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Kokanee - Labatt Brewing Company Ltd.

Not Rated.

Educational use only; do not reuse.

96 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 96
Hads: 197
Avg: 2.61
pDev: 35.63%
Wants: 1
Gots: 20 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Labatt Brewing Company Ltd. visit their website
Ontario, Canada

Style | ABV
American Adjunct Lager |  5.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 04-25-2002

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Kokanee has been one of B.C.’s best-selling beers for more than ten years and was awarded a Silver medal at the 1996 Brewing Industry International Awards. Brewed using a blend of Pacific Northwest hops, Kokanee delivers a smooth, clean and lightly hopped taste.
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Reviews: 96 | Hads: 197
Photo of dabone
3.86/5  rDev +47.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Served from a bottle. Dark yellow and translucent. Decent head. Minor hop aroma, more cereal grain. Good lager taste, good mix of hop and grain. More on the grain side. Thin mouthfeel.

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Photo of Barraclou
3.68/5  rDev +41%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Kokanee called itself a glacier beer. I don't know what it means, but it's still a good beer, especially for an adjunct lager. Also, Kokanee claims to be micro-brewed by Columbia Breweries in Creston,BC. Actually, Columbia is owned by Labatt (now a Interbrew branch) and it is not really a micro since it is available almost everywhere in Canada. There's rumors here about being brewing in both Creston (western markets) and London,ON (eastern markets). Marketing and label insist on its BC rockies origines, but rumors also exist about a difference of taste between the western and eastern product. The quality of Thames river in London seems to be the reason of that different taste. However, Kokanee smells good, has a nice gold color and has a good personnality, but it's quite overpriced if compared to others regular domestic adjunct lagers available here.

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Photo of elricorico
3.55/5  rDev +36%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Ah Kokanee, a staple of my younger days, when I drank beer most often for the alcohol, not the taste. I swore by it then, swore that it tasted better than any of the other major beers.

The beer looks pretty good as far a lagers go, clear golden yellow with a foamy white head that sat at about a finger thick. It has faded to a thin cap, but there is some lacing left behind.

The smell is grainy, with a faint sweet malt base. Has a certain freshness to it that makes it a bit better than the average macro.

While it enters the mouth a bit watery, the beers flavour follows up relatively well. The back half of the mouth gets a grainy and slightly bitter flavour. There is a sweet taste that seems to only enter the mouth after a mouthfull is swallowed. All in all the flavour is light, but certainly inoffensive.

I find that Kokanee has more body than most macro lagers, almost being a tad sticky. The carbonation is what one would expect for a lager, and it does get a bit coarse in the finish.

I wouldn't try to sell any advocates on this beer, though I wouldn't suggest that they avoid it either. This is still what I'll pick if Molson and Labbatt are my choices. Goes down great and makes me think of hot days on the golf course.

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Photo of allboutbierge
3.55/5  rDev +36%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Sample is brewed in Creston. Very crisp and fresh tasting beer. I noted a slight 'veggie' aftertaste after a few. Other than that it is a relatively good, clean tasting, slightly above average lager. Tastes are not muddled together; each quality is descernable from others...not blended together like labatt blue tends to be. Carbonation seemed to be a little heavy.

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Photo of RyanBelle
3.5/5  rDev +34.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

One of Canada's best beers in the Lager 5.0 style. It's got a clear golden body, a dissipating head that leaves a slight amount of lace, a smell that works well with it - reminiscent of corn, wheat, grains...nice. The taste is pretty well balanced and what you would expect out of a 5.0 lager as a Canadian. It's a cut above your Blue, MolCan, and MGD. This is true BC beer, and it can taste like it came from the mountains in BC if you use your imagination a bit! Mouthfeel is substantial. Super clean yet flavorful. Recommended with food, session beer, or anytime.

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Photo of chickencoop
3.5/5  rDev +34.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

It's sad to say but whenever I go to the great Northwest I always stuff a 12-pack of this in the suitcase and bring it home to Oakland. I know this is Inbev and they make mass produced garbage but maybe growing up on Coors Light I have a soft spot in my heart for this stuff.
It looks like a macro, smells like a macro and drinks like a macro, but I love how smooth this stuff is and doesn't have that nasty burp-breath taste like Coors Light does. I recommend this for the next tailgate, or any other mass beer cunsuming event.

