Black Jack Porter | Left Hand Brewing Company

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Black Jack PorterBlack Jack Porter

Brewed by:
Left Hand Brewing Company
Colorado, United States

Style: English Porter

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.80%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Slight malt Sweetness with notes of dark chocolate, espresso and herbal hops.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 08-16-2001

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Reviews: 508 | Ratings: 1,342
Photo of rabsten
3.65/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from bottle dated 5-25-05 into a pint glass. Dark brown with red tint. Thin head but some lacing. No real carbonation present.

Caramel aroma, no hops present.

Very mild flavor. Some light caramel malt. Again, no hops. Tastes like Shiner Bock.

Smooth drinking, light mouthfeel. Refreshing. About as mild a porter as I've ever had, this one comes across more like a black and tan.

Another of my clean-out-the-cooler beers. Not bad at all, I'd really like to try this when it's fresher. I enjoyed the hell out of Left Hand's Hop Warrior last year and have 2 more lefties to try out of this run - Sawtooth Ale and Jackman's Pale Ale.

Bottom line: lf you're looking for something dark that would work in the summertime, this will probably work.

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Photo of Blakaeris
3.29/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours mahogany brown with ruby highlights. Tan head dissipates quickly to a thin film.

Smell is chocolate, roasted malt, dark grain and hints of coffee.

Taste is similiar to the nose, but on the sweeter side. Flavors blend smoothly. Nice nuttiness and a touch of fruit. Hops are mild and struggle to make an appearance in the finish.

Mouthfeel is thin. A little more body would really help.

This is a lighter version of a porter. I would prefer a heavier mouthfeel and bolder flavor. It's not bad, but it's too mild for me to consider searching out.

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Photo of Crosling
3.16/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Brownish-burgundy color, with a full head of light brown cream. Light aroma with hints of brown sugar and chocolate/toast, light berry. Flavor is dry, very yeasty, earthy, full of cocoa, chocolate and roast flavors. Body is light. A fairly average porter. Drinkable.

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Photo of Drew966
3.36/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Left Hang Black Jack Porter pours a very dark brown with ruby highlights from a brown twelve ounce bottle. The aroma is on the malty side, but fairly subtle, and improves upon warming. Taste is pretty good, malt predominates, some fruitiness is present. Notes of chocolate as it warms become evident. Not bad, worth a try for sure.

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Photo of tonistruth
4.15/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- dark brown with 1" head, retention is good, just a little bit of lace though.

S- rich smelling brew. Roasted malts, coffee, and chocolate are all abundant in the nostrils.

T- interesting brew here. Starts off sweet with faint chocolate, then a warming burnt malt bitterness, and end with an alcoholic finish that leaves a faint lingering aftertaste. Flavors increase with the temperature.

M- Pleasant on the palate, smooth throughout, medium body, got some carbonation tickle to it as well.

D- definatly a brew that hard liquor folk can enjoy. Very fun and intersting taste. Not going to always keep it on hand, but will being looking for it some time down the road.

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Photo of bruachan
3.38/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

tastes a little like the milk stout

very smooth and too sweet in my eyes. yeah, it's an english porter, but could have been drier. smokiness and coffee make this a decently complex brew. almost black in color with a supe creamy head. made pouring concentration-intensive

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Photo of SkeeterHawk
3.65/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a deep dark mahogany color with a 1/4" tan head of small active bubbles. The head fell within about 20-30 seconds to end up as just a very thin ring on top of the beer. There doesn't appear to be too many bubbles rising as the head was gone leaving a still black liquid in my glass.

Aroma: Rich and chocolaty aroma with some noticeable dark fruitiness like raisins in particular. There are some floral hops here also, but they play a very supportive role in the whole aroma scene.

Taste: Very refined flavor that has a dominating roasty presence. The chocolate isn't as noticeable in the flavor as it was in the aroma...which is strange to me. The carbonation is really low, so it gives the beer a bit of a watery impression as it crosses your palate. There are more hops noticeable in the flavor than in the nose, but they are still supporting the whole malt thing. It finishes with a defined acidic balance and a little bittering from the hops. The flavor doesn’t linger and finishes clean.

