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.

Bros Score:
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Ratings: 236 |  Reviews: 184
Photo of pittvkyle7
3.01/5  rDev -16.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A- Deep brown with a hint of red on the edges. Big off white head that fades to a ring.

S- roasted malts and cascade aroma

T- a bold malt taste with roasted and nutty flavors. The use of cascades here seem odd to me and the hop taste just tasted wrong for the style.

M- Good mouthfeel, meadium light body.

D- Easy to drink and not very impressive over all. To me it tasted like a old boston lager with cascade hops.

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Photo of Suds
3.7/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I sampled a pint of this brew on-tap during a recent trip back to the USA. It's a deep, chestnut brown color, with a whispy tan head. It's really a fairly average-looking brown ale. The aroma is of faintly roasted grains and a little malt. Very little hop aroma. The taste, though, is more intense, with the roastedness really coming through. There's a bitterness in the finish, and a lot of grain throughtout the taste. A very low crabonation helped the beer. Medium to full in body. This is a drinkable, and very applealing, if not extraordinary beer.

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Photo of MuenchenerKindl
4.33/5  rDev +20.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle to a pint glass the liquid is dark brown with good carbonation. The head is 2 fingers tan and leaves some lace , really a great looking brew.

The smell is lots of roasty toasty malty, with mild hops.

The taste follows and is very good. The dark roasted malt is excellent, it warms nice and is very tasty. The hops come out a bit more as it warms as well to become balances and very enjoyable.

The mouthfeel is smooth creamy, medium body and nice carbonation.

The drinkability is great I will look for more of this and spread the word, Prosit, MK

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Photo of GrandpaGeorg
4.3/5  rDev +19.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Call me easy to please, but this was one tasty beer. Gorgeous deep brown color with a nice foamy head that left quickly and laced the glass a bit as it emptied. Carmel, roasted malt in the nose with a hint of Cascade hops (smelled like a nice German Dunkel). Taste was roasted malt and a mild bitterness from the hops that balanced the taste nicely. Smooth is the operative word here. Very tasty, a touch sweet (but definitely not too much), rich mouthfeel and a flavor that was consistent throughout. Really a great go-to brown. Drinkable. Would make a nice session beer.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.45/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12oz. bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a dark brown color, with a thin off-white head that fades quickly and leaves a thin lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is faint but contains roasted malts, maple, caramel, nuts and a touch of hops.

T: The taste is malty with flavors of nuts, maple and caramel. There's a mild hops presence that provides a decent balance. The after-taste is slightly sweet.

M: Smooth with a little crispness, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is dry.

D: A little tasty, goes down easy, not too filling, mild kick, decent representation of style, this isn't really a bad beer but it certainly wouldn't be the first brown ale that I would select.

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Photo of dedrinker
2.7/5  rDev -24.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

deep copper/ brown color with a thin off-white head. Aroma of light caramel and nuts - very light. The taste was some slightly roasty malts, a little more caramel, and a somewhat distracting sour/ acidic note. Perhaps it was the soapy taste from their pale ale that in this instance was masked somewhat by darker malts, but I'm not sure. Medium body and I am sure that I did not care for this beer, and did not finish it.

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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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Photo of harpo111
3.7/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

a - dark, nice color..not a bunch of head...a little lacing

s - malty, some hops

t - nice, balanced, some hops..carmalized malts.

m - nice...carbonation is very pronouned

d - good, i had two of them...not overpowering.

nice brown...smooth. I was hoping for a little more bite, but overall very nice and balanced...

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

a: dark brown in color with a very well-retained khaki head

s: Similar to the aroma. Predominantly nutty and toffee malts with an aged, earthy hop aroma.

m: carbonation around medium and smooth, medium body

t: Nutty, moderately sweet malts with a nice note of chocolate powder in the finish. Moderately hopped.

d: a decent alternative to the macros available...enjoyable

standard pint at Crystal City Sports Bar Alexandria

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Photo of BeerSox
3.1/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12oz bottle into nonic.

Deep, almost opaque, brown with a tan frothy head that slowly settles to a thin cap. Stringy lacing.

The aroma is mostly molasses and deep roasty malts.

For such a thick aroma, this one tastes pretty thin. The burnt malts are there, along with the molasses, but it just tastes watered down. A slight smokey quality to it as well. Medium bodied with good carbonation. The finish is lingering burnt grain.

Started out good but then came up short. This one may be good for those who like a lighter brown ale, but that's not for me.

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Photo of BravoTwo
3.65/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A - Dark brown, mahogany color with a light tan minimal head, that dissapated quickly leaving slight lacing.

