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Black Whole - Cigar City Brewing

Not Rated.
Black WholeBlack Whole

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
81
good

110 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 110
Reviews: 40
rAvg: 3.57
pDev: 17.37%
Wants: 13
Gots: 19 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Cigar City Brewing visit their website
Florida, United States

Style | ABV
American Porter |  8.00% ABV

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: VaTechHopHead on 07-24-2011

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Black Whole is a multi-dimensional ale that takes many twists and turns similar to our daily lives. It has a big chocolate expression with moderate caramel notes, complex toasted to biscuit notes and hints of clove and black licorice.

Black Whole is a tribute to El Chupa Cobras, a mathy indie band from Montgomery, Alabama.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 110 | Reviews: 40
Reviews by CJS:
More User Reviews:
Photo of Mora2000
4/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to blutt59 for sharing this bottle.

The beer pours a dark brown color with a tan head. The aroma is what I expected and is full of chocolate and roasted malt. Fairly straight forward but that is not a bad thing in this case.

The flavor is also fairly straight forward. I get a mix of chocolate and roasted malt, with a little bit of ash character mixed in. The alcohol is well hidden.

Medium to thick mouthfeel and medium carbonation.

Photo of lanamj
3.4/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle poured into a tulip.

A- Pours a creamy black color with a heavy to finger soapy head that seems to hold very strongly.

S- Chocolate, coffee and some cream. I also get the roasted malts and soap. It has a faint saison presence but a porter back bone.

T- What a trip. It starts like a saison, but holds and finishes like a porter. Lots of roasted flavor with smoke finish. I get the coffee and cream at the end as a residual flavor and some how the soap is hidden in there.

M- Lots of carbonation. nice and creamy at the end and not to thin at all. It is quite a road trip for you mouth it takes you all over. I like it but at the same time not what i would always want from a porter.

O- I'm glad i tried this one very interesting indeed. I'm going to cellar my last two and see what happens. I think the carbonation is a little to aggressive for this style but the body and smell is fine. Not my favorite from CCB but still a interesting beer.

Photo of WoodBrew
4/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Suck a bottle onto a cruise ship and it was a nice break from the standard shit the boat serves. I poured into a typical glass and this brew is pitch black. This brew can easily be explained as cold coffee. It is sweet, bitter and a little hoppy. The beer looks like the darkest coffee ever brewed and drinks like a coffee that has been in the fridge for an hour. A great brew but not necessarily for my taste. Allthough this is another great brew from CCB.

Photo of Heatwave33
3.92/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from tap at CCB into a Cigar City Snifter.

Color: Black with a tan head.

Smell: Alcohol presence with nice malts and barley.

Taste: Tart taste with nice malts really pair well together.

Mouthfeel: slightly coarse and dry on the palate.

Overall: this cigar city brew is a very nice blend between malts and a nice tartness. Cheers!

Photo of thagr81us
3.92/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Big thanks goes out to beeruser for sharing this one! Served from bottle into a Bell's stemmed tulip. Poured a massively dark brown with a two finger tan head that subsided to a minimal amount quickly. Maintained decent lacing throughout the glass. The aroma was comprised of roasted malt, smoke, and tobacco. The flavor was of roasted malt, smoke, caramel, and tobacco. It had a light feel on the palate with medium-high carbonation. Overall this was a decent brew. While this one was not very complex by any means, it still manages to be quite good as far as the flavors and aromas present. The tobacco flavor I picked up on was a little off-putting at first, but once you get used to through the session you start to understand why it was incorporated into the brew. A solid brew that I'm glad I got the chance to try.

Photo of SpdKilz
3.33/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Forgot who sent this extra to me, but thanks and cheers!

Appearance – Pours a dark black into a sniffer with massive amounts of cocoa colored head that dissipates slowly leaving chunky lacing.

Smell – Chocolate, coffee, tartness reminding me of infection (though this of course gets thrown around too often sometimes). Roasted malts and dark fruit. Little licorice.

