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Smoke & Dagger | Jack's Abby Brewing

very good
162 Reviews
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Smoke & DaggerSmoke & Dagger

Brewed by:
Jack's Abby Brewing
Massachusetts, United States | website

Style: Rauchbier

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.80%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
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

Added by mduncan on 07-29-2011

User Reviews
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Reviews: 162 | Ratings: 961
Photo of alpinebryant
4.03/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours black with amber hues. finger of tan head

S: aroma of smoked malt, alderwood like aromas, light lager hints. Some nuts and earthy.

T: Lightly smoked wood and porter flavors come together nicely. This is an easy drinking complicated lager that I really can enjoy even in the spring. Walnuts and earth flavors blend in the back of the mouth.

M: High carbonation levels with a light airy lagery mouthfeel.

O: Having the more malt forward flavors of a lager and the lightness of a lager is very enjoyable for me after seeing mostly IPA's and or stouts. Its lightly flavored for a Rauchbier, but I think thats the point. Its not over the top, doesnt have too much of that bacon / saltiness, and is quite refreshing.

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Photo of mnrider
3.98/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours black with a smidgen of red tint. One finger of light tan head. Thin lacing
and the retention is also on the thin and watery side.

S: Dark chocolate and smokey coffee aromas. Strong. Dark fruits come in.

T/M: Taste is not dissimilar to the smell. Dark chocolate, malts are smokey and
roasted. Very malty. Toffee and hints of sweet caramel. Sugary. Bitterness seems
to come from the coffee taste. Medium bodied. Creamy at first, bitter and dry at
the end.

O: Complex. Seems to be a blend of a few different German styles. Nice change
from all the IPA's abound.


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

12 oz bottle poured into a tulip pint.

Deep chestnut brown with 1+ fingers of fluffy khaki head. Great retention with lively carbonation.

Semi-sweet chocolate, caramel, roasted barley, and hints of smoke.

Roasted barley, semi-sweet bakers chocolate, and caramel. Light roasty char with hints of smoked beechwood.

Medium bodied, smooth, and semi-silky with a slight roast bitterness.

Easily one of the best Schwarzbiers or whatever it is that I've had. Well balanced and incredibly smooth.

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Photo of CoffeePorter
3.96/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark brown in color, kind of resembles the color of root beer.
Smells like toasted bread, some caramel like sweetness and a bit nutty.
Tastes a bit burnt, some mild bitterness and hints of bread along with a nice sweet tasting finish.
Some mild carbonation, smooth mouthfeel, light like a lager.
Definitely the best lager i've had up to this point!

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

12 oz. bottle into a snifter.

a: Dark brown with hints of Burgundy when he's up to the light. Light tan, bubbly, rocky, one finger and a half of head that dissipates into a whispy rim. Very light lacing.

s: Cocoa, iced coffee, molasses.

t: Coffee, cocoa, pumpernickel. Slightly bitter, coppery finish.

mf: Light carbonation. Slight crispness. Refreshing like a lager. But beefy like a stout. Slick finish.

o: I am surprise how much I like this beer. Especially considering how little I like beechwood. I will definitely keep more of an eye out for this style.

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Photo of Duhast500
3.96/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a Dogfish pint glass.

The color is a dark brown and almost black with some maroon highlights. There is a finger of foamy tan head and some nice webbed lacing left on the glass.

The smell is malty with a dark toasted bread aroma. There is some nutty aroma here in the nose that is slightly hazelnut with just a slight touch of bourbon or oak or both. There is some hints of caramel and toffee that is not surprising and pretty welcoming.

The taste is more of that dark malty goodness. There is some burnt toast here in the flavor as was in the nose. There is a silky toffee flavor that has a milky flavor in the far back. There is a slight bitterness that is just a tiny bit hoppy here and there before making a quick presence at the end. There is some slight dark fruit here with a slight fig flavor that hangs behind some of the touches of bread dough that go out a bit.

The feel of this beer is light but boarders a medium bodied beer. There just is a smoothness that helps this beer be very drinkable it is easy to drink it pretty fast.

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Photo of superspak
4.1/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Got in a BIF from ZebraCakez. 12 ounce bottle into lager glass, bottled on 11/24/2014. Pours crystal clear deep reddish brown color with a 1 finger dense khaki head with good retention, that reduces to a small cap that lingers. Light spotty soapy lacing clings down the glass, with a moderate amount of streaming carbonation. Aromas of big chocolate, cocoa, coffee, wood smoke, toast, dark bread, herbal, and roast/smokey earthiness. Damn nice aromas with good balance and complexity of roast/bready malt and smoke notes; with great strength. Taste of chocolate, cocoa, coffee, wood smoke, toast, dark bread, herbal, and roast/smokey earthiness. Fair amount of roast/herbal bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of chocolate, cocoa, coffee, wood smoke, toast, dark bread, herbal, and roasted earthiness on the finish for a good bit. Damn nice balance and robustness of roast/bready malt and smoke flavors; with a great roasted bitterness/sweetness balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Very clean on lager flavors with no yeast ester notes present. Medium carbonation and light-medium bodied; with a very smooth, fairly crisp, and lightly bready/chalky mouthfeel that is great. Alcohol is well hidden with minimal warming present after the finish. Overall this is an excellent smoked schwarzbier style. All around great balance and robustness of roast/bready malt and smoke flavors; and very smooth and crisp to drink. A very enjoyable offering.

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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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Smoke & Dagger from Jack's Abby Brewing
89 out of 100 based on 162 ratings.