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Black Hole (Bourbon Edition) | Mikkeller ApS

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Black Hole (Bourbon Edition)Black Hole (Bourbon Edition)

Brewed by:
Mikkeller ApS

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 13.10%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
Brewed at De Proefbrouwerij.

Added by gford217 on 05-27-2010

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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Reviews: 96 | Ratings: 179
Photo of Arbitrator
1.2/5  rDev -68%
look: 1 | smell: 1 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

Chilled bottle into a glass. Thanks to Nanoslug for bringing this.

I don't have anything constructive to say about this beer, other than "at least it's not the Black Hole Scotch Whiskey." This has a similar electrical fire / burning rubber smell, but instead of being peaty, it's obviously bourbon-dominated. It's quite hot, with a charred, slick mouthfeel that simultaneously reminds me of fires, burnt rubber, and oil spills.

Again, the equivalent of an $18 bomber for this is a complete ripoff for a beer that shouldn't even have been released in the first place.

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Photo of bobhits
1.5/5  rDev -60%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

Pours the deadest and flattest looking beer I've ever seen. Very watery. IT does however produce a decent 1 finger head when poured very aggressively.

A very sweet and somewhat bad nose. There's a lot of coffee, bourbon, and vanilla, but the malt just doesn't smell great.

Very interesting tasting stuff. Almost has a spicy note to it. Tastes like vanilla and cold coffee with bourbon and then an odd after taste. Oddly enough this is an improvement on the normal black hole.

This beer isn't something I want to drink. It is hot from the alcohol, the body and mouth are just terrible.

I wanted to give the black hole beers one more chance. Well sorry guys but another HUGE failure. Maybe I'm alone but simply avoid these beers like the plague.

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Photo of olympuszymurgus
1.78/5  rDev -52.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

Epic tasting, many edition of Black Hole opened.

Pours black as a dead dog under a tree in the late hours of night. Nose is kinda nice, roasty smoke and fire, a bit of booze there and a nice anise hint.

Taste though, its grotesque. Fire, booze, acetone, solvents and acrid roast. It was, to say the least, saddening.

Mikkeller, I expect better.

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Photo of largadeer
1.96/5  rDev -47.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

Quartet shared by chswimmer. Thanks.

Opaque chocolate brown, it has a solid mocha colored head with decent retention. Bourbon, vanilla, caramel and burnt bread consume the senses. Alcohol is sharp and stinging, incredibly harsh compared to other imperial stouts of similar strength. Dark fruit, burnt malt, bourbon and vanilla flavors open this one up. It's plenty complex, but cloying and harsh. Medium-full in body with a burnt, tarry, ashy finish, this is slightly better than the two before it, but it's far from good.

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Photo of AleWatcher
2.02/5  rDev -46.1%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

Looks thin and flat. Dark brown.

Dammit. It's thin and flat. The coffee is all but gone and now reminds me of stale coffee from a pot that was on the burner for 4 hours and got a little scalded.
No carbonation.

The nose is boring-- where's the vanilla? Where's the bourbon? This is unimpressive. Wow, what a disappointment.

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Photo of womencantsail
2.07/5  rDev -44.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1.5

A: The cork comes out with out a pop and the beer is black, somewhat thick, and flat.

S: Jeesh, I don't think there is enough alcohol in this. Black Hole is already boozy as it is and the bourbon barrel seems to have just added to it unnecessarily. Bourbon, booze, vanilla, chocolate, booze, and raisins.

T: The amount of alcohol flavor in this beer is staggering. My tongue was immediately hot as I took a sip of this one. The bourbon and alcohol from the base beer just attack you, and the other flavors are not very good either: soy sauce, chemical solvent, and only a hint of chocolate.

M: The body is medium with no carbonation and searing heat.

D: Avoid this one. It's rather sad to say, this was actually better than the Scotch version.

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Photo of Roguer
2.14/5  rDev -42.9%
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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Photo of waltonc
2.16/5  rDev -42.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Pours black with substantial tan head.

Smells of bourbon, milk chocolate, and the scent of a bourbon barrel stout that is too old - not sure exactly how to describe it, but slightly sour without being infected. Oxidation? Not sure, as I only really get this from old beer that was aged in bourbon barrels. It's the same smell I get with a lot of bourbon barrel-aged stouts I've cellared for 2-3 years, except I just bought this bottle last week. So quite disappointing.

Taste is unexceptional. Again, bourbon, milk chocolate, hints of vanilla. And that over-aged bourbon barrel stout sour quality I strongly dislike. Very uncomplex, single-dimensional flavors here for a bourbon barrel stout.

Body is relatively thin for the style, with high carbonation.

Overall, this is a disappointment. I opened a cognac version of Black Hole last Friday and really enjoyed it (had I reviewed it, I'd have given it about a 4.2). But the bourbon version falls far short of that. It's unlikely I'll finish the bottle. For such a high price, I would never buy this again. A reminder of why I rarely buy Mikkeller beers - the high ratio of cost to variance in quality.

