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Chocolate Ale - Boulevard Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Chocolate AleChocolate Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

268 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 268
Hads: 938
Avg: 3.77
pDev: 30.24%
Wants: 66
Gots: 250 | FT: 11
Brewed by:
Boulevard Brewing Co. visit their website
Missouri, United States

Style | ABV
American Strong Ale |  9.10% ABV

Availability: Spring

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: HOPPYKC on 02-09-2011

One of the brightest stars in a city filled with culinary treasures, Christopher Elbow has been handcrafting masterpieces in chocolate for more than ten years. In that time the reputation of his artistic delicacies has spread around the globe. Elbow’s sweets are distinguished by their use of unusual and sometimes surprising flavors and ingredients; in that adventurous spirit we joined forces to bring you a very special Chocolate Ale.

In developing this beer, Elbow and Boulevard brewmaster Steven Pauwels sought to harmonize the interplay of chocolate and malt, with each supporting and enhancing, but not overwhelming, the other. Just the right chocolate was essential. Elbow recommended a rare variety from the Dominican Republic, prized for its robust flavor and aroma, and a personal favorite. More than a mere flavoring, the chocolate — in the form of nibs, or crushed, roasted beans – was incorporated into the brewing process itself.

24 IBU
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 268 | Hads: 938
Photo of BlackBeerPirate
3.83/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Taste: bittersweet chocolate, roasted bean, vanilla,nutty, hint of sour yeast.
Dark Brown and mostly clear.
toasted malt and coffee with hint of hop to nose.
Medium/lite body.
Delicate tan head.
Taste a little like German Chocolate.
24 IBUs

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Photo of gregy55902
3.53/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Today Andy's Marketplace in Rochester, MN was selling all Boulevard Smokestack Series beers for $3. I didn't have much time to decide which one I wanted to try, but I chose this one. Pretty average strong ale but there were nice subtle chocolate undertones that made it worth it. Not a super complex beer, but yeah, good for $3. Would definitely not pay the regular price of $13 for this.

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Photo of bobhits
2.63/5  rDev -30.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 1 | overall: 2

I'd like to write a lot on this one, but I'm just not feeling it.

Chocolate, vanilla, caramel, and some fruity mix at the very end. The beer is orange with some red hints. Carbonated like a sour, fades fast.

The feel on this is really bad. Medium body with this crappy poor fizzy body that would be nice on a sour where a dry finish is nice. That isn't what is called for here. It tastes pretty good, but the mouth feel and poor finish just ruin it.

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Photo of Gavage
4.11/5  rDev +9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Appearance: pours a hazy amber color with a short 1/4" head.

Smell: caramel and chocolate are detectable by the nose.

Taste: Caramel, chocolate, ripe dark fruits, and a moderate bitterness.

Mouthfeel: medium bodied beer. Lightly crisp from start to finish,

Overall: a nice ale that has a decent chocolate flavor but it is not overpowering. Easy to drink.

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Photo of avalon07
3.79/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

L: Poured from a bottle to a pint glass. Had a dull orange color and a cloudy texture. There was an inch and a half of foamy head that lasted a fair amount of time. Average lacing.

S: A subtle aroma of malt, chocolate, and a booziness.

T: Tasted of a good amount of malt, some grain, a breadiness, booze and chocolate. This last item pops up in the finish, but is somewhat muted. A forceful flavor, for better or worse.

M: A good amount of carbonation with a powerful, alcohol-heavy finish. Full-bodied.

O: This is a very bold and generally well done beer. It has its flaws, but worth a shot.

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Photo of willic
3.82/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.75

A- This beer has a beautiful copper, golden color with NICE small carbonation bubbles... FUN!
S- Alcohol is a little overpowering in smell. Clean and alcoholic...
T- Very different from what I expected! Malty, grainy, crisp...
M- The mouthfeel was not what I would desire, over carbonation in my opinion, makes for a frothy texture
O- This is a fun in interesting beer, a little less alcohol and it might rate a little higher with me.

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Photo of biboergosum
3.54/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

750ml, caged and corked bottle, another in the Smokestack Series to arrive on the lack of shores in Alberta of late. 'Christopher Elbow' sounds like something out of a children's bedtime story book.

