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Black Hand - Speakeasy Ales & Lagers

Not Rated.
Black HandBlack Hand

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

22 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 22
Hads: 112
Avg: 3.89
pDev: 26.22%
Wants: 7
Gots: 17 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Speakeasy Ales & Lagers visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
Milk / Sweet Stout |  6.90% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: hikanteki on 01-06-2014

Made with TCHO Ghanaian Roasted Cacao Nibs. This chocolate milk stout is full-bodied and creamy, with sumptuous chocolate notes and a delicate roasted character. Black Hand pours a rich dark brown with a milky coffee-colored head. Bittersweet chocolate and roast envelopes the nose, carried by roasted cacao nibs and chocolate malts. The aroma blends effortlessly with soft flavors of dry chocolate and darkly roasted malts. The addition of milk sugar provides a silky smooth body, with a subtle natural sweetness of cream.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 22 | Hads: 112
Reviews by spoony:
Photo of spoony
3.92/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.75

From a 650 ml bottle into a snifter.

A-An aggressive pour produces about one and one-half fingers of brown head. Retention is roughly a minute before only a thin cap is left. No lacing. The beer is black and still in the glass. This beer looks the part.

S-The aroma is rich and chocolatey, as you might expect from a milk stout with cacao nibs. I smell both milk and dark chocolate, although I suspect some of the milkiness is from the stout and not the cacao nibs. There is a bit of acrid, bitter smokiness hiding underneath the sweetness and chocolate that gives a little singe of the nostrils, but this beer is not charred or heavily roasted smelling.

T-The taste, like the smell, is a pleasant blend of milk and dark chocolate flavors with almost creamy base beer. Milky sweetness is high and I also taste a bit of sweet, malty fruits (like raisin and prune) that provide some nice complexity. The only problem is the finish, which I find a bit rough and grainy.

M-The feel is the high point of this beer for me: it is full body with a thick, chewy, coating feel on the palate. Carbonation is pretty mild. Drinkable notwithstanding the viscosity.

O-I'm glad to see Speakeasy in Colorado and this was a good introduction to the brewery...as much as I like 10-12% ABV monster stouts, I'll always take more options like this one in the <7% ABV range. The flavors here are well-done, but the rough finish takes this beer down a few notches. Mouth feel is great and worth the price of admission alone.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of anon
3.78/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Following its name, Black hand pours black. A slight tint of deep ruby shows through when hit with the right light. A real pretty brew. A small coffee coffee.

Sweet milk chocolate up front in the taste and smell; real nice and smooth. Quickly turning to bitter chocolate notes and a light coffee tinge.

Not much more to say of this. I quite enjoyed it. Too bad its only temporary.

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Photo of aszatk01
3.75/5  rDev -3.6%

Photo of t2grogan
4/5  rDev +2.8%

Photo of jose_alehouseSD
3/5  rDev -22.9%

Photo of aquazr1
4/5  rDev +2.8%

Photo of Stebow1289
4.19/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Photo of ste5venla
4/5  rDev +2.8%

Photo of samtrillo
4/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of biboergosum
3.88/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

22oz bottle - rather dark leanings, for both its theme and imagery in its label rendering.

This beer pours a solid black abyss, with faint basal red cola edges, and a teeming tower of puffy, loosely foamy, and bubbly tan head, which leaves some chunky, hanging lug nut lace around the glass as it very, very slowly seeps away.

It smells of bready caramel malt, strong milk chocolate, a bit of wet ash, faint black licorice, and ethereal earthy, dirty hops. The taste is grainy caramel malt, hard toffee, gritty bittersweet cocoa, milk sugar, root beer syrup, hints of cafe-au-lait, suggestions of muddled tart dark orchard fruit, and more wan earthy, leafy, and lightly perfumed hops.

The carbonation is quite laid-back, just a plain, earnest frothiness abounding, the body a sturdy medium-heavy weight for the style, and fairly smooth and creamy, earning an 'aware of the hallmarks of what a milk stout should feel like' gold star. It finishes off-dry, and not as sweet as one might have imagined, the milky chocolate receding, while the grainy and slightly sour malt plants its stake.

An interesting stout, and something of a shape-shifter of a brew, the initial malt-shop cocoa sweetness experiencing a metamorphosis of sorts by the end-game, which is much drier in comparison. Easy to drink, and hard to dissect - one of the better combinations of beer metrics that I've yet to come across.

