Black Douglas Ale | Broughton Ales Ltd

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

Pours out quite a dark red, fading into brown at the top of the glass. Head is about three fingers, and a moderate tan in colour. Lasts well and leaves good lacing. Smell is nearly archetypal for a scottish ale: strong caramel, molasses, and smoky peat. Nuttiness and fruits, apples and raisins, are present as well. Taste is along the same lines, the nutty malts making a stronger case for themselves, but the dark caramel and peat smoke holding their own. Very mild metallic note in the finish, hardly noticible but slightly distracting. Mouthfeel is slightly thin, good carbonation though. Drinkability is quite good. Nice example of a scottish ale, but nothing extraordinary.

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Photo of swid
3.72/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Black Douglas Ale pours a dark amber color into my pint glass. Atop the hazy liquid sits a 1/4", off-white head, which quickly dissipates into a soapy foam. The aroma of this beer is that of a smoky malt, with a strong mineral presence and only the faintest hint of floral hops.

The taste of this beer is intensely malty, with a sweet, smoked presence. After a little bit, a moderately intense mineral and herbal bitterness takes over. The mouthfeel of Black Douglas is quite "wet" and full, but without being overly thick. The finish is malty and mildly bitter, with a trademark British "hard water" aftertaste.

Overall, a refreshing Scottish Ale. I wish I could try it a bit closer to its place of origin, however.

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

A: Rootbeer like brew with a similar looking head when mixed with icecream. The body is clean with amber highlights...copius streams of bubbles meander to the top adding to the already thick head.

S: Very malty with hints of peat, deep red fruits and brown sugar.

T: Light caramel with red apple, dry wood and a weak malt profile based on the smell IMO. The middle is roasted barley, slightly smoky with a charred characteristic. Toasted bread mingles with the rest of the group. Finishes with mild chocolate and coffee moments.

M: Medium body yet thin on the tongue.

D: The smell led me to believe this was going to be something really special. Had some nice roasted characteristics but pretty straight forward if you ask me.

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

Pours from the bottle to a dark brown with hintgs of ruby red, and an off-white head that lingers thru mid-glass, and leaves some, but not much, lacing. Aroma is a mild malty roasted nuts, with a bit of toffee. Taste is a continuation of the mild malty sweetness, though never real pronounced, nicely balanced wioth hops. Finish was nice and smooth, and overall, this was a darn good beer of which I could drink several.

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Photo of rousee
3.47/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

Dark brown murky color. It forms a small head that diminishes quickly to a wisp of foam on top. Does leave some lace along the sides of the glass.

Smell is malt, brown sugar and some slight hints of butter. Its nothing to make it truly negative as this aspect is so subtle and to be expected from this style to some degree.

Taste is a good sugarry malt and salt water taste up front. There is some woodiness in the middle and it does have a somewhat sappy finish.

Mouthfeel is too sticky.
Drinkability is okay but these are not necessarily my favorite style anyway.Considering I share my name with the beer, I had to try it.

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Photo of DogFood11
4.18/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Every time I think I've scoured every beer to be had in my immediate area I find another shitload of unfounded goodness. This being my latest find I let it chill for a day in the beer fridge and out she comes for the choice of the night. Poured this in my favorite modified tulip it forms a meaty head that leaves coat lacing. The body is dark brown with carbonation clinging to the sides of the glass.

Nuts come to mind up front. A ping pong game takes place with the toasted side and the roasted side and throw in some dark fruits and this becomes one complex offering. It really dances back and forth even getting some stout qualities to this. The true brilliance in this offering to me though is it has a backend smokehouse flavor to it that leaves me wanting a case of this next time I see it.

Notes: This is a beer I really enjoyed. That being said this is an offering that is best as a stand alone offering. Hard to follow or preceed this beer. What a huge compliment.

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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 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 dgallina
4/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

500ml brown bottle dated best-before August 2006.

Pours clear dark mahogany with thin creamy head but thick lace. Aroma is dominated by toasted biscuit malts and underpinned with fragrant floral and leafy hops. Flavor follows the aroma nicely. Toasty (slightly smoky even) caramel malts intertwine with leafy hops and a bit of hard mineral water, leaving a well balanced bitter finish. Quite creamy and lightly carbonated medium body. Finally a worthwhile beer from the folks at Broughton Ales!

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Photo of EvilKeith
3.83/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a deep ruby color with amazing clarity. The head is a solid finger of meringue-like biege foam. Generous amounts of sticky lace hang in sheets.
Smell is heavily of sweet malts, peppery spicy hops, an earthiness, and sweet rich caramel.
Solid malty backbone, dark ripe fruits, caramel and spicy hops bring a nice dry bitter finish. Very well balanced.
Medium body. Moderate carbonation.
This was very enjoyable and a pleasure to drink. I only wish I had thought to buy more...

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Photo of jwff
3.71/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Great looking beer. Up to the light this proves to be a light plum/dark red with loads of carbonation and a thick fluffy head that just won't quit. One of the best looking beers I've seen. Smell is sweet with traces of grape, brown sugar, and a little roasted malt.

The taste is solid with a front that is similar to a juicy apple tartness followed by caramel and brown sugar that finishes with burnt chocolate/roasty malt and hops. The hops at the end linger on the tongue a little too long for my interest and seem out of place, but overall this is a solid taster. Mouthfeel is well carbonated and passes through with ease, and it isn't too thick or thin to be displeasing, but does lean towards the watery side. Low abv makes for easy drinking, but the overall sweetness (and price) doesn't make this a regular grab for me. "Hit it" - Bernie Mac.

