Dark Ale | Fort Garry Brewing Company Ltd.

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Dark AleDark Ale

Brewed by:
Fort Garry Brewing Company Ltd.
Manitoba, Canada

Style: English Dark Mild Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by AudioGilz on 03-21-2003

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Reviews: 27 | Ratings: 54
Photo of zeledonia
3.79/5  rDev +18.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Picked up on Canada roadtrip, drank with dinner at a roadside rest area. Tasted 2 May 2015, reviewed from just-found notes.

Pours medium clear amber-brown.

Smell is toasty like a marzen.

Pretty flavorful. Malty with a slight hop tilt. Finishes with balancing bitter herbal hops.

Plenty tasty. Clean and well balanced.

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Photo of Bunman3
3.44/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This is probably my favorite FGB offering. It looks nice - reminiscent of root beer. The aroma is malt, with a hint of milk chocolate. It has a very solid flavor- roasted malt, a bit of coffee, and a mild hop finish. Overall, a very solid ale.

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Photo of biegaman
3.16/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Fort Garry Dark Ale looks like it's been put through the toaster... for a few minutes too long. It has a sooty, burnt complexion despite maintaining a chestnut brown colour, healthy shimmer and clarity (the latter two only in some places, mind you). Its off-white foam sits atop the surface like a doily. Damn fine lookin'!

As well as a raisin- or hazelnut-tinged maltiness, the aroma also gives off a whiff of root beer. It is somewhat earthy but not overly aromatic, which is perhaps just as well because the corn syrup-esque scent of malt extract comes on strong as the beer loses its chill; it's not a deal breaker, but it's enough to question the quality of the ingredients.

All the pleasantly nutty, lightly chocolate-y flavours aside, this beer just isn't cutting it for me. It bears repeating that the flavour is fine. The problem is not how the beer tastes - fermentation provided a lovely plum fruitiness - it's how it drinks: this resembles less a pint to deliberate over at the pub than it does a lager to swill back at the beach.

For one, the malt extract noted in the aroma is all too real; the beer has a borderline saccharine texture with cola-like aftertaste. There is no fullness in the mouth what so ever; no vivid sense of roast or chocolate or grainy toasted malt. Sips are paper thin. Secondly, it has these pointy little bubbles that prick the back of the throat like pin-tacks.

Fort Garry Dark Ale's one shortfall is a lifeless and unconvincing mouthfeel; whether that relates to shoddy ingredients, not enough ingredients, or a flaw in the recipe I can't say. What I do know is that a style this mild and delicate must highlight a bountiful, all-natural maltiness if it is to work. And this, unfortunately, did not do so.

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Photo of crossovert
2.84/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

473ml can.

It pours a bubbly brown with a fizzy cola-like head.

The smell is nice, some dark fruit, nuts, cocoa, coffee, and a hint of cherry.

The flavor is okay. It is sweet with a full graininess. It is like drinking dark bread. There is a slight hint of smokiness and I don't know if it is an off-flavor. There is a nit of tartness.

This isn't that amazing of a beer.

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Photo of joemcgrath27
2.5/5  rDev -21.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A - clear dark brown, short head quickly faded to a thin ring with a small island in the middle
S - strong sugary molasses dominates, some leafy and roasty notes
T - overly strong sugary syrup sweetness overpowers everything, seems artificial
M - sticky sweet, somewhat creamy with a syrupy finish
O - just too much on the sweetness to the point that it feels like syrup was added right before they but the cap on, it doesn't taste bad but just not enough beer flavour

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Photo of CrazyMike
3.51/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Has a dark brown apperance with decent amount of head that slowly disappears leaving some lace. Smell consists of caramel, malt and roasted nuts. Very sweet overall.

Taste consists of caramel, toffee, malt, roasted nuts and a hint of grain and floral hops. Suprisingly the taste is very light overall. Light bodied with high carbonation. Aftertaste is bitter and dry with a lingering caramel taste.

This is an interesting beer, tastes similar to English ales. Refreshing and inoffensive, but kind of unbalanced taste wise. Worth a try in the summer.

