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Dark Ale - Fort Garry Brewing Company Ltd.

Dark AleDark Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

38 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 38
Reviews: 25
rAvg: 3.19
pDev: 16.3%

Brewed by:
Fort Garry Brewing Company Ltd. visit their website
Manitoba, Canada

Style | ABV
English Dark Mild Ale |  5.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: AudioGilz on 03-21-2003)
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Ratings: 38 | Reviews: 25 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of biegaman

Ontario (Canada)

3.15/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Fort Garry Dark Ale looks like it's been put through the toaster... for a few minutes too long. It has a sooty, burnt complexion despite maintaining a chestnut brown colour, healthy shimmer and clarity (the latter two only in some places, mind you). Its off-white foam sits atop the surface like a doily. Damn fine lookin'!

As well as a raisin- or hazelnut-tinged maltiness, the aroma also gives off a whiff of root beer. It is somewhat earthy but not overly aromatic, which is perhaps just as well because the corn syrup-esque scent of malt extract comes on strong as the beer loses its chill; it's not a deal breaker, but it's enough to question the quality of the ingredients.

All the pleasantly nutty, lightly chocolate-y flavours aside, this beer just isn't cutting it for me. It bears repeating that the flavour is fine. The problem is not how the beer tastes - fermentation provided a lovely plum fruitiness - it's how it drinks: this resembles less a pint to deliberate over at the pub than it does a lager to swill back at the beach.

For one, the malt extract noted in the aroma is all too real; the beer has a borderline saccharine texture with cola-like aftertaste. There is no fullness in the mouth what so ever; no vivid sense of roast or chocolate or grainy toasted malt. Sips are paper thin. Secondly, it has these pointy little bubbles that prick the back of the throat like pin-tacks.

Fort Garry Dark Ale's one shortfall is a lifeless and unconvincing mouthfeel; whether that relates to shoddy ingredients, not enough ingredients, or a flaw in the recipe I can't say. What I do know is that a style this mild and delicate must highlight a bountiful, all-natural maltiness if it is to work. And this, unfortunately, did not do so.

Serving type: can

07-20-2012 21:22:39 | More by biegaman
Photo of crossovert


2.8/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

473ml can.

It pours a bubbly brown with a fizzy cola-like head.

The smell is nice, some dark fruit, nuts, cocoa, coffee, and a hint of cherry.

The flavor is okay. It is sweet with a full graininess. It is like drinking dark bread. There is a slight hint of smokiness and I don't know if it is an off-flavor. There is a nit of tartness.

This isn't that amazing of a beer.

Serving type: can

12-19-2011 21:55:18 | More by crossovert
Photo of joemcgrath27

Alberta (Canada)

2.45/5  rDev -23.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A - clear dark brown, short head quickly faded to a thin ring with a small island in the middle
S - strong sugary molasses dominates, some leafy and roasty notes
T - overly strong sugary syrup sweetness overpowers everything, seems artificial
M - sticky sweet, somewhat creamy with a syrupy finish
O - just too much on the sweetness to the point that it feels like syrup was added right before they but the cap on, it doesn't taste bad but just not enough beer flavour

Serving type: bottle

09-22-2011 01:39:09 | More by joemcgrath27
Photo of CrazyMike

Alberta (Canada)

3.53/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Has a dark brown apperance with decent amount of head that slowly disappears leaving some lace. Smell consists of caramel, malt and roasted nuts. Very sweet overall.

Taste consists of caramel, toffee, malt, roasted nuts and a hint of grain and floral hops. Suprisingly the taste is very light overall. Light bodied with high carbonation. Aftertaste is bitter and dry with a lingering caramel taste.

This is an interesting beer, tastes similar to English ales. Refreshing and inoffensive, but kind of unbalanced taste wise. Worth a try in the summer.

Serving type: bottle

07-31-2011 03:23:49 | More by CrazyMike
Photo of vette2006c5r


3.6/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer poured a dark amber color, with very little head. The smell was weak, but a bit sweet from the carmel. The taste was rather complex, initally a watery taste, but then it finishes with a bit of a coffee flavor, and hint of choclate. The flavor could have been much stronger. Overall a beer that is decent, and could be much better with a stronger flavor.

Serving type: bottle

05-28-2011 21:26:46 | More by vette2006c5r
Photo of marty21

Manitoba (Canada)

3.23/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a dark brown with a small tan head. Settles to a bit of a ring around the glass but doesn't leave any lacing.

S: A little caramel but just a small malty aroma.