Opinion: I am enjoying this beer. It is a bit light for my taste, but is still a very drinkable brew. It is hard to say what I would like better about it, except that it finishes a bit acidic, and would probably benefit from a bit more basic water. That is about all I have to say cause it is a pretty good beer.

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Photo of NClifestyle
3.95/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured at the Flying Saucer in Raleigh, NC.
Big dark brown beer, almost black, decent sized tan creamy head, with tons of lace to begin, but it faded. Some head stuck around for the duration.
Smells of caramel/chocolate and a bit of milk aroma showed up. Quite a nice smell on this porter.
Very tasty beer, smooth and creamy, very little carbonation, medium in the mouth. I would have drank this brew all night long if there weren't over 100 more waiting on tap. DAMN.


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Photo of sinistrsam
4.07/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I have to admit I am very impressed with this brew. I have been let down the last few times I've checked out Left Hand brews, but this was impressive. It poured with a very dark, black-brown body with a small tan head. The aroma was suprisingly well-balanced, with hints of chocolate, coffee and espresso, deep roasted bitter and sweet malts, and caramel. It had a similar taste, with a toffee, carmely, smokiness due ot the roasts, but was relatively smooth and not very overpowering. It was definitely a sipping beer, with a smooth, warming mouthfeel. One of the best from Left Hand.

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Photo of maddamish
4.25/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Borderline stout. The taste is rich in chocolate and espresso notes. Poured out a dark reddish black. Minimal head but laces nicely. full bodied and smooth.

Notes: I really enjoyed this offering and wish they had this sitting on the shelves of my local grocery store. I have had nothing but good things to say about the Left Hand brewing company and it looks like they have struck gold again.

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Photo of GeoffRizzo
4.55/5  rDev +22.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Deep brown head, ruby red highlights when angled towards bright lights. Gorgeous large tan head, patchy and stringy lacing noted throughout. Sweet nose—molasses, toasty malts and plums. A nicely balanced porter—the initial palate is full of caramel and burnt malts, traces of chocolate and cocoa. Loads of other flavorings—raisins, figs, nuts and freshly ground french-vanilla coffee beans. Slightly carbonated, just an underlying touch of English-like hops. Very nice, oily slick and quite smooth—a standout English porter.

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Photo of Ahhdball
3.43/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I've been spying this in the local store for awhile but have never picked up a sixer. I was able to pick it up as a mixer instead.
Born on 11/02/05.
Poured slick black and produced a decent head leaving decent lacing and residue. With the light shining through an amber hue could be seen.
Smell was malt, a little coffee, strong molassas and semi-sweet chocolate.
Taste was light malt, coffee and malt with a very small amount of hop near the end.
Nice and thick feel, good charcter. I'd drink this again but I'd rather have an Edmund Fitzgerald or Arcadia London Porter.

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Photo of BEERchitect
3.88/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A much better beer than what I was anticipating. A rich black malt, chocolate, and milk sweetness to the nose. Thick and dark, almost black with a soft creamy, lightly tan head. Tastes creamy and bold without heavy sweetness or body. Chocolatey, robust, toffee, and espresso flavored. A nice lactose sweetness softens the beer considerably, offering a fermented sourness. Creamy and smooth texture. Finishes lightly chocolatey, modestly sweet, and clean for a porter. Hinges on a milk stout, otherwise, a terriffic porter.

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Photo of heyitsbyron
3.68/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a single from Woodman's in Madison ($1.25) into a tulip glass.

2cm of creamy light tan head, which was a pleasant surprise. Dark, but not as dark as some other porter's. No complaints from me.

Smelled creamy, malty, toasty, and hoppy. I would call this the archetypical porter smell with very few distinguishing characteristics.

Taste followed the smell. It was very generic tasting, pretty much the same as other second and third tier micro porters. A nice balance of all the standard flavors, hops and coffee and chocolate and malt and the like, but otherwise ho hum. Flavor became more hoppy as it warmed up, but I wouldn't necessarily call that a good thing for some reason.

