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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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 101 |  Reviews: 76
Photo of andrenaline
3.13/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A - pours a ruby red with a finger of head with solid retention and sporadic lacing.

S - musty cardboard, spicy notes with pepper notes, and hints of buttered bread

T - the musty toasted bread dominates, hints of caramel, peppery spice, some bitter leafy notes linger

M - medium bodied, smooth and a tad dry on the finish

O - a tasty lighter flavored dark ale. An easy introduction to the style though the musty flavours are a bit of a turnoff. Worth a try, but nothing special.

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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 OldTime
2.25/5  rDev -23.2%

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 cratez
2.73/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

341ml bottle from my buddy's fridge. Pours a clear copper orange with one finger of yellowish, off-white foam that vanishes midway through the beer. Smell and taste are sweetish caramel, toasty malts, sour fruit (plum?), spoiled apples, muted earthiness, some metallic notes, and a grassy, leafy hop bitterness, very restrained. As with all Sleeman beers, there's a cloying astringency on the palate, but the flavour improves as the beer warms, becoming fruitier and sweeter in a pleasant way. Mouthfeel has more body than you'd expect for a macro, medium and creamy, soft carbonation, dry finish with a tinny, mineral-like aftertaste. Inoffensive, but not something I'd reach for again.

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Photo of mrmanning
2.18/5  rDev -25.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Bottle at the grad club at University of Western Ontario- Dark amber base, with an off white head that fizzes away. Aromas of corn, grains, raisin bran? Skunky too. Sweet malt flavour base, with mild bitterness. Mild bitter finish. Not good, but not bad.

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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 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 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 kinger
3.3/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Mellow amber, light amber in color with a thin white head no lacing and decent carbonation. Aroma is a standard scent of sweet malt with a hint of caramel. Mouthfeel is a bit watery and thin but still enjoyable. The flavor is slightly above par. Good malt presence, again slightly thin to the palate but overall very enjoyable.

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Photo of giblet
2.13/5  rDev -27.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

well i am very disapointed. expected a decent beer. only for the packaging. i did not know who this company was, just that i had not had it before. i bought it and well i will suckem dowm. not very good pour. little to no head, carbonation and no lace. light amber color. little grain smell and taste. i will pound these because they are better than pouring them down the drain.



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Photo of ajmoody76
3.33/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

a free night without the wife and kids. this is the best i have to do- review beers. 12 ounce bottle poured into an imperial pint. clear amber color. thin tan head which fades out. no lace to speak of.

malty aroma. light fruit boquet. no off odors. not a ton of depth.

dry fruity taste. malt presence. decent crispness. balance is okay.

thin body. low carbonation. decent beer. would not go out of my way for this.

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

Poured a clear deep copper color with very nice tannish head. Great retention and perfect sticky lacing.

Smell slows some light caramel notes, but otherwise very light.

Taste demonstrates a firm caramle maltiness combined with a bit too dry hop character.

Finishes a bit too dry for the style. I would like to see a bit more malt.

Not a bad beer, but not a great beer.

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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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Photo of wheatyweiss
3.78/5  rDev +29%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a brown bottle into a standard pint. Second from the sampler 12 pack.

Light to medium copper in color. One finger semi-dense head that settled to a cap and left lots of sticky lace.

Nose is of iced tea with a little alcohol. Caramel malts and toffee. Nutty, maybe light roasted hazlenuts?

Taste is bready, small hop flavor with caramel, toffee and sourdough with hints of roasty malts with a nice backbone.

Mouthfeel is good, full bodied and smoth. Light carbonation almost feels bottle conditioned.

Drinkability would be just fine and at 5.5 might be just a little much for sessioning.

Overall not bad, much better than the "cream ale" I just had from Sleeman. Won't seek it out but it wasn't bad.

