Dark Apparition | Jackie O's Pub & Brewery

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Dark ApparitionDark Apparition
Dark ApparitionDark Apparition

Brewed by:
Jackie O's Pub & Brewery
Ohio, United States

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.50%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
Russian Imperial Stouts are one of brewmaster Brad Clark’s favorite styles of beer and Dark Apparition is without a doubt his favorite beer to brew. We stuff 2200 pounds of malt into our 20bbl mash tun and by the end of the mash, dark malts are spilling onto the brew house floor! Brad includes great flavors he admires in his favorite Russian Imperial Stouts like chocolate, coffee, roast, dark fruit, caramel, and some nice earthy/spicy hop character. With a midnight black color and chewy, dextrinous body, Dark Apparition is a huge beer with tons of character.

User Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 210 | Ratings: 1,026
Reviews by sheenisgod:
Photo of sheenisgod
4.35/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

More User Reviews:
Photo of Bisco42
4.65/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

An absolute treat. Phenomenal RIS, bursting with flavor in the most subtle way. From the top down, if this beer is a glimpse of what Jackie O's can brew, than we are in for a treat. Luckily I have a few BA DA's and OoA in the cellar. Poured into a snifter at room temperature. One and a half finger head that leaves lacing for the whole beer.

L - Straight up black. Maybe even darker than Ten Fidy, and certainly a better head. Poured the same way, DA leaves lacing as well as a coat above the brew for the entirety of the beer. Really special and unique.

S - Coffee, Caramel, Roast, Earth, hints of Vanilla and Malt that leaves the nose desiring a taste. There is absolutely no part of me that feels like this beer is lacking in the smell.

T - Woah... definitely better than Ten Fidy, which is the beer I will compare it to. I love the mouth feel, but the flavors are astonishing. Fresh, Coffee, Dark Roast, Vanilla, Boozy (but in a balanced way that complements the coffee nicely), hints of cedar and hops, but incredibly minimal. A sweet RIS that nearly defines the style.

F - So thick, so sweet and savory. This isn't a refreshing beer that you'd drink in the heat, this is one that demands the proper time of season to be drank. The complexities in the feel are incredible. Perfect amount of carbonation that coats the tongue and bursts as it goes down the throat.

O - Damn near perfect. The quinticential Imperial Russian Stout, I was contemplating leaving this one in the cellar to age or trade to an unlucky soul that can't obtain this across the nation, but after putting on Phish and feeling spring coming as well as the simple desire for a stout I reached for this. Thank God I did, because this may be the new go-to Stout for me when it is available. I can't picture a better beer for it's style. Surprised it doesn't have a 100/100 on this one, where as beers such as Ten Fidy, BBB, BABC and Speedway have higher. I've had those, many times, and this beer is far superior to my tastes, IMO.. The wonders of ratings in the craft world!! Jackie O's is on the up and up!!

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Photo of GOBLIN
4.18/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Finally . . . a Jackie O's beer that lives up to some of the hype ! By now I know it's just me but I'm just usually left underwhelmed by this brewer but not this time. Dark App has everything you could ask for in a Russian Imperial Stout.

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Photo of CraftFan5
4.16/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

375 ml bottle into a snifter.

A - Black black black. Head is lighter than I expected though, more of a khaki than anything else. Head dissipated fairly quickly and a gathering of bubbles remains on top.

N - ROAST! Almost exactly the same as Ten FIDY or a Blackout. It's that deep roast with some butter on top. Like chocolate.

T - Nice, a little bit lighter than the ones I mentioned above. Just a strong roastiness without being too strong; an almost sessionable imperial stout. I could drink this all day.

M - Luscious and velvety. Coats the mouth entirely but it's not thick. Not sure how they pull that off. Very impressive.

O - A very fine RIS; I wish I could get this all the time.

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Photo of m_hall
4.79/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Poured from a 12 oz bottle (provided via the good graces of a co-worker from Ohio) into a tulip. Completely and utterly black, topped by a 1 finger tall, dense tan head with good retention and lots of sticky lacing.

Aromas are sweet malts, brown sugar, dark bread, along with figs and a cinnamon-like spicy note.

Flavors come big with bittersweet chocolate, coffee and toffee up front. Dark fruits (black plum, figs) come in after and raise the sweetness in the middle, somewhat like a Belgian Strong Dark, leading up to a long finish with lots of smoky, earthy notes. Outstandingly balanced all the way through the palate.

Mouth-feel is medium heavy bodied, slightly oily, creamy. Low carbonation, and a pleasantly controlled alcohol warmth. You'll know you're drinking a big beer, but it's a very gentle weight.

A class-act RIS, without a doubt, if Jackie O's ever gets wider distribution and gets this beer into more hands, they could really make waves in the craft scene. This is among the handful of best Imperial Stouts I've ever tried, along with Ten FIDY, Bell's Expedition Stout, and Founder's Breakfast Stout. Now if you'll pardon me, I think I'm going to move to Ohio so I can drink this every day.

