Smoke & Dagger | Jack's Abby Brewing

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Smoke & DaggerSmoke & Dagger

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

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

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Reviews: 179 | Ratings: 1,017
Photo of scottfrie
4/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

500ml bottle into SA perfect pint. Thanks SneezyAchew!

A: Pours a very dark and clear mahogany with a couple fingers of dark tan head that slowly faded into a faint collar that left patchy lace down the glass.
S: Dominating notes of smoke with an underlying sweetness. I get some notes of dark fruits and caramel.
T: More smoke as expected, lager yeast, light chocolate, caramel, and toasted oats. The finish is very roasted with a lingering bit of fruity sweetness.
M: Clean and easy mouthfeel, crisp and refreshing body, with solid carbonation that goes down smooth.
O: An easy to drink rauchbier. I would have this again. Thanks Michael.

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Photo of smcolw
3.92/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

The review below is from the bottled version, which garnered a 3.6 overall.

This review is for a nitro pour.

Looks like Guinness except that light passes easily, giving this beer a garnet look. The head is pure froth, lasting throughout the tasting. Great blanketing lace.

Semisweet aroma of coffee ground and molasses.

A touch of smoke with a darkened toffee sweetness. Very rich for a lager. Decen minute bubbled carbonation. Sweetened dark toast aftertaste.


Lasting but large bubbled head. Leaves plenty of spotty lace. Solid brown color where light passes through the center of the glass.

Dark, dry malt aromas. Light smokiness, like a distant campfire. Smells as if there is a touch of Black Patent Malt in there.

Tastes like a porter with some semisweet chocolate. Again, the smoke is modest but present. Dry and lasting aftertaste of bitter dark malts and spicy hops. Relatively thin bodied with a high level of carbonation.

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Photo of NEhophead
4.15/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

16.9 fl oz brown bottle served in a becker.

Deep maple in color beneath a densely creamy, lightly tanned head. A wall of compacted lacing with good strength throughout the glass.

A clean leathery-peat aroma that is well balanced with mild milk chocolate and dark roasted malts. Peanuts and almonds create a very pleasant dry quality. Not a rauchbier that overpowers your sense of smell with smoke; very pleasant.

A mild smoked oak character that presents first and then recedes to the background. Roasted hazelnuts and peanuts which really characterize this beer's flavor: dry, nutty, and slightly spicy. Faint hints of roasted chocolate malt and semi-sweet toffee round out the finish rather nicely.

A shade lighter than full bodied. Creamy to an extent, but a touch too carbonated. Boy, this one would nearly be perfect on cask.

A really well crafted, tame Rauchbier. This offering has certainly opened my eyes to Jack's Abby.

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Photo of cbutova
4.06/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Jack's Abby excites me, local lagers are always welcome in my mind.

A- Poured into a stange (first time I have said that) with a black body that has just a few dark brown hints around the edges. Massive light brown head forms with a texture more similar to the top of a root beer float. Retention is first-class and thick lace surrounds the inside of my glass.

S- A roasty caramel malt profile with buttery hints hits me first. Cereal grains and slight vanilla sweets follow.

T- Reminds me of what some breweries call Black Lagers. It has a nice mix of roasted malt and yeast characteristics. Cocoa, roasted cereal grains, fruits, slight butter and smoked notes make up most of the flavor.

MF- Creamy and moderately thick body compliments the roasty overall flavor profile. Carbonation has a silky smooth feel. Leaves a roast grain bitterness on the palate.

Not nearly as smoky as most Rauchbiers I have experienced but still has a good roast malt flavor. I will definitely pick this one up again in the future.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
4/5  rDev -0.2%
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.

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Photo of FosterJM
3.68/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

1252nd Review on BA
Bottle to English Pint

Thanks to Twstandley for this one

App- A dark cola brown with a medium clarity to it. A bit thicker than I was thinking/expecting. A huge khaki three finger head opened and then left fairly quick. Good amount of cling to it.

Smell- A small and subdued aromatic note to this one. Had a bit of Roast with a slight bit of liquid smoke. As it warmed it was chocolate, a bit ashy with some malty thickness behind it.

Taste- At 1st I didn't like it. I just dont like smoke beers but I wanted to give it a go. Maybe this will be the one. As it warmed it because more more enjoyable and on the level of Stone Smoked Porter with a great layered flavor of malts, chocolate and smoke. Wasnt the best but close.

