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

102 Ratings
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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: 102 |  Reviews: 76
Photo of zeff80
3.3/5  rDev +12.2%
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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Photo of dstc
3.26/5  rDev +10.9%
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 1fastz28
2.8/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

All around kind of a "meh" beer, average color, smell, taste, etc. nothing about it really stands out but nothing makes it bad either. Smells more like a wheat beer than anything. Has malty taste with a spicy hop aftertaste, its worth a shot, i guess

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.16/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

So Sleeman Clear comes in clear glass bottles and Sleeman Dark comes in dark glass bottles. Man, these guys are some kind of marketing geniuses. Dark orange with a generous infusion of coral red. It's a lovely color for an amber ale, even if it looks more red than amber, and the head ain't too shabby either. Could I actually be in the presence of a good Sleeman beer? Time and drinking will tell.

The nose can't maintain that same degree of quality. It's mildly toasted malty with a fallen apple fruitiness and a modicum of earthy, herbal, (possibly English) hoppiness. Something other than the style basics would be nice.

The flavor profile is a dead ringer for the aroma and would get the same description except that I don't feel like repeating myself. A moderate sweetness is favored early and is just barely overtaken by a moderate bitterness on the finish. At least the brewery didn't skimp on ingredients. Original Dark is a capable enough ale that strikes me a 'jack of all trades, master of none' sort of beer.

I'm not a bit surprised that the body/mouthfeel is middle of the road as well. It's much closer to medium than to light and doesn't make an impression either positively or a negatively. I guess that's a pretty accurate definition of the word 'average'.

Original Dark 50 is the best Sleeman Brewing & Malting beer that I've had yet. I'm pleased that it isn't a drain pour (like Sleeman Clear), but I have no desire to drink another bottle ever again. My impression was that these guys are the A-B of Canada. This beer tells me that they're a cut above 'B', 'M' and 'C'.

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Photo of brewQ
3.08/5  rDev +4.8%
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 NeroFiddled
3.8/5  rDev +29.3%
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 baxterbrew
4.2/5  rDev +42.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A: Nice, frothy foamy head that holds well after the pour
S: Very malty, rich smell, smells like homebrew in the pot
T: Balanced, nice fruity malty taste with a slight hint of hops
M: Medium thickness
D: I liked this beer and could drink it a lot. This would make a nice session beer.

Overall, nothing spectacular about this beer, very balanced but also very good.

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Photo of stoutman
3.2/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a dark brown, but is certainly not a very dark ale. Has a thin white head, fades fast. No lacing at all. Aroma of malt. Slightly less carbonated than the other Sleeman products. Finishes clean with a sweet and slight bitter aftertaste. A worthy effort but average at best.

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Photo of jdhilt
3.06/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a three finger, cream head that fades to a shallow layer leaving some lace. Almost clear amber color. Medium carbonation and medium bodied. Slight malty nose. Starts balanced, hints of caramel around edges, slight dry finish. $1.29 for a 330ml bottle from John's Grocery Iowa City, IA.

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Photo of gmfessen
3.09/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured out of a bottle into a pint glass, beer has a two finger head which is a frothy white color. The beer is amber in color and smells mostly of amber malt, with a slight hint of roasted malt as well. The taste is ok, but I was hoping for something more. For all the malty smell, it seems the hops dominate the palate. The mouthfeel is light-medium bodied with lots of creamy carbination; probably the highlight of the beer . Overall this beer is drinkable, but I don't think this would be a frequent purchase.

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Photo of Realale
2.86/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Deep crystal clear mahogany, with a relatively thick beige head that settles to a thin but complete cap leaving some lacing.

Nose is relatively subdued, and the restaurant where this was sampled pours at a decent temperature. There's some bready malt, a touch of caramel, and a hint of earthy hops.

Better in the mouth, but not overly complex. Reminded me more of an average Dunkel than an Amber ale (which is what Sleeman claim it is). From an objective point of view, it's decently malted, and there are some minor supporting appearances from a bit of caramel, and a touch of earthy hop.

Mouthfeel is eerily slick and slightly artificial. It's drinkability is okay, in an I'm not a beer to challenge anyone way, and it's an unobtrusive dinner companion, but I will certainly pass on it next time I see it in favor of something that might be more interesting.

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Photo of cameraman
3.03/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

An amber color, that lightens towards the bottom of the glass, it has an off white head that forms ever slightly and then dissolves away quickly; carbonation is fairly visible. The smell of malt is very evident, not much of hop aroma. The malt dominates the flavor giving it smooth mellow taste. Medium bodied to a light feel towards the end. A fairly easy to drink beer nothing to radically impressive, a descent beer.

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Photo of headlessparrot
3/5  rDev +2%
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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Photo of jettjon
3.15/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Highs: None
Lows: None

Pours an amber brown color with a disappointing 1-finger head of tan foam that fades quickly down leaving minor lacing. Nose is strongly of sweet malt. Sweet malt as expected upon first tasting, fairly well attenuated against a hopsy background… not bad. Finishes a little bitter and slightly sour. There’s a bit of sweet aftertaste, but it’s not too cloyingly sticky like some of the sweeter ales I’ve tried. Mouth is semi-creamy, watery, lightly carbonated—overall a touch above average. Drinkability is not bad; this beer goes down easy, is satisfying, and not bad tasting.

