Skookum Cascadian Brown Ale | Phillips Brewing Company

very good
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Skookum Cascadian Brown AleSkookum Cascadian Brown Ale

Brewed by:
Phillips Brewing Company
British Columbia, Canada

Style: American Black Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.50%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Skookum [skookuh m] (adjective) from Chinook, West Coast North America 1. A monster indigenous to the Cascade region. 2. Strong, reliable, and/or hard-working 3. Big, bold hop characteristics with a smooth, rich maltiness 4. The unofficial fuel of the Cascadian revolution.

Formerly Black Toque.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 12-23-2004

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Reviews: 47 | Ratings: 78
Photo of Svingjo
4.16/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The pours a nice brown with a inch thick tan head that laces the glass pretty well. The nose has some earthy notes but a nice mix of hops and malt are the most pronounced. The malt comes through on the tongue but is well balanced with hops and end slightly bitter. The mouth feel is probably what I'd call medium bodied. I do tend to like a lot of Black IPA's and Cascadian style beers because of what I perceive as the balance between hops and malt. It didn't disappoint.

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Photo of CalgaryFMC
3.68/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A Phillips "Hop Box" standard, pours a dark cola brown with correspondingly mocha colored foam. Aroma is complex, sweet, hoppy, and smoky all at once, I get coffee and chocolate along with some citrus, red berry, and tropical notes. The hops are subdued for a beer dubbed an "IPA" and this beer probably falls somewhere between an American brown ale (which can be aggressively hopped compared to English examples) and a Cascadian dark or black ale, the categorization given here. Tastes much like a chocolate covered coffee bean that includes some grapefruit and mango, some classic Phillips herbal/hemp oil notes, a little understated pine, and nice chewy malts that recall a porter. Maybe a hair too ashy. Well-executed example of a tricky style: Too much hops and you get unpleasant clashing of flavors, too little and you get another beer style.

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Photo of Noxious26
3.74/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

341ml brown bottle with twist off cap poured in a pint glass. Bought in a mixer 12 pack from Willow Park in Regina.

The title here says American Black Ale, but it's more of a Brown Ale, and the label calls it a Cascadian Brown Ale.

Brown and a little hazy with red/amber highlights. Beige head is 1/2 inch on the pour and recedes to a thin cap with spots of lacing here and there.

Aroma is mostly hops but with some malt backbone. Citrus and pine mixed with malts.

Kind of a interesting mixture. Brown Ale with a full body and chewy malts mixed with an IPA with american citrusy hops. An interesting style and pretty refreshing. I'd like to see them back off the hops just a tad (maybe different varieties?) to increase the drinkability a little. A solid offering.

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Photo of IronDjinn
3.53/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

From a 341 ml brown bottle, came in the Hop Box variety pack. Pours out a deep translucent brown, with a thick cap of creamy beige head that retains.

Dry earthy notes on the nose, pine, some chocolate and toasted malt in the background.

Toasty malt and some dry cocoa up front in the flavour, followed quickly by bright pine needles and some citrus rind/pith, with an earthy, woody, herbal finish to it. Like drinking the great outdoors.

Medium-full body, smooth, sometimes slippery texture, with moderate carbonation.

I'd pin this more as an American Brown Ale than anything, but that aside it makes for a very dry offering, and I wouldn't be surprised if some rye was used as well. Very earthy overall.

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Photo of Converge
4.08/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

341ml bottle poured into a 16oz pint glass.

A - Pours a murky cola hued brew with a frothy light tan head that retains beautifully as a thick foamy cap and laces as good as any beer can. Great looking beer, great looking bottle, and nice presentation. Gotta love Phillips for this.

S - Quite earthy in this department. Mild woodsy notes with earthy hops, and some distinct smoke. Mild coffee roast with chocolate milk, ashtray, raspberries, molasses and some evergreen hoppiness providing a subtle minty presence I often get in Phillips brews. There's also a subtle floral note in here that's just phenomenal. Complex, unique and intriguing; yet not all that hoppy.

T - Opens up with cocoa nibs, molasses, and chocolate malt and finishes earthy with wood, smoke, roasted malt, mild coffee, and resinous hops. There's a certain malt in here that I find in many Phillips beers that I just don't care for, but it doesn't hurt this one too much. Gentle pine resin quality provides hints of bitterness which combined with the dark, roasty character creates a balanced but firm finish. Definitely a focus on smoke with this brew, as it permeates the palate from start to finish. Bright floral and fruity hop notes just peak through in the finish. This sort of reminds me of an English porter, but with more hops. As it warms the nutty character really starts to come though, as well piney hops and mint. Balanced, tasty, and immensely drinkable profile.

