Hockley Dark | Hockley Valley Brewing Co.

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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

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Reviews: 92 | Ratings: 151
Photo of peensteen
3.35/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Dark brown with ruby highlights, minimal white head around the edges. Smell is dark fruit and raisin with roasted malt, though the roasted character is quite minimal and IMO not as upfront as it should be, faint notes of alcohol come and go. Roasted malt, light astringent notes, chocolate and coffee take shape and battle it out and is really apparent in the finish and aftertaste along with a roasty smoke. Carbonation is a touch high here, light feel but medium body. Not bad overall finishes stronger than how it starts.

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Photo of
3.58/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance - Pours deep brown with copper edges, very clear, finger of off white foam.
Aroma is predominantly toasty malt with subtle hops.
Flavour is smooth upfront, followed by roasted malt, chicory, and a bitter finish.
Solid English style dark ale.

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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.

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

A: Pours a dark ruby-brown with a bubbly beige head; dissipates to a thin ring in short order with a bit of lacing.

S: Sweet and roasty malts, cocoa, and hints of fresh fruit.

T: Lightly roasted malts, sweet cocoa, and mild (as opposed to bitter) coffee. Takes on a notable fruity character in the finish as it warms, adding a pleasant dimension to the taste profile.

M: Light in carbonation and body, smooth mouthfeel.

D: Very sessionable, though that's in part because it's rather light for a brown ale. Hockley describes it as a cross between the Northern brown ale and the Midlands mild; I'd say it's quite an enjoyable twist on the style.

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Photo of marty21
3.8/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a clear dark reddish/brown with a big fluffy light tan head. Settles to a solid cap and leaves great lacing. The lacing practically covers all of the glass.

S: For the aroma up front it's roasted malts and chocolate with some dark fruits lingering in the back. The aroma isn't extremely strong but it's pleasant.

T: It has a light roasted taste to it with hints of caramel and chocolate. Just like the aroma some dark fruit tastes linger near the back and as the beer warms a bit more you also get some milk chocolate in the aftertaste. It's a good taste but a little watered down which leaves you wanting more from it.

M: Light carbonation with a light body. Very drinkable.

D: I enjoyed this beer. The one complaint I have is that it's a bit light. On Hockley's website they say they "tweaked the body slightly to give it a lighter, more North American appeal." I wish it had a fuller body and taste. The light body keeps making you come back for more to make up for the lightness and you end up finishing the can rather quickly. Overall still a good beer.

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Photo of spinrsx
3.56/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

500ml Can

Appearance - The beer pours a dark reddish-brown colour with a very large size rocky and creamy beige head. I can't see much carbonation and there is some really fantastic lacing all over the sides of the glass. The head lasted for a very long time before it began to dissipate.

Smell - Malts, chocolate, cookies, toffee

Taste & Mouth - There is an average amount of carbonation on the tongue and the beer feels a little watery but also very smooth. I can taste lots of malts, coffee, chocolate and a cookie flavour. The beer finishes with a pleasing malty aftertatste.

Drink - The beer really does have a nice appearance, and it is a really easy drinking beer. I could definitely session this one and I'm happy I tried it.

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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.

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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?

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Photo of Mit
2.93/5  rDev -19.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

a- Pours a dark amber colour with a respectable head.

s-kinda thin smelling. Slight maltiness to the beer.

t-again kinda thin....bready notes very slight coffee flavors coming through.

m-thin..feels like a 4% beer.

d-pretty drinkable...not much to it IMO.

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

Pours an amber-brown colour that starts off with thick white head. Head dissipates and leaves a small ring, with a tiny bit of lacing. Smells of grain and bready malts, with some sweet fruit. Taste is very sweet and malty. Carbonation level is good, with smooth mouthfeel, though maybe a little bit thin body. An ok beer for the style.

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Photo of IllNate
3.58/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

This courtesy of Liamt07, cheers!

A - Nice amber-brown colour. Finger of off white head which lingers for a bit, but subsides after a few minutes.

S - Smells of bready malt which is to style. Nothing really stand out though.

T - Taste follows with biscuit and bready malt. Very malt forward, no detectable hop flavor.

M - Quite smooth, but also quite full bodied. Nice feel on this.

D - Not overly drinkable. Pretty much every English beer should be a session beer, so a little disappointing here. Would have liked to see a bit lower alcohol on this which would be true to style, although it fits in the Northern English Brown category.

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Photo of TheHammer
2.97/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: Very dark, almost stout dark to be honest, although dark red and brown can be seen when held up to the light. Started with a solid finger and a half of head, and stuck around for a while, but produced no lace.

Smell: Well roasted malt dominates the nose, with well roasted smoke and charcoal elements. However the is the underpinning scent of black licorice that throws me a bit off. Warming helped it out, but it did decent cold too.

Taste: Well it starts with fairly mild but well roasted malt, but as it goes down, something kicks in to give it a dark chocolate and black licorice taste that I find to be an unappealing mix. Light earthy and fruity hops come and try to save they day, but sadly is just not strong enough to override the mix.

