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

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184 Reviews
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

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Reviews: 184 | Ratings: 236
Photo of bmwats
3.6/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a standard pint.

A: Dark brown. 1 finger foamy tan head. Settles fairly quickly, leaving a little layer of bubbly carbonation on the surface. Small spots of lacing quickly retreat back into the brew as you drink.

S: Smoky roasted malt, oak, and walnut.

T: Tangy roasted malt flavor. A little woody, with a hint of sweetness.

M: Light and carbonated feel. Woody aftertaste remains.

D: Pretty solid. Simple flavor and a nice body.

Decent atmosphere. Appearance is pretty solid, although not all that exciting; and nose is pretty basic and subtle, but pleasing. Good flavor... again, nothing complex, but nice combination of components. Overall, this is a pretty good quaff.

 710 characters

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.

 444 characters

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

A. Poured a clear dark mohogany brown, with a short tan head. Good lacing on the glass.

S. Carmel, malt, Roasted nuts, leaves

T. Sweet caramel malt, brown sugar, with a bitter middle, aand a soft sweet finish.

M. Medium bodied, lightly carbonated

D. Great brown ale, I like how it starts sweet, then goes slightly bitter, and has a short lasting sweet aftertaste.

 369 characters

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.

 598 characters

Photo of cdizinno
3.26/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Presentation: Poured into a tulip glass from a 12oz. bottle with no freshness date.

A: Dark brown with a reddish tint. Nice tan creamy head that leaves moderate lacing.

S: Sweet caramel, nutty(hazelnut?), and malt smell. Not harsh though.

T&M: Fairly thin body with minimal to no carbonation. Tastes the same as the smell but fades quickly on the first sip. Subsequent sips carry the flavor further.

A decent brown ale. Brown ales are not my favorite and this one is okay.

 476 characters

Photo of eljefe21
3.87/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Dark brown with a reddish tint. Soft fluffy two-finger head melts to a creamy thin head that leaves fine lacing on the sides of the glass.

S: Sweet caramel, rock candy, malt smell. Easy on the nose.

T: Subtle hints of the great smells, but a little too subtle. Sweetness tries to appear in the finish, but never really hits.

M: Sharply carbonated, which takes away from the flavors, and seems a little odd for this style. Mouthfeel is a bit watery too.

D: A nice brown ale. Very drinkable and tasty. A little too carbonated for my tastes, but I certainly wouldn't turn one down.

Served: in an imperial pint glass.

Review notes taken on: 7/29/09

 654 characters

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

Poured from 12 oz bottle into a pint glass. Pours deep dark brown, almost black, with a very small amount of white foam that recedes quickly. No lacing observed.

Sweet nutty smell.

Good english brown taste - caramel, hazelnut, coffee, sweetness all blended into one, backed by an underlying hop. Smooth and moderately carbonated in the mouthfeel. The hop close reminds me of drinking a good bitter coffee.

Very tasty, great take on the style. Good drinkability.

 464 characters

Photo of MrGraybeard
3.88/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured at about 50F into a 14-ounce tumbler. Very smooth pour, producing a two-finger head and fine carbonation. Clear mahogany color. I caught a whiff of floral hops right after the pour but didn't hang around long.

Nice, nutty flavor with cocoa. Body isn't much, but a good example of the type. Good session ale.

I've had it on tap as well, and like most ales it goes down better on draft.

 394 characters

Photo of JDK
4.25/5  rDev +18.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

-Poured a nice dark brown amber with a 1/2 inch foam head that lasted quite a while.
-Medium lacing that really stayed hung on
-Dark roasted caramel malts with a touch of coffee
-Could hardly taste the hops, more of the malts came through but very smooth
-Very creamy taste and mouthfeel follows
-enjoyed this very much and think everyone should at least buy a single if available

 380 characters

Photo of Risser09
3.58/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottled poured into a pilsner - fridge - 2009

Appearance: Pours a transparent brown color with ruby red highlights. Plenty of active carbonation leads to a 2" light tan head. Great retention and ample amounts of lace tentacles.

Smell: Delicious malt aroma is diverse. Caramel and nougat smell sweet. Cocoa nibs, biscuits and lots of cereal. A tad of licorice, but no hop aroma.

Taste: An upfront mineral taste throws me off a bit. Caramel malts mix with vienna malts for a cereal flavor. Slightly roasted flavor with a small amount of bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Medium body, smooth drinking brew with some mineral tones. Ample carbonation, sort of sweet, and no alcohol.

Drinkability: A good brown ale. Not a total standout, but certainly a sessionable beer.

 765 characters

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.

 695 characters

Photo of champ103
3.08/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a clear brown color. At first a one finger beige head forms, but recedes in an instant. Some nice sticky lace is left behind.
S: Caramel, coffee, and a light toasted aroma. Lots of cereal and grain as well. Kind of metallic.
T: Light caramel sweetness and toasted flavor. Not much else here. A light metallic twang as the taste lingers.
M/D: A light body that is over carbonated and watery. This is not hard to drink, but the prickly carbonation detracts a bit.

Pretty bland as far as I am concerned. Not bad, but nothing to really recommend.

 552 characters

Photo of Tone
3.68/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear, dark brown color with a lighter brown along the edges of the glass. 1/2 inch head of an off-white color. Good retention and good lacing. Smells of yeast cleanliness, slight sweet malt, hint of hops, and a hint of roasted malt. Fits the style of an English Brown Ale. Mouth feel is smooth and crisp with an average carbonation level. Tastes of slight roasted malt, sweet malt, slight grain, hint of hops, and yeast cleanliness in the finish. Overall, good looking beer with a better flavor than aroma.

