Black Hole | Mikkeller ApS

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Black HoleBlack Hole
Very Good
803 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: 803 |  Reviews: 381
Photo of Blakaeris
3.53/5  rDev -7.6%
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 -2.6%
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 +4.7%
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 +1.3%
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 +8.9%
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 -39.5%
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 -8.6%
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 -14.4%
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 -41.9%
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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Photo of avalon07
4.5/5  rDev +17.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Poured from a bottle to a pint glass. Had a jet black color and a completely thick consistency. There was an inch of tan-colored, foamy/creamy, long-lasting head. Very good lacing.

S: A big aroma of coffee, malt, a bit of vanilla, and alcohol.

T: Tasted of coffee, first and foremost, with malt, a little hops, and vanilla. The alcohol wasn't as prominent as I would have thought. Still, a tasty beer.

M: Lots of carbonation with a slick finish. Full-bodied.

D: An immensely drinkable beer.

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

Black and almost no head, spare a thin brown ring around the edge. Thin, wispy foamy white shapes float around the middle.

Sweet, dark sugar, honey and vanilla mixes with black coffee and dark chocolate. Somewhat dry, but at the same time it comes off as a bit sweet.

Dark sugar and honey in the taste, with a touch of coffee and vanilla. Mild bitterness, possibly from the roasted malts and even a bit of a hop presence.

Nice, smooth mouthfeel without being to cloying or thick. The only down side is the ABV.

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

PIB 7.16.2010.

One finger brown head, medium dissipation with significant lacing. Dark brown opaque body, no visible carbonation. Pretty complex nose, coffee forward, a bit of chocolate, quite a bit of roast malt, with some sweetness (the honey?) for balance. Taste mirrors the nose, leading to a pretty bitter finish. Mouthfeel is quite full, not a lot of effervescence. One of the more aggressive stouts I've had in a while, need to be careful re drinkability at this ABV, this shit will kick your ass, alcohol very prominent. A very powerful, and complex, RIS.

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Photo of twiggamortis420
3.59/5  rDev -6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Best by code of 1/7/12, I think this one has been in my cellar for about 2 years. Pour is moderately flat, cork came out without a pop. Very little foam and just leaves an oily sheen on top. Color is deep black with very little light penetration.

Pungent nose is filled with alcohol and heavy dark fruits - currants, blackberries and figs. Black, strong coffee as well as lots of burnt toast, roast, cocoa powder and marshmallow sweetness.

Sweet coffee binge on the initial mixing a half and half of Nestle Quick and wickedly strong coffee. Alcohol level is high and almost tastes more like a liqueur than a beer. Dark fruit is more evident as it warms, but is not as big as in the nose. This beast of a beer borders on going over the top, but never quite crosses the line. Lack of carbonation is a bit of a bummer, but it is not as missed as it would be in most other beers. Dont think I would buy it again at such a steep price point, but glad I got to try it.

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Photo of wolfsleepy
1.82/5  rDev -52.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

I struggled with the cork for a while and found that there wasn't a great deal of pressure in the bottle; it soon came out without even a nun's-fart worth of expulsion.

Jet black and no head formation to speak of. Smelled of coffee (coffee grounds, even), vanilla, dried fruit, red licorice and alcohol. Slight smokiness.

Tasted pretty much as it smelled, and I found Black Hole far too sweet to be drinkable. In an attempt to trick myself into enjoying it I tried to put it into context with similarly sweet drinks like port or dessert wines but without the acidity it didn't hold up. The lactic, dairy-creamer attributes were off-putting as well. Mouthfeel was thick and oily with very little carbonation.

It's rare that I don't finish a beer unless I spill it on myself or pass out without drinking it (in which case I'll finish it the next morning). But the two of us were grimacing with every sip. I'm still looking forward to trying their other stuff, and I know they are sought-after for their challenging and experimental beers. I'll just have to concede this particular challenge.

