Dismiss Notice
Subscribe to BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99! (Limited time offer, US delivery only)

Black Crack | Southern Star Brewing Company

Your Rating: None

Want it   Got it 
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:
View: Beers | Events
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Ratings: 312 |  Reviews: 36
Photo of kylehay2004
3.97/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Photo of acurtis
3.75/5  rDev -8.8%

Photo of Texasfan549
4.25/5  rDev +3.4%

Photo of spycow
4.25/5  rDev +3.4%

Photo of kjkinsey
4.25/5  rDev +3.4%

Photo of djrn2
3.75/5  rDev -8.8%

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 SocalKicks
4/5  rDev -2.7%

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

Photo of zestar
4/5  rDev -2.7%

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 Gagnonsux
4.5/5  rDev +9.5%

Photo of billab914
3.26/5  rDev -20.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

Photo of ygtbsm94
4/5  rDev -2.7%

Photo of nathanmiller
4.5/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of mendvicdog
3.5/5  rDev -14.8%

Photo of mdaschaf
4.5/5  rDev +9.5%

Photo of duceswild
3.5/5  rDev -14.8%

Photo of Alieniloquium
2.66/5  rDev -35.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

500 mL bottle. Almost black body. Smell is nutty with a little bourbon. Booze and a bit of chocolate. Taste is chocolate with some nutty malts and bourbon. Whiskey flavor lingers with some alcohol. Medium body. Not a very heavy or rich stout. Very blah.

 260 characters

Photo of jgunther71
4.25/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of orangesol
3.75/5  rDev -8.8%

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

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

Photo of MarkyMOD
4.5/5  rDev +9.5%

Photo of chippo33
1/5  rDev -75.7%

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Black Crack from Southern Star Brewing Company
Beer rating: 4.11 out of 5 with 312 ratings
  • About Us

    Founded in Boston in 1996, BeerAdvocate (BA) is your go-to resource for beer powered by an independent community of enthusiasts and professionals dedicated to supporting and promoting better beer.

    Learn More
  • Our Community

    Comprised of consumers and industry professionals, many of whom started as members of this site, our community is one of the oldest, largest, and most respected beer communities online.
  • Our Events

    Since 2003 we've hosted over 60 world-class beer festivals to bring awareness to independent brewers and educate attendees.
  • Our Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.