Dark & Handsome - Box Steam Brewery

Not Rated.
Dark & HandsomeDark & Handsome

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
83
good

61 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 61
Reviews: 32
rAvg: 3.64
pDev: 11.81%
Wants: 2
Gots: 4 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Box Steam Brewery visit their website
United Kingdom (England)

Style | ABV
Old Ale |  5.00% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: Sammy on 12-19-2010

No notes at this time.
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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 61 | Reviews: 32
Photo of DenisKolkin
3.74/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

500 ml bottle served cold into glassware. Purchased from LCBO for $3.95 CDN. Best before February 2015.

Appearance - dark molasses in color, this beer yielded about a finger of off-white head this dissolved into a thin wispy layer of froth. Some lacing stays on the sides of the glass. The beer is quite dark but no quite so dark that you can't see into it, even giving a ruby hue in certain light.

Smell - aromatics are not particularly bold when cold. Sort of a coffee and licorise medley and dark fruit. Improves with warming.

Taste - there's some coffee which transitions into a lite black licorise flavor. Maybe so,e dark fruits in there but they're rather subdued. Licorise on the aftertaste and a bit of chocolate throughout.

Mouthfeel - well carbonated but the body feels too thin to be an old ale and doesn't coat the palate enough to do the black licorise flavor justice.

Overall - an lighter and interesting take on an old ale. It's certainly pretty drinkable and fairly innovative however the execution just doesn't quite live up to the ambitious pretence. Still worth trying especially for those enjoying licorise.

Photo of DaveBar
3.29/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Purchased at the LCBO for just around $3.00 for a 500ml bottle. Served at 5deg C in a tulip

A- Opens well pours with no head. Dark.

S- Saving grace here. Chocolate and malt

T- Malt and chocolate.

M- Dry and tart

O- Pretty good but I still will not buy again

Food Pairing

This ok beer paired well with... Pizza

Enjoy

Photo of mick303
3.73/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A - dark brown colour, decent film and lacing.
S - cocoa, licorice, leafy and spicy hops, dark malts, fair bit of roastiness. A bit woody and spirituous.
T - mild, with plenty of dark and roasty chocolate malt, smooth dark licorice blackcurrent caramel notes, dry finish, grainy with an oily and bready mix.
M - lot of balanced malt but a smooth and moderate feel, slight carbonation, and a clinging aftertaste, a bit cloying and not overall as great as it could be.
Good beer, nice flavour but not something that blows me away, I like the mix of cocoa and licorice and roasty malts. Bitterness is at a good level.

Photo of EmperorBevis
4.06/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Old Ale?
Surely this is a mild.
Not only a mild but one of the best milds I have out of a bottle.

It pours a gorgeous looking drink, brown hues stop a pitch black body below a 4mm thick tight microscopic bubbled tan head.

Aroma is pretty good too, cocoa powder sawdust and treacle.

Big blackcurrant kiss on the mouth hints of chocolate
a little smokiness before a MILD hoppy bitter finish.

Just a nice drinkable mouthfeel easy drinking and very much like a mild
perfect just perfect carbonation.

This is an amazing beer
see it
buy it
enjoy it

P.S. Dark Mild Dark Mild Dark Mild Dark Mild Dark Mild Dark Mild Dark Mild Dark Mild Dark Mild Dark Mild Dark Mild Dark Mild Dark Mild Dark Mild Dark Mild Dark Mild Dark Mild Dark Mild

Photo of BlackHaddock
3.92/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

500ml Bottle poured into a UK pint sleeve on 17 Aug 2013 during a 'random tasting evening' with myself (the wife is out and I've no friends).

First impressions count: lovely dark body, almost black, deep ruby hue when held up to a strong light source. On top a creamy, full head that stayed the distance.

Mild malty molasses in the nose, some wood and nut notes as the beer warmed in the glass.

Nice balance to the flavours: semi-burnt malts at first, then a sweeter malt feel, followed by a drying hop bitterness before the malts reappear to give a dark chocolate finish. Not as complex as I've said, but an interesting and flavoursome beer.

