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Black Hole XXX Stout - Chelsea Brewing Company

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Black Hole XXX Stout
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very good

38 Reviews

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Reviews: 38
Hads: 53
Avg: 4.06
pDev: 7.88%
Wants: 2
Gots: 0 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Chelsea Brewing Company visit their website
New York, United States

Style | ABV
Foreign / Export Stout |  7.30% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 08-27-2002

No notes at this time.
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Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 38 | Hads: 53
Photo of bonbini26
2.81/5  rDev -30.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

On Gravity Cask @ the Blind Tiger 02-07-09

A- dark brown, almost black. No head at all from the cask

S- Big roasted malts. Nuts, chocolate, coffee, and a little smoke along with a small herbal hopiness.

T- Not much going on here, sweet malts, some chocolate, coffee notes

M- light-medium body, creamy texture, hardly any carbonation.

D- pretty easy drinking. I would like to try this on tap vs. cask. I feel like a lot of the flavor was lost from the gravity cask

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Photo of mentor
3.39/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark brown one-finger head over a pitch liquid. Thick during the pour. Smells grassy hops with strong blackberry (my guess is from Northern Brewer hops) and some clean alcohol. Dark malts and some esters are present, but far below the hops. Malt is roast and chocolate and esters are anise.

Tastes strong hoppiness with supporting malt sweet. Malt sweet is cut a bit short due to an alcohol sting upon the swallow. Hop flavor is grassy with blackberry and anise. Malt is tame roast and dry cocoa. Cherry ester in the finish and ashy aftertaste. Much too hoppy for the style, but still a nice beer. Thick in the mouth, but doesn't cling on the tongue, due to the alcohol. Medium carbonation and decent drinkability.

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Photo of dudecandle
3.61/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Pitch-black body with perhaps the darkest mocha head I've ever seen. Head was 1+ finger, thick, and left great lacing.

S: A little disappointingly one-note, just smoke for the most part. It was subtly complemented by a deep, roasted character, perhaps coffee.

T: Again, primarily smoke. The present chocolate is about as bitter as I've found in stouts. Toast and coffee, as well.

M: Very full and rich. Quite pleasant.

D: Smoke is the main thing here, but unlike lesser versions of the style, it doesn't get overwhelming and disgusting. It perhaps could have benefited from a nicer complement of secondary flavors, but it was pleasant enough.

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Photo of TheBrewo
3.72/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer was served on cask at Blind Tiger in New York, NY. It arrived in a mug, and appeared to be of the darkest brown color. It sported a one finger tan head, and left no notable lacing as it dissipated. The brew was very dark, making it difficult to assess the presence of sediment and carbonation, but very little of either was noted. The aroma began with a bold steely coffee bean, mixed with bitter cocoa, and huge roasted malt character. Additionally, a cooling vanilla bean was present along with the faintest whiff of alcohol way in the back of the nose. As we sipped we were surprised to experience a hollow hop bitterness right off the front. This was particularly interesting because we hadn’t noticed any hop character in the aroma prior to tasting. As the hops died down, a sour lactic acidity was noticed along with a nice bold coffee bean. As we moved through to the middle of the taste, the vanilla bean from the nose becomes apparent, cooling the palate as it does. This is quickly muted by a charcoal darkness and smoky quality, which brought us to a conclusion. The aftertaste was full, boasting of dry roasted malts, and medicinal phenols, and ending with a unifying smokiness that helps to pull all of the various flavor components together neatly. The body was medium, and the carbonation was low. This beer did, however, feel a bit watery for something labeled a XXX stout. We were expecting something of a robust and full body, and instead were met with a thinner brew more reminiscent of an English porter than a bold stout. The abv was appropriate and the beer drank easily enough.

Overall, the best thing about this brew was the aroma. It was rich and bold, boasting of big roasted malts, and huge coffee elements. These elements, however, were blended perfectly with a cooling vanilla, leading to a complex and mouthwatering aroma that fit this style perfectly. Where the beer lost points however, was in the mouthfeel. We were expecting something rich, bold, and full bodied, but instead were met with a rather thin and watery brew.

