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Black Douglas Ale | Broughton Ales Ltd

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very good
96 Reviews
Black Douglas AleBlack Douglas Ale

Brewed by:
Broughton Ales Ltd
Scotland, United Kingdom

Style: Scottish Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.20%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by brewdlyhooked13 on 11-07-2001

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Reviews: 96 | Ratings: 118
Photo of BEERchitect
4.17/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

There are serious flavors in here. Very dark brown with light tan retention that proves promising. Smells very malty, fruity, and lightly smoky and peat-ey. Earthy and sweet in the nose and leads directly to flavors. Dark caramelized malts shows molassas, dates, figs, grapes, and nuts. A little 'dirty' flavor from the smoked peat adds complexity and boldness. Weighted on the toung without feeling overly heavy. A bit slick and viscous. Finishes sweet with a lingering hop bitterness that was not present until the end.

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Photo of brentk56
4.03/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a clear dark amber color with a frothy tan head; great retention and lacing

Smell: Rich aromatics of dark fruit, roasted malt, tamarind and a hint of molasses

Taste: Opens with a slightly smokey flavor, redolent of dark fruit and tamarind that builds in a roasted direction by mid-palate; after the swallow, the flavors mellow out with a bit of the sweeter malt and chocolate elements balancing the bitter roasted flavors

Mouthfeel: Medium body with moderate carbonation

Drinkability: Nicely balanced with plenty of flavor, this is an excellent example of a flavorful session ale in the Scottish style

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Photo of zeff80
4.07/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Poured out a rust colored brown with a small, short-lived, tan head. It left a slight trace of lace.

S - It smelled of sweet maltiness and earthy, mossy notes.

T - It tasted of sweet caramelized molasses with spicy, peppery kicks.

M - It was smooth and fairly crisp. A medium-bodied beer that went down easy.

D - This is a nice scottish ale that is very quaffable.

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Photo of oberon
4.12/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Real nice beer,poured a dark reddish/brown with nice caramel color head.Smelled of fruit cake and caramel.Taste was right on with aroma nice sweetish warming brew,I really liked the texture of this one.A perfect beer for winter in my opinion.A true Scottish ale.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.21/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Dark crimson-bronze with orange peel highlights. The beer is capped by a wonderful looking head the color of golden brown sugar that resembles a scoop of ice cream as it slowly melts. The surface is riddled with bumps and pits and the glass is an intricate maze of interlocking fingers of lace that resemble Celtic runes. I have divined their secret message, and it is... 'a great looking beer stands before you'.

Now why did the nose have to go and let me down? Many of the usual Scottish aromas are present, but aren't very aromatic. I can appreciate dark fruit, caramel and weak molasses. Alas, there's almost no peat and no smoke. Black Douglas was supposed to be a badass warrior. What would he have thought of such a cowardly nose?

The flavor explodes on the palate and signals its intentions to wreak a little havoc and do a little violent bloodletting. I got a little carried away there (Black Douglas isn't Braveheart on steroids), but still, this is one of the more flavorful Scottish ales that I've ever run across and should give a few of the weaker wee heavies a fright.

The malt portion of the flavor profile tastes mega-toasted and derives a little added gravitas from the use of black malt. A tangy dark fruitiness stands up to the malt with head unbowed. There's also a pinch of cocoa powder, a lovely earthy-herbal hoppiness and the merest hint of sour peatiness.

The mouthfeel hits the style target. That is, it's solidly medium with a restrained amount of carbonation that makes delivering the beer to its rightful place a lead pipe cinch. Thick sheets of lace at midglass have now given way to thick, chunky rings of caramel-colored crust.

I was beginning to think Broughton Ales brewed nothing but mediocre beer (Kinmount Willie was a disaster). This offering is definitely a beer of a different color. It's a fabulous example of the Scottish ale style and has flavor to burn. Let loose the dogs of war! But first, drink up.

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Photo of mikesgroove
3.43/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

500ml bottle poured into a Pint Glass and served straight out of the fridge

A – Poured a deep ruby amber with a nice clarity to it and adequate carbonation visible trickling up from the bottom of the glass. This gathered at the top and combined to form a delicate head of off white colored lace that reached a height of around two fingers or so. Decent retention let it hang around for just a little while before it was finally leached out and settled down to just a thin film across the top with some small residual side glass lace apparent for the rest of the session.

S – The aroma was a bit on the light side with the most dominant smells coming from the roasted malts. Some nice delicate notes of nuts and caramel were mixed and intertwined with a deeply rooted grain filled back. This was a malt monster for sure as the only thing that was easily picked up through all this was the dark roasted malts that made up the majority of it. There was a thick essence of earthy grassy like notes as it started to warm and almost musty bread like quality to it as well.

