Black Mask
Jackie O's Pub & Brewery

Black MaskBlack Mask
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American Imperial Stout
Ranked #320
Ranked #1,791
4.31 | pDev: 8.58%
Jackie O's Pub & Brewery
Ohio, United States
Black MaskBlack Mask
Notes: Bourbon barrel aged stout with coffee, cacao nibs and vanilla beans
Reviews: 29 | Ratings: 97 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of CaptainHate
4.59/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Saw this at the local grocery store back in December or so and just automatically picked up a single, like I do all Jackie O's releases of this type, and stuck it in my cellar fridge for the right time, like tonight. Poured into a DFH tulip, it had a small head over an inky dark brown body. Smell was full of chocolate malty aromas with a bit of vanilla; didn't really detect that much coffee. Not much barrel in the aroma or taste. Taste was nicely complex in a way I've become conditioned to expect. Mouthfeel was perfect. This is why I just automatically buy Jackie O's big imperial stout releases; they've achieved a level of trust that an occasional miscue won't diminish.

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Photo of REVZEB
4.18/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Tar black with a mushroom brown ring. Smell stars the coffee but also brings the cocoa and vanilla right in behind them as VIPs, barrel solely supporting. Taste sees the barrel influence gain, especially the wood, but still focused on the vibrant trinity of coffee, cocoa, and vanilla. Feel is lighter, staying adept and not cloying, good barrel and coffee percolation to break up the malts. Label arts deserves consideration as well

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REVZEB from Illinois, May 01, 2020
Photo of FBarber
4.22/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Pours a deep dark brown, essentially black color. For a barrel aged stout it has quite a robust head. A finger and a half of thickness initially it gently dissipated until just a thin ring of tan foam remains along the outside the beer.

The aroma from a distance is quite dominated by the vanilla, but as you get closer in to the beer, the coffee comes out more. Notes of roasted barley, cocoa, vanilla, dark chocolate and some light bittering hops on the back end. Everything here in the flavor is really well balanced - nothing is too pronounced - and nothing is too sweet. There is a slight alcohol burn on the back end, but its not too strong. More of a strong reminder on the back end that this isa barrel aged beer.

Feel is on the thinner side - makes this dangerously easy to drink. Moderate carbonation.

Overall a lovely stout all around and a real treat to drink.

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FBarber from Illinois, Mar 22, 2020
Photo of matts2896
4.56/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Cacao nibs and vanilla intermingle like vanilla bean ice cream smothered in melted-down dark chocolate. The sweetness is restrained enough to both give the adjuncts/roasty base adequate room to shine and to entirely avoid tasting like a saccharine, syrupy mess. I don't like pastry stouts, but this is really about as bright, complex, balanced, and subdued as they come (bright in flavor, subdued in sweetness and in the intensity of individual adjuncts). Barrel could have been more intense, but the vanillins and light oak provide a small balancing agent. On the finish, cacao nibs and roast profile take over and bring this beer into some moderated semblance of dryness. Overall, this is pastry heaven, whatever that means to you.

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matts2896 from Connecticut, Mar 03, 2020
Photo of Cyoung1313
4.21/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours black with minimal lacing. Barrel presence on the nose along with chocolate and roasty coffee. Taste has notes of vanilla, with ample coffee and barrel. Good mouthfeel, not too thick or thin. Overall another well done BA stout from JO's.

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Photo of GuyFawkes
4/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Released 12/13/19; drank 2/16/20 @ the Yarchives.

Black appearance.

An even pour yielded a nice dark tan head; decent lace.

Vanilla, milk chocolate syrup, oak, bourbon & dark roast coffee bean notes in the nose.

Creamy, thick mouthfeel.

Vanilla, chocolate syrup, dark roast coffee bean, oak & bourbon flavors.

This is a blunt object of a pastry stout, but it's not too shabby.

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GuyFawkes from Illinois, Feb 17, 2020
Photo of Dragginballs76
4.35/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Appearance - Pours black with a nice thin tight tan head that settles to a thick ring. Few dots of lacing.

Aroma - Roasted malts, coffee, oak, vanilla, light cacao and hot bourbon.

Taste - Very nice char right up front smoky and rich. Roasted malts, makers chocolate, vanilla is mild but adds sweetness, nice light barrel, great fresh ground coffee. Really complex and well balanced flavors.

