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Dark Knight - Barley John's Brew Pub

Dark Knight
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BA SCORE
96
world-class

116 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 116
Reviews: 78
rAvg: 4.37
pDev: 10.76%


Brewed by:
Barley John's Brew Pub visit their website
Minnesota, United States

Style | ABV
Baltic Porter |  12.00% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: Bighuge on 07-17-2003)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 116 | Reviews: 78 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of hopazoid
hopazoid

Minnesota

5/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I bought a growler back in January and took a chance at transferring it into 750ml bottles. Surprisingly it held up very well. Poured just like it did from the tap.

Dark brown in color.
Nice bourbon chocolate aroma.
Taste of heavy bourbon, oak, caramel and chocolate.
Velvety smooth mouth feel.
Over all one of the best Baltic Porters around.

Serving type: bottle

03-19-2013 05:46:10 | More by hopazoid
Photo of zeledonia
zeledonia

Minnesota

4.44/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at the brewpub. Listed as Dark Knight Returns, ABV unknown. Tasted 9 January 2013.

Pours black, thick and viscous; brown at the edges. Poured to the brim, leaving just a bit of room for medium-tan head. Good lacing.

Smell is a near-perfect barrel-aged beer. Velvety smooth soft whiskey, with no bite. Backed by sweet dark malts - molasses, a bit of smoked wood. Great integration of the bourbon and beer aromas.

Taste is sweet, and heavy on the bourbon. Smooth, but it's more divided here than in the smell, more obvious that it's a mix of beer and barrel, rather than one smooth operation. That leaves it a little sharper than the smell. Prunes and tobacco. Slightly woody. Drifts into more pronounced bourbon in the back-end, where it's at its least good.

Feel is big, thick, and chewy, almost fudgy. But just enough carbonation to cut the heaviness.

A darn impressive beer. The first barrel-aged baltic porter I've had, but it far surpasses many barrel-aged imperial stouts. Smooth, rich, and flavorful, with great barrel integration. Yum.

Serving type: on-tap

01-10-2013 07:14:11 | More by zeledonia
Photo of josephwa
josephwa

Minnesota

5/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A - frothy mocha head, dark brown color, good head retention.
S - bourbon, roast, chocolate, sugar, oak.
T - roasted malt, bourbon, strong whiskey after taste!
M - very bubbly, light medium body.
O - overall really tasty, almost tastes like half whiskey, half Baltic porter.

Serving type: on-tap

01-09-2013 16:36:10 | More by josephwa
Photo of stakem
stakem

Pennsylvania

4.1/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks to FooFaa for bringing this growler to our gathering. Poured into a snifter, the brew appears black in color with a brown head sitting atop. Some spotty lace sticks to the glassware.

The aroma is toasted coconut mixed with a perfume-like amount of sticky sweet smelling vanilla. A bit of toasty oak barrel and alcohol emerge as it warms. Plenty of chocolate roasted grain inclusion to keep things interesting.

The taste is bitter coffee and chocolate grain flavoring. A rich fruity alcohol aspect blends midpalate before finishing with the previously described perfume vanilla and toasty coconut aspects. The overall flavor profile of this beer is like 5% beer and 95% barrel aging character.

Lighter to medium bodied with a smooth light level of carbonation. As preiously stated, this beer is pretty darn good with nothing bad or off about it (except for the unreasonably high price in my opinion.) My only gripe is that this beer's character is totally dominated by the barrel presence and doesnt leave much room for the beer's base to come through. If the opportunity presented itself i would certainly drink this again but not at $70+ a growler.

Serving type: growler

12-04-2012 18:35:02 | More by stakem
Photo of orangesol
orangesol

Pennsylvania

4.49/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to foofaa for sharing this growler with all of us.
The Dark Knight Returns.

A - Pours pitch black with a nice one finger tall tan head, dissipating down to a light film, leaving spotty streaks of lace down the sides of the glass.

S - Smells of warm bourbon, vanilla, dark chocolate, molasses, toffee and caramel sweetness, oak and some dark roasted malt. Very well balanced all things considered, a truly lovely nose.