T – The flavor was not terribly bad and was actually decently full with a nice depth and profile to it that I had not expected from this one. There was a nice bit of caramel and sweetness right from the start and this really never faded as any other flavors that were here simply mingled and swirled around this. There were hints of roasted nuts as well as a nice bit of overt grassy notes in the finish. The finish was somewhat dry, but nothing too drastic and the hop profile itself was definitely nothing too extreme. There was just a nice English ale quality to it, hard to describe other then that.

M – The feel was very nice, a medium bodied ale with a nice smoothness that blended itself very well to the overall character here. There was a certain amount of crispness to this one, as the carbonation really dictated where this was going to go and served to lighten it up a bit and keep it from feeling too heavy or waited down.

D – A very very nice sessionable English ale. The flavor profile was perfect to just sit down and have a few as nothing was watered down or thin and the carbonation kept the profile lively enough to keep your interest up throughout the session. This was one you could have easily had more of and in fact this one it was gone before I knew it.

Overall I really did not know what to expect going into this one. The ales in this Scottish gift pack have all seemed to be pretty straightforward with nothing really standing out as being outstanding or that much different in any way. This was my favorite of them so far, having a bit more depth and a large flavor then the ones before it. I would actually not mind having this again and it is probably very good on tap. Not half bad I would have to say.

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Photo of russpowell
3.48/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours chestnut mahagony with a sand colored 1" head. Some head retention & lacing

S: Choclate then floral hops as it warms

T: Iron & choclate up front. Dryness & fruitness as it warms. Finishes dry with more iron notes

MF: Light to medium body, slightly under carbonated & okay balance

Drinks fairly well, but over all I was expecting more. Caveat emptor

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Photo of Jason
4.06/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Presentation: One pint, .9oz brown bottle with raised glass of hop vines below the neck of the bottle. Brief history about Black Douglas, a very powerful and heroic knight of Scotland. Freshness date clearly scored.

Appearance: Richly ruby hued with a adorning crown of sticky off white lace. Head retention is well above par.

Smell: Deep aromas of ripe fruit(apple) and over caramelized sugar with hints of hop and buttery diacetyl.

Taste: Medium bodied and crisp with an assertive toasted malt flavour that lingers with a cookie like dry finish. Hops are a little restrained yet still help to balance perfectly, a touch of ripe fruit, malt sweetness and the smallest hint of chocolate are also upon the palate. Quite clean in the end with some residual sweetness.

Notes: This is a product of brewing excellence, big on drinkablity for a medium bodied brew and packed with flavour and lots of malt complexity. By far one of the best Scottish Ales imported to the states.

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Photo of smcolw
4.11/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Clear dark amber, nearly brown in color. Impressive, thick beige head...long lasting, excellent lace.

A fresh baked bread smell. Nice sugary maltiness. A touch of moulasses.

Creamy caramel sweetness and richness. Noticeable hops providing excellent balance. Very full body with a relatively low carbonation. Nice residual sugar for a sweet and bitter beer.

A very fine scotch ale--flavorful, rich and well-balanced.

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Photo of Gagnonsux
4.23/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The appearance is fantastic. Color is a hazy dark brown with a thick light brown head. Carbonation is fairly high and head retention is excellent. Aroma is of sweet earthy malts with a bit of spice. The taste primarily consists of sweet earthy malts with a mild nutty character. A light roast flavor also makes it's presence felt. The English hops give the beer a nice spice kick which imparts balance and depth of flavor. Overall the taste is nicely layered and pretty highly complex. This is great stuff and is helping the Scottish ale become one of my new favorite styles.

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Photo of feloniousmonk
3.96/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Clear, dark crimson coloring, lush, tannish head, rocky and well-lived.
Malt-dominated nose, nuts, dark fruits, apples and grapes, with an uplifting yeasty quality. Nice.
Clean entrance on the palate, dark, but crisp and clean. Dark malts still dominates, hardly a whiff of hops....but darkly delicious, malignantly tasty, rough and ridiculoucly flavorful. I like this one, called a Scottish Ale here, making me think of a schwarzbier mixed with a Scotch ale.
I like it, I like it...I can consume this happily, though it's no milestone of taste, it's still a noble ale, and I'm happy to imbibe.

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Photo of WesWes
4.42/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The beer pours a dark amber/brown color with a thick off-white head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is excellent. It has a rich and creamy malt scent that boasts of crystal and roasted barley. It has lots of toasted smells; awesome. The taste is great also. It has a rich, toasted malt complexity that goes down easy and finishes dry and slightly bitter. The mouthfeel is fine. It is a full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a damn good beer. I love the aroma and flavor; very nice.

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Photo of Stinkypuss
4.1/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

1 pint, 9 oz bottle.

a. Ruby highlights and a small khaki head. A bit of lace.

s. malty, slightly grassy.

t. roasted malt, minerally/earthy noble hop. Nutty, bready, biscuity, buttery.

m. slightly chewey mouthfeel. full bodied.

d. Drinkability is very good. Solid session beer.

