Dark Hollow Artisanal Ale | Blue Mountain Brewery

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Dark Hollow Artisanal AleDark Hollow Artisanal Ale

Brewed by:
Blue Mountain Brewery
Virginia, United States

Style: American Double / Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
Bourbon Barrel Aged Stout. Dark Hollow blends the miracle of two crafts--brewing and distillation--to create a work greater than the sum of its parts. An Imperial Stout has been aged in charred American oak bourbon barrels still dripping with uncut whiskey. For 100 days the young beer patiently breathes in and out of the wood, gaining complexity, character, and serious attitude.

Added by Bierman9 on 11-02-2007

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Reviews: 185 | Ratings: 758
Photo of GuyFawkes
3.33/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Unknown vintage; drank 12/24/15 @ JoJo's Virginia.

Black appearance.

A rough pour yielded a HUGE dark khaki head (careful pouring!); frothy lace.

Oak, bourbon, cream & bakers chocolate notes in the nose.

Medium thick, creamy mouthfeel.

Oak, bakers chocolate & caramel flavors up front; bourbon notes on the finish. Pickle juice notes emerged as this warmed. Interesting but boozy & not great. I've had my last.

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Photo of AMBNT_notes
4.69/5  rDev +18.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

I had this on draft at the brewery.

This is the best stout I have ever had. This beer is so full of flavor and unbelievably good. This beer is dangerously delicious.

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Photo of dbl_delta
4.29/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Part of a flight of 10 at the brewery. Pours an oily black color, with a thick, long-lasting tan head. Initial impression is caramel and vanilla, with bourbon overtones. Maybe some oak in there too - a very rich, full-flavored stout. Mouthfeel is smooth, thick, and oily - just about perfect. Alcohol is pretty evident, but oh well. Finish is sweet and smooth. Really good - my favorite of the flight by a long shot.

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Photo of weareallfalafel
4.22/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured from a 750ml bottle into a snifter after the bottle sat on the counter for a few minutes. Pours deep and opaque black with a great half inch, brown head, that didn't longer much or leave much lacing, but it's 10%abv, so I expected as much. Smell is a little tame, but has notes of burnt sugar, vanilla, and bourbon. Taste is much more pronounced with a decently big hit of caramelly, marshmallow like flavor. Taste moves smoothly from chocolatey and caramelly to oak/bourbon. Feel is very full in body, with a little more burn than I'd like, but it's still fairly smooth for what it is. Overall, this is the best offering I've had from Blue Mountain, if not the only one worth spending hard-earned cash on. I'd recommend this for sure, and I dig it.

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Photo of stortore
4.39/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

750 ml bottle into a snifter.

Pours dark, near black, opaque, with a two finger head of darker foam, lots of lacing. Smell is bourbon, malt, chocolate, vanilla, toffee, a little smoke. Really smells terrific. The taste leans more toward the malt first, then bourbon, vanilla, chocolate, oak, molasses, some caramel, a little cocoa. Smooth, pretty full bodied, lots of carbonation.

Have had this on draft and in the bottle before, this batch is incredible. Really well blended, the bourbon dominates but doesn't overwhelm. Flavor and aroma are terrific. Could be a little fuller bodied, but that's an observation, not a criticism. Well worth a purchase.

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Photo of Riff
5/5  rDev +26.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Out of the bottle it's a pleasant imperial stout. From a tap this is pure bliss and easily the best beer I've found brewed in Virginia.

Body is thick, a little thinner from the bottle, both have a pleasant mouth feel. Nice hints of bourbon, but not overpowering, enough to add a good mix of vanilla in. Clean finish, does not linger for a long time afterwards. Easy to drink and ages well in the bottle.

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Photo of ksimons
4.04/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A-pour is black with no visible highlights seen and a fingers worth of dark tan head that leaves a small layer of lacing on top

S-aroma of lots of bourbon, vanilla, and chocolate

T-taste is similar to the smell with a strong bourbon taste, dark malt, chocolate, light dark fruits, and has a char finish

M-almost medium body, moderate carbonation

Overall a bourbon heavy stout, could have a fuller mouthfeel, but overall is very nice tasting

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Photo of Xenoreactive
4.63/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Preliminary: This is legitimately one of Virginia's finest draft-pour imperial stouts. Let me reiterate: this has to be a draft pour. Out the bottle, it loses it's thick, coating texture and chocolate-cake flavor that a fresh keg has.

Look: Straight off of draft, there is barely any head. It dissipates rather quickly and leaves a lingering patchy ring. 2spooky... This has an oily and thick appearance with its pitch-black color. My body is ready.