Good depth of body, almost creamy and rich, the hops just about preventing the beer becoming smooth: which suited my taste buds.

Photo of sjtmbg
4.06/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This brewery is a new one to me, in Wiltshire in the south of England.
Very dark in color but almost an pale ale in taste. Bitter at the start, buttery mouthfeel near finish with delightful aftertaste. Always interesting when the mouth is fooled by the eyes.
Look forward to trying more from this outfit.

Photo of JohnnyBarman
3.68/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Bottle shared with a friend - not sure why it's taken me this long to try it, just never got round. Poured into a nonic glass.

Dark chestnut, but there is a certain lightness to it as well, which was my first cue that this was not a porter (I had no idea the style when I opened this up). Good head of foam, nice retention.

Nose is a mix of dry roasted malt, coffee, and fruit - apple and grape are what I detect, along side a puckery lemon and hop component.

Light bodied, good dryness to this, with a touch of fruit, light coffee. Somewhere in between a porter and an old ale, or perhaps a roasty brown ale. Enjoyable, easy to quaff.

Photo of allergictomacros
3.5/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Handsomely dark, deep ruby red with a moderate tan head of fine foam.

S - Nose is roasty, slightly medicinal.

T - A little light on the flavour side. Burnt grain, green apple more than lemon (as advertised), mild dry bitterness. Lingering aftertaste.

M - Moderate body and a bit of zippy carbonation. Dry finish.

D - Fairly drinkable. I would have preferred a bit less apple.

Photo of thehyperduck
3.82/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

500 mL bottle from the LCBO; best before August 2013.

Pours a dark reddish-chestnut hue; it almost looks opaque at first glance, but holding it up to the light reveals its clear nature, as well as some lovely ruby highlights. At first it's topped with one finger of foamy, light tan-coloured head, but this recedes fairly rapidly, leaving behind a thin, soapy cap, narrow collar, and a modest ring of lacing. The aroma is enjoyable, with roasted malts, molasses, toffee and bittersweet chocolate comprising the bulk of the bouquet, alongside hints of prunes, coffee, anise, and herbal hops.

Really tasty stuff; one of the more interesting 5.0% beers I've had in recent memory. Starts off with some toasted malts, molasses and bitter, roasted coffee grind notes, which then lead into flavours of cocoa and figs. Finishes with some herbal, leafy hop notes, with perhaps a twinge of anise (though this may just be the power of suggestion, as it is mentioned on the label). The aftertaste is roasty/charry with a hint of lemon - surprisingly long-lasted, but subtle in terms of prominence - a perfect way to encourage quick sipping. Medium-bodied, with borderline flat carbonation that gives it a very smooth, creamy mouthfeel and serious sessionability. Easy to drink quickly, but it's interesting enough to be worth taking your time with.

Kind of a cross between a porter/stout and an old ale, with a good mix of roasted character, hop dryness and fruity notes. Not sure how well this fits into the 'old ale' category (and as someone who has only tried one actual old ale, attempting to grade 'to style' here seems mostly like an exercise in arrogance), but the fact is this is still a fabulous session ale with great balance and more complexity than most lighter UK-style ales.

Final Grade: 3.82, a B+. Box Steam Dark & Handsome is a tasty, interesting little brew that I am really glad I picked up. At 5%, your expectations will need to be tempered - this is not the kind of ale you should consider cellaring, or sipping gradually from your snifter over a long winter's night. It is, however, a well-made, unique ale that should be considered well worth sampling, particularly if you are a fan of lighter UK ales in general. I'll probably give this one another shot some time.

Photo of Digimaika2
3.75/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

(4.0) A: Dark ruby red coloured with a dirty beige creamy and bubbly foam head. Very good retention and equal lacing.

(4.0) S: Mellow dark fruits, toffee, rich dark chocolate, caramel, floral qualities, and background hints of tropical fruits (pineapple and banana). Very well balanced. Enough boldness provided with aromas without going over the top. Well done.

