Hook Norton Brewery Co. Ltd.

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Pale Ale - English
Ranked #124
Ranked #40,910
3.64 | pDev: 12.09%
Hook Norton Brewery Co. Ltd.
England, United Kingdom
View: Beers
Reviews: 37 | Ratings: 56 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of Sigmund
Sigmund from Norway

3.68/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

500 ml bottle, will soon be available at Cardinal Pub & Bar, Stavanger. ABV is 5.0%. Clear deep golden colour, moderate white head. Grassy aroma, hints of lfowers, herbs and hay. Well balanced flavour with some malty sweetness and hints of toffee, followed by fruity and herbal Goldings hops. Easy drinking, invites you to take large sips. Quite enjoyable.

Apr 19, 2021
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JonnoWillsteed from England

3.65/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

#1760. Blind-tasted except for the beer's name and brewery/country, zero reviews below read (yet!)...
L- Pale amber with a 1mm cap that soon 'tis but a wisp.
S- Mildly light with a an ever so subtle hint of citrus or similar.
T- Dry, crisp, hoppy-dry zesty zing that lingers on the palate.
F- Dry and quite light. I am sure it would be refreshing after a summer's day bringing in the hay harvest. Pretty refreshing after a couple of hours spent this pm shopping on Oxford Street London too!
O- It comes over as very trad and overall it feels pretty light, maybe 4.5%. The trad-hops are prominent within the overall mix, as you'd expect of a Pale Ale. It's drinkable enough and I'd drink it again (esp on a hot day), though it reminds me why when drinking trad Briti beer I go for the hops dialled down a notch or two and the malty body up by those same couple of notches - ie say into darker ESB territory. But horses for courses, it comes over as a very polished brew none the less.
Review/scoring all done, now the reveal, I get to read the bottle lables to see what I missed! Lable notes: 'See: Dark Bronze [heh? nope it really is mid-amber] Smells: apple, fruity hoppy. Taste: Rich [eh?], sweet [?] and fruity'. Well I'm not sure about that.
The labelling on mine is more roundel-style deep-trad looking than the recent design shown in the Description^. 500ml bottle BBE: Dec-2021 £1.91 Bought from BeersOfEurope/King's Lynn as part of a large pick-your own consignment to London.

Apr 19, 2021
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shambeano from Australia

3.39/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

500ml bottle, best before September 2021, poured into a tulip.
Look: Clearish pale ambery gold, about .5-1 cm of fizzy head that quickly subsides to a thin film.
Smell: Malty, honey, toffee, there is some fruitiness in here as well but nothing I can put my finger on in particular. Quite pleasant.
Taste: Toffee, malt, a little floral, and a little herbal towards the end.
Feel: mid bodied, mouth filling, I found it a touch astrigent at the end though.
Overall: Solid beer. I would have again.

Sep 27, 2020
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jarmby1711 from Australia

3.22/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Deep gold with a persistent fine head
The longer it sits in the glass the fruitier the bouquet becomes . Pleasantly so, at that.
That certain "something" in the back of the palate cries English Ale . It is a lack of sweetness but a subdued bitterness.
I cant work it out really, but I quite like the English character they imbue in their Ales.
However , when I think of Haymaking , I recall dogged days of heat, heat and more heat , chaffed arms and dust in the eyes and clogging the nostrils.
Haymaking in my part of the world requires a simple , dare I suggest lager , that is quaffable at a rather rapid rate to slake the thirst and bring a days labour to an end

Jan 11, 2020
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jazzyjeff13 from England

3.62/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A 500ml bottle with a BB of March 2019. Purchased a little while back from the brewery. Described on the label as a strong pale ale brewed with plenty of Goldings hops.

A: Poured into a straight pint glass. A deep coppery-amber hue with faint haze and light carbonation. Yields a huge head of creamy white foam that lasts for a minute or two before reducing to a patchy surface layer. Slight lacing.

S: Aroma of leafy hops with hints of floral notes, grain, subtle caramel malt, ale yeast, earthiness, faint bread and a touch of stewed husks. Pretty good.

T: Tastes of grainy malt with notes of mild caramel, barley sugar, hay, subtle floral hints, leafiness, ale yeast, earthiness and stewed hops. Slightly sweet, followed by a restrained leafy bitterness upon swallowing.

M: Mouthfeel is smooth, tingly and dry, with soft carbonation and good body for the style. Not too fizzy. Mildly astringent. Aftertaste of leafy hops, hay, grainy malt, ale yeast and earthiness.

