Alexander Keith's Dark Ale - Alexander Keith's

Not Rated.
Alexander Keith's Dark AleAlexander Keith's Dark Ale

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BA SCORE
69
poor

36 Reviews
THE BROS
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Reviews: 36
Hads: 69
rAvg: 2.74
pDev: 15.69%
Wants: 1
Gots: 3 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Alexander Keith's visit their website
Nova Scotia, Canada

Style | ABV
English Dark Mild Ale |  4.10% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: matt7215 on 11-17-2008

Previously known as 'Alexander Keith's Stag's Head Stout'.
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Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 36 | Hads: 69
Photo of manutd5
3.97/5  rDev +44.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Tried this on-tap at the Lower Deck Pub. I may be bias in my opinion because I'm a HUGE Keith's fan... I liked it. Not my favorite Keith's mind you, but I did enjoy it. Had a Guinness look to it, but a hint of Keith's taste and it was not overly strong or thick. Nice beer. (273 characters)

Photo of Aguirre
3.83/5  rDev +39.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I had this one on draft while in Ontario for business this weekend. Looked inviting, with a nice creamy head. Smell was mostly roasted malts. Taste was very good, a nice thick flavorful ale, similar in some ways to draft Guinness, but without the ashy characteristic. This is a great beer to kick back during a sporting event or while chatting with some friends at the pub. Much better than other Alexander Keith's brews I tried this week. I'd drink this with regularity if it was in my area. (492 characters)

Photo of canucklehead
3.6/5  rDev +31.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I had this one in a bar that has a pretty lousy beer selection and I have to say that it wasn't bad. It is certainly an ale and a very dark one at that. Kinda tastes like a Schwarzbier in its roastyness. The beer has a decent mouthfeel and more flavour than I expected. A little too carbonated and not totally balanced but pretty drinakble and low in ABV to boot (362 characters)

Photo of prosper
3.58/5  rDev +30.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

pours a dark reddish brown.

Smells faintly of malts and a whiff of fruity esters. No hops.

Taste is decent. It's definitely an ale, with some medium caramel flavours, fruity esters and perhaps a trace of something toasty/roasty. No hop presence to speak of - in aroma, flavour or bitterness.

Small-bodied and unremarkeable.

Overall, it's definitely a session beer, not a sipper. More interesting than your average on-tap offerings. (435 characters)

Photo of allergictomacros
3.4/5  rDev +24.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A - Dark indeed. Rich, ruby red with a solid head of foam.

S - Dark sugars and roasted grain, dark fruit, and caramel with a hint of nuttiness.

T - Flavour is weak for the aroma. Some roast and toast, light fruit, and mild bitterness. Some sweetness as well.

M - Some astringency combined in with a light body.

D - OK drinker, but lacks serious punch. (355 characters)

Photo of biegaman
3.38/5  rDev +23.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

The beer looks as though it still belongs in the carboy; its caked surface is buzzing (literally, the sound is loud) with activity while it bubbles in a turbulent state of unrest (eventually, it exhausts itself nearly out of existence, leaving the perimeter and its frothy lace as vestiges). Both colour and complexion, true to name, are indeed dark.

Boy, is my face red - I really didn't expect this to have any roastiness or any perceivable authentic maltiness at all but, at least on first inspection, it sure does. And although the cloying, corny adjuncts (and that awfully reeking sweetness) come with warming, so too does a welcomed array of bruised dark fruits and just a trickle of flat coffee.

There are a number of flavours and, astonishingly, neither corn nor rice are among them (at least in no significant capacity). Coffee beans, really nutty milk chocolate, a touch molasses and crumbs of pumpernickel toast make for - far and away - the most palatable and, dare I say it for the first ever time, tastiest beer I've ever tried from Labatt's.

The beer has a good breath of that sooty roast normally found in coffee or Irish-style stouts and it lingers triumphantly on the aftertaste (a dryness that is infinitely more pleasing than synthetically sweet corn syrup). Drinkability is favourable; as its lower alcohol indicates, the beer is light bodied (in an appropriate, rather than watered down sense).

Am I really suppose to believe that brewing giant Alexander Keith's was really going for an English-style Dark Mild Ale when they set out to brew this? Is that really the demographic they set out to tap into? Or, more likely, was this a pathetic, emasculated attempt at a stout? If this is supposed to be a stout, then shame on them...

