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 seand
3.87/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a pint glass.

A: Pours a dark translucent brown, with a small tan head. The head disappears pretty quickly, but leaves a ring around the edge of the glass leaving pretty good lacing.

S: Caramel, raisins, malty.

T: Sweet, fruit and light yeast with a little bit of a bitter finish.

M: Medium to light body, medium carbonation, almost cola-like. A tiny bit of astringency.

D: Quite easy to drink.

A pretty good brown/dark ale, I'd consider buying it again if I wanted something in the style.

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Photo of merlin48
3.78/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

473 ml can courtesy of a Canadian friend, pours a clear mahogany body with a medium sized beige head. Scattered lacing.

Aroma is hoppy for a brown ale, with some herbal hops backed by hints of dark chocolate and coffee.

Mouthfeel is light and thin, but nicely carbonated.

Taste has a dominant caramel and nutty maltiness. Hints of dark fruits, chocolate, and mild coffee play off a significant herbal hops presence. Finishes clean and even.

A very sessionable brown ale.

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Photo of BigBry
3.63/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

473 ml can, compliments of my Toronto trading partners, proudly craft brewed in Ontario Canada.
Dark brown liquid with a solid tan head that left some good lace. The aroma had some sweet chocolate to it, along with some dark fruit. Caramel and some nutty flavors. Slightly fruity hop finish. Not quite the bold flavor I was expecting from a brown ale, closer to a dark mild. Body was good, smooth, quite drinkable.
Good balance of flavor, another nice suprise from a can.

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

Just picked this one up on my latest LCBO beer run. Haven't seen it there before. Pours a really nice deep honey brown with a one finger off white head after an aggressive pour that has less than average retention. Minimal lacing. Smell of sweet chewy milky malt and roasted nuts. Milk chocolate right up front in the taste followed by a roasted nut finish. Staying true to the style, hops are virtually indetectable making this a smoooth, easy session beer.

Overall, I thought this was a pretty decent brew. Very well balanced and not too sweet. Mild, yes; light bodied; yes, full flavoured; not so much. The only downside to this beer was that it seemed too watered down. There is plenty of room to pack some more malt and chocolate into the taste. Nicer head retention would have been nice too. Nonetheless, I wouldn't refuse another if offered.

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Photo of bobsy
3.41/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This past Friday night I did a blind tasting of brown ales with my wife, because I figured it was time for me to re-evaluate a style I don't think much of. We each poured samples for the other, noted what was what and then brought out the beers, so while we couldn't taste the same beer at the same time, we were both able to taste without bringing any bias to the table.

Hockley Dark turned out to be the surprise overall winner. While I found it to be only okay, my wife really dug the smooth chocolate flavours that were going on, and also gave it top marks for its aroma.

Chestnut brown pour, with a foamy white head that gave some good lace. The aroma had hints of diacetyl and caramel, but at good levels. Both of these elements are present in the flavour, but what really strikes me is a large milk chocolate presence. This is clearly a very different beast to the other samples, and feels more like an English Dark mild in its flavour profile. We both thought that the body was fairly good - its nice and smooth, and certainly compliments the milk chocolate notes well.

The official website describes it as follows: "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." This actually makes a lot of sense to me, though I think the balance is heavily weighted to a mild, due to the high presence of smooth chocolatey notes.

This was a decent beer... by no means my favourite, but I can see why it was the overall winner. I vastly preferred the corporal's bitter brown, but the high hopping of that brew made for a love/hate experience. The Hockley, on the other hand, had a pleasant balance of flavours that made for excellent sessionability. It surprised me, and I guess that's a good thing!

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

A: A very dark, crimson-brown colour. Almost no head.

S: Something really unique here that I can't pinpoint. Yeasty, almost like something being baked.

T: Very mild peat flavour with a toffee aftertaste

M: Thin and watery

D: Overall this is a good beer. Nothing that I'd actively seek out but much better than many offerings at the LCBO.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.6/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Dark tree bark brown with tangerine accents... that becomes bright bloody crimson when backlit with brilliant sunshine. The khaki colored crown is creamy and is a good color match for the beer on which it sits. Thin sheets of moth-eaten lace decorate the glass in fine fashion.

The nose is a wonderful surprise. English brown ales don't often impress on the sniff test, but this one passes with flying colors. It smells like an exotic caramel-toffee-vanilla-cocoa drink. Sort of like milk-based chai... except different.

It's too bad that Hockley Valley Dark is so light because it could have been a contender. The flavor, while good right out of the chute, doesn't have enough time to develop, to show off potential complexities, before all is washed away. This is a beer that needs to linger a little.

The flavor profile consists of cocoa, caramel-toffee, dried figs, toasted walnuts and maybe even a hint of licorice. A lack of malt sugars keeps it from being sweet and an understated hoppiness keeps it from being bitter. Let's call it balanced, in an 'empty scales' kind of way. With more malt, this could be a killer English brown.

The brewery actually "tweaked the body slightly to give it a lighter, more North American appeal". Who the hell said that North Americans want light-bodied beer? We don't all drink Bud Light, you know. Good job on the gentle carbonation, but there simply aren't enough malty guts.

Hockley Valley Dark is an opportunity lost for HVB & MC. Well, maybe not quite lost, but unsure how to get home and too proud to ask for directions. There's definitely some potential here.

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

Comes in a fancy-pantsy 1 litre flip top bottle.

Pours a very dark almost black red, with a thin white head that doesn't last.

Roasted/burnt malts, chocolate and nutty aroma.

Tastes of toffee/caramel, some coffee, nice and malty, some spiciness like jagermeister, but it's lacking something.

