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Dark Apparition - Bourbon Barrel Aged - Jackie O's Pub & Brewery

Not Rated.
Dark Apparition - Bourbon Barrel AgedDark Apparition - Bourbon Barrel Aged

Educational use only; do not reuse.

122 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 122
Hads: 540
Avg: 4.25
pDev: 9.41%
Wants: 480
Gots: 142 | FT: 23
Brewed by:
Jackie O's Pub & Brewery visit their website
Ohio, United States

Style | ABV
Russian Imperial Stout |  10.50% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: ffejherb on 01-24-2010

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Dark Apparition - Bourbon Barrel Aged Alström Bros
Reviews: 122 | Hads: 540
Photo of superspak
4.42/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

375 ml bottle into snifter; Summer 2014 release, 11.5%. Pours pitch black color with a 1 finger fairly dense brown head with solid retention, that reduces to a thin lace cap that lingers. Light spotty soapy lacing clings around the glass, with a moderate amount of streaming carbonation retaining the cap. Aromas of big dark chocolate, cocoa, coffee, toast, molasses, coconut, vanilla, toffee, bourbon, oak, dark bread, brown sugar, leather, light char/smoke, and roasted earthiness. Incredible aromas with awesome complexity and balance of big dark/roasted malt and bourbon barrel notes; with great strength. Taste of big dark chocolate, cocoa, coffee, toast, molasses, coconut, vanilla, toffee, bourbon, oak, dark bread, brown sugar, leather, light char/smoke, and roasted earthiness. Fair amount of earthy/roasted bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of dark chocolate, cocoa, coffee, toast, molasses, coconut, vanilla, toffee, bourbon, oak, dark bread, light char/smoke, and roasted earthiness on the finish for a while. Incredible complexity and balance of rich dark/roasted malt and bourbon barrel flavors; with a great roasted bitterness/sweetness balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Light-medium carbonation and fairly full bodied; with a very smooth, creamy, and fairly slick/chalky mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is fairly well hidden with only a small warming present after the finish. Overall this is an absolutely incredible barrel aged imperial stout. All around outstanding complexity and balance of rich dark/roasted malt and bourbon barrel flavors; and very smooth to sip on for the big ABV. An incredibly delicious offering.

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Photo of Dope
4.26/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

2014 bottle. 11.5% ABV.

A: Pitch-black pour with a very tall and dark head. Head is surprisingly fizzy (and very loud as a result). Head dissipates pretty quickly, though it slows significantly at the end. No sign of lacing at all.

S: Lots of chocolate and caramel up front. A bit of marshmallow in there, sorta reminds me of s'mores oddly enough. Sweet - even get some toasted sugar (probably the marshmallow I spoke of). Lightly oaky.

T: Kind of a flat caramel and chocolate up front again. Lots of sweet chocolate in the middle. Caramel coats everything. Very sweet, very malty, very dessert-like. A bit of umami, especially lingering in the aftertaste with hints of char and oak.

M: Low carbonation and heavy body. Thick and syrupy.

O: Hmph. Delicious. Bourbon adds some nice complexity to this one (I just had the base beer last week). Lots of caramel everywhere with charry oak. Having said that, I think I prefer the base beer still. A little better balanced and I feel like this one is a bit too cloyingly sweet (with almost no carbonation it really intensifies this effect too). It's close, and they're both excellent of course.

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Photo of CaptCleveland
4.35/5  rDev +2.4%

375ml bottle received in trade from jd626. Big thanks, Jordan!

Black, opaque elixir poured into KBS snifter. Vigorous pour yields 2 finger mocha head that quickly dissipates to a thin rim. Scant lacing.

Nice, complex aroma of wood, bourbon, dark fruits, vanilla and sweet caramel. The bourbon is not overwhelming, providing a steady backdrop for the other scents.

Dark fruits, vanilla, and caramel at the front with a nice smooth wood char at the back end. Once again the bourbon adds a nice layer to the festivities.

Full body, a bit thin when compared to BCBS, adequate carbonation.

A really nice, complex BA RIS.

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Photo of BMMillsy
4.08/5  rDev -4%

375 ml bottle in trade from Joe. Huge thanks buddy! Pours dark brown from the bottle and settles as pitch black in the glass with a one finger brown head. Beautiful aroma of rich chocolate and bourbon, lots of woody oak, a hint of vanilla and coconut. Flavor is a nice hit of woody bourbon, vanilla, caramel, more wood and vanilla. Long finish of the vanilla and bourbon, and relatively hot. Mouthfeel is thin for the style, but not overly thin to the point of really hurting the brew, though it comes off as a little hot as noted. Medium plus carbonation. Very nice after dinner drink, and you must love bourbon as it has soaked up a lot of that flavor.

