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 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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Photo of dragonWhale
3.57/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

sheer silliness is what we get for the black hole horizontal of barrels. and what is the horizontal without the base beer?

the hissing of the synthetic cork augers something either impotent or ominous. at 13%+, I'm going with ominous. Black, yes. Thick? oh, very. Carbonation minimal, not flat, we'll call it a generous A cup.
Alcohol, sweet malt, honey, and a little bit of vanilla off the bat. The alcohol begins to fade but the sweetness lingers, playing with the vanilla some sort of carnal cat and mouse. It's aggressive but sloppy, like an Old Mike Tyson. Do not tell Iron Mike I said that. He follows me on the Twitter.
Tough to drink but an enjoyable experience for me and a few others at the tasting. However, I will say, many people did not care for this, nor any of the other Black Holes.

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Photo of Bendurgin
3.1/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Pours black into my tulip with a bubbly mocha head that sits about two fingers tall that shrinks down to thin layer of foam. The smell is rich with caramel and chocolate up front with hints of coffee lingering. The aroma is also slightly boozy. Smells like rum cake or maybe sherry or something to that nature. Vanilla is also noticeable on the finish as well as dark fruits. Probably cherries. The taste is almost reverse for me than what I would want. Mostly alcohol up front with hints of cocoa, dark fruit a bit of vanilla and sherry but mostly, this is a booze bomb. When I popped the cork on this I didn't hear anything. It's not entirely flat but it is really lacking carbonation. With that and the body seems a bit light for the style I'm a bit under impressed. Honestly, I don't know if I'll finish this bottle. It's not terrible but certainly an aggressive brew.

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Photo of richmof
3.49/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Appearance? Jesus, it looks intimidating. It pours a viscous and intense dark into my porter glass. Like treacle or tar, no: crude oil...that is what it looks like: crude oil. No head.

The nose is truly impressive. Coffee, chocolate, vintage dark rum or cognac: christmas cake. A friend I tasted it with said it smelt like Pierre Marcolini...and I know what he means.

It is incredibly sweet on the palate. Intensely so. Like drinking melted dark chocolate mixed with coffee, with a shot of brandy added to it (you can certainly taste the alcohol). Cardamon and dates.

As for mouthfeel, the complete lack of carbonation is just odd. Why not just drink a dark, thick mug of chocolate with a shot of espresso and a shot of brandy?

Drinkability? Would be tough to finish a bottle on your own. It is interesting to try for sure but not for me. Perhaps, it is just too complex for me but I don't get this beer. Sure it has intense flavours but it is not pleasant to drink.

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Photo of bigfnjoe
3.38/5  rDev -11.5%
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 +23%
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 -7.3%
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 -9.9%
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 +6%
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 -61.3%
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 +4.7%
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 +2.6%
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 +3.7%
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 -15.4%
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 +4.5%
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 -17%
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 -4.5%
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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Black Hole from Mikkeller ApS
Beer rating: 3.82 out of 5 with 806 ratings