 1,217 characters

Photo of maximum12
4.12/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to CaptCleveland for this, a beer I’ve managed to avoid despite sampling several of its other incarnations. 2014 dated/375ML bottle taken myself, since the wife is off doing PhD stuff.

Pour is a stout with low carbonation; sans surprise. The nose wakes me out of a pre-bedtime stupor: very nice chocolate, black malts, moderate roast. Smells just like a good, big-time stout should.

Dark Apparition is a textbook RIS…though this particular scholarly stout was written by Piers Anthony or Jim Butcher rather than Anthony R. Ghellard, PHD DDS MMD. Big chocolate – I seem to be finding a lot of beers with this characteristic lately, perhaps I should lay off the Reese’s & Peppermint Patties – is in the forefront, with a supporting cast of thousands. Quick hit of herbal mint, lovely molasses sweetness, burr oak nuts, an almost jaeger-like boot of alcohol, honey, vanilla echo. The feel is marvelous: heavy, slick, smooth. Despite the evident alcohol, this drinks like a session RIS.

Well, now I know why the variants are so good. It appears to have done a smooth jazz impression since bottling, as there is no roast or edge to speak of, but I am not complaining. Excellent brew.

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Photo of kemoarps
4.32/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Jet black bordering on coffee murky at the extents, massive dark brown head. Gorgeous.

Nose is rich and dark as Joseph Conrad's heart. Chocolate and molasses and bitter coffee. All the notes you want out of an RIS, well done, just could have been a little more pronounced.

Flavour doesn't blaze any new unseen trails, but what it does it does very well. That chocolate is still very definitely there and a burnt bitter edge with less coffee and molasses. If you went into this one having just read the label expecting "coffee, chocolate, caramel, and molasses," well... you would not be disappointed. As I am not. Coffee comes through more as it warms. Again, not pushing boundaries just taking a known space and executing it at a very high level. More please.

Body is creamy smoothe and somewhat oily. Less thick and chewy than I would have gone for, and the carbonation took me a bit by surprise, but man it is smoothe and oat creamy.

This is a fantastic brew, and one that just keeps getting better as it gets closer to room temperature. Much much love to @WesMantooth for including this in his NBS BIF #3 box. Thanks Corey!

 1,132 characters

Photo of CincyBrewTull
4.37/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This murky beer sucks you into its complex depths from the first sip, it seems bottomless, There is vanilla and coffee right off. Chocolate lurks in the background and lingers hauntingly with the coffee. Buried at the bottom of the pit that is Dark Apparition is hints of charcoal and leather. As the cold ghost thaws alcohol becomes apparent in all the right ways.

 365 characters

Photo of adapt313
4.19/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

For a non barrel aged, non adjunct imperial stout this is incredibly solid. Pours dark and oily with a small dark cocoa head. No lacing, minimal retention, but a small cap remained the entire time I sipped on this. Smell is loaded with coffee and dark fruits, with hints of vanilla and walnuts. Taste is heavy on dark fruits, some coffee and vanilla, has a woody or nutty quality to it, and finishes dry with a mild hoppiness and alcohol burn. Has a good thickness and velvety soft carbonation but is still relatively easy drinking for a big 10% stout. Dark app is a great example of a straightforward RIS.

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Photo of Shroud0fdoom
4.48/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

12.7 Ounce Bottle into a Belgian Tulip.

I was at work today wasn't really wanting a brew. Yet today seems to be Stout Day. I'll play along with the rest of those who Care. Now let's get on with the brew. Off the Jump this brew Pours an incredible Dark Brown body that gives the illusion of being Black in the Glass. There's nice Chocolate tone Hues that illuminate around the glass. The Crown on this brew sheds a Deep Mocha Cloud and giving the brew a Majestic appearance. Fantastic.

Let's take a nose dive into the Aroma, shall we? This first hits the nostrils with a melange of Dark Roasted Complexity. It's not just one thing that grabs your attention. It's just a rich array of Chocolate sweetness that follows with Quality Coffee roast. Nice hits of Nutty and Fruity (notes of Pear meat) esters flourishes on the backend. Nice Subtle Floral hop notes finishes this off. Just an Amazing Smelling Brew.

Time to savor the Flavor! This first hits the palate with a subtle notes of Molasses that takes a turn for Chocolate. Giving me a "Taste-Gasm"! In the mid palate Caramel sweetness makes itself known. Nice dose of Coffee roast comes in last but not Least. This finishes slightly weak/thin but a nice strong bitterness comes in and makes a sweet love with the residual sugars left behind. Aftertaste of strong Caramel and Fruity subtleties. The feel of this brew is Medium-Full body with excellent smoothness like Silk, yet the Sharp Carbonation is what really draws this back from me..just a little bit.

Overall: There's so much going on in this brew to just pin point what I enjoy the most. All the flavors are Balanced with sweetness, bitterness and no Booze at all. This is a nice relaxed brew that gets better as it Warms. It's rich yet not Over the Top. Just a great brew that is worthy of Attention. This brew is Recommended.

