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

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Reviews: 141 | Ratings: 197
Photo of timobkg
2.8/5  rDev -19.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

2009 vintage, poured into a Chimay glass.

Pours a dark ruby red, with a thin foam.

The aroma is primarily pomegranate, with some sweet fruitiness behind it. There's a hint of belgian yeast.

The taste is sweet pomegranate juice, similar to Pom but sweeter, laid over a belgian dark ale. It's too sweet, so that at first it's nice, but by the end of the bottle it's cloying. Alcohol is completely hidden.

Overall, the beer suffers for being too sweet - and I like sweet beer. It may have been better fresh in 2009 (the bottle says it can be cellared for 1-2 years), but aged as it was the sweetness overwhelms everything else.

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Photo of ottovon
2.71/5  rDev -22.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

A: pours out a dark brown. when held to the light it has a reddish brown hue to it. a nice light brown head on this one.

S: smells of pomegranate and roasted malt. hints of molasses as well. it smells like a pomegranate syrup might. has a very sweet aroma.

T: this beer has a lot of sweetness in it. i get some roasted malt and chocolate flavors as well. overall it is too sweet for my liking.

M: this is a pretty thick (and not in a good way) and low carbed beer. leaves a weird coating on my palate.

O: not a huge fan of this beer. too much fake like sweetness.

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Photo of baconsausage
3.21/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

2009 bottle.
An agressive pour into a pint leaves little head on this beer. Almost black in color.
Smells like... pomagranite? Dark fruit and dark sweet malts are dominant here, litle to no hop aroma.
Tastes like... weird, in a good way, but a lot of flavors dart about. Pomagranite fades quickly, leading into licorice and mild coffee flavors, and some jammy wine like flavors with some fruit sweet/tart as the caboose.
Mouthfeel is thick, on the viscous side, but not overwhelming, and not all that awesome either.
I would have this again, but would not buy it myself. One is enough for a sitting, and half the bottle would have been better.

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Photo of robwestcott
2.28/5  rDev -34.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

2009 bottle

poured cold and black from the bottle to a dogfish head shaped pint glass with a super thin, super dark, super short lasting mocha head.

aroma of dark ripe fruits, and not much else.

hmmm., this is indeed a strange one. acidic tang on the lips, the tongue and all the way down. slightly fruity, but in an over-ripe kind of way.

thin, acidic, bitter.

drinkable - nope - i'm not sure i can take more than 4 - 6 ounces.

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Photo of beerhan
3.58/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Only had about 4 oz of this bottle and that was probably enough.

Pours bitch black with almost no head. Smells a bit like licorice and coffee flavoring. Very thick and syrupy. Tastes like a watered down kahlua. Not really much going on here. There is no pomegranate at all. Overall a very rich and thick beer that is not that fun to drink. The booze is hidden well but that's not too important. Not really worth seeking out but if it's there try it.

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Photo of illidurit
3.08/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a purplish brown with a rather fizzy ecru head. Pomegranate juice and cardboard in the aroma with some soy sauce. Sharp acidic fruit juice flavor with pomegranate seeds and prunes. I guess there's some roasted malt imperial stout blah blah blah in there too. Really weird beer. Don't know what to make of it but I certainly can't rate it highly by any standard.

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Photo of SuperSpy
2.37/5  rDev -31.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

12oz bottle into a pint glass.

A - Black and thick. No light gets through this, not even around the edges. A good half-inch of dark tan head that sticks around for a few minutes and leaves some good lace.

S - The aroma is a bit astringent and almost syrupy. I'm sure this is from the pomegranate. There is some roasted malt, chocolate and coffee, but the dominating smell is the syrupy pomegranate.

T/M - The flavor is dominated by the syrupy sweet and tart flavor that was in the aroma. Behind the tartness is some coffee, chocolate and brown sugar, but it finishes with a burnt coffee or burnt malt flavor that makes it difficult to go back and take another sip.

D - I'll admit that this is an interesting beer and probably the first time I've tasted fermented pomegranate, but it's probably the last time I will taste it in this beer. There is no way I could drink a second one of these and finishing this first one may be a little difficult.

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Photo of Aaron420
3.02/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Poured into a snifter.

A: Poured a dark black with a tan almost brown two finger head that dissipated quickly.

S: Very fruity with a slight hint of alcohol.

T: A mix of malty and fruity with with almost a touch of coffee in the beginning. AS the beer warms up the fruit becomes over bearing.

M: It is a very light bodied beer for suck a deep color. With a decent amount of carbonation.

D: Defiantly would not sit down and drink to many of these, they have a pretty high abv, but also a very sweet flavor. A really cool concept but nothing I will keep stocked in the fridge.

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Photo of Beejay
4/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Another brew courtesy of DmanGTR.

A: Very dark black in color with a very slight ruby hue when held to the light. Small amount of tan head on top that quickly fades into a ring around the edges.

