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Twelve Days - Hook Norton Brewery Co. Ltd.

Not Rated.
Twelve DaysTwelve Days

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

89 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 89
Hads: 130
Avg: 3.84
pDev: 12.24%
Wants: 6
Gots: 9 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Hook Norton Brewery Co. Ltd. visit their website
United Kingdom (England)

Style | ABV
English Strong Ale |  5.50% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: Todd on 03-01-2005

No notes at this time.
View: Beers (16) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 89 | Hads: 130
Photo of fullsweep
4.12/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

500 mL brown bottle poured into a pint glass.

I really enjoyed this beer, was pleasantly surprised. The only other offering from Hook Norton I've tried is Hooky Gold, and I enjoyed this much better (to be fair, it's for stylistic reasons).

A: clear but darkish brown with mahogany hints. Lots of clarity, very small head that dissipates quickly.

S: strong caramel scents with a bit of fruit too

T: sweet and rich--very enjoyable, a bit of alcohol that leans in the direction of a barleywine but not nearly as strong or pronounced as that.

M: very mild carbonation (almost nonexistent) and surprisingly light considering the sweetness.

D: very drinkable--would certainly buy this again!

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Photo of smcolw
4.11/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark amber/light brown color; seemingly clear. Awesome head that recedes in a rocky fashion. Light ring lace left on the glass.

A surprising sour smell. Largely chocolate aroma.

Tastes like a rich brown ale. There are elements of black patent, chocolate and dark crystal malts. Good hop finish that blends well with the light coffee flavors.

This is a very good Christmas beer. It has elements of a porter and a brown ale. Well balanced and flavorful.

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Photo of jwc215
4.1/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours deep chestnut brown with a thin head that eventually becomes a lasting, swirling patch.

The smell is of caramel/toffee with a hint of chocolate and dark cherry fruitiness. Roasted nuts mixes in.

The taste is malty - caramel/toffee, some chocolate. A balancing subtle, fruity bitter presence takes some edge off sweetness while keeping maltiness in the forefront. Fruitiness is of dark cherries with some pear. Roasted chestnuts suggested by nuttiness. A balanced sweetness finishes it off.

Medium-to full-bodied with a creamy touch.

A tasty, very drinkable, smooth, malt-accented with a nice, spicy hop touch, English ale.

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Photo of Georgiabeer
4.1/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours chestnut with a thin head that fades to a ring. Caramel aromas as well as a nuttiness, and slightly spicy. Tastes of hazlenuts and cream with a slight sweetness. Round and mild.Smooth and creamy mouthfeel, and very easy to drink. This is a very mild Christmas brew, but a nice change of pace.

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Photo of RblWthACoz
4.08/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear brown with no head. The nose stays mostly caramel. Nice smooth and even earthy and leafy character on the flavor profile. Smooth feel, but not a mess of carbonation. A very nice ale. It's even and smooth which makes it a great one to try.

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Photo of tangentrider
4.07/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- Reddish brown beer with an off-white head. Carbonation appears light.

S- Sweet caramelly malt; some dried fruit aroma.

T- Roasted malt, a bit of coffee bitterness; nice flavor, but lack the expected richness in a strong ale

MF- Smooth feel, with light carbonation

D- Good beer; a bit lighter than expected, but would be good when I want an English Strong Ale with a lower abv.

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Photo of oberon
4.05/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Another chesnut colored winter warmer into a imperial nonic,a well formed creamy-like tan colored head atop.Big juicy fruit malt in the nose mixed with caramel/biscuit malt,the fruit really jumped in your face and was nice.Flavors are of fruit cakes with a tinge of nuttiness,very fruit forward.Its a nice winter beer thats not hot or overly sweet,a very nice winter beer in my opinion.

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Photo of Newkie
4.03/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Dark, bubbly, but not completely black. Some maroon hues when light hits it just right. The head is really impressive and it's sticking all over the place. No sign of it going anywhere, either.

