Dark Hollow Artisanal Ale - Blue Mountain Brewery

Not Rated.
Dark Hollow Artisanal AleDark Hollow Artisanal Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
88
very good

678 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 678
Reviews: 164
rAvg: 3.92
pDev: 12.5%
Wants: 61
Gots: 112 | 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.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
« first ‹ prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | next › last »
Ratings: 678 | Reviews: 164
Photo of Gyle41386
2.12/5  rDev -45.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Review from notes:

Cork shot across the room, and the beer soon followed. We should have known right then...

Dark brown, almost black pour. Monstrous head retains well and leaves some good lacing.

This beer smells like bananas. Seriously. Bananas and bourbon. I don't know if maybe some oak and vanilla scent components interacted in a way that would create banana bread, so I've got no clue. Definitely a weird aroma.

Flavor pretty much follows. This beer was a fruity, sugary, over-carbonated mess. Don't think anyone particularly liked it.

Photo of maximum12
2.35/5  rDev -40.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

Thanks to AtlCarl for an excellent trade: this is the last bottle standing, having slipped into the upstairs fridge & dropped behind some arugula. 750ML bottle split with my wife.

Pour is black & very, very frothy. I have to stop halfway through the pour & hand off the glasses...I find this a bit sinister. Nose isn't all that active, Roast, not much else.

Dark Hollow doesn't impress at first blush. Over-carbonation aggravates the palate & distracts from the tastes. Getting past that, there's an almost lactose sweetness, malt sweetness, There's an undercurrent of currants, not quite dark fruit, but the breeze of a suggestion. Smooth to the point that the barrel is undetectable. Roast, but in a thin, cheap coffee sort of way. Very thin. Looking at my mostly full glass, I'm wondering if I'm going to waste kidney space on this.

I'm not. This is simply not a very good beer. My first taste of this brewery, & it's left me thinking I don't really need another. Or the rest of this one, for that matter.

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 Dreadnaught33
2.51/5  rDev -36%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

This beer was very disappointing to me unfortunately, though Ben (BigSexy410) was nice to share it anyways.

The beer pours a nice dark color with ok head and some lacing, pretty solid overall but a little more fizzy than you like to see normally.

The smell is a bit scary, it's like powdered cocoa and a little bit of oak but it all has a kind of strange off sweet thing going on that is not what you normally smell in a BA imperial stout. I'm missing the rich malts and sweet and savory bourbon that usually is customary in these types of beers.

The flavor is just downright awful, there is no anchoring dark malt, only a very slight fake vanilla taste, again cocoa powder, and then basically nothing. Huge let down.

The feel is not very good either, thin and bubbly, the taste and this together just make me not want to have much of this at all, it was hard to get thorough three sips let alone my half pour of the bottle. I dumped this. Maybe this batch was off, but I really think this was a big letdown and I was hoping for better.

Photo of bennetj17
2.57/5  rDev -34.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1.5

Black color, pour appears quite thin for Stout and virtually no head develops at all. Thankfully a tiny ring appears as there are some miniscule bursts of carbonation about the edges. The aroma is very faint, and I don't get much of the typical chocolate/coffee notes I would expect for the style. I do notice some light alcohol fume with some toasty oak and vanilla character, with perhaps a hint of black cherry.

Lightly sweet/fruity alcohols carry the taste until I get to a harsh warming finish. There is a dry toastiness that shows up awhile after the finish which was better than anything I tasted when it was actually on the palate. This thing doesn't even taste like a stout. The mouthfeel was too thin and the carbonation was very lacking.

I was very disappointed in this beer. I could not even finish one glass of it. If you are going to the trouble of barrel aging a beer for 100 days I think it would be wise to have at least a decent beer to start out with. I'm not sure what went wrong here and while cellaring a year or two might help, I don't think it has enough going for it to ever be that good. Not recommended...

Photo of birchstick
2.88/5  rDev -26.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Dark Hollow RIS with a #15 on the cork

A - pours dark with no head to speak of

S - sweet chocolates and a little bourbon in the nose

T - chocoaltes open this guy up and moves on to a somewhat subdued amount of spicy bourbon. Not very complex and a little underwhelming.

M - smooth and full bodied beer

D - decent bourbon barrel beer...not uber complex but enjoyable. Maybe since it was stacked up next to some of the best barrel aged beers in the world, it fell short of what this style can be.

