Black Hole | Mikkeller ApS

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Black HoleBlack Hole
Very Good
806 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: 806 |  Reviews: 381
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.


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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.

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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.

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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!

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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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Photo of Tone
3.58/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a black color. 1/5 inch head of a tan color. Poor retention and poor lacing. Smells of sweet malt, slight roasted malt, slight dark citrus, alcohol, coffee, and hint of hop. Fits the style of a Russian Imperial Stout. Mouth feel is smooth and clean, with a low carbonation level. Tastes of sweet malt, roasted malt, slight acidity, coffee, hint of citrus hops, and alcohol. Overall, poor appearance, but good aroma, body, and blend.

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Photo of elricorico
4.3/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Pours dark brown and fills the glass with black. A thin malt-brown head sits on top, looking very stable.

Major coffee smell, in fact, in a blind test I'm not sure I would have guessed it to be a beer. It takes repeated whiffs to start pulling the roasted malt from the ground coffee smells. Maybe a bit of vanilla in there as well. Nice.

Woo, what a big flavour, the first sip hits like a slap in the face. Creamy(in feel and flavour) coffee from the tip of the tongue right across the middle of the mouth. Roastiness and liquor battle out the finish. Vanilla and oak linger in the aftertaste. Nothing subtle here, everything comes at you full blast.

Super creamy mouthfeel, very smooth and really feels full. Carbonation can barely cut through, but that's just fine by me.

Just a little too big to be exceptionally drinkable, but really, at over 13% this isn't a tough one to sip on. This would be appropriate for a winter occasion or with a chocolaty dessert.

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Photo of DaveHS
3.4/5  rDev -11%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A-Dark mahogany, almost black, with a thick 1/3 inch mocha head. Leaves moderate sticky lacing.

S-Milk chocolate, roasted peanuts, condensed milk sweetness, roasted malts.

T/M-The nose is deceptive. Whaet I expected to be a smooth, mellow, warming imperial turned out to be bitter, dry, and boozy. There's a pleasant chocolatey roasted malt character, but it is undercut by tannic bitterness, which can probably be attributed to the high ABV. Not very balanced, and I'm not tasting the coffee at all.

D-Needs a year or two to mellow out. Too hot when fresh.

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Photo of RoyalT
4.24/5  rDev +11%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance - This is a blackish hole just like it says with a moderate brown head.

Smell - The roasted notes are huge at the smell. They are a little sugared up with pure, unadulterated cane. The cane and roasted malt are so big that it permeates the entire room. The aroma is beyond reproach.

Taste - The roasted malt adds a little coffee bean and cocoa here which along with the cane sugar provides a nice complexity. There's also a big coffee bean flavor that gives this a hearty character.

Mouthfeel - This is close to full-bodied with a delicate carbonation and a big bitter finishing touch. The alcohol is completely unnoticeable.

Drinkability - You could pop this for breakfast it goes down so well. It's very big yet highly quaffable.

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

It's black, it's massive....and comes in a green bottle. 01/07/2012 is dated on the synthetic cork. On to the beer:

The espresso tanned head forms about an inch in height over the, you guessed it, the black hole-like black color of a beer. Small splats of lacing sticks around on the glass. At first, there's a lot of coffee and fudge brownies flowing into the air. Eventually it becomes weakened coffee with a burnt touch. Not bad, but a letdown from the strong start.

I don't know how old the bottle actually is, but it's drinking fine at this moment. The 55-60F temperature this beer is at may also be playing a role in making it delicious. In fact, it seems more like a spirit than a beer. The coffee isn't shy to show itself, but unprepeared the alcohol is buried fittingly, warming the chest with pleasing heat. Passionfruit and sherry notes makes up the other dimension of this beer. The hops tread lighly with a "now you see it, now you don't" tropical note. It's nearly full-bodied, almost chewy to a point, with a liqueur-like smoothness. Loads of roasted coffee lingers around in the aftertaste.

I tried to stay away from it, but I was pulled into the Black Hole. What a fun libation. 13% alcohol doesn't go down much smoother, and if you're willing to pay the premium this beer commands ($11.99 for 375 ml), you too will let the Black Hole suck you in.

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Photo of biglite351
3.38/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - no light even around the edges. Very short off-white head.

S - coffee, berries, malts and vegetation. A touch of something near dark chocolate.

T - berries, dark chocolate, coffee and a alcohol flavor.

M - mild coating, medium tingle all over the mouth. Alcohol burn in throat in the after taste.

D - one or two... but the alcohol flavor and feel would get old.

