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Muskoka Dark Ale - Muskoka Brewery

Not Rated.
Muskoka Dark AleMuskoka Dark Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
80
good

99 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 99
Reviews: 54
rAvg: 3.52
pDev: 12.22%
Wants: 5
Gots: 6 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Muskoka Brewery visit their website
Ontario, Canada

Style | ABV
English Brown Ale |  5.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: brewdlyhooked13 on 10-22-2001

You won't find an English-style brown ale quite like Muskoka Dark. Its bold colour, yet remarkably easy-going taste gives it a personality as unique as the region it's from. Subtle undertones characteristic of its Dark Munich malt ease into hints of chocolate and caramel, making this gold-medal winning ale as inviting as it is distinct. Thirsty yet?

15 IBU
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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 99 | Reviews: 54
Reviews by thehyperduck:
Photo of thehyperduck
3.08/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Regular-sized bottle from the LCBO; no production code given. Last reviewed December 2009 from a can - I have decided to go back and re-review a number of my very early submissions to this site, mostly to see if my original assessments are still relevant.

Pours an opaque, deep brown colour with copper highlights, topped with a little less than two fingers of puffy tan head. Decent retention, with a few rings of lacing around the edge of the glass as the volume drops with each sip. The aroma is enticing enough I guess but not particularly imaginative for the style - roasted malt sweetness, caramel with hints of baker's chocolate.

Approachable taste, but once again there is little nuance and nothing particularly creative about this brew's flavour. It is, however, nicely balanced between sweet and dry. Roasted malts and caramel/toffee sweetness are dominant early on in the sip, with a hint of dark chocolate and bitter coffee grounds toward the finish. Dryness and malty cocoa notes linger in the aftertaste. Light-bodied and rather watery for the style, but it is quite smooth and drinkable. Soft carbonation provides some slight prickliness on the tongue.

Final (adjusted) Grade: 3.08, a C+. This didn't blow me away when I was new to craft beer, so I'm not exactly surprised that I'm even less impressed with it now. Not a bad brew by any means, but a polite, underwhelming one that possesses no superlative traits with which to impress the average BA.

I sincerely doubt I'll get this again; twice is enough for me. There are many Ontario-made brown ales and dark beers I would recommend long before this one. Muskoka can (and has) done much better than this.

More User Reviews:
Photo of JohnnyBarman
3.56/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Got a few cans of this at a brewery tasting. Pours a dark, porter-like hue, tan head, lots of lacing and the head maintains its integrity throughout.

The smell isn't bad, coffee (almost like a latte), a bit of chocolate, but not much else. Not unpleasant, just a bit weak.

The beer is quite drinkable, with all the usual brown ale suspects involved, but is a bit weak. Still, very tasty, and certainly preferable to other dark ales out there.

Mouthfeel is creamy, but watery near the finish.

All in all a solid brown, but there are better local darks out there (Hockley, F&M, etc.). Not bad though, and certainly drinkable.

Photo of BGDrock
2.6/5  rDev -26.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Cracked this one open on a Friday night, finally relaxing...

Appearance: dark brown with a mocha head which fades very fast (poof!)

Aroma: big chocolate, light caramel, some cherries

Taste & Mouthfeel: sweet, lacking body (feels thin) with minimal carbonation; getting more of a fruity malt character than chocolate indicated by scent; there is a bit of chocolate, but it turns bitter and somewhat tart

Overall: expected much better; doesn't really fit the dictated style , and the flavour get tired pretty fast

Photo of KingHefey
4/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a can at a local restaurant. A pleasant surprise opposed to the usual in house beers.

A: dark walnut appearance with one finger of head from the can. Great lace on the Muskoka pint glass as it went down the hatch.

S: chocolate and hazelnut with hint of vanilla at first and then the coffee fills your nose.

T: Malty dark chocolate with a nice hazelnut presence. Very biscuity. Then the subtle fruitiness kicked in with mostly raisins. Meanwhile, the coffee has never subdued.

M: Creamy mouthfeel with the slight carbonation and presence of hops that can be felt on the back of your tongue.

D: Bring it on! A very satisfying glass of beer. I always seem to walk right by the Muskoka line of beers, but not any more.

Photo of biboergosum
3.53/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Time to round out the last of the taps at my hotel for the end of my fortnight stay in T.O.

This beer pours a very, very dark reddish brown colour, with slight mahogany edges, and two fingers of foamy, soapy beige head, which leaves a small drooping ring of lace as it genially recedes.

