Dismiss Notice
We're celebrating 10 years of BeerAdvocate magazine with $10 print subscriptions for US residents.

Subscribe now!

The Fundamental Blackhorn | Hornbeer

Log in or Sign up to start rating.
very good
20 Reviews
no score
Send samples
The Fundamental BlackhornThe Fundamental Blackhorn

Brewed by:

Style: American Double / Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 11.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
Coffee malt, chocolate malt, black malt, honey. Dry hopped and aged on oak and walnut casks.

120 IBU.

Added by bark on 06-07-2011

For Trade:
View: Beers | Events
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 20 | Ratings: 55
Photo of biboergosum
3.95/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

500ml bottle - so, this is sort of the un-peated Black Magic Woman, then?

This beer pours a solid black abyss, with the barest of red cola basal edges, and two fingers of puffy, very loosely foamy, and quite bubbly dark brown head, which leaves a bit of random descending alien warship lace around the glass as it genially abates.

It smells of roasted caramel malt, some biscuity toffee, a buttered white bread weirdness, cafe-au-lait, weak black licorice, muddled citrus/pine west coast Americana, more free-range ashiness, and more leafy, weedy, and floral green hop bitters. The taste is bready and doughy caramel malt, some soused-up toffee measures, raw brown honey-flecked sugar, edgy anise spice, bittersweet cocoa powder, a still hard to love mixed citrus and piney hop bitterness, and some moving in without a permit metallic booziness.

The carbonation is fairly understated in its plainly rendered frothiness, the body a solid medium-heavy weight, and mostly smooth, with a hard to pin down creaminess always at the outer gates, as it were. It finishes generally sweet, the cocoa, honey, and malt seeing to having it their way (apologies to Burger King), alongside the lingering generic hop bitterness.

Overall, this is yet another big-ass brew from this Danish concern, but one with a claim of '120' IBUS. Let's address that, shall we? Ok, nothing here suggests a huge (I can only picture M. Trump right now, fuck) hop offset, but there is just enough actual bitterness hanging around here to keep this offering from going off the proverbial rails, as it were.

 1,579 characters

Photo of CrazyDavros
3.64/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours black with a dark tan head.
Nose shows liquorice, woody notes, sweet malt, caramel and chocolate fudge.
Heavy and decadent flavours, with lots of roasted malt, some liquorice and a whack of booze.

 202 characters

Photo of aleigator
4.39/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Pours a huge beige head, with a viscous, motor oil black color.

Tastes very hoppy for an imperial stout, with leavy, almost fruit hops among bready to biscuity malts. Mingles a walnut aroma into this foundation, putting the beer into a more typical stout direction, revealing roasted coffee and even a honeyed hint.

Has a lower carbonation and a medium to fuller mouthfeel, exhibiting its fantastic variety of flavors.

Begins silky smooth, with black ground coffee, bakers chocolate and old walnut shells. Drinks amazingly dough, with lots of cream balancing sucessfully the distinct, earthy bitterness. A whiff of honey from the nose gets transformed into the flavors, adding just a glance of sweetness to the dominant coffee, also evoking glazed caramel, but only in smallest quantities. Finishes with the honey sweetness, luscious fudge, a distinct, earthy nut infused maltiness, among slightly tropical hops, creating a silk dryness which then evokes the prominent coffee bitterness.

Wow, what a treat! This features the most versatile possible taste for a non ba-stout, exhibiting black ipa features, coffee stout features, and sweet oatmeal stout features, all blending perfectly together, gently illustrated by whipped cream.

 1,237 characters

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

Black beer with a brown, two finger high, head.

Nose: Vanilla, coffee, milk chocolate, cream, roasted malt, wood and pine.
Taste: Dark chocolate, coffee, licorice, milk chocolate, whipped cream, roasted malt, molasses, roasted malt and oak.
Body: Full body with light carbonation. Balanced beer with bitterness and sweetness in a great combination.

Delicious stout with a great balance!

 390 characters

Photo of biegaman
4.1/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

The Fundamental Blackhorn is fundamentally black. Call me uncreative if you like but this is such a seriously, staunchly opaque beer that it leaves little else to describe it by. Not even the brightest bulb in my room can unearth any colour from this scorched complexion. When even the head is darker than sable you know you're in for something good...