Feel - Medium bodied slightly slick, mild warming from the alcohol finish is somewhat dry.

Overall - Really well done balanced stout, flavors are great and it is smooth and easy drinking.

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Dragginballs76 from South Carolina, Aug 06, 2019
Photo of JBowenGeorgia
4.27/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours dark brown with a finger plus of khaki head.
Smells of dark roasted malts, coffee, mild barrel notes.
Taste is dark roast, slight char but not overly bitter. Coffee, vanilla, and cocoa linger on the finish. Barrel presence is light.
Medium bodied with good carb level.
Overall a well balanced stout.

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Photo of Oh_Dark_Star
1.99/5  rDev -53.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 1.75 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 1.5

I love Jackie O's and hate to hate, but I also think it's important to point out quality control issues. This had gone bad in under six months. Sour apple nasty.

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Oh_Dark_Star from Washington, Apr 21, 2019
Photo of opieo
4.71/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

What a superb brew. Thick, rich, complex and balanced. Everything you look for and want in this style of brew. The barrel aging puts it over the top. I wish I could find it near me. Yes it has all the right flavors; coffee, chocolate, roasty, bourbon. The roasty is spot on; not burnt. It’s the smoothness and subtle balance of the flavors that make this one work.

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opieo from Virginia, Mar 23, 2019
Photo of wmickdds32
4.2/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Look....Inky black with minimal tan head with minimal lacing....ok lacing.
Taste....coffeee and chocolate with a little alcohol burn on the finish.
Feel....not thick, but not thin.....way smooth.

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Photo of Damian
3.57/5  rDev -17.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Drank from a 12.7 fl. oz. bottle purchased at Craft Beer Cellar, Belmont, MA
Served in a snifter

The beer poured dark brown, bordering on black, and was topped by a thin, bubbly, khaki colored crown that fell to a frothy collar. A spotty wall of lacing coated the glass after each of the first few sips.

The aroma was solid but somewhat simplistic. Big roasted malt presence. Bourbon notes also came through strong. Moderately boozy. Vanilla was quite apparent. Touch of dark chocolate. Powdered cocoa notes were later detectable as well.

The flavor profile was rather thin. Roasted malts led things off. Somewhat char-like. Boozy bourbon notes appeared next and crescendoed as the beer moved along the palate. Touch of vanilla. Dark fruits were noticeable on the back end. Raisins came to mind. The beer finished with more acrid roast and lingering booze.

The mouthfeel was really disappointing. It was super thin and watery for the style. The liquid contained a fine, subtle effervescence that turned light and frothy on the palate.

Another thinly bodied and overly boozy stout by Jackie O’s. What else is new? To add insult to injury, the coffee notes in this were completely absent. With such high ratings and hype surrounding the brewery, these guys must make some fantastic beers. Unfortunately, I have yet to come across any of them.

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Damian from Massachusetts, Mar 08, 2019
Photo of Holdensnow
4.18/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

The vanilla and coffee are the first to hit you quickly followed by Bourbon and silky chocolate notes. It's has a few moments of bite that doesn't seem to be as notable in some of Jackie O's other BA stouts. Still an absolutely delicious beer I will continue to enjoy.

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Photo of StoutElk_92
4.73/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

2018 vintage - Pours black with a light brown tan foam head. Smells almost like a dry port wine, bourbon boozy, slightly nutty, fruity, dark fruits, dried fruit, caramel, dark chocolate, coffee, vanilla, some oak, and toasted bready malts. Tastes like fairly acidic coffee, rich dark chocolate, vanilla beans, bourbon, oak, caramel, dark fruits, dried fruit, with some toasted bready malts. Feels medium bodied, smooth and creamy with moderate carbonation. Overall a real nice and interesting bourbon barrel aged imperial stout with coffee beans, cacao nibs and vanilla beans added.

