Merlin's Ale | Broughton Ales Ltd

81 Reviews
Merlin's AleMerlin's Ale

Brewed by:
Broughton Ales Ltd
Scotland, United Kingdom

Style: English Pale Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 4.20%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by brewdlyhooked13 on 08-16-2001

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Reviews: 81 | Ratings: 95
Photo of rodbeermunch
2.92/5  rDev -19.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

Pours a dull copper, hefty, 3/4" white head. Aroma was almost malt liquor like, corn, sweetness.

Taste isn't bitter, this comes off less an esb and more a british mild. Its like drinking a light beer with a a tad bit heftier weight to it. I don't really get this beer, seems more like a novelty product for the artwork (which is cool) more than anything. Only sold in an inconvenient and expensive format, and it isn't even that good. Would not bang again.

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Photo of flyingpig
3.12/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

500ml Bottle from Aldi Supermarket, Scotland (£1.59):
Clear, medium amber with a foamy white head that stops just short of being patchy.

Some hops & earthy notes with a few grassy ones alongside a touch of sweetness & freshly cut grass. Biscuit malts & some floral notes with some light grain feature but the beer isn't the strongest on the nose, although balance is good.

Biscuit malts & faint sweetness, a slight tang initially with nice floral flavours backed up by caramel & a bitter aftertaste. Some earthy hops round things off.

Light-medium & smooth, although there was the odd touch of grain. Dry with moderate carbonation & a fair balance although the mouthfeel seemed the weak link in this beer, only just though.

Started not too badly at all with a nice hoppy taste & bitterness but to be honest it was a fairly standard beer & it wasn't too exciting either sadly. It's drinkable but not great, nor is it one I'll pick up again I'm afraid.

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Photo of charlatan
3.33/5  rDev -8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Half pint at 'spoons in Greenock. Light gold coloured beer with relatively little head and not much of a nose, but certainly on the metallic side. That metallic smell was reflected in slightly leafy hops which dominate here (not huge, but firmly in control). This is not at all sweet and has a dry finish.

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Photo of jazzyjeff13
3.31/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

A 500ml bottle with a BB of March 2014, so it's just out of date. Hopefully still OK. Acquired a while back from a supermarket. The label states that the beer is named after the legendary wizard Merlin who lived in Caledonia.

Poured into a straight pint glass. A deep, hazy amber colour with light carbonation. Forms a large head of creamy off-white foam with good stability; this slowly reduces to a thick surface layer. Good lacing. Aroma of biscuity grain with hints of light caramel, subtle floral hops, grass/hay, fruity ale yeast and faint stewed leaves. Pleasant but a bit dull.

Tastes of grainy malt with a dry finish. Notes of mild caramel, biscuity grain, faint floral hops, grass/hay, fruity ale yeast and stewed leaves. A touch of cardboard in the background. Well-attenuated, followed by a restrained, leafy bitterness upon swallowing. Mouthfeel is smooth and dry, with soft carbonation and decent body. Somewhat astringent, accompanied by an aftertaste of stewed leaves, ale yeast and faint malt.

Hmmm - OK though nothing special. Looks pretty good, while the aroma and flavour have a tired blend of grainy malt and mild, grassy hops. Body is alright. It's fine but a rather boring brew - where's the magic? No need to hunt it down.

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Photo of metter98
3.83/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A: The beer is clear yellow in color and has a slight amount of visible carbonation along with hints of amber hues. It poured with a quarter finger high off white head that quickly died down, leaving some lacing on the surface and a collar around the edge of the glass.
S: Moderate aromas of fruity yeast are present in the nose.
T: Like the smell, the overall taste is quite fruity and also has some hints of pale malts.
M: It feels medium-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This beer goes down easily and is quite sessionable. I enjoyed the fruity yeast flavors in the smell and taste.

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

Poured from the 16.9 ounce bottle into a Samuel Smith English tulip pint glass.

a: A clear amber formed an inch high white head which receded to a surface foam film and lacing.,

s: Moderately malty. Nice!

t: Reminds of drinking British Real Ale in English pubs. Malty and full of body, with a fairly dry malt finish. This despite the "Best By" date of 11/12, (or perhaps because of it?) Probably why it was on sale for $2.

m: Surprisingly and pleasingly hefty considering its clarity.

o: This is a traditional style English/Scottish brew, which is generally unpopular in the US these days, but which I really enjoy, perhaps partly because it brings back fond memories of touring the UK in the 80s and 90s. There are many much better summer refreshers, but if you want a tasty malty pint, this will definitely satisfy!

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Photo of zeff80
3.7/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Shared with my brother-in-law, who also likes wizards and also likes beer.

A - Poured out a hazy, amber color with a one finger, khaki head of bubbly foam. It left some sudsy trails of lace on the glass.

S - It smelled of sweet malts, bread crust, caramel and a light notes of toffee.

T - It had a warming malty presence with caramel, toffee and sweet bread. Slightly bitter with a touch of grassiness.

M - It was crisp, sharp and smooth. A light bodied ale with a dry finish.

