Haymaker - Hook Norton Brewery Co. Ltd.

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50 Ratings
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Ratings: 50
Reviews: 29
rAvg: 3.59
pDev: 12.53%
Wants: 2
Gots: 3 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Hook Norton Brewery Co. Ltd. visit their website
United Kingdom (England)

Style | ABV
English Pale Ale |  5.00% ABV

Availability: Summer

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: Todd on 06-17-2003

No notes at this time.
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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 50 | Reviews: 29
Reviews by kojevergas:
Photo of kojevergas
2.03/5  rDev -43.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

500ml brown glass bottle with standard pressure cap served into a tankeresque English style beer mug in London, England. Reviewed live.

A: Three finger head of fair cream, lackluster thickness, and bad retention. Transparent light copper colour.

Sm: Very light scent of only cream.

T: Bland barley and cream. Some water. Quite simple and poorly built. Not even balanced.

Mf: Too smooth, too wet. Classic fallacy. Doesn't suit the taste, except in matching its mediocrity.

Dr: Average ABV, terrible quality, and mediocre drinkability. Avoid this one, lads.

More User Reviews:
Photo of Popsinc
3.92/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Poured a very clear golden amber with a medium white head....kinda looks like apple juice with a bit of carbonation.

Smell: The nose is very nicely hopped and has a pleasant sweet maltiness to it. A pinch of cotton candy in there as well and some over-ripened fruits.

Taste & Mouthfeel: An almost candy like sweetness off the top. The body is very light and the mouthfeel is both mild and extra smooth. Nice hoppiness creeps in mid way through. The finish is of a hop bitterness that ends with a light tangy/fruity zip. Nice maltiness.

Drinkability: A definite session beer, this one is light bodied and goes down easy but still has enough flavour to satisfy the palate. Great balance. Worth trying.

Photo of biboergosum
3.59/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

500ml bottle. It's so cute how British brewers call anything with 5% ABV 'strong'.

This beer pours a crystal clear medium bronzed amber hue, with two fingers of puffy, foamy dirty white head, which leaves a few instances of random wave crest lace around the glass as it evenly wisps away.

It smells of sweet, grainy caramel malt, a bit of herbal tea herbal notes, and some musty, dusty leafy hops. The taste is more sweet, kind of biscuity, grainy malt, with a touch of caramel/toffee essence, ethereally muddled citrus, stoney orchard drupe fruit, mild mustiness, and herbal, leafy hops.

The bubbles are well restrained, though hardly oppressed, the body a wavering medium weight, with a rather agreeable, generally untainted smoothness. It finishes well off-dry, the grainy, bready malt, and lingering inward-looking fruitiness carrying through to the end, with a slightly floral, slightly warm offset the only other loitering agent in the mix.

A standard, and equitably engaging pale ale, of the English persuasion, with a varied fruit and hop melange, that renders this a somewhat surprising candidate for another round or two, wherein my picky nature gets overridden by the generally placid drinkability of this pub-friendly offering.

Photo of sfprint
3.15/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

exp: Nov 2012

A: Beautiful warm copper color, very light risng carbonation, sea foam head.
S: Interesting and pleasant spices that I can't quite place. slight plasticy alcohol
T: Tart plasticy alcohol, which I didn't expect. in the direction of an amber, a hair of dull bitterness
M: Not much texture. a hair dry.
O: Okay and drinkable but unexciting

Photo of CrazyDavros
3.42/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours amber with a fading white head.
Nose shows some sweet malt and toffee. Also some floral hints.
Very similar flavours, but more spicy hops rather than floral notes.
Carbonation seems a bit high.
Perfectly reasonable but not all that interesting.

Photo of Phyl21ca
2.97/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bottle: Poured a clear golden colored beer with an average head with almost no retention. Carbonation is a bit thin and body is average. Aroma is mostly malty with some very subtle hops in the background. Taste is quite like your standard bitter as it begins with some malts and ends with some bitterness. This is a bit bland I find and lack some character. Maybe more hops or a bit more roastiness in the malt would have help.

Photo of BlackHaddock
3.82/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Brown, thin and tall 500ml bottle, best before 28th May, drank on the 9th.

Poured into my Bateman's half pint sleeve glass twice.

