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Black Creek Rifleman's Ration - Black Creek Historic Brewery

Not Rated.
Black Creek Rifleman's RationBlack Creek Rifleman's Ration

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

35 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 35
Reviews: 22
rAvg: 3.66
pDev: 10.11%
Wants: 1
Gots: 0 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Black Creek Historic Brewery visit their website
Ontario, Canada

Style | ABV
English Brown Ale |  5.00% ABV

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes/Commercial Description:
This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: spinrsx on 05-30-2012)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 35 | Reviews: 22 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of DenisKolkin
3.7/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Part of the black creek 4 pack.

Appearance - a very dark brown coloured beer is poured that is opaque and topped by a half finger of off white head. The head doesn't linger too long but does leave a little soapy ring around the glass.

Smell - hmmm, some coffee and roasted nut characteristics with just a faint aroma of dark fruits namely cherries.

Taste - like the nose, some moderate bitterness, some roasted characteristics with a trace of coffee and tobacco. Kind of unusual for a brown ale, but somehow works

Mouthfeel - moderate carbonation, but a creamy feel. Medium bodied and dry finish.

Overall - a pretty tasty and satisfying brown ale with sufficient presence to be noticed but also easy enough to drink that I won't hesitate to enjoy more at another time. A beer that gets better the more of it you drink, really enjoyed the last half glass. So far probably my favourite of the historic series, with only the dray horse beer left to go.

Photo of BuckyBeerBeaver
4.1/5  rDev +12%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

While wandering through the beer isles of his local LCBO, Bucky couldn't resist the patriotic appeal of Black Creek Brewery's Rifleman's Ration Ale ("RRA"). RRA is the first in a series of twelve ‘Historic Beers of Canada' to be released by the brewery. Each of the twelve distinct beers is designed to capture the feel and flavour of a specific era in Canadian history. Rifleman's Ration commemorates the years 1810 to 1819, to mark the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812. The beer that is available commercially is brewed in partnership with Trafalgar Breweries through Pioneer Brewing Ltd.

RRA was purchased in a brown 500 ml bottle with a 'best before' date of January 2013 punched into the side of the label. The label displays the image of a 19th century British colonial soldier of the line, who, as part of his service, would have been issued with an extra paycheck exclusively for buying beer. British commanders approved of beer consumption (within reason) because it helped stimulate the regional economy through the sale of grains and hops by local farmers. RRA is 5.0% alcohol by volume.

Rather than drinking at room temperature as suggested on the label, I served it at cellar temperature which was a few degrees cooler. RRA poured a translucent dark brown/red, with ruby highlights when backlit. A very aggressive pour produced about 1/2" of fizzy tan coloured head, which quickly faded to a thin collar and film, leaving some very modest spotting and lacing down the glass. The beer's aroma, as you would expect for a brown ale, was dominated by chocolate and coffee malts. The flavour began with sweet, dark malts including chocolate, and finished with a mild coffee bitterness which lingered for just a few seconds. The carbonation was quite low and completely appropriate for the recreation of a naturally carbonated, 200 year old recipe, though possibly a bit undercarbonated for modern tastes. The mouthfeel was soft due to the low carbonation, and I would describe RRA as medium bodied. Overall, weighing the beer's patriotic appeal and enjoyable taste and aroma against a rather expensive $3.95 price tag, I'd add Rifleman's Ration to my 'occasional treat' list.

Photo of lgmol
3.5/5  rDev -4.4%

Photo of Pmicdee
2/5  rDev -45.4%

Photo of funkengruven
3.85/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Had a couple of these in my cellar that I picked up last year, This poured a nice deep brown with very little head retention. Smell is rather nice, malty with a touch of hops. Taste is nice and rich, with a bitter finish. Mouthfeel is smooth, and easy to drink.

This went quite well with my roast beef dinner. A decent and typical English brown ale, I would get this again.

Photo of cfalovo97
3/5  rDev -18%

Photo of ThinkAgain
3.25/5  rDev -11.2%

Photo of joemcgrath27
3.68/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

props to andrenaline for including this in our previous trade
A - a clear deep cedar brown, short brown head dissipated quickly to not much of a covering
S - big hits of nuts, caramel and brown sugar, mild roastiness towards the back
T - big cola syrup to start, followed by roasted nuts and toffee, touch of leafy bitterness late in the finish along with some charcoal
M - medium body, slightly prickly carbonation, touch of bitterness but a generally full finish
O - this hits all requisite style points and started to grow on me more as I got through the 500ml bottle, definitely worth a try or 2 if you can

Photo of Kremlock
4/5  rDev +9.3%

Photo of little_brother
3.75/5  rDev +2.5%

Photo of beerhunter13
3.5/5  rDev -4.4%

Photo of Molson2000
4/5  rDev +9.3%

Photo of TheSevenDuffs
3.65/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Best Before NOV 2012. Poured in to tulip.

