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: 177 | Ratings: 1,014
Photo of DefenCorps
3.98/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Bottle from Julio's.

Pouring black with reddish dark brown highlights, this beer is capped with a dense,brown head that falls off to a thin disk leaving little lacing. The nose is wonderfully roasty, smoky and moderately chocolatey. The smoke character is slightly "wet"; it brings to mind the smoke from wood that isn't completely dry. A moderate caramel/chocolate sweetness is present behind it, along with a mild hop character (mint, herbs, pine). Very nice.

The palate opens with a blend dark chocolate, smoke and a little coffee. Dark caramel sweetness is present, along with a robust bitterness. The label mentions that this skirts the line between porter and schwarzbier and I see why - the blend of chocolate, smoke, grainy acidty and German hop character brings to mind just that. Medium-light in body and with a medium-high level of carbonation, this feels quite good on the palate. The carbonation does thin out the mouthfeel a little bit, though. Smoke and dark chocolate linger on the finish. Very nice.

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Photo of Alieniloquium
3.5/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

500 mL bottle poured into a snifter.

Appearance - Deep brown, almost black. A little transparent. Medium collar.

Smell - Smokey and a little meaty. Coffee. Deep caramel and toffee.

Taste - Smokey. Coffee roasted malt. Some sweetness. A bit of maltiness. Caramel.

Mouthfeel - Medium low carbonation. Some bitterness.

Overall - Tasty, but after the Fire in the Ham, not quite as good.

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Photo of stephens101
4.21/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Off the tap at Mule Bar, Winooski, Vt.

One finger of resilient tan head on a dark brown brew. Smells of caramel, plum and a bit of spent grain. Tastes of more caramel and black licorice and has a slight smokiness. Light to medium and edgy going down. Becomes more woody and smoky as it goes. Fine, fine drinking on a snowy Vermont eve.

Blind review 7.12.16

Jet black with a perfect quilting of tan froth. Smells of toasted malt and dark fruit, both distant. Sweet, toasty and dry with a hint of herbal hops and grain in the finish. A bit sweeter than expected. Medium side of light but so easy to drink.

A very flavorful brew with just a few quirks that don't hurt the overall experience.

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Photo of Andrew041180
3.96/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - Pours a deep brown mahogany, with the reddish highlights visible under certain lighting conditions. Normal pour produces about two fingers worth of bubbly head that recedes slowly into a creamy film. Lacing is present, but does not stay on the sides of the glass.

S - Very nice volume. Not overpowering, but easy to pick up. Dominant smell is roasty coffee, subdued sweetness, and a hint of the smoke that the beer is named after.

T - I'm not a huge fan of stout-like beers, but this one was quite pleasant! Follows the nose, and that smokey sensation that was barely present in the nose provides a really nice backdrop for the dominant coffee flavor. The roastiness isn't overpowering, and the flavors are all very complimentary.

M - So good. I can't say enough about how well Jack's Abby nails the feel of its beers. Medium-full bodied with a rich, creamy sensation. A little bit of cushiness from carbonation that isn't really visible. Clean, refreshing finish.

O - I picked this up because it is from Jack's Abby, not because it is a Rauchbier, which is a new style to me. This is the sort of beer that makes me want to further explore a style. Recommend, also goes great with food!

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Photo of RonfromJersey
3.95/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Coco-Cola color body, including the ruby highlights. No carbonation visible though. Four fingers of whipped light ran foam. No lacing.

Aroma is light heavy, with coffee and chocolate undercurrents.

Taste begins with coffee and chocolate. Smoke builds throughout and mingles into a later, larger coffee taste.

Light and smooth mouthfeel, appropriate to the style.

Well made. Tasty. Deft touch with the smoke. Worthy of a try.