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Photo of Weizenmensch
3.47/5  rDev +33%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

This was much better than expected, and much better than I remember it being. I didn't realise it was bottle conditioned, and maybe the time it took to get to me in Australia improved it. I didn't think it was as bad as most people say it is - the hop flavour was still intact and not skunky, and with the sediment in the glass it was quite enjoyable. Artificial-looking gold colour, reasonably good head retention, nice taste for a macro brew, definitely better than our working-class beers here in Australia. Some chemical undertones as are to be expected. I may even buy another one at import price just to confirm my satisfaction.

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Photo of headlessparrot
3.47/5  rDev +33%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Much like its Alexander Keith brew and Molson's Rickard's imprint, Labatt's goes to a considerable length to distance itself from Kokanee, and thus perhaps increase its appeal as a craft beer (thus, also justifying the higher price). However, Kokanee also isn't a bad beer - if I'm faced with a list of macros as my choices, it will be the first I choose, without a doubt. But let's give it a proper tasting and see how it holds up.

Pours from a brown ISB bottle into my pint glass the fairly standard macro colour. Straw golden, though a bit more noticeable than most macros, and I'm almost convinced I'm seeing faint streaks of copper or ruby. The brew is initially topped by a fairly healthy two fingers of white foam that dies down in a minute or two to a tiny layer - but with a some decent lacing. Very heavily carbonated, as you can tell just from the appearance of the beer. Rather anemic looking, but at least it holds a little head, unlike the major Canadian macros.

Smell is what you'd expect - a faint maltiness, with a very light sprinkling of Pacific Northwest hops that are almost lost in the background. I'm tempted to claim this as an all-malt lager rather than a macro, but there's just the slightest hint of rice and corn (though it could very well be my imagine) to keep me from making that classification. Faintly grassy and fruity, which is more than you can say for most macros, and the suggestion of adjunct is distant enough that im temporarily willing to dismiss it or downplay it considering its subtlety in comparison to 99% of macros.

Taste is crisp and clean. If there's one thing Kokanee does right, it's the water source - it lends itself to this crisp, clean flavour quite well (as for advocates still claiming that some Kokanee is brewed in London, this is a fairly far out claim, considering each bottle exclaims "brewed right here in Creston, B.C." - not even the macros could get away with false advertising to this degree). Beyond the crisp, clean taste, there's a subtle grassiness with hints of green apples, and a bready malt profile that I rather like. Ever so faintly metallic, but also remarkably refreshing. This is a hot summer day pounder for sure, and miles ahead of most other macros.

Mouthfeel actually isn't bad, either. Obviously, it's overcarbonated, as all macro lagers are, but the body is fairly substantial, and feels quite nice sliding down your throat. I'm willing to chalk this up to the water source, or a lack of adjunct, but I can't say for sure.

And drinkability is tremendous. Like most macros, you can tip back quite a few of these and feel just great about it.

There's nothing special about Kokanee, but it's not a bad little macro. Certainly, if Blue or Canadian had tasted this good, I wouldn't have really felt the need to explore and become a Beer Advocate. It's a simple beer with a simple flavour profile. Crisp, clean and refreshing - a great brew that you can drink in a glass or even right from the bottle and not feel to badly about it.

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Photo of Noxious26
3.41/5  rDev +30.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

341ml bottle poured in a pint glass.

Clear, pale gold in colour. 1/4 inch white head has big bubbles. Head reduces to a thin skim.

Aroma is typical macro lager, grainy and slightly sour.

Bright and crisp. Sweet malty flavours at the swallow. The sweet flavour is cut by the carbonation and a subtle hop aspect. Grainy and slightly bitter in a mild aftertaste.

Light bodied mouthfeel is smooth and not as fizzy as some macros.

While this isn't going to blow your socks off, it does have a more complex flavour than most macros. This is an easy to drink lager that is one of my regulars.

