Arbor Brewing Jackhammer Old Ale - Arbor Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Arbor Brewing Jackhammer Old Ale
No picture.
Have one? Upload it now.
BA SCORE
82
good

43 Reviews
THE BROS
91
outstanding

(Read More)
Reviews: 43
Hads: 99
rAvg: 3.59
pDev: 10.31%
Wants: 1
Gots: 12 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Arbor Brewing Company visit their website
Michigan, United States

Style | ABV
Old Ale |  9.50% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 02-17-2005

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 Arbor Brewing Jackhammer Old Ale Alström Bros
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50  | nextlast
Reviews: 43 | Hads: 99
Photo of SerialTicker
3.48/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Slow pour into the glass still gave a surprisingly large head, soapy and creamy in consistency, with a beige tinge to it. The beer is a slightly hazy ruby brown-ish color, pretty much what I'd expect from the style. Lacing is spotty. (4/5)

Smell: Something not quite Old Ale-like in here. I'd assume it's the malts used, as this smells like a brown. It also comes off a bit cheap in quality, like there are some adjuncts in there somehow, somewhere. Additionally, there's some alcohol on the nose, which is never a problem for me in Old Ales, but with the somewhat low-quality aroma coming out of this beer, the alcohol almost comes off as a muted rubbing alcohol sort of aroma. As it warms up a dark fruit jam smell becomes apparent and really spruces things up, thankfully... without it, this would basically smell like a rubbing alcohol infused brown ale. (3.5/5)

Taste/feel: Yeah, eh. It just doesn't really taste quite like any Old Ale I've had before, and that's not a good thing. It just doesn't have a ton of flavor like I'd hope given the style/ABV. It has the usual suspects of dark fruits and some sweet malt, but it comes off as pretty average. The two things that bother me the most are the strange moderately metallic bitterness on the finish, and the mouthfeel. Jackhammer goes in slightly creamy, but then comes the too-high carbonation, and, bizarrely, the beer finishes thin. The flavor that's there isn't bad, but the thinnish mouthfeel and bitter finish make this a pretty forgettable Old Ale. (3.5/5, 3/5)

The price isn't too horrible at $2.49 for a single, but the quality still isn't quite there. (1,634 characters)

Photo of Ryans_Goosling
4.11/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

If you rubbed your face in a ripe banana, and then dunked your head in molasses, then dunked your head in brandy. Why is it called Jackhammer, that's my only question for you. (175 characters)

Photo of superspak
3.78/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 ounce bottle into snifter, no bottle dating. Pours fairly crystal clear dark reddish brown color with a 1-2 finger dense and fluffy light khaki head with great retention, that reduces to a nice cap that lasts. Nice dense soapy lacing clings around the glass, with a good amount of streaming carbonation retaining the head. Aromas of caramel, toast, toffee, dark bread, brown sugar, raisin, plum, cherry, pear, apple, light chocolate, herbal, grass, light pepper, and yeast/toasted earthiness. Nice and pleasant aromas with good balance and complexity of dark/roasted/bready malt, fruity/earthy yeast, and earthy hop notes; with solid strength. Taste of caramel, toast, toffee, dark bread, brown sugar, chocolate, raisin, plum, cherry, pear, apple, herbal, grass, pepper, and yeast/roasted earthiness. Fair amount of earthy herbal/spicy bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of caramel, toast, toffee, dark bread, chocolate, brown sugar, raisin, plum, cherry, pear, herbal, grass, pepper, and yeast/roasted earthiness on the finish for a while. Very nice complexity, robustness, and balance of dark/roasted/bready malt, fruity yeast, and earthy hop flavors; with a good malt/bitterness balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Medium carbonation and body; with a very smooth, fairly creamy/bready, and lightly sticky mouthfeel that is good. Alcohol is very well hidden with only a light warming lingering after the finish. Overall this is a very good old ale style. All around good complexity, robustness, and balance of dark/roasted/bready malt, fruity yeast, and earthy hop flavors; and very smooth to sip on for the ABV. A nicely enjoyable offering. (1,673 characters)

Photo of mchegash
4.02/5  rDev +12%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance - 4.25/5
A nice deep red color, about two fingers of light brown head, on initial pour. Great head retention, one finger of head stays around for a while. Fairly good lacing. I think the beer's fairly clear, but the color is dark enought that it's still hard to see through. Overall, a great look.

Smell - 4/5
Some slightly sweet malts, fruits, cherry, chocolate roasty/smokiness. Fairly good smell

Taste - 4/5
Sweet cherry/fruity malts, some very small alcohol and hops presence. The taste is good, but it does seem perhaps a little more one-dimensional than the smell, given the roastiness which was present in the smell but which I can't taste. Still, a great taste

Mouthfeel - 4/5
Medium to full bodied, a light amount of carbonation. Beer is very smooth.

Overall - 4/5 (788 characters)

Photo of Antg8989
4.16/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

A bit of a darker ale. Never have been a huge fan of the "ale" smell, and this one is about the same as the rest. It's got flavor, that is for sure. Not bad at all. (164 characters)

Photo of Huhzubendah
3.75/5  rDev +4.5%

Bottle shared by Adam. Thanks man.

Chestnut brown body with a small tan head. Brown bread, light spice, maybe a touch of molasses. Yeasty bready. Mild sweetness. Smooth and easy drinking. Good stuff. (200 characters)

Photo of Gryphon69
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. (863 characters)

Photo of CFHMagnet
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. (383 characters)

Photo of StoutHunter
3.97/5  rDev +10.6%
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. (3,813 characters)

Photo of SometimesIfart
3.26/5  rDev -9.2%
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 (458 characters)

Photo of SportsandJorts
4.27/5  rDev +18.9%
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.) (740 characters)

Photo of Jason
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. (644 characters)

Photo of Tod28
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. (345 characters)

Photo of GRPunk
3.67/5  rDev +2.2%
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. (1,105 characters)

Photo of morimech
3.62/5  rDev +0.8%
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. (654 characters)

Photo of silentjay
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. (419 characters)

Photo of Bung
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. (575 characters)

Photo of association330
4.17/5  rDev +16.2%
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. (732 characters)

Photo of danielharper
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. (820 characters)

Photo of claminat420
3.6/5  rDev +0.3%
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. (466 characters)

Photo of webmanspidey
2.51/5  rDev -30.1%
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. (512 characters)

Photo of BMoney575
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. (547 characters)

Photo of BierFan
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. (519 characters)

Photo of aforbes10
2.28/5  rDev -36.5%
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. (970 characters)

Photo of emerge077
2.56/5  rDev -28.7%
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. (592 characters)

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50  | nextlast
Arbor Brewing Jackhammer Old Ale from Arbor Brewing Company
82 out of 100 based on 43 ratings.