Hornbeer are great at making interesting *sounding* beers. I failed to appreciate any of the birch- or peat-smoked malt of their Black Magic Woman and the distinguishing features of this offering - the chestnut and oak wood chips on which it's aged - are equally unapparent. They may contribute to the overall product but their influence certainly isn't noted in the aroma, at least not much.

In fairness, the wood probably shouldn't dominate. And besides it's tough to be noticed in a recipe comprised majorly of black, chocolate, and coffee malts. These ingredients ensure a dense, rich flavour profile that includes the dark chocolate and coffee notes you'd logically expect as well as more intricate flavours and aromas of black forest cake, tiramisu, and fine Belgian truffles.

Not to mention the fact that those 120 IBU kick in sooner or later; such a robust hoppiness can't help but impart a pungent piny character and the woodsy, leafy, earthy notes of the forest floor. Bitterness is surprisingly kept in check, however, and my money is on the honey - that's another ingredient not exactly noticeable but one that plays a strategic part in the overall scheme.

My initial notes for The Fundamental Blackhorn refer to it as "so friendly it's almost frisky". I'll admit I'm not wowed by the depth or complexity of this sizable offering but I am again impressed by how approachable it is; the integration of hops, malts, and wood rolls rich, dark, bitter flavours into a notably smooth package that's way too drinkable for how strong it is. Get cozy with it.

 1,927 characters

Photo of BGDrock
3.88/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Appearance: black with mocha head that doesn't really fill out, but some suds last a while

Aroma: root beer, sweet chocolate

Taste & Mouthfeel: dark roasted coffee and powdery, bitter chocolate, balanced by some caramel sweetness; very clean mouthfeel, super-easy drinking, with dry fiinish - given the alcohol level and relatively intense taste, it's actually quite incredible how easy this goes down and how quickly you want another sip; finish lingers with dark chocolate, which begins to lead the flavour profile with more fullness, less bitterness, if one-noted

Overall: a well constructed brew, with aggressive roasted malt flavours that go down easy due to a clean, smooth body - could be a good introduction for the average beer drinker

 747 characters

Photo of kevinlater
4.35/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

500ml bottle into goblet. 10% abv. best before 01.10.2024. consumed on february 3, 2015

a: void-like black, with cola-coloured glow at the bottom of the glass. topped with a finger of dark brown head

s: aggressive smoky espresso at first, then dark chocolate. wood aromas and piney hops follow. a pinch of alcohol

t: holy flavour bomb. extremely potent dark-roast coffee/espresso in the front, accompanied by a bitterness you would expect from such a beverage. a strong hop presence follows (piney & slightly citrusy), along with notes of wood (i guess this is the oak?) and fig. no alcohol tastes. the finish is dark, roasty, and bitter -- 120 IBUs sounds about right

m: medium-full body, with very little carbonation. somewhat viscous. dry finish. good stuff

o: really blew me away with how strong the flavours are. an incredibly tasty high-abv stout

 867 characters

Photo of mick303
4.15/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured inky black with a dense creamy cap of dark tan foamy head and lacing.

S - immediate aromas of strong espresso coffee, also a lot of hop notes, citrusy grapefruit and orange, resiny pine notes, sappy and foresty. Coffee beans, some hot chocolate notes, roasty caramel, altogether it is rich, coffee and roast malt forward, with some hop aromatics also.

T - rich dark malt without undue astringency or bitterness, dark chocolate initially with orange and citrus notes coming in, coffee comes in gradually, with some dry earthyiness. Toasty, some of the oaky woodiness comes out here, with caramel for sure, some honey malt, roastiness pervades this beer, some woodiness and vanilla creep in to mingle. Some alcohol warmth but it is hidden exceedingly well but the richness of the malt flavours and the help from the hops.

M - big body, some alcohol warms but hidden behind the robustness of the roast malt, also quite a bit of hoppy bitterness on this making for a quite well balanced stout. Slight carbonation, plenty of sapping dryness and a lingering roasty finish.

Overall this was quite nice and impressive, didn't explode out of the glass but the balance of the citrus and sappy sappy hops played well against the robust coffee roastiness. A delicious and flavourful imperial stout, warming and robust with good balance, hops shone more on the aroma but the taste had a good contribution as well actually. Very nice.

