Black Hole | Mikkeller ApS

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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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Ratings: 794 |  Reviews: 379
Photo of bigfnjoe
3.38/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass.

A- pours jet black with no head whatsoever. None? Really? After how vigorously I poured, you can't give me ANYTHING? That is so weak. Disappointing

S- lots of coffee, chocolate, and dark fruits...smells great. Makes up for the lack of a head a little bit

T- sweet chocolate with hints of dark, bitter coffee and some sweet plums...almost a little too sweet. Not bitter enough...I'd like more balance

M- no carbonation whatsoever, which ties in perfectly with that lack of head. Hugely disappointing, but the body I get is nice with a good thickness

D- I'm torn on this. The fact that my bottle was uncarbonated really ruined a lot, and I'd like to try a better bottle...but the fact that the bottle is green, and the fact that the cork is a hybrid material (no idea if it has any impact or not, but its not made out of cork) puts me off on buying it again...the huge price point is a turnoff as well

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Photo of jera1350
4.7/5  rDev +24.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at The Blue Nile for Stoutfest 2010.

Jet black in color, quite viscous looking with a brown head of creamy foam that has outstanding retention. A little bit of lacing.

Sweet malty goodness with a bit of smoke, vanilla and milk chocolate. Solid hop scent coming through as well.

Oooo. Much like the nose is the taste. Rich and decadent flavors of milk chocolate, cocoa powder, vanilla bean and caramelized sugar. Mild smoke presence with a touch of coffee. The hops are very noticeable and offer a grassy/citrus profile. Awesomely delicious.

Viscous, slick and smooth. Full bodied for sure.

One of the best RIS's I've ever had. Simply wonderful and for a 13 percent beer, drinks quite well. I definitely want this one again!

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Photo of SFLpunk
3.54/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 3

Thanks to Dany (glouglouburp on Ratebeer) for this one! 375mL green glass fake cork and caged. This is a Euro/Canadian bottle with just the black hole on the front label. "Holdbar til 14/08/11" on back label.

Pours a thick gloopy black with no head at all (wha wha).

Nose is full of honey and black coffee which is somewhat strange, to be honest. A little waxy and floral besides. Odd smelling, really.

Palate is fat and wide with the honey right up-front. As it settles in, the black coffee/roasted notes come out and things become a little more delicious. Not much bitterness to speak of here.

Not a big fan of the whole "zero carbonation" thing that I've experienced with this series. Part of mouthfeel for me is having texture and texture is provided by bubbles. Good taste, weak mouthfeel.

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Photo of comfortablynumb1
3.44/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12.7oz bottle into a BJ's Brewery Fathers Day special pint glass...

A - Pours black with a one finger tan head that disipates really quick. Not much lacing to be had here...

S - Lots of coffee notes come through. Also pick up chocolate and various dark fruits...

T - Dark roasted malts, chocolate, black coffee, and dark fruits. Ends with a fairly strong brown sugar/caramel sweetness. Abv is very well hidden; however, this one is a little sweet for my liking. Would rather taste a little more alcohol in adverse to an almost overwhelming assault of sweetness...

M - Full bodied with next to no carbonation...

D - I consider myself a fan most of Mikkeller's brews (especially their Beer Geek Series). Unfortunately, I can't say the same about this one. A little to much of a sugary taste for me. Maybe a little age would mellow it out a little...


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

poured from bottle into a St Bernardus goblet.

dark black with a slight hint of brownish head. small amount of lacing left behind on glass.

thick mocha aromas followed with hints of alcohol.
oat and coffee flavors stand out with some decent hop bitterness on the back end keeping the alcohol from overpowering.

very creamy, thick feel. much thicker than some other coffee stouts.

much preferred over the barrel aged series of Black Hole.

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Photo of bobhits
1.48/5  rDev -60.7%
look: 1 | smell: 3 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

Green bottle, with a champaign cork covered by a silver foil in a 12.7oz bottle, into a delirium tremens glass. Odd

Pours either the darkest brown or lightest black, your call. Pours without much of any carbonation and virtually no carbonation. Looks really really thin in body. Nothing special left on the glass when swirled. I'm going in thinking pretty poorly of this beer.

Watered down coffee, burnt malt, alcohol, some hazel type sweet smelling notes. Think of a cold hazel coffee that's not overly good. You're about there. With some air (this was 50-60 degrees when served so the temp isn't a factor) on it there's a lot of fruity smells coming out. Hard to place so I won't bother trying.

