Twelve Days | Hook Norton Brewery Co. Ltd.

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86
very good
134 Ratings
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Twelve DaysTwelve Days
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Hook Norton Brewery Co. Ltd.
England, United Kingdom
hooknortonbrewery.co.uk

Style: English Strong Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.50%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by Todd on 03-01-2005

BEER STATS
Ratings:
134
Reviews:
92
Avg:
3.85
pDev:
12.21%
 
 
Wants:
5
Gots:
9
For Trade:
0
View: Beers | Events
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 134 |  Reviews: 92
Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.98/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Burnt orange with reddish bronze undertones when backlit with sunshine. The sandstone colored crown is a good match for the beer. It's firmly creamy to start, melts in appealing fashion, and is beginning to deposit a thick band of BB-shot lace just above the nonic bulge.

The aroma is primarily earthy and brown malty. I detect no added herbs or spices. It's darker than a bock and lighter than a brown, with olfactory characteristics of each. Not bad, but I'm not in a holiday mood yet.

Twelve Days is on the subtle side. That isn't surprising given what's considered strong ale in this country in 2008. My palate hasn't been completely recalibrated, though, because I like what I'm tasting. After nothing but 3.5% bitters all year long, I'd probably consider this some pretty substantial beer. And it is, in it's own way.

Since it's tough to pick a style that this offering most closely resembles, let's stick with nut brown ale. The 'English Christmas Ale' seen on the label works as well. The malt isn't quite as dark as most browns, but the beer is pleasingly pecan nutty and delivers plenty of medium-dark fruit.

Specifics include lightly toasted brown bread, English toffee, cocoa powder, unsweet figs, a dash of vanilla and a handful of shredded hop leaves. Sweet is easily countered by tea leafy bitter, especially on the surprisingly tight, drying finish. A faint spiciness must be hop-related. This stuff is proving to be nicely drinkable.

The mouthfeel, while far from massive, works in concert with the beer's other attributes. It's impressively smooth and has just enough substance to lend a featherlight creaminess to the proceedings. Drinking it on cask... in Oxfordshire... in winter... must be a near religious experience.

Twelve Days English Christmas Ale is both delicious and highly drinkable. Bombastic Big Beer is all well and good, but restraint is sometimes the way to go. For what it's worth, I've had this bottle for more than a year and it has held up beautifully. Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good nap.

 2,045 characters

Photo of smcolw
4.11/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark amber/light brown color; seemingly clear. Awesome head that recedes in a rocky fashion. Light ring lace left on the glass.

A surprising sour smell. Largely chocolate aroma.

Tastes like a rich brown ale. There are elements of black patent, chocolate and dark crystal malts. Good hop finish that blends well with the light coffee flavors.

This is a very good Christmas beer. It has elements of a porter and a brown ale. Well balanced and flavorful.

 455 characters

Photo of Huhzubendah
3.08/5  rDev -20%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A: Dark cola brown with a small head that recedes in a few moments, leaving but a faint trace of lacing.

S: The aroma is earthy, fruity, malty.

T: The beer is sweet and fruity, with notes of pears, apples, raisins, malt, toast, toffee, and alcohol. As I make my way through the glass, the sweetness becomes overwhelming. A few ounces was plenty.

M: Medium-thin in body with a fairly low level of carbonation.

D: Not something I would repeat. It was fun for a while, but this beer becomes quite cloying after just a small glass.

 531 characters

Photo of RblWthACoz
4.08/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear brown with no head. The nose stays mostly caramel. Nice smooth and even earthy and leafy character on the flavor profile. Smooth feel, but not a mess of carbonation. A very nice ale. It's even and smooth which makes it a great one to try.

 252 characters

Photo of jwc215
4.1/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours deep chestnut brown with a thin head that eventually becomes a lasting, swirling patch.

The smell is of caramel/toffee with a hint of chocolate and dark cherry fruitiness. Roasted nuts mixes in.

The taste is malty - caramel/toffee, some chocolate. A balancing subtle, fruity bitter presence takes some edge off sweetness while keeping maltiness in the forefront. Fruitiness is of dark cherries with some pear. Roasted chestnuts suggested by nuttiness. A balanced sweetness finishes it off.

