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Chocolate Ale - Boulevard Brewing Co.

Chocolate AleChocolate Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
84
good

623 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 623
Reviews: 233
rAvg: 3.73
pDev: 17.16%


Brewed by:
Boulevard Brewing Co. visit their website
Missouri, United States

Style | ABV
American Strong Ale |  9.10% ABV

Availability: Spring

Notes/Commercial Description:
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 added by: HOPPYKC on 02-09-2011)
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Ratings: 623 | Reviews: 233 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of MNishCT77
MNishCT77

District of Columbia

3.45/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

750 mL bottle purchased at Connecticut Ave. Wine and Liquors; poured into my NEBCO Gandhi-Bot snifter glass unknown brewing/kegging date but best by 09-2014; drank over about an hour

A: 1/3 - amber-brown coloration; crystal clear (can both read and see through); received with an initial frothy white head that settled into a subtle glass lacing; no visible bubble but large chunky stuff (cocoa) floating around that settled on the bottom of the glass during the pour

S: 7/12 - predominately cocoa/chocolate notes with balancing malt backbone; some mild alcohol; no hops; no perceivable flaws to my palate

T: 13/20 - the flavors match the nose on first pour - again, cocoa, candied sugar and caramel expand the flavor profile; there is some mild roasted malts and alcohol on the backend but subdued relative to the other notes; no predominant yeast or hop flavor profile; finishes moderately sweet but definitely not cloying/difficult to swallow

M: 3/5 - higher carbonation than expected; moderate body but thicker mouthfeel than body belies; moderate drinkability

O: 6/10 - I must admit that this is not what I was expecting at all - anticipating a chocolate stout and truly got a(n) (albeit flawed) chocolate ale; the cocoa/chocolate notes taste aYooHoo artificial to me and why are there hunks of stuff floating around; for an ~$20 price point in D.C., I surely won't be purchasing this again, especially when there are so many better Smokestack Series beers floating around the DMV - bring on the Saison Brett!

TOTAL - 30/50

Serving type: bottle

04-20-2014 05:28:53 | More by MNishCT77
Photo of teromous
teromous

Virginia

2.63/5  rDev -29.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

A: It's an interesting beer right off the bat. The body of the beer is a very hazy orange light brown color, with a fairly light eggshell white head.It has an enormous amount of carbonation, and I want to emphasize the importance of a careful pour with this one. The head is ridiculously huge. I had a bit of a gusher, but I eventually got it settled down. Aside from the foam fountain, the beer really is fantastic looking!

S: I get some spice on the nose. It's a bit hard to place, it is just very spicy. It's a bit of a conundrum, because the beer smells quite wonderful but I get absolutely no smell of chocolate! The beer says "Chocolate Ale" which leads me to believe there is chocolate in this. I get zero chocolate aroma. I suppose I will just go on to describe this wonderful spicy aroma. It's slightly peppery, and smells a bit like crushed salad greens. I am rating this beer as outstanding because it is quite wonderful, but I want to make a public declaration that this smells nothing of chocolate. As the beer warms up, the scent of alcohol begins to voyeur. This beer is leading a double life. It is quite good smelling but for all the wrong reasons! I feel that perhaps I have received a beer that was mislabeled or bottled incorrectly? In the grand scheme of things it still smells outstanding...just no chocolate...

T: Very uneventful in the taste department. I get some alcohol and a tad of caramel. Where is this mythological chocolate that the label claims?! For shame!

M: Admittedly it is hard to focus on something as simple as the mouthfeel when I am cheated at taste. It's fine. I'll rate it "okay" because I am quick to move on with this beer. Adjust your expectations accordingly.

O: No chocolate. That should be enough to deter any drinker with the literary aptitude to read a bottle. I can't say in good conscience that it is a horrible beer, but it is quite poor. I feel that my expectations have been ransacked; that I've been bamboozled! How could a beer boast the proclamation of chocolate and stand with nothing to offer? For those who live in the world of summation and "buzz-words," where is the chocolate???

