Old Hooky | Hook Norton Brewery Co. Ltd.

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Old HookyOld Hooky
119 Ratings
Old HookyOld Hooky

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

Style: Extra Special / Strong Bitter (ESB)

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 4.60%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by Todd on 12-04-2002

Bros Score:
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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 119 |  Reviews: 70
Reviews by JayTheFinn:
Photo of JayTheFinn
3.45/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Had this one a couple times on tap while visiting England.

Good amber color. Nice off-white head. Little hoppy and malty smell that translates to a solid balance of the two in the taste. Little bit too fizzy for me with an aftertaste I'm not overly fond of, though nothing completely off-putting.

Overall, to my tastes, it's above average but not something I'd rave about. It's quite popular over there and I don't know if that's just good PR work or if people actually like it.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of oberon
3.98/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I have to agree with the Dinger and a few others on the style of this beer,its an English ESB in my book.Poured into a nonic a slight hazed amber/bronze with a thinner but well defined white crown atop.Mainly fruit in the nose with a bit of iron and caramel,nice subtle complexities on the palate,crystal malt flavors and yeasty fruitiness (green apple), mixed with caramel biscuit,a decent leafy hop note emerges as the beer warms in the finish.A solid, bigtime quaffing English ESB here,Iam guessing this would be fantastic on cask.

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Photo of pat61
4.25/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

L: Pours reddish amber under a 1” quickly dissipating white foam cap that quickly dissipates while leaving thick lace.
S: Earthy English hop aromas, fruity and malty
T: Bready and malty with a slight initial sweetness that dries on the finish. Slightly astringent finish with a lingering bitterness.
F: Creamy and soft on the mouth with medium body and medium lo0w carbonation.
O: An easy to drink flavorful sessionable beer.

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Photo of soju6
3.1/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: Pours a dark hazy amber color with an off-white head that fades to bits of lacing.

S: Aroma of citrus and fruit, mostly of berries.

T: Taste of citrus, berries, some caramel sweetness and bit of spice. Decent bitterness and a fairly dry finish.

F: Medium body, smooth but too much sweetness.

O: Decent beer but too fruity to really enjoy.

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Photo of locckdown
3.5/5  rDev -5.9%

Photo of innominat
3.75/5  rDev +0.8%

Photo of brewQ
3.03/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This was a slickly labeled brown bottle 1/2 liter, not the clear glass pictured. That might have helped my experience, as the code date read 2253, which I'd read as Aug03 and I sampled in Sep04. Curiously, the cleaned up label does not tell you anything abut the brew- style or whatever.

Bronze to honey color looked appetizing with a decent head of irregular sized bubbles.

The aroma struck me as a sweet Plum! No big hop notes here. The plum carried into the taste and was joined by woody and malty flavors ... somewhat likeable but funky. This is brown ale?

The finish was a lingering presence of all the flavor elements and a certain dryness- not overpowering, though not particularly refreshing.

Might be nice on a cold or rainy British day but not my pick as highly drinkable.

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Photo of biboergosum
3.48/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

500ml bottle. I like the sentiment inscribed on the cap - 'Where progress is measured in pints'. 'Nuff said.

This beer pours a hazy medium golden amber hue, with two fingers of puffy, foamy, and bubbly off-white head, which leaves a decent array of skewed honeycombed lace around the glass as it gently subsides.

It smells of bready, honeyed caramel malt, fruity blended herbal tea, a bit of tart, further drupe fruitiness, and mildly peppy grassy, weedy hops. The taste is somewhat crisp, grainy malt, a touch of inert caramel, a kind of muddled, musty orchard fruitiness, some earthy, herbal vegetative notes, a mild flinty character, and more grassy, slightly acerbic leafy hops.

The carbonation is a tad astringent, but mostly just duly supportive, the body medium-light in weight, kind of watery for the style, and a little too edgy to be deemed all that smooth. It finishes off-dry, the now stale-seeming fruitiness having overcome the waning malt, as the various earthy, leafy, and grassy essences continue to mull about.