 1,844 characters

Photo of Thomas_Wikman
4.26/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Had this one while grilling antelope in the darkness. Luckily I did not see any apparitions, except my big hungry dog. Anyway, it is a very dark beer with a thin brown head. Wow it had a lot of flavor. I tasted chocolate, coffee, roasted malts. It was creamy and nice sipping.

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Photo of BeerAdvocate
4.2/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Review from BeerAdvocate Magazine Issue #52 (May 2011):

Heady start; black is black. Hint of barrel juice, more wood with a pinch of oxidation, brown sugar with some sherry-soaked raisins. Lush, super creamy, full bodied but not syrupy. Vanilla bean, distinct boozy bourbon. Firm pull of oaky wood. Caramel, toffee, coffee. Chocolate cake, dark ripe fruit. Big drip of molasses. Hint of cardboard from oxidation but at a level of compli- menting. Not overly sweet; woodiness draws in some dryness and the finish has a long linger of bourbon. There is some great balance here—as the sweetness walks out the door, the booze and wood are left to deal with settling down, which they do.

 685 characters

Photo of aoampm
4.49/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle poured into a snifter. Bottled 3 years ago!

Pours pitch black with less than a finger head. Head vanishes quickly leaving very little lacing or any trace of a head.

Chocolate, toffee, vanilla bean on the nose.

Flavors of lactose, chocolate, smooth vanilla, roasted malt, molasses, dark fruit, and hickory spice.

Feel is nice and thick. Viscous.

Overall a really nice brew right here. Some age definitely didn't hurt it at all!

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

A: Poured from the bottle ($7.99) into a Piraat tulip/snifter-type glass. Body is black. Midnight black. No lighter hues on the edges, and no head. It's like, how much more black could it be? And the answer is none.

S: Raisins, dried fruit in general, molasses and modest roasted barley malt. Nose could be bigger, and I'm not getting the chocolate that others have noted. Let's see if it expands as it warms. . . .

T: Follows the nose, with a raisiny, chewy dried fruit (prunes come to mind) impression right up front. Some licorice and molasses mid-sip, then roasted barley malt follows near the back end of the palate. A little bit of smoke and char. Finishes with relatively modest heat from the ABV, which is impressive given the 10.5% tally. But about a third of the way down the glass I'm feeling it. . . .

M: A bit flat - some carbonation would help - makes it seem a bit slick.

O: A good RIS, but not a world-class one. This is my first beer from this brewer, and while I'm not unhappy with it, it's not blowing me away. It improves as it warms, becomes a bit more roasty.

 1,087 characters

Photo of ShanePB
3.4/5  rDev -19.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of ohiobeer29
3.75/5  rDev -10.9%

Photo of Tuggy
4.65/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Photo of schoolboy
4.18/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

I picked up two bottles of this around Thanksgiving ($5.99 each) and took one along on my road trip to my daughter's house in Columbus that Saturday. Since I was the driver (with five passengers!) all my samples were really small, but I got enough of this to know ...

It opens rich, aromatic, dark, of course, and thick. The aroma is sweet and boozy.

The taste is off balance dirty, gritty and roasty. My comment was that someone dumped an ashtray into the bottle. It was a wonderful flavor, and very boozy, but dirty. I really felt like I had grit on my tongue.

So my conclusion was that this needs to cellar for a short while - maybe until March or so. Since I bought two bottles, the other one is going down into the cellar now. See you in 2015.

 752 characters

Photo of InebriatedJoker
4.3/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle shared in small tasting -Thanks Steve.

A: Poured as black as a Dark Apparitions soul with one finger head that quickly dissipated into a thin tan lacing, moderate carbonation.

S: Roated barley, slight vanilla,coffee ,chocolate.

T: Sweet molassas hints with some bitter coffee,slight smoke, chocolate,roasted malt.

O: I really enjoyed this Russian Imperial Stout, not very heavy on the fruits as most RIS's are, Good blend of chocolate malt and coffee ,Not as sweet as most either- Would definitly drink again.

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Photo of Fargrow
3.96/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of twiggamortis420
3.41/5  rDev -19%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

22 oz bottle courtesy of Auslander pours an oily black with a dark tan head.

Nose is roast, charcoal, licorice and red vines.

Taste is alot of roast, char and ash with some fruity, sour-esque presence. Im not quite sold on this as it has a thinnish mouthfeel with some odd fruit and char flavors. This does not taste much like the bourbon barrel version I had awhile back.

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Photo of coldy
4.48/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Have been aging and trying these periodically. Just had one at about a year of age on it....wow.
Excellent beer...coffee and chocolate smell...mostly chocolate initially...finish and after taste has toasted caramel.
Really nice drinking stout for cool weather...allow it to warm to about 55 degrees and enjoy!

 309 characters

Photo of emottram
4.12/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of AdmiralOzone
4/5  rDev -5%

Photo of falcon1
5/5  rDev +18.8%

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Dark Apparition from Jackie O's Pub & Brewery
Beer rating: 4.21 out of 5 with 1,026 ratings