Black Hole | Weyerbacher Brewing Co.

very good
195 Ratings
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Black HoleBlack Hole

Brewed by:
Weyerbacher Brewing Co.
Pennsylvania, United States

Style: Old Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.00%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by stirgy on 03-19-2004

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 195 |  Reviews: 176
Photo of aquatonex
1.6/5  rDev -57.9%
look: 4 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

Cool name, that's the best part though...

Pours darkest brown to tar colored, dark drown head. Lots of lacing, decent carbonation, and very viscous. Taking a whiff, ick. Smells old! Very aggressive alcohols and offensive (rotten-like) malts. Taste follows with heavily alcoholed and bittered malts. Any sweet bits are completely overwhelmed. Can't get past the rough points. Had to dump the rest. It even had problems going down the drain, clinging on to the sink :). Maybe consistent quality is an issue here?

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Photo of freeagent
2.24/5  rDev -41.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Poured from the bottle into a Duvel tulip.

Pours jet black with zero head.

Very weak aroma. I'm wondering if this bottle may have seen it's day.

Mouthfeel is as expected. Very light and almost no carbonation at all.

Flavor is bordering on a sour! I was hoping for something with a bit more depth and suspect that this particular bottle is past it's prime.

Overall, I was disappointed. I sat on this guy for too long! It already had five or six years on it when I purchased it a couple of years back and I should of drank it then.
I love Weyerbacher and will continue to enjoy their other fantastic offerings.

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Photo of nomad
2.37/5  rDev -37.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Could you guess its a black beer? Not an ounce of light coming out, it had a mocha-colored thin sheen of a head, quite bubbly in a cheap sudsy way. Some thin lace. A bit listless looking.

Smell is highly nutty and strongly of toasty dark malt, yet plaintively. One-dimensional and a bit boring once you settle into it. To me, it smells like a run-of-the mill stout.

Taste is full of dark roast flavor, a big nutty core, and plenty of black malt flavor and burnt toast bitterness. Quite dry in the finish. A lot of dark and burnt flavors with little return for the palate; merely drying and ragged with an average bill of roasted grains. Thin-to-moderate mouthfeel.

I was expecting a bit more dynamism, complexity, uniqueness because its a stout-ish, schwarzbier-ish experiment of a strong ale, but like many a Weyerbacher its a flat character. Searched for angles and details but could not find any, so the last bits of it found my kitchen sink.

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Photo of Maestro
2.55/5  rDev -32.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

This beer is quite par for the Weyerbacher course. It is okay but nothing to write home about. The beer is very dark brown with a thin, tan head that dissapates rather quickly. The nose is a bit sour and metallic. The taste is also metallic and reminiscent of a black and tan. The hops seem to be very subdued. Mouthfeel is dry and a bit sour. Not impressive all-around.

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Photo of ybnorml
2.68/5  rDev -29.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

A very dark brown/ black beer with some faint mahogony highlights. Has a big creamy dark beige head. The aroma is mostly whiskey barrel and oak with some vanilla in the background. Mostly sour notes in the taste. With an alcohol burning on the back of the throat and tongue.

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Photo of bsuedekum
2.75/5  rDev -27.6%

Photo of mjc410
2.8/5  rDev -26.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

The pour into my Hobgoblin tulip raises a luscious inch-plus medium-dark tan head that lasts and lasts as it falls slowly. The lacing is surprisingly weak, though. Despite the name, the beer is not utterly black. Held up to sunlight, the slightest hints of ruby light escape the singularity. The aroma is of crusty bread, and bitter coffee and chocolate. It seems so dry in the nose. Taste is very dry and bitter, without much complexity, just a strong, dried roastedness. The mouthfeel is smooth and low-carbonated, medium-bodied. I wish this were a smaller bottle. Not a drain pour, but not a keeper, either.

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Photo of jwinship83
2.98/5  rDev -21.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

22oz bottle traded to me about 10 months back from user shaggy9356. thanks again. drank from my stone IRS snifter.

A- the pour yields an opaque black colored body that light cannot escape. on top sits a beige colored head. the head sticks around for a while before falling, and leaves behind small spots of lacing.

S- roasted malts jump out immediately. after that i get some milk and chocolate followed by trace amounts of vanilla. a little bit of coffee moves in towards the end. the alcohol seems pretty well hidden.