S - Nice malty smell, dark with a hint of floral aroma hops.

T - Good solid taste, nice malty sweetness with a touch of floral hops in the finish. No overpowering tastes here, very well balanced.

M - Average, light carbonation with a thinner mouthfeel.

D - Good drinkability, not a heavy brew which would allow one to drink several of these beers in a session.

Overall, a good beer that is sessionable as a brown ale. Balanced with no overpowering notes. Maybe not as strong as others of this style but very solid.

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

Pours with a four finger light tan head that fades slowly to a thin layer leaving some lace. Almost black hints of mahogany highlights. The nose is roasted coffee. Light carbonation and medium body. Flavor is roasted coffee with some hoppiness. $1.50 for 12oz bottle from Capitol Convenience, Concord, NH. Label is Hook & Ladder Brewing - contract brewed by Mercury.

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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 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 erosier
3.95/5  rDev +10%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a nice reddish brown from the bottle with a tall and thick tan colored head that sticks around for a while and then laces the glass all the way down. It smells of deep roasted malts and balanced out with a piney hoppy bitterness for a nice Ale aroma. It tastes pretty good too with a deep roasted malt taste and a nice bitter and piny hoppy taste to balance out the flavor. It had a nice somewhat crisp mouthfeel and a good amount of carbonation. The drinkability is pretty good as I could have a few of these in a sitting and I would most likely get it again because for $7 for a 6pack, it really isn't a bad choice at all.

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Photo of iceball585
4/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Dark reddish black color, semi-transparent, very thin lacy cover

S- Brown sugar, roasted caramel malts, sweet chocolate

T- Molasses, sweet malts, caramel, nutty, light hop bitterness

M- Medium body, medium carbonation, fairly watery/oily finish left on the palate

D- Worth trying

Not my favorite brown ale but still worth buying again. This brew is just slightly lacking in complexity.

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Photo of Bounty628
4.5/5  rDev +25.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

In the post 9-11 world that we now live in, it seems as though an added emphasis upon the bravery of firefighters has come to light. Though the profession itself has always been held in high esteem, the risks that firefighters are willing to take every time they enter a burning building is something that all of us should never take too lightly.

Therefore, it is rewarding to see a firefighter giving back to his community and the American community at large by taking another passion of his, brewing beer, and turning it into not only an amazing line of beers but also a vehicle to once again go above the normal call of duty. Rich Fleischer, a fireman from Bethesda, Maryland is founder of Hook & Ladder Brewing . The brewery, which was founded in 1999, is located in Silver Spring, Maryland.

What Fleischer has been able to do is craft a line of beers that all seem to pass the taste test and incorporate a charitable arm of his business into the mix as well. For every pint of beer that Hook & Ladder Brewing pours (whether on draft or in bottle), the brewery donates one cent to the local burn treatment center at a hospital close to where the beer was sold. This, geographically, has allowed for many a penny to be donated across an expansive territory.

The Hook & Ladder Brewing offering Backdraft Brown is a highly well crafted beer that leaves this consumer well pleased. The ability to both support a charitable cause as Hook & Ladder has set out to do and also enjoy an excellent beer is a great combination.

The beer pours a very dark brown to an almost black color and has a visual reminiscence to a stout-like pour. However, as is not the case with most stouts, Backdraft Brown pours with a very minuscule tan head that has rather poor retention.

Backdraft Brown certainly is not for those seeking a weak tasting offering as the taste is rather malty in nature. The smooth texture of the beer is loaded with hints of chocolate and nuts mixed with the roasted malts that are used. For the most part, this beer has a mostly malt taste with a small hops finish coming in right at the end.

Perhaps what was best about this brown ale was that it is a somewhat bitter brown ale as opposed to those that are made too sweet. A common complaint that I have with brown ales is that some of them are too sweet in nature and almost have a too sugary taste to them. Fortunately, Backdraft Brown really has a roasted coffee undertone that is noted throughout that holds together the taste well.

Though some who don't necessarily enjoy dark beers might be hesitant to jump into drinking Backdraft Brown, this beer is a rather crisp sipping bear that is easy to drink. It does not leave the drinker with the "heavy" feel after drinking one of them, as is often times a common complaint that is voiced.

Backdraft Brown is a well crafted in the true American Brown Ale fashion and is brewed year round thanks to the fine folks at Hook & Ladder Brewing. The Backdraft Brown that I had tasted was in a twelve ounce brown bottle available at a local package store that has an excellent craft brew selection. Priced as a weekly sale, I paid $5.99 for a six pack of Backdraft Brown.