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Photo of vette2006c5r
3.57/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer poured a dark amber color, with very little head. The smell was weak, but a bit sweet from the carmel. The taste was rather complex, initally a watery taste, but then it finishes with a bit of a coffee flavor, and hint of choclate. The flavor could have been much stronger. Overall a beer that is decent, and could be much better with a stronger flavor.

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Photo of marty21
3.23/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a dark brown with a small tan head. Settles to a bit of a ring around the glass but doesn't leave any lacing.

S: A little caramel but just a small malty aroma.

T: Caramel and malt. It's not a very strong taste but it's not bad.

M: Medium carbonation with a light to medium body.

D: I hardly ever drink Fort Garry but when you're stuck at a restaurant with not many choices this isn't a bad choice to have with your meal. The only other time I'll drink this is at Winnipeg Goldeyes games.

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Photo of kjyost
3.17/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a beer glass. I used to drink it in my youth because it was fully flavoured by 1996 Winnipeg standards and was a local micro to boot too. I must admit though, I was figuring a=on this being a 2 across the board beer when I ordered it (as the bar had nothing else to offer)...

Pours viscous dark with no head, lacing or retention. A beer like this definitely should... Its aromas are muted, though there is some molasses in there. The taste though offers mild notes of chocolate, with molasses, light sweetness and nothing offensive (which I was expecting for some reason). Viscous mouthfeel, though perhaps a bit overcarbonated. Turns out it was a surprisingly decent beer...

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Photo of andrenaline
3.03/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

The third selection from their mixer pack.

A - Pours dark ruby red in colour with a solid thumb of head which dissipates at the same speed which it developed. No lacing present.

S - The scent on this one was rather metallic, but once you get past that there's some sweet chocolate malts and a bit of molasses coming through.

T - Little bit of toffee, some chocolate malts and coffee. Overall the flavour is a little on the bland side.

M - Much like the other selections I've had, this one is a little overly carbonated for my liking. That being said, it is rather refreshing, not nearly as dry as the others I've had, and it finishes smooth.

D - Overall, this is the best beer I've had by Fort Garry so far, but the others were pretty forgettable. I think this one has the potential to be better if they stepped up the flavours a bit, but it came off a little bland. I wouldn't be embarassed to offer this to someone, but I would probably preface it by stating that it's 'just average'.

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Photo of mothman
3.77/5  rDev +17.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Had this at a club in Winnipeg, just asked for a dark beer and this is what I got.

I drank it out of the bottle, because it was a club and didn't want to spill any of it and it just seemed easier at the time.

Smell is very malty with grassy hops. Also chocolate. Taste is of dark malts, grassy hops, carmel, and roasted malts.

Mouthfeel is kind of bitter, gets a little smoother eventually. Slight dry aftertaste and well carbonated.

Too me, this was a great beer at the type of establishment I was at. It was really hard to review with all the surroundings, but I think I picked out some of its traits.

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Photo of biboergosum
3.08/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

341ml bottle. For some reason, this is the only micro-brew available at my favorite local Neapolitan pizzeria.

This beer pours a deep, dark, red-brick amber hue, with highlights certainly playing off the sides, and three fingers of puffy, chunky, and somewhat bubbly light tan head, which leaves some roiling sea foam lace around the glass as it gently subsides.

It smells of nutty caramel malt, some musty root-like astringency, like unsweetened sarsaparilla, tame bittersweet chocolate, stale cream, and earthy, leafy hops. The taste is more nutty and well caramelized malt, and also kind of grainy, with a dark fruitiness most redolent of wet raisins, a light biscuity cocoa sweetness, root beer syrup, and just a smidgen of weedy, floral hops.

The body is kind of thin in its medium weight rendering, and there's too much loose-seeming carbonation, which brings down the smoothness factor, not to mention the general drinkability. It finishes off-dry, that caramel malt getting a bit pithy, while the other essences slink away, pretty much unnoticed.

