Black Hole (Bourbon Edition) - Mikkeller ApS

Not Rated.
Black Hole (Bourbon Edition)Black Hole (Bourbon Edition)

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

177 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 177
Reviews: 96
rAvg: 3.76
pDev: 19.68%
Wants: 12
Gots: 45 | FT: 2
Brewed by:
Mikkeller ApS visit their website

Style | ABV
Russian Imperial Stout |  13.10% ABV

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: gford217 on 05-27-2010

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Brewed at De Proefbrouwerij.
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Ratings: 177 | Reviews: 96
Reviews by Arenbeer:
Photo of Arenbeer
4.37/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

12.7floz Cork and Caged bottle into a Goblet

$13.99 at Decicco's in Ardsley

A- Pours solid black with pretty much no head other than a rim of different sized bubbles around the glass. No retention as it goes down the glass but leaves some serious alcohol legs behind.

S- Coffee up front that's followed by a lot of bourbon and musty oak notes. Getting notes of fresh leather, sweet vanilla and coconut as well. The base beer shines through but the presence of the bourbon barrels hear is undeniable.

T- Deep dark roasted malts up front with burnt coffee, and bitter unsweetened dark chocolate. But what really makes this beer shine is the barrel flavors. Lots of char, sweet vanilla, coconut, and of course boozy bourbon that blends so nicely.

M- Medium to light bodied with low carbonation and a nice clean finish with a good warming feeling down the throat from the bourbon. Body is a little to thin for me especially for this style.

Overall this is definitely hands down my favorite of the line-up. The beer and the barrels blend so nicely and create such a complexity of flavors that is satisfying every sip. If you can get this serious buy these and only these. The rest will disappoint, glad I saved this one for last.


More User Reviews:
Photo of dogfishandi
4.38/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12.7oz capped and foiled green bottle at fridge temp poured into a snifter.

pours out a deep opaque black color, the slightest bits of brown show on the edges in the light. very nice thick creamy mocha colored head, super creamy retention with lots of sticky lace left around.

in the aroma, lots of creamy heavily roasted/ burnt malt, also some cocoa, vanilla, charred wood, coffee, dark fruits. everything is there in moderation.

first you get this creamy burnt roastiness, cocoa, vanilla, roasted coffee, dark fruits. the magic in the taste really happens after youve swallowed the sip. lots of charred wood, oaky vanilla, bourbon, maybe its the honey that takes on a nice sweet almost maple flavor. very nice.

so smooth and creamy, sticky on the palate, full bodied. carbonation a touch high at first but it settles.

im surprised at how solid this is, maybe one of the best ive had from mikkeller yet! i was kind of going into this expecting to find nothing that it proclaimed on the label, but to my surprise, its all there! honey, coffee, vanilla, bourbon barrel. has that trademark mikkeller ashy creaminess, in there stouts atleast. my first of the black hole series, cant wait to try more.

Photo of oberon
4.12/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

My first of the Barrel Aged editions of this beer.Poured jet black into a snifter,a thin walnut colored head atop.Deep vanilla and roast aromas with chocolate and toasty oak coming into play as well,the vanilla stands out along with an alcohol sweet zing as it warms.Vanilla tinged bourbon flavors with chocolate and roast,again as the beer warms more alcohol induced sweetness comes into play.This is a sipper,but its rich and warming,a very nice RIS.

Photo of Mora2000
4/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to bu11zeye for sharing this bottle. Drank alongside the white wine, red wine, tequila, cognac and scotch whisky versions.

The beer pours a dark brown to black color with a small tan head. The aroma is very heavy on the oak, with some bourbon and vanilla notes also mixed in. There is also some strong chocolate and a little bit of maple in the aroma.

The flavor is similar. The flavors that stand out the most are vanilla and maple, with some nice oak and chocolate notes also mixed in. The roasted malt is also present, as are some whiskey notes.

Thick mouthfeel and low carbonation.

The consensus of the group was that this was the best of the six barrel-aged Black Holes that were shared at the tasting.

