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Arbor Brewing Jackhammer Old Ale - Arbor Brewing Company

Arbor Brewing Jackhammer Old Ale
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BA SCORE
82
good

67 Ratings
THE BROS
91
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 67
Reviews: 38
rAvg: 3.59
pDev: 14.48%


Brewed by:
Arbor Brewing Company visit their website
Michigan, United States

Style | ABV
Old Ale |  9.30% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 02-17-2005)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Latest | High | Low | Top Reviewers | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Arbor Brewing Jackhammer Old Ale Alström Bros
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Ratings: 67 | Reviews: 38 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of Gryphon69
Gryphon69

Michigan

3.79/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

12oz bottle
no date on bottle , but just got in so gonna go with 2014

A- Pours a fairly clear mahogany red, with a off white head that was 2 fingers high, lacing up the sides with every drink till it was gone.

S- Dark fruits, kinda sweet up front, malts, vanilla, some light alcohol.

T- Roasty, fairly sweet, little more alcohol presence than the smell, follows up with some light chocolate, vanillas.

M- Solid medium body, smooth, silky, has more carbonation than what it shows.

O- Well Ive had this one on tap and have brought it home in bottles over the last few years, this year seems to be less chocolaty / cherries. Still good beer that represents the style well, I work in this part of Mi. a lot so I get to stay up with the brewery more than others. Jackhammer is always one of my favorites, even with this being slightly off compared to other years.

Serving type: bottle

01-17-2014 23:54:55 | More by Gryphon69
Photo of CFHMagnet
CFHMagnet

Ohio

3.79/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

I poured this one aggressively to get my finger and a half of head. This was a sand color over a cherry brown body. Keeps a thin head up top, with sheets of lacing clinging to the side.

I smell roasty malt, hints of vanilla and caramel as well as a little banana.

The flavor profile is roasty malt with dark fruit, caramel, earthy hops, and spice.

Medium bodied. Well carbonated.

Serving type: bottle

07-01-2013 13:45:15 | More by CFHMagnet
Photo of StoutHunter
StoutHunter

Michigan

3.96/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I picked up a bottle of Arbor's Jackhammer Old Ale a couple weeks ago for $2.19 at The Lager Mill. I haven't heard of or seen this beer before, but the price was right and I haven't had this style in a while so I decided to give it a chance, so lets see how it goes. 2013 Vintage, it just showed up so I think it's fairly fresh. Poured from a brown 12oz bottle into an imperial pint glass.

A- The label isn't that great and isn't too eye catching but I do like the caution tape border on the label. It poured a nice and hazy mahogany brown color that took on a nice ruby hue when held to the light with two fingers worth of light tan head that died down to a thin ring that stayed till the end and it left some nice lacing behind. This was a pretty good looking beer, the color was good and the head and lacing were really good.

S- The aroma starts off with a higher amount of medium sweetness followed by a loads of malts that impart some dark bread, toffee, and caramel malt like aromas with lots of dark fruit aromas with raisins and figs sticking out the most with a little bit of fruity sweetness in the background that reminds me a little of some Belgian candied sugar. Towards the end I get a slight bit of roasted malts with a light chocolate like aroma. This beer had a good aroma, it was pretty true to style and it had a good amount of complexity to it.

T- The taste seems to be fairly similar to the aroma and it starts off with a higher amount of medium sweetness followed by a good amount of malts that impart all those malty aspects that I got in the aroma, but it's the caramel that seems to stick out the most. Up next comes a little bit of alcohol, it's noticeable, but I think it's pretty well hidden for the most part and not overpowering. After that comes dark fruits and some cherrys sticking out the most followed by a noticeable woody flavor. On the finish there's hardly and bitterness just a little bit of warming alcohol and it had a caramel and dark fruit like aftertaste. This beer tasted good, it was pretty true to style and it had a nice bit of complexity.

M- Pretty smooth for the abv, clean, medium bodied, with a higher amount of medium carbonation. The mouthfeel was ok, but I felt like it should be a little thicker with a little less carbonation.

