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Black Jack Imperial Stout - DuClaw Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Black Jack Imperial StoutBlack Jack Imperial Stout

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

59 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 59
Hads: 107
Avg: 3.87
pDev: 15.76%
Wants: 16
Gots: 5 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
DuClaw Brewing Company visit their website
Maryland, United States

Style | ABV
Russian Imperial Stout |  8.00% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: Rastacouere on 07-05-2004

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 59 | Hads: 107
Photo of cyclonece09
4.12/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a growler into a pint glass. Pours pitch black with a small light brown head that disappears quickly. Smells of coffee and chocolate, nice and full. Tastes of coffee and little chocolate, tad watery. Beer is full bodied but still very drinkable. Overall a very good beer.

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Photo of bluehende
4.18/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Had this at a tasting from draft. It had all the things a good stout had with a very good mouth feel. I am surprised it does not get a much higher rating.

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Photo of tigg924
3.85/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Very roasty even by RIS standards. Taste is coffee grounds, roasted malt, deep dark chocolate, and slight molasses. Taste is slightly bitter and the body is really heavy. This beer acts bigger than is 8.0 ABV would indicate. Enjoyable, although not as complex as other RIS that I have had.

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Photo of ThisWangsChung
3.73/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

32 oz growler into a wine glass.

Appearance: Pours a pitch black color. The head is two fingers high, and tan in shade. Retention is okay, but the nice texture and excellent lacing left on my glass redeems its aesthetic appeal. (3.75)

Smell: Big roast here, exactly what I like in an imperial stout. Beneath the roasted coffee goodness lie notes of dry chocolate, brown sugar, and mild hoppiness. It isn't very deep, but it makes the most of its few notes extremely well. (3.75)

Taste: There's a good hoppiness here - not up to Storm King standards (obviously), but the opening flavors of mint and pine really do a good job of counteracting the chocolaty, roasty mid-taste. And is this one ever chocolaty. Licorice stays in the background throughout, thankfully never overpowering the faintly sweet finish. I'm even getting some smoky touches. This features a good mix of boldness and balance, not to mention it's easy to drink. (3.75)

Mouthfeel: For an imperial stout, this is very light - even detrimentally so. Still, it's crisp, dry finishing, and almost refreshing (!) This does accrue sweetness on the palate, however. Carbonation isn't strong, but it helps the beer go down more easily. (3.5)

Overall: DuClaw doesn't always make good beer...thankfully, this is one of their better brews. This is an imperial stout designed for drinkability over excessive bigness, and it's so much better for it. Maybe we should call it a stout and a half? Whatever it is, it's a rock-solid imperial stout. (3.75)

3.73/5: Not a royal flush, but definitely a four-of-a-kind

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Photo of stephenjmoore
3.78/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.75

2010 Vintage

A- Pours a dark brown that settles into the glass with a near-black body. A thin, mocha-colored head that fades quickly and leaves behind a ring of bubbles.

S- Tons of chocolate, sweet malt, roasted malts, some sugary caramel. Quite a potent nose on this one.

T- Sweet, malty, roasty, chocolate, hints of vanilla, coffee, nice flavors.

M- Somewhat thin a watery, medium-light on the carbonation. Not sure how much the aging impacted the body.

O- Overall a pretty good imperial stout. Nothing memorable, but nice flavors.

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Photo of Agold
2.98/5  rDev -23%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Beer is very nice looking. Nice tan head with some OK.retention and lacing. Aroma is a bit burnt but there is also a nice mild cocoa note. Flavor is smokey and roasty. A bit astringent. Mouthfeel is kind of light. Could use more body. Good carbonation though. Nice enjoyable beer, but does not stand out.

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Photo of JerseyKirk
4.33/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Pitch black. Black hole. No light goes in or out. Light khaki, creamy head.

S: Chocolate, coffee, cream, coffee bitterness, roasted grains and slight graininess.

T: Rich, sweet goodness. I love this beer. Chocolate, cream and coffee.

M: Thick, rich, luscious and sweet. Finish is extremely dry. Love it.

O: Like all of the beer but sweet finish. Great through and through.