Photo of daveytheformer
4.25/5  rDev +13%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours pitch black with a huge khaki colored head that dissipates to a sticky lacing on the glass.

Smells really sweet like coconuts, vanilla, chocolate, bourbon, oak and a light roasted malt aroma. Repeated whiffs and the coconut turns into honey.

Tastes are lots of chocolate, dark fruits, promised vanilla and a pleasant roasted coffee characteristic round out the flavor. The lady says rotten wood.

Mouthfeel is medium to full bodied. Very light carbonation that works in this beers favor.

Overall is top notch in my book. Would love to try all the different variations of Black Hole.

Photo of glid02
4.22/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle purchased from Green's on Ponce in Atlanta.

Pours black with a one-finger brown head. The head recedes into a wispy layer on top leaving solid lacing.

Smells of roasted malts, dark chocolate, vanilla, and smooth bourbon. Also present are mild amounts of coffee.

Tastes similar to how it smells. Robust roasted malt flavors serve as the backbone and are joined by equal amounts of vanilla, bourbon, and dark chocolate flavors shortly thereafter. The flavors sweeten a bit midway through the sip before coffee flavors temper the profile before a solidly bitter ending.

Mouthfeel is good. It's got a nice thickness with grainy carbonation.

Drinkability is very good. I finished my glass quickly and could easily have a few more.

Overall I found that the bourbon and scotch barrels had the most influence on this beer and the bourbon did the best job of the two of augmenting as opposed to overpowering. A very nice beer that's well worth a shot.

Photo of Sammy
4.07/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Great bourbon and chocolate aromas.Bittersweet chocolate taste, big thickness and oily.Lots of roast. Lacey on black body. The barrel ageing gave some coconut. A bit astringent finish.Barrel did not make it amazing. I liked this beer plain too.
Ken's bottle.

Photo of Roguer
2.14/5  rDev -43.1%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 1 | overall: 2

First off: worst cork ever.

No head from a turbulent pour - just the barest rim of dark brown bubbles around the edge. A bad sign. Brew is jet black.

Big bourbon notes, as well as an aspirin smell, chocolate malts and cacao, and roasted barley. Bourbon is overwhelmingly strong.

Bourbon, chocolate malt, and sour oak. Not good. Not good at all. I'm sure it's infected or died somewhere along the way.

Flat and lifeless. Reinforces the infected/dead indications.

What a shame - one beer, high expectations, and right down the drain. If I get a good bottle later on, then I'll revise my review appropriately. Right now, all I can go off of is a dead, flat, probably infected bottle.

Photo of dirtylou
4.03/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

consumed post US-England, 1st in line with the others in the series (wine, rum, scotch)

12.7oz bottle purchased at Star

appearance: corked (synthetic), caged and foiled. all 4 barreled versions have a strong appearance - served in snifters - very dark mahogany, creamy chocolate crests with strong retention

smell: big roasted malts, coffee and cream, fierce bourbon

taste: maybe the best of the 4 we sampled, though the rum-barrel version was also impressive. The scotch and wine versions were the ones i expected to like the most, but no dice. The bourbon plays pretty well in this one - extreme roasted malts, coffee, strong bourbon. I preferred the single-hop IPA series to these, but it was still a fun session

mouthfeel: full bodied, strong bourbon warming

drinkability: ok

Photo of nickd717
3.4/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

375ml bottle thanks to chswimmer. Thanks, Ted!

Pours black in color with a small tan head that fades to swirls of tan foam on the beer.

Aroma has chocolate, espresso, bourbon, and some higher alcohol presence.

Flavor is maybe a little better than the wine version. Tastes like a typical good Mikkeller impy stout with a big bourbon presence and a little -bal. Some bittersweet chocolate notes in there too.

Smooth on the palate with low carbonation and medium-full body.

Decent overall, better than all the other versions except Wine. Disappointing for a -bal aged imperial stout from Mikkeller though.

