Black Hole - Mikkeller ApS

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Black HoleBlack Hole

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very good

363 Reviews
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Reviews: 363
Hads: 716
Avg: 3.77
pDev: 23.61%
Wants: 40
Gots: 103 | FT: 7
Brewed by:
Mikkeller ApS visit their website

Style | ABV
Russian Imperial Stout |  13.10% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 11-24-2006

Brewed at De Proefbrouwerij.

Ingredients: Water, malt, roasted barley, flaked oats, dark cassanade, honey, hops, coffee, vanilla and ale yeast.
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Reviews: 363 | Hads: 716
Photo of ryan1788a5
3.78/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

12.7oz bottle poured into a large snifter. This bottle was cellared for a year before consumption.

A: Deep inky black. One finger of brown head retains well. Impressive at such a high abv. Lacing is plentiful and sticky.

S: Lots of roasted malts at work on the nose. Deep woodiness. Hints of smoke, a bit acrid. Bakers chocolate. Raw honey. Strong herbal push, black licorice. Vanilla bean. Lots of darkfruit at its core, plum and black raspberry specifically. Mild prick of alcohol.

T: A lot of sweetness initially. Syrupy sugar, honey. Vanilla bean. Raspberry and black currant esters, spike of alcohol follows closely behind. Roasted malts eventually pull through with flavors of wood and char. Bakers chocolate and black cocoa powder. Coffee beans. Dries quite a bit into the finish and ends with a lot of woody and smokey malt flavors.

M: Thick and hefty body. Slight sludgy and weighty feel, definitely syrupy. Little to no carbonation. Alcohol lends a soothing warmth upon swallowing.

O: Over the top and rather sweet for me, just too much in the way of adjuncts. It doesn't derail the drinking experience, but it does hamper it. I can picture some of the barrel aged versions being quite good, as this might provide the balance needed to take the edge off of the sweetness. I will commend them for hiding 13+% abv so well, the alcohol has no bite at all. Of course, time in the cellar probably had something to do with that too.

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Photo of Labeorphile
4.52/5  rDev +19.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass. Maybe I got lucky here, but unlike other reviewers I got a beautiful thick, long-lasting, tan head with lacing all the way down the glass. Beer itself was deep brown with a little highlight. Perfect looking stout.

I hate coffee beers and so I was expecting an overpowering coffee smell. But in was surprised, excellent maltiness with the coffee woven in well. Even better was the hop smell coming through! Totally caught off-guard.

Flavor was great as well. Most coffee beers are too heavy on the coffee and taste terrible. This was extremely well balanced and enjoyable, along with the creamy mouth feel. The ABV is really high at 13.1% but you would never guess from the way the alcohol is hidden.

All in all a surprisingly great beer, that I recommend, even if you don't like coffee stouts.

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Photo of Kenzie
3.99/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Mikkiller refused to disappoint with this rich barrel aged beer. It lives up to it's name, especially in appearance. It is pitch black with a thick coffee-colored head. Upon drinking the beer my mouth is filled with a rich but smooth texture that gives a burst of coffee, caramel, and especially licorice. It makes even Deschute's Abyss seem light. This is just my style but more of a special occasion sipping drink to share and not something I would hog the entire bottle for myself. Of course I would purchase it again.

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Photo of IPA35
4.5/5  rDev +19.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Best before: 10/02/2016

I had the tequila version a while ago. Now it is time for the normal version, I shame I could not drink it before the special BA version. Drinking this unchilled. Anyway,

pours pretty a thick, not as thick as I remember, dark brown with a mocca head. When held in the light a little dark brown (coffee) is visible at the bottom.

Cascade! I smells some sort of American hop in here with a fruity, piney note.
Could also be that it's just the honey and I am dead wrong.

Behind that one picks up on the coffee and thus the roasted malts.

Overall this smells pretty confusing but good.

The taste is like I remember it to be without that unique tequila resiny fruitiness.
A very sweet beer but not as extremly cloying as the tequila version. Still I get more citrus and hoppy notes than I get roasty, coffeeish flavours. Maybe this is a pretty fresh bottle? Aging it would bring out the stout underneath more I guess and because the beer is so dark the fact that it is in a green bottle should not really matter.

