Dark Hollow Artisanal Ale - Blue Mountain Brewery

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Dark Hollow Artisanal AleDark Hollow Artisanal Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

678 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 678
Reviews: 164
rAvg: 3.92
pDev: 12.5%
Wants: 61
Gots: 111 | FT: 14
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.
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Ratings: 678 | Reviews: 164
Reviews by ZoomnWahoo:
More User Reviews:
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 oberon
3.83/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into an imperial nonic a deep choclate borwn with a nice looking one finger beige head atop.Aromas of light bourbon and vanilla,a decent amount of roast and earth as well.Flavors don't have alot of complex ity really with bourbon/oaky notes upfront that meld into a drying roasty finish,a little bitter chocolate lingers.It's not bad but Iam not sure it's worth the price tag.

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 TheFunGuy
4.57/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This was served as a black pour at a beer tasting. Thin tan head and faded fast.

The smell was malt, whiskey, and vanilla in perfect combination. The taste was very close to the smell, but the taste was so vanilla I asked the marking person if they had added vanilla. She said no, it was all from the barrels. I mostly loved the taste, just a touch too much vanilla. Not overwhelming, just a bit more than expected.

The mouthfeel was sort of thin for the type and taste, but seemed okay.

I recommend the beer, and we will be stopping by on our drive through the valley this fall.

Photo of timahood32
3.7/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer pours a little thinner than what i come to expect from an imperial stout beer pours brownish in color settles black in the glass with brown around the edges of the glass. Beer has a very strong bourbon smell(but not in a bad way)with hint of chocolate and touch of coffee. Taste really follows the nose on this one strong bourbon taste with slight chocolate and coffee note. Over all i really enjoyed this beer especially considering in the past i really haven't enjoyed bourbon aged stouts i would really recommend this one.

Photo of BurgeoningBrewhead
4.64/5  rDev +18.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Poured into 22oz snifter; jet black with visible carbonation up the sides feeding a huge fluffy dark brown mocha head that doesn't fade at all practically, and leaves incredibly fine lacing when it finally does.
Smells of big dark roasted malt, vanilla, bourbon, oak, chocolate, coffee, slight dark fruit.
Taste is incredibly well-balanced; starting notes of sweet chocolate and vanilla are then smashed to bits by huge roasted malt, and as that recedes barrel character of oak and bourbon reveal themselves, finally giving way to a dark fruit/burnt sugar/bittersweet aftertaste.
Mouthfeel is fizzy and big.
Overall, this is a great take from the other side of BA stouts. Where most are very barrel-forward, this one takes a calmer approach, balancing bourbon and oak evenly with dark roasted malt and chocolate. Well done!

Photo of Munkaboo
4.38/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Drank this at the Blue Mountain Brewpub in Afton, VA on tap.

Upon getting the drink it looked almost exactly like a Guiness. Creamy head, dark body. Boy did it taste nothing like it. My initial taste was very much like a car bomb. The creaminess of the head combined with the dark bourbon barrel hint made for an incredible first taste, and made me say "wow"

Smell was great, coffee sweetness.

Tasted the bourbon right off the bat then it lingered off into some chocolate and coffee notes. Probably more chocolate than coffee. I wanted another one afterward, but I wanted to branch out and I was already a little drunk from a previous wine tasting and didn't want to embarrass myself.

Came away with a $14 bomber to age (yikes, they are EXPENSIVE) and a pint glass.

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.

Photo of zaphodchak
4.42/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

One of the last bottles of the year.

Finger of tan head, opaque black-brown body.

Deep vanilla bourbony body,

Deep, rich flavor, plenty of malt and alcohol with bourbony burn and richness. Very, very faint cherry.

Mouthfeel is rich and creamy, quite nice.

Overall, this is a fantastic barrel aged stout, makes me proud of my state.

Photo of dirtylou
3.12/5  rDev -20.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

750ml bottle, thanks bert

appearance: corked/caged - poured into my de koninck chalice with a fierce level - after a few minutes of settling, a wavy pillowy tan head remains - nice

smell: very little aroma - hard to even comment as there is just nothing there

taste: carbonation level is a bit distracting - there is a nice bourbon flavor in there somewhere with a spicy boozy finish...licorice, chocolate, oak also play a role

mouthfeel: again, carbonation overload - pretty spicy

drinkability: ok

Photo of SidewinderX
4.38/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 750mL corked bottle. The corked is stamped with a "5", assuming this indicated that this is from the 5th batch.

