Dismiss Notice
Get 12 monthly issues of BeerAdvocate magazine and save $5 when you select "auto-renew."

Subscribe now →
Dismiss Notice
Join our email list →

And we'll send you the latest updates and offers from BeerAdvocate, because knowing is half the battle.

Dark Apparition - Jackie O's Pub & Brewery

Not Rated.
Dark ApparitionDark Apparition

Educational use only; do not reuse.

138 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 138
Hads: 766
Avg: 4.16
pDev: 9.86%
Wants: 321
Gots: 244 | FT: 31
Brewed by:
Jackie O's Pub & Brewery
Ohio, United States | website

Style | ABV
Russian Imperial Stout | 10.50% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: Hophead101 on 11-06-2008

According to the brewer, this is a Russian Imperial Stout, not American Double Stout.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Dark Apparition Alström Bros
Reviews: 138 | Hads: 766
Photo of stickydankhop
3.86/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

This is good but I feel that Old Rasputin is better in this style. Something is slightly off in the smell. Maybe its the bottle I have. not much of a head or glass cling either compared to OLD Rasputin.

 205 characters

Photo of BaronRVH
4.52/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2014 poured medium hard into a snifter-style glass

Black, inky with an 1/4-1/2" creamy head.

Let it sit for about a half-hour. Nose warmed with great chocolate, molasses, dried fruit, mild coffee flavors. Hints of vanilla.

Taste is incredible for something not barrel-aged. Tastes like it smells but with a brilliantly clean finish that lingers for a minute or longer. Taste changes and evolves on your palate. Alcohol is completely integrated. Yeast and malt bill is just outstanding.

Mouthfeel/texture is full, coating but bright for a RIS.

This compares well or better than many BA RIS. Jackie O's is contually creating amazing stouts.

 648 characters

Photo of MjBrewhouse
4.5/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

One of the best Russian Imperial Stouts I've had. Super smooth, well balanced and the ABV is not even noticeable. I'm surprised this is not world class.

 152 characters

Photo of adapt313
4.19/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

For a non barrel aged, non adjunct imperial stout this is incredibly solid. Pours dark and oily with a small dark cocoa head. No lacing, minimal retention, but a small cap remained the entire time I sipped on this. Smell is loaded with coffee and dark fruits, with hints of vanilla and walnuts. Taste is heavy on dark fruits, some coffee and vanilla, has a woody or nutty quality to it, and finishes dry with a mild hoppiness and alcohol burn. Has a good thickness and velvety soft carbonation but is still relatively easy drinking for a big 10% stout. Dark app is a great example of a straightforward RIS.

 612 characters

Photo of Bisco42
4.65/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

An absolute treat. Phenomenal RIS, bursting with flavor in the most subtle way. From the top down, if this beer is a glimpse of what Jackie O's can brew, than we are in for a treat. Luckily I have a few BA DA's and OoA in the cellar. Poured into a snifter at room temperature. One and a half finger head that leaves lacing for the whole beer.

L - Straight up black. Maybe even darker than Ten Fidy, and certainly a better head. Poured the same way, DA leaves lacing as well as a coat above the brew for the entirety of the beer. Really special and unique.

S - Coffee, Caramel, Roast, Earth, hints of Vanilla and Malt that leaves the nose desiring a taste. There is absolutely no part of me that feels like this beer is lacking in the smell.

T - Woah... definitely better than Ten Fidy, which is the beer I will compare it to. I love the mouth feel, but the flavors are astonishing. Fresh, Coffee, Dark Roast, Vanilla, Boozy (but in a balanced way that complements the coffee nicely), hints of cedar and hops, but incredibly minimal. A sweet RIS that nearly defines the style.

F - So thick, so sweet and savory. This isn't a refreshing beer that you'd drink in the heat, this is one that demands the proper time of season to be drank. The complexities in the feel are incredible. Perfect amount of carbonation that coats the tongue and bursts as it goes down the throat.

O - Damn near perfect. The quinticential Imperial Russian Stout, I was contemplating leaving this one in the cellar to age or trade to an unlucky soul that can't obtain this across the nation, but after putting on Phish and feeling spring coming as well as the simple desire for a stout I reached for this. Thank God I did, because this may be the new go-to Stout for me when it is available. I can't picture a better beer for it's style. Surprised it doesn't have a 100/100 on this one, where as beers such as Ten Fidy, BBB, BABC and Speedway have higher. I've had those, many times, and this beer is far superior to my tastes, IMO.. The wonders of ratings in the craft world!! Jackie O's is on the up and up!!

