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Dark Ale - Upper Canada Brewing Company

Dark AleDark Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
76
okay

53 Ratings
THE BROS
87
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 53
Reviews: 32
rAvg: 3.27
pDev: 13.15%


Brewed by:
Upper Canada Brewing Company visit their website
Ontario, Canada

Style | ABV
English Brown Ale |  5.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
Like ales of Northern England, this ale combines British Challenger hops and yeast, spring water, carastan and black patent malts for a robust malty character and a rich chestnut-coloured ale.

(Beer added by: kbub6f on 02-22-1998)
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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 53 | Reviews: 32 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of EvanHarper
EvanHarper

Ontario (Canada)

3.58/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.75

A: Ruby red, 1 finger of head rapidly dissipating, few bubbles, no lacing.

S: Dry fruit, caramel, faint grainy vegetation, pale malt.

T: Starts semi-sweet and fruity, finishes dry, moderately bitter, and with a noticeable chocolate malt character that pushes this almost into porter territory.

M: A little watery. Appropriately low carbonation.

O: No world-beater, but amazingly good for a budget beer. Drinkable and well-balanced. Old-timers insist that U.C. Dark went way downhill after Sleeman bought the brewery up; if so, the original stuff must have been the nectar of the gods. Nonetheless, the version we have today is a fine addition to Ontario's menu.

Serving type: bottle

10-02-2013 04:51:05 | More by EvanHarper
Photo of thehyperduck
thehyperduck

Ontario (Canada)

3.25/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

341 mL bottle from a 12-pack obtained at TBS; bottled Nov 15 2012. As far as value-brand beers go, I still feel that Upper Canada provides the best bang for your buck in this province by a wide margin. I've enjoyed their lager many times now, but this was the first time I picked up a case of the dark ale.

Pours an attractive ruby-amber colour, completely translucent, topped with one finger of dense, creamy, off-white head that quickly dissolves into a thin cap and collar. The aroma is subdued, with no particularly distinguishing features catching my attention - caramel, maybe a hint of nuts and coffee/cream, with some earthiness from the hops. Appropriate enough for the style, but far from a memorable scent.

The flavour doesn't stray far from this 'to-style, but pedestrian' theme. There are some toasted, grainy malt flavours, with a light caramel sweetness, and the finish is a mixture of earthy, leafy dryness and a weird vegetal flavour that clashes with the rest of the profile. Pretty thin-bodied and watery, with carbonation levels comparable to most macro ambers. Although uninspired, the flavours are still well-balanced so this would make for a reasonably good, cheap session beer.

Final Grade: 3.25, an acceptable C+. Judging it solely on style, Upper Canada's Dark Ale isn't especially great, and frankly it really doesn't compare to most OCB browns in terms of quality. That being said - it isn't trying to be a premium craft beer. It's a value brand priced the same as their lager, and as far as cheap ambers/browns go, you are probably not going to find a brew of this quality for this price anywhere else in Ontario. Consider this worth a try if you're looking for something simple and affordable to drink socially, but aren't really in the mood for a pale lager. I'm sure I'll return to this at some point for that very reason.

Serving type: bottle

12-24-2012 21:27:32 | More by thehyperduck
Photo of TheBeerGuy101
TheBeerGuy101


3.18/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a rich, deep ruby brown. Roasted chestnut<----

Very little lacing.

It's bold in taste ( very hoppy ) but it does have some toffee, coffee, molasses, caramel, chocolate and malt on the nose.

Its easy to drink, soft on the palate and does have a good malt content!
Semi Sweet / Semi Bitter... ( Although, some may argue that! )
The finish is slight fruit and floral towards a hops touch.

Its a decent ale and one that that is easy to drink a few of!

For a premium turned discount, this one stands a slight touch above average for a dark ale.
Enjoy!

Serving type: bottle

03-24-2012 03:30:01 | More by TheBeerGuy101
Photo of Antikythera
Antikythera

New York

3.5/5  rDev +7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: not as dark as most of the dark ales I like. Reddish-amber. Lots of head when poured, goes away and leaves lacing.

