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

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Hook & Ladder Backdraft BrownHook & Ladder Backdraft Brown
236 Ratings
Hook & Ladder Backdraft BrownHook & Ladder Backdraft Brown

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

Style: English Brown Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 4.50%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by Todd on 01-21-2002

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 236 |  Reviews: 184
Reviews by FickleBeast:
Photo of FickleBeast
4.25/5  rDev +18.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

12 oz bottle poured into a Rock Bottom Brewers Choice pint glass

A - pours maple syrup brown with one finger of head that dissipates quickly

S - sweet, with a hint of hops

T - all around solid malt flavor, not overly sweet, tastes like a toned down version of Old Chub. Hops poke though a little bit.

edit - as soon as I reviewed this, it struck me, there is not a big maltiness, but rather a "nutty" flavor - definite nutty flavor

M - lightly carbonated, refreshing

D - refreshing, nice maltiness without overpowering, finishes pretty dry

An all around solid Brown Ale. A sessionable treat.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of lordofthewiens
3.18/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A 12oz bottle poured into a pint glass. It was a fairly dark brown with faint red highlights. Thin head, but still a little lacing. Nice caramel aroma. Caramel taste, but way too sweet, like drinking a Coca Cola. Just not a very pleasant beer for me. I'm gonna feed them to my son-in-law.

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Photo of generallee
3.97/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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

Appearance: It had a tan head of average size that fades quickly leaving only a little lacing. The body has a dark brown color with some nice ruby red highlights.

Smell: The aroma has a big sweet, malty, bready character.

Taste/Mouth feel: The base flavor is malty and bready with some hints of darker roasted malt and modest, slightly citrusy hops. The hops add a good balance to the mostly malty character and finish with the beer with a pleasant soft bitterness. Its texture is smooth, slightly slick and medium bodied with light to average carbonation.

Notes: Overall nice beer and a standout from the mixed 12-pack.

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Photo of Jason
4.1/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: 12 oz brown long neck bottle with no freshness date. No other info on the label.

Appearance: Deep ruddy brown colour with a more than decent off white lace.

Smell: Sweet coffee and toffee mix, more coffee for sure.

Taste: Moderately bodied with a crisp biting mouth feel and carbonation. A fairly dry brew, hop bitterness is sharp but not overboard. Middle of the line roasted malt character defines that this is still a brown ale or a poor man’s porter. The roasted flavour goes a bit nutty and flows into the dry finish with the bitterness.

Notes: I could definitely vision myself sitting down and making this a session brew. Every once in a while a beer comes along and tweaks my fancy ... this is one.

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Photo of Cavanaghty
3.75/5  rDev +4.5%

Photo of theoz49
5/5  rDev +39.3%

Photo of mjtiernan
4/5  rDev +11.4%

Photo of far333
3.85/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Semi-transparent chestnut colored with a beige foamy head that sinks quickly, but leaves a thin cap atop.

Light aroma of roasty malt and caramel. Flavor of dark malt and light brown sugar, some charred bark and caramel. Mild hints of molasses and cocoa. Mild hop bitters come though in the finish. Pretty well-balanced.

Full and creamy mouthfeel. Very drinkable, a sessionable beer.

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Photo of WVbeergeek
2.41/5  rDev -32.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Pours a dark ruddy mahogany brown hue with a light beige head that forms thick and dwindles slowly. Chunks of scattered lacing are left clinging to the sides of my glass. Aroma a roasted caramel accent about it with light herbal hops, with a nutty finish to it all. Flavors are a muddled watery mess of roasted malt and weird chocolate caramel coated fruit, no real hops the finish tastes like muddy cocoa. Mouthfeel is watery and pretty thin for a brown, but finishes with the cloying residual sugar muddled mess I tried to describe in the flavor. I'm guessing this is a contract brew by High Falls but I'm not sure. Drinkability overall is pretty weak not something I will ever look for again.

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Photo of mbatley
3.61/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Overall a drinkable beer with decent structure. I like a brown with more smoothness that moves toward more of a session beer. This is a fairly hopped beer with a less "big" finish. Don't get me wrong it is drinkable and I like the fact that a very small portion goes to burn victims (but more could go to them if it was a little better!).

Solid C+/B- Brown ale!

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Photo of sloejams
4.3/5  rDev +19.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I am kind of surprised to see the scores so low on this beer. I'm not a huge American Brown guy and I thought this was delicious.

Dark chocolate in color with a thick 2 finger head - this looks a bit creamy, something I really enjoy for this style. It has a pleasant molasses, brown sugar aroma that is match in the mouth. A nice chewy, creamy malt backbone makes each sip a pleasure.

I had with a bowl of chili and enjoyed every second of it.

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Photo of NJpadreFan
3.53/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Hook & Ladder

A- Deep dark brown with a good foamy head. Nice ring lacing down the glass.
S- Brown sugar malt with hints of licorice.
T- Sweet brown sugar. Roasted malt with touches of black licorice and pecan.
M- Sweet thick malt with huge carbonation. Mild dry finish.