Mouth- A lighter-medium body with a fairly medium carbonation. A bit of roasty and creamy smoky chocolate.

Drink- Overall it was pretty good, wasnt the best nor the worst. Great layered flavors but doesnt punch you in the face.

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Photo of OtherShoe2
4/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewing the brew and not the category. This is not really a rauchbier. Nice brown brew with a big head and lacing.

French roast coffee and nice toasted malt notes.

Toasty dark roasted malt, but not overdone. The slight sweet note is pushed aside as this brew finishes crisp. Coffee, a little smokiness, mild bitterness, smooth malt. Highly drinkable and medium bodied, but maybe on the light side of that. Enjoyable and refreshing. Worthy.

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Photo of inlimbo77
3.67/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

16oz bottle. No bottle dating information. Poured into Deschutes tulip

A: Pours a very deep, reddish brown color. It's nearly opaque. I got about a finger of light tan head. It fades quite quickly. Leaves some lacing bits. On a second pour, I get tons of head and it had a cool two-tone light tan/dark tan split head. Very neat.

S: I certainly a smoked porter nose in this guy. Really deep roasted malt character and then underneath you pull some chocolate, both milk and dark.

T: I see exactly how they were try mesh these two style: schwarzbier and smoked porter. You get the deep roasted grains and smoky notes of a porter, and the smoothness of the schwarzbier. You don't get the bitterness that you might get from a porter. Its very smooth. I am pulling a good amount of chocolate from the drink and not much else. Maybe some mild coffee hints after I drink a while.

M: Medium bodied.

O: B

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Photo of VelvetExtract
4.08/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A-Pours a very dark brown that seems to be hazeless. Head is pretty. Frothy and bubbly. Head is about a finger high and has jagged edges that leave mountain-range lacing silhouettes.

S-Like the nose says...this beer smells like a mix between a Schwarzbier and a Smoked Porter. Smoky and salty notes combine with coffee and chocolate. I haven't had a great Rauchbier experiences, but this one smells very enticing and has so much complexity and plenty of intensity.

T-The smoke is set to a perfect pitch. The coffee and chocolate are coated perfectly by the smoke. Roasted grains and light vanilla add to the awesome complexity. Very, very tasty. The first Rauchbier I have enjoyed.

M-Very light (which I love). Isn't too thick. Nice bubbles. I absolutely love how light the feel is. The ABV is a nonfactor as well.

O/D-Second Jack's Abby brew I have had. This one was also a damn steal at $2.30-ish for a half liter. This beer has actually turned me on to a style I don't like very much. After only having 2 of Jack's Abby's beers, I can already say they are one of the best breweries in the state and even all of New England.

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Photo of mlazzaro
4.41/5  rDev +10%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Smells of darker malts, mostly chocolatie. Clean yeast aroma. Thin khaki colored head composed of tiny bubbles. Holding like a champ and lacing the glass nicely. Opaque black beer. Up to the light it has a faint reddish hue.

Solid malt and chocolate flavors. Ph is higher than I expected. A touch of sweetness mixed with the smoked charcoal flavor towards the end of the sip. After taste is outstanding; leaves coating of malty deliciousness on the tongue. Mouthfeel is really smooth light. Mild bitterness and carbonation. Refreshing for a dark beer. I really like it.

Smokiness is quite mild and palatable. If you've never tried a rauchbier, not a bad first one to try.

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Photo of Hopdaemon39
4.2/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a .5 liter bottle into a nonic tumbler- pours black except around the edges there's a little ruby. One finger tan head that dissipates quickly and leaves some nice sticky lacing.

Smell isn't robust but not necessarily thin- dark roasted malt smell that I've come to associate with stouts but a little smokey as well.

Taste is great- roasted malts hit up front, followed by a slight smokiness, a little yeast, and finished out with nice sweet malt.

Mouthfeel is solid- medium light body (can't say light cause it's a dark beer) with a light and smooth lager carbonation. The more you drink, the more the smoke comes through. This would be excellent with anything grilled.

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Photo of MoreThanWine
3.83/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured a 1.5" cappucino head with long life. The body pours dark but clear but in masstone it's a deep umber brown verging on coffee. The smell is very mild and mainly roasted malt. Taste is much weaker than I was expecting but has the crispness of a lager, a touch of smoke, and a little roasted malt. And easy drinking enjoyable and not boring lager.