 1,431 characters

Photo of polloenfuego
3.98/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A: Dark brown, almost black in color with a thin one finger head that breaks quickly leaving little to no lacing in its wake.

S: Malts, roasts, coffee, smoke, and some leather.

T: All the aromas come through on the tongue with the additions of peat and smoke.

M: Thicker body with a milder carbonation that gives this beer a heavier feel.

O: A pleasant sipper. I know that for some people the peaty flavor in beer can be a turn off, but in this beer it works. It works well with the roasts and malts to give a good balance. The alcohol is not noticeable and all in all I'd say this a great for a cold day.

 616 characters

Photo of bylerteck
3.84/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Bottle from LCBO.

A - Pours black with a great mocha head of one finger. Big bubbles in the head and some good carbonation coming up. Good lace ring and a film of retention.

S - Coffee, roast, molasses, leather, sugary.

T - Boozy, dark fruit, sugary, molasses again, less roast, some woodiness.

M - Good thick body, mild to medium carbonation and a woody/boozy finish.

O/D - Solid stout. A touch too much oak on there, but otherwise tasty.

 444 characters

Photo of spinrsx
3.9/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

500ml Bottle from the Ottawa LCBO for $7.70

Appearance - Dark brown colour with an average size frothy beige head. I can't make out the amount of carbonation showing and there is some fair lacing. The head lasted for over 5 minutes before it was gone.

Smell - Malts, chocolate, coffee, vanilla, hops

Taste & Mouth - There is a below amount of carbonation and I can taste malts, chocolate, and coffee. There is also some smoke/charred notes, hops, and a bit of a dark fruit flavour.

Overall - A little bit of an odd peaty/metallic flavour going on at times, but for the most part a very solid beer worth picking up. The alcohol is well hidden.

 647 characters

Photo of DaveBar
4.07/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Purchased at the LCBO for just under $8.00 for a 500ml bottle. Served at 9deg C in a tulip.

A- Nice opening and pour to a bubbly brown head that is there for a bit until it films out.

S- Rather good but lack body but very forgivable considering......

T- Outstanding for a high level mid grade stout. This is a nice warm figgy, sweet and sickly beer. Good winter beer warming up after a long cold drive on a highway.

M- A bit chalky. Don't like that dry coco hit

O- Nice beer. Enjoyable to say the least. Lack of nose hurt this girl. Other than that it was a pleasantly good one.

Food Pairing

This wonderful little stout went well with....... The other half of my T bone steak. Just melts the mount and meat.


 723 characters

Photo of DenisKolkin
4.01/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

500 ml bottle served fairly cold into a pint glass. Purchased from local LCBO for about $7.50 CDN. Advertised as 10.0% ABV.

Appearance - Big and black, a light eradicating black hole of a beer. Dark tan colored head of about half a finger is poured with great retention and a small swath of sticky lacing left behind.

Smell - Chocolate and roasty coffee aromas, with a leafy hoppy and sour smelling presence. Some smokey cedar in the background, but on the whole the leafy hoppy aroma shows up the most.

Taste - Starts leafy and hoppy, with some earthy undertones, before the coffee switch is flipped and takes over. Dominant coffee bean flavor in the aftertatse. Minimal chocolate throughout. Plenty of oak like flavors, and intense bitterness upon the conclusion. Bigger and more bitter than most stouts and the generous use of hops isn't unnoticed.

mouthfeel - Full bodied for sure with lively carbonation and a very dry slightly, heated and boozy finish. Damn good feel. Oily and slick on the tongue.

Overall - A beer that is quite bitter even among big beers, rather tasty and less coffee based than expected. A good and worthy beer for the price, but probably one that you want to share given the intensity.