Medium-to full-bodied with a creamy touch.

A tasty, very drinkable, smooth, malt-accented with a nice, spicy hop touch, English ale.

 632 characters

Photo of Wasatch
3.83/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a Squatters true pint glass, and it still was left short of a true pint, nice black color, nice carbonation, nice little fizzy tan head, with some sticky lacing left behind. The nose is malty, with a good dose of toffee/caramel. The taste is sweet, malty, with some vanilla, toffee/caramel, a slight nutty note. Medium body, a nice smooth/creamy brew. Drinkable, a nice one.

 386 characters

Photo of DoubleJ
4.5/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A 500 ml bottle purcahsed from the Pizza Port bottle Shop. It isn't too late for a Christmas beer, is it? On to the beer:

Despite a small head, this beer leaves lots of stringly lacing around the glass at it descends down. It's got a dark ruby brown color with red hues. A great first impression. And the impression leaks into the aroma, which is also great. There's soft English yeast, pudding, semi-sweet chocolate, butterscotch, and raisins.

Two senses have been overwhelmed in joy, and now tastes gets to experience the same. This is simply delicious. The flavors tootsie rools, powdery chocolate, complimentary sweet doughy yeast, raisins, and nuts form a complete beer that's not too sweet. The body is medium with a little buzz of carbonationn, and it has a little chew to it. Another sense in delight.

I came in with moderate expectations, and they were blown off the hinges. This is one of the better English beers that I've had in a long, long time.

 964 characters

Photo of Georgiabeer
4.1/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours chestnut with a thin head that fades to a ring. Caramel aromas as well as a nuttiness, and slightly spicy. Tastes of hazlenuts and cream with a slight sweetness. Round and mild.Smooth and creamy mouthfeel, and very easy to drink. This is a very mild Christmas brew, but a nice change of pace.

 298 characters

Photo of BillRoth
3.75/5  rDev -2.6%

Photo of wrightst
4.25/5  rDev +10.4%

Photo of Latarnik
3.75/5  rDev -2.6%

Photo of BlackHaddock
3.5/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Just got in from fronting a Christmas Quiz for the local Medical Centre (my wife volunteers me each year to organise, prepare and conduct it). I am therefore ready to have a Christmas beer: too sink slowly and review at leasure.

The tall brown 500ml bottle was best before 28 Jan 2011, I opened it on 4 Dec 2010. Poured into a 'La Chouffe' tulip and a 'Forbidden Fruit' chalice (because I fancied seeing what it looked like in different glasses).

Lovely ruby red body, dark and clear, with a full tan coloured foaming head.

The smells were of roasted/toasted/burnt malts and thick semi-sweet molasses, nutty brown bread sort of thing too.

The taste is all malts, drying as the mouth gets used to the flavours, the hops giving a bitter feel from the initial sip to the end of the tasting. Strangely however the beer ends up sweeter in the mouthfeel than it did when first sampled.

I was expecting/hopeful of, a rich and creamy Winter Warmer, reminding me of Chritmas's past: roaring fires, smoking jackets, cigars and my childhood. Sadly, it didn't produce those sort of memories.

An OK beer, lacked that X Factor which I hoped for.

 1,137 characters

Photo of Bitterbill
4.42/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This pours a clear amber brown with a 1 finger head of foam.

The smell is big sweet malty tones with a touch of some nuttiness. I like.

The taste is chock full of caramel malt sweetness with a nice touch of some nutty tones and chocolate that seems to grow with every sip. Yum. Now tasting some toffee and some very light hoppiness that kind of shines near the finish. Oh my, this is a tasty son of a gun.

Medium bodied with a lightish amount of carbonation, the last taste I can sense in the finish is chocolate.

Drinkability? Low in the abv for an English Strong Ale, high when it comes to taste, this is a really delicious example of the style. I wish I had bought more than 1 bottle!!

It seems Hook Norton can do no wrong in my book and..I got this pint bottle on sale for US$2.99!!
The regular price of US$4.99 would be money well spent!

