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

141 Reviews
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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

For Trade:
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Reviews: 141 | Ratings: 197
Photo of Sammy
3.55/5  rDev +2%
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 +3.7%
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 UCLABrewN84
3.6/5  rDev +3.4%
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 brentk56
3.85/5  rDev +10.6%
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 emerge077
3/5  rDev -13.8%
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 Phyl21ca
3.77/5  rDev +8.3%
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 chinchill
3.51/5  rDev +0.9%
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 Rifugium
3.88/5  rDev +11.5%
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 ChainGangGuy
3.93/5  rDev +12.9%
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 russpowell
3.96/5  rDev +13.8%
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 mikesgroove
4.33/5  rDev +24.4%
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 -4.9%
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 TMoney2591
3.25/5  rDev -6.6%
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 johnnnniee
4.05/5  rDev +16.4%
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 jwc215
3.9/5  rDev +12.1%
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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Photo of MasterSki
3.75/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Got this as an extra from HOPSHUNTER. Served in my Pisgah pint glass.

A - One and half fingers of mocha foam that dissipates kind of quickly to a cap and leaves no lacing. Pitch black, with a tiny hint of brown at the edges.

S - Roast malt, dark fruits, pomegranate, chocolate, a hint of coffee. There's a tiny hint of soap as it warms, but it's very subtle. Not sure why this isn't called a porter - it looks and smells like one.

T - Taste is a little...odd. There's a lot of fruitiness, but it's not as tangy as pomegranate - more artificial raspberry instead. Tons of roastiness that lingers well into the aftertaste. There's the expected chocolate, and again a touch of coffee. I like the flavor, except that the "pomegranate" tastes like artificially sweetened juice instead of real fruit, which unfortunately is a deal-breaker for me.

M - Tons of residual stickiness - almost as if my mouth is glued shut. Reminds me of fruit juice. Medium bodied, and kind of runny, with very active carbonation. Does not match the ABV nor the appearance at all.

D - I'm OK with the 12oz bottle, but I wouldn't go looking for more if I were in Florida. A touch bloaty, with lots of roasty aftertaste. An interesting experiment, but not anywhere near as successful as Surly Two.

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Photo of GarthDanielson
2.87/5  rDev -17.5%
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 Duff27
3.55/5  rDev +2%
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!

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Photo of tempest
3.7/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

An imperial black ale, huh? Well right off the bat I can at least see similarities between this and black lager for the big chocolate flavors. The beer also pours a pitch black body with a short tan head. The aroma and flavor are really about chocolate. That's great if you're into chocolate, but this beer doesn't offer much else besides a slight acidic tang from the pomegranates.

Enjoy a good bar of chocolate? Check this out.

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Photo of Wasatch
3.88/5  rDev +11.5%
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 Gueuzedude
3.68/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

2008 Bottle Date; Sampled August 2009
This beer is served lightly chilled with a vigorous pour into my 25cl tulip glass. The head that forms is a bit bigger than a fat finger and is a nicely browned, dark tan color. The aroma smells of sweet dark chocolate, anise, coffee liquor, cocoa, some umami-driven savory notes (a hint of tamari), ample toasted bread crust notes, a touch of burnt acidity, browned crackers, fresh licorice chews as well as some alcoholic spiciness. The nose is quite a bit more interesting than I was expecting, it can be a touch sharp at times, but the complexity is definitely quite nice. It does seem to lose much of the complexity after a minute or so though and begins to pick up notes of lacquer, acrid burnt grain, and even a touch of acetone.

A prickly carbonation competes with a touch of viscousness in the body; while this is not overly rich for an Imperial Black Ale (whatever that is), it is definitely a sipping beer, it actually seems to have a fairly light body. There is a certain savoriness to the flavor here, but at times it can seem a touch too much like acetone. There is some acidity here from the roast character (and perhaps some tartness from the pomegranate), but there is also a substantial toasted, dark grain character, a dark malt sweetness (which combines with the roast to make me think of a coffee liquor), a roasted whole-grain cracker flavor, some smoked cocoa notes and perhaps even a touch of smoked peat saltiness. There is some solid chocolate character here. The finish has some phenols and fusels that linger on the palate a bit; a touch turpene in character, but with some clove character as well.