Serving type: bottle

04-17-2014 00:08:06 | More by teromous
Photo of kojevergas
kojevergas

Texas

3.4/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

750ml brown glass bottle with attractively understated label and branded red hood-and-silver-wire cap over a branded cork acquired at a local TX bottle shop many weeks ago and served into an Avery stem-tulip in me gaff in low altitude Austin, Texas. Reviewed live. Expectations are high given the brewery - which makes some beers I really adore. 9.10% ABV per the label. "Batch Number/Best by Date: CH13354-1 09-2014." Cost was $10.99 USD. Reviewed as a flavored ale.

Served chilled and allowed to warm over the course of consumption. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

A: No bubble show forms as it's poured.

Pours a two finger wide head of white-khaki colour. Nice creaminess and thickness. Has a nice soft complexion and an even albeit slightly thin consistency. Inconsistent spotty lacing clings to the sides of the glass as the head recedes. Head retention is rather good for the high ABV - about 5-6 minutes.

Body colour is a translucent transparent gold of good vibrance and excellent clarity. Quite clean; no floating yeast particles or hop sediment are/is visible. Appears well-carbonated.

Overall, it's looking pretty good, but admittedly isn't quite what I expected given it's a chocolate ale. I'm looking forward to the first sip.

Sm: Caramel, nutty notes, brown malts, and malty sweetness. Chocolate? Sure, but it's not quite what you'd expect. This isn't the dark chocolate or milk chocolate character you'd find in a stout. It's more like a natural raw cacao character, and evokes crumbly dusty bricks of chocolate. Truffle too. Hazelnut. Cream.

No hop charactr, alcohol, or yeast character is detectable.

I admit, at first I was a bit put off. There's something vaguely artificial about it and the chocolate aromatics are pretty arresting if you're expecting a stout-like chocolate character. But I find myself coming around to it the more I take it in.

It's a very soft approachable aroma, and I find it inviting. A pleasant mellow aroma of mild strength.

T/Mf: It's got a comforting, soft texture to it. Supple and giving. Smooth and wet. Comforting and refreshing, even soothing. Well-carbonated. Has a medium body and an apt thickness. Nicely creamy.

Not oily, hot, gushed, boozy, astringent, or harsh.

The chocolate notes do evoke that crumbly dusty powdery feel of raw natural cacao. Brown malts fill out the body nicely. Caramel. Faint hazelnut. There is some vague fruitiness, but I lack the palate to place it. (Forgive me). I don't pick up on any yeasty character, hop character, or overt alcohol.

It's a well balanced flavour profile, and has a nice cohesion. Not quite gestalt. Nuanced, sure. I've never experienced this particular kind of of chocolate character in a beer (at least that I can remember). Not the most intricate or complex brew, but it boasts some nice subtlety. I do like it, but the one-two punch of brown malt and crumbly chocolate takes some adjusting to.

One could make the argument that it's a bit too sweet, but I find the sweetness to be kind of apt.

Above average depth of flavour. Average duration and intensity of flavour.

Dr: Drinkable and enjoyable. Hides its ABV nicely. I'll finish the bottle with relative ease, though I doubt I'd want more than one bottle in the same night. It's not Boulevard's finest work, but it's a near-unique brew with a lot of interesting atypical chocolate character to offer. Whether or not you like it, I think it's worth trying just to see one shade of what chocolate can be. I'm not sure I really like it, to be honest, but it does give me pause. It's certainly not what one imagines when they think of a chocolate ale, but boy is it interesting.

B-

Serving type: bottle

03-30-2014 08:15:09 | More by kojevergas
Photo of ThisWangsChung
ThisWangsChung

Maryland

3.2/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

750ml bottle into a pint glass.

A: Pours a dark amber color. The head is about two and a half fingers high, and pale yellow in shade. Very fluffy and soft-looking, the retention is quite good. On the other hand, no real lacing is left behind.

S: Opening the cork reveals a borderline spectacular bouquet of dark chocolate. Then I pour it into the glass, and I'm left wondering - what happened to the chocolate? In the glass, I'm getting notes of vanilla, banana, roasted nuts, caramel, but minimal chocolate. I'm also getting touches of spicy Belgian yeast. Somewhat disappointing; if this smelled like it did from the bottle as it does now, it would be an easy 4+.

