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Thursday, January 7, 2010

Williams Brothers Brewing Co. "Ebulum" Elderberry Black Ale

Williams Brothers Ebulum Elderberry Black AleWilliams Brothers Brewing Company Elderberry Black Ale:

This is the second of the Scottish Williams Brothers Brewing Company historic beers I have had, and I have to say, they may have found a convert in me. Not that I have to be converted to drinking good beer. They are preaching to the choir if you catch my meaning. I start the tasting with my normal sensory exploration of opening, smelling, and pouring of the beer. You can smell the berry smell by sticking your nose into to the bottle top like i did, and it could have been a trick of the light, but mixed in with the dark brown coloring I swear I could see some purplish colors as well as I poured it into a glass. As opposed to the larger, polygonal effervescing bubbles of the Williams Bros'Gooseberry & Wheat Ale , this beer, like other dark ales, has finer, smaller, rounder bubbles, that are perfectly content to lazily drift on the top of the beer, waiting to either cling to the side of the glass or to plunge down my throat. Yum.

I love the fact that if you stick your nose up into the beer in a glass, you really can't smell anything. This makes me think of Guinness. You might recall El Presidente's St. Patrick's Day Irish Stout Round-Up from way-back-when, and I remember that Beamish and Murphy's had a distinctive smell, almost a funk. Not good.
<-- This is interesting. I typed this description faithfully to my experience, and yet, about a quarter of the way into the beer, perhaps due to the introduction of my taste buds and maybe warming up a degree or two, the toasty, roasted scents of the beer are really opening up.
I had a similar effect with the Gooseberry Ale in that the berry flavor was more discernable as I progressed through the beer tasting. This beer definitely has a toastiness to it, which goes with the bottle's description citing the "fruit aroma, soft texture, roasted grain and red wine flavour, with a gentle finish." Very nice.

Four Williams Brothers Historic Scottish Beers

This black ale really reminds me of a porter or stout, because it has a roasted/toasted flavor to it as well as its overly-dark coloring. At 6.5% abv, it has a little more kick to it, and that works nicely, too. On a cold winter night (like tonight), the fact that the beer holds up after warming up a bit and has a nice roasted feeling and flavor makes it ideal to sitting down in front of fire or cuddling up with a nice Scottish lassie.

I don't have too many other "black ales" to compare it to in order to place it in context with similar beers. Maybe I will have to look for similar beers to compare it to in the future. Accessibility may suffer a bit, because it has a toasted flavor and is dark (it's not chugging beer). Overall, very nice, recommendable for anyone who likes roasted toasted flavor beers.

Williams Brothers Brewing Company Elderberry Black Ale:

Representation: .80
Accessibility: .75
Style: .85
Personal Preference: .90

Total: 3.3 Flags

--From the office of the Vice President

[Check out the Williams Brothers website]

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