A rather so-so brown ale - it ain't all that brown to begin with, and the bready, nutty characteristics have I have come to prefer are overlooked here for the other, more fruity take on the style. They have more or less succeeded by this measure, but this far in, I'd put this barely above a Newcastle in the quest for another, especially given the dear per-serving cost.

 1,404 characters

Photo of cokes
3.8/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Palest brown ale I've seen. More of a toasted golden body. Thin milky head shows some stickiness.
Odd hard water aroma with diluted toffee notes. Decent, but weird.
Taste is true to form english brown. Nutty up front, with buttery hues as well. Sweetness provides a backdrops with accents of toffee and dried dark fruit. Oak and wood flavors play a fairly prominent role. Faint, raw, leafy hops provide closure.
Smooth, cask-like mouthfeel, but on the thin side, for certain.
Good authentic style session ale. Nothing worth hunting down, though.

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Photo of DrunkMcDermott
3.52/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Fruity esters are the first thing to stand out. Has a malty character that approaches that of a macro American ale. Probably way off style, but I enjoyed it. This stood out a little better in the tasting of English ales my homebrew club conducted this month.

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Photo of SammyDavisJrJrJr
4.1/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

From a 16.9oz bottle with no date codes. Into the Shorts Imperial Pint glass...

A - Two fingers of tan head from a pretty light pour. Head leaves some lacing, with decent retention that eventually dies down to a thin ring. Body is more tawny colored than brown, and reminds me of a ESB.

S - Grassy/lemony hops are the first thing I noticed in the aroma. Malt aromas maked a good imprint on my mind too, with toasty and biscuity malt, dough and coco all being quite present. Good esters (apricot?) and some minerals helped with additional depth. All these different aromas managed to stay balanced too. A mild, but skillful aroma.

T - Starts out fruity (strawberry sweetness and raspberry tartness) with a very nice chocolate balance. This melts away, in favor of a toasty and sweet malt midpalate. Towards the finish, I picked up custard like sweetness with a moment of astringent hay with bitter grapefruit hops. The custard sweetness lingers into the next sip.

M - A full bodied beer with mild carbonation, expected from this style. Mouthfeel manages to be soft and prickly at different points.

D - An excellent beer that blends ESB and English Brown characteristics into one very good beer. No flaws whatsoever, and enough depth and subtlety to make me feel alright (not great, but alright) about dropping the near $6 for a pint bottle. Look forward to trying more from this brewery.

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Photo of beerthulhu
3.75/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: A hazy ripe tomatoe-orange color is filled with a feverish sense of carbonation. Frothy and thick is the head, modest in statue, with a pearl white coloring that provides some sheen in lighting. The head has a lasting effect while the lacing is thick and spongey, providing a glass coating experience.

S: Fruity and worty is the nose with ripe tomatoes and green leafy vegetation and stems. Some malt sweetness, pancake batter with a moderate sense of delivery per style.

T: The flavor brings about a sweet maltiness, but slightly dry, with light touches of French toast, nutmeg and dry cinnamon powder. Definite instances of batter with a worty sense and fresh green herbacesous tones for hopping. The finish is malty, with a residual powdery sense, filled with some fruit notes of apples and fresh orange peels. Usually not one for English ales but this one brings the flavor and a malty base (I was under the impression this was a English ale but is classified as a English brown which explains the malty residual nature).

M: The mouthful has a medium base, malty with a easy carbonation and a herbaceous hoppig. Good feel of substance per style.

D: At 4.6% this is very smooth on the down, and easy to handle more. Fruity, malty with a nice malt base and a decent take. Good to go.

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Photo of ChrisCage
4.09/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

A- This is what I like to see! A puffy, densely foamed eggshell colored head, three inches thick right off the bat! It takes its' time dissipating into a nice solid layer over the brew. Speaking of which, the coloring is amber colored, with tinges of orange and red around the edges. It has wonderful yeast suspension and appears to have mild carbonation. The lacing clings very impressively to the side of the glass, leaving a sheet of foam behind!

S- I get a yeasty dough aroma right off the bat, some melted golden sugary malt and also a nice mild nutty banana smell, among other tropical fruit in the background....very mild hop presence on the finish...I'd like to be able to smell a little more of this happening, but overall a nice aroma.

