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Black Crack | Southern Star Brewing Company

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Black CrackBlack Crack
312 Ratings
Black CrackBlack Crack

Brewed by:
Southern Star Brewing Company
Texas, United States

Style: American Double / Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.25%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
Aged in Bourbon barrels, this specialty will have all of the rich malt flavor of its' base beer, our Buried Hatchet Stout, complimented by a caramel, woody sweetness and vanilla notes from prolonged contact with American Oak. Dark tobacco, medium char and hints of the original Bourbon make this hard to find release a real treat.

Added by lokieman on 03-13-2013

Bros Score:
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Ratings: 312 |  Reviews: 36
Photo of Rm_mccabe
4.47/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Photo of SMH_NWI
4.04/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.75

Photo of kojevergas
2.97/5  rDev -27.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Currently #53 in the Top Texas Beers list.

CAN: 500ml. Ran me a wallet-destroying $11.99 USD at a beer store in Austin. Standard pull-tab. Cheap screen print label.

"Bourbon barrel aged Buried Hatchet stout." "Flavored stout." "Ale."

Served chilled into a conical pint glass.

HEAD: ~7-8cm in height. Khaki colour. Creamy and frothy. Soft in appearance. Retention is good. ~8 minutes.

BODY: Opaque black colour. No yeast/lees are visible. Not an ink or jet black.

AROMA: The bourbon is evident immediately, but it's not a boozy aroma. Subtle notes of vanilla/vanillin, barrel sugars, and oak. No toasted coconut.

The base beer, unlike the barrel character, leaves much to be desired in terms of depth of flavour and intricacy. I get some basic dark malt sweetness and specialty chocolate malt, but little in the way of roasted barley, charred malts, or burnt sugars. Creamy. Oats.

Aromatic intensity is average. Not boozy, overtly yeasty, or overtly hoppy.

TASTE & TEXTURE: Horridly thin, lacking body and adequate presence on the palate. Creamy and soft, which would help accentuate the vanilla if the beer wasn't so off-puttingly silky smooth, slick, and wet, evoking more of a nitro-draught vibe than anything else. Well-carbonated. Medium-bodied. Not harsh, rough, scratchy, or astringent. I'd like to see them lose the oats in order to lend the mouthfeel needed dryness and coarseness; more roasted barley/carafa would likely also help.

Flavour profile is rudimentary and painfully simple, barely checking the boxes of a proper bourbon barrel aged imperial stout. Some barrel vanillin and barrel sugar sweetness join dark malt sweetness and specialty chocolate malts to form an overly sweet beer with no countering bitterness present to balance it...some burnt barrel (or toasty oak/coconut), charred sugars, roasted barley, hoppy bitterness, or bitter additives (e.g. coffee, chicory, licorice, et al.) would help bring this balance.

Poor depth of flavour. Average flavour duration. Mild flavour intensity (especially for a bourbon barrel aged stout).

The bourbon is less present in taste than it was in aroma, and the base beer is too simple to provide much for the bourbon barrel to accentuate anyway. I don't dislike this, but many imperial stouts that don't rely on the crutch of bourbon barrel aging are infinitely more intricate and pungent than this.

OVERALL: Doesn't betray its ABV, so in that sense it's surprisingly drinkable. But those after a top tier bourbon barrel aged imperial stout will be let down by this attempt at the style from Southern Star (though I guess it's hard to be disappointed by Southern Star at this point given the pretty consistently mediocre quality of their unimpressive lineup).

I'm appalled at the price, but fuck me - I paid it. Price aside, how this made any top beers list is beyond me. I could have gotten a 4 pack of Storm King, Old Rasputin, Yeti, Ten Fidy, or the like for as much as one can of this cost, and it's not even half as good.

High C (2.97) / AVERAGE

 3,028 characters

Photo of mothman
4.25/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Can. Tan head. Black color.

Roasted malts with coffee and vanilla. Chocolate and caramel. Nice barrel flavors. A bit thin, however. Oreo cake flavors.

 151 characters

Photo of rpalermo82
5/5  rDev +21.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Photo of ovaltine
4.25/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A body black as onyx props up a creamy tan head. First thing I get on the nose is caramel and vanilla, then a subtle bourbon note.

The taste is creamy, like a milk stout, with dark chocolate notes joining the caramel and vanilla (which is now obviously coming from the barrel). The mouthfeel is full and rich. I wish I’d purchased a case of this (stupid “Limit 1 per customer” crap!).

 394 characters

Photo of txag96
3.24/5  rDev -21.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of Karibourgeois
3.75/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of Magery
4/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of NolaHopHead
3.67/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of jdimento
4/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of Kavinci
2.81/5  rDev -31.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.75

Photo of Mikexw
4.18/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of Kurmaraja
4.15/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of EnojysAnyBeer
4.94/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Photo of t2grogan
4/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of Hudson2508
3.7/5  rDev -10%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of scottsoileau
4.18/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of justareallybuffdude
4.53/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I have a strange relationship with this one. I bought a bunch of cans when they hit Austin, along with Community's BA Legion (also an amazing beer). While it's a waste of time to compare and contrast, I will say this: the Legion is ridiculously consistent, and a total crowd pleaser. I can't imagine any fan of stouts turning their nose up at it. It's great from the get go.

As for the Black Crack, after maybe fifteen cans of it in different settings, I've got the exact opposite impression. This beer is a total flavor bomb. It's a little thin, even by BA standards, but that's about the only legitimate knock I can offer. Everything else is subject to variation.

When the beer is on point, it is just phenomenal. There is just enough bite from the bourbon to let you know that it is there, but the dominate flavors are vanilla, marshmallow, coffee, and chocolate, blended with enough balance to truly make this feel more like a milkshake than a beer, at times. Very tasty, and very very creamy.

What must be said, though, is this: don't drink this as a first beer. I don't know what it is, but every time I've cracked one of these as my first beer of the night, it's been unpleasant. Too syrupy and too much alcohol. It's like drinking a totally different beer. But again, and this comes from many samplings: this beer is perfect if you have 1-2 of something else before hand. I just drank a Jester King Fantome and cracked open a can of the 2016 batch, and it is incredible. Creamy, delicious goodness. I thought, at first, that maybe there was a quality difference in the cans, but I've had too many at this point for that to be the case. Simply wet your lips a bit with a beer or two first, and then start busting these out for the end of the night. You won't be disappointed. Whereas if this is your first beer, at least with my palette, it will be decent, but nowhere near as good once you've gotten warmed up.

Can't say I've had a stout quite like this either. I agree with what another poster said: it's better at cold temperatures. It's honestly insanely drinkable though, you just need to get warmed up.

An exceptional beer. I'll be sad when I polish off the rest of it.

 2,190 characters

Photo of cmbeddoe7997
4/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of kvgomps
4.25/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of GreatStoutman
4.24/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of hollywood_15063
3.41/5  rDev -17%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Photo of Amguerra305
3.27/5  rDev -20.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

poured way to thin with not enough opaqueness. smell was on point with hints booze, bourbon, and roast. taste did not follow the smell as the nuances of the smell did not transfer. way too watery of BA stout.

 211 characters

Photo of Ac-dx
3.75/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

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Black Crack from Southern Star Brewing Company
Beer rating: 4.11 out of 5 with 312 ratings
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