Great in the mouth, creamy and smooth. Not the least bit unpleasant at any time during the drink and swallow.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: "a fine beer but I'd be unwilling to buy it again" given the other choices on the market. Give me a free bottle or a lack of other choices and it's what I'd drink. Bonus points for a solid 6.4% alcohol when many competitors are closer to 5 than 6.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.39/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Russet with pumpkin orange edges. Porters that are this clear and this, uh... non-brown... always make me wonder about their seriousness as porters. Give me opaque walnut any day. The head is also disappointing. Toasted bread ecru in color, it's about as far from thick and creamy as possible. It's also a pathetic lace generator. I'm not feeling good about this.

The nose is actually pretty good. It smells like cocoa powder with the merest whiff of coffee with cream. Although deeper and richer would be better, what has been provided is more than adequate.

Black Jack is definitely a graduate of the 'lighter porters are better porters' school of brewing. Given the body, it's amazing that there's as much flavor as there is. Unsweetened chocolate with a splash of coffee and a minimal light fruitiness make up the flavor profile. A little stray hoppiness struggles to be heard on the finish. Bitter and sweet are roughly equal and both are at a low ebb.

A more substantial body would help this beer a great deal since the basic flavors are good ones. They're in dire need of a more sturdy vehicle, something to transport them with style and allow them to remain on the taste buds for longer than an instant. While not quite a dark mild, Black Jack is on the wimpy end of the porter scale... as if that point wasn't painfully obvious by now.

Left Hand is capable of brewing outstanding dark beer (Imperial Stout) and lousy dark beer (Milk Stout). Black Jack Porter falls somewhere in the cavernous middle. It's okay, I suppose, and should be acceptable to a wide range of beer drinkers, but I'm trying my damnedest to suppress a yawn.

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Photo of rhoadsrage
3.53/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

(Served in an American pint glass)

A-This beer has a deep brown almost opaque crystal clear body with some tiny bubbles visible. The head is a thin creamy light tan with some big bubbles that last for a bit.

S- This beer has a soft smooth brown malt aroma with a hint of sweet molasses.

T- This beer has some nice roasted and burn malt qualities with a brown malt finish. The finish is slightly sweet but very soft. As it warms there is a note of roasted coffee in the grain that is nice.

M- This beer has a medium mouthfeel with a bit of a watery texture at the finish. No astringency or alcohol warmth.

D- The slight sweetness and darker malts add some interest but the finish doesn't offer much.

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Photo of carln26
3.3/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Deep brown to black with a thin tan colored head. The nose is dominated by milk chocolate. There is a touch of roast malt, and just a little citrus in the end. The flavor has the milk chocolate, followed by roast malt (it’s almost a burnt malt character). A bit of sweetness accompanies a mild citrus finish that gives it just a hint of bitterness, and offsets the chocolate well. The mouth feel is a little thin, a bit slick. Drinkability is OK.

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Photo of Foxman
3.62/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

It pours a rich but clear ruby, even mahogany in places. A finger of tan head passes and leaves no evidence short of isolated springs of carbonation. There's virtually no lacy to speak of.

The aroma carries the dusky sweetness of roasted malt, rife with dark fruit notes and laced with coffee, cocoa, and a hint of anise. There's also just the merest trace of hops.

The flavor brings the attenuated sweetness of roasted grain, along with a woodsy fruit character. A doughiness shimmies through briefly along with a jot of java, then gives in to a dull grain and hop driven bitterness. The finish is short, with a slender dryness. The flavor marches very quickly, progressing promptly and coming off as cute but thin.

Medium bodied, it's nonetheless rather flat and uneventful on the palate.

This one was off to the races from sip one. It goes from start to finish in a flash, denting the consciousness, but barely. The elements blink on and off too quickly to fully develop, which is a shame because they all show some promise. It is drinkable, and is in no way a labor, but that's partly because you need more in your mouth to keep the flavor from being forgotten, so a quick next sip is mandatory. It's fair enough, but only that, what with its happy feet and all.

