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

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Ratings: 197 |  Reviews: 141
Photo of DaveFL1976
3.22/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I live just across the river from the Florida Beer Company. I'm used to them producing rather bland and uninteresting beers. Fortunately, out of either inspiration or desperation, they've started to contract their brew system out.
They've been doing Holy Mackerel for a while now, and just started up producing Two Tail Pale Ale, which is quite pleasant.

This is a new one, as well. Mack in Black pours (you guessed it) a black body with a foamy brown sugar-colored head. The head settles down rather quickly, much in the same manner as the Holy Mackerel. The smell is roasty and chocolaty. Big time. Lots of chocolate malts in here gives it a dry and bitter smell. But not the pleasing hop bitter. Taste starts out a little sweet and then sweeps onto the back of the tounge with a bit of acidic sourness. Perhaps from the pomogranate? Or maybe from the tannins in the dark malt?

I sort of like the taste of this beer. It's not unpleasant. It has some good parts in the taste. As your swallowing you get the full sense of what's going on, but then a bit of weirdness lingers on your tongue.

Mouthfeel is on the thin side. It doesn't say if they're upping the ABV with sugar or just with fruit. I'd imagine there's some sort of added fermentable, though. I think i'd like a little more viscocity.

Drinkability is OK. Maybe it'll get smoother as it ages. I've also got my fingers crossed that the aroma will smooth out as it ages.

Edit: The taste does start to smooth out as it warms. I'm bumping the taste up to a 4.

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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 tempest
3.7/5  rDev +6.6%
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 AlexJ
3.88/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance is very deep brown, almost black. In the fading sunlight of my patio there is a intense garnet cast when held aloft. Adequate lacing and retention.

Aroma is a interesting meeting of a stout, a dark Belgian ale, and a fruit infuzed strong ale. Definate dark malt, chocolate and roasty notes with faint spice and yeasty esters. There's an underlying sweetness of red fruit.

Flavor is more stout-like up front; dark roast malt, bittersweet chocolate, and scorched caramel. The middle is fruity and sweet with a fading finish that leaves your tongue bittersweet.

Body is quite big, creamy, and lush with good drinkability in spite of the high ABV. Would be excellent with a warm brownie and vanilla bean icecream and razberry drizzle.

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Photo of markwise
4.05/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

This is a surprisingly great beer. For an imperial stout-type beer it has a bit of a watery mouthfeel. It pours a dark black with a very shy tan head. In the bottle it smells of chocolate, coffee, and the fruit (pomegranate) is absent from the aroma, and almost from the flavor as well. On draft the smooth fruit at the end is much more pronounced.

It has all of the flavors of an Imp Stout, but is dangerously more drinkable. The ABV hides in the flavor, so watch out for surprises.

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Photo of joepais
3.83/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to goryshkewych for this one
Bottle poured in to a sniffer produced a fingers worth of tan head that goes to a ring of lace. The body on this one is jet black no light coming thru at all

Aromas of this is dominated by roasted malts some fruits as well the Belgian yeast aroma shows as it warms

Flavor is a little bitter from the roasted malts but there is a slight fruity sweetness in the end. In a strange way it kind of reminds me of a sour

Medium mouthfeel not much carbonation on the tongue

The brew kind of grows on you. I could drink a few of these maybe space apart a little. Overall an interesting brew and it has Pomegranate so it must be good for you

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Photo of SigEp
2.53/5  rDev -27.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Ok so. Pours pitch black. In the nose there is roasted malt along with a hint of fruitiness in there and some belgian esters.

Here's my problem with this one. Too much roast malt. All you taste is roast malt. It's pretty much like an imperial stout without the real round deliciousness of that class of beers. I get a tiny hint of the fruit. Tiny. I have to search deep deep deep for it and it's almost like I can find a whisper of it underneath the stouty darkness of this thing. And the belgian character? Non existent. All the delicate, delicious flavors that the belgian yeast may have deployed have been masked by the dark malts.

Guess what I have to say is... cool it with the dark malts. Maybe replace your roasted or black patent or whatever it is you're using with cara malts.

