Hockley Dark | Hockley Valley Brewing Co.

92 Reviews
no score
Send samples
Hockley DarkHockley Dark

Brewed by:
Hockley Valley Brewing Co.
Ontario, Canada

Style: English Dark Mild Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by xlperro on 08-12-2004

For Trade:
View: Beers | Events
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 92 | Ratings: 151
Photo of terryeckmeier
4.5/5  rDev +23%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I had tried the stout before and felt like trying the dark. It very good, much better than expected. Nice dark brown with some reds coming off it when held close to the light. Nice head but disapates quickly. Nice rich flavours I didn't get the coffe but I did smell and taste the sweet malty flavours. Great chocolate flavour would be a great beer to have with a good piece of cake.

Will buy again.

 400 characters

Photo of funkengruven
4.44/5  rDev +21.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Surprisingly delicious. Looks like A fine pint of stout. Smells absolutely amazing. Hints of berries and mocha, and something that somewhat resembles chicory. Taste has hints of mocha, a slight astringent, and an aftertaste that is of lightly roasted grains. Mouthfeel is bold, slightly carbonsated. Quite nice. Pretty drinkable, pretty heavy, not a session beer, but makes for an excellent after-dinner apertif.

 412 characters

Photo of smakawhat
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.

 845 characters

Photo of woodychandler
4.32/5  rDev +18%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thank you to BigBry for another CAN in another rolling CANTrade. There are a core group of us that will score CANs, save them up and send them on to others on a routine basis. It is pretty free-form and nobody is keeping track (hopefully), but CANned beer comes and goes pretty routinely. I find it highly ironic, however, that a beer that has primarily been reviewed from a CAN had a picture of a swing-top growler!

From the CAN: "At Hockley Valley Brewing Company we take our time brewing our beer. In fact each step of the brewing process is done by hand in small batches. This 'hands on' approach to our craft ensures 'The Perfect Balance'".

The Crack & Glug went according to plan, resulting in a finger-plus of mocha-tan head with good retention. Color was a ruby-red with NE-quality clarity. Nose smelled redolently of cocoa. Mouthfeel was medium with an immediate taste of chocolate on the tongue. Finish was very chocolaty, but of milk chocolate, as opposed to dark chocolate, which is the standard. Dang! I could drink this as a regular thing. I really found this to be enjoyable on a slow afternoon in mid-Autumn. It might be too sweet for a day at the beach, but today? Beautiful!

Also from the CAN: "mild, light body, full flavour" and "Proudly Craft Brewed in Ontario, CANada". CANadian CANned beer, CAN you dig it?

 1,332 characters

Photo of Derek
4.27/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Very dark brown, with a little tan head that receeded before any lacing could be found.

Roasty, fruity odours.

Has a wonderful roasty taste, without any burnt, highly-bitter flavour. Well-rounded caramel flavour. A hint of grassy hops, which isn't common with the English style, but adds some interesting depth.

Mouthfeel was light to moderate.

Very drinkable.

 372 characters

Photo of JPNesker
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.

 281 characters

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

A very dark and smooth beer. Smells good and goes down with no problem. Although somewhat difficult to find in some areas, I thought it was great.

I would highly recommend this to anyone who likes British or Irish style beers. Somewhat like Guiness, but since Guiness isn't for everyone, this goes down easily without a strong taste.

 336 characters

Photo of RQuigley
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

 527 characters

Photo of assurbanipaul
4.1/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 5

Pours a very dark brown with a frothy cappuccino head. Aroma is all malt, rich and silky with a trace of molasses.

Taste is pure dark roasty malt. Hints of coffee, molasses or bitter chocolate but it's all malt, all the way down. More dry chocolate and caramel emerge as I work through the bottle.

Mouthfeel is light, maybe a little too thin, but extremely drinkable. This is an excellent example of the triumph of simplicity: a simple beer with simple flavor that simply shines.

Swing-top liter bottle as pictured, taped seal hand-dated "10/05/06"

 557 characters

Photo of Mandrake
4.03/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep brown with plenty of ruby highlights and a well formed two finger head that lasts well and leaves some good lacing. Smells of nuts and cocoa, with a pleasant sweet maltiness and just a touch of bittering hops in the background. Taste is quite full, with more roasted chocolate and a touch of coffee accompanied by a very nice nuttiness and a kiss of hops in the finish, which is nice and long. Mouthfeel is thick and substantial, and well carbonated as well, and drinkability is quite good. A very good session ale, which would, I'm sure, become a staple if it were available here. As it is I have to thank pootz for this very appreciated part of the CANBIF2 package.

 680 characters

Photo of crwills
4.03/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A beer brewed in the town I was born in. Cool!

Poured from a big 500 mL can into a pint glass. Nice deep brown colour with a bit of red in it. Not much carbonation -- a small but thick stout-like head that faded quickly.

Smell is very floral, with some honey and fruit (sweet grapes), and malt. The can may have added a bit of a metallic flavour to it, but it's hardly discernable.