Overall I thought this was a good a beer, it was also a good and pretty solid example of the style, none of the flavors or aromas seemed out of place and they both had a good amount of complexity. This beer had good drinkability for the style, it was smooth, not too boozy, and the flavors did a job at holding my attention with their complexity, I might be inclined to drink a couple bottles if I had nothing to do in the mourning. What I liked the most about this beer was the how true to style and complex it was, I also really liked the appearance, it's a good looking Old Ale. What I liked the least about this beer was the mouthfeel, it was the only thing that seemed off for the style and I think it would much better suit this beer if it was a little thicker with a little less carbonation. I would buy this beer again, it's a pretty affordable Old Ale, which isn't too common for the style, I will be picking up a couple more to put in the cellar, I think they may have some potential for ageing and I recommend this to anyone who likes the style, it's a nice example of what an Old Ale should be like. All in all I was pretty happy with this beer, I didn't have my hopes set too high since Arbor can be pretty hit or miss but this one turned out pretty good and I thought it represented the style nicely. It's not going to take the place of Bell's Third Coast Old Ale as my favorite of the style, but it's still a good and solid example that I enjoyed drinking. Thanks for the tasty Old Ale Arbor Brewing Company.

Serving type: bottle

05-14-2013 03:49:09 | More by StoutHunter
Photo of SometimesIfart
SometimesIfart

Michigan

3.28/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A - Pours very dark amber with a two finger slightly off-white head which leaves no lacing.

S - Raisins, caramel malt and toffee make an appearance up front, followed by some very slight chocolate and sweet candy.

T - Pretty much follows the nose with booze soaked raisins and sweet chocolate, followed by a small amount of cherry and wood.

M - Medium, boozy body with moderate carbonation.

O - Overall, It was alright. I'd have again, But not very often

Serving type: bottle

03-09-2013 07:48:18 | More by SometimesIfart
Photo of SportsandJorts
SportsandJorts

Michigan

4.3/5  rDev +19.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

reviewing a 12 oz bottle poured into a pint glass. but i have also had it on tap at the brewpub.

appearance- dark brown to blackish color. not much in terms of head and nothing stuck around including a lacing.

smell- smells of caramels and toffees. maybe some faint hops and dark fruits

taste- caramels, a little in the way of hops, some yeastiness, faint alcohol and a little bit of dark fruits. i really like the balance and touch of alcohol

mouthfeel- a bit of a heavier body, low carbonation

overall- this is a good beer. I have enjoyed it many times at the brewpub and would definitely get it again if i see it on tap. i would most likely buy it again if i saw it on shelf for a good price (~$12 a 6-pack and $4 a 12 oz serving.)

Serving type: bottle

01-01-2013 17:04:34 | More by SportsandJorts
Photo of Jason
Jason

Massachusetts

4.05/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz brown bottle with no freshness date.

LOOK: Rudy copper and clear, off-white head holds together well

SMELL: Caramel, toasted grain, dried grass, browned apples, pears, herbal hops, faint alcohol, cake batter, doughy biscuits

TASTE: Silky smooth, full-ish body, caramel, dried grass, toasted bread, herbal spicy hop, yeast, warming alcohol, apple skin, pear juice, clean, semi-dry grainy finish

A pretty amazing Old Ale, very clean but the flavors keep up with complexities and making it interesting to drink. Going to throw the rest of this bottle at a 12 month old cheddar. A sleeper beer, one that most beer geeks are missing out on.

Serving type: bottle

02-27-2012 01:00:29 | More by Jason
Photo of Tod28
Tod28

Michigan

3.5/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

120z bottle. I've had it on tap on the brewery(Ann Arbor).

Dark amber in color. Not much head on it, and didn't last long. No lacing on the glass though the beer had been sitting out in 20degree snow storm.

Kind of has an english ale taste to it. Nothing stands out about it.

Would drink again. Would be a good beer to switch things up with.

Serving type: bottle

01-15-2012 03:27:55 | More by Tod28
Photo of superspak
superspak

Michigan

3.58/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle into snifter, no bottle date. Pours hazy dark reddish brown color with a small fairly dense khaki head with decent retention that reduces to a lacing cap. A small amount of lacing clings to the glass as well. Aromas of big molasses, dark fruits, caramel, spices, and alcohol. Initially it smelled pretty good, but as it warmed up the alcohol gave off a chemical vibe. Taste of big caramel, toasted malt, molasses, chocolate, spices, and some dark fruits. Slight amount of bitterness on the finish, with lingering notes of chocolate, caramel, spice, and light dark fruit notes. A small amount of alcohol taste near the finish with a decent warming afterward. This actually has some nice balance of flavor, and is not cloyingly sweet at all. Light-medium carbonation and medium bodied; with a nice creamy and smooth mouthfeel that drinks pretty easily. Overall a nice beer, the aromas were a bit off putting though.

