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Hook & Ladder Backdraft Brown - Hook & Ladder Brewing Company (No. 2)

Hook & Ladder Backdraft BrownHook & Ladder Backdraft Brown

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

229 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 229
Reviews: 185
rAvg: 3.57
pDev: 14.01%

Brewed by:
Hook & Ladder Brewing Company (No. 2) visit their website
Maryland, United States

Style | ABV
English Brown Ale |  4.50% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: Todd on 01-21-2002)
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Ratings: 229 | Reviews: 185 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of TheDinger

South Carolina

3.75/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- Dark brown pour with minimal head. Almost root beer appearance. Decent lacing throughout.

S- A bit disappointing, almost non-existent. Some roasted malt notes, but faint.

T- Surprisingly smooth and rich. A hint of carmel with a little hop kick to finish. A little thin toward the finish.

M- A bit thin for a brown. Gravitates toward watery.

O- Was pleasantly surprised with the well rounded taste of malts, hops and carmel. Would like it to have a little more flavor and some bite, but a decent effort and an easy drinking brown. Would have another-

Serving type: on-tap

10-04-2011 01:09:34 | More by TheDinger
Photo of Lunch


3.9/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served from on-tap at Copper Canyon in Silver Spring, Maryland into a 16oz. pint glass that was frosted (why?) (04/10/10).

A: Pours a murky rusty brown capped with 1 finger of an off-white head.

S:Decent malty aroma with a slight roasted caramel character.

T: The flavor here is all malt. Some brown sugar and caramel accompany a slightly roasted malt.

M: Medium-bodied with moderate carbonation and a bit of creaminess.

D: Very easy to drink and not a bad beer to accompany a meal as it is quite mild.

Overall this was a decent brown ale that I would have no problem revisiting in the future.

Serving type: on-tap

04-21-2010 18:23:56 | More by Lunch
Photo of beergod1


3.65/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured a dark/clear with a decent head, aroma I thought smelled like a cleaning solution? and first sip was a little metalic, or soapy, kinda hard to describe, it was a clean glass too. But, once it warmed up a touch, it was a whole new beer. Dark roasted malt, with what seems to be a spicy dark belgian. turned out to be a nice Brown....but wait for a warmer brew, maybe upper 40's.

Serving type: on-tap

03-27-2010 12:42:53 | More by beergod1
Photo of champ103


3.08/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a clear brown color. At first a one finger beige head forms, but recedes in an instant. Some nice sticky lace is left behind.
S: Caramel, coffee, and a light toasted aroma. Lots of cereal and grain as well. Kind of metallic.
T: Light caramel sweetness and toasted flavor. Not much else here. A light metallic twang as the taste lingers.
M/D: A light body that is over carbonated and watery. This is not hard to drink, but the prickly carbonation detracts a bit.

Pretty bland as far as I am concerned. Not bad, but nothing to really recommend.

Serving type: on-tap

07-02-2009 03:59:49 | More by champ103
Photo of grayburn

South Carolina

3.9/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A beautiful ruby brown shade as the light shines through. Smallish cream colored head that laces a little bit through the beer.

The smell is the weakest link in this beer, there are some light caramel notes and some roastiness, it just isn't quite strong enough.

The same notes in the nose are there in the taste, not as subdues this time. Nice flavorful beer.

The mouthfeel is good, low carbonation a nice chewy body, still just light enough to be sessionable. Very nice...plus some of the proceeds go helping burn victims...nice.

Serving type: on-tap

05-10-2009 06:42:49 | More by grayburn
Photo of BigBry

Alberta (Canada)

3.75/5  rDev +5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Had this on tap at the Clark Street Alehouse in Chicago.
Pint arrived with little or no head, dark brown colored liquid. Aromas of sweet malts but not much else. Typical brown ale flavor, slightly sweet and roasted malt, with a touch of bitterness at the end. I would call this medium to light bodied, and kind of thin, average mouthfeel. Good drinkibility, smooth sessional.

