Black Hole | Mikkeller ApS

very good
791 Ratings
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Black HoleBlack Hole

Brewed by:
Mikkeller ApS

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 13.10%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
Brewed at De Proefbrouwerij.

Black Hole is what Mikkeller is all about. Daring, vulgar and extreme. From the very beginning Mikkellers goal has been to push the limit and with this warming, intense imperial stout, a new chapter in the Danish beer history has been written. The high bitterness from the hops and the sweetness from the malt and alcohol, creates a good balance which makes Black Hole an explosion of nuances, but also leaves a feeling of a perfect and complex beer – in the heavyweight category.

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: 377 | Ratings: 791
Photo of Rutager
3.8/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

375 ml that I've oprobably had around too long. Served at cellar temperature. Holdbar til 01/07/12...

Appearance. Pours black and still. Crap.

Smell. Dark bakers chocolate, molasses and a little bit of woody red wine. Smells really good actually...

Taste. Dark dark chocolate and plenty of it. There's some rum and dark malts with a bunch of coffee in the finish and a fair amount of booze, but not as much as expected with the big abv.

Mouthfeel. Fairly full bodied and completely flat. Probably my bad for keeping it over a year past it's BB date, so I'll keep that in mind with the score here.

Overall. Great tastes and quite smooth for such a high abv. The body could be fuller and I wish there was some carbonation, again, my bad probably.

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Photo of Beer-A-Lot
4.35/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2011 on tap at Birch.

A - Nice head, pitch black.

S - Raisiny sweet smells. Very nice.

T - Delicious fruity sweet taste. Very smooth for high abv.

M - Perfect balance on mouth. Well done.

O - This beer has a wonderful taste. Superb. Will have again and again.

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Photo of DrinkSlurm
4.25/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from tap at avenue pub nola into big snifter. Pours a black as night color with almost brown head and lacing. Crazy sweet sugary aroma mixed with licorice and chocolate roasted malts. Such a complex aroma...
Flavor is phenomenal. Chocolate roasted sweetness with licorice and sugar. Some slight anise with a nice syrupy boozey vanilla finish...
Its so smooth. So easy to drink and so enjoyable. Wow. This is a great brew!
Im not sure if its worth the heafty price of the 11.2 or 12oz bottle - whatever it comes in, but its delicious nonetheless...and worth the $ for a special night.

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Photo of Mebuzzard
2.87/5  rDev -23.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

This beer is about 1 yr old, kept in my fridge

Pours a very dark ruby. Flat. No head.

Aroma smells more like a bourbon brl stout than one brewed with coffee. Vanilla and caramel. Some dark leather. Black plum. Hints of coffee. Toffee

Flavor is lack luster, but not bad. Caramel and vanilla. Some tree bark and earth tones come and go. Slight coffee hints. Leather and black cherry.

Feels flat and oily. This does not help

Overpriced beer and really not all that great.

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Photo of Rickythejeweler
4.48/5  rDev +18.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Pitch black, one finger khaki head, nice lacing.

S - Pretty subtle at first, but develops into dark cocoa, brown sugar, vanilla cake, light roasty coffee, sweet honey, hint of oatmeal, a distinct Speyside scotch aroma appears as it warms.

T - Milk chocolate, sweet honey, vanilla bean, roasty aftertaste.

M - Medium, moderate-low carbonation.

O - Very sweet for a stout, but it is honey sweetness instead of sugary sweetness. The coffee is in the background throughout. The nice scotch note in the background makes me hope that Mikkel ages this in Speyside casks next time he does a barrel aging series of Black Hole.

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Photo of argock
3.86/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from green 375 mL bottle into a clear glass snifter. No freshness date but purchased in Feb 2012 from Wine Warehouse (Charlottesville, VA) for $11.49.

A: Black black with slightly opaque edges but robust beige head with decent retention and substantial lacing despite the 13.1% ABV.

S: The aroma came across as dense roasted grains with some coffee. I don't detect the vanilla and more subtle notes that others are getting -- I just get earthy darkly roasted grain, burnt toast, and coffee aromas. There is a floral hoppy note though that throws in an interesting twist.

T: The flavor is pretty enjoyable, but has a much bigger licorice contribution than I would have imagined. The coffee and roast still dominates the flavor with a lot of burnt grain and espresso type bitterness without the more complex coffee flavors. The same floral, pine hoppy note rides through to the finish t offset the intense sweet and acidic flavor notes. The alcohol is barely detectable, more a sensation than a flavor.