But if it was truly intended to be a mild-tasting, lighter-bodied dark ale then, where's my bib?, I will gladly eat my hat (and gladly wash it down with what's left in the can). I don't automatically dislike big breweries - I dislike that they pollute their beers with adjuncts, emasculate styles and value insipidness and mainstream appeal over integrity and quality. Those descriptions, however, would not describe this offering.

(*Note: The brewery did originally release this as their "Stag Head Stout" which, honestly, probably made for the most pitiful, unsatisfying stout ever. I, however, have opted to grade it as an ambiguous dark ale given that's how it's being sold now.) (2,444 characters)

Photo of ThatWineGuy
3.3/5  rDev +20.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Sudsy mocha head impressive with three finger height and diminished only slightly leaving spotty, sticky lace. Opaque to my surprize, black, and smells like nutty milk chocolate with a bit of butter pecan. The look and smell of a porter is reinforced by the taste that features sharp roasted chocolate malts and toast. Moderately carbonated, there is a smooth, creamy texture. The finish gets a bit earthy and the aftertaste seemed to be not up to scratch, taking a bit away from an otherwise alright taste experience. The 4.1 ABV makes it good session material but as much as I thought it was tasty, I doubt I'd want to drink it all night.

Overall, I found the appearance and smell surprizingly positive but the taste a bit too sharp and the finish too abrupt with an earthy aftertaste that detracted from a better overall score, the finish was lacking with a burnt coffee kind of thud that did not blend well with the rest of the experience. Still, for a mass marketed beer, it's well worth a try and I liked it better than their more popular brand that they call an IPA. (1,075 characters)

Photo of marty21
3.26/5  rDev +19%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A: Pours a dark brown/black with a 1 finger tan head that settles to a thin cap for a bit but eventually stays as a ring around the glass. It left decent lacing on the glass.

S: Not a very strong smell but it's roasted malt and a little sweetness.

T: Pretty thin taste but I get roasted malt taste.

M: Medium carbonation with a light body.

D: If you're looking for a beer full of flavor look elsewhere. But when you're somewhere that basically only has macro choices it's a good way to go. (497 characters)

Photo of ericj551
3.25/5  rDev +18.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Keith's Dark pours a dark brown/black with a slightly off white head that fades quickly. The aroma is dry roasted and chocolate malt and some herbal bitterness. The flavor is dry with some nice roasted character with some burnt coffee and a mild astringency. There is a bit of mild graininess. I would guess that they are going for a Guinness type stout more than a mild, but it's decent beer overall. It's nothing special, but way better (and more bitter) than their IPA. (472 characters)

Photo of mooseisloose
3.21/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Big tall boy can, why waste time on a grenade? Smells of roasted malts but not much hopping. Pours to a river in the iron range, translucent dark root beer color with a big foamy head. Upon tasting the first thing that stands out is that the mouthfeel is watery and thin. The taste starts with some well roasted malts then gets into a chaullky chocolate taste with a mild hoppiness and metallic finish. Tasty beer but indeed quite thin. The head however is durable and gains bonus points for appearance. Drinkable but not a standout. (533 characters)

Photo of biboergosum
3.09/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

On-tap at one of the many proliferating local Canadiana-themed watering holes.

This beer appears a clear, very dark cola colour, with one finger of tight, thin creamy pale beige head, which leaves some decent webbed lace around the glass as it ebbs away. It smells faintly of roasted malt, and not much else. The taste is lightly toasted nutty malt, a bit of powdered chocolate, and faint weedy hops. The carbonation is moderate, though a bit prickly, which renders the body just short of smooth. It finishes off-dry, with some astringent nuttiness.

Definitely the best of the lot as far as this brewer is concerned. More of an English Brown Ale, and pretty plain all the same; still, I found this adequately drinkable. Huh. (726 characters)

Photo of mrmanning
3/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Draught sample- A dark brown that lets some light in, pours a medium sized frothy mocha cap that recedes to a thin cap. Nose of toasty malts, some milk chocolate, mild pit fruits, some hops. Flavour profile is much of the same, with the chocolate, roasty malts, a bit nutty too. Somewhat fruity, leading to a slightly bitter finish to balance out the sweetness. Pretty good actually, but seems more like a Dunkel to me. (419 characters)

Photo of spinrsx
2.93/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

473ml Can

Appearance - The beer pours a dark brown colour with a large frothy and fizzy light brown coloured head. I can't see much carbonation due the darkness of the beer and there is some good lacing on the sides of the glass. The head lasted for 5 minutes before it was gone.

