I’ve been waiting for some time to pop open my second bottle of Mikkeller’s Black Hole barrel-aged stout, this time one aged in tequila barrels. Much like the cognac version, I was very impressed. It’s currently got an 83 on Beer Advocate.
I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I found it slightly different from the cognac version in that this bottle wasn’t sweet. It had a really good, malty smell with a hint of vanilla and you couldn’t catch the alcohol at all, despite it being 13.1 percent. The initial taste was almost the same as the cognac – stout with chocolately tones and a little kick – but the aftertaste was most definitely one of tequila flavor. While the cognac version had a good caramel-like taste that eased into the cognac, the tequila-aged beer held a slightly lighter caramel flavor that went into the final notes. I suppose this is because of the aging process and the liquors, which are certainly different. As you’d expect, the warmer the beer got, the more the tequila came out. I let the last few sips sit in my glass for about 20 minutes before finishing, which really opened up the tequila flavor and brought out a bit of honey. I’d love to actually have this beer as a chaser to a shot of tequila.
Part of the reason I waited a few months to open this bottle is because I wanted to specifically pair it with a dish. I wanted to balance out the stout and tequila aspects, so I went for a tilapia as a pair for the stout and added an olive oil I infused with serrano pepper along with paprika and some other earthy spices to counter the tequila. Overall it worked really well, with the earthiness of the beer balancing out the spice of the fish. I chopped up pieces of the serrano pepper and let them cook on top of the fish, and those notes of spice/heat really countered the beer and helped make both more enjoyable.