Taste – Weird. It really does start out like a fruity saison that mixes to the cocoa and dark chocolate. I do believe this is infected (from experiencing infected beers, this does have the telltale tart off cherry infection flavor). Reading other reviews, I do see another mention of infection and reading “regular” reviews makes my beer seem that much more off. Slight spiciness.

Mouthfeel – Medium bodied, excessive carbonation.

Overall – Absolutely infected. BUT, oddly it somewhat works. It is not a drainpour like Abyss ’09 was for me.

Photo of JohnGalt1
3.48/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Received a couple of these rarities from Reaper16... Barry is a damn cool trader. Shared them with my local homies and a BA from Florida..

Deep and dark in my Portsmouth goblet.... no light escapes... dark brown head.... nice retention... okay lacing...

The nose is very dry.... dark malt and cocoa.... minor hints of Belgian esters and phenols show as white peppercorns and sour cherries... the aroma is pretty much an American porter spiked mildly with dreams of Belgium.

I normally don't like bigger porters as they seem too one dimensional... but this bottle is decent as it brings in some minor Belgian character... lite clove.. lite cherry.... very dry across the board... some malt sweetness would have have helped carry the minor yeasty character...

The body is lite/medium... and that is giving them a coin... pretty lite... just okay carbonation... "MEH".... seems to be the quote of the tastings.

I had high hopes for this one, but was let down quite a bit.

4/3.5/3.5/3/3.5

Photo of jmarsh123
4.25/5  rDev +19%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours black with just a slight tinge of red. Small coffee colored head.

Smells of roasted coffee and chocolate. Good classic porter aromas.

Taste follows the nose. A great blend of chocolate and coffee with some earthy hop notes.

Fairly creamy with medium carbonation levels.

Very good porter with some bold yet balanced flavors.

Photo of STKPICR0720
4.15/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Okay I am not a huge porter fan but I had to try this brew considering it is limited only to Alabama and the brewery. I poured into a tulip this brew is pitch black. This brew can easily be explained as cold coffee. It is sweet, bitter and a little hoppy. The beer looks like the darkest coffee ever brewed and drinks like a coffee that has been in the fridge for an hour. A great brew but not necessarily for my taste. Allthough this is another great brew from CCB.

Photo of mikesgroove
4.33/5  rDev +21.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

dark pour here with a rich dark brown color that no light could penetrate. This was a monster looking porter I have to say with a menacing two inches of foam on the top of it that cascaded down the sides. The aroma was of light vanilla, lots of oak and woody notes, and hints of molasses and caramel. As it warmed some nice roasted notes start coming off of it. The flavor was as rich as the aroma with lots of sweet malts, hints of roasted notes and a nice bit of caramel and molasses. Light vanilla, not as much as I would have hoped for peaking through. A nice full bodied porter, nothing here was really overwhelming. This was about as solid as a big porter you are going to come across.

Photo of cwguy5
3.34/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Enjoyed 3.7.12 and reviewed from notes.

A - opaque black with beautiful, almost perfect, consistent, khaki colored, one-finger head that retained very well, keeping a 1/4 inch head almost throughout leaving some moderate-heavy lacing throughout

S - tough one... toffee, molasses, sweet and dark malts

T - dark chocolate, light caramel, molasses, followed by a dry, bitter finish

M - medium bodied with prickly, fine carbonation that approached fizzy; very long, but mild bitter linger

O - not quite sure what to make of this one. i had high hopes from the label description but it did not quite live up to it's billing complexity-wise. the bitter linger/aftertaste was a bit too long for me and seemed to give me some palate fatigue. not sure of age maybe it played a factor.

Photo of DarthKostrizer
3.11/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Thanks to CurtisMcArthur for this one

Look: Black with red rings and a huge 1 inch mocha colored head with good retention but no lace

Smell: Sour cherries upfront and I hope this one is not infected. It does carry some bitter chocolate on the backend

Taste: First thought is that of an ashtray and it does not seem to be infected but I still have my doubts. It is slightly sour and has traces of coffee caramel and chocolate

Mouthfeel: Is horribly carbonated. There is so much carbonation that is makes this one hard to drink it has a medium body and is slightly dry

Overall: If there is not something wrong with this beer then it is just not very good. The flavor is brash and honestly just a mess. The mouthfeel is so badly carbonated that you have to struggle with the carbonation bubbles wrecking the top of your mouth. Not recommended

Photo of hopking311
4.08/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Dark Black, thin light tan head.. Great retention and lacing.

smells of sweet licorice, roasted caramel malts

well carbonated, medium body

taste roasty, caramel sweetness, light chocolate malts.

