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Carling Black Label | Molson Coors Canada

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Carling Black LabelCarling Black Label

Brewed by:
Molson Coors Canada
Ontario, Canada

Style: American Adjunct Lager

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
A contemporary lager beer with a light, crisp, refreshing aroma and taste.

Added by Shiloh on 02-17-2003

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Reviews: 66 | Ratings: 189
Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.13/5  rDev +29.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

When I was a kid, my parents liked to take weekend trips to various food factories. It was fun, interesting, educational and, best of all, free. I remember going on tours of Kellogg's in Battle Creek, MI; Hershey's in Hershey, PA, the Ballreich potato chip plant in Tiffin, OH; a Heinz pickle factory; and the old Carling brewery in Cleveland, OH. I've been looking to review Black Label for some time now, for sentimental purposes. Thanks biegaman.

Pale straw with a few, fine, wispy floaters that eventually sink to the bottom of the glass. The cream white cap looks pretty good. It's soft and whipped frothy, gains some character as it melts, and is fairly generous when it comes to creating lace.

This must be a fresh bottle. The aroma is untoasted grain-like, with a musky hoppiness that will most likely be needed to offset what smells like a bit of cereal grain sweetness. Not bad at all, considering the style, with very little impending nastiness.

Black Label isn't horrible by any means and is actually drinkable in a straight shootin', lack of bells and whistles kind of way. Sure, it tastes like simple grain and musky hops, but I've had a helluva lot worse. Warming might bring badness, but so far I'm pleasantly surprised.

There really isn't any more to comment on regarding the flavor. There's a bit of underlying sweetness that is nicely balanced by more hops than one usually experiences in beer of this sort. The finish is clean and could even be described as semi-crisp. Keep this stuff on the cold side and it would be a more than adequate warm weather picnic brew.

The mouthfeel stays well away from watery, which is yet another surprise. There's some substance there and even a hint of creaminess born of near perfect carbonation. The bubbles are energetic without being annoying about it.

I've tried very hard not to let sentimentality influence this review... and am pretty sure I've succeeded. Carling Black Label won't make anyone forget Rochefort 10, but it's a solid brew of the old school sort that, in the right circumstances, can be counted on to do its job well. Not only that, but it beats America's most popular beer by a country mile.

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Photo of showell
2.1/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

I'm trying to be fair. This is one of the beers that I used to get simply because I wanted to drink beer... back in my teenage days. Don't do it. It's really awful. If you have no money and simply HAVE to have a beer... buy something else. I'm sorry that sounds like I'm slamming it, it's just truly awful.

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Photo of aflockofshegulls
3/5  rDev +24.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

Black Label is my third favorite poundah to have on hand, after Narragansett and Schlitz. Its got some taste, and the price is right. $6 for 15 cans... I recommend with reservations because it is brewed by Molson-Coors now, which is, in my eyes, a corporation whose leadership has an anti-worker ideological slant and history. Politics aside, it gets the job done better than most.

Normal appearance, moderate carbonation when sipped from the can (not too much, mind you). Flavor is some cereal and slight hop bitterness. Certainly some crisp, mildly sweet corn, but overall has a pretty dry finish.

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Photo of Mistofminn
3.29/5  rDev +36.5%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Found one of these in my friends fridge recently. Was shocked to say the least. This is one of those people who wouldn't be caught dead drinking from a can. He quickly backtracked and explained "it's my go-to beer pong beer." That I can attest to.

If you like cheap and drinkable beer that still has some sort of taste and substance, this is definitely for you. While it has the characteristics of macro lager written all over it, it just has that little extra quality that makes you say "hey this isn't half bad." Definitely its best and most prominent quality is the drinkability. It better be smooth and easy drinking if its going to be someones "beer pong beer."

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Photo of bushbeer75
2.6/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Brewed by Heileman in Milwaukee - 12 oz. can poured [hard] into a mug

Carling Black Label poured a clear pale yellow [straw like] color with a larger thin head that dissipated rather fast to a thinner collar/ring of film with no lacing. Aroma is clean, faint, of very light corn/grains. Taste is mild, not very complex, very light in hops with a slight bitter dry finish. Mouth feel is thin, a little watery and has fizzy carbonation. Black Label fits the macro category well.