M - Carbonation is a bit to lively for the profile, and doesn't let the crisp medium body show very well. A slight weak point with this beer. Still, it's a smooth beer from start to finish, that provides a nice lingering bitterness.

D - A solid offering from Phillips for a style I've really grown to enjoy. Considering the (hop) box this came in, it does feel a little under-hopped, but the darker malty flavors make up for the lack of hop presence. Phillips just continue to impress me.

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Photo of McBastard
4.2/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark ruby, with a finger of tan head. Smells of caramel malts and grassy hops. The flavors starts out with some assertive leafy hops, gives way to some chocolate and espresso, and finishes with a pleasant nutty bitterness. Actually rather light-bodied, with smooth carbonation. Fresh tasting and toasty, all at the same time. I like it. I like it a lot.

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Photo of Dawkfan
3.17/5  rDev -19.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A- A light khaki head not amounting to much, faintest trace of lacing. Cola brown in color with red highlites.

S- Have to keep the nose in long enough to pick up any hops. Nice roastiness to this, deep dark chocolate and freshly cracked grains.

T- More of the same from the nose. The flavors are mild and the hops even milder. The malt meshes with a slightly bitter flavor at the end, nothing really stands out to me.

M- Medium bodied, assertive carbonation. Definitely not sluggish, remains smooth.

O- It's not a bad beer by any means, but this isn't even close to style. Although it isn't fresh, I drank it before the suggested date.

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Photo of BBP
3.95/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark brown with decent head and some nice lacing. Retention is good as well.

The nose is pretty seamless between the floral hop and pine as well as the dark and roasty malts. It all comes together and gives you an aroma of a well rounded Black IPA.

The taste is a bit lighter on the hops. There's caramel malt that accompanies the rest and it has a nice crisp roastiness to it while staying away from being too bitter. At the same time, it's got a light crisp sweetness as well. It tastes a bit like a darker hoppier brown ale or a lighter BIPA with some nut flavor added. Gauging the style of this is difficult, but as much as it isn't necessarily one or the other, it certainly tastes good.

The body is a bit thin, but heavy enough that it seems evened out. Carbonation is unintrusive and the finish is moderately dry and slightly sticky.

Overall this is a solid brew from the west coast. It's a nice mix of a Black IPA and a brown ale. It gives the brown more intensity while it mellows out the BIPA side. Pretty interesting idea, and one that's executed pretty well.

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Photo of wordemupg
3.71/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

341ml bottle poured into tulip 24/10/11

A darker then cola with a ruby red near purple glow when held to the light, three finger mocha head slowly falls to a thick film leaving a few distinct rings of lace followed by random patches

S mildly hoppy with a little milk chocolate and some toasty roast

T maybe some smoked meat of all things added to what I smell, the hops are missing though not as strong as I'd like to see, good milk chocolate aftertaste though

M medium bodied with a creamy feel from the bubbles and the lingering finish mentioned above

O zero booze detected should count for something, a good beer but I was expecting hop blast perhaps there's a balance and I'm being too hard on it

Decent beer but not the best BIPA I've had recently, good easy drinking brew though but I hope there's better offerings in my Hop Box.

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Photo of ChrisCage
4.1/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This was a gift from my beautiful wife whilst in Victoria...a much appreciated pick up!

A- The coloration of this one is of cola and is fairly clear, when put up against a white background. The head is slightly off white, and isn't super thick, but what there is is dense and creamy looking, settling slowly into a patchy layer with a ring around the glass. It's hard to tell how carbonated this brew is as it's too dark, but the lacing is superb, leaving behind an artsy fine patchwork of foam on the side of the glass.

S- There's a fair bit going on here....mocha, coffee beans, dark chocolate are all upfront. The middle smells more of sweet rich roasted malt and the finish is a mixture of wet earth tones and leafy hop cones. There is also some hints of nuts throughout as well...maybe not quite as much as I'd hoped for but doesn't take away from anything. Very nice overall!

T- Wow, the flavors are quite intense upfront! There is a blast of bittering hops and astringent coffee that really hits the back of the throat after the swallow! After a couple of sips, those flavors mellow out a bit and the chocolate and toasted character of the malt shows. The hops on the finish are a mix of the aforementioned fresh leafy note and some Earthiness.

M- This is a smooth brew, with very fine creamy carbonation meeting my palate. As for the body, I'd have to say that this is a little thinner than I expected...I'd put it in between medium and light, but then again, that would help with filling me up! The roasted and bitter characters of this beer really shine through!

