King Dark Lager - King Brewery

Not Rated.
King Dark LagerKing Dark Lager

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BA SCORE
83
good

43 Ratings
THE BROS
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no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 43
Reviews: 28
rAvg: 3.69
pDev: 11.92%
Wants: 1
Gots: 1 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
King Brewery visit their website
Ontario, Canada

Style | ABV
Munich Dunkel Lager |  4.80% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: TerryW on 04-27-2004

Our authentic brewing technique, using only the finest imported Dark Munich Malt and Noble German Hops, gives this beer King’s trademark “true to style” aroma and flavour. This deliciously dark lager is red-brown in colour, with a thick tan coloured head and a rich, full palate. It delivers a complex yet clean bready taste with a hint of toasted chocolate, and leaves elegant lace lines to the bottom of the glass.

Extremely flavourful, balanced and refreshing, our Dark Lager can be truly appreciated from the very first taste.
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Ratings: 43 | Reviews: 28
Photo of biegaman
3.84/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

King Dark sounds intimidating but in fact the beer looks very approachable and has a lovely mahogany colour with fetching, fiery highlights. Not only that it's even transparent (provided, that is, you've got a strong source of light and good eyes). All indications are there's nothing to be afraid of here...

That's always the misconception - that dark beers are strong and overwhelming. Not true. Point in case: the Munich Dunkel. While it may have a dark complexion it has light, easy-going drinkability; a flavour that's rich but not roasty; a maltiness that is dense but not heavy. And, while we're at it, an aroma that's somewhat sweet but definitely not sugary.

Indeed, high-quality and high-proportions of Munich malt can create rich nuances that resemble toasted pecans and raisins, but it also provides the smoky and chocolatey subtleties so that there's no mistaking it for something sweet. And unlike in a stout, for instance, those latter flavours have no burnt or bitter tastes. They are accents at most.

What we end up with is a firm, full beer that's not "filling" per se. It's designed to satisfy thirst - not hunger. It is a lager after all, meaning it's got more of a 'clean' and refreshing edge, the darker and more substantial flavours notwithstanding. All that extra flavour (relative to a pale lager) means you're guaranteed to want to reach for another.

It seems like King was one of the initial members of the Ontario craft beer scene and, for a time, their offerings were among the best out there. I still enjoy their Dark Lager as much as I always have. The fact that recipes haven't changed and the brands have been so consistent over the years is great. But the fact it's still the same three brands and the brewery's failed to evolve while the whole industry around them has is unfortunate. They make good beers, I'd love to see more of them...

Photo of Pmicdee
4.5/5  rDev +22%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A unique taste makes this beer delicious

Photo of leaddog
4/5  rDev +8.4%

Appearance - Pours a dark chestnut brown with a finger of bubbly white head.

Smell - bready caramel malts, hint of chocolate, nuttiness, hint of earthy hops.

Taste - Nice punch right away from the bready caramel malts followed by the hint of chocolate nuttiness and hint of earthy hops to finish.

Mouthfeel - Light to medium bodied with light carbonation. Finishes with a pleasant malty sweetness.

Overall - A pleasant Munich dunkel lager. The richness of the malt sweetness was spot on for the style. The chocolate, nuttiness, and earthy hops are nice supporting casts to this well executed brew.

Photo of StonedTrippin
3.73/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

this is not a style a drink a whole lot of, european dark lagers, but this one is fantastic, loosely in the german tradition, at least on the malt front, and a pretty sessionable brew as well. deep caramel to mahogany in color, clear and radiant, and heady, holding onto a good inch of buttery looking foam. the nose is a bit sweet from the dark grain, smells like unfermented wort just coming out of the mash tun, fresh and new and full of sugar. the flavor is a bit sweet, but the grain takes on more of a fresh baked dessert flavor, like a cobbler or muffin or something, rich but still real drinkable with all the tickling carbonation and round medium body with very soft edges on the palate. i get an almost blackberry or some other dark berry flavor in the middle of this beer among the caramel and toffee malt flavors. a nice complexion that i have only ever got from the same style made by moa in new zealand. i think this is just as good, but i dont get much lager yeast character, not a quick enough finish i dont think, but a very tasty first beer from king brewery for me.

Photo of TheHammer
4.05/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Appearance: A rich dark red and brown body that shows ample carbonation earns the points on this one. The downside, even after a somewhat aggressive pour, only a finger of head that did not lace or retain very well.

Smell: Rich, and I mean rich. Chocolatly malt, toffee and with a raisin bread hint and a touch of floral hops. It also did not take a lot of warming for it to come out.

