Hockley Dark
Hockley Valley Brewing Co.

Hockley DarkHockley Dark
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Mild Ale - English Dark
Ranked #82
Ranked #41,478
3.66 | pDev: 10.11%
Hockley Valley Brewing Co.
Ontario, Canada
Hockley DarkHockley Dark
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Reviews: 95 | Ratings: 159 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
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BPVandenbroek from Canada (AB)

3.8/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Hockley Dark fills my glass a dark ruby color, edging towards leathery brown. Pinpoint carbonation supports a rocky, cream colored head with decent retention.
The aroma starts out with a combination of bread malts and ripe fruit esters. In the middle I get nuttiness like you would find in a good English brown ale. Hints of leather and earth combine with brown sugar sweetness. Ripe fruit esters remind me overall of dark stone fruits. All of this combines together without giving an impression of overpowering sweetness. I think the aromas of nuts, leather, and earth combine to balance out the beer’s other aromas.
On the tongue, Hockley Dark is smooth with a pleasant, up front sweetness. It tastes somewhat like a combination of rye bread, toffee, and the sweetness of ripe fruit. In the center I get a combination of earthiness and nuttiness, giving Hockley Dark’s flavor depth and structure. Medium carbonation helps carry these flavors smoothly, and easily across the tongue.
In making this beer, Hockley Brewing combined the English northern brown ale with the English mild. These are two beers that are very similar to each other, but have their own differences. Hockley Dark does a very decent job combining those qualities into a cohesive whole. I very much like how this beer presents sweet flavors balanced with more earthy flavors, giving the whole thing a very drinkable balance.

Mar 31, 2021
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swim from Canada (ON)

3.66/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

L: Very dark essentially opaque brown with a tinge of red when held to the light. Thin layer of sand coloured head.
S: Yeasty and a bit alcoholic, spicy and herbal hops, light crackery malts
T: Nicely balanced rich flavour. Warm notes of cocoa and caramel toffee malts. Not overly bitter. Light lingering aftertaste.
F: Light body, low carbonation, medium dry finish.
O: A nice light dark beer. Lives up to the claims on the can of mild, light body, full flavour.

Jan 31, 2021
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VoxRationis from New York

4.29/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Served from a can in a nonic pint glass at Marienbad Restaurant in London, Ontario.
A: Pour a crystal clear, dark copper color with garnet, diminishing to ochre, highlights, a 2 finger light brown head, solid retention and lacing.
S: Tangy/tart nose with aromas of caramel, molasses, and cocoa.
T: Tart, but semidry with flavors consistent with a light presence of molasses, sarsaparilla, cherrywood, and plum. Earthier as it warms. Solid bitterness keeps it very dry.
M: Light to medium bodied with moderate to strong carbonation.
O: This is a very flavorful and enjoyable, English Dark Mild. Wish it were available in my area, goes great with roasted meats.

Aug 27, 2019
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JPNesker from Canada (ON)

4.14/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Another bullseye. Spot on for the style. Yeasty esters dominate the nose and sip until the malt hits like a tsunami. Light carbonation and heavy body fooled me into thinking this was pulled from a cask for a second. Bravo! Nice burtonization here, minerality is perfectly executed.

Feb 24, 2017
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Cramshawbar from Canada (ON)

3/5  rDev -18%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A harmless beverage, really. A type I might have enjoyed years ago, prior to getting to know the discriminating brews from around the world. Alas, this was my first and last try.

Jan 01, 2017
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SenorBiggles from Canada (ON)

3.73/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A solid dark ale that's on the mild side, but puts together a nice balance of flavours. I can't find much to complain about here, except that it 's not particularly complex or bold. Aroma and taste are more reminiscent of English ales then the other dark ales I've had from Ontario. which is a nice niche to have filled.

Feb 05, 2016
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RQuigley from Canada (ON)

4.13/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Day 15 (Beer Advocate.com) Posted Dec 22nd, 2015
This tasting was opened as my Day 15 of beer in my Beer Advent Calendar for 2015. This is the 2nd year my wife has made me one of these and it is a great to open a beer every day.
Hockley Dark - Hockley Valley Brewing Co.
Number 15 - 473ml can - 5% - n/a IBU
A>4 : Very Dark, with a tan head
S>3.5 Smell is Dark and rich
T>4.5 A bit earthy, very lite smoke. Hint of vinalla
M> 3.5 Med body, taste like two
Oall>4.5 Great beer on a cold night. Real like it

rq @RorQuig

Dec 22, 2015
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Brondeau from Connecticut

3.5/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Had a pub can of this stuff at the Rogers Centre while watching Blue Jays and Marlins on June 8th, 2015. Pretty good. Better than your average baseball game fare. Would drink more if it weren't C$11.50 for a can.