It smells of lightly roasted caramel malt, some bittersweet chocolate, a soft indistinct nuttiness, and leafy, earthy hops. The taste is sweet roasted malt, a touch of rye breadiness, some restrained sour lactic notes, ethereal milk chocolate, and faint earthy hops.

The carbonation is moderate, and unobtrusive, the body on the lee side of medium weight, and adequately smooth. It finishes mostly dry, the roasted character taking charge.

Not a bad dark Canuck ale, but still fairly plain and unassuming, after the promising initial outlook. Something to mindlessly sip away on while otherwise occupied.

Photo of mintjellie
3.23/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

The body is deep, dark brown and shows ruby highlights when held to the light. A two finger tan head floats atop it. Head fades to a ring around the edge and spot in the centre leaving no lace behind.

Mild roasted malt aroma. Coffee. Faint nut aroma.

Coffee tastes stronger than it smells, but still pretty tame. Chocolate comes through faintly. Coffee character becomes stronger as it warms.

Somewhat light in body with low carbonation. Feels a little thin. Somewhat drinkable, but I don't know if I want to buy this again with better brown ale brewed in Ontario.

This was a disappointment after trying their hefe the night before.

Photo of Sammy
3.41/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A decent brew but only a passable dark. Carbonated on-tap but I wouldn't want to buy a six-pack. Bit of head. Carmel malty to make it popular in Canada. Mid-sip hint of roast malt cream chocolate, but we are not talking about a stout or porter here, more medium mouthfeel.
Had again at The Twisted Kilt 7 years later and this was a very decent dark ale, with chocolate and some nice Kent Golding Hops.

Photo of CanuckRover
3.52/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Pours dark reddish-brown. Tan head has great staying power. Lacings are good and sticky. Lively carbonation is a bit of a turn-off.

Mostly just nondescript chocolate on the nose, not particularly complex, but by no means off-putting.

Chocolate comes through first. Carbonation kicks up some light fruit flavours. Roasty earthiness picks up in the finish and leaves a lasting bitterness.

Just a touch less carbonation would be nice.

Not a bad beer. Good flavour packed in there and it all slots together pretty well.

Photo of joemcgrath27
3.57/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A - nearly pitch black, thumb of head dissipated to a thin covering with decent lacing
S - big roasty notes, mild chocolate, nutty and light grain
T - roasty malt and cola flavours up front, light nutty, a touch of grassy hops, and some light chocolate
M - too much on the light side for the style, fairly big carbonation, thin through the finish
O - a decent brown ale, good flavour mix but just lacking just a little something, but as part of a Muskoka 12 mixer not a bad option

Photo of heebes
3.12/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

473 ml can.

Pours dark brown almost black with large frothy tan head. Nose is brown roasted malts, brown sugar, yeast. Taste is dark roasted malt bill, mild English style brown ale, light roast coffee. Drying mouthfeel, some bitterness medium bodied.
Overall a mild easy drinking brown that doesn't push boundaries. Decent try.

Photo of Stocean1
3.5/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - poured a half finger head - big bubbles - impenetrable black coffee colour

S - chocolatey, malt, hint of vanilla

T - some light chocolate and molasses notes - a little biscuity, coffee in the end, wisp of vanilla

M - light body with high carbonation - a little creamy and slightly bitter on the middle of the tongue

O - very drinkable - not the head of the class but not half bad either - it has the makings of a top notch beer with some tweaking (i.e. bolder smell and taste - it is a little subdued)

Photo of Phyl21ca
3/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Can: Poured a clear deep brown color ale with a medium size foamy head with average retention and not lacing. Aroma of caramel malt with notes of maple syrup. Taste is dryer then expected with clear notes of caramel malt and a maple finish. Body is a bit thin with good carbonation. Maple notes were surprising but overall a bit of a run of the mill beer.

Photo of TheSevenDuffs
3.23/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Can to pint glass.

A - Dark brown, almost black with 3 fingers of bubbly, light brown head.

S - Dark roasted malts, a touch of cocoa and a slight bitterness.

T - Light roasted malt flavours, some dark caramel and a touch of coffee. Slight bitterness present throughout that is more present than the sweetness. The aftertaste is somewhat off-putting.

M - Light body, slightly creamy. Moderate carbonation.