(3.5) T: Velvety dark chocolate, hint of smoke, floral hop-like qualities, light caramel, and a bit of zesty citrus. Quite a hefty bitterness throughout with a touch of dryness in the finish. Well executed and very flavourful with each taste clearly represented.

(3.5) M: Medium bodied with a moderate carbonation. Syrup-like texture with a rather clean and crisp mouthfeel.

(4.0) D: This is good and something I will likely pick up again this season. Nice and easy drinking and flavourful.

Photo of BGDrock
3.71/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: deep brown with a hint of red; looks notably clean; thick head with good retention

Aroma: dark cherry, dates; lightly of dark cacao; not terribly strong

Taste & Mouthfeel: a light smokiness and dry - has an effect almost like it is sucking the moisture from the mouth (that might sound more dramatic than the reality); some bitterness of heavily roasted coffee, not much sweetness at all; little of the aroma follows through, except the cacao; medium-light body, and clean feeling

Overall: the name seems a perfect analogy with the beer coming off as dark, clean, and cutting; not complex, but interesting mouthfeel

Photo of Phyl21ca
3.53/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle: Poured a dark black color ale with a medium light brown foamy head with good retention and some light lacing. Aroma of light roasted malt with some dry bitter notes. Taste is a mix between some medium dry roasted malt notes with light fruity ester. Body is about average with good carbonation. Interesting though lacking complexity or some subtlety are maybe just too subtle for me.

Photo of andrenaline
3.85/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From notes...

A - Pours a dark ruby red, finger of head with solid retention and some spotty sporadic lacing.

S - Rather mild, leafy citrus hops, hints of cocoa and espresso, burnt sugar and molasses.

T - Dark cocoa dominates, espresso follows, hint of citrus, some black licorice and molasses. The cocoa lingers alongside a leafy bitterness. Could be a bit sweeter, but nothing offensive.

M - Medium bodied, smooth and a touch of dryness.

O - A tasty dark ale, nicely balanced and very drinkable. The flavours are present but not overwhelming, making it surprisingly sessionable.

Photo of jrenihan
3.65/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Best Before September 2012.

Beer is very dark brown, little red hints. Moderately sized head that is somewhere between tan and off-white in colour. Some lacing is present. Pretty good retention.

Nose has lots of sweet caramel malt, coffee, cocoa, a bit of spice and dark fruit. Has some similarities to a stout but the sweet malty scents differentiate is pretty clearly.

Flavour is similar to the nose, but not quite as enveloping. Cocoa, coffee, caramel malt, slightly bitter. Not bad. Nice flavours but not exciting.

Pretty highly carbonated, medium bodied. A bit chewy.

Overall, pretty good but not anything to get too crazy about. I like it but I wouldn't be seeking it out again.

Photo of scott451
3.33/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

One finger tan head on a very dark amber. As others have remarked it looks a lot like Coke. The head diminishes to a persistent ring.

Sweet spicy malt smells. Tastes of toasty malts. Some liquorice in the aftertaste. Blackcurrants emerge as it warms.

Fairly light mouthfeel. Creamy texture. A very nice dark ale. Smooth and well balanced.

Photo of BBP
4.17/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours like an English porter with good darkness and a decent head. A tad more lacing than you'd expect as well.

The nose is the highlight of this drink for me. It sports a fair amount of roastiness as well as some dark malt.

Taste-wise some hops come into play. Mostly spicy and grassy but they are a bit foundational to the drink. As it warms up it really seems a lot richer.

The mouthfeel is medium full and a little thicker. Carbonation is kept under check but fills the drink up nicely.

Overall, it's a nice drink. I'd probably reclassify this as an English porter, but it fits the old ale style as well. I think it suffers a bit playing a stronger style while getting lighter in alcohol, but it's still a great drink.

