Chocolate Ale - Boulevard Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Chocolate AleChocolate Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
85
very good

260 Reviews
THE BROS
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no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 260
Hads: 911
rAvg: 3.77
pDev: 15.92%
Wants: 64
Gots: 245 | 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: 260 | Hads: 911
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. (641 characters)

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. (1,569 characters)

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. (180 characters)

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! (1,127 characters)

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. (305 characters)

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.

Cheers (1,109 characters)

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. (441 characters)

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. (636 characters)

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. (201 characters)

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. (298 characters)

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. (998 characters)

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. (218 characters)

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. (367 characters)

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 (684 characters)

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. (1,224 characters)

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. (550 characters)

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. (425 characters)

Photo of the_stove
3.26/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

The major pro here is originality as it's nice to see chocolate used outside of a stout/porter context.

Beer pours a very rich amber with a cream colored foam. Head quickly dissipates even with a vigorous pour.

Hints of malt dominate the nose with some faint chocolate notes coming through. I think I'd have a hard time telling this beer might have chocolate if I wasn't able to taste it.

Drinks really smooth. There's a nice malt and yeast profile with the chocolate aspect making an appearance consistently about 0.5 - 0.75 of the way through the sip. The chocolate is present but doesn't necessarily dominate, which is kind of nice but also seems a bit of a drawback considering that is why I'm drinking this beer. At times it tastes more like Cocoa than chocolate but I guess the overall effect is there. In this sense, I guess it does work as a "dessert beer" since the chocolate notes do come through towards the end.

Not much else going on here and kind of a one trick pony. Again, nice to see chocolate used in a different context but I didn't find the beer anything too special. Definitely one to split unless you're really into chocolate/cocoa beers without a heavy malt presence. (1,202 characters)

Photo of buschbeer
3.29/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

750 ml bottle
Served in an oversized wine glass

L - It pours burnt orange in color, not what I expected. I expected a dark beer. It is topped with an inch of tan head.

S - I get a combination of alcohol and chocolate. It is not really that appealing.

T - The taste is of a watered down chocolate malt beverage with alcohol coming through. There is a lingering chocolate aftertaste.

F - Medium to thin.

O - This was a bit of a disappointment. The alcohol was more prominent than I like and the chocolate taste was kind of weak. I guess my expectations were off. I should have read reviews and been prepared. (614 characters)

Photo of DrinkSlurm
4.25/5  rDev +12.7%

Corked caged bottle into tulip. Nice amber brown color with fluffy head. Fantastic chocolate Belgian aromas. Flavor of chocolate, Belgian style trappist yeast, tobacco, really well balanced and unique. A bit of an ommegang style going on here which is fine by me, The chocolate is obvious but not over done. Really perfect balance of flavors. Great brew. (361 characters)

Photo of dcscientist
3.2/5  rDev -15.1%

I was disappointed by this offering from Boulevard, which I was really looking forward to trying. I just didn't taste the chocolate as much as I should have. Reviews were pretty hit or miss, and I knew that before I bought it, but was hoping it would be more of a hit for me. Oh well. I'll try another Smokestack Series release eventually since most of the rest of them appear to have been more successful. (410 characters)

Photo of BucannonXC5
3.51/5  rDev -6.9%

Type: 750-ml glass (25.9 oz.)
Glass: Sea Smoke oversized wine glass
From: Bine & Vine Bottle Shop in Normal Heights (San Diego), Calif.
Price: $9.99
Purchased: Aug. 20, 2014
Consumed: Aug. 23, 2014
Misc.: No. 14 in Boulevard Smokestack Series; Batch No: CH13365-1; Best by Sept. 2014; Twist off cap and cork

Poured a brownish, caramel, murky color with 3-to-4 fingers of frothy off-white head. Thought the color would be darker. Average amount of foamy lacing along the sides of the glass. Good retention on the top all the way down. (Sight - 3.88)

Smell surprised me a bit. I was expecting straight chocolate, kind of like the imperial stout I had from Boulevard’s a few months ago. Got caramel, toffee, butterscotch, popcorn and creamy vanilla before I even reached the chocolate. Then got dark, rich chocolate, but still had to work for it. Overall this wasn’t too appealing on the nose. (Smell - 3.38)

