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Smoke & Dagger - Jack's Abby Brewing

Not Rated.
Smoke & DaggerSmoke & Dagger

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

150 Reviews
no score

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Reviews: 150
Hads: 899
Avg: 4.01
pDev: 24.94%
Wants: 50
Gots: 114 | FT: 2
Brewed by:
Jack's Abby Brewing visit their website
Massachusetts, United States

Style | ABV
Rauchbier |  5.80% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: mduncan on 07-29-2011

Cloaked in mystery, this dark black beer skirts the line between a schwarzbier and smoked porter. The use of a small percentage of traditional Beechwood smoked malt adds complexity and balances the liberal use of chocolate malt. Notes of roasted grains, beechwood smoke,and coffee accompany a full bodied-and sweet chocolately malt character. Smoke & Dagger uses locally grown unmalted barley from MA.

25 IBU
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 150 | Hads: 899
Photo of argock
2.45/5  rDev -38.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Served on-tap in a 13oz tulip at Sunset Bar and Grill (Boston, MA). Reviewed from notes.

A: Dark brown to black with short cap of dark beige head with a thin line of lacing.

S: Smells like burned dirt

T: Tastes like burned dirt and rubber tires. Herbal hops are too earthy and there is some problem with the blending of the dark malts, the smoked malts, and the hops as this beer just tastes like dirt, ash, and rubber.

M: Medium-full body with low carbonation makes this hard to drink beer even tougher to drink.

O: Maybe not my cup of tea, definitely made me wish I had a sample before ordering this. Live and learn...

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Photo of biegaman
3.96/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

It shouldn't be surprising that Smoke & Dagger look blackened - not entirely black, mind you, because colour can readily be made out against the light and along the trim - but its charred complexion certainly mirrors the barbecue notes. Its head, anyway, looks like a ring of smoke itself.

Let us not forget the other malts - along with the wisp of smoke, this aroma also features the more conventional notes of roasted grain and all the chocolatey, coffee-ish nuances that often accompany it. This level of balance ensures the beer is not too intimidating for initiates; notions of campfire smoke or burnt meat would be gross exaggerations.

I'm not sure how proud of this I should be, but I've tried chocolate covered bacon on a couple occasions. It is a curiously irresistible (and kind of gross and shameful) combination because it stimulates all parts of the palate: bittersweet, salty, roasty. Smoke & Dagger does the just the same; it tastes something like cocoa- or coffee cured-pork.

Neither sweet nor smoke conquers the other; they go back and forth like evenly matched tennis pros, neither becoming too dominant in the mix. I'm not sure whether the smattering of caramel was intended or not, but it's a nice way to end that roller coaster of chocolate, coffee, and cured meat. There's no knot in this rope - just smooth all the way along.

Smoke & Dagger should prove once and for all that smoked beers can be perfectly palatable and easily enjoyed by all. It is a soft, well-rounded offering that aught to have barbecue lovers, especially, trampling over one another to buy by the case full. This self-proclaimed Schwarzbier/Rauchbier hybrid may not be German-born, but it's Bundesliga caliber talent for sure.

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Photo of curasowa
3.94/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Dark ruby color with one finger of tan head that fades quickly.

Aroma: Roasted malt, cocoa and smoky

Taste: Crisp, roasted malt up front, then prickly carbonation and a mild, spicy hop bitterness and finishing with some lingering nutty and smoky flavors.

The Rest: A solid lager with a nice twist of some smokiness, while still being quite balanced.

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Photo of Beric
3.91/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Serving: Bottle into pint
Served: 30 October 2014

Appearance: Pours a deep dark color with hints of deep crimson red around the edges. Dirty brown head that quickly dissipates. Looks decent for a Schwarzbier.

Smell: Deep and roasty. Little to no smoke.

Taste: I honestly don't know why BA labels this a Rauchbier- there is next to no smoke flavor present in the beer. The beer is primarily dominated by very roasty stout-like flavors: coffee, chocolate, etc. that, while maybe a little edgier than other black beers, doesn't seem to have much smokey quality to it at all.

Feel: Somewhat thin in the mouth, but carried by its carbonation.

