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 Shaw
3.27/5  rDev -6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3


Pours all black with a thin brown head that's just a ring in my glass.

Quite the complex aroma of roasted malt, dried fruits, coffee and molasses.

The taste has a big roasted malt tannin flavor that takes a little getting used to. It mixes with a big malt/fruity sweetness. This beer doesn't really pull it together.

Smooth body that's a little light.

Overall this is an OK beer. The tannins are just too much for me to really recommend it.

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Photo of Freethyhops
2.54/5  rDev -27%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

a- pours almost completely black with a some ruby tones at the edges when held to light. a nice persistent light brown head accompanies the dark liquid

s- a bit of roasted malts mix with sweet malts and dark fruit esters. the aroma seems quite muted and is not grabbing my attention in the least. below average for a beer in this category.

t- an interesting mix of roasty and lighlty toasted malts, some cocoa and bitter pomegranet juice. despite the slight influence of bitterness from the pomegranets, a constant sweetness pushes this beer out of balance to the point of being cloying with fruity sugary sweetness.

m- it does have a pleasant medium-full body with smooth moderate carbonation. a nice slick mouthfeel with a bit heavier heavier viscosity. it certainly helps this beer.

d- I don't see myself ever buying this one again. it's not awful but it really doesn't provide me any reason to revisit. a strange brew that really misses the target for me.

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Photo of AleWatcher
3.52/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured this and was a little surprised at how dark it was. I got this from DosBeerigos, and I've liked everything else he has sent me.

The taste reminds me of a chocolate and raspberry cheesecake... But then that fruit flavor turns to tart, almost sour, pomegranate. Surpisingly drinkable and enjoyable for what it is. I've never had a fruited strong ale, but after trying this, I'm surprised there aren't more of them.

This is really dark with a light head (bad lighting). The smell is of roasted chocolate malts and a hint of smokiness.

The body is light for a strong ale, which adds to this beers easy drinkability... Carbonation is good.

Overall-- an interesting beer to try. This is not bad at all... Although it falls into strong ale, it could just as easily be
considered a fruit beer.

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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 PorterLambic
4.04/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours black as coal, no light penetration at all. Small head dissipates quickly and with a bit of fizzing sound. No lace at all.
Smell is roasted malt, soy, smoke and peat. Good balance.
Taste is the same as the smell with the addition of some alcohol presence and a hint of dark fruit. Balance is good here as well
Smooth, somewhat chewy, light effervescence, slightly warming. Medium bodied. All told, a pretty darned good beer. Well worth picking up a several. The ABV is not noticeable at all.

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Photo of Arbitrator
1.99/5  rDev -42.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1

Chilled bottle into a glass. A generous extra from HonusWagner. Thanks, Michael!

A: Pours an opaque dark brown body in the glass with two fingers of fluffy, long-lasting, light mocha head. I'm inclined to think it's infected, seeing how.... robustly carbonated it is.

S: Mildly tart fruits, coffee, dark chocolate, roasted grain.

T: I tried to go without reading the label while taking my first few sips. The dark fruit presence is pretty strong, and from its mild tartness I was guessing strawberries or raspberries. I suppose, after reading the label, that this is just the influence of the pomegranate juice that it was fermented with. The mid-taste sees the evolution of roasted grain, mild coffee, and dark chocolate. The roast pulls into the finish for a stout-like close, and there is a lingering dark chocolate aftertaste with some char.

M: Overcarbed and thin, even cola-like.

D: I wasn't moved one way or another. It's a nice experiment, but I feel the flavors clash. I wouldn't have it again.

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Photo of speter
3.58/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a tar black with a substantial small-bubbled tan head. Head slowly fades leaving a bit of lacing.

S: Rich dark malt with hints of chocolate, coffee, pomegranate, raisins, plums, etc. Rather doppelbock-like.

T: Sweet in the front goes to a still-sweet chocolate/coffee center. The finish is surprisingly dry, and the aftertaste is just like drinking a glass of pomegranate juice. The aftertaste persists. I split a 12-oz bottle with my wife, and with the gradual cloying of the sweetness, this was about the right amount for a sitting. (Next time, however, I want to try this with cheesecake. I suspect they would pair well.)

M: The carbonation was a bit heavy, and the body was oddly thin for the ABV, smell, and overall taste of the beer. There is a touch of warmth, but nothing that would prevent you from drinking this in the summer.

