Mikkeller Barrel-Aged Black Hole

In anticipation of Red Wednesday, I figured it might be a good idea to check out some non-sour beers aged in red wine barrels. This one is part of a series of beers, all aged in different types of barrels. While the version aged in Scotch whisky barrels apparently represents a “scorching oral douche“, all the other variations seem to be pretty well received, including this red-wine version:

Mikkeller Barrel Aged Black Hole (Red Wine Edition)

Mikkeller Barrel-Aged Black Hole (Red Wine Edition) – Pours a thick-looking, very dark brown (almost black) color with a solid finger of light brown head. Smells sugary sweet, dark caramel and roast malt aromas, something bright that I assume is the doing of the red wine, and that oak is adding a nice rich complexity to the nose too. The taste is… whoa… yeah, that happened. Starts off very sweet followed by a big wallop of oak, then a bit of those astringent red wine tannins kick in, finishing off with mellow roast and coffee notes. Each of those flavors hits at a discrete point in the taste. One flavor hits, then fades as the next flavor rides in, only to give way to another, and so on… It’s like I’m drinking a boxing match. Fortunately, most of these flavors work well. Mouthfeel is full bodied and chewy, but not overwhelmingly so. There’s an acidic tannin kick in the mouthfeel, presumably from the red wine, but it’s not sour or even tart in any way (as expected). Overall, I’m really enjoying this unique, complex beer, though I don’t know that it’s something I’d hit up often. B+

Beer Nerd Details: 13.10% ABV bottled (375 ml capped). Drank out of a snifter on 11/9/12.

I am now officially excited for Red Thunder, as I think this sort of treatment might be better integrated into a slightly less hot base beer, but I guess we’ll find out. I’m sure I’ll pick up more of these Black Hole variations (in particular, it seems the Cognac version is popular) at some point, but I wouldn’t expect to see that anytime soon. My cellar is becoming unruly again.

3 thoughts on “Mikkeller Barrel-Aged Black Hole”

  1. I wouldn’t use this as an top level example of beers aged in red wine barrels. I’ve had a few and they vary a ton. I didn’t like this that much as I found the tannins from the red wine fought desperately for control with the base stout and not in a good way. I thought the white wine version was much better.

    However, I think Dock Street’s 2010 Prince Myshkin, on the other hand, is an excellent example of how right aging in a red wine barrel can go. Of course, some of the sharpness of the barrel was removed since they had aged their barleywine in it first, but still.

    Regardless, I wonder about Red Thunder. I didn’t think Dark Intrigue was that good and don’t feel that Victory is that good at barrel aging. I’ll definitely be waiting for reviews of Red Thunder before acquiring a bottle myself.

  2. The flavors certainly weren’t integrated into each other as much as I’d expect, but it worked well enough for me, even if it didn’t blow me away.

    Dock Street is having a release next week, I believe, and I was hoping to pick up some Prince Myshkin (though I think this release is bourbon barrel aged), among other things…

    I think we’ve discussed Dark Intrigue before, and I really enjoyed it… It seems to be a love or hate beer. Lots of folks on BA seem to hate it, but there are plenty that seem to love it too. Divisive beer, I guess.

    I’m not expecting Red Thunder to blow me away or anything, but I’m hoping it will be more integrated than this black hole beer (which, while not a top level example, will at least give me a basis for comparison). Fingers crossed. It’s not really that out of the way for me to pick up a few bottles, and these are significantly cheaper than Dark Intrigue, so I figure it’s worth the stretch.

  3. Yeah, the cost of Red Thunder makes it easier to swallow. And I didn’t think Dark Intrigue was terrible, just mediocre. Not sure that’s really better but still.

    As far as Dock Street, I’m actually planning on being at that release for a bit. I want to say that the Barrel Aged Prince Myshkin being sold is actually the version I was talking about. They’ve had bottles of it for a few years now.


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