Taste has some hop bitterness, flowers, and bitter fruits (melons or something).

Mouthfeel is very dry and pleasant -- my favourite aspect of this beer. Hockley Valley Dark is pleasantly bitter, and goes great with salty food (I had mine with fried ham and home fries -- yum!)

 670 characters

Photo of paxkey
4/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

this is my third hockley. tried the black and tan and the stout. both beers had a similar hops and malt profile i'm guessing this will be the same.

it says light body on the can so they do give a warning. i say that because that was my biggest criticism of the other two beers. great aroma and taste but slightly on the watery side.

letting the can warm up for 10 minutes out of the fridge.

big cascade in the glass. burnt orange color. tea like in appearance. big tan head. lots of carbonation.

big malt notes.roasty, coffee aroma.some chocolate. smells yummy

bitter and crisp. lots of roast malt on the finish. creme brulee. again a little thin in the body but less so than i remember from its stout and black and tan cousins.
very drinkable stuff.
definitely my favourite of their offerings so far.

 807 characters

Photo of cyrenaica
4/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

473ml can
5.0% ABV

I tried this beer on June 7, 2008 after purchasing from one of my local LCBO outlets. The beer poured a very dark translucent brown, with some reddish hints. The head was tan coloured, and lasted. The aroma was roasted malt, chocolate, and toffee. The mouthfeel was medium bodied, creamy, with a sour hint. The flavour was roasted malt, dry cocoa, and a little bit of sourness and bitterness covering the tongue.

 432 characters

Photo of JustinBathurst
3.98/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured out of the 500 mL can a really heavy dark tan head of big frothy bubbles. Everything else is a dark, opaque brown with red at the edges. The head hung around for longer than expected, remained a lacy topping throughout.

Aroma is mild grassy hops (it gets grassier as it warms), sweet molasses and toasted malt.

Mouthfeel is medium-full bodied with pleasant spicy carbonation that's more intense than usual.

Right away I detect grape sweetness on the tongue, some honey (more as it warms), mild hoppy bitterness. Some roasted coffee beans hang around. In the aftertaste, I get a bit of tangy chocolate.

I enjoy this one quite a bit. It goes the extra distance without trying to be too explosive or too showy. Good to have on a warm summer night on the patio.

 777 characters

Photo of irishkyle21
3.95/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours with a fair sized head, some retention and lacing. A rouge-vin colour.

Smells of dark fruits, caramel, burnt malt and some chocolate. Very pleasant and more complex than I remembered.

Great flavor on the tongue. Dark fruits, molasses, the hops are just noticeable but play there part, leaving behind some earthy grass essences. A definite go to session beer.

 370 characters

Photo of pootz
3.95/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bought a couple of liter growlers from the brewery…filled fresh that day.

Poured a dark, crystal clear cola-chestnut brown with a 2 finger tan cap that will reduced to a surface covering lace that lasts out the drink. (great heading lots of grain protien)

Medium carbonation was evident in the glass. Aromas of caramel malts, plumbs, spices and grassy hops with a subtle undertone of wet burlap mustiness…nice.

Starts out with a rocky mouth-feel full of roasted toffee malts then mellows as the hops impart a balance that gives the impression of lemongrass and caramelized treacle in equilibrium. The finish is smooth and lasting where the breadiness of the malt lingers with a metallic hop aftertaste.

A very decent, well balanced pint of brown ale. Recommended. I’d buy more if it was more widely available….but the back road bike run to the brewery is half the fun.

If you bike, mail me I’ll send you a map to scoot in to the Hockley brewery with some lovely winding roads.

 999 characters

Photo of DrJay
3.95/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Clear, dark brown or chestnut colour topped by a long-lasting tan head. Dark and roasted malts come through in the aroma. There's quite a lot going on here, with coffee, some graininess, and a light grassy hoppiness sitting behind the malt and chocolate character. It starts with light bitterness and some caramel sweetness. At the finish, the sweet character is stronger and contributes the most to the aftertaste, with the hop bitterness becoming more muted. Overall, the flavour is mostly from dark malts, with some sweetness provided by crystal malts and a little nuttiness present. There's a nice roasted flavour that's not as strong as in the aroma and a well-balanced hop bitterness. It has a medium/light body, very smooth mouthfeel. Definitely a pleasant surprise from a relatively new brewery (at least to me).

1 L brown swing top bottle, no freshness date.

 870 characters

Photo of atomicbolt
3.95/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

473 mL can, figured I'd give it a shot.

Looks very nice in my mug - near-black with a reddish-brown tinge. Creamy beige cap that laces its way down. Smells like molasses and roasted coffee, quite sweet smelling. The body's nice and mild with a good amount of roasty sweet malt, maybe a bit too carbonated on the tongue. Nice creamy texture overall, though. Has the full flavour of a stout without the thick texture, and goes down real smooth with a definite aftertaste of roasted coffee. Quite drinkable, too.

