Hook & Ladder Backdraft Brown
Hook & Ladder Brewing Company (No. 2)

Hook & Ladder Backdraft BrownHook & Ladder Backdraft Brown
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English Brown Ale
3.6 | pDev: 14.17%
Hook & Ladder Brewing Company (No. 2)
Maryland, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
Hook & Ladder Backdraft BrownHook & Ladder Backdraft Brown
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Reviews: 184 | Ratings: 236 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of ckollias
4.03/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Enjoyed this 12oz bottle out of a pint glass.

A: Pours a dark black hue with a amber highlights with a thin, tan-brown 1-finger head that quickly dissipates and leaves a wispy lace leaving s nice trail down the glass.

S: Solid malt aroma with a hints of caramel and coffee.

T: Dark rich ale with a generous sweetness and a great coffee flavor. Slight chocolate and caramel overtones.

M: Medium body and medium carbonation.

O: Very good brown ale. Excellent profile and flavors.

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Photo of TheSixthRing
3.55/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance - Pours a light cola brown with a a light tan, 1/2 finger head. Retention is poor, and the resulting lace is sparse but clings to the side.

Smell - Faint aromas of toffee and some classic dry euro hops.

Taste - Slighty roasty, nutty malts with a touch of toffee sweetness. Hops are floral and finish dry.

Mouthfeel - Medium body. Carbonation causes a fair tingle in the mouth. Again, English hops leave it with a semi-dry finish.

Overall - Classic English brown ale. Not big on browns like these, but it's better than Newcastle. Just not enough interesting flavors going on here.

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Photo of budgood1
2.45/5  rDev -31.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

pours out a nearly opaque brown colour with crimson edges. very little head and little lace. subdued aroma...some cocoa notes can be detected. the flavour is equally uninspiring...weak malt flavours, strained hop notes, a watery mouthfeel and light body make for a ho-hum experience. at least there is little of the diacetyl that plagued the other offerings from H&L. drinkability has some seesion aspects to it.

overall i'm glad to get through this sampler pack. although the sale of this beer provides some funding to a local burn foundation, it doesn't make the beer any better.

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Photo of dexterk1
3.73/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

poured int o a pint glass from the bottle. Head is nice and thick. Color is dark brown.
Odor is malty, sweet with some caramel. I get coffee as well.
Taste is of malt with toffee/caramel. Some coffee notes as well.
Mouth feel is about medium. Lighter than the dark color might indicate.

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Photo of Giovacchini
3.85/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz. Bottle into a 16 oz. triple karmeliet glass.

A- dark dark brown with tan head that doesn't stick around.

S- coffee, malt, caramel, toffee, chocolate.

T- a well balanced beer. Not overly malty. Coffee, chocolate, and caramel malt. This beer taste very similar to a porter to me.

M- Medium bodied with a creamy texture. Slight carbonation.

O- I have never had a English style brown and this beer wants to make me try some other to better understand the style. It has some of the same qualities of a good porter or stout. Overall this a good beer and for a "fireman" themed brewery I was impressed.

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Photo of Treyliff
3.95/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Look- Dark brown pour with tan colored head and pretty good lacing.

Smell- Coffee, caramel, hazelnuts, chocolate. There's a sweet butter toffee smell, but also a smoky finish. Smells are pronounced, yet balanced.

Taste- Crisp and medium body, immediate bitterness from the hops. Roasted malts give off a hazelnut taste, that finishes quite dry. Mouthfeel has good carbonation, just a bit to light for my liking. There are a lot of flavors sticking out but nothing is overpowering.

Overall this is a very drinkable brown ale. The dry malty character mixes well with the bitterness of the hops. I was a little surprised by this one!

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Photo of TheDinger
3.71/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- Dark brown pour with minimal head. Almost root beer appearance. Decent lacing throughout.

S- A bit disappointing, almost non-existent. Some roasted malt notes, but faint.

T- Surprisingly smooth and rich. A hint of carmel with a little hop kick to finish. A little thin toward the finish.

M- A bit thin for a brown. Gravitates toward watery.

O- Was pleasantly surprised with the well rounded taste of malts, hops and carmel. Would like it to have a little more flavor and some bite, but a decent effort and an easy drinking brown. Would have another-

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Photo of DrDemento456
4.01/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Now that's a brown ale! Darkish brown hue with a half inch of creamy white head. Lacing is excellent sticking to the side with every sip/

S - Smell is OK not too exciting. Some slight sweetness of toasted malts and a bit of hops in the nose, very faint though.