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Photo of orcasteve
3.75/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

this one is a bit bitter and raw, i think a few years of ageing may help, i dont realy taste the difrence that the pomegranate juice makes, i asume that that flavor comes out later in its ageing. this one is nice though it is robust and the dark roast works well. the hops kick in nicley, i may try to get anouther bottle to cellar.

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Photo of blackie
3.62/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

a: pours a burnt-khaki head that soon recedes and shows low retention, the beer is nearly black in color

s: black malt body with some dark and milk chocolate syrup and coated dark fruits, nice pomegranate juice aroma compliments the malts, seems a bit phenolic when colder but that may just be the pomegranate, interesting sweet-sour interplay that I may or may not enjoy, a touch of that Belgian yeast, comes across a touch artificial at times but overall pretty good, hops at a minimum

m: low-medium carbonation and a medium, a little dull

t: black malts and a building roast dominate, pomegranate makes a nice showing, finishes with a lingering roast and dark chocolate fruits, interesting

d: somewhat limited, was pretty put off by the samples of the HM Golden I've had at a couple beerfests, but this was pretty good

bottle from Team Beverage Raleigh

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Photo of Patrick999
4.04/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a chalice, my first sampling of Mack In Black. Label reads "Imperial Black Ale with pomegranate juice." Per the label, dark chocolate barley, American hops, Belgian yeast and pomegranate juice. Well OK, then, I do like an ambitious beer! Brewed in Florida, too.

A - Inky black with some browned edges. Head shows itself briefly, then settles to basically nothing but some tendrils of small bubbles. I never get much retention in this glass, and I know this is a strong ale, but I would still like to see a little more.

S - Nice aroma here. My first impression is "chocolate-covered cherry." A softer, sweeter aroma than the typical big American stout, possibly due to the use of Belgian yeast?

T - The use of a Belgian yeast is readily apparent. It's a big stout, basically, with notes of dark chocolate and coffee up front, and a definite fruit overtone I can't place that must be the pomegranate. I've found that I have a difficult time picking up pomegranate when it is used in beer; to me it always comes off as "fruit." Light hop bite at the back end. Now the Belgian yeast - it does something funny to this beer. It's mostly stout-like, yes, but then we add this whole Belgian Strong Dark element to the mix - the clove-y spiciness is there a little - mostly masked by the chocolate malts, but it's there. Quite the complex beer.

F - Very smooth. Quick kiss of carbonation, glides right down.

D - While the 8% alcohol is not readily apparent, this is a very rich, full-bodied beer with a lot going on. I can't imagine someone wanting more than one at a time. Would pair well, I think, with a fruity dessert, perhaps a raspberry or blueberry tart. Or, forget the dessert and have this, this is dessert enough.

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Photo of scottyshades
4.03/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I am glad that a good dark beer has finally come out of Florida

A: Pours a deep black color with amber around the corners with a frothy beige head that leaves a good lace

S: Toasted malts, dark fruits, coffee, and chocolate

T: Wow! very rich with chocolate, coffee, toffee, pomegranate juice (wouldnt have identified the fruit without the bottle tellin me), and a sour finish

MF: A borderline Medium bodied beer, very thick and syrupy feeling. It has a unique sweet/rich taste that transitions into a bitter taste

D: This is a sipper beer

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Photo of cjgator3
2.2/5  rDev -36.6%
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 Nic8612
3.9/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 5

Ok, first review so give me some slack.

A: Pours a very dark brown, almost black. Not very much head at all. Very small amount of carbonation. But thats not such a big deal with a beer like this.

S: I can smell some sort of roasted nuts along with the underlying aroma of pomegranate.

T: The initial taste is that of a malty chocolate. A roasted flavor also lingers near the end that is accompanied by the slight pomegranate bitterness.

M: Very smooth and light on the palate. Although light it does still retain some creaminess like a stout.

D: This beer is a bit on the lighter side for an Imperial type ale, but that makes it a very drinkable beer that also is pretty tasty.

Overall this was a pretty good beer and I would drink it again if I could get it in my area. Thanks go to sincereNC for the bottle!

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Photo of meatyard
3.28/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appears a very dark opaque with a short, light brown head that falls to a covering without leaving any lacing.