 2,110 characters

Photo of vfgccp
3.79/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Dark cola body with dark brown highlights around the rim. Light khaki head has ok retention and ok lace.

S - Nice nose. Boozy and sweet, but with surprisingly little dark fruit. Bourbon soaked oatmeal raisin cookies, almonds extract, pumpernickel bread, and molasses.

T - Thick molasses, almond brandy, a big soy sauce note, and sweet dark bread. Interesting honey teriyaki finish.

M - Thick full body and the smoothness is about on part.

O - The huge umami note through the center of this beer isn't for everyone, but if you like it this is a nice example of the more savory side of the style.

 607 characters

Photo of chinchill
4.25/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark apparition Jackie os
Thanks Chris.
Medium full body worn spur on carbonation.
Dark fruits. dark bread.
Alcohol not entirely hidden but the alcohol esters are a positive.

 176 characters

Photo of Mooslerfitness
4.75/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Nicely done smell of chocolate coffee dark fruits carmel and molasses taste just like smell gets better as it warms poured into a sniffer
Good ris, local priced right will revisit

 179 characters

Photo of CincyBrewTull
4.37/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This murky beer sucks you into its complex depths from the first sip, it seems bottomless, There is vanilla and coffee right off. Chocolate lurks in the background and lingers hauntingly with the coffee. Buried at the bottom of the pit that is Dark Apparition is hints of charcoal and leather. As the cold ghost thaws alcohol becomes apparent in all the right ways.

 365 characters

Photo of 2beerdogs
4.15/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2014 version
Thanks to BA Ambassador @WesMantooth
Rec'd in NBS BIF #1

Pours a deep mahogany, deep and dark. Apt name. Foam builds to 2 fingers, dense and tan. Dissipates to an even loosely packed thin froth after a few minutes.
Smell starts with hints of roast, cocoa powder, earthiness, and maybe dried fruit.
Initially the taste brings forth a subtle roast, earthy peat, dried cocoa powder, and a hint of boozy warmth. Reminds me of many of the RIS’s I had years ago before breweries started getting creative with barrel aging. Straight ahead with roast, peat, and sweet taking a back seat. But this one is complex. There is a creaminess to this one.
So this brings me to mouthfeel. Slightly slick, and like I said, creamy. The finish is much the same, being very consistent. Quite good, through and through.

 813 characters

Photo of superspak
4.2/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

375 ml bottle into snifter, 2014 vintage bottling. Pours pitch black color with a 1-2 finger dense tan head with good retention, that reduces to a nice cap that lingers. Nice dense soapy lacing clings around the glass. Aromas of big dark chocolate, cocoa, coffee, molasses, raisin, plum, caramel, toffee, toast, light char, and roasted earthiness. Very nice aromas with good balance and complexity of dark/roasted malt and dark fruit notes; with good strength. Taste of big dark chocolate, cocoa, coffee, caramel, toffee, toast, molasses, raisin, plum, light char, light herbal, and roasted earthiness. Fair amount of roast/herbal bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of dark chocolate, cocoa, coffee, caramel, toffee, toast, molasses, raisin, plum, light char, and roasted earthiness on the finish for a while. Outstanding balance, complexity, and robustness of dark/roasted malt, moderate dark fruit, and light earthy hop flavors; with a great roasted bitterness/sweetness balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Light carbonation and fairly full bodied; with a very smooth, creamy, and slightly slick/chalky mouthfeel that is great. Alcohol is fairly well hidden with a small-moderate warming present after the finish. Overall this is an awesome Russian imperial stout. All around great complexity, balance, and robustness of dark/roasted malt, moderate dark fruit, and light earthy hop flavors; and very smooth to sip on for the ABV, even with the noticeable alcohol warmth after the finish. A highly enjoyable offering.

 1,545 characters

Photo of neenerzig
4.25/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured out of a 375 ml bottle into my tulip glass, this beer pours a very dark brown, almost black color that is not interested in letting in any light whatsoever. Has a tan head that is only about 1/4 to 1/3 of an inch thick when first poured and that settles fairly quickly to a nice thick ring lining the inside of the glass along with a pretty decent surface film layer of foam. Very nice lacing here too. Aromas of roasted molasses and caramel malts and dark chocolate followed by a nice coffee note. Has a good caramel and molasses roasted malt taste upfront that gives way to some dark chocolate bitter sweetness and some roasted black coffee bitterness. Good balance of flavors. Has a slightly crisp, somewhat oily, somewhat smooth and creamy, medium bodied mouthfeel with moderate carbonation. A bit lighter body wise compared to a lot of other imperial stouts I've had. This one really coats the tongue and the inside of the mouth and does not want to leave, as it has a bitter and dry aftertaste. The 10.5% ABV is well hidden as this is quite easy to drink. Then that 10.5% ABV starts to creep up on you. An excellent imperial stout here!