Serving type: bottle

10-28-2011 02:22:20 | More by superspak
Photo of GRPunk
GRPunk

Michigan

3.65/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle poured into a Duvel tulip.

A- A moderate pour left a 1-finger, khaki head that drops to some nice, foamy coverage. The body is a pleasantly, murky brown that shows signs of light carbonation. The foamy stick from each sip slowly falls back into the body.

S- A really nice, initial sweetness. Caramel or brown sugar with some fruity qualitites. Later on there's some light spicing going on. Maybe something of a ginger or nutmeg and cinnamon.

T- Not as profound as expected from the aroma. Malts and spicy qualities combine to make something that reminds me of the cinnamon graham crackers my kids love during their afternoon snacks. A little warmth brings some buttery, rum-like aspects and a slight, grainy quality.

M- It's really pleasant. Light carbonation and moderate-thick viscosity combine with a nice, chalky feel. There's just the right amount of warming alcohol.

D- It's really a decent sipper. Obviously not something to session, but something to contemplate during a cold Michigan winter. Overall, it's pretty much a "hit" from a brewery that tends to be kinda' hit-or-miss for me.

Serving type: bottle

02-13-2011 18:03:30 | More by GRPunk
Photo of morimech
morimech

Minnesota

3.6/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Dark caramel color with a thin head that hung on for a good amount of time. Lacing fails to stick to the glass. I left the yeast sediment in the bottle. A good aroma for the style. I smell toffee, grass, gingerbread, and some yeast esters. Unfortunately the flavor does not live up to the aroma. A little too much caramel malt for my taste. Tastes a tad artificial but is not too bad. Bready flavor with a touch of ginger. Mildly hopped with just a faint touch of spice and pine. No sign of alcohol. So close to having a good mouthfeel but is just a little too thin. Nicely carbonated however. A decent old ale that just falls short in a couple of areas.

Serving type: bottle

01-09-2011 19:00:03 | More by morimech
Photo of silentjay
silentjay

Massachusetts

2.73/5  rDev -24%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

muddy dark brown with no head (suitable for the style, though) and minimal lacing.

grainy and buttery with some dark fruits in the background.

leathery, buttery flavor with caramel, toffee, and a touch of tinfoil. not impressed.

medium bodied with subtle carbonation which works well for the style.

drinks averagely. too many dominant off-flavors. some good aspects mesh together with those to make an average beer.

Serving type: bottle

01-04-2011 06:57:40 | More by silentjay
Photo of Bung
Bung

North Carolina

3.35/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12 oz. Kind of a murky orange pour a layer of white head. Turns to a ring but stays, laces ok.

Aroma is a fair amount of malt, caramel and some light red fruits, citrus and pine.

Malty flavors, but a bit mellow all around. Toffee, malt a bit of caramel apple. Just a balancing amount of piney hops, but there really isn't that much to balance. The finish is pretty dry with just the faint piney hops.

Medium body, but a bit thin really, does not coat the mouth. Carb is ok.

Everything is just ok, nothing offesnive, just very subdued. Makes it pretty much a one and done.

Serving type: bottle

07-17-2010 03:13:13 | More by Bung
Photo of association330
association330

Michigan

4.18/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle, no freshness date

A - Pours murky brown with yeast clearly in suspension. Forms a pinky of off-white head which soon drops to a thin film with a ring of bubbles. Lacing is spotty.

S - A mixture of citrus and candied fruits. Sweet malt backbone with hints of spice (definitely some clove). Faint hop note. Overall, has a Belgian-like quality to it.

T - Follows the nose. Nice malt complexity, leading in with sweet & sour citrus, which gives way to a swallow of dark & candied fruits and licorice notes. Slight hop bitterness lingers in the finish.

M - Medium-boded, carbonation is a little too harsh. Slight alcohol warmth.

D - I don't know about calling this an old ale, but it's a nice Belgian-style something.

Serving type: bottle

02-28-2010 06:30:13 | More by association330
Photo of danielharper
danielharper

Michigan

4.05/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

(Beer originally tasted 10/27/2009. Notes transcribed below. Please note that I received this bottle gratis for assisting representatives of the brewery with picking bottles of non-Arbor Brewing beer for a tasting they were running.)

A: Brown very hazy body, nearly opaque. Slight yellow tinge on the bottom. No head, as expected for a beer of this ABV.

