Black Hole - Mikkeller ApS

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Black HoleBlack Hole

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very good

661 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 661
Reviews: 355
rAvg: 3.82
pDev: 16.75%
Wants: 31
Gots: 74 | FT: 5
Brewed by:
Mikkeller ApS visit their website

Style | ABV
Russian Imperial Stout |  13.10% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes/Commercial Description:
Brewed at De Proefbrouwerij.

Ingredients: Water, malt, roasted barley, flaked oats, dark cassanade, honey, hops, coffee, vanilla and ale yeast.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 11-24-2006)
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Ratings: 661 | Reviews: 355 | Display Reviews Only:
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. 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.

Photo of ThreeWiseMen
2.4/5  rDev -37.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

Got this in a trade from travisd13. I just realized how high the ABV is... maybe I shouldn't be drinking this at 1:00 in the afternoon.

Appearance: Ooozed slowly out of the bottle into my pint glass. Thick, syrupy-looking, and totally opaque ('Black Hole' fits it well). A tight, brown head creeps up for just a minute before diving back down into the darkness. Splotchy remnants of the the head float about on top and there's an ever-so-thin halo clinging to the sides of the pint glass.

Smell: Pungent. The smell invaded my nostrils as soon as the cork was popped. Distinct molasses and bourbon aromas can be detected from a few feet away. Up closer, there's a lot of dark chocolate, black coffee, bready malts, and dairy. The initial bourbon smell seems to be fading; in fact, the alcohol seems to be hidden pretty well. With that said, the smell is good but nothing surprising.

Taste: Whew! Tons of tart berry-like flavors overwhelm the palate. Reminds me of black cherries, cranberries, and blackberries. A little bit of a merlot taste in there. Those flavors are followed shortly by alcohol, and then burnt malts, coffee, and some dark chocolate / hop bitterness. Unique, yes. Enjoyable, no.

Mouthfeel: Very thick and heavy with a dry finish. Somewhat syrupy, but very volatile (stings the mouth a lot). Very warm as well (surprise surprise).

Drinkability: I love Russian Imperial Stouts, but this is a borderline drain-pour for me. Taste is mouth-puckering, and ABV puts a fire in your tummy. Got better as I drank it, but probably just because I had developed a buzz. Too much sugar for me to handle. Proceed with caution.

Photo of kasper
3.15/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: Pours nearly black with a rich, powdery cascading chocolate-milk colored head a few inches tall that leaves thicks sheets of lacing as it falls.

S: Rich, sweet and milky -- almost creamy, with hints of cocoa. Tad of malt balls. Richness. Hint of powdery vitamin tablets

T: Milky, malty, and chocolately rich taste that's interrupted midway by medicinal Belgian yeast flavors -- again like vitamins.

M: Super thick, low carbonation, like watered down pudding.

D: The Belgian flavors just kill this one for me. It will be a struggle to get through this $11.99 12.7 oz bottle. Maybe it sat on the shelf too long? Not tasty, not horrible, but not appealing. Disappointing. It should get a lower rating than what my numbers reflect. But I've had a few, so it's getting the benefit of the doubt.

Photo of Damian
3.6/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

Drank from a 12.7 fl oz bottle purchased at Julio's Liquors, Westboro, MA
2007 vintage
Served in a snifter

The beer poured a dark brown/black color (rather light for the style) with a thin, bubbly layer of saddle brown froth that quickly disappeared.

The aroma was dark and rich, yet not over the top. Strong espresso and roast notes were immediately noticeable. Semi-sweet and fruity with subtle indications of plum. As the beer warmed, the nose became sweeter and more chocolatey.

The taste was quite roasty and very boozy. Solvent-like alcohol hit hard right off the bat, permeating the flavor profile. Deep coffee/espresso notes were apparent as well. Dark chocolate came through in the center, along with a touch of fruity sweetness. The finish was dry, ashy and somewhat hoppy (piney), with a roasty, resonating aftertaste. A pleasant alcohol warming trickled down my throat with each sip. Overall, the flavor was interesting, yet not as "big" as I was anticipating for a beer of this magnitude.

The mouthfeel was disappointingly thin with a fine, moderate carbonation. I cannot remember the last time I had a RIS that was so watery.

This beer was fairly drinkable, considering its alcohol prowess. A year of aging likely mellowed it out a bit. I definitely would not mind revisiting another bottle with a few more years on it.

Photo of Klgkenny
3.78/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a fridge temp bottle into a room temp pint.

A thin mocha head quickly dissipates atop a pitch black body. No light penetrates this beer. It's as if the beer has it's own gravity. A super gravity. Something like a black hole.

A sweet malty smell, almost bourbon-like masks a faint aroma of alcohol. Hints of coffee and wood hide in the background.

Like the aroma, flavors of sweet malt roll over the tongue up front. It's almost a bourbon taste. This big sweet is followed by a chocolate/vanilla/coffee taste, but these barely mask the big alcohol taste. This is probably a beer that could stand to be aged a year or two prior to consumption.

There is very little carbonation in this beer, and with the vicsosity and big alcohol taste, it's a one or two timer for an evening. Especially with the cost. A great beer, but I will lay the next one down for a couple of years, and drink it then. Good entry, but not quite ready yet.

Photo of oakbluff
4/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a crazy black- can't see much through this one with a light mocha head and thin ring of lacing. Nose- big black licorce smell, molasses and dark roast. Taste- licorce, fairly high carbonation, dry roasty finish, medium sweetness,dark fruits and chocolate. Actually not that boozy for the strength.

Photo of BasementDweller
3.7/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2007, 12-oz bottle. Hoo boy. This beer was a hot, hoppy mess. But a good mess. The aroma reeked of booze, so much so that I refrained from standing around open flame for an hour or so after tasting it for fear my breath would catch fire. Sure, 14% isn't all that bad when compared to some of the more extreme beers out there (I'm looking at you, Raison d'Extra), but this is an extraordinarily unrefined 14%. In two years this beer will be phenomenal with the dark molasses-chocolate-caramel-maltiness mellowing out and eating up a bit of the heat, but for now it's just not drinkable in any of practical sense of the word. I'll come back in a couple of years and tell you all how it turned out.

Photo of LilBeerDoctor
3.33/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bottle. Pours black with absolutely no head and no carbonation. Aroma of bitter chocolate, roasted malt, and alcohol. The initial sip was super chocolatey, but this flavor faded almost immediately. Lots of raisins, roasted malt, and alcohol. Very heavy mouthfeel with a harsh palate. Gets a bit dull by the end of the glass. Meh. This would be better with a slightly lower abv I think.
7/3/7/3/15 (3.5/5)

Black Hole from Mikkeller ApS
86 out of 100 based on 661 ratings.