Mack In Black
Holy Mackerel Beers

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Strong Ale - American
Ranked #267
Ranked #46,975
3.5 | pDev: 16%
Holy Mackerel Beers
Florida, United States
Reviews: 141 | Ratings: 197 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
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KensWorld from Florida

4.25/5  rDev +21.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

I've had this beer sitting around for at least 3 years now. It's been stairing at me wanting me to drink it, but I've been putting it off. I figured I'd better drink it before it gets skunked. This has been going on for over a year now. Well the day has finally come. Poured into tulip glass. Wow 4 finger dense creamy light brown head. Jet black, so dark I can't make out any carbonation. Head fades to about 1/4 inch that lingers the entire time. Smells like a good RIS. Plumbs raisins and roasted malt all on the nose. Now for the taste, after 3 plus years has it skunked? Nope, taste way better then expected. Actually it's way better then when it's new. I don't taste any pomegranate but apparently it's in here. This is a very smooth beer, nice balance with no bitterness what so ever. Overall this aged imperial is way better then I ever expected, so good I think I'll buy some more to age. I'll get back to you in 3-4 years to see if those stand up. Solid 4.25

Sep 15, 2015
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rajendra82 from Georgia

4.45/5  rDev +27.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The pour consisted of an impressive looking, opaque colored, solid black body, topped by a one finger thick head. When held up to a bright light, the body revealed some deep red highlights. The aroma of the beer was just as impressive as the looks, with loads of black coffee, dark chocolate, molasses, toffee, and roast grains hitting the nose with each whiff. The taste was grainy, astringent, and has a backing of burnt sugar. The finish had a molasses like sweetness. The body was touch runny, but the feel was creamy and not disappointing in any way. I could not detect much of a pomegranate presesene in the beer, but still a fine stout as is.

May 18, 2015
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GarthDanielson from Virginia

2.87/5  rDev -18%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

Poured from a bottle into a nonic, the beer pours jet black, with a tall, dense, foamy, light tan head. Aromas of tangy sweet fruit, roasted coffee, and not much else. The nose is terribly off-balanced, and it's already spiraling into a muddled mess. Flavors are roasted forward, with a nutty coffee blend followed immediately by tart pomegranate. There are some earthy highlights in there, as well, which just adds to the chaos. This palate just doesn't seem to match up anywhere. The body is light, almost watery, and the aftertaste is a bit of char, fruit juice, stale chocolate and day old coffee. The aftertaste is a weird amalgamate of flavors that shouldn't really be playing together. The short linger in this dry, watery finish is still too long. Not good.

Apr 28, 2015
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UCLABrewN84 from California

3.6/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Skuter, ChewyLewy, and scribe594 for giving me this one.

Pours an opaque black with a foamy dark khaki head that settles to a partial film on top of the beer. Small dots of lace slowly drip into the remaining beer on the drink down. Smell is of dark roasted malt, cocoa, char, and fruit aromas. Taste is much the same with cocoa, cookie dough, and slight fruit flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of roast bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a good level of carbonation with a crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer with solid cocoa and fruit aspects, but I am not getting any of the Belgian yeast they supposedly used in this one.

Mar 23, 2014
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Durge from Connecticut

3.24/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Well, my 12-ounce bottle states the brewery as being Thomas Creek of South Carolina, and the label is a little different than the one shown here. But my research doesn't come up with much evidence and it doesn't seem worth distinguishing any differences here. So, it pours a deep, opaque black color with a giant head of tan foam that settles to a solid layer, but minimal lacing. The aroma emits a pleasant fruit malt idea, perhaps hinting of the alleged pomegranate. The flavor is somewhat striking but also difficult to describe. There is very little of the familiar malt characteristics I expect from something labeled a black ale, especially an imperial black ale. There's a boozy fruit idea, again, arguably pomegranate and apple, that seems to fight with the slightly chocolate malt base. It just doesn't blend well. It's medium bodied with a smooth initial feel but the soda-like fizziness takes over and ends with an unfriendly result that includes some chalkiness. The aftertaste is similarly poor with an odd vegetable-like bite and evidence of some alcohol. Disappointing.

May 02, 2013
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StJamesGate from New York

3.71/5  rDev +6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Fast-fleeing beige head over streams of bubbles and chocolate black body.
Treacle, ash and black pine resin underneath.
Milk chocolate and figs, then oily orange peel and pine hops - but not much.
Berry finish and sweet roasty linger.
Smooth, chewy, fizzy.

Mistaken in thinking that "Imperial Black" meant CDA - this is very much more black than hoppy. Can't say I get pomegranate or Belgian yeast and also too lively and thin.

Good but not great.