D: As I hinted at above, this is a snifter beer, not because of the alcohol, but because of the sweetness.

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Photo of feelmefoam
3.93/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Holy Mackerel's Mack in Black... I certainly didn't know what to think when I saw this at the store except that I was interested. On the pour, this thing looks amazing. A dark onyx color with maybe just a slight purplish tinge to it that is accompanied by a beautiful, fluffy, long-lasting mocha head that rose to about two inches high before falling down to about a half-inch of head. Ridiculous retention, as well; the head is still here 4 minutes after the pour.

The aroma consists of coffee, a small amount of chocolate, and some dark maltiness, all upstaged by a cloying bit of pomegranate juice that fleets into and out of the picture.

A nice roasty flavor up front, coupled with that bit of chocolate and coffee, dies down and is replaced by a bit of pomegranate juice that lasts for a while and, though never too intense, provides a very interesting character to the beer. As each gulp is downed, a bit of hop bitterness comes through to help counter some of the sweet aspect left behind by the pomegranate.

The beer has a dead-on medium body with a smooth, slick mouthfeel. The carbonation is moderate, but you can still feel a small amount of alcohol as the beer finishes slightly dry.

Pretty drinkable in that it's very interesting and pretty well put-together, but I don't really want to drink more than one or two in a sitting because of the unique flavors and above average alcohol content. Overall, a very interesting offering from a brewery I've never tried anything from before but reminds me a bit of Dogfish Head Brewery in the creativeness areas. Either way, I think it's appropriate that I'm enjoying this beer in a DFH specialty glass. This beer is a definite must try, not only for ingenuity, but for being a good brew as well.

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Photo of mullenite
3.95/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Glassware - Allagash Tulip

Appearance - Pitch black in color with a tall (3+ finger) off-white head that falls in to a 1/4″ cap but the lacing doesn't stick all that well to the glass. Very impressive head on this beer, very frothy.

Nose - Rich dark fruits, some chocolate and very slight roasted malts. There is a sweetness to it that I imagine is from the pomegranate juice but it doesn't really smell like pomegranates, just fruits.

Taste - The pomegranate is very prominent in the taste and, unlike the nose, it comes across as pomegranate. The roasted barley and chocolate also come out much stronger. From the description it sounds like the flavors of the beer would clash but in reality they are well balanced and complimentary. The initial flavors are the pomegranate and roasted barley with a bitter chocolate and roasted (stout like) finish.

Mouthfeel - A little thin but with the fruit flavor it really kind of works that way. Lots of carbonation, as is expected with the style. Semi-dry finish.

Overall - Really good and much better than special golden ale. This is a unique, complex beer with a lot of depth to it's flavor and an interesting profile. Really enjoying this and have to recommend it to anyone that it's available to.

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Photo of afausser
3.3/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Bottle courtesy of crellmoset--thanks, Chris!

A: Pours a pitch black with hints of dark chocolate brown and plum tones, and two fingers of tan, soapy head and tiny carbonation bubbles (though they're much larger in the head). The head recedes to a thin ring, and there's a thin sheet of glittery, quickly receding lacing, but not much special here.

S: Smells like coffee and dark chocolate, burnt malts and a hint of caramel and molasses. There's the slightest note of soy, as well as a mild of hint of the pomegranates it's brewed with (or is that just my brain fooling me since I've read the label?). Slight strawberries as it warms, and somewhat syrupy.

T: Not so much pomegranate as other fruits--sweet raspberry and strawberry syrup. Little to no aftertaste, though the carbonation bubbles bring strong anise, licorice, and peppermint into the mix. Some of the reviews of this beer say that it's hard to get past the darker flavors of the brew--I disagree. In fact, if anything, I'm getting the opposite out of this glass--it's very syrupy and fruity and the chocolate and roasted malt notes fade into the background. As it warms, the pomegranate comes out, and tastes a bit odd with the rest of the brew--the syrupy taste actually makes it harder to drink. It's not bad, but I'm not too impressed.

M: Ew. Goes down like an alcoholic soda in an almost heartburn inducing fashion. It actually reminds me a bit of a sparkling fruit juice from the combination of mouthfeel and taste, so be prepared for that. Even if you don't mind the carbonation, there's quite a bit of foam in the mouth as well.

