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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: 705
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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 173 | Hads: 705
Photo of Earpe
4.75/5  rDev +20.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Had this Stout on tap at my local Capital Ale House with a German Burger.

Absolutely loved this stout, and it is probably my favorite of the Stout class of beers. Very smooth going down as it is a bourbon barrel aged stout. Bourbon flavor with a hint of dark charred/coffee. the smell was that of a barrel charred bourbon with hints of coffee/chocolate.

Since, I have picked up a growler and arrived at the same conclusion, this is a very good stout. unfortunately for someone who drinks stouts over any other style, this beer is expensive when compared to some of my favorite of the same class stout.

This is most definitely a stout I will revere as my favorite of the stouts, but will drink it mostly on special occasions or when at a place that has it on tap, as there are a couple other stouts that rank up with Dark Hollow for me....but at a much lower price.

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Photo of Etan
3.85/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

On tap at Upstairs in Montclair.

A: Pours an unremarkable black with a small light tan head.

S: Aroma brings sharp roasted malt, soft tannic toffee and a dusting of cocoa.

T: Taste brings more roasted grain, some butterscotch and vanilla and bourbon notes from the barrel, mild coffee, a bit of booze.

M: Medium-bodied with light carbonation.

O: A solid BA imperial stout.

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Photo of Jwale73
4.29/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

750ml corked and caged bottle served in my ST tulip. Pours with a dense, three inch, mocha-colored head. Love the nose - bourbon notes, vanilla, lactose, cocoa and toffee with a trace of ethanol at the finish. Head eventually collapses into a half inch cap leaving thick, textured swaths of lacing in its wake. Taste consistent with nose - very much reminiscent of bourbon county stout in my opinion but perhaps a little more watered down. Some coffee notes also appear towards the back, as well as a light, lingering bitterness. Mouthfeel is medium in body with an even carbonation and a slightly oily texture. Wow - what a great beer! Surprised at how much I like this given the rating. Should rate much higher in my opinion.

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Photo of andrewjraab
3.8/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A - pitch black with a tan bubbly head. Nice spotty lacing during the drink

S - Soft bourbon, vanilla, roasted malt, hints of coffee.

T - The malts take the lead on the palate, with the bourbon hints taking the mouthfeel and after taste. Big full bodied mouth feel.

O - Really nice sipper - definitely worth a try for once, but not sure I'll be coming back.

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

Enjoyed this beer out of a growler.

A: Pours a dark black hue with a thick brown head that dissipates slowly in to a wispy lace.

S: Malty and slight syrupy aroma

T: Strong and boozy malt flavor with a slight syrupy background

M: Full body and medium carbonation.

O: Excellent imperial stout. Great flavors and aromas.

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Photo of FinchSCF
4.5/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours pitch-black with a dark tan head. Widdles down to a small layer on top, sewn in with carbonation. Looks nice and thick.

S - Vanilla and chocolate right up front, with a little woodiness. Not much else, but when it smells that good, you don't need much else.

T - That wood comes through right up front, little kick of booziness straight into the vanilla, with coffee and chocolate tailing off the end. 10% abv is very, very well hidden. Roastiness lingers in the aftertaste but could be better if the notes hung around longer.

M - Silky and thick - Very good feeling on the tongue. Leaves little to no residue on the tongue, not what you'd expect from how it feels.

O - Fantastic. Could be better if the aftertaste was a bit more loaded. Was maybe a bit much for the price I paid for it but definitely worth trying once at the very least.

Edit - Over warming, the astringency comes through more and makes it harder to taste everything else. Dropped the score a little, since I enjoyed it a little less as this happened.

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Photo of Alieniloquium
3.59/5  rDev -8.7%
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.

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Photo of arizcards
3.84/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Picked up a bomber for $10.99 at the Food Lion in Elkton while vacationing at Massanutten Mountain.

Beer poured black as night with a nice brown head with the initial pour. Some lacing left behind.

Nose is light notes of oak, bourbon, vanilla.

Taste is a dash of bourbon and vanilla, some sweet chocolate all balanced nicely by a ample amount of hops.

Mouthfeel is thin for the style and fairly smooth.

Overall this is an easy drinking stout, not huge on complexities but enjoyable nonetheless. Glad i had the opportunity to try.

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Photo of KFBR392
3.73/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Appearance: Pours with a light to medium body for an IS. Dark brown color to this brew, sits black in the glass. Light tan head on the pour and was present an the edges of the glass while drinking.

