Black (黑) | Mikkeller ApS

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Black (黑)Black (黑)
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Mikkeller ApS
Denmark | website

Style: American Double / Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 17.50%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
Brewed at De Proefbrouwerij.

Ingredients: Water, malt, roasted barley, dark cassonade, ale yeast and champagne yeast.

Added by kkipple on 02-19-2008

BEER STATS
Reviews:
259
Ratings:
545
Avg:
3.72
pDev:
26.34%
 
 
Wants:
59
Gots:
148
For Trade:
7
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Reviews: 259 | Ratings: 545
Photo of WorldWideStout
4.05/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Alright had to review this one after a long hiatus. I purchased this bad boy on 11/21/2009. I'm guessing this was brewed at least seven years ago. When I read reviews back in the day people talked about this blowing out their palate with its smokiness, so I thought I'd age it. I then had many failed experiments with aging stouts, which I don't do much of any more, so I avoided this one, fearing it had turned long ago.

A: Really black.

S: I get campfire smoke, coffee, dark fruit, and I feel like whiskey even though I don't believe this is barrel-aged.

T: Chocolate and roast greet me at the start. Dark fruit in the middle, and a very slight heat from the high alcohol and campfire smoke at the end.

M: On the thin side. I wouldn't want this to be too thick, but I think it could still benefit from a slightly heavier mouthfeel.

O: This beer was tasty, and after seven years it is not abrasive at all. I'm really thrilled. I think the fact that it has one of them fancy corks and the high alcohol was what allowed this beer to mature gracefully rather than becoming an oxidized mess like many stouts are after a mere two years.

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Photo of bnes09
3.94/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Black as fresh tar and viscous as hell. One of thickest, creamiest, toffee colored heads I have ever seen. Leaves a dense, bubbly, blanketing lacing all over the glass.

Aroma of peat, burnt rubber, tobacco, earth, charred vegetables and burnt sugar. Theme is burnt.

Malt character of toast burnt to a crisp, sweet caramelized brown sugar, charcoal and smoked tobacco. Bitter earthy hop and just enough to balance. I think this beer actually is fairly well balanced. However, due to the intensity of the flavors, it seems otherwise.

Dense, sticky syrupy body finishes with a mildly dry tone. Low carbonation.

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Photo of superspak
3.91/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

375 ml bottle into snifter, best before 10/22/2025. Pours pitch black color with a 1-2 finger dense dark brown head with fantastic retention, that reduces to a nice cap that lasts. Dense soapy lacing clings around the glass, with a fair amount of streaming carbonation retaining the cap. Incredible appearance. Aromas of big dark chocolate, cocoa, espresso, molasses, toffee, brown sugar, vanilla, raisin, prune, cherry, smoke, char, leather, tobacco, wood, and roast/char earthiness. Very nice aromas with good balance and complexity of roasted malt, brown sugar, and fruity yeast notes; with great strength. Taste of huge dark chocolate, cocoa, espresso, molasses, toffee, brown sugar, vanilla, raisin, prune, cherry, smoke, char, leather, tobacco, wood, and roast/char earthiness. Large amount of pine/wood char bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of dark chocolate, cocoa, espresso, molasses, toffee, brown sugar, vanilla, dark fruit, smoke, char, leather, tobacco, wood, and roast/char earthiness on the finish for a while. Very nice complexity, robustness, and balance of roasted malt, brown sugar, and fruity yeast flavors; with a solid roasted bitter/sweet balance; and some astringent roasted character lingering after the finish, but not overbearing. Light-moderate increasing dryness due to strong bitterness as well. Light carbonation and full body; with a very creamy/slick and sticky/resinous/chalky balanced mouthfeel that is good. Alcohol is well hidden with only a small warmth lingering after the finish for a while. Overall this is a very nice huge imperial stout. All around good complexity, robustness, and balance of roasted malt, brown sugar, and fruity yeast flavors; and fairly smooth to sip on for the enormous ABV. This was quite strong on bitterness, but some good age should tone down the bitter hop/char character to more sensible levels. This was still very enjoyable, but a very slow sipper.