 1,167 characters

Photo of BB1313
3.94/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12.7oz bottle poured into a snifter. Pours black with barely any light getting through; khaki head that fades leaving very nice retention and solid lacing. The aromas are full of milk chocolate. There's also hints of caramel and vanilla. Hints of dark fruits as well. Lots of malts. The flavors are pretty bold. More chocolate. More caramel with hints of butterscotch. Raisins are there. There's a subtle bitterness, but it's definitely not over the top. Mouthfeel is full-bodied with moderate carbonation. It's not like motor oil, but it's not thin. Alcohol basically goes unnoticed and it's easy to drink.

This is a very nice stout. It's not unique or flashy, but traditional and well crafted. I do like Oil Of Aphrodite better, for what it's worth. But this is no slouch at all.

 783 characters

Photo of Ri0
4.27/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

poured 375ml into chalice.

A - Obsidian with a one finger mocha head that fades into a thin ring. Some spotty lacing on the glass.

S - Aromas of roasted malts, bakers chocolate, caramel, molasses, and toffee. This is big in the bitter chocolate for an RIS. No discernible notes of dark fruit.

T - Roasted malts with a caramel filled chocolate flavors. Some faint coffee, molasses, and toffee round off the beer. Quite flavorful.

M - A smooth, rich and velvety feel with a nice light carbonated feel.

O - An excellent RIS that is without any dark fruit component. It is pricey, but still delicious.

 607 characters

Photo of canislupus88
4.52/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Text book RIS. Jackie O's is one of my favorite breweries. I love this stout and I buy it by the case. Midnight black, brown head, smells of chocolate and roasted malts, tastes like bitter dark chocolate, espresso, and booze, mouthfeel is light and fluffy with light CO2 carbonation. Definitely can drink 2-3...then the alcohol hits and then I hit the bed. You won't regret trying it, and buy more than 1 because you will want another.

 436 characters

Photo of UrbanCaveman
4.7/5  rDev +13%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

375 ml bottle, poured into a snifter at approximately 50 degrees F.

A: Pours an impenetrable black, and forms a moderate, relatively short-lived head of pale tan. The head leaves a ring in its wake, with sparse, patchy lacing.

S: "Roasty" is the first word to come to mind as regards the scent, which is warm with dark malt and scorched grain. A faint undertone of molasses and seared caramel waft beneath, along some black currant and raisin hints.

T: Huge malt flavors. Waves of roasted grain with molasses-like sweetness and burnt toffee with some dark chocolate seem to alternate as it moves across the palate. There's a faint earthen-ashy bitter tone underneath, though it does not interfere with the slideshow of maltiness - this is a silky-smooth stout. Black currant flavors show up here and there, with hints of raisin along for the ride, and there's a touch of deeply dark coffee along as well.

M: Huge and creamy, this drinks like an Imperial stout.

O: This is a particularly good Russian Imperial Stout. Will repeat.

 1,033 characters

Photo of hosehead83
4.09/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Black almost purple in color with a thin tan cap of foam.
Aroma-Big whiff of bourbon, dark malts
Taste-Dark fruit, bourbon, dark malts, brown sugar. A slow-sipper to be sure.

 174 characters

Photo of drdiesel9483
4.42/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Look - Great head with great lacing. Black as night with a tan head and great lacing
Smell - Strong boozy Carmel chocolate coffee
Taste - Has a great coffee dark chocolate Carmel and very slightly hoppy taste. Can't taste the booze as much as you can smell it
Feel - great medium full body and lite carbonation. Very smooth and easy to drink.
Overall - Fantastic beer! Great everything. Complex and needs to be enjoyed.

 426 characters

Photo of deadonhisfeet
4.16/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

2014 bottling poured into a Bruery snifter. The pour is nearly black with no light escaping. A rough pour produces a massive khaki-colored rocky head that dies down fairly quickly but leaves nice lacing. The nose is rather subdued, but I do get some roasted malt, cocoa, black coffee, burnt pudding, a hint of vanilla, and some grassy hops.

