True North Strong Ale | Magnotta Brewery

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True North Strong AleTrue North Strong Ale
15 Ratings
True North Strong AleTrue North Strong Ale

Brewed by:
Magnotta Brewery
Ontario, Canada

Style: English Strong Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
An ultra-premium all-malt Strong Ale at 6% alc./vol. Attractive copper colour with a complex aroma that is assertive and alive with balanced sweet malt nuances and fruity/floral ale and hop aromatics. A rich, slightly sweet caramel malt flavour is enhanced by the taste of fresh hops and classic ale fruitiness. Hop bitterness is moderate to full, but well balanced by the malt elements. Perfect food pairings include but are not limited to onion soups, beef and pork ribs, lamb dishes, hearty stews, bruschetta, carrot cake, and cheddar and pecorino cheeses.

Added by slitherySOB on 05-18-2003

Bros Score:
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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 15 |  Reviews: 14
Reviews by Voonder:
Photo of Voonder
3.67/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks Bobsy for this one!
Pours copper colour with decent white head. Smell - slightly hoppy, malty, some honey perhaps, hint of caramel. Pretty complex aroma. Taste - hops are not that noticable here, it mostly malts, nutty, sweet. Pretty smooth,creamy, pretty good ale. It's very different from your regular APA but it is a good thing I figure. Drinkability moderate.
Thanks again Rob!

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More User Reviews:
Photo of Sammy
3.55/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Maybe the best I have had from this brewery, and they definately have chnged the recipe to make this solid. a neutral aroma. Significantly lacey and golden with good sized white head. Taste is akin to a basic old ale, with barley noticeable in the finish, lager and average mouthfeel up front. Warming alcohol. A bit drying.

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Photo of baiser
3.21/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear, copper orange colour, with a thin white cap, soapy lacing, not much retention. Not much in the nose, just some toastiness and a bit of fruit. Taste of sweet fruits, grain, and some hop bitterness in the end. Astringent, bready, malty. Body and mouthfeel are lacking. A bit thin, but otherwise an ok beer.

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Photo of RedAleMan
3.75/5  rDev +5.6%

Photo of karait95
3.44/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: Amber color, not good enough head.

S: A faint sweet aroma that cannot be totally identified, also a vague toasted smell, there can be sensed hops but are not as dominant as in an ipa style.

T: A delayed bitterness, not any other sensations can be clearly identified, not a complex flavor can be sensed.

M: A lasting bitter ending but not a noticed beggining, bitterness and dry sensation.

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Photo of Derek
3.75/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

An eclectic brew, but a decent drinker.

A: Copper with a light tan head, thin ring of retention, slight lacing.

S: Big bubblegum fruityness, earthy mineral, caramel, hints of resiny, floral hops.

T: Caramel, tropical fruits, slightly earthy, grainy biscuit, slightly floral, modest bitterness with a warming alcohol. It's really different, and I think it'd make an interesting lager (without the fruityness). I really wonder what the ingredients are? (Perhaps vienna malt with some new-world hops like Mt hood?)

M: Moderately full body is smooth & almost creamy, with a slight toffee sweetness in the finish.

D: Smooth & flavourful, but a little warming to session.

I bought a few cases of this when I was a student. It's a solid all-malt brew with a good bang (6%) for your buck.

Thanks Bobsy.

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Photo of GodOfBeer
3.7/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a clear, light copper with a thin soapy off-white head, falls to a thin layer, decent lacing.

Smells of sweet, caramel malts, bready, nutty, citrus hop notes, and some mellow tropical fruits.

A pretty tasty brew, nice and malty, nutty, doughy and kind of fruity in a strange way. This kind of reminds me of Iron Spike amber, but this would be it's bigger brother.

Sort of smooth, almost watery mouthfeel, however this is a highly drinkable beer, but not as good as their IPA.

