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

197 Ratings
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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

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Ratings: 197 |  Reviews: 141
Photo of abents
3.84/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz 2008 bottling.
Thanks to Sebletitje for the bottle, sounds pretty interesting. Pours out into the glass a dark black with a big light brown head that dissipates quickly but leaves a film for quite some time. Not messing around with the nose here, big pomegranate, roasted malts with some coffee lingering in there too. Pretty nice, but would help if it was a little stronger. Wow, taste is extremely confusing, huge tongue clash with a roasted smoky malt flavor battling it out with a sweet pomegranate nectar. Starts with blast of malty goodness leading into the pomm(that word sucks to type out), but with a bitter coffee/roasted malt finish that leaves lips sticky. Also get some vanilla, raisins, and chocolate at some point in there. Right now I'm extremely confused as to whether I like this... I need to finish more of this beer before judging... I'll be right back.

Ok, I'm back, thanks for waiting. I enjoy this beer the sweetness of the pomm melds well with the bitterness of the burnt malt. The fruit is not so overpowering, which helps, and that bitterness of the burnt malt make this rather pleasant. It's reminiscent of a schwarzbier with a bigger mouthfeel, but that pomegranate added makes it different and interesting. Overall it was rather enjoyable, maybe after another year or so aging I could see this being really good when everything mellows out more, but I like this beer now too. Nice big carbonation helps make this big beer (no way you would think this was 8%) even smoother. Something very different and interesting, that blends well to make a pretty nice brew.

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Photo of bhalter8
3.23/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Thanks to Kiefdog for tossing this in on a trade. Pours a dark black color with a deep rose, maybe purple edge in the light. thin to no head, leaves a light tan rim. A light scent of fruit and chocolate background, nothing too strong though. Taste is a roasted malt with fruits and chocolate mixed. I have to admit I have never been a big fan of beers that take the fruit mix into the flavor too strongly. I am trying to be fair in my evaluation of it, but I could not have too many of these, its a distinct flavor, and decently built, but not something I could drink more than one of, and barely that.

EDIT: I had to come back to this review and lower my taste rating. This beer has a poor aftertaste, it dries out in the mouth and leaves an overripined fruit taste almost, not good at all.

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Photo of Cyberkedi
4.48/5  rDev +28.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep opaque brown, like dark chocolate, with a nice tan head. Smoky aroma is strongly of fine roast coffee and has a hint of pomegranate. Mouth-filling flavor has tones of coffee and unsweetened chocolate as well as a pomegranate hint. Mouthfeel is lively and tingly, and finish is pleasingly smooth.

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Photo of aerozeppl
3.88/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours mostly black with some hints of red around the edges. A half finger of cream colored head. Some lacing.

S: A weird mixture of sweetness and roasted malt.The pomegranate is there but is muted by notes of coffee. Really weird nose that is enjoyable.

T: Coffee and roasted malt up front. Then it goes into a nice sweetness. I think I like this beer more than other reviews because of the time this spent in the cellar which was roughly a year.

M: Medium body with nothing that makes it swing either way.

D: I actually enjoyed this beer. Something a little bit different that worked for me. I need this to sooth the pain of the Giants loss today. To be honest I probably need a barleywine festival but I just don't have that available for two weeks.

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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 cvstrickland
3.16/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

The 12-ounce bottle poured into a large tulip glass yields a black body capped with a thin layer of grainy beige foam. The head recedes quickly into a thick collar that fails to lace the glass.

The smell is bitter, fruity and highly mobile, reaching out two feet away to wrinkle my nose at the artifical nail-polishy scent. As the drink warms a bit, notes of sour cherry replace most of the acetone.

The taste is mild with a tang of fruit and a mellow, bitter dark chocolatiness. A scrap of wet brown paper and drying astringency in the finish don't do much to ameliorate the chemical-grade alcohol that comes through, though a bit a dark maltiness in the aftertaste works hard to shore up the bare-bones mediocrity of the profile, meeting with only a modicum of success. A touch of coffee bitterness contributes a meager pittance of flavor in equally inadequate fashion. Dryly chocolatier and more cherrylike as the drink warms.

The drink is fullish-medium in body with plenty of carbonation. Though my description of the brew makes Mack in Black sound pisswater awful, it really is surprisingly drinkable... that is, once the nose and palate numb to the off-flavored assault and the 8% ABV starts warming the belly.

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Photo of scifan
4.5/5  rDev +29.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is an awesome beer. Found it this weekend and have been loving it. It pours pitch black with a tan head that quickly dissapates. Smells like coffee, and getting faint hints of something fruity, maybe from the belgian yeast strain used? Taste absolutely great. Lovely coffee and roasted barley flavors, and then a slightly cherry taste as an after thought. It's a little carbonated but, i'll overlook it. Truly an underrated beer.

