Enhancing the Already Enticing
A Review of Black Hole Barrel Aged (Red Wine) by Mikkeller
Posted on 9/27/2012 by Chops
                   
Exquisite
Not too long ago, I reviewed the monstrous Mikkeller Black Hole Imperial Stout. In typical Mikkeller fashion, this brew broke all the rules and took no taste buds prisoner. Beastly yet approachable, strong yet smooth, chocolatey yet stern, the list goes on and on. I concluded my review with the following statement: ''Mikkeller's Black Hole Imperial Coffee Stout is an exquisite brew that has earned a spot in my imperial stout hall of fame.'' It was a lofty statement considering the array of delectable nectar on the craft brew market. But in the hall of fame it stays, and I now regularly stock it in my beer cabinet for special occasions. On a recent trip to my local beer store, I became weak in the knees when I stumbled upon the Red Wine Barrel Aged version of this most delectable of brews. The label states that this beer is ''brewed with coffee, honey and vanilla, aged in wine barrels.'' Sweet, sweet mercy. If there was such a thing as a beer boner, I had a raging one at that moment. But before launching into my review, it helps to reference my previous review of the standard Black Hole:

Black Hole Review : Click Here

Most of the previously mentioned observations apply with a few minor tweaks. The coloration on this version is more stark black than near black. I found absolutely no edging on the barrel aged version. The creamy copper-tan head head is retained as well as the core flavor notes like dark chocolate and rich mocha coffee. I would say that the most notable change is the alcohol burn, which is large and dominant in this version, creating a somewhat harsher mouthfeel. It's still smooth and all, just with a slightly elevated obligate sipper status. As far as flavor modifications go, the vanilla adds a delightful compliment to the rich coffee roast. Since the beer already has a sweet demeanor, I couldn't determine what the honey was contributing. The finish remains rich and smooth with a powerful aftertaste of malty roast and powdered cocoa. I should also note that this beer significantly smooths as it warms, so take your time to enjoy it. The alcohol loses a lot of its bite as it approaches room temperature.

Overall, the Red Wine Barrel Aged version of Mikkeller's Black Hole Imperial Coffee Stout is just as fantastic as the original. It gains additional layers of complexity that serve as delightfully compliments. All too often, barrel aging complex brews can result in overly aggressive brews with a loss of character. Barrel Aged Black Hole is an example of how aging can enhance and already enticing flavor. Props to Mikkeller and his keen insight into this most delicious of variations. I will now be on the lookout for those shiny red tops to my bottles of Black Hole.

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Black Hole Barrel Aged (Red Wine) by Mikkeller
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