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Photo of BradMacMullin
4.32/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Had on tap at Champions. Seems Jacks Abbey is everywhere these days. This was billed as a smokey dark beer, which I am always hit or miss with. This poured a very dark color with little head. Very malty and caramels smell, and the taste doesn't disappoint. Nice crisp taste and the hints of smoke are not overwhelming which I like. I could have a couple of these. Like this a lot

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

Thanks to Kegatron for gifting me with a bottle of this. 12oz poured into a snifter. The brew appears a dark brown to black with brown clarity around the edges and a tan finger of head. The cap fades leaving spots of lace on the glass.

The aroma is earthen and roasty with a pleasant woody smokiness. The smoke is the leading character of the aromatics but it is not dominating and over-done by any means. Very nicely done.

The flavor is roasty with a hint of citrus hops and minor fruity quality. Earthen with almost a touch of molasses and plum-like fruity alcohol character. The smoke is present but seems much more focused in the aromatics.

This is a medium bodied brew with a modest amount of carbonation. It is pleasantly smokey but with plenty of other character to take in as well. Very easy drinking and crisp. Thanks again for this one Heath.

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Photo of utopiajane
4.08/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours a beautiful dark brown. Burnt walnut with some ruby hues and a dark caramel. The colors are soft and pleasing. The beer has excellent clarity and if you look deeply you can see light lager bubbles rising. Fat finger and a half of tan creamy foam that fell slowly and leaves a sheet of wet lace to slid back down into the glass on each sip. The nose is light smoke and roasted grain. A bit of coffee and smooth chocolate. It has a malt sweetness underneath but it stays true to a lager scent. Smells a lot like a schwarzbier. The taste is perfect lightness. The smoke doesn't overpower the roasted grains which are sturdy but not burned. The coffee and chocolate stay smooth and well blended. The body is thin but the taste is full. The malt does not get sweet nor does the chocolate and the taste of the almost blackened grain is truly spectacular.

This is a fantastic beer that is lighter than you might expect and yet still has all the beechwood smoke flavor you want. It is a roasted malt paradise for the eyes and for the palate. The full bodied taste is not heavy and the mouthfeel is silky and smooth. There is a touch of hop floral on it that livens the dark flavors but doesn't compete with them. It has the faintest touch of fruit. Another great beer from Jack's Abby.

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Photo of jmdrpi
3.95/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

500mL bottle, stamped 7.12.2013

appears a dark brown, not quite black. off white head that fades. smells a bit of smoke in the aroma, charcoal. taste is slightly roasty, some smoke the taste too. clean flavor. medium body, moderate carbonation. easy to drink.

overall - I don't get any of the chocolate malt indicated on the label, but still a good dark lager.

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Photo of JMScowcroft
4.31/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Jack's Abby Brewing - Smoke & Dagger, poured into a Lawson's tulip.

Look - Pours a thinner black and settles with a small foamy head that dissipates with little to no retention. Some lacing.

Smell - Chocolate malts and smoked malts. Touch of coffee.

Taste - Smoky with a nice rich backbone. So damn tasty.

Mouthfeel - Moderately carbonated with a full-medium body. Great drinkability. Not boozy in the least.

Overall - Best smoked lager I have had so far (I typically don't like them). This beats out their Lawson's collab for sure, that one had a little cloying to it. I could drink several of these brews.

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Photo of MarkJBurch
4.2/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Pours a dark ruby brown, black in the glass. Sticky, spotty, cream colored lacing.

Roast, peat, chocolate and faint coffee make for a well composed nose.

Toast, smoke and chocolate. Faint dark fruit, tame and well balanced with a clean finish. Improves as it warms.

Light to medium bodied, carbonation is spot on. Again, a very clean aftertaste, slightly dry.

I love how easy this is to drink. I find most smoked beers difficult to drink in excess, cumbersome to the pallet, if you will. I'll be heading to the fridge for another immediately following this review, if that tells you anything.

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

Bottle purchased and drank at Acme Bar and Pizza in Rochester, NY.

Tastes more like a lightly smoky schwarzbier than a full on rauchbier, but I don't mind, because I generally don't like incredibly smoky beers.

Pours out a dark, dark brown, almost black, with a 2 inch head, and a little bit of lacing down the glass.

