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Dark Knight | Barley John's Brew Pub

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81 Reviews
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Brewed by:
Barley John's Brew Pub
Minnesota, United States

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

For Trade:
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Reviews: 81 | Ratings: 154
Photo of Sean9689
3.92/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks goes to Chris (spycow) for this one! Poured into Bruery tulip.

A - Pours black, minimal head, some bubbles here and there, no lace or retention.

S - Big booze, molasses, dark fruits, burnt sugars. Lots of booze, and at 12%, it's not surprising.

T - Booze, booze, and more alcohol. Dark fruits, oak, slightly sweet/big booze finish.

M - Full body, rich, light carbonation, creamy finish.

O - Very hot and needs some more time before really hitting its prime, in terms of taste. It would be nice to age this one for a while, but it's hard to do considering the vessel and how fast it goes. Good, but not outstanding.

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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 Thorpe429
4.25/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Huge thanks to chewy08rx for getting this growler out my way. Shared at a recent tasting. Served in a tulip.

Pours nearly black with a small mocha head that lasts for a bit. Few legs on the sides of the glass and a spot or two of lacing. Thin collar throughout. The nose is heavy on the malt and bourbon with some good notes of roast and brown sugar. Some vanilla and oak go with the bourbon. Dark fruits in the background. The flavor has a really incredible bourbon presence with some dark fruits backing things up. Nice oak. Roasted malt is nice, and there's a bit of chocolate as well. Moderate sweetness on a full body with a creamy texture. Really solid and well done. It was worth the wait.

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Photo of emerge077
4.42/5  rDev +2.1%
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 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 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 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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4.5/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Theduderules sent me a late night message about Dark Knight on tap. Needless to say 10:30 at night we were sitting on the patio drinking this double fermented porter was aged in Heaven Hill Bourbon barrels.

Pleasant hints of Bourbon, Vanilla, Chocolate dominate with some dark fruit. Plenty of coffee on the ending.

It little bit boozy but less than you would expect for 13%. I enjoyed a few pours.5.5oz pour for 7.50 seemed like a bargain to me.

This has to be one of the best porters I have ever tried..The Dark Knight is worth the hype..glad I tried it.

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Photo of morimech
4.32/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A very good bourbon bomb. Served in a small chalice with one finger of head that held on for a little while. Just light sticky lacing is left on the glass. Aroma of bourbon, vanilla, oak, and alcohol. The effects of the bourbon barrel dominate the aroma and flavor. The flavor consists of bourbon and vanilla. Overall it is quite sweet and hot. The body is not as large as I would of liked with this type of flavor profile. Gentle carbonation and soft texture. This is a beer for bourbon lovers.

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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 psychotia
4.38/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at the brewpub, $8 for a 5.5 oz pour... ouch, this better be worth it.

Appearance - Black with a tiny, light mocha-tinted head that settled to a small ring for the entire 30 minutes my 5 ounces lasted.

Smell - Holy bourbon, Batman! This one smells boozy alright; oak, spicy vanilla, and a soft, charred, chocolatey smokiness.

Taste - No kidding this is a bold one... quite hot, but yet deceptively smooth. The chocolate is the side attraction to the bourbon for the first few minuted. As it warmed, I gathered more smoke and vanilla. Very nice.

Mouthfeel - Not thick or syrupy, as are many bourbon barrel beers I have had... but this IS a porter and I believe the mouthfeel reflects this style quite well. There is a nice smooth character imparted by the oak barrels.

Overall - very nice. I was hesitant paying such a premium, but it was by far worth it. While I could have continued drinking this, I am glad they serve this one in such a small quantity... it's one that could sneak up on you if you're not extra careful.

Sigh... if only growlers weren't $70... well, that's good news for all other BA's - more for you all!

If you find yourself in MN, go out and get yourself a taste of this. One of the finest bourbon barrel aged beers I have had (right up there with BCS, KBS, Backwoods Bastard), but be warned, this one is HOT!

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Photo of Chriscrundwell12
4.22/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

5.5 oz pour on tap at Barley Johns Brew Pub

A- Very dark brown body, almost blackish, brown mocha colored head, minimal lacing, no apparent head, slight carbonation.
S- Bourbon upfront, big big smelling beer, sweet vanilla, roasted coffee, dark fruits, molasses.
T- Again big big bourbon notes, can tell it’s a porter, does not have that big body that a stout has, vanilla is present, roasted malts and oats, as well as coffee, big bite after every sip, alcohol is definitely present, very warming as it goes down into my belly, not very balanced, bourbon takes over this brew, still very big complex porter that is quit special.
M- Big mouth feel, slight carbonation, sticky, Warming,
O- Solid brew, big big beer, the bourbon really takes over this beer, would like it to be a little more balanced, but overall was worth the price for the small pour.

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Photo of tewaris
4.18/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

"This double fermented porter was aged in Heaven Hill Bourbon barrels for exactly 1 year. Historically the strength has clocked in at 13-14% abv - this batch has not yet been tested. Huge roasted barley presence with a bourbon and oak finish. Served in 5.5oz pours."