Serving type: on-tap

04-20-2009 21:19:39 | More by BigBry
Photo of whitehouse50

New Jersey

3.75/5  rDev +5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 5

Had this on tap at Andy's. Pours a very dark brown color with a lot of light that could pass through it.

Aromas of semi sweet malts with a slight bite to it.

The one is medium to lite bodied and has suddle falvors to it. Overall a little sweetness and slight roasted malts notes with a slight bitter finish at the end.

Mouthfeel is average not too bad not too good. But the drinkibility on this one is through the roof. I could pound these all night long as this one goes down pretty smooth.

This one just needs some more flavor.

Serving type: on-tap

03-20-2009 00:08:58 | More by whitehouse50
Photo of TheDeuce

New York

2.78/5  rDev -22.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Hook & Ladder Backdraft Brown..on tap in Philly, PA

Appearance-deep brown with black streaks, tan foamy head.

Smell-sweet and malty, a little bit of coffee and other candy sweetness in the aroma.

Taste/Mouthfeel-underwhelming, malty and sweet, body could be fuller, a little watery, not necessarily unenjoyable but nothing too great.

Drinkable-acceptable brown ale.

Overall-nothing about this beer really wowed me, an ok beer but not great. Disappointed.

Serving type: on-tap

03-15-2009 18:47:26 | More by TheDeuce
Photo of weeare138


3.75/5  rDev +5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appears a semi-transparent dark amber with a small, light tan head that slowly fades. Small streaks of lacing are left around the glass.
Smell is of brown sugar, caramel, toasty malts, whoppers candy.
Taste is of malty grains, grainy nuts, and brown sugar.
Mouthfeel is medium bodied with light bitterness that is outweighed by the overall sweetness of this beer.
Overall, it's decent and drinkable.

Serving type: on-tap

03-11-2009 21:20:47 | More by weeare138
Photo of asabreed

New York

3.65/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Depending on the pour, since sometimes it was filled to the brim (not that I complained or anything), a nice mocha-colored head, though not much head retention or lacing left on the glass.

Smell: Mild chocolate cream, toasted nuts, mildly toasted malt flavors, and some graininess.

Taste: Flavors of mild chocolate, grains, toasted malts, and nutty flavors dominate overall.

Mouthfeel: Fairly creamy and medium-bodied, with good carbonation nicely not too cloying or big.

Drinkability: I had 3 or 4 of these, and it was certainly a highly sessionable brew, especially if you're into the style. Nothing mindblowing, but pretty good overall.

Serving type: on-tap

11-11-2008 01:21:38 | More by asabreed
Photo of thekevlarkid


3.53/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Tried this one on tap at Drink, thanks Travis! Delivered to my table, this beer was an appropriately beer-bottle brown color. The head was impressive, pillowy, two fingers thick and it both retained and laced well. The aromas were very faint, toasted malt and an ill-defined toffee/caramel sweetness. The flavors were toasted malt and nuts at first but a little floral hops showed up later. Rather simple but not unlikable. The mouthfeel was average but it does come off as quite sessionable.

Serving type: on-tap

09-17-2008 17:22:57 | More by thekevlarkid
Photo of superdedooperboy


3.38/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Deep brown in appearance with a half-finger, tan-colored head that stuck throughout and left a nice layer of lacing.

Aroma was a bit lacking. Maybe my sniffer wasn't working at full power, but I detected very little aroma aside from a faint toffee smell.

The beer was medium-bodied and smooth. Taste was at first simply a thin graininess that rounded out a bit as the beer warmed into a thicker malty backbone with a hint of hops in the finish.

Really nothing special from this brew. As far as a brown ale goes, it doesn't compare to any of the more well-established in the style. Nothing bad, just nothing to make it stand out amongst the crowd.

