Dismiss Notice
We're celebrating 10 years of BeerAdvocate magazine with $10 print subscriptions for US residents.

Subscribe now!

Muskoka Dark Ale | Muskoka Brewery

Log in or Sign up to start rating.
54 Reviews
no score
Send samples
Muskoka Dark AleMuskoka Dark Ale

Brewed by:
Muskoka Brewery
Ontario, Canada

Style: English Brown Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
You won't find an English-style brown ale quite like Muskoka Dark. Its bold colour, yet remarkably easy-going taste gives it a personality as unique as the region it's from. Subtle undertones characteristic of its Dark Munich malt ease into hints of chocolate and caramel, making this gold-medal winning ale as inviting as it is distinct. Thirsty yet?

15 IBU

Added by brewdlyhooked13 on 10-22-2001

For Trade:
View: Beers | Events
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 54 | Ratings: 100
Photo of Sammy
3.41/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A decent brew but only a passable dark. Carbonated on-tap but I wouldn't want to buy a six-pack. Bit of head. Carmel malty to make it popular in Canada. Mid-sip hint of roast malt cream chocolate, but we are not talking about a stout or porter here, more medium mouthfeel.
Had again at The Twisted Kilt 7 years later and this was a very decent dark ale, with chocolate and some nice Kent Golding Hops.

 401 characters

Photo of biboergosum
3.53/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Time to round out the last of the taps at my hotel for the end of my fortnight stay in T.O.

This beer pours a very, very dark reddish brown colour, with slight mahogany edges, and two fingers of foamy, soapy beige head, which leaves a small drooping ring of lace as it genially recedes.

It smells of lightly roasted caramel malt, some bittersweet chocolate, a soft indistinct nuttiness, and leafy, earthy hops. The taste is sweet roasted malt, a touch of rye breadiness, some restrained sour lactic notes, ethereal milk chocolate, and faint earthy hops.

The carbonation is moderate, and unobtrusive, the body on the lee side of medium weight, and adequately smooth. It finishes mostly dry, the roasted character taking charge.

Not a bad dark Canuck ale, but still fairly plain and unassuming, after the promising initial outlook. Something to mindlessly sip away on while otherwise occupied.

 897 characters

Photo of Phyl21ca
3/5  rDev -13%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Can: Poured a clear deep brown color ale with a medium size foamy head with average retention and not lacing. Aroma of caramel malt with notes of maple syrup. Taste is dryer then expected with clear notes of caramel malt and a maple finish. Body is a bit thin with good carbonation. Maple notes were surprising but overall a bit of a run of the mill beer.

 355 characters

Photo of TheSevenDuffs
3.23/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Can to pint glass.

A - Dark brown, almost black with 3 fingers of bubbly, light brown head.

S - Dark roasted malts, a touch of cocoa and a slight bitterness.

T - Light roasted malt flavours, some dark caramel and a touch of coffee. Slight bitterness present throughout that is more present than the sweetness. The aftertaste is somewhat off-putting.

M - Light body, slightly creamy. Moderate carbonation.

 411 characters

Photo of liamt07
3.5/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

Can from the LCBO, 473ml can with the new branding. Best before Feb 3, 2012 - although I don't believe black ink on a black can is the best idea. Into a pint glass.

Pours a dark brown, clear with some burgundy and mahogany highlights. Capped by a nice tan head, modest retention and a bit of lacing. Nose has some light caramel, nuts, a hint of chocolate and a bit of roast as well. Simple and effective for a brown. Taste has some roast, chocolate, subtler caramel sweetness. A bit metallic, a bit earthy and a touch harsh in the finish. Roast in the finish. Lighter medium body and easy drinkability, although not the most flavourful - a touch lackluster.

 658 characters

Photo of biegaman
3.3/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

The ale first appears dark and turbid but turns out to have piercing flashes of ruby and russet and its complexion is, in reality, perfectly clear (albeit not exactly transparent given the depth of its colour). Its head leaves whole parts of the surface exposed but those areas that are sheltered are safely concealed under a secure, thick-curtained foam.

If pale beers had aromas like this they'd be more highly regarded; astoundingly vivid notes of hazelnuts and pecans as well as smoky, singed malts and a powdering of dark cocoa make for a bouquet that turns one's mind, regardless of appetite, immediately to dessert. It's nutty, sweet, malty presence is hopefully just the trailer for things to come...

