Dismiss Notice
Subscribe to BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99! (Limited time offer, US delivery only)

Kokanee | Labatt Brewing Company Ltd.

Your Rating: None

Want it   Got it 
208 Ratings

Brewed by:
Labatt Brewing Company Ltd.
Ontario, Canada

Style: American Adjunct Lager

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Kokanee has been one of B.C.’s best-selling beers for more than ten years and was awarded a Silver medal at the 1996 Brewing Industry International Awards. Brewed using a blend of Pacific Northwest hops, Kokanee delivers a smooth, clean and lightly hopped taste.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 04-25-2002

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Ratings: 208 |  Reviews: 98
Photo of rattletrap968
5/5  rDev +96.1%

Photo of Mobius
4.25/5  rDev +66.7%

Photo of rbuisson
4/5  rDev +56.9%

Photo of dabone
3.86/5  rDev +51.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Served from a bottle. Dark yellow and translucent. Decent head. Minor hop aroma, more cereal grain. Good lager taste, good mix of hop and grain. More on the grain side. Thin mouthfeel.

 184 characters

Photo of stogirelli
3.72/5  rDev +45.9%

Photo of Barraclou
3.68/5  rDev +44.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Kokanee called itself a glacier beer. I don't know what it means, but it's still a good beer, especially for an adjunct lager. Also, Kokanee claims to be micro-brewed by Columbia Breweries in Creston,BC. Actually, Columbia is owned by Labatt (now a Interbrew branch) and it is not really a micro since it is available almost everywhere in Canada. There's rumors here about being brewing in both Creston (western markets) and London,ON (eastern markets). Marketing and label insist on its BC rockies origines, but rumors also exist about a difference of taste between the western and eastern product. The quality of Thames river in London seems to be the reason of that different taste. However, Kokanee smells good, has a nice gold color and has a good personnality, but it's quite overpriced if compared to others regular domestic adjunct lagers available here.

 862 characters

Photo of elricorico
3.55/5  rDev +39.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Ah Kokanee, a staple of my younger days, when I drank beer most often for the alcohol, not the taste. I swore by it then, swore that it tasted better than any of the other major beers.

The beer looks pretty good as far a lagers go, clear golden yellow with a foamy white head that sat at about a finger thick. It has faded to a thin cap, but there is some lacing left behind.

The smell is grainy, with a faint sweet malt base. Has a certain freshness to it that makes it a bit better than the average macro.

While it enters the mouth a bit watery, the beers flavour follows up relatively well. The back half of the mouth gets a grainy and slightly bitter flavour. There is a sweet taste that seems to only enter the mouth after a mouthfull is swallowed. All in all the flavour is light, but certainly inoffensive.

I find that Kokanee has more body than most macro lagers, almost being a tad sticky. The carbonation is what one would expect for a lager, and it does get a bit coarse in the finish.

I wouldn't try to sell any advocates on this beer, though I wouldn't suggest that they avoid it either. This is still what I'll pick if Molson and Labbatt are my choices. Goes down great and makes me think of hot days on the golf course.

 1,249 characters

Photo of allboutbierge
3.55/5  rDev +39.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Sample is brewed in Creston. Very crisp and fresh tasting beer. I noted a slight 'veggie' aftertaste after a few. Other than that it is a relatively good, clean tasting, slightly above average lager. Tastes are not muddled together; each quality is descernable from others...not blended together like labatt blue tends to be. Carbonation seemed to be a little heavy.

 366 characters

Photo of grubefresh
3.5/5  rDev +37.3%

Photo of RyanBelle
3.5/5  rDev +37.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

One of Canada's best beers in the Lager 5.0 style. It's got a clear golden body, a dissipating head that leaves a slight amount of lace, a smell that works well with it - reminiscent of corn, wheat, grains...nice. The taste is pretty well balanced and what you would expect out of a 5.0 lager as a Canadian. It's a cut above your Blue, MolCan, and MGD. This is true BC beer, and it can taste like it came from the mountains in BC if you use your imagination a bit! Mouthfeel is substantial. Super clean yet flavorful. Recommended with food, session beer, or anytime.

