Black Hole (Cognac Edition) | Mikkeller ApS

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Black Hole (Cognac Edition)Black Hole (Cognac 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 BeerAdvocate on 11-05-2010

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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Reviews: 76 | Ratings: 157
Photo of SammyDavisJrJrJr
4.15/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Dark tan body, with slight bright red tints. Plenty of lacing and great head retention.

S - The alcohol is not shy in the aroma, with plenty of rich dark chocolate to back it up. Scotch-like smoke is balanced out by nuances of fatty meat and sweet creamy notes.

T/M - Unlike my experiences with the first round of the barrel-aged Mikkeller Black Holes, the additives (honey and vanilla) are both expressive and welcomed. The honey provides a touch of sweetness to the entry, whereas the vanilla seems to present a back drop intense at first, then decreasing into a delicate back drop throughout the rest of palate, adding a lightness and sweetness to the entire experience. The smoke and cognac notes really take over at the midpalate, and carry through the finish. I'm by no means an expert, the fun part was trying to dissect what cognac this most reminded me of. I finally decided on Pierre Ferrand, a drier cognac, heavy on mineral notes, with delicate fig fruit in the finish. The body, like most Imperial Stouts from Scandinavia, is light and silky, with plenty of alcohol burn.

O - This is a huge improvement over my experiences with the first round of BA Black Hole beers. The spirit is very present, but also very interesting. The beer seems to take a bit of a back seat, which is actually a good thing since you really don't get a chance to try Cognac-Barrel aged beer on at all. Mikkeller might not always work for me, but this is a huge hit for me. Buy it all the way!

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Photo of brentk56
4.47/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Arrive with a pitch black liquid capped by a coffee-colored foam that leaves a patchwork design of lacing

Smell: The cognac is recognizable from the first whiff, with vanilla, roast, chocolate and coffee elements

Taste: Roasty flavors and chocolate, up front, with the cognac quickly coming on, bringing a vanilla character, as well; while it is boozy and filled with cognac, after the swallow, the dark fruit, chocolate and coffee elements are also quite prominent

Mouthfeel: Full bodied with moderate carbonation; rather creamy, too, with plenty of warmth in the gullet

Overall: A very well-balanced, complex RIS, but still quite aggressive

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Photo of bagpiper2005
4.97/5  rDev +19.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pour: Jet black. Three fingers of brown head that lasts forever. Leaves lacing all over the glass. Beautiful lacing that sticks all over the glass. Gorgeous beer.

Smell: A little smoky, sweet and caramelly. Molasses, vanilla, coffee, chocolate. Cognac makes its presence known.

Taste: Caramel, brown sugar, and molasses kick things off. Undertones of vanilla and dark fruits. Chocolate and smoke come in force in the middle.. A little woody and smoky, slightly spicy in the finish. Long, smooth, full finish with notes of coffee and bitter hops. Alcohol disguised very well - I can't even notice it in the taste. Warming though.

Mouthfeel: Thick, cteamy, and smooth. Low carbonation. Imagine sipping on some nice, thick latte or something.

Drinkability/Overall: Dangerously drinkable. Incredibly smooth on the way down, like sipping some fine liquor. Amazing bold flavor and drinks way too easy for the ABV.

Final notes: Perhaps the best beer I've ever had. Expensive and worth it. Only a handful of bottles in the world, I lucked out to come across some. It's highly unlikely I'll come across something like this again. Absolutely amazing.

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Photo of KickInTheChalice
4.47/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served on tap in a nonic tasting glass at Northdown.

Appearance: My pour is black with dark mahogany edges and a nice tan head. A little lace is left after the first sips, but the lace fades away with the rest of the head from the high ABV.

Smell: The aroma is balanced with cognac, vanilla, roasted malt, and some coffee. The cognac starts to really dominate as the beer warms up a bit.

Taste: The flavor has a bit less cognac and further complexity than the aroma. Fully roasted malt borders on burnt, with dark chocolate and vanilla adding a nice sweetness. The cognac flavor comes in during the middle of the sip, and with it a determined alcohol note. The oak comes through a little bit as the sip wanes, and the finish has a little bit of everything - some coffee, more roasted malt, cognac and some soft sweetness. The balance in each sip was startling.

