Big Black Jack (Imperial Chocolate Pumpkin Porter)
Oakshire Brewing

Big Black Jack (Imperial Chocolate Pumpkin Porter)Big Black Jack (Imperial Chocolate Pumpkin Porter)
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American Imperial Porter
Ranked #348
Ranked #31,540
3.75 | pDev: 10.13%
Oakshire Brewing
Oregon, United States
Very Good
Big Black Jack (Imperial Chocolate Pumpkin Porter)Big Black Jack (Imperial Chocolate Pumpkin Porter)
Notes: Real pumpkin, cocoa, cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, allspice and ginger create a depth of flavor well beyond the ordinary Pumpkin beer.
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Reviews: 26 | Ratings: 86 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of MaltsOfGlory
4.01/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22oz bottle

Pours what looks to be a healthy 2 fingers of brown head into my nonic, but fades relatively quickly, leaving behind a good film though. Initial lacing looks great. Body is pitch black. Overall looks good so far.

Nose is very roasty, earing on too much, but not quite to the point of smoky. Some cinnamon and spice hiding in here for sure, not getting much pumpkin. Bitter notes from the malt as well, maybe faint cocao/chocolate. It’s a big nose, has some nice things going on but is a little roasty for me, not really showcasing all these ingredients either.

Flavor is certainly less roasty. Has a touch of pumpkin up front, as well as some cinnamon & nutmeg towards the end. Faint notes of chocolate. Finishes with some malt bitterness. This is a good flavor, not too roasty, and it’s doing just enough in the “pumpkin beer flavors” category to make it a tasty brew.

Body is on the lighter side for a porter, I don’t mind that too much. Carbonation is also on the lower side, which I would usually be bothered by, but it works here. Pretty wonderfully balanced between sweet and dry here - there are sugars, and there is some roast. Bitterness is definitely on the higher side for what one would expect to be a dessert beer; I can go either way on this, I don’t mind the bitterness as it adds to the balance, but it’s not what I was expecting. Overall a really nice mouthfeel here.

Drinkability is very nice for a 8% beer, no heat, and it’s drinks particularly light. Bitterness and roast slow me down just enough.

Appearance turned out wonderful, with thick sheets of lacing following me down the glass. If head retention wasn’t somewhat of an issue this would head been an even better looking beer.

Overall a beer with a big flavor, well balanced, nice mouthfeel, and tasty enough to do the trick. Nose leaves a little to be desired and the flavor was not quite as festive as I would have liked, but certainly enjoyable.

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Photo of woodychandler
4.01/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Par for my crazy course, it is just two weeks before/until Christmas 2018 & here I am, drinking a Pumpkin Beer! This was a part of my last shipment from Tavour before we had a parting of the ways. I liked their company & enjoyed the access to so many new & different beers, but their shipper was as inflexible as an I-beam & our continued relationship became untenable.

From the Bottle: "Real pumpkin, cocoa, cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, allspice and ginger create a depth of flavor well beyond the ordinary Pumpkin beer."

Ah, nothing like Pop!ping open a bomber after a long day. I utilized a C-Line pour to create just under two fingers of dense, foamy, rocky, light-brown head with decent retention, leaving nice lacing in its wake. Color was Black/Opaque (SRM = 44), allowing ZERO light penetration. Nose was really spicy! Yuge with cinnamon, nutmeg & ginger with a chocolaty undercurrent. Mmm! Mouthfeel was medium, but a little on the thin side for the current American Imperial Porter style. The taste is maybe going to be difficult to relate to - it was like a Pumpkin Spice donut from Dunkin' Donuts, but with chocolate frosting! Spicy, cake-y, bready & with a definite chocolate presence. Mmm. Now I want a donut! And not one of the ones that Arianna Grande licked, either. Finish was dry as you might easily imagine. Spices in beer = dry. It left me licking my lips & wondering why I did not drink this one until now.

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Photo of dancack
3.88/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A fine fall pumpkin with chocolate added which brings that bitterness on the back end. Quite enjoyable and should be a fall favorite while it lasts. Cheers!

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Photo of OrestesMethuon
4.05/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A very competent iteration of an overdone genre (pumpkin porter).

True, black-brown porter color; good, crispy-cappuccino head. Nice charred-malt nose, with hints of chocolate bitter-fruit. Flavor follows suit, though restrained qualities of pumpkin-pie, clove, and allspice creep in at the edges, solidifying the genre's promise without overdoing. It's also decidedly refreshing porter, a quality lost on so many overspiced and overstuffed October-identified dark beers.

