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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 mdwalsh
3.35/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Big, 4 finger brown head on a dark black/brown beer. Lots of bubbles in this one and alright lace. Seems a little weak.

S: Roasted, carmelized nuts, a lot of peanut in particular. No hops, no spices, and nothing to strong.

T: Again, slightly nutty, but I get a slight burnt grain, though it's very hidden. More nuttyness, though in the taste it seems more walnut than peanut. Still no hops, and less sweet than I had hoped from the smell. This just doesn't fit a style for me. Not the flavor of a winter warmer, somewhere awkward between a brown and a strong ale.

M: Too light for an x-mas beer by a hair.

D: It's drinkable, but not in the good way.

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Photo of lacqueredmouse
3.36/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

500ml brown bottle purchased from Dan Murphy's in Alexandria. Shared with Rich on the 2013 Australian election evening.

Pours a solid ruby-tinged brown: quite clear, but with a true depth of colour. Head forms a solid cushion of beige, settling to a slightly pocked but still solid film. Streaky lace forms in fine patterns. Carbonation is quite fine and the body is full. Looks good.

Nose is slightly toasty, but with sweeter nuttier tones than you'd get in a stout or a porter. Slight butteriness comes through, and a solidly sweet English base malt character. There's a faint sharpness to it, perhaps a touch of phenolics, a touch of metal or even a suggestion of acidity. It's not bad though all up. Quite pleasant.

Taste is smooth and light for the most part, with a firm, clean entry that immediately imparts some nuttiness and a rounded if slightly insipid sweetness. This disappears quickly though, leaving the beer feeling slightly weaker and emptier than it should be. On the back, the sweetness sits around rather flatly, not doing much and providing a rather dull finish that doesn't go anywhere. It's fine enough for an English ale, but it doesn't have the structure which would make it really shine.

Feel is smooth enough, but the insipidness towards the back means it feels weaker than some of the better examples.

Overall, it's fine, but really not that exciting. When an English ale like this is good, it can really be phenomenal. This one is not that, however—it feels like a by-the-numbers brown, perhaps with a little more weight behind it than you'd usually get, but missing the edge that would make it something special.

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Photo of jdhilt
3.41/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a four finger light tan head that fades very slowly to a thin layer leaving a good lace. Opaque mahogany color. Roasted coffee nose. Medium carbonation and medium bodied. Flavor is malty/roasted coffee. Slight bitterness at finish. $6.50 for a 500ml bottle from Tully's Beer & Wine Wells, Me.
Labeled as a Christmas ale.

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Photo of claspada
3.42/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Aromas are primarily earthy with brown maltiness. Mild spiciness as it warms. Nothing too mind-blowing or inviting here.

The taste begins fairly muted as well Brown maltiness with some slight hop character (spice and earthiness again). As it warms you get a little nuttiness and mild fruitness from the English yeast strain. Lesser notes of toffee and cocoa as it further comes to room temperature.

The mouthfeel works well for the style and matches what you would expect for this ABV level. It's impressively smooth and has just enough substance to lend a light creaminess to the proceedings. Carbonation is average as well.

Overall this is an average offering but it lacks the depth and complexity for the Strong Ale category and the foreign pricepoint/small bottle size also detracts from needing to revisit this anytime soon.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
3.43/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

nothing about this beer says holidays to me, or English strong ale for that matter. more of an dark English mild, save for the still modest alcohol by volume. dark nut brown color, half inch of lazy tan head that's relatively stagnant, doesn't go anywhere. the nose is sweet and earthy English malts, chocolate malt, and a sweetness I don't all the way like. lots of stale smelling ale yeast too, give it a funny metallic ting. I don't dislike the flavor, which is all grin forward, dark but not unmalted roast barley dark. not as sweet as it smells either, which I appreciate. no holiday spice at all, somewhat of a letdown in a beer that's not particularly flavorful. it reminds me of a lower quality sam smiths product from a yeast standpoint, which some may love, but I don't favor. it lacks the properties that make a holiday beer special for me. rich and robust in body though, which helps a lot, and only gently carbonated, giving it the appearance of a much bigger ale. nothing special here overall in my eyes.

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Photo of dgilks
3.45/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Clear mahogany colour with a small, smooth, light tan head. Fair head retention.