Photo of baybassboy
2.88/5  rDev -26.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Thanks to IrishColonial for throwing this in a LIF box...

Served at cellar temp into a Stone IRS tulip

A: looks thin on the pour. Dark brown with way too much light showing through for a 10% IS. Huge head for a careful pour. Much more than I would expect from a bba beer

S: not much on the nose at all. I get a weird, briney, saltwater sense on the nose. Little to no heat. Some coffee, vanilla, and bourbon, but quite muted overall

T: can't get past that briney, saltwater taste. The bba char is there, but is hardly noticeable in the background. Aftertaste is much better. A bit of coffee and dark chocolate... Vanilla and some alcohol heat

M: thin... Too thin for 10%. It is drinkable, I'll give it that. But it is not what I am looking for in the mouthfeel of a big IS

O: stoked I got to try this small brewery treat. Big thanks to IrishColonial. Given the chance, I would pass on this beer a second time. All that said, my mother and sister in law loved it. Guess its just not my thing. Decent, but not too good by my standards

Photo of TappaKeggaBrew
2.91/5  rDev -25.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

A: Poured very dark brown, almost black, into my stout glass. The head is 2 fingers of light brown froth that simply won't quit -- I've never seen a head with such staying power! Needless to say, the lacing was tenacious, too.

S: Molasses. Dried fruit. Grape juice. And bourbon.

T: Super sweet at first contact with the tongue -- VERY heavy on the malt sugars! Bitter chocolate is the next flavor, followed by sour grapes. Grapefruit rind tart and bitter notes from the hops develop slowly in the finish, intensify, and linger on the palate.

M: Fairly well carbonated, but the 10% ABV delivers a little burn before the slightly astringent finish.

O: What looked so promising at the pour rather disappointed in the mouth. The sweet malt was overpowering, and the tart-bitter, astringent finish was simply not pleasant. I'd hoped the bourbon barrels would have mellowed it (as they do some scotch whiskeys), but not so. I'll not be buying another bottle, and in fact will take advantage of Trader Joe's guarantee to return the unused portion for a full refund.

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 khiasmus
2.96/5  rDev -24.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

A castle, as it were, or perhaps a crest... The headless horseman, you say? Farbeit from me to claim, as this one has a massive pillow atop, a lacing, beautiful pillow atop a dark brown, stained dark wood, the old guard of pikes and wooden shields, times were hard for those, they weren't warriors, but were cast, cast as targets as the knights came behind, horses tripping over the piled dead left from the walls of lethal spikes.
A sour oakiness, bananas in the rucksack, milk chocolate and cream, massive vanillins, but it's too much, really, too sugary, too banana-popsicle summer days, not dark enough to merit the name or label, childish.
And the flavour is more so, those banana popsicles overwhelming the more artisanal notes of chocolate and brown sugar, a light sour oak that fades into a finish of burnt grain. The days are long in the burning-fields, burnishing the weak weapons of wood, dreaming of the wife that you will likely never see again, as you are cast aside, crushed in the wake of the massive tide, the arrows cascading down from the ramparts of this ill-illustrious king.
The carbonation is massive, the finish warming and astringent.
It really is a mess, a banana-popsicle-sugar-burnt grain mess. Some aging may do it good, or it may simply explode in your cellar. Be careful with this one. The movies show glorified warriors, but in real life it's bloody, dark, painful, sweaty, and deadly.

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 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 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 mactrail
3.29/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Dark brown, near black brew in the wine glass. Not much fizz upon opening the aggravatingly tight corked bottle. Just enough carbonation in the mouth. Rather bitter, malty, and sharp. Sweet and boozy with a whiff of vanilla.

Winey mouthfeel, and hot with alcohol. Quite a mouthful of flavor with emphasis on burnt malt. Sweet and charry with a woody note and some astringency. Tasting this the second day with a new pour from the bottle, it's a little more likable with more bourbon flavor. Still, it's on the harsh side compared to the better barrel beers. From the 750 ml bottle bought at Whole Foods in Foggy Bottom.

Photo of Gosox8787
3.32/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Presentation: Corked and caged 750 mL bottled chilled and poured into a Cigar City tulip glass.