Overall- Much better than their Lighter. Decent Brown. I would drink again.

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Photo of TheSixthRing
3.55/5  rDev -1.1%
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 asabreed
3.65/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Depending on the pour, since sometimes it was filled to the brim (not that I complained or anything), a nice mocha-colored head, though not much head retention or lacing left on the glass.

Smell: Mild chocolate cream, toasted nuts, mildly toasted malt flavors, and some graininess.

Taste: Flavors of mild chocolate, grains, toasted malts, and nutty flavors dominate overall.

Mouthfeel: Fairly creamy and medium-bodied, with good carbonation nicely not too cloying or big.

Drinkability: I had 3 or 4 of these, and it was certainly a highly sessionable brew, especially if you're into the style. Nothing mindblowing, but pretty good overall.

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Photo of tweeder263
3.78/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours out a dark brown beer with ruby tones when viewed through lights.Has a decent malty smell to it,,no hop aroma to mention. Taste is malty but dry,,no sweetness to mention,,slightly astringent,,very little in the way of hops. Mouthfeel is pretty nice,,not too much or too little..Very drinkable.

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Photo of gorby16
4.1/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A solid beer, but nothing exciting here.

A - Deep brown, copper color; thin foam that disappears quickly; lots of tiny bubbles

S - Sweetness and not much else

T - Little sweetness; very non-descript at first, but flavors come through after the finish; roasted malt flavor, smoke, caramel, and nut

M - Nice amount of carbonation; smooth

D - Less sweet than Newcastle, but it is a nice beer

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Photo of Rootdog316
3.67/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On tap-Dark brown pour w/a little lacing. Faint Roasted malt aroma. Kind of a standard brown, roasted malt & nuts, had some carbonation & a little bit of a smoked flavor to it, but really nothing special. Not nearly as good as their wheat-surprised it is rated higher that the wheat (which is really a golden ale). Kind of thin mouthfeel.

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Photo of SidewinderX
3.46/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into a pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a dark, almost coffee, brown with a a moderate head that dissipates fairly quickly but sticks to the glass.

Smell: Gentle, sweet scent. Not much more to say than that.

Taste: Unobtrusive, slightly sweet taste. Surprisingly crisp for a brown ale. Not loaded with flavor though.

Mouthfeel: Nicely carbonated, but nothing special.

Drinkability: Light, crisp, and moderately flavorful. Easy to drink several of these in a sitting. Not a stellar beer, but one I'll definitely consider when I'm not looking for something more expensive.

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Photo of Damian74
3.25/5  rDev -9.5%

Photo of cjgator3
3.21/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle

A- Pours a dark brown color with a light tan colored head that has pretty good retention and lacing qualities.

S- The aroma is sweet roasted malts with caramel, chocolate and hints of nuts as well. The aroma is a little too faint though.

T- The taste like the aroma features some sweet roasted malts and caramel flavors but the taste is pretty subdued like the aroma.

M- The mouthfeel is slightly more than light bodied with a good amount of carbonation.

D- Not a bad brown, but there are many more out there that I would rather spend my money on.

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Photo of tempest
2.08/5  rDev -42.1%
look: 4 | smell: 1 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Man, what's up with these beers? I've tried all three and they reek of minerals and phenols. It's like the brewing water is all out of whack. The flavor has a bitter chocolate flavor and a dry finish, but the medicinal phenol taste throws everything off. It seems like there might be a decent brown ale hidden under the massive phenols.

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Photo of cliff1066
3.5/5  rDev -2.5%

Photo of bconsidine
3.5/5  rDev -2.5%

Photo of RomaniIteDomum
3.92/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured a nice brown color with a nice creamy head. Very nice lacing.

Smells nice, lots of sweet malts in the nose.

The taste is pretty damn good. Lots of nice malty notes with a subtle hop finish. Nice sweet chocolatey finish.

In the mouth it is very smooth with almost too much carbonation. Still a good balance.

This would make a good session beer. I will definately have this beer again. It has some very nice elements for a great price.

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Photo of ams0286
3.44/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

After trying this beer for the first time I wasn't even mad that there really wasn't a penny in every bottle lol.

A - This is a very dark, almost stout looking beer. The head seemed to dissipate quickly however there was nice lacing on the side of the glass.

S - It smells similar to Newcastle Brown however it is a lighter aroma. Malt comes through strong with hints of hops. Almost a chocolatey scent to it.

T - This is quite a surprise. More flavor than the aroma reveals. Very malty again yet extremely well balanced. If Hook and Ladder produces quality like this throughout their line I am in for a treat.

M - This beer has a nice full body and carbonation is evident.

D - This could work as a session beer because it is not offensive in any respect. Very easy to drink and the first one left me wanting to have another.

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Hook & Ladder Backdraft Brown from Hook & Ladder Brewing Company (No. 2)
Beer rating: 3.59 out of 5 with 236 ratings