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Photo of Naes
3.94/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This one pours out dark brown with a two finger light tan head.
The aroma is chocolaty, caramel, toffee and a bit of mocha.
Its flavor is a good match to the aroma. Smoky, roasty, chocolate and toffee with a bit of a coffee presence. There is also a bit of a hop character near the finish.
Mouth feel is medium bodied and nicely carbonated.
This beer is worth checking out.

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Photo of sevineyes
3.97/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a brown bottle with the "blackjack" (ace and jack of clubs cards) figures on it.

A: Clear without much head retention or lace, but with a nice reddish-brown color.

S: Smoky with some sweetness.

T: Sweetly smoky. Has some very smoky elements but not the coffee varietly. Almost has a burnt toffee or caramel aspect. Something like I would imagine a caramelized vidalia onion.

M: Creamy, but not too thick. All carbonation on the front, but segues into a nice cream by the finish.

D: A little too heavy to be a session beer, but drinkable nonetheless.

Overall: A nice smoky porter. Would recommend to people who are fans of Sierra Nevada's porter. Doesn't have the same chemical smokeyness of O'fallon's Smoked. Has a natural smokiness which seems to stem from the malt. I like Left Hand's pale ale, but this has to beat it.

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Photo of Morris729
3.68/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours dark brown in color with a short light-tan head that soon fades into a bubbly lace. Nose is chocolaty malts and smoky charcoal. Body seems a bit thin. Taste begins with sweet malt and dark toffee followed by cocoa and some more smokiness. Grassy and mildly spicy hops show up in the finish. A decent porter but nothing all that special.

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Photo of HardTarget
2.98/5  rDev -19.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle Inspection: Bottled on 08 10 05 (sampled 08 11 06). I think Left Hand sent some old bottles to Texas, they haven’t been available here until last month or so.

Aroma: Standard porter ‘dusty’ nose, minor milk note, hint of pine/citric hops.

Appearance: Dark brown glass with clarity at the edges. Head seems almost too white, creamy and a good cover that gave good lace.

Flavor: Mild flavor, very little roasted characteristics, which works for me in a porter. Very mild hop note, actually the entire taste is pretty thin, not much to say here.

Mouthfeel: Firm, almost over done carbonation level, thin body and watery texture.

Overall Impression: Almost too easy to drink. Light body, watery texture, mild taste, I guess that equals good session beer. The flavor is ok, nose is good, looks good, mouthfeel is lacking. What’s the opposite of Imperial Porter?

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Photo of karengarys
3.45/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

This pours very dark brown with little to no head.

Smell of coffee.

Taste of coffee. A slight spicy sweetness.

Mouthfeel is a little creamy.

Finish is wet, and somewhat bitter.

This porter is very good and worth trying. It is a little wet and over-coffee for my tastes, but it is definitely in the realm of a very good beer.

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Photo of Gagnonsux
4.08/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The color is a dark nutty brown with an average-sized, off white head. The aroma is of sweet, dark malts with just a touch of roast. The overall taste is a little sweeter and not quite as rich as most porters I've tried; I think that is why I'm enjoying this beer so damn much. The primary malt flavor is still of dark malts with an ample chocolate flavor, but sweeter than expected with perhaps a mild caramel malt taste. Roast flavors come into play towards the middle of a sip and help carry an extra long sweet finish. Black Jack's long-lasting finish has to be the highlight here, the flavor from a sip seems to last forever. This is now one of my favorite porters, the sweet complexity leaves me craving more. A big thanks to Left Hand for bringing this beer to Texas.

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Photo of assurbanipaul
4.08/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark brown with a nice beige head. Aroma is dark malt and traces of molasses and charcoal.

Taste is just as a porter should be: dark patent malts, slightly sweet and earthy. Hints of sweet molasses without being too sweet, burnt flavors off the grill without being oily or meaty. A strong smokey elements persists throughout, along with a bit of dusty cocoa. A tiny hop bite finds its way out at the very end.

Mouthfeel is nice and full, but not too heavy. One of the better craft porters, a style that is very often overlooked. I could easily session this one, maybe even put it on the fridge rotation.

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Black Jack Porter from Left Hand Brewing Company
3.72 out of 5 based on 1,342 ratings.
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