Mouthfeel: The body is quite full, with smooth creamy carbonation. The cognac and barrel thin the beer out a little bit in the middle and end of the sip. A tingle accompanies this additional alcohol presence.

Overall: I have not had a lot (maybe any) cognac aged beers, but this certainly impressed me. The vast majority of Mikkeller's beers have been interesting and challenging to my palate.

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Photo of maximum12
4.23/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Given the, ah, aggressive price point on these little 12.7 oz. bottles, we decided to only grab one varietal of the Black Hole series - the cognac. Split up into two six ounce or so servings.

Pours is swamp muck black, probably about 30 weight. Smell is unadulterated cognac. Nada else. Unconsciously I poured this into a snifter. Ha. Luckily, I like the smell of cognac, or I wouldn't have picked this up.

Black Hole Cognac reports to different masters in the nose & the mouth - freakishly. The one-dimensional smell gives way to a layered list of ingredients. The vanilla & cognac top the play card, on a stage built of sweet, dark malts. Coffee/roast is present but sitting in the back of the theatre. Nice bitter chocolate rounds it out; the cognac reasserts itself on the backside & warms my toes nicely. Feeling a little woozy now.

Excellent brew, easily the best drink of beer I've had from Mikkeller to date. The cognac was a stroke of to try more beers that have been donut-dunked in these barrels.

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Photo of GabrielM
4.4/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a Bruery snifter.

A - dark as a moonless night in Hades with a good amount of coffee-colored head on top. Looks spectacular!

S - cognac, vanilla, coffee and chocolate aromas exploding from the glass. I'm really blow away by the intensity and complexity of the nose!

T - all the flavors mentioned above but with the addition of ALCOHOL! It makes sense now - the really strong nose must mean this bottle is relatively fresh, which also explains the huge amount of heat.

M - tingly and delicious with awesome concentration and carbonation, but still pretty damn hot.

O - this is an amazing barrel-aged stout, but it's just too hot right now, so a few points were deducted in Taste and Mouthfeel. Give this one a year and it will be stellar.

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Photo of GoldenVIKE
4.23/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours deep brown/black with a mocha tan head that lasts for a while. Nice clingy lace. Very frothy appearance when swirled.

S: Coffee, bitter chocolate, cherry, vanilla, and some earthy wood tones.

T: Rich and sweet, although not overwhelmingly so. Even with the high ABV you cannot taste the alcohol, only feel the warmth. The flavors (same as the ones in "smell") compliment each other very well. Possibly some subtle toffee or caramel flavors too which weren't detectable in the nose.

M: Very heavy, rich, silky, smooth, and frothy.

O: Overall this is not the richest, sweetest, or most complex BA RIS out there, but it's in the top third of the BA RIS's that I've ever had. And I've had a lot as this is my favorite style.

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Photo of metter98
4.23/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: The beer is jet black in color and poured with a finger high dark tan head that has good retention properties.
S: There are light aromas of cognac in the nose; the smell becomes a bit stronger as the beer warms up.
T: The taste has flavors of cognac, oak and vanilla along with some hints of chocolate. The cognac becomes more prominent towards the finish.
M: It feels full-bodied, creamy and smooth on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation. There is some warming from the alcohol and a bit of dryness in the finish.
O: The beer is extremely well balanced and has a good incorporation of the cognac flavors from the barrel aging. Considering its strength, the alcohol isn’t that noticeable in the taste.

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Photo of crusian
2.79/5  rDev -32.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 3

bottle from awesome girlfriend from someplace outside boston.

pours a nice dark nasty thickness with a minimal amount of head.
smells of chocolate and booze with a bit of dirt mixed in... not all that inviting.

taste is something different. nice sweetness up front, followed by the dirt on the middle palate, and a boozy finish. Chocolate seems to creep in with its partner coffee near the mid-finish.. I was expecting a lot out of this, based on the reviews, etc... and I was let down. This seems way too boozy for what it is... I have had way better 13% RIS in the past...
after it warms there is a nice inviting grape aftertaste that seems to take over... and I have now upped my score because of this.

mouthfeel is actually not that great, or rather, it is good, but after about 6 sips, my mouth and throat seem to be plagued with a coating that I want the hell out of my body... now. it is not pleasant... and it is very off putting.

overall, i isnt too bad, but for a 13% RIS, I want more. good to try, but seriously? an A rating is way too much for this. I dont take price into consideration when i rate... and that may be the issue here.