Smell: Vanilla and coconut pull the drinker in on the front of this beer. Medium bodied roasted malt and sweet tones of bourbon and molasses are also found. The bourbon really opens up as this beer warms up. There is a dark cherry fruit aroma in the back end.

Taste: The front is a milk chocolate, vanilla, bourbon sweetness. The malt character is very light but has a very smooth and easy going texture. The bourbon character besides being pretty bright on the front end gives a light dryness on the finish. Some nice things going on here but it lacks really deep complexity. Overall pretty light for a barrel aged stout.

Mouthfeel: Light on the palate, very easily drinkable.

Overall: A decent BA stout. I really enjoyed the aromas of this brew but the taste overall was lacking. I expected some more violent bourbon tones especially since this beer was aged in Maker's Mark barrels. Went down easy though, balanced and nothing over the top.

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Photo of mpyle
4.22/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Thanks to my coworker TB for this bottle. A "Best by June-2014" bottle consumed in Sept 2013.

Opaque color, poured a moderate tan colored head with reasonable retention for 10% beer

Rich aroma with alcohol and vanilla, a bit of coffee, and some sour notes in the wood aroma.

Big malt flavor up front, some plum-like dark fruit to go with a sweet coffee flavor. Complex and not overly sweet. Barrel aging character is present, but not overpowering. Some wood, and not terribly boozy. Bitterness in the finish is subtle, and gently transitions to a slightly woody finish. Alcohol flavors are well controlled.

Fairly chewy, big body. Relatively low carbonation, and some pleasant alcohol warming. Low carbonation helps give it a softer feel.

Not always a huge fan of Imp Stouts, but found this one big and complex, yet gentle and drinkable. The barrel aging adds another element without overwhelming the base beer.

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Photo of MDDMD
4.05/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A-dark brown black color with a smallish light brown head and minimal lacing

S-dark roasted malt, light coffee, light bourbon, chocolate

T-chocolate, dark roasted malt, light bourbon, light coffee, earthy, little vanilla, overall has a really nice balance of flavors

F-medium body with light carbonation, smooth, a little less rich nd viscous than I prefer

O-this was a really nicely balanced stout, would definitely drink again

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Photo of BurgeoningBrewhead
4.64/5  rDev +18.1%
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!

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Photo of ThisWangsChung
3.69/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

12.7 oz bottle into a Duvel tulip.

A: Pours a nearly pitch black color that doesn't look particularly thick coming out of the bottle. The head is typical for the style, a one-finger khaki shade. It's nice and creamy, but doesn't retain well (as expected). Slight hints of lacing are left on the glass.

S: Upon popping the cork, a HUGE aroma of chocolaty goodness emanates from the bottle. After it's actually poured, it turns into more of a typical barrel-aged stout. There's plenty of oak, roasted malts, butter, and vanilla here. This definitely seems bourbon-forward enough.

T: Dark chocolate opens up the flavors nicely. There's also something savory in between the chocolaty start and tannic finish. I'm venturing to say it's just a pure bourbon flavor, but it also has a quality of roasted nuts. All in all, it grows on me after a while, and I enjoy it a fair deal. Problem is, there's not much (if any) complexity. It's simplistic to a fault - which is fine for some A-class pilsner or AA-class IPA, but this is the major league of barrel-aged imperial stouts. You need to bring everything to the table, and this doesn't quite do that. On the positive side, the sweetness is nicely controlled; even BCBS, as fantastic as it is, comes across too sweetly at times.

M: It's suitably creamy, so it meets the bare minimum for what the style should feel like in the mouth. The finish, too, is nice, managing to be both dry and long-lasting. On the other hand, it's also rather thinned out and clean - the latter must be why there isn't much depth. Still, I am pretty impressed how this has a decent bourbon flavor with little burn considering the sweetness is restrained and the body is slender.

O: 3.9 (or whatever the rAvg is) isn't a great score for a barrel-aged imperial stout, but going by my tendency to rate most everything half a point below the typical average, I'd even wager this is slightly underrated. I'd probably lambast this somewhat if it had the same level of hype as BCBS does. All I know is that A) it's better than the chocolate/coffee aged version, and B) with a few tweaks (more body, more complexity), it would be up there with the elites. Right now, though, it's still quite good.

