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Hockley Dark - Hockley Valley Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Hockley DarkHockley Dark

Educational use only; do not reuse.

88 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 88
Hads: 141
Avg: 3.65
pDev: 12.88%
Wants: 3
Gots: 6 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Hockley Valley Brewing Co. visit their website
Ontario, Canada

Style | ABV
English Dark Mild Ale |  5.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: xlperro on 08-12-2004

No notes at this time.
View: Beers (12) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 88 | Hads: 141
Photo of Brondeau
3.5/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Had a pub can of this stuff at the Rogers Centre while watching Blue Jays and Marlins on June 8th, 2015. Pretty good. Better than your average baseball game fare. Would drink more if it weren't C$11.50 for a can.

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Photo of mick303
3.78/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Worked my way through a 1 L bottle solo while brewing a batch with very little trouble, a very nice session ale. Appearance is a dark brown, very clear, with a nice cap of frothy tan head, good lacing.

S - roasty and nutty, chestnut, mild grassy hops. nice crystal malts, cherry notes, and a mild leafy aspect. Mild aroma but balanced with a nice English yeasty aspect as well, giving a slight creaminess.

T - pleasant malt notes with a bit of a tang, nutty (brazilnuts), robust fruity notes, apple and squash almost, mild chocolate mixed in, oranges, some nice floral and spice hops, earthy, with some slight woody notes. Light, refreshing.

M - some sweetness to it, but also a slight hop character, lightly bittered but the hops retain some good character, mild carbonation and the balance is pretty good making this a very nice session ale.

It's not a beer that will be a showstopper, and I would say even the stylistic execution could be fine-tuned for some improvement, this is a bit minerally and a bit overly earthy, but overall it is well balanced and perfectly sessionable while delivering a a really nice malty flavour with hints of the hops and english yeast. Mild and unassuming, this makes a pretty solid session offering.

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Photo of BuckyBeerBeaver
3.74/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

The origins of Hockley Valley Brewing Company date to the end of 2002 with its foundation in the back of a small general store in Hockley Village, Ontario. Brewmaster Andrew Kohnen subsequently joined the company, and in 2007 the brewery relocated to its current facility in Orangeville, Ontario. Hockley Valley Brewing currently produces three beers; Hockley Dark, Hockley Black & Tan and Hockley Stout. We tried the Dark, which was 5.0% alcohol by volume, in a 473 ml can.

Hockley Valley Dark ("HVD") poured with a big cascade in the glass, and was a dark ruby/brown colour with a fluffy beige head. Great visuals! The head was a good 3 cm after pouring and dissipated slowly with a bit of lacing down the glass. The aroma is predominantly of toasted malt with subtle hops. The body was a bit lighter than you would normally expect for a dark ale, but I understand that this was done deliberately to appeal more to the North American market. There was an appropriate amount of carbonation and smooth mouth feel. In terms of taste, the Brewmaster has found a pretty good balance between the sweetness of the roasted malts and a subtle hoppy presence. The taste lingers for a few seconds on the tongue, but finishes clean and dry. All in all, a respectable dark ale that was good enough that I would want to try the brewery's other offerings at some point in the not too distant future.

According to the brewery's web site, HVD won gold medals at both the 2008 Canadian, and 2008 Ontario Brewing Awards.

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Photo of DenisKolkin
3.76/5  rDev +3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

473 ml can served cold into a pint glass.

Appearance - Clear dark mahogany color, with few bubbles present. 1 finger head dissipates into next to nothing quickly and virtually no lacing left on the glass.

Smell - Aromatic with some cherry and other candied fruits balanced by a strong but not overpowering malt aroma. In particular some plum and raisin baked into homemade bread.

Taste - Much like the nose, some dark fruits and a fresh bread and grain malt to offset the fruits. Pretty tasty stuff.

Mouthfeel - Smooth and refreshing and it clings to your mouth a bit. Medium carbonation and a fairly light body. Well done for the style.

Overall - A fine brew that is well balanced and well-representative of the style. An obvious fairly local comparison is the Neustadt 10w30 and both stand up after further scrutiny as being really solid beers. I think I prefer this one a bit more mainly due to its pungent aromatics, but both are and enjoyable and affordable interpretation of the style.

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Photo of smakawhat
4.38/5  rDev +20%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from the can into a Becker Pint glass.