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Photo of Kinsman
3.92/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a nice dark brown color with a creamy light tan colored head on top. A nice smoky whiff greets you before the lighter sweet chocolate and roasty notes come through.

Well balanced smoke and malt flavors make for a tasty beverage. Rich chocolate and roasted coffee alongside a subtly fruity malt character. Beechwood smoke bursts through to offset some of the sweetness.

Mouthfeel is light and velvety smooth. Overall, a very tasty beverage sure to please any smoked beer fan.

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Photo of Dope
4.03/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: A dark brown pour with a very very light brown head atop it. Huge fluffy head with incredible retention.

S: Hickory smoke and chocolate. Maybe a touch of coffee in there.

T: Really nice hickory smoke as in the nose. Hints of chocolate and coffee and char. Touch of caramel throughout.

M: Medium bodied, smooth.

O: Pretty simple rauchbier. I'm honestly not a fan of smoked beers at all but this one isn't overpowering. The smoke doesn't just taste like liquid smoke either, tastes like hickory BBQ. The chocolate and coffee compliments it well too.

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Photo of woosterbill
3.97/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle into a tulip. Thanks to the guys at NEBCO for opening this one while I was there.

A: Clear dark brown body with a fine, solid tan cap. Good retention, spotty lace. Solid.

S: Spicy, roasty, chocolatey, and only very lightly smoky. Pretty nice.

T: Fairly clean maltiness dominates, with chocolate and pepper playing supporting roles. A bit of sweetness midway through, but overall quite dry. Again, smoke is suprisingly minimal. Tasty, anyway.

M: Frothy, lively medium body. Fun.

O: This struck me as more of a straight Schwarzbier than a Rauchbier, but in any case it was good.


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Photo of rinhaak
4.05/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pouring a light black with a foamy head tinged with black, there are aromas of coffee grounds, toffee, beechwood, and a vague waft of cherries.

The mouth is very well balanced: beginning with coffee malts and a very subtle smoke, there are flavors of burnt coffee and caramel before it progresses into a very nutty (hazelnuts, perhaps, mixed with walnuts) finish.

Very drinkable, this is not a smokey beer at all. While the smoke exists, it really is merely to complement the other flavors, not overpower them. If you want a smokey rauchbier, you'll be disappointed. I, however, really appreciated the subtly, balance, and immense drinkability.

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Photo of PeterIngemi
3.88/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a .5l bottle into a tulip.

A: Pours a dark dark brown. Almost black until heels to the light... With a nice two finger mocha head that dissapates on the quick side leaving nice lacing.

S: not as robust as I would have liked. Hints of chocolate and smoke... A nice roastyness, but again I was hoping for a more full bodied aroma. Becomes a little more fragrant as the beer warms.

T: very nice and very well balanced a nice amount of chocolate balanced by a touch of beechwood smoke. Roasty grain flavors come in at the mid palate. A little bit of caramel in there as well.

M: medium body with medium crisp carbonation. Finishes nicley.

O: very good for a rauch Bier but i think i would group this more in the smoked Porter category.... But a great use of smoke just the same... Not overwhelimg but in their just right for balance.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
4.1/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On-tap 2/17/2012 at British Beer Company, in Walpole, MA served in a stange glass.

A: The beer is a deep dark brown color with a short light brown head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma contains smoked malts, some chocolate and a touch of hops.

T: The taste starts out with a quite tame smokiness followed by a mild chocolate flavor. The malt character is hearty and there’s a mild but complementary hops presence that creates a good balance. The after-taste is slightly smoky and slightly sweet.

M: Smooth and crisp, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

O: Tasty, goes down easily, not too filling, decent kick, good representation of style, this beer was an excellent complement to pastrami sandwich and overall is a very good smoked beer.

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Photo of Sean9689
4.07/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks, Alex. Poured into tulip.

A - Pours a medium brownish color, off-white head, thin ring.

S - Light smoke & roast, chocolate, nice level of malty sweetness. All very subtle and enjoyable, easy to sniff and really good.

T - Similar to the nose. Light smoke, roast, malty sweetness, and perhaps some light carmel in there too. Goes down easy and there's no alcohol notes at all. One of the easiest-drinking Rauchbier's I've had.

