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 avalon07
4.5/5  rDev +19.4%
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 +3.4%
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 +6.6%
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 -4.8%
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 -51.7%
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 +18.6%
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 +6.1%
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 -9.8%
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 +3.4%
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 +6.9%
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 +7.7%
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 +8%
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 +6.1%
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 +0.5%
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 +3.4%
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 -9.3%
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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Photo of Patrick999
4.16/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a small snifter. Synthetic cork was a bitch to extract, in part because there was no carbo-assist. Very dark, very minimal bubbles. Not the greatest looking beer out there even by imperial stout standards, but I have a feeling it will make up for this in aroma and taste.

I started smelling this before the cork was even all the way out. Big aroma of chocolate, maple syrup, red and black licorice. Not so much a coffee aroma as much as a coffee liquor aroma.

Beers that smell like that almost always taste great. Sweet red licorice up front, sugar cane and a deep charred coffee finish. It's a Tale of Two Beers, achingly sweet at first, eventually giving way to a quite bitter coffee finish. The bitterness this coffee brings is pretty damned high. You think this is going to be a hot sweet mess, but that coffee really takes over and brings a long bitter finish. High sweetness AND high bitterness is a pretty killer combo.

Sryupy mouthfeel, flat for all practical purposes. Yet, I'm not at all sure I'd want that much carbonation with this. I'm gonna go out on a limb and say I probably prefer this this way.

This probably has more in common with Utopias and other beers like that than it does with other coffee stouts. Big beer. Would be an amazing dessert beer.

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Photo of SShelly
4.17/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours opaque black as you would expect with zero head and a little ring of bubbles.

Immediatly hits you with giant roast and esppresso notes, lots of alcohol, dark fruit, and some oxidation in the nose as well.

Flavor is huge and alcoholic, tons of roast and coffe plays with dark fruit, some positive oxidatin sherry characters. Finishes fairly sweet but also leaves alot of pleasant chocolate and coffee on the tongue.

wow need to buy another one of these and keep it for a while, really enjoyable.

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Photo of gordavidson
4.34/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I bought this bottle exactly 2 years ago.

A- One of the deepest, darkest black liquids I have ever encountered. The head is rather funny looking because it has some fairly large brown bubbles and then a very thin splotchy head in the middle. Looks kind of like a freshly poured cup of coffee and eventually the head disappears completely.

S- Very strong and aromatic. Figs, raisins, coffee, dark chocolate, smoke... Exactly what I look for in a strong, aged stout. Complex and very appealing. Perfect.

T- Cinnamon, soy sauce, alcohol, smoke, very sweet coffee, a bit of cooked vegetables, raisins, tobacco... extremely complex and takes some getting used to. Once the shock to my system is over and it settles in, this is actually very good.

M- Almost flat, albeit very smooth. The alcohol is only noticeable by a warming aspect.

D- This is a very rich and complex beer and takes some work to consume. It is rewarding and worth trying.

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Photo of Arenbeer
4.5/5  rDev +19.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks a million to Andy for this excellent danish brew!

Pint bottle into a snifter glass

A- Pours like motor oil. Solid black with with pretty much no head on top of this one. Just has a slight ring of bubbles around the edge of the glass that doesn't stick around to long. Kind of looks like a tan color.

S- Sweet dark roasted malts with a sweet coffee nose. Also some chocolate and dark fruits are apparent. Slight alcohol as it warms but not bad.

T- Wow strong coffee flavor up front with some mocha and chocolate in the background. Getting some molasses and dark fruits as well but not to intense. Alcohol is also apparent but not to overpowering, just kind of gives the coffee flavor a slight sting and fullness. Really well blended.

M- Full bodied with little to no carbonation and a slight bitter dryness but not enough to bother the average drinker.

Overall this is an excellent Russian imperial stout no doubt. Really well blended and full of flavor. This is a great brew for a BA with a sweet tooth and loves coffee. It's as if i went to D&D and got an ice coffee light and sweet and put some really good vodka in it. Great job Mikkeller!!!


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Photo of BamaBeerBuff
3.57/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

A: Deep, dark black color with a very thing mocha colored head. Carbonation here is almost non-existent. Very underwhelming in the appearance department.