Opens really sweet like a brown sugar and well sweet coffee sweetness to start. Finishes with a bitter coffee flavor but it's really far back there, and then it almost leaves that coffee breath feel in your mouth. Wow it just hit me. This is like a flat Coke with some coffee burnt flavors in the back ground.

This beer is thicker to drink than to look at. Still not much going on. No carbonation.

I see why they sell this in roughly a 13 oz bottle. There's no way you can choke down more than that.

OK, I get what they're going for I think. A sweet and wet example of a stout with some coffee flavors to balance things a hair. The problem is this is awful. Yeah it's a fruity (and more complex than I described) aroma. The beer is way to freaking sweet and unlike so a great English barely wine that does this in a way that makes you savor it. This beer doesn't even get close. The "sale" price I got this beer at of 8.49 makes it all the more awful . At nearly 50 bucks for a 6 pack (and I understand the high cost of distribution and taxes) it's just unacceptable for this to be a bad beer. It is.

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Photo of Mooch273
4/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Little to no head, what little head existed was a light tan. Poured thick. Name describes the color: black.

A: Earthy funk from yeast, slightly roasted with hint of vanilla and brandy.

T: Quite roasty which was surprising since roastiness was muted in the aroma. Nutty, vanilla, reminds me of smores with coffee.

M: Noticeable alcohol presence at first sip, but the rest went down smooth. Subtle carbonation.

D: A delicious treat with bold roasted flavor. More than one would take away from the enjoyment... plus, ABV would ruin my palate for the rest of the night. A good beer, but not great.

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Photo of bigdonniebrasco
3.92/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours opaque black with a massive overflowing head of light brown.
The spongy, rocky foam settled to a good quarter inch for the duration of the glass.
Aromatics are hugely laden with coffee grounds, roasted barley, and bitter chocolate.
Almost a bitter promise for whats to come.
Mouthfeel is dry and thick, with carbonation adding a perception of increased body.
The pallet is unapologetically filled with coffee. The coffee is center stage, and is somewhat bitter in nature, akin to spent grounds.
After the coffee, plenty of dry and roasty chocolate steps up, as does some acrid black malt.
Alcohol is noticeable, but no heat and does not detract.
Finishes with lingering bitter coffee and more acrid black patent.

A big beer for sure, but the coffee is a bit harsh, and leaves the beer tasting like a coffee stout rather than an Imperial with coffee.

The combination of the bitter coffee, and charred bitterness detract from the drinkability, and I LOVE black coffee!

that being said I liked it more than previous reviewers led me to believe I would.
I may get another one to lay down for a few years.

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Photo of Dlish
3.96/5  rDev +5%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

A- Pours dark black, possibly "black hole" color, No head, litterely like pouring motor oil, might be the same viscosity to.

S- Sweet Chocolates, Brandy, hits of bourbon or at least something alcoholic, vanilla and coffee.

T- Very sweet vanilla taste, Coffee, Mild burn of alcohol but it is a good burn, it adds to the bitter dark chocolate flavor that overwhelms the tongue after. I can taste the chocky, puckery of the coco powder in this.

M- There is no carbonation, like none, Whats up with that? come on I understand that this is a sippin' beer but I still want some beer qualities in it! I think the carbonation would really bring alive some more flavors and reduce the alcohol burn

D- This, Lack of carbonation is really a downer, Although this beer has some great qualities I'm pretty disappointed that a glass cost 13 bucks! This beer is a must try still if not for the inspiration of flavors and sweetness.

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Photo of wschmit
3.23/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured into a pint glass.

A: A milky, viscous pour. Espresso black and totally opaque. A thin ring of fine, stout-like tan head.

S: A bit alcoholic smelling; chocolate notes are as strong as coffee ones. Very sweet scent. I don't get any hops or spicy notes.

T: Too sweet, much like overly sugared coffee. The lingering taste has a good malt and bitter coffee finish, but not enough to counter the up-front saccharine punch. The booze, however, is well-hidden.

M: Lovely, thick, smooth feel that coats the whole mouth. No carbonated sensation whatsoever.

D: Middle of the road. Lots of alcohol means I'll be feeling it at the bottom of this glass. It's also just too sweet for me. I generally enjoy coffee stouts, but this one isn't tops in my book. Tastes more like chocolate milk than coffee...perhaps because I like my coffee black.

