Dismiss Notice
Save $5 when you subscribe to 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine and select auto-renew.

Subscribe now →
Dismiss Notice
Join Our Email List →

And we'll send you the latest updates and offers from BeerAdvocate, because knowing is half the battle.
Dismiss Notice

Pre-order your Respect Beer "Hipster" Hoodie today!

Plus: Free shipping (US only) on orders of $25 or more until 12/18/15. Just select "Free Shipping" at checkout.

Shop now →

Alexander Keith's Dark Ale - Alexander Keith's

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

Educational use only; do not reuse.

36 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 36
Hads: 69
Avg: 2.71
pDev: 22.14%
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'.
View: Beers (16) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50  | nextlast
Reviews: 36 | Hads: 69
Photo of Sammy
2.85/5  rDev +5.2%
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 Phyl21ca
1.56/5  rDev -42.4%
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.

 312 characters

Photo of biboergosum
3.09/5  rDev +14%
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 biegaman
3.38/5  rDev +24.7%
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 TheSevenDuffs
2.8/5  rDev +3.3%
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 DrJay
2.36/5  rDev -12.9%
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.

 736 characters

Photo of spinrsx
2.93/5  rDev +8.1%
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 canucklehead
3.6/5  rDev +32.8%
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 SebD
2.71/5  rDev 0%
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 pootz
2.92/5  rDev +7.7%
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 thehyperduck
2.57/5  rDev -5.2%
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 TerryW
2.92/5  rDev +7.7%
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 allergictomacros
3.4/5  rDev +25.5%
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 JohnnyBarman
2.58/5  rDev -4.8%
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.


 1,065 characters

Photo of Gosox8787
2.51/5  rDev -7.4%
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 ericj551
3.25/5  rDev +19.9%
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 ZorPrime
2.51/5  rDev -7.4%
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 mrmanning
3/5  rDev +10.7%
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 mooseisloose
3.21/5  rDev +18.5%
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 Long813
2.06/5  rDev -24%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

G: Keiths Pint

A: Dark brown, half an inch of off white head with poor retention and little lacing.

S: Faint scents of malts, chocolate and hops.

T: Chocolate is a little stronger in taste than it smells, some roasted coffee beans and hops follow. Still quite faint in flavour.

M: Medium-light bodied with medium-high carbonation. Leaves a slight dry-bitter feel.

D: I did not enjoy this much at all. It was lacking in all aspects and to boot I had this when they tried to call it a stout. I would never pay a premium price for a beer like this when there are others out there which are far better.

 607 characters

Photo of TheHammer
2.33/5  rDev -14%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Appearance: Good thumb of head on the poor that produced lace but didn't make it past the 1/4 mark. The body is dark, but not stout or porter dark as some hints of brown translucence appear.

Smell: Smoky malts with a hint of nutty dark chocolate. It's not bad, but it's not all that complex. It strength of fairly average, so all in all run of the mill here.

Taste: Starts with some very weak sweet malt that fails to impress. It then builds with some rich chocolate notes but then ends with an almost cigarette smokiness to it which I think the hops triggering since they don't seem to be able to make an appearance, which is a little odd for a Keith's beer.

Mouthfeel: Watery texture, and certainly not creamy in any way. Very strange for a darker beer, as the carbonation is more reminiscent of a lager and doesn't seem to help out that much. Aftertaste is thankfully subdued.

Drinkability: It's medium bodied, but in an odd way. The lack of creaminess and watered down texture seems to hide the fact that it does fill you up fairly quick. These traits don't really go well together, because as a sipper, it's too light and as a guzzler it's too heavy and rough.

Final Thoughts: I'm to understand that this was once marketed as a Stout. Much like their India Pale Ale, if this is a stout, this is the mildest, lamest stout I've ever experienced. As a Dark Mild Ale, well, I guess it fares better but it wasn't as flavourful as I'd want it to be. Stick to the IPA or the Red if you want to drink Keith's.

 1,511 characters

Photo of MeisterBurger
1.66/5  rDev -38.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

Pours a blackened cola color, very dark but clear when held up to the light, with ruby highlights. One inch of slightly off-white head tops things off and retains quite nicely. Laces okay.

Smells of faint grains and roast with a tinge of leafy green hops.

The taste is astringently roasty, tinny and metallic, harsh and unpleasant. Roasty and bitter and chemically. It tastes...fake. There's a cold coffee like aspect too it, but like really bad coffee from a machine. Or, worse: Tim Horton's. Really the taste is harsh. Unpleasant. Not good.

Moving on....

Very thin bodied and watery.

I drank a third of the can and dumped it.


 641 characters

Photo of ludachris
1.79/5  rDev -33.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1

Pours a deep cola brown with 2 fingers of frothy and sticky beige head that leaves sticky sheets of lacing down the glass. Really nice appearance.

Faint smell of roasted malts, nuts, biscuit, and a touch of caramel. Very bland and unoriginal.

Shew. This is bad. A quickly fading roasted nutty character was about the only thing going on in the taste, asides from light biscuit and a dash of caramel.

Mouthfeel is ridiculously watery and thin with a body that's on par with their light lager. I got through about a quarter of this before I poured the rest down the drain.

This marks the worst stout I've had to date. I truly wasn't expecting much from Keiths with this offering, but this fell much below my expectations. Avoid as best you can.

 746 characters

Photo of ThatWineGuy
3.3/5  rDev +21.8%
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 mintjellie
2.24/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

Alexander Keith's Dark Ale is dark brown in colour, showing ruby highlights when held to the light. It's beige head doesn't last very long and doesn't leave much lace to show for it's presence. It smells slightly nutty & faintly roasty. It barely has a scent to it at all. It tastes like Keiths with hints of coffee and caramel. Light bodied with high carbonation; feels thin and watery. It's like they took the regular Keith's recipe and threw in some specialty malts. It tastes pretty bad and doesn't seem very well thought out.

 530 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50  | nextlast
Alexander Keith's Dark Ale from Alexander Keith's
68 out of 100 based on 36 ratings.