This beer pours a clear, medium orange-brick amber colour, with two fingers of puffy, tightly foamy, and slightly bubbly tan head, which leaves some chunky approaching iceberg profile lace around the glass as it evenly subsides.

It smells of bready, grainy caramel malt, bittersweet, biscuity chocolate wafers, free-range brown sugar, floral honey, muddled Noel spices, equally indistinct, yet somehow sharp black orchard fruit, leafy, weedy hops, and a burgeoning metallic alcohol warming. The taste is grainy, doughy caramel/toffee malt, still fairly steady and understated cocoa nibs, further biscuity and chocolate powder coffee notes, a strange clammy yeastiness, hints of Mars Bar nougat, wan green vegetables (in the leafy, edible form), and a continuing sense of alcohol duly checked, but about to leap out and getcha.

The carbonation is nice and light in its gentle frothiness, the body a solid middleweight, and generally smooth, as none of the proclaimed guest ingredient seems to cause any trouble, and by the same token the well-hidden ABV keeps to itself. It finishes off-dry, a gamely persisting grainy caramel malt wondering where its sweet saviour has run away to - cocoa, can you hear me?

Not a particularly engaging chocolate ale, I gotta say - where the booze giveth, the cocoa taketh away, it would seem. Let's start with the appearance - ain't nothing 'chocolate' in bearing there, and the flavour just continues with its lack of follow-through. Everything else is just a reminder of how this whole thing disappoints - once again, the chocolate, and not the scarily integrated big ABV.

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Photo of Phishyninja
4.69/5  rDev +24.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Expected this one to be darker, initially thought she brought the wrong beer but one whiff set me straight. Chocolate. Lots and lots of chocolate. And quite strong at 9.1%, which means I only get 1 tonight (I'll be back)... Delicious, would enjoy again!

PS: having left KS for CA 13 years ago, I am reminded (far too infrequently) how great a brewery Boulevard is, those guys are crushing it.

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Photo of Tsar_Riga
3.85/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A - Brown-copper color, a dark bronze that is opaque. The head pours nearly white, quickly fading to a wisp over the top. No real lacing.

S - Alcohol is front. Some subtle malt and a hint of cocoa nib.

T - The primary taste is of grains, a dark sweet molasses bread flavor, which is supported by a hint of chocolate.

M - Pretty thin, but with definitely alcohol warmth.

O - Not a particularly extraordinary ale. The flavor is pleasant and enjoyable, but the nuance of chocolate is surprisingly not the focus here. The malty quality is front, and the nib is just an accent. As such, while decent, the beer is not terribly memorable.

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Photo of JerzDevl2000
3.75/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Had this on tap last night up at the Cloverleaf as this was leftover from the Boulevard tap takeover earlier in the week. I love chocolate beers when they're brewed right and everything that I've had from Boulevard but this one missed the mark a bit. It was a smooth beer with a recessed amount of alcohol but as so many others on here have noted, the chocolate wasn't very pronounced at all!

Decent pour to this but not dark at all as the beer had a peach hue and a thin look to it. Not a lot of head and even less lacing as everything slid down the side of my pint glass after each sip. Some chocolate in the nose but even less in the taste as there was milk and raspberry to boot. Sure, this was smooth but where was the powder? The cocoa? The chocolate malt to accompany the alcohol? They weren't here but the smoothness of this beer nearly made me forget about all of that. There was a bit of vanilla in the aftertaste and a faint hint of cocoa nibs but that was hard to detect as the more basic notes of this beer dominated from start to finish.

This was strong but it was only at the end that I could feel the alcohol on my breath. Yes, I had this on tap and it was at the end of the keg so I didn't seem to get the head, yeast, or nuances that others were picking up on this. While not a bad beer, I had no idea that this was an American Strong Ale until I looked it up on here. The flavor is here but it's just a bit too one-dimensional to truly stand out but if you want something strong, tasty, and slick for dessert, this would foot the bill quite nicely.

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Photo of Phigg1102
3.77/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Not sure exactly how I feel about this beer. I enjoyed it, that much I'm sure of. Chocolate is definitely present but not in your face at all, clean malt flavor is present as well.