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Photo of TjMosby
2.96/5  rDev -21.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.75

Always hate to write a bad review. But this one is only bold and big in name. Watery mouthfeel and not much character here. Has a pumpkin taste that reminds you pumpkin is played out entirely .

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Photo of JohnGalt1
3.75/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

2015 bottling... Had the last couple of years, but haven't gotten around to the review until tonight.. Bottle picked up at the COOP for about $7ish.. Standard porter look with a decent tannish head.. Aroma and flavor are nice and dry, cocoa and light roasty malt barely carries the light spice... Definitely digging the light hand with the sweet spices.. I appreciate that it isn't overly sweet or malty .. Nice and drinkable for a PNW pumpkin brew.. Not my favorite style ever, but this one is light and hits on all the right notes.

All 3.75

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Photo of BirdsandHops
3.63/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours black with a finger of light brown head that fades into a frothy ring with a little lacing.

S: Roasted malts with semi-sweet chocolate, a bit of char, and then sweet pumpkin and spice aromas bringing up the finish.

T: Roasted malts, cacao, and char dominate here. There are light pumpkin spice flavors underneath before a roasty, moderately bitter finish.

M: Medium-thick body with moderate carbonation, this beer has quite a lively feel rather than being super thick.

O: A solid beer, overall, though I wish the pumpkin flavors were more present.

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Photo of Braz
3.8/5  rDev +1.3%

Very rich beer. My problem is the pumpkin is too overshadowed by the other spices and the porter taste. Not sure porter is an ideal vehicle for pumpkin.

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Photo of John_M
3.5/5  rDev -6.7%

On tap at 16 tons cafe the other day, BBJ is a fairly sizeable pumpkin porter, with considerable spice and light chocolate. I thought the beer could really use a bit more chocolate flavor (the menu indicates that the beer is aged on chocolate nibs), as the spice ovepowers the porter and chocolate flavor, and with the hoppy bitterness, I just didn't feel the flavors meshed well on the finish. Still an interesting beer, and perhaps one that will improve with some short term aging, but otherwise not something I would seek out.

My understanding is that Oakshire now makes this on a regular basis over the fall harvest season, and so will try to update the data bank accordingly.

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Photo of PacNWDad
3.75/5  rDev 0%

Poured from a bottle into an ale glass. Aroma of pumpkin, roasted malt, chocolate and a little nutmeg. Pours very dark and thick, almost no light can pass through. Thick head with small bubbles, tan colored. Starts malty sweet, then finishes with bitterness from hops. Medium body, modest carbonation, some alcohol. Liked it.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
3.73/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

dark pumpkin beers are in vogue right now, and this is a solid take on the style, really fluffy and full bodied, with minimal spicing, which allows the pumpkin and the dark malt to jive a little better. not much head on this though, and is maybe a little still on the palate, but the chocolate malt really comes out nicely, lacking the bitterness of the dark roasted barley but adding a similar richness and depth. pumpkin is present throughout, and since the spice level is low i can taste it all the way. its like butternut squash, sweet and textured. my knock against this one is that there is a sharp sort of tannic thing going on in the finish that disrupts the mellowness of the beer, makes it less smooth and satisfying, its sort of a buzzkill in a beer that tastes as nice as this. still, i like it because its different, and because the spice is really tame compared to others in its class.

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Photo of mactrail
3.64/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

This "Single batch seasonal" is back for 2014. This is quite a stew of ingredients, according to the brewer, with Nugget being the only hop. Rated at 25 IBUs but it has a substantial bitter twang though some of it may come from all the spices.

Malty but rather dry with just an undertone of grainy sweetiness. Tastes more like coffee than chocolate. The spice is distinct, especially the cloves, but not outrageous. An interesting and different entry in the pumpkin fest.

From the 22 oz bottle purchased this week at Hallam's Wine in La Conner, Wash.

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Photo of LiquidAmber
3.96/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured into a Dogfish Head pint glass. Pours a very dark mahogany brown, appearing nearly opaque in the glass. Half finger brown head slowly dissipates to tha thin film and thick ring around the glass. Nice aroma of sweet toasted malt, light pumpkin, orange, hints of chocolate and pumpkin pie spices. Flavor follows with toasted, lightly charred malt, chocolate, grassy hops with only a suggestion of pumpkin and spices in the finish, which leaves a long, lingering charry malt and hop taste. Medium bodied, somewhat lighter than in looks or pours. A quite nice porter, bordering on toasty imperial stout territory. The pumpkin is fairly subdued. Probably not a beer to get for a pumpkin beer, but a very enjoyable flavorful and robust porter that has hints of pumpkin, setting it apart.