The corked popped with plenty of vigor, which surprised me based on others reviews. (Although this is the first bottled review of 5 AFAIK). Poured with a substantial head at first, encouraging a slow gentle pour.

In the glass the brew is pitch black with a thick mocha head. Just a great looking beer.

The bourbon notes come through in the first breath, along with a sweet vanilla scent. A nice roasted malt scent supports everything.

The taste is wonderful. The bourbon is evident, along with a little spicyness. A nice warm aftertaste as well. very nice.

Noticeable carbonation in the mouth. Probably the weakest part of the beer, but that's saying something about the quality of the beer.

Really liked this beer.

Photo of nbree00
3.92/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2008 Bottling shared with DaveHS

Pours a light black color with dark brown under tones, certainly not as dark as some stouts, not quite crude motor oil. Medium level of carbonation perhaps more than I expected from a 3 year vintage stout.

The nose shows beautiful notes of toasted coconut, vanilla, oak, licorice and cherries.

On the palate I get flavors of milk chocolate, yellow cake, roasted hazelnuts, and vanilla. I'm amazed at how soft and approachable the flavors are, not getting a lot of barrel character but it's so well balanced it doesn't matter.

Mouthfeel has definitely thinned out a little and overall it may be some what simple but it's super compelling and easy drinking. Has a nice creamy finish that really entices you to have more. Highly recommend this.

Photo of Alieniloquium
3.59/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

750 mL bottle poured into a snifter.

Appearance - Black with some red flecks. Nice khaki head. Very wispy with a thick collar.

Smell - Chocolate, vanilla, oak. Some dark fruits. Bourbon there too, but faint.

Taste - Much roastier. Dark chocolate. A bit of bourbon. Dark fruits in the finish.

Mouthfeel - High carbonation. Not boozy. Medium body.

Overall - Pretty good. A little odd in the finish.

Photo of Kegatron
4.33/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On nitro-tap at Blue Mountain Brewery (Afton, VA) on 4/16/09. This is Batch #5 that was aged in Maker's Mark barrels. Served in a 10 oz goblet.

Pours pitch black with a finger of solidly creamy mocha colored head. Retains with a pretty standard nitro look, with a layer of foam that stays rich and frothy, leaving thick swathes of lacing back. The barrel notes take front and center in the aroma, with notes of bourbon, vanilla, and wood all making themselves known immediately before giving way to a solid undercurrent of cocoa, coffee, dark fruits, and roasted malt.

The taste is quite similar but this time the barrel notes are more evenly distributed. The Imperial Stout qualities start things out with chocolate, roasted coffee, and dark fruity tang before finishing with a blast of bitterness. The barrel notes run the whole way through the profile, with not only the taste of the Maker's Mark being evident, but also notes of vanilla and charred oak as well. I'm overall digging the barrel character here, with it laying a mellow smoothness in the mouth, and the bourbon itself imparting a light sting and dry boozy feel in the finish. The mouthfeel is fuller bodied, even with nitro, although it doesn't peev me as much with this, as the overall feel is creamy but I'm also getting a layer of warmth and barrel beefiness that lies menacingly underneath. This still stays extremely drinkable for the heftier ABV though. Nice.

I've been wanting to try this for a while and I'm glad to report that for the most part, it did not disappoint. I would have liked a little more integration between the barrel and Stout flavors in the nose but the balance in the taste more than made up for it. Really nice quaffability on this as well, although I was glad to see that it's mouthfeel qualities came out nicely despite this being served on nitro. I picked up a few bottles of this batch for cellaring, as I'm anxious to see how this one develops.

Photo of BeerZack
3.08/5  rDev -21.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

375ml bottle. Pours a not-so-thick black that's brown around the edges. A fizzy khaki colored head dies down quickly to a thin covering. Smells of sweet fruits initially remind me more of wine barrel than bourbon influence. Spicy, somewhat phenolic notes underneath remind me of cinnamon red hots, black cherry soda, faux leather, a bit of new shoes and some garden center (fertilizer). The flavor is equally odd. Bland sugary flavors hint at dark fruit, but never really differentiates. I do get some of the charred bourbon barrel flavor on the finish. The thin appearance on the pour also translates in the mouthfeel, coming off thin and fizzy, almost soda-like.

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

Black body with an inch of loose cinnamon colored head.

The nose is vanilla and oak, mostly. There's a light toasted marshmallow, too. The aroma is faint.

Decent flavor, but again is subdued. The bourbon barley shows up and when it does its all vanilla. There's no heat to it. Chocolate and roasted malt are in there, too.