Overall: A good beer, but one that I think BA mislabels. In the Rauchbier category, this beer fails on many accounts, but as a Schwarzbier, this one is pretty tasty. I'd buy this again, but it isn't my favorite from Jack's Abby.

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Photo of oberon
3.95/5  rDev -1.5%

Pours into a becker a roasted chestnut brown with a half finger light beige head atop.Smoke,caramel,brown sugar,and German malts in the nose with that light tinge of iron.Smoke up front on the palate but not in your face a little earth and some brown sugar-like sweetness to round it out.A pretty solid rauchbier good smoke without being overbearing.

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Photo of far333
3.94/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Chestnut colored with ruby highlights, a low wispy beige head settles out quickly. Aroma of darkly toasted malt, semi sweet, hint of smoke.

Flavor matches the nose, dark malt, hint of smoke, some cocoa, mild bitterness, no hop flavor, note of coffee and cola. Creamy mouthfeel. Really good beer.

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Photo of predikit
4.75/5  rDev +18.5%

This beer caught my eye, and since I'm a sucker for renaissance fare, I picked it up.

Definitely a lot of smoke in the scent, pours dark brown, sits in the glass nearly black. Spawns a small tan head that settles quickly. Leaves a fair amount of lacing behind as I drink.

Smokey flavor at the forefront, I could even go so far to say that it's similar to hickory. Hints of coffee, and caramel in the back.

Rather thin feeling, leaves a bit of sparkle on the back of the tongue before dissipating. Very smooth and drinkable.

This brew fits my tongue very well, very pleased. Would buy this again.

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Photo of HamdenHector
3.69/5  rDev -8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A: deep brown with garnet accents; 1 finger tan head that receded quickly to a thin collar; nice lacing;

S: deeply roasted grains, but quickly overtaken by smoke;

T: an initial hit of sweetness followed by coffee and smoke; the finish is lightly bitter and long with the smoke sticking around;

M: medium bodied; moderate carbonation;

O: the smoke is nicely done, not overwhelming; I would have like a little more hop flavor, but it's still really nice;

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Photo of hail_seitan
4.25/5  rDev +6%

Enjoyed this on nitro tap in a 20 oz. glass.

A - Rich chestnut color with a thick, frothy of white head.

S - Smoke, smoke, and more smoke. A mild nuttiness sneaks in there, too.

T - Smoked almonds (unsalted, of course), graham cracker, and toast. A little spiciness from the hops.

M - Impeccably smooth, frothy, and rich.

O - The carbonated version of this beer is pretty good, but nitro makes this brew great. I find that carbon dioxide can make smokiness taste slightly acrid, much like getting campfire smoke in your eyes. But the nitrogen lets the roasty and toasty notes give the beer extra depth and warmth.

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Photo of titvs
3.5/5  rDev -12.7%

Review based on the BJCP2008 guidelines (style 22B). AROMA: background sweet and roasted malts from the base beer with coffe and chocolate notes. faint smoke notes with balance towards the base beer. some DMS is present. APPEARANCE: dark with a ruby color tint. average tanned head with good retention. TASTE: roasted coffe-like notes with a touch of pleasant and balanced smokiness. some sweet chocolate notes also present. low bitterness with a dry finish. PALATE: medium-low with medium-low carbonation. OVERALL: a good marriage between a dark lager and smoked malts, that would benefit with a bit more smokiness.

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Photo of fscottkey
3.9/5  rDev -2.7%

A: [4.00] Appears black - but with backlighting shows red hues. Gets a 1/2 head that is made of uniform khaki bubbles. The head has real staying power (Right after I poured I had a 10 minute converstation - before the first sip - the head had not gone down at all). 25 IBUs and 5.8% ABV. No visible date.

S: [3.50] Chocolate and smokey malts.

T: [4.00] Smokey malts and some sweetness. Their is a nice smokey chocolate after-taste.

M: [4.00] Smooth and creamy. Some slight tingle of carbonation.

O: [4.00] I like the smokey flavor and the sweetness of the malts. The mouthfeel is smooth and enjoyable. I haven't had a beer from Jack's Abby that wasn't above average. This is not an exception. It is not my favorite beer from Jack's Abby - but it is still worth repeating.