S: sour and nutty.

T: mild caramel and chocolate with a bitter finish. Less of that bitterness as it warms up in the glass.

M: creamy, then fizzy. Faint lingering astringency that's not unpleasant.

O: this is one of the beers my inlaws buy for the cottage. It's tasty, refreshing, and a good value. I'm a fan.

Serving type: bottle

10-04-2011 23:17:12 | More by Antikythera
Photo of BigBry
BigBry

Alberta (Canada)

3.38/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle with dinner in Ottawa, one of the only local/small brewers available.
Pours very reddish color, thin cap of foam with decent retention and some thin chunks of lacing.
Light, mild aromas, some caramel, earthy hops. Slightly sweet taste, caramel malts, slightest hint of chocolate. Finish was a bit fruity, but almost sour. Medium body, smooth and easy to drink. A bit lighter (body and flavor) than I was expecting, but still enjoyable.

Serving type: bottle

01-30-2011 16:34:00 | More by BigBry
Photo of andrenaline
andrenaline

Ontario (Canada)

3.48/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Pours a ruby red colour, finger of head with decent retention and some sporadic lacing.

S - Pretty mild in nature, but dark chocolate and musty espresso scents are present.

T - A bit bitter and sour, but the dark chocolate malts and espresso flavours come through followed by a touch of caramel on the finish.

M - Medium bodied ale that goes down smooth and finishes with a touch of dryness. The bitterness is noticeable but is not overly offensive.

D - Overall, a tasty ale and an economical selection that offers decent flavours for the price point. There's definitely better brown ales available, but this is by no means terrible. Worth a try for sure and easily poundable.

Serving type: bottle

01-06-2011 04:36:58 | More by andrenaline
Photo of GodOfBeer
GodOfBeer

Ontario (Canada)

3.7/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is one of the nicest dark ales I've seen, pours a very dark red, thick off-white head with tons of lacing, just beautiful.

Smells nutty upfront, some sweet caramel, cappuccino like smell and some chocolate.

Tastes nutty, some slight chocolatey caramel and a nice citrusy hop finish. Definately some coffee or cappuccino like flavour in there too.

Nice creamy, slightly carbonated mouthfeel, somewhat thick, like a cappuccino, a nice drinkable dark ale.

Serving type: bottle

08-05-2009 21:14:39 | More by GodOfBeer
Photo of matt7215
matt7215

Ontario (Canada)

2.93/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

341 ml bottle form the beer store

dark brown with a tan head that never goes away

aroma of light roasted malts, some caramel and coffee notes but pretty minimal

flavours are slight and thin but not off style

pretty boring overall but certainly not bad

i could drink this if nothing better was around

Serving type: bottle

12-18-2008 17:01:27 | More by matt7215
Photo of changeup45
changeup45

Florida

3.5/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

1/21/2005. Pretty good. Dark amber-brown color and poured a thick head which left lots of lacing on the glass. A rich malty, smoky flavor to it. Much richer than expected. Nice and a little warming (it was something like 5 degrees yesterday!). So this definitely was enjoyed.

Serving type: bottle

08-24-2008 17:53:10 | More by changeup45
Photo of MTNboy
MTNboy

Germany

2.8/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance: Nothing out of the usual. Dark a little lace not much for a head.

Smell: Slightly beany with a stale and musty odor.

Taste: There is a roasted malt flavor, and slightly bitter sweet.

Mouthfeel: Full bodied.

Drinkability: pretty average there is nothing to write home about.

Serving type: bottle

12-15-2007 02:50:03 | More by MTNboy
Photo of Treebrews
Treebrews

New York

3.18/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Had this in a bottle, small, carmel head, with little to no lacing. The smell is chocolaty, somewhat sweet. Not overal impressed with this beer, the taste is average with again chocolate, and almost honey tasting. i see that everyone views this differently from average to pretty decent, but in my opinion, nothing special. have to remember it's a ale,and not a darker beer though.