Smooth, creamy, and heavy body.

Overall, a decent beer but in the environment of bourbon barrel stouts this one will find it tough to compete.

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 bum732
3.56/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

S: Some bourbon and oak, touch of caramal, touch of alcohol, vanilla

L: Dark brown, not super dark, light tan head that dissipates to a ring of foam.

T: Very rum raisin like sweetness with carmelized bananas and bourbon vanilla. Roast at a very low level. Low bitterness with a slight alcohol bite. An almost rootbeer, earthy finish with some additional bourbon.

M: Medium thin body, medium carbonation, minimal alcohol.

Interesting, light, with dark demerara rum like flavors. Not much roast or coffee like flavors at all. A very different RIS that i would recommend.

Photo of apasternak
3/5  rDev -23.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Didnt get enough barrel in this

Photo of Treyliff
3.96/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

This one had a nice 'pop' when uncorked, best by June 2014 written on cork, served in a snifter at cellar temperature

A- pours pitch black with a foamy dark-tan head about 2inches thick, quickly reduces to just a ring around the edges

S- dark roasted malt, dark fruit notes of fig and maybe cherry, sweet yeasty bread, raw bourbon notes with vanilla highlights, a touch of chocokate and a bit of alcohol burn at the end. Aromas seem to open up the longer it sits

T- the base beer is dark, sweet and fruity, by mid-palate the bourbon notes begin to come out subtly, the black-end brings out the toasted oak flavors which provide vanilla and toasted coconut flavors, the finish is dry with chocolate and toasted oak flavors still lingering on the palate

M- medium-heavy body with low carbonation, foamy mouthfeel that goes down smooth, just a slight alcohol burn lingers on the palate

O- some nice flavors coming out, however I would have preferred just a bit more bourbon. The oak characteristics provide some complex flavors on the finish. Not the top of the ladder in this style, but definitely worthy a try

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 Bung
3.95/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Tap at Duckworths. First place in Charlotte to have drafts from these guys.
Very dark brown pour, not quite black. Nice two fingers of cream colored head.

Aroma, roast and more chocolates. A light vanilla.

Taste, roast malt, light anise. Pretty heavy with the vanilla and oak. Cocoa is there.
A fairly barrel forward version, I don't always like that but I do like this one.

A little lighter bodied than some. A little warmer than some. But it still drinks pretty well. Not quite what I would call creamy.
Would get again.

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 beerthulhu
3.91/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: A chestnut-khaki head covers a engine oil colored body. Minimal stay, minimal lace.

S: Burbon/whiskey scent upon first uncorking, burbon soaked raisins and figs are sweet with some dark fruit of plums, sweet alcohol with a smooth, oily charred woody character. The 10% is very well hidden aromatically.

T: Deep caramelized, smoothly charred roastiness and woody character. The burbon rears its head on the end finish. Lightly charred wood, black roast, tons of dark fruit with a dry burbon warmth.

M: Oily, thick viscose body and burbon warmth. Smooth charred woodiness and black roast warms the inner cheeks.

O: Overall strong 4.0 outstanding quality. Exceptionally smooth.

Photo of akorsak
4.15/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to CrellMoset for this 750 mL corked and caged bottle. Shared with Deuane, Ffejherg, ksak, brewslut and sierrags.

A: The stout is dark as night, a veritable moonless midnight. Atop the stout is an off-white head that leaves some lacing around the mouth of the glass.

S: The nose is stout-centric, focused on the roasted malts and dark breads. Some bourbony vanilla and pepper makes itself known but without the same gusto.

T: The stout is content to present itself initially, releasing chocolate and toasted flavors. As the ale warms, more bourbon notes emerge, including vanilla, pepper and a boozy heat. Buttery oak flavors are strong, making me think that it wasn't a first-use bourbon barrel because the bourbon just wasn't strong enough. Despite that complaint, I am pleased with the intensity of the flavors. The buttery oak seals the deal.

M: The night was basically devoted to bourbon stouts and I was really pleased with this one. The start is stout-like and the bourbon flavors really come through as the stout warms. Blue Mountain wanted to hold this beer to allow it to age. I'd say that it is damn near perfect now.

D: The 10% content is rarely an issue. Oak and bourbon flavors, though slow to emerge, add a great flavor to the ale. This finished just behind the Coronado RIS in my rankings.

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Dark Hollow Artisanal Ale from Blue Mountain Brewery
88 out of 100 based on 678 ratings.