Appearance: Pours a pretty aggresive, light beige head of about an inch and a half. Settles into a nice lacing.

Aroma: Dark fruits, caramel, vanilla and a light splash of bourbon. A touch boozy but the bourbon and the sweetness from the base beer come through well. Pretty nice balance and complexity from the barrels.

Taste: Really bitter coffee and charred oak. The complexity from the bourbon and sweetness from the base beer is not here as it was in the aroma. Instead there is just a lot of bitterness and burnt flavors. Really disappointing. On the upside, very little bourbon burn.

Mouthfeel: Really light bodied and highly carbonated for a barrel aged stout.

Overall, I was pretty disappointed by this beer. The aroma is nice, but the flavors are dominated by too much bitterness and burnt character so that the barrel and bourbon don't really come through. The mouthfeel also doesn't really help as it is really light and carbonated for an imperial stout. This really just doesn't do it for me.

Photo of TheBrewo
3.33/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3

We crack the cage and yank the stubborn cork for a brew of the darkest cola brown. The coloring lets a bit of light around the edges, but shows no real haze to the clarity. It holds a one finger head of soft, creamy light brown bubbles. This leaves spots and wisps of lacing as it recedes at a medium pace. Carbonation appears active. The aroma is hot with boozy bourbon from the start, but warmth gives way to the hearty malt background of toffees, caramels, and roasted chocolate. The oak in and of itself is warming, adding depth, along with strawberry licorice, black cherry syrupiness, white sugar chalkiness, lactic tartness, and cooling vanilla cake batter. Our first impression is that the flavoring is very sweet, but with an initial puckering bitterness of oak and booziness. As we sip, fusel booze, tootsie roll sugars, charred chocolate malts, toffee sweetness, and soured oak start things off. The peak comes with more heavy booze, thick and musky woody dryness, and syrupy sugars of dark cherry. The finish is very drying, with an even more enhanced punch to the barreling that really overpowers the deep roasty maltiness, and makes way for the bright sweetness of cherry and apple fruitiness, and cooked caramel sugars. The final notes to leave the palate are black pepper spice of booze, mild but genuine bourbon flavoring, cola syrups, light diacetyls, and echoes of that dark fruitiness. The aftertaste flames of bourbon, chalky chocolate malts, juicy yeast, raw fig, massively dry woodiness, raw coffee malts, and thorough metallics. The body is full, and the carbonation is solidly medium. There is nice slurp, smack, cream, froth, and pop, with great softness on the front of the sip. The mouth is initially coated through the swallow, but dries to a bone almost instantly thereafter, with fiery prickle and coolness as the residual alcohol evaporates off. The abv is appropriate, and the beer sips rather easily.

Overall, what we enjoyed most about this beer was the feel of it. The big sugariness gave stickiness around the mouth, while the fullness of body helped give nice pop and glug on the sip. This all coupled with soft creaminess, helping them to execute a highly desirable mouthfeel. The other components, however, were disappointing. The aroma felt cheap and overly sweet, while the flavoring was lopsided with sugars of its own, and all the drying characteristics of wood without much of its inherent warmth of flavoring. This is a decent effort, but without a solid base beer it is hard to build complexity.

Photo of Vierenner
3.35/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

I was really looking forward to this beer ... picked up a bomber while in Virginia a few months back. Very discouraging to pop the cork and have it explode out the top like a volcano. Even after pouring 6 oz or so, the foam continues to rise out of the bottle. Stupid.

Beyond that I'm okay with it. Doesn't rock my world like I had hoped but isn't a major disappointment either. Aroma is pleasant, the taste malty/oaky and not too bitter. However, the carbonation is out of control ... I feel the urge to burp after every sip.

Absent the carbonation issue, I think this is a very good beer.

Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.38/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Thanks to GRG1313 for sharing this one at his tasting.

Pours an opaque black with a foamy dark khaki head that settles to a film on top of the beer. Tiny dots of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of dark roasted malt, cocoa, bourbon, and wood aromas. Taste is much the same with cocoa and char flavors on the finish. There is a medium amount of roast bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp and medium bodied mouthfeel. Overall, this is an above average beer that has a better barrel aged presence in the aroma in my opinion.

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 Thorpe429
3.42/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: Pours a very dark chestnut brown with a nice tan head.

