Black Hole (Bourbon Edition)
Mikkeller ApS

Black Hole (Bourbon Edition)Black Hole (Bourbon Edition)
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Russian Imperial Stout
3.85 | pDev: 18.96%
Mikkeller ApS
Retired (no longer brewed)
Very Good
Black Hole (Bourbon Edition)Black Hole (Bourbon Edition)
Notes: Brewed at De Proefbrouwerij.
View: Beers
Reviews: 98 | Ratings: 181 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of rodbeermunch
3.95/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

I've never really understood the lukewarm (to put it kindly) reception from a lot of people towards the Black Hole lineup. Sure, they are expensive like everything Mikkeller. But the product does kind of have a little niche going for it, if you're into some smokey ashtray kind of stouts that are then put into various barrels. The bourbon version pours, well, black. Has a very thin head on the top, 1/5" tan. Aroma is big on the roasted malt, the bourbon, and the dry ashyness is very mild in the nose.

Taste hits more with the dryness and stuff. Plenty of booze notes, but still is enjoyable as a sipper. Where I like this series the most is its ability to transition from acrid roast to wet barrel in layers. Some earth and tobacco slip in towards the end, the carbonation gives the feel a slightly lighter presence than it would otherwise. A light amount of smoke in there too. Its complex, its got its own niche, and its a little bit expensive. I think everyone who likes barrel aged stouts though should check out the lineup, and if you like to smoke cigars with your stouts, this should be a must pair.

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Photo of FranzBC
4.5/5  rDev +16.9%

Wow I cant believe this beer is rated so low... I think this bottle is from 2010; no cork just a cap. At 13.1% with quite a bit of age this beer is super smooth. The coffee and bourbon are dominate in the long lingering taste. Tastes quite a bit like aged KBS in my opinion. No sharp bitterness like many Mikkeller stouts.

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FranzBC from Oregon, Oct 16, 2014
Photo of CasanovaCummins
4.41/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

brewery notes: Stout ale brewed with coffee, honey, and vanilla, aged in bourbon barrels.

Pours a dark, wine-tinged brown with light lacing. Almost resembles a Porto.

As it warms it smells of bourbon, caramel, and slight metallic prune. Only the slightest hint of honey. It goes through phases and goes from cold metal to warm fruits and back again.

Very thin body with a slightly acidic, almost acrid taste. The initial taste is rather flat, but then blooms into a charred bourbon that develops into a very lingering and more weighty after -taste. A cold fruity hop note mingles with the earthy tobacco flavors. Almost musty. Tastes of mushrooms and leather.

The after taste is the clear standout of this beer. The initial flavors come off as a bit distant, even cold, but the lingering note is of cocoa nibs and bakers chocolate. You can spend a good amount of time with the lingering flavors.

One of the better Mikkeller offerings I've had.

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Photo of Roguer
2.14/5  rDev -44.4%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 1 | overall: 2

First off: worst cork ever.

No head from a turbulent pour - just the barest rim of dark brown bubbles around the edge. A bad sign. Brew is jet black.

Big bourbon notes, as well as an aspirin smell, chocolate malts and cacao, and roasted barley. Bourbon is overwhelmingly strong.

Bourbon, chocolate malt, and sour oak. Not good. Not good at all. I'm sure it's infected or died somewhere along the way.

Flat and lifeless. Reinforces the infected/dead indications.

What a shame - one beer, high expectations, and right down the drain. If I get a good bottle later on, then I'll revise my review appropriately. Right now, all I can go off of is a dead, flat, probably infected bottle.

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Roguer from Georgia, Apr 20, 2014
Photo of beergoot
4.21/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Intense black body with a thick, creamy, sticky, light tan head; sudsy clumps of foam clinging to the glass. Deep, sweet chocolate aroma infused with cocoa and anise; crème de menthe. Big, sweet and bitter milk chocolate with a noticeable bourbon-barrel undertone; sharp, boozy aftertaste. Rich, heavy mouthfeel.

The bourbon barrel aging really shines through on this one and does a fine job complementing the deep, rich malt sweetness. There's a deft softness to the taste and flavor that is nicely offset with a good, boozy sharpness. Balanced and complex throughout.

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beergoot from Colorado, Mar 27, 2014
Photo of ngeunit1
4.16/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Dark brown-black with a finger of frothy chocolate colored head. Fades at a normal pace.

S - Dark chocolate and dark caramel malts, roasted coffee, molasses, black licorice, oak, vanilla, Bourbon, some dark fruit, and some booze.

T - Dark chocolate and sweet dark caramel malts, roasted coffee, black licorice, molasses, vanilla, oak, Bourbon, some dark fruit, some citrus and pine hops and a bit of bitterness, and some booze.