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Photo of Scotchboy
3.77/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

22oz bomber shared with my brother, split into tulips.

A: Opaque brown body, with really decent head and tons of light brown lace on the glass.

S: Spicy pumpkin, cacao, earthy tones...carob, roasted malt, subtle burnt caramel. Big earthy tones bordering on hoppy and..piney?

T: Earthy carob, toasted caramel and toasted, malty grains...lingering, spiced finish. Nice tones of pumpkin and unique porter characteristics in the malt bill. Shades of a black IPA at times with the earthy, natural hop tones.

MF: Moderate creamy, fuller mouthfeel with a dry and even sticky finish.

O: I like it because its unique, not necessarily because its an outstanding pumpkin beer example. Can't say I've ever enjoyed a pumpkin beer with this clear but subdued of a spice presence, well hopped, with a good supporting dark caramel/roasty malt backbone. Pumpkin and hop flavors work well together.

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Photo of RJLarse
4.04/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I bought a bottle of Big Black Jack at a bottle shop, poured in to a pint glass.

Pours a black walnut color, opaque, with a chunky tan head, leaving a lot of creamy lace on the sides of the glass.

Smell mostly a roasted grain aroma, with charcoal and coffee notes.

Taste very robust. A coffee flavor up front, with a semi-sweet chocolate flavor with a hint of pumpkin on the finish. It all ends with a dry bitter aftertaste.

Mouthfeel is very smooth, medium to full body, with a very slightly clowing character.

Overall a pretty good beer, especially ona cool gray day in the fall/Halloween season.

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Photo of Distilled
3.12/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This is a first time trial of this beer, manufactured date unknown, but tasting in Oct. 2013. In my opinion this beer is a better porter than it is a pumpkin beer; the pumpkin and associated spice I found to be very mild where as I like a little more. Mild chocolate note but hardly detectable for me. Easy drinking beer however, I wouldn't necessarily buy it for it's pumpkin qualities and seasonal approach, but I wouldn't pass it up either. Just a 'okay' beer for me all around though.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.35/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Thanks to GRG1313 for sharing this one at his tasting.

Pours a clear super dark brown with a foamy beige head that settles to a partial film on top of the beer. Small streaks of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of dark roasted malt, cocoa, and pumpkin pie spice aromas. Taste is much the same with cocoa and spice flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of spice bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is an above average beer with a nice smell but the flavors are a bit unrefined in my opinion.

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Photo of Smurf2055
4.07/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 4

At Uber in Seattle

Pours dark with about a finger of off white head. Black. Some larger bubbles remain for the course of the beer. Nice lacing.

Smells strongly of pumpkin and spices. Not much from the porter comes out.

Taste was no surprise; rich and creamy pumpkin with a hint of smokiness and and chocolate. A bit of a bitter finish.

Palate was a reasonably carbonated, creamy, but a bit watery.

Overall, this is right up there with Dark’O’the’Moon, but not as full bodied. Very good take on it though, a great blend.

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Photo of N3rdM3t4l
3.34/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Chilled bomber into standard pint.

A: light what light nothing gets through this beer. An inch or so of light brown head fell to a pretty solid cap but this foam refuses to stick to the glass.

S: rich chocolate aroma dominates, some roasty notes, and a hint of alcohol actually. A little bit of sweet spice but not much pumpkin actually.

T: imperial porter for sure. Bit of roasted flavor and the chocolate shines. Not much pumpkin in the flavor but the associated spices are present on the finish. The hops are there for balance only. Finishes a little sweet actually.

M: expected mouthfeel. A chewy medium. Feels like one would expect a pumpkin porter would. A little carbonation lightens it up some. Smooth drinking.

O: was hoping for more pumpkin but got the spice and the imperial porter. So I am happy. Good beer if you like porters and stouts. If you are after a pumpkin beer you need to go elsewhere.