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Photo of Flounder57
3.87/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

12 oz bottle was poured into a pint glass.

Appearance: A one finger mocha head was poured that reduced to a thin layer. It is a dark brown black color with no vision of anything. Spotty lacing down the glass as the beer was drank.

Smell: Smoke, ham, toasted cereal grains, doughy, earthy, toffee, and chocolate.

Taste: Same as above. Some bitterness in the rear too. Nice mellow flavors.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, light to medium bodied, low to medium carbonation, and a little chewy.

Overall: Nice smokey black lager. I'll revisit this one again in the future.

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Photo of thierrynantes
3.98/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Beer bottle (33 cl.) purchased from Le Souffleur de bières, and tasted in 2014.

Appearance : red brown color, with white foamy head.
Smell : roasted dark malty and light smoked aromas.
Taste & mouthfeel : roasted malty and smoked caramel flavors.
Overall : a good beer in the style Rauchbeer.

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Photo of Roguer
4.02/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Absolutely beautiful beer! Tons of thick, thick lacing left behind from a very firm tan head. Very good retention. The beer is dark purplish-brown, not quite black.

Toffee, chocolate, and dates come forth, riding a subtle wave of smoke. The malts really shine in this beer, but the aroma isn't particularly strong.

Flavor is very similar to the nose, featuring a bit of dark cacao, slightly sour dark fruit (dates, figs), toffee, roasted grains, and finally a nice, subtle wave of smoke on the back-end. Not a lot of bacon or ham, like some smoked beers, but more of a woody smokiness.

Very smooth and lively feel, fairly light, but full-flavored. Long, sticky aftertaste, which allows the smoke flavor to linger long after the sip is gone.

This is a very tasty Rauchbier (Black Lager according to JA), eminently drinkable and approachable. A great choice for a slightly darker beer on a hot day.

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Photo of TheBeerdedCharmer
4.5/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Picked it up in a Mix Six. Bottle poured into a glass.

A: Beautiful very dark brown/black. Small head.

S: Mostly roasted malt smell, not overpowering.

T: I have never had a beer with such a complex taste. It isn't something I could drink all night but it is phenomenal. I usually don't like the toasted flavors but the hints of smoke even it out perfectly.

M: Medium carbonation. Fairly smooth.

O: This is a great treat beer. I would absolutely buy this any day.

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Photo of lurpy1
4.03/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

My first rauchbier. Thanks to dgthrasher for sending it in a BIF. I was expecting a lot of smoke - bacon beer if you will, but instead the smoke just played at the edges. That's not a bad thing. Malt and a dark chocolate hint take front and center. It's all blended well. You can really taste a well made lager underneath.

A little involved of a beer for a hot day, and a little thin to be a great winter beer. Hell of an autumn beer though.

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Photo of dar482
4.22/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

The beer looks like a porter in an opaque dark brown/black color in a light brown head.

The aroma has brown sugar, caramel, toasted malt, a bit of lightly roasted malt, some Jack’s Abby lager yeast, some hints of fruit apple peel, cherry skin. The smoked malt adds a hint of depth, but is surely not in your face.

The flavor follows with tons of complexity. A toasted nutty malt, caramel sweetness, and robust malt character. Lots of lager carbonation tickling the tongue with some lager yeast quality. The beer moves onto some lightly roasted coffee, a bit of roasted bitterness.

I would equate this almost to a brown ale/light porter. Just beautiful stuff. A love how much complexity they could squeeze into this beer.

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Photo of KelsoSaaz
4.3/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Poured into pokal

A: Pours a deep, barely transparent, brown that turns to pure black. Creamy, tan, 2 finger head that leaves plenty of lacing.

S: Musty attic smell, cacao, and a hint of woodsmoke

T: Black coffee and dark chocolate mix with smoky bacon flavors. Toasted marshmallow and some earthy flavor notes as well. Espresso-like bitterness lasts in the finish.

M: Medium to light body with moderate carbonation.

