Dark Knight
Barley John's Brew Pub

Dark KnightDark Knight
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Baltic Porter
Ranked #4
Ranked #755
4.39 | pDev: 9.57%
Barley John's Brew Pub
Minnesota, United States
Dark KnightDark Knight
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Reviews: 88 | Ratings: 184
Reviews by BYOFB:
Photo of BYOFB
4.35/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

More User Reviews:
Photo of Bighuge
4.43/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

The Dark Knight is an Imperial Porter aged in Bourbon Barrels.

The Dark Knight is indeed dark.....as in Midnight Black. A luscious brown head adorns the top of this beer and has great retention. The lacing damn near coats the entire glass as I drink. Aroma is winey, oaky and bourbon-like. Some roasted malts come through as well on the nose. For being 12% a/v, this beer is really not that alcoholic tasting. The bourbon barrel character really comes through nicely on the palate. This beer has some port-like characteristics. It's fairly sweet, but the sweetness blends nicely with the alcohol spiciness and the bourbon qualities. There's a nice stinging bitterness that sticks around long after the swallow. Probably stemming fom the alcohol and roasted malts. Damn fine brew here.

It'd be nice if you could get more than 7-8 ounces for $5.25. Or get 7-8 ounces for less $$. A bit spendy indeed.

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Photo of Chaz
3.82/5  rDev -13%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours jet black (deep crimson when held up to direct sunlight) with a wisp of creamy head and nary a trace of oily lace. Vanilla-cream liqueur, bananas and just a hint of burnt oak cask on the nose . . . malty goodness abounds and frightens the little childrens and girly-men. My initial impression is that this is a liqueur . . . we sampled it side-by-side with the Dark Knight and back-to-back they are indeed the palate killin' crime-stoppers the name implies, roundin' up the cheap macro/adjunct baddies and puttin' 'em to bed for the night.

Sweet . . . but not without a couple fist-fulls of character: licorice notes, a trace of the oak from the cask, a touch of hop bitterness (it's gotta be tough to balance this one at it's alcohol level - 13% this time around) and a hint of the grain bill of Old 8 Porter. The bourbon character from the barrel is fairly mute and indistinct at first but presents itself more fully in its phenolic character towards the end of the palate. Yeast character is surprisingly evident and yet adds to the flavor profile, almost spicy here (the fellow I was with seemed to think it was like a hefe-weiss mixed with the old eight porter, some bananas, and a ton of booze . . . sounds like a Tiki drink I've had!)

Mouthfeel is indeed silky smooth, but carbonation is more apparent here than in the Dark Knight, which gave the impression of a hand-pull.

Oh yeah: the alcohol, while well-hidden, is VERY warming.

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Photo of ADR
4.32/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at the brewpub...

Dark and opaque, thin spidery head with simple string lace. Heavy malts mark an aroma that only hints at what's to come. Husky carob flavors, almost chocolate but not, backed by a dried fig fruitiness. Impressive mutating flavors, switches emphasis to a more highly bittered roastiness on later sips. Substantial alcohol is decently well-hidden. In another switch, by the end of the glass (and its only a small snifter), there's a distinct sense of Oreo cookies and cream with some spiced pear up the nasal cavities. This brew is quite layered and impressive.

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Photo of cokes
4.5/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Tar black with ripples of brown on top.
Nose of burnt hazelnuts and oak, completing a molten fudge caramel brownie.
Begins sweet, with dark raisin and plum notes, then it turns forcefully chocolately. Traces of liquorice and maple syrup, and a nod towards roastedness. Vanilla creeps in, preludes the rich bourbon finale, with toasted oak, caramelly hazelnut booze sweetness everywhere.
Robust of feel and thickness, this is a fabulous rendition.

Rosie who?

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Photo of bditty187
4.33/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served in a tiny snifter, 5-ounces.

Absolute black, opaque. It was served with a tiny beige head; the retention was fair as it faded to a foamy collar, sparse in the middle. The appearance is impressive. Great color and all but the small serving glass seems to up the ante. For such a high abv beer I am impressed with the subsequent lacing, it was spotty but fairly widespread. The nose starts off with Jim Beam-like aromas with hints of cheap whiskey (possibly Old Crow), raw alcohol notes as well. Actually the nose seems like bourbon soaked mocha-chocolate coffee. The roasty coffee aromas are way in the back and just not loud enough. Regardless this bouquet is still very inviting. The potency is solid. The palate has its raw moments, they are not overwhelming, and the alcohol flavors add plenty of depth as does aging this beer in bourdon barrels. I get a lot of Jim Beam-like flavors. Awesome. The porter aspects are too secondary and mostly hidden. The chocolate, coffee notes are too weak. I am surprised that this beer is not very sweet and it is actually very dry. Quite flavorful! The finish is warm and alcoholic, bourbon, faint hints of charred wood. This is a lovely beer, something to sip and savor. I am impressed at how easy going this big, complex beer is. The mouthfeel is good but ordinary; honestly I wish it were chewier. It is a little fuller than medium, low but natural carbonation. Very good stuff here, I’m glad I got the chance to try it.