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Photo of harrymel
2.84/5  rDev -24.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Supposedly this is a one time thing (or at least that's how the label makes me feel)

Pours black with just a rim and scattered few tan bubbles. Smells richly of chocolate, nutmeg, cinnamon, allspice and ginger. I like the nose - it seems inviting and warm. The flavor is vastly deviated from the nose. Dry and bitter, with flavors of seeds, coffee (burnt), char, soil and ash. The flavor is a far cry from the nose - that is such a let down. Body is full with soft carb and an overall nice feel. Overall this beer had so much going for it, but fails to bring it together and drastically fails in the flavor department.

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Photo of Sarlacc83
3.81/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

22oz bottle from Belmont Station.

A: Thick, oily black with a creme head. Slides off the glass.

N: Pumpkin, nutmeg, chocolate, coffee, graham cracker, and cinnamon. The base porter shows through pretty well. Really like this one.

T: Pumpkin and chocolate on the front stage. Nutmeg and allspice. This has a sting of bitterness which doesn’t mesh well. Mint. Needs more pumpkin, less hop.

M: Medium mouthfeel. Very porter-like.

O: Wish this was more like the nose. Would be a surefire winner if that was the case. For now, just a recommend for fans of the style.

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Photo of Docer
3.7/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: (3.5)

- Pours a nice dark coffee color with a light thin layer of khaki foam and a small ring around the glass. Barely see through the edges of the beer in the light though looks rather filtered.

Smell: (3.5)

- The brew has a light sweet cocoa aroma behind a stronger aroma of pumpkin spice. Bit of clove, cinnamon and perhaps nutmeg in the mix. That's about it really.

Taste: (4.0)

- Nice balance in flavor. A solid basic robust porter with some sweet chocolate character is lightly dosed with some nice caramelized pumpkin and spice. It's balanced, and even has a bit of a grassy and earthy hop presence to handle the sweetness. Higher marks for flavor.

Mouth Feel: (3.5)

- This is a rather medium bodied brew, and isn't the slightest bit syrupy. It's a touch drying in the finish, and is well carbonated. Not very thick and foamy though at all, more like a house pale yeast kind of feel. Little cloying.

Overall: (3.5)

- This one sits slightly above many of the other pumpkin beers out there competing with the squash ingredient. I like that it isn't just another simple amber ale. It's not astounding by any means, but is certainly a nice drinker, and I would grab a pint on tap if it were available. Will I buy any more bottles? Probably not.

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Photo of Briken
3.92/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Black with thin tan frothy head with good retention; with an aggressive pour a nicer head appears. Pumpkin and chocolate with light roasted aroma. Pumpkin starts and ends it but in the middle is a nice all around roasty porter with motes of chocolate. Robust sharp feel to the beer with a light linger.

This is a nice and balanced pumpkin beer with a good clean flavor. Alcohol is subdued and blended well into the light sweetness. The pumpkin is not overpowering and gives it enough flavor to make it a little more interesting than your average imperial porter. A nice dark addition for a Halloween or any other fall evening.

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Photo of lukester
3.61/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Had 12 oz of this at Uber Tavern last night. I was in search of something hoppier that night but alas Uber was pouring mostly big sweet beers. I don't recall much in the way of chocolate or pumpkin but then my taste buds are not that keen anymore.. Hop death?

Appearance: Deep and dark almost stout like with decent head

smell: Very much a porter with distinctive yeasty porter smell.

taste: Nice dark to roasted malt flavor.. could be some chocolate in there. No pumpkin that I could taste.

mouth feel: Good

overall: Good porter and certainly one you won't find just anywhere.

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Photo of jbakajust1
3.6/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured @ Bier Stein into 8oz snifter

A - Pours a deep opaque black w/ faint brown highlights, 1 finger tan head that fades to nothing and leaves a little lacing

S - Smells of pumpkin pie spices and ginger, chocolate, pumpkin flesh, graham crackers, and alcohol

T - Tastes of bitter chocolate, cocoa powder, spicy cinnamon and ginger, pumpkin pie, alcohol bite, and burned Starbucks coffee. Graham crackers and alcohol. Ginger lingers after every sip.

M - Very bitter and slightly astringent. Med/Full body w/ dry roasted finish.

O - Not bad, but way too much roast, too bitter and astringent. Pumpkin and spices were spot on. If it weren't for the burned coffee, bitterness and astringency this would be an easy A.

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Big Black Jack (Imperial Chocolate Pumpkin Porter) from Oakshire Brewing
Beer rating: 87 out of 100 with 86 ratings