Big Operator - Big Boss Brewing

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Big OperatorBig Operator

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very good

117 Ratings
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Ratings: 117
Reviews: 43
rAvg: 3.85
pDev: 10.65%
Wants: 17
Gots: 8 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Big Boss Brewing visit their website
North Carolina, United States

Style | ABV
Belgian Strong Dark Ale |  8.00% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: atsprings on 02-15-2008

Belgian Black Raspberry, is a full flavored black ale brewed with imported malt, hops and yeast. This beer is aged for 6 months and infused with 150 pounds of real raspberries. Culminates with an amazing dark raspberry finish.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 117 | Reviews: 43
Reviews by tastybeer:
Photo of tastybeer
3.9/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Completely opaque, very dark brown brew topped by a dark tan-brown head. Nice big head initially that fades at a moderate speed into a thin tight ring. Aroma is pleasant, deep and soft, with toasty coffee and chocolate, with real raspberries (not syrup-like or candy-like) and light hopping. I sense a little bit of spice, similar to coriander but it could just be the yeast and raspberries. Taste is good also. Thick but soft malts....bittersweet chocolate, roasty coffee, fresh raspberries. Not very complicated and easy to enjoy. The fullish body, smooth and velvety texture, and lightly tingly bitterness are sweet as well. The is easy to drink, but I've discovered I like to take my time sipping this brew.

This would be perfect with chocolate cake topped with raspberry sauce. Mmmm...

More User Reviews:
Photo of oberon
3.95/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The B-O poured into a chalice a near ink black with just a hint of ruby hue,a thin tannish colored head atop that was gone quickly.Aromas of butter and raspberry essence,a hint of bitter chocolate as well.Flavors were great with good complexity and it wasnt overly sweet.A mix of sweet raspberry and again that butter intertwined with some chocolate,a dry earthy finish really rounds the beer out nicely.Its not overly sweet and/or heavy and drying finish makes it very drinkable,very nice.

Photo of SIRIUS2
3.82/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served on tap in a Big Boss pint glass at Tyler's Tap Room in Apex, NC

Pours dark brown with a reddish tinge and plenty of off-white head. Very nice head retention, moderate lacing down the glass. Generally attractive.

Aromas are more subtle than expected after reading the description for the brew, but were very pleasant nonetheless. Some interesting hits of chocolate, light bit of coffee, and an earthy feature I couldn't quite put my finger on. The feature scent was in the raspberries, but it was a rather delicate and well entwined with the other aromas. Very cool.

Flavors remind me of a reasonably constructed stout with plenty of moderate chocolate and coffee notes. There are some other malty notes in there too... perhaps caramel or toffee. The raspberries are relegated to the finish as they didn't really bring much to the table in the way of flavors. Don't read this the wrong way - the berries were a nice addition but took a back seat to everything else going on in this brew.

Mouthfeel was interesting to me. There was a slight separation on the tongue that went almost watery. The berries? Not sure. It was slightly distracting to an otherwise very enjoyable brew.

Overall I enjoyed this pint but, to tell the truth, one was enough and I was ready to try something else. Give it a shot.

Photo of chinchill
3.92/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Consumed this under the description of "chocolate raspberry stout" which seemed passably accurate, Brewery website says "BELGIAN BLACK RASPBERRY ... black ale". It is near black in color with a dark tan head that leaves very good lacing. The aroma fits "raspberry stout", with little detectable chocolate. The flavor has a well-balanced mix of chocolate, raspberries, and dark malts. Perhaps a touch too sweet despite a kick of bitter in the finish from dark roast and hops.

M: creamy smooth but a tad thin.

Photo of asabreed
4.18/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle number 713 poured into a Brooklyn tulip / snifter. Every label printed has its single number printed with the label. Maybe it's just me, but I think that's pretty awesome.

Appearance: Belgian strong dark? More like a Belgian dark stout I'd say. Lots of mocha-headed lacing hanging out and bubbling all around. Good retention and raindrops.

Smell: Initially big and dark roasted malts and sour and tart raspberry notes, but then you realize it's not as heavy as you initially thought. Or what I originally thought. Also some lighter coffee and chocolate in there. Sour and weirdly and lighter dark and aromatic.

Taste: Again, the seemingly bigger roasted mild chocolate and coffee flavors are there, but then the tartness and fruitiness of the raspberries come through, comprising an excellent compliment to everything else going on. The weirdly subtle chocolate comes through a lot here, but again, in a lighter version, making me wonder if chocolate was actually used, or if the yeast is just doing a lot of things. Long finish with raspberry, good sourness and tartness, mild chocolate, and big roast malt flavors. Yet somehow it's not a big-bodied brew. Willy Wonka style wondrousness?

