Black Jack Porter | Left Hand Brewing Company

515 Reviews
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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: 515 | Ratings: 1,365
Photo of Dithyramb
3.85/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Purchased as part of a 12 pack sampler. Poured the needed black with brown highlights. Nice lacing but lack of read head or retention. Sugary coffee aroma.
Its all here, the coffee, chocolate, and such. Comes off thick enough and chewy. Drinkable on a nice summer day.

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Photo of hanco005
4.12/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle, bottled on 5/25/05, poured into a pint glass, it’s just over a year old at this point

A—pours mostly solid brown with some hints of ruby that shine through in the light, a ¾ inch pillow top beige head is produced that fades away in about 5 minutes, laces in spots

S—chocolate is strongest, faint alcohol, sweet and heavy on the malts

T—chocolate again, but with some mild java flavor, it’s bold and malty, very good and very heavy on the chocolate

M—thick and smooth, medium bodied, mild carbonation, maybe a touch flat

D—a very drinkable porter, heavy on the chocolate…might be a good winter beer (although it is very good in July as well)

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Photo of sinstaineddemon
4.1/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - this is a very dark porter, with a half finger thick pumpkin pie filling colored head, too dark too see any carbonation

S - strong chocolate/espresso aromas emanate from the alcohol, very rich and enticing, but overpowering

T - the coffee and chocolate flavors are very strong, a nice smooth finish, man this is a great porter, the best ive ever had

M - again very smooth and refershing, a robust delicious porter

D- results in a high drinkability for any porter lover, otherwise it may not be as high

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Photo of rowew
3.57/5  rDev -4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Presentation: 12 oz bottle, bottled date clearly marked.

Appearance: Reddish brown color, just a bit darker than a coke. Medium sized head, good retention.

Smell: Caramel and roasted malt, just a bit of coffee.

Taste: Heavy on the roasted flavor, with a bit of chocolate. The caramel flavors seem to be less present than they were in the aroma.

Overall impression: Nicely balanced - just a bit thin.

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Photo of KarlHungus
3.08/5  rDev -17.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

This brew pours a dark brown color. The head is one finger in height, and recedes rather quickly into decent lacing. The aroma is full of chocolate with burnt malt underneath. The taste is of burnt malt and chocolate. It has an overall sweetness that is much greater than any other porter I have had. It isn't bad, but also isn't quite to my liking in a porter. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with nice carbonation. Overall, this is a decent brew, but there are much better porters out there to be had.

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Photo of mmmbeer
4.1/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. bottled on 3/22/06, sampled on 4/24. It pours a deep dark brown/ruby with a half inch khaki head of medium-sized bubbles. The smell is quite pleasant with a big roasted, nutty, earthy quality along with some coffee and perhaps oats. It has a medium body and a taste that resembles the aroma, with lots of earthy malts with a mild citric/pine hop profile that leaves a tamed bitterness. Not only did this exceed my expectations, but it's also pretty tasty and quite drinkable.

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Photo of bashiba
2.4/5  rDev -35.5%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Color is a very thin cola brown with almost no head to speak of.

Smell has funky sour milk aroma with hints of burnt malts and chocolate.

Taste is sweet and milky with hints of coffee and chocolate, a bit on the sweet side.

Mouthfeel is thin and watery.

Overall a pretty poor porter, I will avoid this one in the future.

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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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Black Jack Porter from Left Hand Brewing Company
3.72 out of 5 based on 1,365 ratings.
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