Lovely dark fruity esters. Some toffee and almost chocolate. Raisins. Nicely balanced.

Moderately sweet but not overly so. Decent malt character and nice dried fruit. Some light bitterness but it doesn't dominate. Good.

Medium-light body with moderately-high carbonation. Fine.

A decent English Ale. Full of flavour but not overly complex. Good.

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Photo of corby112
3.46/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a deep dark chestnut brown color that is completely opaque with only the slightest of mahogany edges when held to a light source. Two finger frothy off-white head with very good retention, only slowly fading into a lasting cap.

Slightly toasty sweet malt aroma with hints of toffee, caramel and rye as well as a prominent hazelnut character and very subtle earthy hops.

Slightly toasty medium body with a lot of silky chocolate malt, toffee, caramel, hazelnut, roasted coffee and burnt toast. There's a nice balance of sweet chocolate and deep roasted flavor that somewhat dominates the palate. Slightly bitter with a subtle lactic creaminess. With all of the dark roasted malts the body is still slightly thin and the nut profile and roasted bitter notes are a bit much. I wish the sweetness was a little more prominent creating more balance. Pretty complex for a British brown ale but still kind of underwhelming.

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Photo of BlackHaddock
3.5/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Just got in from fronting a Christmas Quiz for the local Medical Centre (my wife volunteers me each year to organise, prepare and conduct it). I am therefore ready to have a Christmas beer: too sink slowly and review at leasure.

The tall brown 500ml bottle was best before 28 Jan 2011, I opened it on 4 Dec 2010. Poured into a 'La Chouffe' tulip and a 'Forbidden Fruit' chalice (because I fancied seeing what it looked like in different glasses).

Lovely ruby red body, dark and clear, with a full tan coloured foaming head.

The smells were of roasted/toasted/burnt malts and thick semi-sweet molasses, nutty brown bread sort of thing too.

The taste is all malts, drying as the mouth gets used to the flavours, the hops giving a bitter feel from the initial sip to the end of the tasting. Strangely however the beer ends up sweeter in the mouthfeel than it did when first sampled.

I was expecting/hopeful of, a rich and creamy Winter Warmer, reminding me of Chritmas's past: roaring fires, smoking jackets, cigars and my childhood. Sadly, it didn't produce those sort of memories.

An OK beer, lacked that X Factor which I hoped for.

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Photo of beerdrifter
3.5/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Clear, deep red-brown pour with quickly fading head and nice lacing. The nose is very malty with hints of hazelnut, vanilla, figs, and caramel. The taste is much the same but more of a roasty, almost burnt chocolate comes out as it warms. Decent mouthfeel and drinkability but nothing special. A little disappointing.

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Photo of OWSLEY069
3.5/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a deep amber/ brown-ish color with a small tan head. In the aroma, small roastiness, nutty, and small citrus like hops. In the taste, sweet roastiness, dry nuttiness, citrus like hops but not too bitter. A faint bitterness and medium bodied mouthfeel, with a dry piney/ citrus hops in the aftertaste. A step above from a standard English warmer with nice hop presence, quite nice.

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Photo of dogin26
3.5/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer is almost like a nut brown ale but a brown ale but also like a light dark beer. Its like trying to understand a beer after 8 tequila shots and 10 previous beers,

Simple poor with a fading head. Colour is see through but still dark

Instant coffee and chocolate waft. some freshly ground bean and crisp toffee

Coffee and chocolate are the dominant but nice features. Some dribbles on vanilla and young bean.

Simple but refreshing mouth feel. A nice lighter styled dark/brown beer with enjoyable features

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Photo of rhoadsrage
3.58/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

(Served in a nonic)
A- The dense black body supports a thick tan head that soon fades to a rocky spotty patch on the side of the glass.
S- The fruity malt aroma has some dark notes and some softer berry qualities to it. There is a slight sweaty note from the black malt as it warms.
T- The roasted black malt has a watery taste to it with some fruity pea berry coffee notes that lead to the bitterness in the finish. The bitterness takes on a slight fish oil note when it warms.
M- This beer has a medium mouthfeel with no alcohol heat. D- A little fruity i the dark malts but thin until the bitter finish.