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Photo of ATLbeerDog
4.43/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours an incredibly beautiful pitch black that is thick. A huge frothy dark tan head graciously crowns the beer. The head is also thick and slowly and reluctantly recedes leaving a ton of heavy lacing clinging with love to the sides of the glass. Smells of rich chocolate and freshly baked cake dominate the nose. Some burnt malts and booze adds to the aroma. First sip is glorious with cognac taking charge and shaping the immense flavor. Bitter dark chocolate, vanilla, and some boozy notes follow in the finish. Mouthfeel of this puppy is superb – creamy as Wisconsin chocolate whole milk from a cow you raised from birth and exclusively grass fed. Mouthfeel is as good as beer gets with this one. Did I say CREAMY? I should say it again! ABV is super well hidden. World Class Beer!

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Photo of ryanfolty
4.5/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Date: July 24, 2011 Mode: Bottle Source: Discount Liquor, Waukesha, WI Appearance: Opaque black and thick tan head. Aroma: Delicious mix of chocolate and alcohol. Flavor: Chocolate and high end alcohol, maybe some vanilla in there, very smooth and an oaky finish. Other: Amazing beer that is able to blend in a very high alcohol content.

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Photo of John_M
4.17/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On tap at Max's today.

The beer pours the expected blackish brown color with good head retention and lacing. The nose is attractive, showcasing considerable dark chocolate and brandy (OK, I guess it's really "cognac," not brandy), with some underlying coffee and vanilla as well. There's also something of chocolate malt ball aroma as well, that is impressive. The flavor profile replicates the nose, with the beer showing some bitterness and a bit of heat from alcohol as well. The brandy is a bit less noticeable on the palate, though I still get some of it in the flavor profile. Mouthfeel is pretty full, with a long, chocolate and coffee infused finish.

A solid beer, no doubt, though a little bit of this goes a long way.

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Photo of BEERMILER12
4.4/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Silver foiled 12.7 oz (375 mL) bottle

A: Pours a pitch black color with about a fingers worth of mocha/brown head that lasts for a good while. Quite surprising given the 13.1% abv

S: A good bit of coffee dominates for the most part, along with some sweet vanilla, dark chocolate, and some type of wood

T: Very nice. Burnt coffee lasts throughout, with notes of everything else found in the nose. Vanilla, charred wood, and dark chocolate are the most easily picked out. Honey adds to the sweetness, but overall the sweetness isn't overpowering. A very nice dark grape-like presence as well from the cognac. Alcohol also adds a bit of complexity throughout. Bitterness lingers as well, from the coffee and dark chocolate no doubt

M: Heavy bodied with light carbonation. A touch under-carbonated for my tastes, even in a BA RIS

O: The cognac is definitely not overpowering here, and some barrel aging processes can do that. It adds some nice complexity, and that is all I could ask for/want out of any BA beer. The alcohol in this one is killer, so I would try to share this, even with the smaller size. Great job by Mikkeller on the BA'ing job for this one

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Photo of joshuaseresse
4.45/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Picked this up from the store, $13.99 a bottle. 375ml. Silver foil:

A - Solid black with a thick mocha head about 2 inches thick that dies into thick foam ring around the edges with murky, bubble colonies in the middle. Lacing is solid.

S - Smells of nice cocoa, light booze, a little wood and vanilla sweetness. The honey is only slight with the roast malts and coffee notes very subtle. A little bit of caramel. Pretty nice and smooth smelling.

T - The honey comes through nice and sweet, while the cocoa and vanilla follow. Little bit of pure chocolate in the middle. The taste is rounded out by wood, a bit of booze and roast from the malta and coffee. Little bit of caramel, brown sugar and candy sweetness. The ABV is well hidden.

M - Pretty well carbonated. The end is slightly toned down and a tad bit watery. The roast and coffee leaves the mouth a little dry and the charred feeling from said roasted coffee.

