Durham Signature Ale - County Durham Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Durham Signature AleDurham Signature Ale

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BA SCORE
83
good

31 Reviews
THE BROS
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Reviews: 31
Hads: 45
rAvg: 3.68
pDev: 5.16%
Wants: 0
Gots: 0 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
County Durham Brewing Company
Ontario, Canada

Style | ABV
English Pale Ale |  5.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: Gusler on 12-17-2002

No notes at this time.
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Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 31 | Hads: 45
Photo of mick303
3.58/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle into a shaker pint. Colour is a coppery brown, decent head and lacing. Clarity is strong, with lots of visible carb.

S - bready caramel malts, earthy UK hops, floral, some rich fruitcake aromas, quite a typical profile for the style.

T - balanced with nice yeasty profile to start then diving into the bready caramel malts, lemon and grapefruit appear, then it gets a bit more floral and dry. It has some aged fruity florals and restrained earthy bitterness. Does a fairly good job of mimicking the ESB and PAs from the UK, and I think it offers a good session beer in its own right, just a bit too much of the lemon astringency maybe.

M - pleasantly sessionable with a bit of a bite and a smooth refreshing carbonation. Easy body with a full malty mouthfeel, a bit sweet, could maybe have used some more bitterness to flesh it out, finish was longer than most british versions.

A decent session PA, very UK inspired and one of the better examples of the style around locally, a bit overly dry I thought and complexity wise its nothing outstanding, but one that would be a flavourful session beer. Some tweeking maybe would be good, but overal a fairly good representation. (1,184 characters)

Photo of DenisKolkin
3.6/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

500 ml bottle (looks cool) received as a birthday gift. Purchased from LCBO and price is in the $4-5 CDN range.

Served well-chilled into a pint glass.

Appearance - Hazy, honey brown color. 1.5 fingers of off-white head and nice retention, leaving a soapy collar on top.

Smell - Floral, slight citrus notes and also some faint sweetness akin to candied sugar.

Taste - Floral and some tart fruit transitioning to some more bitterness but the in quickly relinquishes its grasp. A little malty in there too put I can't seem to peg what exactly it is. Pretty tasty.

Mouthfeel - Smooth, but not thick, a touch lacking in viscosity. However, impressively smooth with a medium-light body and medium carbonation.

Overall - An enjoyable ale, but other than the tartness us front, there's nothing to separate this. However definitely solid and wouldn't turn down another. (866 characters)

Photo of polloenfuego
3.67/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

From a 500 ml bottle to a pint glass.

This beer pours a copper/amber color with a small one or two finger head that breaks incredibly fast leaving just the tiniest bit of lacing. The smell is mostly malts and hops, not unlike other offerings in this style.

Taste is just about par for a British style pale ale. I get hops and Malta with a slight bitter aftertaste. Mouth feel is decent, medium to higher carbonation and medium body.

Overall, I would say this is pretty good, but perhaps too familiar for my liking. If there are those out there who have had the opportunity to try both this offering from Durham County and any of the Picaroons offerings out of NB, you will likely notice a similarity as I did. A nice take on a British session ale. (751 characters)

Photo of Derek69
4.13/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Cloudy, flavourful ale. Tastes of roasted nuts and malts, lacing is very nice, not a lot of initial head. Lots of flavour for a generally low-key ale. Done is the British ale style, mouthfeel is very nice and the flavour lingers.

Not sure I could drink a dozen of these, but a very nice winter ale with lots of flavour. (320 characters)

Photo of thehyperduck
3.5/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

500 mL shrink-wrapped bottle picked up at the LCBO; best before Jan. 31 2014. I've never even heard of this brewery, which is a little sad because apparently they've been around forever (at least by OCB standards). Guess I need to get out more? Served slightly-chilled, and poured into a mug.

Pours a foggy copper-amber colour, generating nearly two fingers' worth of frothy, soapy, sparkling-white head. It wilts slowly and gracefully, coating the glass in a doily-pattern of webbed lacing as it settles into a rocky cap and collar. A damn fine-looking ale - unfortunately I can't really say the same of the aroma, which isn't bad but definitely isn't interesting, either. Brown sugar, leafy hops, candied citrus and an odd, acidic note that I really don't like.

Not a bad pale ale, but not really my cup of tea. Surprisingly well-balanced - toasted malts, caramel and nuts come through initially, followed by some leafy, almost floral hop notes. Slightly buttery. The finish is a mixture of mild grapefruit citrus and a pleasant, leafy dryness that lingers into the aftertaste. Light-bodied, with relatively firm carbonation for an EPA that gives this brew an uncharacteristically strong bite. Reasonably drinkable, but not something I'd want more than a glass or two of.