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Photo of CampusCrew
4.03/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

appearance: deep dark black, nearly ebony, loaded head

smell: loaded coffee, and sublte chocolate aromas

taste: lost of heaby coffee, licorice, a bit boozy

mouthfeel: full bodied stout

drinkability: we had a rare sout party is this was one of the selectons. This was good, but not one of the best.

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Photo of Gobzilla
3.9/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: poured a dark brown in color with brown highlights on the edges and had a very very thin head leaving almost no lacing sticking to the glass.

S: booze, chocolate malts, and vanilla were the stars of the nose with good roasty character hints of oat grains but faint coffee notes as well.

T: the coffee flavor was more potent on the palate with great chocolate character vanilla, roasty, molasses accents and a touch of oat grains however the booze notes blended quite well in the taste.

M: the brew was full in body with a low amount of carbonation which had a sweet, roasty, boozy, mild astringent, and silky finish.

D: definitely a sipper due to how rich and boozey it was. The only thing it lacked was a bit of carbonation.

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Photo of SleepyMonk
4.39/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Straight of the bat - BIG thanks to Tim and the guys at International Beer Shop in Perth Australia for throwing this one into a mixed carton as a recommendation. These guys are the best and Australia (being so far away from the action in the Northern Hemisphere) is lucky to have them.

Chilled 375ml bottle to be enjoyed with a full sized tulip glass. Silver foil wrap around the bottle top hides a caged cork bottle top (is this the same bottle and cork set up used by Bellevue for their Kreik, hmmm). Really had to force the synthetic cork out of the bottle and it gave a soft pop when it finally left the confines of the bottle.

Pours a very very deep black body that gives up very little when held to the light. Interestingly I get absolutely no head! There is a patch of bubble that takes up approx. a third of the surface space. This dissipates to a thin tan collar; no lacing.

Aroma is full, strong and thick - a real treat. The roasted malt strikes a very definitive presence. Espresso coffee is there however not as striking as other that I have tasted. Dark chocolate and alcohol esters round out the aromatic spectrum.

Taste is well matched to the aroma however the malts take on a much more burnt dynamic. This taste for me really dominated the flavor palate, strong sweet and sticky up front, burnt malt and then a smokey finish. In fact it is the finish that I feel defines this beer from Mikkeller, the tastes just continue to evolve long after the fluid leaves the mouth. The roasted and nutty dark chocolate notes sit boldly as a successor to the fine sticky and burnt malt that you taste upfront.

Obviously the body of this beer sits towards the heavy end of the scale and the carbonation is just enough to keep the thing lively. I should however say that the finish definitely deviates away from the usual stout finish.

This is an imperial stout with a classy difference and trust Mikkeller to deliver it. Of course this isn't for everyone and even those that love this category may be turned off by the over active flavors and also the finish.

I think that if you are yet to throw yourself into Imperial Stout or just something different and over the top - give this a go.

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Photo of Thorpe429
3.41/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Max for sharing this bottle. Served in a Cantillon tulip.

Pours brings a black beer with a nice mocha head and a bit of lacing. Thin collar around the edges throughout. The nose has a bit of dark chocolate along with a lot of roasted malt. There's also a bit of oxidation and cardboard. Along with the excessive roast, the nose on this isn't really for me. The taste scales it back, but this is still pretty one dimensional. The body is medium and a bit too boozy. Not a bad stout, but not really something I'd seek out again.

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Photo of SolomonGrundy
3.55/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Crazy fun night out with my daughter and brother-in-law...Good food...

In any event, Here comes Mikkeller again!! This pours inky black, super dense, oily, syrupy and thick. No real head forms, which speaks to the high ABV of 13.1% (yikes) killing off the yeast is my guess. No lacing, obviously. No real carbonation either...Aromas are astounding. I get a lot of coffee, but also a huge aspect of dark (like 70% cacao) chocolate. Some spicy notes like cinnamon and cardamon. A cloyingly sweet note like molasses, some alcohol to be sure. It all makes sort of a witches brew of crazy smells. But I like this craziness, I think...

I can only imagine this will be huge and sweet, so here goes...

Robust and massive right away. Super strong coffee notes are backed up by some irish whisky notes, or even a "water of life" cask aging flavor. Super tangy in the middle, and the finish, speaks to either the overabundance of malt and coffee, or maybe a slight infection? Alcohol is sharp and biting at the end, and the chocolate malt is roasted to almost a cinder, giving this a smoky, carbonic texture and taste. This is a huge, massive, robust knockout punch of a beer, and may be too much for some people. I am not certain this is exactly what the brewers intended, as it's biting and venomous rather than smooth and warming. At $10.99/375ml bottle it's obscenely expensive, so this is a novelty only.