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Photo of Zorro
4.02/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours a clear mahogany brown liquid.

Smell is very malty with a nice fruitiness and some mincemeat spice scent.

Taste is not sweet with a good malt flavor and a fair b it of fruitiness to it. The expected smokiness is missing. Taste is good but is this really scotch ale?

Mouthfeel is OK.

Nice drinkable brew, but there are better examples of the style.

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Photo of clayrock81
3.8/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a ruby tinted seethru brown w/ well-carbonated one-finger tan head that quickly died. A floral, earthy hop aroma with minor fruit notes and a subdued bread malt sensation w/ hints of caramel (and hints of some roasted malts as well). A little heavy but mostly medium-bodied and smooth. Has a molasses stickiness feeling on the sides, and finishes slightly dry from roasted malts. Comprised of some minor malt sweetness and is a little buttery, and also contains some dark druit tastes and maybe figs. A balanced beer that I could relax with anytime.

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Photo of beerthulhu
4/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Poured a dark mahogany red with a light tan head with slight orange hues.

S: a rich roasted character of coffee, dried fruit, and dark molasses.

T: For flavor there was a dark caramelized molasses, dark fruit (raisins, plums), figs, and some dried apples. There was also hints of dark bitter chocolate. The flavor is very rich and nicely balanced.

M: medium bodied with some creaminess leaving a sweet chocolate/caramel lacing behind.

D: Good drinkability, nicely balanced and not overly sweet allowing you to enjoy multiples with ease.

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Photo of bluejacket74
4.17/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

500 ml bottle, best before July 2009. Served in a pint glass, the beer pours a dark copper/ruby red color with an inch tan head. Head retention and lacing are both good. The aroma is sweet and malty, it smells like toasted malt, molasses, caramel, dark fruit, nuts and peat. Taste is similar to the aroma (but not quite as strong), it tastes like molasses, toasted malt, nuts, peat, smoke, dark fruit and a bit of pepper. Mouthfeel/body is light/medium, it's dry and a littly bit velvety. It also seems a bit thin to me. The drinkability is pretty good, it's smooth and very easy to drink. Drinkability is good, it's nice and sessionable. I could have a few of these in a sitting. Overall I think this is a pretty decent brew.

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Photo of rodbeermunch
3.21/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Comes in the earthy mixture of red and brown tones. Head in the 1/5" range. Off white. Doesn't provide much in terms of lace or retention. The aroma is fairly muted.

Taste was a blend of all those earthy genre styles. Brown ale, scotch ale, red ale, amber ale. All those things, brown malt, peat, minimal bitterness or hops, woodiness, smoke, dirt, earth, moss.

Weird format and seemingly a marketing novelty for its artwork.

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Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3.31/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Had a reddish brown vibe going, minimal head, lace and aroma.

Taste was that of a red or brown ale (maybe the visuals were warping my mind) more than a Scotch ale. Little hop, but the malt aspect felt peaty and thin enough to be one of the other styles. Wood, smoke maybe a little bit of chocolate in this one. Decent enough, price could be better.

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Photo of champ103
3.57/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a dark ruby red color. A two finger tan head forms, and recedes after a minute. Lots of patchy lace is left behind.
S: An awesome aroma of tasted caramel malt, chocolate, smoke, and dark fruits. Cherry, plums, raisins. There is a lot of depth here.
T: Plenty of toasted caramel malt. It become a bit cloying after a bit. A mineral and metallic flavor as well. All the depth that was in the nose is gone here for some reason.
M/D: A medium body and carbonation. A little on the thin side. Not hard to drink, but one is enough.

Not bad at all. The nose is just amazing, but it kind of falls apart from there. Worth a try, but there are better versions of the style.

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Photo of Gusler
4.1/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The beer makes good its escape from the 500ml brown bottle into my glass, the color a deep blood red, the head Bunyanesque in size, the texture creamy and the color a beauteous light tan, as it slowly dematerializes, the lace forms a concealing blanket to obscure the glass. Nice rich malt nose, with a bit of caramel, sugar like, and a bit of fresh churned butter, start is lightly sweet, the grain profile adequate and the top light to medium in feel. Finish is surly in its acidity, the hops perfection, quite dry and refreshing on this 100 degree day in Arizona.

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Photo of Suds
3.75/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This is a very attractive beer served out of a thistle glass…big, puffy, cream-colored head atop a deep brown liquid. The aroma is what I would call medium-strength malt. It’s not as intense as a lot of strong Scottish ales, but presents nice thick layering of malt notes. The beer is a little grainy, with toasted and caramel notes as well. Again, foremost sensation is maltiness, with a medium-intensity. Smooth mouthfeel and medium body: the beer finishes with a hint of bitterness. Easy drinking, but not really very challenging.

