Sleeman Original Dark (50*) | Sleeman Breweries Ltd.

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Sleeman Original Dark (50*)Sleeman Original Dark (50*)
101 Ratings
Sleeman Original Dark (50*)Sleeman Original Dark (50*)

Brewed by:
Sleeman Breweries Ltd.
Ontario, Canada

Style: American Amber / Red Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.50%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
An all malt ale, Sleeman Original Dark is brewed from a combination of roasted barley malts, English Aroma hops, and deep well water. Its unique flavour has become a trademark in the Sleeman lineup.

Added by John on 10-26-2001

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Ratings: 101 |  Reviews: 76
Reviews by CrazyMike:
Photo of CrazyMike
3.77/5  rDev +28.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Dark brown appearance with decent thick head. Has a smell of caramel and nuts.

Taste is very sweet and fruity, definite taste of caramel and toffee. Medium bodied and creamy. The only real downfall of this beer is the sharply bitter aftertaste.

Overall this is an almost well round beer, descent mixture of tastes for it's style.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of BeerAdvocate
3.7/5  rDev +26.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Review from BeerAdvocate Magazine June 2007.

Old-school Amber Ale here. In Canada, it's just labeled "Original Dark"; but us Yanks get the long, fancy name with the number in it. Go figure.

The carbonation isn't shy here, giving four fingers of off-white head that leaves a soap-like sticky lace down the glass. It's amber, and it's dark, so the name doesn't lie; clarity is perfect as well. Clean aroma of sweet malt and subtle leafy hops. It's as smooth as it is crisp, with a nice moderate body. Dry malt flavor starts things off, bready with a hint of toasted husk and sweet caramel in the back. Woody and leafy hops grace the beer with a mild bitterness and a long-lingering flavor. Kiss of fruitiness in the middle, with a quick showing of alcohol in the semi-dry finish.

Beer geeks may deem this beer as pedestrian, but regardless of what they think, this is a simple yet very drinkable ale with no evident flaws. A meat pie with a flaky, buttery crust will do just fine with this.

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Photo of Jason
1.59/5  rDev -45.7%
look: 3 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1

12 oz. clear glass bottle with no freshness date, noticed some particles in the bottle.

Appearance: Hazed sunset amber with a solid froth, there is some clinging action as the lace drops a ring here and there.

Smell: Ghastly skunked cabbage and some toasted husk make me cringe at the first sniff.

Taste & Mouthfeel: Smooth and crisp with a slick medium body. Cooked veggies and astringent metallic notes amongst the malt and hops. The malt flavour seems flat with a monotone toasted character. Hops are processed to the point of only leaving a bitterness. More astringent flavours hit the palate when the drying finish rounds the corner.

Notes: A problematic dark lager, off flavours and aromas as well as the haze appearance made me toss the rest being that I did not want to torture myself any longer.

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Photo of ADR
2.68/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Clearish light amber appearance with a weak head of small bubbles that lasts about 10 seconds in the glass. Sweet aroma, vague sense of a Twix bar in chocolate and caramel notes. Dead body, watery and sweet with caramel flavors early but little hop sense or moxie in the mouth. Finishes clean (i.e. vacant) with little aftertaste, but nothing upfront is very inviting to sip again. Like the Honey Brown Lager, there's not much to make me want to buy this again, though it would be drinkable to me if offered.

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Photo of brewQ
3.08/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Haven't been a Sleeman drinker, really.
I like the embossed bottle.

A golden "candy raisin" brown color.

Hints of malty sweetness but negligible hops in the nose.

The taste brings a hint of fruit but no big flavors.
Leaves me wanting for a stronger finish here.

It is certainly drinkable which appears to be this brewer's goal.
At the right price, an adequate everyday beer.

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Photo of Sammy
2.71/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

A head that lasts is its feature, and there is a light amber colour. Smell is cheesy though a hint of malt there. rather very dry and on thin side, average for Sleeman. I taste some hop, but not too tasty. Yes this is an example of the style, but a mediocre one.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
3.8/5  rDev +29.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The Sleeman Original Dark 50 pours a slightly hazy deep-amber color that borders on becoming chestnut brown. Amber-orange and golden highlights peek out at you from the base of the glass. The creamy off-white head holds fairly well and leaves some nice lacing about the glass. The nose is gently fruity and mildly caramelish; and in the mouth it's smooth with a medium body and moderate carbonation. Yeasty fruit and caramelish malts return in the flavor, and it's pleasant, smooth, and well-rounded, presenting a smear of leafy and grassy hops at the swallow. A low-key but very-firm bitterness keeps it in check, and it finishes quite dry despite a swirl of delicate fruitiness and a touch of lingering caramelized maltiness. More interesting than your average macro-lager, but not quite as full in flavor as say a Killian's or Newcastle Brown.