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Photo of pootz
3.72/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottled. Fills a pilsner glass with a copper-amber clear lager with a frothy 1 finger off white cap that has fair retenetion and laces moderately. Moderate carbonation. Nose is interesting; toasty sweet maltiness and a fragrant bouquet of a variety of hops. Sturdy mouth feel...full of wonderful bready malts... then the hops start a light medicinal bittering that builds in the finish making it slightly dry....nice malty-bready after taste....I like this beer, the taste profile is very close to Creemore lager ...a very good premium Canadian lager.

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Photo of ThatWineGuy
3.2/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This is the sixth and final beer in the current Magnotta line up that I've reviewed after picking them up at the Brewery in Vaughan a short while ago. This one is an amber beaut with a head that fizzled away so quickly I didn't notice the colour of it. Low carbonation, no ring or lace. The smell, while not offensive, wasn't much there at all, so I took off a half point for that. Taste initially suggested cararmel but was more honey-like as it aired with low bitterness, malty middle and finish. Aftertaste was intriguing with pomegranite dryness and more malt hanging around the tastebuds for some time. Body relatively thin. The 6 per cent ABV was well integrated and the swallow very smooth overall. Not bad at all.

Having now completed my sampling of the current Magnotta line up, I offer an observation and a suggestion. The label states, "Naturally Canadian" and states that the brewery has respect for ingredients and has won awards around the globe, yet there is nothing to tell me what ingredients went into this or any of the other six brews. The labels themselves contain virtually no useful information - not even a BB or EXP date. Had I not picked this up right at the brewery, I might not have picked it up at all. Those Ontario craft brewers - Magnotta and others - that already do a fine job making their beer should also make a point of informing and educating the buying public about what goes into it, etc, and in so doing, raise the bar for every brewery, to the benefit of every consumer.

Having said that, the Magnotta True North effort deserves to be commended, they've done a nice, honest job here. My particular favourites were the IPA (4.2 in my books), the Altbier and the Lager, although you can't go far wrong in buying anything from their line up. Cheers!

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Photo of biegaman
3.38/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Despite being a very light golden the beer is certainly much deeper in colour than a standard pilsner. Away from the light it even appears amber with a heavy caramel crusting. Its head is modest but loyal and highly responsive to swirling; the remnants of lace gradually sink their way back down the glass. First impression: this looks more refined than its name let's on.

I've sampled every beer in the Magnotta line up now and I've noticed two things: that the brewery is very under appreciated here in this province and that their beers all smell very clean. This scent isn't exactly appetizing but it does no harm either. When it comes down to it, this, their blonde lager and cream ale all smell as pleasant as possible for their respective styles (which is saying a lot for styles where the word 'pleasant' can scarcely be applied!)

I wasn't exactly sure what would define this as a 'strong' ale. I'm happy to find that it apparently takes that moniker from the extra maltiness. This is considerably rich given the beer was most likely designed for people who aren't accustomed to very malty beers. Come to think of it, 'stronger' isn't quite right although 'heavier' would be appropriate.

The beer's flavour is still largely bready and very much resembles their blonde lager and cream ale. This, however, has an accompanying nuance of fruits. It's certainly subtle but it's probably the only thing about it that's distinctive of an ale - the beer really tastes lagered to me, which isn't a bad thing but merely a reflection on how smooth and crisp it drinks.

There's also a tremendous flavour of honeyed oats. I can't say whether Magnotta designed this recipe after a classic English style Strong Ale or the less decorated and far less pleasurable American macro style (read: malt liquor) that is veered to a group of, shall we say, less refined drinkers. I have a great appreciation for the former and no care for the latter. Whatever this was meant to be: I like how it turned out.

I'm still pondering which style it more resembles. I'd hesitate to liken it to a Fullers but it's definitely not something to drink out of a paper bag! It's a shame the Ontario beer market isn't a little more supportive to a wider range of beers. Everything I've had from Magnotta has been really good, it's too bad they don't try their hand at a broader range of styles. Whether they do or don't, I plan to keep supporting them. Thanks ThatWineGuy!