 848 characters

Photo of jdhilt
3.41/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a four finger light tan head that fades very slowly to a thin layer leaving a good lace. Opaque mahogany color. Roasted coffee nose. Medium carbonation and medium bodied. Flavor is malty/roasted coffee. Slight bitterness at finish. $6.50 for a 500ml bottle from Tully's Beer & Wine Wells, Me.
Labeled as a Christmas ale.

 326 characters

Photo of pat61
4.25/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

L: Pours brilliant dark brown under a 1” light tan foam collar that quickly dissipates but leaves good lace. S: rich roast malt aromas, nuts, spice and some eaerthiness
T: This is a malt driven beer that starts with a little chocolate, biscuit and nuttiness with traces of toffee and dark dried fruit. Lightly hopped with an earthy bitterness.
F: Moderate carbonation but very fine bubbles give it a soft creaminess.
O: A very drinkable Christmas beer.

 457 characters

Photo of lacqueredmouse
3.36/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

500ml brown bottle purchased from Dan Murphy's in Alexandria. Shared with Rich on the 2013 Australian election evening.

Pours a solid ruby-tinged brown: quite clear, but with a true depth of colour. Head forms a solid cushion of beige, settling to a slightly pocked but still solid film. Streaky lace forms in fine patterns. Carbonation is quite fine and the body is full. Looks good.

Nose is slightly toasty, but with sweeter nuttier tones than you'd get in a stout or a porter. Slight butteriness comes through, and a solidly sweet English base malt character. There's a faint sharpness to it, perhaps a touch of phenolics, a touch of metal or even a suggestion of acidity. It's not bad though all up. Quite pleasant.

Taste is smooth and light for the most part, with a firm, clean entry that immediately imparts some nuttiness and a rounded if slightly insipid sweetness. This disappears quickly though, leaving the beer feeling slightly weaker and emptier than it should be. On the back, the sweetness sits around rather flatly, not doing much and providing a rather dull finish that doesn't go anywhere. It's fine enough for an English ale, but it doesn't have the structure which would make it really shine.

Feel is smooth enough, but the insipidness towards the back means it feels weaker than some of the better examples.

Overall, it's fine, but really not that exciting. When an English ale like this is good, it can really be phenomenal. This one is not that, however—it feels like a by-the-numbers brown, perhaps with a little more weight behind it than you'd usually get, but missing the edge that would make it something special.

 1,649 characters

Photo of corby112
3.46/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a deep dark chestnut brown color that is completely opaque with only the slightest of mahogany edges when held to a light source. Two finger frothy off-white head with very good retention, only slowly fading into a lasting cap.

Slightly toasty sweet malt aroma with hints of toffee, caramel and rye as well as a prominent hazelnut character and very subtle earthy hops.

Slightly toasty medium body with a lot of silky chocolate malt, toffee, caramel, hazelnut, roasted coffee and burnt toast. There's a nice balance of sweet chocolate and deep roasted flavor that somewhat dominates the palate. Slightly bitter with a subtle lactic creaminess. With all of the dark roasted malts the body is still slightly thin and the nut profile and roasted bitter notes are a bit much. I wish the sweetness was a little more prominent creating more balance. Pretty complex for a British brown ale but still kind of underwhelming.

 924 characters

Photo of wl0307
3.78/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Coming in a 500ml brown bottle, BB 28/03/08, served cool in a straight imperial pint glass.

A: dark reddish-brown in colour, topped with a well-lasting, beige-hued, scottish-pancake-like foamy head; carbonation is constant but mild.
S: mixed aroma of sticky caramelised sugar, sour-bitter nuts, (Bramling-Cross like) apply fruitiness, overripe sour-sweet berry fruits, and a light touch of citric sourness as of Goldings hops. Malty as well as autumny fruity, just what a premium bitter should be like, IMO.
T: bitter-sweet brown tea and caramelised dates lead towards an intensifying flow of tea-leafy bitterness and a lovely roastnutty+autumny fruity+raisiny flavour that both linger in the bitter-sweet finish with a very sound tart edge. The sour edge is esp. crucial for the overall balance.
M&D: softly-carbonated for a bottled ale, and the body is just medium for its alc. strength. Overall this is a quality nut-malty as well as fruity premium bitter, and the ideal body and balanced flavour make it a more-ish pint to enjoy.

