Dark Apparition - Bourbon Barrel-Aged
Jackie O's Pub & Brewery

Dark Apparition - Bourbon Barrel-AgedDark Apparition - Bourbon Barrel-Aged
Rate It
Beer Geek Stats | Print Shelf Talker
Stout - Russian Imperial
Ranked #35
Ranked #630
4.35 | pDev: 8.05%
Jackie O's Pub & Brewery
Ohio, United States
Dark Apparition - Bourbon Barrel-AgedDark Apparition - Bourbon Barrel-Aged
Notes: This hauntingly good brew in your hand is rife with dark complexities. Seven malts were used to create deep flavors of coffee, chocolate, caramel, and molasses. A hint of bitterness and herbal character from carefully selected European and American hops help support the monolithic maltiness. After conditioning in stainless steel, the beer was transferred into bourbon barrels. For 8 to 12 months, Dark Apparition waited patiently in oak barrels until the time was right to spring forth with its ghostly gusto. A truly decadent brew that is intended to be poured into your favorite snifter and given time to warm up from it's dark and cool resting place.
Reviews: 202 | Ratings: 827 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of zonker17
zonker17 from Texas

4.33/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Great! Only issue was lack of carbonation. Very dark brown, no head. Nose of vanilla, bourbon,. Taste carries and adds coca nibs, booze, mild molasses. Big body and sweetness balances the booziness.

Jun 01, 2021
Photo of ThisWangsChung
ThisWangsChung from Maryland

4.1/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

13.8% ABV.

Pours a very dark brown color topped off with a khaki-colored collar. The aroma is exactly as expected - the nutty, roasty, chocolaty slightly fruity character of Dark Apparition melded with the buttery oak and vanilla qualities of a decent bourbon barrel stout. However, the defined bourbon notes help it stand out from some of its more middling counterparts, without overpowering the base. On the palate, the barrel notes (again) do a good job of tasting like bourbon and not just generic oak. Vanilla, corn, and a little coconut open the flavor profile nicely, while the base notes (nuts, roasted malt, chocolate, dark fruits) show up around the middle and end. There is a slight boozy kick on the finish, but hey, it's 13.8% and not overtly sweet. The alcohol presence is notable without being overwhelming. In general, it's a tasty and well-balanced barrel-aged monster. It's creamy and soft on the palate, and finishes dry when leaving the palate. In terms of body though, it's a hair on the thin side. Not enough to be distractingly insubstantial, though. All in all, an excellent barrel-aged brew. The only thing I can complain about: it's not a significant improvement over the regular version. Still, it's different enough to be worthy of anyone's time, and worthy of being sought after.

May 16, 2021
Photo of SawDog505
SawDog505 from New Hampshire

4.49/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a 16 oz tulip glass vintage 2021 and 13.8% ABV this batch. Pours midnight black, with a finger brown head that settles fairly quickly leaving a few thin wisps of lace. 4.25

Aroma deep dark chocolate, char, back strap molasses, vanilla, tobacco, and oaked bourbon. 4.5

Taste follows dark chocolate, molasses, vanilla, char, tobacco, and a healthy dose of woody bourbon. 4.5

Mouthfeel is pretty big, soft gentle carbonation, a tad dry, and at 13.8% it is a sipper, but very complex and makes you want to sip it faster than you should. 4.5

Overall this one is very impressive. Reminds me a lot of BCBS but possibly even better. Thanks @jzeilinger for this amazing bottle. 4.5

Apr 26, 2021
Photo of damndirtyape
damndirtyape from Ohio

4.46/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

12.7oz bottle, 2020 bottling, served in a snifter.

Appearance: Slow pour left some sediment behind. Black and letting no light through with a very thin tan ring of foam that died back. Some small strands and islands of lacing noted that would slide back down slowly after each sip.

Smell: Bourbon mostly, with some underlying hints of dark chocolate, oak, and a wee bit of metallic / bourbon sour mash.

