Black (黑) | Mikkeller ApS

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Black (黑)Black (黑)
Very Good
577 Ratings
Black (黑)Black (黑)

Brewed by:
Mikkeller ApS

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

Bros Score:
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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 577 |  Reviews: 268
Photo of duchessededc
3.96/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Great aroma, great appearance...but it tastes like simple syrup on first taste. Once you get past that, great hickory and coffee flavors. Very yummy. The first taste is just cloying. I wonder if aging would improve the balance.

I would say age this for 2-3 years and try again. It's great now, but a little sugary.

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Photo of Chinookie
4.57/5  rDev +20.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A complex, unique, and outstanding beer. Thanks to BA for reporting on what's brewing in Denmark.

Appearance is opaque black. A medium head dissipated in thin streams of tan head.

Aroma is sweet alcohol and some roasted malt.

Taste is really where it hits you. Starts sweet and roasty, gives way to spice like sandalwood, and moves into anise, and finishes with a hickory-like smoke flavor. Overall sweet flavor stays with it throughout.

I look forward to aging one as well and trying in several years.

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Photo of jmmakare
4/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A- Pours pitch black with a little amount of tan head.

S- Unique smells of medicine and a bit of plum or prune. Not off-putting for me, but maybe for some people. My mother says it reminds her of the salve called Prid.

T- Coffee and dark chocolate with some dark fruits. Dark maltiness and a trailing of bitterness. Truly amazing.

M- Very smooth for the high ABV. Thick and almost chewy.

D- Not easily drinkable in large quantities, but excellent in small doses. I would highly recommend splitting a bottle among about 4 people for an aperitif.

This is quite an original brew. Definitely not for everyday drinking, but an excellent brew to try and age for a special occasion.

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Photo of jasonjlewis
4.03/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a viscous black color with two fingers of thick frothy head that cling for dear life onto the glass.

Chocolate is the strongest smell follwed by undertones of toffee, some vanilla, and some coffee.

Sorry for the short review,but I decided to be busy after opening this beer. IT has a huge chocolate flavor with undertones of tofee/ Other flavors such as roasted coffe are also undertones and take a backseat to the intense chocolatey flavor.

The mouthfel is very smooth slightly syrupy due to the incredible amount of chocolate in this beer.

This beer is definetely a nightcap beer, but I wouldn't mind having one of these most every night.

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Photo of RixBeer
4.03/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours pitch black with a caramel colored creamy/frothy head. The name fits.

Smells of nice coffee and good roasted malts. There are a good number of dark fruits like plums and raisins intermixed with sherry and chocolate.

WOW this brew has a massive "punch" of a flavor. Massive alcohol flavor with some nice sherry, raisin, plum, coffee, chocolate, some nice spice and overly alcoholic. Go figure, 17.5% isn't always so easy to hide. Lots of bitterness in the end.

nice and chewy with a very full body. You can drink 1. Maybe 2 if you are planning on falling over on your face. Just kidding. but a second one of these and you may forget your name or phone number or something.

A good beer, once in a while. Thumbs up to Mikkeller!

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Photo of Proteus93
3.72/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A: Black it is. Totally opaque, with a creamy brown head, about a finger tall.

S: An intriguing aroma. Roasted malts, but along with a bit of a fruity and floral aroma - something similar to what I'd expect out of a Belgian ale of sorts. Coffee and chocolate aromas are there, and blend in quite nicely with the other aromas.

T: Taste is absolutely huge, as one could expect from something with such a high ABV. Most of it is a malt roast, raw and bitter espresso flavours, toffee, licorice. Finish is quite bitter and alcohol is certainly noticable.

M: I almost expect thicker and stickier, but it's not happening, aside from some stick on the lips. Not a bad thing... a nice and subtle body for a big flavour.

D: Sloowww... the flavour does get to be pretty intense, anyways. Beers this big aren't really meant for quaffing. Maybe a bit much for my palate, though I'd be very interested in seeing what a year or two did to mellow it out.

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Photo of tedpeer
3.9/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a chalice.

A - Pours black with a 1/2 inch tan head, that subsided to 1/8 inch head. Lacing all the way to the end.

S - Fruity

T - Sweet, fruity (raisins) to start, slowly overpowered by slight coffee/chocolate bitterness to finish, accompanied by alchohol warmth.

M - Slightly coating, good level of carbonation.