A real nice looking beer. Deep chestnut red and brown, clear if very dark. Thick fluffy light tan brown head and fluffy with lots of staying power. The body color is incredibly impressive with a dark ruby red color.

Nice nose with a mild chocolate sense, and light roast character. A bit of one hit wonder but not exclusively buy very solid.

Wonderful palate and mouthfeel. Great mix of chocolate and roast. Wonderful creamy body with silky texture and light coating. Nice toasty brown like flavors on the finish with matching chocolate and virtually no bitterness. Tight moderate carbonation with thick malt backbone and roast crackling pop feel.

Extremely impressed by this for its large flavor and creamy body. Some cross off crazy porter brown ale with light mild character. Fantastic stuff.

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Photo of EvanHarper
3.84/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Moderately dark red-amber color, small short-lived offwhite head. Clear with a few small slow-moving bubbles.

Pleasant aroma of plums, raisins, burnt sugar, hint of spice.

Light taste, more raisin and caramel flavors, smooth clean bittering hops, slight fruity esters.

Medium-body, light carbonation, excellent creamy smooth mouthfeel.

Oustanding smooth dark mild, a quaffable and well-balanced interpretation of the style.

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Photo of decimator
3.04/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

473ml can poured into a point glass. ABV 5%.

A - Poured a clear cola reddish brown, thin white head, lively carbonation, good lacing.

S - Toffee, toast, some caramel, some nuttiness.

T - Toffee, nutty, some toast, some sour notes, mild bitter finish. Overall the flavour is rather thin.

M - Medium carbonation, medium-light body, some creaminess, a bit watery, mostly dry finish.

O - Drinkable but in part because it's a on the light side.

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Photo of hopsolutely
3.8/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Although higher alcohol content than many a "mild", lots of flavour in this British-style beer.

Pours a dark amber colour with little head and low retention. Impressive aroma of roasted toffee and dark roasted malts. This leads into a more simple taste, with a sweet nuttiness before a pleasant but light roasted malt body and hop bitterness.

Not a beer I buy often, but one I always enjoy and would recommend to any fan of North American takes on British ales.

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Photo of SebD
3.73/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: It has a nice dark amber/brown color to it. It has a nice light tan head that dies down moderately and leaves some nice lacing.

Smell: The aromas definitely give out hints of caramel, roasted malts, nuts and toffee.

Taste: Like the aromas, it has a nice nutty character with caramel, roasted malts and some breadiness.

Mouthfeel: It has a medium carbonation with a nice overall balance and feel.

Drinkability: It's a very smooth drinkable beer accompanied with decent flavors and aromas.

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Photo of korguy123
3.62/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Dark brown, slightly hazy pour. Half finger creamy, light tan head. Lacing is decent.

Sweet biscuits, toffee, caramel, brown sugar. Light toasted malts with a touch of being toast.

Toasted malts, brown sugar, toffee and a touch of vanilla.

Light body, good carbonation.

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Photo of JamesMN
3.5/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Dark brown/caramel color that's translucent. Small film of off-white head. Not quite as dark as I expected given the name on the can, but I like a beer with good clarity none the less.

Aroma: Big toffee note and an overall sweetness to the aroma. Smells like a Scottish Ale. Nice caramel apple type scent. However, the smell isn't as robust as I'd like it to be.

Taste: Much less sweet than the aroma hinted at (which works in its favor). There are some interesting malts being used in this brew. That nice toffee aroma comes through in the flavor, but in a much more subdued way. It reins in the sweetness and just gives you the toffee flavor with a nice roasty bitterness to hold it all together. I'm tempted to call this one a tad watery, but at only 5% abv it's giving a lot of bang for the buck. Slightly dry aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Good carbonation and between medium and light in body. Easy drinking but the aftertaste becomes a little cloying about halfway through.

Final Thoughts: When I think of English Brown Ales, New Castle comes to mind. While Hockley Dark is in that same grain, it offers slightly less sweetness and a little more roughness on the palate. Overall, an interesting beer but not one that I would seek out again.

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Photo of maclean25
3.38/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The second in my ($8) 3-pack of cans.