Taste: Bourbon, vanilla, dark chocolate, coffee, roasted malt bitter finish. Yum!

Mouthfeel: Very smooth and creamy with just about no carbonation. There was a weak carbonation release when I opened the bottle. Warming from the alcohol at the finish.

Overall / Drinkability: Once again Jackie O's shows their strength at bourbon barrel aging, and the underlying stout is not lost with the aging. A definite slow sipping and savoring beer which I had all by itself, but, this would pair really well with grilled meat or a roast, and with several deserts. The alcohol, for as high as it is, is fairly well hidden. You can smell it and get a little bit of it in the mouthfeel, but otherwise the stout character remains. Well done.

Dec 12, 2020
Photo of rex_4539
rex_4539 from Greece

4.42/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

L: Jet black color, minimal head and lacing, no visible carbonation.

S: Bourbon, oak, alcohol. Niiiice!

T: Bourbon, oak, chocolate, alcohol. Very good!

F: Medium to full bodied, fully flavored.

O: Superb Russian imperial stout.

Nov 28, 2020
Photo of VelvetExtract
VelvetExtract from Massachusetts

3.97/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.75

Bottle. Haven't grabbed a decent barrel ages stout in a while. This beer pours very dark. It pours quite viscous as well. Thin head, that is tan in color. Not much lacing. Nose is rich. The bourbon barrel character doesn't stand out very much, which ids definitely a negative. I want an immediate oaky, barrel element and it just isn't there. Aside from that, the aroma is very solid, though. Flavor is of rich cola, vanilla, some BBQ sauce, chocolate syrup, dark chocolate, and coffee. Just a wink of bourbon. Obviously full bodied. Carbonation is soft. I think I have begun t outgrow this behemoth beers.This one was decent but the barrel was lacking and you pay extra money for that shit.

Nov 14, 2020
Photo of trevormajor
trevormajor from Ohio

4.07/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2017 Vintage, 12.7 oz bottle poured into a snifter. I took the bottle out of my 53 degree F cellar cooler 45 minutes before opening.
L - black, with a hazelnut head that rapidly disappeared
S - Molasses and lesser notes of bourbon, fig, raisin, very faint malt aroma
T - bourbon on the nose along with molasses and fig flavors. This beer is definitely 3 years old. the malt flavor has faded and is being replaced with a sweet sticky molasses taste
F - very nice mouthfeel, barely any carbonation
O - a good beer, although I prefer younger vintages of this Dark Apparition
The longer I drink this beer, the better it gets as it warms. It is getting very balanced. I should have started at near room temperature, and this may be a thing with beers at 3+ years

Oct 09, 2020
Photo of stortore
stortore from Illinois

4.32/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

375 ml bottle into a snifter. 2020 edition, had 9/16/20.

Pours a dark brown, mostly opaque, with a brief flash of a head and light soapy cling. A little oily looking. Aromas of bourbon, oak, medium roast malt, dark chocolate, char, brown sugar, some caramel as it warms, some raisin, light vanilla and molasses, tobacco as it warms. Smells great. Flavors of bourbon, dark chocolate, vanilla, brown sugar, light roast malt, some caramel and tobacco, some raisin and char, light molasses, a hint of licorice. Smooth, a good but a little thinner body for the style, appropriately carbonated.

This has an interesting profile, with the chocolate and brown sugar being the most prominent. The barrels certainly bring out a plethora of great aromas and flavors. The thin feel is a slight negative, but overall this is delicious and really well done.