T: Some sweet dark chocolate opens it up, along with some caramel and vanilla. There's a genuine white chocolate vibe with the flavor profile. It's even brownie-esque at times. After that, this one stumbles somewhat - some fruity, mildly spicy yeast enters in the middle and finishes it off. The yeast character seems to lack definition (disappointing considering who makes it) and obstructs some of the nice chocolate notes.

M: Rather heavy on the palate, and quite sweet. This doesn't have the deceptive drinkability Boulevard's other 750s have. The carbonation is pretty low, as well - put simply, it's a sipper, not a chugger.

O: A solid beer in small doses - the chocolate flavor (despite the disappointing aroma) is moderately prevalent, but it's a bit of hard work to imbibe. If this were closer to a stout or even a brown instead of an amber/red, I'd like this much better. This is something that you split between 6 or so people instead of drinking by yourself.

Serving type: bottle

03-26-2014 22:02:26 | More by ThisWangsChung
Photo of Prefabu
Prefabu

Kansas

3.68/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

I wasn't even aware that this beer is quite hard to get, and I just happened to be in Trader Joe's when they put their lot out for sale. The store was almost empty, and I could have bought a case! Word spread and it was sold out shortly after I left the store.

I'm working from memory, so I won't be including minor details. The chocolate flavor of this batch was quite subtle, and I think that's a very good thing. Initially I thought the beer was a bit too thin and the flavor somewhat shallow. Even though I had let the beer warm up a little before drinking, I thought the flavor improved markedly as it warmed further. Honestly I loved the last few swigs and sips, and by then I wished I had purchased several bottles. I really think it might be best near room temperature, but I'll have to experiment more next year. This beer is incredibly smooth and deceptively strong. I like that combination since I'm not a quantity drinker. I really wish I didn't have to wait another year to try it again!

Serving type: bottle

03-23-2014 21:39:49 | More by Prefabu
Photo of scratch69
scratch69

Missouri

3.69/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

I poured a bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance- Cloudy copper color with two fingers of light tan head. Fair amount of runny lacing.

Smell- Light aroma of caramel malt and earthy hops with a hint of chocolate and vanilla.

Taste- Sweet caramel malt with chocolate and light vanilla flavors showing up mid sip and lasting into the aftertaste. Just a hint of earthy hop flavor to balance out some of the sweetness.

Mouthfeel- Medium bodied with a slightly above average amount of carbonation. The alcohol heat is barely noticeable and then only as it warms.

Overall- I have been trying to get my hands on this beer for 3 years and I thought I had missed out again this year until my sister-in-law surprised me with a bottle. It is a pretty good beer but I don't know if it was worth a 3 year wait, but I am glad that I got to try it finally.

Serving type: bottle

03-22-2014 21:13:09 | More by scratch69
Photo of cvm4
cvm4

Mississippi

3.86/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A - Pours a deep copper, slightly transparent and has a light tan head.

S - Faint semi-sweet chocolate, sweet malts, biscuity, banana esters and light vanilla.

T - To me, the taste falls in lock step with the nose. Chocolate comes on midway through and goes until the finish.

M - Light to medium bodied with high carbonation. Has a wet finish to it.

O - I like the chocolate character in this beer. An interesting take on what can be a somewhat boring base beer.

Serving type: bottle

03-12-2014 23:42:07 | More by cvm4
Photo of smakawhat
smakawhat

Maryland

3.43/5  rDev -8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Poured from the bottle into a snifter glass. Batch Number CHI-3364-2 Best before Sept 2014.

A deep copper and red tinted orange body and fairly opaque. A faint tan head matches nicely almost with red hues, but is only one finger tall and and gives a good collar that looks thick and white.

Bouquet. So where's the chocolate? Bananas. Taffy sugar. Some vanilla creamy like character, just the faintest hint of chili like heat and spice it seems (yes I know there is no chili in this beer). But chocolate... nothing, maybe some faint cocoa barely.

Palate is interesting. A very milky and runny body, that really coats in a creamy chocolatey way. Hints of pepper and fruit like finish, chili, and spicy bitterness. The milky quality hints just to a little bit of wet texture though too unfortunately. As warmth comes there's some soft orange sour fruit and mellow hop bitterness that comes together.