For more information about Hook & Ladder Brewing, check out their website at www.hookandladderbeer.com.

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Photo of treehugger02010
3.12/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I had this at a "tasting" at the faculty club I steward at.
Appearance: A deep brown body that is almost black topped off with a great sized very light tan head having poor retention and leaving just less than decent lacing.
Smell: Very crisp with hops and having a nice backbone of malts that play back and forth.
Taste: Hints of roast and chocolate, overall malty, but one can certainly find the hops without looking.
Mouthfeel: Crisp.
Drinkability: Solidly average.
Don't drink and review.

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Photo of billybob
4.35/5  rDev +21.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

pours a deep brown in color with a one inch light tan head with some nice rings of lace. smells of roasted malts with a hint of coffee. taste is same rich roasted malt and dry not sweet at all with a slightly lingering bitter after taste. medium bodied with good carbonation. one of my favorite styles of beer this one comes near the top on all counts.

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Photo of sraimondi
4.17/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Finally picked up a sixer of this yesterday. On my second of the day, while watching the Colts-Chargers game.

The appearance is good, dark ruby/brown with a nice long-lasting light tan head with some sheet lacing.

The smell is quite sweet malt with some roast/toasty notes and even a hint of smokiness.

Given the abundant sweet malt smell, I was worried that the taste might be cloying; thankfully it is not. Lotsa stuff going on; the malt predominates but there is definitely some choco character and there is even a bit of a hops kick at the very finish. Quite complex overall.

The mouthfeel is full and rounded, very, very good. The carbonation is just about perfect.

Overall a very drinkable beer. I had one with a ham & cheese sandwich on some artisan bread; it doesn't get much better than this. If you like browns, definitely pick this one up.

PS: The bottle says brewed in Rochester, NY; perhaps at Highfalls?? I also heard from an "industry type" that one of their beers is brewed at Mercury Brewing in MA; does anyone know if this is true? Thanks.


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Photo of MrHurmateeowish
4.12/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz brown bottle from Hannaford in Gardiner. Pours dark copper-brown, nearly opaque, with a quarter inch of light tan head. Smells malty, roasty, and somewhat nutty with strong coffee and chocolate notes. Tastes roasty, with dark chocolate and coffee playing big parts with some caramel and hints of nut. On the fuller side of medium-bodied with moderate carbonation. Rather drinkable - one sip most definitely invites another. An excellent brown ale, and one of the best I've had.

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

Pours dark with little head.

Not as sweet as some brown ales, has a good meld of roasted malt and coffee with a bitter aftertaste that follows through.

Overall, a decent brown ale that works quite well being enjoyed in the winter months, but is a bit more full than it should be.

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Photo of ericj551
3.75/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I was a sucker for this beer because of the firefighting theme. It pours a deep red/brown with a frothy tan head. The aroma is hoppy with bits of chocolate, caramel and other dark malts. The flavor is crisp and fairly dry with some of the same malty flavors as in the aroma. The maltiness is overpowered a bit by the hop bitterness and flavor. Overally it's a pretty decent beer, and the charitable donation isn't bad either.

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Photo of Brad007
3.63/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark brown color with a thick head that leaves quite a bit of lacing. Aroma is somewhat hoppy for a brown ale with an undershade of malt. Turns out the hops are Cascade hops and that's definitely true here. Somewhat roasty as well.

Taste starts off malty and smooth upfront with a lingering mild hop bitterness and roasty taste. A second sip detects the Cascades better upfront with only a slight hint of roastiness. Quite drinkable for a brown ale. Not quite my choice though but I could drink this in a session.

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Photo of Gambrinus1184
3.73/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served on-tap at the Playwright in Hamden, Conn.

A: Poured a very dark, almost black color, but deep ruby highlights shone through when held up to the light. Almost no head, but the brew looks really deep for a brown.

S: Smells faintly nutty and malty. Some smoked wood comes through as well.

T: Tastes a little hoppy and bitter, which was a nice surprise and a great compliment to the smoked malt. Just the right amount of sticky sweetness to make this a very nice drinking American brown.

M: Mouthfeel is full, which is a bit of a negative for drinkability for a brown, but it's a great winter find.

D: The taste is rich, I wouldn't want to session it, but I'd definitely want to have it again. You won't be disappointed.

Great microbrew from a Maryland brewpub. Surprised to find it here in CT, but damn glad it was. I wish I could get a growler of it someplace.

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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
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