Review Date 8/19/2004
Say there, man,
are you thirsty? I know I am, but who isn’t when there’s fine ale to be had,
eh? How about a Black Douglas? It’s an excellent pint of ale, indeed.
What’s that you say? You’ve never heard of……The Black Douglas?????
My God, man! Where have you been hiding these past years? Antarctica?
If you want the long version of the Black Douglas story, go read Proxam’s review. He’s a real Scot, so he knows more about these things than I do. The short of it is that Black Douglas was a historical figure in Scotland and a buddy of Robert the Bruce. In fact, he did such a great job of earning his place in history that he got a beer named after him. Way to go, Douglas. Not to be outdone, Robert the Bruce got a beer named after him, too, Robert the Bruce Scottish Ale from the Three Floyds Brewing Company in Indiana.
Now that we have the history out of the way, let’s get right down to the beer. Sold here in the United States in 500ml bottles, I usually have no trouble finding it fresh and in good condition. I enjoy its complexity and slightly sweet malty flavors. It’s perfect after a hearty meal or just before bed as a nightcap. Black Douglas is a very nice Scottish ale indeed, and if you enjoy beers like Belhaven and even Newcastle you may appreciate Black Douglas (though the latter definitely has more flavor).
Don’t be fooled by the flavor and color of the beer; this is not an exceptionally potent brew. At only 5.2% alcohol by volume Black Douglas is little stronger than Budweiser and beers of that ilk. According to Broughton Ales, the brewer, Black Douglas is made with Marris Otter, Crystal, and Black malts and hopped with Goldings and Targets.
The Black Douglas pours to a deep mahogany color with a thick and creamy tan head formation. Rich scents of raisin rise from the glass after I pour, taunting the olfactory senses and seeming to say, “Drink me!”. Best to let this warm slightly to about 50 to 55 degrees to best appreciate all the complex flavors. I used a thistle-shaped Scotch ale glass for full effect, but you don’t have to. A pint glass will do just fine, too.
The palate is full of complex dark malt flavors, a bit of caramel, bittersweet chocolate, prune, raisin, molasses, and dark sweet malt. In the finish, a dry herbal hop aroma emerges and, coupled with a lingering bitter buzz, balances the beer and punctuates it nicely. I enjoy the way all the flavors come together here so nicely.
Not as big as a Traquair House but a wonderful brew all the same.
And remember, try a new beer today, and drink outside the box.