Light amber in colour with a good head, light biege in colour. A slight haze, but I might have cooled it down too much. It did ask (on the label) to serve it chilled, not a regular English Pale Ale request.

Dirty Farmyard Aroma at first, luckily that went away leaving the more normal Pale Ale hoppy and beery smells to come through.

True English Pale Ale traits, hoppy and fairly dry without the hops or dryness ruining the balance of the alcohol and feel.

I paid 79 Pence for this pint, bloody good value.

Photo of SmokinSmyth
3.83/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a pint glass, it was a nice clear golden yellow with a good head. I had not had a pale ale recently, so I was looking forward to this one.

Smooth taste with a good feel in the mouth. Hoppy and fairly dry, extremely drinkable. It disappeared quickly and left me wanting another.

Photo of baiser
3.63/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

BB date inked on to the neck, 22/04/05. Neat looking brown glass bottle, wide base, slim neck.

Poured a copper/golden amber colour, with a big off white head bulging out of my glass. Rings of lacing clinging to the glass.

Nose is fruity and malty, with hints of caramel. Very enticing.

Taste: Initially metallic, and somewhat hoppy, bitter grapefruit, but then the true character of this beer comes through. Tremendous malt character, a little toasted, and very fruity. As it warms a little, it becomes very sweet and easy to drink. After taste is nothing but malty graininess that leaves you wanting for more.

Mouth feel is light and refreshing. Quite smooth.

A very nice and pleasant beer to drink.

Photo of Shiloh
4.71/5  rDev +31.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

The only thing holding this brew back is its ho-hum appearance. Pours a deep golden/amber with very slight carbonation. The body is very murky. Crown is thin leaving an island lace with minor glass ring.
First thing that caught my attention was the green apple aroma...very nice.
Taste was exceptional..a hoppy bitterness strikes with a slight malt sweetness as a cushion...no lingering. This brew is just begging to be consumed. Recomended!!!!

Photo of mdagnew
3.78/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

500ml bottle bought from The Vintage, Antrim

Poured a light golden colour. White head poured thick and foamy with a pock marked topping then faded to light covering... some light carbonation bubbles drift slowly to the surface... light lacing...

Aroma - Some juicy tart fruits (lemons and limes, pears,), quite earthy and grassy, floral honey, light sweet grainy malts, doughy, some rubberiness, talcum powder traces, herbal, peppery hops...

Taste... good peppery hop bitterness, quite floral, metallic hints, light sweet biscuit malts, mouth watering fruits (lemons, apples, limes), some saltiness, faint floral honey sweetness...

M&D - Fairly sharp and dry... light bodied... very quaffable at 5%

Overall - A pretty good English pale ale... very quaffable and certainly worth a try...

Photo of soju6
3.82/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

A: Pours a slightly hazy copper color with a solid head that fades to quite a bit of lacing.

S: Aroma of citrus, caramel, nuts with some fresh grain.

T: Taste of citrus, a bit fruity, caramel sweetness, nutty and fresh grain. Nice bitterness and a dry finish.

F: Medium boy, smooth with a subtle richness.

O: Enjoyable beer, quite good for the sytle.

Photo of JohnfromDublin
3.92/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I tasted this 500 ml bottle on 22nd October 2009, best by date 28 APR 2010.

Poured into a pint tumbler revealing a nice clear amber brew with decent head and bubbles rising. Smelled nice and hoppy with a buttery aroma and distant dark fruits somewhere in the background. The taste was a nice bitter brew but with a slightly sweet finish (if that's not a contradiction).

Overall this is a nice beer and would also work well with food.

Photo of seanyfo
2/5  rDev -44.3%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

50cl bottle poured into my hofbrau pint glass.

A- Amber orange/caramel body with 2 finger rocky white head that reduces extremely quickly. No lacing to speak of. Poor

S- Lots of caramel and doughy malt. Not much hop profile at all.

T- Sweet caramel malts very apparent in the beginning. Touch of lifeless hop bitterness in the finish. Thin and watery in the finish

M- Watery, spritzy, high carbonation.

D- Not impressed at all. Not appealing to look at, too much malt on the tongue with hop refreshment replaced by a fizzy wateriness. Impressed by other Hook Norton offerings but this is well below par. If i find on cask, will try again, to note differences.