O: This beer to me is ¾ schwarzbier and ¼ rauchbier. This combination works so well here in Smoke & Dagger. Drinkable and with tons of flavor, this could be a great session beer. The unique profile of this beer makes it ripe for some great food parings. If you see this give it a try.

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Photo of gonzo000
4.32/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

An Excellent beer. I find myself going back to it time and time again at locations such as the Yard House, where there are 100 + beers on tap.

A - Deep dark beer with almost a smoky haze

S - Smell of faint smoke - not overpowering - which is a big win for this beer

T - Taste of light smoke, and creaminess.

M - A bit waxy in the mouth, but not overwhelming

O - Great beer. Highly recommended.

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Photo of pubby
4.21/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Dark brown edges to light brown edges. Just right on the carbonation
S: Chocolate malt with a dry smoke smell.
T: Really drinkable, dark cherry with a clean but not heavy body at all. not really bitter at all
O: Paired great with the Malaysian ribs.
Left me wanting more, Great finish.

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Photo of jbaker67
3.86/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours murky cola brown with a thin tan head. Nose is chocolate malt, subtle dry smoke, and a real light cherry sweetness. The taste is really drinkable, with light smokiness, a bit of dark cherry, more chocolatey malt, and a dry, roasty bitter finish. Smooth and soft in the mouth, with just enough carbonation. Really easy drinking, smooth and quenching. Excellent.

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Photo of DrJay
4/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark brown with ruby edges and a short, dense cap of dark tan foam. Lots of lacing. Looks nice! Smoky aroma that mellowed after some time in the glass, rich malts, biscuity and slightly nutty, faint hop notes. Moderate bitterness with sweet maltiness, more biscuit, nutty finish with mild smoke. Really clean yeast profile. Medium bodied with creamy carbonation, off-dry. I quite enjoyed this beer. The smoke character is generally mild, which works for me.

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Photo of Gwalchgwynn67
4.33/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pitch black with just a hint of ruby on the edges. Aromas of roasted coffee and dark cocoa nibs. Very nice balance of hoppy character and malty sweetness. It's bitter coffee up front and a clean, crisp finish that leaves a resiny hops bite on the back palate. The description of it being a cross between a rauch and a schwartzbier is apt. The smokiness is there, especially on the nose, but it's not all in your face. The flavor and body are much more schwarzbier.

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Photo of MadScientist
4.63/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

A: A dark brown beer with a deep ruby hue and excellent clarity. The head is persistent and pours with two fingers of fine tan bubbles that leave a light lacing on the glass.

S: A moderately-light Munich malt aroma with a lesser amount of smoke, light notes of dark roast malt and clean malt sweetness along with a hint of chocolate.

T: The German malt dominates with a light malt sweetness and smoke flavors. There is a light chocolate flavor along with some dark malt character. There is a moderate hops bitterness and the clean malt sweetness fades mid palate making for a balance the is slight towards the bitter. The finish is off-dry with an aftertaste of smoke and dark malt.

M: A lightly creamy, medium-light bodied beer with a medium level of carbonation.

O: A very well crafter beer with an excellent balance of flavors; the smoke flavor builds as you enjoy the beer but the other elements come through as well. The brew combined the best elements of Smoked Porter and Schwarzerbier.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
3.77/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

fun beer from jacks abby, sort of a cross between a schwarz and a rauchbier, being a darker smoked lager type. medium brown color to this with great carbonation, a one inch off white head, and picture perfect ring lacing as it drinks. the nose is not as smoked as I anticipated, more spiced than smoked really, with some chocolate malt and a range of other well toasted grains. lager yeast abounds. the flavor is still only lightly smoked, subtle, especially in a rauchbier context. darker malt gives some earthy character without a ton of sweetness, and there is an astonishing lack of body for the color, a really nice feature lending to drinkability. well carbonated and the finish is light smoke and wintery spice, a nice combination. not much hops though, but they aren't really missed. I like that complexity of this, especially for a lager. jacks abby has really redefined what it means to be a lager, and beers like this are a perfect example of their crusade against convention.

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Smoke & Dagger from Jack's Abby Brewing
89 out of 100 based on 150 ratings.