Thursday, January 5, 2012

Black Friar (Inveralmond Brewery, Perth, UK)

Blackfriar label from
Inveralmond website.   
Christmas Eve day outing with my nephew, and digging for beers in the lackluster list at Old Chicago in Sioux Falls.  Picked Black Friar before pulling it up on my database and realizing I've had it before.  However, my last bottle was highly rated from 2004, so not a bad idea to try it again to see how my tastes have changed.

From the Inveralmond website: Blackfriar is one of three ancient orders of monks central to the history of Perth in Scotland.  The monastery of the Blackfriar was built in 1231.  In 1437 James I of Scotland was assassinated by traitors there.

Hazy light copper ale with shimmering amber with light from the window.  Head thin and disappears quickly. Dishwater brown with irregular bubbles while it lasts.  Caramel, toffee on top of light biscuit and earthiness. Mineral in background that's characteristic of Scotch ales.  Light spice or sharp note that I'm note sure of the source.  Taking a look at the tasting notes from Inveralmond, the hops include First Gold, Fuggles, Styrian and Cascade.  Guessing now that the spice is from the hop blend, but I think I was reluctant to attribute so much hop spice to a wee heavy.   Strong caramel and malt taste.  Same spice from yeast, maybe, that leads to an assertive aftertaste that's pleasant.  Warmed up, the beer opens up and is more balanced.  Mineral background disappears and just leaves a clean spice.

In looking over some of the other BeerAdvocate reviews, I'll definitely will be on the high end of this beer--2004 and now.  In part, I'm going to guess that some drank the beer too cold and too fast, as it changes character significantly as it warms.  Plus, while the website calls this beer a wee heavy, it seems to be out of style and some of the reviews indicated failed expectations as the main problem with the beer.  Or, this beer just matches my palate.

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