D - Well, at the abv, I've got to say it's just a sipper,

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Photo of beermebeerman
3.95/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Served from a bottle into a 4oz tasting glass at the 2008 SIB.
Pours a used-motor-oil black with a few small bubbles forming a ring around the edge of the glass. Initial smell was overpowering; I had to get quite a few whiffs before I could pick out anything other than coffee/chocolate aromas, but a couple were pinot-noir and raisins. Taste was also an explosion. Lots of roast-coffee flavors and chocolate malt with an alcohol afterburner effect. A little too sweet, but not overpowering. This is one that needs to be sipped slowly. Mouthfeel was good. Carbonation level seemed a little low but perfectly acceptable for the style. Drinkablility is low because this is so huge, but I wish I had a bottle of this of my own at home. If you happen to get your hands on one, you are truly blessed among men.

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Photo of AKBelgianBeast
4.28/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Holy F*#!K!

This beer pours a viscous oily black with sickly tan seeping head. This is surely of the devil. Nose is a plasticy tar smell with huge alcohol and coffee like aromas. Taste is a fucking explosion. Big alxxxohol and dark malty sickness in the beginning. A sweetness through the middle followed by a space mountain of coffee and chocolate bitterness. Creamy on the finish. Coffee bitterness lingers. Some alcohol burn, but mild for the abv. Putrid black death. Amazing flavor here. Mouthfeel is very good, especially for the abv. The drinkability just has to be docked a bit here, but if you bought a beer that is 17.5% and expected to slam some at the summer company picnic, well then your just a goddamn idiot. Overall I am very impressed with this beer, and will certainly be spending the outrageous $$$ to obtain at least a few more of these for the cellar. Can't wait to see what these will be in about 3 years. Wow. Great and gnarly unique brew.

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Photo of Bananaman
4.78/5  rDev +25.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A: Looks pitch-black, beige head.
S: Very Wineouse, chocolate, roasted, toffee
T: Toffee, coffee, raisins, brown sugar, roasted a bit oaky
M: Smooth, thick, sugary, oily

A wonderful beer, and considering it's strong ABV there it is very well-balanced. Exceptional beer!

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Photo of Crosling
4.08/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours nearly pitch black out of the bottle and appears opaque black in the glass. Head isn't as dark as expected, a light tan. Nose has a lot of elements, hinting of raisins, sherry, chocolate and coffee, rubber, tar and alcohol. Flavor is loaded with dark fruit and heavily roasted malt notes, with some hints of chocolate and coffee. Intense, massively flavorful, strong alcohol (but much better hidden than when the beer was first imported) and lots of taste. It has improved in the last three months, but mostly, I'm thinking of how this beer will be in a couple years. Check back with it in 2009. It will be a gem by then.

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Photo of Georgiabeer
4.32/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Okay, this is a huge beer and perhaps not to everyone's taste, but I loved this one. Talk about extreme! This isn't just a beer that has been made super strong for the hell of it. It's bursting with amazing flavors and well worth sipping with some like-minded friends. Pours black with a tan head that settles to a ring. Smells rich and vinous with lots of dark fruit and some spice. Wow! The flavors just keep going and going. Huge and hot with alcohol and with big flavors of dark fruit, big coffee flavors, some chocolate, and a wallop of bitterness. Sharp finish. Mouthfeel is big, rich, and chewy. This is like a Port of beers. Lots of alcohol, yes, but lots of fruit and other flavors make it a nice digestif.

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Photo of bluejacket74
3.48/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

12.7 ounce caged and corked bottle. Served in a pint glass, the beer pours black, of course. There's also about an inch or so frothy brown head. Head retention and lacing are both very good. It smells like roasted malt, bittersweet chocolate, soy sauce, coffee, alcohol and dark fruit. The taste is very intense! It tastes like roasted/charred malt, bittersweet chocolate, coffee, burnt wood, dark fruit and a lot of alcohol. There's lots of alcohol heat in this beer, you know you're drinking a beer with some firepower to it. There's noticable sweetness along with a long lasting alcohol and bitter aftertaste. After a while the alcohol heat mellows out a bit, but it's still very noticable. Mouthfeel is medium/full, it's coating, creamy and slick. It also has low carbonation. Drinkability? Well, it's a little bit hard to drink due to the hotness and the 17.5% ABV. However, you can tell there's a good beer behind the alcohol heat and if it ages a while, it could be really good. I have to say this is by far the most intense tasting beer I've had (that I can remember). It's really hard to put the full experience of drinking this beer into words, so all I can say is that if you get a chance to buy it, you should. Buy 2 bottles, 1 to drink fresh and let the other one age for a long, long time.