Mar 12, 2013
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Rainblows from Illinois

3.55/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Part of a trade from Florida not available in my area. Amazing, lasting head formed when I poured from bottle into my Solemn Oath (Naperville, IL) tulip.

Opaque reddish black with a dark tan head. No lacing. A lot of malty chocolatey notes and not a ton of hops. A decent imperial black but I was really hoping to taste more pomegranate.. it becomes just barely noticeable after warming to near room temp. Maybe fresh? Or aged? In any case I would drink it again so, above average.

Feb 27, 2013
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Rifugium from North Dakota

3.88/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

First had: on tap at the Mack House, Davie, FL

They seemed to indicate this was a IBA/ABA/CDA, but whatever. Solid black pour into a Mack House goblet, a finger or so of foamy tan head that never completely dissipated, and left a bit of lacing on the glass. Aroma of chocolate malts, a tad roasty and leathery, hints of pine needles and dark fruit. Dark malts up front in the taste, complimented by notes of dark chocolate and coffee, a touch of resinous hops, and a well-defined pomegranate finish that left a slightly bitter aftertaste to offset the otherwise unexpected smoothness of the beer. Body was medium, if this was indeed a CDA, it was one of the most mellow I've had as far as hops/bitterness goes. A good drinker overall, though it seems that "fresh and on tap" is the way to go with this one.

Dec 31, 2012
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kylehay2004 from Illinois

3.61/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Three finger tan head reminiscent of a root beer float on a jet black body. Aroma of brown sugar, candy sugar, roasted malts, chili peppers and chocolate. Flavors of roasted malt, dark chocolate, coffee beans, candy sugar. Oily thick body and moderate carbonation. Dark fruit notes include plum, raisins and prunes. Not too bad. Good flavors but they seem disorganized. Worth trying as it seems u will either love it or find it not too memorable.

Dec 31, 2012
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SLeffler27 from New York

3.49/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours very dark brown and is essentially black within a Cisco fisheye pint glass. A slight chestnut head quickly dissipates, leaving minimal spotty lacing.

Sweet chocolate syrup with some roasted malt and molasses in the background. Sweetness is overwhelming, however, fresh raspberries can be found.

Overly sweet and overbearing up front, with berry juice, possibly pomegranate, followed by chocolate and some plums in the late, bitter finish. Also found cocoa powder.

The silky texture and medium body contain controlled alcohol and light carbonation.

This was a fine one-off beer, however, recommended for dessert. While it warms well, it is clearly better cold. This bottle aged three years.

Nov 25, 2012
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toofdoc from New Mexico

4.31/5  rDev +23.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I had the great pleasure of enjoying this brew with Bobby Gordash in his new tasting room. Was served on tap, which is hard to come by.

A - nice rich black with mild to moderate head retention and fairly tight lacing.

Smell - this I say would be one of the weak points of this brew. You get an acidic smell which isn't exactly pleasurable from the Pom juice.

Taste - nice nice coffee foward with hints of chocolate. The Pom juice really balances out this brew, but may be a niche because not everyone will enjoy its slight bite and acidity.

M - again, I like the acidity, but most will be looking for that typical creamy feel, not gonna get it here.

O - I loved it. It's very unique and enjoyalble. I suggest having it on tap in thier tasting room, much better than the bottles.

Nov 17, 2012
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KajII from North Carolina

3.74/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

[Suggested Glassware: Tulip Glass]

The pour was a deep dark black with a large (2-3 finger) medium brown fluffy head that receded slowly, down to a light film with a large collar and had excellent sheets of streaky lacing.

The aroma was bold and powerful with a burnt chocolate malt, a light resin hop and a heavy leathery yeast with notes of dark chocolate, roasted coffee, molasses, vanilla and dark fruit (berries).

The taste was very malty with a nice chocolaty sweetness and a note of coffee from the onset with a mild bitterness settling in along with a hint of molasses and a somewhat strong smoky berry ending. The flavor lingered for a good long time with a wonderful chocolate espresso taste that was left hanging for a while longer.

Mouthfeel was a few steps past medium in body with a smooth and creamy texture and a medium carbonation.

Overall an extremely bold, robust and tasty brew that ended with a mild fruity sweetness that possessed a touch of smoke, which made this an exceptionally fantastic drinking experience...

Oct 19, 2012
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Reaper16 from Alabama

2.79/5  rDev -20.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12oz. bottle -- 2009 vintage -- served into a pint glass

Pours a darkdark brown color; it isn't black but it comes fairly close. You can't see through it at all. There's nearly 1.5 fingers of dense looking tan head on this beer. It's pretty OK looking, all-in-all.

The first thing I notice in the aroma is the sourish pungency. It's coming from the adjunct use of pomegranate juice. This note, when combined with the (slightly acrid) roasted malts, makes for a cheap approximation of a Belgian Imperial Stout (ala Black Albert or Dark Truth). I say cheap because you can tell that the fruity sour note is coming not from the malts and fermentation but from something else, something added.