Photo of peensteen
3.58/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Deep brown, ruby in the light, one finger of creamy off white head, lace along the top of the glass. Smell is of roasted malts, herbal notes, liquorice, citrus notes, lemon, light smokey/ashy scents. Taste is herbal and lightly sour initially, followed by smoke and roast malts, ashy notes, coffee in finish, mildly chocolatey as well, light citrus hop bitterness is there with mild citrus behind the liquorice and roast. Light-med carb, light-med feel, medium body. fairly serviceable brew, lots of interesting complementary flavours, goes down quickly.

Photo of Stocean1
3.13/5  rDev -14%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A - this is a deep brown brew with a beige two finger head that disappeared quickly to a thin collar of bubbles. Some light patchy lacing.

S - earthy and nutty malt with faint grassy hops and wood

T - follows the nose and is rather muted, faint coffee and herbal qualities but nothing really stands out, rather disappointing.

M - light bodied with a watery quality, there is plenty of carbonation. Relatively smooth and drinkable this brew has a nice amount of bitterness in the lingering finish.

O - I was disappointed by this brew as I have enjoyed the other offerings I haved tried from this brewer. Quite simply a one dimensional brew with nothing standing out.

Photo of wl0307
3.85/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Coming in a 500ml brown bottle, not bottle-conditioned; BB 21/06/2011, served cool in a straight imperial pint glass. Note: according to the beer label, this beer was awarded “Beer of the Festival” at the 2008 Pig’s Ear beerfest in London.

A: pours into a stemmed tulip-shaped bulb glass a deeply dark brown hue, coming with very restrained carbonation and a fast dissipating beige foamy head.
S: light smokiness skirts the main theme of roasty, chocolaty and dark gristy malts, with fruitiness as of Chinese black prunes, sour berries and licorice in the background, while a light touch of woodiness seems to lag behind as well. Not much of stale-ness is noted, though, if the style is taken into account, but overall the aroma is refreshingly fruity and nice.
T: mildly effervescent and soothing, the foretaste is rather… “settled” in flavour, showing restrained dark fruits coupled with only the “body” of mixed dark malts at presence without a single bit of malt sweetness, followed by a very smooth wave of mildly chewy, refreshingly bitter-sweet herbal (powdered licorice, etc.), even woody bitterness that develops nice and quietly into the aftertaste. The bitterness is so well structured, not rough, but rather… “mature” and retains its depth well, which I think comes from a long process of conditioning, on top of good quality roast malts and hops used in the brewing. The finish has a bit more fine smoky notes to it, apart from the lingering semi-chewy palate.
M&D: as experienced throughout the drink, the texture is smooth yet kept refreshing by the interesting level of microscopic fizziness, almost like what can be expected from a cask. I haven’t had an Old Ale for many months now, but this bottle seems to rekindle my interest in just a sip, despite a huge difference from its many counterparts I’ve tried in the past. All in all, this is a medium-bodied, unimposing and well-balanced dark ale definitely worth a try for those who are not afraid of, well, “quieter” tastes for their beers.

Photo of korguy123
2.65/5  rDev -27.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Notes from 5/5/2011

A- Dark root beer hazzy pour. Half finger egg shell creamy head. Lacing is decent.

S- Roasted malts, black coffee. Little vanilla. Fairly bland and boring. None of the tasting notes on the bottle are in this.

T- Watered down coffee. Slight dark fruits. Very bland and boring.

M- Thin with a little chewy in the back end. Light carbonation. Zero aftertaste

O- Very one dimensional, quite bland. Will not grab again.

Photo of hopsolutely
3.52/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Beautiful dark colour with amber highlights. Pours clear, with no sign of head. In fact, this particular bottle is pretty much flat.

Smokey aroma and ending with a pleasantly dry and bitter finish. The taste is well balanced, with roasted malts, coffee undertones and smokiness. I don't pick up on the licorice flavours advertised on the bottle, but I'm clearly no cicerone or anywhere close to a refined palate...

Overall a pleasant ale, but not one for which I'd pay a premium.

