Holy Mackerel Mack In Black | Holy Mackerel Small Batch Beers "the garage project"

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197 Ratings

Brewed by:
Holy Mackerel Small Batch Beers "the garage project"
Florida, United States

Style: American Strong Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by Jason on 06-02-2008

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 197 |  Reviews: 141
Photo of Sammy
3.55/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Oakes bottle, brought from Florida. I liked its roastiness and smokiness, not the addition of pommegrant juice. Its black with a white head. It has a sour finish.OK for a stout, not up there and even thinish for an imperial stout. Lose the pom and its an OK stout.

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Photo of kylehay2004
3.61/5  rDev +4%
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.

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Photo of Texasfan549
2.5/5  rDev -28%

Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.6/5  rDev +3.7%
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.

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Photo of djrn2
2.75/5  rDev -20.7%

Photo of t0rin0
3.75/5  rDev +8.1%

Photo of Taphouse_Traveler
3.5/5  rDev +0.9%

Photo of emerge077
3/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Bottle courtesy of EvilKeith, we opened 2 of these at Ludachris' summer bbq. Odd yet cool label of what I assume was a mackerel covering AC/DC.

Poured black with not much in the way of a head, thin ring and no lace. Didn't use a large glass, and it was rinsed. Inky black, the bubbles at the edge looked tan. Sweet and roasty aroma, some hints of oxidation.

Tart like an infected stout or porter, yet the pomegranate juice must be at work here. Dark coffee & chocolate notes, licorice, overshadowed by the bitter, tart fruit. Kind of prickly mouthfeel, strange combination. A little slick also. One generous pour was enough for me, probably won't seek this out, but it was unique to try. Thanks Keith!

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Photo of brentk56
3.85/5  rDev +11%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a jet black color with a surprisingly modest mocha head - I kept expecting something more stout-like but that never materialized; leaves a couple of splashes of lace, however

Smell: There is a nice mocha aroma underneath, but the pomegranate is a bit intrusive and unappealing

Taste: Although I didn't care much for the smell, the taste is much better - Chocolate and coffee flavors at first, and the roasty element builds through mid-palate; at the same time, the sweet-tart pomegranate flavors join to add an interesting dimension; after the swallow, the sweeter, fruity elements tend to dominate, although the coffee returns in the aftertaste to add balance

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body with moderate carbonation

Drinkability: If the Imperial Black flavors were just a bit stronger and the pomegranate just a bit less intrusive, this could be a dynamite brew; as it is, it was much better than I was expecting, having been completely disappointed with their Golden Ale

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Photo of Phyl21ca
3.77/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle courtesy of Secret Santa: Poured a pitch black color ale with a bubbly dark head with average retention and no lacing. Aroma is somewhat vinous with distinctive pomegranate juice which provides a weird offset to the roasted malt. Taste is also a weird mix between some roasted malt with some notes of pomegranate and no discernable hops. Full body with medium to low carbonation and no distinctive alcohol. A very interesting and unique experiment which I am glad I tried but not necessarily something I would seek out on a regular basis.

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Photo of Kurmaraja
2.75/5  rDev -20.7%

Photo of SocalKicks
3.5/5  rDev +0.9%

Photo of chinchill
3.51/5  rDev +1.2%
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.

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Photo of nickfl
3.5/5  rDev +0.9%

Photo of Rifugium
3.88/5  rDev +11.8%
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.

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Photo of Kegatron
3.25/5  rDev -6.3%

Photo of russpowell
3.96/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours ebony with a pinky of mocha colored head. Average head retention & lacing

S: Dark fruit & dark chcolate in copious amounts

T: Dark fruit & dark chcolate, plus some charred grain (not a lot) up front. More of the same as this warms, a touch of booze as well, dryness & lots of prunes too. Finishes dry with chocolate covered prunes & raisins, mayba touch of sourness, plus just some herbal hops

MF: Medium bodied, restrained carbonation, balances pretty fruitty

Drinks pretty easy, the complexity & dryness slow me down, maybe would better in cooler weather? Given it origins, I would think you'd need the AC down low in Fla to fully enjoy this, nice effort!

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.93/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Onyx black body with a thin, thought creamy-looking, light tan head.

Smell: Aroma smelling of espresso and succulent fruit with secondary notes of semisweet chocolate and toffee.

Taste: Dark, roasty maltiness with sweet tastes of chocolate and toffee candy. Moderate sweetness. Underlying fruitiness like a splash of both subtly tart POM Juice and prune liqueur. Tiny bit of aniseed. Very mild hop character and bitterness, leaving the punchy roastiness to counter the sweetness. Still though, this one finishes a bit sweetish and definitely fruity.

Mouthfeel: Medium-full body. Medium carbonation. Smooth mouthfeel.

Drinkability: Smooth and fruity (without being too fruity) thanks to the addition of health-inducing pomegranate juice.

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Photo of mikesgroove
4.33/5  rDev +24.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I had been unsure whether or not to purchase this one for a while now, but I just got one as an extra, so situation solved and away we go with being able to try this one. Served chilled and poured into a pint glass, this one was consumed on 06/25/2009.
The pour was very nice. Rich dark black with light reddish highlights peaking around the sides. The nice towering head of tan came up and over the top of the glass with much ease, only barely settling down as the night went on. Monster look to it and I have to admit I was quite impressed. The aroma was loaded with roasted malts, hints of dark fruity notes and a nice hint of cocoa. Smooth, silky taste was excellent across the board. I was surprised by the nice little hop kick this one had in the back as well. Rich, almost a light prune like flavor coming through now as the richness of it. The abv was all but absent for me to be honest, and this went down much quicker then I ever would have thought.
Overall I am really impressed here. I did not think it was going to be nearly as good as it was and it has peaked my interest enough to get me to go after a couple more of their offerings. This is a winner in my book.

