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Chocolate Ale - Boulevard Brewing Co.

Chocolate AleChocolate Ale

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613 Ratings
no score

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Ratings: 613
Reviews: 231
rAvg: 3.73
pDev: 17.43%

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: 613 | Reviews: 231 | Show All Ratings:
Reviews by mdcrouser:
Photo of mdcrouser


3.65/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

The hype around this beer for the past few months, but especially over the past week since the announcement of the launch date, has been paralleled only by that of other recent Smokestack releases.

Poured from the bomber bottle, I got at least three fingers worth of head - easily over-poured. I let it die down, and then poured some more, leaving a crater in the creamy tan head. The beer itself is a beautiful red/brown - I'd seen it in pictures, but the color in person is very unique.

Smells like a brown ale, mildly malty, with hints of chocolate and vanilla.

Somewhat difficult to put your tongue on, as the chocolate is unexpected - it comes through as a subtle cocoa, with a spicy hint of cinnamon. To me, the hops are also surprisingly evident, propelling the chocolate forward, on a wave of greenery.

Creamy, like drinking chocolate down the throat. Sticky and dry to close.

An enjoyable experiment to challenge to tongue? Absolutely, and I applaud Boulevard for pushing the norms to brew this beer. Something I'd enjoy again and again? Probably not - just not my glass of beer, no matter the quality.

Serving type: bottle

02-11-2011 04:21:19 | More by mdcrouser
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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.


Serving type: bottle

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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.

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Chocolate Ale from Boulevard Brewing Co.
84 out of 100 based on 613 ratings.