Serving type: on-tap

08-17-2008 02:01:41 | More by superdedooperboy
Photo of Durge


3.63/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Served in a pint glass at Bohemian Pizza in Litchfield, CT, this brew has a dark root beer color with a thin but steady light tan head and excellent lacing. The aroma is a mild coffee malt with a touch of citrus wheat. The taste is a fairly bright and aqueous walnut and sour apple, some light malt and floral hops. Spritely carbonation, easy drinking. Some caramel sweetness at the finish. Not bad, not great.

Serving type: on-tap

08-06-2008 05:14:59 | More by Durge
Photo of Suds


3.75/5  rDev +5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I sampled a pint of this brew on-tap during a recent trip back to the USA. It's a deep, chestnut brown color, with a whispy tan head. It's really a fairly average-looking brown ale. The aroma is of faintly roasted grains and a little malt. Very little hop aroma. The taste, though, is more intense, with the roastedness really coming through. There's a bitterness in the finish, and a lot of grain throughtout the taste. A very low crabonation helped the beer. Medium to full in body. This is a drinkable, and very applealing, if not extraordinary beer.

Serving type: on-tap

04-05-2008 03:48:59 | More by Suds
Photo of harpo111


3.73/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

a - dark, nice color..not a bunch of head...a little lacing

s - malty, some hops

t - nice, balanced, some hops..carmalized malts.

m - nice...carbonation is very pronouned

d - good, i had two of them...not overpowering.

nice brown...smooth. I was hoping for a little more bite, but overall very nice and balanced...

Serving type: on-tap

03-17-2008 04:12:19 | More by harpo111
Photo of blackie


3.2/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

a: dark brown in color with a very well-retained khaki head

s: Similar to the aroma. Predominantly nutty and toffee malts with an aged, earthy hop aroma.

m: carbonation around medium and smooth, medium body

t: Nutty, moderately sweet malts with a nice note of chocolate powder in the finish. Moderately hopped.

d: a decent alternative to the macros available...enjoyable

standard pint at Crystal City Sports Bar Alexandria

Serving type: on-tap

03-11-2008 07:18:28 | More by blackie
Photo of BravoTwo


3.68/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A - Dark brown, mahogany color with a light tan minimal head, that dissapated quickly leaving slight lacing.

S - Nice malty smell, dark with a hint of floral aroma hops.

T - Good solid taste, nice malty sweetness with a touch of floral hops in the finish. No overpowering tastes here, very well balanced.

M - Average, light carbonation with a thinner mouthfeel.

D - Good drinkability, not a heavy brew which would allow one to drink several of these beers in a session.

Overall, a good beer that is sessionable as a brown ale. Balanced with no overpowering notes. Maybe not as strong as others of this style but very solid.

Serving type: on-tap

03-09-2008 18:38:39 | More by BravoTwo
Photo of Gambrinus1184


3.75/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served on-tap at the Playwright in Hamden, Conn.

A: Poured a very dark, almost black color, but deep ruby highlights shone through when held up to the light. Almost no head, but the brew looks really deep for a brown.

S: Smells faintly nutty and malty. Some smoked wood comes through as well.

T: Tastes a little hoppy and bitter, which was a nice surprise and a great compliment to the smoked malt. Just the right amount of sticky sweetness to make this a very nice drinking American brown.

M: Mouthfeel is full, which is a bit of a negative for drinkability for a brown, but it's a great winter find.

D: The taste is rich, I wouldn't want to session it, but I'd definitely want to have it again. You won't be disappointed.

Great microbrew from a Maryland brewpub. Surprised to find it here in CT, but damn glad it was. I wish I could get a growler of it someplace.

Serving type: on-tap

12-06-2007 05:29:22 | More by Gambrinus1184
Photo of elvishfarmer


4.8/5  rDev +34.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

Poured into glass from tap at Max's Taphouse in Fells Point, Baltimore, MD.