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StoutElk_92 from Massachusetts, Jan 05, 2019
Photo of superspak
3.78/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

375 ml bottle into snifter, 2017 vintage bottling. Pours opaque dark brown/black color with a 1-2 finger dense and rocky khaki head with fantastic retention, that reduces to a nice cap that lingers. Nice dense soapy lacing clings on the glass, with a fair amount of streaming carbonation. Fantastic appearance. Aromas of big milk/dark chocolate, cocoa, nutty dark roast coffee, caramel, brown sugar, toffee, molasses, licorice, bourbon, toasted oak, and dark/brown bread; with lighter notes of vanilla, cream, fudge, marshmallow, smoke, char, raisin, plum, fig, cherry, berries, and yeast/roast/oak earthiness. Very nice aromas with great balance and complexity of dark/roast/bready malt, coffee, cocoa, vanilla, fruity yeast, and bourbon barrel notes; with great strength. Taste of big milk/dark chocolate, cocoa, nutty dark roast coffee, caramel, brown sugar, toffee, molasses, licorice, bourbon, toasted oak, and dark/brown bread; with lighter notes of vanilla, cream, fudge, marshmallow, smoke, char, raisin, plum, fig, cherry, berries, and yeast/roast/oak earthiness. Light-moderate roast/char bitterness, bourbon/oak tannin spiciness; and light tang/tartness on the finish. Lingering notes of milk/dark chocolate, cocoa, nutty dark roast coffee, caramel, brown sugar, toffee, molasses, licorice, bourbon, toasted oak, dark/brown bread, vanilla, cream, fudge, marshmallow, smoke, char, dark fruit, cherry, berries, and yeast/roast/oak earthiness on the finish for a good bit. Nice complexity, robustness, and balance of dark/roast/bready malt, coffee, cocoa, vanilla, fruity yeast, and bourbon barrel flavors. Fair amount of lingering bitter/acrid, and tart/tangy astringency after the finish, but not too overwhelming. Light-moderate increasing dryness from lingering char bitterness, oak spiciness, and tang/tartness. Light-medium carbonation and fairly full body; with a very smooth, creamy/silky/velvety, fairly sticky/chalky/tannic, and lightly acidic/tangy mouthfeel that is good. Pretty rough finishing. Minimal warming alcohol for 12%, with zero barrel booze lingering after the finish. Overall this is a very good barrel aged flavored imperial stout. All around nice complexity, robustness, and balance of dark/roast/bready malt, coffee, cocoa, vanilla, and bourbon barrel flavors; smooth and dangerously easy to sip on for the big ABV; despite the increasingly tart/bitter/tannic/drying finish. Definitely has a progressing infection after a year of age, but was still very enjoyable. Well balanced rich malts, flavorings, and bourbon barrel integration. Aromas far outmatched the flavors because of the astringency. Would like to try this again without an infection, I bet it would be amazing.

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superspak from Michigan, Oct 06, 2018
Photo of Bruno74200
4.14/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

L - pitch black with a one finger beige head

S - reminds me of KBS smell, vanilla, cocoa, bourbon, oak, red berries, nice smell

T - a bit tart berries notes, some bourbon, some vanilla, good balance but no big roasty notes more of red berries notes

M - vivid carbonation, a bit thick

O - I'd like a lesser tart taste with such a smell. Still a very enjoyable beer. Very balanced taste and not boozy at all despite the 12%

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Photo of Ciocanelu
4.6/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Dark brown color with mocha head. Aroma has full on bourbon, fudge, toffee, creme brulee. Taste follows with chocolate, fudge, bitter cacao, some vanilla sweetness but finish is bitter and roasty. Medium body with low carbonation. Really nice one, well balanced, easy drinking, ABV is hidden really well.

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Ciocanelu from Romania, Mar 12, 2018
Photo of qrazvan
4.3/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Coffee, whiskey smell.
Whiskey taste with a pleasant sweetness in the back. The expresso feel becomes present after a while. Bitter feel. Dry. Mellow alcohol feel.
Really good.

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qrazvan from Romania, Mar 12, 2018
Photo of buschbeer
4.14/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12.7 FL. OZ. bottle
Served in a Jackie O's snifter

This beer pours black as coal and is topped with less than an inch of mocha head that leaves no lacing.

The bourbon has transformed into a delightful vanilla and caramel smell. The coffee and chocolate are faint but compliment the flavor.

It starts out with dark chocolate. Then some coffee creeps in and builds into the finish. The bourbon flavor takes a backseat to the coffee.

Full, smooth mouthfeel

This is a really good beer from Jackie O's. I have been fortunate to avoid the infection bug that seems to be going around.