O: Not too shabby; a traditional ale with a balanced character. Looks good, while the aroma and flavour are a blend of grainy malt, mild caramel, leafy hops and ale yeast. Lovely body. Surprisingly dark for a 'pale' ale, but easy drinking nonetheless. Worth sampling if you stumble across it.

Sep 03, 2018
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patre_tim from Thailand

4.35/5  rDev +19.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Amber and slightly cloudy with lots of fine bubbled carbonation. Topped with 4 fingers of light beige tinged head. The lacing looks like honeycomb.

Caramel, toffee, very light. Oh yes, ironically hay is in there. Dried grass. Really subtle on the nose. A hint of peach.

Caramel, cotton candy, almost no distinct hops, only a slight almost non existent bitterness on the finish. Candy apple, fresh pressed cider as well.

Medium body, little carbonation, balanced and clean finish.

Aptly named as the flavour profile is reminiscent of autumn and all its pomp. Candy apples, hay, candy floss, carnivals. Really subtle but delicious. Found and drank in Bangkok July 26th, 2015.

Jul 26, 2015
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admiral from Australia

3.75/5  rDev +3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A solid, fruity English pale ale that is on the sweeter side but enjoyable nonetheless.

aroma: fruity, citrus, orange marmalade with some toffee/caramel

taste: sweet, fruity, citrus, grapes and spice, with some candied banana and a solid malt backbone.

Feb 04, 2014
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EmperorBevis from England

3.3/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

bottled and possibly bottle conditioned
Pours a slightly hazy pale amber with am off-white head. The aroma is malts and grassy hops; tastes grainy sweet with an earthy, grassy bitter tingle. Dry on the palate; medium strenght body. Carbonation pleasant. Not too interesting, but not bad either.

Nov 01, 2013
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vinicole from England

3.85/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Bottle conditioned. Pale copper. Thin, dense head.
English floral hops to the nose with a hint of malt.
Freshly mown grass and honey. Malt biscuit. Sweetness makes way to a bitter finish.
Moderate carbonation for cask.
A good late summer beer.

Jul 07, 2013
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soju6 from Missouri

3.82/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

A: Pours a slightly hazy copper color with a solid head that fades to quite a bit of lacing.

S: Aroma of citrus, caramel, nuts with some fresh grain.

T: Taste of citrus, a bit fruity, caramel sweetness, nutty and fresh grain. Nice bitterness and a dry finish.

F: Medium boy, smooth with a subtle richness.

O: Enjoyable beer, quite good for the sytle.

May 31, 2013
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biboergosum from Canada (AB)

3.59/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

500ml bottle. It's so cute how British brewers call anything with 5% ABV 'strong'.

This beer pours a crystal clear medium bronzed amber hue, with two fingers of puffy, foamy dirty white head, which leaves a few instances of random wave crest lace around the glass as it evenly wisps away.

It smells of sweet, grainy caramel malt, a bit of herbal tea herbal notes, and some musty, dusty leafy hops. The taste is more sweet, kind of biscuity, grainy malt, with a touch of caramel/toffee essence, ethereally muddled citrus, stoney orchard drupe fruit, mild mustiness, and herbal, leafy hops.

The bubbles are well restrained, though hardly oppressed, the body a wavering medium weight, with a rather agreeable, generally untainted smoothness. It finishes well off-dry, the grainy, bready malt, and lingering inward-looking fruitiness carrying through to the end, with a slightly floral, slightly warm offset the only other loitering agent in the mix.

A standard, and equitably engaging pale ale, of the English persuasion, with a varied fruit and hop melange, that renders this a somewhat surprising candidate for another round or two, wherein my picky nature gets overridden by the generally placid drinkability of this pub-friendly offering.

Jan 15, 2013
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lacqueredmouse from Australia

3.11/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

500ml brown bottle purchased for me by the in-laws for Christmas.

Pours a pale, relatively clear golden-orange colour, with a fine, but inconsistent head of pure white. Some speckled lacing. Very fine and prolific carbonation, that swirls powdery and anarchic when tilted. Looks pretty decent.

Nose is rather sweet and sweaty, with some tea-like overtones from the weak hops. There's a herbal sweetness to it, and a slightly funky fragrance. Something buttery and sickly, like lemon curd icing. It's hard to put it all together into something coherent, and the beer fails a little in this way. I'm not overly enthusiastic.

Taste is light and empty, with a slight bite of earthy hops on the back, and a light herbal astringency. Sweet malt comes through pretty weakly, but it lends a slightly sickly tone to the beer. Fortunately, the lightness means that it never gets too offensive, but it's a close thing.

Feel is smooth and light, fitting and pleasant enough.