M - Full bodied with moderate carbonation. Smooth with a warming and sweet finish.

D - Nicely balanced big imperial Stout. Nice body and mouthfeel. The Bourbon barrels add some nice depth and complexity.

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ngeunit1 from Massachusetts, Feb 08, 2013
Photo of BierJager89
4.71/5  rDev +22.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Poured from a bottle into a tulip glass.

A: Literally black with a dark brown head. Perfect appearance for an imperial stout. Very deserving of the name Black Hole, a thing so dark it's blacker than black. It sucks light into an inescapable void, through the infinity of endless ages.

S: Caramel, coffee, vanilla, honey, roasted malt and a touch of alcohol in the nose. In short. It smells amazing.

T: Coffee, chocolate, honey, a lingering hint of vanilla in the finish. Bitter aftertaste of alcohol is unpleasant, but the beer is delicious.

M: Creamy, full bodied and quite smooth. Alcohol takes a bit away from the smoothness.

O: One of the best Mikkeller beers out there. Worth a try if you can find it. I still can, but according to BeerAdvocate it was only brewed once.

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BierJager89 from California, Jan 18, 2013
Photo of brewdude1982
3.45/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I had this beer in a 12 oz bottle poured into a snifter.

A: 4.0 dark with light head
S: 4.0 a whole lotta bourbon and a little bit of dark malts in the nose of this brew
T: 3.0 very smokey and then bourbon.
MF: 3.5 smooth and slippery
O: 3.5 I love the bourbon but not too keen on the smokeyness. It was like being overwhelmed at a bonfire and smelling smoke in your hair the next day.

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brewdude1982 from North Carolina, Nov 24, 2012
Photo of brewcrew76
3.5/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Black brown with no head.

S - Bourbon and oak with sweet malt and hints of vanilla and coffee.

T - Bourbon with sweet vanilla and honey. Roasty in the middle with a hint of coffee and then some alcohol heat that lingers.

M - Medium mouthfeel with very little carbonation and warming alcohol.

D - A little disappointed with this one. Needs more carbonation and less alcohol heat.

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brewcrew76 from Wisconsin, Sep 30, 2012
Photo of cvm4
3.62/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours a thick black, lots of lacing, very good appearance.

S - Bourbon, dark chocolate and charred wood.

T - Very bourbon, sweet vanilla, faint malts and oak. But, there's a linger burnt flavor that is just not good.

M - Medium bodied and carbonation.

O - I had a horrible experience with black buffalo. This isn't quite as bad but really, where are you getting the bourbon barrels from??

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cvm4 from Mississippi, Sep 21, 2012
Photo of TheSevenDuffs
4.2/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle to Founders tulip.

A - Black with half a finger of brown head.

S - Very sweet up front - chocolate, bourbon, vanilla, oak and some coffee notes. The ABV is noticeable without being distracting.

T - The ABV is noticeable up front and gives way to a mix of barrel characteristics and the base beer. Bourbon, oak and light vanilla come together with roasted malts, semi-sweet chocolate, coffee, char and molasses. Fairly complex with good integration of the base beer and the barrel characteristics.

M - Medium body. Light to moderate carbonation.

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TheSevenDuffs from Ontario (Canada), Aug 11, 2012
Photo of danieelol
3.67/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Purchased from Platinum

Appearance is dark black (brown around edges) with good head/lacing.

Smell is nice. Bourbon - caramel, chocolate, soy, roasted wood. Very nice.

Taste and mouthfeel go together. Gingerbread, chocolate; mouthfeel is too thin, too watery. A little bitter from booze; but sometimes too sweet. Paradox?!?!

The bourbon barrel is enticing but the base beer seems kind of mediocre. Did enjoy it though.

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danieelol from Australia, Jun 20, 2012
Photo of champ103
2.81/5  rDev -27%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

A: Pours a dark, almost opaque black color. A dense two finger tan head forms the gently recedes after a few minutes. Light lace.
S: Charred wood, tobacco, ash. Vanilla, chocolate, toast.
T: Follows the nose and fairly simple. Charred wood and ash. Vanilla and chocolate. Fairly standard, with the barrel kind of taking over.
M/D: A medium to full body. Low carbonation, chalky, asky. Lots of alcohol, which makes this a very slow sipper. One and done.

Probably the best of the Black Hole beers that I have had so far. Though that is saying very little. Still not the horrid abomination the base beer is. It has obviously been toned down from the monsterours 17% ABV it once was. Though I have had enough of these overpriced, over barring, over alcoholic stouts.

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Photo of russwbeck
4.63/5  rDev +20.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A: Such a beautiful looking beer. Thick black pour out of the bottle with a very large, deep brown head. The size of the bubbles and thickness of the head reminds me of a sponge above the beer. Lacing is great, retention is only ok.