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Photo of Jeffreysan
4.74/5  rDev +25.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

750 ml bottle, poured into a pint glass

Appearance: Pours a beautiful, almost completely opaque, deep, dark amber color with three fingers of white-colored head that dissolved away into a thin lacing of foam that completely covered the top of the beer.

Aroma: Nice aromas of toasted malt, brown sugar and caramel and chocolate. There’s also notes of honey. Quite nice.

Taste: Wow! Very nice flavors! Lots of toasted malt up front, a little bready, but more like cake, birthday cake, actually. Next come flavors of caramel, honey and brown sugar-like sweetness. Finally, the beer finishes with lots of semi-sweet chocolate. Quite delicious. The chocolate is definitely pronounced, but not overpowering.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied and very, very creamy as there is no carbonation what-so-ever. With an ABV of 9.1%, there is a slight, pleasant, alcohol warmth on the palate, otherwise the alcohol is very well masked.

Overall: This is a very pleasant, very tasty, very unique beer. Malty and chocolaty, with some nicely balanced sweetness. I’m really, really, digging it! Another great beer from Boulevard!

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Photo of VTR
2.58/5  rDev -31.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Chocolate ale? I was highly anticipating this one. I caught maybe a hint of chocolate in the nose. But I did not get any in the taste. Not sure what they were going for on this, but if I set aside my expectations for chocolate it was not a bad beer otherwise. I do not plan on getting this one again.

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Photo of Brutaltruth
3.97/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Really enjoyed this from the big bottle in a Rhinegeist snifter. Ale pours a lightly hazy orange with a firm white head of foam that dissipates to a thick ring and light lacing. Nose of sweet chocolates, sweet sugary malts, and light herbal hops. Flavors are sweet up front with caramel malts giving way to a smooth chocolate note that is far from over done. Balance is a theme here. Chocolate on the middle and sides gives way to light bittering from herbal hop notes and then a lightly sweet chocolate finish that lingers. Strong ABV is obscured until warmed. The warmer this gets the better the flavors pronounce themselves. Smooth, and lightly slick mouth feel has a decent amount of carbonation that sears the high abv and light herbal hops into the aftertaste.

Of note----Many would balk at a chocolate ale not being black or dark brown like a stout or porter. Set preconceptions aside and enjoy this. It is a pretty good example of the equal of the sum of your parts mantra. Nothing is overpowering. A solid brew from a superb brewery who is excellent on the emphasis of balance.


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Photo of babaracas
3.51/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Pours a hazy darker orange with thin fast fading cream colored head, a few dots on the glass. Smell: really quite earthy with a little cocoa and some apple/pear fruitiness. Taste: better here...pear and peach segments in syrup, milk chocolate, earthy hopping to balance. Creamy-ish feel, really languid carb could use a boost. It's... fine... wouldn't say that it showcases chocolate, wouldn't say that it showcases anything for that matter.

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Photo of OKbrew89
3.72/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

On tap poured into a chalice. Dark golden color with a small head that fades slowly. The appearance doesn't match the name. Aroma is an earthy chocolate with undertones of slightly bitter malts. Smooth flowery chocolate taste with a little bit of fruity acid at the end. Reminds me of a chocolate covered fruit. Medium-light body with medium carbonation. The alcohol isn't completely hidden and comes through in the aftertaste. The 9.1% ABV is definitely drinkable still.
I enjoyed this beer and the ABV does come back around. It is strange but in a good way. Underwhelming appearance but it comes through in the smell and taste.

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Photo of Magbas
2.94/5  rDev -22%
look: 3 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A earthy/dirt like aroma followed by a thin ale that while hiding it's alcohol well, doesn't make sense with the lightly noticeable chocolate notes. A rare miss by Boulevard in their Smokestack series.

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Photo of aratcliffe
3.73/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

I think this would be better received under a different name. The chocolate is subtle, and fitting of the artisanal style that Elbow works in. If you're coming into this expecting Hershey's-type flavor, or what you get in popular chocolate-flavored stouts, you'll be at least somewhat disappointed.

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Photo of UrbanCaveman
2.34/5  rDev -37.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

Bomber, poured into a snifter at approximately 40 degrees F.

Appearance: This pours like some sort of amber ale, complete with massively frothy head.

Smell: Sugar and chocolate waft out of the glass, as if the contents were liquefied candy.