Taste: It starts with an excellent does of perfectly roasted chocolate malt with a slight woodsy taste to it, as it continues the sweet toffee flavour comes out with a slight raisin sweetness and ends with a touch of smokiness, a more toast-like malt and a light dusting of floral hops with the slightest of acidic twangs that help to cleanse the palate.

Mouthfeel: Point do get deducted for the lack of head, but the transistioning of this beer is well done, the carbonation is very even handed and the aftertaste of mixed malt is very well reigned in by the acidic note at the end of the. beer, as to not cling.

Drinkability: Slightly on the light end of medium bodied, it's certain not an all night drinker but is excellent with a meal or a end of the day pint. The carbonation stays where it should be and the all in all it's very easy to drink and has a very nice smoothness to it, that you'd expect to be harsher from a darker beer.

Final Thoughts: I received this as a gift from my boss as part of their "Three Kings" pack which has their Vienna Lager, Pilsner and this beer. The Vienna Lager was great, this is exceptional and I'm eagerly looking forward to the Pilsner. Thumbs up, best Dunkel in Ontario.

Photo of mick303
3.55/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured a darkish brown colour with some initial head and lace that faded away.

S - some of the roasty chocolate malt comes through, bitterness and a bit of honey sweetness, grainy character, coffee cake. Earthy notes, cardomen, corriander, full.

T - a mild floral in front of the heavier chocolate malt, bready, oily lemon, dark chocolate and some grassy character. Doesn't seem that well integrated and the flavour compete more than blend together, a bit messy, especially on the finish, drying.

M - light, a coffee espresso oiliness but a lot of grassy floral crispness, moderate carbonation, with a decent amount of malty body and a bit of a spice on the end.

Probably a bit better than I expected it to be, still not a headturner tho. An enjoyable lager with a strong chocolate malt component and some more bitterness. Easy to drink but flavours a bit out of sorts and unbalanced.

Photo of SebD
3.59/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: It has a nice amber/brown color to it. It has a nice beige head that dies down somewhat fast and leaves next to no acing.

Smell: The aromas definitely give out hints of sweet roasted malts, chocolate, caramel and some nuttiness.

Taste: Like the aromas, it has some roasted malts, nuts, some caramel, faint chocolate and some light hops.

Mouthfeel: It has a medium carbonation with a nice overall balance and feel.

Drinkability: It's a very smooth drinkable beer accompanied with decent flavors and aromas.

Photo of thehyperduck
3.38/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

341 mL bottle; no freshness date. Courtesy of this year's OCB Holiday Sampler.

Pours a deep ruby-brown colour, not quite opaque, topped with half a finger of dense, creamy off-white head that doesn't linger around long. Mild aroma with notes of toasted nuts, bready malts, caramel and a bit of milk chocolate. Enticing enough, I suppose, but it could stand to be a little less meek.

The flavour is similarly agreeable, with a good mix of caramel sweetness and toasted malts, with some undertones of roasted hazelnut, chocolate, molasses and some vaguely fruity notes that I can't quite put my finger on. Slightly grassy, leafy hops come forward near the finish, but the aftertaste is mostly sweet malts, which wears on the palate after a while. Kind of thin-bodied, and extremely smooth owing largely to the very mild carbonation levels. Fairly drinkable, and relatively interesting by OCB lager standards, but not something I'd want to session all night.

Final Grade: 3.38, which is in B-minus territory. King's Dark Lager isn't really up my alley, but it makes for a decent glass. This is technically the first "Munich Dunkel Lager" I've ever reviewed, so this is based more on subjective opinion than any sort of previous experience - but the balance is a bit off in my opinion, with the malty sweetness overpowering the comparatively weak noble hop profile. A little more balance and this would easily be one of the best domestic dark lagers available in Ontario, of the ones I've tried - for now, though, I'll be content sticking with their Vienna lager. A refreshing, drinkable dark lager that is worth at least one try, but probably not something to be sought out.

Photo of spinrsx
3.28/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

341ml Bottle from the Winter OCB sampler 6 pack for 13$

Appearance - Brown colour with with a large size fizzy/frothy beige head. It's hard to make out the amount of carbonation showing and there is some fair lacing. The head lasted for 5-6 minutes before it was gone.

Smell - Malts, chocolate, herbal/grassy, metallic

Taste & Mouth - There is a below average amount of carbonation and the beer feels a little thin. I can taste malts, chocolate, and some herbal grassy notes. It ends with a grainy malty aftertaste.

Overall - A little too watery/thin but very drinkable. Not a whole lot of taste going on.. just a bit of malt/chocolate that stands out. Okay to try but not something I'd buy again.