A - Medium translucent brown with a very thin film of light brown head.

S - Very nutty aroma with some bready malts and caramel.

T - Nutty flavour up front. Some caramel, toffee, maple and a slight bitterness round out the palate.

M - Light body with a slight creaminess. Moderate carbonation.

Photo of Jeffo
4/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Won the Hockey Playoff Poule against my cousin this year, and this was part of the bounty. Cheers Mike!

From a 500ml bottle into a pint glass.

APPEARANCE: Pours a small, off-white head with lousy retention. Head quickly vanishes to a faint wisp and a bubbly ring. Opaque rust brown in color with almost no carbonation evident. A ring remains until the end but leaves no real lacing down the glass.

SMELL: Brown malts, toffee and some light melon notes. Very faint coffee beans in the back as well. As it warms, lots of maple sugar arrives and ties everything together very nicely. Complex and interesting.

TASTE: Like the nose, this is quite nice. Brown malts, toffee and maple sugar sweetness, moving into a bitter coffee and floral hop flavors at the finish. Mild yet lingering aftertaste of toffee sweetness, light coffee notes, and some floral and light pine bitterness. Very nice indeed.

PALATE: Medium-full body with medium levels of carbonation. Creamy enough on the palate, goes down smooth and finishes slightly dry. Good weight on this one, and feels really good.

OVERALL: Really good beer here. Bold and interesting aromas and flavors, with a big, full palate to support it all. Very well done. Thanks again Mike. Those Riflemen had it pretty good.

Photo of KrisDLSmith
3.5/5  rDev -4.4%

Photo of Phyl21ca
3.93/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle: Poured a clear deep brown color ale with a medium size foamy head with low retention and not much lacing. Aroma of caramel malt with some notes of nuts and light dry roasted ester is pretty interesting. Taste is a solid mix between some caramelized malt with clear roasted nuts and light dry roasted malt finish. Body is about average with medium carbonation. Solid for the style though additional body would improve this beer IMHO.

Photo of biegaman
3.83/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

All Black Creek beers pour out the bottle completely flat, without so much as even a hiss when prying off the cap. This is no surprise, mind you, for brewery aiming to recreate historic ales from the 19th century. This particular offering is modeled after brown, unfiltered ales that British soldiers enjoyed from the barrel - and indeed it looks the part.

The bouquet has a fleeting mocha roast with hints of coffee oil and toasted hazelnut. Smells like the atmosphere of a local cafe, one that grinds their own beans in-house. There is also a firm sweetness to the aroma, but enough roasted grain to keep it from running wild. A bit mild for a stout, but fairly robust for a (tradition minded) brown ale.

All promises made by the aroma are delivered on the palate. Lots of pecan-like nuttiness and mild-roast coffee flavours are appreciated. There's virtually no bitterness beyond the slight astringency of roasted grain. In fact, its almost lactose-like sweetness gives it the air of a vanilla-hazelnut cappuccino. I was relieved to find a little left in the bottle for a top-up.

Drinking flat (and by now room temperature) beer is an odd sensation, but it works for a style like this. It allows the roast, which is mild enough to frankly be considered delicate, to linger for an extended period on the palate, imprinting a coffee bean oiliness. The ultra-nutty sweetness that accompanies prevents things from turning astringent.

One thing this beer teaches us is that the riflemen didn't do so bad (granted, it'd be hard having a delicious, gratifying beer like this on rations). Another thing we've learned is that the use of exclusively local ingredients doesn't bring anything new to the equation, except maybe a better environmental track record. Either way, this is a solid offering.

Photo of mick303
3.83/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours very little head, leaves some pretty decent lacing. Colour is a really dark brown. No visible carbonation.

Aroma holds caramel malts, with some mild nutty and hop aromas in the background. Some fresh piney notes as it warms.

Taste is of thick malts, dry roasted notes, a late bitterness. Quite distinctive flavour initially, maybe come roast coffee. Finish is quite dry, roasted chestnut flavour, good length.

Mouthfeel is smooth, with a moderate body. Very unoffensive and drinkable. Malts are very full and give a nice body, but otherwise not inspiring. At room temp it is full with malty and roasted notes. Good.

Enjoyable brew. Classic to the style. Does the job for a traditional brown ale but not a lot to really get too excited about here. Worth a try for the sake of it, nice piece of history.

