Shackamaximum | Philadelphia Brewing Company

very good
92 Reviews
no score
Send samples

Brewed by:
Philadelphia Brewing Company
Pennsylvania, United States

Style: American Double / Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
This is a rich, dark brew made with chocolate and Munich malts and aged on French oak.

Added by ffejherb on 03-09-2009

For Trade:
View: Beers | Events
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 92 | Ratings: 177
Photo of 57md
3.2/5  rDev -16.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark brown with slightly more than a finger of tan head. The nose has notes of roasted coffee with a hint of chocolate.

At that point - this offering falls off significantly. The most charitable thing that I can say is that the flavor does not live up to the promise made by the nose.

The overwhelming flavor is sweetness along with an almost tar-like essence. Also, there is some sour fruity thing going on in the background. All together, this does not work in a major way.

 485 characters

Photo of JPowell712
4.33/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

This imperial stout was very decent and easy to sip on. You get the chocolate and sweet aromas right off the pour. The taste is very smooth and very sweet. The alcohol is definitely noticeable in the warming feel, but it is hidden well. I like this stout very much and would recommend a try.

 295 characters

Photo of brentk56
3.73/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Appearance: Pours out obsidian with an inch of tan foam sitting on top; a fair amount of drizzly lacing

Smell: Cocoa and a whiff of burnt wood

Taste: Chocolate and burnt toast with an ashy flavor building; in the middle there is a metallic tone; very woody in the finish

Mouthfeel: Medium body with moderate carbonation

Overall: In a world filled with great Imperial Stouts, this one comes up short

 402 characters

Photo of Schmidts
4.34/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours from the bottle dark brown/Black, lots of lacing on the sides of the glass.and a small creamy Head! Smells of dark chocolate malts and roasted coffee.` Some cocoa and molasses.
Taste is very rich and malty with tastes of roasted malts,chocolate and sweet dark Molasses.
Nice hit of bitterness and nice hit of Alcohol.
Very rich and creamy in your mouth and very refreshing. Overall I give this one from Philadelphia Brewing a 4.25. It is outstanding and well worth giving it a try. Cheers to Philadelphia
Brewing company.

 527 characters

Photo of IronLover
3.89/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Black in color with dark brownish hues on the edges. Poured with a short dark beige foam that reduced to a steady, wispy cap. Sweet chocolate and dark roasted malt aromas. Aromas are earthy and slightly musty with s hint of freshly ground coffee at the back end. Slightly thick, smooth, delicate, oily feel with soft carbonation from the middle to the end. Dark chocolate flavors up front followed by roasted malt into the middle. A slow moving hoppy bitterness grows through the middle followed by bitter roasted coffee flavors and lightly charred malt. Finished dryly with a combined dark roasted malt and hop bitterness. Definitely on the sweeter side. Glad to see that this is available in the 12oz format.

 710 characters

Photo of Greywulfken
3.81/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A: black body almost seemed not quite opaque; rather thin-ish looking on the pour; produced very little beige-colored head from a center-pour

S: dark roasty malts, of course; some typical hints of cocoa and espresso, a waft of woodsy oak and distant char

T: bittersweet dark roasted malt, but with an almost crisp, and maybe slightly herbal/tonic flavor - perhaps brought about by the hops and oak aging? Some espresso points, but the barley malt really stood out - very confident and rustic, with the French oak lending an air of sophistication

M: somewhat thin for an Imperial stout, no palpable carbonation, medium-light body (again, thin for typical Imperial stouts) - almost porter-like in feel; mellow bitterness, dry finishing

O: a decent stout, this one aged for about a year (never tasted one fresh); worth a buy and try. As it warmed, the oak character and chocolate barley malt melded quite smoothly. I liked it but didn't love it, as I may have been anticipating something with a little more heft to it.

 1,019 characters

Photo of Ego
3.18/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

initially this rises to 2 fingers of cocoa head but settles in around the one finger range, pretty dark but some light is able to pierce the blackness (not much), a moderate amount of carbonation feeds the head and keeps it hanging about, lacing is very nice, leaving a good drapery on the glass, a good lookin feller...

sweet cocoa, heavy maple syrup/molasses, dry chocolate bar, some roasted coffee notes underneath.. maybe also a few hints of bourbon

taste etc...
a bit thin feeling, a pretty sweet smack o' shacka, kind of wants to be bitter chocolate but comes up short, it teases you with a touch of roasted flavor but the sweetness drowns out that voice, it sort of reminds me of a milk stout but without the smoothness... this is not undrinkably sweet but is definitely too sweet for my tastes, the carbonation is at a good level though

verdict ?
eh, not my bag (baby). definitely too sweet and not enough roast or depth

 947 characters

Photo of thecheapies
3.8/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Pours black with five millimeters of foam scum. Looks big in this pint.

