cheap stout mixed with salt water. Nothing about this one really appealed to me and it won't be one I'll have again.

 977 characters

Photo of Murrhey
2.4/5  rDev -33.7%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 2.25

Poured from a standard pressure-cap 500ml bottle into a conic pint glass in high elevation Libby, Mont. Reviewed live.

A- Half-finger off-white head with low retention. Limited spotty lacing. Dark chocolate color, very little light permeates.

S- Caramel, toffee, funky-earthy smell. Slight salinity in the nose, along with a very distinct fun that must be the seaweed. Very hard to describe.

T- Earthy, slightly watery, funky. Caramel, toasted malts, some vegetation.

M- Very watery. Not a very nice feel.

O- Swing and a miss.

 533 characters

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.

 279 characters

Photo of TheBigBoy
2.5/5  rDev -30.9%

Photo of ShakaShakaShaka
2.5/5  rDev -30.9%

Photo of rsinomega
2.5/5  rDev -30.9%

Photo of scoot64
2.5/5  rDev -30.9%

Photo of Shmobo
2.5/5  rDev -30.9%

Photo of lacqueredmouse
2.64/5  rDev -27.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2.5

Pours a deep dark brown colour, with tinges of red at the edges. Head is very minimal, just a tiny, loose-bubbled collar around the edge. Lacing is also absent. Body looks a bit thin. To be honest, I'm not enamoured of it, in fact, I feel a little bit of trepidation when I look at it.

Dark grainy notes on the nose. Toasted bread aromas, with light hints of caramel and a little cocoa sweetness. Not huge, and the flavours are a little generic, especially considering what was expected, but it's pleasant enough.

Quite thin on the palate. A slight roasty character, and a dry chocolate note later on, but the feel is woefully thin, leaving just a spent grain character to go with some fine-bubbled but overzealous carbonation. Feels like a very disappointing attempt at a dark ale, much lacking in body, depth and flavour. Mouthfeel in particular is disappointing.

Sorry guys, this just doesn't cut it for me - despite the uniqueness of the recipe, it doesn't have nearly enough on the palate, leaving it flaccid and weak. True, the main characters it has are dark grainy notes, but they exist in isolation with nothing else to back them up. Probably chuggable, but otherwise disappointing.

 1,194 characters

Photo of Urbancaver
2.65/5  rDev -26.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

I had NO clue what to expect with this. Frankly I thought it would be aweful but it surprised me... a bit at least

Appearance- No head.. not as dark as I would like to see but a deep brown none-the-less

Aroma- Smelled exactly like your typical stout... no real complexity here

Taste- Tasted like it smelled. A watery stout.

Mouthfeel- Doesn't really sit well on my palette...

Drinkability- Light enough to suck down but it gets worse as it goes

 449 characters

Photo of chumba526
2.65/5  rDev -26.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

Appears black with a sizeable tan head.

It smells slightly smoky, chocolaty and slightly sweet. It pretty much smells like a stereotypical English style porter.

It tastes much like it smells. It's a bit smoky. There is a bit of roasted nut flavor and a chocolate flavor. There is a very slight seaweed flavor but it blends with the smoky and roasted flavor of the beer.

The carbonation is way too high for the style. It has a very carbonated soda pop feel which is very unappealing.

Overall it's as drinkable as an average light porter. However the high carbonation makes me want to only have one.

Overall an ok beer but it doesn't have that interesting of a taste and the carbonation is too high.

 702 characters

Photo of TappaKeggaBrew
2.66/5  rDev -26.5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

A: Clear, but dark brown color doesn't let much light through. Head is just half a finger of golden blond foam that fades without leaving much lacing.

S: The toasty grain is there for sure, but what I notice most is the soy sauce and seaweed aroma, reminding me of something from a sushi restaurant more than a beer.

T: A little sweet malt and well-toasted grain balance each other early. Then the seaweed shows up with its smoky, briny flavors. It really isn't a good combination. Only by pairing it with some spicy food was I able to finish the glass without a lot of effort.

M: Thin, watery, and flat. Even most macrobrews are better on the palate.

O: Creativity in brewing is only a virtue when the result is enjoyable. This one tastes like an experiment, needing a few more attempts and adjustments to get it right.

 824 characters

Photo of RedDiamond
2.69/5  rDev -25.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Kelpie begins with porter-like properties. It is dark brown, nearly opaque, and pours with a light tan head. It initially tastes porter-like as well, with a fair measure of roastiness. But the further it strays from its porterish attributes, the less good can be said of it. And it does stray afield.

The brew is faintly carbonated with an aroma that floats like a sea breeze across berries – raspberries perhaps. The body is thin; the aftertaste is dank and unwelcome. Thankfully, the taste itself is not overtly suggestive of seaweed as I feared it might be. The fleeing porter notes are supplanted by a berry basket of raw twigs, which in turn is subsumed by wet cardboard.

I gave this highly improbable concept every honest opportunity to win my favor but can only report that the experiment was a ghastly failure. Kelpie is flat and fails on many fronts -- as an ale, as a porter, as an herb-flavored brew, and as a Scottish novelty. By comparison, I have long enjoyed the Fraøch Heather Ale brewed by the same company.

Kelpie has a brief moment of budding potential, but the paint smock of an aftertaste and the coarse woolen mouthfeel destroy any enjoyment that may hope to linger.

 1,205 characters

Photo of TheManiacalOne
2.7/5  rDev -25.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a dark reddish brown color, with a very thin off-white head that fades almost instantly and leaves very little lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of dark fruit, spices, caramel, roasted malts, some chocolate and some hops, none of it seems to blend very well.

T: The taste starts out sweet with flavors of dark fruit and chocolate up front and flavors of spices and caramel in the background. There's a mild hops presence that provides some balance. However, whatever it is that the seaweed brings seems to throw everything off a bit. The after-taste is slightly sweet.

M: Crisp and a little smooth, light-to-medium body, medium carbonation, slightly sticky finish.

D: A little tasty, goes down ok, not too filling, mild kick, it's certainly a unique beer and it's not too bad, but I'm not sure that I'd really want to drink it again.

 910 characters

Photo of sweemzander
2.75/5  rDev -24%
look: 2.75 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

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