O - A really nice brew. The ABV is totally undetectable. I'm really pleased by the smell and flavor of this brew. It doesn't really lack anywhere. I'm going to buy more of this...just to have around the house for whenever. With that said, this is a whenever brew. Nicely done.

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Photo of oline73
4.27/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I had this on-tap at Max's, poured into a 4oz. sample glass.

Appearance: Pours almost black with some red coming through when the light hits the edge of the glass. There is hardly any head at all.

Smell: Quite sweet with overly ripe dark fruit, molasses, caramel, and cocoa.

Taste: Sweet dark fruit, honey, and some roast. The cognac is very smooth, and some cocoa shows up as well. The finish is sweet and warm.

Mouthfeel: Thick and mildly syrupy. Mild carbonation with a dry finish.

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Photo of Bung
4.15/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12.7 Poured into Grand Marnier snifter. Dark murky black pour, tan layer that lasts a while.

Plenty of roast and chocolates in the aroma. Hints of booze, caramel, vanilla and a woodiness.

Taste is potent. Malty, caramel, chocolate, roast. Oaky booziness, but not overwhelming. Finishes with some cocoa. Actually don't get a ton of cognac barrel. Barrel is subtle, which is not bad.

Solid full body, though the carbonation is more than I though it would be. Still, about creamy, coats very well. A sipper.

I bet this will age nicely, though I'm not buying another one, unless I could get it for maybe $8.

Certainly a step up from the ones last year, a BIG step up from the Peat Whisky from last year.

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Photo of AmericanGothic
4.5/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12.7 oz bottle into a Unibroue tulip.

A: Pours an opaque, jet black color with two fingers of khaki head. Strong retention and lace.

S: Roasted malts, a little coffee, semi-sweet chocolate, a little wine. Very nice.

T: Starts with sweet chocolate, roasted malts and coffee behind that, finishes equally bitter and sweet. Not really picking up the cognac as an individual flavor, but a little wood is present on the finish. A bit mellow but very rich-- no complaints. Wait-- now that it's warming, I think I am getting the cognac at last.

M: Big mouthfeel, very creamy and smooth, very fine.

O: Wow, another win for Mikkeller. Don't know how they keep doing it, but they surely know how to make a strong stout. Delicious stuff. Find it and be happy.

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Photo of TheStove
4.62/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had this last night at the Trappist in Oakland, CA, poured into a snifter.

Appearance is great. Opaque, inky black with light brown head that lingers for a bit. Initial whiff of the beer is a muted yet obvious warm aroma of cognac.

Lots going on here, initial taste is of rich vanilla giving way to pleasant honey sweetness. A flood of chocolate maltiness is followed by cognac flavor and some light vanilla seemingly from the barrel rather than the beer. Sip finishes with a slight throat burn, excellent effect of the cognac.

Tons of complexity in this one. The vanilla and honey flavors of the beer and vanilla overtones from the cognac sandwich a vast array of malt and chocolate profiles. This beer goes anywhere from tasting like a milk shake, to bittersweet cocoa nibs to a good strong coffee with a healthy amount of Bailey's. I find the cognac influence to be strongly present but not overpowering.

This is an excellent beer and why I've come to cherish the stout style. This is a big multi dimensional beer with tons of flavor and character. Despite the always impressive tap list at the Trappist I had to order a second serving; this one was too good to have just once.

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Photo of bradcochran1234
4.75/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Oh my! This is...liquid Christmas

A- BLACK as night with a big head

S- Lots of toasty coffee, a little vanilla and a slight toffee

T- WOW! At first the alcohol stands out, maybe a little too cold. As it warms up the coffee and bitter chocolate stand out. Then, as it warms up even more the Cognac comes in on the back of the palate with tastes of sweet vanilla and rich butter.

M- A little bit of alcohol, but over all just smooth and buttery

O- YES, YES, YES... The "Phantom Brewer" does it once again. So far I have tasted the Cognac, the Red Wine Barrel and the White Wine Barrel and this is the best one. Gonna be buying a few more of these.

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Photo of LaneMeyer
4.21/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a tulip.

