Hook & Ladder Ember Amber | Hook & Ladder Brewing Company (No. 2)

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Hook & Ladder Ember AmberHook & Ladder Ember Amber

Brewed by:
Hook & Ladder Brewing Company (No. 2)
Maryland, United States

Style: Black & Tan

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.20%

Availability: Fall

Notes / Commercial Description:
Two parts Golden Ale and one part Backdraft Brown.

Added by CaptainIPA on 11-16-2008

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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Reviews: 27 | Ratings: 31
Photo of budgood1
2.38/5  rDev -27.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

pours out a crimson hue with a thin light tan head and minmal lace. light malty aroma...you can tell that this is a blend. cocoa and vanilla hints. the taste is rather lackluster with the golden ale character still showing off diacetyl and the brown only giving it more buttery and marshmellow notes. it has a cereal characteristics...maybe rice krispie bars made with cocoa or chocolate puffs, etc. whatever. medium bodied...smooth, clean and a bit crisp mouthfeel. the slickness i've been experiencing so far with these H&L offerings seems to be somewhat muted in this concoction. reserved drinkability. i'm bored with this.

overall...with having the brown yet to review...i was wholly underwhelmed with this "black and tan". or amber...or whatever the brewer was trying to accomplish. good causes aside, brew a beer that is worthy of the charity.

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Photo of tone77
3.83/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a brown 12 oz. bottle. Has a dark amber color with a 1/2 inch head. Smell is malty, some sweetness. Taste is also malty, some sweetness, easy drinking and refreshing. Feels medium bodied in the mouth and overall is an interesting and quality brew.

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Photo of Stinkypuss
3.13/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: Light brown in color, small head recedes to a ring around the edges.

Smell: Barley malt , light caramel and a soft cereal grainyness.

Taste: Follows the nose closely, caramel malt, sweet grains. Little to no hops, tea like and mild. Ho hum, but nothing out of place. See it more as an Amber than a Black n Tan, though it is a blend.

Mouthfeel: Light to medium bodied.

Overall: A decent beer overall. Mild and easy enough to drink.

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Photo of Arithmeticus
3.52/5  rDev +7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

poured chilled in an ale glass

A: copper orange color; small head, rather inert; bits of lacing left over
S: brown sugar, raisin
T: orange, brown sugar, sweet; unlike other reviewers I didn't mind the taste at all; it's not complex, but I didn't have high expectations in this area either

overall, a decent sessioning beer.

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Photo of WVbeergeek
3.25/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Let's see two beers I didn't particularly didn't care for, blended together as a black and tan. Good idea? Appears a dark amber murky brown hue with alight beige head forms fine speckled lacing. Let's take a smell of it...some malty dark roasted malt layers with herbal hops cooking in the back end. Actually like biscuit dough and yeast cakes is what I'm getting in the smell. A malt driven slightly sour dough bread flavor with some dark roasts and pale cocoa driven malt kicking the backend of this beer. I'm okay with these guys I'm a nurse and they are firefighters donating toward local burn centers for anybody out there who has seen a bad burn victim believe me you'll never argue with this foundation/fundraising group. Does that concept make this a better black and tan, of course not, but it is what it is a contract brewed charity driven beer label brewed in Wilkes Barre PA and the actual company is based out of Maryland.

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Photo of HalfFull
3.4/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a pint glass from a 12 oz. twist off bottle, this beer shows a clear golden amber with a half inch of shell white foam. Decent retention and lacing as the carbonation keeps a steady cap on the glass.

Watery caramel notes on the nose mix with some earthy hops along with some roasted grain. Hop presence improves notably with warming.

Roasted notes and a bit of brown sugar are in the forefront in the flavor initially. This segues to a rather thin body on the swallow as there is a steep gradient between the initial taste, where the brown ale is dominant, to the finish where the lightness of the golden ale component is dominant. Drinks a bit like a Schwarzbier in that sense. This too becomes more muted with some warming and exposure. A bit wishy washy on the feel but fairly drinkable once you become accustomed to it.