Overall, an adequate, if fairly plain offering - it's dark, it's mild, and it's an ale, so they've covered their truth in advertising quota. However, I'm not convinced that this is all that much of a quality brew - it gains a weird sourness as it warms. My previous experience with it may have been tainted by the fact that it was the only non-Euro macro brew available - I now stick to wine when I need to get my thin-crust 'za and Wiseguy sammie fix.

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Photo of canucklehead
3.6/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This is the Manitoba equivalent to Herman's Dark from Vancouver Island Brewery. On tap at quite a few places in Winnipeg, this beer does a decent job of the style with the malt notes coming through in the finish. The beer wants you to order another with no huge fanfare. Pub beer that makes the grade yet doesn't scare off the average drinker.

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Photo of Shadman
3.13/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

walked by this brand for months now so maybe time to give it a try.

very dark brown, held it up to light and the light had a hard time with it. nice, tan 2.5 fingered head that disappated fairly quickly, but then this beer sat in my fridge all weekend too.

couldn't pull much aroma other than some roasted malts.

some mild hop kick in the front, I really didn't find any roasted malts until late. These were fairly low key.

a bit thin bodied, nothing special-nothing obnoxious either

goes down pretty well, makes a nice change if one is in the mood for something other than a lager.

 598 characters

Photo of DrJay
3.6/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Had this one again recently and was much more impressed this time out. Clear, dark brown with chestnut highlights, but little head off a fairly hard pour. Aromas of brown sugar, chocolate, toffee and roasted barley. Mild bitterness with some caramel and molasses. Medium/light bodied with average carbonation and a decent mouthfeel. Pretty good, fairly solid. Thanks Zithal!

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Photo of trevorwideman
3.05/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Carlos & Murphy's, 10/8/06.

Poured with a 1/2 inch brownish head that subsided quickly, leaves a little lacing down to the bottom of the glass. A murky dark colour with ruby highlights, mild carbonation from what I can see. Smell is a doughy roasted malt with a mild hop profile, fairly clean.

Taste is of roasted/burnt malt, some mild caramel notes, cookie dough, and a bit of a sharp acidity in the finish. Body is very light for a dark ale, carbonation is mild. This one could use a bit more body to it. The lightness makes it slide down awfully easy. This isn't a really bad beer, just a little less exciting than you think it should be. More body and a heftier flavor profile would go a long way.

This is a better beer on tap than in a bottle by far, although Fort Garry's Pale is a better beer all around.

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Photo of vanrassel
3.44/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A straightforward, unpretentious beer from a straightforward, unpretentious town like Winnipeg.

This one poured nice and dark from the bottle with a frothy, one-finger head. Not much retention on the head: it quickly dwindled to a ring and left very little lacing on my pint glass.

There was an appetizing, sweet malt aroma with hints of caramel that delivered more of the same in an extremely satisfying first sip. The finish, though, was unexpected and a little unpleasant at first — kind of a sour, yeast-y taste.

As I kept drinking, the sour aftertaste wasn't as prominent and was replaced with a cleaner (blander?) finish. This is a very drinkable beer, though it seems to be lacking complexity. A few reviewers have extolled its virtues on tap — I'll have to give it a try next time I'm in the 'Peg.

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Photo of Noxious26
2.85/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

341ml bottle poured in a pint glass.

Clear, and cola-like in appearance. Beige head is 1/4 inch on the pour but quickly recedes to a thin ring around the edges.

Aroma is pretty much straight ahead malts with hints of caramel. Nothing offensive, but it just seems pretty plain though.

Taste is toasted malts throughout with a little caramel in the middle and a bit of a metallic twang and burnt undertone at the finish. Basically no aftertaste to speak of. Just seems to be missing something here. Very plain and tame.

Light-medium bodied and moderately carbonated.

There really isn't anything here to draw you in. Plain and blah. This reminds me of a brown ale (would probably fit that category better than the Amber/Red Ale) that has been watered down. Just seems to be lacking a little in every category from being a good beer. That said, there's nothing really bad or wrong with it, but it's probably one that I won't be re-visiting often.