Make no mistake, the bitterness on the aftertaste IS from the roasted malts.

As it sits in your mouth you can detect dark fruits and other dark-malt induced flavours. There is also a warming alcohol sensation but it is impressively well hidden for the ABV, it really is.

Still the hoppy sweetness reduces the typical stout aroma's.

The mouthfeel is nice and smooth, low carbonation (but certainly lacking carbonation as the older bottles with the cork supposedly did).

Overal a very interesting beer. A stout that is dominated by American hops. A highly drinkable beer to me. Maybe with a little age it would become toned down on the hop and that would allow the stout with its coffee and vanilla to shine through.

Recommended, even though this one is pretty damn expensive.

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Photo of Strix
4.29/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Pitch black, brown edge, very little head.

Deep rich coffee smell.

Coffee, licorice, malt, sugar, alcohol. Deep and dark.

Smooth silky mouthfeel.

Strikingly different from any coffee stout I've had. Well named, this is quite boozy and full of the darkest coffee flavor I've had in a beer. Quite interesting, complex, and unique.

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Photo of stcules
3.58/5  rDev -5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pitch black, almost no foam.
Smell of toasted malt, raisins, some date, a hint of vanilla, and something woody.
In the taste even cocoa and liquorice, raisins and dry figs, and alcohol.
Full and intense body, cocoa and raisins in the aftertaste, with liquorice in the finish, and again, quite boozy.
Big and important beer, strong alcohol, to sip. But, after all, balanced and pleasant.

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Photo of Scooter131313
4.5/5  rDev +19.4%

I prefer dark, heavy beers; especially Imperial Stouts.
I like them cold. I prefer them in a frosted wide-mouth glass.

The Black Hole has a wonderful strong flavor, that gets better with each sip.

The high alcohol content (ABV: 13.10 %) is unmistakable.

Great dark head.


I purchased it in St. Paul, MN at the Ale Jail.

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Photo of Knapp85
4.03/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This poured out as a very dark black brew. The head was very thin and didn't leave much lacing or retention. The smell of the beer is pretty strong, some deep herbal roasted malt aromas and boozy chocolate on the nose. The taste of the beer has a nice complex roasted malt flavor with licorice flavors in the finish. The mouthfeel of the beer is sticky, syrupy and smooth. It's thick and dense also. Overall this beer was pretty good. I think it is a little underrated on here but to each their own.

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Photo of kvgomps
3.52/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.25

Poured from a bottle with the first synthetic cork I've ever seen on a beer. I was intrigued.

Absolutely zero head with seemingly no carbonation at all. Not sure if this is intentional or a function of the cork or something else altogether. Don't particularly care.

There's a lot going on with the aroma. Label mentions coffee but I don't get it. Smells like a wine-barrel aged stout. At this point., very excited. I go to take my first sip and am stopped by the alcohol. Sort of like trying to drink a wine or scotch before it breathes. Second attempt and the zero carbonation is confirmed. Again, not a big deal as it is a stout, but the total lack is a bit of a surprise.

Much like the aroma, so much going on with the flavor. Strong red wine, roasted malt, a medley of dried currants, a strong alcohol burn and a faint touch of coffee. Not a bad combo but the problem is that the flavors aren't separated. It ends up being muddled and frankly it just doesn't handle the ABV well. It is closer to a mead or port than a stout. Not necessarily bad if that's your thing.

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Photo of ngeunit1
4.16/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Dark brown-black with a finger of frothy chocolate colored head. Fades at a normal pace.

S - Dark chocolate and dark caramel malts, roasted coffee, molasses, black licorice, vanilla, some dark fruit, and some booze.

T - Dark chocolate and sweet dark caramel malts, roasted coffee, black licorice, molasses, some vanilla and dark fruit, some citrus and pine hops and a bit of bitterness, and some booze.

M - Full bodied with moderate carbonation. Smooth with a warming and sweet finish.

D - Nicely balanced big imperial Stout. Nice body and mouthfeel.

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Photo of Rutager
3.8/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

375 ml that I've oprobably had around too long. Served at cellar temperature. Holdbar til 01/07/12...