M - Light, good carbonation, smooth.

O - This was a really nice Rauchbier that was super-easy to drink for a style I find hard to have much of. I would say this is more of a lager with some smoke qualities added in there. Good stuff, would drink again.

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Photo of MasterSki
4.27/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Growler courtesy of Reagan1984 - the crazy generous guy who sends two growlers as extras. Served in a Hill Farmstead glass.

A - Quick-dissolving tan foam settles to a thin collar, wispy patches, and spotty lace. Dark brown body with some ruby highlights to it.

S - Smoked ham, dark chocolate, roasted malts, and hickory. As it warms more the honey-glazed meat character intensifies.

T - The taste is more balanced, with chocolate, dry roast nuts, roasted malts, and a hint of caramel on one side and smoke, hickory, and campfire on the other.

M - Medium body, pleasant carbonation, lightly dry and smoky texture, and a fairly clean finish.

D - A very good and authentic Rauchbier. This isn't the most sexy style of beer, and I was a bit apprehensive about having 2L of Rauchbier. I needn't have worried about it, as I returned to this for numerous refills during the course of the Super Bowl.

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Photo of TurdFurgison
4.42/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz unlabeled bottle provided by Gogriz (thanks Cody!). Apparently not distributed, this bottle was filled at the brewery for Cody.

It pours dark brown and opaque looking, at least until held to a light. With light behind this showcases a dark auburn color with clean translucent character. The aroma is really good, smoked meats and sweet roasted malts. Rich smelling even though the smoke isn't overbearing.

This tastes really accesible, lots of smoked malt but not oppressive or acrid. Clean tasting, with a dry finish. Wow, another delicious beer from Jack's Abby. Medium bodied, not too heavy and again pretty accessible.

I highly recommend this beer for rauchbier lovers, its delicious.

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Photo of taez555
4.42/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer poured a dark coca cola, but darker, body wit an off-white head. I'd say you can't see through it, but held up to the light it has a mild opaqueness.

Nose has a nice mild roasted dark malt and mild smoke smell.

Taste is medium bodied and very smooth and easy drinking. There's an immediate smoked malt taste, but not overpowering at all. Lots of mild chocolate, coffee and mild roasted bitter malt flavors. Hops aren't over the top, but keep things mildly in check. The mild smoke flavor gives it almost hint at a rauch beer, but it never really goes there, just sits nicely on the pallate. Ends very smooth (it is a lager after all).

Another fabulous beer from Jack's Abby. Almost runs the fine line between black lager and mildy smoked porter. The meaty smoke flavor in this beer is absolutely stunning. Good stuff.

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Photo of jneiswender
4.42/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had this beer on tap at the brewery in Framingham. Served in a 4oz tasting glass, cool.

A-off-white head and a dark brown body.

S-chocolate and smoky scent.

T-wonderful flavor. nice campfire smoke and varied grain flavor. Enough hops but be there in the background and not allow the brew to be too sweet.

M-medium to light

D-Just an awesome beer. So clean and yet so flavorful. I would not only drink this again but I would seek it out.

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Photo of Damian
4.29/5  rDev +7%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Drank on-tap at Olde Magoun's Saloon, Somerville, MA
Served in a pint glass

Brown/black with mahogany highlights and nearly transparent in appearance. The liquid was topped by a super tight and creamy, khaki colored crop of froth. Thick sheets of lacing coated the glass and they lasted long after the beer was finished.

The nose was subtle. At first, all I could pick up was a dry, powdery, lager-like yeastiness and a touch of roast. As the beer warmed, coffee and chocolate notes came forth. Caramel malts were noticeable. Slightly nutty and fruity.

The flavor profile was quite assertive. Roasted malts appeared on the front end. Some smoke. Deep, dark chocolate notes and black coffee came through in the center. The finish was crisp, dry and roasty and contained just a hint of piney hops.

The mouthfeel was medium bodied for the style. Ultra creamy, frothy and smooth with a super fine, moderate effervescence.

The boys at Jack's Abby have another winner with Smoke & Dagger. While the mild smokiness had me comparing this beer more to a schwarzbier than a rauchbier, this is a damn fine brew nonetheless.

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Photo of jlindros
4.17/5  rDev +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.

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Smoke & Dagger from Jack's Abby Brewing
4.01 out of 5 based on 1,017 ratings.
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