Black Buffalo (黑牛) | Mikkeller ApS

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Black Buffalo (黑牛)Black Buffalo (黑牛)
BA SCORE
3.95/5
Very Good
Black Buffalo (黑牛)Black Buffalo (黑牛)
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Mikkeller ApS
Denmark
mikkeller.dk

Style: American Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 19.30%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
Aged in Buffalo Trace bourbon barrels.

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

BEER STATS
Ranking:
-
Reviews:
34
Ratings:
76
pDev:
15.95%
 
 
Wants:
22
Gots:
23
Trade:
1
 
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User Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 34 | Ratings: 76
Reviews by kojevergas:
Photo of kojevergas
3.69/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

BOTTLE: 12.7 fl oz format. Green glass. Unbranded pry-off crown cap. Appealingly understated label art. Brewed & Bottled by Mikkeller at De Proef. Imported by the Shelton Bastards. 2015 vintage.

19.30% ABV. "Stout ale aged in bourbon barrels."

Served chilled into a snifter and allowed to come to room temperature over the course of consumption.

HEAD: At its beastly 19.30% ABV, I'm shocked this has a head at all - let alone such an appealing one. Khaki in colour, with nice froth and creaminess. What bowls me over is its incredible retention; this head sticks around a good 10 minutes. Shockingly robust for such a monstrously alcoholic brew, yet soft in appearance. Leaves both lacing and brandy-like legs when the glass is tilted. Sure, it could be a more appealing dark tan hue and could have a gilded shining complexion, but that this head even exists is impressive.

BODY: True to style, it's an opaque jet black. No yeast/lees visible within.

Appears well-carbonated. Terrific looking for its high ABV, but it's worth nothing the best expressions of the style do look better.

AROMA: Odd to say the least...I'd figure it for a red wine barrel aged stout given the grape, prune, cranberry, and date aromatics I'm picking up on. Gooey dark malt and chocolate malt sweetness does make it into the mix, and there're subtle hints of barrel char and barrel sugars, but this is lacking the rich white oak, vanilla/vanillin, and toasted coconut I'd hope for in a great bourbon barrel aged stout.

In any case, the fruit-emphatic aroma is appealing if unexpected, and it doesn't seem cloyingly sweet like many stouts in the ABV stratosphere nor does it seem bludgeoningly boozy like Mikkeller Black.

Aromatic intensity is average, but under the circumstances I think it's quite mild.

Roasted barley additions as well as more pungent bourbon barrel character is needed to elevate this aroma, but it's certainly appealing.

No overt hoppy or yeasty notes. No off-notes.

TASTE & TEXTURE: Depleted barrel vanillin does make an appearance (though it was absent in the aroma), guiding the beer's third act and lingering into the finish. Hints of subtle toasted coconut also emerge, as well as a kiss of oak and some barrel sugar sweetness along with some countering barrel char bitterness.

Specialty chocolate malt, roasted barley, and heavy dark/schwarz malt sweetness give this brew its robust backbone and gooey feel, playing to molasses-like thickness and sweetness without going too far; the roasted barley and barrel char balance the beer's sweetness with bitterness, never needing any overt hop bitterness to lend aid.

I'd refrain from calling it a boozy or hot beer, but there's no doubting it has some alcohol warmth - even if it's subtle on the palate, it hits you in the stomach. I'd call it a pleasant and apt alcohol warmth - just a bit of heat to play to the bourbon and accentuate this beer's winter warmer vibe.

It's a bit harsh mouthfeel-wise, tending a bit rough along with its appropriate dryness. I like that it's gooey, but it could do with a softer creamier feel to take the edge off all that bourbon barrel aggression. Heavy on the palate and even a bit sludgy at points; I'd expect this to turn to sludgy motor oil with substantial aging (5+ years or more).

Dark fruit weaves in and out of the flavour profile, lacking the prominence I expected given the beer's fruit-forward aroma but still delivering additional complexity to this already intricately built stout: prune, date, raisin, and grape.