Smells a bit of the pomegranate but more of dark roasted malt and coffee with a little chocolate.

Tastes of the pomegranate which is kind of sour. followed by a malty and coffee taste.

Mouthfeel is medium.

Drinkability is OK.

This is an interesting stout which is fine. It's not as smooth and is too sour compared to stouts that I like. Worth a try for those who like stouts.

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

thanks jw347
poured into an ommegang tulip

A - pitch black with a quick to diminish off white head.fair amount of bubbles peircing the surface of the beer.

S - recognizable aromas of dark roast coffee but with something unfamiliar lingering in the background.

T- coffee quickly overwhelmed by a pucker that lingers, but doesn't overwhelm the coffee.

M - slight syrup sensation which is quickly wiped away from a decent amount of carbonation

D - I could have a couple of these but probably at the end of the night..

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Photo of paulthebeerguru
3.38/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Gordash Holy Mackerel - Mack in Black

A: snifter. pours a pitch black, obsidian color with a nice light tan head on top that has a fairly good retention rate and good lacing.

S: nice chocolate tones. some bitters and sours as well. Has a sour fruit aroma, and a strong alcohol burn. light hint of coffee.

T: nice fruity flavors, mostly pomegranate, which gets quickly covered up by the chocolate, coffee, and toffee from the roasted malts. such an interesting palate.

M: a little rough, but mostly due to the sours. thick, hearty and a mild carbonation rate.

D: maybe two of these, but one is about all I could put down. The sweet and sour turned me off a little bit.

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Photo of tpd975
3.95/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a dark blackish brown hue with tints of red showing thru. The head is rather puney but spotty lace is noted.

S: Nice roasted aromas with tons of dark fruit wafting from the glass.

T: Very nice stout that is very Belgian in nature. Nice chocolate malt with tons of dark fruits. Figs, raisins, and pommegranate can be noted. It does have a bit of yeasty goodness to it as well. Rather good I must say.

M: A bit thin, but smooth and creamy.

D: I really enjoyed it and would say it's down right drinkable even on this hot Florida summer day.

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Photo of mhewes
3.23/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A : Pours a nice black with a brown head, nice lacing

S : Pomegranate, roasted malts, and microwave burnt popcorn

T : You can definitely taste the pomegranate and it provides an interesting twist to the flavor. Not sure whether I like it or not. There's a good roasted malt backbone to the flavor also

M : Thin, good carbonation

D : It's one I could try again but it was just a weird combination of flavors to me.

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Photo of Drew966
3.95/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Holy Mackeral Mack in Black pours an opaque black with a brown head from a twelve ounce brown bottle. Roasted malt is noticeable in the aroma as is a fruity thing that must be the pomegraniate. This beer is really a stout (the label calls it an imperial stout), roasty flavors abound and there is a subtle fruity flavor in the background that must be the pomegranate. The mouthfeel is a bit thiner than I would like. Better than I expected, definitely worth a try. Contract brewed for Gordash by the Florida Beer Company

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Photo of atsprings
4.27/5  rDev +23.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had this one at the Raleigh Would Beer Festival and had been looking forward to trying a whole pint. Poured a nice opaque black with a thin diminishing head. Aroma was a nice blend of pomegranate and subtle choocolate. The taste a very complex blend of dried fruits, dark chocolate and slight Belgian spice. The beer is medium bodied with hidden alcocol. This is an enjoyable beer on a 100° day that will only get more enjoyable in cold weather

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Photo of AgingWarrior
4/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bartender poured into a standard beer mug, a coal black color with nice dark reddish brown head that provided some lacing. The smell is dark malts and fruit. The bartender stated that it was made with pomegranates. I don't know about the taste of pomegranates, but you could definitely smell some type of fruit.

Tastes like a stout, but a bit more drinkable than many. I really enjoyed drinking this one and will have more in the future.

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Photo of bluegrassbrew
4/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap into a wine glass.

Listed as an Imperial Black Ale. The brewer said this was brewed with a Belgian yeast strand and pomegranates. It is a stout with definite Belgian characteristics. Tasty beer. Congrats on releasing this Bob, if you read this that is.

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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