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Photo of 67cuda
3.4/5  rDev +30.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

This beer pours a standard golden yellow color, with a small white head. Smells like grain and malt, nothing terribly exciting. It tastes better than many other macro lagers, malty with a slightly bitter finish. Not bad, but not exceptional either. The mouthfeel is OK, seemed a bit over-carbonated, and was rather thin overall. This beer is very drinkable, I'm sure I could down many, and it isn't very expensive. I'll stick with Stroh's though, when it comes to macro lager.

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Photo of Haybeerman
3.38/5  rDev +29.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pale straw yellow color. Poured a stark white wispy head. Decanted continually. No lacing.

S: Faint sweetness and a little grass. Not much in the nose at all.

T: Muted malt character. Sweet corn adjunct. Crisp, dry and light.

M: Very light body. Ample carbonation. Crisp and dry; very clean by the finish.

D: Very easy to drink. Just not much in the nose and so muted.

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Photo of MTNboy
3.35/5  rDev +28.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pale yellow with nice average lace and head.

Smell: Not as adjunct as I thought it would be. It has the usual grain and corn like smell of most Macro's.

Taste: Not too bad. It has a good blend of malt and hops.

Mouthfeel: Watery and Carbonated.

Drinkability: It is a good summer time beer.

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Photo of funkengruven
3.29/5  rDev +26.1%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Picked this up as part of a bunch I haven't feasted on yet.

This particular macro poured a typical yellow with a light and slight uninspired head that leaves a bit of lacing. Smell is also very typical of a macro, a tad metallic, and slightly corny. This stuff however carries with it a flavor that really isn't all that bad. Some grassiness and corn in there but not so much where it's sickly. In fact, this is quite refreshing. This also isn't too hard to drink and goes down quite easily.

It is definitely a macro, but not a bad one.

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Photo of IBUnit63
3.28/5  rDev +25.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On tap at The Dubliner in Ottawa...

Looks a little better than the average macro bear - more of a darker - maybe honey - color with typical quick and ample carbonation. Head wasn't too bad.

No crap on the nose - it smells very clean - sort of the way I remember Alpine Lager from the Maritimes. No silage from the minimal Saaz hops and adjuncts really shows up on the beak, but...

...the silage does make a grand entrance on the palate, as does a little rice(?) adjunct. Still it's pretty crisp and inoffensive.

This style lends itself to crappy aftertastes, but I don't really get one here. Finish is light as expected.

If it's the only thing around I could session this up pretty easily. Not the end-all by any means but a pleasant surprise for the style.

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Photo of variousartists
3.28/5  rDev +25.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Appearance: Suprisingly good head. Unexpected for a macro. Nice consistency.

Smell: Not much here. Little of everything. Cascade hops, little malt, and what I think smells slightly like corn.

Taste: Far surpassed my expectations for the style. Nice hoppiness.

Mouthfeel: Just average. Not bad but nothing special. Light to medium body. Little overly carbonated.

Drinkability: A great party beer, goes down with a nice crisp bitterness. Very satisfying.

This is a damn fine beer for what it is. Its not going to beat any microbrews, but compared to the other macros this is the best out there.

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Photo of CrazyMike
3.27/5  rDev +25.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Average golden yellow appearance with a small head. Has a malty corn hop smell.

The taste is very sweet with good hops. A bit thin bodied and watery but it's smooth and clean.

Probably more flavorfull on tap in British Columbia, very mediocre beer but easy to drink and refreshing.

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Photo of jayc333
3.27/5  rDev +25.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a pale yellow with a quarter-inch white head, which quickly turned into a little bit of lace around the edges. A few bubbles rise to the top. Sub-par looking, even for a Macro.

Smells of sweet malt with some hops. Not bad, but not spectacular either. I'd say average for its style, as I've smelled better and worse.

Tastes pretty bland. Sweet malt again with a hoppy tinge at the end. Not at all complex, but I must admit it's damn clean tasting.

Mouthfeel is probably the best part of this brew. Thicker on the palate than the average Macro, and instead of fizzyness, there's actually good carbonation.

As I stated before, not at all complex, but this stuff is still actually quite drinkable. Good if you just want a "straight out of the bottle" cold one, or a session brew in the Summer.