S: A lovely dark malt syrup smell comes out right away. Nice roasted grain smell, and a sweet fruity sting from the pomegranate.

T: Lovely dark grains producing a roasty bitterness, followed by a very sweet berry and chocolate flavor. It is almost too sweet. Almost. A very interesting beer.

M: Smooth and syrupy. Mouthfeel is on the thicker side of medium. Carbonation is low but works with the style.

D: Nice, and a good change of pace beer. I certainly couldn't do a whole night of them though. Thanks again DmanGTR!!

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Photo of younger35
3.84/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I forgot who I received this brew from. It sat in the back of the fridge for a couple months before I got to it. Drank from my New Glarus pint glass while grilling.

Appearance- Pours a pitch ass black with a small half finger dark tan head. The head fizzles away quickly leaving no cap and super thin collar that doesn't have the oomph to leave any lacing.
Smell- The pomegranate is powerful in the nose as it smells tart and more prominent than I expected from the label description. Interestingly the fruit juice covers almost any sign that this beer contains dark malts. Not even a touch of chocolate comes through. I'd never guess this was a dark beer if I couldn't see it
Taste- I get a nice fleeting bite of the pomegranate juice quick before its quickly whisked away by the roasted malts. A bit of chocolate first followed by an almost ashy char from the dark roast of the malts. It's dry and lingers and almost reminds me of black licorice for one reason or another. The roast lingers for days as does a super light underlying sweetness that somehow still remains dry.
Mouthfeel- Chalky and dry the beer has a nice full feel and light zip of carbonation.
Drinkability- Not too shabby. I was excited to try this one and after the nose I had second thoughts. But it really is pretty tasty and one way or another, everything works.

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Photo of Mess
3.8/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Night of Floridas - 1st Cigar City Humidor Series IPA, next 2008 Mack in Black. 12 oz bottle served in a SA perfect pint glass.

Jet black - held up to the light and nothing comes through. Espresso head that dissapates quickly. Roasty coffee nose. Silky dark chocolate flavors, then something sweet on end, almost like a coca-cola ice cream float. Must be the pomegranate. Dates. Seriously has a cola nuance. Paradoxal prickly yet soft mouthfeel - again, like drinking coke from a can, though not as sweet. Combo roastiness and cola in the aftertaste.

Easy to drink, but definitely not a soft drink. Initial strong stout flavors, but then followed by Coke nuances. Had it on draft in September on a visit home but did not pick up the cola flavors then. Unique, interesting, and tasty brew.

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Photo of Samp01
3.65/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours dark brown / black with a small tan head. Aroma of coffee, dark malts, and some cacao. Taste is of coffee, dark roasted malts, caramel, slight hint of licorice, dark fruits, light bitter hops. Palate is full bodied, creamy, and oily. Finish is smooth and creamy, can taste the pomegranate. Overall this is a nice and smooth drinking brew very enjoyable.

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Photo of Tabni
3.65/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bought bottle at Total Wines. 2009 Bottle. Tried this before at Stage 84 on the tap, and it was a totally different experience.

Appearance - Dark like the night, small head.
Smells - of pomegranate all over.
Taste/Mouthfeel - is just like a coffee chocolate meets pomegranate! Sweet hints, super sweet in the bottle.
Drinkability - Dessert drink.

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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 BamaViper1
3.03/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a pint glass.

The Mack in Black pours a motor oil black with a 1/4 inch light brown head. The head dissipates quickly leaving thin lacing that quickly slides down the glass to rejoin the dark beer.

This beer opens with aromas of mocha which fade to bitter chocolate and sweet malt. There is also a sweet fruitiness, cherry or red plum (or perhaps the pomegranate that's supposed to be in this beer). It's almost a bit too sweet.

The nose of the nose of this beer tastes of espresso and chocolate that turns sour towrds the end. Sweetness pervades, as does a finish of sweet fruit and burned coffee smothered in chocolate maltiness.

This beer is more medium bodied, a bit lighter than expected, and there is a good bit of carbonation, maybe more than necessary, as well.

Because of the perceived lightness of the body of this beer, I would say this could be a very drinkable stout, but the sweetness overall kind of kills it. This beer has good potential, and maybe with some age it'd be better. Maybe...

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

Purchased at Whole Foods in Tampa Spring 2010. From bottle "2009...suitable for aging 1-2 years".

Pours a root beer shade of brown into a Chimay chalice. Modest tan head fades quickly leaving a full collar.

Smell is interesting. Big, tart jammy smell of red berries followed by dark chocolate and some charred malt. I also get a little banana in there, which I assume is from the yeast.

Flavor incorporates both the fruit and the malt flavors, but they come out much more muddled than in the aroma. As things warm up, the fruityness becomes increasingly obnoxious and seems to break up any of the nice maltiness you might otherwise appreciate. Once the fruit deluge subsides, it finishes with a slightly charred bitterness.

Feel is medium-bodied with a moderate level of prickly carbonation. Alcohol is fairly well concealed.