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Photo of brentk56
2.84/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Appearance: Pours a slightly hazy dark amber color with a decent head - good retention and some splashy lace

Smell: Caramel and hop aromatics with undertones of roasted meat

Taste: Opens with a malty caramel flavor, plenty of residual sugar in this one; after the swallow, the leafy hop elements emerge but the finish waffles and has a rather rough edge to it

Mouthfeel: Medium body with moderate carbonation

Drinkability: Just like the other Sleeman's I have tasted, this one disappoints on the finish

Purchased from

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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 shadow1961
3.17/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Sleeman Original Dark 50 Amber Ale pours a finger of stiff foam
over a brown brew (peach when you hold it up to the light). It's
hard to guage carbonation due to the brew's opacity, the nose
is fruity English Ale yeast esters and darkish malt. The flavor is
mellow, slightly sweet malt with fruity and nutty notes, and a bit
of a grassy hop in the finish. Mouthfeel is crisp but a little thin for
the style, but, really, not a bad little brown ale at all.

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Photo of Drew966
3/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Sleeman Original Dark 50* pours a hazy dark orange/copper color with an off white head from a brown 11.5 ounce custom embossed bottle. The first smell hit me as straight out refined white sugar. Further sniffing led to a sweet maltiness and a touch of hops. Caramel malt hits the tongue first, followed by hops and some fruitiness. Overall, this is better than I expected, but still pretty average (I had low expectations for this one).

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Photo of williamherbert
3.76/5  rDev +28.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a nice deep -- but clear -- red with visible carbonation. Leaves a full finger of pillowy head. NIce too look at, as well as a surprisingly good drizzle of lace.

Contains a German malt smell, bitter and sharp, but also slightly roasted. It's a bit dark, contains that bitter amber smell we love/hate so much. It's a bit weak; not too heavy.

Nice and pleasant roasted malt flavor. A little bitter, a little sweet. (Are those berries?) Not a sharp bitterness, but a dull one (a good thing). Sweeter as it warms. Really nice flavor. Some smoky flavor adds to the depth.

Feel is medium bodied. A bit creamy too. It's not too thick but not at all watery. All told, it's a nice, cherry-sweet amber. Roated malt, smoky. Quite well done, actually.

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Photo of happygnome
2.42/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

a: amber color with eigth inch of head that dissapoears fast with a little lacing
s: bready and nutty malts not too inviting
t: grapefruit taste, kind of strange but not too bad
m: medium bodied with average amount of carbonation

overall this isnt too bad of a brew, but nothing that i will get again

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Photo of beckscrusader420
3.85/5  rDev +31.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

not a bad beer indeed. If you like amber ales then this one will definately pass the test. This beer put me to sleep for the rest of the night after downing a six pack quite swiftly. That happens only rarely with beer. Head sticks around for the duration. I bought to try something new and my mom's birthday is november 17th. Not the all to end all but a decent brew.

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Photo of CJStout
3.42/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Purchased in a variety 12 pack (bottles). Never had any of Sleeman beers as of yet. First impression - nice heavy bottle, I will definately save these for my homebrew.

Appearance - Pours a brownish amber, not crystal clear, not cloudy. Vanilla colored head dissapates quickly but does not disappear. Lacing is suble, but present.

Smell - Crystal malt greets your nose pleasantly (40-60 L?) Hops are not apparent. Straight forward, yet inviting.

Taste - Good, malty, simple taste. Slight alcoholly (new word) taste. No complexity. Dry finish.

Mouthfeel - Medium, smooth body. Fine carbonation.

Drinkability - The whole impresses me more than the sum of the parts ... marginally. Certainly not one of my favorites, however, I can see myself ordering more than one of these in a bar (with few alternatives). I think this beer will hold up to/compliment pub food, especially hot wings.

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Photo of zeff80
3.3/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours out a dark amber color with a foamy, tan, one-finger head.

S - Smelled of malt and grasses.

T - It was very malty and had a hoppy spice. It also had a bitter bite.

M - It was crisp and smooth. A light to medium-bodied beer.

D - This is a pretty good amber ale. A nice mixture of hops and malt.

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