Appearance. Pours black and still. Crap.

Smell. Dark bakers chocolate, molasses and a little bit of woody red wine. Smells really good actually...

Taste. Dark dark chocolate and plenty of it. There's some rum and dark malts with a bunch of coffee in the finish and a fair amount of booze, but not as much as expected with the big abv.

Mouthfeel. Fairly full bodied and completely flat. Probably my bad for keeping it over a year past it's BB date, so I'll keep that in mind with the score here.

Overall. Great tastes and quite smooth for such a high abv. The body could be fuller and I wish there was some carbonation, again, my bad probably.

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Photo of Beer-A-Lot
4.35/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2011 on tap at Birch.

A - Nice head, pitch black.

S - Raisiny sweet smells. Very nice.

T - Delicious fruity sweet taste. Very smooth for high abv.

M - Perfect balance on mouth. Well done.

O - This beer has a wonderful taste. Superb. Will have again and again.

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Photo of DrinkSlurm
4.25/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from tap at avenue pub nola into big snifter. Pours a black as night color with almost brown head and lacing. Crazy sweet sugary aroma mixed with licorice and chocolate roasted malts. Such a complex aroma...
Flavor is phenomenal. Chocolate roasted sweetness with licorice and sugar. Some slight anise with a nice syrupy boozey vanilla finish...
Its so smooth. So easy to drink and so enjoyable. Wow. This is a great brew!
Im not sure if its worth the heafty price of the 11.2 or 12oz bottle - whatever it comes in, but its delicious nonetheless...and worth the $ for a special night.

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Photo of Mebuzzard
2.87/5  rDev -23.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

This beer is about 1 yr old, kept in my fridge

Pours a very dark ruby. Flat. No head.

Aroma smells more like a bourbon brl stout than one brewed with coffee. Vanilla and caramel. Some dark leather. Black plum. Hints of coffee. Toffee

Flavor is lack luster, but not bad. Caramel and vanilla. Some tree bark and earth tones come and go. Slight coffee hints. Leather and black cherry.

Feels flat and oily. This does not help

Overpriced beer and really not all that great.

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Photo of Rickythejeweler
4.48/5  rDev +18.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Pitch black, one finger khaki head, nice lacing.

S - Pretty subtle at first, but develops into dark cocoa, brown sugar, vanilla cake, light roasty coffee, sweet honey, hint of oatmeal, a distinct Speyside scotch aroma appears as it warms.

T - Milk chocolate, sweet honey, vanilla bean, roasty aftertaste.

M - Medium, moderate-low carbonation.

O - Very sweet for a stout, but it is honey sweetness instead of sugary sweetness. The coffee is in the background throughout. The nice scotch note in the background makes me hope that Mikkel ages this in Speyside casks next time he does a barrel aging series of Black Hole.

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Photo of argock
3.86/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from green 375 mL bottle into a clear glass snifter. No freshness date but purchased in Feb 2012 from Wine Warehouse (Charlottesville, VA) for $11.49.

A: Black black with slightly opaque edges but robust beige head with decent retention and substantial lacing despite the 13.1% ABV.

S: The aroma came across as dense roasted grains with some coffee. I don't detect the vanilla and more subtle notes that others are getting -- I just get earthy darkly roasted grain, burnt toast, and coffee aromas. There is a floral hoppy note though that throws in an interesting twist.

T: The flavor is pretty enjoyable, but has a much bigger licorice contribution than I would have imagined. The coffee and roast still dominates the flavor with a lot of burnt grain and espresso type bitterness without the more complex coffee flavors. The same floral, pine hoppy note rides through to the finish t offset the intense sweet and acidic flavor notes. The alcohol is barely detectable, more a sensation than a flavor.

M: The feel is less lush than you would expect for a big beer, probably a result of huge adjunct/sugar additions to maintain ABV while attempting to hit a drier finish. This seems like a good idea for a big beer with coffee and licorice and some lactose sweetness, but why they then used exteremly low carbonation in the bottle is very puzzling -- it seems you would want at least moderate carbonation to help lift away some of the dense acidic, demi-acrid flavors and oily feel.