I've been disappointed with "browns" in the past, notably New Castle. Overbearing, over-carbonated and overpriced. Backdraft Brown shatters all and will leave you begging for more. Has a welcomed nose of coffee and chocolate but is far more palatable than porters with the same aromas. Finish is a light coating on your palate that lingers a bit like Guinness but surprisingly does not compete with any food. Had it with garlic mussels and a burger and fries. The single-handedly best all-purpose compliment to food from a brown.

Serving type: on-tap

11-11-2007 02:51:34 | More by elvishfarmer
Photo of Rootdog316


3.65/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On tap-Dark brown pour w/a little lacing. Faint Roasted malt aroma. Kind of a standard brown, roasted malt & nuts, had some carbonation & a little bit of a smoked flavor to it, but really nothing special. Not nearly as good as their wheat-surprised it is rated higher that the wheat (which is really a golden ale). Kind of thin mouthfeel.

Serving type: on-tap

08-25-2007 14:20:51 | More by Rootdog316
Photo of RBorsato


4.6/5  rDev +28.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Tasted on-tap 05/22/07 at Bungalo Billiards in Chantilly, VA.

Dark brown (almost black) in color with a nice light brown head. Nice robust hoppy and malty aroma and flavor. A very nicely balanced beer with lots of citrusy hops, roastiness, and some chocolate. Medium bodied and very smooth. Very sessionable.

A very nice Robust American Brown Ale ... seek this one out.

Per H&L website: Cascade hops.

Serving type: on-tap

07-25-2007 15:23:19 | More by RBorsato
Photo of cichief


3.83/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Had on draft at Friscoe's Grille, Columbia, MD.

A- Pours a nice deep brown, with a light brown head, which stayed quite nicely.

S- Malty, with a hint of flowery hops.

T- Very balanced, malty with a nice hop finish. Slightly roasted flavor, hint of coffee and chocolate.

M- A bit fizzier than I would prefer, medium bodied.

D- A good example of the style, goes well with food.

Serving type: on-tap

04-29-2007 03:42:54 | More by cichief
Photo of ckollias


4.03/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Enjoyed this 12oz bottle out of a pint glass.

A: Pours a dark black hue with a amber highlights with a thin, tan-brown 1-finger head that quickly dissipates and leaves a wispy lace leaving s nice trail down the glass.

S: Solid malt aroma with a hints of caramel and coffee.

T: Dark rich ale with a generous sweetness and a great coffee flavor. Slight chocolate and caramel overtones.

M: Medium body and medium carbonation.

O: Very good brown ale. Excellent profile and flavors.

Serving type: bottle

08-23-2012 00:59:45 | More by ckollias
Photo of TheSixthRing


3.55/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance - Pours a light cola brown with a a light tan, 1/2 finger head. Retention is poor, and the resulting lace is sparse but clings to the side.

Smell - Faint aromas of toffee and some classic dry euro hops.

Taste - Slighty roasty, nutty malts with a touch of toffee sweetness. Hops are floral and finish dry.

Mouthfeel - Medium body. Carbonation causes a fair tingle in the mouth. Again, English hops leave it with a semi-dry finish.

Overall - Classic English brown ale. Not big on browns like these, but it's better than Newcastle. Just not enough interesting flavors going on here.

Serving type: bottle

06-14-2012 04:30:23 | More by TheSixthRing
Photo of budgood1


2.45/5  rDev -31.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

pours out a nearly opaque brown colour with crimson edges. very little head and little lace. subdued aroma...some cocoa notes can be detected. the flavour is equally uninspiring...weak malt flavours, strained hop notes, a watery mouthfeel and light body make for a ho-hum experience. at least there is little of the diacetyl that plagued the other offerings from H&L. drinkability has some seesion aspects to it.

overall i'm glad to get through this sampler pack. although the sale of this beer provides some funding to a local burn foundation, it doesn't make the beer any better.

Serving type: bottle

05-17-2012 21:57:55 | More by budgood1
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Hook & Ladder Backdraft Brown from Hook & Ladder Brewing Company (No. 2)
81 out of 100 based on 229 ratings.