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Photo of BeerFMAndy
3.59/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

550 ml bottle poured into a Sierra Nevada Imperial Pint. 5.5% ABV, no date. Brought over by my cousin. Very cool.

A - Clear dark brown with a foamy, off-white head. Great retention and chunky lacing on the way down too.

S - Grassy smelling hops on the nose with a light malty backbone of toasted, medium-brown-like malts. A bit of caramel in there too.

T - Smooth and mild toasted malts with a grassy hop finish. I wouldn't guess this to be a Christmas beer but it's a good English brew.

M - Creamy and smooth with a light body. A hint at dry bitterness towards the end too.

D - A very easy drinking beer that has decent flavor and drinkability. A typical English ale really. I don't get why it's Christmas, but it's decent nonetheless.

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Photo of jazzyjeff13
3.63/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

A 500ml bottle with a BB of Feb 2012. Features a partridge in a pear tree on the front label - along with the name this hints at a Christmas ale (though this is not explicitly stated). Purchased at the Grog shop in Oxford.

Poured into a tulip pint glass. A dark ruby hue with low carbonation. Produces a small head of creamy off-white foam that lasts for a minute or so before subsiding. A subtle aroma of caramel malt with hints of cocoa, chocolate syrup, dried fruit, brown sugar and alcohol.

Tastes of dark malt with a subtle fruity character and a mild bitter finish. Faint notes of roasted malt, chocolate, dried fruit, vanilla, caramel and stewed hops. Mouthfeel is velvety smooth and full-bodied, with tingly carbonation and slight astringency. Aftertaste of sweet dark malt and chocolate.

An interesting Christmas ale with a restrained character. All the aromas and flavours are subtle, yet this beer achieves a nuanced complexity. No spice, but a definite chocolate note makes itself known. Lovely body. Rewards the perceptive beer drinker. Well worth sampling if you come across it.

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Photo of peabody
3.63/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours out a real clear amber reddish dark brown hue with less than one finger of brown suds. Very little lacing but when you aggitate the glass it tends to accumulate small bubbles around the rim.
Smell is a malty raisin and plum skin with a slight aroma of alcohol and a very slight hop burn.
Taste is very caramel and malt with a sweet creaminess that lasts till the bitter takes over at the end. Drys the mouth out quite well.
Mouthfeel is a little dry but still nice.
Drinkability is just OK as this is a bit one sided on the sugary maltyness.

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Photo of sacfly
3.63/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

1pt .9oz. mysterious L233 20:13 on the neck. Just put the date will ya?

Pours a clear deep reddish brown. Cheery wood. No head to speak of. Aroma is sugary sweet. Candied pears. Taste is lightly toasted grain and mild pear- not nearly as slick and syrupy as expected. Body is medium. Aftertaste has a bit of an astringent bite, but that fades rather quickly into a tart(?) slightly sour(?). Rather nice. Not sure if 5.5% qualifies as a “strong” ale, but I was not disappointed. Ha! I just noticed the pears on the front label… I guess the pear was intentional!

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Photo of Nipitato
3.63/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Purchased a bottle at Julio's Liquors in Westborough, MA.

A: Very dark brown with ruby highlights. Pours with a large buff head - almost moussy. Dissipates slowly. Opaque. Sticky lacing.

S: As the label says a nutty malty sweet aroma wafts out of the glass. Faint dark fruity esters noticeable. Some cola.

T: Predominantly nutty malt flavor. There is a nice pronounced bitterness that works well with the sweet malt.

MF: Moderate mouthfeel. Moderate carbonation. Slightly dry.

D, notes: I would not define this as a strong ale...maybe a kicked up brown. Still good though.

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Photo of StJamesGate
3.64/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

On cask at the Bull & Castle, Dublin.

Chestnut with ample tan froth.
Nut, earth, roast, and toast nose.
Dark toast, buttered rum, dates, and some woody hops. Goes treacly as it warms.
Chocolate bark finish and astringent linger.
Medium, chewy, round.

Definite zing of acidic black malts that's throwing off the usual sweetness from a dark winter ale. IBUs seems a bit bigger than I'd expect. Just too sharp for a winter warmer.

Rare dud for HN.