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Photo of francisweizen
3/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

On Tap at the free house in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Cola brown with a small fizzy head that dies out, sans good lacing. Aromas are slight caramel malts, and some slightly bitter notes of something else. Where are the hops and the complexity? Taste is bland with just some caramel malt flavors to keep you occupied. Mouthfeel is thin and drinkability is blah. Kind of crap if you ask me...

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Photo of fisherman34
3.1/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Very dark brown in color with a slightly off-white head. The aroma is mildly malty with a hint of roasted grains. The beer tastes much like a watered down porter, with faint notes of chocolate and coffee. There's very little hop presence, but the balance of bitterness and malt isn't too bad. Bottled samples I've had have been quite inconsistent, but the tap examples have generally been better. It's a very average ale at best.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
2.53/5  rDev -20.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Dark brown with a generous infusion of ruby. The cap is on the large side (thanks to a great deal of carbonation) and is the color of gently toasted marshmallow. It's also much too soft to persist for long or to leave much lace. With a decent looking lid, this could have been a better than average looking beer.

The nose is uninspiring. Dark Ale smells more like a dark ale (label) than an amber/red ale (BA designation). In particular, it smells like minimally roasted malt with weak notes of dark fruit. While not completely absent, the hops are heading for the door.

The flavor is interesting, but is bad interesting as opposed to good interesting. Dark Ale tastes artificially dark to me. It tastes like a combination of caramel and chocolate extract mixed with day-old coffee grounds. It's also mineral-like without crossing the line into frankly metallic.

It's becoming a little less noxious as I drink, but 'good' is a long way off. The mouthfeel is light and the finish is criminally short. On second thought, why would I want the flavor to linger? I'm okay with the amount of carbonation, but at this point, it doesn't really matter.

Fort Garry Brewing Company is 'Manitoba's largest brewery'. I'm not sure what that little factoid is worth, but if I lived in Winnipeg or its environs, I'd demand better beer.

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Photo of IronDjinn
2.88/5  rDev -10%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured from a 341 ml brown bottle from a 6 pack. A decent looking clear cola hued body, I managed to get a fair sized tan head before a quick recession to a thin ring. On the aroma is toasted malt, thin caramel, some metallic grains, all pretty weak in potency however. The flavour is similar on all counts, toasted caramel malts, metallic grain in the middle, with slight herbal hoppiness on the finish, and very, very watered down. Mouthfeel is thin and a bit abrasive with the carbonation, not the friendliest texture for a dark ale. Not a very appealing offering from Fort Garry.

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Photo of JustinBathurst
3.9/5  rDev +21.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours a cola brown (hint of auburn). Dark, but not opaque. A little bit of head fizzled down to a nice thin covering.

Smells of unpasteurized honey and malt. A slight hint of olive.

The mouthfeel is slick with medium carbonation.

Tastes very roasted--bitter coffee finish with notes of chocolate. Very well-rounded dark ale. I really like this one. I discovered it while in Winnipeg and picked up some before leaving Manitoba.

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Photo of sardonic
3.82/5  rDev +19.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

As other reviews have mentioned, this is a light tasting dark ale, that pours with basically no head. It stops a little short of excellence, but is very good. Doesn't have as strong of an aftertaste as some other dark beers, and it's the only dark beer I've ever seen develop a huge following in nightclubs (hey, it's local, 5% ABV, cheaper than Guinness, and it won't bog down your dancing or have you reaching for a glass of water, might as well)...definitely recommended, I've had it on tap too but that was quite awhile ago and I can't remember if there was any difference between the bottled and on-tap versions.

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Photo of Sammy
2.74/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

A baby step stout. Very mild and light. Kicked-up carbonation on tap, which worked against it. Soapy glass so couldn't get any aroma. Bit of malt and foam, a beer aimed I think to get people to try more craft beers, so some points over national brand.

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Dark Ale from Fort Garry Brewing Company Ltd.
3.2 out of 5 based on 54 ratings.
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