Full body with a fairly firm feel and a smooth roasty flavor. Nicely balanced between roastiness and sweet malt. Some toffee and caramel sweetness up front, then the roasted malt produces bitter espresso and dark chocolate notes. At mid-palate, you get not-so-intense char-like notes characteristic of the style and the hops produce a faint woodiness that is quite distinct, yet melds nicely with the char. One of the smoother and more drinkable RISs I've enjoyed recently, but to me it lacks the creamy feel of my top-shelf RISs (Ten FIDY, FIS, Stone IRS, and Pt5). Still, a fantastic beer. Finish lingers with dark chocolate and a hint of licorice.

What else can I say? A wonderful Russian Imperial Stout (though a bit pricey at 6 bones a bottle). The beer is impressively smooth and not nearly as bitter as I thought it might be. I really enjoyed it, but I'm not sure if I'm ready to insert it into my regular RIS rotation (which currently consists of Founders, Founders, Stone, Founders, Pt5, Founders, Ten FIDY, Founders). Still, one or two bottles of this a year certainly won't break the bank. It would be interesting to put this one into a blind tasting with some other favorites to see of the feel really is thinner and if it benefits from the perceived smoothness.

 1,617 characters

Photo of zac16125
4.21/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

375mL bottle into a tulip
no bottling dates

Thanks to mikeincharleston for hooking me up with this one.

A: Pours a somewhat thin appearing opaque black with browning on the edges. Less than 1/2 fingers width of tan colored head builds and then quickly recedes, leaving essentially zero lacing. 4

S: Chocolate fudge, booze, dark fruits. Roasted malt, herbaceous woody notes, a medicinal like character. 4.25

T: Lots of roasted malt, oak, bitterness on the finish. I also get semi sweet cocoa, subtle dark fruits, and stale coffee. 4.25

M/D: Full bodied but on the thinner side, carbonation on the higher end, ABV is very well masked, drinkability is good. 4

O: Overall, a very good beer. Nothing crazy, but certainly an enjoyable brew. 4.25

 752 characters

Photo of StonedTrippin
4.24/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

a great example of the style, not relying on additives and barrels to make this special and unique, but rather on attention to detail and expert brewing. the beer is dark and medium luster in the glass, with almost an inch of mocha colored frothy head. it has a dark fruit nose of raisins and even cherry in with the usual suspects of bitter barley roast and bakers chocolate that come from the grain. the flavor is similar to the nose in that its all the things you expect to taste in a russian imperial and is not loaded down with vanilla and whiskey barrel and coffee bean, its just straight up stout, and its one of the better ones out there. bitterness is average, more from the grain than anything else, and the dark fruit and chocolate notes are robust mid palate. overall an extremely impressive brew thats sort of the best of both worlds for me, and has an amazing mouthfeel thats creamy and bubbly for the style, but still viscous and dense, its just exceptional stuff. i am yet to have a beer from these guys that wasnt incredible...

 1,044 characters

Photo of RblWthACoz
4.14/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Great beer. Thick and chewy. A bit hot, but I'm also imbibing at as close to cellar temperature as you can get. Maybe even a bit warm. Anyways. Thick and consistent profile. Smooth and easy to drink. Really nice beer. I'd do this one again.

 240 characters

Photo of schoolboy
4.18/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

I picked up two bottles of this around Thanksgiving ($5.99 each) and took one along on my road trip to my daughter's house in Columbus that Saturday. Since I was the driver (with five passengers!) all my samples were really small, but I got enough of this to know ...

It opens rich, aromatic, dark, of course, and thick. The aroma is sweet and boozy.

The taste is off balance dirty, gritty and roasty. My comment was that someone dumped an ashtray into the bottle. It was a wonderful flavor, and very boozy, but dirty. I really felt like I had grit on my tongue.

So my conclusion was that this needs to cellar for a short while - maybe until March or so. Since I bought two bottles, the other one is going down into the cellar now. See you in 2015.

 752 characters

Photo of Hopdaemon39
4.5/5  rDev +8.2%

Delicious- full bodied, velvety smooth, lovely nose, rich malt flavor but not cloying. I love everything I've had from Jackie O's and Dark Apparition is no exception. I would recommend picking up a bottle of you see it.

 219 characters

Photo of Davepoolesque
3.5/5  rDev -15.9%

Chocolate, roasty, big hop background. Short, dry finish. on the thin side. This is just mediocre. Hopefully the barrel will have a positive effect on this subpar base beer.

 173 characters

Dark Apparition from Jackie O's Pub & Brewery
92 out of 100 based on 138 ratings.