O - This is a nice English Ale, but like most I'm sure it is much better closer to the source.

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Photo of TwelveOunces
3.65/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a snifter glass.

This beer is copper orange with a one finger white head. The smell is quite malty, lot of caramel and toffee and some bitter hops. Taste is the same, fairly bitter, some fruitness to it. A good bit of caramel, toffee and irish cream. Mouthfeel is smooth and drinkable but the beer itself is rather light for my taste. Overall, its pretty decent, I wish it were bigger.

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Photo of Kromes
3.94/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: A gold color with a slight chill haze and a thin line of white bubbles on top.

S: A nice toasted grainy malt and yeast aroma with a touch of hop and cherries in the background.

T: The toasted malt flavor provides a great base to this beer and lets the fruity esters and hop really come through. The beer is not very sweet nor is it bitter. The finish is somewhat dry and has a cherry flavor that lingers.

M:Light and refreshing. Finish is dry.

O: I wasn't expecting much here, so I was pleasantly surprised. This would make a good porch beer in the summer.

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Photo of obywan59
3.8/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a crystal clear golden-orange with a 3 finger off-white head that leaves decent lacing.

The aroma is of toasted grain, lemony hops and sweet honey.

The taste seems more subdued than the aroma. I'ts lightly sweet with more toasted grain, and some light bitter hops and more lemon in the end.

Rather light in body and a bit drying, but somewhoat oily as well.

This brew is a very easy drinker. As light and tasty as it is, it seems to beg for a hot summer night.

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Photo of mrfrancis
4.05/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a relatively clear golden orange with a thin white mousse that laces much deeper into the glass than one would expect.

S: Aromas of lemon candy, caramel, toffee, and earthy, tobacco-tinged hops are present on the nose. Very subtle and refined.

T: Notes of caramel, toffee, minerals, lemon candy, brown butter, leather, tobacco, and earthy, almost mossy ale hops. The finish is clipped and refreshing with rounded notes of earthy hops, leather, and toffee.

M: Medium-bodied, firm, and dry. Carbonation is active and crisp. Very quaffable.

O: This is a very nice Scottish bitter. As with just about every one of Broughton's ales, the flavor profile is subtle, complex, and intriguing. If you consider yourself a fan of English and/or Scottish ales, this one is a must try.

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Photo of ummswimmin
3.47/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This was a contribution from a friend to my fridge. It was nice to get something different from the norm.

The beer looks like apple juice in color. Now that I mention it... a minimal head and carbonation reasserts my comment; this looks kind of like apple juice.

Off the top I pick up peatyness and a sweetness in this beer. It smells like a refined english style.

This tastes like a good example of an ESB. I pick up the bitterness of the english hopping in this beer.

I'm glad I got to try this beer. It was a good experience.

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Photo of LeeryLeprechaun
3.35/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This magical ale poured a nice copper color that was accompanied by a wonderful head that hung to the glass till the last drop.
Merlin's aroma was fruity and malty put also like old lipton tea.
Flavor was malty with some fruit flavors and a fairly light body.
Merlin was a very sessionable beer. However, I am not sure that I would like to explore its flavor on a regular basis.

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Photo of bum732
4.02/5  rDev +11%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

S: Very rich and malty, very grassy. Somewhat floral with some lavender.

L: Slightly hazy golden yellow, white head with decent lacing that dissipates.

T: Clean semi-sweet bread crust like malt. Medium grassy bitterness. Touch of herbal tea-like notes in the background. Finishes with a touch of sweetness and clean like spring water.

M: Medium carbonation, medium-bodied. Very clean.

A solid beer, not sure i would call it an ESB. Very clean maltiness, i'm sure it's much better fresh.

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Photo of Bouleboubier
3.5/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

With a vigorous pour, a sudsy, white, moderately diffuse head pops up atop this ale, collapsing weakly but leaving some lasting foamy swirls and light splotches of lacing. It sports a nice reddish-amber color and sits quite clear. Distinctly British big strong estery aroma - some unidentifiable fruit - with some ultra-light hops wafting on the perimeter. But, really, fruitiness is the name of the game with the smell and the taste. Some mild bitterness shows up front, lingers a little through the fruity wash immediately following. Real juicy and not much else. The malt feels a little suppressed in the middle of the flavor, though some light biscuit and bitter show in the finish as it warms. While it rolls soft and smooth across the tongue to the middle, after that it abruptly extinguishes like a snuffed match, dropping off kind of dry. Carbonation throughout is light and tickles just the edges of the palate. While it leaves wanting much more depth to the taste, I can't deny it drinks well - ideal for sessioning - as it leaves no footprints.

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Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3.03/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Copper color, looks impressive. Aroma was almost macroesque corn or wheat?

Taste, can't believe this is an ESB, tastes more like a mild. Very muted, can't see what the fuss is about this. Just very watery. Everything is lesser than expected, the bitterness, alcohol, hops, caramel, just everything. Expensive for the lack of flavor.