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Photo of thekevlarkid
4/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Off tap at the brewery this beer was an opaque black color with one finger of frothy, dark brown head. The retention of the cap was good and as it faded to a collar it left lacing in streaks. The aroma was of chocolate, coffee, roasted malt and a bit of dark fruit. The flavors were loaded with chocolate but it also had elements of coffee, molasses, figs and roasted malt behind that. The finish was appropriately bitter enough to offset the sweetness of the malt notes. Well balanced for a big beer! The mouthfeel was rich, the body full and the carbonation light/medium. As one who likes sweeter beers this one was marvelous, like the chocolate milkshake of stouts. Bravo!

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Photo of Huhzubendah
4.03/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On draft at DuClaw in Bowie, MD.

Really a fabulous appearance. Black as night with a half inch of dense, khaki colored he'd that plasters the pint glass with sticky lace ringlets.

The aroma offers a nice balance of roast, chocolate, and coffee.

The flavor is also well balanced, with a pronounced coffee/roast bitterness in the finish.

Alcohol content is hidden quite well. Not particularly viscous or palate coating, but rather, easy to drink. Maybe too easy, considering this is an 8% abv stout.

Overall, a solid beer from a local brewery. Recommended.

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Photo of Minkybut
3.52/5  rDev -9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I poured this big beer into my tumbler at 45 degrees. The beer was black as night and poured a tan head. The beer had a nice mocha smell to it and hints of chocolate smell also. It was a strong beer as a Russian stout should be. I would have to say I would buy this beer again, but beware, it will throw it too you.

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Photo of ckollias
4/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Enjoyed this on tap out of a pint glass at Duclaw in Bowie, MD.

A: Pours a dark black hue with a thin 1-finger tan head that quickly dissipates into a wispy lace.

S: Roasted malt aroma with hints of chocolate and coffee.

T: Similar to the smell roasted malts with a good chocolate, caramel, and coffee backbone. Slightly hoppy and sweet.

M: Medium body and medium carbonation

O: Great imperial stout – strong and delicious.

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Photo of superspak
4.16/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 ounce bottle into snifter; no bottle date but this is a winter release so it must be pushing a year old. Pours dark as night with a fairly dense 1 finger tan head with nice retention that reduces to a thin lacing cap that lasts. Some nice lacing clings all around the glass as well. Aromas of big dark chocolate, coffee, roasted malt, caramel, molasses, smoked wood, and a bit of dark fruit. Some very nice and interesting aromas for an RIS here, nice balance as well. Taste of tons of chocolate, coffee, roasted malt, smoke, wood, caramel, and light dark fruits. Good amount of coffee-like bitterness present on the finish; with lingering notes of dark chocolate, coffee, caramel, molasses, dark fruit, smoke, and wood for a decent amount of time. Medium-high carbonation and medium bodied; with a fairly nice and creamy mouthfeel that drinks smoothly for the level of alcohol. Alcohol is nicely hidden as well, didn’t really notice anything other than a slight warming on the finish. Overall this was an excellent and unique Russian Imperial Stout. Tons of nice complexity and balance.

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Photo of Rhettroactive
3.73/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

From 22oz bomber to Bruges hybrid glass on 9/26/11
*From notes

A: Slightly ruby motor oil. A good pour yields a 2.25 finger head that sticks around for a while. Top notch lacing follows.

S: Slightly grainy, actually. Tart (not sour) dark fruit too.

T: Some condensed, dried fruits are predominant, specifically prunes, dates, raisins and figs. There's some creamy char on the mid, and the finish is pretty impressive in it's longevity. A bit too fruity for my specific taste, but pretty well done none the less.

M: Wow, I can't believe how creamy and rich this is. Really dense and velvety. It helps to push this beer well above average, and keeps me coming back to the glass.

O: DuClaw's Black Jack Stout is a better beer then I'd expected. Seeing how it's aged, I'd have to assume this is a bit better when fresh, yet it was quite enjoyable as-is. I'd be interested in trying their BA version of this.

Another upper middle class entry from one of Maryland's biggest up-and-comer's.

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Photo of cbutova
3.97/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Probably about a year old.

A- Pitch black pour into a snifter. Dark tan head with decent size but not good retention. Small ring and cloud with some spotty lace.

S- Aged roast malt and caramel with a nice smoothed out aroma. Raisins, cocoa and dark fruit.

T- Again I can taste some age which has a smoothing effect. Roast malt, raisins, dark fruit, caramel. All balanced out and nice.

