Black Jack Imperial Stout | DuClaw Brewing Company

very good
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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 John_M
3.95/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Max's today.

The beer pours a blackish brown color with good head retention and lacing. The is attractive, with considerable burnt toast, roasty malt, vanilla and coffee. The flavor profile replicates the nose pretty closely, but with more flavor intensity than I was expecting for a 7.5% RIS. I almost gave the beer a 4.5 for taste, but the beer finishs with a bit more alcohol and heat then I like to see. Mouthfeel is very full, with a long, fairly soft, moderately sweet with licorise finish. Drinkability is OK, though as noted above, there's a bit of heat form alcohol in the finish.

While certainly not among the RIS elite, I thought this nevertheless a very solid beer from DuClaw.

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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 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 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 Manoftyr
4.55/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Appearance-Pours slick with that classic RIS motor oil consistency into the snifter, it's deeply rich and dark chocolate brown color and not quite the all-light obliterating blackness I like to see. A crown of mocha head tops the brew and bubbles its way back down slowly leaving a film and a thick ring of lacing that drips and sticks on the glass as I tilt and swirl.

Aroma-Sweetly dark malts upfront; roasted barley, lots of chocolate, some caramel and a hint of toasted grain.

Taste-Big dark cocoa and chocolate notes are the prominant flavor with successive sips adding more complimentary roasted/blackened barley malt tastes. Don't pick up any hops but that suits me just fine, I prefer the malt to be the star of the show in my stouts.

Mouthfeel-A little but more carbonated and less plush than I like my RISes to be. Still works though.

Drinkability-The big upfront punch of chocolate is delicious and the unfolding flavors and complexities keep me coming back from more; this is a class stout.

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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 bum732
3.98/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

S: Sweet chocolate, some fruitiness, citrus/stone fruit.

L: Dark black, espresso tan head, very good lacing.

T: Sweet toffee with some milk chocolate up front. Medium low bitterness. Ends with some more milk chocolate and sweet coffee. Finishes semi-sweet with just a touch of roast.

M: Medium body, milk like, but a touch thin. Alcohol barely noticeable. Carbonation medium low.

Fairly sweet double stout, not much roast and fruit, defilnitely more chocolate and toffee sweetness. Nice dessert beer.

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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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Photo of mikesgroove
4.45/5  rDev +15%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

part of the epicness that was the halloween weekend of beer. the last few nights have kicked my ass in every way, but i got to try a bunch of goodies that have long haunted me. served chilled and poured into a 8 ounce taster, this one was consumed on 10/30/2010.

this was another new one for me. the first of the big stouts that were opened this really caught me by surprise as I was in no way expecting it to be as good as it was. jet black pour with a good inch and a half of wonderfully colored head on top started off the session just right.

aroma is dark roasted malts, cocoa, a ton of rich brown sugar and a touch of tobacco. really just complex as hell and not at all what i was expecting. a bit thin on the feel, but not terrible just more of a big stout then an ris. still though the flavor came across very, very well with each sip complenting the one before. dark, dark chocolate, lots of roasted malts and tons of rich, dark flavors. this was exactly what i was looking for. smooth and creamy finish left the flavor of light smoke an brown sugar on the tongue with a touch of vanilla sealing it off.

overall really just a great tasting stout that was very easy to drink and nearly flawless in aroma. i would have this one again any day.

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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 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 Jefe73
4.22/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I had this beer along with 13 others as a part of a "Taste of Baltimore" pouring that was taking place at the Oldsmar Taphouse.

4oz samples were poured into tasting glasses.

A: The beer pours a dark brown color with a small tan head.

S: The smell of chocolate is very apparent right up front. There is also a roasted coffee aroma as well.

T: The taste is mostly chocolate with a toasted espresso finish.

M: Silky and smooth, a nicely balanced body.

D: A good dessert beer that I would definitely drink again. A very well balanced brew.

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Photo of TMoney2591
4.32/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a Dogfish Head snifter.

Am I the only one who enjoys a thick, rich impy stout on a sweltering day like today? This one pours a nice straight obsidian topped by a bit less than a finger of tan foam. The nose comprises chocolate, roasted malts, molasses, vanilla bean, brown sugar, and some toasted caramel. The taste is a mirror image of the smell, with some extra brown sugar and molasses in the finish. This be one tasty brew, baby! The body is a bit on the light side (a medium overall), with a light carbonation and a smooth feel that isn't as thick and chewy as I'd prefer. All told, a very nice impy stout, but missing a couple o' things that would vault it to greatness.

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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 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 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 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 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 ATLbeerDog
4.2/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

From a growler - pours a dark pitch black with almost no head whatsoever. Smells of chocolate, raisin, and more chocolate. First sip is tangy and spicy with dark chocolate and raisins - so much so that it reminds me of Rasinettes. Smooth with a welcomed alcohol warming that is much appreciated. Mouthfeel is a tad flat and I'm guessing it is due to the growler. Very nice!

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Photo of WhoNose
4.07/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

My favorite DuClaw seasonal beer. This is a very nice dark roasty stout with a subtle coffee flavor. Watch out though, this beer doesn't taste like it's 7.5% abv. I think this would be an excellent beer to try on nitro, but I've apparently missed the few times they have had it on nitro in the past years.

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Photo of hungryghost
4.3/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Dark, dark Black Jack Stout in a pint glass with a healthy, tan head. A head that will slowly leave behind lacing to decorate your glass.
Aroma is hearty, full of roasted malts, chocolate and a hint of cofee.
Enjoyable flavors represented in the aroma, lots of malt, coffee and oddly (to me) a hint of vanilla. It did not seem to be highly carbonated, but smooth in the mouth the flavors rolling across the tongue and down the pallet. The beer leaves a brief and very nice aftertaste.
Very drinkable by my standards.

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Photo of hdofu
4.46/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

As black as a Raven's wing, this beer is really impressive. The flavor of dark chocolate hits the tongue upon the first sip. A slight bitter taste similar to a chocolate bar is the finish. The feel on the tongue is smooth like a dark chocolate bar, the alcohol wasn't really noticeable . The smell is of rich chocolate. This beer goes down easy and is one easy to drink more then one glass of. Give it a try if you like Imperial Stouts and are in Maryland.

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Photo of Kegatron
4.1/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at the DuClaw Fell's Point location.

Pours black with a thin tan creamy head that retained well around the edges but left a minimal amount of lace that stuck. The aroma is roasted and burnt malt, chocolate sweetness, coffee, and a smoked maltiness.

The taste is chocolate sweetness that melds into roasted bitterness, smoked malts, and coffee notes. The smoke character really seems to be dominant at times and is much more noticeable than other years. Finishes with a nice bitterness that sticks to the tongue. The mouthfeel is full bodied with a nice creamy feel. Alcohol is very well hidden and barely noticed, which really makes this guy quite drinkable.

The Black Jack is always a pretty solid seasonal from DuClaw. Like most of their other offerings, it doesn't pack the biggest punch, choosing to stay more accessible for their core demographic of beer drinkers that frequent the place. It still carries enough flavor and big drinkibility to be a solid choice if you come across it.

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Photo of TheDragonTony
4.38/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This poured a deep red, though it appears black unless you're rolling it around the glass. The head was a mocha colour and left a nice lacing as I emptied my glass. The nose gives me some roasted barley, with a lot of dark chocolate, and espresso; however, I thought the nose was a little light, it would have been great if there was more there.

The flavour gives me a chocolate coffee with hints of raspberry and maybe some black licorice. This beer is silky smooth on your mouth, and it is incredibly easy to drink, in fact I had no problem drinking the entire growler.

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