Black Hole | Mikkeller ApS

Black HoleBlack Hole
797 Ratings
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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Ratings: 797 |  Reviews: 379
Photo of bmur112
4/5  rDev +4.7%

Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
3/5  rDev -21.5%

Photo of kkrez
4/5  rDev +4.7%

Photo of richbrew
4/5  rDev +4.7%

Photo of oline73
4/5  rDev +4.7%

Photo of sbricker
4/5  rDev +4.7%

Photo of Jspriest
4/5  rDev +4.7%

Photo of Arbitrator
1.35/5  rDev -64.7%
look: 1.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

Chilled bottle into a glass.

A: Pitch black with almost no head; pours nearly still.

S: I was curious to try this one because all of the barrel-aged versions I've tried have been hilariously awful. Obviously, the common link is the base beer, and so I set upon the quest of finding the flagship imperial stout of the most mystifyingly successful brewery I've ever known. The aroma explains much of the failure of the barrel-aged versions: its prunes, cinnamon, booze, and overroasted coffee note indeed form the aromatic backbone of the derivative beers.

T: This is not quite as bad as the other beers were; something truly unspeakable happened with last year's peat whiskey version, and this doesn't sink quite to those depths. At the same time, it's not palatable or enjoyable. Underattenuated prune juice, bitter coffee, charred malt, a touch of smoke, plenty of booze. I hate it. I just ate others more.

M: Boozy, sweet, clashing, yuck.

O: Well, that was a successful experiment. I have enjoyed exactly 0 Black Holes so far. At least I'm padding my low scores to bring my overall reviewing average down. And it only costs $14 at a time.

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Photo of RickS95
1.88/5  rDev -50.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 1 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

First off, I hate fake cork. They're always a pain to get open and this is no different.

Having said that, this pours a strange black. It's a deep black with some reddish notes on the edges if held up to a light. No head and no carbonation at all. Good color, but disappointing with no head.

The smell is weird too, but I can't quite put my finger on why. It smells like a brownie that's been soaked in tequila. You can smell the sweet.

Way too sweet, barely tastes like a beer, though there are some chocolate and coffee hints in the swallow. Cloyingly sweet.

For an RIS with loads of color and alcohol, it's a very light bodied beer. Has an almost loose feel to it. Amazingly gentle for such high ABV.

I'm really disappointed with this. In fact, it gets worse with each sip. I toyed with the idea of just pouring the rest down the drain but decided to stick with it to see if it got any never did. Really, a poor choice.

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Photo of Rhettroactive
2.95/5  rDev -22.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

From 12oz C&C bottle to Bruges hybrid glass on 9/28/11
*From notes

-- The synthetic cork was a pain in the ass to get out. Don't say I didn't warn you! --

A: Brownish black. A hard pour yields not head and zero lacing.

S: Dense black fruits. Really concentrated vapors here.

T: Kinda pruney. Not a whole lot of coffee on this one other then the finish, which really isn't all that pleasant. Just a bit too dark.

M: Oily and way undercarbed.

O: Mikkeller's Black Hole was a middle of the road RIS. I wouldn't go out of my way for this, as there are better options on the market.

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Photo of EnJeiBee
3.98/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Black as the night with a 1-finger tan head that disappeared pretty quickly, leaving decent lacing behind

S - Sweet, dark chocolate and toffee notes dominate

T - Very similar to the nose. Complex, sweet, roasty, chocolatey and slightly tangy. At one point I fee like I got some muted fruit notes. No heat from the alcohol whatsoever!

M - Creamy, but surprisingly light on the palate. Much lighter than I expected in fact. I almost wish I had been a little heavier.

O - Rich, complex and something I would certainly go for again. I enjoyed it even more as I let it warm up in my hands.

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Photo of Urbancaver
3.43/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured at a tasting
7 barrel varieties with the base beer.

Pours a dark dark brown, almost black.

Minimal head.

Smells sweet, and chocolate heavy.
Very cloying on the nose and tongue.
Tastes sweet and cloying. Overall way way to sweet.
Mouthfeel is thick and boozy. Overall pretty mediocre

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Photo of brew3crew
3.57/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Jackie o's tasting baby!!

A-black with no head whatsoever. Like a black hole

S-nice maltiness that invites me in

T-very sweet and maybe a little oxidized? OK bu not that great.

M- medium body and smooth

O-better than what other ppl say. Don't know if I can drink a whole lot of it.

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Photo of RBassSFHOPit2ME
4.05/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Not sure why I'm seeing such low reviews on this one.

Pitch Black - Little 1/4 in head retention and lacing so-so. Smells of Coffee, vanilla, some peat, chocolate, dark fruits and mellow Bourbon and oak which does not at all overpower.

Tastes much of the same. The most impressive aspect of this brew is the mellow and smooth mouthfeel and the fact that the heat is more-so of a 9%ABV opposed to the whopping 13.10%ABV it actually is.