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Photo of optiontwo
3.45/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Mikkeller Black

Appearance: Pours just like the title implies, black as the night sky. With somewhat of an aggressive pour I was able to conjure a quarter inch head. (Edit: On second pour the head went crazy. I don't know if I poured it differently or what, but if you want a 1.5 to 2 inch head on this beer you can have it.) Color wise, this beer is purely opaque.

Smell: Bitter chocolate, black licorice, and possibly even cloves come to mind. It smells intense, to say the least.

Taste: Wow. What an experience. Very bitter dark chocolate comes through but not without a prominent ashy undertone. Almost like smoking a dark chocolate flavored cigarette. Alcohol is as apparent as ever and it's probably the first thing you'll notice when drinking this beer. It really nips the back of your throat with each sip, which is kind of nice. The right amount of carbonation and not too extremely syrupy of a mouth-feel, honestly with each sip it gets better. The first thing that came to mind was this beer's flavor has some striking similarities to Jagermeister. It has the dark licorice/chocolate flavors with a high ABV but is still drinkable.

Mouth feel: As aforementioned it is thick (as an imperial stout should be) but not too overwhelming. The taste and the feel of the beer stay in your mouth for a good amount of time after sipping the beer.

Drinkability: As much as I like it, it's hard to say this beer is very drinkable. At 17.5% even one 12.7 oz. bottle is enough to have you feeling tipsy. That's not to say that you're going to be forcing down sips of it. If you enjoy the style then this is a beer you should try. I'm not saying you're going to like it, but it's and experience nonetheless.

Overall: I enjoyed this beer and it's actually the first beer I've had from Mikkeller. I'm looking forward to trying more. I would say that anyone who likes imperial stouts should try this, just to see what they think for themselves. It wouldn't hurt if you're a liquor/liquer fan either, seeing as this is one hardcore brew. As an endnote I'd like to add that I am not sure when this was bottled but this a beer that begs for aging. If you're a fan of imperial stouts but not a fan of that biting alcohol flavor, then buy it, put it in your cellar, and bust it out for a special occasion. By that time this beer's high ABV should settle down and not come through too much in the flavor.

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Photo of 1000Bottles
4.8/5  rDev +26.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

For me, this was one of the most delicious beers I have ever had. Color is black. Thin dark brown head. Aromas are rich sweet dried prunes, coffee, leather chocolate, raisins... wow! Alcohol is there, but not prevailent. Flavor is initially big black licorice, then sweet dark chocolate, figs - no scratch that - black strap molasses with raisin tar, then finishing back into black licorice with a touch of astringency. But, this beer really doesn't finish - lingers into roasted nuts, tobacco, leather, dark rum...

This should age wll for 20 years I should think, if anyone has the patience. Absolutely superb!

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Photo of hoppymeal
3.98/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle from Liquor Max. Pours a syrupy looking black in color with a large chocolate brown head that very slowly recedes with some decent lacing. A little ashy roastiness up front, some soft chocolate sweetness as well. A swirl brings up some sweet fruity maltiness, hints of soy and some definite alcohol. Taste is a very nice big sweet maltiness, fruity, up front, some black licorice mixed in and some chocolate evident towards the finish. Extremely hot, alcohol is a major presence here. Fairly heavy in body, sweet and sugary thick, pepperiness on the tongue and a painful bite of alcohol in the throat. A very tasty maltiness here, unfortunately the alcohol is hard to get around. After a bit it does seem to mellow, or maybe I'm just starting to get numb to it. There is a great beer behind that alcohol that keeps me drinking it and possibly with some age, if that alcohol mellows, it could be divine.

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Photo of largadeer
1.18/5  rDev -68.9%
look: 4 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

I'm not going to bother with a detailed review of this stuff, because the agony of drinking it isn't something that can be properly written down; it would be like trying to describe what it feels like to have your teeth pulled out with a rusty crowbar.

The appearance is about what you'd expect from a beer called Black: it pours like crude oil with no real head to speak of, just a few wispy bubbles. The smell is acrid as hell, utterly burnt and and boozy with an intense sugary sweetness beneath it all. The taste can only be described as sugar-coated car tire. The sheer intensity and bitterness of the aftertaste is unlike anything I've had before. The bitterness takes a moment to kick in after swallowing, and up until that point I thought the beer really wasn't that bad - I was proven wrong. It makes the hoppiest of Double IPAs taste bland and flavorless in comparison. It makes chewing on hop pellets seem pleasant. The finish is unrelenting in its bitterness, so deep and acrid that I began dreading the next sip, and yet some strange masochistic desire kept me coming back until I finished my glass. I'm just glad I had someone to share the pain with, because there's no fucking way I could drink an entire bottle of this.