Overall, I'm not really that impressed. It's OK, but not really any better than that—the sweetness is only tempered by the fact that it's actually quite flavourless. Neither of those descriptions is a sign of a great beer.

Dec 29, 2012
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CrazyDavros from Australia

3.42/5  rDev -6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours amber with a fading white head.
Nose shows some sweet malt and toffee. Also some floral hints.
Very similar flavours, but more spicy hops rather than floral notes.
Carbonation seems a bit high.
Perfectly reasonable but not all that interesting.

Oct 29, 2012
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sfprint from Germany

3.15/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

exp: Nov 2012

A: Beautiful warm copper color, very light risng carbonation, sea foam head.
S: Interesting and pleasant spices that I can't quite place. slight plasticy alcohol
T: Tart plasticy alcohol, which I didn't expect. in the direction of an amber, a hair of dull bitterness
M: Not much texture. a hair dry.
O: Okay and drinkable but unexciting

Aug 29, 2012
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heygeebee from Australia

3.68/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

BB Nov 12

Pours a light gold / copper clear body. Head dies quickly.

Aromas of English style malts. Some toffee. Muted.

Taste is back into sessionable EPA territory as Aromas. Add a hint of maramalade. Traditional flavours.

Mouthfeel light, slight carbed. Just.

A really solid EPA, add in 0.5 for price point in Aus. Very difficult to pinpoint individual flavours/elements, as the whole is very much more than the sum of the pasrts.

Aug 05, 2012
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SmashPants from Australia

3.86/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle: solid 500mL brown bottle, cool old-school country label. I try not to be swayed by packaging, but the story and the family name have me in the mood for a quiet, classically-styled English Pale.

Appearance: deep golden amber with orange highlights, 1.5 centimetre head, nice and creamy. Great retention and sporadic lacing.

Aroma: disappointingly muted, but still pleasant. That thick and creamy head puts off only slight amounts of bread malts and heavy hop notes.

Taste: follows the nose, fortunately in a stronger guise. Those lovely bread and now biscuit malts take centre stage, with some very slight dried fruits and floral hops.

Aftertaste: the flavours were quite demure, and dissipate rapidly. A teensy bit of bitterness, just to let you know it was there the whole time.

Mouthfeel: medium bodied with low carbonation. If anything, I think it could have done with a bit more carbonation to carry some more of the flavour through.

Overall: a nice if somewhat demure English Pale Ale with a lovely mix of sweet and bready malts, and a touch of floral hops.

Jul 27, 2012
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doktorhops from Australia

3.47/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This is a new one that showed up in my local - Hook Norton, sounds and looks like one old school bad ass mother____, I'm liking it, the bottle, the blurb on the back, the picture of farmers pitching hay onto the back of a horse drawn carriage; it all screams of a different time and place, a happy place where ales were ales and wearing a trilby was considered normal behaviour.

Poured from a 500ml bottle into a nonic pint.

A: Presents with a classic orange-peel body and a ring of pale lacing, looks like your standard tap poured English pub ale.

S: Aromas of stone fruit and toasted biscuit malt grains with a twist of lemon thrown in. Appeals in a way that only a decent EPA can - with a promise of an even hop/malt balance, unlike an APA (which is clearly skewed towards the hops). Not saying this is better but sometimes we need a break from hop heavy ales, enter EPA.

T: All of the above - stone fruit, citrus and toasted malts. Not unlike Harviestoun's "Bitter & Twisted" only this one has more of an acrid sharp tang at the end. It's not quite as nice as the B&T and feels like it's lacking balance between hops/malt and some different hop flavours (herbal hops perhaps).

M: All textbook here: mid to heavy body and low carbonation.

D: Apart from the bitter after-taste, which is cloying towards the end, this is a decent enough drop. As noted above the balance could be better and is really holding this back from a (near) perfect score... and that bitterness too.

Food match: The bottle states "spicy food" and I would agree. Asian or Indian flavours would be the best bet.

Jul 08, 2012
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Thehuntmaster from South Africa

3.83/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

500ml bottle 5,0% Abv.
Served chilled in a pint my Tripel Karmeliet Tulip.
BB 28/04/2012

Appearance: Good looking pale ale - deep golden amber body with a large, creamy white head that lasts pretty well and leaves great lace.

Smell: A little light, but still very pleasant. Sweet biscuity malt, caramel, some citrus, orange marmalade and a lightly spicy note. As the beer warms, sweet, lightly spiced citrus dominates.

