Arran Dark | Isle of Arran Brewery Company Ltd.

Arran DarkArran Dark
45 Ratings
Arran DarkArran Dark

Brewed by:
Isle of Arran Brewery Company Ltd.
Scotland, United Kingdom

Style: Scottish Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 4.30%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by brewdlyhooked13 on 10-03-2003

Bros Score:
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Ratings: 45 |  Reviews: 38
Photo of OompaMentor
4.25/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Solid English Stout; Shelton Brothers 8/18/17

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Photo of Atchison
4/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Scottish Ales are my favorite beers. It is hard to say anything negative about a good scottish ale. Arran Dark was a treat. It was lighter than I expected and not as sweet, malty or carbonated. I was also surprised at the relatively low alcohol content. As a result, I can drink a bit more of this beer and it goes down a bit easier than some stronger Scottish Ales that I enjoy. Don't drink it too cold, the Dark became more flavorful toward the bottom of my glass as it warmed up a bit. I spent a semster at Queen Margaret College outside of Edinburgh and this beer reminded me of the many remarkable Scottish Ales that I enjoyed back then. I would love to try this on tap.

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Photo of metter98
3.53/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A: The beer is clear dark reddish copper in color (brown when viewed from afar) and has a moderate amount of visible carbonation. It poured with a quarter finger high beige colored head that died down, leaving a collar around the edge and some lacing on the remainder of the surface.
S: Light aromas of peat are present in the nose.
T: The taste is rather malty and has some hints of smoked peat flavors towards the finish.
M: It feels medium-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This beer is nice and malty, but doesn't feel as heavy or full on the palate as one might expect, so it's surprisingly drinkable.

Serving type: bottle

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Photo of mike22ne
3.77/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

From bottle. This is a dark mild ale, not dark like a stout or strong like a typical scotch ale. Nice light brown color and caramel malt smell and taste, with some toffee but mild bitter finish. Somewhat thin. Nice to drink, but not a beer with much strength.

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Photo of 2337nTX
4.45/5  rDev +21.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Photo of jakea
3.75/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of Jerseyislandbeer
3.25/5  rDev -11.4%

Photo of wrightst
4/5  rDev +9%

Photo of mrfrancis
2.75/5  rDev -25.1%

Photo of JimWaddell
4/5  rDev +9%

Photo of Doppelbockulus
3.88/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Happy I tried this.

It is a wonderfully clear pink bronze beer with a faint dusting of foam on the surface.

Upon opening the bottle I immediately smelled a fruitiness nearly identical to J.W. Lees Harvest. After pouring it the smell developed into oatmeal cookies and coffee grounds, with dark fruit like raisins or dried figs in the background. It is light, but pleasant.

The taste is also light and pleasant. It's a combination of tea biscuits with faint raisins in the aftertaste.

The feel is similar to a cup of cold tea, mildly tannic. It is also very fluid, light body. A faint tingle is present.

Overall this is a pleasing, but not amazing beer, and very sessionable.

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Photo of charlatan
2.87/5  rDev -21.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

No best before date on neck of bottle as promised. It could be this one has hung around long enough for it to disappear...

This has a big fluffy off white head which seems keen to stick around. The beer is a dark amber colour and a tad cloudy (is this due to its age?). It smells dusty, chalky, unappealing...

The taste reflects this chalky nose to begin with but then that gives way to an altogether more pleasant roasted malt finish.

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Photo of flyingpig
3.38/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Mild chestnut brown colour with a thin looking, foamy head that is light brown in colour and fades from a centimetre tall to a soapy lacing after about thirty seconds.

Dark roasted malts and an earthy hop aroma with some burnt toast in there as well. There is a strong and rich bitterness to the aroma and overall the beer is well balanced on the nose without really exciting.

Earthy malts make up most of the taste here along with a little bit of spice, some bitterness and a touch of caramel and vanilla. It seems a bit more complex that the aroma but again without truly standing out.

Medium and smooth with mild to moderate carbonation and a crisp finish that has a touch of bitterness as well as some sweetness to it.

Not a bad pint that as I mentioned probably won't stand out from the crowd but still goes down pretty well and taste good. I enjoyed it but I'd probably not pick it up again.