S: Spicy aroma, nice roasty notes of cloves and coriander. Malty underneath, somewhat nutty.

T: Very much like the aromatics. Strongly spiced with a malty "brownish" backbone. Slightly astringent on the finish due to alcohol, although that alcohol is well-hidden by the spiciness of the malt.

M: Moderate thickness, some carbonation. Spices tickle the tongue and give the beer a nice chewiness.

D: More like a winter warmer than an old ale. But quite nice.

Serving type: bottle

12-21-2009 02:34:54 | More by danielharper
Photo of claminat420
claminat420

Michigan

3.65/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

had this at corner brewery yesterday and took some notes.

A- poured a nice medium brown color. one finger head.

S- definitely on the malt end. has a light smoky spice scent.

T- i have to give it to them on the alcohol end cuz with the 9% you could barely taste it. and it was my first beer!

M- medium bodied with not alot carbonation.

D- could drink more then you would think cuz of the 9%abv. hands down the best beer i've ever had from arbor brewing company.

Serving type: on-tap

09-08-2009 14:32:57 | More by claminat420
Photo of webmanspidey
webmanspidey

Michigan

2.45/5  rDev -31.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Pours dark brown color, very fizzy with loads of head. Smell is on the spicy end.. smokey, licorice and dark fruit. For a really weird description, I'd even say dusty. Pretty offbeat and out there, not that pleasant. Taste is more of the same.. slightly smokey, a big burst of alcohol and then a whimper of licorice and spices. The lingering taste is actually pretty sour, and not very pleasant.

Overall, I'm not too impressed with this one. It isn't completely terrible, but doesn't have too much going for it.

Serving type: bottle

06-17-2009 04:05:03 | More by webmanspidey
Photo of BMoney575
BMoney575

Michigan

1.7/5  rDev -52.6%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

Sampled on 4-14-09

Pours a big foamy mess, pretty typical for bottles of Arbor Brewing. A very thick off white head sits on top of a very cloudy deep amber.

Smell is thin malt, a weird sourness, and reminds me of the last Arbor Brewing I had.

Taste is fizzy, gross cigarette smoke, a little sour. A disgusting mess.

Mouthfeel is terrible, it seems to fizz and fill up your mouth.

Drinkability is as poor as it gets.

Overall, one of the shittiest beers I've ever had. It doesn't have even one redeeming quality. Another brewery I'm done with.

Serving type: bottle

04-14-2009 23:23:21 | More by BMoney575
Photo of BierFan
BierFan

Michigan

4.1/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer has a cool motto printed on the label, "It's quitting time somewhere.". No freshness date or abv is listed unfortunately. Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a flute.

Appearance: Big tan head, clear dark brown body. The head and carbonation are bigger than I expected them to be.

Smell: Dark ripe fruits, cloves, and molasses.

Taste: The taste is much like the smell. Cloves are really strong and it reminds me of a wheat beer even though it obviously isn't. Alcohol is mild and warms the throat. Very nice.

Serving type: bottle

02-10-2009 05:42:38 | More by BierFan
Photo of aforbes10
aforbes10

Iowa

2.25/5  rDev -37.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

bottle from kkulacki. Houston, we have an unreasonable amount of foam. Explosive head overwhelms my tulip glass after pouring just a half inch of beer. Infection? Or just overcarbonated? Beer underneath is a milk-chocolate brown, slightly turgid. Smells slightly hoppy and vegetal like wilted kale. Sweet malt odor underneath. Aroma is reminiscent of an old ale, but something is a bit off. Flavor has a strong malt base, recognizable as a member of the style, but on top of that is a pervasive vegetal tartness that isn't particularly appetizing. Its either from the hops or unwelcome bacteria...and either way its not good. Warming alcohol evident, as well as a bit of a wet cardboard like taste. Mouthfeel medium to full bodied. Arbor is usually hit or miss for me and this one is a miss. Hard to say if its a miss because of their beer-craft or because of their sanitation procedures, but either way its a beer they're selling in bottles and that doesn't taste good.

Serving type: bottle

01-30-2009 05:34:19 | More by aforbes10
Photo of emerge077
emerge077

Illinois

2.55/5  rDev -29%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Pours into a Duvel glass nearly all foam. Pouring gradually eventually produces a glass that is 1/2 beer, 1/2 foam. Bubbles are huge at the top, sparkly and soapy, leaving flecks of lace here and there.