Photo of andrenaline
3.77/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Another from the OCB Holiday 2012 mixer pack.

A - Pours a nice amber colour with a finger of head which quickly dissipates and leaves no real lacing.

S - Scent is dominated by chocolate and musty cocoa, hints of espresso and a solid dose of caramel and toffee.

T - The flavour is more balanced offering up a nice roasted malt flavour with caramel, toffee, hints of milk chocolate and toasted nuts. The finish brings out a leafy green hop profile and some sweet candied sugar.

M - Medium bodied, smooth and a little sticky.

O - A tasty take on the style, surprising amount of flavour and a pleasant and worthy dark lager. Glad they included this in the mixer, it's easy drinking and surprisingly satisfying.

Photo of shamus
3.57/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

the label says "Ultra Premium". Which is far better than 10 it's 11. No hype there. It looks dark, not much head, very watery, but tastes okay if you disregard the metallic aftertaste. Neither offensive nor brilliant. I other words if you buy it I'll drink it, but I won't be purchasing this again.

Photo of ritzkiss
3.95/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pint at The Only. Pours a dark hazelnut with ruby highlights, thin covering of khaki head.

Nose has caramel and nutty notes, toffee and dark fruits. Perhaps a hint of coffee as well. Light bodied lager, perhaps a little over carbed which hurts the perception of body and flavor. Nuts, toffee, plum, fruit bread, light cocoa, caramelized sugars, light toastiness, dry slightly grassy finish, thin sweetness in the body, slight mineral character. Not a particularly glamorous style but done well enough. Simple and well suited for a session.Quite fruity as it warms and more nuances come out, probably served too cold.

Photo of cratez
3.75/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Purchased from the Spadina Beer Store in Toronto. I enjoyed the Pilsner on my last trip to the city and was excited to try this offering. Thankfully it does not disappoint.

Pours a dark ruby red, bordering on brown, with a white cap and a few spots of lace. Smell is gorgeous Munich malts, very aromatic, with strong yeast, fresh cereal grains, and bread dough on the nose. Taste is light chocolate malt, a trace of nuts, and some sweetness. A mildly spicy hop bitterness evens things out, with a subtle dryness to end. Mouthfeel is soft, almost velvety. Finishes with a bit of wheat in the aftertaste, only somewhat dry. The flavour is maltier than I would prefer, but for a lager this is quite satisfying. A rare style in Ontario and King pulls it off well.

Photo of MeisterBurger
3.78/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Lagers (and especially pilseners) never having been my favorite styles of beer, I've long passed over trying King Brewery's beers because I was too cheap to commit to a six pack of something I might not like. When a friend of mine showed up with a six pack of King Pilsner one night I was pleasantly surprised to find that I really enjoyed it and thought I'd give the dark lager a go on the strength of that. I'm very glad I did.

Pours a deep rusty color with a nice head that dies down to a thin, spotty film.

Smells like caramel malt and maybe just a hint of roastiness and subtle noble hops.

Mmm. Malt! Slightly caramel but more of a roasted and chocolate malt with a slightly steely tang in the finish -- I'm guessing that's from hallertau hops. The hops do a nice job of toning down the malt without making it bitter. There's a bit of oak in the finish, or something oak-like. Not like vanilla so much as a dried woody taste with a hint of smoke.

It's medium bodied but I think a little less carbonation would add a smoothness that would improve the flavor somewhat. Has a nice clean finish.

Overall they did a really nice job of this, it's fulfilling while still being a bit light and extremely quaffable.

Photo of bobsy
3.7/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

The bottle pours a wonderful chestnut hued liquid with a small creamy off-white head, which laces very well as it fades to a spotted film. The aroma is full on caramel malt, and this carries through faithfully into the flavour. The body is a lot lighter than I would have expected, which makes it easy to drink, yet at the same time not as satisfying as could be hoped. Nonetheless, this is a solid local brew.

Photo of Noxious26
3.77/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

341ml bottle poured in a pint glass. Thanks to Pootz for the brewski.

Chestnut brown and clear. Impressive 1 inch tan head on the pour recedes to a thin cap.

Sweet aroma of malt, chocolate, dried fruit (figs?) and toffee. Just a faint whiff of noble hops.

Solid malt profile right from the start. Malty and woody off the start. Not as sweet as the aroma would have you believe. Hops cut through nicely in the middle to provide balance. Woody-malty finish that is a touch metallic. After taste is mildly bitter malt.

Medium bodied with moderate small bubble carbonation.