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Photo of blankenhoney
4.47/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Bottle from the late summer 2014 release, enjoyed from a snifter.

A: Dark and opaque, with a creamy khaki head. Looks like the major league BA stout it is.

S: Aromas of boozy chocolate, caramelized brown sugar, raisins, and vanilla. Really strong bourbon scent. Not perfect, I guess, but a great smelling beer.

T: Such a flavorful beer: lots of char and roast, creamy dark chocolate, brown sugar, and marshmallows. Nice bourbon baseline holding everything together.

M: This is a fantastic beer, but the mouthfeel is where it really shines. It's approaching BCBS territory, with a thick viscosity and a rich creaminess. Love it.

O: A fantastic BA stout.

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Photo of jbwimer
4.3/5  rDev +1.2%

Pours super dark with a head that does not linger. Smell is chocolate, brown sugar, bourbon, and a little toffee. Flavor doesn't have the roast of the base beer, which was disappointing. Still, the sweet chocolates, brown sugar, and pinch of booze are really enjoyable. Could use some more viscosity, but the mouthfeel was still pleasant. Great stuff.

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Photo of T_Reeves92
4.75/5  rDev +11.8%

Serving: Bottle

A: Jet black with a thin-medium head
S: Oak, Chocolate, Candy Sugar, Molasses
T: Molasses, Dark Fruits, Brown Sugar, Wood
M: Silky smooth, warmth from the alcohol is prominent.
O: Excellent example of a BB aged stout

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Photo of nmann08
4/5  rDev -5.9%

From a bottle, pours a dark mahogany brown, thin carbonation.

Smell is all bourbon and wood, caramel, molasses, a little roast, but its fighting through alot of sweetness. Flavor is sweet molasses, chocolate bourbon balls, lots of booze, still pretty hot. The finish is creamy and milky, sliding down your throat.

Overall, this is a bit hot right now, would like to see it smooth out a little.

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Photo of WesMantooth
4.46/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A motor oil like black with a khaki colored head.

Smells very strongly of slightly burned brown sugar, wood, and bourbon.

Taste like cocoa powder, chocolate, expresso beans, bourbon, oak, brown sugar, and dark roasted malt. The bourbon really powers through, especially in the aftertaste. Almost comes across like a rum because of sweetness. It also finishes fairly bitter/charred with an little burn.

This is an outstanding beer. I think this is close to being in the same conversation as BCBS if the heat/burn from the bourbon didn't overpower the flavor quite as much (i.e. more balanced), and I am a bourbon person. Not sure who's barrels were used, but that could be a factor. Maybe spent a hair too much time in there too. A sipper for sure, but still a must try world class beer.

Edit: I have adjusted my scores a little after the most recent batch. I find that the bourbon is more balanced/less heat.

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Photo of AlienSwineFlu
4.68/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Side-by-side with '13 BCBS.

A- Black with a medium level, light tan head. Reflective like oil.

S- Scotch and oak. Lots of barrel in this one.

T- Roasted marshmallow, brown sugar, medium-range bourbon, and I get a bit of a coconut flavor with this as well. I've heard a few people describe this beer as a "barrel-aged S'more," and I think that's actually pretty accurate for those familiar with BA stouts.

M- Typical alcohol warmth, not too heavy and not too light. If it was cold out, the mouthfeel of this beer would really seal the deal.

O- Love this beer... much better out of a bottle than on tap in my opinion, for whatever reason. This wins my side-by-side against BCBS by a couple points. Cheers!

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Photo of ThePorterSorter
4.43/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The beer pours coffee black with a thin halo of tan head that lays content around the glass's circumference. There is negligible carbonation and no sediment. The nose is heavy with bourbon notes, vanilla/caramel oakiness, and has little spice or hops. The taste provides generous chocolately sweetness upfront followed by dark fruits (raisins, black mission figs), coconut, minimal roast/bitterness, and a biting ethanol. It's full bodied, minimally carbonated (but not totally flat), sweet with rich bourbon barrel notes, and has a lingering, slightly dry, boozy oak in the finish. This is definitely a potent bourbon infused stout that has left me completely satisfied from availability to execution - would recommend to others.