Photo of NV9
3.65/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Dark brown/slight amber with very little head.

Malts, molasses, caramel and toffee smells present.

Taste is malty, lots of hops evident, good full flavou, bitter finish

Medium body, slightly watery, light-medium carnbonation.

Good hoppy beer, will drink again.

Photo of Groulxsome
3.93/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: A cloudy ruby-brown with a creamy, loose head.

Aroma: Toffee, molasses, and other malty sweet kinds of smells. Some yeastiness like the smell inside a bag of dark bread.

Taste: An assertive punch of toffee and somewhat dry grains. A little bitterness, but nothing too aggressive. It's a little sweet, so I can see how riflemen might have upped their ration by adding molasses to their version of a growler and let it continue fermenting without it spoiling the taste of the beer.

Mouthfeel: It's around medium body with very low carbonation. It feels like drinking a cask beer, which is good since that's what they were aiming for!

Overall: When people think about historic beers (or when I do at least), I often think of Dogfishhead's historic beer programme and beers that are big, exciting, and different (for better or for worse). This is not a really polarizing beer like those tend to be. It's a very solid English Brown Ale, it would be great on cask. I'd say give it a try!

Photo of Rutager
3.78/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance. Pours a deep amber-brown with a skim of off-white head.

Smell. Toasty malts, chocolate, sweet caramel and a little vanilla.

Taste. Roasted malts, caramel, a little nutty and a tiny bit of bitterness in the end.

Mouthfeel. Medium-light body with lowish carbonation. A little bit thin for the flavours going on.

Overall. An easy drinker with some nice mellow flavors.

Thanks liamt07!

Photo of BigGruntyThirst
4/5  rDev +9.3%

Photo of korguy123
3.75/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

500mL bottle into tumbler.

I was hesitant for some reason to pick this up. But after popping the cap and taking a sniff I'm really glad I did.

A- Clean and clear brown pour with highlights of ruby. Two finger off white soapy head with decent lacing stuck to the glass.

S- Roasted coffee and chocolate are predominant in this. There is some dark fruits an cinnamon and a little bit of licorice in this as well.

T- Dark coffee and a little bitter dark chocolate. Dark stone fruits with some sour dough bread and sweet biscuits. Cinnamon and licorice as well in the taste.

M- Medium to thin bodied, nice carbonation and a little chew.

O- I'm really glad I got this, brown ales have never interested me much but this is probably one of the most involved and enjoyable ones I've ever come across.

Photo of bigox420
3.75/5  rDev +2.5%

Photo of thehyperduck
3.73/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

500 mL bottle from the LCBO; best before December 2012. I haven't had a single lame beer from this brewery, so hopefully the ball will keep rolling - I'm not all that picky about brown ales anyway.

Pours a deep, brown mahogany colour with some crimson highlights when held up to the light (doing this also reveals the translucent nature of the brew). The head is compact, dense, tan in colour and rather creamy; unfortunately it's a bit of a fickle creature. It vanishes quickly, leaving behind naught but a soapy cap on the surface - but at least it has the courtesy to leave some smudges of lacing behind on the glass. Nice enticing aroma, and fairly firm in terms of strength/intensity. Heavy on the malts as one might hope for a brown ale - with notes of cocoa, caramel, molasses and roasted nuts. Rather mouthwatering, actually.

And fortunately my mouth was not disappointed - this is definitely a yummy ale. Lots of roasted nutty malts, caramel and brown sugar sweetness, with a slight note of milk chocolate. This leads into the earthy, leafy hop bitterness that comes forward later in the sip. Dry, malty aftertaste with more cocoa; slight sourness. Rather light-bodied, with fairly mild carbonation for a very smooth feel going down. Drinkable as all hell, but kind of watery.

Rifleman's Ration isn't a must-try, but it's still a solid brown ale. Unfortunately I doubt I can justify getting it again anytime soon - it's good, but there are other browns of comparable quality available almost everywhere, and most of them are cheaper. If you see this on the shelves and are debating whether to get it or not - I would say it's at least worth picking up (whether you're big on the style or not), but it isn't something to go out of your way in search of.

[Updated Dec. 18 2013]

I picked up their Historic Beers sampler, which included a fresh bottle of this one (probably my favourite in the series, of the three I've tried so far). Not as great as I remember, but still a solid, traditional English-style brown ale that goes down easily and with little fuss - somehow I doubt the riflemen were complaining about the quality of their beer ration.

Final Grade: 3.73, a B grade.

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Black Creek Rifleman's Ration from Black Creek Historic Brewery
83 out of 100 based on 35 ratings.