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Black Hole - Mikkeller ApS

Not Rated.
Black HoleBlack Hole

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

678 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 678
Reviews: 357
rAvg: 3.83
pDev: 16.45%
Wants: 33
Gots: 81 | FT: 5
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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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 678 | Reviews: 357 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of jujubeast6000
4.4/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Reviewed 7/8/2009 (bottle dated 02/07/13):

Pours an extremely dark color body, maybe brown, with a tan brown colored head, very small. Strong sweet aroma, dark fruit, molasses. Enticing though, not offputting. Some coffee too, coffee grounds. Some bitterness from the coffee. Coffee taste, followed by some dark fruit, with a sweet coffee aftertaste. Not alcoholy, very tasty. Hides the alcohol extremely well. Somewhat of a dry aftertaste. Damn, this is good! Not a lot of variety of flavor, but this is really tasty. Sweet coffee and only a slight alcohol burn. Soft mouthfeel, somewhat thick tasting.

Photo of clvand0
3.6/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours a dark black color with a small head that falls quickly and leaves some lacing on the glass. The aroma is almost all coffee. Some hints of dark fruit, chocolate. The flavor is very intense with the roast malts. This is extremely sweet, almost too sweet. Hints of cocoa, but almost all coffee in there. Touch of alcohol. The body is very thick and coating. The drinkability didn't do so well with me on this one as the sweetness was too much for me.

Photo of brendan13
3.87/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Poured from the 375ml corked, caged and foiled bottle into a snifter an extremely dark brown with a couple of centimetres of coffee coloured head that falls away fairly quickly.
S - A strong aroma of dark fruit, burnt brown sugar, some sweet chocolate as well as some earthy & medicinal notes.
T - Quite an intense mixture of sweet dark fruit, bitter dark chocolate & large dose of roasted coffee. Some honey hints and earthy qualities.
M - Quite sweet & sticky, full bodied. Minimal carbonation. Quite a strong burnt bitterness.
D - An intense beer indeed. Something worth trying and I'll possibly buy more to cellar but not something I'll be drinking with regularity.

Photo of Richardberg
4.6/5  rDev +20.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: poured from a corked 375mL into a pilsner. Completely black and utterly opaque. Little froth but appears carbonated internally.

S: intense shot of coffee and alcohol. Like an Irish Cream liquor made with espresso instead of mere coffee. Thick, syrupy, burnt malt. Notes of hops and barley that are by no means weak, but still take a back seat to the big aromas out of necessity.

T: surprising sweetness leads things off, followed by the expected cascade of coffee bean phenols. It's also quite acidic. The hops don't jump out, but yield a lingering -- and very bitter -- aftertaste. In all, complex and bold from start to finish.

M: smooth. Coats well and lingers. As you'd expect from a strong RIS, the pleasant feeling is more on the velvety/warming side than the creamy/thick feel you get from good stouts in other subgenres. (Many big stouts end up with neither; kudos.)

D: over 13% ABV and chock full of intense flavors -- this is not going to be your new session beer. But considering what they were aiming for, the drinkability is commendable. No reservation polishing off a bottle, and can't wait to buy another (though I'll save it for a special occasion).

Photo of katan
3.75/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

12.7 oz bottle into a goblet. Good by 1/1/2012. Review #300 - woo!

A - Pours black as night, not as syrup like as I would have expected. Head formation is very light, and mocha in color. Appears to be very carbonated.

S - Very chocolately, but very much a coffee based beer. Seems like it was pressed from a blue mountain bean combined with a small amount of cocoa plant. Edgy and perhaps a bit acidic.

T - Starts off smooth and velvet in flavor, with some light sweetness. Acidic coffee bite and roasted barley show up with a bang in the mid-stream. Finishes with an extremely strong coffee bite, perhaps in the vain of a cappuccino. Almost like there is some cream or milky background in here. The high amount of alcohol sneaks through in phenolic tones in the aftertaste.

M - Thick and creamy at first, little carbonation bite. Turns acidic, biting, edgy, as if i was drinking a cup of coffee that sat on the burner all day long.