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Photo of BeerBuilder
4.74/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

My cuz STUBOB and myself swung by Barley John's today and sampled this one. It was all in all a great beer. We had the pleasure of being able to talk with the brewer, head chef, and owner, John. He was a really friendly guy who was happy to talk about his beers. Anyway, on to the beer. This one came in a little snifter. It was as black as midnight with a brown head. The aroma was great. It was port-like and oaky with a nice roastiness and a bit of alcohol. My anticipation was growing. The taste was amazing, with the port, oakiness coming through. There were also flavors of dark fruits, such as figs and dates. After talking with the brewer we found that he used a high gravity Trappist yeast for this one that gave it the estery dark fruit flavors. It also had a nice roastiness to it. All in all it was a high octane brew, one to be sipped, but it was still easy drinking. An exceptional brew, probably one of the best brews I have ever had.

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Photo of feloniousmonk
4.77/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Served in a little snifter, about 5 ounces.
Total blackness, ebony's epitome, with a tiny ring of burnt brown espresso-toned foam foam.
Aroma is incredible, a bold, blatantly alcoholic cornucopia of flavor: dark rum, molasses, carob, plum, fig, a myriad mix, laced with whiskey and maple syrup. A nose I plunged mine into for as long as I could.
Taste: again, incredible. Here, I wish there was a larger serving, or that the growlers weren't so damned expensive, for I needed more time with this rich and ever-unfolding flavors. Thick mouthfeel, bottomless, vast, stretching on and on...same flavors from aroma return on the tongue, dark, twisted, utterly delcious, like chocolate and licorice and a jolt of Jack Daniel's on the side, with bitter bites of espresso tones to match the abysmal texture (in this context, I'm using the good definition), and wickedly sweet nature of the flavor.
Long finish, never-ever-ending.
An amazing beer, one that would start a riot if they put it in bottles!

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Photo of tavernjef
4.82/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Aged in a bourbon barrel and double fermented - Yum!

Color is a solid black with some brownish highlights around the bottom. Small tannish head fades super fast and leaves very thin sheets of lace.

Smell is like a chocolate-chocolate chip cookie soaked in cough sryup. It has a good strong sense of alcohol, with a really nice woody/earthy deep dark chocolate, with complex notes of molasess, black licorice, dried smokey plums, raisin, vanilla, and fresh wild flowery notes. Its what I would imagine a chocolate factory in an open wet forest would smell like with one nostril while the other nostril is under a cup of Nyquil. I could smell this all day. Quite an intoxicating aroma, no pun intended.

Taste is complex, rich, and invigorating with a ton of deep dark chocolate, some molasses, fruity-like alcohol with a dark earthy quick bite of woodyness finding some hold about midway finishing with more complexing woody earth features of sweet malty tang and bitterness with notes of flowery spice like that of dulled mustard or ginger. Wow! The bourbon barrel worked its wonders on this brew. Fantastic! Very port-like in its character. Packs a big punch in flavor and alcohol, you can tell the alcohol is there but is mildly mellow and lends the feel to be smoother then you would think. Very rich, nearly full overall in mouthfeel with a welcoming smoothness that makes this dark knight a deadly easy drinkin' Porter. Super Yum!

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Photo of weeare138
4.69/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Huge thanks to hopdog for sharing this luscious nectar...
Appears a dark brown bordering black with a light tan head that quickly dissipates. Very mild spots of tan lace slip back into the collar.
Smell...OMFG. Cocoa, caramel, plums, black grapes, vanilla, light oak, & traces of bourbon that has been cooked in a rich, chocolate reduction.
Taste is of the mentioned aromas. Lots of vanilla, cocoa, plums...I wonder if this is coming from the bourbon barrel, or if they used the Westmalle yeast strain at some point of the fermentation. Either way, it's absolutely wonderful and a pleasure to drink.
Mouthfeel is viscous, very full bodied, along with an alcohol, boozy burn that is outweighed by the delicious flavors and stickiness of this concoction.

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Photo of brewandbbq
4.49/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Hand bottled at the brewery.
Dated 2/7/05 on a computer label.