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Photo of kbub6f
3.23/5  rDev +23.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

One inch of dense, whiter-than-white meringue. Superclear, shiny, bright gold beer. Nuts! in the nose. Peanuts and dust. Strong. Peanuts and fruit in front, a thinnish, fritzy middle, sourish, tangy-fruity, nutty, dry finish. It's a very nutty, fruity, lagery beer. Not as boring as I remember.

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Photo of wjimson
3.2/5  rDev +22.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The appearance of this headless lager its not immediately appealing, just like another beer served with some fizz and a flat head. It strength is definitely in the clean crisp taste and drinkability. When served cold this beer has little detectable flaws and has a minimal adjunct tastes. This refreshing beer is lightly malted and finishes with a mild degree of bitterness.

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Photo of canucklehead
3.2/5  rDev +22.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

This has become the session beer of choice at my new girlfriends
apartment and I must say this is a decent Canadian lager that offends no one. The finish is slightly sweet but with a decent aftertaste. I like this beer better than Canadian, Blue and many other of the lawnmower ilk. If you are in BC give this lager a try as it isn't half bad

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Photo of EatsTacos
3.2/5  rDev +22.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours a medium yellow with a thin head and no lacing on the glass
Aroma is faint hops, and some obvious malt. Some herbal aromas and grassyness too
Taste has hints of lemon behind a pretty well balanced flavour. Works well with medium carbonation and pretty watery mouthfeel.
Quite a good macro IMO

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Photo of cadenwhitaker
3.2/5  rDev +22.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Just an Adjunct Lager - nothing spectacular, nothing horrible. My mouth didn't corrode when I drank it, my eyes didn't fall out of my skull and/or my head didn't explode.

Grassy, grainy, adjunct(y), clear yellow, fizzy white head and just about every taste expected from a Labatt, Coors, Budweiser or MGD.

That said, I don't hate BMC, I find times to enjoy BMC and I could see enjoying this beer in the summer time. It wasn't expensive, but not cheap at $11 a 12-pack - that may factor in more next time.

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Photo of thehyperduck
3.19/5  rDev +22.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

While in Alberta a few years ago, I had the chance to try Kokanee Gold, which I remember enjoying somewhat. Unfortunately, the Gold version doesn't seem to exist east of Manitoba, so I've never actually had it since, and instead settled on some of the regular stuff.

473 mL tall-boy can. An aggressive pour produced a two-finger head, which quickly dissipated to lacing in a few minutes. The brew is a pale amber yellow colour - actually looks pretty good for what it is. The smell is pretty unimpressive - a bit hoppy, some alcohol.

The flavour is alright, as far as macro lagers go. There is nothing really offensive; it's rather crisp with a hoppy finish. Moderately high carbonation, and feels pretty thin in the mouth. It's quite easy to drink down as well. As far as macro lagers go, this is a pretty solid entry, but don't expect anything new or even particularly notable. At the same time, don't expect much of anything particularly bad either.

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Photo of Orrshow
3.15/5  rDev +20.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

Appearance – This one pours a very filtered looking yellow while retaining a small amount of white head. It looks somewhat the same coming out thirty minutes later.

Smell – A touch of skunk, wet grass, hops, and a touch of malt.

Taste – Tastes grassier than anything. I taste a touch of sweet honey in there with a nice crisp hop finish. It’s very straightforward and simple.

Mouthfeel – Highly carbonated and thin. Not how I like my beer to feel.

Drinkability – This one can be downed like there is no tomorrow. It’s not a beer meant to be savored so it has achieved its goal here.

Kokanee is what I’ll serve my not so adventurous friends. It’s a reliable easy drinking macro which does fine as a refresher on a hot day.

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Photo of BigBry
3.1/5  rDev +18.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours clear gold, short head that disipates quickly, leaves some thin sticky lace. Smell of wet grass and grains. Taste sweet and mild maltiness. Good carbonation gives it a clean, crisp, and thirst quenching appeal (is that what "glacier fresh" means?). Sour, grainy finish to it. Nothing really special, but a good canadian style pilsner type macro. Label still lists the Columbia Brewery in Creston, BC. even though Labatt's has owned since the 70's, now taken over by Interbrew.

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Kokanee from Labatt Brewing Company Ltd.
64 out of 100 based on 96 ratings.