Overall: Meh, it’s worth a try, but don’t expect anything fantastic.

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Photo of Sammy
2.71/5  rDev -7.8%
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 plaid75
3.38/5  rDev +15%
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 WesWes
3.2/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

The beer pours an amber color with a thick frothy offwhite head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is decent. It has a dry aroma with a slightly sweet crystal malt scent. It has a bit of a toasted aroma. The taste is average. It has an extremely dry flavor that boasts of crystal and roasted malts. It's light with some malt sweetness, but it finishes with a coarse dryness. The mouthfeel is decent. It is a medium bodied beer with good carbonation. This is an average American amber. It's too damn dry for me. It's plain and devoid of any real character. It's one and done for me.

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Photo of Frozensoul327
2.47/5  rDev -16%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

A totally lackluster brew. Pours out to a dark burned oak color iwht a small head of foam. No Lace. Lower level of carbonation. Aromas of malts and grain. Some stink of sweet veggies. Taste was boring and a bit abrasive; bland roasted malts, dry grain, corn husk and sour hops. All mixed into one, not separate flavors, mind you. Not that appealing. Mouthfeel was a touch denser than the bottled water I had with lunch. Drinkability? No thanks. I've had far better Dark beers. Pass on it.

THE BLOODHOUND FACTOR: The muts seemed to enjoy it. Then again, they've been known to drink out of the toilet too.

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Photo of bort11
4.07/5  rDev +38.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- poured into an Imperial Pint glass. Good head, about a finger. It dropped pretty quick but left some lacing. Enough carbonation to replenish the lace all the way through. The color is a darker coppery red. Good clarity.

S- I could smell the maltiness once the cap was off. A roasted malt with caramel notes. very plesant. Not an extremely high ABV, but there is some alcohol smell that mixes with the malt. I like that a lot.

T- Warm maltiness with hops and caramel undertones. It's sweet, but the roasty warmth of it counter balances. It's not complex in the least, but I think it's doing what it supposed to be doing.

M- It feels warm on the tongue. The carbonation reactivate the taste and smell in the mouth just enough. It's a slow fizz, not a burn. It is slightly on the watery side. Not bad, I just want it to have a little bit more to it.

D- I think this is a pretty fun beer. It's a good session. I'll be going back to it.

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Photo of BEERchitect
3.2/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Maybe the best of the Seeman offerings. The others had not panned out well with me, but this one shows more character, despite it's flaws. Typical of effortless Ambers, this one tastes moderately sweet, though the sweetness doesn't really take on and descernable character. Amber in color with a fizzy carbonation. Head does not last long. Smells sweet (powdered sugar) and a light toasty aroma. Tastes also lightly toasty with a sweet taste that takes on little character. Quite Amber Bock-ish. A sweet tacky feel on the toung with a long, sweet finish despite it's lack of real character. It's worth drinking if a friend offers one, but don't go out of your way.

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Photo of whynot44
2.96/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a slightly hazy medium amber color with a decent off-white head that fades quickly but manages to leave some traces of lace.

The aroma is mildly malty with only the slightest hint of herbal hops.

The taste is mildly sweet malt with some vague caramel or toffee hints. The finish has some slight burnt roast notes and very mild hints of hops.

I'm not sure if this is an amber lager or a euro style dark, but it is overall pretty bland, not at all complex. Easy enough to drink, with a light/medium body.

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Photo of scruffwhor
2.73/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured a straght up amber, actually it looked a lot like my moms iced tea. Especially when the head and film went away two minutes after pouring. Smell is a bland cyrstal malt and wilting floral hops. tase starts with a run o' the mill crystal malt flavor with some very mediocre hop bitterness. The finish is a bit of a scowl inducing taint flavor. You guys know what the "taint" is right.

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Photo of daliandragon
2.85/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

The last of four Sleeman beers in the Heritage Beer Collection mixed pack. This dark ale is a more medium brown and almost crystal clear. No head and fairly bland look. Nose is sweet with hints of malt and alcohol but little more.
Taste is malty and pleasing but not overly complicated. Not truly an amber but has enough to not be a total fraud. Overall, still nothing special

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Photo of GuinnessSmurf
3.45/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a golden yellow brown color. There is a foamy head that seems to disappear quicklyk.

Smell: There is only a faint aroma - mostly hops and sugar.

Taste: The flavor is really faint as well. Mainly, there are notes of hops and yeast, with a bit of sugary residue left on the tongue after.

Mouthfeel: Surprisingly smooth for this much carbonation. I think too much carbonation though.

Drinkability: You could probably session this one with no problems, but for some the carbonation might make it too gassy for several in a row.

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Photo of Brent
2.48/5  rDev -15.6%
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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Sleeman Original Dark (50*) from Sleeman Breweries Ltd.
2.94 out of 5 based on 102 ratings.
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