Balanced porter. second time having.. very nice and balanced flavors..

Photo of adam42381
4/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a Cigar City snifter. Purchased at the CCB taproom on 9/9/11.

Appearance: Pours a dark cola brown with a 1 finger fizzy medium tan head. Decent lacing.

Smell: Dark chocolate, dark roasted malt, a touch of coffee and a hint of fruity sweetness in the background.

Taste: Roasted malt and a touch of dark fruit up front followed by Belgian yeast and mild phenols in the middle before ending with coffee and dark roasted malt at the finish. Aftertaste is bitter with a touch of sweetness peaking through.

Mouthfeel: Medium-to-full-bodied with a high amount of prickly carbonation.

Drinkability: Good drinkability. It's a sipper that doesn't feel like one.

Overall: Good beer overall. I prefer it on draft by a mile, but this is still a nice hybrid beer. Worth a try.

Photo of VaTechHopHead
3.55/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A - Pours a pretty viscous dark black with a light white head that fades over time. A little opaque and no visible carbonation.

S - A rich subtle chocolate aroma is detected first, followed by a nice black licorice smell. There is a sweet caramel note in there as well complimented by a bready finish.

T - Not as robust as I was expecting but very nice for a porter. The primary flavor is a rich dark chocolate with a semi-bitter licorice flavor in the aftertaste. In the middle there is a faint malt flavor with roasted grains and biscuits.

M - A little thin on the body for my preference but the carbonation is very nice. Finishes semi-dry and sort of tart and the flavor fades quickly on the palate.

O - Not a bad beer and it's a nice twist on a classic style. The flavors work well but don't "pop" as much as I would have hoped due to a thin body, but still very easy to sip.

Photo of Reaper16
4.29/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz. bottle served into a tulip glass

Pours a very dark brown, like molasses-dark. It’s more a cola brown at the very edges of the glass, but that’s as light as this beer gets. Two fingers of soft, consistent mocha colored head on this pour. The foam is not dense at all, despite how much of it there is. Think the head on a bottle or can of Guinness. This is more than adequate for a porter.

Oooh, now THIS is something different. The initial wave of aroma is very much in the porter tradition: it is roasty as all Hell, with loads of bitter chocolate notes. There is a small but not insignificant amount of Earthy hops (Fuggles, maybe?). But Black Whole soon starts to get all Belgian on you. Notes of wild cherry and clove invite comparisons to Dubbels. Black pepper starts to come out as the beer warms. The overall effect – smoky, peppery, slightly fruity -- is not too dissimilar from a steak grilled over fruitwood.

While Black Whole is, in the nose, more porter than anything else, it leans towards Belgian ales on the palate. Wild cherry washes over the tongue immediately, their juicy sweetness undercut by the spice character (clove and black peppercorn, mostly). Chocolate sauce finds its way out from underneath the Belgian yeast character, as well as the significant char from the roasted malts. The finish sees brief bursts of anise, vanilla, and European hops before the roast and black pepper take back over. Scoring this beer is tricky because is straddles this line between styles. My score might be an outlier for this beer. To me, the cherry flavors compliment this level of dark caramel maltiness, and the heavy roasted malt works in tandem with the peppery yeast character. If you love roast and bitterness as much as I do then you should love this beer.

Scoring the mouthfeel is also tricky. It’s not as thick as the porter character would normally call for, but seems appropriate for a lighter Dubbel. It’s also quite prickly with carbonation. What elevates the mouthfeel, though, is its surprising amount of dryness. Black Whole is fermented with a Saison yeast strain, and it definitely works to dry the beer out. I’m very interested in seeing what age does to this beer, in seeing how that yeast strain affects the beer long-term.