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Photo of alarmclock314
3.49/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

12.7oz bottle, best by date of 10/22/25, 15.7% ABV. Pours jet black with a medium sized brown head; lots of lacing. Smells of burnt roasted malt, smoke, coffee grounds, bitter cocoa, earthy hops, and brown sugar. The taste follows with tons of intense smoke with some roasted malt, brown sugar, cocoa, and hops; better as it warms up but still very heavily smoked. Strong bitterness and moderate sweetness. Above average body and higher carbonation. Overall, this is not for the faint of heart; it's smokier and more intense than the few Smoked Beers I've tried before and should probably be classified as such. There are more enjoyable IS's on the shelf.

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Photo of q33jeff
3.49/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

**
03/13/2016
Bottle to goblet. Look is thick black, motor oily, silty. Small brown head....lasting. Large amount of Sediment left in bottom of bottle. Aroma is belgian yeasty, raisin, prune. Taste is similar: prune, fig, wang. Feel is thick.
Weak carbonation, expected for something so thick. 17% Alcohol is well masked, but the flavors are not all for me.

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Photo of Brutaltruth
4.04/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Enjoyed from the growler via Eight Ball Brewing (Party Source) in a snifter. This INTENSE imperial stout pours a pitch with a nice head of light brown foam that subsides to a thick ring, light sudsy pool, and excellent lacing. Nose of soy sauce, black licorice, char, strong sweet malts, and an herbal note that I can not put my finger on (champagne yeast?). Flavors hit the front and sides with a bang. Soy sauce, bitter dark roasted malts, black licorice, and heavy strong sweet booze flood the taste becoming slightly more bitter in the middle with notes of burnt coffee, dark sweet cherries, and charred malts that go all the way to the back with a deep warming note from strong booze. Bitter malt finish, coating and slick mouth feel that is extremely coating with light some lively yet light carbonation that helps cut through the sweetness. The champagne yeast in this is unique. Very interesting. It is complex, and I am a big fan of this brewery, yet it is almost too much.

They could re-name this one palate fatigue very easily.

Cheers

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Photo of Shippy
3.57/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle. Pours black with a dark beige head. Smell is a little smoky with raisin, booziness on the end. Flavor starts off sweet with vanilla, dark fruit, some oak, and a noticeable bitterness lingering in the finish. The feel is heavy and syrupy with little carbonation. Overall, this is good, but not great. A bit too sweet upfront, will see how this does with some aging.

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Photo of pgerph
2.48/5  rDev -33.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

The first two seconds the taste is magnificent, it begins sweet and turns to coffee. After two seconds it turns bitter and continues to become more bitter, until it falls into a pit of bitterness. If it wasn't for the first two magnificent seconds, I would have to say it would be the worst beer I have ever had.

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Photo of patre_tim
4/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Pitch black. Is that a hint of brown or just my imagination? A half finger of rusty brown head.

Tar, sweet molasses, liquorice, cherries and alcohol.

Sweet, boozy, whiskey, tar, brown sugar, molasses, soy sauce, floral like cherry blossoms. Bitter ashy finish.

Thick and oily, little powdery carbonation.

Got sent from Wish Beer in Bangkok, drank in Chiang Mai Dec 30th, 2015. Saw this on Craft Beer Channel's Christmas Cake episode and so have saved it for this festive season. Really great brew, with whiskey barrel notes.

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Photo of Marius
3.39/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

Perfect pour - pitch black, huge thick head the color of strong espresso. Smells of roasted malts and lactose, dark chocolate and dark cherries. The taste is unbalanced - very sweet at first, then roasty bitter and with the alcohol overwhelming the mouth a bit. Very alcohol-heavy aftertaste.

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Photo of madelfonatree
4.25/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Purchased in July 2015 enjoyed November 13, 2015 in a MadTree tulip/snifter.

Look - Pours brown, not black. Finger of frothy tan head (fine to large bubbled). Little lacing. Settles to a ring.

Smell - Chocolate. Coffee. Char. Toffee. Alcohol.

Taste - Chocolate masks booze well. First sip was spicy. Warmth improves it. Bubblegum on end.

Feel - Chewy. Thick. Stings tongue. Burns.

Overall - Finishing this by yourself is a task. Time to go to bed.

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Photo of CAMRAhardliner
3.83/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Near black with a frothy, rocky head that dissipates in a hurry. Vinous sherry notes and roasty black malts in the nose. Molasses, leather, cocoa, burnt sugar, dark rum booze spicyness in the taste. Moderate carbonation and a thick, full mouthfeel. Medicinal booze and a touch of salty soy sauce in the finish.

Worth a try for sure. A bit boozy, veering on distraction. Intense stuff.

