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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: 140
Avg: 3.65
pDev: 10.14%
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 (11) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 88 | Hads: 140
Photo of terryeckmeier
4.5/5  rDev +23.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I had tried the stout before and felt like trying the dark. It very good, much better than expected. Nice dark brown with some reds coming off it when held close to the light. Nice head but disapates quickly. Nice rich flavours I didn't get the coffe but I did smell and taste the sweet malty flavours. Great chocolate flavour would be a great beer to have with a good piece of cake.

Will buy again.

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Photo of funkengruven
4.44/5  rDev +21.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Surprisingly delicious. Looks like A fine pint of stout. Smells absolutely amazing. Hints of berries and mocha, and something that somewhat resembles chicory. Taste has hints of mocha, a slight astringent, and an aftertaste that is of lightly roasted grains. Mouthfeel is bold, slightly carbonsated. Quite nice. Pretty drinkable, pretty heavy, not a session beer, but makes for an excellent after-dinner apertif.

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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 woodychandler
4.32/5  rDev +18.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thank you to BigBry for another CAN in another rolling CANTrade. There are a core group of us that will score CANs, save them up and send them on to others on a routine basis. It is pretty free-form and nobody is keeping track (hopefully), but CANned beer comes and goes pretty routinely. I find it highly ironic, however, that a beer that has primarily been reviewed from a CAN had a picture of a swing-top growler!

From the CAN: "At Hockley Valley Brewing Company we take our time brewing our beer. In fact each step of the brewing process is done by hand in small batches. This 'hands on' approach to our craft ensures 'The Perfect Balance'".

The Crack & Glug went according to plan, resulting in a finger-plus of mocha-tan head with good retention. Color was a ruby-red with NE-quality clarity. Nose smelled redolently of cocoa. Mouthfeel was medium with an immediate taste of chocolate on the tongue. Finish was very chocolaty, but of milk chocolate, as opposed to dark chocolate, which is the standard. Dang! I could drink this as a regular thing. I really found this to be enjoyable on a slow afternoon in mid-Autumn. It might be too sweet for a day at the beach, but today? Beautiful!

Also from the CAN: "mild, light body, full flavour" and "Proudly Craft Brewed in Ontario, CANada". CANadian CANned beer, CAN you dig it?

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Photo of Derek
4.27/5  rDev +17%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Very dark brown, with a little tan head that receeded before any lacing could be found.

Roasty, fruity odours.

Has a wonderful roasty taste, without any burnt, highly-bitter flavour. Well-rounded caramel flavour. A hint of grassy hops, which isn't common with the English style, but adds some interesting depth.

Mouthfeel was light to moderate.

Very drinkable.

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Photo of CrazyMike
4.13/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A very dark and smooth beer. Smells good and goes down with no problem. Although somewhat difficult to find in some areas, I thought it was great.

I would highly recommend this to anyone who likes British or Irish style beers. Somewhat like Guiness, but since Guiness isn't for everyone, this goes down easily without a strong taste.

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Photo of assurbanipaul
4.1/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 5

Pours a very dark brown with a frothy cappuccino head. Aroma is all malt, rich and silky with a trace of molasses.

Taste is pure dark roasty malt. Hints of coffee, molasses or bitter chocolate but it's all malt, all the way down. More dry chocolate and caramel emerge as I work through the bottle.

Mouthfeel is light, maybe a little too thin, but extremely drinkable. This is an excellent example of the triumph of simplicity: a simple beer with simple flavor that simply shines.

Swing-top liter bottle as pictured, taped seal hand-dated "10/05/06"

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Photo of Mandrake
4.03/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep brown with plenty of ruby highlights and a well formed two finger head that lasts well and leaves some good lacing. Smells of nuts and cocoa, with a pleasant sweet maltiness and just a touch of bittering hops in the background. Taste is quite full, with more roasted chocolate and a touch of coffee accompanied by a very nice nuttiness and a kiss of hops in the finish, which is nice and long. Mouthfeel is thick and substantial, and well carbonated as well, and drinkability is quite good. A very good session ale, which would, I'm sure, become a staple if it were available here. As it is I have to thank pootz for this very appreciated part of the CANBIF2 package.

