Steel Toe Brewing

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IPA - Black / Cascadian Dark Ale
Ranked #79
Ranked #8,766
4.02 | pDev: 11.94%
Steel Toe Brewing
Minnesota, United States
Very Good
Notes: Named after the Douglas Fir, native to the Pacific Northwest, this Cascadian Dark Ale is brewed to impart a big punch of hops while maintaining the qualities of a dark ale. Chocolate and toasted marshmallow malt character lay the foundation to stand up to the big piney, resiny, citrus hop character. Defined, on both malt and hop character, a perfect treat to tantalize the palate.
Reviews: 18 | Ratings: 89 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of brentk56
brentk56 from North Carolina

4.03/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Arrives coffee colored with a thick, two fingers of beige foam; a curtain of lace

Smell: Roasted malt and cocoa with pine and citrus pith

Taste: Roasty and bitter, with the roasted malt bringing a tobacco and toffee tone; the pine flavors build, through the middle, with just a hint of cocoa in the finish

Mouthfeel: Medium body with moderate carbonation

Overall: Nice to have a Cascadian Dark for a change; this is a pretty good example of a style that came and went in a flash

Oct 09, 2019
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ZAP from Minnesota

4.09/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Very nice balanced black IPA....Pungent piney hop burst of aroma on the pour...the taste though is more balanced. Some nice pine and tobacco leaf but a mellow almost hot cocoa like chocolate malt dimension. Blends together very nicely. Body is medium...clean...drinks easy despite the 7.5% abv....this is a well made beer.

Nov 05, 2018
Photo of MonDak_Joe1953
MonDak_Joe1953 from Minnesota

4.25/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from 22oz bottle into glass. Seasonal release.
Dark brown colored body, with ruby red highlights when presented to light. Bubbly brownish white colored head, which leaves behind webs of lacing.
Big spicy, piney hops in the aroma, joined by dark chocolate and molasses.
Taste is a swirl of dank, piney, and citrus hops, combined with the roasty dark chocolate malts, and a tiny bit of sweet marshmallow. Kind of dry, but punchy from the bitter hops.
Medium mouth feel. Good carbonation.
This is one of the better black IPAs I have had, in that the beer allows full expression of all components but still has a overall balance. The whole is better than the sum of its parts.

Aug 09, 2018
Photo of Evilyak
Evilyak from Minnesota

4.18/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

good pour on this one. comes out dark, with a thick, tan head that leaves lacing everywhere.

smell is pungent green pine. i'm sure there are other things going on here, but that's what's hitting me over the head. with a pine tree.

taste is resin and a little citrus kick. there's some roasted taste in the middle and in the aftertaste - burnt toast, perhaps?

mouthfeel is a pretty thin, with moderate carbonation.

huge fan of this one. it's not perfection, but it hits on a lot of levels.

Oct 20, 2015
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chrisjws from California

4.4/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

On tap fresh at the brewery. They told me they'd literally just tapped it. Served in a regular pint glass.

A: The lighting in the brewery isn't the best, but it was nice and dark with bits of light around the edges. Small amounts looked more like dark brown than black. Nice tan 1/2 finger of head at the top.
S: Pine, grapefruit and roast. If not for the roast, I'd have though this was a regular IPA in a blindfold test. All the great aromatics of an IPA with a little roast aroma interplaying with a tiny bit of malt in the background.
T: Follows the nose well. Bitter upfront with pine and grapefruit, in the middle mouth you get some roasted malts and a hint of dark coffee. Finishes up with grapefruit zest and pine in the aftertaste.
M: Drinks really clean. The carbonation scrubs your palate in each sip and keeps you coming back over and over. Medium to light mouthfeel. Very refreshing.
O: Love this dark ale. Reminds me a bit of Lagunitas nighttime. One of the better executed black IPAs I've tried recently.

Oct 11, 2015
Photo of feloniousmonk
feloniousmonk from Minnesota

4.36/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Steel Toe Douglas Cascadian Dark Ale. Alc. 7.5% by Vol. Brewed and bottled by Steel Toe Brewing, St. Louis Park, Minnesota.

Appearance: dark brown, practically black, under a creamy head, lace-leaving, looking luscious.

Aroma: grassy hops galore, floating over dark malt. Gorgeous.

Taste: Grasy, piney, citrus-y hops flood the palate, with chocolatey malt just below. Full-bodied. Lush malt. Delicious. Good Lord, it's delicious. Tasty as Hell. Bitterness persists, keeping time with sweet malt.