Jun 09, 2015
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mick303 from Canada (ON)

3.78/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Worked my way through a 1 L bottle solo while brewing a batch with very little trouble, a very nice session ale. Appearance is a dark brown, very clear, with a nice cap of frothy tan head, good lacing.

S - roasty and nutty, chestnut, mild grassy hops. nice crystal malts, cherry notes, and a mild leafy aspect. Mild aroma but balanced with a nice English yeasty aspect as well, giving a slight creaminess.

T - pleasant malt notes with a bit of a tang, nutty (brazilnuts), robust fruity notes, apple and squash almost, mild chocolate mixed in, oranges, some nice floral and spice hops, earthy, with some slight woody notes. Light, refreshing.

M - some sweetness to it, but also a slight hop character, lightly bittered but the hops retain some good character, mild carbonation and the balance is pretty good making this a very nice session ale.

It's not a beer that will be a showstopper, and I would say even the stylistic execution could be fine-tuned for some improvement, this is a bit minerally and a bit overly earthy, but overall it is well balanced and perfectly sessionable while delivering a a really nice malty flavour with hints of the hops and english yeast. Mild and unassuming, this makes a pretty solid session offering.

Feb 08, 2015
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BuckyBeerBeaver from Canada (ON)

3.74/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

The origins of Hockley Valley Brewing Company date to the end of 2002 with its foundation in the back of a small general store in Hockley Village, Ontario. Brewmaster Andrew Kohnen subsequently joined the company, and in 2007 the brewery relocated to its current facility in Orangeville, Ontario. Hockley Valley Brewing currently produces three beers; Hockley Dark, Hockley Black & Tan and Hockley Stout. We tried the Dark, which was 5.0% alcohol by volume, in a 473 ml can.

Hockley Valley Dark ("HVD") poured with a big cascade in the glass, and was a dark ruby/brown colour with a fluffy beige head. Great visuals! The head was a good 3 cm after pouring and dissipated slowly with a bit of lacing down the glass. The aroma is predominantly of toasted malt with subtle hops. The body was a bit lighter than you would normally expect for a dark ale, but I understand that this was done deliberately to appeal more to the North American market. There was an appropriate amount of carbonation and smooth mouth feel. In terms of taste, the Brewmaster has found a pretty good balance between the sweetness of the roasted malts and a subtle hoppy presence. The taste lingers for a few seconds on the tongue, but finishes clean and dry. All in all, a respectable dark ale that was good enough that I would want to try the brewery's other offerings at some point in the not too distant future.

According to the brewery's web site, HVD won gold medals at both the 2008 Canadian, and 2008 Ontario Brewing Awards.

Apr 17, 2014
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taxandbeerguy from Canada (ON)

3.76/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

473 ml can served cold into a pint glass.

Appearance - Clear dark mahogany color, with few bubbles present. 1 finger head dissipates into next to nothing quickly and virtually no lacing left on the glass.

Smell - Aromatic with some cherry and other candied fruits balanced by a strong but not overpowering malt aroma. In particular some plum and raisin baked into homemade bread.

Taste - Much like the nose, some dark fruits and a fresh bread and grain malt to offset the fruits. Pretty tasty stuff.

Mouthfeel - Smooth and refreshing and it clings to your mouth a bit. Medium carbonation and a fairly light body. Well done for the style.

Overall - A fine brew that is well balanced and well-representative of the style. An obvious fairly local comparison is the Neustadt 10w30 and both stand up after further scrutiny as being really solid beers. I think I prefer this one a bit more mainly due to its pungent aromatics, but both are and enjoyable and affordable interpretation of the style.

Mar 25, 2014
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Smakawhat from Maryland

4.38/5  rDev +19.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from the can into a Becker Pint glass.

A real nice looking beer. Deep chestnut red and brown, clear if very dark. Thick fluffy light tan brown head and fluffy with lots of staying power. The body color is incredibly impressive with a dark ruby red color.

Nice nose with a mild chocolate sense, and light roast character. A bit of one hit wonder but not exclusively buy very solid.

Wonderful palate and mouthfeel. Great mix of chocolate and roast. Wonderful creamy body with silky texture and light coating. Nice toasty brown like flavors on the finish with matching chocolate and virtually no bitterness. Tight moderate carbonation with thick malt backbone and roast crackling pop feel.

