THE last beer from this Scottish batch is Broughton Black Douglas. After enjoying Broughton Old Jock so much, I’m looking forward to this. As Broughton have stuck to many of the same conventions for this bottle, as they did with Old Jock, now would be a good time for you to read that review for more detail.
As is plainly visible, Broughton have stuck to the formula of having a more Scottish than thou label. Besides the illustrations of hops, are two Soltaires. And in the roundel itself, is Black Douglas himself. Someone who is most certainly not black. Presumably the rest of the label will shed some light on this. Maybe it was a nickname?
Also on the front is the ABV, which for this beer, is 5.2%. Quite reasonable for such an typically priced 500 millilitre bottle from Tesco.
In a concise little statement, we learn that this is a “dark ruby traditional ale with soft full crystal malt flavour”. I’ve had mixed results with ruby ales recently, but this one comes from Broughton, so I reckon it’s worth having an open-mind. The label goes on to explain that it is named after Sir James Douglas. A knight and trusted friend of Robert the Bruce. As well as inspiring the character behind the beer, Broughton have also taken him up as a mascot because of his links to the Scottish border country.
Among the details are the number of units. Which for Black Douglas are 2.5. And the ingredients which are water, malted barley, hops and yeast. All very typical. But how good is it?
Poured into a glass, the first thing that hits you is the head. The head of this beer will give you a Glasgow kiss as it leaps out of the glass and attacks you. Alternatively, what my photo shows, is not how to pour it. Look at how misshapen the head is. Don’t worry, it died down enough to drink after a few minutes.
To smell, Black Douglas is one of the maltiest I’ve smelt yet. Almost as much as dark ale/stout. But not the same way as Leffe Blond(e) Beer. This smells rich and malty, but also as if it has plenty of other things tucked in there.
Now the most important part… the taste. First impressions are that it’s as close as you can get to a dark ale or stout, without actually being one. And that is a good thing, as I’m not too taken by stouts or dark ales. A couple of gulps on, and the ruby ale elements begin to show. That soft bitterness and maltiness are the flavours that you notice most. What I liked was that it wasn’t too bitter. Or too sour. Or too full-on in any way. Black Douglas named after a medieval knight, isn’t as rough as you’d expect. It’s quite the opposite. This is a gentle, soft and easy to drink ruby ale.
Black Douglas is a surprise. I didn’t expect it to be the way that it is. But that’s ok, since the way that it is, is very high-quality. It could easily have been too strong and unpleasant. But it isn’t. Even though I’m not a huge fan of the flavours and style it has, it carries them off with class and drinkability.
That makes two out of two for me, when it comes to Broughton. Looking forward to trying some more of theirs some day.
Have you tried Black Douglas? Or any other Broughton beers and ales? Then leave a comment on your thoughts, insults and ramblings in the usual place.