Black (黑) - Mikkeller ApS

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Black (黑)Black (黑)

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248 Reviews
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Reviews: 248
Hads: 516
Avg: 3.72
pDev: 26.61%
Wants: 55
Gots: 132 | FT: 8
Brewed by:
Mikkeller ApS visit their website

Style | ABV
American Double / Imperial Stout |  17.50% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: kkipple on 02-19-2008

Brewed at De Proefbrouwerij.

Ingredients: Water, malt, roasted barley, dark cassonade, ale yeast and champagne yeast.
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Reviews: 248 | Hads: 516
Photo of biegaman
4.04/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.75

Mikkeller Black is just that and... little else. It's a black hole, though its head has colour (a rusted brown tint). I'm impressed such a high-gravity offering has any head at all, let alone one that looks as strong as the beer itself - that foam ain't going anywhere except all up and down the sides of the glass.

I Goggled the 黑 symbol that adorns the label and, not able to read Japanese, have no idea what those results returned. The aroma is no more familiar - an absolutely one-of-a-kind combination of szechuan peppers, soy sauce, sriracha, sweet potato, tart wild berries, and hickory smoke. Love it or hate it it's different, intriguing and, given it's made from just the basics, downright puzzling.

When it comes to actually taking that first sip I freeze, as if I stumbled on a dead body or, more accurately, found myself unarmed and face to face with a wild animal. And it turns out both unusual and strong, though the intensity is snapped out of the finish like a dog on a yanked leash; the finish is void of chocolaty, coffee-ish flavour but is chock full of Tabasco sauce and astringent cigar-like smokiness.

Where I currently live in Ontario, Canada, our government acts as guardian and tests every single product that is sold. It's not uncommon to find huge variance in alcohol percentage (especially for higher gravity offerings) but their state-of-the-art lab confirmed this is in fact 17% alcohol. Mind you, that's obvious from the way it drinks - some sips make my eyes water. This goes down kicking and punching.

The 'best before' is printed a decade from now - 2024. There aren't many beers that get better 10 years after they're bottled, let alone stay remotely as good. How will this one fair, however? Who the hell knows. But if there's one thing you can be sure will survive nuclear fallout, surely Black is it. It should really be drank with the same discretion as cayenne pepper is used in a recipe.

Mikkeller is one of those brands that, for better or worse, people will talk about, write about, and seek out to try even at absurd costs. This one, however, lives up to all hype - both positive and negative - and is undoubtedly worth its price tag, if only for those looking for a truly, extraordinarily unique experience. It even changes as it warms, enough so to write a whole other review!

I've been in the beer reviewing game for well over a decade now - pretty much since it started - and I can think of few beers that have received more simultaneously emphatic love and ferocious hate than Mikkeller Black. This is a stout that can cause even Imperial Stout lovers to quake like mice when the cat is mentioned. It is as peculiar and distinctive as they come.

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Photo of DoubleJ
4.17/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Much has happened in the last five years, which is about the length of time that I have held this bottle in my possession. Coming from a corked and caged, green 375 ml bottle, on to the beer:

Black. The name says it all. Light splashes of legs hit around the glass. As for head, what head?

* Now, before I go on, I have something to admit; I have had a few tastes of this at tastings, and I found it to be like soy sauce. With age, here's hoping something beautiful blossoms. *

I smell it, breath in, take in a pleasant burnt chocolate aroma. I get chocolate syrup too. There's promise.

Five years in the waiting, and Black is better than ever! This is a big, roasty beverage with semi-sweet chocolate, big chocolate cake, and a wet slobber of chocolate infused booze. A little oxidation too. It big, it's pretty smooth for its size, so I'm going to call it; winner winner!

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Photo of Chitex78
2.29/5  rDev -38.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.25

This beer is undrinkable. Smell is grain alcohol. Taste is grain alcohol. The mouthfeel is decent, but not exactly what you would expect from a stout with an ABV this high. Unless this is a gimmick, shame on you Mikkeller.

