Black Jack Imperial Stout | DuClaw Brewing Company

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Black Jack Imperial StoutBlack Jack Imperial Stout

Brewed by:
DuClaw Brewing Company
Maryland, United States

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.00%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by Rastacouere on 07-05-2004

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Reviews: 59 | Ratings: 109
Photo of LilBeerDoctor
2.03/5  rDev -47.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

Reviewed on 06/04/2009. Bottle at PPRBSG09. Pours black with a small tan head. Aroma of plastic and roasted malt. Flavor of super burnt malt, just a disgusting mess. Very nasty. Something went wrong here I think. One of the worst beers of the tasting.

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Photo of TheDudeRules
2.31/5  rDev -40.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

Poured into my Darkness snifter.

Jet black oil looking pour. Two full fingers of mocha colored head. Lacing remains. Fig and dark fruit dominate the smell. First thing I notice is how very thin this beer feels in my mouth. Taste is coffee forward with a pronounced hop bite. Roast and char follows.

Yawn. What a boring beer with subpar flavoring. Flat out terrible. Why is roast and char trending? Like scooping ashes out from the bottom of the grill and throwing them in the beer is good? Stay away.

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Photo of dpnelson1978
2.89/5  rDev -25.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

22 oz. bottle into glass snifter.

A: Deep brown body topped with a small tight brown head that quickly dissipates leaving a thing cover and ring.

S: Sweet chocolate and roasted coffee. Almost a hint of Irish cream.

M: Smooth medium body that is a bit lighter than I would expect. Low to moderate carbonation. Nothing special.

T: Dark roasted malt, and a poorly masked alcohol content. Moderate hop bitterness that subsides fairly quickly.

O: Lighter body and weaker flavor profile make this one easy to drink on its own, but I wouldn't buy another. Too many great RIS on the market these days. This one lags behind.

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Photo of ahalloin
2.91/5  rDev -24.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

We poured this at a tasting I was at recently with a few other people who have already rated the beer.

Poured from a growler picked up that day. Pours a very black semi-viscous fluid with a light tan head of decent girth. Reddish hues occur around the edge of the fluid where the only light passes through.

The aroma is very sweet with major notes of chocolate milk and cocoa. I would like to have more roasty bitterness for a RIS.

The flavor coincides with the sweetish aroma. There is a pronounced cocoa beginning, but the flavor thins out a bit with almost no bitterness and only a slight bit of roasty flavor.

The mouthfeel is wholly underwhelming. It seems very thin and doesn't give you the sensation that you have a big beer.

Drinkability is okay, but the beer seems a bit sweet for my taste.

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Photo of davidt
2.95/5  rDev -23.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

I’d read good reviews of this Imperial Stout and was looking forward to trying it. I’m unsure if the recipe has changed or we got a bad batch, but I was disappointed with this beer. The stout was chocolate-brown in color with a very thin head. The light aroma was predominately malt with some dark chocolate. The flavor was dark chocolate with some roasted coffee, though the mouth feel was unexpectedly thin. The DuClaw web site list the ABV range as 7.5% – 8.5% but I really couldn’t detect any alcohol in the taste. I wouldn’t peg this as an Imperial Stout but perhaps an average American Stout.

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Photo of Agold
2.98/5  rDev -23%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Beer is very nice looking. Nice tan head with some OK.retention and lacing. Aroma is a bit burnt but there is also a nice mild cocoa note. Flavor is smokey and roasty. A bit astringent. Mouthfeel is kind of light. Could use more body. Good carbonation though. Nice enjoyable beer, but does not stand out.

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Photo of rapidsequence
3.17/5  rDev -18.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

22 oz bottle. $7.99.

Appearance: Black of course, not the thickest or darkest. Thin light brown head with poor retention and lacing.

Smell: Ground coffee and cocoa powder. A little charcoal and leather. Not a lot of sweetness.

Taste: Mainly dry, roasty, bitter, and borderline harsh flavors. Not enough residual sweetness to support this.

Mouthfeel: Its kind of thin, and finishes dry with some bitter roastiness.

Overall: This is just not very good. Fairly inoffensive, but not very exciting.

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Photo of Phelps
3.28/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Bottle received in the 2010 Secret Santa BIF. Thanks go out to boralyl for this one.

Pours a creamy, inky black that takes over the glass in darkness. It's topped by a one-finger head of dense, sticky foam the color of cardboard that recedes slowly, leaving a thick top layer, large grippy ring and thick horizontal stripes of lace.

