Holy Mackerel Mack In Black - Holy Mackerel Brewing

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Holy Mackerel Mack In BlackHoly Mackerel Mack In Black

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191 Ratings

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Ratings: 191
Reviews: 138
rAvg: 3.46
pDev: 16.47%
Wants: 4
Gots: 9 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Holy Mackerel Brewing visit their website
Florida, United States

Style | ABV
American Strong Ale |  8.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: Jason on 06-02-2008)
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Ratings: 191 | Reviews: 138 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of LilBeerDoctor
2.42/5  rDev -30.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

2008 bottle. Pours black with a small bubbly tan head. Aroma of burnt malt and sweet pomegranate, which just didn't mesh together for me. Very odd smelling and not in a good way. Flavor is still burnt with roasted malt and parmesean cheese and a sweet pomegranate finish. Meh, this is very underwhelming. The flavors are just bad. Why would you add pomegranate juice to an imperial stout? It was difficult to take even more than a few sips of this nasty beverage.

Photo of Proteus93
3.9/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked up a 4-pack of this in Toms River, NJ while visiting LBI. This is the second bottle, poured (appropriately?) into a snifter

A: Quite a lively pour, especially consideing it's quite well chilled! Opaque black, with a condesation quick to form in the summer heat, adding a bit of a nice 'third party' aesthetic. A nice, billowing head, rather brown (at least a little moreso than tan) forms above and requires a couple pours to get the bottle completely poured into the glass.

S + T: Roasted malts dominate both the nose and flavour. Pomegranate offers more to the aroma than it does to the flavour, and that works out alright, imo. Some chocolate notes offer a pleasant flavour, alternately not detected as strongly in the nose. Between the two aspects of the beer, they work out reasonably well.

M + D: Medium bodied, with a slickness towards the finish that serves it reasonably well. As it goes down, the glass begins to feel a little heavier.. more richness and weight on the finish picking up. Whether it's the fruity element or just a balance in brewing, the alcohol rests among the other flavours quite nicely, without any sort of heat / booziness. On a personal note, I would like to try this specific brew without the pomegranate juice. Certainly worth a try, especially for those looking for a little bit of authenticity in a beer.

Photo of Gueuzedude
3.7/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

2008 Bottle Date; Sampled August 2009
This beer is served lightly chilled with a vigorous pour into my 25cl tulip glass. The head that forms is a bit bigger than a fat finger and is a nicely browned, dark tan color. The aroma smells of sweet dark chocolate, anise, coffee liquor, cocoa, some umami-driven savory notes (a hint of tamari), ample toasted bread crust notes, a touch of burnt acidity, browned crackers, fresh licorice chews as well as some alcoholic spiciness. The nose is quite a bit more interesting than I was expecting, it can be a touch sharp at times, but the complexity is definitely quite nice. It does seem to lose much of the complexity after a minute or so though and begins to pick up notes of lacquer, acrid burnt grain, and even a touch of acetone.

A prickly carbonation competes with a touch of viscousness in the body; while this is not overly rich for an Imperial Black Ale (whatever that is), it is definitely a sipping beer, it actually seems to have a fairly light body. There is a certain savoriness to the flavor here, but at times it can seem a touch too much like acetone. There is some acidity here from the roast character (and perhaps some tartness from the pomegranate), but there is also a substantial toasted, dark grain character, a dark malt sweetness (which combines with the roast to make me think of a coffee liquor), a roasted whole-grain cracker flavor, some smoked cocoa notes and perhaps even a touch of smoked peat saltiness. There is some solid chocolate character here. The finish has some phenols and fusels that linger on the palate a bit; a touch turpene in character, but with some clove character as well.

An interesting beer, not what I was expecting at all. This does have a fair amount of complexity to it at this point; at times this is a plus, but at others this beer just doesn't seem to be able to hold everything together in a balanced fashion. Still this is interesting enough that I am quite happy to be sipping on this right now.

Photo of callmemickey
3.53/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2008 version

A: Jet black body... two finger brown head that receded to a nice skim... not much in the way of lacing.

