Skookum Cascadian Brown Ale | Phillips Brewing Company

Skookum Cascadian Brown AleSkookum Cascadian Brown Ale
Liked This Beer
3.9 w/ 78 ratings
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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Ratings: 78 |  Reviews: 47
Photo of MilkLeg
5/5  rDev +28.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Photo of KalanM
4.5/5  rDev +15.4%

Photo of ZachT
4.46/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Photo of bobsy
4.45/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Another dark IPA, and further evidence to me taht this is a style worth exploring further.

Black pour with red highlights and a nicely lacing off-white head.
Wonderful grapefruit aroma with roasted notes adding complexity. Excellent hopping, with large doses of pine and grapefruit. The hop profile suggests this is closer to an American, rather than an English IPA. Some good roastiness in the flavour, though not as high as some of the other examples I've had. It provides subtle notes of coffee, burnt toast and bittersweet chocolate. Medium-light body and great drinkability.

Thanks Eric... this is the pick of the bunch!

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Photo of kwjd
4.41/5  rDev +13.1%
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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Photo of BDTyre
4.35/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I've reviewed this previously, but after having it on tap I feel the need to re-review it. See my previous review for a basis.

Dark ruby with very little head, this beer smells of fresh dark malts and fresh, cut-grass hops. Versus the bottled version, this is a fair bit "fresher" and hence more pleasing to the nose.

Taste is not much altered, but on-tap this beer comes off a bit smoother. A great accompaniment to the beer-battered fish and chips at the Garrick's Head in Victoria.

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Photo of joemcgrath27
4.33/5  rDev +11%
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 Dithyramb
4.32/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Tasted on two different occassions at Volo. Non-hazy dark brown with some rosy hightlights when put up to the light. Tan foam with great retention and lacing. Much darker than one would expect from a pale ale and looking more like a light porter.
Full of NW hops on the aroma piney and grapefruity.
Initial bitter rush of citrus/pine hop resin is slowed down with some grainy and caramel based malts. Nicely complex enough to keep it honest and non-one-sided.

English pale ale? This one poured like a porter and tasted like it was full of NW hops. You could tell the American influence on this one.
Thick enough to not get boring. Lingering bitterness in the mouth that leaves one a bit dry. Very tasty and worth several. The second best Canadian sampled, with the exception of Katarina.

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Photo of irishkyle21
4.22/5  rDev +8.2%
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 PaulietheBrit
4.22/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Viggo
4.22/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Shared at Volo. Pours a clear dark brown/red, reddish highlights, medium sized thick off white head forms, lots of lacing, good retention. Smell is citrus and pine, caramel, roasty grains. Taste is citrus/floral up front, some roasty nuts and grainy middle, chocolate and caramel, clean bitterness. Mouthfeel is medium bodied with low to medium carbonation. Really different and nice, reminds of the character of Founders Black Rye, malty roast body and highly hopped.

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Photo of DrJay
4.22/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Clear, deep chestnut brown with a generous, light tan head. Good retention with some clumpy lace. Roasty, chocolatey malt in the nose is balanced with strong PNW hopping (grapefruit and pine) that's a little powdery. Great combination of flavours - bitter chocolate, nuts, grapefruit, rich malt, and lingering bitterness. Medium body and carbonation with a slight dryness. The interesting flavour profile keeps this very drinkable. Great job Phillips!

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Photo of McBastard
4.2/5  rDev +7.7%
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 Metalmonk
4.19/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

What a great name for a beer, and what a great concept. This stretches over several categories and doesn't really belong in any one style box. They call it an India Dark Ale, and that's really just the start. If only I had the old bottle with the stocking cap (ie. toque) label. This must be a newer design, looks like a Saranac label.

Pours a black color that reminds of a stout or a deep dark porter. Head is an off-white that thins rapidly, but was soapy and bubbly when it was around. Left a good bit of lace.

The aroma is so unique. Grass-laced tire rubber soaked in sweat and seaweed? That's not even close. I can't put my finger on it. Like huffing caramel corn and black licorice while standing in a hop field? I'm stumped. But I have to give it an extra point for originality. I've never smelled anything like this, beer or otherwise. I can't wait to taste this baby!

The flavor is confusing or beguiling, depending on your beer disposition. It is definitely two things all the time: hoppy and smoky. Beyond that I get something different out of it with every sip. Grapes, coffee beans, butterscotch, soil, and even a burnt quality all come to mind. It volleys somewhere between an IPA and a porter. I guess. Leans toward porter, but a weird-ass porter at the very least.

While the mouthfeel is too thin, it somehow still achieves a creaminess (or maybe an oily thing?) that helps carry it through. Again: odd, elusive, and a bit hard to pin down.

One of the strangest and most unique beers I've had so far. Dogfish Head, eat your heart out. So super-glad to have had this one. Phillips is starting to figure up there with Unibroue in terms of cutting-edge Canadian breweries. Congrats to them for creating one weird-ass beer.

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Photo of Svingjo
4.16/5  rDev +6.7%
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 strangemusic
4.15/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This one was really different and interesting. "A dark IPA? How weird!" I thought... and it works! Even my girlfriend, who is not a big beer drinker and who I thought might be turned off by this beer, was interested and enjoyed sharing it. Had at Volo in Toronto.