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Photo of JebBeerFish
2.84/5  rDev -23.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

Imagine a stout made with acrid, below average roasted coffee to which a generous helping of grain alcohol is added, and you have this offering. I like higher alcohol content beers, but this is nearly barbaric in its harshness. I cannot think of a more poorly hid high alcohol content beer, and this was after having three 10% beers. On the pawsitive side, after a couple sips, you predominately only taste the acridic coffee.

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Photo of Gobearswalter34
4.42/5  rDev +18.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Pours black with a huge, foamy, creamy tan head. Nutty chocolate head. A huge, sweet, malty smell. A big boozy bite, especially in the finish. The hop bite starts small and burns down the tounge.

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Photo of BigDaddyWarbuxx
4.05/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Incredibly strong, as you'd expect. Initially has a tang to it and a false carbonation feel that comes from the alcohol. As you keep drinking it, it starts to have the feel of a strong red wine.

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4.19/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

After a struggle with what should have been a hand turnable cork I had to turn to a wine corker to remove the monster cork. A vigorous pour gets only a skim of head that looks like the caramel bubbles you get when you cook down red wine. Body is ink black and almost just as thick. Nose is beautiful as it screams port with lush tones of plum, raises, lush dark fruit and some background chocolate and anise. With first sip you get deep roast nuttiness and pan seared malts that could set off a fire alarm. Black is the perfect name for this beer as the flavor is truely that. Black licorice and charred meats come to mind as well. There is a hint of sweat but it is quickly cast out. Mouthfeel is hugely dark, dry and thick with yet more blackness. You really should split this one with a friend as it is a lot for just one person.

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Photo of JackieKu
3.72/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

2013 edition, 16.1% ABV. OMG it's damn strong and sweet. While the aftertaste is coffee like bitter and the presentation was long. Not quite drinkable, maybe I drink it too soon as its BB date is 2023.

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Photo of beerdrifter
4.09/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Picked this up back in 2008 at my favorite beer store in Belgium, Dranken Geers. Thick, pitch black pour with a one finger caramel-colored head with decent retention and great lacing. The nose is boozey and roasty with hints of cocoa, dark chocolate, espresso, leather, and soy sauce. The taste follows suit with tons of roast and dark chocolate along with hints of cocoa, molasses, espresso, tobacco, vanilla, oak, rye, and an ass load of booze on the finish. The mouthfeel is thick and mouth-coating with perfect carbonation, some nice sweetness in the middle, and a hugely bitter, boozey finish. Overall, this just kept getting better as it warmed. Yeah, it's definitely a sipper, but it's full of flavor, albeit incredibly bitter, but pretty drinkable for a 17.5% beer. I've had it many times on tap and absolutely loved it. Not as good from the bottle, but age has definitely been kind to this beer...

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Photo of Cheezweezl
3.33/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours black with a huge dense foam from a bottle.
Aroma is of brown sugar, molasses, espresso and a high tart fruitiness.
Flavour is intensely roasty with a boozy, warming quality. There is an almost sharp fruity tartness at the front and a strong and lingering roast bitterness in the finish. So incredibly bitter and crazy boozy which nearly masks the big malts.
Feels thick and syrupy.
I'm really torn about this beer, just too bitter for me. I think I will let my second bottle mature for a good while and see how it goes.

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Photo of byronic
2.5/5  rDev -32.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Pours dark as night, with very little head but a sticky residue. Looks fairly exciting but nothing out of the ordinary. Sweet in the nose and some bitterness. Whoa! Malt, malt, malt and overpowering booze. To me there was nothing refined about this glass of beer. Sickly sweet and boozy ending up in one of my very few sink pours.

This is an enigma to me. I was quite interested in this brew, glad to have tried it but left very dissapointed.

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Photo of mistersifter86
4.03/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

375mL bottle - best before 22nd May 2024 (!). Poured into a tulip glass.