T: Caramel and malt. It's not a very strong taste but it's not bad.

M: Medium carbonation with a light to medium body.

D: I hardly ever drink Fort Garry but when you're stuck at a restaurant with not many choices this isn't a bad choice to have with your meal. The only other time I'll drink this is at Winnipeg Goldeyes games.

Serving type: bottle

02-19-2011 16:36:10 | More by marty21
Photo of kjyost

Manitoba (Canada)

3.23/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a beer glass. I used to drink it in my youth because it was fully flavoured by 1996 Winnipeg standards and was a local micro to boot too. I must admit though, I was figuring a=on this being a 2 across the board beer when I ordered it (as the bar had nothing else to offer)...

Pours viscous dark with no head, lacing or retention. A beer like this definitely should... Its aromas are muted, though there is some molasses in there. The taste though offers mild notes of chocolate, with molasses, light sweetness and nothing offensive (which I was expecting for some reason). Viscous mouthfeel, though perhaps a bit overcarbonated. Turns out it was a surprisingly decent beer...

Serving type: bottle

10-19-2010 03:16:52 | More by kjyost
Photo of andrenaline

Ontario (Canada)

3.03/5  rDev -5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

The third selection from their mixer pack.

A - Pours dark ruby red in colour with a solid thumb of head which dissipates at the same speed which it developed. No lacing present.

S - The scent on this one was rather metallic, but once you get past that there's some sweet chocolate malts and a bit of molasses coming through.

T - Little bit of toffee, some chocolate malts and coffee. Overall the flavour is a little on the bland side.

M - Much like the other selections I've had, this one is a little overly carbonated for my liking. That being said, it is rather refreshing, not nearly as dry as the others I've had, and it finishes smooth.

D - Overall, this is the best beer I've had by Fort Garry so far, but the others were pretty forgettable. I think this one has the potential to be better if they stepped up the flavours a bit, but it came off a little bland. I wouldn't be embarassed to offer this to someone, but I would probably preface it by stating that it's 'just average'.

Serving type: bottle

07-01-2010 17:04:20 | More by andrenaline
Photo of mothman

United Kingdom (Wales)

3.8/5  rDev +19.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Had this at a club in Winnipeg, just asked for a dark beer and this is what I got.

I drank it out of the bottle, because it was a club and didn't want to spill any of it and it just seemed easier at the time.

Smell is very malty with grassy hops. Also chocolate. Taste is of dark malts, grassy hops, carmel, and roasted malts.

Mouthfeel is kind of bitter, gets a little smoother eventually. Slight dry aftertaste and well carbonated.

Too me, this was a great beer at the type of establishment I was at. It was really hard to review with all the surroundings, but I think I picked out some of its traits.

Serving type: bottle

02-16-2009 00:51:27 | More by mothman
Photo of biboergosum

Alberta (Canada)

3.05/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

For some reason, this is the only micro-brew available at my favorite local pizzeria...

This beer pours a deep dark brown, with light playing off the sides, and a lot of light tan head. It smells of nutty sweet malt. The taste is also nutty and malty, kind of grainy, with a smidgen of floral hops. The body is kind of thin, and there's too much carbonation, which brings the drinkability down a fair bit. Overall, a decent, if kind of plain offering.

Serving type: bottle

02-01-2009 06:16:25 | More by biboergosum
Photo of canucklehead

British Columbia (Canada)

3.6/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This is the Manitoba equivalent to Herman's Dark from Vancouver Island Brewery. On tap at quite a few places in Winnipeg, this beer does a decent job of the style with the malt notes coming through in the finish. The beer wants you to order another with no huge fanfare. Pub beer that makes the grade yet doesn't scare off the average drinker.

Serving type: bottle

06-10-2007 01:25:44 | More by canucklehead
Photo of Shadman

Alberta (Canada)

3.13/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

walked by this brand for months now so maybe time to give it a try.

very dark brown, held it up to light and the light had a hard time with it. nice, tan 2.5 fingered head that disappated fairly quickly, but then this beer sat in my fridge all weekend too.

couldn't pull much aroma other than some roasted malts.

some mild hop kick in the front, I really didn't find any roasted malts until late. These were fairly low key.

a bit thin bodied, nothing special-nothing obnoxious either

goes down pretty well, makes a nice change if one is in the mood for something other than a lager.