Pours opaque, shimmering, black.
Subdued beige head attempted fullness, but fell as quick as it rose.
Crescent edging of large to medium bubbles remain, along with dotted legs on the chalice.
Huge bourbon in the nose, vanilla beans, and dark chocolates.
Buffalo Trace drizzled fresh brownies with vanilla ice cream on the side.
Aromatics finish with lingering whiskey heat and black forest cake batter.
Medium body, oily and fusel laden.
Loads of bourbon on the pallet- a prelude to bitter chocolates, espresso, burnt caramel, and charred oak.
Extremely warming as it finishes, with the alcohols thinning out the thick, chewy profile a bit.
The bourbon slowly fades revealing a faint vanilla note.
Without a doubt, the most bourbon I have ever had in a beer, and it works very well with such a well made baltic.

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Photo of Bierguy5
4.14/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Hand bottled, not sure if from a growler or at the brewery. Black as the depths of outer space. A very thin tan head disappears immediately.

Big bourbon barrel aroma, oak, vanilla, and alcohol. A few dark fruits in the background. Hints of chocolate and roasty malt finish things out in the nose.

Very boozy and warming. Good amount of oak character, but not quite overdone. Very sweet, almost cloying. A bit thin in the body for such a beast. Nicy roasty component. Some fruit as it warms. Ends up pretty nice.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
2.64/5  rDev -39.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Hand bottle courtesy of Stine: Poured a pitch-black color porter with a small dirty brown foamy head. Aroma of bourbon is quite overpowering with some sweet malt notes also noticeable. Taste is overpowered by bourbon and I had a hard time picking-up other flavour. Body is quite full with alcohol from the barrel really coming out. I was a bit surprised as I was not expecting so much bourbon to come out in such fashion and I am probably not the biggest bourbon fan around.

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Photo of Crosling
4.1/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Smells of tiramusu cake soaked in light bourbon, covered with chocolate sauce and decorated with toffee, cherries and coconut flakes, with a side of sliced apple and red wine. Near opaque black color. Initially vinous, like sweet dark fruits and red wine, whichs then falls into a roasty blast of malt, with chocolate and roast. Grapes and bourbon on the finish, with light vanilla and coconut, although not as profound as I usually prefer in a bourbon beer. Soft texture, seemingly better when served at the brewpub. A really enjoyable, unique beer.

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Photo of Sammy
4.09/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Enjoyed on-tap at the brewpub. This is a refermented Dark Knight, and uses $250 bourbon bottles' casks. Wine colour, virtually no head. Above-average mouthfeel. Complex bourbon lavours, a bit of oak, a sipper Great aroma from the quality bourbon. Served too cold,so much better as it warmed.

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Photo of drabmuh
4.59/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Yet another growler in the growler fest held over at Mike's, seriously...whoa.

Beer is black / dark brown with a nice tan head of small bubbles that leaves some lacing on the glass. Decent retention and a nice level, low ultimately, of carbonation.

The aroma is sweet and fudgy with mild hints of booze and alcohol.

Beer is medium in body and really sweet on the lead off, immediately gives way to the liquor character of the beer. I really liked this beer a lot. Truly incredible. This would have been the star of any other tasting or night except for some of the ridiculous shit we had next to it. I would have this again in a second.

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Photo of skybluewater
4/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I debated whether or not to review or even try this one, because my pallete isn't all that sophisticated and as such I probably missed a bunch of things that make this beer unique, but I thought, what the heck, I'll probably never see it again, and you only live once.

I don't know why I decided to try Dark Knight tonight, or even try to find Barley John's (it's quite out of my way, and I generally don't get over to that area of town), given the nasty roads. But it's that whole "you only live once" thing...

This one pours into a rather small snifter a dark brown/black color. Now, I'm not really a fan of bourbon (which is why I wanted to try it of course ;-), and my first taste was a bourbon punch to the face. The mouthfeel seems a bit thin as well. It's not really all that alcoholic tasting, but I do notice a burning in my tummy, which is nice (If they bottled this, I'd be drinking it this weekend, when it's 40 below). As the beer warms, the bourbon flavor mellows, and the mouthfeel gets creamier. All in all, it's quite tasty, even for someone who doesn't like bourbon.

Honestly, this beer may be a bit mature for me. It's nothing like I've ever tasted before, and as time goes on, I may come to like these kinds of beers. But I'm glad I tried it, if only to expand my horizons.

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Photo of hopdog
4.32/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Shared a hand bottled sample.Poured a very dark black color with a small brown head. Aromas and tastes of dark fruits (plums and raisins), vanilla, apples, and a little woody and smokey. Sweet. Molasses. A lot going on here. I will definitely have to try and get some more of this one.

