Black Hand
Speakeasy Ales & Lagers

Black HandBlack Hand
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English Sweet / Milk Stout
Ranked #605
Ranked #17,754
3.87 | pDev: 11.11%
Speakeasy Ales & Lagers
California, United States
Very Good
Black HandBlack Hand
Notes: Made with TCHO Ghanaian Roasted Cacao Nibs. This chocolate milk stout is full-bodied and creamy, with sumptuous chocolate notes and a delicate roasted character. Black Hand pours a rich dark brown with a milky coffee-colored head. Bittersweet chocolate and roast envelopes the nose, carried by roasted cacao nibs and chocolate malts. The aroma blends effortlessly with soft flavors of dry chocolate and darkly roasted malts. The addition of milk sugar provides a silky smooth body, with a subtle natural sweetness of cream.
Reviews: 27 | Ratings: 132 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of CTHomer
3.81/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A: opaque, although when held to the light, it appeared crystal clear; cola brown in color with medium brown highlights; less than a 1 finger khaki head that receded quickly to a thick, big bubbled ring (it was close to the end of e keg); no lacing;

S: milk chocolate and deeply roasted grains;

T: milk chocolate is predominant with deeply roasted grains in the background; finish is mildly bitter;

M: medium bodied; light to moderate carbonation; moderately dry finish;

O: not really my style, but they nailed the milk chocolate, which was the whole point;

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Photo of brureview
4.24/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured a dark chocolate color with a 1F head in a Stone Snifter.

Aroma: sweet chocolate, roasted malt, cacao.

Taste: more intense than the aroma.Deep milk chocolate- cocoa and roasted malt. Sweeter with warming.

Excellent finish: lightly bitter, roasted malt.

This is the first beer I Have tasted from the Brewer. A great intro. Deep chocolate flavor.
I will look for another bottle.

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Photo of ichorNet
4.06/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

I haven't had a beer by Speakeasy in years so seeing this limited edition bomber carry a decent price-tag in a nearby store was a nice surprise. Gorgeous label design as usual for the brewery with old-school '50s film noir style art and very solid typography and layout that catches the eye quite handily.

Pour is an extravagant showing of utter deep blackness capped by an eggshell-colored, sort of off-white foamy head that retains at a solid finger after dissipating over the course of 5-7 minutes in the glass. Lace is a solid, filmy sheet. Pretty nice looking for sure.

Nose is deep with cocoa, slightly vinous red and dark fruit notes and medium-kilned, roasty malts. Some toffee and vanilla as well. Pretty basic but very robust and quite well-defined.

Initially hits on the palate with a shock of sweet, milk chocolate before finishing off with vanilla, crème brûlée and café au lait. The lactose helps immensely here, rounding everything out and attracting a lot of like flavors together. Some slight, roasty malt notes help keep the beer grounded in the stout category, but this is, overall, quite a sweet and decadent endeavor. A dessert beer, for sure! One of my only issues is that the lactose leaves a weird, acidic (carbonic acid maybe?) taste on the tongue if you sip and forget about it for a couple minutes. Seems like an area which calls for slight improvement, for sure.

Feel is rather amorphous with a satisfying low-leaning carbonation that takes excellent advantage of the additional ingredients. Very well-balanced with impressive depth. An open-ended palate allows a lot of different interpretations of the flavors on order, but they definitely seem to come off as solidly in the realm of a "sweet stout." Quite satisfying with an evolving palette of flavors that come together quite nicely over the course of each sip. Good work, Speakeasy!

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Photo of Wasatch
4.35/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

22 oz. Bomber

Pours a very nice black color, with some very nice carbonation, which leaves a very nice thick/creamy one-finger light tan head, which leaves some nice small islands and sticky lacing behind. The nose is malty, with lots of dark stuff, with some vanilla. The taste is very nice malty, chocolaty, toffee, coffee, some vanilla. Medium body, with a pretty nice dry/bitter finish. Overall, this is a very nice brew. It's been awhile since last I've had anything from this brewery.

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Photo of Fatehunter
4.04/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Pours a half finger of tan head on a black body.
The aroma is chocolate, roasted malt and milk.
The taste is dark chocolate and coffee bitterness, milk and malt sweet, really great.
The texture is smooth and soft.

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Photo of ChrisCage
4.42/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

A- The bottle itself is bold and looks like something of substance! The beer pours a dark chocolate color that reminds me of cola at the same appears to be clear and the carbonation is fizzy in both sound and appearance...quickly disappearing and leaving little to no head....there isnt much lacing to speak of either....overall not a super impressive looking milk stout but I've got much higher expectations going forward!