D - This beer doesn't fit the definition of drinkability. High in ABV, and the palette grabbing coffee bite making this beer a one off. Combine it with a little bit of a filling nature, and I have to dock this beer in this category.

Photo of Mayhem976
3.54/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A- Black, zero light passes through. Small to medium sized head and hardly any fingers on the side of my glass.

S- Very hoppy, I smell a good amount of coffee and a bit of chocolate as well.

T- Heavy coffee flavor and slight amount of hops hits my palate, finishes off very sweet. Very deceptive, when you first smell your glass you get an impression that it's going to be very hoppy but it finishes off more like an espresso porter with lots of sweetness.

M- Smooth, creamy, medium body.

D- Goes down smooth for 13% alcohol, a bit too sweet for my taste but still an overall killer flavor

Photo of dsr0116
4.05/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Well the main bad thing to say about this beer is it didn't seem like an imperial stout: it seemed more like a Baltic porter to me. With this much alcohol, it definitely made me sip the beer. It had the more subtle lager type profile that I associate Baltic porters with vs a well balanced stout with a hop kick. It also seemed to have that semi-sweet dark chocolate flavor that I associate with a good Baltic porter. For those that like to curl up with a big dessert stout...this is definitely an A: it's a good beer, but not what I think of as a Russian imperial stout.

Photo of scottoale
4.18/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

375ml. green Champagne bottle with silver foil over synthetic cork and wire. Black and white labels with no freshness or bottling code. Poured into a Duvel tulip the nearly black liquid reaches just over the lettering on the glass with a finger of tight creamy light brown foam sitting on top. The head recedes eventually and leaves initial sticky lace clinging temporarily.

The nose comprised of sweet milk chocolate, dark chocolate, rich roasted coffee and some herbal and medicinal notes from the hops and alcohol. A it warms the nose gains more chocolaty aromas than anything.

Big complex flavor that ranges from ultra sweet to a blunt bitterness. Lots of sweet malt and chocolate start it off, followed by some herbal and spicy hop thing and into some roasty coffee with a good bitterness to the finish. This brew has a sweetness like pure candi sugar...almost too much. The coffee plays a big part in balancing this brew out with lots of raw bitterness of ground coffee bean. I'm not sure of the vintage of his bottle, but I think this brew will age beautifully for several more years, toning things down a bit.

A medium body to this big brew was surprising, as well I didn't find the alcohol very pronounced in any way for 12.1% ABV. A little astringent in the finish but overall drinkability is quite good. I really like this brew and definetely want too try it with some age on it.

Photo of kbnooshay
3/5  rDev -21.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured super black with absolutely no head whatsoever. I got vigorous on it at the end but it didn't help. Al i could smell was alcohol in the aroma. That flavor is that of strong coffee and alcohol. I found the overbearing sweetness mixed with the 13% abv to be way too much. Very unbalanced. The feel was moderately thin and slick. Dissapointing.

Photo of magictrokini
4.27/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours opaque black with a cascading tan/brown head comprised of tiny bubbles. Sticky brown lacing. Nose of dark chocolate, milk chocolate, cream, anise, and a truckload of roasted malt. The big aroma made me want a heavier mouthfeel, but it didn't deliver. Slick, smooth feel with lower viscosity. The taste more than makes up for it. Bittersweet chocolate with a coffee bite rounded out with the roasted malt. Creamy with some sweet vanilla highlights. The alcohol is not well masked, but it only adds to the overall beast of this beer. Wouldn't have wanted it any other way.

Photo of klewis
4.43/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours black as a hole with a small bubbly head. Light specks of lacing cling after each sip and slowly slide down the glass.

S: Black coffee, dark chocolate, a bit of anise. No heat.

T: Intense roasted character with flavors of coffee and burnt oak. An extra, milder coffee flavor adds another dimension, hitting the palate well after the initial swallow. A touch of heat, but it's quite tolerable.

M: Break out your fork and knife for this one. Full-bodied, thick, and chewy. Light carbonation.

D: A damn solid RIS. Easy to sip and well worth the price tag.

Photo of smcolw
3.7/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Near black color where no light shall pass. Tan head with lots of foam qualities. Extensive ring lace.

