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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

173 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 173
Hads: 706
Avg: 3.93
pDev: 25.19%
Wants: 65
Gots: 124 | 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: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 173 | Hads: 706
Photo of skepticnibble
4.69/5  rDev +19.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Poured from 750ml Belgian bottle to pint glass; best by date Oct 2016. L: Pours a dark, syrupy black with thick brown head which survives several minutes leaving lace ring behind. S: Black licorice and whiskey most easily detected; oak and roasted malts more subtle. T: Almost smell in reverse with prominent bourbon and roasted malts; oak, vanilla, black licorice more nuanced. F: Thick, chewy, carbonated, and creamy. Decent alcohol bite reminiscent of the bourbon barrel heritage, but not overly boozy. Overall a very enjoyable imperial stout, well represented by BMB. Now for some bourbon neat!

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Photo of CvilleHopOnTours
5/5  rDev +27.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I don't always drink Imperial Stouts, but when I do, I definitely want the robust flavors a whiskey barrel is able to impart. Great job guys. We'll see you at the release party! https://cvilletours.rezdy.com/80446/transportation-for-concealed-darkness-day-blue-mountain-barrel-house

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Photo of Direwolf25
3.95/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

VERY smooth pour - silky. Head on which you could balance a quarter. Beautiful. Notes of vanilla, dark chocolate, malt. Medium-to-full-body, slightly bitter. Dry, almost sour aftertaste. Far more vanilla than bourbon out of this BBS.

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Photo of oldn00b
4.44/5  rDev +13%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours near jet black with thin tan head.

Nose is slightly bourbon forward, definitely plenty of roasted malt notes but also lots of chocolate as well. Coffee not so much.

Flavor follows suit. Bourbon is a great addition but not the focal point of the beer.

Barrel adds nicely to the body. Well rounded, no rough edges. This is probably the best barrel stout VA has to offer, in terms of ones always readily available.

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Photo of ThaneMcC
4.1/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep motor oil brown with copious tan head. Smells pleasantly of vanilla, wood, bourbon and cocoa. Tastes sweet toasted malts forward, vanilla, wood, bourbon and vanilla with a hint of smoke. Mouthfeel is medium bodied with mild effervescence preventing it from becoming syrupy. Slight tacky finish, probably better with aging but overall very good. . .

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Photo of lochraneg
4.8/5  rDev +22.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Pour - dark with a small white head
Smell - bourbon distinct
Taste - can definitely taste the bourbon, but it's not over powering
Overall - Loved it. Age it if you have some

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Photo of cjgiant
4.15/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Bottle corked best by Aug, 2016:
Pours a seemingly muddled dark brown, not quite black. Dark tan head rises nicely with a regular pour. Marshmallow cocoa foam head gathers around the edge of the glass.

Nose is vanilla, light sweet chocolate, hint of coconut and barely a trace of bourbon.

Taste is hot chocolate/cocoa and vanilla up font. Transition adds a little dark cherry - a hint of tart noticeable in some sips more than others. End actually has some chocolate sweetness hitting as the combination of light astringency and maybe woody hops combine to form a little leathery taste. Bourbon seems hidden early but comes out more with warmth.

Pretty thick and coating, fairly heavy body, maybe a tad too much carbonation (nitpicking). Actually ends up leaving my tongue a bit dry while my cheeks feel a light coating.

Maybe a tad sweet, but decently bitter in the end to compensate. Perhaps a little less dichotomy within the pour to blend the two parts would take this up a notch.

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Photo of ChrisP802
4.04/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Pour - dark with a small white head
Smell - bourbon hits fast and hard, maybe roasted malt too
Taste - can definitely taste the bourbon, but it's not over powering. chocolate and maybe vanilla
Overall - nothing special here, but nothing to pass up if given the chance to try

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Photo of schoolboy
4.04/5  rDev +2.8%
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 +5.6%
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%
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 -4.8%
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 +2.3%
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 +4.1%
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 -5.9%
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 +0.3%
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%
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 +4.6%
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 +1.3%
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 +10.7%
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 -37.4%
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 +7.9%
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 -0.8%
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 +4.1%
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 +1.8%

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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Dark Hollow Artisanal Ale from Blue Mountain Brewery
88 out of 100 based on 173 ratings.