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Photo of biegaman
4.04/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.75

Mikkeller Black is just that and... little else. It's a black hole, though its head has colour (a rusted brown tint). I'm impressed such a high-gravity offering has any head at all, let alone one that looks as strong as the beer itself - that foam ain't going anywhere except all up and down the sides of the glass.

I Goggled the 黑 symbol that adorns the label and, not able to read Japanese, have no idea what those results returned. The aroma is no more familiar - an absolutely one-of-a-kind combination of szechuan peppers, soy sauce, sriracha, sweet potato, tart wild berries, and hickory smoke. Love it or hate it it's different, intriguing and, given it's made from just the basics, downright puzzling.

When it comes to actually taking that first sip I freeze, as if I stumbled on a dead body or, more accurately, found myself unarmed and face to face with a wild animal. And it turns out both unusual and strong, though the intensity is snapped out of the finish like a dog on a yanked leash; the finish is void of chocolaty, coffee-ish flavour but is chock full of Tabasco sauce and astringent cigar-like smokiness.

Where I currently live in Ontario, Canada, our government acts as guardian and tests every single product that is sold. It's not uncommon to find huge variance in alcohol percentage (especially for higher gravity offerings) but their state-of-the-art lab confirmed this is in fact 17% alcohol. Mind you, that's obvious from the way it drinks - some sips make my eyes water. This goes down kicking and punching.

The 'best before' is printed a decade from now - 2024. There aren't many beers that get better 10 years after they're bottled, let alone stay remotely as good. How will this one fair, however? Who the hell knows. But if there's one thing you can be sure will survive nuclear fallout, surely Black is it. It should really be drank with the same discretion as cayenne pepper is used in a recipe.

Mikkeller is one of those brands that, for better or worse, people will talk about, write about, and seek out to try even at absurd costs. This one, however, lives up to all hype - both positive and negative - and is undoubtedly worth its price tag, if only for those looking for a truly, extraordinarily unique experience. It even changes as it warms, enough so to write a whole other review!

I've been in the beer reviewing game for well over a decade now - pretty much since it started - and I can think of few beers that have received more simultaneously emphatic love and ferocious hate than Mikkeller Black. This is a stout that can cause even Imperial Stout lovers to quake like mice when the cat is mentioned. It is as peculiar and distinctive as they come.

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Photo of DoubleJ
4.17/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Much has happened in the last five years, which is about the length of time that I have held this bottle in my possession. Coming from a corked and caged, green 375 ml bottle, on to the beer:

Black. The name says it all. Light splashes of legs hit around the glass. As for head, what head?

* Now, before I go on, I have something to admit; I have had a few tastes of this at tastings, and I found it to be like soy sauce. With age, here's hoping something beautiful blossoms. *

I smell it, breath in, take in a pleasant burnt chocolate aroma. I get chocolate syrup too. There's promise.

Five years in the waiting, and Black is better than ever! This is a big, roasty beverage with semi-sweet chocolate, big chocolate cake, and a wet slobber of chocolate infused booze. A little oxidation too. It big, it's pretty smooth for its size, so I'm going to call it; winner winner!

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Photo of Chitex78
2.29/5  rDev -38.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.25

This beer is undrinkable. Smell is grain alcohol. Taste is grain alcohol. The mouthfeel is decent, but not exactly what you would expect from a stout with an ABV this high. Unless this is a gimmick, shame on you Mikkeller.

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Photo of JebBeerFish
2.84/5  rDev -23.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

Imagine a stout made with acrid, below average roasted coffee to which a generous helping of grain alcohol is added, and you have this offering. I like higher alcohol content beers, but this is nearly barbaric in its harshness. I cannot think of a more poorly hid high alcohol content beer, and this was after having three 10% beers. On the pawsitive side, after a couple sips, you predominately only taste the acridic coffee.

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Photo of Gobearswalter34
4.42/5  rDev +18.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Pours black with a huge, foamy, creamy tan head. Nutty chocolate head. A huge, sweet, malty smell. A big boozy bite, especially in the finish. The hop bite starts small and burns down the tounge.

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Photo of BigDaddyWarbuxx
4.05/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Incredibly strong, as you'd expect. Initially has a tang to it and a false carbonation feel that comes from the alcohol. As you keep drinking it, it starts to have the feel of a strong red wine.