Serving type: bottle

04-10-2007 02:02:23 | More by Shadman
Photo of DrJay


3.6/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Had this one again recently and was much more impressed this time out. Clear, dark brown with chestnut highlights, but little head off a fairly hard pour. Aromas of brown sugar, chocolate, toffee and roasted barley. Mild bitterness with some caramel and molasses. Medium/light bodied with average carbonation and a decent mouthfeel. Pretty good, fairly solid. Thanks Zithal!

Serving type: bottle

01-27-2007 03:10:01 | More by DrJay
Photo of trevorwideman

Manitoba (Canada)

3.05/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Carlos & Murphy's, 10/8/06.

Poured with a 1/2 inch brownish head that subsided quickly, leaves a little lacing down to the bottom of the glass. A murky dark colour with ruby highlights, mild carbonation from what I can see. Smell is a doughy roasted malt with a mild hop profile, fairly clean.

Taste is of roasted/burnt malt, some mild caramel notes, cookie dough, and a bit of a sharp acidity in the finish. Body is very light for a dark ale, carbonation is mild. This one could use a bit more body to it. The lightness makes it slide down awfully easy. This isn't a really bad beer, just a little less exciting than you think it should be. More body and a heftier flavor profile would go a long way.

This is a better beer on tap than in a bottle by far, although Fort Garry's Pale is a better beer all around.

Serving type: on-tap

10-09-2006 18:24:47 | More by trevorwideman
Photo of vanrassel

Alberta (Canada)

3.4/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A straightforward, unpretentious beer from a straightforward, unpretentious town like Winnipeg.

This one poured nice and dark from the bottle with a frothy, one-finger head. Not much retention on the head: it quickly dwindled to a ring and left very little lacing on my pint glass.

There was an appetizing, sweet malt aroma with hints of caramel that delivered more of the same in an extremely satisfying first sip. The finish, though, was unexpected and a little unpleasant at first — kind of a sour, yeast-y taste.

As I kept drinking, the sour aftertaste wasn't as prominent and was replaced with a cleaner (blander?) finish. This is a very drinkable beer, though it seems to be lacking complexity. A few reviewers have extolled its virtues on tap — I'll have to give it a try next time I'm in the 'Peg.

Serving type: bottle

02-17-2006 17:23:16 | More by vanrassel
Photo of Noxious26

Saskatchewan (Canada)

2.85/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

341ml bottle poured in a pint glass.

Clear, and cola-like in appearance. Beige head is 1/4 inch on the pour but quickly recedes to a thin ring around the edges.

Aroma is pretty much straight ahead malts with hints of caramel. Nothing offensive, but it just seems pretty plain though.

Taste is toasted malts throughout with a little caramel in the middle and a bit of a metallic twang and burnt undertone at the finish. Basically no aftertaste to speak of. Just seems to be missing something here. Very plain and tame.

Light-medium bodied and moderately carbonated.

There really isn't anything here to draw you in. Plain and blah. This reminds me of a brown ale (would probably fit that category better than the Amber/Red Ale) that has been watered down. Just seems to be lacking a little in every category from being a good beer. That said, there's nothing really bad or wrong with it, but it's probably one that I won't be re-visiting often.

Serving type: bottle

02-03-2006 04:02:22 | More by Noxious26
Photo of francisweizen


3/5  rDev -6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

On Tap at the free house in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Cola brown with a small fizzy head that dies out, sans good lacing. Aromas are slight caramel malts, and some slightly bitter notes of something else. Where are the hops and the complexity? Taste is bland with just some caramel malt flavors to keep you occupied. Mouthfeel is thin and drinkability is blah. Kind of crap if you ask me...

Serving type: on-tap

07-18-2005 05:30:45 | More by francisweizen
Photo of fisherman34

Manitoba (Canada)

3.1/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Very dark brown in color with a slightly off-white head. The aroma is mildly malty with a hint of roasted grains. The beer tastes much like a watered down porter, with faint notes of chocolate and coffee. There's very little hop presence, but the balance of bitterness and malt isn't too bad. Bottled samples I've had have been quite inconsistent, but the tap examples have generally been better. It's a very average ale at best.

Serving type: on-tap

05-26-2005 17:08:44 | More by fisherman34
Photo of BuckeyeNation


2.53/5  rDev -20.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Dark brown with a generous infusion of ruby. The cap is on the large side (thanks to a great deal of carbonation) and is the color of gently toasted marshmallow. It's also much too soft to persist for long or to leave much lace. With a decent looking lid, this could have been a better than average looking beer.

The nose is uninspiring. Dark Ale smells more like a dark ale (label) than an amber/red ale (BA designation). In particular, it smells like minimally roasted malt with weak notes of dark fruit. While not completely absent, the hops are heading for the door.

