Smoke Monster
Black Husky Brewing

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Lager - Rauchbier
Ranked #7
Ranked #7,468
4.2 | pDev: 10.71%
Black Husky Brewing
Wisconsin, United States
Very Good
Notes: Smokey is a dog not quite right in the head, some might even say insane. One of her most beloved activities is digging a deep hole in the ground and barking into it for hours on end. We aren’t quite sure what she’s looking for but we suspect she is looking to take on the Smoke Monster. If anyone could defeat the Smoke Monster it would be Smokey so we offer you Smoke Monster in recognition of her tireless efforts.
Reviews: 7 | Ratings: 29 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Reviews by wisrarebeer:
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wisrarebeer from Wisconsin

3.5/5  rDev -16.7%

Dec 02, 2014
More User Reviews:
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wcu80 from Georgia

4.25/5  rDev +1.2%

Nov 19, 2014
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bound4er from Wisconsin

4.32/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

Turbid, muddy brown appearance with an off white head of one finger that fades at a glacial pace. Smells of smoky, cured meats - summer sausage, bacon, beef jerky and pepperoni. The cured meat aromas from the nose carry over to the palate in only the slightest manner which is probably a good thing. I get smokey, toasted malt followed by a nice shot of acidity to keep this very drinkable. The mouthfeel is incredible - rich, thick and creamy. New Glarus' and Lakefront's rauchbiers are the only I've previously had - both were good but nothing special. Black Husky's is easily a step or two above - this is a must try if you're into smoked beers.

Dec 07, 2014
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TheSSG from Illinois

4.49/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a nice, soft, tan head. Deep toasted malt is covered in a nice smoke, with a twinge of smoked sausage in the nose. Black. Starts off with an EXPLOSION of smoke. There is an acidity and sweetness to the malt, but it is dominated by toasted malt and TONS of smoke. This is thick and viscous. I feel like I am chewing the smoke.

It just gets better as it warms!

This is a REALLY nice rauchbier. A bit too acidic for me, but probably the best US rauch I've ever had!

Dec 21, 2012
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TATURBO from Illinois

4.5/5  rDev +7.1%

Mar 01, 2014
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BeerFMAndy from Wisconsin

4.83/5  rDev +15%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

22 oz bottle poured into a snifter.
9.9% ABV

A - The quite pour initially filled the glass with a clear dark, dark brown beer that looked completely lifeless when, out of nowhere, a creamy mousse-like tan Guinness-style head formed and began relentlessly cascading. The massive cap of dense foam leaves lace on the glass as it slowly creeps down the sides.

S - As funny as it sounds, the complexity of the smoke wafting from Black Husky's Smoke Monster is pretty deep. Smoldering campfire lingers in the background as smoked sausage, bacon, and earthy peat smoked malt all rise to the forefront, underscored by chocolaty roasted malt.

T - Rich and creamy milk chocolate wanders across the palate lazily, toting an inner caramel sweetness a la Milk Duds and while smoke might be the focal point of the aroma, it drifts through the flavor going largely unnoticed as it comes across more like roasted malt.

M - As smooth as silk and creamier than a draught Guinness, Black Husky's Smoke Monster has an absolutely incredibly full-bodied presence that, despite the beer's other fantastic traits, is almost the crowning achievement of the beer. This drinks exactly like a nitro'ed stout and is subtly nudges you with warm alcohol presence.

O - I was warned about this beer by the owner and brewmaster, Tim about a month before opening it. His exact words escape me but essentially, Smoke Monster isn't usually supposed to turn out this way. I can't speak to how Smoke Monster normally turns out but, whatever he did to "mess it up", I sure hope he kept track of, because Smoke Monster is not only one of the greatest smoked beers to hit my lips, it's already on my list as favorite beers of the year and one that won't soon be forgotten. The rich, creamy texture is something to behold - if it can be replicated (and actually isn't nitro'ed)...let's just say Left Hand's techniques will be reckoned with. Smoke Monster is just simply amazing.

Mar 14, 2014
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Duff27 from Illinois

4.5/5  rDev +7.1%

Nov 30, 2013
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kojevergas from Louisiana

2.96/5  rDev -29.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bottle courtesy of Duff27. I believe it's a 2015 vintage. Reviewed live as a smoked beer for obvious reasons.

A: Lighter in colour than anticipated, with a golden-brown hue. Translucent and even semitransparent. No yeast is visible within.

Head is frothy and leaves a nice ring of even lacing as it recedes, which takes about 5-6 minutes. Coating and soft-looking, with a good overall consistency.

This looks nice for a smoked beer, but lacks unique or special characteristics to set it apart. Looks more approachable than a lot of the smoked stouts I'm used to seeing from American breweries; I'm hoping the emphasis is on the smoke like in all the great rauchbiere.

Sm: Smoked malt is definitely present, but it isn't ashy or overpowering. Acidity, cedar, malty sweetness. It's not roasty or charred.

To be honest, I hoped for more smokiness. This seems like maybe a 4/10 in terms of intensity. Not an ashtray-licker judging by the aroma.

Aromatic intensity is quite mild.

T: As the aroma suggests, the smokey flavour is quite tame and one-dimensional, lacking the rich meaty smokiness of great rauchbiere like Schlenkerla. The wood doesn't come through much either; little of the cedar I found in the aroma appears here. It's mild by smoked beer standards as well, clocking in at a subjective 3/10 in terms of intensity. Aside from that, there's just some generic malt sweetness to even things out. It's not a harsh or aggressive brew, but it is a simple one - and it suffers for it.

