Tooheys Old Vs Carlton Black

I know I crap on about the wonders of craft beer and this even strays into a bit of macro brewer bashing at times (it’s just so easy sometimes) but let’s face it the two giants of the Australian beer scene Lion Nathan and CUB still feature in even the most ardent craft beer drinkers line-up of most drunk brews.

In fact through the wonders of untapped I happen to know that my most drunk individual beer is Carlton Draught (in fact every 11 beer I drink is a Carlton Draught) which is a product of happy hours/pubs without anything else of offer/jugs where you have to cater for everyone’s taste.

In fact if I count all of the sub brands like Matilda Bay, Little Creatures, James Squire etc in my count (but not the imports) I’ve worked out that 1 in every 4 drinks that I drink is from either the CUB or Lion Nathan stable (and it’s spilt almost 50/50 between the two).

And what does this prove? Well we can pretend all we like that craft beer is overtaking the world, but in reality even if you try your hardest to support craft beer, you will find yourself in the arms of CUB or Lion Nathan soon enough.

So what should you drink in the Tooheys or Carlton range? Well we all know I love a dark beer so today I pit Lion Nathan’s Tooheys Old against CUB’s Carlton Black.

Tooheys Old pours a dark amber colour. It is slightly too carbonated for any real flavour to come through, and is quite thin in the body compared to the regular craft brew. It’s a little tangy in the aftertaste but only slightly. Enough for you to know that you have drunk a beer, but not enough to turn anyone off.

It tastes quite a bit like it probably started as a very good beer, and has be dialled back to being just a good beer. Definitely Schooner worthy.

Now Carlton Black is the forgotten child of the Carlton range. Although does anyone else remember   a fantastic campaign for Carlton Black about ten or so years ago, it went something along the lines of ‘Turn to the dark side?’ In particular I remember the beer coasters with cool quotes like ‘I am your Father.’ Which appealed to the Star Wars geek in me, clearly didn’t sell much beer though.  

Anyway back to the beer. This pours darker than the Toohey’s Old, I’m not sure I would describe it as Black, but I guess Carlton Black sounds a lot better than Carlton brownish amber. It also has a slightly bigger body, with just a hint of roasted maltiness. It is also less carbonated than the Old. This is a pleasant enough beer to drink, and more interesting than your standard Carlton Draught, and a rating – Schooner.

Oh and which is better? Well If you have read any of this site before, you’ll understanding, that bigger body and less carbonation means better beer for me – So it has to be the Carlton Black.

11 thoughts on “Tooheys Old Vs Carlton Black

  1. Your thought that Tooheys Old has decreased in quality over the years is right. I made the mistake when I visited Murray’s at Port Stephens of saying my favorite pub beer was Tooheys Old. He couldn’t believe it, but often beggars can’t be choosers. He lambasted Tooheys for the increasing amount of sugar they used and that they had ruined z once great beer.

    It was the first I drank on licensed premises.

    If you get this on Twitter, I’ll retweet.

    • The Murray’s fellow sounds like a ratbag. You should have counter-lambasted him for his over carbonated Angry Man Pale Ale.

      • Yeah – he isn’t backwards in coming forwards, but I can’t agree with your comment on Angry Man Pale Ale. On tap, or from the bottle?

  2. I remember drinking Tooheys Old at Uni in Armidale NSW. It was more black looking than tasting. I also remember that you could order a “bruiser” or a black and blue, part Tooheys Old (the black) and part Tooheys Blue. I dont remember it being particularly good?

    As for Carlton Black I dont believe I’ve ever bothered to taste it, perhaps its worth a run?

  3. Being a pomm and a lover of real ale, I have struggled to get to grips with Aussie beers.
    In the UK there is a brewery called Wychwood and they brew a beer called Hobgoblin which is my all time favourite. so there is my benchmark. I have tried the beers in the Lord Nelson in the rocks in Sydney and the great beers from the steam exchange down in Goolwa, along with the James Squire range of beers but you cannot easily get any of those, not in Adelaide anyway, so it comes down to these 2 beers mentioned and Cooper’s dark. The author of this piece will not like it as it is quite carbonated, but for flavour it knocks the other 2 into a cocked hat. Cooper’s dark – give it a try.

  4. To me Tooheys Old or Hunter Old as it was once known is like drinking mothers milk. Nowadays I would prefer an old to mothers milk as she is 80 now and probably wouldn’t taste so good

  5. I am aged 84, male, have been drinking Tooheys Old as my favourite for many years, usually from tap. I thank you for this summary as I, too, feel the beer too carbonated these days, especially as I must have it from stubbies now.
    Shall try the Coopers.

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