Black (黑) (Islay Edition) | Mikkeller ApS

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Black (黑) (Islay Edition)Black (黑) (Islay Edition)
35 Ratings
Black (黑) (Islay Edition)Black (黑) (Islay Edition)

Brewed by:
Mikkeller ApS

Style: American Double / Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 17.50%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
Brewed at De Proefbrouwerij.

Added by wordemupg on 08-10-2010

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Bros Score:
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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 35 |  Reviews: 22
Reviews by nhindian:
Photo of nhindian
3.59/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

375ml bottle poured into a Mikkeller wine glass. Bottle provided by alpineclimber, thanks a lot!

A - Pours a viscous, oily, jet black with no hints of any kind of color coming through. It's like a pit of tar, only slightly more fluid. There's only about half a finger of dark tan head, comprised of large, soapy bubbles. There isn't much retention at all, but that's to be expected with a beer of this size. When it fades, however, it leaves a thick ring of foam around the edges and a milky cap. Some slight lacing, but it fades quickly.

S - The nose on this is big, aggressive, and foreboding. Thankfully, I'm not getting the overwhelming char and soy that was in the base Black, and instead it's replaced with a somewhat smokey aroma. Separate from that smoke is the peat malt, which adds yet another depth of 'smoke' to it. A bit of dried tobacco leaves. It actually does take on the smell from an Islay single-malt surprisingly well, with an added layer of complexity from the beer underneath, giving it an edge of chocolate. There is very little alcohol heat in the nose, which is blowing me away, and hopefully can continue into the taste.

T - Hmm. The taste is confusing me a little. As in the nose, there is all kinds of smoke here, but I don't think it's as balanced. The soy that was so present in the base comes through again slightly, giving it a sweet and salty characteristic that conflicts with everything else. Almost immediately, I'm getting a charcoal flavor that brings BBQ to mind instantly. It appears as if a boxing match is happening in my mouth. It starts with that sharp, briny, sweetness and then the Islay characteristics comes through to battle it, giving off flavors of that peat, which is similar but all-together completely different than the smoke from the charcoal. In the finish, the sweetness gets up off of the mat and strikes back, giving off a slight candied-fruit taste before ending with a soy and seaweed aftertaste. Shades of alcohol are felt in the back of the throat as it goes down.

M - Mouthfeel is surprisingly light-bodied given the appearance with low carbonation. It actually sort of feels like a whiskey going down, which is quite the feat given the amount of alcohol and sweetness in this beer. Feels pretty slick, but sometimes watery, going down.

D/O - Drinkability is moderate and tough to judge. Compared to the base Black, this is worlds better. However, I think Black itself is just too big to really allow itself to be transformed completely by the Islay cask, which is amazing. I thought what came through of the scotch was great, especially how the peat played within the other flavors. However, the sweetness and sugar is a bit much at the start and finish and really hurts the drinkability. Before opening the beer I thought the alcohol would be the big question mark, but it turned out the be the sweetness and soy. I still have the Cognac version of this beer to try and am hoping it's better than this. Still, an interesting beer to try just for the shear magnitude of brewing that goes into making a beer of this specifications, but it's not the easiest to drink.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of olradetbalder
3.87/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of 05Harley
2.68/5  rDev -19.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Best by: 25/02/20

Purchased through Beer Planet Brussels, Belgium

Price - $17.50/bottle (ouch!)

Pours deep brown boardering black with a thin lite brown head with little to no retention. A thin ring around the glass is all that's left after a couple of minutes. Tiny specs of lacing try to stick but eventually slide back down.

The aroma is earthy with a combination of vanilla and medicine followed by smoke. It has a strong whiskey nose that's unmistakeable.

The flavor is wicked sweet with flavors of vanilla, raisins, smoke, bacon and tobacco which is an odd combination. It borders a port taste which I tend to like but it's just too damn boozy.

The body is thick and syrupy with the carbonation riding way back in the trunk. In the middle some heat tries to warm things up but is quickly shut down from the sweetness. Finishes sticky and dry.

Overall this reminds me of whiskey and a summer barbecue with teriyaki sauce and cigarette smoke. It's unbalanced and way too sweet. Quite frankly, it's just god awfull. I worked hard at getting the opportunity to try it but was sadly disappointed.

**updated on New Year's Eve (12/31/11) with my last bottle and my beer buddy Rochefort10nh.
Same resaults...

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Photo of biboergosum
4.03/5  rDev +21%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

375ml bottle, no wax of any sort, just 'Islay Edition' mentioned, perhaps as a sort of distant early warning beacon.