Rich, rich milk chocolate smell, like a melted Hershey bar. Light chalkiness, strong malt (like an old fashion soda shop) aroma.

Strong alcohol presence is the first impression I get from the initial sip. Very sweet taste, considering the aroma. I detect a lot more coffee here...coffee with lots of sugar. Thick and oily with a surprisingly low amount of carbonation. This is certainly a beer that would be difficult to have more than one because of the alcohol content and the richness. It's closer to a dessert beer.

Photo of BEERchitect
3.82/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Split a bottle at Pazzo's last night after a homebrew club meeting. Glad I did. That's one sweet beer.

The beer pours like motor oil. Thick, rich, and viscous. A dense toasty foamstand quickly rises up the glass but also falls quickly under the gravity and alcohols. No much in lacing, but legging was pretty evident.

Very sweet aromas of caramel, confections, and cola along with the strong roasted malt scent. A lot of fruitiness of grapes, plumbs, and berries also rise, giving a lot of complexity to the nose.

Even more sweet to the taste than the nose even suggested. Extreme confecitonate (almost aspirtame) dominates the nose as many Royal Stouts do. No to be overdone, the heavy matiness of the beer gives notes of barley malts, toasted, roasted malts, and a campfire smokiness to round out in the end. Moderate hop character (English) attempt to balance the beer but struggle with the unresolved sweetness. Fruity from mid-palate on with the grapes and plumbs taking the lead. Lightly phenolic with the yeastiness. Sweet alcohols weave in and out of the sugary taste without dominating the beer.

Very sweet and seeming cloying at times. Very sticky and candied. The milk sugars may be a bit overdone but gives a nice reprieve from the bone-dry Stouts that dominate the market today. Risky with the sweetness, alcohol content, and fruity flavors; this is a needed variant to the beer world.

Photo of ffejherb
3.7/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

375ml bottle into pint glass on 4/29/09. Thanks to FooFaa for sharing.

A - Peering into the vortex, Black Hole is a deep black body with a thin, burnt mocha-colored head that receded to a thin, patchy veil and left a bit of spotty lace on the glass.

S - The aroma of this RIS displays strong notes of alcohol-tinged dark roasted malt, coffee grounds and dark chocolate. A slight hint of beef jerky also creeps into the mix. Black Hole reminds me of alcoholic coffee, if such a thing existed.

T - Displays a prominent chocolate character up front with more subtle hints of coffee that become more pronounced as the finish approaches. Alcohol presence is pretty substantial. While an earthy, leafy hop bitterness works its way into the mix, I also get a burnt, charred, almost ashy vibe from the malt. Black Hole finishes on the astringent side of the spectrum.

M - Medium body with a slick texture and soft carbonation. Alcohol warmth is quite noticeable. This is one hot mo-fo! Finishes with some earthy bitterness and a mild chalky feel on the palate.

D - While I found Black Hole to be a bit too hot and intense, you can't really deny its bold flavor profile.

Photo of frothyhead
3.58/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12.7 green bottle, corked and caged, into a snifter. Black and thick with a small off white/tan head that quickly retreats to a small ring. Nice presentation.

Nose is dark chocolate and roasted malts with coffee/espresso notes and a boozy bourbon underbelly. Extreme smell sets the stage for a truly extreme beer.

Mouthfeel is medium to full bodied with medium carbonation. Slightly thinner feeling than it looks.

Taste is very sweet and chocolaty with some roasted espresso and a whiskey-like alcohol burn which lingers for a while.

This is a sipper for sure. The sweetness and alcohol bite keep the drinkability in check, not to mention the implications of 13% ABV.

Overall this is an interesting beer. It's billed as a coffee stout, but the overwhelming sweetness really hides the roast and bitterness that you'd expect from coffee and makes this feel more like a candy chocolate stout. An interesting beer for sure, but probably not something I'd seek out.

Photo of froghop
3.92/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

pours a jet black with a small brown head that goes away quickly, and some lacing.

smell is of cocoa, espresso, has an alcohol burn on the nose, and roasted malt.

taste is thick, yet creamy, very strong (maybe too strong), dark chocolate, roasted nuts, licorice, alcohol is present in the back, and slight sour malt, ends dry and very bitter.