S- Aromas are very rich and robust overall, with initial smells of heavy high grade cocoa/dark chocolate. Also, there is background aromas of bready yeast, malt sweetness and just slight hints of dark dried fruit, such as a date or something similar. No hop bitterness on the finish.

T- Flavors follow the aromas closely but with added zest....fresh cocoa, cola hints, bittersweet bakers chocolate squares, dark roast coffee, cream and licorice root. The finish is just slightly bitter but not in a hoppy version...more of a drying character...very nice, not overly rich, but plenty flavorful!

M/O- This is medium bodied with a fair bit of effervescence and the higher than average alcohol content is very well hidden! This goes very well with a chocolate pudding cake slice and as the label suggests, the black hand has taken me will be upon you too! Highly drinkable....easy to enjoy more than one of these in a sitting!

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Photo of RyanK252
4.1/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Bottle poured into a Speakeasy Ales & Lagers Snifter

A: Pours dark brown, basically black, no light passes through, with a frothy mocha brown head that settles to a light layer and laces well.

S: Roasty malt, coffee, bittersweet dark chocolate, some lactose sweetness, and faint dark fruit.

T: Roasty malt, bittersweet and dark chocolate, a little coffee, lactose sweetness, earthy, and faint dark fruit.

M: Medium to full body, moderately low carbonation, silky smooth.

O: Very enjoyable milk stout.

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Photo of biboergosum
3.88/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

22oz bottle - rather dark leanings, for both its theme and imagery in its label rendering.

This beer pours a solid black abyss, with faint basal red cola edges, and a teeming tower of puffy, loosely foamy, and bubbly tan head, which leaves some chunky, hanging lug nut lace around the glass as it very, very slowly seeps away.

It smells of bready caramel malt, strong milk chocolate, a bit of wet ash, faint black licorice, and ethereal earthy, dirty hops. The taste is grainy caramel malt, hard toffee, gritty bittersweet cocoa, milk sugar, root beer syrup, hints of cafe-au-lait, suggestions of muddled tart dark orchard fruit, and more wan earthy, leafy, and lightly perfumed hops.

The carbonation is quite laid-back, just a plain, earnest frothiness abounding, the body a sturdy medium-heavy weight for the style, and fairly smooth and creamy, earning an 'aware of the hallmarks of what a milk stout should feel like' gold star. It finishes off-dry, and not as sweet as one might have imagined, the milky chocolate receding, while the grainy and slightly sour malt plants its stake.

An interesting stout, and something of a shape-shifter of a brew, the initial malt-shop cocoa sweetness experiencing a metamorphosis of sorts by the end-game, which is much drier in comparison. Easy to drink, and hard to dissect - one of the better combinations of beer metrics that I've yet to come across.

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Photo of jeffjeff1
3.87/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance- black color, no head
Smell- sweet chocolate
Taste- chocolate, pretty light but very good
Mouthfeel- full bodied
Drinkability- I thought it was very good. Nice and refreshing. Very good

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Photo of Kooz
4.3/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4.5

Had this from a cask at a pub on Bleeker Street in NYC. It's pitch-black with slight brown head that dissipates pretty quickly. Smells strongly and pleasantly of molasses. Tastes sweet at first, but not sticky or treacly. Taste fades to a less sweet, but still pleasant, malty flavor with a very slight hint of alcohol. The most disappointing thing is the mouthfeel, which is a bit weak and on the watery side. But it's such a minor critique, and the mouthfeel is still above average. The finish is smooth. I would have this beer every time. Makes for a great first drink of the night.

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Photo of boyntonliquors
5/5  rDev +29.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is the second season for this awesome beer from Speakeasy of San Francisco. The cacao nibs and lactose are sourced from a high end chocolatier, TCHO in Embarcadero, SF. The cacao nibs are introduced twice in the brewing process, the chocolate malts are stripped off of their husks, and the hopping is delicately balanced to really bring the cocoa taste forwards and afters! A very delicious and malty beer that makes you remember ones' childhood chocolate love. Definitely a chocolate lovers delight!

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Photo of RHVC59
4.65/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Got a Growler of this wonderful brew from the Chill N' Fill Saturday and sadly just poured the last glass.

Dark Chocolaty goodness.

Dark brown with a nice foamy head that dispersers quickly enough. Deep chocolate taste with a mellow finish. I want another growler now!