S: The aroma is really rich. Chocolate, roast, coffee, bourbon, vanilla, and booze. At times, the alcohol seems to be a bit too much for the rest of the ingredients...but I don't mind it. The aroma is really well put together.

T: This taste is extremely deep and well balanced. The vanilla I'd say is the most surprising part, as it really asserts itself and helps curb the intensity of the other flavors. I think the honey is playing a role in the sweetness as well. A very nice blend of chocolate and bourbon make this an intimidating offering. The coffee finish adds a dry roast character that is much needed. Booze is noted throughout the taste, but certainly only adds to the balance. All of the flavors play together very well. Really impressed here.

MF: The body is thick and heavy, carbonation low, and finish dry. I found it to be really drinkable because the flavors all worked very well together. That 13% will catch up to you!

O: Really happily blown away by this one. It was easy to justify the price when I saw what all this was brewed with, and it did not disappoint.

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russwbeck from Virginia, May 09, 2012
Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.5/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Black body, thin, beige head. You've seen one of these Black Hole beers, you've seen'm all.

Smell: Modestly aromatic notes of heavily roasted barley, low-grade dark chocolate, charred fruit, with a fusel edge to it and given a bourbon backing.

Taste: Fairly sweetness over the well-roasted malts, still ostensibly harsh, and the bittersweet chocolate taste, still a bit crude. Small hints of vanilla, caramel, and even, oddly enough, a hint of cinnamon. Those malts just remain harsh, chalky, and acrid throughout. Dry, sweetish, warm finish with some lingering chocolate-cinnamon hints.

Mouthfeel: Medium-plus body. Medium-low carbonation.

Overall: It's not great, it's really not all that good, but, I'll give it that it's the best of the barrel-aged Black Hole bunch to date.

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

Dark thick pitch black beer with hints of fizzy head.

Nose has some sweet bourbon, vanilla, oak, smooth bourbon that isn't too heavy, bit more chocolate and roast than the others.

Taste again a nice bourbon-ish flavor, sweet rounding, vanilla, light oak and wood, light chocolate, juicy malts, less booze than the others.

Mouth is fuller bodied, decent enough carb although lighter, just a bit of warming booze.

Overall maybe the best of the series so far, the bourbon and oak in this one really round it off well and bring the real beer profile forward.

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jlindros from Massachusetts, Feb 25, 2012
Photo of dgilks
3.91/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Inky black colour with a creamy, loose, dark brown head. Fair head retention. Actually quite attractive.

Chocolate and port aroma. Plenty of sweetness. There is an earthiness and a bit of alcohol but pretty good all around really.

More sweetness and alcohol. Oak. THe barrel has added a nice caramel note to offset the ashy roast. Lots of sweetness again. I really quite like the intensity of this.

Medium-full body with moderately-high carbonation. A little prickly for me.

As noted above, I like this. Big bourbon oak character and the stout is quite nice with lots of sweetness, chocolate and a bit of ash. Good.

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dgilks from Australia, Feb 20, 2012
Photo of rudzud
3.75/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed from notes and shared with a friend.

A - Pours a nice black chestnut hue with a one finger mocha head that leaves very nice clouding for this high of ABV.

S - Smell is pretty nice and inviting. Lots of honey, vanilla, and bourbon. Not much in the way of usual stout aromas though.

T - Same as the nose but not getting much chocolate or coffee that one expects from a stout, though chocolate is present in the aftertaste. More of those honey/vanilla/bourbon notes.

M - Very nice carbonation for such a high ABV stout. Super drinkable.

O - Overall this was a nice unique stout from Mikkeller though I'm not sure if I would pay for it again. Love the vanilla and bourbon, but it kills everything that makes a stout a stout.

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rudzud from Massachusetts, Feb 11, 2012
Photo of derkfromwi
4.08/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Dark stuff, two-finger coffee head that stays around for a while

S: Bourbon, vanilla, coffee, malts, and dark chocolates

T: Good stuff, bourbon hits first, sweetness, bit of honey in there

M: Pretty much full-bodied, good consistency/thickness, good carbonation

O: Happy for purchasing this, I'll be getting some more when/if I see it around

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derkfromwi from Wisconsin, Feb 07, 2012
Photo of JizackFH
4.08/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - This beer pours a very dark brown color. It has a nice 2-finger tan head resting on top. The head has pretty good retention, and it leaves a nice sheet of lace behind on the glass.

S - The nose has a good bit of roasted malt to it, and a ton of bourbon. There are some other aromas of coffee, dark chocolate, caramel, some dark fruit, and quite a bit of alcohol.

