Smoke & Dagger | Jack's Abby Brewing

Smoke & DaggerSmoke & Dagger
BA SCORE
3.92/5
1,039 Ratings
Smoke & DaggerSmoke & Dagger
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Jack's Abby Brewing
Massachusetts, United States
jacksabbybrewing.com

Style: Rauchbier

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.80%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Cloaked in mystery, this dark black beer skirts the line between a schwarzbier and smoked porter. The use of a small percentage of traditional Beechwood smoked malt adds complexity and balances the liberal use of chocolate malt. Notes of roasted grains, beechwood smoke,and coffee accompany a full bodied-and sweet chocolately malt character. Smoke & Dagger uses locally grown unmalted barley from MA.

25 IBU

Added by mduncan on 07-29-2011

BEER STATS
Ranking:
#6,008
Reviews:
182
Ratings:
1,039
pDev:
10.46%
Bros Score:
0
 
 
Wants:
60
Gots:
191
Trade:
3
HISTOGRAM
 
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,039 |  Reviews: 182
Photo of Sammy
4/5  rDev +2%

Photo of acurtis
3.5/5  rDev -10.7%

Photo of Texasfan549
4.25/5  rDev +8.4%

Photo of jaydoc
3.88/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of StonedTrippin
3.77/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

fun beer from jacks abby, sort of a cross between a schwarz and a rauchbier, being a darker smoked lager type. medium brown color to this with great carbonation, a one inch off white head, and picture perfect ring lacing as it drinks. the nose is not as smoked as I anticipated, more spiced than smoked really, with some chocolate malt and a range of other well toasted grains. lager yeast abounds. the flavor is still only lightly smoked, subtle, especially in a rauchbier context. darker malt gives some earthy character without a ton of sweetness, and there is an astonishing lack of body for the color, a really nice feature lending to drinkability. well carbonated and the finish is light smoke and wintery spice, a nice combination. not much hops though, but they aren't really missed. I like that complexity of this, especially for a lager. jacks abby has really redefined what it means to be a lager, and beers like this are a perfect example of their crusade against convention.

 987 characters

Photo of spycow
4/5  rDev +2%

Photo of kjkinsey
4/5  rDev +2%

Photo of djrn2
3.75/5  rDev -4.3%

Photo of Knapp85
3.75/5  rDev -4.3%

Photo of nmann08
4.5/5  rDev +14.8%

Photo of t0rin0
3.75/5  rDev -4.3%

Photo of oriolesfan4
4.25/5  rDev +8.4%

Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
4.25/5  rDev +8.4%

Photo of metter98
3.95/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

A: The beer is clear but very dark garnet red in color and has a moderate amount of visible carbonation. It poured with a half finger high tan head that took a long time to die down, leaving a thin layer of bubbles covering the surface, a large collar around the edge, and some lacing down the sides of the glass.
S: Moderately strong aromas of dark chocolate malts are present in the smell along with some hints of smoke.
T: The taste more resembles that of a rauchbier and has moderate flavors of smoked malts along with notes of chocolate.
M: It feels light- to medium-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: As a hybrid between a schwartzbier and a smoked porter, this beer is very easy to drink, especially if you aren't looking for something that is dominated by smoky aromas and flavors.

Note: Manufactured on April 15, 2013

 858 characters

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

Who says that traditional lager makers lack imagination or are passe in taste. Jack's Abby puts on a full-out display of charisma and quality in this smoky dark ale that borrows influences from German Black Beers, Rauchbiers, Dunkels and Baltic Porters for a refined taste that's highly complex for its drinkability.

The stealth-like "Smoke & Dagger" pours with the mystery-shrouded dark brown hue that's only pierced with crystal clear highlights of mahogany and chestnut. Ats it quietly releases a light khaki foam, the beer captures the eye with a frothy whipped topping that retains firmly and laces the glass with intermittent and artistic patterns.

A ton of malt and phenol complexes converge in aromas for blend that keeps speaking, "smoky chocolate". With the air of lightly scorched barley, the scent hinges on toffee, caramel and brown sugar. Grounded notes of toast, coffee, heavy whipping cream form the underpinnings of a classic dark lager.

It's smooth taste relaxes the taste buds with medium malt sweetness of the same caramel and toffee that the nose promises. More earthy and rustic notes of coffee, woodish hops, and a light alcohol & peppercorn spice ushers in a balancing bitterness to close. All this flavor is wrapped in a cocoon of heavy whipping cream and beechwood campfire.

It's creamy. It's dry, It slices; it dices- it Juliennes! The beer is a Swiss Army knife in that it starts creamy and rich, but turns roasty and powdery midway through before diving into a drinkable sensibility to close. Creamy like milkshake and bitter like coffee- the beer spans the gamut of mouthfeel descriptor en route to a grainy-sweet alcohol warmth to finish.