Mouthfeel: Oddly lighter to medium-bodied from the color and flavor and taste. With a nice sparkling-like touch on the carbonation, making it too-much sip-worthy, more quickly than one would anticipate after the first pour.

Drinkability: A very, very solid brew from Big Boss. I imagine there's not necessarily a huge demographic that would like this brew, but I could be wrong. I am, however, one among those. Even though this is 8%, it seems to me a brew that needs to be consumed fresh. Hell yes.

Photo of tdm168
3.56/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at World of Beer at North Hills 2/16/12.

Pours a pitch black with a thick brown head that has great retention. The nose has notes of big, deep, roasted malts, faint coffee, and faint raspberries. The taste is chocolaty and roasty up front followed by some raspberry fruitiness and tartness. The mouthfeel is a little dry, but smooth and medium to full bodied.

My only real complaint is that the dryness detracts from the flavor. If it weren't so dry the flavor would linger longer on the palate. Overall, this is a very enjoyable and rather unique beer especially locally.

Photo of thagr81us
3.7/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served from tap into a sampler tumbler. Poured a massively dark brown with a half finger khaki colored head that subsided to a minimal amount quickly. Maintained excellent lacing throughout the glass. The aroma was comprised of sweet malt, dark chocolate, dark fruit, and milk chocolate. The flavor was of sweet malt, roasted malt, dark chocolate, dark fruit, and milk chocolate. It had a heavy feel on the palate with mild carbonation. Overall this was a fairly decent brew. I was really surprised by the flavor on this one as it was quite nice and well balanced. Loads of various chocolate clearly apparent in this one made it rather enjoyable. Unfortunately the aroma and the rest of the brew fell short on this but were still not bad. Definitely worth trying for sure if you get the chance.

Photo of SFNC
4.03/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Pours black as night, drinks smooth as silk. A nice chocolate/raspberry smell, with a burnt carmel background. Surprise, suprise, the taste matches the smell. Very smooth, with no heat from the 8% ABV. This is the best that I've had from Big Boss to date.

Photo of wedge
3.88/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours black with a fat, creamy brown head that shrinks to a sticky ring around the edge. Dark, berry-like actual fruit not some syrup product. Belgian yeast adds a slight phenolic note and some roasted malt rounds things out. Fresh roasted chocolate malts and a mellow raspberry flavor that starts up in the middle and carries on into the finish. Not too sweet at all, which makes this all the more enjoyable. Again, nothing about this tastes like a processed syrup kind of fruit beer...real raspberries, earthy flavors. Smooth, creamy, and quite drinkable for it's strength. I'll be sure to grab a bottle when they release it.

Photo of septemberfest
4.59/5  rDev +19.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Fresh draft pint at their brewpub.

Little head but handsome black color.

Easily noticeable aroma of real raspberries and roasted malt.

Taste--sweet, roasted dark malt, chocolate, and definite fresh raspberry flavor. Excellent combinations and balance.

A delicious winter brew. Nice presence in the mouth. Gets better as it warms slightly. Enough alcohol that one at a time is a limit for me.

Photo of blackie
3.92/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

a: pours into my snifter pitch black, capped with a mocha head that recedes to a thin ring

s: intriguing aroma of woody cocoa and earthy dried raspberries, Belgian yeast adds spicy clove and perhaps some esters that mesh in a novel way with the roast backbone, baker's chocolate and mild charcoal, very earthy and loaded with dry roasts, raspberries are obvious but in excellent proportion

m: carbonation on the low side of medium with a light-medium weight body, seems a touch thin in context of the assertive roast aroma and flavors

t: similar in construction to the aroma but it seems a bit disjointed and even watery without the most interesting aspects of the roast-fruit interplay from the aroma, charcoal roast body with dusty cocoa and bitter chocolate, earthy dried raspberries linger into the charred roast finish with a mild bitterness and a touch of astringency, the Belgian yeast is apparent but tame in effect underneath all that roast, remains dry throughout

d: just fine, a pretty unique beer that drinks well

Feb 2009 bottle #1039/1750 from Whole Foods Raleigh

Photo of metter98
3.98/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at Big Boss Brewing, Raleigh, NC

A: The beer is jet black in color and poured with a thin mocha colored head that slowly faded away and left a ring of bubbles around the edge of the glass.
S: There are aromas of roasted malts and raspberries in the nose.
T: The taste has flavors of dark roasted malts and subtle notes of raspberries. There is a slight hint if bitterness.
M: It feels medium-bodied and smooth on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation.
D: The alcohol is very well masked from the taste, which makes this go down very smoothly.

Photo of bowersdm
3.33/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Sample at DLD '09. Thanks to ROBORB and his friend Trevor for bringing this along. 3-4oz poured into a plastic cup.

