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Dark Hollow Artisanal Ale - Blue Mountain Brewery

Not Rated.
Dark Hollow Artisanal AleDark Hollow Artisanal Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

666 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 666
Reviews: 163
rAvg: 3.92
pDev: 12.5%
Wants: 62
Gots: 109 | FT: 13
Brewed by:
Blue Mountain Brewery visit their website
Virginia, United States

Style | ABV
American Double / Imperial Stout |  10.00% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: Bierman9 on 11-02-2007

Bourbon Barrel Aged Stout. Dark Hollow blends the miracle of two crafts--brewing and distillation--to create a work greater than the sum of its parts. An Imperial Stout has been aged in charred American oak bourbon barrels still dripping with uncut whiskey. For 100 days the young beer patiently breathes in and out of the wood, gaining complexity, character, and serious attitude.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 666 | Reviews: 163
Photo of BradtheGreat7
4.09/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

1 pint 9.4oz bomber with a great shape. Caged and corked with an excellent screen printed logo of a tunnel of darkness. Dark Hollow has a nice look to it. Poured into a slightly tuliped snifter.

A - black as it gets with a small hint of ruby brown toward the bottom edge that barely finds any light at all. Light brown head pours massive and never vanishes leaving ridiculously sticky lace all over this glass. Surprising for the style and gets top marks for its beauty.

S - roasted malt and hints of char. Bittersweet chocolate and the faintest hints of sweet caramel and buttery sugar. Oak and vanilla whiffs are present as this warms. Like sweet chocolate booziness as it warms. Very nice!

T - roasted malt, charred oak, bittersweet chocolate follow directly in line with the nose with a sweet buttery bourbon note faintly finding it's way through the big roasted, breaded malt backbone.

M - big bodied but lacking a bit of thickness in the finish. Texture does coat the mouth but again lacks a bit of thickness that the best of bba stouts carry. Hints of booziness in the finish does add some complexity but by no means rich and complex in flavor.

O - Blue Mountain has a good stout here no doubt, but perhaps it could use more time in the barrel. It just lacks that big vanilla sweetness that make the best bourbon barrel imperial stouts so highly sought after. Don't get me wrong, this is a very good Imperial Stout, but it's not to be held in the same class as the greatest. Another 6 months in a Kentucky bourbon barrel would do Dark Hollow good and maybe push it into that category for the simple fact the quality is indeed there, but it lacks those barrel characteristics that we all go mad for. 100 days in the barrel? The best touch the bourbon oak for at least 12 months...Again, hats off to the Virginia brewery for creating a lovely underdog sort of BBA imperial stout, but let's through this thing in a kentucky bourbon barrel and sit it in a dark brew house for about 15 months, bc it just lacks thay real deal bourbon sweetness. Not great, but still a Good stout, don't get me wrong. This just needs more time to grow inside the barrel before it's bottled and in ways never reaching it's full potential. A YEAR at least in am authentic Kentucky Bourbon Barrel would do Dark Hollow a great deal of good.

Photo of 57md
3.7/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

Subtle bourbon nose and no real bourbon flavor. Light-bodied for an imperial but the roast profile is decent.

Photo of mabermud
3.94/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Look: One of the darkest beers I have seen. Splotchy, sticky, fine, and creamy looking dark-beige head.
Smell: Stout, medium roasted malt, stale milk, oak, and char.
Taste: The smell + a nice mixture of sweetness.
Feel: Nothing to write home about, but goes well with everything else this imperial stout has to offer.

Overall: Not bad. I wouldn't search this out, mainly because it isn't from around these parts. If I saw a bottle, I would buy one. Not bad at all.

Photo of KomodoDragon
4.01/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Yes - dark, lots of lacing.

Smells of oak & molasses

Rich smoky up front. Sweet and a bit light in the backbone - slight bitter finish. Alcohol present - almost like a semi-sweet chocolate cocktail.

Light carbonation - perfectly so.

Lacks the complexity promised, but delivers on a nicely made sweet stout

Photo of BradMacMullin
4.11/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Had at the Tap Room in Reston. Very nice surprise. After a great weekend at EBF in Boston with amazing stouts, this measured up. Wish this was more readily available.

Photo of JWU
3.98/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

750ml corked and caged. Poured into a goblet.