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Photo of crwills
4.03/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A beer brewed in the town I was born in. Cool!

Poured from a big 500 mL can into a pint glass. Nice deep brown colour with a bit of red in it. Not much carbonation -- a small but thick stout-like head that faded quickly.

Smell is very floral, with some honey and fruit (sweet grapes), and malt. The can may have added a bit of a metallic flavour to it, but it's hardly discernable.

Taste has some hop bitterness, flowers, and bitter fruits (melons or something).

Mouthfeel is very dry and pleasant -- my favourite aspect of this beer. Hockley Valley Dark is pleasantly bitter, and goes great with salty food (I had mine with fried ham and home fries -- yum!)

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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 cyrenaica
4/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

473ml can
5.0% ABV

I tried this beer on June 7, 2008 after purchasing from one of my local LCBO outlets. The beer poured a very dark translucent brown, with some reddish hints. The head was tan coloured, and lasted. The aroma was roasted malt, chocolate, and toffee. The mouthfeel was medium bodied, creamy, with a sour hint. The flavour was roasted malt, dry cocoa, and a little bit of sourness and bitterness covering the tongue.

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Photo of JustinBathurst
3.98/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured out of the 500 mL can a really heavy dark tan head of big frothy bubbles. Everything else is a dark, opaque brown with red at the edges. The head hung around for longer than expected, remained a lacy topping throughout.

Aroma is mild grassy hops (it gets grassier as it warms), sweet molasses and toasted malt.

Mouthfeel is medium-full bodied with pleasant spicy carbonation that's more intense than usual.

Right away I detect grape sweetness on the tongue, some honey (more as it warms), mild hoppy bitterness. Some roasted coffee beans hang around. In the aftertaste, I get a bit of tangy chocolate.

I enjoy this one quite a bit. It goes the extra distance without trying to be too explosive or too showy. Good to have on a warm summer night on the patio.

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Photo of irishkyle21
3.95/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours with a fair sized head, some retention and lacing. A rouge-vin colour.

Smells of dark fruits, caramel, burnt malt and some chocolate. Very pleasant and more complex than I remembered.

Great flavor on the tongue. Dark fruits, molasses, the hops are just noticeable but play there part, leaving behind some earthy grass essences. A definite go to session beer.

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Photo of pootz
3.95/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bought a couple of liter growlers from the brewery…filled fresh that day.

Poured a dark, crystal clear cola-chestnut brown with a 2 finger tan cap that will reduced to a surface covering lace that lasts out the drink. (great heading lots of grain protien)

Medium carbonation was evident in the glass. Aromas of caramel malts, plumbs, spices and grassy hops with a subtle undertone of wet burlap mustiness…nice.

Starts out with a rocky mouth-feel full of roasted toffee malts then mellows as the hops impart a balance that gives the impression of lemongrass and caramelized treacle in equilibrium. The finish is smooth and lasting where the breadiness of the malt lingers with a metallic hop aftertaste.

A very decent, well balanced pint of brown ale. Recommended. I’d buy more if it was more widely available….but the back road bike run to the brewery is half the fun.

If you bike, mail me I’ll send you a map to scoot in to the Hockley brewery with some lovely winding roads.

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Photo of DrJay
3.95/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Clear, dark brown or chestnut colour topped by a long-lasting tan head. Dark and roasted malts come through in the aroma. There's quite a lot going on here, with coffee, some graininess, and a light grassy hoppiness sitting behind the malt and chocolate character. It starts with light bitterness and some caramel sweetness. At the finish, the sweet character is stronger and contributes the most to the aftertaste, with the hop bitterness becoming more muted. Overall, the flavour is mostly from dark malts, with some sweetness provided by crystal malts and a little nuttiness present. There's a nice roasted flavour that's not as strong as in the aroma and a well-balanced hop bitterness. It has a medium/light body, very smooth mouthfeel. Definitely a pleasant surprise from a relatively new brewery (at least to me).