Bit of sweet cocoa and some espresso with milk -- like a creamy, milk-tinged latte. There's also some bittersweet dark chocolate.

The flavor follows nicely, with a bit of dark chocolate and black strap molasses. There's a noticeable jolt of alcohol at the swallow, with lingering notes of heavily roasted malt and coffee. The finish is nice and even-handed; not too sweet, not too dry.

The body is medium-light, a little watery, with a bit of alcoholic tinge in the nostrils and a numbing of the tongue. The carbonation is medium-light, massaging the tongue actively and fizzing the beer up just a bit.

An enjoyable-enough stout. Nothing special, but drinkable.

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Photo of Wegomlegging
3.48/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured black-brown with tanned hide head of respectful amount. Smell of burnt chocolate and alcohol. Taste was a burnt malt and alcohol combo, with a small amount of hop. The good flavor was followed by a decent mouthfeel and burnt aftertaste that lingered. Average drinkability, as some may not like the heavy alcohol and roasted malt. Not a beer for everyone.

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Photo of drabmuh
3.48/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served from a flip-top growler into a becher.

This was not my favorite stout and I couldn't tell what made it imperial while I was drinking it. Overall it was light on flavor and vague on purpose. Here it goes.

Beer is dark black and forms a big brown head with small to medium bubbles. Lacing is high and carbonation is low. Overall it looks fine. When I swirl the glass I get a revival of the head for a moment. It looks like a good RIS.

Aroma overall is weak. There is a slight sweetness mixed in with this almost lactic undertone.

Beer is thick, full bodied but doesn't have much flavor. Sweetness up front, a very slight roast. There isn't much standing in the way of drinkability, that's the good news. There is nice carbonation in the mouth, also good news. The bad news is that about 12 people shared the growler along with several others and it was the only one that wasn't empty after about an hour, in fact it was the only beer that was still half full at the end of the night. Its boring.

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Photo of Seanibus
3.5/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours deep black with a thin mocha colored head. Aroma takes a while to develop, but comes up with a solvent kick. Like a wood stain. But then it softens to a fairly conventional imperial stout malty aroma. Flavor is sweet, milky, and strong, with chocolate and coffee and wood. A flat, malty sweet finish. The mouthfeel is creamy and milky. The finish eventually develops a slight spoiled milk sourness.

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Photo of Minkybut
3.52/5  rDev -9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I poured this big beer into my tumbler at 45 degrees. The beer was black as night and poured a tan head. The beer had a nice mocha smell to it and hints of chocolate smell also. It was a strong beer as a Russian stout should be. I would have to say I would buy this beer again, but beware, it will throw it too you.

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Photo of biglite351
3.54/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - no light threw brew, tall creamy tan head.

S - malts and dried fruit. Hint of dark chocolate after a time.

T - roasted malts, dark chocolate and some dried fruit on the finish.

M - good coating with a tingle on sides of tongue, top and back of throat.

D - one bomber, maybe two.

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Photo of cpetrone84
3.68/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-pours a viscous jet black liquid with a tight creamy tan head that fizzles away quickly.

S-a little ashy in the nose, notes of molases, roasted coffee, slightly burnt, charr, malty sweetness in the back.

T-follows the nose, the molasses is there, lots of roasted malt, slightly burnt coffee, a little ashy, notes of chocolate malt in there, with some burnt sugar sweetness in the back.

M-medium bodied, smooth and creamy, not heavy, moderate carbonation, almost a crisp finish.

D-decent RIS, balanced with lots of roasted malt but enough sweetness to lighten up the flavors. easy to drink for an RIS but the abv is a little low so take it with a grain of salt.

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Photo of Rhettroactive
3.73/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

From 22oz bomber to Bruges hybrid glass on 9/26/11
*From notes

A: Slightly ruby motor oil. A good pour yields a 2.25 finger head that sticks around for a while. Top notch lacing follows.

S: Slightly grainy, actually. Tart (not sour) dark fruit too.

T: Some condensed, dried fruits are predominant, specifically prunes, dates, raisins and figs. There's some creamy char on the mid, and the finish is pretty impressive in it's longevity. A bit too fruity for my specific taste, but pretty well done none the less.

M: Wow, I can't believe how creamy and rich this is. Really dense and velvety. It helps to push this beer well above average, and keeps me coming back to the glass.

O: DuClaw's Black Jack Stout is a better beer then I'd expected. Seeing how it's aged, I'd have to assume this is a bit better when fresh, yet it was quite enjoyable as-is. I'd be interested in trying their BA version of this.