1001 Beer Blog:

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Photo of crusian
1.32/5  rDev -64%
look: 3 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 3 | overall: 1

bottle from Tesco in Port Greenock.
Pours a nice color, but going to skip everything and get right to it. I was actually afraid to drink this. it had a strong odor of bleach, and so was the taste. I drain poured this very quickly. I have never been afraid to drink a beer before...

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Photo of Zimbo
3.53/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Well, it looks good. Deep reddy brown this came with a dense firm head and some promise. Full, roasty and fairly earthy, there is also a nuttiness which all combine to make somewhat more acidity than I expected. A bit too firm really and the bitterness is somewhat on the astringent side without any of that potential appetising quality. Sort of sucks so much potential juice leaving just a hard edge. Fairly good but it could do with more balance.

Nice to try but it lacks the engagement required for me to routinely seek it out.

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Photo of brentk56
4.1/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours a clear amber color with a modest head that still manages to leaves dots and dashes of lace all around

Smell: Toffee malt, with an earthy, peaty aspect that is rather unique

Taste: Toffee, up front, with a developing stone fruit character; in the back, an earthy/peaty gentle hop presence is detected that lingers after the swallow, though the toffee re-emerges in the finish

Mouthfeel: Medium body with gentle carbonation

Drinkability: Though well past the 2/09 date listed on the label, this is a very nice sessionable drinker; low in alcohol but full of unique character

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Photo of Offa
4.15/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

This beer is a restrained, not overly complex but characterful and very good beer, far better than their Blond. It is an excellent example of a good, light, malty easy-drinking traditional Scottish ale.

Copper amber, it has a smallish off-white head soon thinning to a foamy ring and with a little weak lace.

Aroma is toasty grain, dusty wood, hints of caramelised grain, dry leaves - very strong, hint of orange marmalade.

Taste is good, light but characterful and firm. It has lightly toasty grain and bread crust, light butterscotch, light leafiness, hints of peppery spice and mineral. It is dryish with finish that is sweeter with light leafy-toasty-peppery bitterness. Feel is a bit thin but pretty good, flavour is well-rounded with some light complexity and somewhat reminds me of MacTarnahan's Amber Ale. It is overall very good and highly drinkable.

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Photo of biboergosum
3.6/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I sure like the whisky made on this remote Scottish isle - let's see how they take to making beer.

This beer pours a hazy medium burnt orange colour, with one thin finger of creamy ecru head, which settles quickly, leaving a consistent ring of big bubbled lace around the glass. It smells of strong toffee caramel, some buttery alcohol, and floral, seaweedy hops. The taste is butterscotch malt, a bit sour, in a boozy way, but minus the heat. A bit of dry breadiness, and musty, earthy hops round things out. The carbonation is moderate, the body medium weight, smooth, with a bit of sugary clinginess, and it finishes off-dry, a leafy, root-like dryness offsetting the toffee malt sweetness.

The inexplicable sensory associations to Island whisky make me wonder if there is something in the air on Arran. Whatever it is, this is quite drinkable, if not quite thoroughly balanced, an example of the Scottish bias toward the malt (BrewDog notwithstanding).

And the mp3 shuffle gods deemed a song by Idlewild a suitable accompaniment to this beer review...

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Photo of allforbetterbeer
4.05/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a 12 oz tall thin glass. Best by date seems to be marked on the bottle, but it is hard to tell. It might say Feb 09, in which case this beer is 1 1/2 years past, however I obtained it from a store that pays attention to its beer, so I question my ability to read the smudged numbers.

A: Slightly rusty orange and deep, very vibrant especially right after the pour. Head is two fingers thick and slowly receeds leaving a little mountain in the middle, and lacing all over the glass. A fine looking Scottish ale.

S: Rich and textured malts dominate the smell, with caramel and an ever-so-slightly bitter field-grass being the most prominent. Something salty as well, alongside a bit of caramel-dipped hops.

T: What is here is complex, but not bold. Follows the nose with rich malts, caramel, grass and sweet notes. Hops are minimal but detectable, in their right place for this style. There is more here than what I have described, but the rest hides in the shadows, and is hard to pin down for reviewing purposes. This beer isn't quite like anything I have ever drank, but then again it is certainly a Scottish ale. If I tasted this blind, I would say that it must have been either aged or bottled conditioned (in a good way). It has that sort of feel to it...

M: Thin by American standards, but this is a sub-5% ABV session beer, true to its style, but not exceptional.