I'm reticent to call the beer balanced since it seems to oscillate between an almost acrid ashen bitterness and a borderline fudgy sweetness at different points in its structure, but frankly those oscillations work for me, teasing the drinker with a rollercoaster ride of diverse flavours. Were its depth of flavour more impressive, this could be a world class brew.

Flavour intensity is high. Flavour duration is substantial.

Carbonation is slightly high. Full-bodied. Thick and weighty.

It needs more expressiveness in terms of malts and more pungency in terms of barrel character, but it's well built overall. There isn't quite an ideal harmony of texture and taste, but the beer delivers in terms of complexity and boldness. Not the booze-bomb I feared, nor the syrupy dessert beer it could have been.

OVERALL: I'm shocked how drinkable it is given its monstrous ABV; it's not that it drinks like its ABV is that much less - there's obvious alcohol warmth - it's more that it uses that warmth in service of the flavour profile so well the ABV doesn't matter. It's a remarkable imperial stout from the brewer who changed the landscape for the style in the 2000s with beers like Beer Geek Breakfast and I'd wholeheartedly recommend it to others (especially those who unfairly dismiss Mikkeller as "too expensive" whilst happily buying The Bruery's beers). Mikkel isn't always on, but when he's on he's fucking on, and this ain't no exception.

B (3.69) / GOOD

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More User Reviews:
Photo of BEERchitect
3.72/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Riding on the heels of the original Black, Mikkeller's Buffalo Trace-infused version pommels the taste buds into submission with an absurdly intense bourbon flavor and feel that's as intimidating as it is curious. Even coming from a staunch bourbon appreciator, I was taken back by the bourbon effect that's on display here.

Black Buffalo decants with an oily consistency that provides a mirror-like gloss of depth and clarity. The head builds like densely on the beer but reduces to a film across the surface before eventually succumbing to the rise of alcohols. As the sandy head colapses into the beer, The lace is replaced by inky legging that stains the glass with dark brandy-like appearances.

Bourbon, cocoa, espresso, toasted walnuts, and scorched molasses all fill the nose with equally high intensity but alternating with each visit of the nose to the glass. Roasted grain, rummy licorice and vinous red grape must gives a nearly sweet and smoky woodiness to accompany the alcoholic notes as the beer warms.

There's no doubt of the prominent flavor of this crazy-stupid stout- It's the undeniable taste of Buffalo Trace bourbon. In contrast, the smoky sweetness of scorched molasses superscedes the roast. Espresso and cocoa follow closely behind but can never command the forefront of flavor beyond the shear taste of bourbon. Oily walnuts, vanilla, caramel, burnt woods, and sherry-like wines give a sweeter and fruitier edge to ride along side of the roast and bourbony sweetness- often in contrast. Delicious but somewhat unsettled as the fusal flavor of alcohol becomes the highlight of the beer while hot and taking away from the subtle interplay of esters, oxides, roast, and caramelized sweetness.

Absolutely brutal to the mouth as an exploratory sip is immediately met with extreme alcohol heat, palate numbing, and sharp stinging of fusal distilled spirits. Undoubtedly full in body, but the beer's thinning alcohol forbids any appreciation of texture or finesse. Past the enormity of bourbon, the roast and barrel astringency continues into a very long and developing aftertaste.

Black Buffalo is an absolute beast that may be appreciated best when taken an ounce at a time from a shot glass. Facetious of course, but the take away from this beer is that it must be appreciated much more as a cordial or replacement for straight spirits as the beer rivals the amount of alcohol that's normally reserved for milder spirits and liquors.

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Photo of Tim460
4.32/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Split a bottle with Rickythejeweler.

Poured dark black with a one finger tan head. There was good lacing throughout which surprised me for a 19.3% beer.

Smelled really good, dark chocolate, nuts, oak, bourbon, anise, vanilla, and had some char going on in the nose as well.

The taste was just like the smell but with a surprising bitterness. I thought this was going to be pretty sweet given the abv, but it wasn't at all.

The mouthfeel was heavy but there was no getting around the boozeness on the back end.

Overall I enjoyed this beer it's probably my favorite brew above 18%.