Photo of biegaman
3.65/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Dark and Handsome is neither an inaccurate name nor a pretentious one. This deep maroon coloured beer has perfect clarity and appears rather brown away from the light - it most certainly is a looker. But its bubbles are so offhand so as to be almost undetectable and, as direct result, the foam that should be accumulating on its surface is completely stunted.

The nose starts off as fairly straightforwardly roasty and malty but gains in complexity as it warms; a curious wine-y character is loosely reminiscent of an aged tawny while a strong tobacco note also evolves. It becomes like an ashtray lined with molasses. I'm not entirely sure how much I like it, but it is distinct and I can't seem to stop smelling it.

The smoky, roasty, oily taste of coffee grinds juxtaposes with the beer's sweet and fruity undertones. Dark cocoa, wafers, treacle, figs and black olive round out the taste. Bubbles this lackadaisical are better suited to higher gravity tipples and might be a bit too casual for this offering; the beer is damp and heavy as wet socks in winter time.

I don't consider this much of an 'old ale'. Not to be a stickler for style, I bring up that this is really more of a mild dark ale or nut brown only because I think it'd be useful for potential buyers to know. While deliciously flavoured, don't expect much complexity and, although a bit hefty, know that it's better geared to high-volume consumption.

Dark and Handsome definitely has some nice qualities, but it's not everything you'd want in a beer. That said, it's not everything you'd assume either - this is certainly a distinguished ale and positively sets itself apart from other, more predictable British beers. This was an interesting pickup and is a positive first impression from this little brewery.

Photo of mrnobody
3.32/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

500 ml bottle poured into a Duvel tulip.

A: Cola coloured with half a finger of off-white head that immediately disappears.

S: Smells of roasted malt, molasses, caramel.

T: The flavour is quite mild but there is some bitterness in the finish.

M: The mouthfeel seems thin and the carbonation is prickly.

D: This is a pretty harmless beer but not interesting enough to bother with again.

Photo of TheSevenDuffs
3.62/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

500 ml bottle with best before date of 16 Aug 11 from the LCBO.
Poured in to brandy snifter.

A - Medium brown colour with very little head.

S - A lot of chocolate on the nose. Some dark fruit and spiciness.

T - Much lighter chocolate than the nose seemed to indicate but the chocolate is still present. Sweet brown sugar, some dark fruit and light licorice notes. The finish has a tart lemon taste that lingers a little bit.

M - Medium body, moderately carbonated.

D - This one started out tasting very good and seeming unique and interesting but as I continued to drink it, the tart lemon aftertaste became a little overwhelming. An interesting beer and I am happy that I tried it, but this is not a beer that I would seek out again.

Photo of ludachris
3.67/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A more than gingerly pour yeilds about a finger's worth of soapy cream coloured head that sits on top of a cola brown body with intense mahogany highlights. Active streams of carbonation are visible, rising up the sides of the glass.

A rich and chewy nose gives of notes of sweet and sticky raisons, toffee, and dark chocolate. There's a nutty component to it as well that I liken to a brown ale. Hints of slightly tart blackberries also peak through.

An earthy nuttiness with a hazelnut sweetness is the first and most prominent thing I get in the taste. Tangy lemon peel and blackberries add an interesting and welcomed edge to this beer's straightforward base. A flash of raisons graces the back of the palate before being quickly subsumed by a roasty and dry character that is imparted from the nuttiness.

Medium bodied in the mouth with a level of carbonation that compliments the fruity/tangy aspect of the beer, oddly making this dark ale refreshing. Well balanced and easy to quaff with the only downfall coming from a bit more flavour being desired in the taste.

The simple,tamed, yet decently flavourful characteristics of this beer make for a good intro into this style or into darker beers in general. I prefer something that packs a bit more of a punch, but at 5% ABV it does well. This attests to the LCBO's willingness to bring in beers from incredibly small/not-well-known breweries and I respect that. Overall, a decent beer from a great winter line-up.

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Dark & Handsome from Box Steam Brewery
83 out of 100 based on 61 ratings.