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Black Hole - Mikkeller ApS

Not Rated.
Black HoleBlack Hole

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

679 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 679
Reviews: 358
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: 679 | Reviews: 358 | Display Reviews Only:
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!.

Photo of tmoneyba
4.25/5  rDev +11%
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 +10.2%
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
3.75/5  rDev -2.1%
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
3.28/5  rDev -14.4%
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
3.45/5  rDev -9.9%
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
2.8/5  rDev -26.9%
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 +30.5%
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
3.64/5  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 -2.1%
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 -19.1%
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
2.5/5  rDev -34.7%
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
3.18/5  rDev -17%
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
3.62/5  rDev -5.5%
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
3.76/5  rDev -1.8%
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 +4.4%
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
3.71/5  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
3.32/5  rDev -13.3%
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)

Photo of badbeer
3.48/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Black, but dark brown around the edges. Quickly receding head. Very roasty and full of booze in the aroma. This seems like it needs some time to mellow, but beyond the booze there is some charcoal, hops, and licorice. Taste is a little green, needs some time on it. Taste is also roasty, with some bitter chocolate and a boozy finish. This may be worth aging, but I won't be loading up on this one.

Photo of ccrida
3.3/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

The best thing about this beer is the packaging, a champange nipper, corked, caged and foil wrapped, with a cool rendition of a black hole on the label. It was enough to distract me from the high price. I've had it for about a year. Poured into my Delirium snifter, vigorously after the cork silently limped out, I barely roused a small tan head that leaves light lace. The beer, of course, is black.

Smell is espresso and some type of cured fruits or maybe just burnt caramel, but a bit of sweet with the char. There's a sickly sweetness to it that turns me off. Served ~55F, it got sweeter as it warmed.

Taste is similar, burnt coffee with cured fruity esters, prunes. Very much a Belgian stout, not to bad for being so over-the-top, but really not a must have or something I'll worry about revisiting. Overall, this was a pretty weird tasting beer, even for a Belgian stout. I kept waffling between not liking it and thinking it wasn't too bad. I assume there was just an extreme amount of crystal malt or something that didn't quite work for me in the end.

Mouthfeel is slick, a lighter body then you'd expect for the size.

Drinkability is ok, this isn't too bad, and the high ABV is well hidden, but it's just not that exciting. For the price, in spite of the heft, not worth it.

Photo of bluejacket74
4.08/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12.7 ounce corked and caged bottle, cork says 01/07/12 on it. Served in a pint glass, the beer pours black with about a half inch tan head. Head retention is good, lacing is excellent. It smells like roasted malt, coffee and chocolate. The taste is similar to the aroma, but I can also taste licorice and dark fruit along with charred/burnt malt. There's also a bitter coffee and hop finish, but it's a bit acidic, too. Mouthfeel/body is full and rich, silky and smooth. Drinkability is good, the alcohol isn't noticable when drinking it but does hit you later. Overall I think this is a good all around RIS. I'd pick one up every once in a while, although the price would prevent me from buying this often.

Photo of rtepiak
4/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

a surprisingly big head that dissipates quickly. spots of chocolate lace. black and thick pour. smoky coffee and booze. taste is boozy. goes down quite warm. coffee bitter, hop bitter but not onion. light metal. very minimal light dark chocolate. bit too much for how dense. nice winter drink. smoky quality and alcohol blend well. strong point of the beer.

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

Big bubbled head, mocha-colored, that leaves patchy lacing. Mostly black color, basically opaque with hints of highlighting. The look is spot-on.

Burnt berries on the nose big time, definitely coffee-influenced. A little more power here to match the ABV would be nice. *Edit* As it warms, the aromas really come out to play. Espresso, roasted notes, yada yada. The power is fine if you let it breathe a bit.

The flavor is interesting, full-bodied, and fairly bitter. Definitely sharp and acidic, but I love coffee, so there you go. Dry, acrid finish that lowers my flavor score a half point - it's a little much.

Rich, full body in the mouth. Absolutely do not go for this one if you don't like coffee/espresso. I happen to enjoy strongly brewed black coffee and sort of testing the limits of my bitterness threshold. Black Hole was fun!

Good candidate for a lay-down to mellow out.

Photo of jwinship83
3.76/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

375ml corked and caged bottle, with 01/07/12 on the cork. 13.1%abv

A- black body with a good two fingers of beige colored head that lasts and leaves a very even and solid lacing

S- lots of sweet milk chocolate. lots of roasted malts and dark fruits as well. no trace of the alcohol.

T- very fruity. lots of cherries and plums. very sweet. not as roasty as i would have expected, and very little as far as coffee goes. not as much chocolate as i could smell, but its there for sure.

M- full bodied, very smooth. not as thick as i would expect.

D- the sweetness is hard to get over. its probably the oddest stout ive ever had. not bad, just strange for an RIS. the alcohol is not tasteable, which would make more than one quite dangerous. enjoyable, but not worth the cost.

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

Listed at 13.1% abv, so must be a newer version of the beer. Pours black and viscous with very little head. Smells of dark chocolate and brewed coffee with some definite heat to it, but in this case that comes off as a sort of coffee with spirits. The taste is similar, but perhaps a bit more complex. Quite well integrated despite being a bit hot in the taste as well. More coffee and chocolate, clean and pure. Very smooth, but not really all that creamy- this is more like black coffee, dark chocolate, and a good clear brandy- perhaps an aquavit with a clean taste of caraway added. Interesting, and extremely dry. A nice winter warmer in an entirely different vein than most RIS.

Black Hole from Mikkeller ApS
86 out of 100 based on 679 ratings.