 1,219 characters

Photo of LampertLand
3.84/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Hornbeer 'The Fundamental Blackhorn' @ 10.0% , served from a couple of 500 ml bottle's purchased for $9 each

A-pour is black from the bottle to glass with a medium size fine tan head which is quickly dissapating leaving a minimal lace ring along the pint

S-coffee & booze , hint of chocolate

T-ok tasting 'RIS' , no wow factor , lots of smoke and a coffee bitterness on the swallow

MF-ok/good carbonation , big full body , dryness on the palate lingers

Ov-ok beer ,

prost LampertLand

 491 characters

3.83/5  rDev -4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On-tap. Shaker glass @ Cervecería Freiburg. Pure black color headed by dark tan foam. Creamy & spotty crown. Coffee infusion, chocolate, roasted & herbal deep aromas. Roasted malt & underneath bitter upfront. Prune & spiced hues. Full body. Moderate carbonation. Dense texture. Bitter cocoa, coffee & resiny flavors in the middle linger into a dry finish. Dried – black bread like- mouthfeel & aftertaste. ABV well masked. Good job !!

 437 characters

Photo of bark
3.56/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

The liquid is jet black, the ½ finger thick head is dark chocolate brown and very compact. It leaves some lacing on the glass.

The smell is strong and matured. Coffee candy, oak barrels, prunes, some sour malty notes, sweet honey, caramel and red berries. Dry notes of dark bread and Irish whisky. Alcohol in the background. It is a bit… straggling?

The taste is at first dry; however a smooth sweetness soon emerges. Strong sweet coffee, honey, liquorice, some salty notes. Roasted malts, of course, but also some dark rum and whiskey fudge. Very fragile smoked hints. Medium body. Some raspberries and plums/prunes. The aftertaste is dryer and bitterer: Hints of tobacco, alcohol, fresh flowers, coca and spicy hints of nutmeg. The finish is smooth with fruits, cream candy and dark chocolate.

The carbonation is mild, the many smooth bubbles small. The liquid is semi-dry and semi-smoot.

 897 characters

Photo of ThaCreep
4.85/5  rDev +21.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The nose feels clear all the power of the drink and all its complexity. It offers complex flavors and strong coffee liqueur and dark chocolate melted. Full range of bitter flavors and roasted goes.

In the mouth, the body remains highly drinkable despite significant power and bitterness powerful but controlled carefully (you do not feel the so-called 120 IBU). The roasted malt adds to the persistence in this perfect taste balance that provides additional miles flavors (mocha, praline chocolate, alcohol, coffee, honey roast ...) and oh so delicious. All stands and gives a slap in the mouth. Maturation in oak adds more complexity, if that is possible.

A real spanking to the so-called "russian imperial stout" from the same Danish brewery. BlackHorn is permanently closed in the top of the best stouts in the world.

 824 characters

Photo of Phyl21ca
3.5/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle: Poured a pitch-black color stout with a large dark brown foamy head with good retention and some lacing. Aromas of roasted malt with light lactose notes are interesting. Taste is a mix between some dry roasted malt notes with some light black chocolate and some subtle lactose notes. Body is full with good carbonation and no apparent alcohol. I am starting to find that the beers form this brewery are lacking a little bit of character to make them truly interesting and wanting to drink them on a regular basis.

 521 characters

Photo of Evil_Pidde
4.03/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours pitch black with a large thick brown head that slowly dissipates into rich lacings.

S: Lots of sweet roasted malt, but also rich in chocolate, the dark bitter sort. Oranges and smoked ham. Molasses. Faint vanilla.

T: Rich sweet roasted, almost burned malt. Strong black coffee and dark bitter chocolate. Dark dried fruits. Oranges and vanilla.

M: Aftertaste lingers for some time and holds a burnt/smoked bitter sweetness. Body is full and smooth, while carbonation is moderate.

O: A really nice Imp. stout. Not too much of anything, but clearly not too little either.

 582 characters

Photo of rarbring
3.8/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer is black with brown tones and has a tan head, rather little lacing but very good curtains.

The smell is much chocolate and oranges (like chocolate covered orange marmalade), but also slightly liqueur and some cask nuances. A whiff of glue as well.

Starts sweet with dried fruits and chocolate, oranges and black currants.

Little carbonation, soft and oily, a big body, not dry.

Very nice after dinner, slowly sipping is the formula.

 445 characters

The Fundamental Blackhorn from Hornbeer
3.99 out of 5 based on 55 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • Extreme Beer Fest® Cometh

    February 3-4, 2017. Boston, Mass. Limited tickets available. Prepare for epicness.

    Learn More
  • Free Trial Subscription

    Reside in the US? Interested in a free 1-month trial subscription to the print edition of BeerAdvocate magazine?

    Yes! Sign Me Up!