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Photo of gford217
3.55/5  rDev +2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle poured into a tulip.

Pours dark, dark brown with ruby hints around the edges and with a small tan head that recedes quickly to a ring leaving no lacing. The smell is fairly sweet and with chocolate up front and hints of dark fruits and toasted grains. The taste follows the aroma with sweet chocolate and grains up front before the sweetness of the dark fruits takes over in the middle. The mouthfeel is very, very smooth and slick. This is a decent beer and fairly hard to categorize. Much better than the Special Golden for me.

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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 maximum12
3.15/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to pepsican for throwing this unknown brewery & beer my way in a recent trade. I thought this would be the perfect thing to bridge the night between IPA & something dark & heavy.

Black beer, indeed. Smell is faint, dare I say, uh, non-existent. Never had a beer I couldn't smell before, even crappy ones smell like crap. How to rate something that barely exists? Odd. Tastes...odd...too. Dark fruits are dominant, along with a porter-esque flavor. Mostly just the fruits.

I'm kind of baffled by this beer. It's not bad. It's not good. It's OK. But the dance of fruit & beer isn't quite in sync, they keep stepping on each other's feet (& my tongue).


EDIT: the beer does improve as it warms, with the dominate fruit giving way to some chocolate notes & maybe even a touch of cherry. Much more palatable as it approaches room temp.

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Photo of AMoceri7
3.36/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

This is probably one of the more unique beers that Ive had in my time. Where to start.

A: Easily one of the prettiest things Ive laid my eyes on. Pitch black with a 2 finger chocolate brownie head.

S: Not in your face roasty but you know whats to come. Not sure I expected what I smell. Distant chocolate roastiness with an even more faint sour fruitiness.

T: Definitely not what you would expect AT ALL. But after reading the label and realizing what I had bought, it makes complete sense. Roasty, chocolate, malty and a valentines day treat, chocolate covered fruits! Its like a consecutive rush one after another as it swirls around the palate. First roasted malts, then bitter chocolate, next is the tangy fruit accompanied by hops and finished with the famous alcohol warming sensation. By my count, this is far from balanced but a great approach none the less!

M: Not crazy about the carbonation, could be a tad lower but it works. This thing kicks.

D: Eh.. couldnt have more than one unless it was some sort of extravagant special occassion. In which I would probably just buy DFHs Palo Santo Marron over this anyday.

O: Awesome idea, but might want to work a little harder on making this one better the next time around.

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

So, an imperial black ale brewed with pommegranite juice? Wow, this is unusual.

A - pitch black with a nice tan head
S - roasted notes, dark sweet malts, mildy sour / tart fruit.
T - sweet dark malts, sour ripe fruit, roasted coffee notes.
M - medium bodied, nicely carbonated, smooth with a lingering off fruit note.
D - unusual and interesting for the experience.

props to the brewery for wandering off the map with this one. worth a try for the experience.

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Photo of JoshLikesBeer
4.39/5  rDev +26.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer tastes like an imperial version of Young's Double Chocolate Stout plus added pomegranate juice and the fruity esters of a Belgian yeast.

This beer doesn't attempt to meet any formal style definition. I'm not sure why it is listed as an "American Strong Ale", other than the fact that it's as good a place as any. I won't judge it for compliance to the style, because the beer makes no claims to be an "American Strong Ale".

A - Very dark, with a brown head that quickly dissipates into a ring around the edge of my snifter glass.

S - The smell is awesome. Chocolate from the malt, pomegranate from the juice, plus some raisins/dried cherries/plums from the yeast. The hops are subtle, but they're there.

T - Chocolate and pomegranate. Maybe a little too sweet.

M - The carbonation is moderate, and the finish is dry.

D - I really liked it, but the flavors are very strong. I couldn't see drinking more than one of these in an evening. However, that's probably a good thing because very easy drinking high gravity beers get me into trouble.

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Photo of hwwty4
3.74/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Sebletitje for this one.

Poured a 12oz bottle into my New Belgium lobe. This beer pours a dark brown with just a few wisps of a head that instantly disappeared, leaving no traces that it was even there. The aroma is of milk chocolate, roasted malts, and overly sweet pomegranate juice. The flavor is like sweet milk chocolate that has a pomegranate filling but the more it warms a slight chalky under flavor comes through. The mouthfeel is way to light for this beer. I wish it had a bit more heft to it. This is a good start to a beer. I wish that they would look at reworking it. It could be fantastic.