Final Grade: 3.5, a B grade. County Durham's Signature Ale drinks more like an English-made APA than a legitimate English-style pale ale, but either way it's a fairly well-made session beer worth trying once. Unfortunately, it just isn't what I'm looking for in a pale ale - this half-breed possesses some of the endearing traits of both EPAs and APAs, but the end product just doesn't come together very well. There are plenty of OCB APAs I'd pick before this one, and if I want an English-style pale there are plenty of cheaper, better, more traditional imports available. (1,854 characters)

Photo of Stocean1
3.57/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A - poured a half finger head that quickly vanished - fine little bubbles - amber ruby colour - clear

S - pale malt and nice hoppy aroma

T - pale malt - sweet grass - little hops - chocolate and caramel notes - sweet - a tad cloying

M - light medium body with little carbonation and not very bitter for the style - alittle to light in the mouthfeel for my liking

O - a decent offering from Durham - it is easy drinking but could use a little more hops and body IMO (468 characters)

Photo of mrmanning
3.38/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Good example of the style!

Dark amber dody with a beige head that is about one inch thick. Aromas are heavy malts, nuts, and brown sugar. Also some hops present.

Taste is sweet maltiness, mild roasted notes, candy, and hops bitterness. Nice! Bittersweet finish, nice bite in the mouth all the way down. A decent brew! (319 characters)

Photo of MeisterBurger
4/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours an amber color. Has some decent head retention and lacing.

Smells like a Werther's Original, all caramel sweetness with a nice citrus hop and the caramel and hops stick in your nose as you drink it (in the best possible way).

Tastes like it smells, only slightly more toasty and with equal parts floral and grapefruit hops and a lemon rind in the finish. Just a delicately balanced, wonderful beer. One of the best bottled beers in Ontario from one of its best brewers in my opinion.

It's a medium bodied beer out of the bottle and the carbonation makes it a bit tart. I have had this on cask and man does it do well with the lower carbonation. The caramel comes to the fore and it's creamy caramelly and probably in the top five cask conditioned ales I have ever had.

It's not a show-off of a beer, but it's a good and sessionable, just a lovely, lovely beer. (870 characters)

Photo of SingleCell
3.93/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bottle into a mug at recommended serving temp.

A: A pale rusty orange pour with a one inch off white head. The head sticks around for a while but then diminishes to a small ring around the edges of my mug leaving some lacing sticking to the sides as it goes.

S: Caramel, bready malt and hints of piney hops up front. Behind is a hint of oxidization.

T: Again the caramel but the malt is more buscuity in this field. Some bitter hops hiding in the background. Overall a good taste but its slightly grainy.

M: Medium carbonation, thin body and the hops add a bit of that bitter mouthfeel. The mouthfeel is also slightly creamy due to the fine carbonation bubbles.

D: Very drinkable. Good flavour, mouthfeel is great in my opinion and at 5% this one could be sessioned.

This is a beer you want to have a few of. Overall it's a solid beer and I look forward to trying more from the Durham Brewing Company and more OCB's in general. Cheers everyone! (970 characters)

Photo of bobsy
4.2/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A rare outing on cask for one of my favourite local bottled beers. Bruce knows his cask beer, and he's done a good job on this one. Pours a nice burnished amber with a frothy off-white head that slowly diminishes to a nice cap. Some decent lace. Light citric hop aroma playing against a malty background. Taste up front is toasty with caramel and fruit, tailing off into a light (but pleasant) bitterness with floral aspects. Medium body and and great texture suit the beer well. In the bottle format the carbonation is spot on. This is a solidly made and highly sessionable ale. Durham keep on producing great stuff! (617 characters)

Photo of biegaman
3.83/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Light brown leather smothered in butterscotch. This tawny tone is lovely and its spotless clarity is greatly appreciated. Unfortunately, the little bubbles in this bottle couldn't muster up anything remotely creamy. The top is shamelessly bare and shows no remnants of the fuzzy patch that a short time ago hovered above.

The aroma showcases a very clean caramel malt and a light sprinkling of zestful hops. This is a wonderful balance of malt and hops; there are vivid hints of grapefruit and a big spoonful of long-boiled brown sugar. If this tastes anything like it smells then this won't be your typical pint of English bitter. I'm thinking I'll hop on this horse and ride it all the way.

