Carlton Black
Carlton & United Breweries, Ltd.

Carlton BlackCarlton Black
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Carlton & United Breweries, Ltd.
English Stout
3.21 | pDev: 15.26%
Jan 28, 2016
May 01, 2002
Carlton BlackCarlton Black
Notes: None
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Ratings by laituegonflable:
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Reviewed by laituegonflable from Australia

3.3/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5
Dark cedar colour, there is a head but it disappears quite quickly.

Chocolatey nose, not very pungent, particularly for a dark beer. Almost a hint of vanilla, although maybe my nose just tells me this as the antithesis of chocolate, because it's not really very powerful, and not what I expect from a stout.

Taste isn't bad, however I am not usually a fan of strong darker beers, and so I am led to believe that this one would generally be considered bland. It's essentially chocolatey and weak. There is (naturally) a dark beer flavour, but without the overwhelming chloriney, burnt-toast bitterness I sometimes experience. I am leaning towards giving this a rave review for a dark beer but I can step back from my own general mistrust of its style and appreciate that it's really too simple to be regarded as a truly great beer. It's very drinkable, I like it, but it's nothing to cream yourself over.
Feb 04, 2006
More User Ratings:
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Reviewed by stevoj from Idaho

3.28/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25
black with minimal head, sweet malt nose, molasses elements bring sweetness, burnt toast. Sweet and sticky finish. A nice alternative to the ubiquitous Aussie lager...
Jan 28, 2016
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Reviewed by Andrewharemza from Australia

3.56/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5
From bottle, Getting chocolate coffee very light mouth feel probably one to give to someone who is getting into dark beers. Personally I could drink a few of these.
Jun 13, 2015
Photo of Bennis
Rated by Bennis from Australia

4/5  rDev +24.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
Definately more of an ale than a stout. Reminds of the old pints of "heavy" or "70 shilling" that you get in Scotland. An easy beer to drink.
May 27, 2015
Rated: 4.25 by andrew177 from Australia

Oct 20, 2014
Rated: 3.25 by Stuckey_Stuckey from Australia

Sep 16, 2014
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Reviewed by doktorhops from Australia

2.39/5  rDev -25.5%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5
Carlton Black, the Tooheys Old of the CUB brews has been waiting a while for me to get to it, I guess I've been dreading it to some extent: IHM (I Hate Macros - in case you forgot). Well I could avoid it no longer when the other week a good friend read my Tooheys Old review and said "What about Carlton Black?", what about Carlton Black indeed? CUB (Carlton United Brewers) represents to me the bottom of an expansive black hole I call the 'Aussie Macro Scene' and drinking one of these brews in a local RSL feels akin to being lowered in to the black hole, perhaps never to return.

Poured from a 375ml bottle into a nonic pint.

A: Apart from the tan half centimetre head this looks exactly like a glass of Coke (or Pepsi, let's not prejudice Pepsi here). It appears as fizzy as a glass of cola too - I'm mentally preparing my stomach for the onslaught of gas.

S: A mixture of dirt, brown sugar and roasted barley with some chicory expunge the olfactory senses. Not as bad as expected, though nowhere near the same class as Stouts like Coopers Best Extra or FBS (Founders Breakfast Stout).

T: All over the shop here - flavours like brown sugar, (barely) roasted barley and dirty Pride of Ring(worm)wood hops mingle freely and quite frankly without any restraint or control, but who ever expected otherwise from a Carlton beer? Not I. Finish is lightly bitter. This flavour profile is more Lager than Stout with a lightness of body, Lager tasting malts and the dreaded POR hops. If you put this in a blind taste test with 3 Lagers I contend you would be hard pressed to pick it as a Stout.

M: Mid to light, watery and with a medium carbonation (not as gassy as expected = bonus).

D: Carlton Black really strikes me as a compromise than anything else, it's like brewing a Stout was an afterthought and a concession to those 'crazy Stout drinkers' by the largest Macro Lager brewer in Australia. I wouldn't be surprised if it was brewed in the same vat as Carton Draught and dyed black on the way to the bottle. It can be found on tap in the occasional local pub but what's the point really.

Food match: Roast meat/vegetables with gravy would be too heavy for this Lagerish drop - stick with white meats (chicken/pork) and steamed veges and a lighter sauce like béchamel or mustard sauce.
Jul 15, 2014
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Reviewed by chogm54 from Australia

2.6/5  rDev -19%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5
Had this on tap at the local club. Looked nice, deep black with off white head, then it went down hill from there. Subtle caramel malts mixed with metallic aromas. Nice hint of coffee and roasted malts in the taste, but very thin and overcarbonated. Tried both ice cold and slightly warmed, not much difference. Overall very bland.

