Dark Knight | Barley John's Brew Pub

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Brewed by:
Barley John's Brew Pub
Minnesota, United States | website

Style: Baltic Porter

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 12.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by Bighuge on 07-17-2003

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Reviews: 81 | Ratings: 153
Photo of josephwa
5/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A - frothy mocha head, dark brown color, good head retention.
S - bourbon, roast, chocolate, sugar, oak.
T - roasted malt, bourbon, strong whiskey after taste!
M - very bubbly, light medium body.
O - overall really tasty, almost tastes like half whiskey, half Baltic porter.

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Photo of hopazoid
5/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I bought a growler back in January and took a chance at transferring it into 750ml bottles. Surprisingly it held up very well. Poured just like it did from the tap.

Dark brown in color.
Nice bourbon chocolate aroma.
Taste of heavy bourbon, oak, caramel and chocolate.
Velvety smooth mouth feel.
Over all one of the best Baltic Porters around.

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Photo of Beerdregs
4.87/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at the dark knight returns halloween bash.

A: Served in a small tulip glass. Poured a black, no light passing through with a half finger of espresso brown head.

S: Wonderful bourbon aroma with mingling of dark fruits, charred oak and chocolate. The aroma is letting me know there is a lot coming up on the taste.

T: Bourbon, chocolate, dried fruit and some mocha like sweetness that I haven't tasted before from a non-coffee stout. Sweet, but balanced perfectly between the bourbon and alc. burn.

M: Slick/oily mouthfeel with mild carbonation. Dries fairly quickly in the mouth as the alc. dissipates the flavors and aromas up into the nose.

O: This is an excellent big bourbon stout. Unsurprisingly Barley John's has another peerless beer in their line up. The only downside is the price at over 9 dollars for a small tulip! Was worth it though.

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Photo of tavernjef
4.82/5  rDev +11.3%
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 feloniousmonk
4.77/5  rDev +10.2%
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 BeerBuilder
4.74/5  rDev +9.5%
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 mikesgroove
4.72/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

part of the goodies i brought to gbx last night, i opened this one up with two good buddies. poured into the mikkellar glass i ended up keeping, this was enjoyed on 6/11/2011 for my bday!

the pour was dark, abyss like dark with a light tan head that more coated the glass then rose up off the top of it. an aroma that was to die for. chocolate, rich bourbon notes, vanilla, coffee, wood and oak, this was amazingly complex. as it warms licorice and roasted malts. flavor came through exactly the same, simply amazingly complex with a smooth and subtle presence that was just divine. each sip seemingly opening a door that the last had closed.

overall a massive beer, alcohol is not soo upfront as you can just feel this one ripping you apart. one of the biggest things i have had in a while.

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Photo of weeare138
4.69/5  rDev +8.3%
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 LittleBreeze
4.69/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2006 vintage on tap at the brewery (7/7/2008)

Small light cocoa head on black.

The smell is fantastic. I think I could enjoy the smell forever. Bourbon. Nice warm vanilla. Chocolate...there is a spice or herb like smell in the background. There is so much going on in this beer. Taste adds roasted coffee, fruits, sweetness and a little bitter bit to the aromatic flavors. Baltic Porter that chews like a RIS. Outstanding mouthfeel.

At over 13%, this beer is smooth. 5 oz pour at a pub is enough. This sipper is smooth and complex...and rich.

If you have an opportunity...try this beer.

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Photo of drowland
4.68/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

On tap at the Great Taste of the Midwest. Pitch black pour with a small brown head that fades quickly. Awesome aroma of bourbon, vanilla, oak, and more. Amazing flavor of wood, chocolate, coconut, and lingering roast coffee. Awesome flavors and perfect balance. Stellar.

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Photo of
4.68/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

On tap at the source, 1/15/08. Poured quite well for a retired beer...

Black as knight, opaque. Very small, cocoa brown head. Nice legs, no lacing.

Served very cold, so scent was quite restrained. Sweet, chocolate and dark fruits.

Taste was more sweet than bitter. Dark fuits. Some bitter chocolate. Vanilla and bourbon flavors. Almost port-like. Finished with a little bit of herbal bittering.

Very full body. Low carbonation. Sweet.

