Black Hole | Mikkeller ApS

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Black HoleBlack Hole

Brewed by:
Mikkeller ApS
Denmark | website

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 13.10%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
Brewed at De Proefbrouwerij.

Ingredients: Water, malt, roasted barley, flaked oats, dark cassanade, honey, hops, coffee, vanilla and ale yeast.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 11-24-2006

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Reviews: 376 | Ratings: 774
Photo of SerialTicker
4.17/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

$11.99 for a single 12.7oz bottle ... I have to go along with others asking the same thing: why the hell is the bottle green? Whatever. I got this beer while feeling stupid and willing to throw away cash. I looked up reviews first, and they were scores for a beer that I normally wouldn't spend $12 on, but some descriptions were so interesting that I figured I'd take the plunge.

Appearance: Hard pour into a Sam Adams Perfect Pint gave two fingers of a beautiful creamy brown head, one of which sticks around for a long while, and leaves quite a lot of lacing. The color of this beer is pitch black with only a slight ruby tint at the bottom of the glass.

Smell: No idea of a bottling date on this, but honestly, I find that it smells a bit hoppy -- it has a really faded piney hop quality on the nose with dark roasted malt, and some woody, ashy, smokey qualities to it. Honestly, I find it smells like a black IPA. There's also a sweet malt aroma as well that I'd probably attribute to the honey. This is a very interesting smelling beer, as others have said. The alcohol in Black Hole is also pretty prevalent, but not 13% ABV prevalent until it warms up. At that point, it becomes a bit of a booze bomb.

Taste/feel: Like the smell just about identically. This beer reminds me a LOT of a beer I've had before -- Honey Badger by Short's Brewing Company, but with more subtle floral qualities. For some reason the similarities are fairly strong to me. The name Black Hole has me expecting a booze-forward, bitter, intensely roasty beer, but I don't know that this beer really is all of that. This has a floral hop quality that I didn't see coming that's accompanied by a honey-like sweetness on top of a dark roasted malt base that consists of a bit of a woody, ashy, mildly smokey quality. Very interesting, lots of depth, and unlike most anything I've had before, though I wouldn't say I taste any of the coffee that's listed in the ingredients. The mouthfeel is absolutely dangerous ... not thick and luxurious, but rather, Black Hole has a moderate mouthfeel with a mid-level prickly carbonation -- not something I've ever come to expect out of 13% stouts. This is also part of why I somewhat think of this as an imperial black IPA.

Worth a dollar an ounce? Hard to say. If you can get a small pour of this somewhere, go for it. I find that it has a very unique flavor profile. Again, there is something mid-sip that reminds me of Honey Badger by Short's, but in an "amped up" sort of way ... it sucks for 99.6% of people reading this review that I'm making that comparison, because that beer was a small, limited release in Michigan. I'm genuinely curious as to why this beer "only" has an 85 rating on BA. Recipe change? Bitter about the pricing? I'll admit, the pricing of this beer will likely keep me from buying it again, at least in the near future (hence my 4 overall rating, partially), but Black Hole is a unique tasting, palate pleasing, thought provoking beer that ought to be experienced by anybody who proclaims an interest in well-crafted beer.

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Photo of clayrock81
3.85/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poured a black body with one finger light brown head that dies quick with no lace. Aroma is mostly coffee with some touches of sweetness that resemble milk chocolate and vanilla. Smooth, silky beer considering the high ABV (which is well-hidden) that balances a lactic like sweetness and coffee, although the coffee flavors are dominant. A coffee stout that tries to add sweetness to a typically dry style and comes "kinda close".

 433 characters

Photo of MUTINY
3.79/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

12.7oz bottle into two small tasting chalices.

A: Pours a completely opaque black with dark cola hues around the edges. 1/2" tan head recedes slowly. Retention & especially lacing are poor.

S: Deep dark chocolate, pitted fruit, vanilla. Notable hop character. Booze. Black cherries. Cereal-like malt. Very dense nose. Impressive.

T: Comes on cloyingly boozy, slowly revealing big vanilla & deep dark chocolate notes. Mid palate focuses more on bitter hops & cherry-like notes with just a touch of roastiness. Black coffee shows up prominently on the finish, along with a lingering anise/booze quality.