A- Black, two fingers of dark tan head, two/2.5 finger

S- Dark fruits, raisins, prunes, berries, cognac, very fragrant

T- Cognac, coffee, bitter, berries, slight cherry taste

M- Kinda thin, very carbonated

O- Interesting beer, bold, not overpowering

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Photo of Thorpe429
4.37/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On tap at Churchkey. Served in a snifter.

Pours nearly black with a good mocha head and a few spots of lacing on the way down. Thin collar throughout. The nose brings the unmistakable stench of cognac plus some roasted malt, chocolate, and light coffee. Cognac pervades. As it warms, some light vanilla character. Flavor is mostly cognac and backed very well with some roasted malt and dark chocolate. Everything is well integrated and blends quite well. Medium body and slightly oily. Light carbonation. Solid brew.

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Photo of marvin213
4.45/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pretty black with tan bubblies--what more do you want? The smell is like a dream: peaty black stout with honeyed vanilla and sweet, succulent cognac. If BCS is THE cigar beer, I'd like to know what this is...!

Taste is straight what it's supposed to be: all those flavors melted into one single malt beverage! That thick, syrupy cognac burn in the background makes quite the presence. This is truly a man's beer!

Despite the conglomeration of tough, manly ingredients, the mouthfeel is relatively thin--a surprise, really. Overall, it's tough to return to at $16.99 a pop. I offer, though, that this is a great one. A must for big-time, barrel-aged stout lovers, and a golden ticket to beer-drinkin cigar lovers!

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Photo of Rizalini
4.07/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bought this 12.7oz bottle at Khoury's in Las Vegas, and poured into my Deschutes tulip...

A - Pours pitch black (as the name suggests), with a very foamy 1 1/2 finger brown head leaving some spotty lacing.

S - Very boozy in the nose. The cognac is very prodominant, but I can pick up hints of vanilla, brown sugar, and evem a little coffee. I keep sniffing it, getting different smells.

T/M - Cognac takes over the front of the taste, a bold coffee stout in the end, and a collaboration of flavors in between. A very big beer, a definate sipper that's for sure. But not as heavy on the pallete as I would have thought. Leaves a semi-sweet aftertaste

O - After trying quite a few bourbon stouts, this was my first cognac stout. It is definately different from bourbon stouts as it's a little more sharp and boozy, and less sweet. That being said it's still a really good beer.

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Photo of DaveHS
4/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-Impenetrable shiny black with 1/4 inch of coffee colored head. Leaves sticky lacing.

S-Less aggressively bitter than the non barrel aged black hole. Still a bit roasty and dry on the nose. Light aromas of sweet cognac and musty earth. A hint of vanilla.

T/M-Retains much of the roasty bitterness of the original, but the body is significantly softened by the cognac barrel. The presence of the cognac is interesting. I wouldn't have known this was specifically a cognac aged beer had I not read the label. However, the nondescript oaky sweetness ultimately has a positive effect. Full bodied and roasty with a diminishing roastiness on the back end, rounded out with oak.

O-One of the better barrel aged Mikkeller beers I've had.


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Photo of seeswo
4.28/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours black with a pretty substantial brownish tan head. Kind of a surprise, as I tend to dump barrel aged beers assuming they will be lacking in the head department. Looks great. The nose is oak, malts and sweetened dark fruits. You can also pull a bit of booziness out if you really work at it. The cognac adds an interesting richness to the sweetness on the nose. Yum. The taste has an abundant, rich dark fruit sweetness. Reminds me actually a touch of the 100k+OT batch 2 in terms of that richness. Malts, coffee, chocolate, just a touch of balancing bitterness and this underlying, well blended cognac heat and flavor. This is really good and I'm kinda surprised. The body is medium with good carbonation that works well. Overall, this is a really good one. I think it is attributable to the cognac barrels, as this is about 500x better than the red wine one I had last release (in my memory). It's really big and in your face, but well integrated and surprisingly smooth for what it is. A real winner. Docked a touch for how unpleasant it was at first sip relative to the rest of it.

Protip - serve this at cellar temp and even then, it seems like it needs a bit to breathe. The first sip punched me in the face in a mostly unpleasant manner, and then grew up substantially to the beer I am reviewing above.

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Black Hole (Cognac Edition) from Mikkeller ApS
4.16 out of 5 based on 157 ratings.
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