Yes and no - the beer's taste doesn't engage me so much as its bouquet although it, too, is respectably flavourful and appealing. The sweetness, toastiness and nuttiness are all played down as a lumbering bitterness rolls in and washes most of the toffee, coffee and pecan-pie flavours away. I would have preferred those flavours stick around longer.

For a brown ale fashioned in the English style, this has an awful lot of body relative to flavour. I'm not sure that it should have any less body, but rather maybe a more diverse malt profile? It is fairly tasteless considering how heavy-set the maltiness is. Some more nutty toffee might work; the sooty, coffee/cocoa-like dryness is a little short lived.

Muskoka Dark is way more appealing now than I remember it being years ago. The brewery has certainly improved on its core brands and even surprised us with a few worthwhile seasonals. While they've made respectable strides, there's still a ways to go before Muskoka becomes known for its beer rather than its vast wilderness and sparkling lakes.

 1,769 characters

Photo of spinrsx
3.35/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

473ml Can

Appearance - Dark brown colour with an average size fizzy beige coloured head. There is a low amount of carbonation showing and there is some fair lacing. The head lasted for around 3 minutes before it was gone.

Smell - Malts, breads/grains, chocolate, coffee

Taste & Mouth - There is an above average amount of carbonation and the most noticeable flavours are malts, chocolate, and coffee. There is also a fair amount of grain taste mixed with a bit of a smokiness. The beer finishes with a roasted malt and chocolate aftertaste.

Overall – Not sure I’d buy it again but it was pretty drinkable. With a little work this could be a really good beer. It’s a decent effort.

 690 characters

Photo of wordemupg
3.53/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

355ml bottle poured into pint glass 20/9/12

A dark cola with a reddish glow in the light with enough clarity to see that the liquids full of bubbles, light mocha heads a solid thumbs width and has decent retention and leaves some random lace

S chocolate milk and a little nutty toffee and some smoked meat, smells OK but a little faint

T some fruity notes on top of what I smell, I can't quite pick it out though, much like the nose the flavors decent but a little faint

M a little thin but the bubbles give it some life, I think there might be more flavor on the finish then while drinking it

O nothing wrong with this one but no reason to remember it either, just a little faint but what it has is decent

I wouldn't go looking for this but I'm not upset there's two more in my mixed pack

 797 characters

Photo of DrJay
2.76/5  rDev -20%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Great looking light brown beer, clear, with a light brown head. Minimal lacing, but great retention. Mild malt and dark grain aromas with a sharp corn component. Low bitterness with a thin malt flavour, though a bit of caramel and chocolate are present. Creamy texture to start, but this becomes watery fast. Carbonation was on the low side and it had a grainy astringency. Not impressed. Thanks biegaman!

 405 characters

Photo of bylerteck
3.53/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours black with ruby edges. Two fingers of deliciously creamy beige head. Good rings of lace and a half finger of retention.

S - Quite roasty with semi-sweet chocolate and a tad bit of coffee.

T - Roasty, dark malts, some cola.

M - Well carbonated, medium body with some creaminess and a sweet finish.

O/D - Pretty solid. Something I'd bring to a party and slug down, but nothing I'd admire for it's quality. Good.

 423 characters

Photo of Viggo
2.95/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

473 ml can.

Pours a clear dark reddish orange, a bit of brown away from the light, darker than I expected, thin fizzy tan head forms and quickly fizzes down to a very thin ring, no lacing.

Smell is interesting, a bit of grainy malts, some biscuit, caramel, a touch of nuttiness, lightly roasty with a bit of chocolate, almost a woody/citrusy thing going on that feels a bit out of place.

Taste is a letdown, lightly malty, some sweetness, a bit of caramel, nutty, some biscuit, raisin, a touch of dark fruit, almost a lemony/orange kind of acidity, bland.

Mouthfeel is light bodied with low carbonation, a bit flat and thin. Watery and bland, not very good.