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Photo of seanyfo
3.68/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

500ml bottle poured into 2 half pint glasses

A - Poured aggressively provides thick creamy 3 finger solid head, that produces great lacing. Body is a dark mahogany brown, some ruby qualities when held up to the light.

S - Some dark fruit notes, with a little citrus grapfruit, some slight hints of sickly sweet caramel malts.

T- Not a harsh citric taste like some ales, some nice fresh bread malts, well balanced with a soft hop bitterness in the finish.Slight alcohol kick in aftertaste.

M - Medium carbonation, full bodied,

D- A very sessionable ale, however nothing that suggests its something out of the ordinary.

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Photo of TurdFurgison
3.68/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a unique-looking bottle into a pint glass. The beer was dark brown, clear, with a thin head. The aroma was mostly toasted malt, biscuity and nutty. Same with the flavor, toasted and burnt malts and a hint of some light fruits. The beer was full-bodied and filling, nicely complex but not really my style.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.71/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a clear, humble brown body with some amber-tinted hues around the edges and topped with a frothy, lasting, light beige head.

Smell: Why, it smells of toasted bread and toasted nuts, it does. Slighter, lesser notes of powderized chocolate and dark fruits.

Taste: Toasty, nutty brown maltiness with lightly sweet hints of brown sugar and cocoa powder. Though agreeable, the various flavors remain mild, though that nutty kick lasts from start to finish for me. Small amount of dark fruitiness. Earthy, herbaceous hop character with a light bitterness. Finishes nicely dry, smooth, and with that lingering nuttiness.

Mouthfeel: Medium-light body. Medium-light carbonation.

Drinkability: It's fairly decent and delightfully nutty, like many of my ex-girlfriends. While nothing beyond the label and name inspires any Christmastime imagery, it is a decent, well-balanced ale regardless of season.

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Photo of yemenmocha
3.73/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours lighter brown with near-white head that thins out quickly.

Nose is soft, light baked goods spices and faint chocolate.

Palate - some maple, roasted malt, light chocolate, and a hop dryness at the end to round it out. Very light in character overall. Nothing leaps out.

Easily a session beer as it is somewhat thin bodied and lighter in flavors.

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Photo of fastpass17
3.75/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Mahogany in color, one finger head fades rather quickly. Good lacing through the drink.

S: Figs, caramel, black berry, smoke, malt driven towards the end.

T: Spicy, slightly bitter, strong malt presence, smoked meat, roasted coffee bean in the end.

M: Sharp, dry, stings the tongue, nice sticking aftertaste.

D: Two or three around the holidays would definitely be enjoyed.

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Photo of wl0307
3.78/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Coming in a 500ml brown bottle, BB 28/03/08, served cool in a straight imperial pint glass.

A: dark reddish-brown in colour, topped with a well-lasting, beige-hued, scottish-pancake-like foamy head; carbonation is constant but mild.
S: mixed aroma of sticky caramelised sugar, sour-bitter nuts, (Bramling-Cross like) apply fruitiness, overripe sour-sweet berry fruits, and a light touch of citric sourness as of Goldings hops. Malty as well as autumny fruity, just what a premium bitter should be like, IMO.
T: bitter-sweet brown tea and caramelised dates lead towards an intensifying flow of tea-leafy bitterness and a lovely roastnutty+autumny fruity+raisiny flavour that both linger in the bitter-sweet finish with a very sound tart edge. The sour edge is esp. crucial for the overall balance.
M&D: softly-carbonated for a bottled ale, and the body is just medium for its alc. strength. Overall this is a quality nut-malty as well as fruity premium bitter, and the ideal body and balanced flavour make it a more-ish pint to enjoy.

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Photo of dgallina
3.8/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

1 pint, 9 fluid ounce narrow brown bottle. No apparent freshness dating.

Pours clear reddish-brown with a slim finger of head and light lacing. Smells of nutty toasted malts and gentle herbal hops. Flavor is more malt-forward. A base of toasted caramel malt develops nutty and doughy notes in the center and slightly bitter herbal hop and hard water tones in the finish. Faintly smoky aftertaste lingers. Body is creamy and medium-light, with only slight carbonation. Pleasant but not particularly noteworthy.

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