T- the taste starts out with more of the lightly roasted malts that i could smell. after that i get some unfortunate signs of oxidation--tartness and wet cardboard. a little bit of chocolate (mostly milk) moves in after that. a little bit of coffee and earthy hops at the end.

M- the body is a solid medium. the carbonation is just a little under average. mild warmth from the alcohol. slightly sour.

O- i was surprised to have a bottle of this beer, since im not sure it has been brewed since i joined BA. i also wish that i would have gotten a chance to see it before it started to go downhill. if this gets brewed again, ill be all over it.

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Photo of Jmamay22
3/5  rDev -21.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Wild label that no longer mentions anything about being an old ale or porterish.

Pours out a cola colored near black. Thin head disappears to near nothing and leaves only a thin collar. No lacing.

Smells of sweet molasses and raisins. Certainly on the sweeter side with no hint of hops. Comes off smelling a bit like cinnamon and chocolate syrup. At this point given the looks and smell I'm a little concerned at what the first sip will bring. While the smell isn't displeasing it leads me to believe things will be overwhelmingly sweet. Anyways on to that sip!

Surprisingly it is not cloyingly sweet, but has some lactic sour characteristics to balance out the sweetness. This sweet and sour taste comes off as one dimensional and slightly uninspiring.

Fizzy mouthfeel that buzzes in my mouth like soda rather than creating any silky smooth or pleasing qualities. Rather thin given my expectations. Highly drinkable, but maybe too drinkable. I was hoping for something a little more viscous and complex. Not my favorite from Weyerbacher. Glad I only went with one of them in the mixed case I picked up.

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Photo of maximum12
3.02/5  rDev -20.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Downed a North Coast Old Stock old ale last night, & it couldn't possibly be more different than this brew unless it came in a can with "Bud Light" across the front.

The old ale is black. Dark black, like a RIS. Dark fruits come out of the glass, the smell is very nice. Tastes a little off, like a porter that someone tossed some cherries into, decided to age out, changed his mind on the yeast a few times, then just figured, well, what the hell, we'll call this an old ale. An odd mishmash of color, smell, taste, & rather thin beer for its appearance & pedigree. I'd be hard-pressed to drink more than one of these.

Well, this is the first non-very-good Weyerbacher brew I've sampled, so I guess that's a pretty damn good run of great beers. I had high hopes for this one, but it's only decent.

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Photo of foureyedgeek
3.03/5  rDev -20.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Dark black cherry color, with a tinge of purple in it. Dark tan head that fades quickly leaving a light topping of foam. Fine, creamy lacing.

Smells of roasted malts with a little alcohol as well. A little smokey too, but not a whole lot of aroma, really.

Tastes a little burnt, not smokey, mind you. Very malty with no hop presence, which is to be expected, I suppose, but I wish there was more coming across with the malts, more complexity. Kind of flat in the mouth too.

I'm really surprised with the mouthfeel, being such a dark, purportedly rich old ale (some may say it's more of a porter) its quite thin.

This beer would be more drinkable if it had more flavors to it, that burnt taste doesn't really seem that great. Remarkably average.

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Photo of dmamiano
3.1/5  rDev -18.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours a very dark brown, small tan head that hangs on a bit. Lacing noted

Smells chocolately, hints of almost metallic. Roasted and dark malts prevailant.

Taste is very full, roasty with a bitter finish.
Almost "stout" like in appearance and taste.
Very full mouthfeel.
Tasting chocolate, with an alchohol burn on the tongue.
Bitterness at the finish last a while.

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Photo of CRJMellor
3.13/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Pours a dark red and bronze color with some bacl highlights. Light brown head has some tight carbonation bubbles and some staying power.
Aroma has some dark chocolate, roasted coffee and a slightly sour hint and maybe one vanilla bean under the radar.
Flavors were soft chocolate, very little roasted coffee and a lactic malted milk ball kind of sourness. how this is an old ale I'll never know. Hint of bitterness lies on the lighter side of the spectrum.
Little bit of green apple shows up has it warms, diacetyl - maybe ?
Mouthfeel is a tad thin for either an old ale or even a porterish type of style. Sour notes are sort of off-putting to be honest. Some decent qualities but this relaly seems to be a bit of a jumbled mess.
Drinkability ws average only because it didn't offend too much but this was a pretty strange beer.