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Photo of vfgccp
3.73/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On cask at The Ginger Man in NYC

A – Black with a low, light tan head that settles into a halo around the glass.

S – Bitter cocoa. Hints of smoke. Lighter than expected, and the glass doesn’t feel over-chilled.

T – Rolling roast malt with a noticeable absence of burnt edges. Touches of cocoa. Fairly simple but delicious none the less.

M – Soft, and incredibly smooth Light body.

O – A delicious brew on cask, just a touch too light on the body.

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Photo of metter98
3.75/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Cask at d.b.a., Brooklyn, NY

A: The beer is jet black in color and poured with a finger high beige head that took a long time to fade away.
S: There are light aromas of roasted malts in the nose.
T: Similar to the smell, the taste has light to moderately strong flavors of roasted malts.
M: It feels medium-bodied and smooth yet a bit thin on the palate. There is a hint of dryness in the finish.
O: The beer is relatively easy to drink for the style because it isn’t very heavy on the palate.

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Photo of czfreeman
3.75/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Sampled from cask at The Blind Tiger Saloon, NY.
Initial black apperance with a thin lace of tan brown around the top was the intital greeting from the beer, looks really tasty.
Lots of coffee,bitter chocolates, charcoals, smokiness from the malts, touch of vanilla sweetness, but nose leans havy on the bitter-malty side.
Flavor is very reminescent of the nose. Slightly dry, little bit of chocolate sweetness, but overall a dominatly bitter style stout.
Mouthfeel is medium bodied, finish is on the cleaner-dry side.
Overall a nice sipper.

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Photo of EPICAC
3.75/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On tap at the Brazen Head in Brooklyn.

Appearance: Pours an opaque black/brown. It's topped by a thin, beige head that subsides to a film, leaving patchy lace.

Smell: Roasted malts: coffee and chocolate with some mild fruitiness.

Taste: There's a fruity soda like sweetness upfront. The finish is some nice roasted coffee and dark chocolate flavors.

Mouthfeel: Medium to full-bodied. Low carbonation. Smooth.

Drinkability: A little sweet, but nice.

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Photo of taigor
3.8/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap poured into pint glass.

A - Poured black non-transparent color with small head that dissipated very quickly leaving almost no lacing.

S - Roasted malts and lots of pine nuts with some other earthy aromas.

T - Malts and nutty flavor upfront followed by coffee and chocolate bitterness.

M - Full bodied with medium carbonation.

D - Very good brew and very drinkable. Would definitely like to have one again.

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Photo of hopdog
3.88/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at the Brew Pub.

Waiter told me this was the Porter Authority but all the boards at the bar has it listed as the Blackhole Stout.

Poured a dar black with an averaged sized tan head. Aromas and tastes of chocolate and roasted malts. Tastes had a lactose quality to it with stronger chocolate. Medium sweet with a light bitterness.

Notes from: 9/17/05

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Photo of tempest
3.93/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On-tap at the Brazen Head in Brooklyn.

Looks jet black with a nice tan head and some lacing as I drink. The aroma was of a simple stout, just some dark roasted grains, but the flavor opened up to a lot more with sweet chocolate, a bitter, roasted grains element that stayed with you (in a good way). As it warmed some citrus hops came in ala Shakespeare Stout. All in all, this was a very drinkable and tasty stout. Definitely worth trying in NYC.

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Photo of Nickls
3.93/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

(From notes)

A - Dense jet black color, with a nice creamy tan head that held well

S - Light roasted malt aromas, and really the smokey/roasted aromas are all that's going on to my nose

T - Dryish roastiness, with some fainter burlapy/grainy flavors

M - Medium to thicker MF, and not that creamy. Carbonation was what I would expect for the style (light, but still some snappy bubbles)

D - Just OK drinkability for me as the flavor range was not overly complex (even for the style) and really didn't quaff as well as some other examples that I've tried.

Overall, this was more than a solid brew. However, not my favorite offering from Chelsea and they've proven they can do better (damn my expectations). Definitely worth checking out if readily available.

