1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Hockley Dark - Hockley Valley Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Hockley DarkHockley Dark

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

124 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 124
Reviews: 86
rAvg: 3.62
pDev: 9.94%
Wants: 2
Gots: 2 | 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:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: xlperro on 08-12-2004)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 124 | Reviews: 86 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of oldp0rt

Quebec (Canada)

3/5  rDev -17.1%

11-24-2011 03:16:04 | More by oldp0rt
Photo of NV9

Ontario (Canada)

3.03/5  rDev -16.3%

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.

10-22-2011 14:02:33 | More by NV9
Photo of heebes

Ontario (Canada)

3.55/5  rDev -1.9%

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.

09-29-2011 16:11:08 | More by heebes
Photo of tbeckett

Ontario (Canada)

3.88/5  rDev +7.2%

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.

09-09-2011 01:56:34 | More by tbeckett
Photo of TheSevenDuffs

Ontario (Canada)

3.6/5  rDev -0.6%

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.

09-05-2011 18:36:17 | More by TheSevenDuffs
Photo of Stocean1

Ontario (Canada)

3.55/5  rDev -1.9%

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

08-10-2011 22:43:19 | More by Stocean1
Photo of bryehn

Ontario (Canada)

3.35/5  rDev -7.5%

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.

06-22-2011 20:50:11 | More by bryehn
Photo of peensteen

Ontario (Canada)

3.38/5  rDev -6.6%

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.

06-22-2011 14:52:01 | More by peensteen
Photo of

3.58/5  rDev -1.1%

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.

04-19-2011 23:18:30 | More by
Photo of paxkey

Ontario (Canada)

4/5  rDev +10.5%

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.

04-18-2011 18:03:06 | More by paxkey
Photo of Kartoffeln

Ontario (Canada)

3.88/5  rDev +7.2%

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.

03-18-2011 02:00:24 | More by Kartoffeln
Photo of marty21

Manitoba (Canada)

3.78/5  rDev +4.4%

A: Pours a clear dark reddish/brown with a big fluffy light tan head. Settles to a solid cap and leaves great lacing. The lacing practically covers all of the glass.

S: For the aroma up front it's roasted malts and chocolate with some dark fruits lingering in the back. The aroma isn't extremely strong but it's pleasant.

T: It has a light roasted taste to it with hints of caramel and chocolate. Just like the aroma some dark fruit tastes linger near the back and as the beer warms a bit more you also get some milk chocolate in the aftertaste. It's a good taste but a little watered down which leaves you wanting more from it.

M: Light carbonation with a light body. Very drinkable.

D: I enjoyed this beer. The one complaint I have is that it's a bit light. On Hockley's website they say they "tweaked the body slightly to give it a lighter, more North American appeal." I wish it had a fuller body and taste. The light body keeps making you come back for more to make up for the lightness and you end up finishing the can rather quickly. Overall still a good beer.

01-13-2011 17:57:53 | More by marty21
Photo of spinrsx

Ontario (Canada)

3.58/5  rDev -1.1%

500ml Can

Appearance - The beer pours a dark reddish-brown colour with a very large size rocky and creamy beige head. I can't see much carbonation and there is some really fantastic lacing all over the sides of the glass. The head lasted for a very long time before it began to dissipate.

Smell - Malts, chocolate, cookies, toffee

Taste & Mouth - There is an average amount of carbonation on the tongue and the beer feels a little watery but also very smooth. I can taste lots of malts, coffee, chocolate and a cookie flavour. The beer finishes with a pleasing malty aftertatste.

Drink - The beer really does have a nice appearance, and it is a really easy drinking beer. I could definitely session this one and I'm happy I tried it.

12-03-2010 12:45:03 | More by spinrsx
Photo of scott451

Ontario (Canada)

3.88/5  rDev +7.2%

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.

11-07-2010 22:53:53 | More by scott451
Photo of woodychandler


4.33/5  rDev +19.6%

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?

10-31-2010 17:50:54 | More by woodychandler
Photo of Mit

Ontario (Canada)

2.93/5  rDev -19.1%

a- Pours a dark amber colour with a respectable head.

s-kinda thin smelling. Slight maltiness to the beer.

t-again kinda thin....bready notes very slight coffee flavors coming through.

m-thin..feels like a 4% beer.

d-pretty drinkable...not much to it IMO.

09-13-2010 01:35:04 | More by Mit
Photo of kwjd

Ontario (Canada)

3.5/5  rDev -3.3%

Pours an amber-brown colour that starts off with thick white head. Head dissipates and leaves a small ring, with a tiny bit of lacing. Smells of grain and bready malts, with some sweet fruit. Taste is very sweet and malty. Carbonation level is good, with smooth mouthfeel, though maybe a little bit thin body. An ok beer for the style.

08-26-2010 22:19:06 | More by kwjd
Photo of IllNate

British Columbia (Canada)

3.63/5  rDev +0.3%

This courtesy of Liamt07, cheers!

A - Nice amber-brown colour. Finger of off white head which lingers for a bit, but subsides after a few minutes.

S - Smells of bready malt which is to style. Nothing really stand out though.

T - Taste follows with biscuit and bready malt. Very malt forward, no detectable hop flavor.

M - Quite smooth, but also quite full bodied. Nice feel on this.

D - Not overly drinkable. Pretty much every English beer should be a session beer, so a little disappointing here. Would have liked to see a bit lower alcohol on this which would be true to style, although it fits in the Northern English Brown category.