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Photo of zeff80
3.99/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Poured out an opaque, jet black color with a small, brown, bubbly head of foam. It left little to no lacing.

S - It smelled of chocolate and rich, dark chocolate. There was a slight floral aroma, too.

T - It tasted of bitter, dark chocolate with a espresso-like flavor. It tasted a little like a mocha. Unfortunately the flavor faded the longer it was open.

M - It was fairly crisp and sharp. A medium bodied ale with a dry finish.

D - This is a good coffee imperial stout. However, the flavor did not match the great aroma.

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Photo of chickenm
3.17/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

375mL bottle with a best-before date of 1/07/12. Pours black with very little head. Aroma has chocolate, coffee, alcohol, bitter hops, and dark fruits. The taste is strong and very boozy with burnt coffee, chocolate, brown sugar, and soy sauce. Medium bodied with almost no carbonation. Drinkability isn't great, this was difficult to finish. This beer was a bit of a let-down after trying Beer Geek Breakfast. It's a bit too hot right now.. I'll cellar my other bottle for a while before drinking it.

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Photo of Kendo
3.65/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Caged and corked, but I could not get that fake cork out of the bottle with just my hands. Finally used a pair of pliers -- I am not exaggerating. Poured from the 12.7 oz bottle into a Piraat tulip/snifter-type glass. First impression is of the thickness of the beer, or, rather, the lack thereof. Expected a heavier body but it pours relatively "light."

That describes the heft, but not the color. This puppy is a black hole. Light is neither penetrating nor escaping. Small beigish film of a head is there but disappears quickly. No lace.

S: Licorice, booze -- bourbon -- and coffee. Not terribly strong in the nose. Considered giving this a 3.5 in smell. . . .

T: Kind of follows the nose: think slightly watery day-old coffee with a splash of bourbon added. Some licorice at times reminds me of sambuca. Also molasses, reminds me of rum.

Notice that I'm reminded of booze? Well, that 13% ABV will do that to you. Alcohol is noted in both the taste and the heat down the gulley and in the belly. Finishes with a drying alcohol warmth and lingering bitterness. At times there's a touch of dark chocolate, but more often it reminds me of bitter roasted coffee beans. That's the taste that lingers (at times it seems oaky).

I started out by giving this a 4 in taste, but I'm knocking it down a peg.

M: No qualms about knocking the mouthfeel score down to 3.5. Body is too thin and as a result feels lighter in heft than you want (expect) from this style. Slightly slick feel to it.

D: OK. Despite some of the knocks, all-in-all this beer is OK. Booze and bitterness will slow you down, but any 13% beer is bound to be a sipper.

Overall impression: needs more malt. Roasty, chocolatey goodness and the heft more malt would provide would make this a better beer, IMHO. It's a decent beer as is, but certainly not other-worldly.

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Photo of TheBeerCarl
3.83/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The beer is extremely dark brown in color with a brown head that is almost non-existent but this is fairly typically of a Russian Imperial Stout. It has a very light scent of chocolate but that is it. The flavor profile is complex with strong coffee and vanilla flavors and some definite pitted fruit aftertaste. The heat is not well hidden, this definitely screams high alcohol but not enough to affect the nose. The body is thin but smooth with the right amount of carbonation for this style. Overall it is a decent imperial stout but nothing to write home about.

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Photo of jminsc76
1.12/5  rDev -70.3%
look: 1 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

Had this a little less than a month ago. Into a snifter, pours virtually no head. The body is as thin as prune juice, and I knew from the first pour that this was not going to be pleasant.

Ugh, aromas of prunes-gone-bad and stale graham crackers. Mr. alexd3891 says it smells decent, but all I smell are prunes-gone-bad and stale graham crackers. And maybe, MAYBE some coffee.

Flavors include the aforementioned prunes-gone-bad and stale graham crackers, with some coffee and a whole lot of booziness. Perhaps if I hold my nose there might be some semblance of balance here, but, God's honest truth, it tastes awful.

Don't even get me started on the mouthfeel. Would anyone like some prune-juice gone bad with what is supposedly a Russian Imperial Stout?

