1. American Craft Beer Fest returns to Boston on May 29 & 30, featuring 640+ beers from 140+ brewers. Tickets are on sale now.

Black Hole - Mikkeller ApS

Not Rated.
Black HoleBlack Hole

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

668 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 668
Reviews: 356
rAvg: 3.82
pDev: 16.75%
Wants: 32
Gots: 76 | 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.
View: Beers (254) | Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | Likes | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 668 | Reviews: 356 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of klewis
4.45/5  rDev +16.5%
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
3.68/5  rDev -3.7%
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
3.83/5  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
3.73/5  rDev -2.4%
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
3.55/5  rDev -7.1%
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
3.93/5  rDev +2.9%
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
3.1/5  rDev -18.8%
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
4.22/5  rDev +10.5%
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
4.33/5  rDev +13.4%
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
2.7/5  rDev -29.3%
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
3.7/5  rDev -3.1%
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
4.28/5  rDev +12%
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
2.38/5  rDev -37.7%
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
4.8/5  rDev +25.7%
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
4.13/5  rDev +8.1%
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!.

Photo of tmoneyba
4.22/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Corked bottle 13.1% from River's Bend.

Poured a black color with a large frothy brown head that mostly lasted and produced sticky legs and good lacing. Good roasted coffee malt,smoke and alchol aroma. Full body with a smooth texture. Complex smoke dark fruit stout flavor with a heavy smooth dark coffee finish of long duration.

Very well balanced complex stout. This is a standout beer and maybe number 4 for style.

Photo of mfhlucky13
4.22/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I want to start by saying that this gets better as it reaches room temp. I didn't really start to enjoy it until it reached approx 62F.

A: Extremely dark, black as the name suggests. I had little to no head, this may be because of my careful pour. I wasn't sure what would come out of a Black Hole. Just a touch of lace.

S: Big malt! Burnt coffee grounds. Crazy, but I swear I smell hay. Maybe that's just malt. Alcohol isn't hiding here.

T: Bitter coffee, with tons of roasted malt, cigar, becomes more complex as it warms.

M: Oily, smooth with very little carbonation.

D: This is a one and done. I think it would make a great nightcap. But no session should start with this one.

Photo of ThirdLap
3.7/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

From a corked, caged, and foiled 375ml bottle into a RR tulip at 50°F. Price tag says $12.99, and I think I picked it up in November '08 at the Pizza Port Carlsbad Bottle Shop.

Pours a nearly opaque dark brown with a dark tan creamy-looking 1cm thick head that dissipates leaving almost no lacing.

The first thing you get on the nose are huge amounts of coffee and dark chocolate. I took a whiff of the bottle prior to pouring to get an idea of what was to come, and couldn't lose the scent in the air after that. It just stays with you. I also get molasses, vanilla and a hint of bourbon. This is a great-smelling brew.

Now I've had this before, and wasn't blown away. Maybe mood was to blame, maybe a bad bottle, or perhaps my palate was just expecting something different that day. I've yet to taste this new bottle, and I've got higher hopes after savoring the amazing appearance and smell.

Wow, this is a huge beer. There's a toasty, caramelly maltiness, with tons of bitter chocolate and coffee. Finish is bitter coffee and anise. Sure, it's syrupy and boozy, but it's also a lot better than I remember the first time I had it. I think you have to remember what you're getting into (a high-gravity sipper) to really appreciate it.

Mouthfeel is syrupy, oily, with relatively low carbonation. The aftertaste is a bit more bitter and sticky than I would like. Alcohol is about what you would expect from a 13% abv beer.

One bottle is plenty, but I'm looking forward to refilling my glass.

As far as sippers go, I like this a bit more than the closest thing I can compare it to, a lower-bourbon version of Goose Island Bourbon County Stout.

Photo of Kraken
3.3/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Reviewed 1/13/09

Aged a little over a year in the kitchen wine rack. Caught a little grief for leaving it there so long, but I thought this one needed to be laid down for a while. Cracked this open just because. Poured into an over sized wine glass. Heavy handed pour coaxes 0 head. Mild lace. Color is an absolute black.

Nose- Dark molasses, burnt caramel, mild notes of coffee. Alcohol is very apparent.

Palate- Oh Goodness. Coffee was in the nose, but man it really comes through on the palate. Reminiscent of Turkish coffee. Burnt caramel, very strong i.e. still a bit hot. Slightly sour, extremely interesting.

Mouthfeel- Thick, oily, slightly cloying, very lightly carbonated.

Drinkability- One is enough, glad this didn't come in a bigger bottle.