O- All around, this is a very fine beer! The alcohol is very well hidden behind all of that flavor, making this very easy to drink several of in a sitting! It's not super filling, and would be an excellent meal brew and I would love to get this again in the future! Great job!

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Photo of papat444
3.5/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Part of a gift from my aunt that my brother brought back on a recent trip to their place in Surrey.

Poured from a 355ml. bottle.

Appearance: The body is an earth brown color with red hues when held up to the light. Light mocha head, healthy, thick lacing and has medium retention.

Smell: Strong coffee mixed with hops.

Taste: Cold coffee, some chocolate notes and grapefruit as well.

Mouthfeel: Low bitterness, a bit watery actually though smooth.

Overall: It was ok. It's what cold coffee tastes like. While not bad for flavor, it's not a great thing as a beer because who likes drinking cold coffee? Falls short IMO.

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Photo of brewymcgee
3.88/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Very dark brown with a persistent, creamy tan head

Aroma: Chocolate and espresso with grassy hops.

Taste: Nutty chocolate body with strong earthy hops punching through, fairly bitter at first but tapers off to not be overwhelming on the finish. Does leave a bitter aftertaste. Definitely a wide contrast of flavours forming an interesting combination.

Mouthfeel: A fuller body with a bit of dryness on the finish.

Drinkability: An enjoyable if not sessionable beer. An interesting and almost extreme combination of flavours worth trying. Better if served a bit warmer (not ice cold) and enjoyed slowly.

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Photo of Rutager
4.03/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance. Pours a really deep red-brown, almost black. Thick, 2 finger beige head that leaves some lace.

Smell. Roasty grains and grassy hops. A little chocolate in there too.

Taste. Roasty, caramel malt and bitter, grassy hops. Some tangy citrus fruit in the middle. Some lingering, grassy hops.

Overall. Pretty good beer. Nice hops, but not enough balance imo.

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Photo of spree92
4.05/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

This is now the special guest in the Hop Box.

A- A deep brown with red notes. I would say about 5%-10% transparency. Bubbly head of an inch greets the nose as you dive in for the first sip.

S- Classified as a American Black Ale but it resembles a nut brown to me. Roasted malts, nutty, earth and wood.

T- Just what I was expecting. Hops are hidden behind the heavy malt flavor. Molasses flow into a finish of espresso bean.

M- A bit of bite at the start from carbonation finished by a dryness. Leaves the sticky.

D- A great beer for the cold, gloomy nights of western Canada. A couple of these make the evenings tolerable and you can look forward to nice. Might need my second now.

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Photo of LazyL
3.75/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Nice dark brown with cream head and good lacing around the glass.
Espresso scents are prominent, good dark malt and molasses notes.
The flavours are the same with a bit of belgian fruit. Slightly bitter from the hops but adds a nice balance.
Easy drinking and at 6.5% you can go through a few glasses.
A good balance between hop and malt here as both take turns grabbing your attention. This is another good beer from Phillips.

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Photo of ericj551
3.91/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Phillips Skookum pours a dark brown with a fluffy offwhite head that lingers. Bready, toasted malt and earthy, herbal hops fill the aroma, with earthy, herbal hops. Dark malt dominates the flavor, with tons of chocolate and dark fruit. Earthy hops come through in the finish, with plenty of bitterness.

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Photo of andrenaline
4.13/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Cheers to joemcgrath27 for the hook up from his BC haul!

A - Pours a very dark ruby red colour, finger of soapy off-white head with decent retention and some nice sticky lacing.

S - Earthy and citrus hops off the top, with some chocolate and caramel malts on the finish.

T - Much like the scent, the earthy cedar and citrus hops dominate the palette up front, and are mellowed by some nice bready caramel malts on the finish. Touch of hop bitterness lingers, but is pleasant. Very nicely balanced.

M - Medium bodied ale that goes down smooth and finishes surprisingly wet for the style.

D - This stuff is poundable, very smooth and perfectly balanced with the hops and malts. The higher ABV goes unnoticed and the earthy notes on the hops are delicious. Highly recommended to anyone who can get their hands on a bottle, and one of my favourites from Phillips!

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Photo of joemcgrath27
4.33/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - deep ruby red/brown, tall thick tan head lasted forever
S - floral and grapefruit, light fruity sweetness and nutty
T - floral citrus hop kick with a roasted nut malty balance, sweet with a light piney note
M - gentle carbonation, somewhat creamy smooth with a light tangy bitter finish
D - the cascade hop flavour is full but the maltiness and sweetness create a great balance, goes down very smooth, a very exceptional beer

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Photo of IllNate
4.05/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Dark brown with ruby highlights. Moutain of tan head. Ridiculous retention.