It has been many [many] years since I have tasted Black Label...about the same as I remembered. Drink it cold on a warm day.

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Photo of kinger
3.05/5  rDev +26.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This is quality swill in my book. I picked up a twelve pack of cans because I was curious, but also because the price is right. Sampled the first few straight out of the can. I poured one into a glass so I could look at it. Pours a light gold with little head and awesome carbonation. This is a good looking pale lager. Not much to the aroma of this one, smells slightly malty. Thin mouthfeel, finished very clean. The flavor is the best selling point for this beer. Tastes great compared to most of the other North American Pale Lagers. This one actually tastes better straight from the can. My usual swill is Strohs, but you can be sure that this one will be sharing some shelf space. Great cheap beer!

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Photo of TheDeuce
2.28/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Carling Black Label...

Appearance-fizzy yellow head, over active carbonation, muddy color.

Smell-grains, adjuncts, alcohol, fusel notes.

Taste/Mouthfeel-actually a rather full taste but the flavor is grainy with adjuncts coming through, thin watery feel like most macros on the way down.

Drinkability-another lawnmower style beer, fine in those moments but not something very satisfying.

Overall-similar in taste to me to something like Pabst Blue Ribbon, cheap passable lager out of a can and perhaps comparable to BMC but still, nothing to seek out.

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Photo of Greggy
2.06/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 2 | smell: 1 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

A- piss color, good lacing and head.

S- terrible crap smell with skunky hops.

T- light straw w/ hint of lemon.

M- med carb that is ok.

D- The beer at hand, Carling, had a Terrible smell, color, decent taste, but still it isn't something that I would drink, and might not even wish it upon my enemies.

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Photo of Antilochus
2.16/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Found in my house. 341mL bottle, no freshness statement. Poured into a pilsner glass.

Appearance is light straw, classic macro soapy white head. Streaming bubbles and decent retention. No lacing.

Aromas are grains, sweet malt, corn. Fairly sweet and subtle. No noticeable hop bitterness. Some erroneous sourness (apple vinegar). If I let it warm up I'm sure I'll be able to pick out some nice stuff... do I dare?

Aggressive carbonation stings the mouth, sweet palate as expected. Pretty low on flavour (rice?). Light body, watery. Corn, diacetyl, refined sugar. Creamy medium length cloying finish that isn't all that appetizing.

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Photo of trentley87
3.3/5  rDev +36.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

First of all, the Carling Black Label I just had came in a red can with a similar design to the bottle I saw of Black Label 8.0%. Looking at other reviews, there seems to be some disparity over which brewer makes this. My can was made by G. Heileman Brewing Co. in Milwaukee, a subsidiary of Stroh's, which sold out to Miller in 1999, I believe. This is not a Canadian beer, contrary to what the big maple leaf on the can would have you believe.

I must say that I was pleasantly surprised by this beer. I'm not a big fan of the macro lager but every now and then they are refreshing and this was the one beer at the bar at work (ski resort) that I had never had before.

A: Deeper golden than most macros, very clear, fairly small head recedes quickly with no lacing. Not the worst looking beer I've ever seen.

S: Very mild...doesn't reek of corn and this particular one had not skunkiness (some other reviewers seem to). Not overly appetizing but a leg up on most macros whose smells make me recoil in horror.

T: Taste was mild and not at all complex, but definitely one of the best macros I've had in a while. Has a little "real" beer flavor while avoiding metallic tastes (even from the can), skunkiness, or heavy corn/cereal flavors. Slightly bitter as it warms, but with little aftertaste. Again, not the best, but drinkable for me.

M: I was pleasantly surprised again here. It wasn't horrifyingly over-carbonated, and it didn't seem as watery as other macros.

D: I didn't hurt that it was quite cold or that I was tired, sore, and thirsty from teaching snowboard lessons all day, but I daresay I would drink one of these again (if my options were only macros). This is one of the best (in my humble opinion) examples of a style that is generally terrible. (Best of the worst?)

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Photo of Shadman
2.88/5  rDev +19.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

It's a macro and I'll probably hate it, but I'm broke and a needed a beer.