Serving type: bottle

12-14-2006 03:58:29 | More by Treebrews
Photo of biegaman
biegaman

Ontario (Canada)

3.25/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Not an easy beer to knock but one that couldnt quite make the cut for my taste. I am a huge fan of this style and had heard only great things about this beer. And while I felt it a little short of great, I could recognize what it was that others enjoyed: a slight chocolat afterthough, a light roasted undertone accompanied with the overshadow of different chewy, yummy malts. None of this though was pronouced enough for my liking. I have had so much better in many other dark ales that it only make this one seem inferiour. I would imagine however that with alittle tweaking this beer would have the potential to be one of the truly great (Canadian anyways) dark ales

Serving type: bottle

10-14-2006 17:20:00 | More by biegaman
Photo of CharlesDarwin
CharlesDarwin

Rhode Island

2.85/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Originally reviewed February 19, 2005. 12 Oz Bottle. Nice earthen pour. Thin white head, with poor lacing. Malty, lacking hops. Caramel and apple pie tones, backed with a very faint floral. Not overly watery, sustains decently on the palate. Generally weak.

Serving type: bottle

07-23-2006 15:07:22 | More by CharlesDarwin
Photo of crwills
crwills

Ontario (Canada)

3.45/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A solid choice when you want a dark beer and there aren't any others available. Had a couple of these at East (on Queen Street) in Toronto (which I wouldn't really recommend, by the way).

Pours a muddy brown into improper glassware (not the beer's fault, of course!). Smell was not bad... malty and brown sugar. Taste is similar, although some roasty notes are in there, and perhaps a little bit of breadiness. Thin (but not watery) mouthfeel.

Again, one of those beers that seems to pop up when the only other choices are macros, so worth grabbing and drinking if there's no other choice. Probably the best offering I've had from Upper Canada, as well.

Serving type: bottle

05-01-2006 23:49:36 | More by crwills
Photo of baiser
baiser

Massachusetts

3.38/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark burgandy colour, with a smallish tan head, good lacing and retention. Aroma of malt, fruit and some caramel. Taste was mellow, some nuts, some caramel, quite sweet and good malt flavour. Nothing too pronounced. A very safe beer. Smooth, just the right amount of carbonation, but thin on the body. Ok, brown ale.

Serving type: bottle

05-13-2005 04:44:35 | More by baiser
Photo of Sammy
Sammy

Ontario (Canada)

2.35/5  rDev -28.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

chestnut brown with some initial creamy head. Skanky smell. Carbonation in place of haps, bothering the mouth. Some malt, a trace of fruit, and a mid-sip hint of toffee and chocolate. Bitterness bite. Better than warm water at the end of a summer day.

Serving type: bottle

05-19-2004 23:05:00 | More by Sammy
Photo of TerryW
TerryW

Ontario (Canada)

2.68/5  rDev -18%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours red-brown with a moderate head that quickly goes away. Hardly any lace.

Sweet smelling. Subtle malt and hops, nothing that leaps out at you.

Quite light bodied. Sweet, some malt, some hops, but light tasting, again nothing that distingusihes itself.

Rather plain.

Serving type: bottle

10-01-2003 21:28:57 | More by TerryW
Photo of canadianbarman
canadianbarman

Alberta (Canada)

3.23/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

--Plain brown bottle, no freshness date to be found.
--Poured a thin muddy water like in color. Head started out nice, then lowered to a slim head. There was some slight lacing.
--Smelled sweet and malty, almost like a chocolate.

Not too bad. It had a fairly sweet taste to it. I was a good attempt at a dark ale, almost a little thinner than I expected, but I didn't mind, as I am not a huge dark ale fan. Overall I would drink this one again.
Thx

Serving type: bottle

09-23-2003 20:45:19 | More by canadianbarman
Photo of pootz
pootz

Ontario (Canada)

3/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

No date code on the plainish brown bottle.. some information in the back label about the ingredients.

