Black Crack | Southern Star Brewing Company

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Black CrackBlack Crack
329 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

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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 329 |  Reviews: 39
Reviews by ucis:
Photo of ucis
4.75/5  rDev +15.6%

More User Reviews:
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

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Photo of HipCzech
3.9/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Serving: 500 mL bottle poured into a stemmed pilsener (beer tulip) glass (2014 release).

Appearance: Very deep, dark brown with a bubbly tan head. A slight layer of foam lingers and leaves good lacing.

Smell: Deeply roasted malts, toffee, vanilla, prunes, slight alcohol and some barrel funk.

Taste: Roasted malt with flavors of coffee, bitter chocolate, and sweet caramel. Bourbon barrel hints throughout, but never rise to the forefront.

Mouthfeel: Silky feel with light to medium body and light, fizzy carbonation.

Overall: A bit thinner and flat compared with canned Buried Hatchet, and a bit mellower in overall flavor, but a pleasant sipper with subtle bourbon influence.

Followup (15-Dec-15): 500 mL bottle (2014) poured into a Libbey Embassy snifter. Roasted malt, coffee flavors remain but gentler and better balanced; some nice dark fruit and barrel notes emerge as it warms. Slightly bitter, boozy close.

 921 characters

Photo of Premo88
4.86/5  rDev +18.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

16 oz. can poured into stout glass

L: looks clear brown pouring out of can, settles into very dark brown in glass (still clear around edges), pushes up short head of beige/tan foam, at most 1/2-inch tall, keeps a thick beige collar; no major sticking or lacing, just a scant wisp of foam lingers on the glass wall; over 20 minutes in, it's still keeping a nice, tight collar

S: rum ... real sweet bourbon; the sweetness leads all, brown sugar, melting brown sugar, molasses; caramel ... everything's very mellowed out, nothing burnt or charred; vanilla; buttery sweet donuts

T: bourbon ... holy cow! ALL bourbon, even a hint of alcohol heat, and it's super sweet, vanilla, milk chocolate, hot fudge sundae ... man, is this good; the bit of whiskey alcohol heat is balancing out some of that desert-level sweetness -- and there is definitely a bit of heat here, like they poured in a shot of Crown or Jack; yes, the aftertaste has a lingering heat to it; only a slight bit of earthy bitterness lying among the pile of more flavorful notes ... can't say if its muted hops or some of the burnt dark-malt

F: lightweight but stout-slick at first; seems to feel a bit heavier as I go; plenty of carbonation to help it dance along my American-born palate; yes, as I work into it more, it's a solid midweight, big slick milk stout feel almost, made for sipping

O: what a stout! the base beer is not among my personal favorites, but boy oh boy does it take on the barrel; this thing is a tour de force of bourbon notes, even adding a bit of the bourbon heat, and the big sweet vanilla and chocolate notes are why I love BA stouts; so good I've got to revisit plain Buried Hatchet ... I may have underestimated the base beer

 1,726 characters

Photo of Jovial_Libations
4.38/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Don't know why the beer snobs aren't raving about this one more! Well balanced, lovely chocolate, and coffe flavors. The barrely aging imparts a more dry, oaky flavor to the finish. Such a refreshing change from the overly sweet BBA's like GI and Hellfighter.

 259 characters

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

Photo of saint0r
4.2/5  rDev +2.2%

Photo of Tiernan
4.16/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of tbryan5
4.5/5  rDev +9.5%

Photo of Kappakoosh
4.5/5  rDev +9.5%

Photo of ajkelly451
4.5/5  rDev +9.5%

Photo of SmellsofMahagony
4.25/5  rDev +3.4%

Photo of jamesmk48
4.49/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

According to the brewery website this is 10% AVB

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Photo of Meyers1023
4.42/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Photo of JC333
4.52/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Photo of Pup21
4.25/5  rDev +3.4%

Photo of buyyourfreedom
3.5/5  rDev -14.8%

Photo of kwkdmk
3.84/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Photo of valkyre65
4.25/5  rDev +3.4%

Photo of jtladner
4/5  rDev -2.7%

Photo of OKbrew89
4.18/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2017 Can. It's not the best bourbon barrel aged stout, but one of my personal favorites. The barrel aging has complimented the roasty mother beer and given it a near perfect balance. There could be more done to make it more unique, but it's a stout with a kiss of barrel aging that's full bodied and not overly boozy.

 320 characters

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 acurtis
3.75/5  rDev -8.8%

Photo of RobertH50
4.25/5  rDev +3.4%

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Black Crack from Southern Star Brewing Company
Beer rating: 4.11 out of 5 with 329 ratings