1 L brown swing top bottle, no freshness date.

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Photo of atomicbolt
3.95/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

473 mL can, figured I'd give it a shot.

Looks very nice in my mug - near-black with a reddish-brown tinge. Creamy beige cap that laces its way down. Smells like molasses and roasted coffee, quite sweet smelling. The body's nice and mild with a good amount of roasty sweet malt, maybe a bit too carbonated on the tongue. Nice creamy texture overall, though. Has the full flavour of a stout without the thick texture, and goes down real smooth with a definite aftertaste of roasted coffee. Quite drinkable, too.

Overall I really liked this beer. I haven't had enough English dark ales to compare it with (although I quite like Newcastle) but I've been inspired to try and find more.

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Photo of NightINgale
3.95/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Dark brown body with a fluffy light brown head. Not much carbonation is visible. Head retention is a bit weak and the lacing isn't that noticeable (probably because I've had this can for a while).

S - A very roasty malt aroma. Hints of caramel, together with a pronounced roasted coffee beans smell. Some faint floral hoppiness.

T - Loads of roasted coffee notes, as well as some dark chocolate, and a little bit of caramel. Some dark fruit undertones are also there (plum, raisin). Overall, the sweetness is a bit too modest for a brown ale. The finish also has that roastiness and is somewhat dry and bready.

M - Light-to-medium body to it. The carbonation is very pleasant, and it adds a little to the beer's thickness. Smooth, though a bit bitter.

D - Quite good, as long as it does not warm up too much or becomes flat. Obviously, this is more of a session beer than a beer to be savoured for too long.

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Photo of Shiloh
3.92/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A cola like appearance with a short crown, limited lace and some glass ring with medium+ carbonation.
The nose has a quality of roasted nuts and cocoa.
The taste is very pleasent in that the roasted nuts are foremost, followed by bakers chocolate, and a nice hoppy finish that has some impressive linger.
The body is a medium.
A very nice product.

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Photo of CAMRAhardliner
3.92/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This is the only Ontario craft brew I can think of thats available in a can. The can looks nice with a black and tan motif with 'Hockley Dark' in big letters and 'Mild, light bodied and full flavored' in smaller ones underneath.

The pour shows a very dark mahogany with ruby glints. The head is small and quickly becomes a ring leaving little lace. The are two cool counter flowing whirpools of foam on the surface that Ive never seen before. They lasted for a few minutes, even through sips. The aoma is a nice mix of chocolate malt, herbal hops and some roasty bitterness. The taste is quite roasty, more so than any brown ale Ive ever tried. Theres some nice hop bitterness and chocolate. Theres more roasted malt bitterness than hop bitterness. The mouthfeel is thin and unevenly carbonated.

Overall this is a good Brown Ale worth trying. Its got lots of flavor but could use a little more body.

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Photo of Frozensoul327
3.9/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A very well rounded offering from Hockley. Pours out to a deep ruby color that appears coffee black. Medium low carbonation. Small head of brownish white foam dissipated rather quickly. Aromas of roasted malts and cocoa, with some dark unsweetened chocolate notes. A touch of mild bourbon. Nice. Taste is medium bodied and very enjoyable; roasted malts, mild chocolate, a touch of sweet grain, caramel and the hops are even noted, playing a well founded evening role. Mouthfeel is medium bodied and a touch creamy. Drinkability is rather good. One of the better Brown Ales i've had. Recommended.

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Photo of biboergosum
3.88/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

After so many walk-pasts in a previous life at the LCBO, this 473ml can with strong Team Canada tendencies arrives on the shelves of my local Alberta booze emporium.

This beer pours a clear dark reddish brown hue, with two fingers of thinly creamy off-white head, which leaves a low wall of ebbing shoreline lace around the glass as it gradually melts away.