This brew already feels and tastes like it has over a year of age on it and if I had to guess, it's probably due to the bit of honey that's also added into this brew. Bourbon is perfectly integrated whereas it's there but almost an after thought. It's really about letting the base beer through before the barrel I found with this one.

Very good Barrel Aged Imp Stout that I was pleasantly surprised with. Recommmended.

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Photo of MrVonzipper
4.58/5  rDev +19.9%
look: 3 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Obviously black hole black. Even very aggressively poured, there is no head whatsoever. Aggressive pourand swirled just creates brown bubbles. Not as oily as it'd seem it'd be.

After a few swirls the nose really wakes up. Alot of depth, wide range of notes and character. Nice notes of coffee, toffee, dark rum, mocha, dark fruit, plums and dates.

Flavor huge, robust and bold. A ton going on as far as depth here too. Very nice coffee, nutty, toffee, vanilla, bourbon, dark fruit etc. notes nicely balanced and working in great harmony together with a nice mild booziness.

Mouthfeel is creamy, smooth and velvety with virtually no carbonation.

This beer is very nice overall. Big notes and flavors with big depth. Just enough alcohol blend and cover up but there enough to let you know it's a strong beer. The only possible know here could be there carbonation. But I don't even see it as a teal negative because it just makes it seems like a ten year aged beer.

 971 characters

Photo of adamonis
3.08/5  rDev -19.4%
look: 3 | smell: 5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bear with me, this is my first review. I drink a fair amount of beer so I figured I might as well start to participate in this wonderful community. Picked up a bottle (2008 release), opted instead of the always good beer geek breakfast. Variety never hurt anyone.

A: Dark, syrup-like pour. Surprising that as dark as the beer is, it seems a bit watery. Notice immediately there is no carbonation.

S: Smell is definitely the most appealing part of this beer. Burnt malts, coffee, vanilla, a hint of sweet molasses. I really enjoy the smell of this one.

T: Lot of initial flavor, fades into a rather bitter, burnt taste. Very dry, very bitter. Lack of carbonation leaves a lot to be desired. For a 13% beer, the alcohol is masked well.

M: Water like consistency. Heavy, yet light at the same time. Hangs around in the back of my mouth.

Overall, not bad, probably won't buy it again. After coming off a weekend of Double Black and Bourbon County Coffee, this doesn't hold up.

 978 characters

Photo of srandycarter
3.24/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Not going through the typical review. This one is black as night, not head at all, except for a small line of ring. Smell is the best feature, chocolate chip cookies, booze and coffee.. It is flat. The taste is fine but not as good as the smell and would be better with carbonation. Balance is off the chart boozy with no carbonation. NO WAY it is a session beer.


 370 characters

Photo of jsanford
3.5/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

375ml C&C bottle poured into a Mikkeller flute.

A - Pours a dark, ominous black with a thin mocha head that fades to a slight ring.
S - Big, sweet aromas of burnt malt, molasses, honey, bitter chocolate, and espresso coffee. Slightly smokey and ashy.
T - More big, dark flavors of molasses, coffee, and chocolate with some sweetness from the honey and vanilla. Finish is long-lasting and bitter. More ash and charcoal in here, almost to an unpleasant level.
M - Slightly creamy, with a full mouth-feel and low carbonation. The +13% ABV really shows up, gets almost unpleasant towards the end of the bottle.
O - Just a big, nasty RIS that clobbers you over the head with dark flavors. A bit too one-dimensional for my liking, I'm a bit worried about all the barrel-aged versions I'm sitting on.

 794 characters

Photo of Allpe45
3.99/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

375ml bottle, snifter, around 53F to start.
14/01/14 printed on top of the foil

Appears black with a tiny light brown head. Head vanishes quickly, leaves tons of lacing. Smells like roasted malts and grains, burnt coffee, smoke, cocoa, and vanilla. Taste follows the nose but everything seems subdued. The alcohol is very well masked. Thin, watery yet creamy mouthfeel, low carbonation. Drying spicy alcohol finish with lingering coffee bitterness.

 449 characters

Photo of AgentMunky
4.67/5  rDev +22.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured from a 375mL bottle into a Teku glass at the BrewDog bar in Edinburgh. Best before 24 November 2014. From notes. Reviewed 29 May 2011.

A: Very dark brown, unflinchingly dark. So matte and opaque it seems to absorb light; aptly named. Pretty good lacing.

S: Huge and sweet. Bourbon, toffee, alcohol, loads of vanilla in the background. Almost meaty at times. Absolutely brilliant.

T: Light, but hugely tasty. The maintaste is rich and rummy, with a vanilla-tabacco sweet-bitterness. The aftertaste is dry and very bitter, with coffee and cacao notes.