Photo of Gusler
3.5/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On the pour a deep incarnadine color or blood red if you prefer; the head massive and frothy in its texture which desiccates to fine beige lace that covers the glass. Sweet nut like tones appear first in the nose, followed by malt, caramel also noticed some light coffee tones, quite a “Sniffer”. Upfront sweetness that leads to a nice middling mouth feel, the finish bitingly acidic, tart with a pleasing hop spicy presence and a dry aftertaste, different I will give you that.

Photo of KickbacksSteve
4/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

473 ml can, no freshness date. Aroma is slightly nutty with a touch of caramel and mild malt sweetness, slight roast. Taste has a bit of a yoo-hoo quality to it (in a really good way, I love yoo-hoo). Slight chocolate, light roasted character, mild sweetness from malt. Actually a very easy to drink and flavorful brown. Nicely done.

Photo of headlessparrot
3.05/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I took an interest in this brew as a possible alternative to Newcastle - something cheaper, better, and more 'craft.' I'd already tried Amsterdam's Nut Brown Ale and was not at all pleased with it, so I went into this one a little hesitantly. Muskoka is cottage country, a getaway from Toronto - let's see if the beer is a good choice for those trips.

My sample exploded out of the bottle. I turned the cap, and this guy started foaming like crazy - it overflowed a bit, so I poured carefully (note that this is the only one of six bottles to behave this way upon being opened, though I'm positive I didn't shake it or move it in any way). It pours a deep brown with some reddish-brown highlights throughout. An average creamy one finger head quickly dissapates, leaving a few rings but only a teensy bit of lacing. Nothing special, but certainly not bad.

Smell is pretty simple. This one's full of malt - that's all that comes through at first, roasted malts presenting hints of chocolate (though you have to strain to get any notes beyond just 'malt'). Beyond that there's some hoppiness - faintly grassy and spicy, though this odour fails to assert itself - and a dominant nuttiness (cashews?) that really overpowers the rest of the flavour notes. Certainly not bad, but I'd take a Newcastle over this entry, I think.

Taste is somewhat pleasant, but with some offputting notes. The first thing I noticed was the metallic taste of the brew, complimented by a very unpleasant astringency to the brew. If you can get past these, though, there's some good to be had. Very nutty throughout, malty (caramel?), with hints of chocolate and coffee (though quite subdued and difficult to detect). But mostly nutty, again of cashews. Finishes bitter and dry, and leaves that cashew taste in your mouth for quite awhile. Occassionally, a sourness hits you after a swallow of the beer. Remove that unusual metallic taste and I might be sold on this brew, but as is, taste is average.

Mouthfeel - and I feel like a broken record - is also rather average. Body is reasonably substantial - faintly oily, but generally a well-bodied brew, though the carbonation is a tad excessive. And drinkability, likewise, is rather average. If I had to, I'm sure I could pound a few of these. But after dealing with those metallic, astringent notes for two beers, I'd be hesitant to continue. They're just not so pleasant, and they ruin what is otherwise a decent brew. Muskoka Dark Ale is worth a try if you've got the chance - other reviews seem to like it better than I do - but I'm not sure it's worth too much of your time. Macro or not, I'll stick with Newcastle, or Upper Canada's Maple Brown Ale if I'm after an English Brown Ale - or, better yet, Wellington's superb Dark Ale.

Photo of spinrsx
3.35/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

473ml Can

Appearance - Dark brown colour with an average size fizzy beige coloured head. There is a low amount of carbonation showing and there is some fair lacing. The head lasted for around 3 minutes before it was gone.

Smell - Malts, breads/grains, chocolate, coffee

Taste & Mouth - There is an above average amount of carbonation and the most noticeable flavours are malts, chocolate, and coffee. There is also a fair amount of grain taste mixed with a bit of a smokiness. The beer finishes with a roasted malt and chocolate aftertaste.

Overall – Not sure I’d buy it again but it was pretty drinkable. With a little work this could be a really good beer. It’s a decent effort.

Photo of liamt07
3.5/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

Can from the LCBO, 473ml can with the new branding. Best before Feb 3, 2012 - although I don't believe black ink on a black can is the best idea. Into a pint glass.

Pours a dark brown, clear with some burgundy and mahogany highlights. Capped by a nice tan head, modest retention and a bit of lacing. Nose has some light caramel, nuts, a hint of chocolate and a bit of roast as well. Simple and effective for a brown. Taste has some roast, chocolate, subtler caramel sweetness. A bit metallic, a bit earthy and a touch harsh in the finish. Roast in the finish. Lighter medium body and easy drinkability, although not the most flavourful - a touch lackluster.