Smell: Charred wood, bourbon, dark chocolate, vanilla, (a tinge of butterscotch), black forest cake, macerated berries, balsamic vinegar, mocha and angel farts are all detectable. Very appetizing smell.

Taste: Incredibly complex brew. Heavy bakers and dark chocolate attack your palette with bourbon undertones that bring out smoked wood, vanilla, toffee (butterscotch?), caramel and some spiced fruitiness. This has a unique balance of chocolate/vanilla that is juxtaposed with earthy notes. Since this absorbs sweetness and bourbon notes from the barrels, it cloaks the 10% all too easily. Booziness is barely present, towards the end.

Feel: Texture is dense and inviting. Has a bit of a chewy edge on it that makes it feel like liquefied bourbon chocolate cupcakes (angel farts). Very low carbonation.

Overall: Having had this over 20 times on draft, it is hard to fall back on any other local breweries' imperial stouts. This is consistent out of the keg and always retains its phenomenal characteristics. Unfortunately, the bottled variant just can not keep up with draft's integrity, so it is unfair to judge it based off that experience.

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Photo of Zebulan
4.33/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

L: Dark black with thick tan head.
S: Strong but nice smell. Boozy bourbon smell with chocolate as well.
T: Thin feel. Strong front taste with booze through the end.
O: Overall I've always enjoyed this beer. A little thin for me but it is a nice beer for sure. Would like to age one.

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Photo of floridadrift
3.91/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

L: Bleak, kind-of flat, not as much white head as I once had.
S: Char
T: Smokey and bare, char, fresh it was sweeter.
M: Smooth but not as good fresh, it was very creamy prior.
O: This beer is way better fresh, do not age. Looks its backbone of flavor.

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Photo of avalon07
4.23/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

L: Poured from a bottle to a pint glass. Had a black color and a thick texture. There was an inch of foamy, tan-colored head that lasted an average amount of time. Good lacing.

S: A big aroma of bourbon, malt, dark fruit, and some chocolate.

T: Tasted of a surprising amount of chocolate, roasted malt, dark fruit (plums?), vanilla, oak, and licorice. A pretty complex and flavorful beer. A bit boozy, but most bourbon barrel beers have that quality. Still, an extremely powerful flavor.

F: Not as much carbonation as you would expect, but it has a smooth finish. Full-bodied.

O: If you like bourbon barrel beers, give this one a try. It's well made and generally enjoyable.

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Photo of skepticnibble
4.69/5  rDev +18.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Poured from 750ml Belgian bottle to pint glass; best by date Oct 2016. L: Pours a dark, syrupy black with thick brown head which survives several minutes leaving lace ring behind. S: Black licorice and whiskey most easily detected; oak and roasted malts more subtle. T: Almost smell in reverse with prominent bourbon and roasted malts; oak, vanilla, black licorice more nuanced. F: Thick, chewy, carbonated, and creamy. Decent alcohol bite reminiscent of the bourbon barrel heritage, but not overly boozy. Overall a very enjoyable imperial stout, well represented by BMB. Now for some bourbon neat!

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Photo of CvilleHopOnTours
5/5  rDev +26.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I don't always drink Imperial Stouts, but when I do, I definitely want the robust flavors a whiskey barrel is able to impart. Great job guys. We'll see you at the release party! https://cvilletours.rezdy.com/80446/transportation-for-concealed-darkness-day-blue-mountain-barrel-house

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Photo of Direwolf25
3.95/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

VERY smooth pour - silky. Head on which you could balance a quarter. Beautiful. Notes of vanilla, dark chocolate, malt. Medium-to-full-body, slightly bitter. Dry, almost sour aftertaste. Far more vanilla than bourbon out of this BBS.

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Photo of oldn00b
4.44/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours near jet black with thin tan head.

Nose is slightly bourbon forward, definitely plenty of roasted malt notes but also lots of chocolate as well. Coffee not so much.

Flavor follows suit. Bourbon is a great addition but not the focal point of the beer.

Barrel adds nicely to the body. Well rounded, no rough edges. This is probably the best barrel stout VA has to offer, in terms of ones always readily available.

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Photo of ThaneMcC
4.23/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours a deep motor oil brown with copious tan head. Smells pleasantly of vanilla, wood, bourbon and cocoa. Tastes sweet toasted malts forward, vanilla, wood, bourbon and vanilla with a hint of smoke. Mouthfeel is medium bodied with mild effervescence preventing it from becoming syrupy. Slight tacky finish, probably better with aging but overall very good. . .

update: fresh by Feb2017 - perhaps my tastes have changed since the initial review. . . but this year's vintage is solid, a lot of bourbon notes in the smell and taste. Well balanced and a smooth, medium bodied stout - I wish it were a bit thicker - but overall - great oak bourbon stout

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Photo of lochraneg
4.8/5  rDev +21.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Pour - dark with a small white head
Smell - bourbon distinct
Taste - can definitely taste the bourbon, but it's not over powering
Overall - Loved it. Age it if you have some

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Photo of cjgiant
4.15/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Bottle corked best by Aug, 2016:
Pours a seemingly muddled dark brown, not quite black. Dark tan head rises nicely with a regular pour. Marshmallow cocoa foam head gathers around the edge of the glass.

