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Post Column: Soured Jackie O's ale is ambitious, complex

These past few weeks, we’ve told you about Jackie O’s Razz Wheat, Bell’s Hopslam, and Left Handed Milk Stout. We like Razz Wheat, love Hopslam, and really like Milk Stout. Today, we’re going to tell you all about a beer that is, with no exaggeration, divine. It is near perfect.

We might have praised Hopslam before, and for good reason, but this beer might be in a whole different class. Most beers, Hopslam included, are good because they’re simple. They don’t do too much, but they do what they do well. On the other hand, you have beers that do a million different things.

Most of them fail to impress (Rogue’s Voodoo Doughnut Bacon Maple Ale comes to mind). However, Jackie O’s Dark Robustic #1 seems to be the best of all possible worlds. It’s a complex and unique beer that is fun to drink. You don’t just enjoy this beer; instead, you get swept up in it.

When we ordered this beer from Jackie O’s, it looked superb. There’s a nice head, almost the color of caramel, which contrasts with the rich darkness of the actual beer. It smells as good as it looks. There are sour notes. There are hints of coffee. There is even a bit of a rum scent, which makes sense since this beer is aged in rum barrels. It struck us as an extremely interesting beer. We were eager to drink it.

Once we did taste it, the beer became even more interesting. Up front, we definitely felt the alcohol. Yes, this beer packs a punch, clocking in at 11 percent alcohol by volume. Sour is definitely the operative flavor, which is so strange considering how dark this beer is. The sourness fades near the end though, and coffee and rum flavors take over and linger longer than anything else.

The Dark Robustic #1 isn’t a beer for everyone. Some may balk at the idea of a soured, rum-barrel-aged stout with coffee overtones. It may take a rather adventurous pallet to even try it. But if you’re a beer lover, it’s too intriguing to pass up. Coffee is a popular flavor for a lot of beers, but aging in rum barrels is still seen as a niche method (some breweries, like Stone, release rum barrel beers, but usually in limited runs).

Souring is even rarer still. Jackie O’s did what many might think impossible: they did it all. It’s a beer lover’s kind of beer. But in a time when craft breweries are growing like weeds in the United States, it’s the kind of beer a brewery needs to produce to set it apart from the pack. And Jackie O’s does just that. Drink it. Take the risk. You’ll be glad you did.

Jared Henderson and Patty Arnold are seniors studying philosophy and biological science, respectively, at Ohio University and columnists for The Post. What beer should be on their radar? Email them at and

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