 515 characters

Photo of dmamiano
4.16/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Dark brown pour. Huge, thick frthy head lokks like a chocolate milkshake from the top.
Smelss of dark malts, slightly roasted iwth a semi-sweet chocolate note.
Nice, medium mouthfeel with a full on maltiness.Brown malts, chocolate with a mild roastiness, Bitter finish.
Very nice beer. on of my favorite styles.

 311 characters

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

Thanks to my pal chaz over at realbeer for this bottle. Poured into my Sly Fox shaker glass, the ale appears a clear medium chestnut color with about two fingers of dense, lingering light ecru foam. Aromas and flavors are of medium roasted grains, lightly nutty (hazelnuts), milk and bittersweet chocolate, nicely roasted and subtly smokey coffee beans, a good dose of caramel malt. Backdraft is approaching full bodied for the style with adequate carbonation. A tasty example of an English Brown. Newcastle should be ashamed.

 526 characters

Photo of hustlesworth
4.1/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- appears a dark mahogany but glows a clear shiny burgundy when held up to sunlight. dense creamy beige foam sits and stays nicely with lots of lace left behind.

S- thick strong aroma, slightly metallic, nutty, chocolate, earthy and grainy all at once, some mocha coffee and caramel toffee sweetness, and a bit of citrus hop in the background.

T- not as sweet as the aroma, taste is more of a deeply toasted burnt bread coffee sort of flavor with fresh grain and weak dark chocolate. soil, woodsy, some fruity tartness like maybe fermented dates but without being really fruity at all... finishes nutty and pleasingly bitter with more of a porter flavor than brown ale. orange grapefruit cascade flavor is very evident without being overly bitter.

MF- feel is kinda lackluster compared to the strength of the flavor and aroma. it's relative thinness doesn't seem to fit in among everything else but does leave a nice coating grainy feel. just over medium carbonation and slightly sticky

D- pretty good brown, easy drinking and smooth with enough hops to add spark. not at all boring, but not super complex either.

 1,120 characters

Photo of Yeastcakes
4.07/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Serving notes - Sam Adams glass, room temp
A - nice caramel malty sweetness on the nose
A - good three fingers of off-white rocky head. Clear ruby body when held to light.
M - Light to medium body with light carbonation.
T - Sweetness from the nose not as apparent in flavor but malt still dominates. Nice earthy hops in background. Light dark chocolate flavors towards the end of the drink.
D - Smooth brown ale with enough malt complexity to make it interesting. I could go for a few pints of this.

 501 characters

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

A: Very Dark with red tones.. A quickly dissipating white head.. Not too much to look at.

S: Malt and syrup, brown sugar, and a hint of hops.

T: Sweet, with a very nice roasted malt taste in the finish. A little bit smokey, like burnt coffee. Not a lot of Hops but the finish is malty and delicious. I wasn't expecting a whole lot from this, but it is very nice overall..

M: Creamy, and smooth.

D: A nice beer for any time.. It could go really well with some bratwurst and sauerkraut.

 488 characters

Photo of cnjohn19
4.16/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

pours a dark, hazy brown...much foam at first, but it goes away...damn...but excellent lacing...

smells of roasted coffee beans...malts overpower...excellent

as expected from the smells, this beer tastes of roasted malts...like a better version of newcastle in my mind...slightly dry and crisp...

very intersting beer...at first taste i was ready to get rid of it...but it gets exponentially better with the second, third, fourth drink...

i read the beeradvocate review with this beer and agree...very interesting beer...will buy again and spend more time with it....i think hook & ladder are on to something with this one...

 629 characters

Photo of grayburn
3.88/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A beautiful ruby brown shade as the light shines through. Smallish cream colored head that laces a little bit through the beer.

The smell is the weakest link in this beer, there are some light caramel notes and some roastiness, it just isn't quite strong enough.

The same notes in the nose are there in the taste, not as subdues this time. Nice flavorful beer.

The mouthfeel is good, low carbonation a nice chewy body, still just light enough to be sessionable. Very nice...plus some of the proceeds go helping burn victims...nice.

 534 characters

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.

 299 characters

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

poured nicely into the glass. about one half inch of head. this is a pretty looking brown ale with steady carbonation. nutty roasted malt aroma that translates into the flavor. good smooth finish to the taste. good lacing down the glass. this is one in a thousand choices...not the best but a darn fine choice.

suckem up and movem out.


 344 characters

Photo of MLasoski
3.8/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I like this one. I poured this into a pint glass, the head stuck around a short while. I had this after the Ember Amber from Hook and Ladder and I am much happier with this brew. It's everything a brown ale should be really. I can taste the hops ever so slightly and its roasted malty flavor is mild as well. It's not an overbearing taste at all, nor does it have an offensive smell. Some improvements could be the overall taste; however, it's not a severe problem.

 465 characters

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.

 696 characters

Photo of Gyle41386
2.46/5  rDev -31.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a nonic.

Pours a deep brown color with three fingers of luscious foam. Head retains well, and leaves behind plenty of lacing.

Aroma is sort of weak. Some chocolate, some vanilla, some caramel. No hop aroma.

Very light flavor. Watery. The chocolate is just about the only noticeable flavor, and even that's watery. I'm not impressed. Good looking beer, but it's all downhill after that. Hopefully Ember Amber fares better.

 457 characters

Hook & Ladder Backdraft Brown from Hook & Ladder Brewing Company (No. 2)
3.59 out of 5 based on 236 ratings.
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