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Photo of jackndan
2.5/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Sleeman’s Dark: Not a very good dark beer, and not a very good beer overall. It poured a deep copper color, and in fact was not particularly dark at all, and I had no trouble looking through it to see that it was generally clear. The head was slightly off white, but it didn’t stick around long enough for one to take notice of it. The aroma was very malty, tending toward caramel, with some grainy adjunct notes as well. The taste was fairly flat, and if there was a hop in there, you’ll have to forgive me for failing to notice it. The dominant malt taste was caramel/toffee with bare hints of dark chocolate as well. All in all, not worth the bother.

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Photo of GeoffRizzo
2.8/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Pours an off-red, some brown notes. A thin, quickly dissolving off-white head. The nose is of malts, corn and some earthy notes. Medium in body; very thin, tender hops and some honey notes. Ashy malts come into play, but not for long; the palate is slightly burnt, off-charcoal feel here. Pretty bland.

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Photo of GrimmReaper
3.53/5  rDev +20.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a bronze orangey reddish color with a good size foamy tan head which turns to a thin collar throughout and leaves some nice sticky lacing around the glass.
Nose is of caramel,some mild fruityness to it and malts round it off.
Taste is sweet fruits and toffee,mild bitterness bites at you and the malts and some buttery creaminess,goes down quite nicely.
Medium to full body that goes down leaving you with a satisfied feeling of something enjoyable,not thin and watery.Good brew and has that feeling that would be a good thirst quencher on a scorching hot day.

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Photo of beerthulhu
3.17/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: Pours a clear dark cranberry color with a small off white head.

S: Big sweet caramel nose and palate.

T: An okay amber but a tad sweet malt wise and seems a tad unbalanced as the hops were difficult to detect. Theres a slight spicy nuttiness and lemony hints in the end. Overall I would say this is moderate flavor.

M: Theres some fizziness from the carbonation present in the mouthful, which is very sweet from caramel.

D: ave. drinkability at best and fails to get noticed.

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Photo of philbe311
2.56/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

A bottle of the Canadian version smuggled over the border past the Mounties from by a co-worker...

A - Slightly more than a fingers worth of slightly rocky fairly standard off-white colored head... Minimal retention gives way to a full veil of lace and thin collar... The color is a warm medium brown... Fully translucent... A good bit of moderate to quick paced carbonation throughout...

S - Loaded with pale malts and caramel... Some cereal and grain notes... Slightly nutty... Pleasant, but quite subdued...

T - Pale malts out the wazoo... Toffee... Caramel... Nutty... An odd slightly off putting medicinal finish...

M - On the lighter side of medium bodied... Light carbonation... Slightly sleek... A slightly chalky burnt finish...

D - A bit underwhelming... No terrible, but not something I would recommend nor seek out for myself in the future...

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Photo of BierFan
3.48/5  rDev +18.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a tumbler glass.

Appearance: Poured a rocky tan head. The beer was ruby brown in appearance. Much darker than I expected an amber ale to pour. It left a light lacing.

Smell: Smelled like a sweet brown ale when first poured.

Taste: Well balanced flavor of malt and hops. Neither the malt nor hops takes center-stage in this beer. The taste of caramel and darker malts.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
1.5/5  rDev -48.8%
look: 1.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

Bottle: Poured a clear light dark beer with no head and minimal carbonation. Aroma is quite weak with some roasted malt being noticeable. Taste is also sub par with a watery feeling ruining the whole thing. Another bad lager from this Canadian macro is the only thing I can say about this one.

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Photo of Garin
2.85/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Hm. Well, they call it "original dark ale" here, but I guess it doesn't matter.

A clear copper bronze beer, with a white, bubbly, fizzy head that shrinks quickly to a thin film, with almost no lacing.

Loads of caramel on the nose, with malty chocolate hints in there as well. There is a slightly odd metallic aroma that comes and goes.

The flavour is *almost* malty throughout, with a slightly sour twinge in the finish. It's strangely empty, the malts and other flavours don't really have any depth. Too bad, as it's quite promising otherwise.

In the mouth it feels clean and light, with an interesting supple sort of feel.

Overall, it's an ok beer, but nothing really noteworthy.

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Photo of irishkyle21
2.5/5  rDev -14.7%

Photo of Ragingbull
3.4/5  rDev +16%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Light brown or dark amber in color when poured into a pint glass. Light head and no nose that I am able to detect. Somewhat heavy attack with a thick and creamy mouthfeel. The flavor seems to match the mouthfeel as it is thick and creamy as well. There is a tiny bite of hops late in the flavor and an interesting bite at the finish. The flavor lingers in the mouth but in a pleasant and inconspicuous way. This beer is okay, but I would have to say that I won't really remember it in the long run.

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Photo of Brent
2.48/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

This is a difficult beer to describe, because it really didn't make much of an impression on me. Whether you want to call it a dunkel or a brownish sort of amber ale, it was pretty meek. Some vague caramel malt flavor and nondescript hops. About the only noteworthy characteristic was a consistent harshness that started up front and ran through the finish. Just not a good beer.

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Photo of IronDjinn
1.99/5  rDev -32.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

Sleemans should put out a brown ale, and it should look just like this dark lager, although would taste nothing like it. Only in a perfect world....