M: The feel is less lush than you would expect for a big beer, probably a result of huge adjunct/sugar additions to maintain ABV while attempting to hit a drier finish. This seems like a good idea for a big beer with coffee and licorice and some lactose sweetness, but why they then used exteremly low carbonation in the bottle is very puzzling -- it seems you would want at least moderate carbonation to help lift away some of the dense acidic, demi-acrid flavors and oily feel.

O: Definitely not worth the price of admission by any stretch, but I am okay with having given this a try -- a big, big beer with a reasonably good balance of sweetness, hoppiness, and acidity for an RIS. Not my favorite by a long stretch, but unique. nonetheless

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Photo of CrazyDavros
4.2/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Pours black with a dark tan head.
Nose shows heavy roasted malt, liquorice, cocoa, nutty notes, golden syrup, bready malt and caramel.
Sweet flavours at first with lots of sweet caramel and candy-like notes. Then soft booze, spicy hops and coffee.
Syrupy body suits the beer. Could use a bit more carbonation.

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Photo of kemoarps
3.7/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a standard stouty black, almost a chocolatey undertone, but let's just be blunt: It pours like a stout. Dark, espresso creamy head, minimal lacing.

I'm not sure how to describe the smell. Coffee, sure. some warm chocolate notes, yeah. The malt profile is almost more that of an IPA, though, to me. Interesting. Different.

There is some sweetness lingering in here. It's most likely a chocolate-esque flavour, but there's something else to it. 13% is masked well. THe coffee is almost the acrid roastiness of coffee grounds moreso than the roasted liquid itself. It's like syrupy chocolate on coffee grounds, but better than that image would suggest. Is that a hint of some sort of fruit or berry hiding in the background?

Thinner than I want in a stout.. The chocolate sweet/coffee bitter give way to a bakers chocolate bittersweet finish that is growing on me the more of it I drink.
Certainly a decent beer, I disagree with all the harshly negative reviews I've read. On the other hand, it's certainly not ground breaking, and would probably taste much better in the future at a lower price point. Try it if you have the opportunity, but not necessarily worth the price that Mikkeller brews typically demand

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Photo of Beerandboards
3.25/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Served from a 11.7oz cork and cage bottle

A - Poured into a standard pint glass, almost zero head. Bottle is about 1.5 years old, so the reduction in carb is expected I suppose (I'm still relatively new to this aging beer thing). A fairly aggressive last 1/4 pour produces some brown sugar colored head that actually retains for a little while. Color is black with some ruby edges when held to the light. Upon emptying the bottle, I can see its green glass. Why they would used green glass is beyond me.

S - Acidic coffee. Smells like super strong roasted coffee beans. Almost acrid, but not quite. Smells like it should for a coffee stout, nothing particularly great, but good overall.

T - Right along with the nose, at first it kind of cocks my head to the side and for a second I think I dont like it. Second sip, I kind of get the hang of it. Its really coffee forward with little else. Has the taste of strong brewed cold coffee. The alcohol is still there after this amount of time, glad I have an aged bottle, as I imagine it would be quite hot if fresh. By the middle of the glass I'm liking it. This is certainly a coffee lover's stout. Just dont expect too much complexity.

M - Quite thin. Was a little disappointed in this aspect, would have liked a little thicker feel for how big this beer is (13%ABV). Pretty average here.

O - Well, its a pretty big coffee stout. Minus points for being thin and a little simple, added points for really executing pretty well on the coffee element. Perhaps too coffee centric for me, but thats just personal taste. A pretty good beer that I'm glad to have tried.

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Photo of vette2006c5r
3.43/5  rDev -9%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Black Hole pours a black color with no head at all. There is a strong chocolate coffee aroma, very boozy as well. There is a very bold complex taste. Coffee comes out, hints of chocolates and vanilla as well, strong alcohol tastes well. A nice full taste, but burns and fells like a liquor opposed to a beer. Overall a very interesting beer, might not be for everyone but worth a try.