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Photo of Brenden
4.54/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Big, heady-looking, thick and viscous, this dark brown beer looks like it intends to bring it. The head is darker than medium brown and about one finger tall. Its retention is strong, as is the lacing stuck to the glass.
With lots going on in the nose, the malty foundation laid down is strongly evident, not to mention being enough to hold together lots of strong notes of some pretty heavy stuff with ease. It smells like a thick, heavy bread cooked with molasses and brown sugar. It's evidently alcoholic and very warm without being nothing more than straight heat. It warms nicely and gives a kick while allowing tons of flavor to come through. The malts are heavy and dark, complex in and of themselves, and providing just a bit of roast and cocoa. On the tongue, perhaps just slightly more than in the nose, some woodiness becomes a factor while adding a dryness to counter a sweetness without being too dry. A light note of herbal leaf adds somewhat more dryness, hops just enough to balance while keeping things fantastically even and preventing any domineering or one-sidedness in the flavor.
Smooth and beastly, thick and robust without sitting heavily on the tongue or in the stomach, the leaf is actually felt in a dryness toward the front of the tongue and keeps excellent balance in the mouthfeel as well as every other aspect of this beer. Carbonation is just right, only a bit of active crispness in the rich, smooth brew.

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Photo of dbossman
4.31/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A: Dark, dark brown with no head; some decent lacing

S: Booze, burnt brown sugar, oak, bourbon, roasted malts; this is so boozy

T: Really boozy but not in a bad (hot) way; lots of bourbon and chocolate and oak; as the beer warms the beer--though still quite boozy--begins to come together nicely; even some brown sugar and nutty and dark fruit flavors on the finish

F: A bit thin but it gets more body as it warms

O: This is a nice, boozy, and bourbony beer

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Photo of Chico1985
4.35/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Tap at Prohibition Pig, Waterbury VT, Memorial Day. Hill Farmstead, Jackie O's, Three Floyds, Alchemist, etc. all under one roof...

Appearance - Black beer, beige head. Pretty good retention and bits of lace.

Smell - Big bourbon and charred oak character, dark chocolate, roast, salty scotch-like tones. Very barrel-heavy but pretty good.

Taste - Really opens up nicely here, tons of great stout and bourbon flavors, though still quite barrel-forward. Cocoa, vanilla, marshmallow, brown sugar, roast, coconut. Smores goodness. Some warming alcohol.

Mouthfeel - Smooth, light carbonation, medium heftiness, some alcohol warmth but doesn't detract much from drinkability.

Overall - Awesome, mostly feels like a bourbon barrel takeover, but in that realm of beers this is great. Tons of remarkable flavor coming through and not overbearing.

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Photo of cbutova
4.24/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

On-tap in Waterbury, VT yesterday after the weekend Hill Farmstead anniversary madness.

A- Oily black bodied ale poured to a snifter from the tap. Dark mocha head to a half finger with a foamy frothy texture. Decent head retention. Thick ring produces sheets and spots of lace.

S- Cocoa brownie fudge chocolate, vanilla bourbon with slight oak that melds with sweetness. Smoothed out barrel feel, no bite just smooth and dessert-like.

T- Whiskey strengthens but still lacks a harsh but as it provides a quality bourbon flavor. Vanilla oak and decadent cocoa malts makes brownies come to mind. Fairly sweet, burnt ash cracked grain, coffee roast and a graham cracker marshmallow hint in the very end.

MF- Medium thick body with a somewhat oily slickness and creamy-foamy texture. Carbonation is medium high and it all ends with a warming finish.

Dark grainy base provides the decadence of roast and thick chocolate while aging in the barrel brings vanilla and whiskey into play without any harshness. Gimme some brownies that taste like this.

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Photo of BEERchitect
4.34/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

The fine folks of Athen's premier brewery finds great success with the Dark Apparition. So why not challenge that notion with barrel-aging for greater complexity, aged compounds and a simmering boost of strength? That's just what happens in this bourbon-barrel aged edition.

As the nose dives into the glass, a boisterous rift of coffee, burnt sugars, creamy malt, maple, molasses and chocolate waft about. Those are hard to distinguish from the bourbon influences- cherry wood, caramel, vanilla, marzipan and aged notes of sherry or port come to mind as the mouth waters nearing that first sip.

Getting the cart before the horse, its appearance pours with a mysterious dark brown hue that's ominously of tree bark. While its body is chocked full of shady cocoa powder, its head is thinly laced and captures a hue of mocha. Its low-forming head and necklace of lace suggests that the beer's alcohol and barrel complexities have gotten the better of its foam character.

