1. American Craft Beer Fest returns to Boston on May 29 & 30, featuring 640+ beers from 140+ brewers. Tickets are on sale now.

Smoke & Dagger - Jack's Abby Brewing

Not Rated.
Smoke & DaggerSmoke & Dagger

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

750 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 750
Reviews: 134
rAvg: 3.91
pDev: 10.74%
Wants: 39
Gots: 62 | 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: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | Likes | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 750 | Reviews: 134 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of mattparsons
4/5  rDev +2.3%

Photo of LeRose
4.3/5  rDev +10%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

First, I was happy to discover that this beer is not over the top with aggressive smoke or heavy with the roasted malts. Sometimes less is more.

Poured a deep brown with two fingers of rich creamy tan head that thinned quickly, but plenty of foam clung to the glass. Aroma was a whiff of smoke, maybe a little malt underneath. Not much there, really. But the flavor really popped in a nice little surprise package. Definite smokiness, definite roasted malts, some chocolate tones in the dark sweet area, nothing dominates and very well balanced. A little bitter on the finish, but carbonated well enough to brighten things up and make it lively. Crisp and clean. A very balanced, enjoyable brew.

Photo of CheapBeerBuzz
3.5/5  rDev -10.5%

Photo of dasenebler
4.08/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Jack's Abby Smoke & Dagger
.5L bottle, no date

Not really black, more of a dark mahogany with reddish highlights. Modest head dissipates quickly, average lacing. (3.5)

Aroma is clean, though very lagery. Some earthy notes and subtle hops, but that's it really. (3)

Rich chocolate malts and a moderate level of smoke on the palate. Not nearly as smoky as a Schlenkerla, however. Bready, light-roast coffee. Not sweet at all, with a dry, crisp finish. Smooth bitterness complements the malt character without overwhelming the subtleties. Carbonation is medium-low, with a soft, lilting mouthfeel. A very authentic and elegant lager. (4.5, 4.5)

This is one of the best American-made lagers I've had. I love the dryness combined with the malt complexities, all in a highly drinkable package. The other Jack's Abby brews I've had have been somewhat underwhelming, but Smoke & Dagger is excellent. (4.5)

Photo of homebrew311
4.07/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Received in trade with cbeer88- thanks man! Appearance is a deep auburn with crimson highlight, layer of tan head with plenty of sticky lacing. The nose is like a campfire, heavily smoked with layers of hickory, ash, and roasted malts. The taste meets the palate with some caramel malt character which brings a little sweetness before the smoke cuts through. Roasted malts and smoke take turns as it finishes with heavy woody smoke character. This is a very flavorful and smokey rauchbier, lots of depth in the flavor. The mouthfeel is somewhat thin with moderate to high carbonation. Overall, a winner, especially if smoked beers are your thing.

Photo of Gehrig13
3.5/5  rDev -10.5%

Photo of sdaly3
4.25/5  rDev +8.7%

Photo of redfox405
3.75/5  rDev -4.1%

Photo of dunix
4.5/5  rDev +15.1%

Photo of BigCheese
3.88/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle purchased right at the brewery.

A: Pours a dark ruby brown, near black. Medium sized tan head. Some decent lacing.

S: Toasted and roasted malts, got an english nutty bready smell.

T: Caramel, Molasses, brown bread. Roasted malts. Slightly smoky/peaty and a tad salty ham flavor. Some chocolate notes too. Its got a malt bitterness to it in a robust porter kinda way. Espresso notes/dark coco mixed with smoke.

M: High carbonation, lighter mouthfeel, still got a decent creamyness to it. Definitely sessionable and has that refreshing lager character.

O: Havent had many black lagers or rauchbiers, but I like this one. Theres a smoky aspect but its not overpowering. A solid session brew that I think would be easy to like.