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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 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 Ahhdball
3.63/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Picked this up for $4.39 at Jungle Jim's in Cincinnati. Dated BB Aug06 printed on the neck, cool bottle with a description of Black Douglas the Scottish Knight.
Upon pouring it showed clear but deep amber. Mocha colored two finger head which subsided rather quick.
Smelled cherries, yeast and a little smoked wood. Slight floral hops.
Bitter at first, not as sweet as other Scottish Ales I've tried. A little nut and floral hoppiness. The hops aren't too strong, neither is the malt.
A fizziness as best as I can describe is what I felt during the drink. Slightly oily and good to drink.

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Photo of daliandragon
4.18/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I absolutely love it when brewers name their beers after colorful local characters, legends, or other features. A colorful, interesting label is always bonus points as well. When the beer in question comes from Scotland, it almost always means an ale named for a famous warrior hero. Needless to say, I have a soft spot for Broughton Ales although I find their beer to generally be good, not great.
Black Douglas is dark and full of thick sediment and a solid tannish head and coresponding lacing. Head is full of chocolate malt with slight hop backing. Something fruity in there as well..maybe grapes?
Nice roasted malt flavor with a calming bitterness. Mouthfeel is almost perfect, smooth with just enough carbonation to avoid being flat. Both the taste and the texture improve as the beer warms.
This is a mellow, flavorful, intricately crafted Scottish ale. I guess I found Broughton's top dog.

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Photo of Padron4KM
3.65/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

16.9 oz bottle best before Dec 05.
Dark reddish brown with a fat fluffy tan head and lots of sticky lace.
Aroma is sweet with some caramelized sugar/roasted marshmallow scents.
Flavor is toasty, caramel, slightly woody. Finish is clean and dry with a hint of smokiness.

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Photo of SaCkErZ9
4.42/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

What a very impressive beer. The best Scottish ale I have had thus far.
Pours a beautiful dark ruby with a geyser of tiny bubbles erupting from the center of the glass. A perfect coffee with lots of cream colored head sits atop and remains for the entire session. Lacing is commonplace all the way down with glass with a ring for each tug.
A great fruity malty smell. Extremely pleasant. A tiny bit of smokiness with tones of raisins and prunes. No hop smell present which is what I expect of a Scottish. A sweet smell that actually puts me in the mood for to sit by a fireplace with a book and a gallon of this stuff.
Tons of complexity is the taste. Grapes and raisins. Fruity esters. Apples and pears. Peat and wet soil. Perfect hop balance. A very fruity hop with a touch of bite that is in complete balance with the fruity malt.
Perfect mouthfeel but just a tiny tiny bit too much of hop. Otherwise a 5. I would drink this beer all day everyday.

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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 OldSock
4.08/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Presentation and Appearance – Solid 16.9 oz bottle best before 8/05 with a drawing of Sir Douglas on the front and a couple of paragraphs about the man and the beer on the back. A one finger off white head sits atop a deep brown beer that shows hints of red and orange near the edges. Gorgeous lacing paints the sides of my pint glass as I drink, very good looking beer.

Smell – Deep and smoky with hints of hops, toasted malts and diacetyl. There is also the warming scent of alcohol but it is not as much of a factor as in the Wee Heavies that I have had, fine for this style.

Taste – Sort of a watered down version of a Wee Heavy. It has most of the same attributes, smoky peat, complex malts and just a light floral hop bitterness up front for balance, all just weaker than in its big brother. It has good lingering butterscotchy sweetness as well. It is well balanced and certainly not as harsh as any Wee Heavy that I have had, but it’s a much weaker flavor.

Mouthfeel – Medium bodied and pretty smooth with medium carbonation.

Drinkability and Notes – This is my first straight up Scottish Ale, after many Wee Heavies. This is the most drinkable beer I have had of Scottish origin, but it is probably the least flavorful. That being said, the flavors there are good and balanced, and for the style this beer is right where it is supposed to be. This would be a good beer for anyone who is overwhelmed by either the intense flavors or alcohol found in Wee Heavies. I personally prefer the hard stuff though.

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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 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 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 SilentSabre
4.62/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Fantastic! Poured a dark red burgundy colour with a beautiful craggy off white head that dissipated in about 30 seconds or so. Nice sticky lacing. The smell is just fantastic. A little sweet, a lot like oatmeat, this actual smelled almost like a little debbie oatmeal cream snack cake. The taste was a bit sweet as well with a slightly pronounced oatmeal taste. A little bit of a bitter hop bite on the finish. Just delicious. The mouthfeel was very smooth and easy to drink. Carbonation was mild; just the right level. This stuff is extremley good and a wonderful example of the style. Simply Smashing!!

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Photo of BCMan
3.38/5  rDev -14%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This is the 3rd of the 4 pack I received as a gift and so far like it less than the others. I like the bit of history on the bottle. I think it helps to enjoy it a little more. The beer poured up nice with a frothy head that faded fast. I thought it would be black in color but it looks like what I would expect for a brown ale. The flovor is a bit nutty with slight alcohol finish. Would be a pretty good pick for a cold day. Definetly worth a try.

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

Best before August 2005. Pours a brownish copper color with a fluffy beige head. Modest maltiness, light peat notes, slight berry undercurrent and some more scorchy, toasty, earthy malt notes. Even some hops creeping through the complex aroma. Tea-like tannins and a light hop and malt astrincency round out the finish, while the initial wash on the tongue is a complex, malty one; pumpernickel bread, tree bark, black-strap molasses, and roasted barley. Chock full of earthiness. Quite a unique brew.

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