S: Large amounts of sweet dark malt. Dark fruits are eminently prevalent along with notes of honey, coffee, and vanilla in very large measure. Very sweet and bold.

T&M: Super sweet flavors of molasses, vanilla, and honey dominate initially, before giving way to the slightest kiss of bittersweet chocolate and coffee. Zero bitterness here, this is a big-time dessert stout. Body is heavy and soupy with a practically non-existent carbonation. A big, big, big beer for sure.

D: Well, it's big, bold, and sweet. Not very drinkable, even for this style. Maybe this one was best drank at its youngest. This bottle has at least a year and a half on it.

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Photo of markaberrant
3.08/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

A - no pop when I pull the cork, pours a lifeless, soul sucking, pitch black, with a big oily slick on top, no head

S - big nose of chocolate, coffee, vanilla, carmel sweetness, booze, smells pretty damn good

T - taste is nowhere near as robust as the aroma, HUGE coffee flavour, basic sweetness, booze, gigantic roasted coffee finish

M - no carbonation, heavy mouthfeel, dry finish, big boozy warmth

D - another half assed effort from Mikkeller

No carbonation, ridiculous, over the top coffee flavour, and massive booziness (even after cellaring for close to 2 years, best before is Aug 2011). The aroma rocks, but that's about it. I'm all for extreme beers, but I'm tired of ones that fail to live up to their expectations. This was a huge letdown.

I think Pappat44 sent me this bottle? Thanks!

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Photo of glid02
4/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at the Brick Store.

Pours black with a half-finger brown head. The head recedes into a wispy layer on top leaving solid lacing.

Smells of deeply roasted malts, unsweetened chocolate, and small amounts of roasted coffee. As it warms hints of vanilla also come out, but the roasted malt remains at the forefront throughout.

Tastes similar to how it smells. Heavy roasted and black malt flavors kick things off with unsweetened chocolate lurking in the background. Midway through the sip the flavors sweeten a bit, allowing hints of molasses to make their way out. Right before a solidly bitter ending small hints of coffee enter into things, lingering for a bit on the palate after the sip.

Mouthfeel is good. It's got a nice thickness with smooth carbonation.

Drinkability is also good. I didn't have a problem finishing my glass and could have another.

Overall this wasn't quite as flavorful as I was expecting given the body of the beer and the allowance for a multitude of flavors in such a big beer. I could see this one coming along nicely with some age on it, but even as it is it's still worth a shot.

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Photo of MrStark
4.12/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 375ml caged and corked bottle into a snifter glass.

Appearance is thick dark brown black with only a few fizzy bubbles on top. I figure I'll give it a break based on the abv and aging as there is not date on the bottle that I could find.

Smell is quite sweet with the aroma of alcohol in it quite well as well as some roasted malt, coffee, and some dark sugary fruit.

Taste is like the smell is fairly sweet upfront. The flavors are of molasses, coffee, roasted malt and a vague hint of chocolate as well. The alcohol is there for sure but is still pleasant on the palette. The quality definitely comes out more as it warms.

Mouthfeel is smooth but a little lighter bodied than I'd expect fore the style. The alcohol has a nice warming effect on the way down.

Drinkability is good. It went down pretty easy considering the abv, although this is a beer for slow drinking for sure. A brew for every once in a while. This beer was on my list to find for quite some time and while its not the best I've had, its still a nice brew from the style. Down the road I wouldn't mind having it again.

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Photo of champ103
2.2/5  rDev -41.6%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

A: Pours a pitch black color. A very thin, bubbly, beige head forms and is gone in a second. No lace.
S: Sweet, burnt brown sugar. Ash, rubber, and smoke. Moldy wood. Blah.
T: Sickly sweet. Burnt toast and brown sugar. A bit of alcohol. Moldy wood. Ash and smoke.
M/D: Very thin and watery. Almost no carbonation, and no body. A bit of hot alcohol. Though it is not nearly as bad of a burn as I thought it was going to be.

Mikkeller is one of the most hit and miss breweries I have ever come across. This is a big miss for me. I would not recommend this at all.

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