On an ending note, I have no idea how to rate this. Although it doesn't necessarily contain any qualities that I would describe as pleasant or enjoyable, it is certainly a unique experience. Recommended for masochists and the self-loathing.

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Photo of grumpy
4.9/5  rDev +28.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

So, drinking half of a 12.7-oz bottle of this stuff pretty much renders 99.99 percent of all other beers trifling and insignificant. Just a mind-blowing concoction. This masterpiece takes a spot in my all time Top 5 Beers, maybe Top 2.
There are already 13 reviews for this beer, and between them the attributes are well documented. I won't bother to dissertate. I'll just say that this is an incredibly intense, tasty, huge beer. The only category it doesn't score a 5 in, for me, is drinkability. That said, I enjoyed it immensely, and I don't see anything wrong with being sated by half a bottle. At 17.5% ABV and $17 a bottle, that's a good thing.

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Photo of Flyer
3.51/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

I really wanted to love this beer, because I love the idea of this beer: an imperial stout with 18% alcohol. But this is the first time I agree wth critics who call a beer unbalanced -- I love a good alcohol presence, but here it just overwhelms. Still, there's a lot to like about this: pitch black pour with a creamy, khaki head, aromas of raisins initially, followed by lots of alochol -- not boozy, which iwould be good, just straight alcohol. Flavors of raisins, figs, vinous-ness, anise, some chocolate, not as roasty as some, and lots of (you guessed it) alcohol. The mouthfeel is not as thick as many imperial stouts, which I liked. There's a back taste of cough syrup which becomes overpowering in the aftertaste. An interesting experiment, and one that could grow on me. But even though comparisons to DFH WW Stout are obvious and unfair, that beer does a better job of hitting the mark that this beer was aiming for.

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Photo of rallison
3.24/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Well, I always enjoy beers that push the envelope, so I just had to try this..

Pours a beautiful thick black with an impressive 3 finger dark tan head that leaves a ridiculous amount of lacing. Quite impressive, I must say.

Smells of alcohol with a bit of chocolate/coffee and dark fruits hiding way back there. Still, fusel alcohols are extremely dominant.

Taste is most intense. Lots of alcohol. Taste this and you may question the 17.5% on the label. As in, you wonder if it isn't really higher than that. Tons of ash. The previous quotes about this possibly being brewed in hell? Yeah, I wouldn't doubt it. To those that find Abyss ashy...just try this. Seriously. Nothing will taste like an ashtray after this beer. Chocolate and dark fruit sweetness start crossing the line to being sickly sweet. The bitterness here is harsh. This beer is still extremely green. The alcohol is very noticeable upon swallow. Wow. Balanced? Hell no.

Mouthfeel is coating, thick, rich and, well, kind of ridiculous.

Drinkability. How do I even rate that for a beer like this?

I don't quite know what to say. The sadistic part of me enjoys this experience. Let's put it this way - this beer is one of the most alcoholic, ashiest, out of balance beers I have ever had. I am actually quite glad to have tried it - I've never had a beer like it. I don't necessarily like it, so to speak, but I will not forget this beer. I just keep thinking...ashes of hell....ashes of hell...this is either your worst nightmare or your sadistic pleasure.

This far, and I still haven't scored a single category. I will do this, but numbers alone cannot make you understand this beer. For a beer like this, the numbers don't even matter. Have a glass, and you will understand. Thank you Mikkeller...not for brewing some amazing beer...but for providing an experience.

And...for the scores I gave - just ignore them. I can't really properly rate this beer. Rating by style guidelines...and most other guidelines, this would fair quite poorly. But well, sometimes I like an odd experience. Two more left for aging. Will time make this a great beer? Well, this shall most definitely be an experiment.

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Photo of lightindarkness
3.6/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Pours like tar. Big mocha colored head rises slowly from the murky depths and leaves plenty of generous sticky lace.

Very attractive nose, with a rich sticky caramel smell and dark chocolate, deepened by coffee, burnt wood, molasses, toffee, and some strong but strangely inviting alcohol.

Wow, taste is a strange shock to the mouth on first sip. Somewhat likable, but unexpected. Buzzes from the start with a very bitter earthy burnt wood, deepened by some coffee and bitter cocoa. Some smooth chocolate and other darker more mysterious flavors fight to get out, but ultimately lose to the mouth sucking bitterness and very strong alcohol. I'm thinking this could use some age to mellow a few flavors into a more reasonable balance. For all its depth and intrigue it comes across harsh and sharp instead of smooth and rich.