Photo of ludachris
3.55/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours a very deep honey brown with ruby red highlights. Two fingers of slightly off white head emerge after an aggressive pour. Good retention and decent lacing.

Dark fruits, roasted malts, cocoa and toffee dominate the nose.

Fruity esters/dark fruits, clean roasted malt, and cocoa up front with a wet, metallic like finish. If they got rid of the metallic aspect of this beer, it would have been much tastier.

Smooth, but thin and watery with a wet finish. Nothing special.

Overall, a decent English Brown Ale. The dark fruits and roasted malts were delicious but the metallic aftertaste really didn't balance out well. Don't think I'd buy another one of these, although it does sit on the better side of English Brown Ales I've had.

Photo of SebD
3.62/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: It has a nice dark colour to it. It has a nice beige head that dies down moderatly and has some lacing.

Smell: The aromas definitly give out hints of roasted malts, chocolate, caramel and coffee.

Taste: Like the aromas, it has a roasty/chocolaty feel to it with some coffee notes and a bit of caramel.

Mouthfeel: It has a medium carbonation with a nice sweetness to it.

Drinkability: It's a smooth drinkable beer accompanied with good flavours and aromas.

Photo of RunDWP
3.55/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Picked this up at a Beer Store in Kanata, Ontario, and brought it back to San Jose, CA.

It's a good ale, nothing more, nothing less. Poured a dark brown with a frothy white foam in my shaker glass, with some decent lacing on the glass. Slight aroma of bitter chocolate. Flavor is a rich, bitter chocolate with a slight sour note underneath and little hops to speak of. Slightly tingly, yey creamy in the mouthfeel department. The slightly sour note, that seems a bit off doesn't help in the drinkability, but was nice to quench my thirst on a warm afternoon.

Photo of rarbring
2.88/5  rDev -18.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

The brew is dark brown, very dark, a quickly settling light tan head, leaving good lacing, some curtains.

The taste is ashes, burnt bread, coffee and soy sauce. A bit thin.

Starting with sweet brown bread crust, some soy sauce, a small coffee hint, some dark fruits.

Little carbonation, soft but watery, a small body, a dry finish.

This did not turn me on, a bit too simplistic.

Photo of The-Jolly-Imbiber
3.66/5  rDev +4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a 355 mL bottle into a pint glass.

1-finger head over an extremely dark, opaque black-brown. Lamplight couldn't be seen through it.

The head smelled nice, with nutty aromas and other sweet smells characteristic of this style. After it settled, these faded away to just some metallic scent. Given some more time, though, the nice aromas returned. Cocoa, chocolate, coffee-like.

Taste: a rich, coffee taste with the right amount of moderate bitterness. Roasty. Pretty good overall taste.

Only mild to moderate carbonation.

Overall, a good beer that I wouldn't mind having again.

Photo of karait95
3.11/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: the best characteristic of this beer, it is a dark brown beer with reddish hues, almost not translucent and with medium carbonation, head is big and dissipates not fast leaving some traces behind on the glass.

S: very faint toasted malts aroma nothing to remember .

T: almost the same as the smell, faint toasted malts flavor not much else.

M: sensations are little more intense, last ending with some bitterness.

Photo of DenisKolkin
3.33/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

473 ml can from LCBO poured into a pint glass

Appearance - Dark nearly black beer pours out into pint glass. Some garnet hues in direct light other no light escapes. 1 finger creamy tan head is poured but dissipates quickly. Small soapy collar left over and stays a while.

Smell - Rich molasses, toffee and caramel jumbled up. Faints hints of smoke, which are more apparent from the can than the glass. Nice scents however a bit subdues (in the glass that is).

Taste- Quite a bold smokey flavor, the caramel and molasses sit way back on the taste buds whereas the smoke dominates here. Not a whole lot else here. Pleasant smoke flavor that is not overwhelming, but to be honest reminds me more of a really toned down rauchbier than anything else. Seeing as I wasn't a huge fan of rauchbiers means that this has only some appeal. As it warms though I get some more earthy notes coming through in the flavor.

Mouthfeel - Fairly rich and creamy with a nondescript lingering sensation in the mouth means that I can neither rate this terribly high or low. Medium carbonation.

Overall - A good beer with a lot more smoke than I was expecting, but was not unpleasant, just a bit surprising. More than anything out of this exercise, I realize that I may need to revisit rauchbiers to redetermine if I am not a fan of them based on prior experience.

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Muskoka Dark Ale from Muskoka Brewery
80 out of 100 based on 99 ratings.