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Photo of bluejacket74
4.07/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12.7 ounce bottle. Served in a snifter, the beer pours dark brown/black with about a half inch tan head that stayed around a little while. There's also a lot of lacing left on the glass. Aroma is sweet and malty, the brew smells like chocolate, bourbon, vanilla, roasted and burnt/charred malt, caramel, and a bit of dark fruit. It tastes like bourbon, bittersweet and milk chocolate, vanilla, burnt/charred malt, booze, coffee, molasses and some licorice. The alcohol is noticeable, but it's not as hot as I was expecting it to be considering it's 19.3% ABV. Mouthfeel/body is medium, it's slick and coating and has a moderate amount of carbonation. I think it's a good enough brew, and it would be interesting to see how this one ages. $13.99 a bottle.

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Photo of ATLbeerDog
4.32/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

From a 12.7oz green bottle.

Pours a beautiful thick pitch black that is topped by medium dark tan head that is frothy and very slow to recede. Smells of bitter sweet chocolate, booze, chalk, with a ton of heavy bourbon notes present. First sip is creamy, then bitter, with a strong dark chocolate super bitter finish. The creamy mouthfeel really stands out as the complexity of this beer happily greets me. WoW – so many great things happening here. The 19.3% ABV is present but not in your face. As it warms, the bourbon shines to the front of the class and dominates this wonderful beer. The bitter finish lingers long after every amazing sip. Very nice brew!

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Photo of MrRockstar
5/5  rDev +26.6%

Photo of NickMunford
3.5/5  rDev -11.4%

Photo of MasterSki
3.71/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.5

Bottle from West Lakeview Liquors.

A - Dark tan foam lingers as a solid cap, leaving behind specks of lace; pretty impressive carbonation for nearly 20%. Black body, with a vague hint of brown at the edges of the glass.

S - Intense chocolate fudge, vanilla, roasted malts, bourbon, cloying brown sugar and dark fruit sweetness, and some overt alcohol and chemical notes. The latter seemed to bother my friends more than me, but it's still pretty hot.

T - The taste is significantly rougher, with a mix of cloying sweetness and charry ash. Unlike the Cognac edition the barrel-aging doesn't mask the elements I dislike in the base beer, although it doesn't intensify them like the whisky version did either. Jumbled mix of chocolate, licorice, vanilla, tar, ash, oak, and Buffalo Trace.

M - Medium body, grainy and tannic texture, with a lingering sticky finish. Loads of boozy, alcohol heat here, although nothing excessive for the ABV. Carbonation is low, but style-appropriate.

D - Everyone else despised this, but I thought it was merely OK. Manageable in a 2oz serving, but probably needs years to calm down. That being said, the Cognac version went off the rails after about 2 years, so who knows if this will improve over time. Maybe worth trying if you're really desensitized to booze like I am, but not for the faint of heart.

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Photo of t0rin0
3.75/5  rDev -5.1%

Photo of gford217
2.8/5  rDev -29.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

375ml bottle.

The pour isn't pitch black but pretty close, translucent chocolate brown out of the bottle, settling in under a thick mocha head that shows excellent retention and lacing. Really surprised at the head and lacing on a beer this big.

Aroma is bourbon, vanilla and a metric ish-ton of heavily roasted chocolate malts, not quite charred, just heavily roasted with dark chocolate and espresso beans.

The taste just doesn't measure up to the aroma. Alcohol up front, ethyl alcohol in fact. If regular Black tastes like charred earth (which it does in my opinion), then this is kinda like bourbon on the rocks...iis the rocks were pieces of charred earth. Burns like hell going down.

Mouthfeel is well carbonated given the alcohol but is all booze.

This makes Black Tuesday drink like Prima Pils. Doesn't hide the booze at all - the only flavors that do come out are charred malts and licorice. Just not my thing.

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Photo of Huhzubendah
3.95/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Shared by dreadnaught33. Thanks Jonathan!

The beer is near black with a thin beige head. The aroma offers a large and in charge malt character, followed by some roast notes. Whoa! The flavor will kick your ass. Oh mama...this is a sadistic, wonderful beverage. Alcohol is over the top rope, but it hurts so good. Hooray beer.