Overall, I have barely ever to be this disappointed with a beer, but this is crap as a really crappy thing. All this talk of prunes and crap is probably the best kind of pairing I can think of for Black Hole, and shame on Mikkeller for allowing such a devious fall from the pinnacle of grace that is Beer Geek Breakfast to be unleashed on all of us. It was such hell I poured it out halfway through.

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Photo of mulder1010
3.15/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Review #200 375 ML poured into a GD Globe Best before 1/7/12

A-- Poured a dark brown, settled all sorts of BLACK. No head to speak of at all. Thick layer of mocha colored film. No carbonation. Some life in a few swirls of the glass. Looks darned near like ink.

S-- Thick, rich chocolate, heavy roasted malts and espresso. Traces of Vanilla and a good dose of molasses and alcohol in the nose.

T-- Vanilla, molasses chocolate, burnt coffee, and espresso. Very thick and syrupy first sip. ABV is obvious as get a big tingle in the mouth and a lot of warming in the front.

M-- Is there any carbonation?? Stating the obvious but very full bodied. Very syrupy but after the initial attack it mellows out some. The coffee could be a bit bigger and bolder and offset the sweetness of this.

D-- My issue is that it is really sweet and to me under carbonated. Still, it is unforgiving and beats you down pretty big. One is all you can do and a 375 still may be too much. More due to sweetness than the ABV. ABV is well hidden but gets to you after a while. More like a liqueur than anything else. Good idea to let this cellar for 6 months before drinking. Not the best RIS I have had and my Black Damnations are far more complex than this is.

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Photo of Blakaeris
3.53/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a rich velvety dark brown with a creamy tan head that leaves slight lacing.

Aroma is Big and boozy. Charred dark grain and generous hop bitterness meets sweet dark fruit. Alcohol has a strong presence.

Taste is sweet dark malt, with hints of cocoa and espresso up front. Charred smokey bitterness steps in momentarily, before the strong hop presence washes over everything with a very 'green' aspect. Finishes quite bitter, but tempered somewhat by sweet dark fruit and astringent alcohol.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied.

This is a very big stout. Flavor is rich and intense. Not for the uninitiated.

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

Poured a deep dark brown with a thin dark tan head with just a bit of soap ring of bubbles.

The smell is very green, like fresh picked hops mixing in with nice dark chocolate.

Lots of chocolate going on in the flavor along with some mild black malts and smokey bitterness before the fresh green hops start to take over in the finish. A bit of alcohol pokes through as well along with some fresh juniper and anise.

The extreme amount of hops makes this for an oily and resiny sticky mouthfeel that coats for a long time.

Its ok, but nothing spectacular, I don't mind a hoppy stout, but find this a bit lacking in complexity compared to your more traditional Imperial Stouts.

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Photo of canucklehead
4/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big beer with little carbonation that to my mind marries the mouthfeel and sweetness of a young barleywine with lots of coffee and chocolate found in an Imperial Stout. This is a well made beer that uses some sweetness to balance the huge hoppy coffee notes in the midbody. Could do with some aging but it contrasts nicely with the more lively Beer Geeks Breakfest

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Photo of MbpBugeye
3.87/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

There were a few of these at From the Vine at Polaris. I dont know how but Jaimie does it again. Another beer thats not supposed to be in Ohio dude to the ABV cap...SHHHH!! You didnt hear that from me though...

A- Little half bottle, foiled and corked with a synthetic cork. I got a ncie head out of this beer but the alcohol put an end to it quickly. Lacing is really the only trace left behind.

S- Smell is super nice. Big on strong coffee with cream. Roasted malts and a little bit of alcohol.

T- Not as great as the nose. Acidic coffee, its kinda oily. Roasty and vinous characters that many big ass stouts like this have seem out of place with the coffee in this one.

M- Low carbonation with a full body. Slightly warming from alcohol but no where near what I expected.

D- While the alcohol is hidden quite well in the flavor its effects are felt suddenly.

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Photo of eric5bellies
4.16/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Drank from my De Struise Tulip Glass

A - Absolutely no head to speak of. Pours a dense ebony colour that no light could ever be senn through.

S - Heavy chocolate aromas fron the Bottle. Becomes more coffe once poured.

T - Rich rich coffee and chocolate with heavy roast malts. Quite a boozy finish.

M - Not enough carbonation for a heavy stout.

D - I don't know if I got a bad bottle but this is inferior to the Black Albert

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Photo of psychotia
2.31/5  rDev -38.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

My first review (after lurking here for the past several months)!