It pours with a light beige, creamy head which reduces with lacing. The body is dark brown and appears clear but it's nearly opaque. The aroma is mostly rootbeer and licorice. It tastes sweet. It has no strong flavour but has hints of old coffee, dates, and roasted nuts. It has a light body and medium carbonation
Overall, another good beer from Hockley. I find it shares similar characteristics to their Black & Tan (this dark ale may have been used in that). This beer isn't spectacular but definitely above average.

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Photo of emerge077
3.55/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks Jay for sharing this beer. Served from a tall black & tan colored can, into a tulip glass. Reviewed from quick notes.

Overall impression was something of a Dark English Mild, mellow but with full bodied roast/coffee flavors. Aroma was soft and mild but carried some notes of dark roast and mild coffee. Dark in the glass but a light brown when poured from the can. Flavors were full and lightly roasty with some coffee and cocoa impressions. A light bitterness in the aftertaste from the roast, overall smooth and malty. A good beer i'd seek out while in Ontario, hopefully on cask or draft.

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Photo of thehyperduck
3.62/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Tallboy can from the LCBO; packaged April 2012. The last time I tried this was in April 2008, as one of my first BA reviews (which I am replacing with this updated one). I rather liked it then and have decided to give it another go.

Pours a deep crimson-and-copper colour; fairly dark but still translucent enough to see through when held up to the light. Atop the liquid is seated one-finger of dense, silky, light-beige coloured head, which leaves behind smears of lacing on the glass as it slowly seeps away. Pretty good retention. Pleasing aroma, with the most noticeable trait being the toasted malts and caramel, alongside notes of sweet chocolate and dark fruit. Just a hint of bitter coffee grounds on the nose.

I still enjoy the flavour of this stuff, though I am perhaps less enamored with it than I was during my original sampling. Roasted malts and caramel sweetness remain dominant, with a bit of a nutty feel to the malts. This is accompanied by milk chocolate, as well as some fruity notes that remind me of raisins or dates. Dry, roasty aftertaste that encourages further sips. On the light side of medium-bodied, with relatively low carbonation for an exceptionally smooth mouthfeel.

I still think this is one of the better OCB brown ales, and certainly one of the better commonly-available ones. Rich, malty flavours combined with an excellent balance between sweetness and dryness make this an extremely drinkable ale. A decent-to-solid brown ale, one that fans of the style should consider worth a try.

[Updated Oct. 18 2013]

Picked up another can of this (in a sampler pack), and I figured I'd give it another brief look. This is a well-made dark ale, though I fear my palate has moved on over the years as nothing about this strikes me as very interesting. Good balance, and not too saccharine. It's difficult to find a better mild, at least at this price point, so fans of the style might want to give this one a look if you're in the market for something straightforward and session-worthy.

Final Grade: 3.62, a B.

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Photo of papat444
3.29/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a 473ml. can, canned 280312.

Appearance: A vigorous pour yields less than 2 fingers of foam before disappearing. Body is better with a murky brown-red.

Smell: Caramel malt is strong with toasted grains, a bit of wheat and a dry fruit aroma.

Taste: Chewy caramel, dried fruits. Flavor is nice but wanting.

Mouthfeel: Better than the taste. Very creamy with low carbonation makes it a tad more pleasing.

Overall: Alright is the only word that comes to mind.

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Photo of NV9
3.02/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Tall can poured into a pint glass.

Not much head at all to this one and dissipated very quickly with only a little lacing. Very deep red colour.

Some hops evident in the smell, some chocolate aroma too and overall a roasty feel to the smell.

Smooth flavour, roasted feeling in the taste as well, with a slightly bitter finish.

A bit lighter than I expected, easily drinkable, and a solid dark ale.

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Photo of heebes
3.57/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Brewed in home town.

Poured into a mug a clear dark auburn with fizzy foam light tan head. Nose is somewhat thin, watery, with notes of chocolate and caramel malts, an English Brown style spiciness. Taste; surprisingly big in flavour with the earthy spice up front and dark malts rounding out the base. Still mild chocolatey sweetness, dry tasting with a bit of nutty flavour coming through. Mouthfeel is also mild, light bodied, dry and slightly watery/thin.
Overall, I always suspected this to be a stout, though its actually a well crafted mild brown, certainly more English as is found in plenty of Ontario breweries beers. I found it drinkable but not really something I will pick up often which is unfortunate seeing as its the local brewery in a small town.

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Photo of tbeckett
3.85/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours a dark red with a fizzy light brown head. Bright with strong carbonation. Half finger of retention. No lace.