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Photo of TheLongBeachBum
4/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Presentation: 500ml [16.9 fl.oz] sturdy brown glass bottle that has raised Hop plants embossed all around the bottles shoulder, sealed with a blue crown cap. The main label has a picture of a black bearded knight Sir James Douglas whose head is clad in a tight fitting chain-mail and helmet, known simply as “Black Douglas”, he is surrounded either side by a brace of Scottish Flags entwined in hops. Above the avatar it proudly states that ‘Black Douglas’ is ‘Brewed in the Scottish Borders by Broughton Ales Limited’. No strength listed. BB May 07 inked on the bottle neck.

Appearance: Dark ruby body, mahogany and deep browns fill the drinking vessel. Tan colored cloth cap is thick and resilient, remaining at ¼” deep at all times. Lively conditioning but not over-carbonated. Very good overall presentation.

Nose: Malty nose with flashes off nuts, wild berries, freshly cut apples, cinnamon and Toffee apples. Fruity in a dark way.

Taste: Dark fruits entrance with a toasted malt cross-section whilst a toffee chewyness fills the middle. Finish has a soupcon of powdered cocoa for texture but a delicate icing of malt-bitterness also helps to add a defined finish. The toasted malts are earthy with some peaty aspects. Smoked dark chocolates come and go, and then return again. A sturdy brew with a real Scottish feel.

Mouthfeel: Soft carbonation is nicely juxta-posed against the earthy malts. The texture is of toasted malts with smatterings of dark bitter chocolate on the tongue. The cheeks are coated with the peat laden dew of this long after the swallow. A strong feel that would befit the Highland Games.

Drinkability: The half litre was a nice enough, but like dark chocolate I couldn’t drink too much of this, maybe a second 500ml I could cope with but that would be it….simply because of the rich nature rather than anything else though.

Overall: Has a terrific dependable posture, there is a real Scottish feel to this one. A dark ruby ale that has a nicely balanced toasted malt and dark chocolate skeleton with an interesting soft toffee flesh. Very individual and hearty, not seen this one before and I’m rather impressed, this would make for a cracking brew to sit round the fire with on a cold Burns Night.

Slainte Mhath!!

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Photo of Jeffo
3.84/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Got this one from the wine shop down the road. First beer bought in Maarssen at our new place.

From a 50cl bottle into a pint glass.

APPEARANCE: Pours a large, three finger, medium looking, fluffy, creamy, off-white head with great retention. Dark copper red color, perfectly clear, with robust carbonation. Head slowly fades to a thick, creamy, cap and clings to the sides of the glass. Full cap remains leaving some good lacing down the glass. Looks really good.

SMELL: Caramel, some toffee notes, floral hops and light grassy notes. Nice but a little too mild to be memorable.

TASTE: Caramel and light melon flavors up front with a nice dose of toffee, butterscotch, melon flavors, floral hops and some bubble gum at the finish. Bold and lingering aftertaste of bitter hops, melon, butterscotch and toffee sweetness. Very flavorful and enjoyable; much more impressive than the nose had lead on.

PALATE: Medium-full body and a touch lower levels of carbonation. Quite creamy on the palate, goes down smooth and finishes just a touch dry. Some bitterness lingers.

OVERALL: Really good brew. Scotch ales are usually a preferred style of mine and this one did not disappoint. Lots of sweet malt flavor with a good dose of bitter, floral hops to balance it out. Plenty flavorful and a nice feel to boot. If the nose were a little more forthcoming, this would have been a real winner. In any case, this is definitely one worth visiting again. Happy to see the wine store down the road branching out to find beers like this. Recommended.

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Photo of cokes
3.63/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A striking mahogany hues with a beige head that appears as though oozed from the spigot of a soft-serve ice cream machine.
The aroma drips of malt. All full with molasses and toffee and treacle.
Enters the mouth with equal malt maelstrom. Gobs of toffee. Mounds of molasses. Tarry fruits, especially black raisins and apples. A partially unifying roasted walnut coloring exists below. Hopping is a non-factor, aside from a whisper of grass at the close. Everything here is tasty, but it seems disorganized.
This is light bodied, pushing towards medium. It has the oiliness of chicken fat. The malt hangs thin and greasy and loose off its unstructured nature. It either needs to be bigger in feel, or more carbonated to provide some levity. It seems like a reduced Wee-Heavy, with the malt improperly calculated.
It's drinkable and decent, and I love the style. I readily gobbled it down, but was left feeling oddly vacant.
This comes close to being something special, but isn't.

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Black Douglas Ale from Broughton Ales Ltd
3.93 out of 5 based on 118 ratings.
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