Hunter’s Black Jack Stout (500ml, 6.0% ABV)
In my very first beer review, I made a jocular reference to an exploding stout. Well, it had to happen sooner or later …
To be fair, Hunter’s Black Jack doesn’t so much explode as rush up the neck of the bottle at me with a foamy tentacle. A hasty grab for the glass and I only lose a few drops. The rest of the pour goes according to plan.
Hunter’s are a microbrewery located in a Devon farm. You wouldn’t think so looking at their website or bottle labels – they have the professional look of a brewery that has been doing this for decades.
The beer sits there in the glass, virtually hissing with effervescence. It’s not black like most stouts, but a sort of chestnut colour. Is this why, despite being 6%, it’s referred to as a light stout?
The label on the bottle suggests rich liquorice and coffee flavours, which is what I’d expect from a stout, especially a strong one, but I’m not sure I agree. The alcohol sits in the background, but it’s definitely still there, providing a warming base for layers of sweet milk chocolate. Those excitable bubbles give a smooth mouth-feel. Light in texture, maybe?
The label also suggests that it’s a meal in itself. That’s definitely closer to my impression: it’s a boozy chocolate moose in bottle.
Is it a stout? Is it a strong ale? Is it ‘light’? Is it pudding? I don’t know, but whatever it is, it’s worth facing the foamy tentacle for.