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Photo of whartontallboy
4.5/5  rDev +2.5%

Photo of KarlHungus
4.08/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This beer pours an visibly oily opaque black color. The head is small, and recedes into nothing which is expected from a barrel aged beer. The aroma is of oak, vanilla, bourbon, and alcohol. There are faint hints of roasted malt and cocoa, but the whiskey and barrel dominate. The taste is much the same: barrel, bourbon and alcohol. I get almost no porter characteristics in the mouth. I will note that the alcohol, while distinctly present, is well enough integrated into the beer that it isn't off putting, which I consider quite a compliment to Barley John's. The mouthfeel is full bodied with a creamy texture. The carbonation is a touch high for the style though. Overall, this is a very barrel forward version of a BA stout/porter which, to me, makes it one dimensional. However, it does that dimension quite well. For those who love barrel forward beers this is one to seek out. Those who prefer to still taste the base beer after its been in a barrel might want to pass.

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Photo of emerge077
4.42/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Thank you Anthony for sharing, you're a gentleman and a scholar.
Two plus years in a Heaven Hill barrel.

Obsidian black with a swirling crest of dark mocha foam sliding apart to reveal the glassy surface. In the light, the edges glint mahogany brown where the light passes through.

Rich vanilla and dark chocolate aroma, barrel kissed with some brown sugar and a slight whiff of bourbon heat.

Velvety smooth, silky and dense fudgy chocolate, espresso, and vanilla tones, with transitory notes of hazelnut and almonds. Chewy texture, extremely creamy and palate coating. Confectionary and rich. Barrel elements lend complexity without overshadowing the base porter. Long flavorful finish that dries out with some lingering oak, vanilla, and fudge notes. Very enjoyable, I savored my pour for a good twenty minutes.
Thanks again Tony!

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Photo of Raymond69
4.32/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this on tap before Darkness release. Listed @ 13.5 %. 6 oz serving.

Pours dark , coats glass. Small head , some lacing.

Aroma of whiskey , molasses , dark sugars , alcohol is apparent.

Initial harsh whiskey flavors eventually subsides to a smoky dark chocolate , bitter coffee , and maybe just a kiss of hops present.

Mouthfeel is thick , carbonation a little low , but to be expected.

Overall this was a nice treat I'd love to see bottled.

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Photo of mcallister
4.12/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Hand bottle from a trade. Pours a oily, viscous black color. Almost like sludge it may have even splashed on the pour. Poured with no head at all and no signs of carbonation.

I'm curious as to if this is really a Bourbon County Stout with the lable just taken off:)? Sweet vanilla laced oak, toasty and full of bourbon. Boozy and complex, cascading layers of wood, dark fruit, more wood, and sweet bourbon notes. Black cherry and black berry with a mollasses aroma. Dark chocolate covered fudge as well. An amazing aroma to say the least.

Huge amounts of residual sugar in this brew. Slightly cloying and sticky. Very oily viscous mouthfeel just as it poured in the glass. Only a thimble of carbonation, not sure if this is a culprit of the hand bottle. Very sweet concentrated vanilla flavors. Bourbony with a stomach turning type alcohol or it could be from the overly sweet elixir. However the beer is very good and desserty. Dark chocolatey ver dark fruits and brown sugar/mollasses. Creme freche. Thin and oily, and too sweet to drink many of.

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Photo of hoppymeal
4.37/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours black with a small dark tan head that quickly fades. Aroma hits immediately after pouring, huge sweet maltiness, dark fruits, leather and wood, a strong bourbony alcohol singes the nose. Taste follows with a rich sweet maltiness, strong vanilla notes, dark berry fruitiness, strong alcohol warmth in the finish is very large but on par for the size of the beer. Mouthfeel is medium to heavy, low in carbonation, but the carbonation that is there is creamy and adds to the fullness on the tongue. A bit of a bite from the alcohol at the back of the throat before it warms into the somewhat dry finish. Great beer, the barrel ageing comes thru very well, and though the alcohol is quite present it fits the size. Put this in a bottle and watch me go broke. Thank you to Eben!

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Photo of tempest
3.68/5  rDev -16.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Vintage 2006, 13.5%

I had the fortune of trying this the day after drinking Goose Island's Bourbon County Stout which provided a nice comparison for another bourbon barrel-aged beer. The Dark Knight is heavier on the booze with the alcohol present in the aroma and flavor while bourbon dominates the flavors. In the taste, a little cocoa and coffee back up the liquor, but I think the BCS is much more balanced by comparison. This is still a great beer and a wonderful sipper, but I'd recommend The Dark Knight Returns, which has a great deal less bourbon, over the original.

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Dark Knight from Barley John's Brew Pub
Beer rating: 96 out of 100 with 184 ratings