T - Exceptional. I couldn't believe how smooth and creamy this beer was! Starts off with a bit of hops then quickly to a bit of brown malt and toasted marshmallow/caramel sweetness and finishes with a bit of bitterness.

M - Smooth and creamy.

Overall a very unexpected treat from this brewery. I have another beer by them and hopefully it's as good.

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Photo of hdf561
3.06/5  rDev -15%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Had in bottle at Regional Food and Drink August 21 2011 in Washington DC.

Ill will be the first to admit, Im not typically a darker beer fan, but when you go to place like RFD you want to make it worth your while and this is one of the only Hook and Ladder Beers I have not tried.

Had to tell appearance cause it was in a bottle so I rated it slightly above average, and to be honest appearance means very littel to me anyway when rating a beer.

The smell was not appealing.

The taste it was initally a little harsh, but mellowed out throughout the drink, it did not have a very strong initial aftertaste, but it was a beer a tasted on my tounge the rest of the night, on my Metro and car ride back home.

Overall this is an above average beer, that is worth a try. Again Im not much on beers like this but it was still good, and it supports firefighters which since I am one is always awesome.

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Photo of DaveBlack
3.3/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: Dark brown, not quite opaque, with a very thin layer of tan head on the surface. Almost no lacing.

S: Sweet, roasted aroma with brown sugar and a spiciness on the finish. Smells really, the hops balance out the sweetness in the aroma.

T: roasted flavors blast up front, quickly followed by a slight hoppiness, but then all the flavor fades away, leaving my mouth with almost nothing. I may have just taken a sip of water.

M: The fairly light mouthfeel combines with the lack of flavor in making this beer seem really watery. There is some carbonation, so it's a little more like fizzy water.

O: The smell promised a lot but the beer failed to deliver. It is just weak, not enough substance to it, either flavor- or mouthfeel- wise to balance out the initial punch of flavor. Total disappointment. Not bad, just not very good or worth drinking.

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Photo of Stinkypuss
2.56/5  rDev -28.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

12 oz bottle into pint glass. Light brown in color. Alittle lace is found on the glass. Small malty aroma. Taste is watery caramel, toffee and then nothing. Watery feel, brown sugar, little else. Sessionable, if you like watery, barely carbonated beer.

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Photo of Beer4Baltimore
3.75/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

- from thenotes and a 12 ounce bottle
A - clear(filtered) brown ale with a small dissapating head.
S - sweet malts and maybe some toasted malts.
T - definitely toasted sweet malts with a little hops and even some detectable smoke.
M - medium bodied with good carbonation.
D - I had more than one and would again.

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Photo of Knapp85
3.35/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer pours out as a clean looking brown color. The head is a shade of tan that doesn't have too much retention. The smell is semi sweet with some roasted nuts in the aroma. The taste is nutty upfront and fades into a light roasted flavor in the aftertaste. The mouthfeel is pretty light very drinkable. Overall this is a decent brown ale.

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Photo of vandemonian
3.99/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Hook & Ladder Backdraft Brown is a decent brown ale that I found slightly sour.

A: Brown colour and a 4 mm head that fades very quickly to sparse lacing. 3.5

S: Roasty coffee and sweet malt. 4.5

T: The taste roasty and malty with a hint of sourness and some charcoal. 4

M: Well carbonated and frothy. 4

O: A nice, if slightly sour, brown ale. 3.5

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Photo of bs870621345
3.97/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big thanks to mchalups for getting me this in WV a little while back.

Pours a deep amber, almost porter like color. No head forms, but has a collar that leaves a nice lacing.

Smells like caramel, roast, toffee, nuts, and light herbal hops.

Taste follows smell, has a nice bold nuttiness with caramel and the hops in the background. Subtle but pretty nice.

Mouthfeel is moderate, low carbonation.

Overall its a good beer. Could have a few of these easily and would be in the fridge if it was available.

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Photo of Arithmeticus
2.44/5  rDev -32.2%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Poured chilled in ale glass.

A: thin head, little carbonation, no lacing
S: malty, whiffs of caramel
T: the brown ale character is pretty classic, with all the standard tropes (caramel, nut, semisweet profile), but I found it quite thin; that is, a good flavor, but not flavorful
M: watery; not lively

Perhaps I got a bad batch; it seemed to work better in their mixed offering.

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Photo of BeerLover99
3.1/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: deep brown body, trace head, zero lacing.

S: mild nut, malt, slight honey, and toffee,

T: mild malt, firm earthy middle, slight roasted sweet nut.

M: light body, average carbonation.

D: This was a little disappointing. I love brown ales, but this didn't have enough flavor for me. Fine session brown ale, but wish it offered a little more intrigue for my tastebuds.