It's an interesting beer, but it's chocolate angle is more akin to bitter fruit and chili warmth and mild bitterness, and the label seems very misleading. I am sure people are drinking this and thinking... brown or chocolate sugar expectations, but this has some real neat spice character, but chocolate is really just the secondary for the main act.

Serving type: bottle

03-10-2014 22:51:49 | More by smakawhat
Photo of MattyG85
MattyG85

Minnesota

4.16/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a corked 750 ml bottle into a Surly Darkness chalice. Label best by date of 09/2014.

Appearance: Pours a surprisingly light amber orange with a moderate amount of bubbles. Solid two fingers of off white head that quickly fade into a thin patchy layer. Leaves a decent amount of lacing.

Smell: A roasty and sweet malt forward aroma with big hints of chocolate and vanilla. Toasted malts with big hints of sweet chocolate and cacao nibs. Also some malt hints of caramel, toffee, biscuit, yeast, grains, oats, milk, wheat, and nuts. Sweet hints of brown sugar and vanilla. Subtle hints of earthy hops in the background. Very chocolate forward but doesn't smell like a stout. Interesting aroma.

Taste: Like it smells, a roasty and sweet toasty malt forward taste with big notes of chocolate and caramel. Upfront toasted malts with a big taste of sweet chocolate and cacao nibs. Notes of caramel, coffee, biscuit, toasted bread, yeast, grains, wheat, oats, milk, and nuts. Sweet notes of vanilla and brown sugar. Some earthy hop notes mingle in the background. Very forward with the chocolate and fairly dry. Tastes good.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with a high level of carbonation. Toasty, creamy, and pretty drying on the finish. Alcohol heat is hidden well.

Overall: A pretty interesting and good take on a chocolate beer. Lighter bodied but a big chocolate malt taste.

Serving type: bottle

03-08-2014 08:38:48 | More by MattyG85
Photo of Badger6
Badger6

Virginia

4.09/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured out of a 750mL bottle into a tulip.

A: Others were surprised by the color...but this is not a stout. Dark coppery color, slightly hazy, active carbonation. Off white, foamy head, almost no retention, receded quickly to a decent ring at the glade edge, almost no lacing.

S: Chocolate and malt. The chocolate is a complementary aroma to the malts. Seems there is some happiness, but not distinct. Slightly boozy.

T: Chocolate stands out. Starts malty, but quickly turns over to chocolate, which builds into the finish and through the aftertaste. This is all about chocolate. No happiness at all in the flavors.

M: Medium to robust body. Carbonation on the palate is not as much as expected form the visible carbonation. Seems very balanced to the body. Slightly dry.

O: Unique and interesting. Wasn't sure if I'd like this, but the manager had 6 bottles, would only let me buy one, so i figured I was up for it. Glad I did. This is an ale, feels like it, drinks like it, but it's chocoaltey. Not like a milk shake, or a chocolate stout. It is an ale infused with chocolate flavor through and through. Very funky, in a really good way.

Serving type: bottle

03-04-2014 21:53:35 | More by Badger6
Photo of chinchill
chinchill

South Carolina

3.79/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at the 2014 Secret Stash Bash (Atlanta).
Pours clear dark amber. Very good head.

Nose is mainly rousted chocolate nibs. Chocolate really comes out in this ale.\: Ii's actually the main flavor component. Still, not as tasty as fine chocolate on its own, but an impressive brewing achievement.

Medium light body medium carbonation.

O: exceptional and unusual.

Serving type: on-tap

03-03-2014 23:55:22 | More by chinchill
Photo of alphagnome
alphagnome

Iowa

3.13/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance:
The color caught me off guard, I was expecting a dark brown or black body... What I got was a hazy rust colored body, that is topped with a fantastic, porous off-white head. The retention is poor though as the head was almost entirely gone in about a minute. No lacing and minimal carbonation.

Aroma:
When I close my eyes, I don't have to stretch the imagination much.. what I get is rich, sweet fondue chocolate. Heavy cocoa laced with fruit notes, mostly orange and strawberry. A bit of caramel is noticeable.

