Black Jack Imperial Stout - DuClaw Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Black Jack Imperial StoutBlack Jack Imperial Stout

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BA SCORE
86
very good

106 Ratings
THE BROS
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no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 106
Reviews: 58
rAvg: 3.84
pDev: 11.72%
Wants: 15
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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 106 | Reviews: 58
Photo of mikesgroove
4.45/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

part of the epicness that was the halloween weekend of beer. the last few nights have kicked my ass in every way, but i got to try a bunch of goodies that have long haunted me. served chilled and poured into a 8 ounce taster, this one was consumed on 10/30/2010.

this was another new one for me. the first of the big stouts that were opened this really caught me by surprise as I was in no way expecting it to be as good as it was. jet black pour with a good inch and a half of wonderfully colored head on top started off the session just right.

aroma is dark roasted malts, cocoa, a ton of rich brown sugar and a touch of tobacco. really just complex as hell and not at all what i was expecting. a bit thin on the feel, but not terrible just more of a big stout then an ris. still though the flavor came across very, very well with each sip complenting the one before. dark, dark chocolate, lots of roasted malts and tons of rich, dark flavors. this was exactly what i was looking for. smooth and creamy finish left the flavor of light smoke an brown sugar on the tongue with a touch of vanilla sealing it off.

overall really just a great tasting stout that was very easy to drink and nearly flawless in aroma. i would have this one again any day.

Photo of TMoney2591
4.32/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a Dogfish Head snifter.

Am I the only one who enjoys a thick, rich impy stout on a sweltering day like today? This one pours a nice straight obsidian topped by a bit less than a finger of tan foam. The nose comprises chocolate, roasted malts, molasses, vanilla bean, brown sugar, and some toasted caramel. The taste is a mirror image of the smell, with some extra brown sugar and molasses in the finish. This be one tasty brew, baby! The body is a bit on the light side (a medium overall), with a light carbonation and a smooth feel that isn't as thick and chewy as I'd prefer. All told, a very nice impy stout, but missing a couple o' things that would vault it to greatness.

Photo of NeroFiddled
4.08/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Its opaque black body rests gently beneath a short head of very dark tan foam that holds well, slowly receeding to a wide creamy collar and lacy surface covering that leaves rings of sticky lace with each sip.

The nose delivers fruit, dark chocolate, and a deep roastiness.

The body is medium bordering on full, and its fine-bubbled carbonation lends a subtly crisp tingle to the tongue before smoothing.

The flavor delivers an incredibly rich, bittersweet chocolate, dark caramel, and espresso-like maltiness that's laced with dark and red fruits (black cherry, red grapes, raisins) and piney hops. The alcohol is well-masked in both the aroma and the flavor by its richness. It finishes quite dry with some lingering bitterness, a residual burnt-chocolate character, and a touch of vinous fruit.

Photo of Kegatron
4.1/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at the DuClaw Fell's Point location.

Pours black with a thin tan creamy head that retained well around the edges but left a minimal amount of lace that stuck. The aroma is roasted and burnt malt, chocolate sweetness, coffee, and a smoked maltiness.

The taste is chocolate sweetness that melds into roasted bitterness, smoked malts, and coffee notes. The smoke character really seems to be dominant at times and is much more noticeable than other years. Finishes with a nice bitterness that sticks to the tongue. The mouthfeel is full bodied with a nice creamy feel. Alcohol is very well hidden and barely noticed, which really makes this guy quite drinkable.

The Black Jack is always a pretty solid seasonal from DuClaw. Like most of their other offerings, it doesn't pack the biggest punch, choosing to stay more accessible for their core demographic of beer drinkers that frequent the place. It still carries enough flavor and big drinkibility to be a solid choice if you come across it.

Photo of drabmuh
3.48/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served from a flip-top growler into a becher.

This was not my favorite stout and I couldn't tell what made it imperial while I was drinking it. Overall it was light on flavor and vague on purpose. Here it goes.

Beer is dark black and forms a big brown head with small to medium bubbles. Lacing is high and carbonation is low. Overall it looks fine. When I swirl the glass I get a revival of the head for a moment. It looks like a good RIS.

Aroma overall is weak. There is a slight sweetness mixed in with this almost lactic undertone.

Beer is thick, full bodied but doesn't have much flavor. Sweetness up front, a very slight roast. There isn't much standing in the way of drinkability, that's the good news. There is nice carbonation in the mouth, also good news. The bad news is that about 12 people shared the growler along with several others and it was the only one that wasn't empty after about an hour, in fact it was the only beer that was still half full at the end of the night. Its boring.

Photo of superspak
4.16/5  rDev +8.3%
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.

Photo of Huhzubendah
4.03/5  rDev +4.9%
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.

Photo of billab914
3.83/5  rDev -0.3%
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.

Photo of John_M
3.95/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Max's today.

The beer pours a blackish brown color with good head retention and lacing. The is attractive, with considerable burnt toast, roasty malt, vanilla and coffee. The flavor profile replicates the nose pretty closely, but with more flavor intensity than I was expecting for a 7.5% RIS. I almost gave the beer a 4.5 for taste, but the beer finishs with a bit more alcohol and heat then I like to see. Mouthfeel is very full, with a long, fairly soft, moderately sweet with licorise finish. Drinkability is OK, though as noted above, there's a bit of heat form alcohol in the finish.

While certainly not among the RIS elite, I thought this nevertheless a very solid beer from DuClaw.

Photo of akorsak
4.22/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is a glass of the 2004 vintage Black Jack Stout served at DuClaw's Bowie location during X-mas in July.

Appearance: Black as night. When held up to the light, dark crimson colors are clearly visible. The head is a darker, coffee ice cream color.