O: Definitely not worth the price of admission by any stretch, but I am okay with having given this a try -- a big, big beer with a reasonably good balance of sweetness, hoppiness, and acidity for an RIS. Not my favorite by a long stretch, but unique. nonetheless

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Photo of CrazyDavros
4.2/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Pours black with a dark tan head.
Nose shows heavy roasted malt, liquorice, cocoa, nutty notes, golden syrup, bready malt and caramel.
Sweet flavours at first with lots of sweet caramel and candy-like notes. Then soft booze, spicy hops and coffee.
Syrupy body suits the beer. Could use a bit more carbonation.

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Photo of kemoarps
3.7/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a standard stouty black, almost a chocolatey undertone, but let's just be blunt: It pours like a stout. Dark, espresso creamy head, minimal lacing.

I'm not sure how to describe the smell. Coffee, sure. some warm chocolate notes, yeah. The malt profile is almost more that of an IPA, though, to me. Interesting. Different.

There is some sweetness lingering in here. It's most likely a chocolate-esque flavour, but there's something else to it. 13% is masked well. THe coffee is almost the acrid roastiness of coffee grounds moreso than the roasted liquid itself. It's like syrupy chocolate on coffee grounds, but better than that image would suggest. Is that a hint of some sort of fruit or berry hiding in the background?

Thinner than I want in a stout.. The chocolate sweet/coffee bitter give way to a bakers chocolate bittersweet finish that is growing on me the more of it I drink.
Certainly a decent beer, I disagree with all the harshly negative reviews I've read. On the other hand, it's certainly not ground breaking, and would probably taste much better in the future at a lower price point. Try it if you have the opportunity, but not necessarily worth the price that Mikkeller brews typically demand

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Photo of Beerandboards
3.25/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Served from a 11.7oz cork and cage bottle

A - Poured into a standard pint glass, almost zero head. Bottle is about 1.5 years old, so the reduction in carb is expected I suppose (I'm still relatively new to this aging beer thing). A fairly aggressive last 1/4 pour produces some brown sugar colored head that actually retains for a little while. Color is black with some ruby edges when held to the light. Upon emptying the bottle, I can see its green glass. Why they would used green glass is beyond me.

S - Acidic coffee. Smells like super strong roasted coffee beans. Almost acrid, but not quite. Smells like it should for a coffee stout, nothing particularly great, but good overall.

T - Right along with the nose, at first it kind of cocks my head to the side and for a second I think I dont like it. Second sip, I kind of get the hang of it. Its really coffee forward with little else. Has the taste of strong brewed cold coffee. The alcohol is still there after this amount of time, glad I have an aged bottle, as I imagine it would be quite hot if fresh. By the middle of the glass I'm liking it. This is certainly a coffee lover's stout. Just dont expect too much complexity.

M - Quite thin. Was a little disappointed in this aspect, would have liked a little thicker feel for how big this beer is (13%ABV). Pretty average here.

O - Well, its a pretty big coffee stout. Minus points for being thin and a little simple, added points for really executing pretty well on the coffee element. Perhaps too coffee centric for me, but thats just personal taste. A pretty good beer that I'm glad to have tried.

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Photo of vette2006c5r
3.43/5  rDev -9%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Black Hole pours a black color with no head at all. There is a strong chocolate coffee aroma, very boozy as well. There is a very bold complex taste. Coffee comes out, hints of chocolates and vanilla as well, strong alcohol tastes well. A nice full taste, but burns and fells like a liquor opposed to a beer. Overall a very interesting beer, might not be for everyone but worth a try.

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Photo of divineaudio
2.61/5  rDev -30.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 1 | overall: 2

12.7 fl oz, undated, c&c bottle into my founders snifter.

a - pours thick, oily dark brown. no head or lacing whatsoever.

s - roasted barley, black currants, dark chocolate covered cherries, faint cola, faint booze.

t - dark chocolate, port, and a menagerie of dark fruits. has a coffee like bitterness but most of the coffee flavor has faded. oddly, the taste gets flatter as the beer warms.

m - full bodied and seems to have lost almost all of it's carbonation. has a weird chalky thing going on as well. gets quite syrupy as it warms.

o - well, i took a chance and fell flat. i feel like this may have been a great beer at one time, but this bottle is clearly over the hill. if i come across a certifiably fresh bottle and feel like blowing $9 again, i'll update this review.