Taste:
Unfortunately, the flavor profile isn't as well received as the aroma. Sweet notes of milk chocolate notes hit upfront, until darker chocolate hit bringing along with it some bitter notes. I get some fruit notes, but they aren't pronounced like they were in the aroma. For being 9%, the alcohol isn't detectable at all - unfortunately, this is the highlight. The chocolate notes mentioned are just not enjoyable and the aftertaste is that of cocoa powder with an almost chalky quality.

Mouthfeel:
Smooth and easy to drink and surprisingly light-bodied. Light carbonation and semi-dry finish.

Overall:
I was really looking forward to this, as I do all of Boulevard's Smokestack beers. To say I'm a fan of Boulevard is an understatement. Sadly, as I glared at the empty bottle, I wish I hadn't purchased it - a first for a BLVD beer. It's worth sampling, as it's unique enough to warrant the addition to your palette... BUT(!) I'd recommend going in on a bottle with a bunch of friends - finishing a bottle by yourself might prove a challenge otherwise.

Serving type: bottle

03-02-2014 22:41:51 | More by alphagnome
Photo of Mein_Bier_Stein
Mein_Bier_Stein

Wyoming

1.9/5  rDev -49.1%
look: 2.25 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 1.75

750ml 09-2014, tulip, drank 2/2014

Loud pop, too much carbonation. Not what I was hoping. Have had previous iterations of BCA. They were MUCH better. They had less carbonation, more sweetness and a fantastic aroma, but not this bottle. Have had previous years, both 750s and on tap.

A - Copper / amber color, very much what I expected. Lots of carbonation, not expecting this. Halfway expecting a dry finish beer due to bottle fermentation. Head dies quickly, light lacing.

S - Yeast. Where is the chocolate? Where is the vanilla? If you wait minutes and sneak up on the glass then you can get a faint chocolate aroma. I get more chocolate aroma from a reeses peanut butter cup package, ugh. If you want to smell the cocoa, then you will have to wait again for it to come back, because it goes away very quickly. Never got vanilla from it this time.

T - Dusty, dry finish slightly bitter finish that may be due to the bitter cocoa. Tangy. Guessing that is what they intended because the bottle reads 'fruity cocoa', but more Saison like.

M - Bit of carbonation bite, after it sits while awaiting the cocoa aroma. Much more carbonation at the first pour.

O - A disappointment. Seriously, avoid this.

I could claim I was spoiled by the previous BCA offerings, but I do not think so. I get more chocolate aroma from beers that lay no claim to using chocolate in the brew!

General commentary; I do not know what is going on with Boulevard, I have had plenty of misses with their smokestack 750ml and this is certainly one of them. Yeast poisoning? Remember a couple of years ago they pulled BCA off the market? Yep, due to yeast poisoning. Read the reviews of on tap vs 750 for the 2014 BCA, they seem to vary greatly.

Serving type: bottle

02-28-2014 02:15:26 | More by Mein_Bier_Stein
Photo of BeerFMAndy
BeerFMAndy

Wisconsin

3.81/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

750 ml bottle poured into a snifter.
9.1% ABV

A - The cork's loud pop proclaims this beer has some carbonation! One might usually expect a chocolate beer to be a dark beer but this Boulevard created a bit of a shock leaving the bottle; clear amber in color. Lace sticks to the glass with some fever as the off-white head subsides.

S - Cocoa bean gives the aroma an immediate authenticity but it doesn't quite smell like chocolate, more like old, dried up baking morsels and a pile of cocoa powder with a nice underlying biscuity maltiness.

T - Boulevard's collaboration with Christopher Elbow crosses the tongue with a flavor profile much more akin to a pleasing confection; nudges of toffee sweetness back up a hint of milk chocolate that hides behind dusty cocoa and cocoa beans.

M - The pop of the cork was right; this is a highly carbonated beer. Alcohol hides well considering the beer is fairly lighter bodied as it finishes with a nod to sweetness but lands more on the dry side.

O - Boulevard's Chocolate Ale collaboration has quite a bit of authenticity to it's flavor profile as opposed to artificial ingredients but it doesn't quite help the fact that dusty cocoa and cocoa bean don't give quite a nice liquidy chocolate profile the label's decorated with. This Smokestack series is a nice offering in and of itself but doesn't quite stand up to the series' otherwise impressive gamut.