But those fudge, brownie and mocha flavors are sooo irresistible as the malty-rich taste of roasted malt, espresso and bitter chocolates unapologetically grope the taste buds with its sultry sherry-like fruitiness and aged beautification. Those light meaty, savory, fruity and minerally characteristics pave the way for a decadent finish of rum and chocolate with spicy warmth and coffee-like tendencies.

Without any doubt, the body is full but is also picked apart with wine-like acidities, bourbon warmth, wood spices and cocoa dryness for a finish that is powdery, minerally and plaster-like despite its dessert-like effects.

This Bourbon Barrel Aged Apparition Ale accurately delivers on its whisky effects. Even though I taste "bourbon-esque" character, I feel that much of that comes from the malts where much of the "bourbon" influences are simply of whisky. I gotta question those spicy booze flavors as opposed to the more savory "bourbon" influences.

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Photo of Rifugium
4.5/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Definitely among my favorites from Stone Soup '13. Major thanks to whoever brought it.

Dark, obsidian black pour, with maybe some dark brown around the edges, a dark mocha head dissipated to a thin, wispy layer, and the beer left some oily traces on the glass. Aroma of dark malts, chocolate, vanilla, bourbon-soaked oak. The taste reflected the aroma, and then some. Smooth bourbon, vanilla, toffee, butterscotch, dark malts and dark chocolate, undertones of dark fruits. Smooth, full body, creamy and warming. I liked this beer a lot, and since it sat untouched for a while, I had no problem helping myself to a second generous serving.

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Photo of zhanson88
4.62/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2010 bottling. Bottle 110/384.

Appearance: Pours out dark brown, almost black, in color. Not terribly viscous looking. A khaki colored head forms that has limited retention and lacing.

Smell: Quite a bit of sweetness initially with milk chocolate and vanilla notes. A hint of dark chocolate bitterness as well. Not much roast or any other form of bitterness going on. I was surprised at the level of bourbon notes that were still present, as this beer is now over two years old, but still a very strong bourbon presence. Seems nicely integrated, though.

Taste: High level of sweet milk chocolate notes along with vanilla. Not much bitterness of any kind to balance. Smooth bourbon notes and a bit of oak take over the middle and finish. It's pretty sweet, but everything is very smooth and well integrated.

Mouthfeel/Overall: Mouthfeel is nice. Just under full, with a good level of carbonation and a creamy mouthfeel. Overall, I thought this was a great barrel aged stout. One of the best I've had in a while. Very rich and decadent. Only real knock I have is that it is a bit sweet, but if you like sweeter imp. stouts, this is for you. This is drinking about perfect right now. I think 2 years is a good age for this. I could see it being maybe a bit too bourbon forward even a year ago.

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Photo of HuskyinPDX
4.22/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle opened on 12.15.12
Thanks to jodan for the bottle
Bottle 2011 104/336

A - Pours a very dark brown with only a few dark brown bubbles that cling to one side.

S - Strong bourbon, carmel, sweet fruit, oak.

T - Bourbon, then some sour ripe fruit, but subtle, then some vanill and finally finishes with some coffee.

D - Low carbonation with a heavy body.

O - This is a flavor rollercoaster - Layer after layer, wow!

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Photo of twiggamortis420
4.39/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 oz bottle courtesy of Auslander, muchas gracias for this gem! Pours a lighter shade of black with a small cap of brown head. Average retention and spotty lace.

Nose is chocolaty as hell with a fair amount of rum-soaked blackberry fruitiness and vanilla. The woody aspect of the barrels is pretty subtle and the bourbon is complementary as opposed to dominant. Smells delicious.

Wood comes out to play a bit more in the flavor and is followed by the signature bourbon sting. Fruitiness is a big part of this beer and overpowers the chocolate and any sweetness that might pervade the beer. I really like the interplay of the various flavors on this beer, it flows from fruit to roast to bitter flawlessly and like Twizzlers...makes mouths happy! Mouthfeel is decent, although ‘thick’ would never come to mind. I like it a lot, much better than the brandy barrel version I had previously.

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Photo of dirtylou
4.27/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

#239/384; secret santa 2011; split 3 ways

appearance: served in my great lakes chalice, ebony body - light creamy mocha lace, mildly carbonated

smell: bourbon, rich dark chocolate, dark fruit

taste: This was some tasty stuff - quite bourbon-forward with a ton of chocolate, dark fruit caramelized in brown sugar, molasses, oak, heavy roasted malt, charred espresso.

mouthfeel: big and bold, smooth finish

overall: great stuff - would love to try some of the other variants

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Photo of Jeffo
3.68/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This was the 5th in the set of Jackie O's Dark Apparation variants, consumed after the Nano Bean variant. A big thanks to boatshoes for filling the hole for us on this one. Cheers!