A few big gulps conclude that this beer tastes really good. It drinks something like this: crisply toasted wafer like malts are generously drizzled with a caramel butterscotch topping and sprinkled with candied grapefruits. I wouldn't typically recommend this style to go alongside dessert but frankly, this example tastes uncharacteristically like one anyhow.

I can't tell if it's the yeast or hopping but something imparts some wonderfully fruity notes. They are mild and suggested but as much a part of the beer as the caramel biscuits. Easy going carbonation and a profile slightly more sweet than bitter makes for an endlessly drinkable beer. If the aim was to design a sessionable beer then mission accomplished.

A lot of Ontario micro brewers offer traditional English style ales but few of them do it as well as County Durham. That would include cask-conditioned ales as well, of which this brewery's offerings are sublime. If you happen to find yourself in southern Ontario thirsty for some local craft, look no further. I personally consider this brewery a point of local pride. (1,789 characters)

Photo of cratez
3.73/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured out of a 341ml bottle into a tulip glass.

Appearance: deep golden body with bubbly carbonation and a thin off-white head. Silky lacing permeates the glass after each sip.

Smell: faint aromas of oranges and caramel malt; some English hops, toasted grain, and yeast linger in the background.

Taste: citrus, mild hops, bready malt, and a balanced hop bitterness. In many ways this beer tastes like a toned-down version of Mill Street Tankhouse.

Mouthfeel: light-bodied with active carbonation, somewhat watery. There's a nice contrast between the light, malty body and dry hop finish, which has a subtle bitterness to it.

Overall: a fine session ale indeed. Not overly bold or distinct, but very drinkable. I will be seeking out more beers from Durham. (764 characters)

Photo of Shadman
3.48/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Bobsy for this offering. Hopefully the water isn't from the local powerplant.

My guess is they used a safe water supply as this sample defintely did not glow in the dark. Very nice appearance to this ale. A hazy/cloudy copper-red with a very rich and delicious looking tan head.

Nice floralness with hints of roasted malt in the background.

Alas I may have waited too long to sample this one. Certainly can detect smoothness and balnce between the malt roast and the herbal tea-like hop, but a distinct sourness is also prevalent. Too bad because I could tell than this was more like a good English APA vs. a hoppier NA version.

Good body and seemily bang-on in the carb dept.

Would certainly like to try a fresher version of this ale. I'm sure it would score higher. (783 characters)

Photo of CAMRAhardliner
3.98/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a light amber with a frothy smallish head that musters up several concentric rings of thick foam on the glass. The aroma is sweet with an accompaniment of fruity, citrusy hops and buttery diacetyl. The taste malt forward with analmost astringent graininess. There's a solid cascade hop presence, grapefruity and bitter, as well as fruity yeast esters. The diacetly in the nose is less prominent in the taste. The finish is pleasantly bitter with citrus and malt caramel mixing together as well. The mouthfeel is lightly carbonated like a good English bitter.

This is a very tastey pale ale. Great balance between hops and malts. (635 characters)

Photo of allergictomacros
3.79/5  rDev +3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours a hazy copper/peach with a bit of a wispy head.

S - Sweet maltiness in the forefront, followed by a brisk herbal hop and a toastiness and butter.

T/M - Surprisingly rich, toasty feel to start off, with a nice hoppy finish. Nice fruitiness, body and a mild to medium carbonation. Well balanced and tasty. Not overpowering in any department, but firing on all cylinders.

D - Solid tasty brew, emininently drinkable, and possibly sessionable. (452 characters)

Photo of ThatWineGuy
3.88/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A half inch head quickly gave way to a wispy, lacy and durable coating on the glass sides. This beer was amber and clear with fine, slow moving bubbles steadily making their way up on all sides. The smell was of citrus fruit rind but subtle at best, some hops. I like the taste, a hoppy taste and mouth feel. This was not as pronounced as the Black Oak Pale Ale that preceded it but certainly in the same league. Bitterness on the finish but not as long as I'd like it to be.

This is a real treat that - luckily - is close to home for this reviewer; now if only it was more available in our Beer Stores! I'll buy more from this brewery when I have the opportunity, thanks to the fine brewers in Pickering, Ontario. (718 characters)

Photo of Viggo
3.48/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured at Volo, dry-hopped edition. Nice hazy golden, medium sized creamy white head, some fair lacing, pretty good retention. Smell is quite hoppy, lots of floral, but more citrus, some caramel. Taste is caramel, some grainy malt, a sharp citrus and a little sourness, some floral in the finish. Mouthfeel is medium bodied with low carbonation. Pretty good cask ale, not sure on how long since it was tapped but the hopping was nice. (434 characters)

Photo of Derek
3.23/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Really more of a British Pale Ale.