S: Coffee, cocoa, a zing of pomegranate... some dark fruits from the belgian yeast.. raisins and figs mostly

T: A tad downhill from the nose... the pomegranate kind of gets in the way of what is otherwise a very nice coffee/cocoa flavor... dark fruits are also here... booze is well masked

M: A tad thick and chewy up front, lingering, watery aftertaste

D: An interesting experiment... certainly worth a try, the pomegranate might be more up your alley than mine

Photo of DIM
4/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2008 vintage

a: This was black, no highlights. It poured with a thick light tan colored froth that faded to a thin coating.

s: Dark, roasty cocoa with a little coffee and a "Belgian" quality that I don't have a word for. There is also a fairly strong, tangy berry element that must be the pomegranate.

t: Tart, dark chocolate flavors start things off. Strong fruit flavors come next before a spicy, yeasty finish.

m: Pretty thick and a little chewy with mildly fizzy carbonation.

d: Thanks to tpd975 for this via the nobody wants to see a beer geek naked BIF. Very good overall, I'm glad I got to try this one. I'd be curious to see what this tasted like without the fruit juice.

Photo of jwc215
3.9/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2009 vintage:

Poured into tulip glass:

Pours black with a thick brown creamy head that is well-retained for awhile before becoming a lasting wispy cover. Thin lines of lacing stick.

The smell is of a charcoal-like ashy roast with chocolate, some coffee and a hint of pomegranate juice. Interesting and oddly inviting. Unique. The pomegranate juice is slight and works well here.

The taste is sweet and roasy/ashy with just a hint of pomegranate juice. Fruity in a refreshing, not over-bearing or dominant way. Alcohol is there but is neither too sharp nor too interfering. It warms up nicely with chocolate and coffee coming through. Some licorice comes through as it progresses. There is a touch of something "Belgian-esque" (I take it being the yeast strain). This has a nice roasty, slightly bitterish balance to the sweetness. There is a slight astringency to it. Finishes with dry-ish with a light hop note balancing the sweetness.

It is creamy and on the lighter end of full-bodied. Not thick or syrupy, but the flavors linger on the palate in the long finish.

This is a unique, creative brew. Dark and roasty with some sweetness, but with some bitter-ish balance. The pomegranate is just a hint - not overbearing, and not "artificial" - Just enough to put a unique "spin" on it. Alcohol is still noticeable. It claims that this ages well for 1 to 2 years. It would be interesting to see how it develops. Still, at this point it is an enjoyable "dessert" brew, yet in a rather reshreshing way. I did enjoy this more than the other Holy Mackerel, but then, they are completely different beers. This is one to grab when in the mood for something dark and slightly bitterish fruity.

Photo of brentk56
3.88/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a jet black color with a surprisingly modest mocha head - I kept expecting something more stout-like but that never materialized; leaves a couple of splashes of lace, however

Smell: There is a nice mocha aroma underneath, but the pomegranate is a bit intrusive and unappealing

Taste: Although I didn't care much for the smell, the taste is much better - Chocolate and coffee flavors at first, and the roasty element builds through mid-palate; at the same time, the sweet-tart pomegranate flavors join to add an interesting dimension; after the swallow, the sweeter, fruity elements tend to dominate, although the coffee returns in the aftertaste to add balance

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body with moderate carbonation

Drinkability: If the Imperial Black flavors were just a bit stronger and the pomegranate just a bit less intrusive, this could be a dynamite brew; as it is, it was much better than I was expecting, having been completely disappointed with their Golden Ale

Photo of spacechimo155
4.03/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Very dark, dark purple hues due to the pomegranite. Very sexy beer.
Scent and flavor of expresso, dark chocolate, pomegranite.
Mouthfeel reflects its medium body, carbonation is right on and provides a drinkability that is only hindered by its higher ABV.

Photo of mikesgroove
4.35/5  rDev +25.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I had been unsure whether or not to purchase this one for a while now, but I just got one as an extra, so situation solved and away we go with being able to try this one. Served chilled and poured into a pint glass, this one was consumed on 06/25/2009.
The pour was very nice. Rich dark black with light reddish highlights peaking around the sides. The nice towering head of tan came up and over the top of the glass with much ease, only barely settling down as the night went on. Monster look to it and I have to admit I was quite impressed. The aroma was loaded with roasted malts, hints of dark fruity notes and a nice hint of cocoa. Smooth, silky taste was excellent across the board. I was surprised by the nice little hop kick this one had in the back as well. Rich, almost a light prune like flavor coming through now as the richness of it. The abv was all but absent for me to be honest, and this went down much quicker then I ever would have thought.
Overall I am really impressed here. I did not think it was going to be nearly as good as it was and it has peaked my interest enough to get me to go after a couple more of their offerings. This is a winner in my book.