Decent looking enough, although a bit on the pale side. Decent sized head, sticky lacing. Still a thin, white cap ten minutes after pouring. Aroma was mostly grainy, slightly earthy malt. Some crispness/sharpness up front, grainy malt in the back. Both seem to balance fairly well. Has a 'funny' aftertaste that lingers and this knocks it down a grade. A bit watery and light, but certainly smoother than I expected. Light years ahead of Bud/Corona/etc. A good drinkable macro at a decent price.

as a side note, we used to have 'curse of the Black Label' nights once and a while 20+ years ago at college. Why? Just Because!

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Photo of BeerBelcher
1.56/5  rDev -35.3%
look: 2 | smell: 1 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

I had a really tough time getting past the smell of this beer. It is just unpleasantly cereal-y and reminds me of everything I don't like about bad beer. Combine that with a rather unimpressive appearance and a light yet unpleasant cereal flavor, and you have yourself a real winner here...I'd rather have a Miller Lite any day.

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Photo of cyrenaica
3.83/5  rDev +58.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This is a very good beer. It pours a clear golden yello colour into the glass with very little head. The aroma has a malty, earthy aroma...nothing spectacular. The mouthfeel is silky smooth and crisp with some mild carbonation that grabs the tongue in all the right places. The taste is that of a full bodied beer with a malty grainy flavour that lasts through the entire glass. Like the majority of macro lagers in North America, this beer is best enjoyed cold.

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Photo of beerphan
2.85/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

355ml can -> pint
no date

Pours a pale gold with a big fluffy head that is gone in a wink. A few dots of lace. Tons of rapid carbonation.

Nose: Corn, skunk

Quite bland. Non offensive slight grain, corn flavor. Clean finish, with a slight slight bitterness. Mouthfeel feels watery but finishes nicely.

Easy enough too drink, but so is H20. Thanks Josh for the sample and the warning.

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Photo of JOaikido
2.48/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

341 ml brown bottle.

A- Pale gold with a white head which decreased rapidly but never completely dissappeared. Really not bad looking.

S- Slightly fruity. Faint floral notes. Some off aromas start to sneak in as it warms.

T- Bland, cheap beer with hints of boiled vegetable. Bitterness in middle and towards the finish. Slightly unpleasant aftertaste.

MF- Thin. Nothing surprising here.

D- Not the worst of the macros, but doesn't set itself out even in that mediocre company. Drinkability hurt by slightly off taste.

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Photo of MMansfield
1.59/5  rDev -34%
look: 3 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

Acquired sample from a cheap beer party.

Appearance: Pours a golden pale colour with a foamy bone white head. Retention is less than stellar. Actually does not look too bad.

Aroma: Corn and skunk. Sample is cold, therefore there isn't much to smell. I'd hate to smell a warm sample.

Taste: Very sweet and corny. Keith described this as tasting like Corn Pops, and he is correct. The sugary sweet coating of the beer reveals a strong corn flavour. Not pleasing.

Mouthfeel: Sharp, carbonated, typical.

Final Statement: If you purchase this, leave it in the can, punch a hole in the bottom, place lips on said hole, pop the tab, then consume. This way, you only need to taste this corny rotten swill once. How did this ever become of the best selling brand in the U.K.? To the sink it goes.

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Photo of vanrassel
2.41/5  rDev 0%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

I have funny memories of this beer, thanks to a cheap ex-roommate who would drink my import and craft beers, promise to replace them and then return from a beer run . . . with this.

Putting my "nostalgia" aside, there wasn't a lot to remember about this beer — despite the recent sampling, complete with notes. It poured into my pint glass a pale gold with a compact one-finger head. The smell was faint — almost non-existent. What little I could smell was malty, corny and sweet. Same for the taste, though relatively speaking, this beer isn't bad for one made with adjuncts: bready malt, husky grain and sweet corn that left a bit of a film on the palate. The body was thin and watery, probably the most unpleasant aspect of what was otherwise a nondescript experience.

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Photo of Sammy
1.78/5  rDev -26.1%
look: 2 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

I never bothered to review this before, but while I am waiting for a serviceman..beer cheese smell, a little taste, thin, fizzy carbonation. A little white head on yellow. One has to be very thirsty to try, however not the worst macro I have swallowed.