Feel is difficult, again because of the high abv. Thick in the mouth, it lifts off the tongue and burns a little with the alcohol fumes. A sticky residue is left, but the numbness in the mouth makes it hard to feel out. Carbonation is no match for the body and only mildly notable.

I think the flavor would be great if I could detect more through the sharp bitterness and alcohol. Drinkability suffers because the high (and very obvious) alcohol and difficult balance make it bearable to sip, but difficult to drink overall. An intense experience for sure.

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Photo of GravityRules
3.85/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Black as night. It could possibly have the highest lovibond I have seen, true black. The head was also incredibly dark and unwaivering. It was the color of some chocolate milk on steroids, and the head retained intself the entire time. I was amazed that a beer at 17.5% abv could have that kind of head retention.

S: Cheap vodka. This brew had one of the most potent ethanol smells I have ever smelled, and it pretty much covered up anything else. Perhaps I found a bit of raising or candied plum aromas but alcohol was very predominate.

T: This beer had cellared about a week before I had it (I bought 2 so I could experiment with some aging). How heavily "alcoholed" this beer smelled, the taste was not nearly as evident. I thought it hid it quite well, and customary dark chocolate tastes came through with some very hearty roastiness. For how fresh I had drank it, I was impressed by its taste.

M: It was thick, period. I've had a couple high abv beers and they seemed to be a bit thinner than this one.

D: I really enjoyed this beer. For the abv it presents, I was amazed at its drinkability. I do feel that some cellaring would be a good idea. Mikkeller did a great job with such a big beer, and it would be interesting to see how it matures with a little age. On the downside, it's basically a 12 ounce beer for $16, but it is definitely worth a shot if you are feeling the need for a truly huge stout.

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Photo of DarkerTheBetter
3.15/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

The head explodes out of my glass on a steady pour. The tan and copper sand took a while to fall, converging into bigger bubbles and slinking back down into my tulip. The beer itself is a mirrored obsidian.

Smells of dry dark chocolate, tart raisins with a fruity mellon zip. There also seems to be a sweet and sour candy to this too, like Smarties. This all seems to be struggling to contain a rampant booziness, but it's succeeding quite well.

Tastes... like stinging? There's a dry cocoa, corn syrup, port and gooey dried dark fruits, reminiscent of World Wide Stout, at first, but a harsh burn comes tearing through sending any resemblance of balance packing. A harsh over-done coffee takes the stage that seems to have a lot of woody elements to it, drying out my palate with a deft sting.

Feels quite light, all things considered, but a carbonation lifts the density away to prepare my mouth for the raw sting.

There are some nice points to this one, but it needs time. Lots of time. You will regret opening this one up fresh. Let it sit.

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Photo of weeare138
2.95/5  rDev -22.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

Thanks to hopdog for the opportunity...
Appears a pitch black with dark brown edges that slowly fades into a small tan head that seems to hold tight.
Smell is of heavy alcohol that burns like nailpolish remover with some notes of roasty nuts and malty fruitiness that's is outweighed by the huge abv that is overly evident.
Taste is of the same aromas with some molasses and astringent roasty burnt nuts. Notes of berries, sugary coffee, play dough...I dunno. I think this one is in some major need of age.
Mouthfeel is full bodied, chewy, astringent, bitter, huge abv, intense hops, coffee. What the "f" hapened here? To me, this is undrinkable right now. If it is given the proper aging, of say, 10 years, it may be ok.

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Photo of Deuane
3.46/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 2.5

A-Black...duh. With a thick tan head that left mucho lacing.

S-I couldnt tell after it lit my narse on fire and burnt the inside of my nose...but the initial smell was BIG and ROASTY.

T-Like being smacked in the mouth with a charred log! (Thanks for the quote Kegatron!). This is serious roast...holy crap. Then you get the alcohol burn going all the way down to your me Pepcid!

M-Like swallowing a log...HUGE BIG AND CHUNKY.

D-R U kidding...this stuff is like trying to imbibe molten lava.

I give the above average ratings only due to the fact that this stuff has potential and you can taste it...sort of. I am sure this beer will become very interesting in a decade or two!

I did enjoy getting my 4 oz sample down...but it was a challenge...I had to cleanse my palate with a FFF Dark Lord!

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Black (黑) from Mikkeller ApS
Beer rating: 3.8 out of 5 with 577 ratings