Sep 24, 2020
Photo of WunderLlama
WunderLlama from Massachusetts

4.49/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle poured into a snulip

One finger brown foam cap quickly recedes to a ring over a dark brown motor Oil liquid

Aroma is roasted malts, licorice, dark fruits, bourbon

Taste is roasted malts,dark fruits, Bourbon, hint of chocolate, slightly sweet

Low sudsing, chewy, roast malt lingers but is not bitter, 10.5% abv is invisible

Good beer

Aug 10, 2020
Photo of beersampler6
beersampler6 from Michigan

3.81/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

This one was disappointing considering how highly rated it was. No date listed on bottle. Pours a thick black syrupy color with just a little tan head and very scant lacing. Aromas of dark roast coffee, dark chocolate, caramel, molasses, roasted nuts, malt and some brown sugar. Also a trace of raisin. Taste follows the nose, fairly well balanced but not as much depth as I would have liked. It seemed thinner and less powerful than the high ABv would’ve suggested. Even as the beer warmed the flavors didn’t come out very much. Smooth, very slightly thin mouthfeel with decent carbonation. Would probably not try it again.

May 29, 2020
Photo of REVZEB
REVZEB from Illinois

4.31/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pitch black, light brown head. Smell has huge caramel inside the bourbon, wood, dark chocolate and malt laden body. Taste leads with the barrel, then caramel, vanilla, chocolate and molasses abide for most of the sip before bourbon booze warms to the finish. Feel is malty, warm with booze, smooth and viscous. Simultaneously more classical yet sweet in that vein

Apr 16, 2020
Photo of Wasatch
Wasatch from Colorado

4.49/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12.7 oz. Bottle
2020 Vintage

Poured into a Tree House glass a pretty nice dark brown/black color, nice carbonation, with a nice quick small tan head, which leaves a pretty nice medium size oil slick, and some sticky lacing behind. The nose is malty, hoppy, with a pretty nice dark chocolate/toffee, pretty nice dark fruit complex (figs, cherries, dates, prunes, grapes), bourbon, oak, nice touch of vanilla, some licorice. The taste is very nice, malty, hoppy, with some dark chocolate/toffee, really nice dark fruit complex (cherries, figs, grapes, dates, prunes), nice bourbon/oak note, vanilla, licorice, really nice sweetness. Full Body, ABV hidden very well, a really nice complex brew. Overall, this is a very tasty brew. Nice to see it around here.

Apr 16, 2020
Photo of kevanb
kevanb from Illinois

4.51/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.25

375ml bottle, poured into 14oz brandy snifter.

The beer pours a deep jet black color, viscous, inky, khaki head rises about a finger high with no retention and sticky lacing. The aroma is great, tons of bourbon barrel character, rich and woody, strong heat, roast and charred oak, dark bitter chocolate, light vanilla, a touch of coconut and vanilla, linger stone fruits and a nice grain character. The flavors are great, rich chocolate, bittersweet, brownie batter, light vanilla, brown sugar, toasted coconut, light stone fruits, lots of oak, smooth bourbon, nice spice, mild heat and a lingering graininess. The mouthfeel is great, super thick heavy body, incredibly coating, rich, smooth and velvety with a warm finish.

Verdict: A delightful barrel aged stout, excellent complexity, tons of depth and a great barrel barrel character.

Apr 05, 2020
Photo of GuyFawkes
GuyFawkes from Illinois

3.5/5  rDev -19.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Released 1/10/20; drank 1/30/20 @ the Yarchives.

Black appearance.

An even pour yielded a small tan head; decent lace.

Oak, dark chocolate, cream & mild bourbon heat notes in the nose.

Thick, sticky mouthfeel.

Oak, tart cherry (going bad?), dark chocolate, cream & bourbon heat flavors.

The cherry note concerns me, especially considering Jackie O's history...but this was drinkable, if a bit basic.

Jan 31, 2020
Photo of Damian
Damian from Massachusetts

4.21/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Drank from a 12.7 fl. oz. bottle purchased at Craft Beer Cellar, Belmont, MA
2019 vintage
Served in a snifter

The beer poured nearly pitch black but somewhat thin for the style. A thick, bubbly mass of khaki colored froth topped the liquid and soon fell to a lasting collar. Tiny dots of lacing trickled down the glass after each sip.