This beer has a smooth but thin mouthfeel, overall this it lacks carbonation, more complex flavour and body.

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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.

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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.

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Photo of Antilochus
3.72/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Purchased in a 471mL can from a London, Ontario LCBO.

Poured into a becker pint glass. Appearance is deep mahogany with copper red accents. Small off white head and dissipates quickly.

Roasted malt sweet aromas. Notes of liquorice, milk chocolate, blackberries, roasted coffee, burnt sugar. Something distinctly fruity... pears. Low hop bitterness. Earthy bready maltiness vs graininess.

Palate is light to medium bodied, pretty sweet and a little syrupy. Low-medium carbonation. Leaves the mouth a little on the bitter side... like chewing coffee beans. Flavour notes are pears, coffee beans, chocolate.

Definitely drinkable and a nice brew.

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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.

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Photo of IronDjinn
3.15/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This one's courtesy of Viggo from the CanBIF #3 this year.

Pours out a deep, deep opaque brown, a splash of beige head that settles indefinitely into a thick creamy cap.

The aroma is somewhat vinuous, licorice and blackstrap molasses with a good dose of brown sugar in the picture.

These characteristics thin out in the flavour profile, and for the most part are displaced by a woody roasted malt and a cafe au lait finish.

The mouthfeel is on the thin side, yet the texture redeems it with a smooth, creamy presentation for the most part.

More remeniscent of a dark ale than a brown, yet either way the malts still rule the roost on this one.

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Photo of CanuckRover
3.71/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Poured from can into a pint glass. Very nice looking reddish brown, very dark but lights right up in the sun.

Toasted raisin bread on the nose with plenty of dark berries to back it up. Very sweet aroma.

Mouth feel is a little thin at first with too much carbonation for an English style brown. However, after a little bit of swishing the beer got quite a bit chewier, I almost think it's better flat! Coffee, damp earth, blackcurrants and toasted malt in the mouth. Sweet but not as sweet as the aroma would suggest. Nice after taste with a long lasting blackcurrent with coffee bitterness.

Good dark ale with plenty of drinkability for the style and alcohol.

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Photo of slitherySOB
3.54/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

At first glance, this is a frightening beer. It's the colour of prune juice, but with foam on top!!!! I don't know why that's the image I got, other than talking to my grandmother before trying this. She loves prunes. Fortunately, it improves from there. Smells of burnt whole grain toast, milk chocolate(not dark), coffee, toffee, grass and a bit of I believe brown sugar. Tastes great. Roasted malts and coffee dominate, blending with some sweetened chocolate, caramel, plums, figs and raw earth. Mouthfeel is surprisingly smooth and crisp, with a medium body. Definitely a good beer. I shall buy it again and give it a proper review. Hopefully, the second time, I can find a better appearance description than prune juice.

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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.


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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.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.71/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Acquired via trade from biegaman, so a big “Thank you” goes out to him. Poured from a 473ml can into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a deep dark reddish brown color with a short, foamy, off-white head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of maple and caramel but has a heavy metallic element to it.

T: The taste is malty and sweet with flavors of maple, honey, nuts and caramel. A slight touch of hops and some smokiness come in next to provide a little bit of balance. The after-taste is sweet and slightly bready.

M: Crisp and very smooth, medium-to-heavy body, medium carbonation, slightly sticky finish.

D: Tasty, goes down easily, not too filling, very good representation of style, this is a good beer to sit down with as long as you’re all right with the sweetness of it. I’ve had better in the style but it’s still a very good beer.

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

Deep mahogany with crimson hues near the stem of my glass, a limpid liquid releases a fine stream of bubbles in a futile attempt to replenish a rapidly fading cap of off-white foam. No sign of lacing, no staying power. Stunning liquid, with less than average garnish.

Aromas are straightforward brown ale maltiness wrapped in a subtle hop signature. Mild notes of caramel come through with faint nuances of orchard fruit. Nearly imperceptible is a touch of smokiness in the finish just behind the caramel, but it dissipates quickly leaving the taster wondering if he really detected this... but it is there in subsequent whiffs.

Mild fruitiness with mineral notes around a gentle malt signature. Somewhat thin but not watery the hints of smoke which were barely present in the aromas surface a little stronger in the flavours. A mild residual sweetness runs parallel to the smokiness. I was expecting a little more out of this in the flavours and mouthfeel... not enough volume IMO. EDIT: After some warming the volume that was lacking has materialized. The malts and fruit flavours are now more present and a mild bitterness balances the whole along with the same residual sweetness. The mouthfeel is slightly more present and brings a more rounded aspect to the brew.

This is surely drinkable as it presents a very tame profile. It's easy to get into and forget about while you're drinking it. Not bad but not great.

Thanks to Popsinc for the sample... yours are on their way


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Photo of mrmanning
3.25/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark brown body with a thin beige head. Lots of carbonation going on here in the body though. Looks like cola. Aromas are faint malt, coffee, smokey, and caramel. Tastes like coffee, balanced with some sweet malt and some mild nut flavours. FInish is smooth, leaving a nice malt aftertaste. Well done! A lot more enjoyable than the organic lager!

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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"

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Photo of ByTor2112
3.55/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

I brought this back from Toronto. Nice puffy cola-colored head but it dissipates quickly. Aroma contained a nice light mild hop aroma, slightly malty with a faint hint of coffee. Very nice ale and the first taste on the palate was hops but was well-combined with the malt flavors. Malt was light in body but present. Good mild bitterness blends with the malt to the finish. A vigorous froth gives a nice bittersaweet mouthfeel. I liked this ale, actually quaffable in my book.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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