S: Lots of sweet dark malt. Picking up some winter spices too. Smells like its gonna be an easy drinker.

T: An initial bitter bite right up front that seems like its more from the roasted malt than anything else. That gives way to a smooth, oily flavor thats not half bad. A little grainy. Some chocolate flavors too.

M: A smooth finishing beer with a bittersweet taste up front. Carbonation is a little lower than it's poofy head would suggest.

D: Goes down easily. Probably could do more than 1 in a sitting, but I'll take my time with it.

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Photo of baggio
4.02/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5


A: Dark brown with a creamy beige head. Some lacing.

S: Dark bread, Roasted malt, Dried fruit (pear!), Chocolate.

T: Roasted malts, Coffee, Chocolate, Nuts, Fruit, Dark caramel.

M: Quite heavy on the roasted side with some pleasant bitterness at the end. Body is somewhat thin. Carbonation is just the way i like it (medium).

Very drinkable english-style beer. Might need to buy this again if i can get my hands on it.

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Photo of popery
4.02/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A good English-style ale with a lot of malt flavor for its size. Twelve Days pours a deep ruby with a small, creamy, off-white head. The aroma is mostly caramel malt with some earthy tones. There's probably a touch of English hops in there but it's light. It's somewhere between a bock and a good English brown ale. The flavor is relatively sweet but nowhere near cloying. I can see what they're getting at with the "nutty" descriptor, but it's more earth to my palate. The mouthfeel gets pretty thin as I drain the glass. I imagine it's a lot better from a cask.

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Photo of merlin48
4/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

500 ml bottle. Body is a dark mahogany with ruby highlights. Medium tan head retains well and leaves some sheet lacing on the glass.

Aroma is mostly malty, with a lot of nuttiness going on. Hints of cocoa and roasted coffee are also prominent. Herbal and spicy hints and some vague fruit add depth.

Mouthfeel is smooth and creamy. Body is medium, barely. Low medium carbonation.

Taste is dominated by a roasty and bitter maltiness. Dark chocolate, roasted coffee, herbal hops, and a hint of red apple add interest. A hint of spices, pine nuts or ginger, perhaps, elevate this above a brown ale base. Finishes with a roasty bitterness.

Not your typical Christmas Ale. Not very Christmassy at all, really, but enjoyable.

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Photo of biggred1
4/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark chestnut amber with a pock marked sand colored head that lasts awhile and sticks to the glass. This beer smells of roasted malt, cocoa powder and black licorice with mild minty hops. Roasty dark chocolate and toasted nuts with cocoa and herbal hop notes balance nicely and finish fairly dry. Medium bodied with smooth carbonation. I'm not sure about the style but make no mistake, Twelve days is indeed a good ale. The bottle says "English Christmas ale" the BA description is "English strong ale" but I think it tastes more like a nut brown ale.

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

Poured from a 500 ml bottle into a pint glass. Pours a mahogany red with an ivory colored head that quietly dissipates.

Has a malty, bready smell with a pleasant underlying aroma of cinnamon and nutmeg.

Has a spicy, hoppy taste, ending bitter and peppery. Hints of toffee, orange peel, and grain.

Medium bodied, with a pleasant sweet/bitter finish.

Very enjoyable, one of the better Christmas Ales I've had this year.

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Photo of avalon07
4/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Poured from a bottle to a pint glass. Had a bright ruby color and a slightly hazy consistency. There was an inch of foamy, long-lasting head. Very good lacing.

S: A nice malty aroma, with some nuttiness about it.

T: Tasted of malt more than anything, with nutty hints, as well as a bit of caramel. Like many British beers, this one has a somewhat subdued flavor, but it's still pretty decent.

M: A good amount of carbonation with a dry finish. Medium-bodied.

D: On the whole, a solid, drinkable beer.

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

1 pint. 9 oz festive brown bottle purchased at Trader Joes. Poured into a pint glass, the beer is a dark brown with some garnet highlights. There is a thickish brown head.

It has an aroma of brown bread, some caramel and a touch of tea.