Pass on this one.

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Photo of Hopfenpeter
4.18/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

the color in my crystal beer mug is a deep amber, mahagony. A brownish head builds up to half an inch ut dissipates immedeately.
The smell hints caramel and lots of malt.
The taste is remarkably impressing. Sweet caramel, brown sugar, lots of malt, but kept in check by the right amount of hops. Very simple but powerful. I loved this beer for its simplicity.
good mouthfeel and very drinkable. Would buy this anytime, great job.

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Photo of dckitty
4/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Had this out of a bottle into a Pilsner Glass (need a pint glass!)

It has a pretty dark brown color to it, very clear and pretty. The head was nice and foamy, very good look.

The smell had a buttery, chocolatey scent to it, very unusual, but very good smell.

It was kind of nothing really to write home about though, the flavor wasn't bitter or strong or anything like that, but it didn't really blow me away.

However, it had great mouthfeel and I felt like I could sit and drink this all day.

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Photo of CuriousMonk
3/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a deep amber hue, flirting with brown, but when backlit is ruby red. The aroma is strictly caramel with a touch of sweetness. The flavor is also packed with caramel with a dash of buttery toast. It light in body and pretty bland overall. More representative of an English brown having little bitterness, light on hops, and just not enough depth for me.

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Photo of BB1313
4.35/5  rDev +20.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle poured into a standard pint glass. Pours a nice transparent brown w/ an average head and decent lacing. Lots of great aromas! I'm picking up lots of malts, caramel, and a slight amount of chocolate. There's also a nice breadiness to it. Tastes great as well! The caramel and brown sugar come to life, making this a sweet beer in an enjoyable way. Hints of chocolate are in the background. Mouthfeel is great, very light, but rich, smooth, and creamy. Low abv plus great flavors equals great drinkability. It's very hard to just enjoy one!

The first time I had Backdraft Brown, I was blown away. I still am! It's an insanely tasty brown ale. It has all of the characteristics I look for in the style. Highly recommended!

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Photo of theboozecruise
4.02/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Served from a bottle at Slinky's in BR... with a frozen pint glass, ugh. Oh well, only $3.50, seems like a good price.

The beer is dark brown, with minimal head, probably due to the cold glass.

It has a nice aroma of molasses and nuts.

The taste is mostly hop-free but bold and malty with hints of nuts and raw sugars.

An easy to drink brown ale, will definitely consider it again.

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Photo of HalfFull
3.38/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a pint glass from a 12 oz. twist off bottle. Shows a clear ruby brown on the pour with a thin off white cap. Retention is somewhat brief but the pour keeps a light cap and drops off some temporary lacing.

Nose offers hints of roasted malt, a bit of caramel and some nutty notes. Hop notes are light, offering a bit of musky peat though the nose isn't volatile enough to make you notice.

Taste is somewhat light and creamy with a bit of chocolate up front and some nutty notes on the finish. Sweet notes are more evident on the finish than elsewhere on the palate. A light bitterness peaks through briefly. Feel is a bit full yet a bit sweet which keeps the drinkability in check. A decent Brown Ale yet quite simple in nature.

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Photo of Phocion
3.7/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

12 ounce bottle poured into a pint glass. Deep mahogany color with a solid finger of frothy off-white head and sticky, bubbly lacing.

Aroma took me by surprise; the first thing I noticed was the floral/citrus hops, not what I expected from an East Coast brown ale. This is followed quickly by caramel, brown sugar, and roasted malts, which begin to overpower the hops the more it warms up.

The flavor is much more toasted with a slightly sweet background of toffee and earthiness. Very dry finish and pretty straight-forward. Kind of a disappointment compared to what I picked up in the nose of this thing.

Somewhat thin mouthfeel, but very crisp. A little too highly carbonated, however. I was really impressed with this beer until...I took a sip. Mildly drinkable but not particularly memorable.

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Photo of Radome
3.25/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Served from bottle into snifter.

A - A very nice deep brown color with a tinge of red. It is crystal clear. The head starts moderately thick but fades.

S - Aroma is appetizing blend of bright hops, sweet malt, honey and a little molasses.

T - Taste is a little disappointing after the aroma. Not much going on--a bit of hops, a bit of malt and a tiny bit of roast that is the only complexity.

M - Thin body, light carbonation.

D - This has a great look and smell, but the thin body and uninteresting taste disappointed me.

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Hook & Ladder Backdraft Brown from Hook & Ladder Brewing Company (No. 2)
Beer rating: 82 out of 100 with 236 ratings