The flavor is interesting, but is bad interesting as opposed to good interesting. Dark Ale tastes artificially dark to me. It tastes like a combination of caramel and chocolate extract mixed with day-old coffee grounds. It's also mineral-like without crossing the line into frankly metallic.

It's becoming a little less noxious as I drink, but 'good' is a long way off. The mouthfeel is light and the finish is criminally short. On second thought, why would I want the flavor to linger? I'm okay with the amount of carbonation, but at this point, it doesn't really matter.

Fort Garry Brewing Company is 'Manitoba's largest brewery'. I'm not sure what that little factoid is worth, but if I lived in Winnipeg or its environs, I'd demand better beer.

Serving type: bottle

05-05-2005 14:34:16 | More by BuckeyeNation
Photo of IronDjinn

Alberta (Canada)

2.88/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured from a 341 ml brown bottle from a 6 pack. A decent looking clear cola hued body, I managed to get a fair sized tan head before a quick recession to a thin ring. On the aroma is toasted malt, thin caramel, some metallic grains, all pretty weak in potency however. The flavour is similar on all counts, toasted caramel malts, metallic grain in the middle, with slight herbal hoppiness on the finish, and very, very watered down. Mouthfeel is thin and a bit abrasive with the carbonation, not the friendliest texture for a dark ale. Not a very appealing offering from Fort Garry.

Serving type: bottle

09-27-2004 23:19:12 | More by IronDjinn
Photo of JustinBathurst

Ontario (Canada)

3.9/5  rDev +22.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours a cola brown (hint of auburn). Dark, but not opaque. A little bit of head fizzled down to a nice thin covering.

Smells of unpasteurized honey and malt. A slight hint of olive.

The mouthfeel is slick with medium carbonation.

Tastes very roasted--bitter coffee finish with notes of chocolate. Very well-rounded dark ale. I really like this one. I discovered it while in Winnipeg and picked up some before leaving Manitoba.

Serving type: bottle

08-04-2004 00:39:19 | More by JustinBathurst
Photo of sardonic

Manitoba (Canada)

3.83/5  rDev +20.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

As other reviews have mentioned, this is a light tasting dark ale, that pours with basically no head. It stops a little short of excellence, but is very good. Doesn't have as strong of an aftertaste as some other dark beers, and it's the only dark beer I've ever seen develop a huge following in nightclubs (hey, it's local, 5% ABV, cheaper than Guinness, and it won't bog down your dancing or have you reaching for a glass of water, might as well)...definitely recommended, I've had it on tap too but that was quite awhile ago and I can't remember if there was any difference between the bottled and on-tap versions.

Serving type: bottle

07-25-2004 06:03:20 | More by sardonic
Photo of Sammy

Ontario (Canada)

2.78/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

A baby step stout. Very mild and light. Kicked-up carbonation on tap, which worked against it. Soapy glass so couldn't get any aroma. Bit of malt and foam, a beer aimed I think to get people to try more craft beers, so some points over national brand.

Serving type: on-tap

06-16-2004 13:18:56 | More by Sammy
Photo of Phyl21ca

Quebec (Canada)

2.23/5  rDev -30.1%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Bottle: Poured a light brown beer with very low carbonation and therefore almost no head. Aroma is quite weak with almost no discernable malt. Taste is light and somewhat refreshing with some note of sweetness and malt. Overall, this is a beer that lack character and complexity and therefore is very average.

Serving type: bottle

05-25-2004 14:28:37 | More by Phyl21ca
Photo of AudioGilz


2.33/5  rDev -27%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

11.6 ounce brown bottle, no freshness date. It's clear amber, a darker amber, almost brown. A small head forms and dissappears all too quickly, with no lace..just a rim. There's a toasty aroma, kind of like a nut brown ale, nothing exciting. There something funky in the aroma too, I can't pinpoint it. No freshness date worries me. The mouthfeel is watery and a little fizzy. There's a slight toasty flavor going on, and a nice dose of hops for some ok balance. The aftertaste is rather funky. I really can't pinpoint it, but something is definitely shady about this beer. It might be old, because it would probably taste pretty good if there wasn't a nasty aftertaste. It's only $4 a sixpack, and the store I bought it from is discontinuing it, so I don't know what's going on. It's too watery as well. It tastes like a funky wannabe nut brown.

Serving type: bottle

03-21-2003 15:12:54 | More by AudioGilz
Dark Ale from Fort Garry Brewing Company Ltd.
75 out of 100 based on 38 ratings.