Another upper middle class entry from one of Maryland's biggest up-and-comer's.

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Photo of ThisWangsChung
3.73/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

32 oz growler into a wine glass.

Appearance: Pours a pitch black color. The head is two fingers high, and tan in shade. Retention is okay, but the nice texture and excellent lacing left on my glass redeems its aesthetic appeal. (3.75)

Smell: Big roast here, exactly what I like in an imperial stout. Beneath the roasted coffee goodness lie notes of dry chocolate, brown sugar, and mild hoppiness. It isn't very deep, but it makes the most of its few notes extremely well. (3.75)

Taste: There's a good hoppiness here - not up to Storm King standards (obviously), but the opening flavors of mint and pine really do a good job of counteracting the chocolaty, roasty mid-taste. And is this one ever chocolaty. Licorice stays in the background throughout, thankfully never overpowering the faintly sweet finish. I'm even getting some smoky touches. This features a good mix of boldness and balance, not to mention it's easy to drink. (3.75)

Mouthfeel: For an imperial stout, this is very light - even detrimentally so. Still, it's crisp, dry finishing, and almost refreshing (!) This does accrue sweetness on the palate, however. Carbonation isn't strong, but it helps the beer go down more easily. (3.5)

Overall: DuClaw doesn't always make good beer...thankfully, this is one of their better brews. This is an imperial stout designed for drinkability over excessive bigness, and it's so much better for it. Maybe we should call it a stout and a half? Whatever it is, it's a rock-solid imperial stout. (3.75)

3.73/5: Not a royal flush, but definitely a four-of-a-kind

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Photo of stephenjmoore
3.78/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.75

2010 Vintage

A- Pours a dark brown that settles into the glass with a near-black body. A thin, mocha-colored head that fades quickly and leaves behind a ring of bubbles.

S- Tons of chocolate, sweet malt, roasted malts, some sugary caramel. Quite a potent nose on this one.

T- Sweet, malty, roasty, chocolate, hints of vanilla, coffee, nice flavors.

M- Somewhat thin a watery, medium-light on the carbonation. Not sure how much the aging impacted the body.

O- Overall a pretty good imperial stout. Nothing memorable, but nice flavors.

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Photo of billab914
3.83/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2010 vintage poured from a 22oz bottle into my Stone IRS glass. It poured black in color with a frothy tan head covering the beer and clinging to the sides of the glass.

The aroma has a rich, roasty flavor to it. I get coffee at first with a dark chocolate, creaminess to it as well.The roasty, bitter coffee flavor is nicely done in it.

In the taste I get more of a darker, bitter-sweet chocolate flavor to it. I get a roasty, coffee like bitterness in the finish with a little sweeter, creaminess to help give it some balance. It finishes dry wit ha lingering chocolate flavor.

The mouthfeel is on the heavier side with carbonation being below average. Overall it was a pretty solid beer. I really liked that it was below 8% abv and felt so much bigger. That alone really impressed me. It was definitely an above average beer for the style, but the flavor in relation to the abv as well as price will get me to buy this one again.

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Photo of tigg924
3.85/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Very roasty even by RIS standards. Taste is coffee grounds, roasted malt, deep dark chocolate, and slight molasses. Taste is slightly bitter and the body is really heavy. This beer acts bigger than is 8.0 ABV would indicate. Enjoyable, although not as complex as other RIS that I have had.

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Photo of msubulldog25
3.86/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A 22 oz. bottle supplied by BA yourefragile; my first 'real' chance at sipping/reviewing a DuClaw beer (I can't count the tiny nip of Colossus at a springtime tasting). Poured to a sizable snifter.

My bottle shows 'Alc. 8% by Vol.' - a little higher than what's listed above, but on the low end for the RIS style.

A: Nearly impenetrable darkness, ebony with mahogany trim upon close inspection. A fine tuft of sandy cream, building to a finger, ebbing to a fragmented gauze. Glass-hugging ring and sheets of lace that begin as fine netting and recede to scattered flecks; each swirl of the glass renews the process. A Beauty in the the eye of this beer-holder...

S: Not a huge aroma, but a pleasantly-scented noseful of dark fudge, dried cherries. Some coffee, a surprising whiff of nostril-tickling alcohol.

T: Cocoa nibs, a semisweet taste of earth and spice. Sooty dryness and a charred roast coffee are omnipresent, but genuflect at times for sweeter vanilla and tannic berries. Dark molasses reduction, a sweet-ish but kinda burnt bitterness ends an otherwise quite tasty RIS.