D: It's not undrinkable--but the mouthfeel is far less than perfect and the smell and taste just seem to have elements that don't entirely mesh well. It's interesting conceptually, and I'd love to see more fruit experimentation in brews like this, but this one just doesn't seem to get there. I'm honestly a bit confused by this beer--I'm actually not sure how I'd even like this one changed--its components are not inherently bad, but the "problem" doesn't really jump out at you so much as something just seems off. It wasn't a drainpour, but I don't think I'd buy it again, either.

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Photo of JVEyck309
3.73/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz brown bottle poured into ommegang glass..which is sort of a wide flute glass.. The design of the label is.. kind of wack, but oh well - the label notes that this beer can be aged 1-2 years, as well as that it has been fermented with pomegranate juice added. Appearance is Totally black, thin sticky head leaving some good lacing. Nose is unique, dark chocolate, dark fruits but not in the same sense as a Dubbel, its a thinner aroma, I guess it's the pomegranate? But not so sure. The taste is smokey and burnt malts, dark chocolates, and I can't tell if the presence of pomegranate is because I read it on the label or if it's a substitute for saying "dark fruits".. Hmm, Well this beer is sweet, a bit syrupy, and has great flavor of burnt malts that, if I didn't read "black ale" on the bottle, I would have guessed the beer to be a baltic porter. Drink- very tastey, I got this from my local store which has a very large rack saying "mix your own 6" and I always check it out because often times there are some pretty heady big time beers! I had never seen this beer before in sixes.. but I think I'd get this again if it were a reasonable price.

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Photo of dirtylou
3.45/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12oz single - no memory of which BIF this came from but as secret santa and secret blackie approach, the "cellar fridge" needs some cleaning

appearance: pours pretty dark into an unmarked chalice, opaque body, pretty lifeless head with very minimal lacing

smell: burnt malts, molasses, notes of some artificial sweetness (i guess thats the pomegranate)

taste: heavy malts, syrupy cola, very roasty. its hard to make out pomegranate specifically, but theres some thick sweetness present. char and burnt malt, chocolate, licorice. an odd creation here - nothing i would want to have again but interesting

mouthfeel: thick and sludgy, charred and very heavy

drinkablity: not great

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

2009 vintage, received as an awesome extra in a recent trade with Wasatch.

A: Very dark brown, verging on black, cream colored head, not much showed up and a few bubbles are left on the edges, brown accents when held to the light. Nice looking beer.

S: Coffee, burnt malts, just a tiny hint at the pomegranate as well, has a few chocolate smells as well. Interesting but not overpowering. Has some notes of brown sugar and soy as well.

T: Interesting, chocolate, and coffee, has a definite burnt characteristic to it, and just a hint way back there of pomegranate underneath everything. Bitterness comes from a healthy dose of hops and from the roasted/burnt malts. Alcohol is notably masked. For claiming to have a Belgian yeast profile I can't find the normal esters associated with that. Very tasty though.

M: Medium thickness, light carbonation, and just a hint of alcohol heat. Nice.

D: Easy enough to drink, this is a tasty beer. I could see myself drinking a second one if I had it. Interesting beer with interesting ingredients. Nicely done. Will seek out again!

Thanks John!

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Photo of avalon07
3.53/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Poured from a bottle to a pint glass. Had a jet black color and a totally thick consistency. There was a small amount of foamy head that quickly dissipated and nonexistent lacing.

S: A sweet smell of chocolate, malt and other sugary elements.

T: Tasted mainly of dark chocolate, roasted malt and caramel up front, with a fruity finish. The pomegranate wasn't really noticable. An interesting, if slightly too sweet taste.

M: A good amount of carbonation with a slick finish. Medium-bodied.

D: This is one of those oddball beers that you'll either love or hate. It's drinkable if you like the sweet parts of it.

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

12oz vintage 2008 bottle.

Pours opaque black with a one inch head of tan. After some settling, a crescent whisp of foam lingered on the surface as well as some ringed lacework.

Aromatics lead off like a decent Imperial Stout. Roasty, chocolately, and fudgy. Undertones of espresso, char, and faint fruit.

Full bodied with a velvety, somewhat exspansive mouthfeel.

Oreo shells, coffee beans, fudge bits, and black malt start the palate. Nougat, caramel, and dark chocolate follow through. No trace of Pomegranate other than a mild fruity sweetness way in the back.