T - The taste starts off with a good amount of roasted malt and dark fruit. There is quite a bit of bourbon flavor coming through, but not as much as the nose had. Also, I am getting some flavors of coffee, dark chocolate, caramel, some vanilla, and some booziness. The finish leaves some lingering flavors of roasted malt, bourbon, coffee, chocolate, and alcohol behind on the palate.

M - This has a pretty full body and good carbonation. It goes down easy, and it has a smooth rich feel to it. There is a good amount of roasted bitterness and a bit of sweetness for balance. There is some alcohol warmth, but for the most part it is hidden really well for being 13% ABV.

O - This has good drinkability. It is most definitely a sipper, but the flavor is very nice much like the feel. Overall, I think this is a really nice RIS, and a nice example of what bourbon barrel aging can do. The bourbon flavor in this stands out more than in a lot of other bourbon barrel beers, so if you don't like bourbon you may want to steer clear. Either way, I enjoyed this one, and I would buy it again.

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JizackFH from New York, Jan 20, 2012
Photo of peensteen
3.97/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Jason's bottle, part of the Black Hole blind tasting.

Look is pretty similar to the rest of the series, nearly jet black, ring of brown/tan head, little lace on the glass. Smell is full of oak and vanilla, bourbon whiskey notes, some roast malt, some coffee and chocolate as well. Taste is chocolatey with bourbon, some coffee and oak, good roasted flavour in the finish, some vanilla but less than some of the others in the series. Med body, medium carbonation, decent enough feel. Decent stuff, good integration of bourbon and stout but not the world beater I was expecting.

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peensteen from Ontario (Canada), Jan 16, 2012
Photo of liamt07
3.93/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle shared by Jason, part of our Black Hole blind tasting. 375ml into a snifter.

Poured black (as the others), not too clear around the edge with a light brown head. Good legs, lace and moderate retention. Light fruits on the nose, some oak, soft caramel, honey and corny bourbon. More of the same on the palate, integrated with roast, char, honey and vanilla notes. Bourbon is prominent but not overpowering. Alcohol evident in the finish. Feel is thick and full like all the others, low carbonation. Roasty and charred finish. Nice bourbon qualites here, solid but not outstanding.

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liamt07 from Ontario (Canada), Jan 13, 2012
Photo of silentnoiz
2.53/5  rDev -34.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Drank A/B with the Black (sampled all but the Rum same night).

A - dark with more of a head than the rest of the series

S - very big bourbon big vanilla, very much of a fresh oak flavor

T - super fresh oak taste, a lot of vanilla, boubon is there but not in a good way

M - like the rest of the series, more carbonation than the black

O - not a great boubon stout, NOT subtle, too much in your face freash oak

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silentnoiz from Tennessee, Jan 03, 2012
Photo of BerkeleyBeerMan
4/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Dark brown almost black color with dark red undertones. Brownish creamy head with big aeration bubbles forms ring around side of glass but quickly disintegrates into espresso-like head.

Smell: The initial aroma is of a strong alcohol smell. More closely akin to wine than bourbon barrel. Then I realize it is coming from the honey and the smell closely resembles a honey-wine. I get a dose of cocoa powder and medium roasted coffee. There is a faint detectable bourbon barrel cherry sweetness in the foreground. I don't detect much from the hops.

Taste: I taste Molasses, marshmallow, vanilla and coffee all in varying amounts that are almost overpowered by alcohol fumes. This reminds me why as fine as Wine may be a prefer alcohol for it's more reasonable ABV. However, don't get me wrong this is a fine well crafted brew that I am enjoying as a sipper. I like its slight sweetness and mouth clinging chocolate malt stoutness that finishes the beer.

Mouthfeel: A warming blend of maltiness with an alcoholic presence that finishes nice and flavorful. Sip with care.

Overall: Impressive for it's strength. It's nearly a liquer. Good, but not world class. Needs to have the alcohol toned down and let some of the malt characters shine more for me to justify paying out the $13.99 for another one in this series. I was tempted to go for the Tequila aged black hole because it is a unique idea but I think I will save my money for Fifty-fifty eclipse. It's worth trying once.

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BerkeleyBeerMan from California, Dec 27, 2011
Photo of bnes09
3.95/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Opaque pitch-black ale. Minimal head but normal for the style. Look lives up to the name.

Big roasted malt and alcohol aroma.

Roasted flavor is pretty well pronounced with coffee, dark chocolate and licorice. Hop profile is relatively weak with hints of herbal spices. Strong bourbon flavor warms.

Thick, full feeling with low carbonation. Drying from the alcohol.

Pretty good stuff. Lots of flavor. Easy to taste that this is high in alcohol yet it could still be dangerous if drank too quickly.

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bnes09 from Illinois, Dec 23, 2011
Black Hole (Bourbon Edition) from Mikkeller ApS
Beer rating: 88 out of 100 with 181 ratings