Nose is vanilla, light sweet chocolate, hint of coconut and barely a trace of bourbon.

Taste is hot chocolate/cocoa and vanilla up font. Transition adds a little dark cherry - a hint of tart noticeable in some sips more than others. End actually has some chocolate sweetness hitting as the combination of light astringency and maybe woody hops combine to form a little leathery taste. Bourbon seems hidden early but comes out more with warmth.

Pretty thick and coating, fairly heavy body, maybe a tad too much carbonation (nitpicking). Actually ends up leaving my tongue a bit dry while my cheeks feel a light coating.

Maybe a tad sweet, but decently bitter in the end to compensate. Perhaps a little less dichotomy within the pour to blend the two parts would take this up a notch.

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Photo of ChrisP802
4.04/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Pour - dark with a small white head
Smell - bourbon hits fast and hard, maybe roasted malt too
Taste - can definitely taste the bourbon, but it's not over powering. chocolate and maybe vanilla
Overall - nothing special here, but nothing to pass up if given the chance to try

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Photo of schoolboy
4.04/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

I was shopping a Heinen's grocery store looking for Bottlehouse beers which they were supposed to start carrying. No bottlehouse, but I found one of these that looked like it should be well aged and had a best by date of 12/2015. Based on some other comments, I think that puts this one at more than half a year in the bottle - ready to drink but not over the hill (like some reviewers seem to have had).

It is all black and beautiful. The head is delicate and plentiful. Excellent. The aroma is boozy. On top of the booze is a sweet, pungent, hoppy malty smell, with just a hint of roastiness. Outstanding.

The taste keeps getting better as you sip. It's boozy and malty. The aftertaste is ... boozy. But that's fine. My lips are sticking together with sweet malty goodness. All the Bourbon barrel aging is totally assimilated.

This is a wonderful brew. I feel very fortunate to have found it earlier today, perfectly aged. I contemplated aging it further, but being two months from the best by date and considering the reviewers who had what seemed to be over the hill bottles, I thought now is the best time. It's great and I deserve it.

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Photo of tigg924
4.15/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours black, opaque, with one inch head. Taste is bourbon barrel, sweet and baker's chocolate and light vanilla. Nice and smooth. Really enjoying this sipper. Right up there with the brewery's best.

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Photo of cdhaines
4.56/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Looks and tastes exactly like a good stout should - thick, smooth mouthfeel with just the right amount of smokiness, light bourbon flavor from the barrels used

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Photo of Jadjunk
3.74/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.75

"The mystery of great beer challenges the spirit of adventure in all who seek a higher level to this ancient brew. Dark Hollow blends the miracle of two crafts - brewing and distillation - to create a work greater than the sum of its parts. Our Imperial Stout has been aged in charred American Oak bourbon barrels, and for 100 days the young beer patiently breathes in and out of the wood, gaining complexity, characteer, and serieous attitude. This ale is always bottle conditioned and can be enjoyed immediately upon its release from the brewery... of five years later, when you dust off the last vintage bottle from your cellar to share with good company." Dark Hollow is brewed in the style of an American Imperial Stout, aged in Oak Bourbon barrels. Initially produced and sold in small quantity individual bottles at the brewery, this bottle is one of batch #15 from spring 2012.

Poured from a 750ml. bottle to a snifter glass. Served above 59 degrees Fahrenheit.

(Appearance) Pours a thin, light wispy head of a mocha brown color over a near jet black body. Retention is poor and lacing is light and spotty. Visibly undercarbonated, closely approaching flat. 3

(Smell) Moderately roasted malt, thick molasses and dark fruit, mild lactose and chocolate grains. Overall slightly sweet but very robust to balance. 4

(Taste) Chocolate and dark fruit forward, with a moderate roasted malt midsection, finishing with the slightly sweet and drying conclusion of bourbon, vanilla and oak. Highly drinkable, very enjoyable. 4

(Mouthfeel) The texture is slick, lightly creamy, modestly dry. Carbonation is very low, generating a very low frothiness and a very light crisp finish. Body is moderate for the style, shy of heavy overall. Balance is slightly roasty and drying over sweet. Alcohol presence is mild and there are no off characters. The limitations of the carbonation in this batch were too strong to overlook, and negatively impacted the overall impressions of this beer. 2.5