Apple juice box or fruit cocktail aroma, with plastic off notes. Alternately roasty and medicinal. Roasty, ashy malt taste with antiseptic tartness. Symptoms of infection...the body is way overcarbonated, and foams up with each sip. Something is amiss here, and I bought this bottle near the source in Ann Arbor. Possibly the single was old or just infected, $2.29 from Main Party Store.

Serving type: bottle

01-05-2009 00:32:27 | More by emerge077
Photo of toolbrew
toolbrew

Illinois

3.63/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint glass from a 12oz bottle. I poured about two fingers of beer, and the next 1/2 of the glass was head. It wouldn't dissipate quickly so I poured the remainder of the bottle and let the head run off. Clear, dark walnut color.

Sweet aroma like dried fruit. Can smell some alcohol too.

Has a clove-like taste. Hops taste grassy.

Slightly oily coating in the mouth, but not off-putting. Hop sensation hits the back of the mouth the most.

Beer goes down easily for its style.

Serving type: bottle

12-08-2008 02:07:25 | More by toolbrew
Photo of david131
david131

California

4.03/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A- A deep red/ brown liquid with some very active carbonation. The head is massive and fluffy with pretty good retention.

S- Lots of caramel and light fruits. Smells a little Beligan funky and sour. Some candied dark fruit too. Pretty complex and appealing.

T- Same as the aroma, but with a little bit of earthiness in there. The alcohol is ever so slightly apparent, but it isn't bad.

M- Overcarbonated, but it isn't harsh. This really could have been something with a little less carbonation.

D- For the alcohol and style, this is a pretty easy drinking beer. It is bottle conditioned, but from the flavor, I don't really know where this will go with some age on it. Worth a try none-the-less.

Serving type: bottle

11-20-2008 03:01:13 | More by david131
Photo of alexgash
alexgash

Connecticut

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

12 oz. bottle.

Pours a charged deep burnt sienna with coppery edges. Tall, rocky, thick, creamy, light khaki head. Nose of metallic, mineral-y hops. Some piny, Scotch tape hop aromas, and a jammy fruit vein as well. These piny hops suggest more of an Americanized old ale, that's for sure.

Mineral-y and piny hop bitterness greets the tongue. Sugary, fruit and caramel malts settle in nicely. Yeasty. Assertive, herbal, piny, and bitter hops come on into the finish, tipping the scales toward a hoppier beer. Some latent sugary caramel in the finish. Medium-full body with a slightly over-carbonated feel. Not bad, and thankfully not a gusher (although this one did seem a little bubbly).

Serving type: bottle

11-17-2008 02:06:13 | More by alexgash
Photo of Shumista
Shumista

Ohio

3.3/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

12 oz. bottle into my beer mug.

A- The beer pours not as thick as I expected it to, and with a huge amount of fizzy head. After a gentle pour my beer mug is a little less than half head. (The large hard to control head is something I've encountered with other beers from Arbor Brewing.) The color is a very dark reddish brown.
S- Smells sweet and like roasted malts. Maybe some bitterness in the aroma.
T- Big malts, dark fruits, and bitter at the end. Leaves a very bitter aftertaste.
M- Much thinner than other examples of the style I've had.
D- Two would be enough. I wouldn't recommend buying a whole six pack for yourself.
As far as Old Ales go, this one really just isn't as good as some of the others that I've had. Worth a try if your from the area, but not something I will buy again.

Serving type: bottle

10-16-2008 05:39:59 | More by Shumista
Photo of darkwise
darkwise

Michigan

2.65/5  rDev -26.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Was not impressed with this beer. There will not be an encore. I've had quite a few old ale style and this ranks near the bottom. The beer was too fizzy and after the first bottle was opened I knew it was going to be a long night. Since I usually can't bring myself to pour beer down the drain unless absolutely nessesary. The beer was also too sweet for me and just had a "generic" taste about it. Usually Arbor brewing has decent styles but if you have the taste for an old ale, I would explore other options.

Upon first taste you notice the sweetness, with hints of butterscotch. No hop presense at all. Carbonation too high. I thought I was drinking a soda. If you can make it to the 4th beer though, they start to taste better.

Serving type: bottle

10-13-2008 03:30:13 | More by darkwise
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Arbor Brewing Jackhammer Old Ale from Arbor Brewing Company
82 out of 100 based on 67 ratings.