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Photo of clayrock81
3.85/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poured a almost blackish brown body with one finger head that wasn't around too long and some lace. Aroma is mostly of roasted malts, little bit of woody or oakiness, touch of sweetness. An enjoyable and easy to drink stout and the only detriment to this beer is it's rather a simple stout compared to others of the genre. Smooth, medium bodied, not really chewey, passes over the tongue giving off some woodiness/oakiness and some vanilla/java like and bitter chocolate sweetness which balances with roasted and minor coffee malts that lead to a dry finish. Not a bad beer at all but for this style I'd like a stronger malt base/taste foundation and a little more complexity (can't even say I got any dark fruit notes or complex malt tastes).

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Photo of zeledonia
4.26/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

Thanks to my aunt-in-law for the bottle. Cork says best by March 2013, but it's a barrel-aged imperial stout! Tasted 6 August 2013, reviewed from notes.

Pours deep brown, black in the glass, with two big dense fingers of medium gray-tan-brown head. Excellent retention, relaxing to a thin cap, with little doilies decorating the inside of the glass. Very nice.

Smell starts out whiskey-heavy, but backs off nicely as the stout comes through. It still feels a little barrel-dominated, but the chocolate and sweetness of those roasted malts provide a nice balance. Simple version: good, but tilting too far to bourbon.

Taste is quite nice, with the stout coming through more, and the barrel adding highlights. It's rich, full of chocolate, molasses, figs, and a touch of candy. I like the lack of heat, as I was worried from the smell that it would be a bourbon bomb. Really good integration, with just a light whiskey snap mid-way through.

Feel is nearly perfect. Thick and chewy, without being overly weighty, and with a little burble of carbonation that comes at just the right level and time. Lasting, with those chocolate notes stretching out on my tongue.

I'm enjoying this beer a lot. I like the taste better, where the beer outshines the barrel. Would like to try a non-barrel-aged version of this for comparison, as I think the base has a lot of complexity. I'm digging it; would put in the middle to upper-middle of imperial stouts. Not amazing, but pretty darn good.

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Photo of beerthulhu
3.91/5  rDev -0.5%
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.

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Photo of portia99
3.96/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml C&C bottle (cork says best by: Mar 2013 - a little late, I guess) poured into an Idle Hands tulip.

A - Pours a very dark brown color, totally opaque with no light getting thru at all. A thick cap of frothy, coffee milkshake looking head lingers for several minutes. Almost a solid sheet of foamy lace is left on every bare surface of the glass.

S - Quite a bit of woody oak up front on the nose. Picking up faint traces of bourbon and also mild tartness in the aroma (hope this isn't a sign of bad things to come). Also getting a little bit of coffee and chocolate, nice touch of vanilla.

T - Hoppy bitterness up front, bakers chocolate, firm woody oakiness, lingering coffee, cocoa powder, soft touches of bourbon, mild vanilla. Flavors come out a bit more as the beer warms giving more bourbon presence and more of a boozy kick.

M - Fairly full body with a low-medium carbonation. Carbonation gives a little bit of life, but more than anything buoys the body of the beer up a bit. Smoothly integrated bourbon barrel. Barreling is a bit on the subtle side in a good way. Very well balanced BA stout - bourbon complements nicely and plays off of the base beer without undermining it. Smooth notes of coffee, bitter chocolate, and hop bitterness.

O - Really well done barrel aged stout. Barreling is done quite well allowing the subtleties of the base beer to remain while adding additional nuances of bourbon and wood. Super smooth with well hidden alcohol presence. Should be sipped, but begs to take good sized gulps.

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Photo of TMoney2591
4.05/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Served in a Dogfish Head snifter.

I felt like I needed a souvenir of sorts from my first visit to the brewpub, so why not a nice seasonal stout? This stuff pours a deep, dark black-brown topped by a finger of tan foam. The nose comprises roasted malts, coffee, chocolate syrup, and a hint of char. The taste brings in more of the same, with the roast and coffee both bringing some harsh darkness. It's powerfully roasty in all the right ways. The body is a hefty medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a drying finish. Overall, a damn solid stout, probably my favorite Blue Mountain offering at the moment. There's not much of the barrel present here, but something tells me the wood contributed some minor char instead of the whiskey. I don't mind that much this time.

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Photo of Gaffattack
4.15/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.25

Loved this brew. Once I popped the cork I smelt the bourbon scent come out. The first few sips seem strong. But once you get past the neck of the bottle it tastes much better and I don't get why. Bottle looks great and caught my attention at the store. Went down smoother and smoother after every sip.

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Photo of wvsabbath
4.35/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Serving Type - 22oz caged and corked bottle

Appearance - Dark black with tan tint. 1/4 inch creamy head, and nice sticky lacing.