S - Caramel, nuttiness, toffee, sugar, molasses.

T - Ohhhh. Nice combo of sugar, nuttiness, caramel, bread, dark fruits, caramel. Good stuff.

M - Good carbonation, light to medium body with a nutty/sugary date kinda finish.

O/D - Hockley seems to make some quality classic styles. Easy drinking, flavourful, and interesting. The rich malt character is appropriate for the cooler weather these days. I like it.

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Photo of TheSevenDuffs
3.62/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Tall can from the LCBO, poured in to Guinness pint glass.

A - Very dark, just slightly translucent amber colour with one finger of bubbly, thin khaki coloured head.

S - Toasted caramel grains, sweet caramel malts and a slight hop bitterness. Some light toffee notes too.

T - Sweet caramel, biscuit, toasted cereal grains, light toffee. Not much hop presence at all.

M - Medium body with moderate carbonation.

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Photo of Stocean1
3.55/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - one finger head with a little patchy lacing with it subsiding to a foamy caramel collar - colour is a deep brown leather with a hint of burgundy

S - dark malt dominates with some dark fruit

T - dark malt, dark bread, some floral hops, not overly bitter, figs, chocolate note

M - I enjoy this aspect of Hockley brews - plenty of carbonation and light to medium bodied, just enough bitterness to pull it together

O - another decent easy drinking brew by Hockley - not overly complex however it does not claim to be

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Photo of bryehn
3.4/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark cherry and brown cola-looking colour with a moderate frothy tan-coloured head that gets retained as a collar.

Smells like bitter dark chocolate, dark toffee and ripened dark fruit like cherries or blackberries. Wood notes as well as a sort of root beer one.

Tastes again like bitter dark chocolate at first. Buttery toffee comes through on the tongue before a solid crispness finishes. Fairly mild.

Rather light on the tongue, leaves a smokey, woody aftertaste. Smooth enough, but not something I'd want more than 1-2 of.

Not bad, but not enough body to back up the pungent smell. Pretty easy drinking and would make a good steak and potatoes accent.

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Photo of peensteen
3.35/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Dark brown with ruby highlights, minimal white head around the edges. Smell is dark fruit and raisin with roasted malt, though the roasted character is quite minimal and IMO not as upfront as it should be, faint notes of alcohol come and go. Roasted malt, light astringent notes, chocolate and coffee take shape and battle it out and is really apparent in the finish and aftertaste along with a roasty smoke. Carbonation is a touch high here, light feel but medium body. Not bad overall finishes stronger than how it starts.

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Photo of
3.58/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance - Pours deep brown with copper edges, very clear, finger of off white foam.
Aroma is predominantly toasty malt with subtle hops.
Flavour is smooth upfront, followed by roasted malt, chicory, and a bitter finish.
Solid English style dark ale.

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Photo of paxkey
4/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

this is my third hockley. tried the black and tan and the stout. both beers had a similar hops and malt profile i'm guessing this will be the same.

it says light body on the can so they do give a warning. i say that because that was my biggest criticism of the other two beers. great aroma and taste but slightly on the watery side.

letting the can warm up for 10 minutes out of the fridge.

big cascade in the glass. burnt orange color. tea like in appearance. big tan head. lots of carbonation.

big malt notes.roasty, coffee aroma.some chocolate. smells yummy

bitter and crisp. lots of roast malt on the finish. creme brulee. again a little thin in the body but less so than i remember from its stout and black and tan cousins.
very drinkable stuff.
definitely my favourite of their offerings so far.

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Photo of Kartoffeln
3.85/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a dark ruby-brown with a bubbly beige head; dissipates to a thin ring in short order with a bit of lacing.

S: Sweet and roasty malts, cocoa, and hints of fresh fruit.

T: Lightly roasted malts, sweet cocoa, and mild (as opposed to bitter) coffee. Takes on a notable fruity character in the finish as it warms, adding a pleasant dimension to the taste profile.

M: Light in carbonation and body, smooth mouthfeel.

D: Very sessionable, though that's in part because it's rather light for a brown ale. Hockley describes it as a cross between the Northern brown ale and the Midlands mild; I'd say it's quite an enjoyable twist on the style.

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Hockley Dark from Hockley Valley Brewing Co.
83 out of 100 based on 88 ratings.