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Dark Ale - Upper Canada Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Dark AleDark Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.

32 Reviews
very good

(Read More)
Reviews: 32
Hads: 60
Avg: 3.28
pDev: 17.99%
Wants: 3
Gots: 2 | FT: 0
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:
Beer added by: kbub6f on 02-22-1998

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.
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Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 32 | Hads: 60
Photo of EvanHarper
3.56/5  rDev +8.5%
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.

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Photo of thehyperduck
3.25/5  rDev -0.9%
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.

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Photo of Tone
3.41/5  rDev +4%
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.

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Photo of TheBeerGuy101
3.18/5  rDev -3%
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.

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Photo of hopsolutely
3.58/5  rDev +9.1%
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.

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Photo of Antikythera
3.5/5  rDev +6.7%
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.

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Photo of BigBry
3.35/5  rDev +2.1%
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.

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Photo of andrenaline
3.45/5  rDev +5.2%
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.

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Photo of GodOfBeer
3.71/5  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.

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Photo of uno99
3.84/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Had this on tap at Up's and downs pub in Sarnia.

A: I was presented with a dark liquid with no head. looked rather porter-ish.

S: LOTS of dark roasted malt. low hop presence but still rather refreshing

T: dark malts, cherries and dark fruits. no off flavors.

M: a little thin and lacking but dry on the finish.

D: This beer is very undemanding of the drinker and thus one that could be drank in quantity.

I enjoyed this beer as part of a "first pint is free" promotion, plus you get to keep the pint glass... impressive! My first upper canada beer, and a good one. I think I'll try their other offerings.

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Photo of matt7215
2.91/5  rDev -11.3%
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

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Photo of changeup45
3.51/5  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.

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Photo of MTNboy
2.76/5  rDev -15.9%
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.

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Photo of Treebrews
3.2/5  rDev -2.4%
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.

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Photo of biegaman
3.28/5  rDev 0%
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

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Photo of CharlesDarwin
2.84/5  rDev -13.4%
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.

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Photo of crwills
3.43/5  rDev +4.6%
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.

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Photo of mattcrill
3.68/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at the Olde Angel Inn

Appearance: Shoe leather brown pour with virtually no head. A tan ring around the glass.

Smell: Slight musty sweet malt smell.

Taste: Carmel, tea, honey, just a touch of wheat bread, and bittering hops at the end.

Mouthfeel: Very smooth with a nice brush of carbonation.

Drinkability: Went down easy. Not sure why this beer is "not recommended". It's not an outstanding beer but it tastes good off the tap and went great with my meal. Maybe the bottled version is off but I'd recommend trying this once.

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Photo of Noelito76
3.75/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Color was a deep dark red and this beer created a small head when poured.

Taste was a nice balance between maltiness, hoppy aftertaste, and fruit flavors in it that usually are not so present in dark ales but what made this beer rather tasty.

Downside was the mouthfeel which was a bit light but still a tasty enjoyable beer.

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Photo of baiser
3.35/5  rDev +2.1%
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.

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Photo of ramrod666
2.98/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

upper canada dark ale pours a nice amber with a nice lacey head in a 24 oz. glass. smell is ok. kinda sweet wiht some adjuncts, corn. taste was not bad but, nothing really stood out. mouthfeel was thin and watery. lightly carbonated. drank quite a few because the price was nice. 4.50 cdn a draft, a big draft. that went down pretty good on a uncharacteristicly hot canadian day.

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Photo of Sammy
2.34/5  rDev -28.7%
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.

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Photo of Stingray5
3.47/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured reddish brown with a tiny bubbled, fast dissapating head. Nutty malt and caramel in the aroma. Mouthful was a bit on the thin side. Taste was malty with dark fruit, caramel and something almost dopplebock-like.

Aside from being a little thin, this was an enjoyable brew and a treat to find in a hotel bar next to a Coors Light tap handle.

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Photo of TerryW
2.68/5  rDev -18.3%
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.

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Photo of canadianbarman
3.2/5  rDev -2.4%
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.

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Dark Ale from Upper Canada Brewing Company
77 out of 100 based on 32 ratings.