Midnight Special India-Style Black Ale | Jailhouse Brewing Company

Midnight Special India-Style Black AleMidnight Special India-Style Black Ale
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Reviews: 20 | Ratings: 23

American Black Ale | 10.00% ABV

Jailhouse Brewing Company
Georgia, United States

Notes: This beer is retired; no longer brewed. 
Midnight Special India-Style Black AleMidnight Special India-Style Black Ale
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Reviews: 20 | Ratings: 23
Reviews by Georgiabeer:
Photo of Georgiabeer
4.35/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Great to see the new series of reserve brews from this brewery. I happen to like Black IPAs, and if it's a double, all the better. This one is a success. Interesting question as to whether a double black IPA and an American Double Stout are the same style. In this case I think not. This strikes me as more black IPA than stout. Quite creamy, but much, much more hop forward with less roasted grain and lighter in body than a stout. Nevertheless, it's a very nice beer. Pours black with a creamy tan head and some slight lacing. The head does stick around, so that is a plus. Nice balance between slightly charred malt and citrusy and earthy hops in the nose, with a spicy blackstrap molasses finish. The taste is where this beer shines. Really hop forward with big citrusy and piney hops followed by bitter chocolate notes, molasses flavors, and a late, lingering bitterness. Medium bodied and very creamy, the overall package is quite satisfying. Keep these beers coming, great job!

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More User Reviews:
Photo of rajendra82
4.67/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

The black body, near 100 percent opacity, and the three finger thick khaki head, with a mesmerizing cascade effect, were impressive enough to make a Russian Imperial Stout jealous. The aroma was a mix of coffee, hops, and some toffee. The smell was very enticing, and the first sip proved to be everything it promised. The taste was dominated by an assertive bitterness combining herbal and citric hops, and burnt toast like malts. I think the burnt toast was slightly more dominant of the two biter flavors. Some chocolate and lactose sweetness were evident mid palette, until they faded back to the hops that outlasted the acridity in the aftertaste, and the sip ended in a long warmth in the depth of my belly. As the beer warmed up, the bitterness became less intimidating, and the lactose sweetness became more prominent, resulting in a significantly more balanced affair. Oily and creamy in the mouth, but this was not meant to be a stout, so no marks taken off there. A big bruiser of a beer, providing quite a unique interplay of flavors. Keep these specials coming JailHouse, and I'll be a lifer.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
4.2/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours out an ebony-hued body with a towering, light tan body. Modest lacing.

Smell: Well-roasted malts, but also some toasty accents, too. Sweet-scented elements of chocolate and caramel candy are plentiful. A little candied citrus makes its way to the imbiber's nose, but it is not a very hoppy scent. Also, a smidgen of alcohol is in there.

Taste: Starts with char, then flashes to moderately roasty coffee, then settles to semi-sweet chocolate and dark caramel. Citrusy, lightly pine-flavored hops, though predominately citrus-based. Moderately bitter. Pinch of sweet licorice candy, some cauterized toast, and a drop of prune juice. Goes through being roasty, resinous, bitter and with a bite of a chocolate bar and a bite of soul-soothing alcohol until the dry finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-plus body. Medium carbonation. Smooth, creamy mouthfeel.

Overall: I liked it fairly well. The malts were prevalent without leaning on too much guh-inducing astringent black malts, the hops were bold without ever being harsh or ghastly, and the booze, while, yes, it is noticeable, isn't overbearing. However, those pesky hopheads might always yearn for more and more hard, unyielding hop bitterness.

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Photo of Cyberkedi
4.41/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours an oily black with a fine-bubbled beige head. It is so opaque that not one photon gets through. Strong aroma is smoky, hoppy and malty with earthy and nutty hints. Flavor is strongly hoppy and woody, minimally bitter, and has touches of licorice, resin and caramel. Texture is quite fizzy and edgy with a fairly strong but not vicious alcohol nip. Big flavor? You betcha!