As far as taste goes, it follows the nose. It tastes like a weakish imperial stout with pomegranate juice. It totally tastes just like POM; it's an unmistakable flavor. What gets me is that it is possible -- through malt bill selection and yeast activity -- to achieve similar fruity characteristics. This beer takes a shortcut and the result is a loss in complexity. It's not a bad tasting beer. Actually, it tastes fine. It's just not remarkable in any way.

Overall, this is an average strong beer. It actually is an OK drink. It isn't bad and it isn't good. I don't see myself drinking this one again, but I'm sort of glad I experienced it.

May 13, 2012
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mntlover from Tennessee

3.75/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours black of course with red notes when held to the light big fluffy coco head falls to scum with descent lace.

Aroma is nice roasted malts chocolate notes dark fruits, plums come to mind with some light tartness. Bottle says pomegranate so guess its not plums but nice.

Taste is like nose but not as rich some roasted malt but lighter with the fruits again that is nice. Finish is lightly tart fruit notes and grassy hops mingle with some earthy yeast. over all enjoyable just little lighter then I was expecting from the nose.

Mouthfeel is medium with carbonation that is just a touch too peppy for me, would be better if it wasn't as carbonated.

Overall not bad at all, a black ale with some tart fruitiness, different and enjoyable.

Apr 10, 2012
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thecheapies from Pennsylvania

3.18/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Holy Mackerel! No, seriously. Never had this brewery before, but a friend scored me two different beers of theirs from Florida.

Poured almost black with a mocha-colored head that lightened as it fell. Sparkling foam had too many big bubbles comprising it. Looks fizzy. 3.5

Some licorice, rough hops, sweet malts, roasty bitterness, nuttiness. Interesting enough. 3.0

A whole lotta booze with roasted malts, earthy hops, licorice, and coffee. There's a tangy dark fruit in there that is probably compliments of the pomegranate juice used during the brewing process. I get that it's pomegranate, and it offers some nice short-lived tartness. This is a bit of a mess. Not enough hop oomph to be a Black IPA or Cascadian Ale, not enough malt richness to be a true American Strong. Tastes good enough to warrant an above-average rating. 3.5

Too hot for an 8% beer. And, quite fizzy. Overly carbonated and thinner-bodied to become attenuated and not up to the challenge. 2.5

Eh, it was fun to try. I'll review the other of theirs soon enough. 3.0

Mar 29, 2012
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ThickNStout from Georgia

3.13/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle from ABC Liquers (St Pete, FL). Served in a Southern Tier snifter. No bottling date. 

Pours black with a lively 4 fingers tan head. 

Strange mix of aromas: charred malt, piney hop, fruit, oats and metal.

Taste starts off like a stout with burnt malts, chocolate and bitter coffee. But there are certainly some hops in there too, mixed with fruit. It's not really bad but it's all over. The moderate abv is well masked by the confusing barrage of flavor.

Feel is medium body with rather high carbonation. 

I'm fine with having tried this but sure glad I got it in a mixed 6 rather than committing to a full 6 pack. I'll credit it with being unlike anything else I've had, and for that give it a slight point boost overall, but the flavors never quite found a harmony. Worth a try but not worth a hunt. 

Mar 18, 2012
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KTCamm from New Jersey

3.11/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into my parent's Outback bowl beer glass. Mix/six pick up at Total Beer & Wine.

Pours pitch black (midnight) with full layer of tan foam. Stickiness on the side. Oaty nose. Roasted too. Chocolate taste with a tart fruit note between the layers - assume that is the pomegranate. Smokiness. More tart than bitter, but some of that too.

I guess this is considered "extreme" - its really all over the place, sometimes it works, sometimes not. Give credit for being different!

Mar 03, 2012
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bleeng from Texas

3.35/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle from Tom the beer guy. Shipped to me by Tom on his business trip-a true fiend!! Pours dark black with a very fizzy and fast dissipating head-all gone. Nose is a bit chocolate and malty-and maybe a bit old.Taste is malty, chocolate and very carbonated, especially for such a dark beer. Alcohol is just a bit present. Not bad but overall pretty much an average beer. Leaves me thinking that this style has seen better days.

Feb 18, 2012
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bcsbeer from Florida

4.41/5  rDev +26%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle poured into a tulip glass.

Poured black as night with a tall brown head that hung around for a really long time. It’s nice to have a beer that can hold its suds for more than a few minutes. I’m not sure if the sexy curves of the tulip glass didn’t influence me, but that is one good looking beer.
The smell did not disappoint, a prelude of good things to come. Taste was of malt, coffee, caramel, dark chocolate, pomegranate, and the flavors blended nicely. The mouth feel was mature, rich but not too sweet.
This is a beer you want to take your time with and enjoy.
It makes me glad I live in FL.