Smells like chocolate, mild smoke, and some mild roasted malts.

The taste is similar. Only lightly smoky, it's a good compliment to the chocolate and roasted malt flavor. No flavor is particularly brow-beating, which is nice, making this practically sessionable.

Light to medium bodied, low carbonation, creamy smooth mouthfeel.

Another good offering from the boys in Framingham.

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Photo of dheacck11
4.19/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Pour is a dark brown with hints of red. No head.

Nose has lots of smoke and coffee. Some sweet molasses. Hickory.

Taste is full of nice toasty malts. Little smoke. Some cedar. Some grain. Finishes light and juicy

Feel is spot on. Medium light

Great beer. Unique style. Perfect for early fall. Kind of like a porter but different.

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Photo of canudoa9
3.91/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Jack's Abby labeling encapsulates the lameness of the Boston area better than any other brewery and I'm not sure if that is a good or bad thing, though surely accurate and resonant with the locality.
The beer is murkier than most black lagers I've had from these parts. Its a dense Boston fog of a beer, again perhaps not something entirely pleasurable but it socks you in and asks you to study, to read and to think. The taste lingers like the winters and tastes damp in your mouth for a while like the spring. Overall I'm a fan. I think this is a great place-based beer.

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Photo of metter98
3.95/5  rDev -1.5%
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

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Photo of MusicaleMike
4.2/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Bottled on 3-7-13 and kept in refrigerated storage since then.
Poured into a tall pint. A deep ruddy brown body with excellent clarity and plenty of active carbonation visible through the glass little tiny bubbles, very fine, constantly and abundantly rising, supporting a two finger thick tan head. Slowly, the head collapses, but forms a dense creamy texture.

Smell of doughy malts, crisp and filled with hints of a dry, roasted quality. Subtle smoke aroma. Nothing hoppy about the aroma. Little husky/grainy smell that could be confused as metallic.

A super clean beer, with a crisp malt profile, and a flash of smoke right up front that doesn't signal "rauchbier" since it's fleeting, and hardly lingers into the aftertaste. A light malt sweetness presses against the front of the palate, but the finish is dry and lightly bitter. Just enough to be very well balanced. The carbonation is lively, and good at keeping this lager on the lighter side of the body.

It definitely feels like a bigger beer than I am used to for schwarzbier lagers but that's not a bad thing. This is their take. It's also smoky which is not quite appropriate for the style either. However it's a easy to drink beer, interesting flavor, and very satisfying.

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Photo of cosmicevan
3.39/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Another amazing extra from bramsdell (cheers buddy!) enjoyed from a beer hunter taster glass.

a - brew pours a pewter black with ruby brown highlights. thin head is gone quick leaving nary a skin of bubbles on the surface.

s - smell is really nice chocolate with some burnt firewood char. kind of like a smokey milk stout.

t - taste is big roasted char...kind of like a watery porter.

m - soft porter like char...fizzy.

o - overall a decent smoke beer, but fairly watered down.

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Photo of Botulizard
4.81/5  rDev +20%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Poured from the bottle into a tulip pint glass.

A: Rich, deep, dark brown. Bears a strong resemblance to black coffee. A slightly lighter color, I'd call it a very dark amber, becomes visible at the very top and bottom of the glass or when viewed in the right light. An initial head of about one half-inch dissipates fairly quickly, leaving minimal lacing (if any at all) around the edge of the glass.

S: The nose is predominantly smoky, and very pleasant. Complimentary to the smoke, the nose has an almost, I might say, meatiness to it. Reminds me very much of smoked ham or bacon.

T: Taste is very similar to the nose, with a pleasantly bitter, almost chocolatey finish.

M: Like most dark beers, there's a heavy, sort of chewy mouthfeel here.

O: This is a great beer with a lot of character and very pleasant qualities. I really enjoy the smokiness. Despite being heavy, I feel that this beer can be enjoyed any time of the year. I highly recommend it.

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Photo of puboflyons
3.86/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

From the 25 fl. oz. bottle labeled mfg: 03-07-13. Sampled on July 19, 2013.