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Photo of anon
3.78/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Following its name, Black hand pours black. A slight tint of deep ruby shows through when hit with the right light. A real pretty brew. A small coffee coffee.

Sweet milk chocolate up front in the taste and smell; real nice and smooth. Quickly turning to bitter chocolate notes and a light coffee tinge.

Not much more to say of this. I quite enjoyed it. Too bad its only temporary.

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Photo of Totalpackage411
3.98/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

My favorite brewery, I love all their beers. This beer was drinkable but I would have to say this was the worst one I've tried from Speakeasy. If you can find it, the Scarface Imperial Stout and Payback Porter from Speakeasy are way better. not a bad beer though, just compared to their other beers I didn't care for this one too much.

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Photo of hops202
3.62/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle poured into a DFH snifter.

A - brown and black with lots of tan/light mocha head

S - Subtle chocolate, milk and cream, slight roast.

T - chocolate, roasted malt and slight cream and lactose.

M - smooth but still crisp and plenty of carb.

O - meh

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Photo of micromaniac129
3.7/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

The aroma is sweet maltiness. Roasted malts, chocolate and cream come through in the smell too but very lightly.
The beer pours a deep brown with a tall mocha head. The head fades fast at first but then settles down. Some lacing is left behind.
Taste is roasted malts and burnt char.
Not getting any chocolate notes really.
Feels chalky on the palate no doubt from the char. And it drinks thin for a stout.
I would drink this again but don't feel it's case worthy.

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Photo of seand
3.75/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A: Pours a dark opaque brown with a fair amount of thick tan head. This slowly dissipates to a thin layer, leaving solid walls of lacing.

S: Sweet and slightly milky, with a touch of booze.

T: Mild milky roasted malt sweetness, with the roasted notes coming through more towards the finish. The finish is gentle and again milky, but long lasting and makes you pause and take note.

M: Medium body, low carbonation.

Overall quite enjoyable; I wish they had this more often.

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Photo of spark3148857
4.08/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

22oz bottle poured into Speakeasy goblet:

Pours pitch black with a khaki/mocha head. Good lacing and head retention. Aroma is heavy on the lactose with some roasted and milk chocolate notes. Big sweet milky chocolate gives way to smooth roasty dark chocolate notes on the back end of the palate. Big and rich with a full mouthfeel for a 6.9 stout. Very enjoyable.

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Photo of mactrail
3.52/5  rDev -9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Really black appearance in the tall glass. After a brash entry with all the chocolate bar flavor, this seems to taste more like coffee. Modest head that fades away slowly with plenty of spritz in the mouthfeel.

Grainy flavor and silky mouthfeel. Winey, even liqueur-like sensation. Sweet with candy flavors. Some charred malt and burnt sugar. Coffee-like bitterness. Malty to the max with a little acidity, again like coffee.

This is thoroughly interesting, and for real chocolate lovers this may be the bomb. From the 22 oz bottle purchased at Bottlecraft in San Diego.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.62/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Pours an opaque black with a foamy dark khaki head that settles to a film on top of the beer. Small streaks of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of dark roasted malt, cocoa, cookie dough, and lactose aromas. Taste is much the same with sweet cocoa and char flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of roast bitterness and an alcohol kick on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer that has a slightly better set of aromas over flavors for the style in my opinion.

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Photo of spoony
3.92/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.75

From a 650 ml bottle into a snifter.

A-An aggressive pour produces about one and one-half fingers of brown head. Retention is roughly a minute before only a thin cap is left. No lacing. The beer is black and still in the glass. This beer looks the part.

S-The aroma is rich and chocolatey, as you might expect from a milk stout with cacao nibs. I smell both milk and dark chocolate, although I suspect some of the milkiness is from the stout and not the cacao nibs. There is a bit of acrid, bitter smokiness hiding underneath the sweetness and chocolate that gives a little singe of the nostrils, but this beer is not charred or heavily roasted smelling.

T-The taste, like the smell, is a pleasant blend of milk and dark chocolate flavors with almost creamy base beer. Milky sweetness is high and I also taste a bit of sweet, malty fruits (like raisin and prune) that provide some nice complexity. The only problem is the finish, which I find a bit rough and grainy.

M-The feel is the high point of this beer for me: it is full body with a thick, chewy, coating feel on the palate. Carbonation is pretty mild. Drinkable notwithstanding the viscosity.