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Photo of t0rin0
3.5/5  rDev -12.5%

Photo of jophish17
3/5  rDev -25%

Photo of Jenray
3/5  rDev -25%

Photo of gford217
4.18/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle.

Pours dark, dark brown, black in the middle but with some mahogany hints around the edges. There is a small tan head that leaves some patchy lacing.

Aroma has a big dose of citrus with oranges and pineapple as well as some resinous pine. The doughy malts are in there with cocoa powder and a slightly toasty character.

The taste is just as good and starts with the citrus and floral hops but the black malls and chocolate are more evident than in the aroma. The finish is smooth, toasty and slightly bitter with a fresh green hoppiness lingering after each sip.

The mouthfeel is creamy and well carbonated with a light dry bitterness in the finish.

This is a really strong offering from Jailhouse, one of the better and more balanced hoppy dark ales I've had lately. Looking forward to more of this series.

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Photo of sendsilk
4.55/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Ok, so I am traveling through Atlanta on my way to a family vacation in Murphy. NC. Being a sick beer geek, I fell compelled to stop at Hop City. After talking to the guys there for awhile, they suggest I try a local brewer, Jailhouse. I get a Breakout Stout to see what they are talking about.

Meanwhile, I have an IP trade set up with someone close to Murphy. He (jimixr...great guy!! Thanks!) brings me an extra of Midnight SPecial India-Style Black Ale, says I 'have' to try it.

Fucking fantastic, so glad he brought it for me. It tastes like a hoppy porter with excellent flavors and mouthfeel. Dark, rich cocoa, coffee and vanilla flavors with a fairly (but not overly done) hop bite. Really great surprise from a brewery I did not even know existed 1 week ago.

Try it if you are a dark ale/porter/stout guy. I'm glad I did.

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Photo of birchstick
4.23/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to gford217 for sending this my way!

A - pours a nice black color with a one finger head that retains really well. Interesting label with a train getting ready to smash into a man on a bed

S - Chocolate, bready, roasted, and caramel malts (that's a lot of grain) with a touch of pine and citrus hops. Also smells hot.

T - As the nose indicated, chocolaty cocoa malts open this beer up. These are pushed aside by sweet citrus hops and a touch of pine. On the exhale I got hints of bread and caramel malts are very subtle but there on the finish mixed in the the chocolate. Nicely balanced and complex for a black IPA.

M - wow, really creamy, smooth and full...amazing mouthfeel on it. I don't know if I have tried a beer with a smoother mouthfeel on it.

D - this was totally not what I was expecting when I received this beer. I was expecting a hop forward beer with a bit of malt to balance it out, but this was the exact opposite - very stout-esque. I really enjoyed it and am glad gford send this one to me. Very impressed!

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Photo of djeucalyptus
4.33/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

this is a black ale? looks like an imperial stout to me. impenetrable dark black body with just a hint of brown at the edges. a two-finger daaaark brown head that has solid retention and leaves whispy and gobby lacing. if i didn't know better, I'd guess this was old raspy.

aroma is pungently dark with porter and stout characteristics. blackstrap molasses, licorice, caramel, hints of piney hops. a touch of lactose?

taste is potent. dark malts. caramel, molasses, leather and tobacco. raisins, prunes, and dark brown sugar. then some hops come through. this is a black ale? a hoppy bitterness comes through in the finish along with a bit of subtle alcohol heat.

mouth is a bit heavy on the carbonation, although it cuts nicely through the fairly heavy body that verges on being slick. but for the rest of the brew, the thickness works pretty nicely.

all in all, wow. this is an interesting one. strong, potent, powerful, pungent, and dark as night. like a hoppy stout on angle dust. but delicious. This is a surprising gem that I'd love to get another bottle of. It's definitely lacking in the "india" department, but then again, I'm not a fan of the whole CDA/ABA/whatever category delineation, and this bottle kind of proves why.

