Dec 28, 2011

DuClaw Oak Aged Black Jack Stout

Black Jack Stout photo

I picked up this bottle of DuClaw Brewing’s Oak Aged Black Jack Stout a few weeks ago solely on the fact that I’ve liked just about everything these guys have done. I rarely do any sort of research on a beer prior to its purchase (trying to deter any pre-conceived notions brought on by prior readings), but I can safely say that after cracking this one open, it is without a doubt the best beer I’ve had from the Maryland brewery thus far.

Taking their Black Jack Stout (a 8% ABV Russian Imperial Stout) and aging it for a couple of months in recently retired whiskey barrels, DuClaw has crafted themselves one hell of a smooth brew. The beer doesn’t have a huge oaky or whiskey presence, but carries just enough character to let you know that this isn’t your standard seasonal release. My only regret is not having picked up more when I first had the opportunity to do so.


Pouring thick and viscus the beer sits in the glass black as night with a rapidly falling chocolate head.


The stout smells super smooth with notes of espresso, cocoa, oak, whiskey and an underlying earthiness.


Initially, there’s not a ton of a whiskey element within the beer, but it does come out more as the beer warms. It serves as more of a compliment to the primary espresso and roast malt flavors that dominate the beer’s overall nature. The oak also comes out a bit more as the beer warms, showing up more so in the lingering, clean finish. The full mouthfeel is ideal for this style and the higher ABV is well incorporated, leaving only a light warmth after each swallow.


This beer, perhaps, could have sat a while longer in the barrels to bring out more whiskey and oak notes, but as it stands, it’s a super smooth drinking and well balanced Imperial Stout that has plenty of complexity without overwhelming the senses. It’s by far my favorite release from the brewery and I only hope that they release it again next year so I can stock pile a few bottles in the basement.


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