Overall I really liked this beer. I haven't had enough English dark ales to compare it with (although I quite like Newcastle) but I've been inspired to try and find more.

 682 characters

Photo of NightINgale
3.95/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Dark brown body with a fluffy light brown head. Not much carbonation is visible. Head retention is a bit weak and the lacing isn't that noticeable (probably because I've had this can for a while).

S - A very roasty malt aroma. Hints of caramel, together with a pronounced roasted coffee beans smell. Some faint floral hoppiness.

T - Loads of roasted coffee notes, as well as some dark chocolate, and a little bit of caramel. Some dark fruit undertones are also there (plum, raisin). Overall, the sweetness is a bit too modest for a brown ale. The finish also has that roastiness and is somewhat dry and bready.

M - Light-to-medium body to it. The carbonation is very pleasant, and it adds a little to the beer's thickness. Smooth, though a bit bitter.

D - Quite good, as long as it does not warm up too much or becomes flat. Obviously, this is more of a session beer than a beer to be savoured for too long.

 915 characters

Photo of Shiloh
3.92/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A cola like appearance with a short crown, limited lace and some glass ring with medium+ carbonation.
The nose has a quality of roasted nuts and cocoa.
The taste is very pleasent in that the roasted nuts are foremost, followed by bakers chocolate, and a nice hoppy finish that has some impressive linger.
The body is a medium.
A very nice product.

 351 characters

Photo of CAMRAhardliner
3.92/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This is the only Ontario craft brew I can think of thats available in a can. The can looks nice with a black and tan motif with 'Hockley Dark' in big letters and 'Mild, light bodied and full flavored' in smaller ones underneath.

The pour shows a very dark mahogany with ruby glints. The head is small and quickly becomes a ring leaving little lace. The are two cool counter flowing whirpools of foam on the surface that Ive never seen before. They lasted for a few minutes, even through sips. The aoma is a nice mix of chocolate malt, herbal hops and some roasty bitterness. The taste is quite roasty, more so than any brown ale Ive ever tried. Theres some nice hop bitterness and chocolate. Theres more roasted malt bitterness than hop bitterness. The mouthfeel is thin and unevenly carbonated.

Overall this is a good Brown Ale worth trying. Its got lots of flavor but could use a little more body.

 906 characters

Photo of Frozensoul327
3.9/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A very well rounded offering from Hockley. Pours out to a deep ruby color that appears coffee black. Medium low carbonation. Small head of brownish white foam dissipated rather quickly. Aromas of roasted malts and cocoa, with some dark unsweetened chocolate notes. A touch of mild bourbon. Nice. Taste is medium bodied and very enjoyable; roasted malts, mild chocolate, a touch of sweet grain, caramel and the hops are even noted, playing a well founded evening role. Mouthfeel is medium bodied and a touch creamy. Drinkability is rather good. One of the better Brown Ales i've had. Recommended.

 595 characters

Photo of biboergosum
3.88/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

After so many walk-pasts in a previous life at the LCBO, this 473ml can with strong Team Canada tendencies arrives on the shelves of my local Alberta booze emporium.

This beer pours a clear dark reddish brown hue, with two fingers of thinly creamy off-white head, which leaves a low wall of ebbing shoreline lace around the glass as it gradually melts away.

It smells of biscuity, semi-sweet bready malt, a touch of bitter citrus, and floral, earthy hops. The taste is more sturdy biscuity caramel malt, softly sweet nutty notes, an understated chocolate nuttiness, and earthy, somewhat leafy hops.

The carbonation is rather moderate, but not out of it altogether, the body medium weight and agreeably smooth. It finishes on the sweet side, the nutty and chocolate notes persisting over the kind of languishing hop character.

A pretty decent brown ale, well balanced between the sweet, savoury and crisp British bitter notes. A prime candidate for sessioning, no matter where you are in this broadly spanning country of ours.

 1,031 characters

Photo of ThatWineGuy
3.87/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured out of a can dark, cola but in a brighter light, a dark grape juice with a flash of crimson or purple. Light brown head, half finger and less, with slow, steady stream of fine bubbles, although it later went flat at mid-tasting. Smells of chocolate ice cream, chicory, butterscotch ...hmm, promising! Bitter chocolate taste with coffee beans, cocoa, a touch of hops. Gentle, smooth mouthfeel and a dry lingering finish, walnuts. Delightfully light despite all that going on, I would recommend this and love to try it out of a keg or on draft sometime, or even out of a bottle to compare.


 598 characters

Photo of scott451
3.87/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint glass. A thin fine tan head which soon diminished to a ring. A clear reddish dark amber.

Sweet malt smells. Ripe fruit. Some phenols. Plums and figs. Ripe fruit taste. Plum and fig again. Quite lively for a brown ale. Bready yeast at the finish.

Quite light really. Moderate carbonation. Very sessionable.

 326 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Hockley Dark from Hockley Valley Brewing Co.
3.66 out of 5 based on 151 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.