Photo of TheLongBeachBum
4.1/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: A fantastic looking 500ml wide bodied brown glass bottle with one of those thin ‘hour-glass’ shaped necks. The label has a silhouette of Hook Norton’s classic Tower Brewery on a golden yellow background. The bottle neck has an Inked-On Best Before Date of 07/09/04.

Appearance: Copper amber body with a sunset golden hue, a massive white heads forms as it is poured. Lots of honeycombed sticky lacing clings to the glass walls, as the head eventually settles to a ½” thick crusty topping. Perfect conditioning.

Nose: This has such a classic Pale Ale aroma, closing my eyes I could be back in Banbury, Oxford drinking this on Cask. Lots of fresh fruits, grapefruit hints and crispy toasted malts emulsified into a refreshing and very inviting nose.

Taste: Lashings of gorgeous malts drench the mouth, both toasted and fruity at the same time - they are well balanced. Light buttery feel in the ending that threatens to reveal a diacteyl finish – yet somehow this never transpires, and the feel just lends lubrication to the swallow. The last quarter has a light grapefruit bitterness that balances the malts extremely well.

Mouthfeel: Fantastically smooth, immensely drinkable – the solid malts in the backbone demand respect – and they get it.

Drinkability: Beautifully balanced it pirouettes in the mouth, not an ounce of fat on this lean mean drinking machine. A classic English Pale Ale that has more balls than Winston Churchill.

Overall: I first drank this beer on Cask when I last went to visit my best friend and his Wife who had moved to Upper Heyford before I left for the USA 2 years ago. This beer was on sale at the Horse & Groom in Caulcott, a lovely Country Pub in deepest Oxfordshire that we all visited during that trip. So it was especially fitting and almost ironic that this bottle was flown over here by Virgin Atlantic in my best friend’s hand-luggage, and presented to me this weekend during a visit to Long Beach before they headed off on a tour of California. My happy memories of this great beer on Cask were not diminished one little bit from the bottle.

I don’t usually care for English bottled beer, but this is one exception I will make again if I ever see it. A Bloody Excellent English Pale Ale.

Photo of bark
3.82/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The colour is medium-dark copper; the beige foam is almost invisible.

The carbonation is pleasantly mild and suits the style fine.

The smell si full of aroma hops and there are some fruity notes mixed with some yeast.

The taste is gemerously fruity and a little burned, this beer got a lot of body! The bitterness is slowly growing and develops into a satisfying aftertaste with some tones of apples and apricots.

A nice strong pale ale, not exeptional in any way but anyway a fine pint at the pub.

Photo of StJamesGate
3.88/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Light amber-tinged gold and a fluffy white head that fades to clingy film. Caramel apple and toasted grain on the nose. Bitter almond and wholemeal toast up front with golden syrup sweetness as it warms and lots of woody, orange oil Goldings to end. Apricot finish and a dry spicy linger. Medium, chewy, round.

EKG bomb. Let it never be said the English can't bring the hops. Not sure how summery it is, but I'll take it.

Photo of putnam
4.03/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

"Best Before 26/04/05"
Red honey colored with a hazy, milky foam. The barest suggestion of clay-fine sediment is found at the bottom. Unrefined sugar resides with butter in the aromas. These give way to notes of steeped grain. The texture is glossy, creamy, fleshy and dry. Nectarine and baked citrus fruit is sharpened with slightly dull herbs and bare tannins. There is a moment when the experience seems loose and fractured ; unhinged. Yet several lusty slurps are enough to keep things in perspective: this is a nice ale, rounded and quite spicy.

Photo of dalri
3.05/5  rDev -15%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Fairly "green" tasting with alot of straw and alcohol smell. Mild itterness. The color is quite pail and it seemd to be a little less drinkable than other Hook Norton brews.Similar to a Czech pilsner if you are looking for a crisp, young beer. Only had this one from bottle.

Photo of CAMRAhardliner
4.23/5  rDev +17.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

pours a glowing amber color with a big head and very good lacing. The aroma is of honey and fresh bread with some bitter hops in there as well. The Taste begins with an initial sharp bitterness and then linger with great malt and floral hop notes. The bitterness is prominent in the aftertaste. Mouthfeel is very smooth from rather sparse carbonation. This is a very good pale ale, hoppier than I thought it would be.