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Photo of santoslhalper
3.13/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearence: Pours a deep reddish-black with a thick chocolate head. This is an Old Ale? Coulda fooled me.

Smell: The smell is of faintly roasted barley, but hardly anything else. very weak smelling, and definitly doesn't smell like an Old Ale.

Taste and Mouthfeel: Old Ale? It's almost like a stout. It doesn't have the normal alcohol content an old ale, but the strong malt flavor and bitter hops really taste quite nice, although unbalanced and still quite stout like. The mouthfeel is thick and rich.

Drinkability and Overall: I'm going to check on Weyerbacher's site to see if the entered this as an Old Ale or not, cause it sure doesn't taste like one. If it's an Old Ale, it's a terrible example, it it's a stout or even an export stout, it delicious.

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Photo of cpetrone84
3.13/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

A-pours a black liquid with a burnt caramel colored head that is dense and creamy.

S-lots of chocolate with notes of vanilla, hints of molasses behind with a touch of roasted coffee.

T-big time chocolate, touch of vanilla and molasses, notes of roasted coffee in the back

M-smooth on the palate but a little thin, low carbonation letting the body fall off in the back.

D-pretty straight forward stout style beer, roasted dark malts and nothing else and not really well done. the thin body gives it a watery presence.

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Photo of bamadog
3.15/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I got this one just over a year ago from Crazy Nelson, due to some unfortunate circumstances. So I'll drink this one to him. Review is from notes taken on 7/24/2011 and poured from the bottle to a snifter.

Appearance: Pour is a dark cola brown/near coffee black and it starts with a healthy one finger, creamy, dark tan head that fades relatively quickly to a thin, incomplete and uneven skim with a thicker, foamier ring around the surface; body is dark and opaque; a few loose strands and spots of lacing are left behind.

Smell: Nose is very solid, and doesn't strike me as an Old Ale -- more like an RIS with bitter sweet chocolate, perhaps some cocoa nibs; bit of smokiness and some dark, sweet cherries; just a touch of some caramel.

Taste: Ah, sad to say it, but I think this one has passed it's prime as the taste isn't as good as the nose made me think it would be -- first and foremost there is a sweet, buttery diacetyl flavor to it and then the cherries, but they come across as a little sour and tart; in the end there is a bittersweet chocolate, with some earthy roastiness and touch of smoke. All in all, if it didn't start so sweet, it would be better. Can't blame a guy for trying, though. This one should have been cracked upon getting as the 7% ABV may not have been enough to keep this one alive and kicking.

Mouthfeel: Mouth is a bit thin and watery, and I would say it's of medium/light in terms of weight; carbonation has held up quite well, and it comes across as soft and mildly prickly; a thin, moist coating is left all over the mouth that becomes cottony dry.

Overall: I wish I would have tried it closer to its bottling date, but what's a guy to do? It was already retired when I got it so it may have been too old at that point, and it's still not a bad offering. The smell is easily the best part.

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Photo of DrJay
3.15/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Dark brown with chestnut highlights, a rough pour generated about an inch of moussy, light brown head. Decent retention and minimal lacing. Sweet caramel booze aroma with roasted and chocolate notes. Strong burnt and roasted character with moderate bitterness. Some caramel and cocoa are thrown in there as well. The dark malts really linger in the finish. The body was a bit light, but the texture was decent. This seemed to have a bit of boldness at first, but I became less impressed by the end. Not bad, not great - and the roasted malts come off a little too powerful.

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Photo of cbl2
3.15/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

9/2/2005 $6.19 22 oz. 6.50% Winter Seasonal 2005.


Pours inky black with a very thin dark tan head that has decent retention. Fine carbonation throughout.


Roasted malts, coffee and some milk chocolate prevail.


Burnt coffee flavor, along with an oddly sweet though bitter roasted flavor. Old ale? How. If it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, then it's a duck. And this one quacks like a poorly put together porter. Barely tolerable.

