My top supermarket ales – Part 2 strong and dark

I am returning to the strong and dark ales of the supermarket in the second part of this blog post. There are so many good ales out there that I had some unfinished business to attend to before moving on. So on a recent trip to my local supermarket I picked out a few more ales that should be covered. This is by no means an extensive list as shops will stock different ales so if there are some missing that you particularly enjoy add them via a comment below.

Adnams Broadside 6.3% ABV

Broadside is a multi-award winning ale from the Southwold brewer Adnams which in iV-S7oTAEwlNpiTIjZHmUqE_LqbVKlJ9OWQdl3lXLEo=w372-h657-notheir own words is “an Adnams Classic”. This ale has a deep ruby colour and is at the fruity end of the dark ale category rather than the rich malty end. This makes for a pleasing fruit cake taste that leaves a good amount of after thought on the palette. I would say that there is a slight tang evident in this ale that probably is a result of the high alcohol content but it is by no means unpleasant. There are plenty of reasons why this is a multi-award winner and it makes for a good pint. It is also available on tap although they drop the strength to 4.7% for some reason.

Tom’s ale rating 3.5/5

J.W. Lees Manchester Star Ale 7.3% ABV

This one was quite an unknown quantity having never tried it before. I’d spotted it a few 4BczfDihGE5Z1Vz4SRBcXYi9pisp9K-w2syYJfM8n4E=w372-h657-notimes on the supermarket shelves but was a little put off by the 7.3% ABV strength and how that would affect the flavour. However, given my new responsibilities to my readers I put my fears aside and placed this in my trolley and was pleased that I did. This ale is very dark, almost black, in colour and has a wonderfully deep chocolate richness to it. That rich malty taste lingers long on the palette and even gives the impression that it coats the inside of your mouth. The best thing about this ale is that the high alcohol content is barely noticeable which makes for a smooth and enjoyable drink. Saying that you may not be able to taste the strength but you can certainly feel its effects! Really pleased I gave this a try and will definitely do so again.

Tom’s ale rating 4.5/5

Ridgeway Bad King John 6.0%XZnOcBKZQTzHMEDYDA69y5g6D0sY8vaUPQ9Gv0SrItM=w372-h657-no

In its own words this is “A Very English Black Ale” and it certainly appears that way. A deep dark colour and a slightly roasted aroma give the impression of an ale that is going to be very bitter. In drinking you can taste that roasted edge to it and it has a real depth of flavour to it which is surprisingly smooth. Despite that smooth depth on initial impact with the taste buds it is quite fleeting and does not have much longevity. This is still a pleasing ale that is worth a try as the initial flavours are very enjoyable.

Tom’s ale rating 3.5/5

Bateman’s Mocha 6.0%ABV

A bit of a wildcard this one but one that certainly deserves a spot in this list. There are a 5jZj4jM8Nru5qgWbglQQgMSxiqwVob6B7rxJCCqKT-E=w372-h657-nofew chocolate or coffee ales out there but this was the one on offer in my local supermarket. First things first I felt that this ale delivered on its claim of being a mocha ale in that you can taste both the chocolate richness and the coffee edge. It is quite lively in the mouth with a fizzy rather than smooth feel. This results in an ale that does not last long in the mouth and so is not quite as satisfying as it could be. It is definitely worth a try and upon checking the brewers website they also do a mocha amaretto and hazelnut brownie version which sound interesting. It is not going to be a regular in my shopping basket but is by no means unpleasant.

Tom’s ale rating 2.5/5

Thanks for reading and I hope that you give some of these a try. As I said if you have a particular favourite dark ale and you want to sign its praises or just share with others add a comment below. Next up I think I will go for supermarket IPA’s as these are also a regular on my shopping list.



5 thoughts

  1. Never seen J.W. Lees. It sounds like a classic Porter.

    Looking forward to the IPA review. I much prefer a lightly-chilled IPA to a lager with a curry.


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