So it's a decent looking beer (listed as a lager, although it's referred to as an ale in the small print along the blue label around the neck), a deep rich amber with a thickish head. The head doesn't last long, but leaves a foamy ring and a bit of lacing as well.

A very tinny, metallic scent on the nose with some mysterious funky presence behind it. Wait....okay, I went and washed my hands. Nope, it's still there, so I know it's not me, it's definitely in the beer.

Flavour has a sourness to it, the malts and hops are very unbalanced, there is an astringency to the toasted malt and hops leave a medicinal impression.

Mouthfeel is full at the very start, but thins out and becomes very oily quite fast, leaving more of a watery impression in the end.

To review and sum up, if Sleemans made a brown ale that looked like this, but tasted nothing like it, then I think they'd have an okay beer on their hands. But this....this... I'm not sure what this is, but it's not very good at all. No more for me though, I'll tell you that much.

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Photo of Gusler
3/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

The beer after its dispatch from the 330ml clear bottle set in the class a clear deep copper color with a modest size frothy light tan head after its decomposition the lace forms a thin seal upon the glass. Nose is the prototypical crisp and fresh lager that is sweet as is the start; the top is light to moderate in its feel. Finish is middling in acidity and the hops standard for this style, a typical lager, drinkable and refreshing.

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Photo of mwilbur
1.42/5  rDev -51.5%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

Poured from bottle into shaker pint glass.
A: Very pale tan-red with thin cream colored head that quickly disappears. Uninspiring.
S: Strong malt and perhaps a hint of raisin.
T: Bleah! VERY watery. Terrible tasting...AVOID! If it was anything like the aroma, this would be at least a passable beer...but it is not.
M: Thin, watery, and terrible.
D: Completely NOT! Not even worth a curious in, that's a terrible car crash, I should probably look away...but you don't. Not even worth the morbid curiosity.

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Photo of plaid75
3.38/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured a rich ruby/amber hue with a one finger creamy head. There was decent retention and lacing.

The smell was very subtle. There was a definite malty sweetness.

The taste was very well balanced. A nice upfront malt sweetness capped off by a good hop bite. A bit of green apple tartness is detected.

The mouthfeel was full, with a relatively dry finish.

Overall an average amber. Hits the spot.

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Photo of dstc
3.26/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Clear to slightly cloudy light rosy brown color with small white head that quickly disappears leaving no lace behind.

Smells a little sweet and very malty, not too bad.

Taste is about average. Nothing jumps out but hints of fruitiness and hops. Slight bitter aftertaste.

Average mouthfeel. Nothing outstanding or noticeable there.

Very average to above average beer. Not outstanding but it certainly doesn't suck either. Worth a try.

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Photo of papat444
3/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Flashback #305

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Photo of headlessparrot
3/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

My sadomasochistic love for Sleeman's beers has already been well documented. And with that in mind, I present Sleeman Original Dark - the only Sleeman beer left that I'd never tried (not including the Light and the Amber, one of which isn't available in this reason, and the other... which is light). In any event, it's probably worth mentioning that this isn't a Euro Dark Lager, but - as per Sleeman's website - an ale (most likely an English Brown Ale).

Sleeman Original Dark *is* most likely the best looking brew of the Sleeman family, though that's not saying much by any means. Pours an amber-brown with some faint ruby and copper hints around the edges, with about a finger of faintly tan head. The cap lasts about three or four minutes before being reduced to a ring (though admittedly a... somewhat thick ring) with a fair bit of (quite runny) lacing. Not bad looking, I guess, but not very enticing, either.

Smell is marked by the signature cooked vegetable odour (cabbage? carrots?) of Sleeman, though it's not quite out in full-force as it is in their other brews. Fairly nutty, some sweet malt, with some grassy, sour hoppiness on the back-end. It's noteable that Sleeman's promotional explain that a portion of the malt was replaced with corn grits "to give a more lively body" - and the corn is certainly detectable, though its thankfully not an unpleasantly sweet corny nose. Nothing special - about the same nose as any Sleeman beer with a bit more roasted malt.

Taste is decent. Cooked veggie taste comes through, as does the corn grits. Beyond that, a respectable maltiness that's fairly nutty and a distant grassy hop presence. Faint caramel; oddly sour finish, with just a twinge of bitterness. Again, nothing special, though nothing especially offensive. Your average Sleeman beer.

Mouthfeel is also average. Carbonation is a bit too lively for my tastes. Fairly light in the mouth, though certainly a step above other Sleeman beers in the body department. However, drinkability is also only average because after just a couple of these I'm left with an unusual taste in my mouth (the corn grits?) and am ready to kill for pretty much anything BUT another one.

Still though, all in all it's not bad. It might even lead a drinker toward a bit more exploration. But it's really entirely average in pretty much every respect. I won't buy this again (maybe I would if Sleeman still sold 6-packs at the Beer Store), but I won't turn it down, and I'll take it in lieu of a lot of other domestic beers, but I'm not especially impressed. 3's across the board.

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Sleeman Original Dark (50*) from Sleeman Breweries Ltd.
Beer rating: 2.93 out of 5 with 101 ratings