T- The flavors are well rounded, with initial sweet biscuity malt upfront, followed by the aforementioned nutty banana, which is mild but there to help enrich the sweetness with a more earthy profile. The finish is actually a little spicy, with hints of vanilla and cinnamon mingled in with the now noticeable bittering hops. It's nice but not overwhelming or distinct in any way.

M- A nice well rounded medium bodied brew. The carbonation is perhaps a little more than I initially would have thought but it's not enough to counter the buttery smoothness that this ale has. Solid!

D- There is a reason that English Ales are my favorite...this one isn't the best one out there but it is a very good effort and I can only say that I wish it was available in my neck of the woods. I could definitely enjoy this easy drinking brown ale all night and feel good about it the next morning!

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Photo of CrazyDavros
3.72/5  rDev 0%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours dark amber with a fading head.
Nose shows toffee, caramel and bready and nutty malt. Pretty tempting.
Similar flavours, very moreish. Caramel, bready malt, soft diacetyl. Finishes with a mild bitterness.
Carbonation is too high.
Pretty drinkable stuff.

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Photo of Vinicius
3/5  rDev -19.4%

Photo of MJR
2.21/5  rDev -40.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Appearance: Pours a clear, faint copper with a bubbly, tan head that fizzles away to a few random, lonely bubbles.

Smell: The aroma is malty sweet with a touch of honey. A bit of a cardboard, oxidation smell is there, but to a lesser degree than the other brews I've tried from Hook Norton.

Taste: Starts out malty and sweet with some caramel and honey. Going along with what seems to be the norm for this brewery, the hops barely even show up. Midpalate, a strong oxidation flavor takes control and finishes with an astrigent dryness. Papery and metallic. Not good...

Mouthfeel: Light to medium in body, with an astrigent dryness that sends the rest of the bottle down the drain.

Drinkability: Ughh... This is thankfully the last of the Hook Norton brews in my beer fridge. Good riddance...

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Photo of JohnQVD
3.5/5  rDev -5.9%

Photo of Jerseyislandbeer
4/5  rDev +7.5%

Photo of BlackHaddock
3.98/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Hand pulled pint in my new Wetherspoons pub on 19 Aug 2011.

Lovely amber body and a cracking cream coloured foaming crown on top.

The aromas given off were mild hop esters with a fruity overtone, hardly any malts to be found.

The taste is maltier than the smells would indicate, this is a well balanced brew and very easy to drink, the alcohol being hidden by the various flavours the ingrediants have produced: unsweetened shortbread biscuits and brown toast come to mind.

Not rich, but certainly not thin or wishy-washy, it's just about right for a top quality English Bitter (it's never been a Brown Ale).

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Photo of pknyc
3.25/5  rDev -12.6%

Photo of fx20736
4.18/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 750ml bottle into a British Pint glass.

Coppery Auburn, nicely carbonated with a 1 finger pitted, khaki head that dissipates quickly but leaves some nice lacing.

Aroma: brewed English Tea and apples.

Mouthfeel: solid, big mouthfeel.

Taste: burnt toast with cordial peaches followed by a quick flash of toffee that screams out before slipping beneath the waves of herbaceous hoppy bitterness.

Notes: English Pale Ale is becoming my favorite beer style and Old Hooky is a good one. The biscuity malt, the fruitiness and the English Hops are well harmonized. Good Stuff.

 586 characters

Photo of revolution
4.13/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - caramel-colored ale with small, half-finger width off-white head and tiny flowing bubbles.
S - solid malt aroma, bready, sweet fruit
T - very pleasant malty flavor with a hint of fruit-banana. Chewy caramel. Nice finish that's dry with just enough hop bitterness.
M - med-full body that's smooth and creamy. Low carbonation.
D - excellent ale, well-balanced. High drinkability.

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Photo of vinicole
3.5/5  rDev -5.9%

Photo of pin
4/5  rDev +7.5%

Photo of killcore
3.25/5  rDev -12.6%

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Old Hooky from Hook Norton Brewery Co. Ltd.
Beer rating: 3.72 out of 5 with 119 ratings