Extremely impressed by this for its large flavor and creamy body. Some cross off crazy porter brown ale with light mild character. Fantastic stuff.

Dec 26, 2013
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EvanHarper from Canada (ON)

3.84/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Moderately dark red-amber color, small short-lived offwhite head. Clear with a few small slow-moving bubbles.

Pleasant aroma of plums, raisins, burnt sugar, hint of spice.

Light taste, more raisin and caramel flavors, smooth clean bittering hops, slight fruity esters.

Medium-body, light carbonation, excellent creamy smooth mouthfeel.

Oustanding smooth dark mild, a quaffable and well-balanced interpretation of the style.

Nov 05, 2013
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decimator from Canada (ON)

3.04/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

473ml can poured into a point glass. ABV 5%.

A - Poured a clear cola reddish brown, thin white head, lively carbonation, good lacing.

S - Toffee, toast, some caramel, some nuttiness.

T - Toffee, nutty, some toast, some sour notes, mild bitter finish. Overall the flavour is rather thin.

M - Medium carbonation, medium-light body, some creaminess, a bit watery, mostly dry finish.

O - Drinkable but in part because it's a on the light side.

Aug 17, 2013
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hopsolutely from Canada (ON)

3.8/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Although higher alcohol content than many a "mild", lots of flavour in this British-style beer.

Pours a dark amber colour with little head and low retention. Impressive aroma of roasted toffee and dark roasted malts. This leads into a more simple taste, with a sweet nuttiness before a pleasant but light roasted malt body and hop bitterness.

Not a beer I buy often, but one I always enjoy and would recommend to any fan of North American takes on British ales.

Apr 13, 2013
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SebD from Canada (ON)

3.73/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: It has a nice dark amber/brown color to it. It has a nice light tan head that dies down moderately and leaves some nice lacing.

Smell: The aromas definitely give out hints of caramel, roasted malts, nuts and toffee.

Taste: Like the aromas, it has a nice nutty character with caramel, roasted malts and some breadiness.

Mouthfeel: It has a medium carbonation with a nice overall balance and feel.

Drinkability: It's a very smooth drinkable beer accompanied with decent flavors and aromas.

Oct 16, 2012
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korguy123 from Canada (ON)

3.62/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Dark brown, slightly hazy pour. Half finger creamy, light tan head. Lacing is decent.

Sweet biscuits, toffee, caramel, brown sugar. Light toasted malts with a touch of being toast.

Toasted malts, brown sugar, toffee and a touch of vanilla.

Light body, good carbonation.

Oct 08, 2012
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JamesMN from Minnesota

3.5/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Dark brown/caramel color that's translucent. Small film of off-white head. Not quite as dark as I expected given the name on the can, but I like a beer with good clarity none the less.

Aroma: Big toffee note and an overall sweetness to the aroma. Smells like a Scottish Ale. Nice caramel apple type scent. However, the smell isn't as robust as I'd like it to be.

Taste: Much less sweet than the aroma hinted at (which works in its favor). There are some interesting malts being used in this brew. That nice toffee aroma comes through in the flavor, but in a much more subdued way. It reins in the sweetness and just gives you the toffee flavor with a nice roasty bitterness to hold it all together. I'm tempted to call this one a tad watery, but at only 5% abv it's giving a lot of bang for the buck. Slightly dry aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Good carbonation and between medium and light in body. Easy drinking but the aftertaste becomes a little cloying about halfway through.

Final Thoughts: When I think of English Brown Ales, New Castle comes to mind. While Hockley Dark is in that same grain, it offers slightly less sweetness and a little more roughness on the palate. Overall, an interesting beer but not one that I would seek out again.

Sep 19, 2012
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maclean25 from Canada (BC)

3.38/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The second in my ($8) 3-pack of cans.

It pours with a light beige, creamy head which reduces with lacing. The body is dark brown and appears clear but it's nearly opaque. The aroma is mostly rootbeer and licorice. It tastes sweet. It has no strong flavour but has hints of old coffee, dates, and roasted nuts. It has a light body and medium carbonation
Overall, another good beer from Hockley. I find it shares similar characteristics to their Black & Tan (this dark ale may have been used in that). This beer isn't spectacular but definitely above average.

Aug 18, 2012
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emerge077 from Illinois

3.55/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks Jay for sharing this beer. Served from a tall black & tan colored can, into a tulip glass. Reviewed from quick notes.