A: Half bottle poured into the tulip, equal parts black beer and firm tan head. Coats the glass with an sticky residue whilst swirling. The champagne yeast results in the head being the party piece of the appearance. 17.5% ABV? Hard to believe.
S: A real sweet fruity coffee aroma - could be smelling a single origin espresso. A soy type aroma comes along later on.
T: Hot, dark, ashy flavour. Extremely bitter - wow. No real malt sweetness to speak off, it's a roasty and bitter monster. Bitterest stout I've ever encountered. Leaves a warm coating on the tongue and down your throat. An absolute sipper for sure
M: Medium to full, but nowhere as sticky as some of his other big sippers (think Beer Geek series). Champagne yeast has done a good job to thin the beer out somewhat once it hits your lips.
O: My lord this is bitter. I was expecting it to be hot, however I think the best is yet to come. Thankfully have another one stored away - I don't doubt the best before date of 2024. Drinking fresh is an intense experience. Sadly I have nobody to share with, this will occupy me for the rest of the evening.

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Photo of TerryW
3.66/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Like tar with a good looking firm head. Nice lace. Nifty looking beer.

Lots of dark fruit in the nose and to taste. Aroma of charcoal. Quite sweet up front, but not cloying. Drying and a touch chalky. Lingering grapefruit rind and tar finish. 17%? Ca't tell to taste as the alcohol is well integrated. But you'll have a pretty clear sense it's 17% about half way through.

Well made, not quite to my taste. A little extreme in character.

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Photo of peensteen
3.16/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3

Jet black, wuite a big tan head with lots of lace. Smell burnt/charred malt, well roasted, soy sauce and lots of alcohol soaked dark fruits. Taste is a mix of dark fruit and burnt-charred malt, tobacco flavours, vinous fruit and alcohol, with a mild bitter finish. Lightly carbonated, medium-full body, sticky and clingy parts. This is all over the place, its just too much of everything to be taken seriously or even be considered all that drinkable, 3-4 oz. of this is plenty, a far cry from the excellent Cognac BA variant of this beer.

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Photo of ludachris
4.61/5  rDev +23.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a 4oz tulip, its head takes up half the glass at three fingers high. It's dense and sticky, coating the sides of the glass as it slowly recedes. Its rich tan shade gives it a menacing look. The body is black in the middle with chestnut brown edges. She's a burly looking lassie.

The first impression sounds funny as I type it; soy sauce, olive juice, and ethanol. Thankfully, it doesn't take much digging to get to its core. Boozy and warm dark chocolate, cocoa powder and a rich coffee bean roast. It smells like it has the density of sweet pumpernickel bread or chocolate cake. Its zip of booze and burnt sugar is the icing on top. Ripe chocolate covered field berries come to the forefront as it opens up.

The taste is intense and alive. Its alcohol content paints the palate and clears the nostrils. In small sips there's a soothing warmness that goes with it. Its flavor profile comes in layers. Sweet booze soaked raspberries and strawberries come first. Cake chocolate, rye bread, and cocoa powder give it a deep richness. As it nears the finish, its rye bread quality turns dry and meshes with a coffee bean roastiness with a pleasant bitterness.

Full bodied with an intense chewy richness. The finish is dry and long. Its warming feel is intoxicating.

This is an incredible double stout. The ways its ABV is rendered in the nose and taste is exceptional. It's fully integrated and adds to its sweetness, richness, and weight without ever being overbearing. Its complexity is what kept me taking sip after sip. I'm a big fan of Mikkeller and how creative and experimental his beers can be and this tops everything I've had from him to date. It's only almost 3 months in but this is my best beer of 2015 thus far.