Finishes with sweet chocolate, a heavy dose of roast, warming alcohol, and faint fruit juice.

The Pomegranate shows up a bit more as the brew warms, but still is not very present in my mind. Otherwise a fairly decent RIS.

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Photo of number1bum
3.73/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Got a 2008 bottle of this from BeerTruth. Thank you sir.

Pours an opaque dark brown, not quite black, with a foamy dark tan head that billows and makes for a slow pour. It keeps a pretty thick, full lace, but doesn't leave much of any stick.

Smell has elements of a big stout, with roasted malt and some fudgy chocolate, but the dominant aroma is the pomegranate. At times the pomegranate is pleasant, at other times it's funky, slightly tart and just weird. All in all, it's not too bad.

Taste also features some chocolate malt sweetness and roasted malt flavor, which form a solid base that the fruitiness complements. The pomegranate flavor is not quite as bold as the aroma was, which is a good thing, because the subtlety keeps the beer pretty smooth. There is some dark fruit flavor going on too, maybe from what they say is a Belgian yeast strain. I have had the other Holy Mackerel beer, a tripel, and I don't recall that yeast strain being particularly good; it seems to add some nice complexity here, though.

Mouthfeel is a rich, somewhat chewy medium-full body with a spritzy carbonation. The carbonation is probably more active because this bottle is a year old, but it was a bit much I thought. Pretty smooth, however. If the carbonation were softer this would be quite nice in the mouth.

This is a pretty interesting brew and really not half bad. A nice change of pace for sure. I'd have this again on occasion.

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Photo of paco1029384756
3.5/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours nearly black with a small tan head.

Scent of pomegranate, chocolate, sugars, roasted malts and butter. A bit too sweet, but still balanced.

Taste of roasted malts, butter, chocolate and pomegranate. Fairly savory and balanced, but a bit odd if you are looking for something traditional.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and smooth with a small amount of carbonation.

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

12oz bottle into nonic.

Pitch black with a two finger light brown dense head. The head eventually settles to a thick cap.

An interesting mix of smoke, burnt malts, plum, and a bit of spicy alcohol.

The flavor is a cross between bitter malts and a sweet chocolate overtone. The hops come in toward the end to add a little bit of a citrus flavor. Full bodied.

An interesting beer, and not bad, but it seems like the flavors clash more than they collaborate. Worth a try.

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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 SpecialK088
3.18/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured into a pint glass

Dark black but more resembles that I just poured a coke than a beer, head is bright white and lingers a little while but not overly long and with no laceing

Rich malt and subtle more bitter fruit notes, somebrown sugar notes as well

Taste was a bit of a letdown, the fruit flavors really do not present themselves much at all and has more of a nutty undertone than anything other than a straight forward stout flavor. Some coffee flavors in the finish

Pretty thin for a stout but not to bad on the carbonation and balance, the mouthfeel is honestly a little dead.

Ok to drink and in a blind taste might do pretty well but to put that it is brewed with a certian juice in it really makes me look for some flavors that really never present themselves

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Photo of naterock
3.38/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

poured into a pint glass. Black with a fizzy bubbly head. really confusing.

Dark malts, some fruity qualities, not quite sure it's pomegranate but...ok.

Tastes like any other black ale. dark bittering malts with some bittering hops. a slight hint of fruit but I'm just not picking up on the pomegranate.

Mouth is slightly viscous, and really a great carbonation. Drinks fairly easy but I'm lost on the description.

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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 AltBock
3.63/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

An Imperial Black Ale made with pomegranate juice and brewed in Florida? It sounds like I making this up as I go along, but it's a real beer. 12 oz. bottle with a colorful label of a crude colored pencil drawing of a human like mackerel. This mackerel has black hair, black eye liner, and wrapping its fin around a goblet of beer. Directly to the left of the fish is a vintage year. Mine was from this years (2009) vintage. To the far left of the label is all the mandatory US information and to the right is a description of the beer. Served in a Bell's pint glass.

First off, was it a true "Black Ale?" It sure was! It didn't pour a thick black color like a RIS would. It was just a simple solid coal black colored beer. I held it up to the light to see if I could see any highlights and there was nothing but darkness. I thought some of the pomegranate juice would show up in the color, but it didn't. On top of this black beer was a small light tan colored head of foam. This head of foam had fast retention, but it managed to leave behind a string of tan rings along the side. Not a bad appearance at all!