This beer pours black, full stop. No highlights, no back-lit edges, nothing - a few fingers of puffy, foamy, and creamy mocha head is all that it gives up, before it settles rather lazily, leaving a low wall of attractive webbed lace around the glass.

It smells of smoky peat, iodine, seawater, roasted caramel malt, milk chocolate, sweet dark fruit, and rather warm alcohol. The taste is very sweet caramel/toffee malt, thick dark chocolate, surprisingly subdued peat, brine, woody smoke, sugary black fruit, and an alcohol-soaked whisky barrel graininess. A warning - after the fact, of course - the first tentative gulp of this behemoth nearly knocked me off of the couch.

The carbonation is quite soft, just a lilting frothiness throughout, the body full in weight, creamy in a sugary confectionery manner, and weirdly smooth, given all that booze just waiting to rise up and strike. It finishes still high on that saccharine horse from hell (caramel, cocoa, and barrel vanillan), the drying from the 35-proof booze still no real tactile match - it has other insidious intentions, as you can well imagine.

Hoooo-weeee. In the end, the purported booze and Island whisky characteristics actually play second fiddle to the big, bad, diabetes-prone malt here. After the post-first-sip acclimatization to a seaside flavour profile for which I've already experienced a personal idea of a lifetime's worth, the gargantuan sweetness easily overtakes the Islay muscle. Lost in all of this confusion is the outlandish ABV - so whether by sugar or by sea, you will be hoodwinked into drinking this much too quickly, if you so ignore this feeble warning. Ach!

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Photo of Sammy
3.9/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Crazy stuff, acquired in trade. A complex mix of sweetish IS, that is cocoa, chocolate malt, brown sugar, cane sugar, with in-your-eyes Smokey peat. This bottle aged for a couple of years, the smoke rejuvenates in the second half of the bottle. Big boozy stuff, you get that mostly in the initial aroma. Black with reddish highlights, a little lace. Above average smooth mouthfeel. This would be amazing closer to the 2020 expiry. I needed help finishing this and my 23-year old, home from higher education, was up to the task.

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Photo of nickhiller
4.65/5  rDev +39.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: thick and black as motor oil, absolutely no head, no lace.

S: savory, smells like a smoky A1 barbecue sauce, cigar-whiskey-custard (I had this once as a dessert at Uchiko in Austin, absolutely fantastic and this smells--and tastes--exactly the same).

T: an incredibly interesting mix of burnt flavors--charcoal, barbecue sauce, charred meat, cigar, soy sauce, oak/whiskey--then super sweet--honeycomb, molasses, candied sugar. Finish is intensely flinty/stoney and as dry as a mouthful of carbon.

M: oily, viscous and as warm as whiskey.

O: never had a beer like it, probably won't again. It wasn't easy to drink, it's definitely a sipper, but I don't think traditional "drinkability" was what they were aspiring to. In terms of innovative brewing, it really doesn't get more thought provoking than this.

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Photo of GRG1313
3.5/5  rDev +5.1%

Photo of IronDjinn
4.38/5  rDev +31.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From a 375 ml green bottle, best before date on back label states an impressive 25/02/20. Pours out an absolute pitch black, creamy dark tan head that settles to a dense cap.

Wood and whisky aroma is apparent the moment the bottle is opened, dark dried fruit comes next, layers of molasses and licorice. Alcohol warmth is very present.

Flavour is big and overwhelming at first, it seems tasty but is like trying to swallow a brick--intense. Sweet currants up front, pipe tobacco, wood, molasses, licorice, cherry, peaty whisky, bittersweet on the finish, while the aftertaste goes on for miles... During some of those miles are notes of coffee grounds and espresso, then a more milder roasted malt. I figured there was some malt lurking around in there. There's also an alcohol warmth, but it is far more contained than I would have expected for this abv%.

Mouthfeel is full, slick at first, then gets sticky and a bit oily.

Here's one for the peaty scotch fans, those who enjoy their taste buds bulldozed over, and fans of big beer. It's intense at first but you get used to it. Not sure when I'll be craving another one of these, but I wouldn't turn one down. Very drinkable for the abv%, but not for the meek.

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Photo of eric5bellies
3.96/5  rDev +18.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Drank from my Duvel Tulip

A - Pours the classic oily ebony colour with a tanned large bubbled head that fades away after two minutes or so to a film.

S - Aromas are very pronounced. Some whiskey barrel definitely present with some stewed dark fruits. Some saltiness also present almost hickory smoked BBQ ribs like aromas. Definitely some sweetness also mixed in with some peat. Very interesting and a little different

T - Wow, this beer is very different in flavours and so pronounced. The initial flavours are quite sweet and boozy on the tongue with the barrel age really coming out. Once swallowed the massive peat flavours just take over and the sweetness returns toward the end in the form of a nice port that is sweet and not quite balanced. Overall the dominance is earthy notes.