The server came around with our bottle and poured it REALLY slowly... slowly... because the head on this beer got absolutely massive. 2 to 3 fingers high in a tulip glass, light toasted colour and lots of retention. I really like beers with substantial head to them, so this was great. The beer itself pours a dark, stout-like brown, which when held up to the light shows off a really handsome ruby red depth.

Even just taking a whiff of this beer, I was instantly intrigued and wanted to see how the taste would match against the smell. It was unlike any beer I've had before and really gains points for doing something different and doing it well. Pungent piney/grassy hops and lots of brown/maple sugariness mingling together with a toasted kind of thing. Very cool.

The prominent brown-sugary notes in the smell really surge out in the mouth. If you've ever had boiled sugar candy, you know what I'm talking about. There's some smooth vanilla notes here too. The toastiness of the malts balances this, then you get a hit of full-figured, resiny hops which sits remarkably well against the sweet background and lasts into the finish. I was pleased that it balanced as well as it did...

The mouthfeel is quite nice, too. It's got a full, smoothly sipping body to back up the sugars and toasted malt, but it's not stoutishly heavy.

In terms of drinkability, it's a bit of a strange brew and a slow drinker to be sure. It's just... strangely alluring. I would use the word "comfortable" to describe it. Certainly one to try.

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Photo of Derek
4.13/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Ruby-black with a creamy, off-white/tan head. Some retention and lace.

S: Dark, bready malt, Pacific-Northwest hops (pine & citrous).

T: PNW HOPS! Very piney, some citrous. A little malt up front (bready and caramel), with a hint of roastyness. Assertive bitterness from the middle 'til the 'bitter' end. The roasted malt really compliments the hop bitterness. Very nice.

M: Light to moderate body and carbonation.

D: Very good.

This stuff is awesome!

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Photo of andrenaline
4.13/5  rDev +5.9%
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 canucklehead
4.13/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Matt Phillips is the most progressive brewer in BC and this beer shows why. Dark gold with a black tinge, this beer produced an awesome storm tossed head. The nose is hops yet tempered with burnt malts. The IPA is apparent but the finish suggests Porter or Brown Ale. Wholly original and wel made, this is cutting edge BC brewing.

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Photo of trevorwideman
4.13/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

660ml bottle poured into a pint glass. I'm really excited to try this one, great name!

Pours a little darker than cola, almost opaque but with a few red highlights. Massive 2 inch head from a vigorous pour, great retention and and tons of webby lacing that sticks all the way to the bottom of the glass. Hoppy aroma, lots of oily and citric c-hops with a backbone of crackery roasted malt, chocolate, caramel, and vanilla. The malt really begins to shine through as it warms. Very unique and intriguing.

Roasted malt dominates the palate right off, then oily, resiny and piney hops, grapefruit bitterness, lemon sourness, earth, chocolate, vanilla, brown sugar, crackery malt. Wow. This is unlike any beer I've ever had, American brashness and British sensibility, it's really just, Canadian I guess. The mouthfeel is lightly carbonated and the body is fairly light, which makes this really drinkable, you'd have no idea of the extra alcohol either. Well done.

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Photo of ChrisCage
4.1/5  rDev +5.1%
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 biegaman
4.1/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

An India Dark Ale? Are we making up styles? Let's see here...
Impressive. Indeed, the makeup of an india pale ale but dark. Like a bizarro world IPA. Quite impressive. For one, a nice, sleek looking colour, some shine when held to the light. Decent head/lacing. Aroma jam-packed with hops. Lively bouquet, crisp, full. Carbonation a little high but not too noticeable over the smooth mouthfeel. Hops round out the dark malts quite well, rather complimentary of eachother. Malts reach a nice level of roastness, gentle on the palatte. Makes for an odd drink actually, similar to so many styles. Drinks like a schwarzbier almost. Bottom line:
Very tasty and simply, kinda awesome!

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Photo of fisherman34
4.1/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottled sample from Oakes. Shared with my friend Reid during one of our Friday afternoon "tastings" at the office. Dark brown in colour with hints of orange. Medium carbonation. Aromas of citric American hops, pine, forest floor, and some dark caramel. This one has a really unique flavor profile: starting with a juicy orangey and tree bark hop + caramel combo, and then drifting into the drying cocoa powder black malt territory of the porter style. I have to admit that I was a bit skeptical of a porter/IPA combo, but the two styles work together REALLY well.

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Photo of Converge
4.08/5  rDev +4.6%
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 ritzkiss
4.07/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22oz bottle pours a dark black with just hints of cola brown in the light. A finger or two of head that quickly takes off but leaves a fine film on top of the beer throughout and lacing down the glass.

Smell is initially all IPA. Floral and piney hops mix with a dash of bittering hops. On further sniffing a nice roasted malt comes forth to dance with hints of espresso and chocolate.

The taste is an odd bird - can't really fit it into any category I've had before. An initial bittering is quickly met with a sweet caramel rush, followed by a load of roasted malts and coffee, only to finish with a bitter hops. Hints of flowers and dark cherries add to the mix. Dry, bitter hop finish with active carbonation.

This is really a fairly tasty brew. It suffers from a light-ish body and occasionally from a mix of flavors that don't seem to gel; but on the whole the roastiness helps the dryness of the hops and creates a unique brew worth seeking out.

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Skookum Cascadian Brown Ale from Phillips Brewing Company
Beer rating: 75.6% out of 100 with 78 ratings
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