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

99 Ratings
THE BROS
91
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 99
Reviews: 44
rAvg: 3.68
pDev: 13.04%
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: 99 | Reviews: 44
Photo of BMoney575
1.7/5  rDev -53.8%
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 aforbes10
2.28/5  rDev -38%
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.

Photo of webmanspidey
2.51/5  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.

Photo of emerge077
2.56/5  rDev -30.4%
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 darkwise
2.68/5  rDev -27.2%
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.

Photo of silentjay
2.73/5  rDev -25.8%
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.

Photo of Baileyuk
3.24/5  rDev -12%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured a redish brown with a great head, that retained well. Lacing was decent.

S. A belgian yeasty smell. Cirusy smell of maybe oranges

T. Not great in this department it is okay to begin with, a little yeasty.worst part is the aftertaste. I burped and it tasted like plastic bags.

M light bodied for the style. Not that light to be bad but I was expecting heavier.

D for the aftertaste I would not revisit.not a bad beer despite the negative comments. I am sure some people would like it.

Photo of SometimesIfart
3.26/5  rDev -11.4%
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 Frozensoul327
3.28/5  rDev -10.9%
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 Shumista
3.3/5  rDev -10.3%
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 Bung
3.35/5  rDev -9%
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 SerialTicker
3.48/5  rDev -5.4%
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.

Photo of Sammy
3.49/5  rDev -5.2%
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 Tod28
3.5/5  rDev -4.9%
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 alexgash
3.51/5  rDev -4.6%
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).

Photo of claminat420
3.6/5  rDev -2.2%
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 morimech
3.62/5  rDev -1.6%
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 toolbrew
3.62/5  rDev -1.6%
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 Gaisgeil
3.65/5  rDev -0.8%
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 GRPunk
3.67/5  rDev -0.3%
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 CharlesDarwin
3.7/5  rDev +0.5%
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 nomad
3.7/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Quite happy to see this seasonal on the board at my favorite local haunt, but its a tough call between this and Arbor's doppelbock when hankering for a malty winter warmer.

The color is a moderate amber with a strong raspberry-tone - that pinkish sort of hum that gives the lighter red of a raspberry some backing. Lacing is never much of a sight while the head is thin and mediocre in formation and retention.

Smell is shy to come through, mainly because they serve this beer way too cold, but highly estery when it does. Light caramel notes also dot the scent.

Flavor follows through with a massive fruity presence - I have never encountered an old ale with this many yeast esters. Cherries, strawberries, super-ripe Gala apples, this beer really lays the the fruit on and has a cidery twang that, to me, hints of sugar use in the boil, but could just be the yeast again. Malt core is moderate and assuming, mainly light caramel. As aforementioned, this beer is served mightily cold and as such the hops can be overly assertive and spicy. When allowed to warm to a proper serving temperature for such an English brew they recede into merely a role as a drying finishing touch.

A nice old ale and definitely a true winter warmer. Needs to be served at much warmer temps, though luckily it is only available in a 10 oz. mini-stein that warms up fast. Good value for the price (less than $4) but I'd choose Arbor's Terminator instead for a malt experience. Okay, I often order one and then the other...

Photo of tempest
3.74/5  rDev +1.6%
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 Huhzubendah
3.75/5  rDev +1.9%

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.

Photo of superspak
3.78/5  rDev +2.7%
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 99 ratings.