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Photo of ccrida
3.95/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle(thx northyorksammy!) poured into my large Gulden Draak tulip, True North Strong Ale is a chill hazed bronze with a white head that leaves heavy lace.

Smell is strong and sweet, some sugary citrus, strong English ale esters. While this is my second CA bier of the night, I've spent some time up north, and a lot of their craft brews all seems to have a distinct malty sweetness, wort I'm factoring that into my score.

Taste is also very fruity, some oak notes (I get these in the nose as well, just my imagination?), pretty clean finish. Not weak and pretty generic, I suppose "Strong Ale" is an appropriate designation. Some caramel and orange notes, some honey.

Mouthfeel is on the lighter side, but with a syrupy sugariness as well as a touch of dryness. Maybe my other senses are throwing me off, but I'd swear it's a touch tannic!

Drinkability is really pretty good, if you like sweet estery, strongish English ales, this one goes down pretty easily.

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Photo of brewandbbq
3.53/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours clear, dark gold with a half inch head of white. Retention is short, and barely a trace of lace or head remained after two minutes.

Aromatics are mainly malt, caramel, and a hint of butter. Slightly husky and bready.

Medium bodied and a bit creamy. Light carbonation and slightly syrupy.

Doughy malt, drizzeled caramel, and a hint of butterscotch start off the palate. Some rounded honey notes pull through along with a smidge of cocoa.

Finishes farily quick with drying malt and a honey sweetness.

Big ups to NorthyorkSammy for the bonus brew!

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Photo of slitherySOB
2.92/5  rDev -17.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

This is one of those beers best drunk from the bottle. That way, you don't need to see what it looks like. Stained copper colour. Reminds me of my first car, a rusty POS Volkswagon. 1/2 finger head that leaves slippery lace. Medium strength smell. The alcohol is faint, but present. Sweet smell is fighting against a sour, bitter smell. It's odd, but okay. Now a taste. Very malty. I think too much malt variety was used here. For some reason, it tastes almost hybrid, like imported and domestic malts and hops have been crossbred. Slight floral hops, somewhat bitter enough too counteract the overuse of hops. It's drinkable, but better beers have been brewed by this brewery.

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Photo of bobsy
3.97/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From the brewery's description:
"An ultra-premium all-malt Strong Ale at 6% alc./vol. Attractive copper colour with a complex aroma that is assertive and alive with balanced sweet malt nuances and fruity/floral ale and hop aromatics. A rich, slightly sweet caramel malt flavour is enhanced by the taste of fresh hops and classic ale fruitiness. Hop bitterness is moderate to full, but well balanced by the malt elements. Perfect food pairings include but are not limited to onion soups, beef and pork ribs, lamb dishes, hearty stews, bruschetta, carrot cake, and cheddar and pecorino cheeses."

Not as strong as their IPA, so a strange moniker for this beer. After tasting it I would probably view this as an old ale, although its a pretty tough one to categorise.

An orange body sites redolent under a finger of off-white head, which fades after a few minutes to a sparse film, leaving only a little lace. The nose is pleasant, with strong floral notes mixing with berries and honey. The taste is malt-heavy, with accents of sweetbread, honey and earthiness making their presence felt before transcending to a moderately bitter finish. My wife also picked up on a floral note at the end, and really enjoyed that. Both the body and carbonation are medium, but the finish does have a slight warming and drying aspect.

This is yet another solid beer from a very under-appreciated brewery. I'd definitely recommend it alongside the IPA and altbier that I have tried already.

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Photo of allergictomacros
3.53/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Clear copper with an inch of off-white foam.

S - Little bit earthy and chalky and a bit of leafy hop.

T - Strong caramel, and a light hoppiness. Hint of citrus and apple. Lightly fruity.

M - Lightish in body but with a bit of oomph.

D - Not bad. Good solid flavours but doesn't rank too high in the interesting department.

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True North Strong Ale from Magnotta Brewery
Beer rating: 3.55 out of 5 with 15 ratings