A - very dark...almost the color of your standard RIS. no head. it was waaay darker than any BSDA that I've ever seen

S - raspberries, burnt barley and a slight acrid flavor, regular roasted barley, dark chocolate, bitter/almost unsweetend chocolate

T - raspberries, burnt barley, dark chocolate and entirely sweetened baker's chocolate.

M - a bit too much carbonation. the body was medium.

D - this was a weird beer. If I was not aware that this was a BSDA, I would have assumed it was an AD/IS and I think that it should be classified as an AD/IS.

Photo of rtratzlaff
4.2/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

"BO" as it has come to be known looks pretty much opaque in the slightly dim lighting of Horniblow's Tavern. The aromas are black malt and a slight rasberry fruitiness. A bit of Belgian quality in the nose as well, I guess phenolic.

The taste is dark maltiness that isn't so much chocolate as roastiness. Along with that is a spiciness with a good bit of rasberry in the finish. The mouthfeel is lighter than expected. Perhaps medium? Drinkability gets two thumbs up, but pace yourself with the 8%.

Photo of Zorro
4.17/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Black colored beer with a small brown head, no light passes. This really looks like RIS in the glass.

Smell is chocolate and sour raspberry with a bit of vanilla. Smells like Chambord liquor in Guinness.

The taste starts out chocolate, vanilla and raspberry. Not really any Belgian beer characteristics to this one, this is Raspberry Stout and a good one. Not a lot of subtleties here, just exceptionally smooth Raspberry stout without a fault at all.

Mouthfeel is velvet.

Hell of a tasty beer here, but I don't know that you can call it Belgian at all. This is a really good raspberry stout.

Sampled through the efforts of Bentk56 and Secret Bunny 09 BIF. Black colored beer with a small brown head, no light passes. This really looks like RIS in the glass.

Photo of aasher
4.3/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I was lucky enough to receive a bomber of this from a friend after they visited family in N.C. I was very surprised and pleased with the Big Operator. It poured a dark, dark brown with a dark red tint. It had a slight off white head which laced the glass. It smelled of roasted coffee, malt, chocolate, and slightly tart raspberries. The taste mirrored the smell. It was an excellent combination of chocolate, coffee, malt, and raspberries with not one of those attributes overpowering. The balance was superb. It was medium bodied and drank almost like a stout. It was very drinkable and delicious. The 8% wasn't even present in the flavor and left me craving more. I greatly recommend the Big Operator.

Photo of daliandragon
3.95/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

After their success with Aces and Ates, I am pretty much conditioned to automatically purchase anything I see from these guys, given that I've got the means. This is #403 of 1750 and comes in the same 22 oz bomber and dark silver label as its predecessor.

This one looks like a stout, with a jet black hue and tight bubbled dark brown lacing. The nose is dark malt, a touch of yeast, plenty of raspberry annd alcohol, and the obvious sweet dark malt base.

The Belgian yeast is definitely in place, and there is plenty of dark malt fused with baker's chocolate, smoke and spice to give it some necessary complexity. I'm a bit surprised by the thickness and density of the texture, especially after reading the reviews. If anything, I find this too heavy and inflexible for the style, but certainly not lacking in body. I never say this, but maybe this beer could benefit from more carbonation (or less aging?)

In spite of its flaws, this is enjoyable to drink and worth trying. It's no Aces and Ates, however.

Photo of CWiggins
4.2/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I was surprised to find this on tap at Tyler's Taproom in Durham, and pleasantly so. It poured pitch black with a dark tan, half-finger head of dense foam. Aromas of mild raspberry are faintly detected, but not much else. As the brew warmed I noticed more espresso-like smells coming forth. Flavors of dark malts dominate the taste, while a nice fruity raspberry essence underpins the whole experience. It's not sweet. The finish is lightly hoppy with a distinct coffee overtone, while the raspberry flavor continues to play with the palate. It's a very stout-ish brew, and I wouldn't have thought of this as a Belgian Strong Dark Ale; it's almost more like a raspberry-infused coffee stout. Very, very good!

Photo of Crittervision
4.33/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

on tap at raleigh times

honestly the best retention ive ever seen. bubbles turn to lacing at every sip, in the end leaving a webbing that is truly interesting to observe. dark body with reddish edges.

smell is of fresh raspberries underneath lies a dirtiness that is like that kicked up from under a rug. interesting nonetheless.

taste is raspberries first, roasted darkness, not darkness the beer, but just a dark roasted character, with an ultra-slight coffee character.

carbonation is beautiful. a little thin, but soothing.

raspberries are subtle enough to keep the beer [----?]ness in check. as i drink this, i have no idea what style this is going for but its a wonderful beer [excepting the style?].

Photo of dbrauneis
3.98/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours an opaque jet black in color with some light amounts of dark brown highlights. The beer has a finger tall mocha colored head that slowly reduces to a medium sized patch of very thin film and a thin to medium sized ring at the edges of the glass. Light amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Moderate to strong aromas of dark roasted malts with some lighter notes of raspberries.