Molasses, chocolate liquor, roasted barley grain, medium roast coffee, and Fig Newton. Ok.

Lots more of that chocolate and black strap molasses combo. More dark fruitiness between dried fig, raisin, and date. Coffee is almost no longer here. Barley grains are wet and medium-dark roasted. Sweetness pushes out any desirable bitterness. Off-balance that way.

Drinks medium with some stick, as far as body. Carbonation is a little quieter, but realistic. Booze is at that sneaky 8% range that I'm familiar with.

Nothing wrong with this beer, at all. It's quite tasty, albeit very sweet. Roastiness is more of an afterthought for the style.

 713 characters

Photo of justintcoons
3.56/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle poured into a tulip pint.

Pitch black with a short tan head.

Cola, cocoa and caramel with hints of espresso.

Cocoa powder, semisweet chocolate and caramel. Cola with hints of espresso and cocoa nib. The finish carries some dry oakiness.

Medium-full bodied, silky, smooth, bitter and dry.

Nothing exceptional, but the french oak is a nice touch.

 401 characters

Photo of emericanchaos
2.64/5  rDev -30.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

The darkest of ruby red pours from this 12oz bottle. In casual lighting it would appear black as day. Thin head of milk chocolate brown caps this brew before quickly subsiding.

Smells of dark cocoa nibs and some dark coffee. Alcoholic. Grainy.

Asserts itself full force up front. Suggestions of big coffee and roasty chocolate flavors. Quickly subsides into an alcoholic tinge on the outsides of the tongue. Somewhat bitter but nothing tremendous for an "Imperial Stout".

Moves easily in the mouth. Seems slick and thin. Doesn't coat the palette well.

In all this is a miserable example of this style. More an imperial porter than any type of stout. There's an obvious lack of coffee, chocolate, lactose and hops which beers of this style and body almost always offer as a consolation to the large amount of two row or six row used to boost the ABV. This beer presents itself as a very thin stout lacking the richness and depth that this style has become known for. At least where American brewers are concerned. If you can get this in 22oz or six packs it may be good as a a stout to cook with. I can picture it as a steak marinade with black pepper, soy sauce some onion and mushroom and a touch of something sweet or spicy depending on taste. As a drinking beer there's better options in the price range.

If you're looking for a good imperial porter or a session imperial stout (wtf is a session imperial stout?) this is your drink. If you're looking for a competitor to stand against stormking, old heathen and other imperial stouts in the philly area it's best to consider other options. I consider both suggested alternatives very good representations of the style so Your Mileage May Vary...

Not recommended at all.

 1,730 characters

Photo of Bouleboubier
4.19/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

A: not a lot of head, but the liquid is damn near jet black and lookin' lacing of note

S: dark coffee, a bit of licorice....malty undertones, slightly oxidized (wet-papery)...malty foundation (cookie and some caramel)....perhaps some toasted raisin....clean, light, neutral alcohol

T: rich, bittersweet, roasty....slightly coffee, more molasses with a moderate touch of licorice and sweet cereal malt (Munich?)....not cloying, but certainly sweet....nice toasted raisin, molasses, and booze in the aftertaste....hops and a Hershey kiss flavor late

M: pretty clean, some (but not much) residual syrupy quality on the taste buds....medium-bodied....the alcohol does warm, but it's nicely balanced, nicely executed, woven into the background - it's not hot or biting in the least

O: actually a bangin' beer from PBC!....would be great to see this as a cheaper local draft (yet to cross paths with it)....not that heavy (taste, feel) of a stout for 8%....satisfying

 977 characters

Photo of qthompso
4.14/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours nearly pitch black with two fingers of creamy mocha head. Lots and lots of lacing.

Smells of some rich bittersweet chocolate, coffee, black licorice, caramel and residual sugars.

The taste is deep, rich chocolate, creamy lactic acid, remarkably roasted grains, and some lingering hop bitterness. For being 10%, this one hides the heat really well.

Full bodied with good carbonation. A nice well balanced stout.

Overall, quite pleasant. I wouldn't put it up there with the other juggernauts in the category. To me, this one drinks more like an American stout, which could be dangerous.

 594 characters

Photo of WEBBEER
3.5/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured into 14.75 oz. porter stemmed tulip. 1/4 inch of dark root beer colored head dissipates quickly. Very dark beer, light barely penetrates. Thin lace. Excellent strong coffee and chocolate smell. Taste of roasted malts, and generous amounts of hops present throughout serving. Some earthiness from the hops. Strong cling of alcohol viscosity as expected from an imperial. Love this local brewed example ofSláinte the stout genre. Sláinte!

 445 characters

Photo of vfgccp
2.42/5  rDev -36.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

A - Nice solid black/brown body with trace cola highlights. Khaki head with nice lace and ok retention.

