Black Whole - Cigar City Brewing

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Black WholeBlack Whole

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BA SCORE
83
good

40 Reviews
THE BROS
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Reviews: 40
Hads: 110
rAvg: 3.69
pDev: 6.78%
Wants: 12
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: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 40 | Hads: 110
Photo of kylehay2004
3.53/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: black, single finger head

S: licorice and sugar

T: chocolate and a little dark fruit. cinnamon and licorice. Coffee bitterness.

M: medium body and moderate carbonation.

Overall: I am not a fan of licorice and therefore this one wasn't for me. The flavors didn't blend well for me. (288 characters)

Photo of mikesgroove
4.33/5  rDev +17.3%
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. (691 characters)

Photo of womencantsail
3.53/5  rDev -4.3%
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. (598 characters)

Photo of nickfl
3.65/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - A black body, topped by a small head of brown foam. Good retention and lace.

s - Caramel and cinnamon up front with a little bit of clove.

T - Dark caramel and licorice with lots of strange spice. Clove, anise, cinnamon, and other things I can't quite identify in the middle. finishes with earthy notes of licorice and chocolate.

M - A medium body, moderate carbonation, and a dry finish.

D - Kind of odd, really. It comes off as very spicy, but it is also quite dry and this combination hurts the drinkability for me. (526 characters)

Photo of Mora2000
4/5  rDev +8.4%
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. (446 characters)

Photo of stakem
2.22/5  rDev -39.8%
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. (2,096 characters)

Photo of HopHead84
3.35/5  rDev -9.2%
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. (397 characters)

Photo of WoodBrew
4/5  rDev +8.4%
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. (457 characters)

Photo of JohnGalt1
3.48/5  rDev -5.7%
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 (993 characters)

Photo of thagr81us
3.92/5  rDev +6.2%
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. (821 characters)

Photo of maximum12
2.85/5  rDev -22.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Thanks to moose3285 for this 12 oz. bottle tucked in amongst many of its bigger brethren in a(nother) fine Florida box.

Opens with an impressive percussive pop; carbonation for twenty points. As dark as advertised, but even a gentle pour yields mounds of head; I have to pause twice in the decanting phase of the operation. Uhhohoh. I love Cigar City, but 'infection' leaps immediately to mind. Smell is lovely with fruit rumors that make continue my suspicions: great roasted malt with cold apples. Black licorice, too.

Black Whole is bubblier than a Bieber fan waiting backstage: holy effervescence. Almost champagne-like. Then weird. Roast malts & melted licorice dabble in the New Year's revelry. The malts are held down by an almost saison-esqueness to the beer, which seems wholly unintended. Advertised chocolate can only be detected with effort & imagination. The mouthfeel is really distracting. Ehhh.

Hey Cigar City, I love you, but you gotta get a grip on these quality issues. There's something clearly awry with this beer, & it's not the first, or the fourth. This had promise but as is, stretching to decent. (1,128 characters)

Photo of AgentMunky
4.18/5  rDev +13.3%
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. (1,239 characters)

Photo of Holland
3.38/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

A: black to dark brown in color and a huge head that does not dissipate much throughout the glass.

S: dark roasted malts give coffee, chocolate, and tobacco smells. This makes a great mix. There is a hint of dark fruit.

T: first the roasted malts hit with bitterness, then it becomes more of a beer with some chocolate and sweet malt along with some bitterness, and it finishes with the heavy roasted malts again.

M: medium body but overcarbonated so much that it takes away from the flavor for me.

O: solid, but the carbonation is off for the style and my liking. Their Jose Marti is better anyhow. (607 characters)

Photo of scottfrie
3.73/5  rDev +1.1%
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. (647 characters)

Photo of Sean9689
3.49/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle into nonic.

A - Pours black, big pillowy tan-colored head, sticky lacing, thick cap.

S - Sweet dark fruit sweetness, slight coffee, toffee, roast. A weird mix of sweetness and roast, but not a chocolate sweetness, more like a herbal/fruity sweetness.

T - Roast, chocolate, bitter hops, some weird herbal sweetness of some sort, bitter dark chocolate finish. I enjoy the roast, chocolate, and hoppy bitterness but the weird sweetness is kind of off-putting to me.