A- Deep, dark, with a fantastically creamy deep tan head. Fantastic lacing. Stout doesn't look any better.

S- Dark Chocolate, dark fruits, some coffee and a light oaky vanilla character.

T- Follows the nose well. I really enjoy the hint of dark fruit that is absent some other examples of BA'd stouts. Finishes slightly oaky, a hint of bourbon, vanilla, and char.

M- Not the thickest stout I've had, but it's fine for the style.

O- A very nice BA'd stout. While it's not BCBS or KBS, it's more available, and certainly scratches the itch.

Photo of Csikic93
4.35/5  rDev +11%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Corked and caged 750mL bottle bought this on recommendation. Poured into a goblet and drank right after purchase. Pours a dark black with a creamy tan head. Smells like cocoa and coffee and some wood on the nose. Tastes chocolatey and woody at first but finishes with a smooth coffee taste. Gives you a warm feeling. Overall a great beer that deserves a high rating.

Photo of ThickNStout
2.46/5  rDev -37.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 1.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 2.5

Corked and caged 750mL bottle from Bruisin Ales (Asheville, NC). 19.99. Best by 03/13, purchased in 2012. Served in a goblet.

A fairly attractive oily black liquid fills the goblet with a one finger cap of tan foam. A thin head remains, leaving lots of lace.

The nose is quite subdued. Smells of chocolate, oak, char and some brown sugar. Meh.

Things really unravel in the taste. The flavor impressions of rotted wood and mildew make it taste like this was aged in an old log rather than a bourbon barrel. Through that there are notes of dark fruit, chocolate, cheap "extracty" bourbon, earthy vegital bitterness and a little booze. A few ounces is all I can force down before the remainder of the bottle punishes the drain.

The body is actually ok. Creamy, medium feel with moderate carbonation. Finishes with more of that earthy wood rot, a little dark fruit and some cocoa.

Dark Hollow just earned the unenviable distinction of being hands down the worst barrel aged stout I've ever had. I'll accept a little fault for giving it three years before consuming (despite the quote on the bottle stating that this can be aged). But I recall that this was far from great when I drank my first bottle in January 2013 and none of my other cellaring let-downs have been this dramatic.

Photo of jmdrpi
4.24/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

750 ml bottle, corked and caged. The cork is stamped "Best by October 2015". Not sure what that means by when it was brewed.

Black,a bit of head. Once it warms, very pleasant Aroma - booze, vanilla, caramel. Slightly roasted taste - a touch of bitter cocoa to go along with the aroma flavors. Thicker, full mouthfeel, smooth.

Photo of MattSweatshirt
3.9/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Opens with a big pop and lots of smoke.

A large brown head erupts and slowly recedes atop a black body leaving some lacing.

Wood and vanilla from the barrels comes through along with chocolate and dark cherry from the stout. Not really any bourbon.

Dark fruit, wood, vanilla, a little chocolate, and warm alcohol on the flavor.

Well carbonated but retains a creamy medium body.

Pretty nice. Would have liked some bourbon.

Photo of ctjoumas
4.09/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours black with thin layer of tan head. Smell is slightly sweet with a overtones of bourbon. Lots of small bubbles that add to the nice mouthfeel mixing carbonation with a spicy thick feel of a stout with oaky taste accented with coffee. Overall very enjoyable but maybe slightly more "fizziness" in the carbonation.

Photo of lmsouliere
4.89/5  rDev +24.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Also very good blended with Spooky

Photo of Hyydeoustrength
4/5  rDev +2%

The 10% abv is nice, hits the money-spot for abv. Its a good $10 bomber for sure. Not world class, but solid, plus classy bottling. They should do more specialized versions of this brew (vanilla, chili....vanilla....vanilla.)

Photo of SeanShank84
4/5  rDev +2%

Feel pretty strongly about this one. For me, this one is great all around, especially if you don't consume it at a temperature that's too cold. The bourbon is not overpowering, it's just right. Strongly recommend Dark Hollow.

Photo of bluejacket74
3.74/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

750 ml caged and corked bottle, cork says best by JUN 2015. Served in a snifter, the beer pours dark brown/black with a quarter inch tan head that stuck around a little while. There's also a small amount of lacing. The brew smells like roasted malt, bittersweet chocolate, vanilla, oak, caramel, bourbon, and some dark fruit. Taste is similar to the aroma, but there's also some burnt/charred malt and dark bread noticeable. Mouthfeel/body is medium, it's smooth and a bit slick, but has very low carbonation. Overall I liked this, but maybe I'd like it better if it had some more carbonation. I'll have to pick this up again in the future and see if it was just this bottle or batch that was this way. $9.99 a bottle.