Taste: And the aroma lied. There's nothing sweet about this beer at all, and no taste of chocolate that I could detect. The entirety of the flavor profile was earth and wood, bringing to mind a pile of old pallets left to sink slowly into a rainy field. Spices were also along, a muddled jumble of white and black pepper with something like ginger along.

Mouthfeel: Medium of body, and otherwise unremarkable.

Overall: I truly dislike when a beer is billed as having a particular adjunct, and yet nothing of that adjunct can be found in the flavor. It feels like false advertising, even if said adjunct is actually in the beer. I'm also not a fan of expecting something sweet and getting hit in the tongue with a clod of wet, woody mud. Not a repeater.

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Photo of BatManuel
2.3/5  rDev -39%
look: 4 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Not a fan. It just seems like the are trying to cover a poor base beer with some chocolate that doesn't really present itself in the bottle. The chocolate is more present on tap but still seems to miss the mark for me.

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Photo of Norvelljeff
4.6/5  rDev +22%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.75

Look-Almost amber in color. Very light light brown if even that.
Smell-Nothing too strong, possible a little chocolate but nothing overwhelming
Taste-Taste is more sweet chocolate than anything else. It really isn't very good.
Feel-Stays with you mouth a little bit.
Overall-Glad i tried it because I was so curious. But I really don't think I'll be buying anymore.

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Photo of Sludgeman
2.7/5  rDev -28.4%
look: 3.25 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.75

Full pour at the Public in Wichita.

Strong ale? I guess this style category can be a catch-all for all higher ABV beers not otherwise easily categorized. That said, don't expect your typical arrogant bastard-like ale tinged with some chocolate. Could not finish the pour. 2.75

A - Pours a cloudy amber with minimal head. Its appearance certainly does not align with its flavor. - 3.25

S - Dish water. Very odd. - 2.5

T - Malty, followed by too much chocolate, with some bitterness. - 2.5

MF - Overall not too sweet and certainly smooth, but there is a blast on chocolate sweetness in the middle that for some might take away from the final herbal bitterness in the finish. 3.5

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Photo of Azeotrope
2/5  rDev -46.9%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

As far as chocolate beers go, I didn't feel very good about this one. Smog City's The Nothing and Caldera Brewing's Mogli are better as far as chocolate go. I didn't even want to finish my glass of this and dumped it. I don't know how to rate things this way if they are dumped, but apparently my rating is an outlier.

I don't mind how beers look or smell if they taste great but these aspects of look and smell were fine. Nothing bad. The feel also was fine. It's a beer. I prefer carbonated to nitro beers. The taste, however, was not great. It tasted closer to old Halloween chocolate that has been found after a year or two and has changed color. Just bland, not well mixed, the chocolate did not come through well to me. As I said above, I would recommend trying this beer alongside "Mogli" or "The Nothing" if you want to try a chocolate beer that does chocolate right. Even Deschutes Black Butte XXVI has more chocolate flavor than this! I bought it because of the hype and ignored the 3.72 rating (specialty beers below 4 seem to be pretty hit or miss on this site, but I thought what was the worst that could happen?).

Strongly would not recommend, particularly if you like chocolate or stouts in general already.

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Photo of pat61
4.4/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

I am drinking this on tap at the Bryant Lake Bowl. It pours a light, slightly hazy brownish amber with a thin white cap that leaves whore stocking lace. The nose is chocolate over light grains with some light sugars. It has a very intensely chocolate palate which is surprising for a beer this light colored. It actually starts a little thin and grows in body and character as it moves over the tongue and finishes with lingering chocolate tastes. The chocolate is semi-sweet to a little more. Medium body and medium levels of fine soft carbonation.

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Photo of vfgccp
3.7/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

Best by Sep 2014, opened Jan 2015

A - Tons of sediment throughout the glass. Light maple apricot body. Low head with ok retention and low lace.

S - Dry milk chocolate, hint of booze, cinnamon, nutmeg, prune.

T - Huge tootsie roll flavor. Chocolate milk, edge of booze, pumpernickel bread, caramel.

M - Medium-light body. Par carbonation.

O - Really interesting. A well executed take on a chocolate flavored beer.

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Chocolate Ale from Boulevard Brewing Co.
85 out of 100 based on 268 ratings.