Dark & Handsome - Box Steam Brewery
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Ratings: 51 | Reviews: 32 | Display Reviews Only:
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
3.53/5 rDev -2.5%
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.
01-30-2012 18:47:16 | More by Phyl21ca
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
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
3.63/5 rDev +0.3%
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.
02-08-2011 05:25:12 | More by biegaman
3.6/5 rDev -0.6%
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.
01-22-2011 16:18:41 | More by TheSevenDuffs
3.55/5 rDev -1.9%
Appearance - The beer pours a clear brown colour with a small to average size frothy and fizzy beige coloured head. There is a low amount of carbonation showing and there is some average lacing. The head lasted for only a few minutes before it was gone.
Smell - malts, molasses, coffee, chocolate
Taste & Mouth - The beer actually has an average amount of carbonation and most of the taste consists of malts and molasses, and coffee/chocolate. The bottle says it has a licorice taste and I guess I kind of picked up on that as well. There was also a bit of a dark fruit taste. The beer finished with a malty molasses aftertaste.
Drink - Not a bad beer.. just not spectacular. It would probably make a fairly decent session brew. I'm happy I gave it a try but I don't think I'd seek it out again.
01-17-2011 14:01:52 | More by spinrsx
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
3.5/5 rDev -3.3%
Pours a murky brown colour with hints of red. Starts off with white head that quickly dissipates, leaving a small amount of lacing. Smells of dried fruit and lemon with toasted malt. I don't get any hops or bitterness whatsoever. Very sweet flavour, and a bit of alcohol which is odd at only 5%. Thin mouthfeel, very light carbonation overall. I was looking forward to this beer and i think it is just ok.
12-24-2010 03:13:06 | More by kwjd
3.63/5 rDev +0.3%
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.
01-18-2012 02:11:12 | More by jrenihan
3.58/5 rDev -1.1%
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.
12-12-2011 20:16:29 | More by peensteen
3.5/5 rDev -3.3%
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.
01-08-2013 02:51:06 | More by allergictomacros
3.55/5 rDev -1.9%
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.
02-10-2011 00:29:14 | More by hopsolutely
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
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
3.69/5 rDev +1.9%
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.
01-13-2013 05:26:40 | More by JohnnyBarman
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
Dark & Handsome from Box Steam Brewery
82 out of 100 based on 51 ratings.