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Photo of drpimento
4.47/5  rDev +17%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Hm, I love it when this happens - Pours with at first only a few soap bubbles with evolves to a very fined thin tan ehad and some lace. Color is an opaque black with hints of brown ( duh, head) and some bits of tan sediment in suspension. Aroma is dark ripe fruit, old leather, black loamy earth, fecundity, an stuff ya ain't supposed to know about. Taste is quite different - rich, dark malts with coffees from europe and asia, vanillas from got knows where, and sinful sweetness with just enough bitterness to offset it. Body is velvety, full, round, and waiting to be enjoyed like a dangerous fruit I have in mind heh heh. Finish is a fascinating contrast between exquisite and coarse, not too long and proly not a session unless ur into gettin hauled off. Although it's all I can do to not slurp the bitch.

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Photo of cpetrone84
4/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-pours a dark black liquid, not quite opaque, with a dense milk chocolate colored head and good lacing left.

S-a little ashy up front, roasted coffee, lots of milk chocolate take over, black malts, hints of citrus to balance.

T-huge roasted malts, slighlty burnt coffee dominates throughout, a hint of dark chocolate, lots of bitterness from the coffee, a good bit of heat in the back.

M-smooth and soft on the palate, full thick body, low carbonation, so chewy but slides down the back of the throat.

D-not a bad imperial stout, huge but lots of roasted coffee and bitterness. definitely some heat in the finish, not fusel at all just heat.

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

This is the 2007 release, I grabbed 2 bottles then, when I was a young 'un on this site. I've sat on them since, until today, when I decided to drink one.

Pouring jet black with no head, there's a few dark brown bubbles capping this beer. No lacing either. This is black as pitch. The nose is rather intense, with a strong burnt malt character, reminiscent of the Mikkeller Black, but much better. Mildly acrid and burnt, there's a strong cocoa and coffee character, intense, like a chocolate syrup with a burnt crust. Sweetness is rather high, this smells decent. As it warms up, it gets to be more balanced, with the harshness of the burn giving way to a more fruity oxidation.

The palate opens with a big burnt malt character with a robust bitterness, with a moderately fruity character, with raisins and plums. Coffee and cocoa appear mid-palate, working surprisingly well with the fruity oxidation. The oxidation does add a lot to this beer. Full in body and low in carbonation, the finish on this beer is long, long, LONG. Lingering bitterness, fruity oxidation and coffee are all present. Alcohol is fairly well hidden too. This tastes a lot better than it smells, and I'm rather surprised by the fact. There isn't enough flavor to make up for the ABV that's a lot higher than it needs to be. Also, as I drink the rest of my bottle, I find the soy sauce character growing, and an increasing sulfur/phosphor-like acidity on the finish growing, reminding me of what it's like to inhale a just-extinguished matchstick.

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

On tap at Max's today.

The beer pours a blackish brown color with good head retention and lacing. On the nose, as advertised and expected, I get a boat load of coffee. There's also some vanilla and milk chocolate, but the aroma profile is dominated by coffee/coffee grounds. The flavor profile replicates the nose to some extent in this fairly sweet beer, but there's more to it then I was expecting. The milk chocolate and booziness really dominate the flavor profile, although there is also considerable coffee and vanilla. There's also something of a cherry liquer flavor, though it's very much in the background of the chocolate, coffee and vanilla flavors. Mouthfeel is full, very rich and long, with almost a creamy texture. Drinkability is probably this beer's least appealing feature, as despite the attractive flavor profile, you can tell the alcohol is up there.

A solid effort, though certainly not among the elite of the imperial stout nobility.

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Photo of johndoe8
4.03/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A- Pours thick and black. Nice brown head that dissolved slowly.

S- Coffee, little bit of chocolate. Couldn't wait to try it.

T- Strong coffee flavor which masks the alcohol very well. Love this RIS.

M- Very little carbonation. Felt like a typical RIS as far as feeling going down.

D- Well, I was already getting tipsy after going through most of the bottle. It's a big beer and not something you would probably be consuming profuse amounts of. It took some work to finish this bottle.

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Photo of biboergosum
4.06/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer pours a dense black, with only the slightest of mahogany edges when exposed to the light, and three fingers of thick, chunky khaki head, which dissipates very slowly, leaving a consistent web of pockmark lace around the glass. It smells of an unexpected combination of citrus hops and roasted coffee beans, and a bit of milky caramel. The taste is citrusy strong bitter coffee, bittersweet chocolate malt, and some weedy hops. The carbonation is quite sedate, the body medium weight and smooth, and it finishes with a mildly coffee-tinged citrus fruitiness.