It smells of biscuity, semi-sweet bready malt, a touch of bitter citrus, and floral, earthy hops. The taste is more sturdy biscuity caramel malt, softly sweet nutty notes, an understated chocolate nuttiness, and earthy, somewhat leafy hops.

The carbonation is rather moderate, but not out of it altogether, the body medium weight and agreeably smooth. It finishes on the sweet side, the nutty and chocolate notes persisting over the kind of languishing hop character.

A pretty decent brown ale, well balanced between the sweet, savoury and crisp British bitter notes. A prime candidate for sessioning, no matter where you are in this broadly spanning country of ours.

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Photo of ThatWineGuy
3.87/5  rDev +6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured out of a can dark, cola but in a brighter light, a dark grape juice with a flash of crimson or purple. Light brown head, half finger and less, with slow, steady stream of fine bubbles, although it later went flat at mid-tasting. Smells of chocolate ice cream, chicory, butterscotch ...hmm, promising! Bitter chocolate taste with coffee beans, cocoa, a touch of hops. Gentle, smooth mouthfeel and a dry lingering finish, walnuts. Delightfully light despite all that going on, I would recommend this and love to try it out of a keg or on draft sometime, or even out of a bottle to compare.


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Photo of scott451
3.87/5  rDev +6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint glass. A thin fine tan head which soon diminished to a ring. A clear reddish dark amber.

Sweet malt smells. Ripe fruit. Some phenols. Plums and figs. Ripe fruit taste. Plum and fig again. Quite lively for a brown ale. Bready yeast at the finish.

Quite light really. Moderate carbonation. Very sessionable.

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Photo of seand
3.87/5  rDev +6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a pint glass.

A: Pours a dark translucent brown, with a small tan head. The head disappears pretty quickly, but leaves a ring around the edge of the glass leaving pretty good lacing.

S: Caramel, raisins, malty.

T: Sweet, fruit and light yeast with a little bit of a bitter finish.

M: Medium to light body, medium carbonation, almost cola-like. A tiny bit of astringency.

D: Quite easy to drink.

A pretty good brown/dark ale, I'd consider buying it again if I wanted something in the style.

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Photo of MeisterBurger
3.87/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

While very dark in the glass, when held up to the light it's surprisingly translucent, clear, golden and some nice orange hues are revealed. This is topped by a dense, creamy head that dies down very, very slowly. In the end it fades to a collar but with every sip it gains new life.

The aroma invokes memories of a childhood spend scarfing down Kraft Caramels---rich, sweet, creamy and caramelly. Wow. That takes me back. I used to live off those things. There's some really appealing roasted notes as well.

Alas, the taste doesn't quite deliver the sweet, creamy caramel that the aroma promises, but it ain't bad. Sweet...almost reminiscent of another confectionery favorite from the past, this time from my teens: Twix. Sweet caramel and cookies covered in milk chocolate. All with a dry, bitter, nutty, roasty finish.

Unfortunately the thin body lets this beer down. It's decently carbonated but the thin mouthfeel seems to make it harder for the malty sweetness to really engage the palate.

According to the website: "It is a cross between a Northern Brown ale with its caramel, nut and soft toffee notes and a Midlands Mild with its subtle chocolate, licorice and dark fruit undertones." Yeah. That works for me. I don't think I would have pegged this strictly as a English Brown Ale as it's listed here. Anyway, I don't get a lot of dark fruit, if any, but now that I have read that, there is a slight licorice note lingering in the finish all right.

Sadly right after that they add: "We've tweaked the body slightly to give it a lighter, more North American appeal." Bugger. I can't imagine that helped things any.

ETA: I'm just noticing that the lowest grade for this beer is a B- and the highest is a B+. I guess the next step is to work out if being consistently above average and just below excellence right across the board is necessarily something to be proud of? Whatever the case, it seems at least somewhat remarkable to have this much of a consensus with not a single champion or detractor in the midst.

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