Fantastic, really gives the other heavy hitters a run for their money. Even though a baltic porter, would stand up well in a RIS tasting.

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Photo of aerozeppl
4.67/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A: Black. No light at all. Not even a little. Minimal mocha colored head.

S: Whiskey and then chocolate. The smell made me afraid to taste this beer. Really wonderful nose. Another beer I had that reminds me of this is the 30 year Old Dubh.

T: Starts off with oak and whiskey. Then it goes into a bitterness and finishes with a blast of chocolate. It also picked up some hints of coffee as it warmed.

M: Lighter than you would think. Probably still a heavy body but from the nose and the taste I wanted this to be tar.

D: Somehow really drinkable. The smell scares you but once you dive in it is a really nice treat. Awesome beer with an awesome name.

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Photo of DarkerTheBetter
4.63/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Definitely not retired, but this one said it weighted in at 13.5%.

This beer came dark as night in a small snifter. The head looked like something off of hot cocoa. When held to the light, it was still black. Dark as (k)Night, indeed.

Smells of a vanilla pudding with a sharp bourbon sting. Hidden beneath are dark chocolates and rye bread.

Tastes of roasted marshmallow and maple syrup, again with dark chocolate. A few cherries come through too but there’s an astringent alcohol that masks the sweetness. A sweet bourbon comes out too. In the finish, it takes a turn towards the dry with a bit of pineapple and pine hop, but mostly the dry woody pine. The adventure of flavors encountered and the order that they appear while sipping this makes for quite a beer.

I cannot believe how clean this one is. It’s light, but dense and syrupy. Fortunately and amazingly, a light carbonation bustles up whisking away the sticky leaving my mouth clean and dry. Well done!

A nice treat for sure.

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Photo of BOLTZ7555
4.62/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle shared with Sparky27...never thought I’d get a chance to try this...THANKS ERIC!!! This one packs a Mike Tyson-like uppercut...will knock you on your ass if you aren’t paying attention!!! Not a sliver of light is able to escape this black-hole colored beer. A diminutive burnt caramel head builds but quickly recedes. Aroma is brown sugar, heavy bourbon, dark fruit, molasses and vanilla. Heavily charred oak, bitter chocolate, and aggressive bourbon flavor. Warms the belly and numbs the mind. A truly great beer.

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Photo of baconsausage
4.62/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2011 release
Pours a very dark brown with a minimal amour of tan carbonation. Smells is dripping with bourbon and chocolate. Taste is more of the same, with light carbonation. Smooth with a little dark fruit in the mix. Really good. Thanks liquor barrel!

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Photo of TheDudeRules
4.62/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This offering is of the 5.5oz variety. Poured exclusively in a small wine glass by the brewery.

Jet black pour with a reddish head. They pour it with very little head to get the maximum amount of beer in the glass. The head was about a 1/4 inch. Big bourbon on the nose. It demands center stage of the smell. Fig and dark fruit with a touch of chocolate are faint but there. Very little carbonation. I was expecting as much. Bourbon in the mouth as well. There is a slight burn but not off putting. This beer is 15% folks, it's bound to be there but the taste is so damn good. I've noticed certain bourbon barrel beers taste like roasted coconut to me. This one does as well. Bourbon, roasted coconut, char, and some bakers chocolate. Heavenly. Glad I finally had this and I hope the people I sent the growlers to enjoy it equally as much.

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Photo of ncmussell
4.62/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Tried on tap on three occasions. Almost black appearance with a small brown head that dissipates relatively quickly. The smell on this beer is absolutely stunning with sweet bourbon notes. Taste and mouthfeel is silky smooth. Could drink lots of this on a nice winter evening! The alcohol and bourbon flavor are very well integrated into the finished product. I think the porter and bourbon barrel combo work really well together and I haven't seen a better one done than this one.