T - Starts off with the warm bourbon quickly giving way to a nice mix of sweetness; mainly chocolate, vanilla, molasses, toffee and caramel; oak and dark roasted malt. Finish is sweet with some dark roast and a mild booze burn, lingering long after the finish. Much like the nose it is really well balanced.

M - Big body with moderate carbonation. Smooth, roasty feel with a nice shot of warming bourbon at the end of each sip.

O - I really loved this one. As some of the other reviews have said it kind of smells and tastes like Bourbon County. It has everything I love in a bourbon barrel stout and yet it remains quite drinkable. I would love to have this one again in the future.

Serving type: growler

11-26-2012 17:24:32 | More by orangesol
Photo of Beerdregs
Beerdregs

Minnesota

4.88/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at the dark knight returns halloween bash.

A: Served in a small tulip glass. Poured a black, no light passing through with a half finger of espresso brown head.

S: Wonderful bourbon aroma with mingling of dark fruits, charred oak and chocolate. The aroma is letting me know there is a lot coming up on the taste.

T: Bourbon, chocolate, dried fruit and some mocha like sweetness that I haven't tasted before from a non-coffee stout. Sweet, but balanced perfectly between the bourbon and alc. burn.

M: Slick/oily mouthfeel with mild carbonation. Dries fairly quickly in the mouth as the alc. dissipates the flavors and aromas up into the nose.

O: This is an excellent big bourbon stout. Unsurprisingly Barley John's has another peerless beer in their line up. The only downside is the price at over 9 dollars for a small tulip! Was worth it though.

Serving type: on-tap

11-01-2012 02:07:00 | More by Beerdregs
Photo of afksports
afksports

New York

4.5/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

An absolutely fantastic beer, that presented dark as night, rich and thick. Had a fantastic bourbon aroma, that was slightly subdued. It was big and sweet, but not too big, and not as cloying as some of the sweeter stouts that are the trend now. It had a roastiness to it, and a serious roundness from the barrel. Clean finish, and delicious combination of malts on the palate.

Thanks for the hook up on the growler, Mike!

Serving type: growler

02-24-2012 20:42:40 | More by afksports
Photo of drowland
drowland

Georgia

4.7/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

On tap at the Great Taste of the Midwest. Pitch black pour with a small brown head that fades quickly. Awesome aroma of bourbon, vanilla, oak, and more. Amazing flavor of wood, chocolate, coconut, and lingering roast coffee. Awesome flavors and perfect balance. Stellar.

Serving type: on-tap

02-05-2012 22:02:58 | More by drowland
Photo of baconsausage
baconsausage

Vermont

4.6/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2011 release
Pours a very dark brown with a minimal amour of tan carbonation. Smells is dripping with bourbon and chocolate. Taste is more of the same, with light carbonation. Smooth with a little dark fruit in the mix. Really good. Thanks liquor barrel!

Serving type: growler

10-25-2011 04:02:49 | More by baconsausage
Photo of ottovon
ottovon

Arizona

4.03/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

thanks to phelps for sharing this at the last tasting.

A: pours out of the week old growler thick, dark, and with almost no head. the head that did pop up was brown.

S: tons of bourbon. there is vanilla and some oak. chocolate, molasses, toffee, and hints of smoke and coffee. there is a touch of sweetness, and a bit of soy sauce.

T: lots of bourbon. vanilla and oak. i get chocolate, toffee and it finishes quite bitter. there is a bit of smoke nd some soy. as it warms more dark fruit comes out with some raisin aromas.

M: thick and low carb.

O: this is a good beer. I assume it lost some carb in the growler.

Serving type: growler

09-12-2011 03:49:15 | More by ottovon
Photo of HopHead84
HopHead84

California

4.25/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

8/27/2011

Growler shared by Ross at Woodshop Classix. Thanks for the long time want.

A: Black and viscous with a fast fading head.

S: Fudge with huge vanilla and brown sugar notes. Bourbon is powerful and excellent. A moderate roasted malt presence accompanies oak and molasses.

T: Rich dark chocolate with oak and bourbon. Molasses is evident and there's a lot of booze. Malt is moderately roasted and there's some cocoa.

M: Full in body with upper moderate carbonation. The mouthfeel is sticky and chewy.