Photo of lacqueredmouse
3.11/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

500ml brown bottle purchased for me by the in-laws for Christmas.

Pours a pale, relatively clear golden-orange colour, with a fine, but inconsistent head of pure white. Some speckled lacing. Very fine and prolific carbonation, that swirls powdery and anarchic when tilted. Looks pretty decent.

Nose is rather sweet and sweaty, with some tea-like overtones from the weak hops. There's a herbal sweetness to it, and a slightly funky fragrance. Something buttery and sickly, like lemon curd icing. It's hard to put it all together into something coherent, and the beer fails a little in this way. I'm not overly enthusiastic.

Taste is light and empty, with a slight bite of earthy hops on the back, and a light herbal astringency. Sweet malt comes through pretty weakly, but it lends a slightly sickly tone to the beer. Fortunately, the lightness means that it never gets too offensive, but it's a close thing.

Feel is smooth and light, fitting and pleasant enough.

Overall, I'm not really that impressed. It's OK, but not really any better than that—the sweetness is only tempered by the fact that it's actually quite flavourless. Neither of those descriptions is a sign of a great beer.

Photo of DrJay
3.36/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 2 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Cloudy (or very hazy) amber. Coarse, fizzy head off the pour that subsides quickly, leaving thin lacing on top. Strong toasted and caramel malt aroma with some light ripe fruit. Lots of malt in the flavour, but nothing that really stands out. Hop bitterness starts part way through and mingles with grapefruit at the finish. Medium/light body with fair smoothness and slightly high carbonation. Nice beer overall, but not impressive to look at.

500mL brown bottle, best before date stamped on neck.

Photo of Thehuntmaster
3.83/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

500ml bottle 5,0% Abv.
Served chilled in a pint my Tripel Karmeliet Tulip.
BB 28/04/2012

Appearance: Good looking pale ale - deep golden amber body with a large, creamy white head that lasts pretty well and leaves great lace.

Smell: A little light, but still very pleasant. Sweet biscuity malt, caramel, some citrus, orange marmalade and a lightly spicy note. As the beer warms, sweet, lightly spiced citrus dominates.

Taste: Lovely flavour - perfect session ale. Sweet caramel malt dominates with citrus, marmalade, grassy hops and light spices. The initial flavour is sweet but is balanced out by the lightly bitter finish.

Mouthfeel: Just fuller than light body with smooth, mild carbonation.

Overall: Simple, but very enjoyable. I would happily enjoy a few pints of this at the pub while watching the footy.

Photo of doktorhops
3.47/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This is a new one that showed up in my local - Hook Norton, sounds and looks like one old school bad ass mother____, I'm liking it, the bottle, the blurb on the back, the picture of farmers pitching hay onto the back of a horse drawn carriage; it all screams of a different time and place, a happy place where ales were ales and wearing a trilby was considered normal behaviour.

Poured from a 500ml bottle into a nonic pint.

A: Presents with a classic orange-peel body and a ring of pale lacing, looks like your standard tap poured English pub ale.

S: Aromas of stone fruit and toasted biscuit malt grains with a twist of lemon thrown in. Appeals in a way that only a decent EPA can - with a promise of an even hop/malt balance, unlike an APA (which is clearly skewed towards the hops). Not saying this is better but sometimes we need a break from hop heavy ales, enter EPA.

T: All of the above - stone fruit, citrus and toasted malts. Not unlike Harviestoun's "Bitter & Twisted" only this one has more of an acrid sharp tang at the end. It's not quite as nice as the B&T and feels like it's lacking balance between hops/malt and some different hop flavours (herbal hops perhaps).

M: All textbook here: mid to heavy body and low carbonation.

D: Apart from the bitter after-taste, which is cloying towards the end, this is a decent enough drop. As noted above the balance could be better and is really holding this back from a (near) perfect score... and that bitterness too.

Food match: The bottle states "spicy food" and I would agree. Asian or Indian flavours would be the best bet.

Photo of admiral
3.75/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A solid, fruity English pale ale that is on the sweeter side but enjoyable nonetheless.

aroma: fruity, citrus, orange marmalade with some toffee/caramel

taste: sweet, fruity, citrus, grapes and spice, with some candied banana and a solid malt backbone.

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Haymaker from Hook Norton Brewery Co. Ltd.
82 out of 100 based on 50 ratings.