Photo of Jablonski
3.13/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured into a Chimay glass.

This stout pours a opaque black with a small, chocolate head. It smells mostly of dark fruits, coffee, and a hint of alcohol. The alcohol lingers in the taste, but it is not too sweet. Also there is a sugary coffee flavor that dominates the taste. It would be great without the alcohol though. It's slightly bitter as an aftertaste. The mouthfeel is pretty solid. I enjoy the thickness of the beer and the carbonation. This beer is nice to drink, but at the ABV 1 is plenty, if not a bit much.

Photo of Buebie
4.25/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Alright, after 2 not so good beers, 1 being a drainpour, I will choose somthing a bit more special for my 300th review.
This bottle courtasy of d0b.

This corked bottle poured into my surly tulip at 45 degrees produces a nice 2.5'' dark brown foamy head. The beer is black in color with no light penetration.
The head receeds very slowly with faint snap crackle pop. The lace is thick and sticky with long lasting cling all the way down.

The aroma on this is very malty with plenty of sweet chocolate and a powdered chocolate cakie aroma. Not bitter or too sweet in the aromas, its creamy sweet and very cake like. No alcahol at the knose.

The first sip brings huge sweet chocolate with plenty of grain flavor, not husky. Somthing in the taste reminds me of Black Albert. I almost want to say a belgian yeast was used on this.
Very sweet up front turning bitter into the swallow with coffee and chocolate mixing up the flavors. Its somwhat simple, not alot of flavor complexity, yet its still extremely tastey. Finishing with bitter chocolate and plenty of coffee. A bit of a pine hop kick lingering bitter also.
Slick and syrupy, but really not creamy, its heavy but not creamy. a little bit of carbonation up front, but not much. Its an interesting take on an RIS, one that I have experienced like this before. Very unique brew.
There is literally no alcahol warming in this, dangerous at 13%

Very delicious brew.

Thanks again d0b!

Photo of rgtravers
4.34/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Appearance: it dark; black and shades of brown mixed throughout. Not totally black still can see a little light in at the bottom of the glass.

Smell: this is where the beers begins to show its true character and shine. Initial hit is all chocolate, coffee, espresso. As it warmed the beer begin to show signs of dark fruits and a lingering alcohol smell.

Taste: initially was sweet coffee. Great sweet flavor not too bitter or hoppy. As it warmed the dark fruits began to show their presence along with the alcohol. The hops were faint which was good because it let the coffee espresso bitterness come out and play. The sweetness kept it all in check..

Another great brew from Mikkeller. Not as thick on the mouth as i would have hoped but still enough to keep you reaching for your friends glass.

I could sip on this one all night or even a little colder during the summer as an iced sweet coffee.

Photo of nick76
2.8/5  rDev -26.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

The aroma is great with espresso, chocolate, heavily toasted malt, and dark fruit. The appearance is black with a tan head. The flavor is not good. It's like the aroma but too sweet with a burnt coffee finish. The palate is average for the style. Overall it's not one I would buy again.

Photo of CityBoy1986
3.68/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured into a pint glass from a 375 ml (12.7 oz.) corked bottle.

The pour is almost black with a small brown head. The head quickly recedes, but there is good lacing.

The nose is sweet with strong notes of coffee, some dark fruits and alcohol. The taste again has the coffee after the sweetness, like you've added a bit of sugar without stirring. That is followed by the dark fruits mixing with the coffee. Alcohol is present but not dominant. Surprisingly, there is very little bitterness.

Mouthfeel is very thick with a low amount of carbonation. However, it is smooth and silky. Drinkability suffers a bit with the sweetness. One bottle is enough for me.

This would be a nice warmer in the winter, but it isn't bad on a warm spring night. The 13.1% ABV definitely hit me before I even finished this review. However, the price seems kind of steep for the end result. I will probably not buy it again, but I won't refuse a glass if offered.

Photo of 51mmz0rz
4.26/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12.7 oz bottle poured into a Sam Adams tulip glass.

A: Totally black body, head is light brown creamy with good retention. Lacing is great.