Overall: A bit boozy in the flavor, but still excellent stuff. I don't understand why this is so expensive.

Serving type: growler

08-30-2011 14:41:25 | More by HopHead84
Photo of Phelps
Phelps

Arizona

4.03/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Enjoyed at the Barley John’s brewpub inside a 5.5-ounce wine glass. According to our server, this particular batch was aged in Heaven Hill barrels.

Murky, inky and thick like molasses, the beer’s a deep black-brown. There’s zero head, but I didn’t expect much when the server told me this was around 18 percent ABV. A stain from this would never come out.

I can smell the bourbon from a foot away. When I get closer, booze permeates the senses: deep, sweet butterscotch, cocoa nibs, molasses, vanilla, oak. Maybe some prunes, hints of anise and smoke way down below, but this is overpowered by bourbon. As it warms, I do get more cocoa.

Hot Damn! The underlying smoky porter comes through just enough in the flavor, lending bittersweet dark chocolate and hints of smoke to the still-powerful barrels. From those, I get oodles of bourbon, toffee, vanilla extract and molasses. It’s sweet, but there’s just enough bitterness to keep it from being cloying. When it reaches room temperature, I find marshmallow!

The server from earlier must be high — there’s no way this is above 16 percent ABV. I’d be inclined to say it’s under ten, it’s so well-hidden behind the mountains of flavor. The buttery medium-full body is a velvety delight, the carbonation is lightly prickly, and there’s zero harshness at the swallow. So smooth.

Dark Knight just gets better and better as I go through the glass, but there could be more balance and a better show of porter flavors. Tone back the bourbon just a bit and we're in business.

Serving type: on-tap

08-17-2011 23:16:33 | More by Phelps
Photo of seeswo
seeswo

Ohio

4.35/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

2 pours enjoyed at the GTotMW.

Looks dark with a very light dark brown head. The nose is big roast and bourbon, cocoa, chocolate, oak. Yum. Smells really good. The taste is huge, roasty malts, sweet bourbon and maybe just a hint of booze. Really big beer that is somehow only slightly boozy in spite of its obvious size. Impressively put together. Creamy and smooth, lower carbonation. This is a pretty great beer that is unfortunately is a hard one to get. Not perfect, but very enjoyable.

Serving type: on-tap

08-17-2011 02:04:32 | More by seeswo
Photo of jera1350
jera1350

Minnesota

4.22/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a 5 oz. piece of stemware. Pure black with a mere trace of bubbles as a ring around the glass. Not really any lacing.

Rich smell of molasses, toffee and bourbon. Sweet and boozy smelling.

The taste packs a big flavor punch. Not a lot of sweetness like I was expecting. Lightly so, with notes of molasses, vanilla and burnt toffee. Oh yeah, there is some bourbon too. Actually, there is a lot of oaky bourbon. A touch hot, but not overwhelmingly so. It's like drinking fresh Goose Island Bourbon County Stout. Like it, Dark Knight would be even better after a couple years of aging.

Very dry with a slick feel. Full bodied for sure.

So glad I got to try this. This is one big brew. After five ounces, I was feeling it. According to the bartender, this could weigh in anywhere from 13% abv and up. I believe it. A very good beer that is worth a try for sure, but not worth the $70 a growler price tag in my opinion. That is unless you can split it up amongst several friends. Believe me, you will need to share this high octane beast.

Serving type: on-tap

07-17-2011 16:15:55 | More by jera1350
Photo of mdfb79
mdfb79

New York

4.28/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

From 07/08/11 notes. HUGE thanks to Thorpe429 for saving me a few oz's of this; thanks a lot Mike! Poured into my Foothills taster glass.

a - Pours a very dark brown, almost black color, with a few bubbles of dark tan head and moderate carbonation still evident. Looks pretty heavy and thick.

s - Smells of bourbon, oak, vanilla, chocolate, roasted malts, and dark fruits. Heavy bourbon in the nose, which I love. Smells pretty great.

t - Tastes of bourbon, dark fruits, chocolate, roasted malts, vanilla, and alcohol. Some heat in the taste, which brings it down a bit, but still very good.

m - Thick motor oil like full body and low carbonation. Creamy body and some definite heat, but not too bad considering abv.

o - Overall this is a great barrel aged porter. There is some definite heat to it, but the nose is fantastic. Would certainly love to have this one again some day.

