Black Buffalo (黑牛) | Mikkeller ApS

Black Buffalo (黑牛)Black Buffalo (黑牛)
BA SCORE
3.95/5
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
pDev:
16.2%
Bros Score:
0
 
 
Wants:
22
Gots:
23
Trade:
1
HISTOGRAM
 
View: Beers | Events
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Ratings: 75 |  Reviews: 34
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 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 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.

 1,086 characters

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.

 925 characters

Photo of TheoV
2.83/5  rDev -28.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

It poured almost black. When held up to the light, it is almost opaque. It had a thick light brown head that took a fair amount of time to dissipate. It has a very smooth, almost creamy mouth feel.

I can't taste the complexity I would expect from an Imperial stout. It tastes chocolaty and malty with a lot of molasses, that reminds me of Bell's Black Note, but I don't get much bourbon. In addition, the heaviness and extremely high ABV makes it hard to drink a whole bottle.

 477 characters

Photo of krl2112
3/5  rDev -24.1%

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 cvm4
3.15/5  rDev -20.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A - Pours thick black, lovely tan one finger head.

S - Straight up the bourbon hits you. Definitely barrel aged! Pretty sure I'm getting some vanilla and semi-sweet chocolate. Faint oak in the background along with roasted malt.

T - The reviewer below me is definitely spot on. Lots of roasted malt, charred oak and bitter finish. You can definitely not dark chocolate coming through. Also, the alcohol is very pronounced. I usually don't mind this if it retains the bourbon characteristics, but this is way off.

T - Full bodied, low-medium carbonation.

O - Everything is great but the taste. Too much charred oak in my beer.

 632 characters

Photo of Mattys21
3.25/5  rDev -17.7%

Photo of Auracom
3.33/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Bottle purchased from West Lakeview and shared on August 2nd, 2012. 4-5 oz. poured into a Jim beam shotglass. Happy IPA Day bitches!

A - Very "Dark Lord-like" in color with a dark khaki head. Decent retention with great lacing. More pronounced than what's typical for a RIS.

S - Lots of cocoa powder. This seems to be chock full of Nesquik. Big oak barrel and a reasonable amount of boozy bourbon. Light butter toffee.

T - Black coffee bean, plentiful buffalo trace oak and whiskey, backend seems tannic with further wood elements and residual alcohol.

M - Can't get much warmer in the throat than this. This feels like straight booze. Medium body, fairly smooth, low to medium carbonation.

D - I expected it to be totally out of control, and it's not. The aroma is average but the taste brings some nicely rounded qualities. Worth a try.

 843 characters

Photo of danieelol
3.33/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours dark black with great head and persistent lacing for the ABV.

Smell is chocolate pie, chocolate syrup, chocolate ice cream, chocolate protein powder, soy, coconut, wood.

Taste and mouthfeel does not come together for me. Too spirituous/too much booze. Very astringent and almost sour in the mouth. Not particularly hard to drink, just more spirit-like than imperial stout-like. Just really, really hot. Does have a nice aftertaste with roast malt, chocolate and wood.

Would love to try again in 2-3 years to see what's happened to it.

 543 characters

Photo of wesley14
3.5/5  rDev -11.4%

Photo of 4DAloveofSTOUT
3.5/5  rDev -11.4%

Photo of NickMunford
3.5/5  rDev -11.4%

Photo of nathanmiller
3.5/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of egrace84
3.5/5  rDev -11.4%

Photo of WastingFreetime
3.57/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours out extremely black with a stable 5mm tan creamy foam lid which leaves intricate patterns with every swirl of the goblet.

Smell.... Holy Booze, Batman! It takes some time to get accustomed to the level of hot bourbon aroma in this one, and to smell the dark baking chocolate and woody char. But once my head gets used to it, the rich and thick BT aroma signature appears and steals the show.

Intense boozey bourbon flavor blows the back of my head off. Sadly, most of the complexity of the nose gets annihilated by the boozey hotness. Instead, I am left with burnt wood charcoal and medium amounts of blackjack licorice...at least it is drier than most of the other high gravity brews that I have had...

Body is on the thicker side of medium, light carbonation.

In summary, a beautiful nose, but the flavor is overly harsh with solvent-y booziness which is an unfortunate flaw on an otherwise great brew.

 914 characters

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.

 1,507 characters

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 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

 4,993 characters

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.

 1,339 characters

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.

 2,460 characters

Photo of Jmac91
3.75/5  rDev -5.1%

Photo of Hopstout
3.75/5  rDev -5.1%

Photo of Lare453
3.75/5  rDev -5.1%

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Black Buffalo (黑牛) from Mikkeller ApS
Beer rating: 3.95 out of 5 with 75 ratings
  • About Us

    Founded in Boston in 1996, BeerAdvocate (BA) is your go-to resource for beer powered by an independent community of enthusiasts and professionals dedicated to supporting and promoting better beer.

    Learn More
  • Our Community

    Comprised of consumers and industry professionals, many of whom started as members of this site, our community is one of the oldest, largest, and most respected beer communities online.
  • Our Events

    Since 2003 we've hosted over 60 world-class beer festivals to bring awareness to independent brewers and educate attendees.
  • Our Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.