With a touch of confusion, I can see why the beer doesn't settle on a set style when a blend of well-tested recipes will obviously work better. Jack's Abby proves that there's a ton of imagination that if not bound by the "rules" of beer making.

 1,920 characters

Photo of kojevergas
3.25/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

My second Jack's Abby beer. Acquired from ICCULIS in a trade; thanks again, buddy! Per the label description, it's somewhere between a schwarzbier and a smoked porter. I'm reviewing it as a schwarzbier (not a rauchbier as currently classified on the site) because I trust the brewer over some guy who clicked a style. 5.8% ABV confirmed. 25 IBUs. 14.5 plato. 500ml brown glass bottle with standard silver unbranded pressure cap served into a Mitchells of Lancaster flared stem-tulip in me gaff in low altitude Los Feliz, Los Angeles, California. Reviewed live. Expectations are high given the brewery's reputation (though I was underwhelmed by their biere de garde).

Served cold, straight from the fridge, and allowed to warm over the course of consumption. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

A: Pours a one finger light khaki colour head. Slight cream. Nice thickness. Above average (~3 minute) retention. No lacing as the head recedes. Body colour is an extremely dark brown; not quite a black but seemingly so if you don't look carefully. No yeast particles are visible. No bubble show. Opaque (nontransparent and nontranslucent). Par for the style. Not unique or special.

Sm: Light oak catches my attention, actually. A light hint of vanilla. Has my broken nose steered me wrong? Dark malts. Chocolate malt. Very very light smoked malts - not the pork/meat or heavy smoke you get from most smoked beers, but rather a subtle backgrounded smokiness. It's extremely restrained and not at all dominant. This is definitely not a rauchbier as is currently classified. No bacon notes. Light indistinct coffee. Mild woodiness. Lacks sufficient roast. No yeast character or alcohol is detectable. Interesting for a schwarzbier. I can see where one could claim it's a borderline smoked porter. A mild strength aroma. I'm looking forward to trying it.

T: Smokiness is present throughout, but lurks as an undertone rather than surfacing as an isolated note. It lends the beer a guided cohesive feel. Dark malts and chocolate malt comprise the foundation, which is unobtrusive and somewhat generic. Any hopping is minimal; I don't notice any evocative character in terms of hops. Coffee is rather restrained; it's barely present. Tends towards the slightly sweeter side of the sweet/bitter balance, but the smokiness keeps it in check. No yeast character or alcohol comes through. I do like it, but while well balanced, it doesn't provide any unique or special features. It may be one of the better scharzbiers/black lagers I've had, but that isn't saying much in my personal case. Well put together, but I suppose an ideal beer in the style would bring far more complexity and subtlety to the table. I nitpick only because I respect the quality that's there.

Mf: Nice thickness. Interesting coarseness/smoothness interplay; it varies throughout but hits either end at just the right points in my opinion. Slight overcarbonation. Decent presence on the palate. Lackluster depth of flavour. Not very soft at all. Unrefreshing.

Dr: A solid schwarzbier from Jack's Abby, but there's definite room for improvement. I think in terms of adherence to style this is a far better effort than their biere de garde. Of course, style be damned here. It's a schwarzbier-come-smoked porter and so much the better; I think it's better for its experimentation and I like what it's trying to do. Hides its ABV pretty well. Drinkable for a schwarzbier. I think the smoked character is very well implemented; this is the only subtlety I detect in the beer. Jack's Abby still has yet to truly wow me, but this is only my second beer of theirs. A solid sporting effort that gives me renewed interest in trying more of their beers. Still, it leaves much to be desired.

High C+

***
12/17/15: 2nd impression from a bottle purchased in Denver, CO during GABF:

High C+

 3,888 characters

Photo of oline73
4.14/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle into a goblet.

Appearance: The beer pours a dark brown color with some red light coming through at the edges. There is a half finger of off white head that fades rather quickly.

Smell: Not as roasty as I would have expected, but the roast compliments everything else nicely. I'm getting bready malt sweetness along with some dark fruit. Just a bit nutty with mild smoke.

Taste: Not quite as nice as the smell, but still quite good. Some bready malt with dark chocolate and smokey notes. I'm getting mild caramel and dark fruit. The finish is slightly bitter with a nice smoke to it.

Mouthfeel: The body is medium with very full carbonation and a slightly dry finish.

Overall: I really enjoyed this beer. I was super easy to drink and quite interesting. I would definitely have more in the future.