S - SUPER sweet; cotton candy, caramel, molasses, Rolo's, milk chocolate.

T - Caramel, dark roast malt, sweet latte, brown sugar, green moss. Lingering woody bitters.

M - Medium-full, but finishes surprisingly light.

O - Cloyingly sweet with a bitterness that feels out of balance for the profile.

 407 characters

Photo of FrankShirley
3.58/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I've been meaning to pick up a bottle of PBC's Shackamaximum for a couple years now and always seem to forget. While, finally picked one up today since I live near the brewery...

This beer poured black with a deep mahogany two finger head. Nice retention on the head, about 1/8" remaining all the way through.

The first smell I notice is the malt and not much else. This beer hits the mouth smooth and creamy. Taste is that of the chocolate malt-- not too sweet though.

Overall, I didn't get too much more than the malts in the taste. It's not the most complex beer you'll find for the style, but still one of PBC's best offerings of the year.

 648 characters

Photo of mactrail
3.92/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Some suds on this near-black brew. Giant flavor of dark roast malt and an abundance of hops. Nice aroma of malted milk and bran muffins.

Taste of burnt raisin bread with a strong hint of milk chocolate. A pleasant boozy flavor and just a little woodiness. Thoroughly likeable powerful brew. Some of the charred malt flavor, but the malt base is so mellow it makes for smooth and easy sipping. A few sharp notes like grape juice. Hot with alcohol in the aftertaste along with a bitter burn that is just right for balance.

Brewery say it's brewed with chocolate and Munich malts and aged on French oak. From the 22 oz bottle.

 626 characters

Photo of tone77
3.8/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a brown 22 oz. bottle. Has a black color with a 1/2 inch head. Smell is of chocolate, coffee, smoke. Taste is the same, chocolate coming through first, followed by some alcohol, coffee and malts. Feels full bodied in the mouth and overall is an enjoyable beer.

 272 characters

Photo of corby112
3.56/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Draft at Capones in Norristown, PA.

Pours pitch black and completely opaque except for the faintest of mahogany edges and a two finger beige head that slowly settles into a lasting ring. Chunks of lacing left behind.

Roasted malt aroma with faint hops and some dark chocolate sweetness. Smokey but not acrid or burnt with toast, coffee and dark chooclate.  Subtle lactic cream and piny hops.

Medium bodied with a decent balance of dark roasted malt, lactic cream, sweeter malt notes and earthy hops.  Subtle floral, earthy hops provide bitterness that compliment the dark malt.  Hints of dark chocolate,toast  and coffee with subtle  lactic cream adding to the palate.  Toasted oak lingers into a bitter dry finish.   Becomes more sweet as it warms but is still not very balanced.  Abv well masked but it's a bit dry for my liking hurting the drinkability.

 870 characters

Photo of MONKandTUCK
2.34/5  rDev -38.7%
look: 5 | smell: 1 | taste: 2 | feel: 5 | overall: 2.5

A - Black, with a fat mocha cloud resting on top. What more could you ever possibly want!? The woman of my dreams has a lot to compete with, I tell you!

A - Wow! What kinda cleaning solvent did they dump in here!? Think of rancid, fermenting wood.... or something you'd use to strip aquatic paint of a boat. There's some vanilla and rum and embalming fluids layered in there... tasty.

T - More of the aroma, a little bit of roast. Kinda starts out malty with strong notes of cacao... finishes like you wish you didn't have a tongue. Did I buy a Stout, or a cheap Bourbon? In a rare case, I'm wishing for some solvent heat to douse the flavor.

M - For such a strong beer, this ones an easy quaffer, except for the taste.

O - This was much better last time. I know a lot of reviewers were complaining that the advertized oak notes were overly muted, but this tastes more like a plank of wood dipped in a Starbucks late, than a solid RIS.

Sure, originally English beer was held in wooden tanks, but they threw VERY neutral flavors. Traditionally, RIS's throw very raw flavors, but there's something worth acquiring a taste for. This is just a clumsy mess... something meant to drink on a dare.

This is a barroom-brawler imagining himself to be a qualified prize-fighter.

 1,273 characters

Photo of jmdrpi
3.16/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

22oz bottle, no date.

opaque black color, with big tan head. good head retention, some lacing. just a little milk chocolate in the aroma. restrained.

mild roasty flavor. not very bold like most double stouts. just a little coffee in the aftertaste. no booze or hops. medium to thick, very smooth body.

overall - good, but mild. probably would not seek out again though, I like my stouts with a bit more punch.

 415 characters

Photo of PatDreadful
3.89/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22 oz bottle into a Victory Tulip.
Served at 54 degrees

Appearance: Huge tan head that is insanely tight. The bubbles were so small and dense that it looked like cream. This gives way to a rocky head and some beautiful sticky lacing. The beer is a standard stout brown with lighter edges.