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Photo of cosmicevan
4/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

picked up a small growler fill of this today for the giant game.

a - poured into a ccb snifter. thick black with a thin tannish offwhite head spotty lacing.

s - very roasty and a little burnt. has an irish cream undertone to it. quite nice.

t - HUGE roasted malts. again, irish cream undertone. finishes a bit burnt and bitter. maybe some andy's candy in there.

m - bold and lively. lots of carbonation giving it a kind of porter like char to the feel.

o - overall a very nice foreign export stout, reminds me a bit of short's uncle steve's irish stout, but better. very good take on the style from a local brewery. would be more than happy to have this again. worthy.

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Photo of Jason
4.03/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Stellar rings of lace stick to the glass, two shades away from pitch black.

Big roasted twang, suggestive of coffee and unsweetened bakers chocolate. Punch of dark fruitiness lines up with the sweetness of the malt giving off ripe plum and dark raisin flavours. Finishes slightly sweet with a leftover charcoal twang.

Very yummy, sip this one and let it warm up a bit.

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Photo of pnkermiz
4.03/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On draft at Barcade. Foreign export stout (a style whose definition I can never fully grasp) was deep black in color with a nice frothy head. Coffee and dark chocolate is very evident in the aroma and in the first sip. Roasted malts and bitter chocolate and hops come through in the second wave of flavor. Goes down dangerously easy for the ABV in a pint. Tasty. I wish they brewed this one a bit more often.

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Photo of Gavage
4.03/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: black in color with a nice 2" tan colored head. Thick lacing paints the glass during the session.

Smell: roasted malts and some dark chocolates are detectable.

Taste: big roasted malt profile with dark chocolates, hints of coffee, soft alcohol tones, and a nice hearty bitterness to balance it out.

Mouthfeel: heavy in body. Smooth from start to finish, and a bit dry at the end. Long aftertaste as the flavors linger in the mouth forever.

Drinkability: this was a nice hearty stout after spending a cold day in NYC. This one is worth having when it is on tap.

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Photo of ffejherb
4.05/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On tap at Chelsea on 1/17/09. Served in a shaker pint glass.

A - Pure black body with a finger of creamy tan head that receded to a thin ring but left ornate lacing around the rim of the glass.

S - Aroma is reminiscent of brown chocolate licorice candy with roasted malt, a hint of coffee and gritty, leafy earthen hops.

T - Chocolate malt and a more subtle coffee character with moderate hop bitterness and a bit of a nutty aspect. Licorice and roasted malt really comes out in the finish and is joined by an earthy hop bitterness.

M - Medium body with a smooth, oily, slick texture, yet maintains a pretty good level of carbonation resulting in some prickle on the tongue. Mildly astringent on the palate with a good bit of earthy hop bitterness in the finish.

D - Nice job on this solid stout that is pretty complex and tasty. Congrats to Chelsea on the Bronze medal at the 2008 GABF!

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Photo of TheycallmeTim
4.08/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Growler poured into a tulip pint.

A--Beefy three finger head, billowy dark brown sugar colored foam. Pitch black body. Impressive looking.

S--Smells like charred dark cocoa powder. Also some molasses pulled through, a rich syrupy not sweetness so much as roasted tang. Smells thick and smooth, somehow.

T--Light and full-flavored at the same time. Tons of dark chocolate and charcoal puckering bitterness. Tobacco huskiness parches toward the back. Roasty but mostly bitter chocolate notes, without as much coffee. In the middle there's a lovely almost plum thing going on. The kind of plum taste you get from some sauces in Asian cooking. The black malt flavors are well developed here.

M&D--Mouthfeel's excellent: silky and slick. Lightens the flavor wallop considerably without being watery. Drinkability's decent. Pretty hefty to session, but one or two are fully satisfying.

A massive stout. This one is not screwing around. Like Guinness Foreign Extra on roids. Could use a /bit/ of restraint, I think, but shows off American boisterousness well.

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Photo of gwong
4.08/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours jet black with a thin tan/brown head. Excellent lacing left on the glass.

S: Roasted malts and nuts in the nose.

T: Bittersweet dark chocolate and roasted coffee flavor.

M: Medium body with low carbonation and smooth on the tongue.

