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Skookum Cascadian Brown Ale | Phillips Brewing Company

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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 koopa
3.37/5  rDev -14%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22oz bomber received in a trade with EskimoDave thanks!

Appearance: Pours a deep deep dark brown with a 2 finger off white crown that shows some retention and good lace.

Smell: Lightly toffee to caramel sweet malt over deeply roasted malt. Macro like quality.

Taste: Super deeply roasted malt, chocolate malt, and a light amount of herbal hops.

Mouthfeel: Light side of medium bodied with nice carbonation.

Drinkability: Besides the taste, this one is sessionable.

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

341ml bottle, at Volo Cafe in T-dot. Much farther away from home base than I thought I'd get to try this, but whatevs.

This beer pours a clear, very dark reddish amber colour, with two fingers of foamy, chunky beige head, which leaves some nice tight webbed lace around the glass in its lazy retreat.

It smells of citrus cream, roasted biscuity caramel malt, a hint of dry coffee grounds, soft milk chocolate, and an oily bar-top nuttiness. The taste is more semi-sweet biscuity, caramel, and toasted bready malt, a further bit of creamed nuttiness, and some decently sassy citrus and pine hops.

The carbonation is moderately dull-edged, and mostly down for a nap, the body a solid medium weight, and quite smooth in its bearing. It has a clean, somewhat smokey, malty, nutty, and slightly citrus-tinged finish.

A pleasant toasted, malt-forward West Coast IPA, one kind of familiar to me thanks to Cannery's limited Wildfire release last fall, this is definitely a nice blackened twist on a solid base IPA. Recommended, if only for a taste of a seemingly burgeoning, cutting edge beer style.

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

Pours a dark brown color with a big tan head that doesn't last but leaves lots of lacing. Aroma of citrusy hops. Taste of roasted malts, grapefruit, and pine. Leaves a slightly bitter aftertaste. Medium-light bodied with a nice smooth mouthfeel. This is a tasty beer.

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Photo of LilBeerDoctor
3.06/5  rDev -21.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Reviewed on 06/04/2009. Bottle at PPRBSG09. Pours a dark brown with a small white head. Aroma of sweet and roasted malt. Flavor is nice and roasted with some iced tea notes and a solid malt backbone. Overall I found it to be a little sweet but still an ok beer.

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Photo of ritzkiss
4.07/5  rDev +3.8%
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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Photo of bobsy
4.45/5  rDev +13.5%
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 strangemusic
4.15/5  rDev +5.9%
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 santa109
4.03/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

650ml bottle. Served at 50 degrees. Received as part of CanBIF 4 courtesy of seldomseen. Thanks!

A: Pours very dark brown, almost black with only a bit of head.

S: Roasted malts + citrussy hops. A interesting mix.

T: Like the smell, the roasted malts are in the foreground and the hops slowly take over. Some dark chocolate taste is in there. Ends bitter.

M: Mild carbonation combined with a fairly thick body. Smooth without being creamy.

D: For a heavier and thicker beer, this one goes down easily.

Overall, an interesting mix that I enjoyed. I was looking forward to this one when I received it in my CanBIF 4 package and it didn't disappoint.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
3.5/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle: Poured a deep black color ale with a huge foamy head with some great retention and some lacing. Aroma of medium bitter roasted malt mix with some dry bitter hops. Taste also consists of roasted malt with some bitter dry hops which is not the most interesting combination IMO. Body is about average with some great carbonation. Interesting but not necessarily something I would go for regularly.

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Photo of elricorico
4.01/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Looks like a very dark brown ale or porter, little light gets through the edges. A thick foamy cream coloured head that leaves plenty of lacing and lasts all the way to the end.

The nose contains a strong smell of citrus hops. One dimensional, but fresh smelling.

Roasted malt taste that becomes more and more pronounced as the beer warms. Long citrus hop finish typical of an IPA. Malt becomes more and more prevelant as the beer warms, but the hops remain more pronounced throughout. An interesting mix, pretty good taste.

Medium body and fair amount of carbonation. Works for this beer. It is an easy drinker, that went well with dinner and was definitely enjoyed.

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Photo of trevorwideman
4.13/5  rDev +5.4%
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 JanM
3.75/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Very dark brown blackish colour, smelling of roasted malts, chocolate and grapefruit. The taste was very hoppy to start with, dry-ish. Then some chocolates and coffee notes kicked in. The concept of a dark IPA is interesting but I found the mouthfeel of this beer to be a little bit on the thin side. Just like many other Phillips guess, I guess. It's their highest rated beer on BA but I'm not convinced...

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Photo of Metalmonk
4.19/5  rDev +6.9%
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 fisherman34
4.1/5  rDev +4.6%
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 biegaman
4.1/5  rDev +4.6%
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 DrJay
4.22/5  rDev +7.7%
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 Dithyramb
4.32/5  rDev +10.2%
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 Viggo
4.22/5  rDev +7.7%
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 Sammy
4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Phillips have been brewing very nice West Coast style IPAs. Pleasant brown colour wih mocha head. Grapefruit and dark malt aroma. Smooth taste with grapefruit juice and dark malts, with bitter English finish. 650 ml. is a fair amount to finish, and I would buy his on a regular basis if it was available locally. Just in at Volo.

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Photo of BDTyre
4.35/5  rDev +11%
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 Derek
4.13/5  rDev +5.4%
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 canucklehead
4.13/5  rDev +5.4%
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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Skookum Cascadian Brown Ale from Phillips Brewing Company
3.92 out of 5 based on 78 ratings.
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