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Photo of SPLITGRIN
4.19/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

After a struggle with what should have been a hand turnable cork I had to turn to a wine corker to remove the monster cork. A vigorous pour gets only a skim of head that looks like the caramel bubbles you get when you cook down red wine. Body is ink black and almost just as thick. Nose is beautiful as it screams port with lush tones of plum, raises, lush dark fruit and some background chocolate and anise. With first sip you get deep roast nuttiness and pan seared malts that could set off a fire alarm. Black is the perfect name for this beer as the flavor is truely that. Black licorice and charred meats come to mind as well. There is a hint of sweat but it is quickly cast out. Mouthfeel is hugely dark, dry and thick with yet more blackness. You really should split this one with a friend as it is a lot for just one person.

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Photo of JackieKu
3.72/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

2013 edition, 16.1% ABV. OMG it's damn strong and sweet. While the aftertaste is coffee like bitter and the presentation was long. Not quite drinkable, maybe I drink it too soon as its BB date is 2023.

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Photo of beerdrifter
4.09/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Picked this up back in 2008 at my favorite beer store in Belgium, Dranken Geers. Thick, pitch black pour with a one finger caramel-colored head with decent retention and great lacing. The nose is boozey and roasty with hints of cocoa, dark chocolate, espresso, leather, and soy sauce. The taste follows suit with tons of roast and dark chocolate along with hints of cocoa, molasses, espresso, tobacco, vanilla, oak, rye, and an ass load of booze on the finish. The mouthfeel is thick and mouth-coating with perfect carbonation, some nice sweetness in the middle, and a hugely bitter, boozey finish. Overall, this just kept getting better as it warmed. Yeah, it's definitely a sipper, but it's full of flavor, albeit incredibly bitter, but pretty drinkable for a 17.5% beer. I've had it many times on tap and absolutely loved it. Not as good from the bottle, but age has definitely been kind to this beer...

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Photo of Cheezweezl
3.33/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours black with a huge dense foam from a bottle.
Aroma is of brown sugar, molasses, espresso and a high tart fruitiness.
Flavour is intensely roasty with a boozy, warming quality. There is an almost sharp fruity tartness at the front and a strong and lingering roast bitterness in the finish. So incredibly bitter and crazy boozy which nearly masks the big malts.
Feels thick and syrupy.
I'm really torn about this beer, just too bitter for me. I think I will let my second bottle mature for a good while and see how it goes.

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Photo of byronic
2.5/5  rDev -32.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Pours dark as night, with very little head but a sticky residue. Looks fairly exciting but nothing out of the ordinary. Sweet in the nose and some bitterness. Whoa! Malt, malt, malt and overpowering booze. To me there was nothing refined about this glass of beer. Sickly sweet and boozy ending up in one of my very few sink pours.

This is an enigma to me. I was quite interested in this brew, glad to have tried it but left very dissapointed.

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Photo of mistersifter86
4.03/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

375mL bottle - best before 22nd May 2024 (!). Poured into a tulip glass.

A: Half bottle poured into the tulip, equal parts black beer and firm tan head. Coats the glass with an sticky residue whilst swirling. The champagne yeast results in the head being the party piece of the appearance. 17.5% ABV? Hard to believe.
S: A real sweet fruity coffee aroma - could be smelling a single origin espresso. A soy type aroma comes along later on.
T: Hot, dark, ashy flavour. Extremely bitter - wow. No real malt sweetness to speak off, it's a roasty and bitter monster. Bitterest stout I've ever encountered. Leaves a warm coating on the tongue and down your throat. An absolute sipper for sure
M: Medium to full, but nowhere as sticky as some of his other big sippers (think Beer Geek series). Champagne yeast has done a good job to thin the beer out somewhat once it hits your lips.
O: My lord this is bitter. I was expecting it to be hot, however I think the best is yet to come. Thankfully have another one stored away - I don't doubt the best before date of 2024. Drinking fresh is an intense experience. Sadly I have nobody to share with, this will occupy me for the rest of the evening.

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Photo of TerryW
3.66/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Like tar with a good looking firm head. Nice lace. Nifty looking beer.

Lots of dark fruit in the nose and to taste. Aroma of charcoal. Quite sweet up front, but not cloying. Drying and a touch chalky. Lingering grapefruit rind and tar finish. 17%? Ca't tell to taste as the alcohol is well integrated. But you'll have a pretty clear sense it's 17% about half way through.

Well made, not quite to my taste. A little extreme in character.

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Black (黑) from Mikkeller ApS
84 out of 100 based on 259 ratings.
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