Black Buffalo (黑牛) | Mikkeller ApS

Black Buffalo (黑牛)Black Buffalo (黑牛)
BA SCORE
70.7%
Liked This Beer
3.95 w/ 75 ratings
Black Buffalo (黑牛)Black Buffalo (黑牛)
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Mikkeller ApS
Denmark
mikkeller.dk

Style: American Double / Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 19.30%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

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

Added by bark on 07-18-2011

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

BEER STATS
Ranking:
-
Reviews:
34
Ratings:
75
Liked:
53
Avg:
3.95/5
pDev:
16.2%
Alströms:
0
 
 
Wants:
22
Gots:
23
Trade:
1
View: Beers | Events
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 75 |  Reviews: 34
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 Jayman931
3.69/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12.7 oz. bottle served in a snifter. Let this beer warm up a bit for, best results. Let it decant....gets way better

Very very dark and opaque. Suprisingly log lingering head (medium tan) Not sure how you have a19.3 % beer and keep a head like that.

Smells like vanilla, bourbon and alcohol.

Taste is bourbon...with caramel/vanilla then warm alcohol and a lingering bitterness.

Medium mouthfeel...warm

Overall good for what it is....share it with friends. I like this alot better than Mikkeller Black

 505 characters

Photo of olradetbalder
4.5/5  rDev +13.9%

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.

 660 characters

Photo of BruceBruce
4.8/5  rDev +21.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A. Beautiful black with small tan head.

S. Some people wont like it, but I love it. Amazing bourbon alcohol stench up front and in your face.

T. Bourbon then alcohol, its not to much if your a liquor kinda guy, if not your going to hate it. I love it, when you sip it, it bites you back, nothing better then a good liquor, wait is this beer?

M. Perfect balance between thin and thick but the whole time you feel the presence of the ABV it is so great.

O. This is my second time with this one, and I will be posting an ISO as soon as I am done with this post. I love it, great liquor, if you are thinking just another strong stout then ship to me you will hate it, otherwise sip with a buddy because doing this one by myself after a few regular beers is a mean bitch. Try it with friends or as the only one of the night, it is the only from this brewer that deserves an amazing rating!

 888 characters

Photo of wesley14
3.5/5  rDev -11.4%

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.

 754 characters

Photo of pathman
4/5  rDev +1.3%

Photo of DangerDawg
4.25/5  rDev +7.6%

Photo of atone315
4.5/5  rDev +13.9%

Photo of krl2112
3/5  rDev -24.1%

Photo of paytonpowell
3.96/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

I first enjoyed this lovely brew at my job in a standard wine stem at cellar temperatures.

A:With an ultra thick completely obscure appearance this beer could blot out the sun, so so very opaque there is no question to where this will lead other than a rich stout.

S: Thick heavy aroma of bourbon immediately emanates out of the glass followed by subtle hints of chocolate and red berries; for many I can see this being off putting but Mikkeller has never been one to appeal to the masses or go for true subtlety. The alcoholic character of this ale to me is something that is not all together a detractor but an indicator of potential. The hints of what is to come being far greater than what is at the moment.

T: Splash of bourbon followed by warm rich dark chocolate overtones and hearty wood beneath the massive layers above it. Definitely needs many years of cellar attention for the those nuances of flavor to fully develop and expose the true nature of what this beast has inside of its dark depths.

M: Thick, heavy, and a brutal alcoholic tang. This beer delivered all I could have ever hoped for and more out of such an exposed mingling of Buffalo Trace and Mikkeller Black. I do expect a mellowing to occur down the line.

O: This was a remarkable brew, but as with many of these extreme beers they do require a bit of cellaring for a true appreciation. I look at this as a piece of art that will slowly reveal itself over the passage of time. I have two and am thinking of maybe even grabbing a third as the years will do this kindly. A reunion with this in about a decade will do the trick as far as I am concerned; it has the balls to dominate that long I am sure.

 1,682 characters

Photo of jsm1289
1.06/5  rDev -73.2%
look: 2 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

This is by far the most disappointing beer of my entire life. I have had black hole cognac edition ( 13%) and it was a decent offering. I have heard very mixed reviews about black tokyo and variants of that sort, but I came into this experience with a positive attitude. I opened the bottle and took a whiff and almost gagged. Huge pungent burning alcohol sensation with big big whiskey notes and maybe some heavy chocolate. Its one thing to open a bottle of say 151 and expect a huge boozy smell, its quite another to expect something delicious and be instantly thrown backwards by how horrible it smelled. Well you can imagine the rest. It wasn't so much that is was boozy, it tasted so strong that it burned like I was drinking everclear and had no redeemable quality to it whatsoever. On top of the fact that it was almost 18 dollars for a 15 ounce bottle, and it is aged in top notch whiskey, is a travesty for the beer world. I almost threw up after the first sip and immediately drain poured it. I feel bad saying this because I love beer geek brunch and a few other mikkeller offerings , but this is truly disgusting and I would like to slap mikkeller for putting this on the market. Maybe age it for 25 years and try again. He should be paying me the bottle price to even try something so horrid. It also ruined my taste buds for imperial stouts for 3 days, because everytime i smelled something ( barrel aged old rasputin) i was almost afraid to try it for fear of the abomination that was black buffalo. Stay away !!!!

 1,529 characters

Photo of 4DAloveofSTOUT
3.5/5  rDev -11.4%

Photo of ChaseTheAce
4.5/5  rDev +13.9%

Photo of IHyphySF
4/5  rDev +1.3%

Photo of Mattys21
3.25/5  rDev -17.7%

Photo of jeff1973
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.

 434 characters

Photo of MrRockstar
5/5  rDev +26.6%

Photo of Rickythejeweler
4.53/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Pitch black, one finger thick and creamy khaki head, light lacing.

S - Chocolate fudge, walnuts, roasted malts, coffee, oak, heavy cream, vanilla.

T - Oak, coffee beans, anise, char, dark chocolate, bitter roasted malts, light smoke, salt peanuts, light bourbon.

M - Full bodied, smooth, low-moderate carbonation.

O - The most intense beer I have ever had! Pretty bitter. No where near as sugary/sweet as I would have expected. As far as I know this beer was aged in the Buffalo Trace barrels for about one full year!

 525 characters

Photo of FullObs
4.25/5  rDev +7.6%

Photo of JackieTH
2.65/5  rDev -32.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.5

The appearance is brown-black, opaque, with a thin tan cap of foam that sticks to the edges of the glass. It looks inviting. Scents of burned oats, charry grass, burned coffee grounds are detected before being overwhelmed by the smell of grain alcohol. Wow it burns the nasal passages a bit as well. Taste is atrociously grainy, alcohol, burning. Background notes of dirt, burned tobacco, bitterness like spent coffee grounds. Not good. Mouthfeel is burning. It's medium bodied. A friend and I were splitting a 375mL bottle, but just two mouthfuls were more than enough for us and the rest went into the fireplace with a rewarding burst of blue flames! Wow this one wasn't good.

 678 characters

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.

 1,312 characters

Photo of Jmac91
3.75/5  rDev -5.1%

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Black Buffalo (黑牛) from Mikkeller ApS
Beer rating: 70.7% out of 100 with 75 ratings
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