08-17-2010 23:31:40 | More by IllNate
Photo of TheHammer

Ontario (Canada)

2.93/5  rDev -19.1%

Appearance: Very dark, almost stout dark to be honest, although dark red and brown can be seen when held up to the light. Started with a solid finger and a half of head, and stuck around for a while, but produced no lace.

Smell: Well roasted malt dominates the nose, with well roasted smoke and charcoal elements. However the is the underpinning scent of black licorice that throws me a bit off. Warming helped it out, but it did decent cold too.

Taste: Well it starts with fairly mild but well roasted malt, but as it goes down, something kicks in to give it a dark chocolate and black licorice taste that I find to be an unappealing mix. Light earthy and fruity hops come and try to save they day, but sadly is just not strong enough to override the mix.

Mouthfeel: I dunno, the carbonation seems to help the whole beer out, which is good but a beer this strong you would think would be thicker and creamier. It shifts between states well, and while I don't like the taste the aftertaste makes a quiet case for itself before leaving, which is nice.

Drinkability: It's somewhere between light and medium bodied, so you could probably put a few back, but it's the taste that is really hamstringing this one. It's just...odd. I mean it just seems to be too thin for something this dark.

Final Thoughts: I really don't think this ale is served well as an English Brown, as it is listed here the malt character just isn't there. It really comes more across as a darker ale to me. After checking the website, this seems to have been what they were going for, a cross between and English Brown and a Mild Dark. I like my browns, and I usually prefer them with sweeter malt then dark and nutty, so black licorice is not what I'm looking for in this style, or frankly any beer.

Edit: Crap, I got it in a can, not a bottle.

08-15-2010 00:23:40 | More by TheHammer
Photo of joemcgrath27

Alberta (Canada)

3.83/5  rDev +5.8%

A - a clear dark amber red, mountain of off white head that retains well and nice lacing
S - roasty and sweet caramel malts, hints of piney hops, gentle coffee hints
T - rich nuttiness blends well with the molasses malt flavour, some roasted coffee and cocoa, and subtle piney hops
M - smooth and relatively light, some dryness but mostly filling the mouth with a rich feel
D - a little thinner than I expected but not in a bad way, the flavours are balanced well, could probably enjoy a few of these but not a full session

07-15-2010 04:09:07 | More by joemcgrath27
Photo of ChrisCage

Alberta (Canada)

3.93/5  rDev +8.6%

A- Pours a dark brown with a reddish hue in the light, and is quite clear. I didn't get much of a head and it was quite fizzy. I looks to be quite lite in body and there isn't much lacing. Not a very impressive look unfortunately.

S- Has typical nutty aromas, particularly of walnut/freshly cracked chestnuts. It also has sweet toffee/caramel aromas that are quite prevalent. |The undertones are of roasted malt and a bit of cocoa. I don't smell much in terms of hops but that isn't something I expect for this style.

T- The flavors of this beer are similar to the aromas but a little bit muted. The bitter dark chocolate and roasted malts come through. The hopped aspect also makes an appearance, providing a dry tasting brew that has a rich bittersweet toffee flavor...yum! One of the best tasting brown ales I've had!

M- The carbonation is a little heavier than in an actual English Brown Ale, but not bad. The body is also lighter, but this is purposely done by Hockley for a more North American appeal. Not bad....nothing special though.

D- I would have no problem having a few pints of this over the course of an evening. A perfect session beer but would also be nice with food. I recommend this brew for any beer drinker, and think it would be a good way to get into a darker beer.

04-19-2010 02:47:36 | More by ChrisCage
Photo of biboergosum

Alberta (Canada)

3.9/5  rDev +7.7%

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.

04-03-2010 04:15:36 | More by biboergosum
Photo of bartle

Ontario (Canada)

3.5/5  rDev -3.3%

Pours a very rich dark copper, sunburst even. Creamy white head. Decent retention.

Aroma of mixed nuts, toffee, vanilla, lots of malt sweetness. Caramelized sugars and a slight earthy finish. Mildly sulphur sensations.

Caramel sweetness from the roasted malt, slightly nutty, vanilla, presented by the nose, dry earthy finish. Fresh baked sourdough bread.

It holds moderate carbonation, slightly dry, salty even. Palatable, very nice lingering sugars that lay softly on the tongue. No real off sensations.

A very pleasant beer to drink.

02-06-2010 23:44:47 | More by bartle
Photo of elricorico

Alberta (Canada)

3.6/5  rDev -0.6%

Dark brown, but not dark enough to block light, medium brown on the edges. Two fingers of tan head off the pour, but it falls to a thin cap after a couple of minutes. A bit of lacing here and there as I drink.

Nutty and slightly chocolatey in the the aroma. A pretty standard aroma for an English Brown, but nice just the same.

Smooth nutty flavour that is very quaffable. Nothing here that is especially stand-out, but also nothing that I can say I don't like about it. Medium bodied with average carbonation.

All together just a well made English Brown. Doesn't stray from the style, and doesn't come up short either.

01-18-2010 02:26:54 | More by elricorico
Photo of MeisterBurger

Ontario (Canada)

3.85/5  rDev +6.4%

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.

01-15-2010 03:27:43 | More by MeisterBurger
Hockley Dark from Hockley Valley Brewing Co.
82 out of 100 based on 124 ratings.