It is handsome to look at in the glass with a deep dark brown color that builds up to a delicate long-lasting off-white head.

The aroma does have some nice smoke as promised with a little coffee-like malted ester. Looking at it and smelling it invites me in to drink it.

The body was around medium but there was a kind of astringency too.

Like the aroma, the taste has a good smoked malty character that is lightly sweetened and finishes clean. Yes, I would have it again.

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Photo of Rippeddisc
3.95/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Flown in from my sister :)

A - deep dark brown. bit of head. quickly peetered out

S - sweet malt. bit of hickory? subtle wood smell.

T/M - mmm holy yum. nice big mouthfeel. doesnt run away like a lager might expect. roasty malts, no smoke though.

O - i'm a sucker for these beers. big on flavor, not as filling. could session this. yum.

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Photo of MDDMD
3.9/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-dark brown color with a decent tan head and a little lacing

S-chocolate, coffee, dark malt, hint of vanilla

T-raoasted malt, chocolate, coffee, hint of smokiness and vanilla,mild bitterness in the finish

F-medium body with moderate carbonation, smooth

O-interesting blend of styles, a little porter, a little dark lager, did not get a lot of smokiness in this

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Photo of bum732
4.24/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

S: Light coffee roast, hints of smoke, cocoa powder, light vanilla

L: Black, creamy light tan head with solid retention and lacing.

T: Sweet, creamy coffee-like malt with a hint of smoke. Low bitterness with a very creamy, coffee roastiness with some cocoa powder intermingling. Light smoke comes through near the finish, finishing dry and slightly roasty.

M: Medium full body, super creamy and soft on the palate. Medium low carbonation.

A really solid beer, simple flavors but executed nicely. Really dug it.

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Photo of Durge
3.85/5  rDev -4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A dark, murky brown colored brew with a modest but stubborn light tan colored cover and decent lacing, this brew served chilled in a pint glass is looking pretty inviting. The aroma brings a deep toasted brown bread and chocolate malt medley with a bit of a juniper bite over the top. Very appealing. The flavor comes on with a fairly sharp grassy hop tang which is immediately followed by a charcoal malt idea. This is definitely a bit brighter and more bitter than I anticipated with subtle smokey qualities. It's a tad thin in feel but offers a brisk carbonation in what otherwise is a medium-light bodied beer. There's a vague chalkiness but nothing negative. This generally strikes me as a grassy, vegetable sort of brew with a good smokey-malt theme that makes for a decent overall result. A bit too grassy for my tastes, but not bad at all.

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Photo of BostonHops
3.99/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

500ml bottle served in a snifter.

pours a deep amber; sits a an opaque, borderline black tone while yielding a frothy 1" khaki colored head; middling retention and a little lacing evident in small patches. nose offers notes of chocolate, with some roasted malt and a little smoke. nice.

taste delivers the chocolate, roastiness, and smoke along with secondary notes of vanilla, caramel, and even a little oak. flavors work well together; distinct yet cohesive. there's a subdued hoppy presence notable in the finish... smooth, creamy mouthfeel - medium bodied - with average carbonation.

overall an excellent brew, sort of a beer Frankenstein, blending elements from a few styles (rauchbier, schwarzbier, and smoked porter); the finished product is a smooth, flavorful beer. proves you don't need an imperial to deliver and onslaught of character. while i wouldn't count any of the aforementioned styles among my personal favorites, smoke and dagger does work for me, and though it won't earn a spot in my regular rotation i will definitely be back for more in the future.

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Photo of HuskyinPDX
3.85/5  rDev -4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Bottle opened on 5.25.13
Dated 03.07.13

A - Pours a brown with a dark tan soapy head with good retention.

S - Smoke, fishy, malty, toasted malts.

T - Smokey and roasted malts, very similar to the nose.

D - Good carbonation with a light body.

O - Smoke and lots of lager yeast.

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Smoke & Dagger from Jack's Abby Brewing
4.01 out of 5 based on 1,014 ratings.
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