5.5 oz, served in a wine glass, I think. It was dark outside so I cannot really comment on the finer details of the color that seems very dark brown to me. The beers looks very smooth and inky, with a tiny ring for head. Swirling forces some bubbles but mostly legs. This is a heavy hitter!

Vanilla, dark fruit, coconut, and massive bourbon in the aroma. This one is not very "coating" on the palate and relatively thin for a beer of its size. Quite bitter tasting, or shall I say not as sweet as I expected?

Mostly vanilla, oak (bourbon), hints of dark fruit, and massive roast. Strong on alcohol taste and very dry finishing because of roast and alcohol. A great marriage of roast and booze, this one feels like sipping Scotch, but with roast and extra bitterness.

Harsh at times, but enjoyable nonetheless. Every element of this monster is tainted by booze AND it's working as far as I am concerned! This is the thinnest and most dry barrel aged "dark" beer that I have had, and I am liking it. Recommended.

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Photo of mothman
4.42/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2011- Heaven Hill Barrel Aged

Pours a light ring of tan head. Color is a dark ruby amber hued brown. It is nearing black.

Aroma: Rich oak and bourbon, dark chocolate, molasses, dark fruits, dried cherries, and a light roast. Reminds me of a boozy BCS. The bourbon shows a lot, but in a pleasant way.

Taste: Huge dark chocolate profile followed by some roasted malts. Then a wave of bourbon hits with some oak and vanilla. It finishes with dark fruits and a coffee roast.

Mouthfeel: Warming, smooth and roasted. Full bodied with a lower amount of carbonation. Ends dry and roasted with a bit of heat. As it warms the bourbon shows even more.

Overall, a really nice beer. The barrels show nicely. I can see some people being overwhelmed by the bourbon and the abv, but I really enjoyed it. The bourbon flavors are delicious. It is very drinkable, but I am trying hard to make my small glass last.

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Photo of LaCoursiere
4.02/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

From Barley John's website:
"...This double fermented porter was aged in Heaven Hill Bourbon barrels for exactly 1 year. Historically the strength has clocked in at 13-14% abv - this batch has not yet been tested. Huge roasted barley presence with a bourbon and oak finish."

A - Served in a 5.5oz wine/globe glass. Arrived with a very thin tan head. It was the color of used motor oil with a bit of light coming through the edges with a ruby red tint. A thin collar remained as I drank. Minimal Lacing.

S - Roasted and smoke malts. Kind of smelled like slightly burnt caramel rolls thrown in a BBQ smoker for a while. Faint sweet fruits, cocoa and coffee notes were also in there.

T - There sweetness up front; dark fruit fig and raisin as well as caramel and toffee. There are anise/licorice notes in the middle. There are roasted and slightly smokey notes in the finish with a hint of coffee. All of these flavors are backed by the strong bourbon booze; leathery, oaky and spicy.

M - Heavy, slick and smooth. There is not much carbonation and it's not chewy. Lots of alcohol warmth with a bit of a dry finish. Excellent.

O/D A bit heavy on the booze. It didn't bother me as I love bourbon, but I feel like it probably did mask some of the other characteristics. I would think that a year or two in the cellar and this would be outstanding.

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Photo of boomer31
4.21/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours blackfish maybe a hint of ruby around the edges. No head and no stick on the glass. Looks like a menacing brew

S - Lots of vanilla and oak. Alcohol and more oak. Quite intruiging

T- Big sweet chocolate and bourbon. Alcohol burn in the back. I love bourbon bombs and this nails it. As it warms the vanilla comes in. Pretty sweet

M - cloyingly sweet. Low carb. A out what I expected

O - I loved this last year and am happy to have it again. The nose is spectacular and richness on the taste is close behind. I'd love to cellar one of these for a few years and see what happens. Another great beer from Barley Johns

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Photo of ricke
4.27/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The Dark Knight (Returns) version.

Short version:
Bourbon disguised as beer.

Slightly longer version:
A: Pitch black, basically now head. The liquid doesn't look very viscous, rather thin actually.

S: Massive bourbon notes take the lead, notes of vanilla, coffee and cocoa. Lots of well integrated alcohol. The malts struggle to get through, but the bourbon rules supreme in this one.

T: Bourbon and hot alcohol basically attacks the mouth in wave after wave. Really powerful and rich. Big notes of vanilla and oak. After a few sips, more nuances of somewhat sweet dark fruits, cocoa and dark chocolate manages to come through. The malty backbone is present but restrained. The finish has a decent bitterness to it with lots of warming alcohol and, what do you know, more bourbon notes.

M: Medium body, not as big as one would perhaps believe. Smooth and elegant texture. Mild carbonation.