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Photo of silentnoiz
2.53/5  rDev -32.5%
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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Photo of champ103
2.81/5  rDev -25.1%
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 Urbancaver
2.86/5  rDev -23.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

7 barrel varieties with the base beer.

Pours a dark dark brown, almost black.

Minimal head.

Smells sweet, and chocolate heavy.
Very cloying on the nose and tongue.
Tastes sweet and cloying. Overall way way to sweet.
Mouthfeel is thick and boozy. Overall pretty mediocre

Better than the scotch

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Photo of cetherid
2.88/5  rDev -23.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

poured into a tulip


pours a very dark brown, to the point of black. A frothy tan head, about 1 fingers worth.


I'm getting some light bourbon notes, soy sauce, dark roasted malts, a little sweet honey and some booze. Perhaps a little woody smell in there as well. A lot of aromas that I'm not sure they compliment each other well.


Getting some wood taste and roasted/burnt malts. Then a little warming bourbon and a dry burnt taste in the finish. Just a weird tasting beer.


A little watery and carbonation is a little non existent after while. Pretty disappointing for an imperial stout.


Not a fan of the flavors and it's way too high ABV for me. I won't even finish my half glass of this. it was an extra so so big deal of me wasting this. Kinda had high hopes as this was my first mikkeller beer.

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Photo of scruffwhor
2.98/5  rDev -20.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

The color is black with only sand specks of foam after the pour. Looks somewhat oily.

The aroma is creammy coffee, with some honey sweetness and lots of alcohol. Also a strong roasted malt noye. Very warm smell is not incorporated well.

The taste starts with roasted, all the way to burnt malt and burnt coffee beans. The middle has the warm palate and booze flavor take hold. There is some sweeteness from the honey and vanilla. The roasted to burnt malts and coffee add depth. But the booze still dominates. Not a bad sipper, just hard to mellow out with this strong alcoholic warmth. Almost like I'm sipping bourbon instead of beer.

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Photo of Neffbeer
3.06/5  rDev -18.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Corked and caged bottle that I picked up last winter sometime. No date found on the bottle. Poured into a snifter.

A: There was little to no pop when I removed the cork, but there was a good amount of carbonation when I poured yielding a thick one and a half finger head. It is dark as night and completely opaque. The head displayed good retention and left behind a fair amount of sticky lacing.

S: The nose presents a heavy dose of bourbon laced dark malts. There are notes of booze, vanilla, oak, chocolate, anise, and tobacco. There is something a bit acrid going on that I find a little off putting.

T: Bourbon, bourbon, bourbon in my face. The barrel is so intense that it actually masks all the interesting flavors I detected from the nose. It doesn't particularly bother me as I really enjoy bourbon, but something to balance that flavor would make this beer much better. It finishes with a big dose of bitter dark chocolate with some residual sweetness.

M: The mouthfeel is way too thin for this big of a stout. I would prefer something much thicker with a touch more carbonation

O: Not terrible, I will finish my glass without a drain pour, but certainly not worth the price tag.

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Photo of alexhahn82
3.12/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A - Pitch black with a bourbony dark reddish brown tint, with a cappuccino 1 finger high head that recedes into lightalmost non existent lacing.

S - Vanilla, chocolate, bourbon, a very intriguing and complex smell that comes off of a RIS.

T/M - Creamy and slightly effervescence bite up front, coffe like middle with a somewhat chocolaty dark toffee like finish.

O - Overall not too shabby, not a hot alcoholic beer as one might expect from a RIS that tops out at 13.1%. Well rounded, a little tame overall, but I always expect (and pray for) a bourbon bomb. This is a very nice beer that I would seek and destroy, I plan on snagging a few more to cellar.

PP (Price Point) - $15 for a 12.7oz Beer that traveled across the Atlantic is a bit steep, but all in all a good cellarable beer. I personally would approve of a little more intensity in the flavors, but still well crafted.

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Photo of CooperEllis
3.3/5  rDev -12%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Whole bottle into the DFH snifter - I presume this will be the only drink I have tonight.

Very dark, initially a big billowy head but after that goes away there is little in the way of lacing. Not sure what the carb is going to be on this - I had to use pliers to get out the cork and there was a barely audible 'pop'.

I really enjoy the smell - but it is one dimensional. That dimension is booze. Within the booze, if you're able to keep your nose in there, there a nice roasted malt and chocolate notes but man are they burried. Think about biting into one of those Jack Daniels candies with the liquid booze in 'em. Now imagine that it was the same concept but delivered in a more refined manner.

Wow, my left eye flipped shut with the abrupt tart/booze combo out of the gate. This is much more watery than the color and smell indicate and I got a pretty good pop without much effort. The best part of this is in the complexity of the last bite and aftertaste. There is some roast, some malt, some bourbon, some wood. There is also a faint chocolate milk flavor.