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Photo of JAHMUR
4.25/5  rDev +7.6%

Photo of spycow
4/5  rDev +1.3%

Photo of womencantsail
3.85/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Black in color with a very small tan head. Strong vanilla and bourbon aromas along with some booze. Quite a bit of roasted malt, maybe a little char. Sweet sugar and caramel with a touch of coffee and dark chocolate. The flavor is sweet with a touch of bitterness from all the roast. Brown sugar, caramel, and a dark chocolate maltiness to go with lots of bourbon and vanilla. A light booziness and still plenty of roast/char flavors.

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Photo of AndyAvalanche
4.93/5  rDev +24.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

12. 7 oz green bottle poured into a Duvel Tulip style glass. Comes out of the glass dark brown but (appropriately) black as it fills up the glass. Nice slightly darker thank kaki colored head, various sized bubbles that stick around a while. There's a skim at the top that states the entire time and a ring of small bubbles that stay at the edge of the glass. Decent lacing, but the lacing from the head goes away after a little while, there's still the syrup like coating on the glass. the whole session.

Smell is outstanding. Aromas of bourbon, vanilla, and maybe some cinnamon/cocoa blend. There's a slight sweet nutty aroma too not quite a hazelnut, but a nutty aroma. A little roast, but not quite smokey.

Taste is amazing! Tons of sweet roasted malt, some slightly bored caramel almost charred, vanilla, bitter-sweet chocolate and of course bourbon. Some nuttiness and maybe a little bit of molasses on the back end. Everything about the flavors are absolutely huge and are perfectly balanced.

Mouthfeel is perfect for the style. Full bodied with lots of lingering flavors after each sip. It starts sweet and maintains smooth throughout and has a bittersweet warm finish. Crazy drinkable, it makes absolutely no sense that this beer is 19.3% it drinks more like a 12% beer, it's so good.

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Photo of atone315
4.5/5  rDev +13.9%

Photo of 4DAloveofSTOUT
3.5/5  rDev -11.4%

Photo of DangerDawg
4.25/5  rDev +7.6%

Photo of Alieniloquium
3.03/5  rDev -23.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

375 mL bottle poured into a snifter. Reviewed from notes.

Appearance - Vigorous pour yields a small mocha head. Then nothing. Glass-staining and very leggy.

Smell - Raisins and booze. A little bit of chocolate. And then more booze.

Taste - Really alcoholic. Raisins. Bourbon is present, but it's difficult to discern between bourbon liquor flavors and the alcohol from the stout. Intensely roasty malt. Very acrid and burnt finish.

Mouthfeel - Acrid, bitter, rough, and very alcoholic. Well carbonated, though.

Overall - Some interesting flavors, but one of the most unpleasant finishes I've ever experienced in a beer. I kept going back for more, though.

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Photo of stakem
2.79/5  rDev -29.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.25

375ml green bottle shared with friends and poured into a matching Mikkeller Teku. The brew appears black in color with a tan cap. A full wall of tan head leaves faint spotty lacing effect sticking to the glass.

The aroma includes notes of fruity alcohol esters. Some roasty coffee to strong burnt grain. As more sniffs are taken, it becomes dominating with solvent booze that burns the nose.

The taste is straight burning. Just a huge inclusion of solvent alcohol coupled with raw oak and alcohol like vodka. Some earth and tobacco with bitter roasty elements and just a sheer amount of numbing alcohol. The more you hold this beer in your mouth and try to pick out flavors, it honestly burns and dulls your senses.

This is a medium bodied brew with a modest amount of carbonation. That alcohol is atrocious. Just outrageous and too much without seemingly any other character to take in. This could have been aged on dirty toilet seats and firemans boots instead of buffalo trace barrels and none of us would be to the wiser. To this brews credit, I was drunk after drinking my pour.

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Photo of KAP1356
3.65/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

375 ml bottle poured into a snifter.