Serving type: bottle

02-27-2014 23:00:43 | More by BeerFMAndy
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StaveHooks

Oklahoma

3.46/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

750ml bottle served in a Old Guardian tulip

A - Brassy copper color with a creamy off-white head. Not what I expected it to look like. Nice retention and lacing.

S - Cocoa powder and caramel malts, some bready nuttiness, toast.

T - Follows the nose with cocoa and caramel malt, the chocolate is dry and not sweet. The sweetness comes from the caramel/toffee malts, there's some yeastiness as well. Not alot going on other than that. Finishes dry with a cocoa aftertaste.

M - Smooth medium body, plenty of carbonation, dry finish.

Well I expected this beer to pour dark so I was surprised to see such a light color. It taste good but it's not great. Glad I tried it but this is probably a one and done.

Serving type: bottle

02-27-2014 03:19:34 | More by StaveHooks
Photo of Fender616
Fender616

Georgia

1.7/5  rDev -54.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

I was really excited when I bough this beer, completely happy to pay around $14 for it. Boulevard is an amazing brewery, and produce some of my favorite beer. This little nugget was unfortunately nowhere close amazing, and pretty far off from decent.

A - Definitely not the color I was expecting. Amber, not dark at all. Fine, cool, whatever.

S - Dingy liquid Motrin. Vague Tootsie Roll smell. Smell's like the spray they use in the Hershey's gift shop.

T- Truly terrible. Hardly any "chocolate" at all, except for that weird off-Tootsie Roll flavor. Something akin to cough syrup.

M - Fine, well carbonated, light bodied.

Overall- Really, really disappointed. What the impression I came away with was a Michelob Ultra flavored with Tootsie Roll extract.

Definitely not worth $14. If you're curious about trying this beer, I'd save your money. Or get your friend to buy it. Total disaster, I literally poured this down the drain.

Serving type: bottle

02-24-2014 22:31:47 | More by Fender616
Photo of BarryMFBurton
BarryMFBurton

Indiana

3.76/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Batch #CH13354-1, best by September of this year.

A: Pours an unexpected amber color with a fizzy, finely-bubbled white head above; looks like your typical IPA or amber ale. A quick moment and the head has vanished, leaving a paper-thin layer of retention and no lacing.

S: A light (but unique) ale nose of grainy malts and gourmet chocolate scents: the dessert character of peanut butter and chocolate fondue are drizzled over a mix of raw, rigid husk and wheat toast. Something about the blend gives it an odd plastic aroma, like a Ziploc bag, but it’s not overpowering (though it is constantly noticeable).

T: Earthy, nutty balance places this beer pretty evenly between adjuncts and malt. At first, you can taste that plastic flavor from the nose, but it’s quickly overtaken; what emerge are the dominant tones of nut, with an emphasis on cashew, chestnut, and peanut brittle. A milky, gourmet chocolate taste comes wrapped up in it all, but it never gets center stage, surprisingly. Instead, the palate of a typical Belgian wit take over: straw, white bread, yeasty coriander, and a palpable wheat fruitiness (mainly apricot) rise up. Finishes on that note, slightly grainy but with a grounded sweetness like a Tootsie roll – only lightly chocolaty. But still, there’s that plastic note from the nose lingering in the finish; it’s there to remind you that not all is right here, unfortunately.

M: There’s a soft, creamy quality to this beer’s body that gives the chocolate of the palate an instant foothold; once you sip it, you can instantly make the connection. Carbonation, though, is a bit distracting at times, adding a champagne-like crispness to the body.

O: When it comes to dark ale adjuncts, chocolate seems to be fairly common. Here, Boulevard seems to have had something special in master chocolatier Christopher Elbow, and that shows: the cacao you taste is gourmet. But the beer is hindered by a sad off-flavor, a plastic-y case of what I think is over-carbonation. When I twisted the cork off I was surprised by the pressure it had – that thing ripped out of there like a gunshot – and when I poured I could instantly smell the off-aroma. I’m pretty sure this is unfiltered, though, so I guess it could also be a yeast off-flavor. But, in all, there’s obvious quality beneath this beer’s missteps; I just wish the bottle wasn’t so damn expensive ($14 for 750mL) so I could give it a second chance without feeling insane…

Serving type: bottle

02-23-2014 04:15:31 | More by BarryMFBurton
Photo of Fcolle2
Fcolle2

Illinois

3.63/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours copper in color with a big amount of haze and some light sediment. Head is one finger offwhite fizzy and dissipates rather quickly.

