Black (黑) (Islay Edition) | Mikkeller ApS

Black (黑) (Islay Edition)Black (黑) (Islay Edition)
Liked This Beer
3.33 w/ 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.

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Ratings: 35 |  Reviews: 22
Photo of Overlord
3.38/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a turbid, brackish black. Surprising, no? Small thin ring of bubbles, tan in color. No real head.

Smells like peat whiskey, whiskey with peat, a bit of saltwater whiskey with a hint of jerkey, whiskey, whiskey, some chewing tobacco, a smidgen of chocolate, and whiskey.

Taste, despite the aroma, is more nuanced. The saltwater/beef jerky sensation is a bit offputting at first, but after a while I started to dig it. It melds somewhat with the chocolate, chaw, and bitter/coffee rind background. The sweet/peat mixture is intriguing.

Interesting. Could be thicker. Thanks to a generous raffle-r!

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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 rhinos00
4.74/5  rDev +42.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Much thanks to forgetfu for opening the Mikkeller Black vertical at the tasting.

A- Pours a dark chocolate color. Zero visibility. Produced a fingers width of cream colored head.

S- Bold and aggressive. Loads of peat with a seaweed, salty, chocolate malt background. Complex and very aromatic.

T- As with the others, the front is dominated by a sweet, sugary flavor. However, unlike the other variants, the extreme and aggressive Islay scotch characteristics actually cut in and balance the beer nicely. Sort of like fighting the over the top sweetness with over the top barrel quite well. Finish is of dark, roasted malts with a mix of peat and seaweed. The finish just seems to linger on the palate imparting fantastic, long-lasting flavors (unique to this specific variant).

M- While the body was still on the thin side, it was a slight more viscous than the others. Coated the palate nicely.

D- Although there was plenty of extreme flavors going on, it was much more balanced in terms of sweetness than the other variants. I could definitely drink a whole lot more of this one.

Overall, this along with the cognac variants were my favorite of the vertical... this was not unanimous. Of the 6 of us, only about half of us actually thought this was the best, while the other half didn't particularly care for it. Oddly enough (not so much) the half that did like it the best, also enjoy drinking scotch, particularly Islay scotch.

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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 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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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 MasterSki
4.37/5  rDev +31.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to wordemupg for sending this my way. Served in a Goose Island taster glass.

A - Pours with a quarter-finger of foam that quickly settles to a thin ring and leaves a few wisps on top and a few spots of lace on the sides of the glass. The body is unsurprisingly black. Pretty impressive for 17.5% (or more, thanks to the barrel-aging).

S - Smoke, peat, hickory, Islay whisky, saltwater, brine, dark chocolate, dark fruits (plums, figs, dates), licorice. There's a bit of alcohol supplied from the Scotch, but this is far less boozy than I anticipated considering the re-cock-ulous ABV. There's a hint of permanent marker that I associate with this type of barrel/cask but it's not overly distracting.

T - Again, it's pretty big Islay character, and again there's a bit of an initial alcohol bite - however it's still far mellower than I anticipated. Surprising sweetness that's challenging to qualify - sweet leaf and tobacco perhaps, mixed with molasses and port? Finishes with smoke, salt, bacon, and light roast and char bitterness.

M - Some definite warmth after maybe an ounce. Body is full, but not as heavy as you'd think. Low carbonation, soft silky body, sticky finish.

D - Splitting a 375ml bottle 3-4 ways is advised. Still, I'm looking forward to opening my other bottle somewhere down the road. Reminds me a little of Highland Weasel, but in this case the base beer is big enough to handle the intense cask flavors. Definitely a sipper and worthy of contemplation. Avoid if you dislike smoke or peat.

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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 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 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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Black (黑) (Islay Edition) from Mikkeller ApS
Beer rating: 51.4% out of 100 with 35 ratings
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