Photo of GarthDanielson
4.17/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a cork and cage into a snifter, the beer is jet black, with a low profile, thin, bubbly, tan head. Aromas of milk chocolate, bourbon and vanilla, oak spice, booze, and subtle mocha notes. Flavors are smooth dark chocolate forward, with boozy undertones, a subtle bitter roasted coffee highlight, some earthy and woody notes, vanilla, bourbon, molasses, and subtle char all highlight. Very deep, layered palate, yet amazingly balanced and drinkable. The body is creamy, but with a subtle edge from the carbonation. Roasted, slightly charred, sweet chocolate and booze aftertaste. The finish has a solid linger, with the bitter roast and rich sweetness hanging out, refusing to let your taste buds walk home alone. Very solid, damn tasty brew!

Photo of Viperman1316
3.75/5  rDev -4.3%

This was an excellent smelling and tasting beer I could tell it had lots of potential. Unfortunately there was absolutely no carbonation in the beer which made it drink like flat coke. Overall I would like to try this again and review it as it deserves to be, not as some flat bourbony mess.

Photo of Jeffo
3.41/5  rDev -13%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Mom and dad picked this up in the States when they were there last. Thanks guys!

From a 375 cork and caged bottle into a snifter
IBU: 70
23.5 degrees Plato

APPEARNCE: Pours clear black and yields a two finger, medium looking, creamy tan head with good retention. Black body with higher levels of carbonation evident for the style. Head slowly fades to a good wisp and coats the glass with lacing. A splotchy wisp remains the whole way leaving some dots of lacing down the glass.

SMELL: Dark chocolate, dark cherries, oak notes and some vanilla and bourbon on the nose. A bit mild for the style perhaps, but still nicely balanced.

TASTE: Dark chocolate and oak flavors up front, with some light roasted notes as well. Caramel, roasted flavors and bitter chocolate at the swallow. A medium but lingering finish of oak, light vanilla, bourbon, bitter dark chocolate and some dark cherry notes. Nice stuff. A touch boozy perhaps, but good.

PALATE: Medium body and carbonation. Creamy on the palate, goes down fine and finishes a bit mouth-coating. Full enough for the style.

OVERALL: Good, but nothing overly special. Granted, it’s hard to stand out in such a oversaturated field. This is nice enough, but it’s missing a little extra in the barrel execution to make it stand out from the crowd. Worth drinking if you get the chance, however. Thanks again guys!

Photo of jzeilinger
4.19/5  rDev +6.9%

A - Pours pitch black as every good stout does, minimal head dies down and leaves a very
thick ring of creamy colored toffee lacing.

S - Dark roasted chocolate malt, mild char, light bourbon, oak, traces of vanilla.

T - Follows the nose. Dark chocolate, oak, and bourbon stay consistent throughout with dark
fruit and vanilla surfacing at different points in the middle and at the end. The beer leaves a
moderate dark chocolate bitterness and dark fruit coating in the mouth after the bourbon

M - Full bodied, heavy, thick, with some alcohol warming on the way down.

O - This beer is better than the overall rating. Will definitely buy more of this.

Photo of superspak
4.1/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750 ml bottle into snifter, best before 10/2015. Pours pitch black color with a 1-2 finger dense tan head with good retention, that reduces to a small cap that lingers. Light spotty soapy lacing clings around the glass. Aromas of dark chocolate, cocoa, coffee, roasted malt, caramel, toast, vanilla, bourbon, toffee, oak, light coconut, light char, and roast/oak earthiness. Very nice aromas with good balance and complexity of dark/roasted malt and bourbon barrel notes; with good strength. Taste of dark chocolate, cocoa, coffee, roasted malt, caramel, toast, vanilla, toffee, bourbon, oak, light coconut, light char, and roast/oak earthiness. Slight roast/oak bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of dark chocolate, cocoa, coffee, roasted malt, caramel, toast, vanilla, toffee, bourbon, oak, light coconut, light char, and roast/oak earthiness on the finish for a while. Damn nice complexity, balance, and robustness of dark/roasted malt and bourbon barrel flavors; with an great malt/barrel balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Light-medium carbonation and medium-full body; with a very smooth, creamy, and lightly slick/chalky mouthfeel that is great. Alcohol is well hidden with only a slight warming present after the finish. Overall this is an excellent barrel aged imperial stout. All around great complexity, robustness, and balance of dark/roasted malt and bourbon barrel flavors; and very smooth to sip on for the big ABV. A very enjoyable offering.