M: Lowish carb married to a somewhat syrupy medium body. There's a bit of an almost grainy, sugar-in-the-raw thing going on. Not in love with it.

O: The nose is truly special here & the flavors aren't too far behind. The whole thing just seems a bit loose to me.

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Photo of buschbeer
1.38/5  rDev -63.4%
look: 4 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 3 | overall: 1

12.7 FL OZ bottle
Served in a snifter

This beer pours black with an inch of mocha colored head that leaves some lacing.

The first thing I noticed is a skunked aroma. I immediately cursed the green bottle. As I searched the aroma I was able to discern some coffee, but the skunked smell just seems to dominate the glass.

The taste is just as atrocious as the smell. It tastes skunked, astringent, and just plain terrible. The coffee is overwhelmed by these awful flavors. To replicate, take a Heineken and bake it in the desert sun for a week. Then add instant coffee. You should come close.

Full mouthfeel

If I was a person who poured beer down the drain, this would be the one. This is by far the worst stout that I have ever tasted.

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Photo of LordVodka
4.32/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Super strange beer. Smells a little of tequila and dried fruit with a dash of oak. The taste is way more of a cherry flavor then the coffee it advertises. Worth a try, not a favorite by any measure though.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.61/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On-tap 5/8/2015 at Track 84 in Warwick, RI served in a flute glass.

A: The beer is a deep dark brown color, with a large beige head that fades slowly and leaves a very thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma contains chocolate, coffee, honey, roasted malts and oats.

T: The taste starts out with sweet flavors of chocolate, coffee, honey and vanilla. Then a hearty roasted oats and malt character comes in. along with some alcohol sting. The hops presence is very faint as you would expect but there’s very little balance. The after-taste is slightly sweet.

M: A little crisp and a little smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

O: A little tasty, goes down ok, not too filling, very strong kick, decent representation of style, there are definitely several other choices in the style that I would pick first.

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Photo of dar482
2.69/5  rDev -28.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

The beer comes in a black color.

The aroma has dark raisins and prunes, licorice, a good amount of dark fruit, alcohol, chocolate.

The flavor follows with lots of booze, prunes, dark fruit, dark chocolate. The beer has a really light mouthfeel for the ABV and lots of bitterness and licorice.

The beer is boozy, bitter, and lacks roast and balance. One of the worst imperial stouts I've had as it is near undrinkable.

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Photo of Norvelljeff
4.44/5  rDev +17.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Got this one as a part of my monthly beer club member at local bottle shop so i didn't have to really pay for it.
Look is black with a thick inch or so tan head. looks very good
Smell is toffee and coffee. Comes out strong
Taste strongly upfront of coffee and alcohol with a back end that lingers just a little bit but goes away fairly quick.
Feel is not much. Its there but nothing that stays with you.
Overall is a good coffee stout. Nothing that I would buy again I don't think.

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Photo of bnes09
4.42/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Jet black and absorbs all light within its event horizon. Pours a rich, cinnamon colored head with exceptional retention and fine leg-like patches of lacing.

Dark aroma of espresso, burnt toast and tobacco. Sweet molasses, maple quality. Smooth, rich bourbon. Spicy, pine-like hop to balance.

Flavor follows the nose very well. Aggressive roasted flavor up front, smooth bourbon and oak in the middle with lingering hop bitterness in the finish.

Full bodied. Sticky feel. Dry, coarse texture in the finish. Slightly low carbonation works well for the style.

Very well done coffee flavored Russian imperial stout.

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Photo of chinchill
3.14/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 1.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Large shared bottle.

Aroma and flavor have little besides coffee. Medium brown body with a poor head and a lot of sediment that sinks to the bottom.

O: a sbetter ubstitute for cold coffee than for a fine Imperial Stout.

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Photo of Eddiehop
3.72/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poured into a teku and created a nice foam head. Unfortunately, compared to some of the other big stouts, this has a very boozy taste @ 13%. You pick up the alcohol on the nose and lacks the coffee and chocolate flavor to balance and counteract the booze. Another average job by Mikkeller.