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Photo of biegaman
2.26/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Pours with only a thin trim of head, plenty of bubbles though. A pale yellow in appearence, very little colour with bright clarity. Very unfavourable aroma - mostly DMS. From the smell of things I can almost say for sure this lager didn't sit long enough before bottling. Mouthfeel stays unobtrusive. Very light, little texture. Carbonation is clearly CO2 induced. Flavour robust with corn-starch, hard to find any taste past that. The adjuncts seem to stick to your tongue on the aftertaste.
This offers no aspect to differentiate itself (for better or worse) from other macro swill. Not too offensive, but all in all one sad (and unappealing) beer...

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Photo of Tallboy
2.25/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2.5

Appearance: A clearish off-yellow with a decent white head and little carbonation.
Smell: A faint bit of grain and nothing else.
taste: Sweet corn bitterness and grainy hops with a faint touch of "something" citrus.
Mouthfeel: Medium bodied beer that is a little thinner than what I prefer and enjoy.
Drinkability: I have drank this beer on several occasions and find that it is not a top contender for any beer medals, but at the same time it is not nearly as bad as some fellow BA reviewers would have you believe.
It is a cheap "session" beer for cheap thrills...nothing more nothing less!!!!

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Photo of dedrinker
2.1/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

I had a pounder can with a slice of pizza - the package store was right across the street from the pizza place. It was about as thin and watery with light grainy flavors as most macros, but somehow left a little less impression me. It almost didn't wash down the pizza so well either. Old surfer dude came up to me while I was drinking it and goes, "yep, good old Carling, I remember back the day...blah, blah, blah." It wasn't bad or good - it just almost wasn't at all.

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Photo of Brent
3.07/5  rDev +27.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Some odd marketing going on here - the Canadian maple leaf is shown prominently on the can, as is the notation "made in the USA."

Poured a rather frighteningly glowing yellow-gold, which I'd peg as exactly urine colored. Not much hops, and the malt leaves no question that a lot of corn is involved here. But, taking the beer for what it is - an old-school really cheap beer, I found it surprisingly refreshing. There was an apple cider tartness that almost had some Beliner Kindle Weiss tang to it. This has lake beer written all over it. Lower your expectations, and this beer will strive to be average.

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Photo of plaid75
2.3/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Poured a very light, almost clear, straw hue, with no head to speak of.

The smell was rather non-existant. A faint aroma of adjunct graininess.

The taste was very light. Adjunct grain dominated. A mild biscuity and sweet aftertaste. Not as bad as I thought it would be.

The mouthfeel was light and suprisingly clean. Good carbonation.

Overall a drinkable beer for what it is - cheap swill. Honestly you could do a lot worse than this. Not to say I would ever buy it again, but would make due if it was the only beer in the cooler.

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Photo of TastyTaste
1.71/5  rDev -29%
look: 2.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Very light gold color, nearly clear. Head is ok. Smell is very, very light grain, that's about it. Taste is unbelievably watery, like soda water, there isn't much discernable hops or malt of any kind. A very uninteresting and bland beer. This beer somehow completely avoids tasting like beer.

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Photo of shamus
1.85/5  rDev -23.2%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

This beer has an interesting history if nothing else. A case study in the power of marketing. In the early 80s in Canada this was a beer associated with rummies, ie the down and out old guys who drank beer in dives all day. Sometime in the mid to late 80s some genius decided he or she was going to turn this beer into the hippest, chicest beer in Canada.

Out of nowhere stylish black and white ads appeared showing beautiful young urbanites drinking this swill as if it were sex in a bottle. The label was also modified to what was then a swanky angled placement. What happened was that the beer became a trendy best seller among the Queen Street crowd and those who aspired to be associated with all that entailed. And still the beer was horrible.

What they proved was that you can sell a label to enough people that it really doesn't matter what is in the bottle. Corona followed this model not long after.

Black label seems to have largely and greatfully disappeared from the market as the major Canadian breweries seemed to have focused on a few other product lines that have an even more massive and generic appeal.

In short this is barely beer.

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Carling Black Label from Molson Coors Canada
2.41 out of 5 based on 189 ratings.
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