D: Very drinkable but the alcohol will eventually get to you.

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Photo of dragonWhale
4.17/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Into the tulip the blackness tumbles further down the rabbit hole. A black hole of despair and neglect. But this glass? I shall neglect not. I raise it to the light..Impenetrable! I smell, the roast, the coffee, a faintness of hop..of hope. Big creamy tan head, the bubbles fine. The flavor is nice, the creaminess of the stout is cut with the bitterness and roasted barley. A little coffee rounds out an excellent stout flavor. Full-bodied, very creamy despite the sharp notes of bitterness from hop and husk. An extremely solid brew from the local cats..

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Photo of ski271
4.18/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: So dark brown it looks almost black. Head is medium tan, small, and velvety with good retention. Excellent rings of lacing all the way down.

Smell: Big roasted malts. Nuts, chocolate, coffee, and a little smoke along with a small herbal hopiness.

Taste: The malts dominate this relatively sweet brew. Bittersweet chocolate, earth, coffee, plum, and a little brown sugar. It turns a little bitter and fruitier for a few seconds on its way to the rich, sweet, dark chocolate, long-lasting finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-full body, creamy texture, hardly any carbonation.

Drinkability: It’s a well-rounded big stout. Excellent with a desert or just as a nice evening wintertime snack. Although it’s not the greatest stout, there’s something unique about that I enjoyed. Maybe someday it will come to me and I’ll be able to point to what made it different. Definitely worth a try.

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Photo of kasper
4.21/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours an extremely dark brown/black with a luscious multi-finger chocolate head that settles to a thick blanket, leaving all kinds of crazy lacing on the glass.

S: Smells of roasty, but pretty simple. There's nothing amazing in the smell, maybe some bittersweet chocolate, but that really comes through on the taste.

T: Loads of malty bittersweet chocolate up front with a subtle bitter espresso finish. very tastey, extremely well balanced. alchocal burn at points

M: Smooth and thick like a like a milkshake. I consider it a full body beer. A nicely carbonated imperial stout.

D: I find this beer to be pretty drinkable if you're a fan of smooth and tasty double/imperialk stouts. I've all but finished a growler purchased a couple days ago at bierkraft, and will definitelty have a pint any time I see it around in NYC.

Also had this gem at the recent Manhattan Cask Fest (thanks Alex), and it was even smoother and tastier.

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Photo of Sixpoint
4.22/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Had a pint of this on tap a few days before the Republican Convention in NYC.

Nice appearance... opaque black, there is definitely no light passing through this stout. A black hole for light, indeed.

Smells awesome. I smell an abudance of roasted grains... must have put copious amounts of chocolate, roast, black, and dark crystal malts. My suspicions are confirmed by the brewers, Chris and Mark, whom are sitting next to me.

Tastes nice. There is a creaminess that comes from flaked barley, which instantly reminds me of a classic Irish dry stout. In addition, the flaked barley lends a distinct dry sharpness, which, in my opinion, adds a unique element to the beer.

I give this beer a 3.5 for mouthfeel simply because I would like it to be a bit more full-bodied.

Overally, I think this beer is very drinkable. Like all of Chelsea's beers, this beer is super-clean, very attenuated, and has lots of flavor hops. A slice of California in NYC.

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Photo of Douglas14
4.23/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a matte black color with a nice tan head that is very thick...easily one of the best heads I have ever seen. It smells heavily of coffee, caramel, and burnt/ roasted malt. The taste is of very dark chocolate, dark fruits, roasted coffee beans, and caramel again. It has a nice hoppiness to it that greatly distinguishes it from the other export stouts. It is super silky in the mouth. Delicious beer.

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Photo of WesWes
4.23/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours a pitch black color with an awesome brown head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is good. It has a nice dry, roasted scent that boasts of chocolate and patent malts. There is also a bit of sweetness to the aroma. The taste is great! It has quite a black/roasted malt flavor that goes down incredibly smooth and finishes with an earthy bitterness. The mouthfeel is fine. It is a full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a well brewed stout with loads of roasted character.

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Black Hole XXX Stout from Chelsea Brewing Company
89 out of 100 based on 38 ratings.