Feb 17, 2012
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Aiptasia from Florida

3.78/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I'm not quite as harsh a critic as the Alstrom Bros. on this one. I had this beer recently on tap in St. Augustine and took notes during the tasting.

A: Reminiscent of a stout on the pour. Inky dark well of blackned pitch in the glass with a light tan clingy head. Decent lacing when imbibed.

S: Definite sour notes on the nose reminiscent of burnt peach and coal. I didn't know pomegranite was used in this brew and couldn't put my finger on the fruit smell.

T: There's a mild sourness right up front which is completely unexpected from the appearance. I don't know about you, but i've never really had a sour porter or stout, and that's what this is like. Dark drunk raisins and plum notes on the backend with definite alcohol warming reminiscent of the style.

M: Drinks easily enough. Tart and dry on the back end. Micro carbonated, medium bodied. Not a thick viscous beer.

O: I kinda liked it. The juxtaposition of styles reminded me of a hybrid lambic/english southern mild approach in the beer. It isn't what a lot of people expect which is what knocks them for a loop.

Dec 16, 2011
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Duff27 from Illinois

3.55/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Vintage 2009

A- Head settles in at an inch tall and brown. Nice black colored beer with a short lived head (only leaves a ring around the glass) and almost nil lacing.

S- Smells is of deep, dark fruits and alcohol.

T- Whoa, that's a kick, definitely different. More dark fruits...specifically plums, prunes, raisins, and because the label says so, pomegranate. Dark chocolates. Drinks way more than 8%abv.

M- Good carbonation. Medium to medium-thick mouthfeel.

D/O- Usually I don't mind my beers on the boozy side but this was a bit much, almost harsh. Would have again down the line but will be wiser to split with someone. Held up well. Held on to this one for a special occasion...pre-poker night will do!

Sep 25, 2011
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papat444 from Canada (QC)

3.95/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

***2009 Vintage***

Picked this up last Sept. in Daytona.

Poured from a 12oz. bottle.

Appearance: Pours like a stout meaning an almost black body with an espresso foam colored head. Thick and insistent with lots of lacing coating the glass.

Smell: At first, smells like honey on grapefruit then comes the strong, roasty notes. An odd but pleasing mix.

Taste: Pomegranates at first but roasted flavors are stronger. Chocolate is present as well as some melted honey on grapefruit. A bit of sugar. Really digging this.

Mouthfeel: Strong body a t first but doesn't hold its weight midway right to the end as it goes weak and watery a bit. Smoothness saves the body.

Overall: Really surprised by this one and glad to have tried it. The combo of fruit and roasted malt really works well.

Aug 18, 2011
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THECPJ from Delaware

3.5/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed from notes:

appearance: dark brown black with a half finger mocha head

smell: roast, chocolate, sweet, malts, berry

taste: roast, pomegranate, malt, chocolate

mouthfeel: mild carbonation, medium body,

overall: interesting brew. not expecting it to be so roasty. But it was still a decent beer.


Jul 23, 2011
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EgadBananas from Louisiana

2.07/5  rDev -40.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

2009 Vintage.

Looks pretty good. Thick, black, with a nice dark tan head. Good stops there really. Now, there is a great stout-like beer in here: roasted malts, nice chocolate, and coffee in the taste and the's pleasant. have to cut through this ridiculous sweet, slightly tart pomegranate taste and aroma. It just doesn't work with the stout qualities. I think maybe it would work better in lower doses, but as it sits, it's too overwhelming and disrupts the vibe here. Oddities aside, the feel is not bad, medium, good carbonation. Overall though, this just wasn't very appealing.

Jun 28, 2011
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chinchill from South Carolina

3.51/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

2009 vintage, poured into a pint glass.

Pours a very dark reddish brown, but looks nearly black in the glass. Starts with a thin tan head but this disappears quickly, leaving only a thin ring and virtually no lacing.

The aroma is primarily that of fruit and toasted malt with more than a hint of pomegranate. There are also hints of hops and yeast. Smells sweet

The taste is flavorful, with pomegranate juice quite evident, although, of course, I am expecting this. If I wasn't, I might suspect some mix of fruits, including prunes, in with a generous amount of roasted malt and some hops. In any case, the finish has a definite prune component, and has become sour and a little bitter after the initial sweet hit. High ABV is largely hidden.

M - smooth; medium body; could use more carbonation as this would reduce the (undesirable for me) syrupy feel.

O - flavorful, unique, interesting but ultimately not very appealing.

May 05, 2011
Mack In Black from Holy Mackerel Beers
Beer rating: 82 out of 100 with 197 ratings