Dark & Handsome - Box Steam Brewery
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Ratings: 51 | Reviews: 32 | Display Reviews Only:
4.33/5 rDev +19.6%
I wish they would stop giving craft beers childish names and sparse labels that look like a logo-generator program designed them. I almost didn't try this one because of the packaging, but because it was British I relented at the last minute to this "Smooth creamy beer with hints of lemon, blackcurrant, liquorice." Nothing could be further form the truth. Mouthfeel was watery like cola. Looks like cola too, but who cares really? Aroma on the other hand was delightful, like baking. Taste is spicy, raisiny, cocoa--equally comforting. Remarkably, not bitter, not acidic, not super-malty like others of this style. This is a baking-spice, savoury beer, not fruity really. Very likeable and drinkable because flavours and characters balance perfectly. A little thicker, and this beer could be top notch by critics standards.
01-04-2011 05:07:35 | More by OldGrowler
4.15/5 rDev +14.6%
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.
12-20-2011 09:59:07 | More by BBP
United Kingdom (England)
4.08/5 rDev +12.7%
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
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
08-24-2013 19:58:37 | More by EmperorBevis
United Kingdom (England)
4.08/5 rDev +12.7%
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.
03-04-2013 21:18:43 | More by sjtmbg
United Kingdom (England)
3.93/5 rDev +8.6%
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.
08-17-2013 20:44:28 | More by BlackHaddock
3.93/5 rDev +8.6%
Overall, I kind of like this ale - Hell, CAMRA loves it. Like others have said, it really seems more like a brown ale than an old ale.
The appearance is the most disappointing part of this beer. I really does look like murky cola. The head even dissipates like pop does.
There's a nice fruity aroma. I get dark fruit like black berries.
The taste is really balanced. nice maltiness, a bit of the citrus, as advertised, and some hops at the end.
Mouthfeel, is a bit thin, but mine didn't seem to suffer as much as others did. Perhaps it's best as a light drinkable brown ale.
I also wonder if people are afraid to label their beers as "brown" because brown is boring. But I love a good malty brown ale.
01-06-2011 00:27:58 | More by MrHall
3.88/5 rDev +7.2%
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.
01-27-2012 23:03:20 | More by andrenaline
United Kingdom (England)
3.88/5 rDev +7.2%
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.
05-18-2011 19:07:13 | More by wl0307
3.85/5 rDev +6.4%
Bottle and label lend to a 'craft' brew appearance, with 'engineered by hand' scrawled across the front.
Plain black bottle cap.
Poured into a pint glass. Pours a dark dark ruby with an off-white thick three finger head.
lots of carbonation off the pour, gonna let this one sit a few minutes and warm up from the fridge.
alcohol and malt are picked up right away. fruitiness from hops gives a grapefruit aroma.
I'm tasting the bitterness from the resin aroma and like pavlov's dog...
really enjoying the balanced aroma between malt and hops, the aroma is fantastic.
hints of whiskey--this may be barrel aged, i am not sure.
tastes great, with lots of roastiness coming through. coffee, mocah, chocolate. These tastes are not really present in the aroma so it is a pleasant kick when it hits.
smooth mouthfeel with a little thinness on the end and slightly sharp carbonation.
01-09-2011 03:10:14 | More by paxkey
3.8/5 rDev +5%
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: 3.8, 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.
12-29-2012 21:00:30 | More by thehyperduck
3.76/5 rDev +3.9%
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.
08-03-2014 23:16:40 | More by DenisKolkin
3.75/5 rDev +3.6%
Expirey date: August 16, 2011. This bottle purchased and drank within one week of arrival on shelves of LCBO. Pours medium brown colour, a little white head. Lots of lace left in the glass. The aroma is overall neutral,there is a little boozy despite low alcohol, some licorice, malt, and a sourness attributed to citrus. It had a bit above an average mouthfeel, was very drinkable, wth a dry finish. The brewers call this an old ale, it would be an excellent brown. It has a good malting, a little rich, with licorice taste, decent hopping. I would have it again. Anther beer, I would say more than 15% of 3.5 taste ratings, that I would rate a 3.75 if I could.
12-19-2010 23:59:32 | More by Sammy
3.73/5 rDev +3%
(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.
12-16-2012 03:38:15 | More by Digimaika2
3.73/5 rDev +3%
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.
01-13-2014 02:56:32 | More by mick303
Dark & Handsome from Box Steam Brewery
82 out of 100 based on 51 ratings.