The malts are dominate here. The beer is slightly sweet with grains, a bit of raisins, a trace of nuts and some brown sugar. The hops are more prevalent mid-glass and add a tea and spice quality. I think the tastes are well integrated.

The mouth is smooth with low carbonation. This is a pretty easy drinker and a Winter beer at 5.5% is always appreciated for sessions.

My first beer from this brewery and it wont be the last. I would love to visit Oxfordshire to see the source.

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

a: nice dark brown/mahogany with some minor maroon highlights; 1/4 inch of creamy beige head that fades but leaves a covering on the top

s: chocolate, biscuit; light hay in the back; light nuttiness; sort of a little like ovaltine actually

t: chocolate; dry grain; a little watery-mild; very light coffee; light nuttiness; some abv; sort of smokiness; very interesting

m: creamy and smooth; very mild carb and very english

d: a good brew with some interesting tastes but could definitely be a bit more festive

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

Bottle from River's Bend.

Pours a hazy brown color with an average frothy off-white head that mostly lasted with good lacing. Moderate toasted malt and spice aroma. Medium body with a smooth texture and soft carbonation. Medium spicy sweet flavor with a medium sweet finish of moderate duration.

Good drinkable beer.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.98/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Burnt orange with reddish bronze undertones when backlit with sunshine. The sandstone colored crown is a good match for the beer. It's firmly creamy to start, melts in appealing fashion, and is beginning to deposit a thick band of BB-shot lace just above the nonic bulge.

The aroma is primarily earthy and brown malty. I detect no added herbs or spices. It's darker than a bock and lighter than a brown, with olfactory characteristics of each. Not bad, but I'm not in a holiday mood yet.

Twelve Days is on the subtle side. That isn't surprising given what's considered strong ale in this country in 2008. My palate hasn't been completely recalibrated, though, because I like what I'm tasting. After nothing but 3.5% bitters all year long, I'd probably consider this some pretty substantial beer. And it is, in it's own way.

Since it's tough to pick a style that this offering most closely resembles, let's stick with nut brown ale. The 'English Christmas Ale' seen on the label works as well. The malt isn't quite as dark as most browns, but the beer is pleasingly pecan nutty and delivers plenty of medium-dark fruit.

Specifics include lightly toasted brown bread, English toffee, cocoa powder, unsweet figs, a dash of vanilla and a handful of shredded hop leaves. Sweet is easily countered by tea leafy bitter, especially on the surprisingly tight, drying finish. A faint spiciness must be hop-related. This stuff is proving to be nicely drinkable.

The mouthfeel, while far from massive, works in concert with the beer's other attributes. It's impressively smooth and has just enough substance to lend a featherlight creaminess to the proceedings. Drinking it on cask... in Oxfordshire... in winter... must be a near religious experience.

Twelve Days English Christmas Ale is both delicious and highly drinkable. Bombastic Big Beer is all well and good, but restraint is sometimes the way to go. For what it's worth, I've had this bottle for more than a year and it has held up beautifully. Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good nap.

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Photo of rjimlad
3.96/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Right up my alley, this one, so a little biased. Nice deep, dark red tan colour with thick head and some lacing on a pint handle. Aroma is a little fruitcake and roast. I'm olfactorily challenged so aroma scores are a bit sketchy. Flavour is roasted malt with plum and fruitcake as you'd expect. Good bitterness on the back palate so I didn't find it cloying at all. Boozy? according to Doktorhop. I guess it is a little but the flavour is big enough to pull it off. A bit chewy at the end but that's just lip-smackin' style and I found that all in all this is a really pleasant ale and I would like some more.

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Photo of BDTyre
3.95/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Dark copper with a decent, if somewhat porous white head. Earthy malts, raisin, hints of spice and christmas pudding. Nice earthy malts, light buttery character, raisin and even a bit of brandy. Quite pleasant, but a little rough on the finish. At first, this is a little too carbonated, but it eases off as the beer breathes. Good dessert beer, but a bit rough and high in alcohol to be a true session ale.