Smell: The beer has a deep roasted aroma and the chocolate notes have intensified. There is a slight vinous-like aroma as well.

Taste: The stout still has a deep roasted malt character but it has also taken on a vinous complexity. After that initial roast/chocolate burst, one can taste an array of alefruits and alcohol.

Mouthfeel: The beer has aged well, giving the palate a new range of flavors to enjoy.

Drinkability: I really wanted to go to Bel Air for the 2003 version, as the beer has done well over two years.

Photo of Rhettroactive
3.73/5  rDev -2.9%
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.

Photo of bluejacket74
3.92/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22 ounce bottle. Served in a snifter, the beer pours dark brown/black with about an inch tan head. Head retention and lacing are both decent enough. Aroma is milk chocolate, roasted malt, molasses and coffee. The brew tastes like roasted and burnt/charred malt, bittersweet chocolate and coffee. The aroma is mostly sweet, however the taste is mostly roasty and bitter. Finish is also roasty and bitter. Mouthfeel/body is medium, it seems a bit thin for a RIS. With that being said, it's also smooth and a bit creamy and coating. Drinkability is good, it goes down easy and I liked drinking it. I think this is a good brew, it's definitely worth a try.

Photo of cpetrone84
3.68/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-pours a viscous jet black liquid with a tight creamy tan head that fizzles away quickly.

S-a little ashy in the nose, notes of molases, roasted coffee, slightly burnt, charr, malty sweetness in the back.

T-follows the nose, the molasses is there, lots of roasted malt, slightly burnt coffee, a little ashy, notes of chocolate malt in there, with some burnt sugar sweetness in the back.

M-medium bodied, smooth and creamy, not heavy, moderate carbonation, almost a crisp finish.

D-decent RIS, balanced with lots of roasted malt but enough sweetness to lighten up the flavors. easy to drink for an RIS but the abv is a little low so take it with a grain of salt.

Photo of tigg924
3.85/5  rDev +0.3%
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.

Photo of Pencible
4.26/5  rDev +10.9%
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.

Photo of cbutova
3.97/5  rDev +3.4%
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.

Photo of popery
4.23/5  rDev +10.2%
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.

Photo of LilBeerDoctor
2.03/5  rDev -47.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

Reviewed on 06/04/2009. Bottle at PPRBSG09. Pours black with a small tan head. Aroma of plastic and roasted malt. Flavor of super burnt malt, just a disgusting mess. Very nasty. Something went wrong here I think. One of the worst beers of the tasting.

Photo of msubulldog25
3.86/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A 22 oz. bottle supplied by BA yourefragile; my first 'real' chance at sipping/reviewing a DuClaw beer (I can't count the tiny nip of Colossus at a springtime tasting). Poured to a sizable snifter.

My bottle shows 'Alc. 8% by Vol.' - a little higher than what's listed above, but on the low end for the RIS style.

A: Nearly impenetrable darkness, ebony with mahogany trim upon close inspection. A fine tuft of sandy cream, building to a finger, ebbing to a fragmented gauze. Glass-hugging ring and sheets of lace that begin as fine netting and recede to scattered flecks; each swirl of the glass renews the process. A Beauty in the the eye of this beer-holder...

S: Not a huge aroma, but a pleasantly-scented noseful of dark fudge, dried cherries. Some coffee, a surprising whiff of nostril-tickling alcohol.

T: Cocoa nibs, a semisweet taste of earth and spice. Sooty dryness and a charred roast coffee are omnipresent, but genuflect at times for sweeter vanilla and tannic berries. Dark molasses reduction, a sweet-ish but kinda burnt bitterness ends an otherwise quite tasty RIS.

M: I like the velvety feel, a fine tingle rippling across the tongue with each sip. Plenty smooth, though a little on the thin side...viscous, not a prolonged nor particularly memorable coating texture. A slight, tongue-swelling fusel warmth.

D: A pretty good RIS, flavorful and balanced. 'Lightness' has pros and cons - a more modest ABV makes finishing a bottle an easier task, yet a thinner build makes BlackJack a more middle-of-the-pack version of the style. All in all, I like it...don't love it.

Thanks for the chance to try this one, Michael.

Photo of ThisWangsChung
3.73/5  rDev -2.9%
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

Photo of Chaney
4.05/5  rDev +5.5%
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...

Photo of thekevlarkid
4/5  rDev +4.2%
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!

Photo of stephenjmoore
3.78/5  rDev -1.6%
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.

Photo of AlCaponeJunior
3.91/5  rDev +1.8%
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.

Photo of Phelps
3.28/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Bottle received in the 2010 Secret Santa BIF. Thanks go out to boralyl for this one.

Pours a creamy, inky black that takes over the glass in darkness. It's topped by a one-finger head of dense, sticky foam the color of cardboard that recedes slowly, leaving a thick top layer, large grippy ring and thick horizontal stripes of lace.

Bit of sweet cocoa and some espresso with milk -- like a creamy, milk-tinged latte. There's also some bittersweet dark chocolate.

The flavor follows nicely, with a bit of dark chocolate and black strap molasses. There's a noticeable jolt of alcohol at the swallow, with lingering notes of heavily roasted malt and coffee. The finish is nice and even-handed; not too sweet, not too dry.

The body is medium-light, a little watery, with a bit of alcoholic tinge in the nostrils and a numbing of the tongue. The carbonation is medium-light, massaging the tongue actively and fizzing the beer up just a bit.

An enjoyable-enough stout. Nothing special, but drinkable.

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Black Jack Imperial Stout from DuClaw Brewing Company
86 out of 100 based on 106 ratings.