Photo of Gmann
4.03/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours as black as a beer can get black with crazy thick, dense brown head that slowly disipates leaving tons of lacing on the glass. The aroma is of a straight roasted malt, some light vanilla, honey and caramel. Not very strong on the bourbon for a bourbon barrel aged brew; nice vanilla though. There is some alcohol vapors seeping through, though not as strong as the others in the series. The taste is of a big roasted malt, coffee grounds, and some sour from the oak. What I thought would be the strongest barrel aged flavor in the series seems to be the weakest. The bourbon seems to add some vanilla and a touch of the whiskey but not as much as I expected. The oak also adds a tart fruity aspect which cuts the roasted malt very well. The flavors seem more balanced in this brew but not much "wow" factor, still good though. Well bodied with soft carbonation, good range of flavor between roasted bitterness, fruity tartness and some sweet malt. It is a tad boozy but not as bad as the others; seems more intergrated. A solid roasted malt coffee stout with hints of bourbon and whiskey. Seems to be made for the intent of balance, probably still could use some aging.

Photo of Neffbeer
3.06/5  rDev -18.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Corked and caged bottle that I picked up last winter sometime. No date found on the bottle. Poured into a snifter.

A: There was little to no pop when I removed the cork, but there was a good amount of carbonation when I poured yielding a thick one and a half finger head. It is dark as night and completely opaque. The head displayed good retention and left behind a fair amount of sticky lacing.

S: The nose presents a heavy dose of bourbon laced dark malts. There are notes of booze, vanilla, oak, chocolate, anise, and tobacco. There is something a bit acrid going on that I find a little off putting.

T: Bourbon, bourbon, bourbon in my face. The barrel is so intense that it actually masks all the interesting flavors I detected from the nose. It doesn't particularly bother me as I really enjoy bourbon, but something to balance that flavor would make this beer much better. It finishes with a big dose of bitter dark chocolate with some residual sweetness.

M: The mouthfeel is way too thin for this big of a stout. I would prefer something much thicker with a touch more carbonation

O: Not terrible, I will finish my glass without a drain pour, but certainly not worth the price tag.

Photo of CooperEllis
3.3/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Whole bottle into the DFH snifter - I presume this will be the only drink I have tonight.

Very dark, initially a big billowy head but after that goes away there is little in the way of lacing. Not sure what the carb is going to be on this - I had to use pliers to get out the cork and there was a barely audible 'pop'.

I really enjoy the smell - but it is one dimensional. That dimension is booze. Within the booze, if you're able to keep your nose in there, there a nice roasted malt and chocolate notes but man are they burried. Think about biting into one of those Jack Daniels candies with the liquid booze in 'em. Now imagine that it was the same concept but delivered in a more refined manner.

Wow, my left eye flipped shut with the abrupt tart/booze combo out of the gate. This is much more watery than the color and smell indicate and I got a pretty good pop without much effort. The best part of this is in the complexity of the last bite and aftertaste. There is some roast, some malt, some bourbon, some wood. There is also a faint chocolate milk flavor.

The booze dominates and this is a bit watery for a stout, perhaps even more so for an RIS and expectation may be driving me to think this a bit more watery than it truly is.

I have no ability to drink more than one of these. Possibly ever, but certainly not in a sitting - or maybe even a month.


Photo of bluejacket74
4.32/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12.7 ounce corked and caged bottle. Served in a snifter, the beer pours dark brown/black with about a 1/2 inch brown head. Not much head retention, but there is a good amount of lacing. Aroma is nice and strong, it smells like roasted malt, coffee, vanilla, bourbon, chocolate, and honey. The flavors are mostly the same as the aroma, but the coffee and roasted malt flavors are stronger compared to the chocolate, bourbon, vanilla and honey. There's also some burnt/charred malt noticable. Mouthfeel/body is medium/full, it's creamy and a bit slick with decent carbonation. Drinkability is good, it's an easy enough brew to drink. The 13.1% ABV is hidden well for the most part. I think this is a good overall brew, I'd probably buy another bottle if I came across this again, although it is pricey.