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Photo of goodbyeohio
3.2/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

this year's vintage (05)

pours black. duh.

sparse bubbling and thick brown head like an egg cream. soapy almost.

aroma: coffee and chocolate with a mild acidity and hop notes. smells like a light porter.

taste follows this but with much more hop bitterness than expected. too many flavors and nuances to this beer cause chaos and confusion in my mouth. black ale to me isn't so much a style here as it is the by-product of combining so many different angles.

drinkable, but a bit too crazy for me.

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Photo of PSUDREW
3.2/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

this pour, is akin to the guiness. fizzy fuzzy, creamy head, sinking bubbles, nice look, but, somehow, not impressive. nice, but still not impressive. Smells like burnt chocolate.

Umm, it has a mix of tastes. There is the thick choco-powered mixed w/ toasted coffee, and hoppy undertones and a nutty finish. It comes together nicely enough, but nothing to write home about

All in all, it is an ok beer. I am not overly impressed like some, but I am not dissapointed by any means. Not Old heathen, but not bad at all

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Photo of JohnnyM2002
3.2/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

It pours a thick black with a very small head, looks like a stout. Smell is dominated by malt...almost smells smoked. Very malty and smokey taste, it goes down pretty thick, too. It is a drinkable beer..I'd definitely grab a stout first, though. It's just missing a little something to make it needs some chocolate to counter the smokey taste.

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Photo of timtheenchanta
3.23/5  rDev -15%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Thanks to BeerBeing for sending me this one to try. Here we go.

Very dark brown drink. Very thin head that dissipates quickly. No lacing. Great nose. Big roasted malt smell. Dark chocolate, slight caramel, a hint of alcohol... it smells a bit like a porter. When I first poured it, I smelled some sort of wine. I don't know wines so I can't tell what type it was but it smelled slightly of wine. This brew is so smooth and creamy. Delightful feeling but the immediate tastes aren't much better than average (hence the rating). The taste is actually a bit bland. There's a hint of roasted malt and a slight alcohol twang but that's about it. There's far more flavor in the finish than while the beer is in the mouth. Big roasted flavor on the palate. Slight hoppy balance but not much. Very dry feeling leftover. Cheaper alternative to some old ales but I don't know that I'll go out of my way to get this one again.

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Photo of Ieatlambfries
3.23/5  rDev -15%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Served in a small tulip glass.

The appearance is very opaque. Lets a little red through when held up to the light. Dark tan smallish head. No lacing.

Smells of grains, caramel and butterscotch.

The taste is dominated by roasted malts. Also a hefty helping of chocolate malts. Burned toffee and slight caramel. Finish is very alcohol like.

The mouthfeel is good. Very strong bodied. The word hearty comes to mind.

Drinkability is OK. I'm not liking the finish. It's a bit of a let down with all the alcohol flavor.

I was surprised to see this listed as an old ale. I would call this closer to a porter or a stout. In fact a few years ago this probably would have been classified as a chocolate stout IMO. A decent brew, though I wouldn't go out of my way for it. But it's still a welcome addition to Weyerbacher variety pack it came in.

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Photo of TastyTaste
3.24/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

When I first saw the bottle I assumed it was a stout, but I am surprised to find out it is an old ale. Hmm. Thanks to Tyrawlings for the bomber.

Appearance: Very stout like in appearance, jet black with no light let through. Head is small and tan.

Smell: Raisin and roasted malt. A slight vinous and woody aspect, along with a little alcohol vapor.

Taste: OK, but not the beer I was expecting from the smell. The taste is dry and a little thin, with roasted malts (chocolate) making up a lot of the flavor, with some raisin flavor. Not bad, but not with the best of the style.

Drinkability: After Fuller's Vintage Ale set my benchmark of the style, this simply can't compare. It is an OK beer, nothing more.

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Photo of Drewcifer
3.28/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours pretty black, with some brown hints. A finger's worth of tan head lingers for a while.

Aroma of roasted malts, coffee, chocolate, raisin/black cherry hints. A little on the sweet smelling side.

Taste seems to be watered-down malts, a hint of chocolate, and sour fruits. Definite alcohol taste on the back end.

Medium mouthfeel, a little watery, with enough carbonation, but not too much.

Overall, it's an okay beer, at best. Not the best example of it's style, and not one I'm looking to hurry back and get again any time soon.

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Black Hole from Weyerbacher Brewing Co.
3.8 out of 5 based on 195 ratings.
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