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Photo of Marius
4.4/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pitch black pour, visibly thick, with a very fine-grained head that is slow to make its way to the surface. It smells amazing: cocoa, dark chocolate, vanilla, coffee, maple syrup. Strong taste too, burnt malts up front, with a heavy addition of bitter brewed coffee and notes of vanilla too. My only problem is that the taste is a bit too sweet and toward roasted malts than I'd like. I cannot feel any alcohol in here, aside from a hot and spicy aftertaste. Medium body, not at all oily.

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Photo of MattSweatshirt
3.74/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pitch black with a thick and creamy brown head.

Aroma is sweet with cherry, coffee, and has some warmth to it.

Sticky sweet on the lips and ample bitterness. Fruit flavors stands out well on the taste. Roasty coffee. It's got some heat to it.

Luxurious feel on the tongue as this smooth brew glides down the gullet. Not full bodied.

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Photo of UrbanCaveman
4.27/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

12.7 oz bottle (Green glass? Really?), poured into a snifter at approximately 65 degrees F.

A: Pours a very dark brown, bordering on black. No sunlight gets through the beer once poured. The pale tan head dissipates fairly quickly into a ring with a cap of patchy islands, a foam archipelago. I saw no lacing to speak of.

S: Booze and coffee are the first impressions I get from the aroma, with the coffee seeming more like a medium roast than an espresso or anything darker. Raisins are also present in the scent, wreathed delicately around a combination of rich earth and toffee-caramel malt.

T: This drinks remarkably similar to a wine, a dark red wine. Raisin and grape flavors abound as it opens, wrapped around a core of light coffee and roasted barley. The toffee flavor comes through towards the middle, carried upon a wave of sweetness that brings vanilla with some black licorice hints. More fruit and coffee strike at the finish, which closes with some nice boozy burn.While there is some earthy bitter to this beer, the malt-sweetened coffee and dark fruit flavors are left to star.

M: In mouthfeel, this brew is oily slick, perhaps not as chewy as one might expect for a stout.

O: An enjoyable experience, quite possibly one which could be used to draw a wine geek into the world of beer appreciation. I might have liked a little more body to the brew itself, but the flavor profile is spot on for a sweetness-loving malthead.

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Photo of Lorenzito
4.64/5  rDev +23.1%

Had on tap at Hopfields in Austin, TX .

Pours , as expected, an opaque black color with little head . Nose is rich with fruity aroma, coffee, and a medium booze smell

its tastes very sweet , especially considering the light sweetness in the nose with hints\
of honey and vanilla. booze taste hits at the end

Great brew. Would and did buy again

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Photo of L0ne
3.87/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Had this one a while back. Remember enjoying it but thinking it was strange and unique for a RIS. Didn't take notes and can't recall many of the details.

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Photo of VelvetExtract
3.69/5  rDev -2.1%

-Bottled- Pours an oily, inky black color with a light gathering of slick, dark bubbles that dies off quickly. Looks flat after. Aroma is heavy on dark fruit, coffee and alcohol. Deeply roasted barley. Smells like port, too. Flavor is rich, sweetness and roast. Potent, sweetened coffee and burnt oats. Raisins and plums and port. Vanilla extract. Big, oily, slick, lingering feel. Unfortunately, this bottle is completely flat. It enhances the port/sherry feel. The alcohol is still present but you can tell the couple years of sitting has mellowed it out a bit. I wish the carbonation hadn't flees this one because it's pretty yummy otherwise. It has aged well and I'm not going to crucify this beer for going flat.

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Photo of LittleDon
3.75/5  rDev -0.5%

Opened with little to no aging. Purchased at Jester King two weeks prior. Dark and malty with a bit of acidity on the finish. Dried fruit and coffee aroma. Surprisingly smooth for the ABV. Lighter body than expected. A bit of the alcohol shows up at the finish and as the beer warms.

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Photo of GreesyFizeek
4.36/5  rDev +15.6%

Bottle purchased at Oliver's Beverage in Albany, NY.

Pours a very deep black (what did you expect?), with no real head or lacing.

Smells like chocolate, roasted malt, sherry, dark fruits, and espresso.

The taste is similar. Slightly oily in taste, with rich creamy nutty coffee flavor, a slight bit of spicy booze, vanilla, chocolate liqueur, sherry, roasted malt, and burnt coffee grounds. Very sweet and intense flavor.