D: What a beer! Nine times out of ten I would prefer the bourbon notes to be more restrained than they are in this one, but for some reason I think this one manages to pull such a bold character of. Although the beer is completely dominated by bourbon, it's still rather complex (wouldn't dare to call it balanced though). It's also important to note that you can really tell that it's an imperial porter rather than an imperial stout; it doesn't have the big body, nor the massive roasted malt character of an imperial stout. And I think this plays an important part in the success of the beer, since a bigger body, stickier texture and bigger roasted flavors would probably be to much with all the bourbon. With the porter backbone, it actually manages to come out as almost easy to drink.

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Photo of aaronhanson
2.83/5  rDev -34.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

A - Very dark, not much foam

S - Smelled a lot like bourbon, not bad.

T - Tasted like bourbon mixed with Guinness, and not in a good way. I had high hopes for this beer and it just didn't work.

M - Weirdly fizzy in my mouth.

D - It was hard to get through 5.5 ounces.

Overall I'm sad that this wasn't better. I had such high hopes.

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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 br3wmeister
4.25/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

A- The beer is a red brown that is so dark it is almost black. The head is thick dark brown and silky with tiny bubbles. Good retention with some lacing.

S- Lots of bourbon up front and some woody aromas. There is a lot of sweetness in the nose for this beer, good molasses and caramel. Some citrus hops, light vanilla and then alcohol takes over.

T- Dark chocolate, molasses start out strong but then fade to some subtle vanilla and charcoal. The next flavors come in strong with bourbon and wood, there is a big alcohol presence with this beer but it does not take away from the strong flavors that make up this beer. In the end there is some hoppy bitterness sweet malts and alcohol warmth.

M- Full bodied but does not dominate your mouth, it is silky and smooth on the tongue. Great balance and good carbonation.

Overall- This is a big beer, very complex with a lot of bourbon alcohol and sweet malt. This is a great beer.

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Photo of MasterSki
4.22/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Growler brought to me from a friend in the Twin Cities.

A - Pitch black, small dark brown head that dissipates quickly. Not much to say here - it looks slightly ominous.

S - Bourbon! Wow - I'm not even sure bourbon tastes this bourbon-y. There's also hints of vanilla, molasses, and oak, especially as it warms up. Reminds me of Bourbon County Stout, but even more intense.

T - Bourbon! Again with the molasses, vanilla, and oak. Strangely enough it's not as boozy as you'd think - but it's very strong in flavor. As someone who really likes this type of flavor I'm inherently bias, but if you don't like bourbon then knock this down quite a bit.

M - Much too watery for a beer that is this rich in flavor. No carbonation, some alcohol burn.

D - Surprisingly drinkable - the 13.5% isn't overly apparent, but it does warm your mouth and throat a little. I've had a few servings and I'm surprisingly willing to keep filling my glass!

For most people the 6oz serving is probably sufficient, but for bourbon-lovers this is a must-try.

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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 kkipple
4.07/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 2.5

A fellow BA member was generous enough to send me a growler straight from the source of this rare gem. This is the 2006 version, aged in Pappy Van Winkle casks. As far as I can tell, "Dark Knight Returns" is a different brew, or at least aged in different wood.

As my friends lined up to get their pours, I grinned and swirled the flat, black-brown sludge in the growler. It oozed forth into our waiting glasses, menacing and still. A low, subtle head sat atop the leggy, thick beer and waited for our eager lips...

The nose was big, real big. Dense, lush, burnt malts reached out and pinched my nose, followed by a heavy, slick bourbon wave and more than a hint of oxidization and soy. Pungent and nearly overwhelming booze is both a delight and a curse. Coffee swirls in the nose, but is nearly lost. Enough! I raise my glass to my lips...

... and my tongue is shocked by an exceedingly sweet, boozy beer. Dark sugars dominate and roll on, leaving my palate with dates, chocolate, coffee and bitter roasted grain. The whiskey is much subdued from the nose, it is deceptive and cunning. This is a huge beer. Quite delightful and heavy; a fine nightcap and one of the highlights of our evening.

The downside is, with a beer this big it's rare to get carbonation, never mind in a growler shipped halfway across America. This is rather flat, but is heavy and slick enough that you hardly care. The 13.5% advertised ABV really weighs this brew down, and the finish is long, long, roast and woody bourbon. A touch of alcohol burn reminds you to be careful when drinking this -- of course, we all wished we had more.

As expected, this is too rich and boozy to consume much of, but heavens is it lovely to try. Recommended... Dark Knight may not be as complex and scintillating as Dark Lord, but fans of whiskey and Imperial Stouts should put this on their shortlist.

Big props to Todd1 for hooking up some thirsty South Carolina beer geeks!

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Photo of beckje01
4.3/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- Black color that is just still

S- Semi sweet nose, then some nice big whiskey notes.

T- Good whiskey start with the malt to back it up a good balance between malt and whiskey. It's a very tasty beer, but needs to be slightly warmer then it tends to be served.

M- Good thickness and some activity.

D- It's a sipper not doubt but it's wonderful. Just remember to let it warm up they tend to serve it a touch cold.

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Photo of Sammy
4.09/5  rDev -5.5%
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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Dark Knight from Barley John's Brew Pub
4.33 out of 5 based on 154 ratings.
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