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Arbor Brewing Jackhammer Old Ale - Arbor Brewing Company

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Arbor Brewing Jackhammer Old Ale
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BA SCORE
83
good

94 Ratings
THE BROS
91
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 94
Reviews: 42
rAvg: 3.67
pDev: 13.35%
Wants: 1
Gots: 11 | 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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 94 | Reviews: 42
Reviews by JRdaSconnie:
More User Reviews:
Photo of Jason
4.05/5  rDev +10.4%
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.

Photo of Sammy
3.49/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Lots of lace and a creamy head on top of a brownish amber body. An aroma of musty yeast. Spicey and fruity, with a noteable aftertaste. Chocolate malts, caramel, barley, warming alcohol. Would be a feature in a side-by-side with Kuhennen ales. Not as satsifying as other old ales I have trade, not the real thing but nice.

Photo of tempest
3.74/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at Clark's Ale House. I have to wonder where these random Michigan beers come from.

It was good, but I didn't really get much of the rich caramel malt flavors that characterize an old ale to me. Came off fruitier, like a barleywine, and hopped like an American version. The hops still seemed grassier, but there wasn't much flavor, but bitterness

Photo of Shumista
3.3/5  rDev -10.1%
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.

Photo of CharlesDarwin
3.7/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Originally reviewed on January 18, 2006. On tap at the brewpub. Pours a cloudy brown/amber/orange with opalescense. Light bready fruit with cherries, bourbon and lime in the aroma. Flavor is a warm alchol, yet still some thickness and not too much depth. Fruit, with a touch of chocolate, maybe some pears. Almost aged like. But overall, restrained alcohol and malt. Not much complex characterisitics. Straightforward and drinkable. Finish is sweet, with a light hoppy dryness.

Photo of morimech
3.62/5  rDev -1.4%
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.

Photo of Tod28
3.5/5  rDev -4.6%
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.

Photo of Bung
3.35/5  rDev -8.7%
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.

Photo of emerge077
2.56/5  rDev -30.2%
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.

Photo of BierFan
4.1/5  rDev +11.7%
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.

Photo of toolbrew
3.62/5  rDev -1.4%
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.

Photo of StoutHunter
3.97/5  rDev +8.2%
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.

Photo of Gryphon69
3.79/5  rDev +3.3%
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.

Photo of GbVDave
4.03/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a St. Feuillien chalice. Thanks to HeatherAnn for the assist!

A: Pours an opaque, English Breakfast tea brown that's capped with an impressively creamy, khaki-colored head, with excellent retention, that leaves a healthy coating of sticky lace in the glass.

S: Interesting yeast aroma. Reminds me of something vaguely Belgian. Also present are bitter chocolate, roasted malt, candi sugar, dark fruit, caramel, roasted nuts, and fudge brownies (?).

T: Slightly fruity Belgian-esque yeast flavors coupled with roasted malt, caramel, bitter dark chocolate, pan-roasted nuts, candi sugar, plum/raisin, citrus hops, and some dry cocoa powder in the finish.

M: A bit too bright upon initial pour. As it sits in the glass it becomes noticably creamier. Though not as smooth and oily as I'd hoped. Finishes quite dry. Very enjoyable nonetheless.

D: I dig this beer. I should've bought more to sit on a bottle or two...

Photo of CFHMagnet
3.79/5  rDev +3.3%
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.

Photo of SometimesIfart
3.26/5  rDev -11.2%
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

Photo of plaztikjezuz
4/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

tasted this at the michigan brewers guild winter beer fest.
from my notes i wa served a light brown sample with a good pillowy head.
the aroma was citrusy and malty, hint of hops.
the flavor is malty, citrus, hopsack, minerally
the mouthfeel was very full.

Photo of SportsandJorts
4.27/5  rDev +16.3%
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.)

Photo of Gaisgeil
3.65/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This is a strange take on the style, much more sweet and malty than you might be expecting.

Pours a deep amber in color, almost looks like a cider with a very thin head that dissapates quickly. Nose is a bit weak, a slight alcohol tinge is all I was able to detect. The taste was really quite good, estery, quite fruity, I'd almost say sugary, but a very easy drink, the alcohol isn't noticable except in the dry finish. Decently warming.

Overall not bad, a decent offering, but something is missing, it seems incomplete somehow.

Slàinte!

Photo of BMoney575
1.7/5  rDev -53.7%
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.

Photo of kohoutek
3.89/5  rDev +6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a deep amber mahogany with auburn hues. Very thin head and minimal lacing. Hazy, unfiltered appearance.

Aromas of caramelized sugar, toffee, roasted Kona coffee and plenty of fruity esters: grape juice, fresh apple, pear, raspberries

The flavor strikes me as very anticlimactic when considering the foreshadowed olfactory boldness. The maltiness takes front stage with bready graham cracker and caramelized sugar. The fruitiness and roast are nowhere to be found. A wave of cleansing herbal hops serve to distract me a bit from the somewhat singly presented maltiness. This beer is presented in a very dry fashion.

The mouth feel is much more thin than expected. The beer is very cold and the carbonation, while appropriate, seems to be suppressed by the temperature. Lacks flesh.

This beer drinks very easily from the perspective of its enticing quaffable qualities, but it does not beckon the imbiber with the desire to sip yet again an again to discover its hidden mysteries.

Photo of claminat420
3.6/5  rDev -1.9%
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.

Photo of Frozensoul327
3.28/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A helluva powerful beer. At 8.5% ABV, it was big to say the least. Poured out from the tap to a dark brownish orange color with nearly no head. Low carbonation. Aromas of malt and a touch of alcohol. Taste was malty, with some fermented citrus notes, and dry grain. Mouthfeel was light, but maintained a consistance about itself. Drinkability is fair. Wasn't all that impressed.

Photo of GRPunk
3.67/5  rDev 0%
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.

Photo of superspak
3.78/5  rDev +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.

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Arbor Brewing Jackhammer Old Ale from Arbor Brewing Company
83 out of 100 based on 94 ratings.