I'm not sure what it is like in bottle form, but surely it must be better than this!
May 17, 2014
Rated: 2 by pin from Australia

May 22, 2013
Rated: 2.75 by magpieken from Australia

Apr 11, 2013
Rated: 3 by mungus from Australia

Jan 29, 2013
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Reviewed by SmashPants from Australia

4.08/5  rDev +27.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4
Bottle: good 375mL brown bottle with decent label. Good for a macro brew.

Appearance: dark thick black colour. One-and-a-half fingers of thick, tan head. Head has excellent retention.

Aroma: strong burnt coffee and chocolate flavours. Lighter than it used to be.

Taste: the main flavour is burnt coffee, but some chocolate and over-ripe fruits are also present.

Aftertaste: the harsher coffee disappears and is replaced by a smooth chocolate / caramel flavour.

Mouth feel: some may suggest that the mouth feel is too light for a stout. I reckon it's bang on for the Australian climate, combining the English Stout with a somewhat lighter body and more carbonation for easy, refreshing drinkability.

Overall: very good quality Australian version of the English Stout. Used to be 4.9%, but now for some reason is 4.4%, tastes a bit more like a very strong-flavoured English Mild rather than a Stout. Still very tasty though, and I assume Carlton did it to bring the prices down when the Aussie Gov't decided to charge more the higher the ABV.
Jul 02, 2012
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Reviewed by bylerteck from Canada (ON)

3.3/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5
Tap at Northcote Social Club. From notes.

A - Poured ruby or reddish. Bright with mild carbonation. One finger of off white head. Thin and light lace with a film of retention.

S - Nutty, some sugar, toffee. Pretty malt forward.

T - Nutty and sweet with bread and some cola. Fairly sweet.

M - Medium carbonation, light to medium body and a sweet finish.

O/D - Nothing special yet not bad for a macro dark ale or whatever style it's intention is. A tad sweet, but otherwise I wouldn't have a problem drinking this over Carlton's other offerings.
Jun 29, 2012
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Reviewed by dansmcd from Australia

3.31/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5
A - One finger of eggshell coloured soapy head sits on the molasses coloured body flecked with red tints. The head has excellent retention and is joined by sticky lace throughout the drink.

S - Coffee and chocolate. Simple but a classic combination.

T - Quite ashy, chocolate and plum bring a nice sweetness. Mild flavours.

M - Thin and watery with moderate carbonation.

O - Not sure about the categorization as English Stout but it is surprisingly good. It is very basic really but it works. I cant think of anything better from CUB.
Dec 19, 2011
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Reviewed by Stew41 from Thailand

2.74/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3
Not a bad drop from the world’s worst brewer. Mild, dry porter. Inoffensive style and somewhat lighert in palate weight than the beer (I think) is trying to emulate (Tooheys Old). Excellent colour - its actually black! Surprisngly easy to drink as a quaffer.
Aug 12, 2011
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Reviewed by CrazyDavros from Australia

2.74/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 1 | overall: 3
Pours dark brown with a quickly fading, scummy-looking head.
Nose shows roasted malt, cardboard, chocolate. There's a burnt rubber character too.
Rather sweet-tasting, but weak. Flavours include nutty malt, caramel and a faint roasty character. No way I would call this a porter.
Extremely watery body really detracts from the experience.
Jun 24, 2011
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Reviewed by lacqueredmouse from Australia

3.04/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3
Pours a dark brown cola colour, darker than Coke perhaps, but similar in body. Head is a surprisingly light tan, and is surprisingly large bubbled, forming a comb of bubbles around the edge of the glass - filmy otherwise across the top. Lacing is decent, although it just accentuates how light it is otherwise. All things considered, it's not a particularly good looking dark beer.

Some faint roasted grain and a hint of chocolate on the nose, giving a pleasant sweet-but-savoury toasty darkness. Charred bread, and coal embers are noticeable. It's not very robust, but it's quite pleasant. It certainly has pleasant characters there.

Taste is a little thin, which is perhaps to be expected, although the roasted notes and light cocoa sweetness are still noticeable. They waft around in the back of the palate, whereas the front stays meek and inoffensive. Certainly weaker than the average dark ale, but it's not unpleasant anyway.

Like I said: it's not unpleasant. That's pretty decent praise for a brewery which comes up with some of the most diabolical beers on earth. While it certainly is lacking, it has some pleasant characters, and I'd certainly rather down a pint of this than of Carlton Draught or VB.
Oct 07, 2010
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Reviewed by LittleCreature from Australia

3.39/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
Appearance - 4.5
Pours a lovely domed marshmallow-like beige head over a clear, dark reddish brown body (It's not black!). Left nice lacing and head showed excellent retention.

Smell - 3.0
Not much to speak of here - slightly sweet and coffeeish on the nose with a rye bread sourness.