Smell is good. Lots of coaco laced throught the whole thing but there is a small amount funk overlaying it which is slightly hard to determain the origin of. There are also light amounts of toffee vanilla and straw like aromas.

Taste is different then the nose. Toffee and caramel malt is forward followed by a slight presence of vanilla. Big amounts of booze dominate the midsection while a funky tang finishes. Not much coaco is present in the taste if at all.

Mouthfeel is good. High carbonation and stickiness seem nicely balanced. There is a somewhat vinigar like sticky sour finish but is very light and not intrusive.

Serving type: bottle

02-20-2014 03:07:59 | More by Fcolle2
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DominoDoug

Minnesota

2.18/5  rDev -41.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 2.5

Copper appearance. Almost a tart/sour smell to it. Zero chocolate flavor. I saw people raving about this and had to buy a bottle. Brewer commented via twitter that "it's not a chocolate bar". What about any chocolate at all? Rather persuaded to see if I can return this bottle for a refund after feeling rather cheated.

2014 vintage

Serving type: bottle

02-17-2014 00:56:01 | More by DominoDoug
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snargles

Texas

2.6/5  rDev -30.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 2.5

I must agree with many of those who have tried this 2014 batch of Boulevard chocolate ale, the chocolate is faint and barely noticeable. Two years ago I kept going back to BCA because it was quite simply one of the best beers I've ever had. It was a surprisingly easy drinker back then as well, which was strange for a chocolate beer (of course it's not a stout or porter). The balance of chocolate was spot on, a perfect blend that was just sweet enough. It appears this beer has fallen victim to the cost-cutting methods or alternate recipes so many brewers implement to stretch out ingredients and increase production on high-demand limited release beers. I had been eagerly awaiting this beer perhaps more than any other in the last two years and am severely disappointed with the bottle I drank. I just paid 13.99 + tax for a beer that had absolutely no business being in a high priced bomber. Sure it's a solid "3.0" beer to be put in a 6 pack for 7.99 and sold as a typical craft amber ale or something, but with chocolate that isn't pronounced, and sold as "chocolate ale" for around 15$, ratings should be adjusted accordingly. The difference between the bottles I bought in 2012 and 2014 was night and day. I even think 2012 was clearer copper color, while 2014 looked cloudy when poured. I have one more bottle I'll put away and pray for some miraculous aging and I'll try to find it on tap to compare, but wow. MAJOR letdown. Looking at all the wildly variable reviews on this beer... maybe it's just one of those inconsistent beers where every now and then you get a special batch. *sigh*

Serving type: bottle

02-15-2014 12:57:10 | More by snargles
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Nostrajonus

Oklahoma

4.2/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

A- This is much lighter than I imagined it would be. Light brown with a two finger bubbly white head that fades quick leaving no lacing.

S- Chocolate...and thats about it. This smells great..not a bitter dark chocolate smell but more milk chocolate.

T- Much like the smell, chocolate is the only thing noticable here. The milk chocolate flavor becomes more pronounced with every drink.

M-The mouthfeel is not as full as as I would like it to be. Very light.

O- This beer was kind of confusing intially with the light color and the lack of texture. All in all I really enjoyed it. I appreciated the milk chocolate flavors just because I'm so used to encountering dark chocolate flavors. I will snag a bottle of this when I see it next.

Serving type: on-tap

02-14-2014 00:46:43 | More by Nostrajonus
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Oxymoron

Colorado

2.66/5  rDev -28.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

New release with big hype. Pours a mostly brown color with crystal clear clairty. A soft white head with bigger bubbles and good retention.