Note: 5.2% and considered a 'Black & Tan' by the brewer as this is a blend of 65% Golden Ale and 35% Backdraft Brown Ale. Regardless, it drinks more like an amber give the light texture and notable sweetness.

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Photo of jeffjeff1
3.1/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

My fiance picked this up for me at Cost Plus in the create your own six pack thing.

Appearance- dark amber color, little head

Smell- bready malt, kinda average and plain aroma, nothing really stood out for me

Taste- some sweetness, bit of malt

Mouthfeel- light to medium bodied

Drinkability- ok, I would drink it again. Definitely not bad

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Photo of flexabull
3.05/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a clear and dark amber ale, almost brown, with a faint off white head.

Aromas are faint, some nuttiness and breads. But not much going on here.

Taste is dry, with a light nutty flavor. There is a touch of sweetness, some caramel, and an underlying creaminess. Finish has a little crispness, and a light mineral hop bite.

Mouthfeel is a little prickly. It feels pretty full though.

Drinkability is ok. This is pretty boring, but it's not bad. While drinking this I kept thinking that the brown ale component of this might pretty good. But this just tastes to me like a brown ale that has been watered down a bit.

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Photo of BeerFMAndy
2.92/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle poured into a Sierra Nevada Imperial Pint. No date or info. 65% Golden Ale, 35% Backdraft Brown Ale.

A - Amber brown and clear in color with a low off-white head. Poor retention and virtually no lacing on the glass.

S - The aroma bursts with sweet honey and pale base malts with a bit of bready, darker malts. A straight-forward aroma with no hop nose.

T - Crisp hop flavor that barely stands out. The malts disappear into the background while that honey sweetness is knocked back a bit in the flavor.

M - Incredibly sharp carbonation that bites the whole way through. A light body and a dry, very slightly bitter finish. Thin overall.

D - A mediocre beer at best, the harsh carbonation bothers me the most. It's so damn filling! Besides that, there really isn't much to behold here. It's all bland. I would never turn it down but its another Hook and Ladder I wouldn't search out.

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Photo of Offa
3.52/5  rDev +7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

This is ok and pleasant, with at least some character, but it's very simple and slightly on the sweet side. The bottle says it's a black and tan, a blend of their golden and brown ales.

Dark amber, slightly brownish, it has a small off-white head soon dissipating to a foamy ring and some wispy hints of weak lace.

The aroma is a mix of light, simple elements: mild toasted grain, hints of caramel, grapes, yeast, mineral.

The taste is light whole wheat, slightly musty, apple, light mineral and caramel/brown sugar. Elements are subdued, not meshed particularly well, simple a,d it's a bit on the sweet side with little bitterness. However, it's pleasant, has at elast some character, and is only slightly onthe seet sidel, almost getting a dryish finish.

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Photo of Risser09
3.67/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle poured into a zotten glass - fridge - 2009

Appearance: A copper colored, transparent ale has some carbonation, and builds the ivory head rapidly. A 2" head develops quickly and shows good retention. Some lace remains behind.

Smell: Bready biscuits and caramel base malt. Slight nuttiness of almond and buttered english muffins.

Taste: A nicely balanced beer that is bitter and malty at the same time. Biscuits are sweet with a hop bitterness that takes over the finish.

Mouthfeel: Very smooth and balanced with good carbonation and sweetness.

Drinkability: An all around approachable, sessionable brew that could be consumed all year round. Not a barnburner, but a solidly crafted beer.

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Photo of dmamiano
4/5  rDev +21.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pretty polished bronze color, active carbonation producing little head.
Milled malts of biscuit, caramal and hints of darker roasts in the nose.
Malty on initial bite, lingering sugars woth a slightly metallic twange. Bitters pain the back sides of the tongue upon the beers departure.
Pretty solid, if not down right quaffable.