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Photo of BGDrock
4.21/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Appearance: nearly pitch black; dense, milk chocolate head, sticky and leaving big trails of lace - like coffee crema

Aroma: smoke, spices - clove, all spice; perfumy and floral; completely addictive, can't place the scents, and heady with alcohol

Taste & Mouthfeel: big, intense dark roasted malts, tasting of burnt coffee, and oily in the same way; bitter finish imprints itself on the palate and doesn't let go, a combination of the malts and some straightforward hops; a touch of toffee sweetness, some raisin and prunes too; kind of a cola flavour in the sugar, it's deeper than normal; towards the end getting a sense of lactose, creamy mouthfeel, and more mellow coffee notes; alcohol well disguised for 17%

Overall: in the end, becomes a velvety, bitter, coffee dessert, intensity evened out, everything blending beautifully - but the first half of the bottle is a kick in the face

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Photo of kodt
4.46/5  rDev +19.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Woah, big thick creamy head. This beer is huge, extreme bitterness, strong roasted malts, some chocolate but then you are assaulted by the bitterness.

Despite the extremes, I actually enjoy this one.

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Photo of jmarsh123
2.23/5  rDev -40.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

Pours jet black with decent lacing. Smells like chocolate and licorice. Taste is way way way too sweet. I couldn't take more than a few sips of this. Complete malt bomb that was almost undrinkable. Drain pour. If you want something this strong, seek out some barrel aged Avery. It's much better.

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Photo of waltc21
4.75/5  rDev +27.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Intersting beer that is to be drunk (sic) where you do not have to worry where you are going. Great, in your face (actually a slap!) taste. I justwish I could find it where I live.

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Photo of mtomlins
2.36/5  rDev -36.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 1.5

Bloody hell, Mikkeller Black Death would be a more appropriate name!! I knew this was a beast of beer going in, but Black has dethroned Voodoo Maple Bacon Doughnut as the worst beer I have ever had. I was impressed with the monster, black head and incredible lacing, and the nose was not offensive, but it simply tastes bad! It's a sucker punch in a bottle with ash tray and 'concentrated soy sauce that was then further reduced and finally left to spoil at room temperature with raw chicken' flavors dominating everything, even the hope that I will ever be able to taste again.

The best use of these extra bottle we all bought for cellaring with dreams of Black evolving into something delicious are better used as a boat anchor…or as a club to flog oneself about the head and shoulders for being so stupid as to buy multiples of this swill.

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Photo of spinrsx
3.63/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

375ml Bottle from the Ottawa LCBO for $9.50 or so

Appearance - Dark brown colour with a huge size frothy/fizzy beige head. I can't make out the amount of carbonation showing and there is some good lacing. The head lasted for over 5 minutes before it was gone.

Smell - Malts, chocolate, coffee, vanilla, smoke, dark fruits

Taste & Mouth - There is an average amount of carbonation and I can taste malts, chocolate, and coffee. There is also some vanilla, a ton of burnt/charred notes, and a smokiness.

Overall - I like the smell, I like the taste.. but the aftertaste of lingering char/ash/smoke ruins it for me. Certainly an extreme beer that was neat to try, and I have 2 more to age.. but I won't buy any more.

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Photo of AndyAvalanche
4.56/5  rDev +22.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.5

12.7 oz bottle poured into a Duvel Tulip style glass. Straight out of the glass the liquid is dark, dark, dark brown. As it collects and rises in the glass it becomes completely black with no highlights, completely blocking all light. The head is a dark kaki color with mostly all small bubbles. A huge head arises off of a pretty hard pour, sticks around for a while and has some pretty good lacing to it. This is an elite looking imperial stout. Best looking I've seen since Darkness.

The second I cracked this one open I could smell it and almost immediately felt guilty because I should probably be sharing it. Huge amounts of roasted barley that produce plenty of dark chocolate and coffee/espresso aromas. Has sort of a charred sweet smell, like a mixture of sugar, brown sugar, vanilla and maybe even some almond extract were left on the stove for too long. Some intense alcohol tickles your nose on each smell in addition to everything.

Taste is unbelievably excellent. Huge grain bill here, roasted, toasted, and some even charred. The grains give off the same chocolate and coffee flavors that they do in the aroma. Plenty of sweetness again, lots of sugary notes with some vanilla flavors come out as if it were bourbon barrel aged, but to my understanding this beer is not. According to the website, dark cassonade is an ingredient so that would make sense about all of the sugary tastes and smells. There are also hints of vinous fruits like cherries or grapes that are subtle and in the back. Really great tasting beer, elite in my opinion.