Taste: Lovely flavour - perfect session ale. Sweet caramel malt dominates with citrus, marmalade, grassy hops and light spices. The initial flavour is sweet but is balanced out by the lightly bitter finish.

Mouthfeel: Just fuller than light body with smooth, mild carbonation.

Overall: Simple, but very enjoyable. I would happily enjoy a few pints of this at the pub while watching the footy.

Sep 16, 2011
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Jugs_McGhee from Oklahoma

2.03/5  rDev -44.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

500ml brown glass bottle with standard pressure cap served into a tankeresque English style beer mug in London, England. Reviewed live.

A: Three finger head of fair cream, lackluster thickness, and bad retention. Transparent light copper colour.

Sm: Very light scent of only cream.

T: Bland barley and cream. Some water. Quite simple and poorly built. Not even balanced.

Mf: Too smooth, too wet. Classic fallacy. Doesn't suit the taste, except in matching its mediocrity.

Dr: Average ABV, terrible quality, and mediocre drinkability. Avoid this one, lads.

Jul 27, 2011
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StJamesGate from New York

3.88/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Light amber-tinged gold and a fluffy white head that fades to clingy film. Caramel apple and toasted grain on the nose. Bitter almond and wholemeal toast up front with golden syrup sweetness as it warms and lots of woody, orange oil Goldings to end. Apricot finish and a dry spicy linger. Medium, chewy, round.

EKG bomb. Let it never be said the English can't bring the hops. Not sure how summery it is, but I'll take it.

Jul 07, 2011
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SmokinSmyth from Belgium

3.83/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a pint glass, it was a nice clear golden yellow with a good head. I had not had a pale ale recently, so I was looking forward to this one.

Smooth taste with a good feel in the mouth. Hoppy and fairly dry, extremely drinkable. It disappeared quickly and left me wanting another.

Oct 30, 2010
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mdagnew from Northern Ireland

3.78/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

500ml bottle bought from The Vintage, Antrim

Poured a light golden colour. White head poured thick and foamy with a pock marked topping then faded to light covering... some light carbonation bubbles drift slowly to the surface... light lacing...

Aroma - Some juicy tart fruits (lemons and limes, pears,), quite earthy and grassy, floral honey, light sweet grainy malts, doughy, some rubberiness, talcum powder traces, herbal, peppery hops...

Taste... good peppery hop bitterness, quite floral, metallic hints, light sweet biscuit malts, mouth watering fruits (lemons, apples, limes), some saltiness, faint floral honey sweetness...

M&D - Fairly sharp and dry... light bodied... very quaffable at 5%

Overall - A pretty good English pale ale... very quaffable and certainly worth a try...

Apr 27, 2010
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seanyfo from Scotland

2/5  rDev -45.1%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

50cl bottle poured into my hofbrau pint glass.

A- Amber orange/caramel body with 2 finger rocky white head that reduces extremely quickly. No lacing to speak of. Poor

S- Lots of caramel and doughy malt. Not much hop profile at all.

T- Sweet caramel malts very apparent in the beginning. Touch of lifeless hop bitterness in the finish. Thin and watery in the finish

M- Watery, spritzy, high carbonation.

D- Not impressed at all. Not appealing to look at, too much malt on the tongue with hop refreshment replaced by a fizzy wateriness. Impressed by other Hook Norton offerings but this is well below par. If i find on cask, will try again, to note differences.

Mar 21, 2010
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JohnfromDublin from Ireland

3.92/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I tasted this 500 ml bottle on 22nd October 2009, best by date 28 APR 2010.

Poured into a pint tumbler revealing a nice clear amber brew with decent head and bubbles rising. Smelled nice and hoppy with a buttery aroma and distant dark fruits somewhere in the background. The taste was a nice bitter brew but with a slightly sweet finish (if that's not a contradiction).

Overall this is a nice beer and would also work well with food.

Oct 28, 2009
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BlackHaddock from England

3.82/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Brown, thin and tall 500ml bottle, best before 28th May, drank on the 9th.

Poured into my Bateman's half pint sleeve glass twice.

Light amber in colour with a good head, light biege in colour. A slight haze, but I might have cooled it down too much. It did ask (on the label) to serve it chilled, not a regular English Pale Ale request.

Dirty Farmyard Aroma at first, luckily that went away leaving the more normal Pale Ale hoppy and beery smells to come through.

True English Pale Ale traits, hoppy and fairly dry without the hops or dryness ruining the balance of the alcohol and feel.

I paid 79 Pence for this pint, bloody good value.

May 10, 2008
Haymaker from Hook Norton Brewery Co. Ltd.
Beer rating: 83 out of 100 with 56 ratings