MF- Moderatly thick oily body with a silky smooth high carbonation. Some bitterness in the finish.

Good with age and it balances out nicely with some aged fruit and oxidative flavors.

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Photo of popery
4.23/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours black with a nice head, light brown and creamy. Good lacing. Just a hint of dark brown at the edges of the glass.

S: The aroma is a tad weak, but what's there is nice. There's dark chocolate, caramel, roast and some mild dark malt fruitiness. It might be a bit better than my score indicates, but there's more than a half point difference between smell and taste.

T: The beer has a big, excellent flavor once it hits your tongue. It's full of dark chocolate syrup and roast with a citrus hop note in the finish. The beer is smooth and has a wonderful classic imperial stout flavor. Everything meshes together nicely and there's little booze. No real rough edges to be found, either. Sweetness is just right. Great stuff.

M: Smooth and creamy, the beer is thick on the palate. In my opinion, mouthfeel is hugely important to imperial stouts, and Black Jack nails it.

O: I'm kinda surprised to see some lower scores for this beer. I have no idea about the age of the bottle, but I suspect it's not super fresh. I may have just lucked into opening it at just the right time. Whatever the case, it's a great stout with a rich flavor and a creamy mouthfeel. I've thoroughly enjoyed my first encounter with DuClaw.

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Photo of rapidsequence
3.17/5  rDev -18.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

22 oz bottle. $7.99.

Appearance: Black of course, not the thickest or darkest. Thin light brown head with poor retention and lacing.

Smell: Ground coffee and cocoa powder. A little charcoal and leather. Not a lot of sweetness.

Taste: Mainly dry, roasty, bitter, and borderline harsh flavors. Not enough residual sweetness to support this.

Mouthfeel: Its kind of thin, and finishes dry with some bitter roastiness.

Overall: This is just not very good. Fairly inoffensive, but not very exciting.

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Photo of TheDudeRules
2.31/5  rDev -40.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

Poured into my Darkness snifter.

Jet black oil looking pour. Two full fingers of mocha colored head. Lacing remains. Fig and dark fruit dominate the smell. First thing I notice is how very thin this beer feels in my mouth. Taste is coffee forward with a pronounced hop bite. Roast and char follows.

Yawn. What a boring beer with subpar flavoring. Flat out terrible. Why is roast and char trending? Like scooping ashes out from the bottom of the grill and throwing them in the beer is good? Stay away.

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Photo of billab914
3.83/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2010 vintage poured from a 22oz bottle into my Stone IRS glass. It poured black in color with a frothy tan head covering the beer and clinging to the sides of the glass.

The aroma has a rich, roasty flavor to it. I get coffee at first with a dark chocolate, creaminess to it as well.The roasty, bitter coffee flavor is nicely done in it.

In the taste I get more of a darker, bitter-sweet chocolate flavor to it. I get a roasty, coffee like bitterness in the finish with a little sweeter, creaminess to help give it some balance. It finishes dry wit ha lingering chocolate flavor.

The mouthfeel is on the heavier side with carbonation being below average. Overall it was a pretty solid beer. I really liked that it was below 8% abv and felt so much bigger. That alone really impressed me. It was definitely an above average beer for the style, but the flavor in relation to the abv as well as price will get me to buy this one again.

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Photo of Scotchboy
4.1/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22oz bomber from Jonah, thank you! 2010 vintage, and man was I impressed by this one.

Poured refrigerator cold into my ceramic stein and allowed to warm over the course of an hour or so.

A: Pours pretty viscous and opaque black (my wife called it 'tar'), with a dark brown head that recedes to a constant ring.

S: Roasted malt heaven, with loads of coffee and chocolate sweetness, some hops and hints of smoke and alcohol.

T & MF: The label talks about this beers creaminess, and I've got to agree. The roasted malt, coffee/chocolate bitterness, smoke, and finishing hop spiciness all blend excellently, very roasty and rich and bitter. There is a touch of alcohol heat here as well, but nothing to downgrade the score. Full, sticky mouthfeel with medium carbonation levels and good dryness on the way out.

O: Just a solid all around Russian Imperial Stout, it covers all the RIS bases well; richness, bitterness, chocolate & coffee, roasted & charred (smoky) malt, dryness, alcohol. Very pleasant and a good representation of the style in my opinion.