S - Great aroma. Smells of darker malt and chocolate and equally as prominent is the hop aroma. Hop aroma is mostly citrus with a bit of grassy/pine.

T - Again complex with the toasty chocholate coming through with the very up front hops giving it a balancing bitterness. Hops are again citrus

M - Mouthfeel is smooth and rich. Puckering bitterness as well.

D - Can't say I would drink too much of this in one sitting.

Might have served this a bit warmer than intended, but still very good.

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Photo of scott451
4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Called Cascadian because all the ingredients are sourced from the Cascadian bioregion. A vigorous pour from a 650ml bottle into a pint glass.

A clear brown with a bubbly tan three finger head on a clear dark ruby brown. Fine bubbly lacing. The head sticks around to the end.

Smells of sweet fruit and citrus hops. Some resiny smells. Most of the taste is from the hops. Fruity hops up front. Mild malts. Very fresh taste. Grapefruit pith at the end. Very nice.

Medium/light body.. Quite light for a dark really. Good carbonation. Very drinkable. The 6.5 is barely noticeable.

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Photo of irishkyle21
4.22/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had this one at Volo. I was going through my notes and noticed I never reviewed it on BA. Pours a brownish copper color. Light brown foam with some lacing.

Smells real nice, pine, grapefruit all mixed in with a sweet toasty chocolaty malt.

The hops come out strong on the taste buds too. Pine, citrus, roasted malt. This beer is great and one is hardly enough.

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Photo of pootz
4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle from trade:

Pours a dark brown ale with amber highlights in the glass. Tight frothy 3 finger tan cap, Moderate carbonation.

Aromas of citrus, cocoa and roast coffee, some mustiness and grassy tones.

Lovely big chew on amber/chocolate malts in front, roasty, citrusy, long drying finish with a bitter snap at the end.

I like this variety of style an APA crossed with a porter..citrus and cocoa...nice effect.

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Photo of liamt07
3.68/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 750ml bomber into a pint glass, bottle courtesy of IllNate.

Deep brown on the verge of chesnut with hints of red, and a tan/mocha head. Beer is almost opaque, impressive as an IPA, as this is my first "Cascadian Dark Ale" (the 'Black IPA' for us non-mountain folk). Head fades a bit and leave thick walls of lace and some chunky head. Smell is slightly citrusy, leans a bit towards grapefruit and whatnot. The deep, dark roasted malt really comes through here too, and it's nice to see an interplay of two things I really enjoy. Bits of chocolate and maybe a dash of coffee? Taste is fairly malt forward here, malt hits first and follows the smell in terms of roastiness, chocolate and a bit of caramel-like sweetness. Mid-mouth there's an interesting interaction between the malt and the IPA quality of this beer, big malt body overshadows what I would have thought to have been a more bitter and IPA-like mouthfeel, but that's almost completely absent. A sliver of bitterness is left on the tongue, and the malt prevails. Left with what feels like an average brown ale, to be honest. Mouthfeel is a average, medium to low carbonation and there's good drinkability to this. Note that this bottle is two months past it's bottling date, so that may have something to do with the lack of IPA-quality I had expected, so take this with a grain of salt.

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Photo of lumikuuro
2.92/5  rDev -25.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 1.5

650ml bottle.

Appearance: Very, very dark brown: almost black. Thick beige head with some lace. A bit too dark for a brown ale, not pleasing to the eye in this case.

Aroma: Roasty, nutty malts and some hop.

Taste: Roasty, nutty, extremely bitter malt flavour with some underlying hop but all the bitterness tastes like it is from the roastiness. There is a hint of raisin and dark chocolate, and some coffee; but ultimately the bitterness is just raw and harsh. There's a big lack of balance in here.

Mouthfeel: Medium to full, slightly dry, fair amount of carbonation.

Drinkability: This is a harsh and difficult to drink beer.

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Photo of kwjd
4.41/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark reddish-brown colour with mocha head. Tremendous head retention and the most lacing I've seen on a glass in a while. Smells of roasted malt, coffee, and floral hops. The taste starts off with the roasted malt flavour, but then the bitterness kicks in, with a sweet caramel aftertaste. I've had black IPA's that tasted more like a porter, and some that taste more like an IPA, but this does really well in integrating both flavours into a cohesive flavour. Mouthfeel is a bit creamy, great carbonation level. I finished this beer quickly and wish I had more than one bottle.

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Skookum Cascadian Brown Ale from Phillips Brewing Company
3.92 out of 5 based on 78 ratings.
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