Monday, 24 September 2012

Mikkeller Black Hole BA Cognac

Good evening all. I've been on a bit of a barrel-aged imperial stout spree recently, starting last night with Nøgne Ø's Imperial Stout Cognac Barrel and continuing tonight with Mikkeller's similar effort, Black Hole BA Cognac. This beer is part of a series of barrel aged versions of Mikkeller's well known Black Hole imperial stout, with the rest of the series including red wine, white wine and even tequila barrel-aged offerings. I've enjoyed all of the interpretations so far, so hopefully this will be just as good as the others. Review after the pic....

Black Hole BA Cognac (13.1% ABV) pours a jet black colour with a thick beige head that settles to a patchy covering over the surface of the beer. The short-lived head is unsurprising considering the higher alcohol content, and the beer still looks very enticing regardless. The aroma is rich but displays surprising subtlety, with chocolate, caramel, licorice and a fair bit of booze in the background. The alcohol seems to only be noticeable through agitation of the beer, and when the glass is left undisturbed for a while the aromas have the opportunity to combine, creating a yeast extract smell with some dark fruit notes (raisins, fortified wine). If I was in any doubt over the alcohol content on the nose, the taste immediately eradicates this with a big boozy kick during drinking that transitions into a nice alcoholic burn in the finish, which acts as a great platform for the more subtle flavours. These include dark fruits, fortified wine, caramel, licorice and a reappearance of the yeast extract that was so prominent in the aroma. I was also getting some coffee and chocolate during the first couple of sips, but the power of the cognac is such that these soon become too faint to be discerned. The finish retains a lot of the alcoholic presence and delivers some tartness, whilst the aftertaste is characteristically dry with some light grape flavours. The intensity of the cognac can lead to occasional cloying on the palette, but considering the alcohol content it's probably wise to sip this beer so as to counteract both this and the potential for inadvertent drunkenness! The mouthfeel is slightly thick and the beer is moderately carbonated, which compliments the prominent evaporating sensation from the alcohol/barrel-ageing. Overall, this is another impressive variation on the fantastic Black Hole, building upon the base beer yet still letting its qualities come through to create something unique and very memorable.  More intense in comparison to last night's BA cognac imperial stout, and certainly the better of the two. Highly recommended, and another worthy addition to the Black Hole BA series.

Until next time....

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