A - Pours an oily, slick, black as I entirely expected it would. Surprisingly, there is a 1 finger thick, foamy head that is a tan, sand-like color. It does eventually recede to a film along the top of the beer.

S - The smell is super powerful and is all bourbon up front. Powerful bourbon, vanilla, chocolate and some bitter coffee come through. Much like Black, there is a very strong roasted malt presence that comes across burnt and ashy. Ever so slightly charred flavor comes from them. There is some dark fruits coming through along with some sweet notes of caramel that I attribute to the barrel.

T - The flavor starts as the nose did - with a strong slew of bourbon. It is closely fllowed by the heavily roasted malts that give an almost burnt, ashy flavor to the profile. Molasses, vanilla, caramel, bitter coffee and dark chocolate also come through along with some brown sugar notes. I think I taste some black licorice coming out as well on the back end.

M - The alcohol heat comes through pretty strong in this one and does tend to detract in the enjoyment. The body is slightly thicker than medium bodied and has a light carbonation to it.

O - Pretty intense beer - even more so than the normal version of Black. The strength of the roasted malts battles the sweetness ofthe bourbon and vanilla, but they go back and forth in the battle with one never really winning. This is a definite sipper and one that would be worth splitting with a few friends.

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Photo of woosterbill
4.29/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

375ml bottle into a 25cl Duvel tulip. Big thanks to Hopstoopid120 for sharing this monstrosity of a beer.

A: Blacker than night, with a finger of fine brown head. Good retention and lacing, especially for the astronomical ABV.

S: Insanely huge and amazing: bourbon, char, coffee, chocolate, and general barrel-aged richness. Amazingly little alcohol for the strength, with all the beer and barrel components receiving equal prominence. Truly wonderful.

T: Opens with all the awesomeness of the nose (SO much bourbon), but the booze swoops in like a falcon and simply destroys everything else with spicy, head-exploding alcohol. It's still a treat to sip, but nowhere near the perfection of the aroma.

M: Moderately thick, moderately carbonated, and profoundly sharp with booze.

O: I could have inhaled this nose on this one all night long, but sadly it was just too overwhelming with its alcohol component. At least it wasn't a sugar-bomb like Black Tuesday.

Cheers!

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Photo of Dreadnaught33
4.03/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours a nice black color with some tan head and just a bit of lacing, obvious alcohol legs.

The smell has a deep bourbon and a smell, some rich almost meat like smells. Cholocalte and vanilla malts, a smoky like character with the bourbon, big old' beer.

The taste is pretty similar, lots of bourbon and heat, it's sharp but I don't mind. Kinda sweet with plenty of brown sugar and pecan pie in the taste, mostly bourbon like notes, actually not as hot as I suspected, and pretty smooth. Some smoky flavors to go with the sweeter notes, nice.

Overall not bad but a little over the top, almost drinks like a spirit rather than a beer.

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Photo of ngeunit1
4.32/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | 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, lots of oak, bourbon and vanilla, molasses, black licorice, some dark fruit, and some booze.

T - Dark chocolate and sweet dark caramel malts, roasted coffee, lots of oak, vanilla, and Bourbon, black licorice, molasses, and dark fruit, some citrus and pine hops and a bit of bitterness, and 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 is a nice and bold, but well balanced.

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Photo of capeannbass36
4.45/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- Pours a black, black, browm topped with a one finger, espresso colored head that disappated quickly.

S- WOW! Bourbon, chocolate, vanilla, leather and dark fruit. Awesome scent!

T- Right out of the park. Exceptional. Very similar to FW Parabola.

M- Slick and oily. Very, very warm. Burns on the way down.

O- I rank this way up there. Very similar to Firestone Walker Parabola...only a tad harsher due to ABV. Frantically searching for another!
( Massachusetts somehow missed out on Parabola this year...supposedly a pretty lame story as to how the stuff did not make it here)!....but this review is about Black Buffalo...GO GET SOME!
(scariest part of this beer is that it was in a friggin' green bottle)

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Black Buffalo (黑牛) from Mikkeller ApS
Beer rating: 3.95 out of 5 with 76 ratings