Smell - light chocolate, malts, smoke

Taste & Mouth - The beer has an average amount of carbonation and I can taste light amounts of malt, chocolate and coffee. There is also a lot of adjunct flavour going on.. corn, grains etc. The beer comes across as thin and sort of watery. It finishes with a grainy aftertaste with a touch of coffee/chocolate.

Overall – Well, the beer looked nice in the glass.. but the taste really ruins it. Perhaps with some modifications this could be a pretty decent brew. I wouldn't buy it again. (811 characters)

Photo of pootz
2.92/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

On tap:

Tapped a dark brown small cap, weak lacing.

Aroma of roasted grains and sweetness.

Weak mouth feel...thin...sweet, far too sweet in an adjunct sweetness bad way...roastyness and coffee tastes are there but the weak body and mouth feel combined with the saccharine sweetness fouled this drink for me. (313 characters)

Photo of TerryW
2.92/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Kudos to these guys for making such a fine looking beer. Great head, elegant lace, interesting to look at. After that just a regular macro style-rip ground out by the big boys trying to get a piece of the micro-styled market.

Some chalkiness and chocolate like you'd expect from the style, but understated. Thin mouthfeel. Slightly boozy nose without any of the other stuff you'd expect from a brew of this type.

Drinkable but uninspired. Too subdued. (454 characters)

Photo of Sammy
2.85/5  rDev +4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

One of the more drinkable of their beers, though mediocre for a dark ale. Pours deep brown without any lasting head. Neutral to slightly malty aromas. Mouthfeel is a bit thin, it is sweetish to begin with, but carries a small yet harsh metallic finish. I would not seek this out again. (285 characters)

Photo of TheSevenDuffs
2.8/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Had this one on tap.

Before I start this review I have to say that this is not an English Stout. Not even close. It looks like Alexander Keith's mislabelling is comtinuting with this offering. At least they changed the offical name of the beer from "Keith's Stout" to "Keith's Dark."

A - Poured a light to medium brown with a nice finger of cream-coloured head. Some visible carbonation. Not stout-like at all, but definitely somewhat dark, as advertised.

S - The nose is surprisingly interesting. Roasted malts with some sweet caramel. Enough to get me intrigued.

T - The taste is not as bold as the nose indicated. There is a solid roasted malt profile and some sweetness (caramel) in the background. A decent flavour profile.

M - Light body with a good amount of carbonation. Definitely not a stout-like mouth feel, but similar to many porters.

D - This is a half decent beer in comparison to most of the macro beer that is available on tap at regualr bars and restaurants in the Toronto area. I would order this again but only because the alternatives are so bad. Overall this is a decent beer but not a great beer. (1,129 characters)

Photo of PEIBeerGuy
2.75/5  rDev +0.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

A deep, dark, chestnut brown, with very little head - basically just a film on top after a few seconds, but enough to keep lacing as the drink gets lower. With a bit of agitation, the head comes back pretty quickly... it's a fizzy beer.

Some malty, roasted odour to it.

The taste is a little weak. Even if it's supposed to be an ale, I think it needs a bit more "oomph". It has as much corn / cheap taste to me (or more) as it does anything that's coffee or chocolate... almost a bit papery, like the Birra Morena I had last week. The first few sips were a bit better - more of a taste of coffee... don't really get the chocolate. After the first few, it's not too enjoyable.

It's a bit too carbonated - almost like how pop feels in the mouth. It's not terrible, but could be a bit smoother.

It's pretty drinkable. If you liked it, it'd be easy to have a few or several, I imagine. I just don't like it enough to do that. One was fine. (942 characters)

Photo of SebD
2.71/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance: It has an almost fully black color to it. It has a nice thick tan head that dies down moderately and leaves some lacing.

Smell: The aromas give out hints of roasty malts with faint hints of coffee and chocolate and a metallic note.

Taste: Like the aromas, it has a roasty malt character to it with faint hints of coffee, not a whole lot going on.