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Photo of donniecuffs
4.05/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Into a pint glass, it poured a hazy amber/orange with two fingers of white, good carbonation, and good retention and lacing. The aroma included apple, tea, toffee, and malt. The taste began on a heather woodsy note, progressed to a malty/fruity blend midpalate, and finished on a soft tea-like flavor. Some fruitiness lingered afterwards. Smooth, medium-bodied, and spritzy. Great session beer.

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Photo of damndirtyape
4.17/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Single bottle (best by March 2011) poured into a Nonic glass.

Appearance: Clear orange-yellow copper color. Poured a 1/4" off white foamy head, which died down to a thin film of foam across the top. No lacing noted.

Smell: When cold and first poured - yeast, grapes, and hints of apples. As it warmed up, the yeast was replaced a stronger toasted malt smell and grapes/apples were diminished.

Taste: Toasted malts with a mild bitter finish with grape and sweet apple aftertaste. The more it warmed up (towards the bottom of the glass), the bitterness got stronger, but never extreme, and toasted malts are much more forward in flavor.

Mouthfeel: Good carbonation, juicy, and refreshing with each sip or large slug.

Drinkability: VERY drinkable. A definite session beer and I imagine it would be wonderful in a pub pulled from a cask. For how I got it in a bottle, it went fantastic with a meal (porkchops and tarragon beans). I really liked this beer and I wish this beer were available in 6 packs so I could have another right now. I find this beer notable for being very drinkable in both cold and warm forms - and each beer temperature has its own character. I will be picking up a bottle of this again next chance I get.

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Photo of seanyfo
3.26/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pint served by handpump into a shaker pint glass at the Guildford Arms in Edinburgh

A- Light copper body with excellent clarity. A 1 finger creamy head with good retention and lacing.

S- Minimal nose, some faint floral hop otherwise nothing to describe

T- Taste is also minimal, a faint malt sweetness balances to a tame hop bitterness that does not last long in the finish.

M- Low carbonation, creamy

D- Lack of flavour profile lets this ale down, otherwise mouthfeel makes it an easy drinking ale.

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Photo of revolution
3.87/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A - a medium gold ale, small head, sticky lace, looks to be relatively low carbonation

S - malt, grain, mild fruity odor, touch of hop aroma

T - malty sweetness with a hint of caramel fruitiness, apple, hop bitterness is there - moderate - and increases as the ale warms (may have poured it a bit cold), nice dry finish

M - light to medium body, smooth, low carbonation

D - tasty session beer. Great aroma, moderate hop bitterness with supportive maltiness. An impressive Scottish bitter.

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Photo of PerroGrande
4.05/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours to a slightly hazy golden color. The amount of foam is moderate. It laces out fairly quickly, but solidly adheres to the side of the glass and lasts throughout the drinking process.

Smell: Hint of hops, maybe a bit of citrus in there. The aroma of this beer is very light.

Taste: Certainly not overwhelming or overpowering, but very enjoyable. Opens with a mildly hoppy bitterness. Citrus hints on the back of the throat follow, as does a nicely balanced hops and malt finish. The brew is smooth throughout, and there are not pronounced peaks and valleys of flavor.

Mouthfeel: Light, with a slight carbonation "fizz".

Drinkability: Very good. This beer would work nicely as a session beer and would complement a nice array of foods. Not the best ESB I've ever experienced, but a nicely balanced, enjoyable example of the style. This beer might be a good choice as a "bridge" beer between BMC and craft, or as an introduction to the ESB style.

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Photo of jdhilt
3.14/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a three finger off-white head that fades slowly, leaving a good lace. Nearly clear amber color. Light carbonation and medium bodied. Watery, hoppy nose. Flavor does not follow the smell fortunately, a balanced ESB with some sweetness and hints of bitterness at finish. $5.35 for a 500ml bottle from Colonial Spirits Acton, Ma.

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Photo of Monsteruss
4.62/5  rDev +27.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

After pouring this wonderful ale, it had a nice wheat foam that was nice and pleasant to smell. The color of this great beer was a medium amber with some staying power. It has a light, yet robust and a great beaque smell with a light hops and complex flowery taste.

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

Pours clear copper with low white head, the glass is full of small carbonation bubbles, slowly downsliding lacing. Aroma is rather simple, but pleasant sweetish caramel, light hops.

Taste starts with stronger hops with caramel malt, some frutiness sets in the dry finish. Light-medium body, low carbonation and some very light warming sensation.

Overall, quite light, but very drinkable beer.

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Photo of brentk56
3.46/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a hazy light amber color with a foamy head that laces better than expected

Smell: Primarily grainy, with a hint of biscuity malt

Taste: Biscuity, up front, with a developing grainy character appearing by mid-palate; the grainy flavors persist after the swallow, with a slight hint of lemony bitterness

Mouthfeel: Light to medium body with moderate carbonation

Drinkability: A session ale, no doubt, and I am not sure that I would characterize this as an ESB; I'm not that crazy about the flavor profile, to be honest

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Merlin's Ale from Broughton Ales Ltd
3.62 out of 5 based on 95 ratings.
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