A nice relaxing, full flavoured dunkel. Goes down easy, but you'll want to savour this one instead.

Photo of pootz
4.15/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Re reviewed after the brewer told me he made a few tweeks to the process on this beer. It is now double decocted to coax more toasty carmelized sugars from the munich mash.

The color is a tad darker a deep brown with beautiful ruby highlights...sticky rocky cap lasts and laces.

The malts seem more pronounced in this version yet it retains the toasty-cocao character...also a bit smoother with the longer cold conditioning cycle.

Without doubt Canada's best dunkel.

Photo of crwills
3.48/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On tap at beerbistro in Toronto. Recommended as an alternative to Denison's Dunkel.

Poured a nice dark brown colour, but a little thin-looking, like Coke. Mostly opaque, and well-poured with a good 1 cm head.

Aroma was a little bit grainy, but decently sweet and appropriate for the style. The wet earth stinkiness I usually detect in dunkels was there, but not too prominent. It showed up again in the flavour, along with caramel and roasted malts, a little bit of dark fruit, and that grainy flavour again (would greatly improve the beer to get rid of that!). Good, smooth mouthfeel, and very little carbonation. I feel like this would make a good session beer.

Photo of fisherman34
2.75/5  rDev -25.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Bottled sample from pootz. Dark brown in colour with some hints of red. Aromas of caramel, apple skin, and roasted malt. Medium carbonation, but very light bodied. There are more assertive roasted flavors in the mouth, somewhat akin to some acidic cold coffee. There’s a bit of a fruity molassas note that, although minor, kinda dirties up the whole experience. Drinkable, but nothing too special.

Photo of Phyl21ca
2.5/5  rDev -32.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Bottle courtesy of Mr_Kimchee: Poured a medium clear brown color beer with a small foamy off-white head with OK retention. Aroma of light roasted malt is a bit boring. Taste has a portion of banana malt, which is interesting, but it also hides some weird dry malt, which don’t match-up very well with the rest of the beer. Body is light and carbonation is about average. Not sure this is a beer I would seek again.

Photo of funkengruven
4.2/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked up a 6 of this out of intrigue of a "Dark Lager" and I'm glad I did.

This poured a nice dark amber with a slightly tan head that subsides to a slight ring. Smell is very malty with some hop character in the nose.

This stuff tastes really good, some nutty aromas with a slightly chocolate-like finish. with an assertive but not lingering bitterness. That in itself makes this relatively smooth and easy to drink.

This is the first I've had from this brewery, and it won't be the last.

Photo of Derek
3.9/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Dark mohogany; off-white, almost tan head; very little retention, but it leaves some lace.

S: Very malty. Dark bread with a little caramel and nut.

T: Malty (bread, nut & a little chocolate). The sweetness is nicely balanced by the roasted malt and hop bitterness.

M: Chewy, moderate-to-full body (surprising for its strength). Low to moderate carbonation. Silky smooth. Drier than expected. Very nice.

D: Easily approached, nice depth of flavour, not overly strong, but it's almost a meal.

Photo of Conrad
3.95/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Finally available in Ottawa!
Pours with a lovely brown-reddish colour, and has a thin foam head that left substantial lacing.
Re the smell and taste: The name Dark Lager says it all. It has an imbalance in that it leans more towards the hoppy bitterness of a lager, but retains a subdued malty earthiness. In spite of the higher hops, it left a slightly sweet malty finish. Very smooth.
The mouthfeel is medium body, not thick and creamy. Excellent drinkability. I would pair this with a substantial meal like a steak dinner. It's not a wimpy beer, but it would not overpower your food flavours.
Good stuff. Now I think I will go have another.

Photo of Viggo
4/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had the cask conditioned style version of this at Volo, was quite nice. Slightly cloudy brown with red edges, small off white head, retention and some spotty lace. Smell is roasty coffee/chocolate, vanilla, and molasses. Taste is roasty chocolate and coffee as well, quite rich, some yeast, nice clean finish. Mouthfeel is medium to light bodied, with low carb, worth a shot.

Photo of CAMRAhardliner
4.03/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark amber color with a small off white head and a massive web of lacework. The Aroma is of fresh bread, honey, and spicey hops. The taste is mostly a grainy, slightly burnt, maltiness. Theres also hints of dark chocolate, esspresso and delicate hops. The hop profile is definitely secondary. The mouthfeel is slick with high carbonation. The finish is a mix of dark malt and noble hops and it lasts a long time.

This is a fine lager, its amazingly complex and full flavored. Im a huge fan of this brewery.

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King Dark Lager from King Brewery
83 out of 100 based on 43 ratings.