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Photo of Beersnake1
4.44/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I poured this from fridge temp, but I allowed it to warm over 30 minutes. Pours jet black with an attractive head. The nose is spectacular, showing beautiful signs of bourbon (initially), coffee, chocolate, and vanilla. Just as described! A nice sweetness comes through. Getting some nice cherries and raspberries, and a little bit of candy cane. Taste is similar to the nose - really balanced and smooth. The sweetness is there, but it is met with some nice alcohol heat. For some, this might be a bit hot. For me, it's just fine. I personally like a slight alcohol burn, but that's probably associated with my love of whisky. I get some nice coffee flavors - like a dark roast. The vanilla and chocolate come after, but they linger for a while. Getting a good amount of caramel and even a bit of black licorice and molasses. Mouthfeel is thick and creamy. This is an amazing beer and I am once again loving a Jackie O's beer!

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Beersnake1 from California, Dec 31, 2017
Photo of darktronica
4.25/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

2017 release, 500 mL bottle poured to a snifter. Confusing but intriguing hints of brandy on the nose: interesting given the provenance from bourbon barrels, but I do get a waft of apples and spice before the coffee and vanilla hit. The cacao nibs are milder, primarily making themselves known on the palate. Super smooth mouthfeel and moderately full body, consistent with Jackie O's typical BA stout and porter profile. Another winner.

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Photo of Treyliff
4.36/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

375ml bottle poured into a snifter

A- pours deep black color with a one-finger khaki colored head that reduces to a ring around the edge

S- heavy bourbon barrel aroma up front that adds notes of caramel & coconut. The coffee, cocoa and vanilla are all present, as well as a bit of charred malt & vanilla cream

T- sweet cocoa and vanilla lead off, adding a big chocolate note. Mid-palate gives bold bourbon barrel notes that gives plenty of woody oak as well as some barrel juice and caramel. The finish brings out some earthy coffee, as well as more bourbon barrel and lingers of cocoa and vanilla

M- medium-thin body with moderate carbonation leads to a foamy mouthfeel that continues into a slightly warming finish

O- plenty of bourbon barrel with all of the adjuncts noticeable, very good

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Treyliff from West Virginia, Dec 13, 2017
Photo of goingbrokeonbeer
4.41/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours black as night with a tan head that quickly dissipates. First smell is chocolate, then vanilla, some barrel, and a bit of coffee. Taste to me is more vanilla, then chocolate, then the barrel kicks in with a slight hint of coffee. Mouthfeel is medium-heavy. This is a really good stout that I'm glad I got a chance to try.

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goingbrokeonbeer from South Carolina, Dec 06, 2017
Photo of Sabtos
4.04/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Oily black with burnt brown edges, this has a minimal tan creamed carbonation on top that quickly dissipates to nothing but a shiny, slick surface.

Smell is chocolate syrup and vanilla with minimal accents of cocoa roasted malt and coffee, and, peaking in as it warms, smoked maple.

Taste starts toasty with oak, gliding into a luscious but drinkable chocolate-vanilla combo with nougat. Waxy, spicy bourbon introduces some heat just as some raisin pops in. At times, it all comes together to hint at brownie batter, but the medium to thin, slick round body with a crisp swish keeps it from being overly decadent. Black Mask does have a little more heft than some of their other beers, which I appreciate, while the finish is semi-dry and not sticky at all.

I had heard that this was hotter and thinner than some, which is funny because that's usually my primary critique of their beers. However, I like this better than some of their other flavored BB stouts, such as Champion Ground.

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Sabtos from Ohio, Nov 02, 2017
Photo of Thedusanmandic
4.93/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Wow. I didn’t expect this.

TL;DR : always have been a huge proponent and early adopter of Jackie O’s. Their barrel program is what put Ohio beer on the map with MI, IL, IN, IA and PA during the Great Lakes Late Aughts beer revolution.

This is different. Striking barrel notes and vanilla mouthpunch with that signature JO wavelength barrel ride. The taste of Handjee with a cortisone shot of the smoothness of Vanilla Noir. I love that the smell sticks with the olfactory and mixes with the taste a good whiskey does.

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Black Mask from Jackie O's Pub & Brewery
Beer rating: 94 out of 100 with 97 ratings