I have to excuse myself. I'm having a hard time being objective about this. It's hitting me just right, and I'm finding it to be absolutely perfect. And that's coming from this guy here who's always had a hard time with this Cascadian Dark Ale, Black IPA, whatever you call it style.

This is doing everything for me, shooting me from all angles. It's not just the hops, it's actually mainly the malt. Just flat-out delicious.

"Douglas", naturally, refers to the fir tree indigenous to the Cascadia region, also called Oregon Pine or Douglas spruce, and whose piney flavor resonates throughout the beer. I'm glad I finally got to get a bottle, and now, I've got to score some more, because it is ever so good. And I'm not kidding.

Apr 08, 2015
Photo of deford
deford from California

3.5/5  rDev -12.9%

A quickie here...Pours brown and dark, nice color. One inch head that splits right away leaving a flat plate of color floating on top of the beer. Smell is pretty hoppy as is the taste right off the bat. Pretty bitter, maybe some dry cocoa...maybe some citrus...maybe. Mouthfeel is very smooth. Overall its decent but nothing special.

Dec 12, 2014
Photo of Mdog
Mdog from Minnesota

4.02/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Apperance: Dark brown, big head.

Smell: Piney, then a little more citrus as it warms.

Taste: Hoppy citrus with roasted malt in the finish. As it warms up, gives more of a balanced pine/roast mix throughout. Semi-dry finish.

Overall: I finally picked up a bottle of Douglas to review. Hoppy black ales can be hit or miss with me, but Steel Toe's Douglas was a tasty blend of hops and roasted malts that hit the spot. Definitely worth a try.

Nov 15, 2014
Photo of zeledonia
zeledonia from Washington

3.94/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Tasted 14 October 2014. I love Steel Toe; excited to try another of their seasonals.

Pour is stunning. Black, opaque, with 2 fingers of dense cafe-au-lait head. Great retention, good lacing. Outstanding.

Smell is interesting. Not as heavy on the hops as many CDAs, but there's enough there to perk things up, with some light citrus riding on top of the charred malts.

Taste is about what I'd expect. A hefty dose of bitterness, from both the hops and the black malts. They mix well, and yield a full charcoal-like bitterness that I really like. And it lingers.

Feel is good. Medium-bodied; as always with this style I'm surprised by the lightness. Carbonation could be a bit higher.

This is good stuff. Not on the level of Stone's black ales, but pretty darn good. Steel Toe just doesn't make bad beers, or even mediocre beers, in my experience.

Oct 27, 2014
Photo of pat61
pat61 from Minnesota

4.25/5  rDev +5.7%

A grainy nose and palate with a touch of dark malt, no big burnt flavors, light chocolate to coffee are mild and balanced by hop and lighter malt flavors.
Black as night.
Smooth and mellow.
Medium body and carbonation. Not heavy or syrupy

Oct 17, 2014
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NickSMpls from Washington

4.02/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

If you want a black ale, this fits the bill. Pitch black - more so than most stouts. Nice aroma of piney notes from the hops. Taste is smooth, chocolate and coffee and expresso beans. A faint sweetness comes through, so not as dry as we would like. The aftertaste has some odd notes that fade away. Worth picking up if you see it. Date code is on the bottom and hard to read, that's a demerit.

Dec 01, 2013
Photo of morimech
morimech from Minnesota

4.02/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

One of the best aromas from a "Black" IPA that I have experienced. Pine, citrus, fruity resin, chocolate, and a hint of coffee and smoke. A little overly bitter as I think some of the hops could of been better served in dry hopping instead of in the boil. But an outstanding black, hoppy ale where you can actually taste the black.

May 04, 2013
Photo of hardy008
hardy008 from Minnesota

4.16/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours black with a one finger tan head, with good retention and lacing. The aroma has grapefruit, pineapple, pine, roasted malt, and dark chocolate.

Tastes just like it smells with grapefruit, pineapple, pine, roasted malt, and dark chocolate. Nice combination of sweetness and bitterness, to make for a nicely balanced beer.

Medium bodied with average carbonation. Has a citrus aftertaste. A very nice example of an American Black Ale / Cascadian Dark ale.

May 01, 2013
Photo of bsp77
bsp77 from Minnesota

4.05/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Serving glass: Poured from bottle into Imperial Pint.

Appearance: Dark brown with nice tan head that lasts awhile.

Smell: Mostly a mild roasted aroma, with chocolate and molasses. Light pine and citrus. Surprisingly mild.

Taste: Strong roasted taste of bitter chocolate, burnt molasses and spent espresso grounds. There is some pine and citrus as well. Finish is somewhat bitter from both the hops and a roasted bite.