M - The mouthfeel on this is rather chewy, maybe because of the sweetness. and the carbonation is low to medium.

O - I can see how this beer could rate at either end of the scoring spectrum, because of the fact that its so damn unusual. That is what makes this beer a high score for me. I applaud any brewer with the balls to brew such a beer. This beer is not hot at all and the 17.5% is well hidden, but in the end the sweetness makes this beer a challenge to finish.

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Photo of LinusBohman
4.5/5  rDev +35.1%

Photo of wethorseblanket
3.25/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Photo of pompix
4.5/5  rDev +35.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5


At first nosing, it smells like kibbles. The nose evolves on smoked and salted fish. Incredible.

The taste is stunning. Begins very sweet, then becomes salty, on dried fish, smoky coffee et charcoal. Endless finish with beautifull balance between sweety and salty notes.

Mouthfell is really thick, oily with low carbonation.

This beer is really a monster, I love !

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Photo of ygtbsm94
4/5  rDev +20.1%

Photo of Thorpe429
2.64/5  rDev -20.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Bottle courtesy of ygtbsm94. Served in a sampler glass. Pours near black with a thin mocha head. The nose carries some roast and chocolate along with a good amount of peat. By good, I mean pretty strong, not joyful. Flavor is similar. A bit of booze. Can’t really get into this one.

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Photo of womencantsail
1.19/5  rDev -64.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

Pours black with minimal tan head. Overload of peat, burnt plastic, tire fire, super smokey, and a fair amount of wood. There's a weird meatiness to the aroma, too. A little bit of chocolate, some roasted malt. The beer tastes like sugar and a fire. Burnt wood, peat, smoke, chlorine, and pain are also present. This is really horrible, horrible stuff. Undrinkable.

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Photo of nmann08
1.5/5  rDev -55%

Photo of stakem
1.38/5  rDev -58.6%
look: 3 | smell: 1.25 | taste: 1.25 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

375ml bottle dipped in blue wax. Poured into a matching mikkeller star teku, the brew appears black in color with a dark khaki head.

The smell is sweet with chocolate and anise faintly if you can get passed the dominating character of plastic and bandaids. The smoke inclusion is in no way enjoyable. As the beer breathes, some medicinal and herbal aromas emerge.

This tastes initially sweet then roasty like espresso and bitter cacao with a bold flavor of plastic and used rubber gloves. I cannot shake the idea of trash/tire fire while drinking this. After the brew gets warm, some herbal to medicinal character emerges.

This is medium bodied and moderate to lightly carbonated. This beer is pretty bad. Ive had a lot of smoked beers including ones that utilized pete smoked malt...ive even drank some pretty intense smokey scotch but none of those experiences could brace me for how bad this beer is. Cellaring it for nearly 5 years has not helped mellow this out. I tried very hard to respect and appreciate this beer for what it is and what the brewer intended...let me tell you what a fucking waste of time and money. Hands down, one of the worst beers I ever drank that didnt at least have an excuse of being infected.

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Photo of Kmat10
3.75/5  rDev +12.6%

Photo of spycow
3.25/5  rDev -2.4%

Photo of PaulStoneAnchor
2.78/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

A: Absolutely no head, but that is to be expected from a beer with 17.5 ABV. It has almost no light shown through it, except for a tiny 3cm layer of somewhat light that gets shown through. Pours a jet black, solid black.

S: A lot of fussels, oak, sugar, roasted barley, and scotch.

T: Some Oak, Scotch Whisky, but a lot of burnt sugars, with a terriyaki beef jerky, along with a charred, burnt sugar on the end, and a lot of terriyaki sauce.

M: No carbonation, but it is very thick on the tongue.

O: This is beer drinks very smooth for the high ABV is has, it is very smooth. I got a lot of teriyaki from the beer, although that could of been from the sugar washes and the constant fermentation of the dark malts. But, for 17%, it drinks really smooth.

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Photo of Arbitrator
3.84/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks, Andrew / Bobby.

A: Pours a pitch black, as the name implies. Minimal dark mocha head that swirls out of solution and vanishes quickly.

S: This was clearly aged in scotch barrels; the peat, soy, smoke, meatiness, and general impression of having aged this on smoked Goodyear comes through quite strongly. I'm not a scotch nerd, but I love some Islays -- I try to keep Lagavulin 16 or Laphroaig 10 in the house regularly. This doesn't quite pick up the aroma well; the burning tire is off-putting. But there is a redeeming sherry / raisin note that tempers it.