The citrus component of this beer makes it the most unusual RIS that I have ever encountered. However, this is not the weirdest aspect of this offering - at 13.1% ABV, one would expect at least a modicum of alcohol astringency. Nope. At first, I thought it was the citrus hops' obfuscation, but further on, it was plainly apparent that the big booze was just very well and ably integrated. Or, maybe the eponymous 'Black Hole' refers to its whereabouts. Once again, well played, Milkkeller. My first thought was for a long ageing process for such a beast, but it seems that it can be approached both ways...

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Photo of wordemupg
4.07/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

375ml bottle poured into snifter june6 2010

A less light escapes from this beer then its namesake, shes black alright with a two finger tan head that has average retention and leaves some patches of lace

S espresso, dark chocolate and some booze, to go along with a little charred wood, smells rather strong this is a big intense beer

T not far from the smell, lots of super dark malts with even a little bit of hops showing up, the booze is not as well concealed as I would like this ones still rather hot and could use some cellar time

M thinner then expected but nothing too bad, enough carbonation to fluff it up a bit and keep it from feeling flat

D it's a little boozy but hey it's 13%, all things considered it was fairly smooth and I would drink it again but I may let it rest for a couple years

worth a try with out doubt, they must have put a fair bit of coffee in this because I can feel it perking me up as the booze tries to slow me down, a strange sensation mixing uppers and downers. all that aside I will be putting a pair of these away for awhile to see if the booze mellows out a bit

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Photo of IronDjinn
4/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Jim at Sherbrooke for the sample. comes in a 375 ml green mini magnum, caged and corked with silver foil around the neck.

Coffee is immediately recognizable in the aroma the moment the bottle is uncorked. Pours out an opaque pitch black hue, tall creamy sandy head that slowly settles, leaving creamy sticky lacing.

Bright citrus hops, intense roasted malt and sharp espresso character, black licorice, slight alcohol warmth with some lactic sweetness.

Flavour is intense, alcohol, rich roasted malt, coffee character more like a coffee liqeur, dry bitterness on finish from the dark malt as well as the American hops. Intense alcohol heat on finish and aftertaste, with Kaluha-like notes.

Medium-full mouthfeel, smooth but not thick, oily at times, moderate carbonation.

It definitely tests your mettle and intestinal fortitude, intense is the word, intense malt, alcohol and coffee. Don't buy the ticket unless you're willing to take the trip, this is not for the faint-hearted.

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Photo of squaremile
3.79/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a pitch black with a giant tan/brown head. Looks delicious. Smell at first is espresso and bakers chocolate. As it warms more alcohol is present and becomes the most notable. Taste is dominated by coffee/espresso flavors and dark chocolate. Somewhat hot intermittently based on temperature. Mouthfeel is a tad thin but not as distracting on my palate as some other reviews have mentioned. Finish is really dry considering how big the malts are. Overall a nice beer, would have again on tap.

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Photo of weeare138
3.9/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appears a dense opaque black with a fluffy, dark tan head that slowly fades into a fluffy cap of foam. Scattered bits of lacing are left around the glass.
Smell is of vanilla, caramel, roasted nuts, ripe fruit, plums, black grapes, cocoa, and espresso.
Taste is of the aromas with a cocoa, ripe fruit, and earthy flavor that has hints of herbs, and licorice.
Mouthfeel is full bodied, chewy, syrupy, with light astringency making it's presence known.

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Photo of drabmuh
3.42/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a snifter. Beer is black but brown at the edges. Forms a thin broken brown head of small bubbles, minimal lacing on the glass.

Beer's aroma is strong, sweet, chocolatey, roast and coffee. About what you'd expect. Pretty good.

Beer is medium bodied and sweet up front. Strong acrid bitterness at the back. Lots of coffee flavor. Very dry. Lingering flavors and bitter aftertaste. Mouthfeel is OK but its not my favorite RIS or Mikkeller. I would like to try the barrel aged versions.

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Black Hole from Mikkeller ApS
Beer rating: 3.82 out of 5 with 803 ratings
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