Overall, this is a splendid experiment. I find that the marriage of Dubbel and Porter works quite well. I’m going to have to buy a few more to stash away for a year or so. I’d suggest that you run out and buy this, but its pretty rate. Black Whole was limited to only 144 cases, and it is sold ONLY in the state of Alabama (well, and the Cigar City taproom in Tampa, FL). The beer is named in tribute to Alabama indie rock band, El Chupa Cobras, so Alabama gets pretty much all of the cases. If you like porters or like dark saisons or just like wildly experimental brews then you should find someone in Alabama to trade with.

Photo of womencantsail
3.53/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks for the bottle, Chip.

A: The beer pours a dark brown color with a rather sizable khaki head.

S: It's very roasty on the nose with a mild metallic character. Notes of coffee and chocolate (a lot of chocolate, actually), along with some molasses. It's surprisingly sweet.

T: The flavor is also very sweet, too sweet for me. Molasses and chocolate with a fair bit of roasted malts. It's a touch thin/watery and that comes through on the flavor.

M: A little bit thin, especially for an 8% beer, with a medium to high carbonation.

O: Too much sweetness and a little too watery for my tastes.

Photo of taylocd
3.73/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Cigar City special release brew limited to 144 cases and only available at brewery tasting room, and select locations in Alabama. Poured from 12 ounce bottle into snifter.

A - black body with no light peering through; small mocha head dissipated somewhat quickly and left no lacing but only a small but dense ring of bubbles at the rim

S - only faint coffee and chocolate aroma.

T - starts with semi-sweet chocolate flavor, middle almost has toasted nut (almond maybe - I can't pinpoint this aspect) finishes with very nice burnt coffee bitterness

F- medium thickness to body, with surprising carbonation; almost light for a "summer porter" if there exists such a thing; as it warms, the alcohol (8 percent) burn becomes just perceptible

O - enjoyable and very drinkable; good to very good, but not great.

Photo of scottfrie
3.73/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks for sharing this, kanos!

A: Pours a very dark nutty brown with a thick light brown bubbly head that faded into a wispy film.
S: Sweet notes of caramel and a touch of chocolate, nuts and perhaps something spicy?
T: Complex flavor of raisins, caramel, chocolate and black licorice come to mind. I still attest that there is something lightly spicy in here, like a mild roasted chipotle chile or something. The finish is full of chocolate and a bit of tobacco and leather.
M: Drying finish, medium-full body, with soft carbonation and a soft mouthfeel.
O: This was an interesting porter. The sweet and roasted flavors worked well together.

Photo of TrappistJohnMD
4.05/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours black with thick, light tan head that lingers forever in Cigar City snifter.

Smell is thick with dark malt, caramel, chocolate and molasses.

Taste is rich with chocolate and toasted malt. I can't taste the licorice. Mildly bitter finish.

Dry mouthfeel with lots of carbonation.

Overall I enjoyed this very much.

Photo of stakem
2.22/5  rDev -37.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

12oz bottle I picked up at the brewery during my visit over the week of 4th of July. Poured into a matching Cigar City snifter. The brew appears a very dark brown color with a mountainous 3+fingers worth of mocha head sitting atop. The cap very slowly fades down to about a finger but it maintains that finger's strength for the entire duration since it is supported by constantly rising bubbles. It leaves patches of lace sticking to the glass. Overall this brew looks pretty solid. When held to the light, it displays a brilliant ruby clarity through the body.

The aroma initially is a bit awkward. It has a carbonic quality that smells strong of minerals and a tin-like edge to it. The more I smell it, it reminds me of something along the lines of taking a hand full of old dirty coins and holding them up to your face... kinda, well sort of. Under that weird mineral/metallic character is some roasty quality that is somewhat like chocolate mixed with dark fruits. Once the brew warms up, it has a bit more focus on dark fruit but that tin-like mineral edge is still there.