First taste was like the smell, but it got slightly better. Got caramel, toffee, butterscotch, peas (I know), chocolate, cocoa, chocolate syrup, buttery malts and more green veggies (I know). (Taste - 3.50)

Medium body. Creamy texture. Average carbonation. Long, somewhat smooth finish. (Feel - 3.63)

This beer just wasn’t really for me, which is something I rarely would say with Boulevard. Just an OK ASA. (Overall - 3.50)

3.51 | 80 | B- (1,357 characters)

Photo of beergoot
3.8/5  rDev +0.8%

Bottle batch number/best-by date: CH13354-1 09-2014

A strong copper-gold color with a thick, creamy white head (3.75). Vinegar and boiled vegetable aroma! Sour wine (1.5). Smooth mint chocolate flavor with a tart, grapefruit-like undertone; tart cherry with cocoa (4.0). Mouthfeel is relatively light and smooth; fine carbonation (3.75).

I have never had a more interesting and conflicting beer. If this tasted anything like the aroma, it would have been a drain pour, yet the appearance, flavor, and mouthfeel all redeem this thing!. Being heralded as a chocolate ale, I was expecting a dark brown or black colored beer, so what appeared was surprise number 1. The smell really gave me the heebie-jeebies as it smelled nothing like I would expect for a chocolate ale and expected some kind of sour wine/vinegar flavored beer - surprise number two. Lo and behold! The flavor was exceptional smooth, soft, and subtly chocolate overall, nothing at all like what the aroma suggested - surprise number three!. I can't get over the extremely weird smell, but with everything else considered, this is a very tasty, fine looking beverage. A conundrum with depth, complexity, and surprises! (1,185 characters)

Photo of brentk56
3.58/5  rDev -5%

Appearance: Two fingers of rocky foam cover the clear copper liquid but leave just a few spots of lacing

Smell: Chocolate spread, toast, peanut butter

Taste: The peanut flavor jumps forward though there is a nut skin astringency that follows into the middle; toast and a powdery chocolate element merge, in the middle; the aftertaste is very phenolic with a medicinal character

Mouthfeel: Medium body with moderate to high carbonation

Overall: Not quite sure what to make of this; I know this beer is eagerly anticipated in Kansas City each year when it is released but I find the aftertaste so off-putting that I can barely bring myself to have another sip now that I have finished my notes (699 characters)

Photo of mfnmbvp
3.61/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

750 ml bottle, with best by 09/2014 printed on the back label. Acquired this bottle at the local beer store, No. 14 in Boulevard's Smokestack Series. Not quite sure what to expect with this one.

Poured into a Duvel tulip glass, per the death of my snifter.

A - Pours a murky burnt orange color with about four plus fingers of frothy off-white head with nice staying power for the high abv. Leaves some spotty lacing. Looks pretty nice. The body color turns more of a bronze as the bottle goes on, with lots of big dark chunks of sediment lurking at the bottom of the glass.

S - The smell is strange, and not entirely pleasant. Some pungent alcohol fumes, musty yeast, and notes of powdery cocoa, vanilla, caramel, cookie dough. It's an okay aroma, but it has poor depth and intensity.

T - The taste is definitely dry chalky cocoa forward, but not in the normal sense. Definitely very earthy & yeasty. Notes of chocolate / cocoa nibs, vanilla bean, caramel / toffee. The chocolate tastes very natural and authentic, I will give it that, and for that I will give it the 4 for taste.

M - The feel is moderately dry and clean. Bitter & creamy, with some mild lingering alcohol fumes. Medium-full bodied with low carbonation. Lightly sticky & chalky on the finish.

Overall, a unique and interesting take on a chocolate beer from Boulevard, but it is not what you expect at all really. Interesting for sure, but not what I have come to love and expect from a chocolate beer. Glad to have tried it, but I wouldn't want this again.

Boulevard Chocolate Ale ---3.5/5 (1,563 characters)

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Chocolate Ale from Boulevard Brewing Co.
85 out of 100 based on 260 ratings.