Mf: Smooth, wet, light to medium-bodied, overcarbonated, unrefreshing. Pretty generic across the board. Fails to elevate the beer as a whole or to accentuate specific flavours.

O: I'm glad I got to try it, but it's far from an impressive smoked beer. Maybe I sat on it too long and the smoke faded, but then I've sat on great traditional German rauchbiere (or bought them unknowingly aged at the store) and there was smoke aplenty. In any case, I'm always happy to see more American breweries attempting smoked beers; I just hoped for more smokiness and more complexity thereof. Worth trying once, but not a great example of the style. Certainly drinkable, and a brew I'll enjoy finishing without help. All things considered, it's on the high side of average, and might be a good point of entry into the style for those unaccustomed to it.

High C (2.96) / AVERAGE

Dec 04, 2015
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Zuidman from Illinois

4.5/5  rDev +7.1%

Mar 01, 2014
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DabblinWiscCraft from Wisconsin

4.62/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

I found this one in a refrigerator (Black Husky is notorious for only distributing to outlets that will keep their product perpetually refrigerated) at Discount Liquor in Milwaukee. There's no freshness date on the bottle, but guessing from how quickly Black Husky beer disappears, it's safe to say that this is pretty fresh. Poured from a 22 oz bomber into a pint glass.

L: Pours a cola/iced coffee brown, with a slight quarter-inch of light khaki head that dissipates after a while to a thin film and ring. Minimal lacing on the glass. Cloudy, with moderate carbonation visible.

S: Sweet biscuit and roasty malt notes in the nose, along with more subtle wood smoke and teriyaki sauce. The bouquet is colorful, despite being less-than-assertive.

T: Wow. Lots of flavor in this one. There's sweetness from the malts at the fore--some sweet teriyaki flavor that was poking through in the nose. Smokiness comes through almost immediately, and it rides through some nice hop bitterness at the back. There's grassy notes and pine hop flavor present, but most of what you get from the hops is the lingering bitterness. Sweet, roasty, and smokey are the overriding tastes, all expertly melding with the more subtle flavors.

F: This thing tastes like it should be a much heavier beer. It's medium-bodied, creamy, and very easy on the palate.

O: Some people have commented on/warned of the extreme smokiness of this beer. While it has the smoke, I don't completely agree; I do, however, find this to be an extremely tasty and drinkable brew. It's similar in many ways to a straightforward bourbon barrel, but there's complexity here that you don't get from barreling alone. This one is well-worth your time and effort in seeking out. I've tried a lot of brews for the first time recently--this is probably my favorite new beer.

Apr 29, 2015
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BrownAleMale from Wisconsin

4.14/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Dec 07, 2014
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Zachtheporter from Wisconsin

4.5/5  rDev +7.1%

Mar 11, 2013
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egrace84 from Illinois

4.25/5  rDev +1.2%

Nov 30, 2013
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Dactrius from Wisconsin

4.25/5  rDev +1.2%

Nov 08, 2014
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ahermsen from Wisconsin

3.75/5  rDev -10.7%

Nov 14, 2013
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NickyPogs from Illinois

4.25/5  rDev +1.2%

Jun 20, 2014
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Rand_ale_Thor from Wisconsin

3.75/5  rDev -10.7%

May 13, 2014
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Hopheadjeffery from Illinois

4.03/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Tasted in a Rastal Teku from a 22 fl oz bottle on November 11, 2018. There is smoke but it does not overwhelm the other flavors. Feel is medium to full in body and the finish is smooth.

Dec 04, 2018
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Hallertau from Wisconsin

3.3/5  rDev -21.4%

Dec 11, 2014
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Norseman from Illinois

3.72/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Dec 29, 2014
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Kurmaraja from California

4.25/5  rDev +1.2%

Sep 18, 2014
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sisterthelonious from Wisconsin

4.65/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into my trusty brewbies 6oz tasting glass.

A- Dark brown, a touch thin around the edges of the glass. Nothing outstanding, visually. No head to speak of. At first I was worried that I got a flat bottle. A few bubbles come to the surface after the pour.

S- Outstanding. Smoke like a wildfire. A little chocolate on the nose.

T- Like a s'more made with a burnt marshmallow and then breathing in a little campfire smoke. Stars with a ton of chocolate and caramel. Sweetness hits your first followed by the explosion of smoke. Nice peaty tones, too.

M- Really great. It looks thin, but tastes richer than most Imperial Stouts. I'm guessing that this one clocks in between 8-9%. Very creamy (any chance there is lactose in the bill?) and rich the whole way through.

O- The best smoked beer I've had since... well, maybe forever. Doesn't tread lightly- probably 25% or more of the grain bill must have been smoked malts. Black Husky does not mess around.

Nov 02, 2013
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Rilesmiles from Wisconsin

3.89/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Mar 20, 2018
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Hendrick24 from Wisconsin

3.75/5  rDev -10.7%

Feb 21, 2014
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robear from Wisconsin

5/5  rDev +19%

Aug 13, 2014
Smoke Monster from Black Husky Brewing
Beer rating: 89 out of 100 with 29 ratings