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Photo of glid02
4.25/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle purchased at Green’s on Ponce in Atlanta.

Pours black with a one-finger tan head. The head recedes into a thin layer on top leaving solid lacing.

Smells of heavy roasted malts with very slight hints of char. Also present are moderate amounts of pine and earthy hops and lighter amounts of anise.

Tastes more robust than it smells. Large roasted malt flavors kick things off and are joined quickly by semi-sweet chocolate flavors. Midway through the sip the flavor profile dries out a bit with the addition of charred malts. Near the end of the sip large pine hops work their way into things, intensifying through to a solidly bitter ending.

Mouthfeel is very good. It’s got a very nice thickness with grainy carbonation.

Drinkability is good. I finished my glass without a problem and could have another.

Overall I was impressed with this beer, more of a hoppy stout than a CDA in my opinion but I'm not the brewer. Well worth a shot and I look forward to more of these from Glen(n?) at Jailhouse.

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Photo of PhillyStyle
3.38/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

1 pint 6 oz bottle

The beer poured a nice thick black with a nice creamy, tan colored head that dissipated rather quickly but did leave some light lacing.

The aroma of the beer definatly seemed to be more in line with a stout to me, roasted malt and sweet with maybe a hint of coffee. I certainly expected a little more from the smell, but I would say that it was average at best.

The taste is by far the best part of the beer. I thought that the beer was more hoppy than malty, but with a nice woody and smokiness to it. As the beer warmed, the alcohol was more noticeable and there was a burning sensation on the tounge. The beer also had a more noticeable bitterness to it as well.

The beer was much lighter than expected, almost felt more like a dry Irish stout, but the beer was creamy with a slight oily finish and lower carbonation.

Overall, I am still not sure how I feel about this style yet, but a solid beer, but one that I will pick up only occasionally. I think that the beer scored lower for me as I expected more of an IPA than a stout.

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Photo of ahurd11085
4.08/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

My 3rd Beer from Jailhouse. I like what they are doing, would like to see some more distribution!

India Black, or Cascadian Dark, or American Black, Or Dark Hoppy Stout-looking kinda-type of beer is a style I have mixed feelings about. It is a style I initially thought had a lot of potential, but I quickly became annoyed by all the me-too breweries throwing out a regular IPA dyed black...Black Cannon springs to mind.

This is not one of those beers.

A: Pours a deep black with a nice rocky 1" mocha head. Poured from 22oz bomber into a standard pint glass.

S: Fairly strong hops up front, lots of citrus rind. Roasted malt is apparent too with a chocolate presence. Well balanced, and not a standard IPA like smell at all, or purely stout like. A solid example of how the style should be presented.

T: A very nice blend of toffee, bitter hops, bitter roasted chocolate, and softer mocha flavors finishing with citrusy American C hops. would be rated higher, but I get a significant fusel alcohol presence, especially on the finish. Granted, this is a 10% beer, so the alcohol is going to be there. I think I would like this brew better if it sat at about 7-8%

M: Creamy in spades. I dig it. One of the biggest factors that pushes this beer out of the category of just being a dark colored IPA. Fairly low carbonation, and a nice oily finish that lingers on the palette.

O: My favorite beer from JH yet, only a bit above the Breakout, and one of my favorite renditions of this blossoming style. My only real qualm is the high abv. I would love to see at a bit lower percentage and available at my local watering hole; I would be drinking it all the time.

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Photo of SpdKilz
4.2/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A huge thanks to Patrick (kingkong) for this kicking extra. Cheers!

Appearance – Pours an absolutely opaque black into my tulip glass with over a finger of nice, mocha colored head that dissipates slowly leaving slight lacing.

Smell – Heavy roasted malts, coffee, and some nice pine and hops.

Taste – Damn good. More hops and pine/citrus than the nose would lead one to believe. However, the charred and earthy roasted malts come next with some nice wood/smoke. A slight malty backbone, though it disappears with a lingering bitterness.

