Barley Mowat 

Cabin Fever and Black Jackal

with one comment

Sweet mother of all that’s good in this world, can Phillips brewing do anything BUT a seasonal these days? I swear, they’re up to like two a month! Since we’re coming into the lull of seasonal releases what is more commonly called “Spring” expect my review feed to slowly become an all-Phillips show.

So here we go on their latest two releases: Black Jackal Imperial Coffee Stout and Cabin Fever Imperial Cascadian Dark Ale. How are they? Pretty damned good. They both suffer from that unique Phillips metallic tang, but the styles in use here don’t suffer for it quite as much as others. If you can ignore that, each of these beers is a competent execution of Imperial versions of fairly normal styles, and that’s enough to get on my good side.

Tasting notes:

Black Jackal:

Okay, it’s espresso not coffee, and good espresso at that. I love how the quality of the coffee you add to a beer is still perceptible a few months later in the bottle. The espresso used here isn’t as good as in Hoyne Voltage, but the beer itself is better. Between the two, I pick this one. The coffee is quite strong on this beer, but I don’t mind since it’s good espresso and not gord-awful chemicals dumped out of a Folgers tin straight into the conditioning tank (aka “pulling a Donny”).

NOSE Nose is thin alcohol with a strong espresso undertone.
APPEARANCE Opaque black with a persistent medium tan head.
TASTE Coffee, very mild dark fruits, and a lingering finish that blends the malt and the espresso together. Well done.
SHOULD I BUY IT? Definitely.

Cabin Fever:

Yes, I know that Cabin Fever officially says “Imperial Black IPA” on the bottle, but I ain’t playing that game. This is an amped up CDA, plain and simple. The roast is almost overdone on this, but the high booze level (8.5%) cuts that down a bit.

NOSE Whoa. Roasted malt, piney hops, light coffee (from the malt), and a thin booziness waft off this.
APPEARANCE Very deep brown with thin lingering light beige head.
TASTE Sweet malt cut by the booze up front, then the roasted bitterness kicks in and lingers, slowing mixing with a pronounced Phillips’ metallic tang.
SHOULD I BUY IT? Definitely. Buy both at the same time, even.

Coles notes:

Brewery Phillips
From Victoria
Name Black Jackal Cabin Fever
Style Imperial Coffee Stout Imperial CDA
SOA Now Bronze Bronze
SOA Potential n/a; table beer
Drink Now
Best use Avoiding breakfast Avoiding trademark litigation
Availability Most LRSs
Cost $7.00+ per 650ml bomber
Similar Beers (you can buy) Hoyne Voltage Howe Sound Gathering Storm
Chuck says Damned good. Buy ’em on sight to support better seasonals from Phillips.

Seriously guys, fix the metallic finish, and I’ll give you a silver.

Written by chuck

March 8th, 2013 at 4:52 pm

Posted in Beers

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One Response to 'Cabin Fever and Black Jackal'

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  1. Picked up some Philips Cabin Fever last night, so will pass judgement on that when I consume it this weekend. Nice to know it rates well with you, though.

    However, on the litigation topic – so hot these days, unfortunately – when I received Philips’ email announcement of said product, I could not help but immediately think of Boundary Bay Brewing’s Cabin Fever seasonal that they have been releasing for years, it seems like over a decade now. I find it difficult to believe that Philips have not heard of the BB brew, so despite bowing to the local Cascadia fluff-up, they chose to ignore the well-established brand from just south of the border. Not very neighbourly; I would be interested in BB’s thoughts on the identical naming.

    Also notable is that BB isn’t holding back at all and is flipping right back in their own way by naming their recent seasonal release a “Cascadia Dark Ale”. You go, guys.

    Of course, this all just makes for interesting philosophical discussions while sharing any or, preferably, all of these fine products. Get a cheap growler while you can, it could be a long chat!


    p.s. and really, what is up with Philips releasing a special brew per week? Awesome, but it is getting a bit overwhelming!


    21 Mar 13 at 10:35

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