Photo of philbe311
3.59/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Absolutely zero head, just a couple of big chunky bubbles that dance atop the surface before fading and leaving a milky way like veil of lacing and a miniscule collar around the glass... Pours a flat black with some distinct reddish hue... Quite still... Leaves a very thick filmy residue on the sides of the glass...

S - The nose if very warm and inviting... Vanilla... Milk chocolate... A bit of alcohol... Raisins... Some earthy wood tones... A very modest bit of roasted malts... Deep and fairly complex...

T - The booze dominates... Some faint vanilla and chocolate attempt to compete for dominance, but ultimately fail... Extremely subdued raisin, roasted malts, and caramel as well... Some woody notes... Then more booze on the finish...

M - Medium to full bodied... A bit on the thin side... Limited carbonation... Sharp and biting... A bit gritty and chalky... The booziness lingers and warms the entire mouth for a while post swallow...

D - This barrel aged black hole series was a unique endeavor from Mikkeller... The brews were either hit of miss with this one falling squarely in the middle... Not a bad beer, but far from the elite of its barrel aged brethren...

Photo of TheSevenDuffs
4.2/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle to Founders tulip.

A - Black with half a finger of brown head.

S - Very sweet up front - chocolate, bourbon, vanilla, oak and some coffee notes. The ABV is noticeable without being distracting.

T - The ABV is noticeable up front and gives way to a mix of barrel characteristics and the base beer. Bourbon, oak and light vanilla come together with roasted malts, semi-sweet chocolate, coffee, char and molasses. Fairly complex with good integration of the base beer and the barrel characteristics.

M - Medium body. Light to moderate carbonation.

Photo of jsanford
3.82/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a Cigar City Snifter.

Pours like "Regular" Black Hole, which is a dark, ominous black with a thin mocha head that fades to a slight ring. Big aromas and flavors of bitter roasted malt and burnt coffee, with strong Bourbon notes of oak, caramel, and vanilla. The Bourbon integrates nicely with the base beer, and takes a lot of the harsh edge off (thankfully). Mouthfeel is slightly creamy, with a full body and low carbonation. Much better then the base beer, and a good "control" for the rest of the Barrel-Aged versions, but I've had about a million Bourbon-aged beers that were better.

Photo of Greywulfken
4.15/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

My first Mikkeller brew. Poured into a tulip glass.

A: pitch black ('natch) with a thick dark tan head that settled slowly but never completely disappeared

S: coffee, bourbon, molasses, cocoa - sweet and burnt

T: semi-sweet with some chocolate, maybe a little of the honey, and notes of the bourbon - Somewhere between North Coast's Old Rasputin and Goose Island's Bourbon County Stout.

M: a little sticky, no bitterness or bad aftertaste, the high abv is invisible - no burn or astringency

O: a very good beer - I hold the Old Rasputin in very high regard but have lost some of my enthusiasm for the Bourbon County stout, and this beer is a good middle ground between the two.

Photo of mikesgroove
4.11/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thrilled to be able to grab this lineup at the store yesterday. I decided to open the Bourbon first simply because the green foil topped bottle looking stunning. Served at cellar temp and poured into a snifter, this one was consumed on 06/08/2010.

The pour was perfect. Dark as night with a wonderful two inch cap of dark chocolate colored foam, Thick as it sits on the top for what seemed like a year and never really released its grip on the glass. Just absolutely a sublime look, especially for something that spent so much time in a barrel, it really just shined here.

Aroma is deep bourbon, hot and you can tell with notes of woodsy oak, vanilla, hints of dark roasted malts and a deep alcohol touch to it. Warming allows it to mellow considerably and calm back down leaving the warm chocolate and coffee notes as well as the oak to really shine. First sip is hot again and it takes a few minutes to really come together, once it does though it is quite nice. Rich bourbon notes, hints of oak, vanilla, touches of light coffee as well. Quite complex. Tobacco leaves and a raw almost leather like flavor in the finish leaves me guessing. Incredible feel as there is no hint of flatness or dullness here, just a rich, full profile that gets the job done.