The nose is limited. Mostly a soft malt tone with a caramel and vegi undertone. Some minor chocolate but really needs more. Some fusel notes and noticeable green bell pepper note. Some minor yeast but mostly clean. A touch of green apple.

The taste is limited as well. The higher alcohol is hidden as it leaves a lack of depth. A soft caramel note with a hint of tobacco and chocolate. Really would like more chocolate notes here. Veg notes come out more vs nose. Some yeast notes come out more vs the nose but noticeable off notes.

The body is moderate to mod light. For the ABV would like a bit more complexity. Carbonation is good. Overall a bit disappointing.

Serving type: bottle

02-14-2014 00:24:54 | More by Oxymoron
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Powli

Kansas

4.66/5  rDev +24.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

BEWARE!!! I had this beer last week on release day and today on tap (in disbelief). It smelled of delicious chocolate somewhere between milk and dark. It tasted fantastic, somewhere between the two again. The look was the last thing I would expect to be a chocolate ale, but had a fantastic deep amber transparent color with a fair head. Mouthfeel was great.

Enter the bottle. Nothing similar. Nothing even close. Shocked at the difference and sincerely disappointed at the lack of consistency between bottle and tap. The bottle tasted and smelled much more like a spicy saison. Luckily I got 2. I will be placing the second in bottle conditioning temperatures for a few months to see how well it develops.

Overall. I'm not sure I could even pick out the fact that these came from the same brewery between tasting both mediums.

On tap: 4.75/5

Bottle: 2.5/5

Severely frustrated with these results!

Serving type: on-tap

02-13-2014 02:35:13 | More by Powli
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EclipseGT

Kansas

2.84/5  rDev -23.9%
look: 5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

I want to love this beer and I want to be able to get excited for it every February but I can't. I feel cheated...

The one BIG problem I have with Boulevard's Chocolate Ale is the fact that I really could not taste any chocolate. The chocolate should be the HERO of the beer hence the name CHOCOLATE ale and it's not. There was just so much going on in my mouth, that I begin to wonder what it is that i am drinking. Don't get me wrong, the taste is alright but I don't get what all the hype is about with this beer. Where is the chocolate at? One of my friends tried it last weekend to see what all the hype was about and the first thing she asked was... where is the chocolate? I have tasted Boulevards Chocolate Ale, Young's Double Chocolate Stout, and Samuel Adams Chocolate Bock and my favorite of the three is Samuel Adams Chocolate Bock.

I expected a a rich chocolatey taste but was left with .. ???? Maybe I should add Hershey's chocolate syrup to it...

Sadly .. I will not be buying this brew next year unless they change the recipe by making the chocolate the HERO of the beer!

Serving type: bottle

02-12-2014 07:29:21 | More by EclipseGT
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ajzbedo73

Missouri

1.6/5  rDev -57.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 1.75 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1 | overall: 1.5

Been waiting 3 years to try this! Lucked into 1 bottle. Here goes.

A: Poured from a 750ml bottle corked and caged into a tulip glass. 2 fingers white/cream head. Body is amber and murky. Minimal lacing that disappears quickly.

S: Hmm. No chocolate. As a matter of fact, its the goddamned green beans! Damn it!

T: A little boozy. A tootsie roll, a damn tootsie roll. WTF! The finish is funky. Like...well, the green beans I smelled. Dirty green beans. Unpleasant to say the least.

M: Watery, watery, watery...did I mention watery? Damn it!

O: I wanted to love this beer. I'm a boulevard freak. But I'm let down big time. A waste of 14 bucks. I hate that I hate it. I feel like I'm betraying you boulevard. Maybe it is you that betrayed me! I got caught up in the hype. I feel stupid. You should feel stupid, because the beer is horrible. A damn tootsie roll? After all the hype I get a goddamned tootsie roll that smells like dirty green beans? I will never, never buy this beer again!

Note: I realize people smelled and tasted green beans from the "infected" batch 2 years ago. That did not influence my review. I smelled what I smelled and tasted what I tasted. I'm starting to think the batch wasn't infected at all. Its just a bad, bad beer.

Serving type: bottle

02-09-2014 03:59:25 | More by ajzbedo73
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Chocolate Ale from Boulevard Brewing Co.
84 out of 100 based on 623 ratings.