Beer of the Week: Oakshire Big Black Jack

By Iron Chef Leftovers

Almost everyone is doing a pumpkin beer these days and that is not a bad thing since I love them. My issue is that most of them are a liquid pumpkin pie – lots of spices with a small amount of pumpkin flavor. Because there tends to be so much of that on the market, I tend to gravitate towards the styles of pumpkin beers that are different. Big Black Jack is an Imperial chocolate pumpkin porter. Chocolate? Pumpkin? Porter? They had me at hello. The beer is available seasonally in 22 oz. bottles and on tap. This review is for the bottle which ran about $7.50.

The description from the Oakshire website:

This malt-forward ale is a medium-bodied beer with flavors & spices that evoke fall. Pair Big Black Jack’s rich character with the seasonally favorite foods keeping you warm as the temperature drops: spicy Indian and Mexican dishes, molé, smoked goose, buttery aged cheddar, Irish cheeses, Gouda cheese, chocolate and peanut butter cookies, toasted coconut, pumpkin tarts and chocolate soufflés.

Part of our Single-Batch Beer Series, Big Black Jack became a fall favorite when we first released it in 2011. The Imperial Porter also won the 2012 North American Brewing Awards Gold Medal for Hybrid Beers. It is a warming autumn delight at 7.5% ABV.

The beer pours jet black with a creamy tan head. The beer has heavy overtones of pumpkin and roasted pumpkin seeds on the nose with notes of chocolate, nutmeg and cinnamon. The initial taste yields a slightly bitter chocolate hit with a quick transition into pumpkin seeds and roasted pumpkin. The pumpkin lingers for a bit before transitioning in into a spice finish with notes of nutmeg, cloves and cinnamon with a hide-and-seek pumpkin flavor. When the beer warms the pumpkin flavor becomes much more pronounced with subtle notes of oak and spice. A really complex and interesting pumpkin beer, which does a great job balancing the roasted flavors with the pumpkin ones. If you are in the mood for something with more depth than the run of the mill pumpkin beers, pick up a bottle of Oakshire Big Black Jack.

Oakshire Big Black Jack Imperial Chocolate Pumpkin Porter doubles down its bet with 4 split aces out of 5.

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