 566 characters

Photo of Jb1976
3.5/5  rDev +37.3%

Photo of jpuetz
3.5/5  rDev +37.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of snocntry
3.5/5  rDev +37.3%

Photo of chickencoop
3.5/5  rDev +37.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

It's sad to say but whenever I go to the great Northwest I always stuff a 12-pack of this in the suitcase and bring it home to Oakland. I know this is Inbev and they make mass produced garbage but maybe growing up on Coors Light I have a soft spot in my heart for this stuff.
It looks like a macro, smells like a macro and drinks like a macro, but I love how smooth this stuff is and doesn't have that nasty burp-breath taste like Coors Light does. I recommend this for the next tailgate, or any other mass beer cunsuming event.

 529 characters

Photo of Weizenmensch
3.47/5  rDev +36.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

This was much better than expected, and much better than I remember it being. I didn't realise it was bottle conditioned, and maybe the time it took to get to me in Australia improved it. I didn't think it was as bad as most people say it is - the hop flavour was still intact and not skunky, and with the sediment in the glass it was quite enjoyable. Artificial-looking gold colour, reasonably good head retention, nice taste for a macro brew, definitely better than our working-class beers here in Australia. Some chemical undertones as are to be expected. I may even buy another one at import price just to confirm my satisfaction.

 634 characters

Photo of headlessparrot
3.47/5  rDev +36.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Much like its Alexander Keith brew and Molson's Rickard's imprint, Labatt's goes to a considerable length to distance itself from Kokanee, and thus perhaps increase its appeal as a craft beer (thus, also justifying the higher price). However, Kokanee also isn't a bad beer - if I'm faced with a list of macros as my choices, it will be the first I choose, without a doubt. But let's give it a proper tasting and see how it holds up.

Pours from a brown ISB bottle into my pint glass the fairly standard macro colour. Straw golden, though a bit more noticeable than most macros, and I'm almost convinced I'm seeing faint streaks of copper or ruby. The brew is initially topped by a fairly healthy two fingers of white foam that dies down in a minute or two to a tiny layer - but with a some decent lacing. Very heavily carbonated, as you can tell just from the appearance of the beer. Rather anemic looking, but at least it holds a little head, unlike the major Canadian macros.

Smell is what you'd expect - a faint maltiness, with a very light sprinkling of Pacific Northwest hops that are almost lost in the background. I'm tempted to claim this as an all-malt lager rather than a macro, but there's just the slightest hint of rice and corn (though it could very well be my imagine) to keep me from making that classification. Faintly grassy and fruity, which is more than you can say for most macros, and the suggestion of adjunct is distant enough that im temporarily willing to dismiss it or downplay it considering its subtlety in comparison to 99% of macros.

Taste is crisp and clean. If there's one thing Kokanee does right, it's the water source - it lends itself to this crisp, clean flavour quite well (as for advocates still claiming that some Kokanee is brewed in London, this is a fairly far out claim, considering each bottle exclaims "brewed right here in Creston, B.C." - not even the macros could get away with false advertising to this degree). Beyond the crisp, clean taste, there's a subtle grassiness with hints of green apples, and a bready malt profile that I rather like. Ever so faintly metallic, but also remarkably refreshing. This is a hot summer day pounder for sure, and miles ahead of most other macros.

Mouthfeel actually isn't bad, either. Obviously, it's overcarbonated, as all macro lagers are, but the body is fairly substantial, and feels quite nice sliding down your throat. I'm willing to chalk this up to the water source, or a lack of adjunct, but I can't say for sure.

And drinkability is tremendous. Like most macros, you can tip back quite a few of these and feel just great about it.

There's nothing special about Kokanee, but it's not a bad little macro. Certainly, if Blue or Canadian had tasted this good, I wouldn't have really felt the need to explore and become a Beer Advocate. It's a simple beer with a simple flavour profile. Crisp, clean and refreshing - a great brew that you can drink in a glass or even right from the bottle and not feel to badly about it.

 3,031 characters

Photo of Noxious26
3.41/5  rDev +33.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

341ml bottle poured in a pint glass.

Clear, pale gold in colour. 1/4 inch white head has big bubbles. Head reduces to a thin skim.

Aroma is typical macro lager, grainy and slightly sour.

Bright and crisp. Sweet malty flavours at the swallow. The sweet flavour is cut by the carbonation and a subtle hop aspect. Grainy and slightly bitter in a mild aftertaste.

Light bodied mouthfeel is smooth and not as fizzy as some macros.