T: Yeast autolysis is evident; there's a big, meaty flavor going on. It's an interesting combination; it gives the beer heft and pairs nicely with the boggy, peat, soy, salt, oak, and smoke contributions from the barrel. The sugars in the base beer work pretty well; I like the sweetness of younger scotches, and the roasted malt serves as a nice substitute. They've started to oxidize, creating a treacly raisin inflection that adds a nice element to the rest of the beer. As I'm looking over the flavor descriptors I'm typing and glancing up at the name of the brewer, I can't believe I'm enjoying this. But I am. It's a great marriage of imperial stout and peat.

M: I've had the base beer; the aging has dried it out a bit and tempered its heat. The oxidation is an overall improvement. Low carbonation, velvety body. It's a tad too sweet, but not impossibly so.

O: I wanted to hate this. It sounded awful. But maybe the unique transfer method helped it calm down and evolve. Sorry to let you down, guys. But I liked it.

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Photo of wordemupg
4.67/5  rDev +40.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

375 ml bottle poured into tulip aug9 2010

A like its name shes pretty black, dark mocha foam fizzes out quickly but considering I expected nothing at all that's pretty pretty good, what it lacked in lace it made up in legs, legs on a beer that's something you don't see every day

S a fair bit of earthy smoke with some booze, dark fruits, mild chocolate and some port, fairly complex and unique

T wow, there's a lot going on here, the fortified wine is hard to miss but so is the peaty scotch aspect from the barrels, some of the smokey earthy flavors lead me to believe I'm sipping on a cigar. I'd be lying if I said there's no booze but nowhere near 17.5% and the chocolate is barley there and shes pretty sweet but god damn this beer tastes sexy. I pick up on some faint coffee and candied cherry to go along with all the other flavors pummeling my taste buds

M thick, silky, a little sticky and a little heat but nowhere near what you would expect from a beer this strong

D I doubt I'd crack a second bottle of this one and a buddy to share it with wouldn't hurt either, but that being said this beer is just so tasty I can't help but say it's highly drinkable and I can't wait to see how it ages

this was a world class beer and I can't wait to drink it again. this bottle was naked but it's normally covered in blue wax and reads "(Blue Wax)" on the box it came in. A little confused I checked the Mikkeller web site and this is indeed different from the other beers listed on BA. It's not to often I'd pay over 15$ for a single beer but this one's worth it and you should buy it if you get the chance

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Photo of CelticAleMan
1/5  rDev -70%

Photo of Jeffo
3.74/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Opened a Black horizonal including the base, whisky, highland, and peat editions, in that order.

From a bottle into a snifter.
Blue wax

APPEARANCE: Poured out black and produced a small tan head with lousy retention. No cascading effect on this one either. Black body and zero carbonation evident. Head dissipates quite quickly but a ring remains. Looks flat by the end and leaves no lacing down the glass. Starts out fine, but nowhere near the caliber of the base and whisky versions.

SMELL: Strong peat aromas over the roasted malts and dark chocolate base. Smoky notes of course, with hints of coffee and wet wood. Pretty nice really.

TASTE: Quite tasty as well. Lots of peat and wet wood, with a good dose of roasted and sweet caramel malts. Quite sweet for sure. Lots of peat and smoky notes throughout, with boozy notes and port wine again. Bold and lingering aftertaste is full of sweet malt and smoky peat flavors. Enjoyable for sure.

PALATE: Medium-thin body and medium carbonation. Not overly creamy or smooth, however, and a little airy on the palate. Goes down slightly watery and finishes sticky with a bit of heat. Feels kind of flat by the end. Barely passable, and not up to standards of the base or whisky editions.

OVERALL: This was a flavorful, interesting beer that was sold short by its average appearance and body. The peat aromas and flavors added an interesting dimension to the brew, but the palate needed to be bigger to support the flavor profile. If it'd had the look and feel of the whisky edition, this may have been a tighter race.

Postscript: For the record, my tasting buddy chose this one as his favorite.

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Photo of kwjd
4.44/5  rDev +33.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours jet black with thin brown head. Head quickly dissipates, but the beer looks really thick. Nice lacing on the glass. Smells of strong peat, as you'd expect with the name "Islay", but there is nice chocolate and roast balance. Sweet flavour actually. Very creamy mouthfeel, very sweet. This doesn't taste boozy at all at 17.5% alcohol. This really is a great beer. It may have been expensive, but I'm glad I got to try it.

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Black (黑) (Islay Edition) from Mikkeller ApS
Beer rating: 3.33 out of 5 with 35 ratings