Mouthfeel: I dunno, the carbonation seems to help the whole beer out, which is good but a beer this strong you would think would be thicker and creamier. It shifts between states well, and while I don't like the taste the aftertaste makes a quiet case for itself before leaving, which is nice.

Drinkability: It's somewhere between light and medium bodied, so you could probably put a few back, but it's the taste that is really hamstringing this one. It's just...odd. I mean it just seems to be too thin for something this dark.

Final Thoughts: I really don't think this ale is served well as an English Brown, as it is listed here the malt character just isn't there. It really comes more across as a darker ale to me. After checking the website, this seems to have been what they were going for, a cross between and English Brown and a Mild Dark. I like my browns, and I usually prefer them with sweeter malt then dark and nutty, so black licorice is not what I'm looking for in this style, or frankly any beer.

Edit: Crap, I got it in a can, not a bottle.

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Photo of joemcgrath27
3.81/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - a clear dark amber red, mountain of off white head that retains well and nice lacing
S - roasty and sweet caramel malts, hints of piney hops, gentle coffee hints
T - rich nuttiness blends well with the molasses malt flavour, some roasted coffee and cocoa, and subtle piney hops
M - smooth and relatively light, some dryness but mostly filling the mouth with a rich feel
D - a little thinner than I expected but not in a bad way, the flavours are balanced well, could probably enjoy a few of these but not a full session

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Photo of ChrisCage
3.86/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 2 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A- Pours a dark brown with a reddish hue in the light, and is quite clear. I didn't get much of a head and it was quite fizzy. I looks to be quite lite in body and there isn't much lacing. Not a very impressive look unfortunately.

S- Has typical nutty aromas, particularly of walnut/freshly cracked chestnuts. It also has sweet toffee/caramel aromas that are quite prevalent. |The undertones are of roasted malt and a bit of cocoa. I don't smell much in terms of hops but that isn't something I expect for this style.

T- The flavors of this beer are similar to the aromas but a little bit muted. The bitter dark chocolate and roasted malts come through. The hopped aspect also makes an appearance, providing a dry tasting brew that has a rich bittersweet toffee flavor...yum! One of the best tasting brown ales I've had!

M- The carbonation is a little heavier than in an actual English Brown Ale, but not bad. The body is also lighter, but this is purposely done by Hockley for a more North American appeal. Not bad....nothing special though.

D- I would have no problem having a few pints of this over the course of an evening. A perfect session beer but would also be nice with food. I recommend this brew for any beer drinker, and think it would be a good way to get into a darker beer.

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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.

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Photo of bartle
3.48/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a very rich dark copper, sunburst even. Creamy white head. Decent retention.

Aroma of mixed nuts, toffee, vanilla, lots of malt sweetness. Caramelized sugars and a slight earthy finish. Mildly sulphur sensations.

Caramel sweetness from the roasted malt, slightly nutty, vanilla, presented by the nose, dry earthy finish. Fresh baked sourdough bread.

It holds moderate carbonation, slightly dry, salty even. Palatable, very nice lingering sugars that lay softly on the tongue. No real off sensations.

A very pleasant beer to drink.

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Photo of elricorico
3.6/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Dark brown, but not dark enough to block light, medium brown on the edges. Two fingers of tan head off the pour, but it falls to a thin cap after a couple of minutes. A bit of lacing here and there as I drink.

Nutty and slightly chocolatey in the the aroma. A pretty standard aroma for an English Brown, but nice just the same.

Smooth nutty flavour that is very quaffable. Nothing here that is especially stand-out, but also nothing that I can say I don't like about it. Medium bodied with average carbonation.

All together just a well made English Brown. Doesn't stray from the style, and doesn't come up short either.

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Photo of MeisterBurger
3.87/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

While very dark in the glass, when held up to the light it's surprisingly translucent, clear, golden and some nice orange hues are revealed. This is topped by a dense, creamy head that dies down very, very slowly. In the end it fades to a collar but with every sip it gains new life.

The aroma invokes memories of a childhood spend scarfing down Kraft Caramels---rich, sweet, creamy and caramelly. Wow. That takes me back. I used to live off those things. There's some really appealing roasted notes as well.

Alas, the taste doesn't quite deliver the sweet, creamy caramel that the aroma promises, but it ain't bad. Sweet...almost reminiscent of another confectionery favorite from the past, this time from my teens: Twix. Sweet caramel and cookies covered in milk chocolate. All with a dry, bitter, nutty, roasty finish.

Unfortunately the thin body lets this beer down. It's decently carbonated but the thin mouthfeel seems to make it harder for the malty sweetness to really engage the palate.

According to the website: "It is a cross between a Northern Brown ale with its caramel, nut and soft toffee notes and a Midlands Mild with its subtle chocolate, licorice and dark fruit undertones." Yeah. That works for me. I don't think I would have pegged this strictly as a English Brown Ale as it's listed here. Anyway, I don't get a lot of dark fruit, if any, but now that I have read that, there is a slight licorice note lingering in the finish all right.

Sadly right after that they add: "We've tweaked the body slightly to give it a lighter, more North American appeal." Bugger. I can't imagine that helped things any.