Poured a beautiful red-mahogany color with a smalish tan head...not much carbonation. I couldn't believe that there was so little definitive or distinct aroma....slight hops and sweetish malt odors...nothing really striking. This beer defies taste description as it has so many flavors sweet malt, hop bitters, slightly sour yeasty finish. A very good representation of this english dark ale style. This is not to my particular tastes but for those who like these ales this is a good enough one.

Serving type: bottle

08-03-2003 20:24:48 | More by pootz
Photo of kbub6f
kbub6f

New York

3.85/5  rDev +17.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bought at The Beer Store (Terry Fox North of the 417: Kanata), a couple of days in the trunk, a couple of days in the fridge.

A medium-sized, cream-colored, dense head leaves sticky, thin sheets and spots. Sweet toffee and a touch of chocolate in the nose and front. Caramel maltiness and a little butter in the middle. A little more cream and fruit show at temperature. A surprisingly light body. A zangy, bitter finish. Some toasted grains in the aftertaste.

This is a good, "light" dark: light body, dark taste.

Serving type: bottle

07-02-2003 07:04:03 | More by kbub6f
Photo of slitherySOB
slitherySOB

Ontario (Canada)

2.9/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Purchased at Fort Henry. Glad they had something that wasn't Molson nor Labatt. Bartender poured it poorly. Wish I could have poured it myself, so as too get the proper head. When disturbed, a light film floated up and quickly disipated. A pale brown, almost muddy water colour. Malty smell. Very sweet, with faint hops. Not well balanced. Powerful malt and caramel flavour. Extremely sweet, dark beer. The caramel left a sticky mouthfeel. But, it was a good, thirst quenching beer. Which was what I needed.

Serving type: bottle

06-28-2003 17:19:24 | More by slitherySOB
Photo of Shiloh
Shiloh

Ontario (Canada)

2.75/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Not the best product from Upper Canada Brewing Company but I may be bias as this is far from my style.......pours a medium dark amber with a slight tan head......medium body and no aroma to speak of....flavour starts as bitter but sweetens in short time.....

Serving type: bottle

01-12-2003 16:12:46 | More by Shiloh
Photo of BeerAdvocate
BeerAdvocate

Massachusetts

3.88/5  rDev +18.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Presentation: 12 oz. bottle with a picture of a water mill. Ingredients proudly proclaimed.

Appearance: Dark brown/burgundy, not much head action due to filtering.

Smell: Rich, very ripe fruit.

Taste: Dark, malt, fruit, sweet flavours, a bit nutty and a bit smooth.

Notes: A damn nice attempt at an English Brown. Runs a bit thin still, but rich in flavours. (5% alc./vol.)

Serving type: bottle

02-22-1998 00:00:01 | More by BeerAdvocate
Photo of Tone
Tone

Missouri

3.43/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear, brown color. 1/3 inch head of an off-tan color. Good retention and good lacing. Smells of pale malt, sweet malt, hint of roasted malt, hint of hops, and slight corn/rice. Fits the style of an English Brown Ale. Mouth feel is sharp and crisp, with an average carbonation level. Tastes of roasted malt, sweet malt, pale malt, hint of hop, and a hint of citrus. Overall, good appearance, decent body, and good blend.

Serving type: on-tap

10-11-2012 13:27:10 | More by Tone
Photo of hopsolutely
hopsolutely

Ontario (Canada)

3.63/5  rDev +11%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A very pleasant surprise.

I'd expected a sweet dark beer typical of those brewed elsewhere in Ontario and was impressed by the bitter finish. A dark amber with great head and rings of lacing down the glass at the end of my pint. Aroma is a very limited, faint maltiness. The taste is more pleasant, with the sweet caramelized malts blending nicely into the pleasantly bitter finish. A lingering aftertaste that I hadn't expected.

Wouldn't be my first choice of local Ontario draught, but miles ahead of any macro efforts and a beer I'd order again.

Serving type: on-tap

11-06-2011 23:36:30 | More by hopsolutely
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Dark Ale from Upper Canada Brewing Company
76 out of 100 based on 53 ratings.