Taste - 3.0
A nice roastiness is balanced by flavours of grain, coffee, a little fruit and mild hop bitterness.

Mouthfeel - 4.0
Smooth, fine carbonation gives a silky mouthfeel, medium bodied.

Drinkability - 4.0
Easy drinking, sessionable ale.

I am truly in shock! Fosters Group actually makes a good beer! I'd be happy to drink this any time - it's hard to believe that this comes from the same company that makes Carlton Draught and VB.
Aug 12, 2009
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Reviewed by madvoice from Australia

3.12/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3
Poured a dark chocolate colour with a frothy head that lasts quite a while. Leaves a lot of lacing.

Roasted malt, coffee and caramel smell to it. Quite pleasant.

Tasted very much of espresso coffee with a slight malty/caramel aftertaste.

Quite a creamy mouthfeel but expected a bit more body to it.

Quite drinkable but I felt it was lacking. Not something I'd actively seek out but OK every now and again.
Mar 13, 2009
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Reviewed by Macca from Australia

3.02/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3
This pours an almost black colour. Perhaps a tinge of ruby in there. Not a lot of head to speak of and what was there drops quickly.

Nice chocolate/roasted malt aromas.

Chocolate and coffee are there on the palate.

I was expecting it to be a bit thin and unfortunately that was delivered.

Still not a bad beer but I'd prefer an Abbotsford Invalid over this.
Dec 09, 2008
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Reviewed by WHROO from Australia

3.03/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3
Appearance: very dark, not black though despite the name...1 finger creamish head that held for most of the trip. As typical with Carlton this had great lacing, & good carbonation.

Smell: Not too strong at all...had to search a little until it warmed up...dark roasted malts, a little smoky.

Taste: again a little smoky, hint of caramel sweetness, although I sadly missed the bitterness I am used to in a dark ale or fact just about zero bitterness detected. I did find this a little syrupy & sickly sweet by the end of the pint. &&& the typical CUB chemical dankness was evident.

Mouthfeel: definately not too heavy, but the visual carbonation was just not lively enough on the tongue. Very creamy

Would I drink it again? yep, but only if I am in the mood...the final sweetness left after the swallow just seemed a little artificial & syrupy for my general liking.
Sep 04, 2008
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Reviewed by Cs1987 from Australia

3.7/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5
Appearance - Almost black, but not quite. 1 finger of head which reduced.

Smell - Sweet and malty

Taste - Sweet and chocolatey. A little too weak to get a 4.

Mouthfeel - Not quite as smooth as I'd expect for the style. Carbonation level is good.

Drinkability - If I had to choose between this and a macro lager as a session drink, I would choose this every time. Very drinkable.

Overall - Tastes a bit like a dumbed down porter, but enjoyable nonetheless. A good beer from one of the most boring breweries in the world.
Apr 24, 2008
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Reviewed by vancurly from Australia

3.35/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5
Stout ? Porter perhaps....or a strong Mild even...
Pours a beige rocky froth, which sinks..
A mahogany red-brown...some bubbles....
Aroma typically Carlton, I reckon. The metallic P.O.R is there in abundance, light note of caramel.
Flavour of dark malts... not bad actually, with a nutty component in there also.
Not much bitterness... I think the term Mild is best applied here. This beer is, basically, mild & inoffensive.
Sep 11, 2006
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Reviewed by joecast from Australia

3.32/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5
375ml bottle best before 7/07 4.4%abv.

pours not quite black (despite the name). lots of reddish hues around the edges. low carbonation. not much head, barely a wisp of froth across the top.

light dark malt aroma. more crystal and chocolate than roast. faint nose, but ok.

surprisingly lively on the palate. smooths out as it warms.
lightly chocolate taste, little bitterness. finishes just on the sweet side.

not a whole lot to work with here, but still manages to be quie enjoyable.
Jul 29, 2006
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Reviewed by jamie2dope from Massachusetts

3.38/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5
As far as I know this is my first English Stout to date. Poured into a Stella Artois chalice a black color, with a little bit of brown towards the bottom of the glass and a small white lace head. Not much in the nose department besides maybe a bit of burnt coffee and some smoke characters. Taste was decent, with coffee, light chocolate all up front and a roasted background. Mouthfeel was light to medium bodied, with a surprising amount of hop bitterness right up until the end. Being on the light side made it a pretty easy beer to drink. Not a beer with a myriad of complexities or anything groundbreaking, but it is still an easy drinking beer. Not bad, not great, still probably worth a try.
May 05, 2006
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Reviewed by Kulrak from Australia

3.49/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
Pours a very deep dark ruby color with some tan head that's really not as creamy as I'm used to with stouts or 'black ales'.. There really isn't much aroma to this beer at all, I think I smell a faint faint hint of chocolate malt, but I can't be sure. The taste is pretty mellow for a stout, but looking at the bottle, they're not claiming it's a stout, just a 'black ale' and for that, it tastes good. Balanced flavor with some chocolate notes to it. Not a whole lot of bitterness, but there's a little hop flavor on the back end. Mouthfeel is very creamy, not much carbonation at all. All in all, it's a very drinkable beer, the flavor is not overly strong, but it is there and it's good, which is more than most macro beers have.
Apr 12, 2006
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Reviewed by jraldous from Australia

3.2/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4
I've now had this on tap and from the bottle...

