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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
82
good

77 Ratings
THE BROS
91
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 77
Reviews: 38
rAvg: 3.6
pDev: 13.61%
Wants: 1
Gots: 2 | FT: 0
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:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Arbor Brewing Jackhammer Old Ale Alström Bros
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Ratings: 77 | Reviews: 38 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Sammy
3.55/5  rDev -1.4%
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.

Sammy, Jan 28, 2007
Photo of emerge077
2.55/5  rDev -29.2%
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.

emerge077, Jan 05, 2009
Photo of Jason
4.05/5  rDev +12.5%
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.

Jason, Feb 27, 2012
Photo of tempest
3.73/5  rDev +3.6%
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

tempest, Apr 29, 2007
Photo of duceswild
3.5/5  rDev -2.8%

duceswild, Jul 01, 2014
Photo of superspak
3.58/5  rDev -0.6%
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.

superspak, Oct 28, 2011
Photo of Zaphog
3.5/5  rDev -2.8%

Zaphog, Jan 26, 2014
Photo of AgentZero
3.25/5  rDev -9.7%

AgentZero, Nov 26, 2012
Photo of Duff27
2.75/5  rDev -23.6%

Duff27, Jul 05, 2013
Photo of alexgash
3.5/5  rDev -2.8%
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).

alexgash, Nov 17, 2008
Photo of morimech
3.6/5  rDev 0%
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.

morimech, Jan 09, 2011
Photo of Bung
3.35/5  rDev -6.9%
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.

Bung, Jul 17, 2010
Photo of GbVDave
4.03/5  rDev +11.9%
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...

GbVDave, Sep 26, 2008
Photo of egrace84
3/5  rDev -16.7%

egrace84, Jul 05, 2013
Photo of StoutHunter
3.96/5  rDev +10%
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.

StoutHunter, May 14, 2013
Photo of david131
4.03/5  rDev +11.9%
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.

david131, Nov 20, 2008
Photo of I_BYE_MI_BEER
3.9/5  rDev +8.3%

I_BYE_MI_BEER, Aug 18, 2014
Photo of JohnnieNepal
3.75/5  rDev +4.2%

JohnnieNepal, Jun 17, 2013
Photo of Frozensoul327
3.3/5  rDev -8.3%
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.

Frozensoul327, Jun 18, 2006
Photo of Jas45678
3.75/5  rDev +4.2%

Jas45678, Jun 12, 2013
Photo of stortore
3.75/5  rDev +4.2%

stortore, Jul 22, 2014
Photo of aforbes10
2.25/5  rDev -37.5%
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.

aforbes10, Jan 30, 2009
Photo of silentjay
2.73/5  rDev -24.2%
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.

silentjay, Jan 04, 2011
Photo of BMoney575
1.7/5  rDev -52.8%
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.

BMoney575, Apr 15, 2009
Photo of Zuidman
3/5  rDev -16.7%

Zuidman, Jul 05, 2013
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Arbor Brewing Jackhammer Old Ale from Arbor Brewing Company
82 out of 100 based on 77 ratings.