 661 characters

Photo of Gusler
3.5/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On the pour a deep incarnadine color or blood red if you prefer; the head massive and frothy in its texture which desiccates to fine beige lace that covers the glass. Sweet nut like tones appear first in the nose, followed by malt, caramel also noticed some light coffee tones, quite a “Sniffer”. Upfront sweetness that leads to a nice middling mouth feel, the finish bitingly acidic, tart with a pleasing hop spicy presence and a dry aftertaste, different I will give you that.

 480 characters

Photo of andrenaline
3.84/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

More BlackBerry tasting notes...

A - Pours a nice dark ruby red conlour, finger of off-white head, some retention and some slight lacing.

S - Scent is dominated by chocolate and espresso. Quite nice.

T - Much like the scent with chocolate and espresso with a bit of a black licorice finish. Rather unique and a pleasant surprise.

M - A little on the dry side but still pretty appetizing. Could drink this regulary, no problem.

D - I really enjoyed this offering. Had some tasty and unique flavours. The dryness was a bit of a turn-off, but the other aspects of it helped to enhance the experience.

 602 characters

Photo of kwjd
3.3/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a ruby-brown colour with white head that dissipates fairly quickly. Only hints of lacing on the glass. Smells nutty, some mild chocolate and hops with some toasted malt. Flavour is fairly sweet, though subtle. Smooth mouthfeel. Overall just an average brown ale, but nice enough that I'll have this from time to time.

 323 characters

Photo of peensteen
3.75/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Deep brown, some ruby lights here, one finger of tan head, good retention and lace. Smell is full of chocolate and roast, caramel, coffee with a bit of spicy earthy hops. Taste is also quite roasted, chcoolate, fairly upfront bitterness, earthy hop flavours and finishes with more coffee and roasted malt. Med-high carbonation, med body and a bit prickly. Really quite a nice brown ale that I could have multiples of in one sitting, a bit of an underated and quite drinkable brew.

 480 characters

Photo of joemcgrath27
3.57/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A - nearly pitch black, thumb of head dissipated to a thin covering with decent lacing
S - big roasty notes, mild chocolate, nutty and light grain
T - roasty malt and cola flavours up front, light nutty, a touch of grassy hops, and some light chocolate
M - too much on the light side for the style, fairly big carbonation, thin through the finish
O - a decent brown ale, good flavour mix but just lacking just a little something, but as part of a Muskoka 12 mixer not a bad option

 480 characters

Photo of bobsy
3.7/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

I liked this one. Very dark mahogany liquid and a bubbly tan head. I would have guessed it was a porter if I hadn't have know better, especially because it had a classic porter smell and the initial light fruity sharpness that I've come across in some porters. Full roasty flavours, with coffee and bitter cocoa. Fairly light bodied, and it could have done with a bit more of a heavier feel, but overall a winner. I definitely preferred this warm just below room temperature, as it coaxed out more of the roastiness.

 516 characters

Photo of rarbring
2.88/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

The brew is dark brown, very dark, a quickly settling light tan head, leaving good lacing, some curtains.

The taste is ashes, burnt bread, coffee and soy sauce. A bit thin.

Starting with sweet brown bread crust, some soy sauce, a small coffee hint, some dark fruits.

Little carbonation, soft but watery, a small body, a dry finish.

This did not turn me on, a bit too simplistic.

 382 characters

Photo of thehyperduck
3.08/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Regular-sized bottle from the LCBO; no production code given. Last reviewed December 2009 from a can - I have decided to go back and re-review a number of my very early submissions to this site, mostly to see if my original assessments are still relevant.

Pours an opaque, deep brown colour with copper highlights, topped with a little less than two fingers of puffy tan head. Decent retention, with a few rings of lacing around the edge of the glass as the volume drops with each sip. The aroma is enticing enough I guess but not particularly imaginative for the style - roasted malt sweetness, caramel with hints of baker's chocolate.

Approachable taste, but once again there is little nuance and nothing particularly creative about this brew's flavour. It is, however, nicely balanced between sweet and dry. Roasted malts and caramel/toffee sweetness are dominant early on in the sip, with a hint of dark chocolate and bitter coffee grounds toward the finish. Dryness and malty cocoa notes linger in the aftertaste. Light-bodied and rather watery for the style, but it is quite smooth and drinkable. Soft carbonation provides some slight prickliness on the tongue.