Serving type: growler

07-11-2011 20:22:20 | More by mdfb79
Photo of Huhzubendah
Huhzubendah

District of Columbia

4.53/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Growler shared by Thorpe429. Thanks Mike!

The beer appears nearly black, with a small, mocha colored head that hangs out for a bit, leaving random traces of lacing on the glass. The aroma is fantastic, with delectable bourbon, oak, roast, and chocolate. The beer is so smooth and well balanced. Hints of brown sugar with a healthy malt, bourbon, and roast presence. Delicious! The beer is medium to full bodied and creamy. Silky smooth on the palate, with alcohol hidden extremely well. Carbonation is light, but present. Overall, an outstanding beer. Highly recommended.

***
Had several pours of a growler shared by Brad. Again, fantastic stuff. Would love to have this again.

Serving type: growler

07-11-2011 18:03:23 | More by Huhzubendah
Photo of corby112
corby112

Pennsylvania

2.58/5  rDev -41%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Growler generously shared by ygtbsm. Thanks again Brad!

Pours a viscous dark brown that appears almost pitch black in the glass with a one finger mocha head that settles into a thin ring.  Spotty lacing left behind but this beer has amazing legs.  

Sweet boozy aroma with lots of dark malt, sweet bourbon, earthy oak, chocolate, toffee and oatmeal.  The malt aromas are evident but are overpowered by the strong bourbon character.  

Viscous body with lots of boozy heat and bourbon flavor.  Way too hot with lots of burning alcohol that overpowers the other flavors and tons of warmth/burning in the finish.  Underneath the strong barrel/spirit presence there is some chocolate, toffee and toast.  Way too much bourbon and alcohol sweetness resulting in a one dimensional beer that isn't very interesting.  Thick and viscous mouthfeel helps things a bit but there is no depth or complexity.

Serving type: growler

07-09-2011 06:32:23 | More by corby112
Photo of AgentZero
AgentZero

Illinois

4.2/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Riddle me this! Thanks to spycow for hooking this up.

A - Dark as knight, er night. Black beer with a little tan head that didn't leave much on the sides. Quite opaque.

S - Lots of chocolate, little dark fruit, some roasted and slightly charred malts. The barrel aging comes through nicely, with oak, vanilla, mellow bourbon. Good stuff.

T - Lots of chocolate, roast, bourbon, oak, vanilla. Not really sure what more you could ask for. Booze and roast are a little stronger than I would have thought for 12%, actually thought this was a stout with higher ABV.

M - Full bodied, lower carbonation. This beer is really thick and almost chewey at times.

O - Good beer, it was a bit much at times, and can really only do it in small doses, but I liked it and as far as imperial BA porters, this is about as good as it gets.

Serving type: growler

07-09-2011 04:05:18 | More by AgentZero
Photo of scottfrie
scottfrie

California

4.2/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks for sharing, Jeff.

A: Pours a super dark brown, almost black, with a thin dark brown film of a head.
S: The bourbon definitely dominates but I can pick out scents of sweet raisins and caramel or molasses along with light oak and vanilla.
T: Bourbon, dark fruits, sweet caramel, molasses and chocolate, with a few hints of vanillay oak and roasted malt.
M: Big full body, super booze and thick mouthfeel, soft carbonation.
O: A powerful bourbon filled sipper that I enjoyed and would have no problem drinking again. Thanks again, Jeff.

Serving type: growler

06-25-2011 15:16:57 | More by scottfrie
Photo of womencantsail
womencantsail

California

4.33/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Huge thanks to Jeff for sharing this one.

A: The beer pours pitch black in color with a thin layer of tan foam.

S: Just an amazingly smooth aroma. The bourbon provides an excellent sweet vanilla scent and goes quite well with plenty of dark chocolate and roasted malts. Sweet burnt sugar and a bit of molasses.

T: The bourbon and chocolate flavors are just awesome. Fairly sweet, but not cloying. Dark chocolate, molasses, and vanilla give this beer a very intense richness. Just a little bit of dark fruits.