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Photo of MLasoski
2.46/5  rDev -25.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Poured into a pint glass, very thin head formed, disappeared quickly. As advertised, it is an amber color, but the whole "ember" bit...not understanding it. I expected to taste a roasted malt out of this beer but it is pretty plain. I have had darker, fuller black and tans before. The hops are practically non-existent and I feel like I'm tasting a generic, mainstream beer. It's light enough to throw back a few of these, but I'd rather not. Definitely not my favorite from Hook and Ladder.

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Photo of generallee
3.69/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Presentation: It was poured from a brown 12oz bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance: It had a light white color head that quickly faded out leaving no lacing behind. Its body was a deep amber color with very good clarity.

Smell: The aroma had a light sweet malty character with just a hint of hops coming through.

Taste/Mouth feel: Its flavor was much the same as its aroma with a big malty body and some mild hops. Its texture is smooth with light carbonation, a medium body and a sweetish finish.

Notes: Overall it's not bad at all but it's also not a standout either.

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Photo of Gyle41386
2.65/5  rDev -19.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass.

This is a blend of their Golden and Backdraft Brown. I just had the Backdraft Brown, and I'm smelling and tasting much more of it than the Golden in this "black and tan."

Pours a dark amber. Small head, decent retention, thin lacing.

It smells like Backdraft Brown, just with pale malts instead. Watery chocolate, grains, caramel, complete lack of hop character. Yeah, just like Backdraft Brown.

It tastes like Backdraft Brown, except with a lager-y grain aftertaste. The pale malt backbone, however, provides more character in Ember Amber. I don't want to say depth, so character will have to do.

Body is pretty thin, pretty light and watery texture. It's a decently smooth drinker, though, and mostly inoffensive.

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Photo of number1bum
3.2/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a dark amber color, good clarity with some bubbles rising to the top. Two fingers of light beige head settle pretty quickly leaving only a thin lace and minimal stick on the sides.

Smells of some pale malt, caramel, a bit of grain. I really don't get much in the way of hops.

Taste has a biscuity, pale malt base with a touch of caramel sweetness. Also has a bit of a grainy bite and an earthy, woodsy sort of flavor in the finish. I'd actually describe the finish as being 'dirty' in flavor, as it feels sort of ashy and tastes a bit bland and earthy. Really no hops to speak of. I also start to get just a bit of cocoa powder in the finish, the only real brown ale sort of character to speak of.

Mouthfeel is a light medium body with a somewhat chalky/ashy finish. Carbonation is appropriate and it's decently smooth.

There really isn't much too this. Not much flavor, and really no detectable hops to even provide some balance. Could use more caramel sweetness and just a minimal hop profile to balance it out a bit more. Bland is the best word to describe it.

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Photo of Gambrinus1184
3.65/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12-ounce bottle into a SA pint glass.

A: Poured a light copper color with a two-finger head of bubbly white foam. Carbonation is lazy and the lacing minimal.

S: Smells a bit grainy, with lightly toasted cereal malts and husk over a slightly roasted aroma.

T: A crisp, clean malt profile is accentuated with toasted caramel malts which throw off a little bit of sweetness. Bitterness is low and there is only a slight hop resin detected in the otherwise crisp finish, though the brew does have a certain metallic quality to it.

M: Mouthfeel is light-medium bodied and pretty drinkable.

D: This went pretty well with my parmesan garlic chicken wings, but the flavor on its own was nothing too special. One could session it for sure, but there are far better reds, coppers and amber out there.

Ember Amber is certainly no black and tan, and none of the character from the Backdraft Brown shines through. Pretty mediocre, but still worth a try.

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Photo of SurlyDuff
3.3/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours more of a wood brown than amber.
They're calling it an amboer, but its really just a mix of their brown and golden. I defintily like the idea, and its a good beer, just not really an amber at all.

Getting grain and not to much else off the aroma. It's not bad by a long shot, just kind of bland.

Bit think in the mouthfeel, maybe the fact that its 60% golden ale is kinda throwing me off. Getting some toffee, caramel, and a bit of roastiness. It's a good drinker for sure, but just nothing to make me seek this beer out again...