T: Moderate flavors of dark roasted malts with some lighter notes of raspberries and some hints of dark fruits. Light to moderate amounts of bitterness in the finish which fade very slowly.

M: Medium bodied with moderate amounts of carbonation. Smooth.

O: This is a very enjoyable beer with a very pleasant addition of raspberries to the Belgian Strong Dark Ale - the alcohol is well masked and the beer is pretty easy to drink. I enjoy this beer and am glad that I was able to pick it up when I visited NC (I missed this beer from back when it was draft only and I moved out of state).

Photo of Monkeyknife
4.12/5  rDev +7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle an opaque plum-black with a thin reddish mocha head.

Tart aroma of raspberry syrup, raisin, vanilla, sweet roasted malts and chocolate.

The taste is a medley of chocolate, coffee, tart raspberry, vanilla and roasted malts. Coffee and tobacco linger thru the finish. The 8% alcohol is well-hidden.

Medium bodied, dry, and lightly carbonated.

The raspberry adds a nice twist to the Belgian Dark Ale. Very nice, indeed.

Photo of GarthDanielson
4.08/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A friend from NC brought a growler down to Florida while we were visiting. I had the beer in a pint glass, and it pours a jet black coloring with brown highlights and no head. The aroma is bitter coffee and sweet smoked malts. The beer's flavor is heavy on bitter coffee with very light undertones of raspberry. A creamy body, but slightly dry at the same time. There is a sweet malt aftertaste, again with a hint of raspberry. Smooth, subtle, slow transition finish, starting with the bitter and sweet fruit and quickly, but quietly trailing off to nothing. Very tasty. Makes a good ice cream float, too.

Photo of cvstrickland
4.1/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle 492/1750 packaged February '09:

The Big Operator is presented in a chilled bomber bottle and I let it sit for a moment to come to the desired serving temperature. A brisk pour into a pint willibecher glass yields an inky-dark blackish body trimmed in dimmed garnet highlights and draped with a fingers' thickness of creamy tan foam atop. The cap recedes in short order and retains at a bubbly sheet that leaves a fine broken film of lacing stuck on the sides of the glass.

The smell is raspberry-laden with a dark coffee-like maltiness lurking underneath. The aroma is snappily acidic, fruity, and fresh and has my mouth watering before I even take the first sip.

The taste is richer than anticipated and sports a touch of chocolate that the nose didn't overtly suggest. Raspberries both fresh and fermenting tangle with a mild, dry, dark malty backbone, and the finish is accented by a note of subtle, also-dry, leafy bitterness. As the drink progresses and the brew continues toward room temperature, the raspberry presence becomes stronger, sweeter, and juicer, but the finish and aftertaste remain quite dry.

The drink is surprisingly light in body with a mild but refreshing sizzle of carbonation. Even at 8% ABV, The Big Operator is plenty drinkable.

Photo of cosmicevan
3.25/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

big thanks to cardsfan for the brew. enjoyed from a big boss brewing dimpled stein.

a - brew pours a fairly rich black with a thin dark tan head that was gone quick leaving a ring and thin islands throughout the surface. BSDA? really? not a stout? attractive, but not belgian.

s - crisp black chocolate malt. roast. big roast. i reiterate...BSDA??? really???

t - taste is interesting. my first thought was oxidized. upon 2nd sip...i got a big blast of spiciness...below that was roasted malts. below that, some dark fruit. not really sure what's going on here. sort of a hodgepodge...kind of like a stew with everything you have in your kitchen. perhaps this should be called mystery beer? even some notes of coffee. am i crazy? was the wrong beer put in the bottle? BSDA? really?

m - medium to full bodied. fairly chewy and thick. lots of carb.

o - overall...i don't know. this is definitely different. feels more like a stout. seems like i'm not the only one who felt that way. as a belgian this is a miss, as a stout, it isn't all that a beer in general...not all that bad, but definitely does feel like it is going through some sort of identity crisis when you really focus in on the beer and the nuances since there are some belgian qualities in the background, but they are poor american examples which pull down the stoutiness of the beer. either way, glad to have had the experience and this was far from a drain pour...worth a taste if you get the chance but i wouldn't go out of your way for it.

Photo of Cylinsier
4.2/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4


Pours jet black like a stout with a deep brown head.

Hints of chocolate and brown sugar in the nose.

Sweet chocolate liqueur flavor with raspberry sweetness peaking through.

Moderate to thick, low carbonation, hint of alcohol warmth.

A good interesting dark ale, the raspberries are perfectly understated. Delicious and unique, a standout.

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Big Operator from Big Boss Brewing
86 out of 100 based on 117 ratings.