This one is a little more thin-bodied than I expected a 13.1% stout to be. It's not too thin, though, I just wanted a thicker body and mouthfeel. Still very creamy, and ultimately pretty drinkable, because the alcohol is hidden fairly well.

I had heard that there was major bottle variation with this one, luckily me and those involved at the share last night, this was a good bottle.

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Photo of FLima
4.03/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Deepest black color, black hole is an appropriate name, not even light ray escaping. It made a two finger thick caramel head with medium retention but keeping a constant plate.
Really nice and bold aroma, truly balanced meaning roasted notes don’t offset hopping and other nuances. Notes of licorice, espresso, cocoa, earthy and citrus hops, pine, wood, powder milk, grapefruit and some dark fruits.
Sweet flavor of lactic acid, piney and citrus hops, molasses, honey, coffee, licorice, vanilla, red fruits and oats. Dry and bitter aftertaste with a lingering roasted note.
Full creamy body with low carbonation. Definitely does not feel as 13.1% abv.
Good beer with great looks and smells, very lactic and a tad overly sweet though. While it was cold, citrus and piney hops was refreshing its bold and complex flavors and it was really pleasant. Still I enjoyed trying it.

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Photo of KYGunner
3.5/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Absolutely gorgeous appearance this has a deep yet bright black body and a creamy dense foam head.

The aroma is lactose-sweetness, with a tinge of boozy sherry, brandy and creamy marshmallow.

This starts sweet and boozy with a cloying liqueur and port like flavor. The further into it I went the lactose-sweetness began to grow and it was only counter balanced with a very port like alcohol. Far too cloying and boozy for me.

The feel is thick and full with a nice creaminess but it's hurt by the strong booze.

I love a stout but this took sweetness and alcohol way too far.

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Photo of barczar
3.99/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

11 vintage.

Pours jet black with a frothy chocolate head that dissipates into a ring of foam.

Aroma is boozy, with notes of chocolate dominating the underlying roast character.

Flavor is sweeter than expected. Chocolate dominates into the finish, which is slightly charred. Sherry notes add complexity.

Body is very smooth and fairly thick, with minimal carbonation and noted alcohol warmth.

A little overly sweet, but a good nightcap. Like the rich chocolate notes.

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Photo of BMMillsy
3.68/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle from Tipples. Pours pitch black with a massive dark brown head that goes up 3/4 of the glass. The head turns more creamy and khaki colored as it dissipates. Big sweet and roasty aroma, definite bitter roast on the smell, some brown sugar and chocolate and a bit of dark fruit. Big sweet malts up front that fades into a super smokey roasty flavor that envelopes the palate. Lots of dark sugars and a hint of chocolate, but mainly roasty malts all over. Thinner than expected, a medium mouthfeel with low carbonation. This came off on the cloying side somehow behind the roast, and a bit alcoholic. Meh.

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Photo of titty_mcbitty
3.36/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A: Thick black with no light coming through the glass. Medium thick tan head.

S: Sweet sweet chocolate, raisins, and booze.

T: Super sweet sugary chocolate, prunes, raisins, licorice candy, cherry syrup, booze, coffee bean, espresso. The flavor is too sweet and boozy for me.

M: Thick and velvet like but not a heavy thick- more so a smooth thickness. Very cloying.

O: A bit of a disappointment due to the extreme sweetness and booze that shines through a little too much. Not terrible, but not great.

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Photo of Ozzylizard
3.73/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Unmarked bottle at 55 degrees into imperial pint
Aroma of coffee with hint of alcohol
Head large (6.5 cm), light brown, rocky, slowly diminishing to a partial layer with a 0-10 mm edge.
Lacing present as small islands and archipelagoes
Body dark brown with slight reddish tinge around edges
Flavor of weak stale coffee without the bitterness, actually somewhat sweet. No alcohol, no malt, no hops, no diacetyl. Ends slightly sweet and flavorless.
Palate medium to full, lightly creamy, carbonation soft.

Not a bad example of a coffee stout, just a little weak in flavor. The 13.1% ABV is well hidden – I don’t even have an alcohol afterglow in my stomach.

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Black Hole from Mikkeller ApS
3.77 out of 5 based on 774 ratings.
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