Mouthfeel – Medium bodied, somewhat creamy, crisp, dry finish.

Drinkability – 10%? Wow. Extremely impressed by this beer. No alcohol taste or warmth. The more I drink of this style the more I enjoy it. This beer really was a wonderful beer to try/experience and I am thankful I was able to try it. Would seek this out in the future for sure.

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Photo of SMason
2.9/5  rDev -27.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

A - pours a nice black color with a nice toasty head that retains really well. Great label and I love the song about the train.

S - Chocolate, nutty and roasted, caramel malts. I get alcohol as well.

T - Roasty dry start. There is a piney hops taste as well. This one is 10% and you can tell. A overpowering hot finish.

M - Creamy and smooth. Definitely the highlight of the beer.

O - The alcohol was overpowering on this one.

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Photo of andrewinski1
3.3/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Shared by Bendurgin. Nice black color with a mocha tan head. The head is about half an inch and leaves a bit of good lacing.

The aroma is strong with chocolate and mocha, with a faint vegetal presence.

The taste starts out with a touch of bitter mocha and coffee. This follows with a nice sweet caramel chocolate flavor. The hops aren't very powerful, but do add a bit of a vegetal quality.

The body is light to medium. The carbonation is light also.

A good drinker, but not quite enough INDIA for me.

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Photo of Phelps
4/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a New Belgium globe. Thanks to gford217 for sending this one over.

Dark chocolate brown that becomes nearly black when everything settles. A frothy one-finger head the color of cocoa powder becomes a medium-sized ring pretty slowly. Some thick gobs of lace left behind.

Very porter-like aroma. Lots of cocoa, toast, maybe some tangy molasses and a bit of citrusy hops.

A bit hopper in the flavor, with some pine and orange peel. Roast still rules the roost, however, with espresso, dark chocolate and molasses. It’s almost bourbony. The finish is mostly dry with lots of lingering burnt notes.

Smooth body is a notch under medium in fullness. Bubbles prickle the tongue softly with slight fizz as the beer moves. Big booze can't all be hidden, stays out of the flavor but definitely shows up here in the form of tongue-numbing alcohol.

Just because you throw extra hops on something doesn't make it a black IPA. Midnight Special is definitely just a hoppy porter, but it’s a damn tasty one with a nice smack of molasses. I dig it.

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Photo of Heischman
4.77/5  rDev +19.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Beer/Brewery – Midnight Special India-Style Black Ale/Jailhouse
City/State- Hampton, GA
STYLE – American Black Ale
ABV – 10%
IBU – 90+
DATE – 18 JUN 2011
SERVING TYPE – 22 oz Bomber
GLASSWARE – Small Pilsner
APPEARANCE – Black as night itself with a thick milky foam ½ inch thick with nice lacing
AROMA- Roasted coffee with a hint of burntness and figs
TASTE – Roast coffee with a good strong alcohol taste following close behind. A little bitter with hints of sweet candied fruit, I still say fig
MOUTHFEEL – Smooth with a nice warming sensation
CONCLUSION – This is a great beer, but a sipper or one to share with an old friend as I did.

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Photo of heyta
4.18/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Let me start by saying that this is my first review on this site, and I feel no shame that it is for this great beer. Normally anything with the word India in it is an instant hop-turn off for me, and this beer was no exception. I proceeded with very low expectations.

A - Dark black with a nice tan head that sticks around. Makes you wonder if they mislabeled, and this is really a stout.

S - Wow! There's definitely coffee in there, roasted malts and a very subdued hop undercurrent. I'm starting to think this could actually taste good.

T - Taste is more toffee than malt. Coffee on the front, hop note tries to rear it's head, and then gets subdued by the Toffee finish. Definitely a beer to savor, and it gets better as it warms.

M - Thick, coats the mouth. Almost perfect.

O - This is a tough act to follow, Jailhouse, but if you continue to put out this level of one offs, you can expect to sell lots of beer.