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Photo of WillieThreebiers
3.75/5  rDev -4.3%

Photo of Phyl21ca
4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Tap: Poured a dark black color ale with a dark brown foamy head with good retention and some light lacing. Aroma of light roasted malt with light smoke notes and some dry black chocolate. Taste is an interesting mix between black chocolate and smoke with light lactose notes. Body is slightly fuller then average with medium carbonation which suits the style. Well brewed and somewhat unique. I would love to have a more regular access to this beer.

 449 characters

Photo of zestar
3.75/5  rDev -4.3%

Photo of superspak
4.1/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Got in a BIF from ZebraCakez. 12 ounce bottle into lager glass, bottled on 11/24/2014. Pours crystal clear deep reddish brown color with a 1 finger dense khaki head with good retention, that reduces to a small cap that lingers. Light spotty soapy lacing clings down the glass, with a moderate amount of streaming carbonation. Aromas of big chocolate, cocoa, coffee, wood smoke, toast, dark bread, herbal, and roast/smokey earthiness. Damn nice aromas with good balance and complexity of roast/bready malt and smoke notes; with great strength. Taste of chocolate, cocoa, coffee, wood smoke, toast, dark bread, herbal, and roast/smokey earthiness. Fair amount of roast/herbal bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of chocolate, cocoa, coffee, wood smoke, toast, dark bread, herbal, and roasted earthiness on the finish for a good bit. Damn nice balance and robustness of roast/bready malt and smoke flavors; with a great roasted bitterness/sweetness balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Very clean on lager flavors with no yeast ester notes present. Medium carbonation and light-medium bodied; with a very smooth, fairly crisp, and lightly bready/chalky mouthfeel that is great. Alcohol is well hidden with minimal warming present after the finish. Overall this is an excellent smoked schwarzbier style. All around great balance and robustness of roast/bready malt and smoke flavors; and very smooth and crisp to drink. A very enjoyable offering.

 1,467 characters

Photo of Boone757
3.98/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of olradetbalder
3/5  rDev -23.5%

Photo of dbrauneis
4.01/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Served in a bottle at The Whiskey Priest in Boston, MA

A: Pours a clear dark brown in color with some moderate amounts of visible carbonation and some ruby red highlights. The beer has a finger tall sudsy light tan head that quickly redues to a medium patch of very thin film and a thin ring at the edges of the glass. Light to moderate amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Moderate aromas of smoked malts (you can definitely pick out the fact that it was smoked with beechwood) with lighter notes of chocolate malts and coffee. Very light notes of earthy hops.

T: Upfront there are moderate flavors of chocolate malts and smoked malts, with just the most subtle hints of a BBQ pit. There is a light hint of nuttiness and some light caramel sweetness as well. Next come the flavors of roasted coffee and the touch of dark chocolate. There are light amounts of earthy hops in the finish which give the beer a light amount of bitterness which fades pretty quickly.

M: Medium bodied with a moderate amount of gentle carbonation. Smooth with a light amount of dryness in the finish.

O: I enjoyed this beer - the smoke flavors are quite pleasant and really add to the beer without being overwhelming or having too much of an iodine flavor. The beer was easy to drink and I had no problem putting down a 22 oz bottle on my own - in fact, I wish there was a little more of it to drink. Would pair very nicely with meats.

 1,416 characters

Photo of jlindros
4.17/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a light fizzy head that fades semi quickly over pitch black lightless beer.

Nose brings a nice smoke to it, like a light hickory smoke but not really the typical smoked meat aroma, a bit of campfire as well, then some light roasted malt and hint of chocolate, caramel, and even some vanilla.

Taste starts rich, quite malty actually, the smoke comes first again with some light wood smoked malts, hint of hickory but lighter overall on the smoke, not overpowering. Again with a touch of campfire, and maybe a hint of smoked cheese. The malts bring a rich luscious mouth, with some caramel, slight roast, some vanilla, and asome black patent malt that seems to turn slightly to chocolate but barely (or my mind playing tricks on me). A nice creamy malt that almost feels like oats are there. Finishes fairly crisp with a nice lager flavor late on the finish, and quite a bit of bitterness that starts to finally come through, more from the roasted malts and smoke than any hops. A bit drier but slightly sticky.

Mouth is med to a bit heavier bodied, creamy, decent carb for growler.

Overall nice, smoke is done well without the heavy smoke flavor, not too bitter or tannic either, and nice soft malt and lager flavors, nice oats and even a hint of chocolate coming late. Much different than anything I've had before I think, and done fairly well. They easily could have gone overboard on anything, but didn't. Perhaps a touch more of the lager flavors and crispness would have been nicer.

 1,496 characters

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Smoke & Dagger from Jack's Abby Brewing
Beer rating: 3.92 out of 5 with 1,039 ratings
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