D: Very drinkable, and mostly so because it isn't just a low ABV malt bomb, this beer rises above that level in the area of complexity.

Overall: A bit mysterious in my opinion, and that is what gives this beer its charm. I would love to drink one fresh while standing on the coast of the Isle of Arran. If there was some way to get this cheaply here in CO, this would become my new session beer. However, since I am a university student and it is currently $6.50 a bottle, it will remain a mysterious and interesting beer once tried.

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

Not a bad beer and quite light as far as the ABV goes. It pours a slightly cloudy musky amber color with a nice off white creamy and slightly foamy head. Not much lacing, some retention. The nose is deep caramel toffee, some diacetyl, with some alcohol like liqueur aromas eminating as well. The nose is mostly just old fashioned English malts of the toffee variety.

The taste follows the nose for the most part. The beer is quite light but does have some boozy tinges that are quite noticeable for a 4.3% ABV beer. The toffee, caramel, cream soda tastes predominate. The carbonation is quite low and that adds to the old English feel to the beer. There is a slightly peaty quality, maybe slightly burnt straw as things warm and settle. The mouthfeel is light and the aftertaste has some charring notes on the tongue. Not a bad beer.

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Photo of nick76
3.42/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

The aroma has caramel malts, hops, and some fruit. The appearance is amber brown with a small head. The flavor is nice with a mild hop bitterness and earthy malts. It seems to have a hint of coffee as well. The palate is thin. This is not as good as I was hoping.

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Photo of jwc215
3.92/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours hazy - almost murky - brownish orangeish amber - not quite as "dark" as expected - with a thin, bubbly, off-white head that sooon becomes a patch. Some vanishing spots of lacing slide down the glass without much stickage.

The smell is of caramel - towards toffee with nutty and earthy notes and a hint of vanilla. There's also a hint of peat.

The taste is of caramel - towards toffee - with a nice, subtle earthy spicing. Vanilla/whisky notes are present, but in the background. A slight hint of peat and soft tea-like herbal notes give some bitterish balance to the sweetness in the finish, which leans towards dry.

It has a nice, soft texture, though the body could use a bit less water and more heft and not hurt the drinkability. There's enough carbonation to keep it gliding along without interfering, making it on-spot, for me. It leaves a nice aftertaste of maltiness with a hint of whisky.

An easy-drinking, enjoyable brew - malty with subtle complexities and balance.

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Photo of JamesS
4.32/5  rDev +17.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a very nice copper color with good (initial) head and some very nice lacing. It has a great peaty scent with great malty undertones and a little hint of bourbon cask. It has a great taste, very deep, with great peat flavors, along with a hint of butterscotch, and a wee flavor of vanilla. It goes down quite smoothly, an excellent beer all around.

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Photo of animal69
3.03/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

on sale for $3.49 prob due to the BBD, 1/08 ; pours a cloudy med. copper color w/ a thin white head which dissipates quickly leaving little lacing in my nonic ; an odd smell, like sweat socks in a whiskey barrel (apparently this is normal for scotch ale) some toasted nut/spice presence as well ; a bit more nuts here with some caramelish(?) and whiskey flavors throughout, a faint "mildew"-like flavor detected, but could be due to age, mineral in finish ; a bit on the thin side, little co2, could be dry but feels "watered-down" instead ; not a bad beer, just not a good one either...

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Photo of dsa7783
3.72/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Fat, stout bottle copped singly for $3.99 from Super Saver in Somerville...
First time I've ever heard of this beer or brewery, so I was interested in giving this one a shot...
An aggressive pour yieled a ruby-red, dark, mahogany brown-colored hue with a minimal head that soon receded and left a small amount of lacing...
Strong, Scottish Ale aroma, with obvious malts, sugars, and yeast...
The malt factor was likewise evident in the taste, well-balanced by a slight touch of hops, caramel, vanilla, and honey nuances...
Dehydrated fruits and figs were also prominent in this one...
For a modest alcohol percentage, this beer packed quite a punch in terms of flavor and character...
Mouthfeel was slightly watered down, but the overall level of drinkability was really good due to the modest ABV and lack of cloying flavors...
Easily drinkable, clean, crisp, and refreshing...
Not bad...

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Arran Dark from Isle of Arran Brewery Company Ltd.
Beer rating: 3.67 out of 5 with 45 ratings
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