O-I'm glad to see Speakeasy in Colorado and this was a good introduction to the much as I like 10-12% ABV monster stouts, I'll always take more options like this one in the <7% ABV range. The flavors here are well-done, but the rough finish takes this beer down a few notches. Mouth feel is great and worth the price of admission alone.

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Photo of TruePerception
3.69/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Speakeasy's Black Hand, chocolate milk stout. 6.9% ABV

A: A little over a finger of light brown head. Pours a root beer brown. Black in the glass.

S: Definitely smell the cacao nibs, along with a good deal of roastiness, and a background sweetness. All seems to be in line with the style name.

T/MF: Nice dark chocolate taste. Darker roast further back on the tongue. Sharp sweetness from the lactose, but not overbearing. Also, a pleasant softness on the palate (though, not quite creamy). Head tastes just like cacao nibs!

Certainly better than Widmer's offering.

Poured from a 22 oz. bottle, into a clear beer mug.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
3.86/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

a brand new milk chocolate stout from speakeasy, we have all been waiting for their new stuff to arrive. this has a great color, and its funny that it comes it when lugene does from odell, same name, different entirely. black and dense in looks with a frothy soapy looking just off white head with great retention and a shine that reminds me of a full moon sky. the nose is more makers chocolate than milk chocolate, dry and bitter rather than sweet and creamy, but the taste goes closer to candy bar. well balanced with the lactose sugar, not overdone at all, but giving great body and creaminess to this with only enough sweetness. full body kicks butt on this, palate coating and heavy, but at under 7% abv its plant easy drinking. i like this a lot, but its not nearly as chocolatey as i expected it to be, not even close to rogue or young's in that regard, but may appeal more to the hardcore beer geeks as a result. at about 6 bucks a bottle, this is not to be missed.

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Photo of TheSixthRing
3.44/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3

Appearance - Poured into a 20oz goblet, this deep black stout produces a finger width head with good retention, resulting in a broken layer of suds across the surface. Small, spotty lacing with fair stick.

Smell - Moderate notes of Baker's chocolate, roasted malt and a touch of astringency.

Taste - A touch of milk chocolate sweetness upfront is quickly overtaken by dark chocolate and a touch of coffee bitterness that hit their peak by mid-taste. A moderate note of astringent acidity comes to greet the taste buds near the finish. Finishes strongly bitter and acidic, with only faint traces of any kind of sweetness.

Mouthfeel - Full bodied with low to fair carbonation. Somewhat creamy, then a drying finish.

Overall - A fair stout. From a style standpoint, a poor example. Not nearly as sweet as advertised and, flavor-wise, drinks much closer to a 'baltic porter light' with it's predominant bitter and astringent qualities. Not what you might expect from a milk stout. For the price, this is a one and doner for me.

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Photo of artoolemomo
3.63/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Appearance- Pours up a good amount of head which looks to have equally good retention. The head is a medium beige while the body is an opaque, dark chocolate brown. The lacing is considerable and consists of what appears to be netting.

Nose- This is definitely a milk stout- lots of cream and milk. Some cocoa in the background. Slight roasted notes and a faint hint of chocolate. Not much else but milk stouts aren't known for their overwhelming aromas. Maybe a little bit of malted milk ball. Swirling gives an off flavor of milk- the type that would make you pass the milk carton around.

Taste- Starts off with coffee notes- that's a bit unexpected. Certainly, there is cocoa and chocolate in the background but the first thing that I get on the front is coffee, some roasted malts. Some nuttiness but almost every note is fairly subtle. That is fine for a milk stout but I expect more notes of cream and milk which just aren't there. Somewhat of a note of lactose on the finish and the linger on the tip of my tongue but that's about it. Reminds me a little of Elysian Split Shot without the great coffee boost. Still, an above average to good beer that is mostly good. Lacks presence and complexity but makes up for it with balance and integration. Slight hints of vanilla on the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel- Pretty much medium bodied with a little too much carbonation and zing for a milk stout. Some silkiness on the linger.

Drinkability- Very drinkable, could be smoother. Almost 7% is pretty high for a milk stout but it doesn't show at all. 6 bucks is fine for a bomber but this isn't a purchase I would repeat.

Overall- Above average to good, mostly good. Pretty solid and easy drinking beer that is fairly average for a style I like. Worth a try but don't expect too much chocolate. Milk, vanilla, and cream start to show themselves more and make this beer a little better. Pretty much just a good beer.

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Black Hand from Speakeasy Ales & Lagers
Beer rating: 87 out of 100 with 132 ratings