Feel: Smooth and creamy medium to full body with moderately low carbonation. Dry finish.

Overall: A well done Black Ale. Nice mouthfeel, complex flavors but the aroma is too mild.

Apr 27, 2013
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MattyG85 from Minnesota

4.34/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 22 oz. bottle into a Surly tulip glass.

Appearance: Pours a dark brownish amber with a hint of ruby. Moderate amount of bubbles and about two fingers of beige head which slowly fade into a thin creamy layer. Leaves lots of creamy lacing around the glass.

Smell: A fairly hop forward black ale aroma with a solid dark malt presence. Sharp and spicy piney hop scent up front with some earthy and herbal hints of grass. Also some mild citrus hop hints of orange and grapefruit. Dark roasted malts with hints of chocolate, burnt caramel, toffee, toast, biscuit, yeast, and a little smoke. Some hints of brown sugar and syrup sweetness. A very solid black ale smell.

Taste: Like it smells, a bitter and rich taste of piney hops and dark malt sweetness. Hoppy upfront with a good taste of spicy piney hops along with some earthy grass. Herbal hops along with some notes of citrus orange peel and grapefruit. Sweet dark roasted malts with notes of chocolate, toasted bread, burnt caramel, toffee, biscuit, yeast, and smoke. Sweet notes of brown sugar and a little syrup. Nice balance of the bitter hops and sweet dark malt. Very good taste.

Mouthfeel: Body is on the heavier side of medium with a moderate amount of carbonation. Creamy, spicy, and slightly syrupy. Finishes fairly dry.

Overall: A very good take on the black ale style. Solid hop flavor with a nice sweet dark malt balance.

Apr 26, 2013
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gatornation from Minnesota

3.75/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours a dark brown color with some cherry highlights. Smell was chocolate with pine hops and citrus. Taste had roasted malts with some very good citrus /pine hops. This was a nice blend of chocolate roasted malts ,citrus hops.

Apr 21, 2013
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yokken from Minnesota

4.2/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Picked up a bomber of this as soon as it was available. I've loved all of Steel Toe's previous offerings so far so I was excited to try this.

Served out of a short, oversized wine glass (not sure what the technical name for these are -- not a snifter), cold out of the fridge. Fairly gentle pour down the side of the glass but let a little slosh in there to get some head, about one finger. It's a nice light caramel color, most of it receding over the next minute. Lace is nice -- not as beautiful or sticky as some IPAs I've had, but definitely leaves a nice pattern down the side of the glass. Retains a fairly small amount of head, but enough around the sides to leave the aforementioned lace.

Not black in color, but fairly dark. Could see a tiny bit of light through it but not much. The smell is a bit toasty, with what I swear to be a hint of chocolate. Nice malty body with a hint of hops as well. Reminds me of a stout, but mixed with a black ale. Fits the bill, in my opinion.

Now, down to the really important stuff -- the taste. There's a nice bitter bite up front, but not too much. The bitterness stays with you as it goes down, but fades nicely. It has a fairly dry finish, which is enjoyable. Some black ales I've had have been a bit too oily for my liking. There's a pleasant toasty flavor (as I would describe it) combined with a great hop flavor -- slightly grassy? Maybe a bit of pine? I'm no expert at picking out hop characteristics. However, the malt and hops work together very well.

The mouthfeel is great; it's not thin, but it's not so chewy or heavy that you feel like you're drinking an imperial stout. It's a nice medium that makes it easy to drink, but filling and lasting enough to satisfy.

All in all, this is an easy drinker with great flavors. It's not super "balanced" and there aren't a ton of subtle flavors in it that will have you tasting something new every time you try it, but it's a solid beer any time time you're feeling like a black ale. It reminds of a less bitter version of Indeed Brewing's Midnight Ryder, with a thicker body. Given the ABV, drinkability and price of this stuff, I will be buying more it, and it's easy to suggest. I'm not sure how well this will age... probably not very well, considering the hops give this brew the punch it has. Drink it while you've got it, but if it sits around for a month, it will probably be just fine. Another winner from Steel Toe.

Apr 18, 2013
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sacrelicio from Minnesota

3.7/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Decent black IPA from my favorite TC brewery. This ale is more of a dark brown than a black color, with a decent tan head that lingers nicely. The smell and taste are of green, piney hops, pretty intense with some green bitterness on the palate. No real roast or malt present, pretty dry and bitter overall with just the lightest hint of dark malt. I would have liked a bit more malt or hops that had more citrus flavors.

Apr 15, 2013
Douglas from Steel Toe Brewing
Beer rating: 89 out of 100 with 89 ratings