Mouthfeel is the thing not making this beer elite all around in my opinion, but it's just that, a matter of opinion. Full bodied the whole way, lingering flavor that will could potentially still last when I wake up in the morning. Very smooth, with a great carbonation level a lot of high ABV beers tend to not be carbonated enough sometimes, this beer does just fine in that department. Appropriately touches the sweet and bitter portions of your tongue and even slightly (EXTREMELY slightly) touches the tart taste buds. I know I said the mouthfeel is the one part lacking and all I've done is praise it so far so here it comes. This beer is HOT. It is a very hot beer and comes at you aggressively. So sweet, going to bitter with a hot, dry finish. Makes the drinkability slightly go down. This beer is a sipper, don't try to take anything more, you may regret it. This beer has some pretty harsh reviews and I would think that would be why. You have to take this beer for what it is, a high ABV big stout. A truly nice treat on stout day. Something I've wanted to open for awhile and glad I finally did. Probably the most cellarable beer I've every had the ability to age. Great beer. This particular bottle probably had 3-4 year on it.

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Photo of Chico1985
3.06/5  rDev -17.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

This intimidating beast of a beer has been sitting in the back of my fridge for a while now. A cold and rainy autumn eve with nothing to do seems like the perfect time to crack it. This reads 16.8% for the ABV, I believe it's 6-9 months old.

A - Color is ...yeah. Thick pour. Big ol cascading brown head. Impressive retention, some lace left.

S - Scary, somewhat offensive, yet plain. Very dense unsweetened chocolate, roast, brown sugar, fusel alcohol, licorice, playdoh.

T - Absurd combo of chardonnay sweetness, burnt sugar, licorice, raisin, vodka, tobacco, ash, burnt coffee grounds. Puts the nose to shame (or the other way around?). The initial harshness of the booze is eventually overtaken by the calamity of flavors, but this is still undeniably hot hot hot. As it warms some chocolate is noticeable.

M - Feel is big but not as sludgy as one might assume, carbonation is also surprisingly ample. Alcohol is in your face in a cheap liquor kind of way. Pretty much every sip made me shudder.

O - Maybe it's the alcohol creeping up, but about halfway through/as it warms this becomes somewhat tolerable. Between the alcohol and the all over the place wtf flavors this beer is something else. Started off awful, somehow wound up making sense in some novel way. That being said: laying down my other bottle for a loooong time, and then splitting it at least 3 ways.

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Photo of valianes
3.2/5  rDev -14%

So... confused. On the front, its incredible. Rich chocolate, smoke and deep fruit starts this off. Lots of alcohol. Wonderful start. Aftertaste is reminiscent of chewing a pack of stale cigarettes. Weirdest and most unfortunate contrast of flavours. Wish this was a front and less back. Could have been wonderful.

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Photo of VelvetExtract
3.47/5  rDev -6.7%

-Bottle- Pours a thick, crude oil black. No head. Makes me nearly sure this one is flat. I'm guessing this beer is easily over 2.5 years old. Aroma is incredibly concentrated. Dark fruits, some soy sauce. Fudge and roast and alcohol. The flavor almost tastes like barbecue sauce. Smoky, and incredibly sweet. Intense port qualities. Raisins and dried dark fruits. A little bit of soy sauce. I keep coming back to the BBQ sauce flavor. It doesn't help that this beer (like Black Hole, which I had before this) is completely flat. Not sure if this is intended or not (doubt it) but this is a bit obnoxious. The lack of carbonation allows the beer's horrifyingly giant body to just press down on the tongue. I gave Black Hole a slog pass for its flatness but I'm not going to give this one the same treatment. It feels like I'm drinking brownie batter. This brew has some very impressive traits but they actually become unappealing with no bubbles to help them out.

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Black (黑) from Mikkeller ApS
84 out of 100 based on 248 ratings.