An interesting beer, not what I was expecting at all. This does have a fair amount of complexity to it at this point; at times this is a plus, but at others this beer just doesn't seem to be able to hold everything together in a balanced fashion. Still this is interesting enough that I am quite happy to be sipping on this right now.

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Photo of clayrock81
3.8/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A blackish body with a one-finger semi-tan head that sticks around a little. Great roasted malt smell, hints of coffee and chocolate. Smooth and creamy, full-bodied with minor fruit notes. Good sweet touch here. Has somewhat of a dry backbite, but more or less passes down smoothly. Malty taste, roasted, coffee, chocolate and a little syrup. Good beer that I'll have to have again when I'm back in FLA.

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Photo of cjgator3
2.2/5  rDev -36.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 1

2008 listed on the bottle. This is an "Imperial Black Ale" brewed with pomegranate juice and a Belgian yeast strain. 12oz bottle. Pours a dark black color with a light tan head. The aroma is dark roasted malts with a fruitiness (from the pomegranate juice). The taste is dark and roasty, with a sour finish with a strong boozy finish. They sweet and sour nature of the taste combined with the strong boozy finish make this beer undrinkable for me resulting in a drain pour. I can count on one hand how many times I have poured out a beer before finishing it, and this is one of them. Don't know if I got a bad bottle or what, but I could not stomach the taste. Overall, I was not really impressed by Mack in Black and would not purchase again.

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Photo of beerthulhu
3.24/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

- An imperial black ale brewed with pomegranate juice.

A: From the bottle poured a thick viscose engine oil color with a fizzy flat ½ finger nutmeg colored head that quickly dissipated to a bare polished surface with no lacing was left upon its demise.

S: The nose was perhaps the beers best feature displaying dark roasted barley with freshly ground coffee beans that was moderately strong. Not much pomegranate juice or hoppiness was detected beyond the dark roasted aroma but none the less was still pleasing.

T: The flavor was dark roasted barley with light dried creamer notes and tart pomegranate juice all of which made for an odd flavor and combination. Fresh tomatoes (im guessing from the pomegranate juice) and a light basil hopping is also present as well signs of dark ripe fruit (prunes). The beer progresses to a tart lemony juice flavor that thins out the dark roasted malting finishing off with a watery thin roasted coffee fade that wasn't nearly as impressive as the start. My parting shot would be it seems the addition of the pomegranate juice seemed to work only as a gimmick and odd ball ingredient, hurting rather then helping the overall flavor and would of faired much better if left out completely. The pomegranate thins out a nice deep roasted flavor and thins out the mouthful as well and does more by subtraction then addition.

M: light, a bit thin and watery from the presence of the pomegranate juice lacking substance. The carbonation was fizzy while a light chalkiness and earthy burnt bitterness is left behind on the swallow.

D: Average drinkability at best and average enjoyment going down. Definitely lacks incentive for repeatability or future purchases. Overall this beer started out with some promise but thins out at the finish hardly leaving you any impression of what could have been.

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Photo of rhoadsrage
3.53/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

(Served in a snifter)
thanks to SincereNc for this brew
A- This beer pours a jet black body with a thin creamy head of chocolate brown foam that last for a moment. The only sign of carbonation are some small bubbles stuck to the sides of the glass.

S- The aroma of black roasted coffee malt is dark and earthy with a big finish of purple berries.

T- The smooth chocolate malt flavor gives way to some roasted black malt notes with hints of chalk and charcoal to follow. There is a slight tart berry flavor in the finish. As the beer warms a bit there is a chocolate nougat with some tootsie roll qualities and a coffee flavor that comes through. The tartness of berries and bitterness of roasted black malt linger a bit after each sip.

M- This beer has a medium mouthfeel with no alcohol heat until the beer warm.

D-This is an interesting beer with good dark malt flavors. The pomegranate tartness is a bit out of place and makes it taste like cough syrup when the beer warms a bit. Good concept for a brew.

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Holy Mackerel Mack In Black from Holy Mackerel Small Batch Beers "the garage project"
3.48 out of 5 based on 197 ratings.
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