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Photo of dpnelson1978
2.89/5  rDev -25.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

22 oz. bottle into glass snifter.

A: Deep brown body topped with a small tight brown head that quickly dissipates leaving a thing cover and ring.

S: Sweet chocolate and roasted coffee. Almost a hint of Irish cream.

M: Smooth medium body that is a bit lighter than I would expect. Low to moderate carbonation. Nothing special.

T: Dark roasted malt, and a poorly masked alcohol content. Moderate hop bitterness that subsides fairly quickly.

O: Lighter body and weaker flavor profile make this one easy to drink on its own, but I wouldn't buy another. Too many great RIS on the market these days. This one lags behind.

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Photo of Dan3279
3.88/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Its great to go on vacation and be able to pick up beer that isn't available in your area. I was excited when I found Black Jack because I have had my eye on it for a while.

I poured the bomber into my DFH snifter glass to find a nice pitch black body with a chocolate colored head that left a sticky lacing. The aroma was dominated by coffee, chocolate, malts and a few hints of molasses.

The taste was very good, very close to the aroma with more sweetness, and some hints of roasted malts. I thought that the beer is smooth and medium bodied and very easy to drink. Overall its a good RIS, I wouldn't put it in upper class of great RISs but it can stand up on its own and I would defiantly pick up a few more bottles if I ever come across it again.

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Photo of Chaney
4.05/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Black as night, with a massive, peppery mocha head that died down to a sudsy ring around the dark liquid.

S: Strong smell of roast, dark chocolate, and a tinge of espresso. Dark chocolate milk!

T: Full-bodied, chocolatey, with a huge bitter finish. Not too "imperial," but still downright delicious. This was damn near perfect except for the fact that espresso isn't exactly my favorite thing in the world... it helped that it wasn't of the "in your face" variety.

M: Creamy, thick, and with low carbonation, but still appropriate for this style. Not too sweet, and the balance between the espresso and dark chocolate perfect and was very well executed by its creator(s).

O: I've really become somewhat of a fan of DuClaw here lately. A few months ago, I had never even tried a single brew of theirs, but now I've sampled about half their line-up. "Black Jack" was friggin tasty...

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Photo of vandemonian
4.55/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

DuClaw Black Jack Imperial Stout is a delicious and drinkable Russian Imperial. It was much better than I expected. Yum!

A: Nice darkbrown/black colour and a good 1 cm brown head that fades to good lacing. 4.5

S: Smells strongly of coffee. Yum. 4.5

T: Roadty malt with some hints charcoal, especially in the aftertaste. Good hop balance. This is a delicious beer. 4.5

M: Foamy and silky. 5

O: This was really delicious. 4.5

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Photo of Pencible
4.26/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A: This poured a completely opaque black with thick dark tan head. Beautiful.
S: It smelled like roasted coffee and rich dark chocolate, with a little cream and floral hops.
T: It tasted like rich dark chocolate and dry cocoa powder, with earthy roasted coffee and a little cream and metallic hops. It had a clean and bitter aftertaste.
M: It was very heavy and thick, with a little carbonation. Huge and wonderful body.
D: This was a very nice big stout, with tasty scent and flavor. Excellent body and pretty well hidden alcohol, so it was easy enough to drink. Not sure if age would improve, but it would be interesting to try. Not terribly complex, but this is solid for a standard RIS. I'd be curious to try this blind next to Expedition, Ten FIDY, Yeti, etc. to see how it stacks up without knowing the label behind each beer.

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Photo of AlCaponeJunior
3.91/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Very nice looking for the style. Black and opaque, with brown and red tinges. Nice head for a RIS that lasted, eventually leaving a smooth brown sheen and great lacing.

Smell is deep, dark and roasty. Plenty of coffee and chocolate accent the great dark malty aromas.

Taste is very nice. Great roasty malt flavors. Easy going coffee and slick milk chocolate make for a nice blend of flavors.

The feel is a bit slick, sweet, with dark roasty bitterness lingering.

Drinks well. The 7.5% ABV makes it very easy to drink, and offers a nice alternative to the usual "bigger than life" RIS meme.

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Black Jack Imperial Stout from DuClaw Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 59 ratings.