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Photo of divineaudio
2.61/5  rDev -30.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 1 | overall: 2

12.7 fl oz, undated, c&c bottle into my founders snifter.

a - pours thick, oily dark brown. no head or lacing whatsoever.

s - roasted barley, black currants, dark chocolate covered cherries, faint cola, faint booze.

t - dark chocolate, port, and a menagerie of dark fruits. has a coffee like bitterness but most of the coffee flavor has faded. oddly, the taste gets flatter as the beer warms.

m - full bodied and seems to have lost almost all of it's carbonation. has a weird chalky thing going on as well. gets quite syrupy as it warms.

o - well, i took a chance and fell flat. i feel like this may have been a great beer at one time, but this bottle is clearly over the hill. if i come across a certifiably fresh bottle and feel like blowing $9 again, i'll update this review.

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Photo of beesy
3.79/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 37.5 bottled into a pint glass. Bottle date of 11/2011.

A - pours a really oily, inky black with almost no head. Just a tad of carb present when hard poured or agitated hard.

S - complex. booze. molasses. dark chocolate. brown sugar. a slight soy not.

T - nothing spectacular. very stouty - lots of flavor and complex. the booze is very smooth and not hot for the abv. lots of chocolate and soy. taste smooths as it warms.

M - somewhat thin for the abv. a little can be attributed to aging, but seems very attenuated to start.

D - low. big abv and lots of complex flavors makes it a sipper.

Overall, I really enjoy this beer, especially for the abv. I wish the carb would have come up a tad - its like angels share all over. I did have this on tap at Monks Cafe in Philly about two years ago and remember it being more carbed and way smoother - like chocolate shakey.

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Photo of mrfrancis
1.98/5  rDev -47.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

A: Pours an inky, opaque black with no head whatsoever. Streams of carbonation aren't even noticeable-the beer looks completely still in the glass.

S: Strong aromas of burnt toast, roasted grain, dark chocolate, coffee, vanilla bean, and prickly alcohol fill the nose. As the beer warms, the alcohol gradually becomes overpowering.

T: Notes of coffee, roasted grain, burnt toast, cassonade, vanilla bean, dark chocolate, and fiery alcohol assault the palate. I'm not picking up on the honey at all, and any of the dark fruit notes that one would expect to find in a stout are strangely absent as well. The finish starts off slick and oily with a not entirely unpleasant mixture of coffee, roasted grain, and chocolate flavors, but that alcohol kicks in all too quickly, causing the beer to fade out on a decidedly punchy, peppery, astringent note.

M: Full-bodied, but very slick and almost syrupy. Carbonation is present, but is very weak. Alcohol presence is entirely overpowering.

O: After reading the other reviews of this beer and reviewing my notes, I'm convinced that this bottle had to be extremely old and/or botched. It seems that all of the beer's complexities have disappeared. I'll have to try this one again in the future, and when I get around to it, I hope that I have a better experience because this one was plain awful.

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Photo of danieelol
3.85/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle from Leura Cellars. Bought this thinking it was the Whisky version but it's actually the plain.

Pours a dark black with nice tanned head and ok lacing.

Big citric hops hit the nose first. Kind of strange. Was getting some roast, porty and coffee qualities initially but these have converted to a boozy DIPA-like smell, loads of fruit here and in particular oranges. Occasionally I will get some vanilla and roast poking through but this lemon fruitiness is very prominent. Subtle tar and faint muscatels. The fruitiness may actually be coming from the alcohol.

Taste is similar- huge amounts of fruit in this, just lots of orange and lemon. There is bitter roast dryness here moreso though, particularly on the back of the palate. Do get some creamy cake flavours coming through intermittently.

Mouthfeel is a little sweet but then has some roast bitterness to balance. Solid but not amazing thickness too.

Overall I found this beer pretty enjoyable. The fruitiness was very pleasant to experience- and it was more of the fruitiness you'd expect in a pale ale rather than the dark fruits you'd perhaps find in an Imperial Stout. Interesting and complex beer.

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Photo of jrenihan
3.86/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

BB December 2015.

Beer is black with a good-sized tan head. Good retention and lacing.

Vanilla is strong in the nose but smells a bit artificial. Roasted malt is present. Coffee. Caramel and chocolate. It all sounds nice, but the smell is oddly thin.

Taste is much better than the nose. Chocolate, vanilla, coffee, roasted malt. I would not have picked out the honey on my own but when looking for it it is noticeable, adding a nice sweetness to the beer. Black liquorice. The vanilla and honey combined result in a pretty unusual RIS, but I like it.

Thin for a RIS, especially one of this strength. Moderate carbonation.

Overall, an unusual beer. I like the flavour, but there are elements to it that sit a little strangely and are hard to put a finger on.