 1,034 characters

Photo of avalon07
4/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Poured from a bottle to a pint glass. Had a bright ruby color and a slightly hazy consistency. There was an inch of foamy, long-lasting head. Very good lacing.

S: A nice malty aroma, with some nuttiness about it.

T: Tasted of malt more than anything, with nutty hints, as well as a bit of caramel. Like many British beers, this one has a somewhat subdued flavor, but it's still pretty decent.

M: A good amount of carbonation with a dry finish. Medium-bodied.

D: On the whole, a solid, drinkable beer.

 507 characters

Photo of rhoadsrage
3.58/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

(Served in a nonic)
A- The dense black body supports a thick tan head that soon fades to a rocky spotty patch on the side of the glass.
S- The fruity malt aroma has some dark notes and some softer berry qualities to it. There is a slight sweaty note from the black malt as it warms.
T- The roasted black malt has a watery taste to it with some fruity pea berry coffee notes that lead to the bitterness in the finish. The bitterness takes on a slight fish oil note when it warms.
M- This beer has a medium mouthfeel with no alcohol heat. D- A little fruity i the dark malts but thin until the bitter finish.

 610 characters

Photo of bark
3.33/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

The colour is deep brown; the finger thick head is pale brown and firm. Some lacing occurs.

The smell is generous and very malty with roasted notes (nuts, chocolate). Some dry notes of dried fruits, dark bread and caramel.

The taste is powerful with roasted notes of nuts and black coffee. Very dry notes with bitter hints, some rye bread, dried apricots and green apples. The body is quite weak. The aftertaste is dominated by dry roasted flavours too; coffee, earthy fruity malts and a hint of dark chocolate and toffee. The finish is fresh with a somewhat metallic bitterness.

The carbonation is mild; the bubbles very small. The liquid is smooth.

Some more body and a little less metal in the aftertaste, this would be a very fine winter ale.

 752 characters

Photo of StJamesGate
3.64/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

On cask at the Bull & Castle, Dublin.

Chestnut with ample tan froth.
Nut, earth, roast, and toast nose.
Dark toast, buttered rum, dates, and some woody hops. Goes treacly as it warms.
Chocolate bark finish and astringent linger.
Medium, chewy, round.

Definite zing of acidic black malts that's throwing off the usual sweetness from a dark winter ale. IBUs seems a bit bigger than I'd expect. Just too sharp for a winter warmer.

Rare dud for HN.

 448 characters

Photo of Bung
3.82/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pint+0.9. A pretty dark amber pour, limited white head arises. Very nice malty aroma, some caramel and rainin. Maltiness is not quite a prominent, there are some piney hops and spice that balance out the sweet malt. A little peaty, roast nut with some very limited red fruits. A little thin, but exteamly drinkable. Somewhat smokey or roast finish that lingers a bit. Not bad and quite sessionable if available in that capacity.

 428 characters

Photo of claspada
3.42/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Aromas are primarily earthy with brown maltiness. Mild spiciness as it warms. Nothing too mind-blowing or inviting here.

The taste begins fairly muted as well Brown maltiness with some slight hop character (spice and earthiness again). As it warms you get a little nuttiness and mild fruitness from the English yeast strain. Lesser notes of toffee and cocoa as it further comes to room temperature.

The mouthfeel works well for the style and matches what you would expect for this ABV level. It's impressively smooth and has just enough substance to lend a light creaminess to the proceedings. Carbonation is average as well.

Overall this is an average offering but it lacks the depth and complexity for the Strong Ale category and the foreign pricepoint/small bottle size also detracts from needing to revisit this anytime soon.

 834 characters

Photo of dgilks
3.45/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Clear mahogany colour with a small, smooth, light tan head. Fair head retention.

Lovely dark fruity esters. Some toffee and almost chocolate. Raisins. Nicely balanced.

Moderately sweet but not overly so. Decent malt character and nice dried fruit. Some light bitterness but it doesn't dominate. Good.

Medium-light body with moderately-high carbonation. Fine.

A decent English Ale. Full of flavour but not overly complex. Good.

 430 characters

Twelve Days from Hook Norton Brewery Co. Ltd.
3.85 out of 5 based on 134 ratings.
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