The nose was super bourbon forward. Punchy and boozy but also surprisingly smooth. Vanilla notes were apparent. Some brown sugar and caramel-like sweetness too. As the beer sat, the booziness mellowed and dark chocolate notes appeared. Dark fruits came forth as well.

The flavor profile was very similar to the aroma. Again, the bourbon presence was intense. The beer was anchored by a rich, roasted malt backbone. Espresso-like notes were also apparent. Touch of burnt sugar sweetness. Bit of vanilla too. The finish contained a big, boozy, bourbony kick and some lingering, bitter roastiness. A hint of leafy hops came through after the swallow. Like in the nose, the booziness eventually mellowed and the sweetness intensified.

In typical Jackie O’s fashion, the mouthfeel was fairly thin for the style. Oily and slick on the palate. The liquid contained a super fine and subtle yet spritzy effervescence.

While Jackie O’s stouts are always enjoyable, they usually seem to be lacking in both complexity and mouthfeel, and this beer was no different. Given their price points, there are a number of other beers that are much better values.

Sep 30, 2019
Photo of agreenman19
agreenman19 from Connecticut

4.29/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

L - pours a relatively thin burnt brown. Hues of crimson and beige in the head.

S - yes, that's bourbon. Cherry cola, oak, and hazelnut coffee. Bit of paint thinner thanks to the ABV. Toasted caramel and vanilla.

T - sweet bourbs. Woodsy, barrelly, and dark chocolatey. Spices and herbs. Basil, anise, and tobacco. Fresh and almost minty. Finishes with a touch of cane sugar and splenda.

F - on the thinner side, but nice carb levels. Dissipates quickly which isn't great, but it begs another sip. And another...

O - strong nostalgia from my EBF days. The bourbon dominates much like other Jackie O's bourbon-based beers. Can be a bit one-dimensional at times and lacks the body to truly stand out. Solid and drinkable all around, though.

Aug 25, 2019
Photo of jrc1093
jrc1093 from Connecticut

4/5  rDev -8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4

2019 Bottling

Pours the darkest shade of brown possible, with a slow-rising finger of bubbly beige head which fades as quickly as it forms; light strands of stringy lacing are left behind, alongside a slowly fading bubbly collar.

Aroma shows a straightforward duet of sweet vanilla and bourbon upfront, deep and detailed; a myriad of notes follow, including burnt sugar, milk chocolate, tobacco, molasses, chocolate-covered cherries, and some minor booze; the barrel contributes a huge depth and a genuine sweetness coursing through the bouquet.

Taste is a bit heavier on the bourbon, while the vanilla is not far behind and includes notes of raw cacao nibs for a more chocolatey, earthy depth; toasted caramel, burnt sugar, tobacco develop on the background of the palate over time; roasty char and wood on back end; great balance between nuanced flavors, and only loses points with me as it slightly fades to an amplified booziness over time.

Mouthfeel has a medium-light body and is especially thin for a BA stout; low carbonation gives way to a roasty char, which contributes and unexpected dryness and thus a low-level palate-coating; absolute minimal, near-unrecognizable astringency, and finishes with only minor hints of alcohol on the palate.

Another quality BA stout from Jackie O’s, this one only falling short of their typical roundedness in the mouthfeel department; even with its thinness, it packs a bourbon-infused sweetness and depth that’s to be respected.

Apr 30, 2019
Photo of CaptainHate
CaptainHate from Ohio

4.26/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

2017 12.7 ounce bottle pulled out of my cellar fridge (at first pulled out a 2018 I didn't know I had; nice cellar inventory control). When I popped the cap, a boozy barrel smell immediately was detected. Poured into a DFH tulip, there was almost no tan head topping an inky brown body.