From a bomber into a snifter
Vintage: 2011
Bottle 7 of 384

APPEARANCE: This one was esentially the same as the vanill variant. Pours out thicker black and yields a small, medium thick, light mocha colored head with good retention. Better and thicker pour than the base beer, with a more impressive head. Black opaque body with medium levels of carbonation. The most carbonated of the set I think. Head fades to a slight wisp and ring that remain the whole way and leave some nice dots of lacing down the glass. This variant looks pretty solid really.

SMELL: A bourbon barrel nose. Bourbon, oak, vanilla and some dark chocolate. Bold enough with lots of dark chocolate and bourbon. While it could be slightly bigger, this is a nice mix.

TASTE: Bourbon up front with oak, vanilla and some caramel sweetness. Bourbon and roasted malts at the swallow, then some dark chocolate and molasses as well. Bold and lingering aftertaste of bourbon, oak notes and pure, dark chocolate. A touch of heat at the swallow. Pretty nice.

PALATE: Medium body and medium carbonation. A little light on the palate and slightly prickly carbonation actually. Goes down fine and finishes slightly sticky. Could use a bit more weight for the style, but this is alright.

OVERALL: Pretty good stuff, but nothing to write home about. The nose, while nice, could use a bit of a boost, and the palate could use a little more beef, which would help the flavor as well. I'd probably put this one behind the Vanilla and Nano Bean variants we tried, but still a beer well worth checking out if you get the chance. Cheers again boatshoes!

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Photo of mdaschaf
4.19/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Big thanks to Matt for sending this my way in a recent bif! Review from notes.

A: Pours black with a very small tan head that dissolves quickly and leaves behind no lacing whatsoever.

S: Nice and bourbony, some chocolate and plenty of oak. There is a little bit of vanilla and caramel as well.

T: Surprised by how chocolatey this beer is, very nice. There is also some brown sugar and some slightly sweet dark fruit, plums came to mind at the time.

S: Medium to full bodied, low carbonation, but very smooth and easy drinking. No sign of the 10.50%.

O: A very nice beer, a great start to a mini-tasting that it was consumed at. Loved how chocolate forward it was mixed with with bourbon flavors.

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Photo of Spider889
3.78/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2010 vintage served on draft at the brewery in 2011. This was from the first batch/bottling of the beer and from memory it was far better than the 2011 batch. Thus I was really psyched to try this aged at one of the releases.

A - Short cap of foam atop a black brew. This head lasted almost the entire duration of the glass which was about as good as Dark Apparition gets. Thick/dense viscosity.

S - Nice roast on the aroma, strong boozy heat.

T - This is still tasting amazing, though it is still extremely boozy and bourbon forward in flavor. I found that the base beer is largely muddled by the whiskey component. Sweet.

M - Medium bodied, boozy, very sticky.

O - I still like it, but a year later the bourbon is still a bit much for my tastes. Thankfully this batch never took on the tart barrel flavor that some of these beers wind up with. I imagine that anyone still sitting on 2010 bottles would do well to cellar this a couple more years.

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Photo of SpeedwayJim
3.7/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2011 vintage. Bomber #210/336 poured into a Cigar City snifter. Shared with schen9303.

Pours like all the other Dark Apparitions. Deep, near opaque black. No head, no lacing but oily, thick legs that really coat the glass. Big and bold.

Bourbon presence is immediately apparent in the nose. Boozy sweetness covers the unfortunate slight tartness from the base beer. Fudge, caramel, chocolate, and a very mild roastiness. Decent.

Again, the base beer here is not that great so no amount of aging in any barrels is gonna make a huge difference. That being said, this is better than either the regular or vanilla so far. Opens sweet booziness, fudge, and chocolate. Some ashiness and again, that mild, light, unpleasant tartness appears. End is sweet with some honey notes. Finishes slightly tart and roasty. Warming produces more sweetness. This one has a bit of hope.

Medium bodied with low carbonation. Oily and slick in the mouth and warm going down. Finishes sticky with a lingering aftertaste. Again, a touch thin but the barrel helps here.

Compared to the Vanilla and regular (I don't even want to think about the disaster that is the nano), this is the best so far. The bourbon barrel aging really helps sweeten this one and tones down that ever present tartness. A worthy brew.

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Dark Apparition - Bourbon Barrel Aged from Jackie O's Pub & Brewery
94 out of 100 based on 122 ratings.