Photo of Massbmx
3.75/5  rDev -4.1%

Photo of bostonryan
3.5/5  rDev -10.5%

Photo of ferrettman687
4/5  rDev +2.3%

Photo of BeerNacho
4.25/5  rDev +8.7%

Photo of BeerHunter76
3.75/5  rDev -4.1%

Photo of Maxwell
4.38/5  rDev +12%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer is named after Jack’s Abby’s two brewery cats, Smoke and Dagger. It pours a very dark brown color, bordering on black, but sits in the glass as just plain clean black with a light white fluffy head that has the barest hints of tan in it. On the nose, the beer smells nicely smoked with rich beechwood notes and slight chocolate and black coffee. The beer smells very much of woodsy smoke, but the smell still carries the clean lager aromatics that are expect from the style. I was hoping for a little more pungency, but now that the beer is before me I think too much smell would off-put its lager qualities and ruin the beer. On the taste, the beer is richly layered with woodsy smoke. In the initial gulp there is big Beachwood notes that are slowly enveloped with rich smoke and then roasted chocolate malts, and then rich dark coffee, all the while shinning with the rich complexities of the beechwood. In the middle of the taste the chocolate malts do provide a slight burp of sweet that borders on strange, but is quickly enveloped by the other complexities of the beer, and dutifully managed. Citrus is also present in the taste as a faint ghost that haunts the latter half of the swallow. The aftertaste of this beer is light with Beechwood smoke and hints of coffee, but nothing more. This beer is meaty with flavor, and deliciously easy to sip. On the mouth, the beer feels thin, crisp, and refreshing, as all lagers should. Carbonation is effervescent but not prickly, working to nicely cleanse the palate and ready it for another sip. After each sip the mouth is left only slightly dry with woodsy smoke and with the faintest hints of sticky saliva griming the tongue and roof of the mouth with the sweet smoke taste. Overall this beer is another success from Jack’s Abby, I think I like it more than the version brewed with coffee, as this beer stands perfectly on its own, and I feel that the coffee cuts through some of the complex flavors of this beer. This beer is very drinkable and completely worthy of a try, with great locally sourced ingredients and an even better taste. It even pairs well with Gorgonzola cheese! Try this beer!

Photo of Texasfan549
4.25/5  rDev +8.7%

Photo of Dools9
3.95/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle dated 10/17/12 poured into a shaker pint.

A: Pours a reddish brown, with ruby hues. Khaki, two finger head. Nice, clinging lace is left on the glass.

S: Good mix of roasted barley malt, light smoke, chocalte malt, and some caramel sweetness.

T: Starts off with a good dose of smokey roasted malt and follows with a chocolate and vanilla cream sweetness. Finishes with a light espresoo like dryness, mildly bitter bite from the roasted malt, with a lingering roasted, smokey char aftertaste. The smoke is a bit subdued, but as the beer warms it becomes more pronounced.

M: Lighter bodied, could use a bit more heft, soft mouthfeel, carbonation is right down the middle. Very easy going down, good drinkability.

O: Solid brew, finds the right balance of smoke, roast, and sweetness. Drinks more like a smokey porter to me but nonetheless, another solid offering from JA.

Photo of jondeelee
3.95/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Smoke & Dagger opens to a rich, smoky, malty nose that bears instant resemblance to freshly-ground coffee, smoky peat, and campfire made of pitchy pine branches. Touches of ash and tobacco add more earthiness. A good layer of caramel, brown sugar, and coffee cream helps temper the dark, smoky notes, joined by light touches of chocolate, and lighter touches of cherry, fig, and berry fruit esters, these latter notes fading deep into the background the way good spices complement a meal without being immediately noticeable. Good layers of brown bread, floury baguette, yeasty wheat dough, and toast crust add further dimension and complexity. As a whole, the nose is very nice, featuring a well-balanced mix of sugars, breads, and piney resins, with a superb smoky peat overtone that plays well off of the darker notes.

On the tongue, the beer opens with a nice, immediate shot of campfire smoke, ash, tobacco, smoky peat, and coffee, quickly joined by strong caramel, cream, and brown sugar threads, and instantly recalls creamed coffee sipped in a smoke-filled bar. The piney notes from the hops blend nicely with the smoke and ash to further amplify the campfire/smoky peat notes, balanced nicely enough that they play well with the cream and sugar, and don’t overwhelm the palate. Brown breads and yeasty dough add further texture. In subsequent sips the finer nuanced of this initial flavor fade slightly, but a good coffee, cream, caramel, and tobacco flavor still remains. The latter part of the mouthful in all cases becomes more heavily ashy as the sugars die off, and the aftertaste is largely ash and tobacco, with some lingering sugars and creams. Mouthfeel is a slick medium-light to medium, and carbonation is medium.

Overall, this is very nice fare, boasting a well-rounded, nicely balanced, and flavorful body that is everything a schwarzbier should be, with a tantalizing touch of smoky peat added that pushes the flavors to wonderful heights. It’s not necessarily a beer that brings anything new to the style, but instead prefers to set itself aside by being simply a finely-crafted example, and a model of understated perfection in craft.

Photo of cfalovo97
3/5  rDev -23.3%

Photo of kjkinsey
4/5  rDev +2.3%

Photo of nquigley16
4/5  rDev +2.3%

Photo of dubdrop
4/5  rDev +2.3%

Photo of CalebHiliadis
3.5/5  rDev -10.5%

Smoke & Dagger from Jack's Abby Brewing
88 out of 100 based on 750 ratings.