Smell is just gorgeous with caramel and molasses over the previously mentioned pleasant aromas. At the first sip I got a brown sugar taste blast which quickly faded as the stout warmed up. Then I detected an unpleasant bitter alcohol taste which made me think WTF, but that too went away with the warming. Still I'm wondering if maybe I've sat on this too long and it's developed some off tastes; I'll try that discovered 2018 in the near future. With further warming I'm detecting some malt char which was buried earlier. Mouthfeel was a bit thinner than I was expecting; not bad but still thinner.

This was obviously a positive experience but I'm not sure that the barrel aging made that much of an improvement over the base stout, which I enjoy a great deal. Further testing required!

Apr 14, 2019
Photo of Oh_Dark_Star
Oh_Dark_Star from Washington

4.68/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Grossly underrated, give it a few months in the bottle and you'll never forget it, powerful transfer of bourbon to the olfactory and a good bourbon at that. This delivered also with cacao nibs, oak, leather, and caramel notes! Must try.

Apr 13, 2019
Photo of bubseymour
bubseymour from Maryland

4.72/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Sticking a beer doesn't always mean it will turn out better. For the Dark Apparition though, it works wonders. I enjoyed the BA version significantly better than the standard.

Apr 12, 2019
Photo of Holderness
Holderness from Massachusetts

4.16/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

L -- Fairly dark shade of black, although some light passes through. Small light brown head produced with aerated pour. Sudsy retention and minimal lacing
S -- Bourbon, vanilla, oak, smokey caramel, prune, fig, raisin, dark chocolate
T -- Bittersweet chocolate, charred oak, light grapeskin-like tannins, bourbon, herbal hop, campfire ash
F -- Big mouthfeel, medium- carb. Some light silkiness. Good amount of boozy heat
O -- Not quite as outstanding as the other BBA stouts from Jackie O's that I've had so far, but still quite well made. They're definitely a force to be reckoned with when it comes to this style of beer

Feb 14, 2019
Photo of johnnnniee
johnnnniee from New Hampshire

4.31/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

EBF Last Saturday Inky Black with a good sized tan head that persists. Roasty earthy chocolate with bits of brown sugar set against a sweet bourbon oaky vanilla Very tasty beer.

Feb 10, 2019
Photo of buschbeer
buschbeer from Ohio

4.24/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

375ml bottle
Served in a Jackie O's snifter

This beer pours black and has no head.

The first thing I smell is caramel and vanilla. Then I get some chocolate.

The taste starts out with vanilla and caramel up front. Then I chocolate through the middle with coffee in the finish.

Full bodied with viscous, smooth mouthfeel. Very low carbonation

This one has aged well. It has a dessert beer taste and smell with all the sweet treats that are sensed. It is also very warming due to the alcohol content. A great beer for a cold winter evening.

Dec 20, 2018
Photo of ktr5010
ktr5010 from Illinois

4.23/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

L - pitch black with nice lacing that is mocha colored
S - sweet, bourbon, dark chocolate with some vanilla
T - hints of black licorice, molasses, bourbon, and browns sugar
F - good thickness
O - First time having anything from Jackie O's and this was great

Oct 12, 2018
Photo of NotAlcoholicJustAHobby
NotAlcoholicJustAHobby from Vermont

4.21/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

L- The beer pours black with a thin half centimeter mocha head. The head recedes quickly to a thin ring leaving no lacing.
S- The nose is dark chocolate with bourbon washing over and receding to reveal the chocolate once again.
T- Like the nose the chocolate is first out to the box. Mid palate the bourbon arrives in full force. As the bourbon recedes you are left with a touch of lingering brown sugar sweetness and vanilla from the oak.
F- The mouthfeel is on the lighter side for a stout, but it still posseses a slickness which coats the tongue. Carbonation is quite light which helps mask the thinness.
O- Not perfect example of the style, but the flavors and complexity really elevate this brew to must try. Recommended.

Jun 24, 2018
Dark Apparition - Bourbon Barrel-Aged from Jackie O's Pub & Brewery
Beer rating: 96 out of 100 with 827 ratings