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Photo of doktorhops
3.95/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Last out of the three bottles we get in Oz. It's been sitting in the fridge since I reviewed the other ones and after taunting me for a couple weeks I've finally succumbed to reviewing it.

Poured from a 500ml bottle into a nonic pint.

A: A delicious clear smokey topaz body with a 0.5cm fawn head.

S: Chocolate with hints of figs, prunes, raisins. There is a slight toasted malt base and whiffs of yeast in the background. Expecting a big fruit cake taste.

T: Quite heady in the flavour department, this is good, the expected fruit cake flavours are there in the chocolate, figs, prunes and raisins. Then there is a boozy sherry knock in the middle - this is like the fruit cake your grandma made while drinking sherry ala "one for me, one for you" style. The nuttiness mentioned on the bottle is a back note and the yeast adds nice bread characters. This is actually an exceptional balance.

M: Slightly heavy body with light carbonation.

D: Very impressed with this one, clearly the best out of the three Hook Norton brews I tried (others being 'Old Hooky' and 'Haymaker'). The slightly cloying alcohol note in the middle betrays it a little (sort of flavour you would expect in a much higher ABV brew), but doesn't hold back the overall flavour too much. "Grandma's Boozy Sherry Fruit Cake" would have been an apt name for this.

Food match: The bottle states 'cheese platter' and I don't disagree. Other than that a nice game bird roast would work well - Jamie Oliver's "Roast of incredible game birds with proper polenta" is a great place to start.

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Photo of Gusler
3.92/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The pour is a somewhat hazy reddish brown with a modest light tan creamy head that fails quickly leaving a velum like coating of lace. Nose has a sweet rich malt aroma, caramel, and a bit of hops, spicy and pleasant. Front is quite sweet, decently malted, with a touch of the bittering hops at the back, moderate in feel. Finish has a fair to middling acidity, the hops delectable in their spiciness, sweet and dry aftertaste lingers long on the palate, a quite nice beer.

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Photo of Brenden
3.91/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The color is a red-tinted dark brown showing clarity in the light. There's enough substance to maintain a hefty tan head for awhile. A ring of chunky lacing tops the glass and drops more lacing behind it.
Malty and nutty, yes, but what this beer offers primarily in its aroma is fig and plum with a whiff of alcohol and spiciness. Malts lay down a strong foundation, but the full spectrum isn't permitted to shine beneath the dark fruits.
In the flavor, however, the full effect can be appreciated. Hops bitterness comes out strong but gentle and obviously British, and I assume from which comes a steadying earthiness and peppery nip along with leafy floral notes. The nutty flavor is also more effective. Alcohol still comes through despite a reasonable 5.5% and avoids the fusel taint. Dark fruits still play a major role and the sweetness is appreciated.
The body is medium and has a bit of smoothness but opts for crispness in the overall feel from a carbonation that's just right for this beer.

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Photo of Sammy
3.9/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Tasty, drinkable bottle obtained recently from Premiere Gourmet. Pours reddish brown with spicey nose. Nicely integrated spiciness, though not thick mouthfeel, caramel makes it a breeze to drink. Reports in nicely with its a.b.v. you can still function. Satisfying aftertaste. A bit of ginger and cinammon.

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Photo of Dukeofearl
3.9/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

$5.99 at La Bodega in Riverside, CA. in December, 2007, shortly beofre Christmas.

Pours a brown-ale looking medium brown, clear with ruby highlights. Minimal head and almost no carbonation.

Aromas of toasty malts, a light smokiness, and some herbs. Not sure what, but they are there. Flavor is moderatley rich and full biscuity malts with nutty and herbal notes- some garden leaves and stems baked right into the bread. Slight sweetness, quite pleasant. Full mouthfeel, decently drinkable, but not something I want more than one.

I like this English ale, but one is enough at a time.

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Twelve Days from Hook Norton Brewery Co. Ltd.
86 out of 100 based on 89 ratings.