Overall impression was something of a Dark English Mild, mellow but with full bodied roast/coffee flavors. Aroma was soft and mild but carried some notes of dark roast and mild coffee. Dark in the glass but a light brown when poured from the can. Flavors were full and lightly roasty with some coffee and cocoa impressions. A light bitterness in the aftertaste from the roast, overall smooth and malty. A good beer i'd seek out while in Ontario, hopefully on cask or draft.

Jul 25, 2012
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thehyperduck from Canada (ON)

3.62/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Tallboy can from the LCBO; packaged April 2012. The last time I tried this was in April 2008, as one of my first BA reviews (which I am replacing with this updated one). I rather liked it then and have decided to give it another go.

Pours a deep crimson-and-copper colour; fairly dark but still translucent enough to see through when held up to the light. Atop the liquid is seated one-finger of dense, silky, light-beige coloured head, which leaves behind smears of lacing on the glass as it slowly seeps away. Pretty good retention. Pleasing aroma, with the most noticeable trait being the toasted malts and caramel, alongside notes of sweet chocolate and dark fruit. Just a hint of bitter coffee grounds on the nose.

I still enjoy the flavour of this stuff, though I am perhaps less enamored with it than I was during my original sampling. Roasted malts and caramel sweetness remain dominant, with a bit of a nutty feel to the malts. This is accompanied by milk chocolate, as well as some fruity notes that remind me of raisins or dates. Dry, roasty aftertaste that encourages further sips. On the light side of medium-bodied, with relatively low carbonation for an exceptionally smooth mouthfeel.

I still think this is one of the better OCB brown ales, and certainly one of the better commonly-available ones. Rich, malty flavours combined with an excellent balance between sweetness and dryness make this an extremely drinkable ale. A decent-to-solid brown ale, one that fans of the style should consider worth a try.

[Updated Oct. 18 2013]

Picked up another can of this (in a sampler pack), and I figured I'd give it another brief look. This is a well-made dark ale, though I fear my palate has moved on over the years as nothing about this strikes me as very interesting. Good balance, and not too saccharine. It's difficult to find a better mild, at least at this price point, so fans of the style might want to give this one a look if you're in the market for something straightforward and session-worthy.

Final Grade: 3.62, a B.

Jun 02, 2012
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papat444 from Canada (QC)

3.29/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a 473ml. can, canned 280312.

Appearance: A vigorous pour yields less than 2 fingers of foam before disappearing. Body is better with a murky brown-red.

Smell: Caramel malt is strong with toasted grains, a bit of wheat and a dry fruit aroma.

Taste: Chewy caramel, dried fruits. Flavor is nice but wanting.

Mouthfeel: Better than the taste. Very creamy with low carbonation makes it a tad more pleasing.

Overall: Alright is the only word that comes to mind.

May 22, 2012
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NV9 from Canada (ON)

3.02/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Tall can poured into a pint glass.

Not much head at all to this one and dissipated very quickly with only a little lacing. Very deep red colour.

Some hops evident in the smell, some chocolate aroma too and overall a roasty feel to the smell.

Smooth flavour, roasted feeling in the taste as well, with a slightly bitter finish.

A bit lighter than I expected, easily drinkable, and a solid dark ale.

Oct 22, 2011
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heebes from Canada (ON)

3.57/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Brewed in home town.

Poured into a mug a clear dark auburn with fizzy foam light tan head. Nose is somewhat thin, watery, with notes of chocolate and caramel malts, an English Brown style spiciness. Taste; surprisingly big in flavour with the earthy spice up front and dark malts rounding out the base. Still mild chocolatey sweetness, dry tasting with a bit of nutty flavour coming through. Mouthfeel is also mild, light bodied, dry and slightly watery/thin.
Overall, I always suspected this to be a stout, though its actually a well crafted mild brown, certainly more English as is found in plenty of Ontario breweries beers. I found it drinkable but not really something I will pick up often which is unfortunate seeing as its the local brewery in a small town.

Sep 29, 2011
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bylerteck from Canada (ON)

3.85/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours a dark red with a fizzy light brown head. Bright with strong carbonation. Half finger of retention. No lace.

S - Caramel, nuttiness, toffee, sugar, molasses.

T - Ohhhh. Nice combo of sugar, nuttiness, caramel, bread, dark fruits, caramel. Good stuff.

M - Good carbonation, light to medium body with a nutty/sugary date kinda finish.

O/D - Hockley seems to make some quality classic styles. Easy drinking, flavourful, and interesting. The rich malt character is appropriate for the cooler weather these days. I like it.

Sep 09, 2011
Hockley Dark from Hockley Valley Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 83 out of 100 with 159 ratings