M: Creamy and strong, with a chocolatey feel. Delicious.

O: One of the best Imperial Stouts of all time. Absolutely f-ing recommended and desirable. I went back the next day for another bottle. I can't understand the mediocre scores here.

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Photo of Kevin1082
2.75/5  rDev -28%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

I was given thie beer as a wedding present with many other beers. At first glance, the fancy foil top and cork like cap is nice and all but...once you pour the beer the immediate noticibility is no head what so ever. Ok biggie. But ther beer taster old and smokey. Usually different tastes from 10%+ stout style beers, but to cut it short not a fan. Been brewing beers for a very long time on a weekly basis and this one taste like a beer that I have made that had gone horribly wrong. No GOOD!

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Photo of feylure
4.33/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Found this on tap at the Other Side Cafe (Newbury St and Massachusetts Avenue).

Smells like dark, roasted malt with notes of dark chocolate.

Taste is laden with dark tons of chocolate and malt. There's almost a dip from the sweetness of one end to the bold and darkenss of the other. It's extremely full up to the dry end. The tail has notes of dark chocolate as well.

For the ABV, this is a really smooth brew. Well done!

 425 characters

Photo of madpentzer
4.23/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 375 ml bottle into my Gulden Draak tulip.

A - Pours motor oil black with a small dark brown head that dissipates quickly, leaving decent lacings on the glass.

S - Wonderful coffee aromas with some roasted, almost burnt malt in the background.

T - This one is full of coffee and roasted malts. Mild sweetness with burnt caramel flavors come through also.

M - Silky smooth with good carbonation.

O - A great RIS and worth every penny IMO. A beer I would definitely like to revisit.

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Photo of rinhaak
4.02/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

11 oz bottle poured into a desert-wine glass.

Pours a thick, viscous, inky black. No carbonation, no head, this really lives up to its name: black hole.

The nose is fantastic and very complex. Chocolate, cherries, hazelnuts, and vanilla all blend together in the aromas. I also smell black forest cake and rum.

The mouth is surprisingly dry (and not at all syrupy), and a little boozy and oily in character. Certainly complex, there is an ashiness and flavors that - for some reason - take me to an auto garage. Bits of chocolate and fruit, this beer has a very unique taste.

Overall this is a brilliantly brewed beer that is most unlike anything I've ever had. Unfortunately, it's really not that pleasant to drink; the flavors, though complex, unique, balanced, and special, in the end just add up to an interesting experiment that isn't really worth repeating. I would be curious to see how it ages, but at $17/bottle (in Boston), I'm not sure it's worth the price.

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Photo of biegaman
3.47/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

Black Hole is an oily black liquid that reminds me of the X-Files (anyone? anyone? Indeed, it looks like it could be an alien virus that comes from the Earth's deep underground petroleum deposits). True to its name, light goes in but doesn't come out. Nor does anything else - least of all clarity. Hell, it's even absorbed all its own head!

Like a raging schizophrenic, this aroma suffers through a serious identity crisis. Fortunately, we're the beneficiaries of that. It has the bruised, dark fruits and sticky, toffee-ish malts of an English old ale, the piny, serum-y hoppiness of an American barleywine, and the charred, vanilla-y, alcohol-driven intensity of a barrel-aged stout. Plus coffee.

Lousy guitarists can use loud volume and heavy distortion to hide the fact that their skills and music aren't so impressive - this is a loud, heavily distorted beer that, beneath the surface, has very little foundation or flair. Its cacophonous taste has actually very little flavour; coffee is its only saving grace. The rest is frail, faded or drowned in alcohol. It literally tastes like they just mixed honey, sugar, vanilla extract and black coffee.

Cleanup on isle mouthfeel. I can't in good faith consider this a very good stout given the fact that it's mouthfeel is entirely devoid of texture, including, importantly, any degree of roast or impressionable maltiness. Frankly, the beer has as much mouthfeel as water... that is cut with a high-proof hooch that leaves a blistering hot sensation on the palate.

When the beer was fresh, it seemed too hot not to cool down. In the end, it's contestable how much it has, but unfortunately whatever alcohol cut and run took a considerable amount of maltiness (and hoppiness) with it. And the maltiness in this thing was sparse to begin with. Not one decimal of the 13.1% seems to have tired or relinquished a bit. I shudder to think what the bourbon barrel-aged version would be like.

Mikkeller says their goal has been to push the limit and they feel with this "warming, intense imperial stout" that they've done that. Yea, they've pushed it too far - about 4.1% too far to be exact. Is the point of pushing the limit just to push the limit? Apparently so because, despite the promise of the recipe, little care has been given to flavour, balance, drinkability (or cost) in this cacophonous, brutish example of an imperial stout. Pass on it.

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Black Hole from Mikkeller ApS
Beer rating: 3.82 out of 5 with 797 ratings
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