M: Full in body with a smooth, low carbonation.

O: This one lived up to expectations for me. Just an awesome beer.

Serving type: growler

06-23-2011 04:42:51 | More by womencantsail
Photo of ncmussell
ncmussell

Minnesota

4.6/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Tried on tap on three occasions. Almost black appearance with a small brown head that dissipates relatively quickly. The smell on this beer is absolutely stunning with sweet bourbon notes. Taste and mouthfeel is silky smooth. Could drink lots of this on a nice winter evening! The alcohol and bourbon flavor are very well integrated into the finished product. I think the porter and bourbon barrel combo work really well together and I haven't seen a better one done than this one.

Serving type: on-tap

06-22-2011 19:52:01 | More by ncmussell
Photo of Sean9689
Sean9689

Illinois

3.93/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks goes to Chris (spycow) for this one! Poured into Bruery tulip.

A - Pours black, minimal head, some bubbles here and there, no lace or retention.

S - Big booze, molasses, dark fruits, burnt sugars. Lots of booze, and at 12%, it's not surprising.

T - Booze, booze, and more alcohol. Dark fruits, oak, slightly sweet/big booze finish.

M - Full body, rich, light carbonation, creamy finish.

O - Very hot and needs some more time before really hitting its prime, in terms of taste. It would be nice to age this one for a while, but it's hard to do considering the vessel and how fast it goes. Good, but not outstanding.

Serving type: growler

06-13-2011 17:51:19 | More by Sean9689
Photo of mikesgroove
mikesgroove

South Carolina

4.7/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

part of the goodies i brought to gbx last night, i opened this one up with two good buddies. poured into the mikkellar glass i ended up keeping, this was enjoyed on 6/11/2011 for my bday!

the pour was dark, abyss like dark with a light tan head that more coated the glass then rose up off the top of it. an aroma that was to die for. chocolate, rich bourbon notes, vanilla, coffee, wood and oak, this was amazingly complex. as it warms licorice and roasted malts. flavor came through exactly the same, simply amazingly complex with a smooth and subtle presence that was just divine. each sip seemingly opening a door that the last had closed.

overall a massive beer, alcohol is not soo upfront as you can just feel this one ripping you apart. one of the biggest things i have had in a while.

Serving type: growler

06-12-2011 15:47:02 | More by mikesgroove
Photo of Thorpe429
Thorpe429

Illinois

4.28/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Huge thanks to chewy08rx for getting this growler out my way. Shared at a recent tasting. Served in a tulip.

Pours nearly black with a small mocha head that lasts for a bit. Few legs on the sides of the glass and a spot or two of lacing. Thin collar throughout. The nose is heavy on the malt and bourbon with some good notes of roast and brown sugar. Some vanilla and oak go with the bourbon. Dark fruits in the background. The flavor has a really incredible bourbon presence with some dark fruits backing things up. Nice oak. Roasted malt is nice, and there's a bit of chocolate as well. Moderate sweetness on a full body with a creamy texture. Really solid and well done. It was worth the wait.

Serving type: growler

06-10-2011 21:54:40 | More by Thorpe429
Photo of emerge077
emerge077

Illinois

4.43/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Thank you Anthony for sharing, you're a gentleman and a scholar.
Two plus years in a Heaven Hill barrel.

Obsidian black with a swirling crest of dark mocha foam sliding apart to reveal the glassy surface. In the light, the edges glint mahogany brown where the light passes through.

Rich vanilla and dark chocolate aroma, barrel kissed with some brown sugar and a slight whiff of bourbon heat.

Velvety smooth, silky and dense fudgy chocolate, espresso, and vanilla tones, with transitory notes of hazelnut and almonds. Chewy texture, extremely creamy and palate coating. Confectionary and rich. Barrel elements lend complexity without overshadowing the base porter. Long flavorful finish that dries out with some lingering oak, vanilla, and fudge notes. Very enjoyable, I savored my pour for a good twenty minutes.
Thanks again Tony!

Serving type: growler

06-10-2011 02:51:03 | More by emerge077
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Dark Knight from Barley John's Brew Pub
96 out of 100 based on 116 ratings.