Mikkeller Black Hole
Mikkeller is one of those (gypsy) brewers that I’ve had a rocky relationship with throughout the years. I’ve loved some of their products and really disliked others — when you have a variety of other companies brewing your product this is something that’s just about unavoidable.
Thankfully, my history with Mikkeller’s stouts has been pretty solid. Their Beer Geek Breakfast is one of my favorite oatmeal stouts. So, this bottle of their 13.01% ABV Black Hole has already got a head start over some of their other beers (as you’ll see in coming days).
Black Hole, as you can imagine by the alcohol content, is a big Russian Imperial Stout, and not just in terms of potency. The beer, brewed by De Proef Brouwerij, is hearty, robust and not for the squeamish. It packs in a ton of roasted goodness that at times, in conjunction with the alcohol, can be a bit on the aggressive side.
Black Hole pours an opaque black with a dense, brown cap of foam that fell smoothly to a full ring around the surface.
The aroma wafting from the top of the glass is quite reminiscent of Nøgne Ø’s Dark Horizon. Both have a strong and forward roast coffee presence that dominates all aspect of the beer’s aroma. Black Hole isn’t quite as intense as Dark Horizon, but it’s still got a strong roasted character, along with an earthy nature.
While there are similarities between the Nøgne Ø product and this brew, they aren’t exactly the same. Black Hole certainly carries a solid, dark roast coffee presence that demands a majority of your attention while hints of licorice, vanilla, caramel and booze arrive in varying degrees throughout. The coffee character is fairly earthy and leaves a lingering, acrid bitterness in the more-than-warming finish. There’s a residual sticky sweetness left on the lips as you make your way through the full-bodied beer.
The bottle that holds this beer may be small, but it’s contents sure is big both in terms of flavors and alcohol. This beer has got an assertiveness to it that casual fans of the stout style may not be too keen on, but for those of you that thoroughly enjoy a robust, earthy stout, this one should be right up your alley.