The booze dominates and this is a bit watery for a stout, perhaps even more so for an RIS and expectation may be driving me to think this a bit more watery than it truly is.

I have no ability to drink more than one of these. Possibly ever, but certainly not in a sitting - or maybe even a month.


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Photo of jwinship83
3.31/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

375ml plastic corked and caged bottle drank from my stone IRS snifter.

A- this one pours out a completely black colored body with a full finger of light brown colored head on top. the head vanishes before your eyes and becomes no more than a crown. little to no lacing is left behind.

S- the first thing i notice in the nose is all the detectable alcohol that is in here. i know this is a 13% beer, but wow. some bourbon, but lots of straight up ethanol also. after the initial shock im able to pick up lots of darkly roasted malts. some very dark chocolate and vanilla (from the barrel) are found also. at the end theres plenty of coffee.

T- the alcohol i could smell comes back in the taste and in a big way. because i was expecting it this time it was easier to handle. lots of bourbon notes make it through. very dark roasted malts. almost burnt. lots of bitter dark chocolate. lots of coffee. plenty of barrel. this beer does it big.

M- there is a high level of warming from the alcohol. the body is shockingly thin for something this massive. the carbonation is at a nice low level which really works well here.

D- one was enough for now. very intense. im glad they used the smaller format bottle, because a full 750ml of this and i would have had a terrible morning.

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Photo of nickd717
3.4/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

375ml bottle thanks to chswimmer. Thanks, Ted!

Pours black in color with a small tan head that fades to swirls of tan foam on the beer.

Aroma has chocolate, espresso, bourbon, and some higher alcohol presence.

Flavor is maybe a little better than the wine version. Tastes like a typical good Mikkeller impy stout with a big bourbon presence and a little -bal. Some bittersweet chocolate notes in there too.

Smooth on the palate with low carbonation and medium-full body.

Decent overall, better than all the other versions except Wine. Disappointing for a -bal aged imperial stout from Mikkeller though.

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Photo of crossovert
3.43/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

12.7 oz green, synthetic corked, caged, and green foiled bottle. Chilled for 5 minutes in the freezer.

It pours a dense black with a thick, foamy, sand colored head. It is huge and dense considering the abv. It also has a surprising amount of retention as it slowly recedes leaving some nice lacing.

The smell is a sweet mix of bourbon, coffee, and chocolate. There are hints of the oak and some vanilla smoothness. I want to think I smell honey, but I don't know, but there is a honey-like aroma as well.

The flavor is as expected very sweet. The oak comes through a ton, lots of tannin here. The bourbon is overpowering in the flavor at this point. It tastes pretty much like bourbon with a hint of coffee addition. There is a subtle hint of chocolate with a deep taste but it is subdued by the bourbon. The bourbon overtone mellows as you go, bringing more of the vanilla, but it is still huge.

If you like bourbon and oak you will love this one.

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Photo of brewdude1982
3.45/5  rDev -8%
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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Photo of brewcrew76
3.5/5  rDev -6.7%
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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Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.5/5  rDev -6.7%
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 philbe311
3.59/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Absolutely zero head, just a couple of big chunky bubbles that dance atop the surface before fading and leaving a milky way like veil of lacing and a miniscule collar around the glass... Pours a flat black with some distinct reddish hue... Quite still... Leaves a very thick filmy residue on the sides of the glass...

S - The nose if very warm and inviting... Vanilla... Milk chocolate... A bit of alcohol... Raisins... Some earthy wood tones... A very modest bit of roasted malts... Deep and fairly complex...

T - The booze dominates... Some faint vanilla and chocolate attempt to compete for dominance, but ultimately fail... Extremely subdued raisin, roasted malts, and caramel as well... Some woody notes... Then more booze on the finish...

M - Medium to full bodied... A bit on the thin side... Limited carbonation... Sharp and biting... A bit gritty and chalky... The booziness lingers and warms the entire mouth for a while post swallow...

D - This barrel aged black hole series was a unique endeavor from Mikkeller... The brews were either hit of miss with this one falling squarely in the middle... Not a bad beer, but far from the elite of its barrel aged brethren...

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Photo of cvm4
3.62/5  rDev -3.5%
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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Photo of vfgccp
3.63/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Blinded review alongside the rest of the barrel aged Black Hole lineup.

A – Black with dark brown highlights. Creamy, dark mocha head with great retention and ok lace.

S – Smokey character with bright booze, vanilla, light chili spice, amaretto, and candied almonds. Complex and well balanced.

T – Sweet up front with caramel, prune, and vanilla honey, and counter balanced by a dark char smoke. Bright bourbon booze throughout. Sharp, semi-dry oak backend.

M – Smooth, medium body with a huge booziness to it.

O – Strongest booze of the barrel aged series, and that’s saying something. [my blinded guess was bourbon]

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Black Hole (Bourbon Edition) from Mikkeller ApS
3.75 out of 5 based on 179 ratings.
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