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Photo of WilliamD
4.6/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Served in a small snifter. Dark, mocha brown, with no head. Very still.
Smells of chocolate, bourbon, oak, rich malts & booze. Very enticing.
Very complex taste. Strong bourbon notes and hefty booze taste, but not overwhelming by any means. Roasted malts, dark chocolate and vanilla. There is another delicious, rich milk chocolate aftertaste that sits in the back of the throat. I looked forward to this after each sip.
Mouthfeel is excellent- smooth and creamy, followed by some soothing alcohol burn. Warm and cozy on the way down. Flat, but rightly so with this one.
Very, very strong, and considering the fairly small portion it is served in, I definitely felt the impact. So tasty that I was extremely tempted to have another. Not meant for consumption in large quantities. This is a sipper- something to appreciate slowly.
I sat on the patio outside Barley John's on perhaps the nicest day of the year in MN so far, sipping on this delicious brew while unwinding from a day's work and enjoying the sunset. Not a bad way to spend a late Monday afternoon at all.

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Photo of drabmuh
4.59/5  rDev +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 spacecake9
4.57/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

I've been a fan of Barley Johns for several years now but as an out of towner I never had a chance to taste Dark Knight until now.

Served in a 5 oz wine glass
A - Dark and mysterious, black with small tan head and much lacing.
S - Almost no nose, just a bit of bourbon.
T - The bourbon is upfront with hints of dark fruit, caramel and vanilla.
F - Clearly a sipping beer with a definite alcohol burn on the throat.
O - Outstanding beer!

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Photo of mtomlins
4.56/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

From a wide-mouthed growler.
Thanks to Pushkinwow for sharing!

Pours black, viscous with a thin brown head. It has a big aroma and makes me think of a decedent brownie sundea: rich chocolate, vanilla, bourbon, coffee. On the palate, all the chocolate and sweet roasted grains come through with flavors of vanilla, bourbon and coffee. Thick mouthfeel, but still very drinkable. An outstanding beer!

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Photo of ahalloin
4.53/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The infamous Dark Knight came at the end of the great day of trying local brews in the Twin Cities area.

The pour was absolutely pitch black with no where for light to go. The head was a dark tan and lingered well into the consumption. Just like Dark Lord and Darkness the beer clung to the sides as the glass was tipped creating a tint.

The aroma is unbelievable boozy. Dominated by bourbon, some roastiness of the underlying beer creeps through, but not much. It has the aromatic complexity of a big red wine, like a Meritage.

Taking a drink yields the booziest beer I have ever had. This should be considered a whole new drink! Bourbon beer or something... There is a distinctive burning alcohol in the nose giving way to a flavor of bourbon fermented dark fruits, like plum and raisin. The finish displays some bitter chocolate.

This beer isn't too far off from Sam Adams Triple bock actually with its booziness and dark fermented fruit flavor. There is perhaps more bitterness in the finish with the Dark Knight.

This one is special but isn't for everyone.

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Photo of kbutler1
4.52/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Draft. Poured into a small wine type glass a dark brown/black with a mocha tan collared head. Dark chocolate, oaky, vanilla, and roast all balance out the aroma. Medium mouthfeel, wish it was just a tish heavier. Lots of flavors going on in the flavor. Starts off with a roasty molasses type sweetness wih heavy dark chocolate notes that then transitions to the bourbon barrel flavors along with some leather. Theres no ABV listed but you definitely get some alcohol heat at the end letting you know that this is a big beer. Some dark fruit notes as well as it warms a touch. Worth the price is up for debate but nonetheless this is a solid beer.
Edit: as this warms the aroma gets even more intense and decadent.

Dark Knight Returns: Smoother than the Dark Knight with similar taste profile but the differences is the barrel aging makes a world of difference.

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Photo of Huhzubendah
4.52/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Growler shared by Thorpe429. Thanks Mike!

The beer appears nearly black, with a small, mocha colored head that hangs out for a bit, leaving random traces of lacing on the glass. The aroma is fantastic, with delectable bourbon, oak, roast, and chocolate. The beer is so smooth and well balanced. Hints of brown sugar with a healthy malt, bourbon, and roast presence. Delicious! The beer is medium to full bodied and creamy. Silky smooth on the palate, with alcohol hidden extremely well. Carbonation is light, but present. Overall, an outstanding beer. Highly recommended.

Had several pours of a growler shared by Brad. Again, fantastic stuff. Would love to have this again.

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Photo of cokes
4.5/5  rDev +3.9%
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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Dark Knight from Barley John's Brew Pub
4.33 out of 5 based on 153 ratings.
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