While this isn't going to blow your socks off, it does have a more complex flavour than most macros. This is an easy to drink lager that is one of my regulars.

 601 characters

Photo of 67cuda
3.4/5  rDev +33.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

This beer pours a standard golden yellow color, with a small white head. Smells like grain and malt, nothing terribly exciting. It tastes better than many other macro lagers, malty with a slightly bitter finish. Not bad, but not exceptional either. The mouthfeel is OK, seemed a bit over-carbonated, and was rather thin overall. This beer is very drinkable, I'm sure I could down many, and it isn't very expensive. I'll stick with Stroh's though, when it comes to macro lager.

 476 characters

Photo of Haybeerman
3.38/5  rDev +32.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pale straw yellow color. Poured a stark white wispy head. Decanted continually. No lacing.

S: Faint sweetness and a little grass. Not much in the nose at all.

T: Muted malt character. Sweet corn adjunct. Crisp, dry and light.

M: Very light body. Ample carbonation. Crisp and dry; very clean by the finish.

D: Very easy to drink. Just not much in the nose and so muted.

 379 characters

Photo of MTNboy
3.35/5  rDev +31.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pale yellow with nice average lace and head.

Smell: Not as adjunct as I thought it would be. It has the usual grain and corn like smell of most Macro's.

Taste: Not too bad. It has a good blend of malt and hops.

Mouthfeel: Watery and Carbonated.

Drinkability: It is a good summer time beer.

 306 characters

Photo of NodakEric
3.33/5  rDev +30.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of Mindsquall
3.29/5  rDev +29%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Picked this up as part of a bunch I haven't feasted on yet.

This particular macro poured a typical yellow with a light and slight uninspired head that leaves a bit of lacing. Smell is also very typical of a macro, a tad metallic, and slightly corny. This stuff however carries with it a flavor that really isn't all that bad. Some grassiness and corn in there but not so much where it's sickly. In fact, this is quite refreshing. This also isn't too hard to drink and goes down quite easily.

It is definitely a macro, but not a bad one.

 543 characters

Photo of IBUnit63
3.28/5  rDev +28.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On tap at The Dubliner in Ottawa...

Looks a little better than the average macro bear - more of a darker - maybe honey - color with typical quick and ample carbonation. Head wasn't too bad.

No crap on the nose - it smells very clean - sort of the way I remember Alpine Lager from the Maritimes. No silage from the minimal Saaz hops and adjuncts really shows up on the beak, but...

...the silage does make a grand entrance on the palate, as does a little rice(?) adjunct. Still it's pretty crisp and inoffensive.

This style lends itself to crappy aftertastes, but I don't really get one here. Finish is light as expected.

If it's the only thing around I could session this up pretty easily. Not the end-all by any means but a pleasant surprise for the style.

 762 characters

Photo of variousartists
3.28/5  rDev +28.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Appearance: Suprisingly good head. Unexpected for a macro. Nice consistency.

Smell: Not much here. Little of everything. Cascade hops, little malt, and what I think smells slightly like corn.

Taste: Far surpassed my expectations for the style. Nice hoppiness.

Mouthfeel: Just average. Not bad but nothing special. Light to medium body. Little overly carbonated.

Drinkability: A great party beer, goes down with a nice crisp bitterness. Very satisfying.

This is a damn fine beer for what it is. Its not going to beat any microbrews, but compared to the other macros this is the best out there.

 607 characters

Photo of CrazyMike
3.27/5  rDev +28.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Average golden yellow appearance with a small head. Has a malty corn hop smell.

The taste is very sweet with good hops. A bit thin bodied and watery but it's smooth and clean.

Probably more flavorfull on tap in British Columbia, very mediocre beer but easy to drink and refreshing.

 287 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Kokanee from Labatt Brewing Company Ltd.
Beer rating: 2.55 out of 5 with 208 ratings
  • About Us

    Founded in Boston in 1996, BeerAdvocate (BA) is your go-to resource for beer powered by an independent community of enthusiasts and professionals dedicated to supporting and promoting better beer.

    Learn More
  • Our Community

    Comprised of consumers and industry professionals, many of whom started as members of this site, our community is one of the oldest, largest, and most respected beer communities online.
  • Our Events

    Since 2003 we've hosted over 60 world-class beer festivals to bring awareness to independent brewers and educate attendees.
  • Our Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.