On tap it was a lovely drop... the porter-style malt flavours come out nicely and you begin to think that CUB might finally have gotten something right.

I think its attempting to be a Porter and its flavours are similar to Squires Porter and Tooheys Old, and the colour is in a similar shade... dark but calling it black is a stretch. As others have reported the head just vanishes quickly when you have it from the tap.

It is certainly drinkable, and you never really taste the alcohol as much as with say Tooheys Old where it cuts in as an aftertaste.

But then when you drink it from the bottle... its VB with extras, that standard CUB yeasty flavour predominates and you realise its all a sham. Get it fresh on tap if you're going to give this a try.
Jan 18, 2006
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Reviewed by sulldaddy from Connecticut

3.99/5  rDev +24.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5
I am sampling this beer in a pint mug at cock n' bull in Cairns.
The beer is cold and pours pretty dark black. There is a soft tan cream head resting on the surface.
Aroma is caramel and some black roasted malt, smells kinda like a black lager or Schwarzbier. I also sniff a bit of molasses and black licorice.
The first sip reveals a medium body with smooth texture and very fine carbonation that tingles across my palate.
Flavor is sweet toffee and some black coffee with again a hint of molasses. The finish lingers bittersweet. AN enjoyable beer for sure. Not what I expected but good.
Dec 09, 2005
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Reviewed by jarmby1711 from Australia

2.85/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3
Colour isdark bown /lightblack
Reasoanably pleasant without exciting.
It has little burnt grainn character on the late palate which lessens its appeal because it is replaced by a watery dullness
It is a CUB that stands above their other offerings, which ays little
However I would be happy to buy an drink this again.
Nov 01, 2005
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Reviewed by DaveFL1976 from Florida

3.5/5  rDev +9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5
Carlton Black Superior Ale
Celtic Club – Latrobe St, Melbourne

Carlton Black pours an, um...not black, but deep ruby colour, more akin to a porter. The fairly thin, tan head dissipates fairly quickly. The nose is that of roasted barley, an irish-stout-type smell, but virtually no hops.
The first taste that greets you is one of chocolate malt, followed by a bit of sweetness. All in all, a drinkable “stout” but not as good as their Abbotsford attempt.
Appearance: 4.0
Smell: 3.5
Taste: 4.0
Mouthfeel: 4.0
Drinkability: 3.5
Sep 07, 2005
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Reviewed by diablo14 from Illinois

2.66/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3
when i first got myself a pot of this i thought it might be a new beginning for carlton. i was sorely mistaken. its not as bad as their lagers, but geez its still ordinary.

its not a stout thats for sure, and it may even be too light in color for a dark ale or schwarzbier. the head fades faster than the color from chinese t-shirts after their first wash. the only thing you can really smell is a hint of roasted/burnt elements, but at least that hides the horrid aromas that are behind most CUB beers. very watery in the mouth, but there are nice roasted notes, and i was quite shocked that there were some malty traces in there. quite sweet and also has a hint of caramel. once again tho has that disgusting 'make me wanna spew' back bitterness that puts this beer right down the ladder. this is minimised when very cold, so fortunately if im at the pub and theres nothing better, i can have a couple of these without doing too much damage to my stomach or my tastebuds.

really this is just VB or draught with roasted malts, and luckily for CUB, adding this to a beer can sometimes hide a multitude of sins. in this case its got them close to average. i wouldnt be getting too carried away if i was them tho. they might brew something decent sometime this millenium!
Oct 28, 2003
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Reviewed by rastaman from England

2.63/5  rDev -18.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3
Pretty drinkable little brew, nice subtle roastiness, but a bit sticky or something, didn't do all that much with flavour either, but skullable, not a bad price either.
Jun 04, 2002
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Reviewed by Anonmatel from Australia

3.56/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
Went to a tasting session my local club put on for this (cause it was free of course), and surprisingly it wasn't that bad a beer, very subtle sweetness, not too much flavour, a full bodied head, While it's not quite a full bodied stout, it can't be called a Porter, slight chocolate, and very slight Caramel,
Average beer, i'll drink it again.
May 01, 2002
Carlton Black from Carlton & United Breweries, Ltd.
Beer rating: 77 out of 100 with 33 ratings