Thursday, October 11

Beer Review: Oakshire Brewing Big Black Jack Imperial Chocolate Pumpkin Porter




(Eugene, OR) – Pumpkins have been part of America’s brewing tradition since Colonial days, when pumpkin-brewed beers would have accompanied seasonal fall foods. Oakshire Brewing continues this long-time American tradition with their second release of award-winning Big Black Jack Imperial Chocolate Pumpkin Porter.

“Big Black Jack gives people a rich, warming beer that brings to mind the pleasures and foods of autumn,” explains Matt Van Wyk, Brewmaster at Oakshire Brewing, Eugene, OR. “We recommend pairing it with seasonal favorite foods such as 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 Oakshire’s Single-Batch Beer Series, Big Black Jack became a fall favorite when it was originally released in 2011. The Imperial Porter also gained industry recognition, when it won the 2012 North American Brewing Awards Gold Medal for Hybrid Beers.

Brewers used a patent-pending technique to roast farm-fresh pumpkins from Winter Green Farm in Noti and Stahlbush Island Farms in Corvallis. Big Black Jack has been brewed with other ingredients that evoke fall: toasted pumpkin seeds, cocoa nibs, dark chocolate, cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, allspice and ginger. The end result is a rich, dark brown Imperial porter with aromas of classic pumpkin pie spices that meld with dark cocoa notes. This malt-forward ale begins with flavors of cinnamon and chocolate, highlighted by toasty and chocolate flavors from specialty malts. This medium-bodied beer is a warming autumn delight at 7.5% ABV.

Beginning Oct. 1, 2012, Big Black Jack will be available for a limited time on draft and in 22-oz. bottles throughout Oregon, Washington, Alaska and Northern Idaho.

 Appearance: (3.5)

- Pours a nice dark coffee color with a light thin layer of khaki foam and a small ring around the glass. Barely see through the edges of the beer in the light though looks rather filtered.

Smell: (3.5)
-  The brew has a light sweet cocoa aroma behind a stronger aroma of pumpkin spice. Bit of clove, cinnamon and perhaps nutmeg in the mix. That's about it really.

Taste: (4.0)
- Nice balance in flavor. A solid basic robust porter with some sweet chocolate character is lightly dosed with some nice caramelized pumpkin and spice. It's balanced, and even has a bit of a grassy and earthy hop presence to handle the sweetness. Higher marks for flavor.

Mouth Feel: (3.5)
- This is a rather medium bodied brew, and isn't the slightest bit syrupy. It's a touch drying in the finish, and is well carbonated. Not very thick and foamy though at all, more like a house pale yeast kind of feel. Little cloying.

Overall: (3.5)
- This one sits slightly above many of the other pumpkin beers out there competing with the squash ingredient. I like that it isn't just another simple amber ale. It's not astounding by any means, but is certainly a nice drinker, and I would grab a pint on tap if it were available. Will I buy any more bottles? Probably not.

3.73/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5
(BeerAdvocate.com Rating Scale)

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