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

Drinkability: It's a very smooth drinkable beer accompanied with bland flavors and aromas. (545 characters)

Photo of JohnnyBarman
2.58/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Had this on tap at the Whale and Ale in Kitchener. It was cheap Keith's night, thought I'd give it a go.

Started off well. Poured into a typical Keiths glass, nice and dark, almost like a porter. Tan head, good lacing.

The smell was okay, but not very noticable. A bit of chocolate and coffee, a slight cola effect in the back. Not bad though.

The taste is where it completely fell off the rails. Bland, bland, bland! One of the poorest dark ales I've had in a long time. Only a bit of chocolate and coffee at the very beginning, bitterness at the finish; the middle was watery and boring. It literally tastes like a dark regular Keiths, like they added some dark malts to a Keiths vat and hoped for the best. I could finish it, however, and it wasn't repugnant. High praise...

Mouthfeel was thin and watery. No real redeeming factors here.

Very poor effort; not worth bringing to Ontario. Dark ale for the masses, really. It's a shame too, because there are so many better dark ales brewed in Ontario, but this one will get all the attention in pubs.

Avoid. (1,065 characters)

Photo of thehyperduck
2.57/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Regular tall-boy can received as a gift along with a bunch of other brews. I guess I'm the first to review a can of this stuff.

Pours an opaque black cola colour with a rather impressive tan head, but that may just be because I screwed up and poured too quickly. Retention is decent. It seems pretty good, at least visually - unfortunately this is basically the high point.

The smell is non-descript; to be honest I can't really make out any specific odours. 'Malty' is the only adjective I can confidently use here. This is a very fitting prelude to the taste, because that's about the only flavour I could make out; roasted malts. Maybe a bit of a coffee after-taste, with a faintly bitter finish. Not repelling, but not very creative for a dark ale. The carbonation is surprisingly low - at least they did not try to use it to mask the lack of interesting flavours. It definitely has a watery mouthfeel for a stout.

It's quite drinkable, and I can see how this would seem interesting to someone who has never had anything more exotic than Keith's IPA. But in the end it's just a bland offering for the style. Dark ale for the masses? Yep - I hear you, JohnnyBarman. I won't go out of my way to buy this again. (1,216 characters)

Photo of deg
2.52/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

The beer looks good. It's dark, the head looks good. It's too dark to see any bubbles in it. I can't smell anything though. To be fair, that could be my nose, it's never been the greatest. The taste seems more like a stout to me than a mild ale. Very coffee like. However, I note that the can does describe the beer as more of a stout than a mild. The beer felt watery to me in my mouth after a very pleasant fizzing sensation from the carbonation. I thought the beer was OK to try once. (487 characters)

Photo of ZorPrime
2.51/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: Dark brown. Cloudy looking head that disappear quickly.

S: Low intensity, what else to expect. Some coffee and chocolate in there but very light. Some roasted malts.

T: Roasted malts. Don't get much of the coffee and chocolate I noticed in the smell. One dimensional beer in regards to the taste.

M: A lot of carbonation. A little bit thin too.

D: Would be high if it tasted better.

Ordinary beer. (405 characters)

Photo of Gosox8787
2.51/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Presentation: Pint can poured into a tulip glass in two parts.

Appearance is dark ruby red to dark brown with a huge three finger pillowy mocha head. Aroma is deep caramel sweetness with a little pale maltiness. Not much coffee or chocolate here. Flavor profile also starts with caramel sweetness. Slight bitter coffee, but the nuttiness of the caramel dominstes. No hop presence. Some light breadiness in there as well. A much lighter flavor profile than an average stout. Mouthfeel is medium bodied and a little cheey. Almost heavy compared with how the rest of the beer feels. Drinkability is pretty good. The flavors are light for a stout and the ABV is more than manageable.

Overall, this beer just doesn't come close to fulfilling my expectations of a stout. The flavors are too light and uninteresting. i don't hate this beer, but it is just not great in any respect. (877 characters)

Photo of jhall00
2.5/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

A- Medium brown beer with lots of carbonation and full head

S- Nothing too noticeable

T- Nothing memorable. Very thin malt and bitterness. Not consistent with a dark ale

M- Thin and watery

D- Better than most macro beers, but not work searching out (252 characters)

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Alexander Keith's Dark Ale from Alexander Keith's
69 out of 100 based on 36 ratings.