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Black Hole - Mikkeller ApS

Not Rated.
Black HoleBlack Hole

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

690 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 690
Reviews: 360
rAvg: 3.83
pDev: 16.45%
Wants: 35
Gots: 86 | FT: 6
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: 690 | Reviews: 360
Photo of crossovert
3.7/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Comes in a synthetic-corked green bottle. 12.7 oz, 13.1% alc. Served lightly chilled.

Pours pitch black with a dense brown 1 finger head that doesn't recede and leaves a thick lacing. Very nice on the appearance.

Smell is fragrant with cofee and chocoalte. Very nice dark and roasty malt character. Some sweetness in there too. Alcohol is heavily present in the nose, no sign of hops though.

Rich mouthfeel, not too carbonated, huge coffee and alcohol bite. Large amounts of sweetness here too. This is one massive tasting brew, perhaps too powerful. The alcohol needs to be a little more hidden this one is too boozy it almost reminds me if a sweet doppelbock clashed with a coffeee infused RIS.

This beer seems like it would have around 1000 calories, it is one of those beers that you can't possibly down more than 1 of. It is good but could be better and a bit less astringent.

Photo of BobbyBeerman
3.68/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: The caged cork released without much energy from within. Pouring from the green bottle to my glass it appeared black with a hint of dark brown. The brown head disapated quickly leaving a thin layer that hung around throughout the entire drinking experience and produced a decent amount of lacing.

S: Roasted malts and coffee are the big up-front aromas. Chocolate sweetness follow up. No real detectable hops or alcohol smell to it.

T: Wow!! I would have thought there would have been more of a coffee note on the leading edge but I get sweet instead. Letting it warm up a little brings the coffee closer but the sweetness is still really present and first on the palette. Still no real alcohol here.

M: Oily and creamy. Now I feel the alcohol with a little bit of the burn as it goes down. Thick heavy bodied. Could use a little more carbonation to lighten it up.

D: I am a fan of stouts. While I do love the experience of trying this one I'm not sure if I'd add it to my favorites list. It is a little higher alcohol content that I'd like (granted it is an Imperial) and a little too sweet for me. I could see this pared with something... Vanilla ice cream would be good. But, on its own, I feel as if it is a little too much. I cannot fault it because it fits the style of Imperial Coffee Stout well.

Photo of erz316
4.22/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

custom 12.7 floz bottle into la chouffe snifter. cant tell what the date on the cork is.

A - man, is that a beer that doesnt want to make any foam or what? a real hard pour makes almost zero head, the only bubbles are really from the vigorousness of the pour itself. the head is a light khaki or tan colour while the body is completely and utterly black, no light getting in whatsoever. there is also a couple chunks of yeast at the bottom. lack of head is a real bust for this beer, it doesn't even try to put in the effort.

S - well, it definetly smells like a coffee imbued stout. the top notes are of strong, very strong coffee and alcohol, with a kiss of chocolate (probably some of the best coffee smell since founder's breakfast stout). good roasted element to the nose. ultimately the nose is too weak, but the coffee smell is too good to give it lower than a four.

T - you would never know this brew is 13% abv, it is too drinkable and smooth. the initial taste is brown sugar like malts, and some serious licorice flavour, mild coffee flavour, some minor alcohol makes a burning impression if one can get the drink to the back of the palate without swallowing. the brew tastes a bit too sweet at some times, (but just head to the finish to get that out of the picture) the almost cloying sweetness mixes quite well with the coffee and hop bitterness to even it out as the brew is held in the mouth. the finish is amazing: the coffee flavour comes out and blends so incredibly with some warming burning alcohol; the bitterness is a bit less pronounced here as it gets overwhelmed with the coffee taste and there is no real sweetness to which one can compare it. the aftertaste is coffee, maybe also a bit roasty.

MF&D - the feel is very slick and almost oily. this does not work very well with that cloying sweetness, whenever it chooses to come out: it makes the drinking experience a bit unpleasant. there is a serious lack of carbonation, it is at the bare minimum. but the way that they mask all of that booze is amazing, and despite the odd sweetness at times, I would have another if it werent 13 bucks.

Photo of yesyouam
4.58/5  rDev +19.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Mikkeller Black Hole is a solid black beer with a dense, brown sugar colored head that leaves excellent lacing. It has a smokey aroma that's slightly sweet. It kind of smells like a barbeque. It's full bodied; smooth, with a clean finish. The flavor has notes of smoke, barbeque, roast, vegemite, something a little spicy and something a little sweet. This thing is like a complete meal-- very unique!

Photo of GRG1313
4.32/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I believe that this is a current release of spring/summer 2009. Date on cork (synthetic) is blurred.

Pours a dark black with a very thin dark tan head. A quick swirl gives a lasting single layer of big bubbled head.

Nose is initially a huge Hershey's chocolate assertive nose that pretty much stays there, rich and strong, with hints of sweet coffee and candi sugar. A hint of whiskey.

Mouthfeel is thick, rich and creamy. Big bold mouth that tastes like a rich chocolate coffee dessert, with long lasting bittersweet dark chocolate and sweet espresso flavors. If you like the chocolate, coffee "sweeter" stouts, you'll love this one. It is big, rich, thick and bold.

Finish has bitter chocolate and bitter rich espresso.

A bit of age would be fun on this one as it may integrate and mellow and even soften and richen these bold flavors. I like this to sip after dinner in lieu of coffee or with a rich flavorful dessert or bold cheese. A very distinctive stout, all about huge coffee and chocolate.