Smell - Whiskey, chocolate, vanilla, Smokey malts, brown sugars and molasses. Fig, raisin, some caramel and coffee also. Aroma is really strong and impressive.

Taste - Much like the smell, first sip is a mix of whiskey and malts. The chocolate is more so dark and cocoa flavored. Some fruits and sugars come out near the finish. Vanilla is a main flavor, as is coffee. Near the finish I can pickup a sweet fruit, much like a cherry or raisin adding some sweet bite for only a second or so.

Mouthfeel - Whiskey and malts come right and coat the tongue. Chocolate and coffee also. Palate gets more whiskey and malts, with sugars, fruits and vanilla. Aftertaste is warm, malty, Smokey and chocolate.

Overall - This beer was really good. Loads of flavor, strong and bold. Whiskey was slightly strong and a little dominate but not bad at all. I was shocked at reading other reviews on this, almost seems like im drinking a different beer. Maybe I got a super fresh bottle? Maybe there are plenty of bad bottles out and about? Don't know but I will get more if I can, and will age one and see how it ends up. I hope you get the same beer that I got in this bottle, this is some really good stuff.

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Photo of JWeldon
3.55/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Caged & corked 350ml poured into a tulip

A: pours near black with a shallow, tan head that quickly disappears. No lace.

S: dark chocolate and date with molasses, vanilla and char—very promising

T: light bourbon and oak, hints of toffee, coffee and raisin. Lightly boozy and bitter with a gentle, dry finish.

M: light carb and light-medium malt with relatively light hops

O: I liked it, but wouldn’t go out of the way to drink it again. I would’ve liked a little more body for as deep and dark a beer as it appeared to be, and as the nose implied. FWIW: the decadant coconut, chocolate & caramel ice cream I had on hand paired really well with this medium-bodied beer.

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Photo of dtivp
3.59/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark black with a one finger light mocha head that fades quickly with zero lacing.

Aroma of dark roasted malt,dark chocolate and hints of bourbon.

Taste followed the nose dark roasted malt, dark chocolate, hints of oak, balanced with slight of sweet dark fruit and ending with a splash of bourbon.

Mouth Feel was medium body, light carbonation, smooth, a slight dry bitterness and a little alcohol warming.

Overall this is a nice barrel aged stout, would like a little more body and a little stronger wood and burnt malt characteristic that you get from a barrel aged imperial stout.

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Photo of Georgiabeer
3.71/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A little bit confusing- says on the label "Blue Mountain Barrel House, Arrington, VA", yet here it is listed under Blue Mountain Brewery. Is it the same brewery? If so, there should be some indication of that on the label. If not... The other thing about this beer- it's on the edge of being sour. You don't really get that in the taste (yet), but there is a definite whiff of sour underlying the bourbon aroma. Aging in wood can be a perilous thing. In this case it doesn't detract too much from the beer, but I see from some other reviews that it has in those reviewers' cases. Pours nicely, with a black color and some decent lacing. Aside from the whiff of sour, there are prominent Bourbon aromas, especially a brown sugar and vanilla note. The taste also starts with the Bourbon, again prominently displaying a caramel sweetness and vanilla, and just a touch of a burn. A little bit of roastiness and bitterness round out the flavors, but the overwhelming impression is of sweetness, vanilla, and Bourbon. A bit lighter than I'd like in body as well.

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Photo of mactrail
3.29/5  rDev -16.3%
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.

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Photo of C20Percent
4.24/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

** Blue Mountain was able to send me a replacement and it was 180. Great brew!

A: Dark brown with a bubbly tan head on top. Better head than most BA Imperial Stouts. Pretty good appearance.

S: Mild roastiness and bourbon aromas. Some dark chocolate. Mild aroma.

T: F-ing ridiculous. Super sour. A tart bourbon-y flavor. I don't get it. No vanilla. No oak. No chocolate or expresso or tabacco flavors. Just straight sour. I did some research and other folks are saying it's infected. I imagine that might be true in this case. If this is the way the brewer intended this beer to taste, then they need to re-evaluate this quickly.

M: Less than average carbonation. Super thin finish. Not a good feel.

O: All wrong. I'm likely going to avoid all Blue Mountain beer from here on out. I've contacted them through their website to see if this was a bad batch. I posted on their Facebook page, which they deleted, but it would be helpful to know if sour and tart is what this beer is supposed to taste like. Just bad all over.

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