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Photo of beesy
3.79/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 37.5 bottled into a pint glass. Bottle date of 11/2011.

A - pours a really oily, inky black with almost no head. Just a tad of carb present when hard poured or agitated hard.

S - complex. booze. molasses. dark chocolate. brown sugar. a slight soy not.

T - nothing spectacular. very stouty - lots of flavor and complex. the booze is very smooth and not hot for the abv. lots of chocolate and soy. taste smooths as it warms.

M - somewhat thin for the abv. a little can be attributed to aging, but seems very attenuated to start.

D - low. big abv and lots of complex flavors makes it a sipper.

Overall, I really enjoy this beer, especially for the abv. I wish the carb would have come up a tad - its like angels share all over. I did have this on tap at Monks Cafe in Philly about two years ago and remember it being more carbed and way smoother - like chocolate shakey.

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Photo of mrfrancis
1.98/5  rDev -47.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

A: Pours an inky, opaque black with no head whatsoever. Streams of carbonation aren't even noticeable-the beer looks completely still in the glass.

S: Strong aromas of burnt toast, roasted grain, dark chocolate, coffee, vanilla bean, and prickly alcohol fill the nose. As the beer warms, the alcohol gradually becomes overpowering.

T: Notes of coffee, roasted grain, burnt toast, cassonade, vanilla bean, dark chocolate, and fiery alcohol assault the palate. I'm not picking up on the honey at all, and any of the dark fruit notes that one would expect to find in a stout are strangely absent as well. The finish starts off slick and oily with a not entirely unpleasant mixture of coffee, roasted grain, and chocolate flavors, but that alcohol kicks in all too quickly, causing the beer to fade out on a decidedly punchy, peppery, astringent note.

M: Full-bodied, but very slick and almost syrupy. Carbonation is present, but is very weak. Alcohol presence is entirely overpowering.

O: After reading the other reviews of this beer and reviewing my notes, I'm convinced that this bottle had to be extremely old and/or botched. It seems that all of the beer's complexities have disappeared. I'll have to try this one again in the future, and when I get around to it, I hope that I have a better experience because this one was plain awful.

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Photo of danieelol
3.85/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle from Leura Cellars. Bought this thinking it was the Whisky version but it's actually the plain.

Pours a dark black with nice tanned head and ok lacing.

Big citric hops hit the nose first. Kind of strange. Was getting some roast, porty and coffee qualities initially but these have converted to a boozy DIPA-like smell, loads of fruit here and in particular oranges. Occasionally I will get some vanilla and roast poking through but this lemon fruitiness is very prominent. Subtle tar and faint muscatels. The fruitiness may actually be coming from the alcohol.

Taste is similar- huge amounts of fruit in this, just lots of orange and lemon. There is bitter roast dryness here moreso though, particularly on the back of the palate. Do get some creamy cake flavours coming through intermittently.

Mouthfeel is a little sweet but then has some roast bitterness to balance. Solid but not amazing thickness too.

Overall I found this beer pretty enjoyable. The fruitiness was very pleasant to experience- and it was more of the fruitiness you'd expect in a pale ale rather than the dark fruits you'd perhaps find in an Imperial Stout. Interesting and complex beer.

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Photo of jrenihan
3.86/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

BB December 2015.

Beer is black with a good-sized tan head. Good retention and lacing.

Vanilla is strong in the nose but smells a bit artificial. Roasted malt is present. Coffee. Caramel and chocolate. It all sounds nice, but the smell is oddly thin.

Taste is much better than the nose. Chocolate, vanilla, coffee, roasted malt. I would not have picked out the honey on my own but when looking for it it is noticeable, adding a nice sweetness to the beer. Black liquorice. The vanilla and honey combined result in a pretty unusual RIS, but I like it.

Thin for a RIS, especially one of this strength. Moderate carbonation.

Overall, an unusual beer. I like the flavour, but there are elements to it that sit a little strangely and are hard to put a finger on.

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Black Hole from Mikkeller ApS
85 out of 100 based on 363 ratings.