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Photo of confer
3.74/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- Reddish-Orange with an off white head. Never really liked this color.

S- I liked the smell. Slightly fruity and hoppy.

T- I also liked the taste. There was nothing really strong about the taste, just plain very small amount of hoppiness.

D-Goes down real easy. This is a definitely a beer that you can have more than one of if you like

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Photo of Pleepleus
2.51/5  rDev -23.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

Third Hook and Ladder I tried from the sampler 12 pack. Poured from bottle to SA Pint glass a reddish amber color with a half inch of cream head that reduced to a nice bubble sheen with some spotty lacing. Smell is mild with a hint of brown sugar. Taste is a mild sweet malt flavor of the Brown ale that is muted by the Golden. Thin wattery mouthfeel. Drinkable? Yes, but I will have my non-BA guests suck the other two of these down. If I wanted a "Black and Tan" I would pour it myself. This is a lame filler in this sampler, the beer is not all bad but the concept is. They didn't brew a fourth beer so they put two together and bottled it and called it Ember Amber. Lame.

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Photo of argock
3.03/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from 12oz brown bottle into a clear pint glass. No freshness date. Purchased in a 12-pack H&L sampler for $12.99 from Harris Teeter (Charlottesville, VA).

A: Nondescript golden-amber with foamy, 1-finger beige head with minimal lace.

S: Some buttery caramel and light herbal hops note

T: Messy with buttery and malty flavors smattered with mild herbal hops.

M: Thin and overcarbonated. Aftertaste is herbal hops and mild maltiness.

D: Skip it and drink the H&L Brown or Irish Red ales.

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Photo of Rootdog316
3.38/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I was actually in Harris Teeter and a representive from Hook & Ladder was giving out free samples. Ember Amber is a combination of 65% Golden Ale and 35% Backdraft Brown. Pours a clear, nutty brown with a small white head. Yeasty aroma. Smooth, but thin palate. Very slight hop note, but too thin to really note. Not too bad...if I run into a place that has both Backdraft and Golden Ale on tap, I'll mix myself an Amber.

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Photo of kennyo
2.36/5  rDev -28.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

tried this out of the sampler 12 pack. brown color, white head, clear. No carbonation bubbles to see but the beer was carbonated.

there really isn't much to this beer, not a lot of aroma, not a lot of taste. The high points is that you can taste the brown ale portion of the mix, the bad part, it isn't the brown ale but some mutation of the golden ale and the nice tasting brown ale.

my suggestion, find a six pack of the brown and leave everything else alone.

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Photo of Minkybut
3.04/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I poured this beer into my tumbler at 50 degrees. The beer was a reddish amber color with a decent head and lacing. The beer smelled like all the rest of the beers in the sample pack. I think they are all made from each other. No matter, I did not like this one of all the others I tried. It is a combo of two others and taste like neither. It was kinda sweet with a malty hit to it but rather confusing. No.

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Photo of BEERchitect
3.03/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

The bottle describes this beer as a blend of the Golden Ale and the Backdraft Ale, or in their words, "a black and tan". If I had known this going in, I would have saved money and bought both of those and blended them myself. Or better yet, just buy this one outright.

All silliness aside, this beer has a lot of attribues of the Backdraft, but uses the Golden to lower the boldness of the brown ale. The darker beer unfortunately lends the buttery flavors and textures, while the lighter beer gives a light vegital quality. The blending doesn't do a whole lot to improve either aspects of the separate beers.

The beer takes on more of an English Mild character than an amber. The hopping is would be light for both, and the beer takes on a bit too much of a toasty character for an Amber. The beer finishes too sweet, isn't as crisp, or is as dry as Ambers should be. But as a Mild the profile fits a bit more closely.

The beer doesn't really offend, but there are better places to go for an Amber, or a half-and-half. Gees, I sure don't get the blended beers.

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Hook & Ladder Ember Amber from Hook & Ladder Brewing Company (No. 2)
3.29 out of 5 based on 31 ratings.
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