Photo of indiapaleale
4.22/5  rDev +22%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours like a stout, dark brown to black with a coffee tan head that is tight bubbles compared to a foamy style head. It quickly fades and breaks up leaving a dark liquid occupying my glass. Intrigueing.

Smells like dark roasted coffee beans, a bit of a sweet/sour scent along with a bit of red wine and vanilla ice cream. Intrigueing still.

Initital taste is very, very reminiscent of dark roasted coffee with a very slight tinge of berry sweetness. Pomegranate? Hmm, I couldn't detect that specific flavor but this one actually is surprising me. The complexity and blend of flavors is quite good. AS this warms it becomes almost like a bar of dark chocolate with some berry and the profile of the fruit is becoming a bit more like pomegranate (kind of sweet and sour with a drying quality).

Mouthfeel reminds me of a red wine, very flavorful and dry in the finish.

This one really appealed to me, I don't really care what others had to say as you like what you like. I was very fond of the flavor profile of this beer. Probably the best thing I've had from Florida.

Photo of MasterSki
3.73/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Got this as an extra from HOPSHUNTER. Served in my Pisgah pint glass.

A - One and half fingers of mocha foam that dissipates kind of quickly to a cap and leaves no lacing. Pitch black, with a tiny hint of brown at the edges.

S - Roast malt, dark fruits, pomegranate, chocolate, a hint of coffee. There's a tiny hint of soap as it warms, but it's very subtle. Not sure why this isn't called a porter - it looks and smells like one.

T - Taste is a little...odd. There's a lot of fruitiness, but it's not as tangy as pomegranate - more artificial raspberry instead. Tons of roastiness that lingers well into the aftertaste. There's the expected chocolate, and again a touch of coffee. I like the flavor, except that the "pomegranate" tastes like artificially sweetened juice instead of real fruit, which unfortunately is a deal-breaker for me.

M - Tons of residual stickiness - almost as if my mouth is glued shut. Reminds me of fruit juice. Medium bodied, and kind of runny, with very active carbonation. Does not match the ABV nor the appearance at all.

D - I'm OK with the 12oz bottle, but I wouldn't go looking for more if I were in Florida. A touch bloaty, with lots of roasty aftertaste. An interesting experiment, but not anywhere near as successful as Surly Two.

Photo of Onenote81
3.05/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Nice little extra bottle received from Kiefdog in a recent trade. Thanks!

This beer pours a jet black with a small thin tan head on top. No retention whatsoever, and no lacing either. Weak. Smells of cocoa, currants, figs, grapes, and booze. Interesting.

Mouthfeel is decent. Some mild carbonation on the tongue. I thought it'd be a bit more as a strong ale. Flavor is interesting to say the least. Right away I taste copious amounts of black licorice. If this is the "black" in "Mack in Black" I'd be severely disappointed. Not a fan of the licorice flavor. Molasses, and a faint nuttiness in there as well. Finishes roasty.

This is an interesting beer. Different, and it threw me for a loop on all counts. I don't know what I was expecting, but this was and wasn't it at the same time. Try it if you must, you may be surprised.

Photo of jwhawkins81
3.65/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Aroma - dark roasted malts and coffee

Appearance - dark black with a nice tan head

Taste - This is a porter with a touch of sweetness from the pomegranate. Roasted coffee and malts at first but then halfway through all I can taste is the pomegranate. I like it more at the beginning with the roasted flavor.

Notes - Good mouthfeel and a enjoyable beer. But the pomegranate makes it more interesting but at the cost of this being a really good beer.

Photo of cincodm
4.38/5  rDev +26.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Poured into a sifter

a:starts pitch back with a thick, foamy head that dissipates to a thin, constant fuzz.

s:Nothing too remarkable in the smell category, the alcohol consumes it.

t:Wow, a million times better than what I thought, starts dark and malty and ends with a slight fruity tang. Would never had known the Pomegranate was in it if it didn't say so, more of a general tartness than a specific fruit taste. Alcohol barely tastes present.

m:Very light, and watery

d:I could barrel through another one of these now, and I probably will, but I have an oak-barreled Unearthly to work on first.