S: Smell the sweetness and a strong burnt character. Maybe slightly acidic.

T: Sweet, touch of alcohol, full on stout flavor. The roasty sweetness develops nicely after the swallow. Lingering bitterness and slightly sweet roasty character.

M: Full, thick. Lower levels of carbonation suit the heavy style.

D: Certainly tasty, if not a little sweet and heavy. Hey, its 13%, so I expect this.

Photo of JohnQVegas
2.5/5  rDev -34.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 1.5

Bottle into snifter.

Pours viscous, opaque black, with no real head at all.

Nose is roasty, big cocoa, with a sweetly vinous quality that comes through as rich sweet dark fruits and some alcohol, bit of tar. Bit nutty even. This is not your run of the mill RIS nose. But good - intriguing.

Taste is big and sweet - vinous, sour even. I think this one is a bit off. Nonethless, you still get a peek at the beer underneath - rich, some cocoa and espresso peeking through. But the odd lactic sourness - well, that doesn't seem like it's supposed to be there. Lots of berry flavors. Finish is vinous, bitter, lots of sickly sweet dark berry, sour.

Mouthfeel is thick and viscous. This one's like oil sliding down. Could have used a notch more carbonation, but the huge body makes it just fine as it is - if only it tasted right.

Drinkability I can't even comment on. I finished maybe half of the 375 ml bottle.

Photo of fctoaster
4.78/5  rDev +24.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A- black as tar, can't see through this to save my life. The head is small but thick, and very dark. It looks like the froth on a cappuccino. The bubbles in the beer move very slowly to the surface, making the whole package look silky and thick.

S- Good hit of fresh coffee grounds, followed by a strong wave of roasted, almost burnt, maltiness. There is also a subtle sweetness in the scent, like someone drinks there coffee with sugar. A very slight chocolate note, concealed behind the coffee and burnt flavors. No preceivable alcohol or hop presence... I am serving it a bit cold, let's see what happens when it warms a bit.

T- Holy java, this is delicious. Very sweet, but not sickly, almost creamy sweet. The coffee is definitely present but not in such a staggering way as, say, a Bell's Java stout. The coffee is very smooth and welcoming. Quite a bit of snap to the 13% here, but not in a harsh way. Burnt flavor also apparent here, but is very subtle. There is an apparent lack of bitterness and astringency from the coffee, which makes this beer very soft on the palate.

M- Very, very, very luscious. This beer is as thick as they come, I wouldn't be surprised if it were bottled with molasses. The carbonation is rather low, but enough to keep the beer from being too heavy on the tongue. The texture is silky and smooth.

D- This be is extremely drinkable, I cannot imagine that I would ever pass one down. Nothing about it disagrees with my senses. I would however, really only want to drink one of these in a sitting, and preferably at night, when it is cold, and I am looking for a hefty digestive. Imagine if Thomas Hardy was brewed with coffee... throw in some chocolate malt and this is what you'd end up with. Holy cow, I'm feeling that 13% now... not too many beers can make me this tipsy after just one.

cork reads 01/07/12, drank on 3/15/09 from a bottle in a Duvel snifter.

Photo of HeyItsChili
4.1/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Poured into a snifter. Pours thick black with a thin, dark tan head.

S - Sort of a burnt, carbon-like aroma preceding a toasted malt and roasted coffee aroma. There is a strong dark fruit essence that mingles in with, if not overpowers, the base coffee scent.

T - Lactic, smokey, syrupy sweet and dark fruity frontend. Almost like a sweet barbecue sauce imbued with the smokiness of the grill but starting to suffer caramelization from the flames. There is a coffee undertone that is present for the duration of the taste. Simmers down with a burnt bacon flavor that slowly becomes more sour as the flavor lingers on in the aftertaste. Very unique. Think the funkiness of a saison with the structure of a RIS, only with more alcohol to kick you in the face.

M - Medium bodied and sticky, with low carbonation.

Notes - A unique flavor that differs from the aroma in such a way as to remind me of another Mikkeller offering, It's Alright!.

Black Hole from Mikkeller ApS
86 out of 100 based on 678 ratings.