I'll give them credit for the creativity here, but this tastes like someone took a schwartzbier and mixed in apple and grape juice. I wouldn't bother with this again. They really need to dial back on the fruit juice.

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Photo of chefkevlar
2.81/5  rDev -19.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

A: Pours a very deep black/brown with no light showing through. There is around an inch or so of mocha colored foam which settles to a thin layer rather quickly and leaves a small amount of lacing.

S: Smells of coffee, raspberry and pomegranate. There is also a hint of dark chocolate and something sour like a vinegar (I'm guessing from the pomegranate)

T: Sweet...actually very sweet at the start. There's an odd combination of tartness sweetness and bitterness throughout with the end tasting a bit like coffee.

M: Feels full bodied on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation.

D: Can't say I really enjoyed this beer but there is something very unique about it that makes it feel worthwhile since I only bought a single bottle.

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Photo of BeerAdvocate
2.62/5  rDev -24.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

From BeerAdvocate Magazine Volume II, Issue VI:

So we are dealing with a straight up extreme beer here. Not only is it fermented with pomegranate juice, but this is also an Imperial Black Ale.

Yeah, it's black and it does don an OK lace. Decent head retention, thin tan lacing seems to hold its own long enough to get by. Slight tart note in the aroma from the fermented pomegranate and dark malt, vague chocolate as well. At second whiff there is a mild butter and ester tone in the nose. Pomegranate leaves an odd tartness which melds with the slight roast to form a mild astringent-like flavor. Hops are minimal and let the alcoholic esters and malt sweetness run rampant. The alcohol does reach higher with a quick flash of solvent that comes off as rose-like. Dries with an astringent, burnt flavor that the palate just can't shake.

While we appreciate the concept of going down the road of "extreme," Mack In Black seems to miss its mark with throwing balance and drinkability totally out the window.

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Photo of SFLpunk
3.14/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Thanks to dimenhetfield for this one!

12oz brown glass pry-top bottle. 2009 on front label.

Pours a thick dark black with some creamy tan head that recedes quickly. Nose is a little funky and smells vaguely of fermenting fruit with some roasted coffee notes. Palate is crisp and sharp with acidity from the pomegranate juice. Red berries and some instant coffee flake notes.

Interesting, but not something I'd need to drink again. Never had a pomegranate stout before!

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

A very interesting beer. Poured a dark cherry opaque color with a good chocolate brown head. Smelled like roasted espresso beans and some sour cherries. The pomegranate juice gave it a sourness but blended well with the roasted coffee taste and a hint of raisin. Not bad.

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Photo of jskoog
4.23/5  rDev +21.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Surprisingly good beer! Very different. Smell is sour cherry, pomegranate and slight espresso. I grabbed a single at State Spirits in Greenville, SC (great store) just to try something different. I was impressed. Taste is just like the smell, dark chocolate, espresso, a hint of pine (very small hint) followed up by pomegranate. The berry isn't overpowering and it was really a great match with the chocolate. Ill grab one of these everything now and then to change things up from my normal fare of DIPAs. Give it a shot, you will be pleasantly surprised.

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Photo of yeahnatenelson
2.61/5  rDev -25%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Thrown in as an extra by dimenthefield - what a nice guy!

Appearance -- Pours a rich, dark brown with burgundy highlights, appears black in the glass, wit one finger of pinkish head.

Smell -- Pomegranate, sour cherry, cider vinegar, dark chocolate, and smoke. Smells like an infected RIS, but it's clearly from the pomegranate.

Taste -- Sharp tartness from the pomegranate akin to sour cherries soaked in POM juice. Behind this wall of tart are sweet and roasty malt flavors akin to dark chocolate, toffee licorice, and coffee grounds.

Mouthfeel -- Medium to light in body with moderate prickly carbonation. A bit thin, but it's not too bad.

Drinkability -- I am not feeling this Pomegranate infused dark ale. The roasty sweetness and the tart pomegranate create a sort of cider vinegar flavor that made this beer a bit of a labor for me.

Your mileage may vary, but this one bummed me out.

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Photo of adkirkish
3.67/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5


A: Poured pitch black with a foamy mocha brown head (needed an aggressive long pour to develop the head). Light head persistance as consumed.

A: Mainly dark roasted malt with a little bit of chocolate in the initial aroma. Lingering cherry / tart (from pomegranate), no hop aromatics.

F: light coffee upfront, dark roasted malt mid body with a burnt / campfire finish. light tart presence initially and reappears at the finish. No hop presence.

M: Medium body and mouthfeel, no alcohol warmth, mild creaminess, and medium carbonation.

O: I'm having some interesting impressions with this beer. It is drinkable, but for my liking, maybe too much of a burnt lingering aftertaste. The pomegranate is spot on and almost gives this beer a nice funk to work with. The dark malt combined with fruit is a good mix. Recommend to decrease the burnt finish so that this beer finishes with clean dark malt and tart finish.

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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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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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