A: Very light amber. Nice head, retention & lacing.

S: Citrous hop aroma, over a malty background.

T: Fruity flavours from a British-like yeast. Quite hoppy (citrous from late addition of EKG?), bready malt, slightly bitter aftertaste (earthy EKG). Very well rounded (nothing in particular stands out).

M: Light-to-moderate body, moderate carbonation.

D: Tons of flavour, a little too much for a serious session beer. (467 characters)

Photo of 3Vandoo
3.77/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A very clear body with an amber timid shy color, not much head, a tiny head popped out then ran away. A nice citrus smell with hops, not too much complex, very present, very raw.

tasting is about the same as the smell, citrus, hop, not much bitterness,à
very drinkable and a good smooth mouthfeel. (302 characters)

Photo of slitherySOB
3.41/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 2 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A beer from Durham region. I resided in Durham once, and take pride in something that's local. Appearance is a bit disappointing. Nice, light copper. Beautiful colour. But no head. Hey, did I pour this wrong? I poured it like I do every other beer. Maybe it needs a more forceful pour. Noticed a bit of lace when the beer is finished, but their's so little of it it's hardly worth mentioning. But it all improves from here. Smell is dry and hoppy. Ah, just what I need right now. Malt takes a backseat with a hop leaf in control of the wheel. Upfront taste is well balanced. Hops are slightly more powerful, but the malt does counteract it from being very bitter. Yes, their is a sweet profile. It's just slightly behing mister hop leaf. Then their is that aftertaste. Whoa, nice and bitter. Almost like an IPA. In fact, if the initial taste were as bitter as the aftertasete, I'd say this was an IPA. Nice. Mouthfeel is smooth and just a little carbonated. Which could explain the lack of head. Nicely drinkable. I can have alot during a session, or just one and analyse it. I've got to stop by this brewery the next time I'm in Pickering. (1,140 characters)

Photo of pootz
3.67/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottled: Pour reveals a golden hued ale with an almost non existant head that goes to a stick lace....very moderate carbonation( which is welcome in milder subtle beers). Aromas some grassy hops over sweet fruity notes. Starts mellow and smooth wher the draft like mouthfeel has the balance weighted to the spicy hops then a long finish where the wet citrus gives way to an increasing bready malt taste which leaves a light biscuity after taste. A very mild and mellow draft style ale. I would recommend to any cask ale fancier. (528 characters)

Photo of DrJay
3.35/5  rDev -9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Amber colour with a slight haze topped by a dense, long-lasting, white head which considerable lace on the sides of the glass. Light grassy hop aroma with some fruity esters and a soft citrus character. Mild flavour with a light malt sweetness, fruity esters, some graininess, and a well-balanced bitterness. Flavour is very mild overall. Fairly clean finish with some light bitterness and maltiness leading to resinous bitterness in the aftertaste. Very dry finish with noticeable tannin astringency. (501 characters)

Photo of Sammy
3.77/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Much better on cask at Smokeless. More pronounced aroma, either hops or something artificial. Bitter, medium mouthfeel, that worked after a milk stout. Light amber. Works as a summer quencher. citrus from hops and bitterness more pronounced than in bopttle which feels more malty for the masses and perhaps lost a bit of edge over time. (336 characters)

Photo of Popsinc
3.41/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Had this one on cask at Smokeless Joe, June 28/04.

A very nice looking amber pour with a bigger than expected head. The nose was mild and typical of an English ale...light hops, some fruitiness in there as well but barely a hint of any woodiness. A very subtle brew with some sweetness burried inside. The taste was quenching and extra smooth, again very subtle. Very light in the hoppiness with fruity highlights. Not much in the way of woody cask notes but a definite tang on the finish.

A very light, almost fluffy beer. Mild and drinkable. A good thrist quencher or even a session beer.

As far as casks go, this one was half decent but by no means a true classic. (676 characters)

Photo of TerryW
3.68/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a clear, slightly rusty-looking, amber colour with a short head that settles to a heavy film. Only a suggestion of lace.

Nice drinking ale. Starts with citrus and finishes up with dry, bitter hops that linger nicely. Gentle but quite tasty.

An enjoyable effort and worth a try. (289 characters)

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Durham Signature Ale from County Durham Brewing Company
83 out of 100 based on 31 ratings.