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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

165 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 165
Hads: 693
Avg: 3.92
pDev: 12.5%
Wants: 63
Gots: 119 | FT: 12
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: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 165 | Hads: 693
Photo of schoolboy
4.04/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

I was shopping a Heinen's grocery store looking for Bottlehouse beers which they were supposed to start carrying. No bottlehouse, but I found one of these that looked like it should be well aged and had a best by date of 12/2015. Based on some other comments, I think that puts this one at more than half a year in the bottle - ready to drink but not over the hill (like some reviewers seem to have had).

It is all black and beautiful. The head is delicate and plentiful. Excellent. The aroma is boozy. On top of the booze is a sweet, pungent, hoppy malty smell, with just a hint of roastiness. Outstanding.

The taste keeps getting better as you sip. It's boozy and malty. The aftertaste is ... boozy. But that's fine. My lips are sticking together with sweet malty goodness. All the Bourbon barrel aging is totally assimilated.

This is a wonderful brew. I feel very fortunate to have found it earlier today, perfectly aged. I contemplated aging it further, but being two months from the best by date and considering the reviewers who had what seemed to be over the hill bottles, I thought now is the best time. It's great and I deserve it.

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Photo of tigg924
4.15/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours black, opaque, with one inch head. Taste is bourbon barrel, sweet and baker's chocolate and light vanilla. Nice and smooth. Really enjoying this sipper. Right up there with the brewery's best.

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Photo of cdhaines
4.56/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Looks and tastes exactly like a good stout should - thick, smooth mouthfeel with just the right amount of smokiness, light bourbon flavor from the barrels used

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Photo of Jadjunk
3.74/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.75

"The mystery of great beer challenges the spirit of adventure in all who seek a higher level to this ancient brew. Dark Hollow blends the miracle of two crafts - brewing and distillation - to create a work greater than the sum of its parts. Our Imperial Stout has been aged in charred American Oak bourbon barrels, and for 100 days the young beer patiently breathes in and out of the wood, gaining complexity, characteer, and serieous attitude. This ale is always bottle conditioned and can be enjoyed immediately upon its release from the brewery... of five years later, when you dust off the last vintage bottle from your cellar to share with good company." Dark Hollow is brewed in the style of an American Imperial Stout, aged in Oak Bourbon barrels. Initially produced and sold in small quantity individual bottles at the brewery, this bottle is one of batch #15 from spring 2012.

Poured from a 750ml. bottle to a snifter glass. Served above 59 degrees Fahrenheit.

(Appearance) Pours a thin, light wispy head of a mocha brown color over a near jet black body. Retention is poor and lacing is light and spotty. Visibly undercarbonated, closely approaching flat. 3

(Smell) Moderately roasted malt, thick molasses and dark fruit, mild lactose and chocolate grains. Overall slightly sweet but very robust to balance. 4

(Taste) Chocolate and dark fruit forward, with a moderate roasted malt midsection, finishing with the slightly sweet and drying conclusion of bourbon, vanilla and oak. Highly drinkable, very enjoyable. 4

(Mouthfeel) The texture is slick, lightly creamy, modestly dry. Carbonation is very low, generating a very low frothiness and a very light crisp finish. Body is moderate for the style, shy of heavy overall. Balance is slightly roasty and drying over sweet. Alcohol presence is mild and there are no off characters. The limitations of the carbonation in this batch were too strong to overlook, and negatively impacted the overall impressions of this beer. 2.5

(Overall) Dark Hollow is in my estimations a quality small-scale brewed Imperial Stout. This being Batch #15 from 2012, there have been more batches since but the drinkability was impeded by the flatness of this bottle in particular. Perhaps not a good seal or an issue of quality control, I do not overlook this issue, but recall from multiple experience prior that this beer can be much better with correct carbonation. A great bottle to pick up especially when in Blue Mountain's neck of the woods. 3.75

Blue Mountain Brewery's
Dark Hollow Ale Aged In Oak Bourbon Barrels

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

Blue Mountain Barrel House "Dark Hollow"
25.4 fl. oz. brown glass bottle, corked & caged.
Cork dated "Best By: NOV 2015"
$10.99 @ Cost Plus World Market, Arlington, VA

Appearance: Opaque brown-black body beneath a massive head of very dark tan foam. Excellent head retention and lacing.

Aroma: Dark-skinned fruit, berries and red grape, bittersweet chocolate, and a bit of nuttiness combine with char, a waft of smoke, a light touch of wood, and Bourbon. With each subsequent sniff each of these components appear, but almost always in a different order. It's complex and interesting, but not particularly welcoming.

Flavor: Black coffee comes into the mix, along with a bit of something medicinal (I'm thinking it has something to do with a combination of alcohol and char); and the fruitiness that was there seems to have withered a bit into dried dark fruit. It's bitter, a bit acidic, and a touch astringent. The grain and nuttiness remain, but the oak that was welcoming in the nose returns in the flavor a bit harshly, turning dry and raspy when combined with the bitterness and alcohol; and the Bourbon remains, but it's not quite as pleasant as the nose suggested it would be. As it warms some coconut comes forward, as well as a bit of nuttiness. It's generally disappointing because everything is present but it just doesn't come together properly. Perhaps an additionally year of aging would round and smooth it, at the very least softening the alcoholic edge that it has.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with a dextrinous edge and a fine-bubbled median carbonation that foams up when poured, releasing some of its gas, and becoming quite smooth.

Overall: It lacks roundness and polish with sharp points of burnt roastiness, alcohol, semi-tart dark fruit, and misaligned Bourbon. I'm quite sure that fresh Bourbon was added to the barrels before being filled, but that's just conjecture, and to a certain extent completely irrelevant as what's needed is simply more time in the barrel.

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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.

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

Pours dark brown with over a finger of beige head. Subtle bourbon nose and yet no real bourbon flavor. Light-bodied for an imperial but the roast profile is decent.

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.)

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Dark Hollow Artisanal Ale from Blue Mountain Brewery
88 out of 100 based on 165 ratings.