Overall a great BA Stout. Incredibly strong as the base is, but the bourbon barrel took nicely to this. Definitely cannot wait to try the scotch and the wine barrels as that is way more towards where my flavor goes to.

Photo of cindyjeffsmith
4/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: dark brown. Tan head with thick lacing.
Smell: roastiness in your face. A hint of honey and bourbon.
Taste: as expected, roastiness accompanied by honey and bourbon.
Mouthfeel: slightly viscous.
Overall: fortunately the wonderful wife gave me a case of this fine brew and I'll enjoy as it ages.

Photo of largadeer
1.96/5  rDev -47.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

Quartet shared by chswimmer. Thanks.

Opaque chocolate brown, it has a solid mocha colored head with decent retention. Bourbon, vanilla, caramel and burnt bread consume the senses. Alcohol is sharp and stinging, incredibly harsh compared to other imperial stouts of similar strength. Dark fruit, burnt malt, bourbon and vanilla flavors open this one up. It's plenty complex, but cloying and harsh. Medium-full in body with a burnt, tarry, ashy finish, this is slightly better than the two before it, but it's far from good.

Photo of metter98
3.78/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: The beer is jet black in color and poured with a finger high tan head that died down ever so slowly, leaving some lacing on the surface and a ring of bubbles around the edge of the glass.
S: There are light to moderately strong aromas of bourbon in the nose.
T: The taste is somewhat more complex compared to the smell and has flavors of bourbon along notes of roast chocolate malts plus some hints of vanilla.
M: It feels on the heavier side of medium-bodied and very smooth on the palate. There is a moderate amount of carbonation along with some warming from the alcohol. Only a hint of dryness is detectable.
O: The beer is extremely easy to drink considering the strength because the alcohol is well masked from the taste (except for the bourbon).

Photo of JamnesCameron
4.55/5  rDev +21%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured into a snifter.

Pours black as night, what else is new? Tan head, does not last, leaves a little lace behind.

Aromas of roast, vanilla, oak, and coffee. Compared to the scotch whiskey barrel aged, this is much more 3-deminsional.

First sip is of coffee first (interesting), vanilla, oak, and roast. Tastes like stout float with vanilla ice cream, delicious.

Mouthfeel is thick, bust roasted, mildly sweet, again, like a stout float would feel.

Drinkability is awesome. this is so much more complex and enjoyable than the scotch barrel aged. This is desert in a bottle.

Photo of beerdrifter
3.85/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Picked this up at an awesome beer store outside Ghent, Dranken Geers. Popped the cork on this and it seemed a little flat, but got a decent head. Pitch black pour with a one finger head that fades pretty quickly and nice lacing. Very earthy nose totally dominated by the bourbon. There's also some chocolate and coffee with hints of vanilla and alcohol. Like the smell, the taste is dominated by the bourbon. I'm also getting some oak, slighty burnt espresso, dark chocolate, and a hint of vanilla. No attempt whatsoever to disguise the alcohol. It's got a bitter burn from start to finish. With that said, it's definitely a sipper, but for a 13% beer, it's got decent drinkability. It's way better than some of the recent reviews might indicate. Not Mikkeller's best, but still a decent beer.

Photo of liamt07
3.93/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle shared by Jason, part of our Black Hole blind tasting. 375ml into a snifter.

Poured black (as the others), not too clear around the edge with a light brown head. Good legs, lace and moderate retention. Light fruits on the nose, some oak, soft caramel, honey and corny bourbon. More of the same on the palate, integrated with roast, char, honey and vanilla notes. Bourbon is prominent but not overpowering. Alcohol evident in the finish. Feel is thick and full like all the others, low carbonation. Roasty and charred finish. Nice bourbon qualites here, solid but not outstanding.

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Black Hole (Bourbon Edition) from Mikkeller ApS
85 out of 100 based on 177 ratings.