Bad King John claims to be a ‘very English black ale’. The bottle has an unusual eye-catching label that claims that the ale is black, bitter, and intense. I’d been led to expect great things, but frankly, I was a little disappointed. It’s true that the ale is on the black side of dark brown, with a light brown head to match. The toasty notes from the malt are certainly there in the smell, but I find the flavour a little one-dimensional, and lacking in the kind of punch or finish that I would expect in a 6% ABV beer. The label also suggests that this is not a beer for those that seek subtlety – I’d tend to agree with that.