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Photo of LiquidAmber
3.66/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Review from 8/2010 notes. Poured into a Gulden Draak tulip. Pours a dark black with a nice dark brown head that dissipates quickly and leaves light lacing. Coffee and dark malt aroma. Alcohol forward with a strong coffee flavor; dark malts and dark fruits. Finishes dry and sharp, probably from the coffee. Tastes more like a coffee dry English stout. Not well balanced, the ABV shows. Decent, but not remarkable and pricey.

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Photo of tlazaroff
3.81/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Sweet molasses, brown sugar, and cookies with a slight grassyness on the nose.

Black Hole pours out obsidian with beautiful lacing and a generous dark mocha head. A stout can't look much better than this.

Chocolate, cookie dough, molasses, brown sugar, caramel, and cream are the flavors I am picking up. Each flavor is distinct, and doesn't over power any other flavor.

Light carbonation and a full body, the alcohol isn't present at all in the taste, but you can feel it almost immediately. Overall, not bad.

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Photo of ThisWangsChung
4.15/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12.7 oz bottle poured into a tulip.

A: Pours an almost pitch black color with tons of yeast sediment near the bottom. The head is a two finger tan color with fantastic texture and retention. Lots of lacing rings remain on the glass. Just a nice looking RIS in general.

S: Somewhat unique. Bitter dark chocolate, roasted malt, some charred ash, brown sugar, molasses, piny hops, and coffee. Not very boozy at all, which is pretty damn impressive. My first Mikkeller beer is going swimmingly so far...

T: The initial sips are almost intensely chocolaty in flavor, before smoothly giving way to a dark fruit note and lightly charred finish. Other faint tones of licorice, vanilla, molasses, hops, smoke, and ash appear at various points. Good, almost great complexity overall. The booze is hidden nicely on the taste buds - but you sure do feel it going down the throat. In general, this beer isn't the most sophisticated or finesse-laden RIS on the market - it's in the same brutish "ME AM BEER" camp that Founders Devil Dancer belongs to - but wow is it loaded with character, if a little excessively sweet at times.

M: Thick like a brick, and incredibly sticky. Not quite as much dryness as I'd like, though...I'd like a bit less dark fruit and a bit more roast on the finish and aftertaste, but really, it's hard to complain about the lingering flavors. Carbonation is low yet tightly controlled. As hard as it is to taste the booze in this, it can definitely be felt in the stomach, throat, and tongue.

O: A massive, hairy chested RIS that's a steel fist in a velvet glove - smooth and easy to sip (not easy to drink), yet immensely flavorful. I can't wait to try some of the BA versions of this, to see how they transform the raw character of this one. Pricey, but well worth it for a special occasion.

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Photo of Thehuntmaster
3.84/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

375ml bottle 13,1% ABV.
Served lightly chilled in an over sized wine glass.
Best Before: 07/12/2015

Appearance: Mikkeller does it again! Another phenomenal looking imperial stout! Pitch black body topped by a massive creamy, mocha coloured head - certainly no carbonation issues here! The head retention and lacing are absolutely world class - the head lasted a good 15 minutes and left thick rings of lace clinging to the glass as it receded.

Smell: The initial nose is pretty good with strong coffee, sweet chocolate, cocoa and caramel, however things seem to fall off a bit from here. As the beer warms the aroma profile changes quite dramatically, with sweet dark fruits (distinct prunes and raisins) dominating and an earthy character, a little bit of char and some piney notes also noted. Warming, rather oddly, also seems to cause the the nose to loose a lot of its strength.

Taste: Hmmm, certainly not as big a flavour as I was expecting, that said it is still quite tasty. Notes include: Sweet dark fruit (prunes, raisins and dark cherries), coffee, light cocoa, dark caramel, a dark earthy character and small amount of the characteristic Mikkeller char in the finish. As the beer warms the dark fruits begin to dominate the other notes and a distinct piney hop character is noted in the finish.
I was expecting Black Hole to be quite boozey, but the alcohol cover is actually pretty damn good!

Mouthfeel: As the with the nose and flavour, the body is a little lighter than I was expecting for a 13% imperial stout, but is still manages just over medium. The carbonation is of a medium-low level and relatively smooth.

Overall: While Black hole is a pretty tasty beer, it really needs to be a little bigger in every aspect. I would have no issues in having this one again if it was freely available, however I would not seek it out.