Smell: Hmm, this has me a bit puzzled. I get the wonderful toasted malts with hints of chocolate and dark fruits but there is something slightly boozy and metallic there too. The aroma is not nearly as balanced as the taste.

Taste: The big malt flavor shines through here and that strange metallic smell translates into a welcome warmness from the ABV. The booze is hidden very well as the aftertaste leaves me with those delicious dark fruit notes. Very nice and smooth.

Mouthfeel: I think this is the only real drawback of the beer. The body is just too thin for my liking. I'm all for a thin bodied stout but when we are talking 10% ABV, I just want a little more to chew on, so to speak.

This is a beer that will be in heavy rotation during the winter months. The price is perfect ($4.99) and I love seeing a local brewery produce such a classy product.

 1,165 characters

Photo of B33R501
3.9/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

pretty good beer here from a brewery within walking distance of where i grew up. deduct .5 overall for some reason this tends to give me little bit of a headache. $6.00 per bomber ne philly craft beer outlet, they dont have many good deals.

black, nice tan head, retension, lace. lots of chocolate aroma and taste, with a nice dark fruity finish. drinkable, easy bomber to finish, good buzz quotient.

 401 characters

Photo of haazer
3.48/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Picked up a growler of this at the Hulmeville Inn.

A- Pours a very dark brown, all but opaque brew accept for some red glares at the edge of the glass. Pours about 3 fingers of foamy, off white to mocha head. Leaves some lacing on the glass as well.

S- Roast malts, some espresso, a decent bit of oak, and vanilla. I can also pick up some dark chocolate. Scent suggests this to be rather creamy.

T- A decent amount of roast, followed by dark chocolate. A bit of molasses, and some woody oak. Some dryness from the tannins of the oak. A bit of sweetness, but no hint of alcohol whatsoever.

M- Mouthfeel is light to medium bodied, with a medium bit of carbonation. It's a little lighter than I'd like for a stout. Needs to be a bit thicker for me.

O- This is a good brew, but does not hold up to other "American Double Imperial Stouts". I like the oak component, and would like to see this with some time. BEWARE: This is a dangerous brew. No hint of alcohol what-so-ever, but it is definitely there. Proceed with caution.

 1,028 characters

Photo of mvanaskie13
4.23/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I saved a couple bottles from a case last year, and just recently realized I did not review. So, I'm reviewing a 2010/11 batch release that i picked up from bell's.

I love this bear name and label, one of PBCs best.

Poured into a fluted glass, color is dark brown to black, with a nice tan head that presents about an inch thick that dissipates to a little less but clings to the glass and hangs on top, very nice.

Smell is clean, nice chocolate sweetness, mild malt notes, hints of roast and light coffee.

Taste is so good for 10% abv beer, nice roastiness that blends to chocolate and cleans well. I'd have to say this beer ages very well, even in my basement that does not regulate temperature all that well. bitterness is just enough to clean up flavors, no discernable hop flavors.

Mouthfeel is somewhat sweet, but balanced nicely by the bitterness, flavors mix well and no alcohol hotness.

Overall, i'm very glad i waited a year to review, just to note how well this brew ages. I don't pick up the oak, but there is a mellowness to this brew that could be accounted for by that aging.

 1,096 characters

Photo of Rhettroactive
3.38/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

From 22oz bomber to Bruges hybrid glass on 12/21/11
*From notes

-- Thanks to the generous BA who extra'ed me this at the recent Jackie O's bottle release --

A: Not that it needs to be, but I didn't find this as dark and brooding as I'd hoped. It's more of a chilled out charry brown. A standard pour yields a tight two finger head. Good retention.

S: Put your nose in there and tell me it doesn't smell like brownie batter. Lovely cocoa and creamy malt. Why then don't I grade it higher? Because as it warms, an off-putting rust quality invades my nostrils and won't go away.

T: A bit metallic. Quite a bit of metal up front, in fact. The mid showcases the milk chocolate, and the finish offers an odd twang of rusty char.

M: Pretty well put together here. It's big enough for a cold winter's night.

O: I'd been hunting Shackamaximum for some time. Not that it's some kind of whale, but it's one I vividly remember wanting to tick when I first saw it's crazy label and tounge twisting name.

But is it any good, Rhettroactive?

Yeah, it's ok I guess. When I saw this was aged in French oak barrels I couldn't believe it. Nowhere was the woody tannin or complexity present, unless that's their excuse for the rustastic flavor profile on both start and finish. If you see this tick it, as it is is cool to say you killed Shackamaximum. Otherwise, leave him to his tipi.

 1,373 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Shackamaximum from Philadelphia Brewing Company
3.82 out of 5 based on 177 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    No fake news here. Get real beer content delivered to your doorstep every month.