Final (adjusted) Grade: 3.08, a C+. This didn't blow me away when I was new to craft beer, so I'm not exactly surprised that I'm even less impressed with it now. Not a bad brew by any means, but a polite, underwhelming one that possesses no superlative traits with which to impress the average BA.

I sincerely doubt I'll get this again; twice is enough for me. There are many Ontario-made brown ales and dark beers I would recommend long before this one. Muskoka can (and has) done much better than this.

 1,680 characters

Photo of SebD
3.62/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: It has a nice dark colour to it. It has a nice beige head that dies down moderatly and has some lacing.

Smell: The aromas definitly give out hints of roasted malts, chocolate, caramel and coffee.

Taste: Like the aromas, it has a roasty/chocolaty feel to it with some coffee notes and a bit of caramel.

Mouthfeel: It has a medium carbonation with a nice sweetness to it.

Drinkability: It's a smooth drinkable beer accompanied with good flavours and aromas.

 474 characters

Photo of TerryW
3.03/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours up dark brown with a moderate head. An average looking brew. Long lived head, some lace.

Moderate aroma balances out malts and hops. Hint of chocolate. Same evenhandedness in its taste. Competently made, but not blow you away good. A touch of caramel, hint of cocoa. An understated approach.

Drinkable a couple at a time, preferrable to a macro, but overall a very average beer.

 386 characters

Photo of pootz
3.62/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5


Deep Chestnut brown with read highlights...ample frothy mocha cap.

Very pungent aromas of malt cocoa and grassy hops.

Malty up front, good balance in the middle with some Golding "bite" some complexity with a deep cocoa tone to it.

A very decent dark ale. Mellow tastey and drinkable

 296 characters

Photo of CAMRAhardliner
3.92/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark copper with a thin creamy head. Lacing is pretty good, if a little sparse. The aroma is of chocolate malts, grains, and a moderate amount of spicey hops. The taste is equal parts barley husk, roasted coffee and dark chocolate. Theres a little astringency that competes with the modest hopping. The finish is nutty and slightly bitter. The mouthfeel is light with smooth carbonation, maybe a little watery.

This is a good brown ale. Complex and very sessionable. Its worth a try.

 495 characters

Photo of DenisKolkin
3.33/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

473 ml can from LCBO poured into a pint glass

Appearance - Dark nearly black beer pours out into pint glass. Some garnet hues in direct light other no light escapes. 1 finger creamy tan head is poured but dissipates quickly. Small soapy collar left over and stays a while.

Smell - Rich molasses, toffee and caramel jumbled up. Faints hints of smoke, which are more apparent from the can than the glass. Nice scents however a bit subdues (in the glass that is).

Taste- Quite a bold smokey flavor, the caramel and molasses sit way back on the taste buds whereas the smoke dominates here. Not a whole lot else here. Pleasant smoke flavor that is not overwhelming, but to be honest reminds me more of a really toned down rauchbier than anything else. Seeing as I wasn't a huge fan of rauchbiers means that this has only some appeal. As it warms though I get some more earthy notes coming through in the flavor.

Mouthfeel - Fairly rich and creamy with a nondescript lingering sensation in the mouth means that I can neither rate this terribly high or low. Medium carbonation.

Overall - A good beer with a lot more smoke than I was expecting, but was not unpleasant, just a bit surprising. More than anything out of this exercise, I realize that I may need to revisit rauchbiers to redetermine if I am not a fan of them based on prior experience.

 1,345 characters

Photo of allergictomacros
3.5/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Dark, dark red with barely some hints of light showing through. Head is a coarse tan.

S - Caramel nose, coffee, and hints of cocoa.

T/M - A bit of sweetness, lots of toasty, roasty flavours. Moderate acidity up front. Caramel, coffee and some dark fruit, light bitter finish with nondescript hopping.

D - Not bad, fairly light dark ale that doesn't feel too heavy. Some decent flavours.

 393 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Muskoka Dark Ale from Muskoka Brewery
3.45 out of 5 based on 100 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • Extreme Beer Fest® Cometh

    February 3-4, 2017. Boston, Mass. Limited tickets available. Prepare for epicness.

    Learn More
  • Free Trial Subscription

    Reside in the US? Interested in a free 1-month trial subscription to the print edition of BeerAdvocate magazine?

    Yes! Sign Me Up!