Date on cork: Aug 1st, 2012 (best by)

Appearance: Poured into Duvel tulip, very slight mocha head developed right at end of pour... color is black, hence the name "black hole" I'm guessing...

Smell: BAM. Sweet and alcohol onslaught... very subtle hints of coffee/chocolate roasty-ness, but defintely overpowered by the alcohol and sugar... not a great balance

Taste: Heavy molasses and other honey/sugar notes, alcohol is slap-you-'cross-the-face prevalent, coffee/chocolate roast comes out near the finish.

Mouthfeel: Ack. The mouthfeel is not as viscous as I like stouts. This feels more like a scotch or old ale. This was the deal-breaker for me.

Drinkability: Nope. I think I had 3 or 4 sips and called it quits. I couldn't do it. Maybe this is better fresh (I'm guessing this was 3 years old, not sure though).

Overall, I was quite disappointed. I've had phenomenal coffee stouts, and I don't even know if I would have called this a stout brewed with coffee! I have a few more offerings from Mikkeller waiting downstairs, so hopefully they turn my frown upside-down!

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Photo of Naugros
3.49/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Most stouts that call themselves "black" are truly dark brown; you can see it at the edges. The fact that light can't pass through makes them appear black. This beer is not one of those and it really is black. Oncorking it was not easy as the rubber cork is a good inch and half deep. So I was surprised when there was no hiss and absolutely no head. Not what I expect or want from a stout. Not a great start.

The smell on the other hand is all RIS, which means burnt toast, chocolate and coffee. The coffee is to be expected since this beer is brewed with it, but I had thought that any chocolaty goodness is the nose would be's not. There's also a hint of soy sauce. I usually don't like it when that comes through, but for some reason it works here.

Holy cow! The coffee was not overpowering in the smell, but it sure stands out in the taste! Everything in the nose is there, just not in the same balance. The coffee really comes to the forefront and subdues the chocolate to a mild whimper. The soy sauce is punctuated in a sensation of alcohol. Let's let it warm up some more and see if it relaxes a little. So we'll need to journey through the black hole to the future as long as we can survive the crushing gravity. Let's assume we did and we're back and the beer's warmed up. It still hasn't really settled down much. The bitterness has abated, which happens with all stouts when they warm up. That left it cloyingly sweet. It now tastes like black coffee with a lot of turbinado sugar. Addendum: I looked up "cassanade" (which the brewery lists in the ingredients) after I wrote this and found out that it is French for raw sugar...which is close to turbinado sugar, which explains the molasses/soy sauce taste that comes through.

This one seems a bit much for me and I've had so many better stouts. I guess I'm getting to be quite the stout snob, but my money is better spent on stouts that have a better balance to the flavor profiles. You can also get a good sense of the alcohol (sort of like Irish whiskey), but not as much as you'd think considering it's 13.1%. If you drink all 12.7 fluid ounces you'll be typing everything three or four times in your review until you get it right. Even then, I'll need to edit this tomorrow. Boogety, boogety, boogety!

I still appreciate what these Danes are attempting and support them wholeheartedly. Keep it up guys! Nothing's rotten in the state of Denmark as far as I can tell.

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Photo of mdfb79
3.27/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Had at a small tasting thanks to nimbleprop; thanks Mac. Bottle is from 2007.

a - Pours a black color with on head and light carbonation evident.

s - Smells of roasted malts, whiskey, oak, and dark fruits.

t - Tastes of dark fruits, whiskey, roasted malts, and mayube some oak. Some heat on it.

m - Medium body and low carbonation.

d - An ok RIS, but too hot for me. Would give another shot if it had some more time on it.

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Photo of womencantsail
2.22/5  rDev -41.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

A: The pour is black, as I had expected from the name, and there is no head or carbonation to speak of.

S: The nose is incredibly roasty with some acidity and coffee. Those are the "good" traits. The other aromas include: ethanol, burnt plastic, and rubber cement.

T: The solvent and alcohol party continues on the palate. A bit of chocolate to go along with the roast and coffee attack. Soy sauce, plastic, alcohol, and more alcohol round things out.

M: The body is medium with a alcohol heat and just about no carbonation.

D: Blech, no thanks, Mikkeller. Not very much in terms of redeeming qualities about this beer.

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Black Hole from Mikkeller ApS
3.77 out of 5 based on 794 ratings.
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