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Photo of Jadjunk
3.98/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A long awaited treat that has been chilling in my refrigerator for quite some time. This beer is about 14 months old, so I hope that its still good. I know where to get some more of this for a good price should it turn out well. I shared this bottle with my girlfriend.

Poured from a 22oz. bomber to two snifters. Served at 40º Fahrenheit.

(Appearance) Pours a thick frothy mocha cream brown head of a half finger depth that retains quite well, settling into a nice cocoa cream surface cover. Body is a solid black color, impossible to see deep into. Appearance is near perfect with tons of character with a solid body appearance and a good, although not perfect head quality. There are few flaws to point out with this brew. 4.5

(Smell) A resiny hop aroma, black bitter malts, a sweet but mild chocolate malt aroma and a touch of alcohol. Hop characteristics are not too complex but very potent and really do a pretty good job at pairing with the sweet flavors of the malty body, although they fall a touch shallow of dueling perfectly with the competing aromas. Smell is overall really nice, above average potency and with a good deal of pleasing complexity. 4

(Taste) Creamy black malt and chocolate introduction brings a lot of malt profile, following to a bitter chocolate, earthy hop and booze profile in the finish. Hop flavors are largely faded but a decent amount of bitterness remains, balancing the sweetness that the chocolate malt flavor brings. It's a touch boozy but time has settled the heat down and smoothed out the flavors tremendously. Slightly lacking in body, some of the alcohol could be masked by a heavier body, although this is a minor flaw. Overall it's a pretty nice Black Ale, although the "India-Style" portion (the hop characters) are a tad underrepresented, the remainder of the beer is quite enjoyable. 4

(Mouthfeel) Slick and creamy mouthfeel, perhaps a bit too slick, masks much of the hop flavor while accenting the malt profile a bit too much. Texture is a touch sticky and dry on the finish. A bit more carbonation presence on the front and in the body would bring the hidden hop flavors out a bit more. Body is medium. Alcohol presence is medium/high. A decent but somewhat lacking taste/texture pairing. 3.5

(Overall) Although this beer has its fair share of flaws, I was surprised by the flavor and complexity of this beer. The bitterness was great but hop flavors were a touch lacking. I would consider this a blend between a black ale and an imperial stout, but either way it was worth the price I paid and I would recommend it to anybody who can still find a bottle of this. This is a bit hot from the strong booze flavors, but overall an enjoyable Black Ale. 4

Jailhouse Brewing Company's
Solitary Confinement Series #1: Midnight Special India-Style Black Ale

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Photo of Bendurgin
3.92/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Another treat from Grant down in the ATL. Thanks again buddy! Poured this into a tulip. This one pours a dark brown with about an centimeter of dark tan head. It settles down to a nice layer of khaki foam.

Nice roasty aroma on this. Starts of with a nice cocoa aroma with hints of coffee and is rounded out with an orange citrus aroma. The aromas prety well done, a nice ballance. Really nice roasty charred flavor. Roasty coffee with a dry citrus hop finish.

Kind of sharp on the carbonation with a moderatly full body. Overall, this is a pretty solid offering. For a while this has been a style I don't care for too much. More decent ones like this and I could be coming around.

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Photo of BeerDawgs
4/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I have been sitting on this one for more than 2 years. Finally cracking it open

A - Pitch black, darker than night in the most remote place on earth. A touch of a tan creamy head, and some sticky lace left on the glass

S - Boozy and dark grains. Detecting some spices as well.

T - The hops have faded a bunch, but still has a nice crisp taste. Sugary sweet, and very well balanced. A very tasty Black IPA

M - Full bodied, highly carbonated

O - An excellent Brew...probably the best one I have had from Jailhouse. Named after a great song, so that is definitely a bonus. Maybe they will bring it out of retirement sometime....would love to try it fresh

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Midnight Special India-Style Black Ale from Jailhouse Brewing Company
Beer rating: 88 out of 100 with 23 ratings