(Overall) Dark Hollow is in my estimations a quality small-scale brewed Imperial Stout. This being Batch #15 from 2012, there have been more batches since but the drinkability was impeded by the flatness of this bottle in particular. Perhaps not a good seal or an issue of quality control, I do not overlook this issue, but recall from multiple experience prior that this beer can be much better with correct carbonation. A great bottle to pick up especially when in Blue Mountain's neck of the woods. 3.75

Blue Mountain Brewery's
Dark Hollow Ale Aged In Oak Bourbon Barrels

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4.02/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Blue Mountain Barrel House "Dark Hollow"
25.4 fl. oz. brown glass bottle, corked & caged.
Cork dated "Best By: NOV 2015"
$10.99 @ Cost Plus World Market, Arlington, VA

Appearance: Opaque brown-black body beneath a massive head of very dark tan foam. Excellent head retention and lacing.

Aroma: Dark-skinned fruit, berries and red grape, bittersweet chocolate, and a bit of nuttiness combine with char, a waft of smoke, a light touch of wood, and Bourbon. With each subsequent sniff each of these components appear, but almost always in a different order. It's complex and interesting, but not particularly welcoming.

Flavor: Black coffee comes into the mix, along with a bit of something medicinal (I'm thinking it has something to do with a combination of alcohol and char); and the fruitiness that was there seems to have withered a bit into dried dark fruit. It's bitter, a bit acidic, and a touch astringent. The grain and nuttiness remain, but the oak that was welcoming in the nose returns in the flavor a bit harshly, turning dry and raspy when combined with the bitterness and alcohol; and the Bourbon remains, but it's not quite as pleasant as the nose suggested it would be. As it warms some coconut comes forward, as well as a bit of nuttiness. It's generally disappointing because everything is present but it just doesn't come together properly. Perhaps an additionally year of aging would round and smooth it, at the very least softening the alcoholic edge that it has.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with a dextrinous edge and a fine-bubbled median carbonation that foams up when poured, releasing some of its gas, and becoming quite smooth.

Overall: It lacks roundness and polish with sharp points of burnt roastiness, alcohol, semi-tart dark fruit, and misaligned Bourbon. I'm quite sure that fresh Bourbon was added to the barrels before being filled, but that's just conjecture, and to a certain extent completely irrelevant as what's needed is simply more time in the barrel.

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Photo of BradtheGreat7
3.98/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

1 pint 9.4oz bomber with a great shape. Caged and corked with an excellent screen printed logo of a tunnel of darkness. Dark Hollow has a nice look to it. Poured into a slightly tuliped snifter.

A - black as it gets with a small hint of ruby brown toward the bottom edge that barely finds any light at all. Light brown head pours massive and never vanishes leaving ridiculously sticky lace all over this glass. Surprising for the style and gets top marks for its beauty.

S - roasted malt and hints of char. Bittersweet chocolate and the faintest hints of sweet caramel and buttery sugar. Oak and vanilla whiffs are present as this warms. Like sweet chocolate booziness as it warms. Very nice!

T - roasted malt, charred oak, bittersweet chocolate follow directly in line with the nose with a sweet buttery bourbon note faintly finding it's way through the big roasted, breaded malt backbone.

M - big bodied but lacking a bit of thickness in the finish. Texture does coat the mouth but again lacks a bit of thickness that the best of bba stouts carry. Hints of booziness in the finish does add some complexity but by no means rich and complex in flavor.

O - Blue Mountain has a good stout here no doubt, but perhaps it could use more time in the barrel. It just lacks that big vanilla sweetness that make the best bourbon barrel imperial stouts so highly sought after. Don't get me wrong, this is a very good Imperial Stout, but it's not to be held in the same class as the greatest. Another 6 months in a Kentucky bourbon barrel would do Dark Hollow good and maybe push it into that category for the simple fact the quality is indeed there, but it lacks those barrel characteristics that we all go mad for. 100 days in the barrel? The best touch the bourbon oak for at least 12 months...Again, hats off to the Virginia brewery for creating a lovely underdog sort of BBA imperial stout, but let's through this thing in a kentucky bourbon barrel and sit it in a dark brew house for about 15 months, bc it just lacks thay real deal bourbon sweetness. Not great, but still a Good stout, don't get me wrong. This just needs more time to grow inside the barrel before it's bottled and in ways never reaching it's full potential. A YEAR at least in am authentic Kentucky Bourbon Barrel would do Dark Hollow a great deal of good.

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Dark Hollow Artisanal Ale from Blue Mountain Brewery
3.95 out of 5 based on 758 ratings.
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