What I like most: the crazy excellent and robust aroma profile.

What I like least: The price and insane "fire in your throat" flavor profile.

Verdict: Try if you must, but it's way over the top, like White Wizzard...not my fave...

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Photo of emerge077
3.67/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

Cork is dated 14/08/11 under the foil.
Cellared for two years.

Pours virtually still with a clustered string of bubbles against one side. Jet black. Roasty char, molasses, leather aromas. Something slightly musty, old coffee grounds and dried eucalyptus oddly enough.

Very light feeling for 13%. Low carbonation, with the body of a porter. Rich roasty char, dark bakers chocolate, moderate bitterness in the aftertaste. Burnt pumpernickel toast. Scorched chocolate syrup, but not really all that sweet. Finishes dry, with a long bitter aftertaste of charred black malt. Slightly prickly. This is more strange than anything, due to the light body and slickness, with little in the way of substantial carbonation. Not really something i'd reach for again.

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Photo of gurpapete
3.66/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Treating myself to a very high ABV beer in a Cheers (yes the 90's TV series) mug at my desk in Santa Cruz California. Though what compelled my to purchase this beer was the ABV but now that I've tasted it and it is being digested (I'm about half way done with the bottle) I realize that I should probably be sharing this beer. Fire is very present in the aroma as well as the smoky porter and coffee smell. The taste is, albeit too easy a diagnosis, a bit watery and bitter for a dessert beer. The after taste is definately an acquired one and nothing to boast about, yet any unique beer is A game in my book. As with most Mikkeller beers the appearance is exceptional (opaque with a very small head of coffee with cream) Bottomline, your ten bucks is better spent on the Beer Geek by Mikkeller, if one has the option, and share this one with a friend because your taste buds will diminish as you get more drunk.

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Photo of vfgccp
4.08/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Pitch black, even on the fridges of the glass. Small mocha colored head that hangs around like a halo throughout the drink.

S - Roasted coffee, dark 70% chocolate, but generally mild.

T - Wonderful. Soft chocolate up front with a sweet robust coffee flavor that ramps up through the middle of the profile. Great roasty malt finish with a touch of lingering milky-sweetness. I was pleasantly surprised by the absence of sharp charcoal-bitter notes that often accompany beers this dark.

M - Super smooth (a common theme between the two Mikkeller beers I've had on tap), medium body and a great mellow coffee finish.

D - Silly drinkable if you're a fan of the darker stout flavors. Hides the 12% abv like it's its job.

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Photo of sprucetip
4.18/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Very little pfff when I pulled the cork. But not to the detriment. The resulting liquid was pitch black, as advertised, even when backlit. A good inch, without aggressive pour, of dense chocolaty looking foam rests on top and loiters for a good little while, and leaves thick lacing when it finally does recede. I'm impressed.

I very much like how this gal smells. Malty richness, medium roast, coffee, and mile booze all balance nicely. Something vaguely sour adds some depth and complexity.

Roasty bitterness, coffee, and malty sweetness with a hint of booze are balanced well. Smooth and full flavored with moderate complexity. Emphasis on smooth and full flavored.

Well, but not over, carbonate (despite the whimpy pfff upon opening). Strong warming but no burn, rich and viscous full body, and some roasty bitterness in the finish.

I bought this one not knowing about the beer in particular, just that Mikkeller is typically something special. I got home and looked it up, and found it had a 3.8 avg, which is really not so hot, as you know, on this site, as most of us tend to overrate. And a friend told me he was quite underwhelmed by it. I'm going to politely disagree with the avg, and my new (generous) friend alctradamus and score this one a good bit higher than its avg. I think this is at least very good, if not a bit better. It may not be one of the elite of the elite imperial stouts (I had a Kentucky Breakfast Stout last night), but it's in the ballpark if my opinion counts.

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Photo of kingcrowing
3.41/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

375ml corked & caged, foil topped green bottle poured into a Duvel tulip.

Pours a very dark black color with almost no pop from the cork and subsequently very little dark brown head. Nose is quite good, it's very roasty, malty and burnt - there's clearly some coffee and toffee here.

Well, the alcohol is present here, not a surprise at over 13%, it's quite strong in the roasted coffee and dark chocolate flavors are right up front, mouthfeel is a bit lacking and light but overall given it's high abv it's fairly drinkable although I'd advise splitting it.

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Black Hole from Mikkeller ApS
Beer rating: 3.82 out of 5 with 806 ratings