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Photo of johnnnniee
3.79/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

Received in trade from MeadMe, thanks for the opportunity. After wrestling the cork out, I poured the darkest of black liquid into my glass with a smattering of small tan bubbles that dissipates almost instantly. Smells of coffee first and foremost with a vinous, smokey, earthy and chocolate aroma providing support. Some caramel and dark dried fruit and a touch of ethanol round out the edges. The flavor is sweet with a healthy dose of coffee. Chocolate, earthy hop flavor, dark cherries, and caramel all play their parts. Medium body with barely any carbonation and a watery chocolate syrup kind of mouthfeel. Smells great, tastes good, but the mouthfeel really could use some more bubbles to make this beer great.

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Photo of ubersky
4.95/5  rDev +31.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This is my holy grail for beers that I can actually get regularly. I love Darklord, Bourbon County is bangin', Speedway is delicious...but I can't go to Tasty Bev in Raleigh and get any of these.

I can however, snag Mikkeller Black Holes all day, so I DO.

A - Black pour, creamy brown head, nice lacing.

S - Roasted coffee and nice hop balance

T - A wealth of coffee and subtle bittersweet chocolate, perfectly balanced.

M - Chewy, thick, and creamy to start. Full and lengthy finish...nothing deminishes. Touch of carbonation.

O - I will drink these for the rest of my short of the best stouts around. Now I'm off to try the Black.

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Photo of martyl1000
4.81/5  rDev +27.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Oh, shiznit. I'm in love. I had this recommended to me by a guy at Steve's Liquor (Madison). And I nearly pitched his suggestion when he walked away b/c I was there to pick up Southern Tier Mokah. So lucky I didn't. (I actually took home both :) )

The weak aroma is the only drawback, here. It pours a beautiful, opaque black, with the darkest brown head I've ever seen. Perma-lacing marks up the tulip glass like meringue.

The hop bitterness and high ABV were too much for my wife. But I feel like I've died and gone to heaven. The 13% alcohol is entirely well-hidden. The hop bitterness balances the sweet so well it creates the mirage of sweet french-roast coffee w/ cream.

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Photo of OneDropSoup
4.5/5  rDev +19.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at House of 1000 Beers in New Kensington, PA.

Poured into a Lindemans flute: Solid black, just a little chocolate syrup highlights around the edges, finger of light tan head, leaves heavy lacing.

Intense coffee in the smell, with sweet, dark fruit (raisin?), with skins to add a little tannic flavor, with pecan & bourbon booze character. Dark chocolate.

Whoa! A lot going in the taste: starts with chocolate & cherry/strawberry fruitiness, turns to a deep rum booziness, ends sweet & with an aftertaste of roast coffee, berry, a little oaky, jelly.

Full-bodied & silky smooth, a little viscous. Not overwhelming with strong roast or bitterness, though they're there.

This one's a winner. Not terribly formidable given the strength. Definitely on the sweet side for an RIS but really tasty, maybe skewing to the barleywine side of things.

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Photo of Hex92
3.38/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I wonder about the consistency of their brewing process. I read the other reviews and many don't sound like the same beer.

I don't get all the different flavors that others talked about. There is some chocolate flavor, but the overpowering flavor is the hops. There is some malt flavor to balance out the hops, but overall the hops are the main flavor....

Not what I was hoping for. Interesting beer. Worth buying once, but I don't need to get it again.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
4.05/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

how many big imperial coffee stouts can one guy make? apparently a great many, all very good. this one pours pretty dark, but not like the brunch, not nearly as thick in appearance. short filmy head, mocha colored, and reviving itself with every rattle of the glass. smells like coffee rather strongly, roasty malt, booze. flavor is way less coffee than i expected from the nose, more notes of vanilla and wood, but not sweet for an imperial. the alcohol doesnt really come out too much until it warms up. i love the feel of this beer, its best asset. very round and expansively velvet in the mouth. leaves a nice layer of semisweet complexity on the tongue, and fades very very slowly. carbonation is almost a cross between nitro and cask, creamy and smooth, but not overly bubbly. the honey is a cool ingredient too, a raw lively sweetness and richness it contributes. not all the way fermented out. full bodied, leaves a hefty buzz, i like this one better than the breakfast but not as much as the brunch.

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Black Hole from Mikkeller ApS
3.77 out of 5 based on 791 ratings.
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