M - Medium body, rich and smooth, creamy finish.

O - Like a porter in some ways, unlike one in others. A very weird beer, to say the least. While I do enjoy a great porter, this one isn't amongst my favorites. It's different, which it's necessarily good. Just okay. (745 characters)

Photo of DarthKostrizer
3.11/5  rDev -15.7%
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 (844 characters)

Photo of PorterLambic
3.41/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Arrives almost black with very little head because the snifter is full of malty goodness. A thin ring is all I have and I don't expect any lace.
Smell is wet cardboard and some roasted malt.
Taste is roasted malt, wet cardboard, light coffee and some sugar flavor without the sweetness.
Slightly dry with a lingering toastiness. Medium bodied, medium efffervescence. A good dryish, almost stout-like brew. (405 characters)

Photo of lackenhauser
3.58/5  rDev -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. (499 characters)

Photo of jaasen64
3.62/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle thanks to dolfan54fl for sending this fresh from the brewery. Poured into CCB snifter.

A- Pours an opaque dark black with lots of carbonation and about a 2-3 finger head of frothy mocha brown off-white head that has good retention. Leaves some lacing that recedes slowly, not really that layered.

S- Dark chocolate, roasted malts, almonds, biscuit, and some clove.

T- Dark chocolate, espresso, clove, malts, some very light spices, nuts, finishes a bit bitter.

M- On the lighter side for a porter. Decent amount of carbonation, easy to drink for 8%.

O- This was a porter that was interesting + easy to drink, but there were a lot of characteristics that I thought could have been improved. I think there was a little bit too much carbonation + head which kind of detracted from the mouthfeel, I also like my porters a little bit creamier. The clove was an interesting addition, however I think I prefer my porters without it- kind of detracted a little bit from the darker flavors. Overall not bad, but definitely not my favorite porter or CCB offering. (1,070 characters)

Photo of SpdKilz
3.33/5  rDev -9.8%
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. (928 characters)

Photo of jmarsh123
4.25/5  rDev +15.2%
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. (333 characters)

Photo of KickInTheChalice
3.24/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

From notes. Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a tulip.

The beer does not gush out of the glass, but a huge frothing head nearly overflows the glass, causing me to need to make three attempts before I can pour the whole glass. The head fades to a moderate 1 cm head after a few minutes. As for the beer itself, it close to a black color with walnut brown edges.

Roasted malt and dark, bitter chocolate are the main components of the aroma, but Black Whole has a relatively weak smell overall.

The flavor has a bit more to it, but it is still fairly flat and mild. Dark, unsweetened chocolate and deeply roasted malt are the first flavors on my tongue. Some smoke, vanilla, and molasses add a bit of depth. The middle and end of the sip simply consists of these flavors continuing, without anything new going on. The finish has a lightly dry bitterness.

There is a huge, bubbly carbonation that feels out of place with this style of beer. It has a slightly chalky dryness toward the end of the sip. The body is a little light for the ABV, but it still has a little bit of body to it.

This was just too light in flavor and seemed to have a few shortcomings that would prevent me from grabbing this again. (1,206 characters)

Photo of steve8robin
3.56/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I got this beer in a recent trade. I love CCB and I have never had this one. Glad to get to try. 12oz bottle...

A: A black brew with reddish highlights and a thick 1 inch tan colored lacing that fades at a decent pace. Very good.

S: I get some malty vanilla and mild raisin. Decent.

T: A malty cinnamon chocolate flavor upfront with a roasty vanilla in the middle. The brew finishes with a walnut type taste. Decent.

M: Medium body that is way over-carbonated. Almost like a soda. A creamy nutty finish. Decent.

O: All in all, this is a decent brew. CCB is my favorite brewery and this is one of the more mediocre brews I've ever had from them. Doesn't really bring anything to the style and is way over-carbonated. (720 characters)

Photo of adam42381
4/5  rDev +8.4%
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. (804 characters)

Photo of sommersb
4.15/5  rDev +12.5%
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. (1,190 characters)

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Black Whole from Cigar City Brewing
83 out of 100 based on 40 ratings.