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Black Hole - Mikkeller ApS

Not Rated.
Black HoleBlack Hole

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

367 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 367
Hads: 727
Avg: 3.77
pDev: 23.61%
Wants: 40
Gots: 104 | 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.
View: Beers (294) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 367 | Hads: 727
Photo of tmzl
4.36/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Look: Medium sized, thick, mocha head with good retention. Think but thick layer stays on top for the ride, leaves quite a lot of fine lacing. Dark, dark brown, can't see through. Looks good.

Smell: Some dark fruit, black berries; dates connected with sweetness. Roast stands out the most with light dark coffee, milk and bitter dark chocolate notes. A pleasantly balanced mix, nothing really overwhelms. Something refreshing about it, like it a lot. Light alcohol notes come up, when it warms up, but nothing too distracting.

Taste: Medium roasted sweetness with milky chocolate that goes into dark and light coffee. The light sweetness that comes through is surprising and does it good. There is a sour part that keeps it fresher. This part is most noticeable right before the end - very smooth and appealing light sour with black currant, black berries. Also some tart, maybe with some help from the high alcohol contend (alcohol itself hardly to detect). Ends with medium roasted (and some light coffee) bitterness accompanied by light-medium sweetness.

Mouthfeel: Full, smooth, creamy, light carbonation. Gets almost sticky when time goes by.

Overall: Was expecting it to be a lot sluttier, but the balance and flavors were smooth and in line. The specter of notes is rich already, would really like to taste some barreled version of this one. A fine example.

Bottle 2 years old.

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Photo of tviz33
4.11/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 12.7 oz. bottle in to a snifter.

A- Blacker than the ace of spades. Beautiful 2 inch medium brown rocky head.

S- Lovely hops smack me right in the nose. A little bit of coffee is the only thing tell me this is a stout. Charred wood and black licorice.

T- Again, this is a fairly hoppy stout. Lots of roasty notes and even some sour ones. Barely any coffee noticeable.

M- Silky smooth full body. Fairly light on the carbonation.

O- This is much different than I expected. Not a super thick, rib-sticking brew, but a very good offering. I was impressed that at 13.1%, the alcohol was barely noticeable. Not too shabby.

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Photo of BradtheGreat7
3.91/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Okay I purchased 2 bottles of this back In summer of 2013.. Why 2 well I'm not sure, but am I glad I did! The first bottle I opened was absolutely awful! No carbonation, no head, some weird flat smelling black liquid that was tasted, spit out and poured out. I am heated now, but I bust open the 2nd bottle and my review then started. I've found mikkeller brews are a bit hit and miss. Even from the same batch. As both these were best by 2014.

Large extremely dark green bottle. Actually a dark green that seems to be serving some purpose. The label is pretty nice as well with silver foil gracing the neck and a synthetic cork. From De Proef on back. Pourd this into a Belgian style stemmed tulip glass.

A - dark colored and nearly black. Really a bit of a dark dark brown. Tan head sits decent on top, but not out this world looking. Just a pretty good looking stout not leaving much stick.

S - deep roasted chocolate, a leathery note, and coffee with some funk notes. It's really not bad, but its nearly a barrel aged character yet this isn't a barrel aged brew. Not sure i exactly approve.

T - rich mocha and coffee notes with some sort of weird dark fruit. Has some roast to it with alcohol notes but not boozy. It's a decent stout flavor but I was expecting a flavor monster from such a large brew.

M - smooth and creamy. Has some thickness to it, and its shockingly smooth.

O - okay, so I am bit let down by the dud bottle, and while the 2nd bottle seemed fine I really can't see this as a special imperial stout at the price paid for it. Sure, it has some quality, but this just wasn't all that special as I thought it would be when I found it. I'm not sure I'd spend money on it again, but it was worth the 1 time experience. It's class is in the brewer's creative thought process when creating Black Hole. I'm just now sure it delivered the price paid. Still, if you can find it and have the extra cash to spend give it a try.

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Photo of mfnmbvp
4.45/5  rDev +18%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12.7 fl oz. bottle, with no apparent bottled on date present. I got this beer from Benz Beverage Depot in Cedar Rapids, Iowa on a recent trip there. My first time having this beer, expectations are high since the stouts I've had from Mikkeller in the past were delicious.

Poured into a clear balloon snifter glass.

A - Pours three giant fingers of mocha colored froth. Body is an opaque black. Head retention and creaminess is astounding based on this beer's big 13.10% abv. Nice strands of mocha lacing. Looks like a true beauty of a Russian imperial stout.

S - Smells wonderful also. Coffee isn't exactly leaping out of this one, but there are tons of big roasty malt notes, powdery cocoa, milk chocolate, some lactose, and a cola tartness on the end that I can't quite place. Just the faintest hint of alcohol fumes. As it warms, the dark fruit character begins to lurk out more: figs, dates, black currant, etc. Maybe even a subtle piney hop presence, although I could be imagining it.

T - Taste is truly amazing. Again, the coffee flavors aren't exactly leaping out of this one, but they are in there. Along with some bittersweet dark chocolate, creamy milk chocolate, and a tart raspberry / cherry / red fruit on the finish. Only minor alcohol fumes noticeable. Really enjoying the sour fruitiness to this beer, it almost reminds me in some ways of Deschutes Black Butte XXV.

M - Feel is of bitter roast, and a tart sour tingle on the tongue. Crisp carbonation, sticky, sugary, and sweet like a chocolate covered raspberry. Thick, syrupy, and viscous.

Overall, a surprisingly complex and tart stout from Mikkeller, with layers of goodness. While I wouldn't necessarily label it a coffee stout, it's still just as good either way. This might be one of the best beers I've had from Mikkeller yet, which has been amounting to quite a lot lately. Big 13.10% abv is expertly well masked, although probably destined to doom me. A must have stout from Mikkeller.

Mikkeller Black Hole ---4.5/5

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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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Black Hole from Mikkeller ApS
85 out of 100 based on 367 ratings.