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Photo of womencantsail
3.31/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Thanks to Mike for this extra in a recent trade.

A: The pour is dark brown in color, but nearing black, with a short lived tan head.

S: The roast is strong on this one. The pomegranate is just as powerful though and provides its trademark sweet/tart notes. I also seem to get a bit of bleach, unfortunately.

T: The combination of intense roast along with sweet and tart fruits seems a bit strange to me. The acidity and sourness that I'm getting could be from the pomegranate, but could also be from the roasted malts.

M: The body is medium and so is the carbonation. Nothing really special either way.

D: This beer sounded like it could be very interesting, and I suppose it was interesting, it just wasn't exactly my thing. I just don't think the roastiness worked all that well with a fruit like pomegranate.

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Photo of johnnnniee
4.05/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle says 2008 on it, consumed May 2010. Received in trade from KarrHeel03, thanks for the opportunity!

Pours a solid black color with just the faintest of garnet highlights when held to the light. Tightly bubbled khaki head recedes slowly into the abyss. Smells of sweet perfume and chocolate and tart dark fruits, a little smoke and a hint of wet dog. Really a lot going on here. Taste is is kind of what I expected based on the aroma. Starts off with some tart fruits. I imagine pomegranate, raisins, plums, tart cherries dipped in chocolate. This melts into a bit of roasted grains, and leaves a roasted coffee chocolate finish. Medium to thick body, medium level of carbonation, creamy syrupy mouthfeel. This one is definitely different, but I think it works pretty well. The darker roasts seem homogenized perfectly with dark fruits. I wonder what this is like fresh.

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Photo of TMoney2591
3.25/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Served in a Dogfish Head snifter.

Thanks to DosBeerigos for this bottle!

2009...vintage...? It pours a surprisingly opaque black (the pour from the bottle seemed much more ruby-tinged) topped by nearly a finger of darkish ecru foam. The nose is pretty similar to an infected oatmeal stout, with some black cherries hanging all Damoclesianly over chocolate, graham crackers, and cinnamon. The fruit is more pronounced than in an infected bottle, though. The taste starts off fairly similarly, with a blast of chocolate-covered cherries, pomegranate juice, and roasted malts, but the fruits seem to become burnt as the liquid flows to the back of the tongue, eliciting a slight cringe and grimace. The body is a loose medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a kinda watery feel. Overall, this is definitely a strange brew (no Rick Moranis pun intended), not altogether offensive, but also nothing I'd really ask for again. Not really my bag, I think, though it is nice to see 'granates gettin' some love.

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Photo of GarthDanielson
2.87/5  rDev -17.3%
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.

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Photo of Wasatch
3.88/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks goes out to Maltzilla for this brew.

Pours a very nice black color, nice carbonation, nice little fizzy/creamy tan head, with some nice small islands and sticky lacing left behind. The nose is malty, with some chocolate/toffee notes, very slight yeast, slight roasty notes. The taste is sweet, malty, with some chocolate/toffee, the bottle sez pomegranate juice which to me gives some very nice sweetness to this brew. Medium body. Drinkable, I really like the taste of this brew, would not call it a ASA, but it is very tasty, glad I have another bottle, thanks Diego.

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Photo of jwc215
3.9/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2009 vintage:

Poured into tulip glass:

Pours black with a thick brown creamy head that is well-retained for awhile before becoming a lasting wispy cover. Thin lines of lacing stick.

The smell is of a charcoal-like ashy roast with chocolate, some coffee and a hint of pomegranate juice. Interesting and oddly inviting. Unique. The pomegranate juice is slight and works well here.

The taste is sweet and roasy/ashy with just a hint of pomegranate juice. Fruity in a refreshing, not over-bearing or dominant way. Alcohol is there but is neither too sharp nor too interfering. It warms up nicely with chocolate and coffee coming through. Some licorice comes through as it progresses. There is a touch of something "Belgian-esque" (I take it being the yeast strain). This has a nice roasty, slightly bitterish balance to the sweetness. There is a slight astringency to it. Finishes with dry-ish with a light hop note balancing the sweetness.

It is creamy and on the lighter end of full-bodied. Not thick or syrupy, but the flavors linger on the palate in the long finish.

This is a unique, creative brew. Dark and roasty with some sweetness, but with some bitter-ish balance. The pomegranate is just a hint - not overbearing, and not "artificial" - Just enough to put a unique "spin" on it. Alcohol is still noticeable. It claims that this ages well for 1 to 2 years. It would be interesting to see how it develops. Still, at this point it is an enjoyable "dessert" brew, yet in a rather reshreshing way. I did enjoy this more than the other Holy Mackerel, but then, they are completely different beers. This is one to grab when in the mood for something dark and slightly bitterish fruity.

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Holy Mackerel Mack In Black from Holy Mackerel Small Batch Beers "the garage project"
Beer rating: 3.47 out of 5 with 197 ratings