Photo of Oisin
2.95/5  rDev -23%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

Sweeeet! In a bad way. Just way too sweet. Can't say much about this beer other than it is just very sweet. My tastebuds are in shock. Let it be known that I find most RIS's to be as sweet as I would ever like a beer to be. Alesmith's Speedway is the absolute limit of enjoyable sweetness in my opinion.

My overall impression of this beer is that it is unbalanced, cloyingly sweet and undrinkable.

This beer just fails to live up to its huge potential and becomes a challenge to drink.

Complexities in the nose were promising. Fragrance was reminscent of everyting boozy and rich and sweet--very promising for an RIS.

In short, not worth the $14 price tag.

Photo of Pencible
4.22/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

2006 vintage ("Best by 14/08/11"). This poured opaque dark mahogany with nearly no head. It smelled very complex like muted coffee and sweet raisins and bitter dark chocolate, with some molasses and licorice and dark cherry, along with a bit of alcohol and plastic (from aging). It tasted like smooth coffee and bitter dark chocolate, with some smokiness and sour cherry and tobacco, and a bit of plastic. It was watery with no carbonation, and had a bitter aftertaste. Overall this beer had tons of depth and complexity, with so many scents and flavors that all played off each other nicely. The body was thin for my taste, but the alcohol was fairly well hidden (probably due to aging). But this is certainly a beer to sip and contemplate and enjoy. I'm curious how this beer is fresh, but it's very nice after 3 years.

Photo of jnn4v
3.87/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Best by date on the cork is 14/08/11 which I'm guessing means August 14, 2011. Served out of the bottle, into a tulip glass.

A: Pitch black, with only the slightest hue of brown showing in the corners when held up to the light. Looked medium viscosity when poured. No head, at all.

S: So potent. Coffee scent jumps out of the bottle when uncorked. Now that it's poured... absolutely wonderful. Rich and complex scents ranging from dark chocolate to molasses to licorice race through the nose. Coffee and even maybe raspberry liquor scents are evident.

T: Coffee, smoke, and a hint of chocolate on the first sip. Almost seems barrel aged from the smoky flavors? You can tell this bottle has a few years on it from the lack of carbonation, integration of flavors, and a slight "plasticy" taste. Overall incredibly strong tastes and challenging to the palate. This is not for everyone.

M: Due to the strength of flavors it's hard to take a sip big enough to get an accurate gauge for mouthfeel. Fairly thick. No carbonation.

D: I may or may not be able to finish half of this 12.7 oz bottle (fortunately, I'm splitting it with my brother). Interesting and enjoyable to taste, but not for gulping or lengthy drinking sessions.

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

Mikkeller Black hole

Deep dark brown body, slim, but lovely cocoa/tan head. Nice.

Vast aroma, deep, dark, sumptuous, all kinds of richness. Whoa, licorice is here, deep, dark, rich molasses, ...wow, wow, it hits and it hits. Mmm, rich dark malt, chocolatey, coffee tinges, too...beautiful, smooth, lovely...

13.1% ??? Really? Great Magilla Gorilla! Why? Oh,why not...I guess...Pretty intense, awfully amazing...over the top. But, hey, that's what it's all about these days, eh?
Well, go for it...go all the way...oh wow...

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

375 mL corked and caged green bottle with a synthetic cork. Dated on the cork, but rubbed off during extraction... oops.

Pours an unadulterated black with a very sparse brown head. What little head does exist encircles the glass with some of the finest microbubbles I have ever seen. The nose is a mesh of black French roasted coffee and a sweet plum wine, hinting of high alcohol.

Loaded with dark fruit (raisins, figs, plums) sweetness that is tempered with a large bite coming from a number of places: dark roasted coffee, hop bitterness, and probably some alcohol. This one definitely has a big kick, though the level of alcohol is masked in comparison to its warming presence. Coffee, figs, biscuit and a touch of flora on the finish. This is a coffee based imperial stout for someone who likes a warming bite and plentiful sweet dark fruits. Full mouthfeel with slick body and light carbonation. Body is actually a little lighter than expected.

This is a decent "extreme" coffee stout, though it is straightforward as a brew, something this big needs a little more complexity to it.

Photo of Stavage
3.65/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Poured into a goblet, a very thick dark brown with virtually no head.

Smell was very intense- dark fruit, brown sugar, chocolate- and the whole show has some kind of phenolic character to it. Smell suggests this stout will be richer than it is complex, not in a bad way.

Sweet. Very sweet. There are some rich chocolate flavours and a roast coffee character in there somewhere, but they are overwhelmed by the almost port like sweetness. This is followed by an espresso bitterness.

Mouthfeel is full and sticky and lightly carbonated. Works for me.

A little dissappointed, as this is one very expensive beer here and I was hoping for something a little more...exceptional. The sweetness is what ruined it for me. I could notice some very appealing characteristics in the beer but my palate was overloaded by that one aspect. The bitterness cut things up but it still seemed out of balance. This also made it less drinkable for me.

Saying all this I will buy it one more time and cellar it for a while. I can see how this beer could change completely with some ageing.

Photo of jamesm7485
4.6/5  rDev +20.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Green caged and corked 12.7 oz bottle, odd choice

Pours your typical imperial stout very rich thick pour with no head

Smell is muted compared to the taste, bakers chocolate and very light coffee

very pleasant initial chocolate sweetness followed by coffee some heat and a bit of pepper spice flavor lingers for quite some time

Very smooth and coats the mouth quickly

The alcohol heat in the after taste and the abv drives this down to a 4, different than abyss, ten fidy etc but very much worth trying!

a year or two may bring some heat down

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.

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Black Hole from Mikkeller ApS
86 out of 100 based on 690 ratings.