The taste is unfortunately also mineral-filled. It has quite a metalic element that mixes with some roast of the grain that is somewhat like chocolate into the aftertaste mixed with a lot of dark fruits something along the lines of raisins/plums. There is some earthy elements also present faintly like coffee. Taking more sips as it warms up, there is a tangy alcohol aspect that almost has a lemony edge to it.

This is a medium bodied brew with an effervescent level of carbonation. I think the label is spot on. It really is a multi-dimensional ale but unfortunately every dimension of it doesn't work together. It is completely clashing and unenjoyable. I am sitting here trying to imagine what this brew would be like without the carbonic or mineral edge to it and it still doesn't make much sense to me. I guess it would be worth a try if you wanted to try something new but this really didnt work for me. Considering how expensive it was, I am for the first time in a long time experiencing buyer's regret.

Photo of HopHead84
3.35/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

8/26/2011

Thanks to Andrew for sharing.

A: Dark brown bordering on black with a beige head.

S: Lots of roast with accompanying dark chocolate and a little molasses. Smells sweet.

T: Cocoa, dark chocolate, and moderately roasted malt. Lightly toasted malt with bread and a moderate sweetness.

M: Lower medium body with moderate carbonation. The mouthfeel is a little thin.

Overall: Just okay.

Photo of lackenhauser
3.58/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Very, very dark brown in color with a huge head that makes me have to pour it out 3 times between settling. Dried fruits, raisens and a slight anise aroma with somewhat of a lactic, sour bite. Malty, mildly chocolate flavor. Some spicy chile like notes. Again has a "bite" to it that detracts-almost an off or sour/metallic flavor. Nice creamy body. Overall a notch above average. I don't think the beer is infected or bad it has an off flavor that I simply cannot get past-try for yourself and see.

Photo of sommersb
4.15/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Tasted On: 09-25-2011
Freshness: Bottled 07-21-2011
Packaging: 12 oz. brown bottle
Glassware: Tulip
Purchased: Gift from my brother in AL

A: Black, opaque beer with very little brown on the edges seen when held to the light. Nice creamy, tan head sits 3-4 fingers high, with great retention and a good amount of lace.

S: Primarily chocolate and coffee notes (roasted malts), with also some licorice in the background. As the beer warms, I get some rich, dark fruit notes as in a Belgian Strong Dark ale.

T: A dark chocolate bitterness is the first taste I get, offset somewhat by some caramel sweetness. It also has a smoked and woody taste, similar to a barrel-aged beer. As in the aromas, as the beer warms to room temperature, there are flavors of raisin or other ripe, darkened fruits like in dark Belgian ales. The alcohol seems to be more predominant as it warms as well.

M: Body is medium to heavy and carbonation is high. The finish is dry, with flavors of toasted malts, coffee and bittersweet chocolate.

O: This is a complex beer and difficult to pin to a particular style. Definitely a sipper due to the alcohol and intense flavors. Overall an enjoyable brew I'd recommend.

Photo of AgentMunky
4.18/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a Chimay goblet. No date-stamp on this "multi-dimensional ale."

A: The beer is almost black and certainly impenetrably opaque. A really nice, creamy head settles to almost a finger.

S: Lest my nose deceive me, I detect traces of a Belgian yeast. Tripel-y. Also some roasted malt, sweetish. Powdered milk chocolate?

T/M: Wow. Let's see...where to start. The mouthfeel hits me first, puckery without being sour or particularly dry, lots of tingliness and a surprisingly light body. The beer is full of flavours, more or less what you'd expect to find in a porter, if a bit strong. The aftertaste is the most typical and is bitter, as if of coffee grounds, and almost ashy. The maintaste reinforces my Belgian impression, with a fruity-spicy yeastiness amidst the anticipated chocolatey-roast malt. Really complex and really good.

O: I think this is a pretty grand beer -- I may go out and buy some more (didn't realise it was a limited release). Highly recommended, and very interesting. Look forward to puzzling through another.

EDIT (3 October 2011): I did go out and buy some more. I was not disappointed.

EDIT (10 June 2012): Blackberries on the nose, otherwise my initial opinions are confirmed.

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Black Whole from Cigar City Brewing
81 out of 100 based on 110 ratings.