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Photo of nrbw23
2.33/5  rDev -33%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

A- Pours a black color with a very small tan head that recedes to pretty much nothing. Not to much in the way of lacing either.

S- Smells of roasted malts, chocolate, touch of yeast and something fruity I guessing its the pomegranate. Could also pick up some alcohol in there.

T- Not a real fan of this one here and tried to choke it down. Fruity flavours, mostly pomegranate, which gets quickly covered up by the chocolate, and the roasted malts. Its both very sweet and also a touch of sour in there.

M- Seemed pretty thin, watery, and also light on the carbonation.

D- Just way too sweet for me. Very different for sure. I struggled with this one and honestly couldn't finish this one.

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Photo of Kadonny
2.36/5  rDev -32.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Poured from a bottle into a nonic pint glass.

A: A deep black color with a light brown one finger head. Minimal lacing.

S: Dark roasted malts, chocolate and some sweetness.

T: Strong ale? Reminds me of a sweet stout. Dark roasted malt flavors with burnt coffee, chocolate and a coying sweetness to it. I guess that's the pomegranite or whatever it is. Either way, I didn't really dig it.

M: Medium to heavy, light carbonation and a hint of alcohol and a funky sweet aftertaste that lingers.

D: Low for me, I couldn't finish the bottle. Sorry.

Overall not a beer I enjoyed at all, in fact I couldn't finish it. That sweetness was just left a terrible aftertaste in my mouth.

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Photo of rtratzlaff
2.77/5  rDev -20.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

I am not sure how I am to review this style wise since this is listed as an American strong ale, but the lable claims it as a Belgian black ale. The yeast used was Belgian, but I guess that is the only thing Belgian about this beer since its brewed in Florida.

It pours deep black beer in color with a one finger head that dissipates to a small island of thin off white head.

Aromas are mainly chocolate and black malt with plenty of sweetness. Not really too much fruit, but really sweet in the smell.

Flavors are really sweet with some chocolate in there as well. There's not a complex Belgian quality to this, but its really one dimensional. Is it drinkable? Yes. But something about this reminds me of a mass produced fruit beer aimed to not taste like "beer." Too Sweet.

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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 ViveLaChouffe
3.58/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours jet black. No light escaping from this one. A persistent but thin light brown head. The pomegranate juice is evident in the aroma buoyed by a sweet roasty malt.

Tastes of roasty malt with the fruity sweetness from the pomegranate. As it warms the pomegranate fades a bit and lets that big roastiness through. Big full body with a lingering sweetness.

My only complaint is that the pomegranate is a little heavy handed. The bottle says it can be aged for up to two years. I wonder if some age will mellow out the fruit. Three more bottles left. I plan to find out.

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Photo of kirok1999
3.58/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured a deep black with garnet hues around the edges. Quite a few bubbles rising from the bottom of the snifter.
Smells very fruity. I guess I haven't smelled that many pomegrantaes to discern their quality. Lots of dark fruit, like an exotic raisin.
Nice fruity taste as well, some chocolate shows up in the middle of the sip. Kind of spicy too, maybe some hops showing up?
Very rich and heavy mouthfeel.
I don't know if I'd drink many of these in a night. One is OK.

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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 RickSawyer
3.6/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours almost a pitch black with a thin mocha head that falls quickly to a film. Smell is full of roasted almond, pecan smoke, hints of apricot, plum, some peachy floral hints all finished by an alcohol bite. Taste begins with a roasted, malt forward note of burnt toast and roasted nuts. Then comes a plesantly unexpected fruity note full of raspberry, faint notes of pom juice, and some floral tangerine. Mouthfeel is light and carbonated. This is certainly a strange brew, one hard to really catagorize. I can't see drinking much more than a pint.

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Photo of aubuc1
3.77/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured in to an imperial pint glass.

Pours black with a thin tan head.

Roasted malt smell with a sweet smell of pomegranite in the back.

Taste is very smokey/roasty with a hint of the pomegranate. Much like the smell.

Feels nice and is very drinkable.

I like both beers from Holy Mackerel, but this one is better than the golden ale.

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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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Photo of NJpadreFan
3.85/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Holy Mackerel- Mack in Black

Big thanks to tpd975(Greg) for this 1!

A- Dark black with a big thick tan head that quickly dissipates.
S- Roasted coffee beans, slight sweet dried fruit aroma, possibly cherry. Chocolate dominates.
T- Sweet smooth chocolate with slight roasted black coffee. A tint of cherry/ pomagranite.
M- Sweet up front with creamy smooth, and slighly dry, coffee/ chocolate finish.

Overall- Very nice cocoa/ coffee/ fruit blend. Very good, a bit sweet though.(Thanks Greg!)

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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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