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

82 Ratings
THE BROS
91
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 82
Reviews: 39
rAvg: 3.62
pDev: 13.81%
Wants: 1
Gots: 5 | 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:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 02-17-2005)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 82 | Reviews: 39 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Another6Pack
3/5  rDev -17.1%

Photo of superspak
3.58/5  rDev -1.1%
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.

Photo of GRPunk
3.65/5  rDev +0.8%
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 morimech
3.6/5  rDev -0.6%
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 silentjay
2.73/5  rDev -24.6%
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 Bung
3.35/5  rDev -7.5%
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 association330
4.18/5  rDev +15.5%
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.

Photo of danielharper
4.05/5  rDev +11.9%
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.

Photo of claminat420
3.65/5  rDev +0.8%
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 webmanspidey
2.45/5  rDev -32.3%
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 BMoney575
1.7/5  rDev -53%
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 BierFan
4.1/5  rDev +13.3%
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 aforbes10
2.25/5  rDev -37.8%
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 emerge077
2.55/5  rDev -29.6%
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 toolbrew
3.63/5  rDev +0.3%
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 david131
4.03/5  rDev +11.3%
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.

Photo of alexgash
3.5/5  rDev -3.3%
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 Shumista
3.3/5  rDev -8.8%
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 darkwise
2.65/5  rDev -26.8%
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 jeremyd365
3.95/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured a very dark amber which seemed highly carbonated and had a thick, light brown head that stayed foamy for awhile. Smells sweet, almost belgian-y with maybe a little hop in there. The flavor is a rich olde ale consistant with others that I have tried (and quite good!). It's sweet with a bitter finish and a bit of a tart aftertaste. It's medium-bodied in the mouth and quite drinkable. Seems pretty gentle for 8.5% and well worth the try!

Photo of drxandy
4.18/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz to standard pint, pours a deep dark brownish amber with hints of red, creamy tan head eventually fades

smells of delicious roasty malts, yeastiness, mmm

taste is of heavy malts fading into a bitter finish, good hoppiness in the back and an overall good balance, alcohol is definitely present, spicy, good balance, loads of flavor, nice! reminds me sort of a belgian strong with the dark fruits and almost belgiany banana-clove yeast

mouthfeel is slightly creamy, roasty, bitter, pretty tasty for alcohol content - overall quite a nice old ale from arbor!!

Photo of Baileyuk
3.2/5  rDev -11.6%
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 GbVDave
4.03/5  rDev +11.3%
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 tempest
3.73/5  rDev +3%
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 Sammy
3.55/5  rDev -1.9%
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.

Arbor Brewing Jackhammer Old Ale from Arbor Brewing Company
82 out of 100 based on 82 ratings.