S: Very nice with notes of bourbon, vanilla, roasted malt, hints of coffee, and some mingling fruit in the background.

T: Somehow the nose did not translate at all to the taste. There is quite a bit too much roast in the flavor, completing dominating everything else that was present in the smell.

M: Quite dry and a bit thin.

D: I could smell this one for quite some time, but the taste left something to be desired. There were some nice flavors in there, but things need to be balanced out just a bit more.

Photo of JohnGalt1
3.45/5  rDev -12%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Ditmier (my no longer ticking RB buddy :-) provided this gem at a recent tasting.. Thanks Eric.

Pours with a 3 finger dark tan head... the brew is pretty standard black but the head sticks around forever.

Nose shows pretty aromatic cocoa that is punished by wood and bourbon/vanilla... nice.

Flavor is very bourbon forward... and very woody/oak tannic... chocolate covered dark fruits... dry roasty sorta dusty char toward the finish and then the bourbon notes come back swinging.

Pretty heavy carbonation made the body a tad thinner.. Overall, it is interesting but the bourbon/wood and the carbonation needs to be dialed in a bit.

I liked it, glad I got the chance to try it... Thanks Eric. Too bad, I'll always have my notes, but in a year or so, you'll be asking, "Hey, you guys think I should trade for a Blue Mountain Dark Hollow? I love barrel aged stouts!!" ;-)

4/4/3.5/2.5/3

Photo of rudzud
3.48/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Thanks to JLindros for sharing.

A - Poured into a Kate the Great tulip a nice clear brownish hue with a thin had.

S - Aromas of faint oxidation, molasses, light chocolate and bourbon.

T - Taste is older chocolate, oxidation, light bourbon, light malts, molasses. Just old.

M - Mouthfeel is a bit overly carbonated, not quite smooth.

O - Overall this beer was just okay, old and oxidized. Best by June '14.

Photo of billab914
3.48/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

750ml bottle purchased at the brewery a few weeks ago. It poured pretty close to black in color with a thick, foamy, tan colored head to it. Good head retention to it.

The aroma shows a good amount of chocolate to it with a little caramel and roasted malts to it. I get some sweeter, almost lactose like flavor as well. The bourbon barrel is very reserved in the aroma, I get a little of the woody oak but the bourbon is pretty well hidden unfortunately. It smells like a pretty good porter or maybe milk stout, but I'm just not getting what I expect out of a bourbon barrel imperial stout.

The taste has a lot more of the bitter, roasted malts coming through. Cocoa and roasted coffee both really come through along with some dark chocolate flavors more towards the finish. I'm getting a little more of the woody, dry, oak flavors to it, but again the bourbon is pretty hidden.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied for the style, and slightly creamy. Carbonation seems a little high for the style. Overall, it was a good beer, but it just seemed to lack the flavors I want in a bourbon imperial stout. The bourbon was almost non-existent, but the oak was decent. The sweetness and the woody flavors made it feel a little like an oak aged porter or milk stout at times to me. Not a bad beer at all, but it's just not what I really expect out of a bourbon barrel imperial stout at this price point.

Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.48/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Batch #2.

Appearance: Pours an inky black body with a small, short-lived, khaki-colored head.

Smell: Dark, roasty malts and all, but the bourbon dominates the aroma with sharp, intense notes of vanilla and wood.

Taste: Dark maltiness, tastes of caramel and chocolate, but a bit thinned out by the booze. More vanilla and oak. Moderate sweetness. There's a definite hotness there, especially on the boozey finish.

Mouthfeel: Just barely medium-bodied. Medium-low carbonation.

Drinkability: Nice start, but the bourbon starts squashing the other stout qualities and it could benefit from a greater heft of body. A little work, a bit of tweaking, and this could be phenomenal.

Photo of LilBeerDoctor
3.53/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed on 3/5/2010. Batch 7. Pours black with a thick light tan head. Aroma of bourbon, roasted malt, oak/wood. Flavor of lots of oak, roasted malt, and a touch of bourbon. A mellow beer, more oaky than bourbon although a little does show through. Not as complex as I would prefer, but still quite tasty.

« first ‹ prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | next › last »
Dark Hollow Artisanal Ale from Blue Mountain Brewery
88 out of 100 based on 678 ratings.