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Photo of TheSixthRing
3.44/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3

Appearance - Poured into a 20oz goblet, this deep black stout produces a finger width head with good retention, resulting in a broken layer of suds across the surface. Small, spotty lacing with fair stick.

Smell - Moderate notes of Baker's chocolate, roasted malt and a touch of astringency.

Taste - A touch of milk chocolate sweetness upfront is quickly overtaken by dark chocolate and a touch of coffee bitterness that hit their peak by mid-taste. A moderate note of astringent acidity comes to greet the taste buds near the finish. Finishes strongly bitter and acidic, with only faint traces of any kind of sweetness.

Mouthfeel - Full bodied with low to fair carbonation. Somewhat creamy, then a drying finish.

Overall - A fair stout. From a style standpoint, a poor example. Not nearly as sweet as advertised and, flavor-wise, drinks much closer to a 'baltic porter light' with it's predominant bitter and astringent qualities. Not what you might expect from a milk stout. For the price, this is a one and doner for me.

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Photo of Bytor31
3.25/5  rDev -16.5%

Photo of Hozat
4/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of scottgoblue314
3.75/5  rDev -3.6%

Photo of Sleightball
4.18/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Great Stout, with kind of a sweet, boozie flavor to it, with milk chocolate notes to boot

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Photo of Nage37
4.75/5  rDev +22.1%

Photo of mc4z
3.75/5  rDev -3.6%

Photo of rowbow
3.5/5  rDev -10%

Photo of NRo
3.99/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Picked this up cold from the store and poured it into a chilled mug when I got home.

Appearance: Very dark pour with a finger-and-a-half tan head

Smell: An aroma of roasted, sugary sweetness. Not very distinct.

Taste: Delicious when hitting the tongue, with a thick, chocolaty aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Almost chewy. Heavy cocoa notes. Most of the flavor is in the aftertaste.

Overall: Great chocolate milk stout. Light enough that I can drink the whole bottle, while leaving my mouth thinking that I've just savored a box of dark chocolates.

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Photo of ChrisCage
4.42/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

A- The bottle itself is bold and looks like something of substance! The beer pours a dark chocolate color that reminds me of cola at the same time....it appears to be clear and the carbonation is fizzy in both sound and appearance...quickly disappearing and leaving little to no head....there isnt much lacing to speak of either....overall not a super impressive looking milk stout but I've got much higher expectations going forward!

S- Aromas are very rich and robust overall, with initial smells of heavy high grade cocoa/dark chocolate. Also, there is background aromas of bready yeast, malt sweetness and just slight hints of dark dried fruit, such as a date or something similar. No hop bitterness on the finish.

T- Flavors follow the aromas closely but with added zest....fresh cocoa, cola hints, bittersweet bakers chocolate squares, dark roast coffee, cream and licorice root. The finish is just slightly bitter but not in a hoppy version...more of a drying character...very nice, not overly rich, but plenty flavorful!

M/O- This is medium bodied with a fair bit of effervescence and the higher than average alcohol content is very well hidden! This goes very well with a chocolate pudding cake slice and as the label suggests, the black hand has taken me prisoner....it will be upon you too! Highly drinkable....easy to enjoy more than one of these in a sitting!

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Photo of jsh420
4.18/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of TruePerception
3.69/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Speakeasy's Black Hand, chocolate milk stout. 6.9% ABV

A: A little over a finger of light brown head. Pours a root beer brown. Black in the glass.

S: Definitely smell the cacao nibs, along with a good deal of roastiness, and a background sweetness. All seems to be in line with the style name.

T/MF: Nice dark chocolate taste. Darker roast further back on the tongue. Sharp sweetness from the lactose, but not overbearing. Also, a pleasant softness on the palate (though, not quite creamy). Head tastes just like cacao nibs!

Certainly better than Widmer's offering.

Poured from a 22 oz. bottle, into a clear beer mug.

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Photo of double2chin
4/5  rDev +2.8%

Photo of Beermasterjarrett
4.25/5  rDev +9.3%

Photo of spark3148857
4.08/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

22oz bottle poured into Speakeasy goblet:

Pours pitch black with a khaki/mocha head. Good lacing and head retention. Aroma is heavy on the lactose with some roasted and milk chocolate notes. Big sweet milky chocolate gives way to smooth roasty dark chocolate notes on the back end of the palate. Big and rich with a full mouthfeel for a 6.9 stout. Very enjoyable.

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Black Hand from Speakeasy Ales & Lagers
86 out of 100 based on 22 ratings.