Photo of thryn
4.03/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Been eyeing this one for a while and decided to try a bottle. 2008 batch, bought 5-13 at Total Wine.

This pours black, with a tan head that drops to a ring around the edge in my chalice.

The nose is dark fruit and roasted malts, some chocolatey tones. Almost RIS-like. I dig it.

Mmmm, I like this. I'm not sure what I was expecting, but this is very much like a slightly thinner-bodied (but only slightly), fruitier RIS. The pomegranate isn't really detectable as such, but there are some dried plum and raisin characteristics at the front, as well as a bit of alcohol warmth. As it's swallowed, the sweetness of the pomegranate peeks out a bit more, but it ends with a roasty, coffee and bitter chocolate finish.

Hardly any carbonation, thick sticky body, fairly dry finish.

I don't know that I would want more than one of these in a night, but I'll certainly be returning to this when the weather cools, these many months from now. Fans of strong ales and RIS should give this a try -- it sort of walks the line between the two.

Photo of sirdrinkwell
4.5/5  rDev +30.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

i've drank this several times on tap at a local wing spot here in south Florida, but my review is based on a bottle serving at the same establishment:

A: dark, dark, like the night. the pomegranate elements are well represented in the deep color.
S: almost stout-like, with a slight dark pomegranate aroma also detectable
T: chocolate character offset by the pungency of the pomegranate
M: smooth, this brew goes down well alone or as an aid to dinner, aftertaste is just inviting enough to leave you anticipating another
D: very easy to down several of these if necessary. this is the best florida brewed beer i've encountered

Photo of belgbeerdrinker
2.95/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

a: pitch black, some head settles to nice little ring, bubbly fountains on surface, decent lacing
s: roasted malts, coffee with faint tart notes
t: interesting mix of toasted malts with sweet chocolate that finishes somewhere between mildly tart and strong bitter coffee
m: starts with fizz and somewhat thin, but finish almost seems creamy
d: again, interesting but too much going on and too thin

Photo of JAA
2.85/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer is mindblowing. Pour Jet-black with a dense one-finger dark tan head. Bought at Sarasota Total Wine, but I've seen Holy Mackerel stuff at Publix and Norman's liquors.

I would venture to say that this beer didn't need the pomegranate juice to make it notable. Smells crazy, like licorice and dark cherries, along with bitter chocolate.

Tastes much like it smells. Very chocolaty, dark fruits and more bitter chocolate in the finish. It's a quite complicated and a really flavorful beer coming from a little known brewery on the east coast of Florida.

The pomegranate juice is a bit out of place, but the beer has a solid foundation that makes it enjoyable to drink. 8% ABV.

Edit: alright, i'm getting near the end of the glass and this pomegranate juice is getting pretty gross.

Second edit: yeah, it's quite tough drinking a whole bottle. The juice is too strong. It's a shame because the taste the beer behind the juice is phenomenal.

Photo of FtownThrowDown
3.35/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a very nice black in color with only a frothy ring of head forming on the pour. Pours viscous and looks nice. Smell is plenty of black roasted malts and a bit of dark fruit. This has a very nice, full and creamy mouthfeel. Very pillowy soft, best thing about this beer. Not sure that I care for the pomegranate juice that much. I know they say there's not that much in it, but I could taste it and it wasn't placed well.

Photo of abents
3.93/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz 2008 bottling.
Thanks to Sebletitje for the bottle, sounds pretty interesting. Pours out into the glass a dark black with a big light brown head that dissipates quickly but leaves a film for quite some time. Not messing around with the nose here, big pomegranate, roasted malts with some coffee lingering in there too. Pretty nice, but would help if it was a little stronger. Wow, taste is extremely confusing, huge tongue clash with a roasted smoky malt flavor battling it out with a sweet pomegranate nectar. Starts with blast of malty goodness leading into the pomm(that word sucks to type out), but with a bitter coffee/roasted malt finish that leaves lips sticky. Also get some vanilla, raisins, and chocolate at some point in there. Right now I'm extremely confused as to whether I like this... I need to finish more of this beer before judging... I'll be right back.

