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 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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Photo of pants678
2.52/5  rDev -34%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

Slender head, creamy brown that doesn't retain too well over an opaque black body. Yum.

Smells of straight almost thickly powdered chocolate. Reminds me of Black Butte's XXI.

Terribly sweet. Doesn't stain or linger, sorta clean that way. So, it's sort of missing a middle -- sort of appropriate. Maybe doesn't travel well? Some chocolate, roasted malt. The back end does have a coffee bite. Not much going on.

The de-corking was followed by no pop. Hardly carbonated. Heavy but empty.

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Photo of DoubleSimcoe
3.87/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4.5

Mikkeller Black Hole poured out of a 375-ml / 12.7-fl-oz bottle and into a Sierra snifter.

Appearance: A darker tone of brown, like fine chocolate, with the barest white rim around the glass. No head, no carbonation. Only a thin blanket of bubbles.

Smell: Oak, wood, barrel and bourbon. Vanilla sweetness. This is not a barrel-aged beer, but it smells like one. A whiff of smoke and a hit of bitterness at the end.

Taste: Liquid chocolate upfront, followed by gourmet coffee and sugars, and the tiniest tad of hops at the very end. Way thin, though. Needs carbonation.

Mouthfeel: The total lack of carbonation makes it somewhat unappetizing. It is very watery. Some muscular and sticky bitterness at the end, coats the lips.

Drinkability: Pretty damn incredibly high for a 13% beer! But not that much fun to drink. I expected more, specially after paying ten dollars for less than one-half of a liter.

I find this to be a disappointing offering from Mikkeller. Would love to try the barrel aged version(s).

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Photo of TMoney2591
4.05/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Served in a Half Acre shaker pint glass.

I figured I'd start with the normal version before venturing into the various barrel-aged iterations. That said, it pours a sraight bleak obsidian topped by a bit more than a half-finger of light tan foam. The nose comprises coffee, dark chocolate, and roasted malts. Nicely simple and effective. The taste is equally effective, though the roast takes central standing, and a slight alcohol burn runs down the back of my throat. The body is lightly heavy, with a light carbonation and a fairly chewy feel. Overall, another lovely stout from Mikkeller. I look forward to seeing what the barrels do to this thing.

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Photo of Vdubb86
4.05/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Served in a pint glass

Thanks to TMoney2591 for this bad boy

The appearance of this beer is black hole like in nature, as the name would suggest, but there isn't much in the realm of head on the top, even though there is some tan foam. The smell consists of some caramel, roast, coffee, chocolate and a hint of smoke mixed with booze. The taste has some smokey properties to it along with the roasty characters that can be associated with chocolate or coffee there is a light fruity almost raspberry like flavor in the back as well. The mouthfeel is rather kind and smooth considering the ABV here. This however is still as strong beer and must be sipped.

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Photo of wyattshotmaker
3.94/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

poured into a tulip, this beer is more or less still. an incredibly slight amount of carbonation. i would imagine the cork finish let out alot of the co2. pitch black, no head except for some very sparse bubbles around the edge of the glass.

nose has notes of leather, roasted barley, tobacco, dark chocolate.

taste is fairly sweet upfront, balanced by the roasted coffee like acridity. hints of leather, tobacco, anise, caramelized sugar, dark fruit. no hop flavor or much bitterness at all. a bit sweet but balanced nicely by the booziness and roasted barley flavor.

the major downfall of this beer is the lack of carbonation. i understand it's a stout, but atleast have enough carbonation to have a decent head. drinkability is okay, the flavor is great just a bit more carbonation would take this from average to extraordinary.

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Photo of bishopdc0
3.48/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Black with a dark tan head with resideual dark on the glass

The smell is sweet malt chocolate with a slight alcohol finish

The mouth is great starts smooth then quickly turns to a dry roasted and finishes with a slight alcohol feel in the mouth

Drink is average for this type of stout

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Photo of mithrascruor
2.2/5  rDev -42.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

12.7 oz. bottle poured into a chalice.

Appearance: Pours a motor oil black color with some brown at the edges. Head (or, rather, film) looks like a dark tan oil-slick with a bit of bubbles on the edges.

Smell: Slightly sweet roasted malt aroma with a bit of alcohol, and another, slightly odd, aroma that I couldn't quite place.

Taste: Has a sweet, alcohol flavor, some sugars, and then it finishes off with a big burnt malt flavor. More alcohol sweetness in the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Unpleasantly thin, with mild carbonation.

Drinkability: Drain pour.

Not good... seriously like an alcohol-infused oil-slick. The flavor is quite bad, it doesn't go down well, and it doesn't look appetizing.

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Photo of johncampbell
2.25/5  rDev -41.1%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Blech Hole. I hope this was just a bad bottle. It was below average on all counts.

from a 375 ml bottle it poured black and murky like dirty motor oil. Chunks of tan sediment slid to the bottom of the glass. There was no head.

The nose gave no promise of coffee. There was a yeasty smell that mingled with dark roasted malt aromas and alcohol fumes.

The only saving grace was a hint of bitter chocolate on the palate. I could detect a faint trace of where coffee may have once been, but wtf? This was one of the weakest attempts at a coffee stout that I have ever tasted. It tasted more like a highly-alcoholic Porter.

It was barely carbonated and finished dry and bitter in contrast to the soft mouthfeel.

It left me wanting a coffee stout.

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Photo of billab914
2.59/5  rDev -32.2%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

Poured from a 375ml bottle into my Pumking chalice. It poured pretty close to black in color in the glass. Unfortunately it had no head whatsoever and just a few bubbles that disappeared quickly after the pour. It was so still it looked like a dark wine. Not a good appearance at all for a stout, I expect at least a little head to it to score average.

The aroma shows a lot of dark chocolate to it. Some roasted malt and coffee bitterness comes through next. The alcohol shows through pretty well in it though unfortunately. There are some good flavors but overall nothing special, and a bit too much alcohol coming through.

The taste is similar to the nose in that it shows a lot of dark chocolate and roasted coffee to it. A decent amount of dark fruits are present as well. The bitterness starts to come through in the finish along with a bit of a boozy alcohol. Having no carbonation doesn't do it any favors here either.

The mouthfeel is barely on the thicker side of the spectrum. The lack of carbonation makes it feel lighter than it is though. When I say lack of carbonation I really mean it in this one, none whatsoever. It's a lot like a full bodied wine. I like low carbonation but this is just nothing. Not appealing in this aspect whatsoever.

The drinkability was severely hurt by the lack of carbonation. It didn't drink like a beer at all. The flavors seemed pretty decent, it's unfortunate the mouthfeel and appearance pretty much ruin this beer for me. The alcohol also a little too apparent. Not enjoyable at all for me and won't buy again. I hope all the barrel aged versions I have are better.

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