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Alexander Keith's Dark Ale - Alexander Keith's

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

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
66
poor

66 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 66
Reviews: 36
rAvg: 2.66
pDev: 23.68%
Wants: 1
Gots: 1 | 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:
Previously known as 'Alexander Keith's Stag's Head Stout'.

(Beer added by: matt7215 on 11-17-2008)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 66 | Reviews: 36 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Sammy
2.8/5  rDev +5.3%
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.

Sammy, Feb 13, 2011
Photo of acurtis
2/5  rDev -24.8%

acurtis, Jan 22, 2012
Photo of Phyl21ca
1.55/5  rDev -41.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

Can: Poured a light black color with a small bubbly head with limited retention. Aroma of adjunct sweetness with limited character. Taste is also dominated by light sweetness originating from adjunct. Body is way too light with average carbonation. Bland, no character and too much adjunct makes this a bad beer.

Phyl21ca, Dec 12, 2010
Photo of biboergosum
3.15/5  rDev +18.4%
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.

biboergosum, Mar 05, 2011
Photo of biegaman
3.38/5  rDev +27.1%
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.)

biegaman, Jul 13, 2010
Photo of DrJay
2.3/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Whoa! Overcarbonation abounds as I poured this into my glass. The beer was very dark brown with clear chestnut edges. A dense beige cap formed, quickly falling and leaving a lot of clumpy lace on the glass. A thin layer of bubbles stuck around for quite a while. Malty aroma, a bit nutty, cola, sugary sweet, faint roast. The flavour and body were unfortunately thin, not light. The watery texture may have been partly due to copious off-gassing during the pour, leaving moderate to low carbonation behind. It was also a bit coarse, grainy, and dry, kind of astringent. The taste was comparable -- brown sugar sweetness and very low bitterness, not very appealing. After starting out relatively strong, this one ultimately disappointed.

DrJay, Sep 04, 2010
Photo of TheSevenDuffs
2.83/5  rDev +6.4%
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.

TheSevenDuffs, Apr 19, 2010
Photo of spinrsx
2.88/5  rDev +8.3%
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.

spinrsx, Aug 25, 2011
Photo of canucklehead
3.6/5  rDev +35.3%
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

canucklehead, Sep 08, 2010
Photo of muskiesman
2.75/5  rDev +3.4%

muskiesman, Aug 17, 2014
Photo of oldp0rt
2/5  rDev -24.8%

oldp0rt, Nov 24, 2011
Photo of Molson2000
1.5/5  rDev -43.6%

Molson2000, Sep 10, 2012
Photo of DaPan
2.25/5  rDev -15.4%

DaPan, Feb 14, 2013
Photo of Howlader
1/5  rDev -62.4%

Howlader, Jul 20, 2014
Photo of pootz
2.93/5  rDev +10.2%
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.

pootz, Jun 09, 2010
Photo of allergictomacros
3.35/5  rDev +25.9%
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.

allergictomacros, Mar 26, 2010
Photo of SebD
2.7/5  rDev +1.5%
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.

SebD, Jan 06, 2012
Photo of TerryW
2.93/5  rDev +10.2%
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.

TerryW, Feb 03, 2010
Photo of mick303
2.75/5  rDev +3.4%

mick303, Jan 22, 2013
Photo of JohnnyBarman
2.5/5  rDev -6%
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.

JohnnyBarman, Dec 04, 2009
Photo of thehyperduck
2.6/5  rDev -2.3%
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.

thehyperduck, Dec 31, 2009
Photo of irishkyle21
2/5  rDev -24.8%

irishkyle21, Jan 16, 2012
Photo of ZachT
1.5/5  rDev -43.6%

ZachT, Oct 10, 2013
Photo of RedAleMan
3/5  rDev +12.8%

RedAleMan, Nov 20, 2011
Photo of Gosox8787
2.48/5  rDev -6.8%
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.

Gosox8787, Jan 26, 2010
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Alexander Keith's Dark Ale from Alexander Keith's
66 out of 100 based on 66 ratings.