This beer had a slight roasted quality to it. This roasted aroma consisted of roasted malts, dark chocolate, a pinch of anise, and then it finishes up with a splash of pomegranate, cherry, and vanilla. When it's swirled around, the aroma suddenly goes sweet with the pomegranate juice taking the lead. It was very unique to say the least.

If you think this beer is going to hoppy at all, you would be wrong my friend. The taste was dry and roasted than anything else. The taste was roasted with dark roasted malts, bitter dark chocolate, a hint of roasted coffee beans, and then like the smell, the taste ends with a splash of pomegranate juice and vanilla. But unlike the smell, the pomegranate juice was stuck at the back of the line the whole time. That's a good thing in my book because if it conquered the roasted aspect of the beer, it would then be just another fruit beer.

This was a medium bodied black "Strong Ale" with a good level of carbonation, and an aftertaste of roasted malts, bitter dark chocolate, pomegranate juice, and a subtle amount of roasted hops. What? Roasted hops? Yes, the hops make an appearance, but only at the final moment of the beer's life.

If you read the label and you think it's going to be another fruit beer, you would be wrong. It's more of a dark roasted beer with a splash of pomegranate juice at the finish line. If you want to try something out of the ordinary, then pick up a bottle of this beer.

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Photo of ImusBeer
4.28/5  rDev +23%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured into a tulip glass straight down the middle and about a finger and a half of nice tan head formed after it was fully poured. It died down in less than 5 minutes to only a ring around the edge of the glass.

The aroma is predominately sourness of the pomegranate juice and a hint of pepper I think. The first mouthfull was intially the pomegranate and then worked into mainly roasted malts. A little peppery at the aftertaste. Due to the juice it is hard to realize that this beer is 8%.

The mouthfeel is a little syrupy and sour due mostly to the pomegranate juice. I'll be cellaring the other 3 beers for a later time. Maybe after I'll have another in about 6-8 months. I think it will mellow out a bit more and the flavors will become a bit less harsh.

I like this beer, may even get another 4 pack.

I think this beer is the same beer I purchased while in Melbourne, FL visiting my parents. I bought two bottles (along with others) at the old Indian River Brewing Company (part of Florida Beer Company http://beeradvocate.com/beer/profile/161)


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Photo of superdedooperboy
3.81/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Described on the label as an Imperial Black Ale with pomegranate juice. Description throws out ingredients like "dark chocolate barley and roasted grains," American hops, pomegranate juice and Belgian yeast, piquing my interest. This should be interesting.

2009 batch, poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a tulip glass.

Pitch black and virtually opaque, with a huge tan froth that persists for quite some time, grabbing onto the walls of the glass and leaving a nice thick patchwork of lace as it recedes.

Before warming a touch, initial aromas are of straightforward coffee-like roasted malt, but with a bit of temperature increase comes a heavy mixing of roasted malt and fruitiness, with pomegranate and apple juice coming to mind. Not too sure what to think of it. Intriguing, to say the least.

Medium-full body carries a delightful interplay of flavors, with coffee roast and bitter dark chocolate up front combining with a fruity hit of pomegranate juice toward the middle, not overpowering but certainly taking a lead role, carrying through long into the finish where it melds well with a light roastiness from the malt. The middle shows hop bitterness without much flavor, balancing what would otherwise likely be a too-sweet hit of fruit juice, drying things out, aided by the cleansing moderate carbonation and light roastiness.

This ale is difficult to pin down. My personal tastes find it quite drinkable and pleasant, with a melding of flavors that have become quite popular in the confectionary world since antioxidants are all the rage, and combining pomegranate and dark chocolate has become commonplace; the flavors work just as well here, and no one flavor overpowers another. Certainly a well-played dessert beer, with a nice mix of fruit, chocolate, and espresso; still, for many, this mix may not be all that desirable, and recommending this to just anyone would be difficult. Alcohol is, nicely, well-hidden, and it is, at least to my own tastes, quite drinkable. Careful, though, as the 8% ABV will limit consumption considerably.

The label suggests that this one is suitable for aging 1-2 years. While it's believable, and would be interesting to see how its flavors develop, it seems to me that freshness befits it. Certainly worth a try.

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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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