Photo of nickfl
3.4/5  rDev -11%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours with a big, two and a half finger head of medium brown foam. The body is opaque black, without a hint of light showing through. The head is quite slow to settle and leaves thick rings of lace clinging to the glass.

S - Thick malty aroma of toffee and toasted malt with noticeable, but surprisingly light aromas of coffee and chocolate. Moderate citrus hops and a hint of acidity in the background.

T - Strong, sweet malt up front with sweet chocolate and some espresso like coffee. Strong, astringent coffee bitterness appears next along with a spicy, herbal chicory flavor and a weird vegetal note. Tobacco and charcoal flavors crop up in the finish along with the lingering bitterness.

M - Thick, oily body, medium-low carbonation, and a sweet and astringent finish.

D - This beer is not at all what I expected. The coffee flavor is strange and oddly subdued. The flavors somehow lack the richness that I expect in an imperial stout, and the herbal chicory note along with overwhelming sweetness is somehow very off-putting. It is an interesting beer, but I can't say I really enjoyed it.

As another reviewer said, maybe it is meant to be aged. If so, I think it needs at least 5 or 10 years.

Photo of bifrostguard
2.73/5  rDev -28.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

A - Looks promising. Black with a tall tan head that leaves a good amount of lacing. Thick and viscous.

S - Mild roasted malt and coffee aroma. Maybe some molasses and anise.

T - Not my style. It was promising both in smell and appearance but this was way too sweet and cloying for me. Sure....you don't taste the alcohol but I wish I could over this. Roasted malts, caramel and if I remember correctly coffee is a bit more bitter than this.

M - Smooth and silky, but the sweetness creates a film that is just too much.

D - Never again, unless it is the only thing available.

Photo of Cyberkedi
5/5  rDev +30.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Aroma is absolutely heavenly, at least to me as a porter/stout fanatic: rich, strongly of dark coffee and unsweetened chocolate, with an undertone of molasses. Pours just as black as its namesake with a thick, fine-bubbled, dark tan head. Flavor lives up to the aroma and appearance, like a rick mocha made from fine, dark roast coffee and bittersweet chocolate. There is even a hint of orange in the flavor. Texture is delightfully smooth and thick as cream. Strongly recommended, especially to my fellow stout nuts.

Photo of BeerSox
3.63/5  rDev -5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12.7oz (375ml) green bottle into 20oz stemless snifter. Artificial cork with cage.

Poured into the "nub" in the middle of the stemless snifter, which greatly reduces agitation of the pour. As a result, a very thin brown head is produced, that ends up as a thin rim along the glass.

Plenty of roasted malts, along with hoards of coffee. Maybe I shouldn't be drinking this at 10:30pm before I have to go to work the next morning? The burntness of both the malts and coffee makes up all that's in the aroma.

The flavor is a bit more complex, with the same highly roasted malts, the hints of coffee, but also a little dark fruit. The alcohol definitely makes its presence known in the mouth. A little bit of a piney flavor comes in, along with a bit of spice. Full bodied, thick and syrupy.

Definitely a sipping beer. The alcohol in the flavor is just too overwhelming to take big gulps of this one. Maybe this one is meant to be aged for a long time. At least the bottle is in an appropriate 375 ml size, although a 330 or 210 would be even more appropriate.

Photo of paco1029384756
3.75/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Pours a very dark brown color with a short tan head.

Scent of coffee, sugars, bubble gum, chocolate, roasted malts, and a hint of celery. Not bad, but it's too abstract for an Imperial Stout of its strength.

Taste of strong coffee, chocolate, dark fruits, roasted malts and a hint of celery again. More refined than the scent lets on, but you better like a coffee flavor in your Imperial Stout.

Mouthfeel is fill bodied, heavy, and very smooth.

Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.1/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a dark, cheerless black body with a thin, very short-lived covering of beige bubbles.

Smell: Not overtly fragrant, but there's some underlying aggression lurking there. Vague notes of chocolate, roasted coffee, fruit-flavored liqueur, and a G.I. Joe action figure being burnt by the amplified solar rays coming from a magnifying glass.

Taste: Sweet, earthy malts upfront with tastes of milk chocolate, sweetened coffee, toffee, and molasses. Goodness gracious, me. Touch of deep, dark raisin fruitiness. Waft of acrid smoke. Continually sweet until a brief odd, almost rubbery taste enters the scene mere seconds before the alcohol hits. This eases back into the shadows, allowing for the chocolate and roast and sweetness to return for the warming finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-plus body. Low carbonation.

Drinkability: A bit brash and a bit hot, but at 13.1% ABV, what do you expect? However, bottles I've had early in it's time line were exponentially harsher, so age has mellowed it some.

Black Hole from Mikkeller ApS
86 out of 100 based on 668 ratings.