Photo of cvm4
3.79/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A - Pours a dark coffee body with a one finger tan head. Little to no lacing or retention.

S - Big chocolate notes, roasted malts, bourbon abounds and a bit of oak.

T - The taste is not as put together as the nose. Bakers chocolate, bourbon overload, oaky and definite roasted malts.

M - Body is on the heavy side of light, may'be medium with light carbonation. Not as thick as I'd like and a bit thin. Has a wet finish.

O - The beer could be shored up in a few categories and really be a bargain bba stout.

Photo of cpetrone84
3.65/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.75

Pour is black with a fairly tight tan head. Nose is lightly charred oak, rich chocolaty and caramel malt with a faint hint of marshmallow and a light acrid burnt aroma barely there. Taste is much more sweet and much less put together than the nose. Malts are still very rich but then transition into sugary sweetness. Barrel and char have a must more muted presence up front, the acrid flavor is again extremely faint through the finish. Body is a bit empty in the finish and lacks carbonation. Feel is soft and creamy but a touch slick.

Photo of KYGunner
4.17/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

This is amongst the prettiest beers I've ever seen with a deep radiant black hue and a substantial foamy head. The foam coalesced to a near milkshake like froth and it stayed a finger thick for the entire time. The lacing was thick and sticky and layered across the span of the snifter.

The nose is relatively simple with strong chocolate notes, roasted coffee, bourbonesque cream and a bit of coconut.

The flavors, though, are of a much stronger lot with dry bitter chocolate, strong roasted coffee, coconut and an end of creamy sweet bourbon. This gets drier as it warms and the bitterness and dryness become more prominent.

The feel is actually quite odd. The initial feel is thick and substantial but it thins with warmth. The entire time, though, the alcohol warmth is offset by about 30 seconds and then the chest is afire.

I'm not sure how much I spent on this, probably $10-12, but I feel that it was well worth the money and well worth the taste.

Photo of barhoc11
2.94/5  rDev -25%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

A: Thin

S: Smells pretty good actually, bourbon really comes through

T: The bourbon and stout do not mix well, aftertaste is very bad

M: Thin but not horrible

O: I thought this was not good at all, I didn't have high expectations either. This beer was lacking in every category and I couldn't get through the entire bottle, what a waste.

Photo of BeerDocT
4.02/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Picked up a bottle in Asheville, NC, the self-proclaimed "Beer City." Somewhat expensive ($5+ for 12 ounces), but will it be worth it?

Appearance 4.0: Poured out a jet black with no head whatsoever. Looks like a bottle of motor oil. Completely opaque and thick. Dark, mysterious and inviting!

Smell 3.75: Very nice bouquet on this brew. Lots of smokiness, with a subtly sweet hint of malt and hoppiness. Also, I detect a deep hint of corn & treacly wood rosins.

Taste 4.25: Front is slightly sweet but features a big hit of bourbony goodness along with a (not off-putting) saltiness. This fades seamlessly into the middle, which is smooth and cool with very little flavor. Finish is slightly hoppy and semi-sweet with a deep background of toasted grains and a very pleasant charred wood flavor. Aftertaste is long and of several levels: bourbon, charred wood, toasted grains, sweet malt...holy mackerel! Worth the price for this taste level alone. Wow.

Mouthfeel 3.75: Flat and smooth in the mouth, which reflects and hides the mammoth ABV of this baby. Still, it is a bit too flat (hence my lower score).

Overall 4.0: Big and boozy, but very well balanced and packed with lovely flavor notes, this brew did not disappoint in any way on any level. Definitely not a session beer (the ABV ensures you will pass out after a few), but a fantastic treat and a wonderful pairing on a cold winter's night beside a roaring fire. If you find it, buy it.

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Dark Hollow Artisanal Ale from Blue Mountain Brewery
88 out of 100 based on 666 ratings.