M: I like the velvety feel, a fine tingle rippling across the tongue with each sip. Plenty smooth, though a little on the thin side...viscous, not a prolonged nor particularly memorable coating texture. A slight, tongue-swelling fusel warmth.

D: A pretty good RIS, flavorful and balanced. 'Lightness' has pros and cons - a more modest ABV makes finishing a bottle an easier task, yet a thinner build makes BlackJack a more middle-of-the-pack version of the style. All in all, I like it...don't love it.

Thanks for the chance to try this one, Michael.

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Photo of Khazadum
3.88/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Pours thick, oily, viscous. Motor oil has a new cousin. Slow cap formation left me with a thick medium chocolate cap. Very creamy, emulsive, and pharmaceutical grade A fun. Somewhat low retention leftover with a good sized collar. Low carbonation appearance. Strong lacing.

S- Low aroma and bouquet here. Sharp dark fruit on the opening that is incredibly faint, morphs into a burnt and roasted characteristic... more acrid burnt notes than anything else. Unfortunately its nothing up front or strong.

T- Opening is a sweet malt body, something balanced and clean. Flows into the roasted grains, not too much burnt as the nose, very enjoyable for that fact alone. Finish is huge espresso notes. Tad bit of chocolate, bitter dark chocolate. Fantastic finish takes an average opening to a happy medium.

M- Creamy, mild body. Bit chunky, something to chew on, velvet smoothness. The carbonation is nice and crisp on the beginning and lingers through with some of the flavors. I think this bubbly nature helped hide the flaws and emphasize the benefits.

D- Really solid RIS. I'm shocked by this. I was not expecting anything as tasty as this one. It is about a year old now so it has had time to mellow out possibly, in addition to the time they purposely age it to mellow out the alcohol. Good choices on their part. No complaints on the seven percent beer. Drinks easy for a stout and tastes good.

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Photo of Dan3279
3.88/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Its great to go on vacation and be able to pick up beer that isn't available in your area. I was excited when I found Black Jack because I have had my eye on it for a while.

I poured the bomber into my DFH snifter glass to find a nice pitch black body with a chocolate colored head that left a sticky lacing. The aroma was dominated by coffee, chocolate, malts and a few hints of molasses.

The taste was very good, very close to the aroma with more sweetness, and some hints of roasted malts. I thought that the beer is smooth and medium bodied and very easy to drink. Overall its a good RIS, I wouldn't put it in upper class of great RISs but it can stand up on its own and I would defiantly pick up a few more bottles if I ever come across it again.

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Photo of AlCaponeJunior
3.91/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Very nice looking for the style. Black and opaque, with brown and red tinges. Nice head for a RIS that lasted, eventually leaving a smooth brown sheen and great lacing.

Smell is deep, dark and roasty. Plenty of coffee and chocolate accent the great dark malty aromas.

Taste is very nice. Great roasty malt flavors. Easy going coffee and slick milk chocolate make for a nice blend of flavors.

The feel is a bit slick, sweet, with dark roasty bitterness lingering.

Drinks well. The 7.5% ABV makes it very easy to drink, and offers a nice alternative to the usual "bigger than life" RIS meme.

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Photo of bluejacket74
3.92/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22 ounce bottle. Served in a snifter, the beer pours dark brown/black with about an inch tan head. Head retention and lacing are both decent enough. Aroma is milk chocolate, roasted malt, molasses and coffee. The brew tastes like roasted and burnt/charred malt, bittersweet chocolate and coffee. The aroma is mostly sweet, however the taste is mostly roasty and bitter. Finish is also roasty and bitter. Mouthfeel/body is medium, it seems a bit thin for a RIS. With that being said, it's also smooth and a bit creamy and coating. Drinkability is good, it goes down easy and I liked drinking it. I think this is a good brew, it's definitely worth a try.

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Photo of titosupertramp
3.93/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Send down from Dim.

A: Pitch black, finger and a half of mocha head. Sticky, botchy lacing.

S: Roasted barley, chocolate, toffee. Not picking up any hops.

T: Follows the nose, but a little more chocolate than expected. There's a coffee aspect to this as well, but faint.

M: Really like the creamy nature of this one. Coats the mouth with a sweet, chocolatey goodness.

D: RIS's are usually sippers, but this one is a little different. With the lower ABV(for the style) and the creamy mouthfeel, one could easly finish off a bomber without a problem.

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Black Jack Imperial Stout from DuClaw Brewing Company
3.87 out of 5 based on 109 ratings.
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