ETA: I'm just noticing that the lowest grade for this beer is a B- and the highest is a B+. I guess the next step is to work out if being consistently above average and just below excellence right across the board is necessarily something to be proud of? Whatever the case, it seems at least somewhat remarkable to have this much of a consensus with not a single champion or detractor in the midst.

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Photo of JohnnyBarman
3.65/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

After being disappointed with their stout, I thought I'd give their dark a chance. I've had this one before a while back and liked it - hopefully my tastes haven't changed.

This one was in the fridge for a few days, so I let it warm up for ten minutes or so. Pours a deep auburn hue. For some reason, this can produced no head. None. No ring or anything. I remember my last sampling did have a ring, so I'll chock this one up to being my bad.

The nose is nice, typical for a dark ale, but a bit muted. Coffee, chocolate and dark fruits.

The taste is actually quite good. Mostly chocolate and dark coffee up front, nuttiness in the middles, fruity bitterness in the finish. A tasty dark.

Mouthfeel is about right - well carbonated (a bit stinky, truth be told). Could be a bit more robust.

A very drinkable Ontario dark, one of the better ones available on the market. The taste could have been a bit fuller, and I'm confused about the lack of head, but still, I'll get this one again.

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Photo of Shadman
3.4/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Traditional English Ale brewed in Ontario...it could happen I guess.

Has nice brown ale look...rich chestnut brown, clear, with a decent head from an agressive pour...receeds quick, but stays a nice tan cap throughout.

Nice rich roasted malt aroma with an equally rich nuttiness to it.

This can was marked mid oct '09 so...
Decent, but something is put of kilter to my palate. Might be malt...it just tasted off to me...I hate to say it but it has that Canadian Midro Brew malt...woody as Iron Djinn would call it. Hint of hazelnut as well.

my palate says watery and somewhat average.

maybe Hockely ships the 'whoops the brewmaster slept in' brew in cans to Alberta ( the land of Bud light, etc)

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Photo of biegaman
3.3/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

For a beer entitled 'Dark' this has some awfully glaring highlights. I don't even need an inspection to affirm its lustrous auburn and glinty amber colouring. Its clarity is as pristine and its tone sparkling; despite the dimmed (hardly dark) shading one's finger is crystal clear on the other side. Its head evaporated in a fireworks-like performance that saw bubbles balloon up and at their peak burst open, all to a soundtrack of crackles and sizzles.

There's a few nice smelling scents in this beer. Problem is they aren't all that confident. Warming definitely instills a bit of courage but the faint aura of roasted nuts, plums and caramel will likely never become anything more than subtle. One might consider them understated but I'd probably lean more towards just flat out thin.

Dido for the taste. I'm catching wind of all kinds of delicious flavours - plums, raisins and dark cherries, dark caramel and soft toffee, a smidgen of chocolate, oven roasted almonds and fire roasted hazelnut - but none really ever amount to anything. I chase each sip with another hoping to again taste those flavours that vanished off my tongue before I could ever really enjoy them. They are fleeting flavours.

And you won't catch up to them. I'm practically done the pint and have simply come to terms with the fact that I won't find those sweet, nutty, lightly roasted flavours this beer was alluding to. This is just far too watered down. It has no texture and offers the tongue nothing more than a brief perception of flat, damp liquid.

This was too meek in every aspect. The brewery does not apologize this, believing that their original recipe had to be "tweaked" to give it a "lighter" appeal. No. Bad idea Hockley Valley. I think you might have gotten things backwards - this needs to be heavier. If it were just that little bit more malty and just that little bit less plain, it might just be an outstanding beer. As it is, I'm tweaking my scores to reflect a lighter amusement.

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Photo of wordemupg
3.7/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

473ml can poured into pint glass oct5 2009

A clear deep maroon with a booming head that was hard to fit in my glass. it settled down and formed an off white head with decent retention but no lace

S lots of sweet caramel and malt with some mild coffee

T as it smells but much sweeter then I expected

M creamy with small bubbles

D no real problems and its going to be cheap from what I understand

I will drink this again for the price its a pretty good value

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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.

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Photo of ecoastman
3.52/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

A good tasting beer.. It will be more drinkable if they can improve on the mouthfeel. Maybe it's better on tap or from a bottle.

A - Dark copper brown with a head that recedes quickley with no lacing. Flat after about 5-10 minutes.

S - Quite nice - light malty caramel, chocolate, coffee.

T - Good like the smell. A bit of a cream soda like taste in the background.

M - This is what hurts this good tasting beer. It's thin like a watery syrup once it goes flat. I hope future batches are better.

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Photo of imntense
3.54/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured from a can into my favourite frosted mug! Colour reminded me of mahogany with a very fine head that quickly left behind decent lacing!

Aroma at first reminds me of a wood pile (those with a wood fireplace will understand), followed by coffee and toffee.

Coffee flavours with a slight caramel, followed by a very light flavouring and a very strong carbonation reminding me of 7up with a slightly bitter aftertaste! Doubt I would buy this one again, but can't say it was bad enough that I didn't finish it!

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Hockley Dark from Hockley Valley Brewing Co.
3.66 out of 5 based on 151 ratings.
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