Ok, I'm back, thanks for waiting. I enjoy this beer the sweetness of the pomm melds well with the bitterness of the burnt malt. The fruit is not so overpowering, which helps, and that bitterness of the burnt malt make this rather pleasant. It's reminiscent of a schwarzbier with a bigger mouthfeel, but that pomegranate added makes it different and interesting. Overall it was rather enjoyable, maybe after another year or so aging I could see this being really good when everything mellows out more, but I like this beer now too. Nice big carbonation helps make this big beer (no way you would think this was 8%) even smoother. Something very different and interesting, that blends well to make a pretty nice brew.

Photo of bhalter8
3.2/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Thanks to Kiefdog for tossing this in on a trade. Pours a dark black color with a deep rose, maybe purple edge in the light. thin to no head, leaves a light tan rim. A light scent of fruit and chocolate background, nothing too strong though. Taste is a roasted malt with fruits and chocolate mixed. I have to admit I have never been a big fan of beers that take the fruit mix into the flavor too strongly. I am trying to be fair in my evaluation of it, but I could not have too many of these, its a distinct flavor, and decently built, but not something I could drink more than one of, and barely that.

EDIT: I had to come back to this review and lower my taste rating. This beer has a poor aftertaste, it dries out in the mouth and leaves an overripined fruit taste almost, not good at all.

Photo of Cyberkedi
4.47/5  rDev +29.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep opaque brown, like dark chocolate, with a nice tan head. Smoky aroma is strongly of fine roast coffee and has a hint of pomegranate. Mouth-filling flavor has tones of coffee and unsweetened chocolate as well as a pomegranate hint. Mouthfeel is lively and tingly, and finish is pleasingly smooth.

Photo of aerozeppl
3.9/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours mostly black with some hints of red around the edges. A half finger of cream colored head. Some lacing.

S: A weird mixture of sweetness and roasted malt.The pomegranate is there but is muted by notes of coffee. Really weird nose that is enjoyable.

T: Coffee and roasted malt up front. Then it goes into a nice sweetness. I think I like this beer more than other reviews because of the time this spent in the cellar which was roughly a year.

M: Medium body with nothing that makes it swing either way.

D: I actually enjoyed this beer. Something a little bit different that worked for me. I need this to sooth the pain of the Giants loss today. To be honest I probably need a barleywine festival but I just don't have that available for two weeks.

Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.95/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Onyx black body with a thin, thought creamy-looking, light tan head.

Smell: Aroma smelling of espresso and succulent fruit with secondary notes of semisweet chocolate and toffee.

Taste: Dark, roasty maltiness with sweet tastes of chocolate and toffee candy. Moderate sweetness. Underlying fruitiness like a splash of both subtly tart POM Juice and prune liqueur. Tiny bit of aniseed. Very mild hop character and bitterness, leaving the punchy roastiness to counter the sweetness. Still though, this one finishes a bit sweetish and definitely fruity.

Mouthfeel: Medium-full body. Medium carbonation. Smooth mouthfeel.

Drinkability: Smooth and fruity (without being too fruity) thanks to the addition of health-inducing pomegranate juice.

Photo of cvstrickland
3.2/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

The 12-ounce bottle poured into a large tulip glass yields a black body capped with a thin layer of grainy beige foam. The head recedes quickly into a thick collar that fails to lace the glass.

The smell is bitter, fruity and highly mobile, reaching out two feet away to wrinkle my nose at the artifical nail-polishy scent. As the drink warms a bit, notes of sour cherry replace most of the acetone.

The taste is mild with a tang of fruit and a mellow, bitter dark chocolatiness. A scrap of wet brown paper and drying astringency in the finish don't do much to ameliorate the chemical-grade alcohol that comes through, though a bit a dark maltiness in the aftertaste works hard to shore up the bare-bones mediocrity of the profile, meeting with only a modicum of success. A touch of coffee bitterness contributes a meager pittance of flavor in equally inadequate fashion. Dryly chocolatier and more cherrylike as the drink warms.

The drink is fullish-medium in body with plenty of carbonation. Though my description of the brew makes Mack in Black sound pisswater awful, it really is surprisingly drinkable... that is, once the nose and palate numb to the off-flavored assault and the 8% ABV starts warming the belly.

Holy Mackerel Mack In Black from Holy Mackerel Brewing
79 out of 100 based on 191 ratings.