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Chocolate Ale - Boulevard Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Chocolate AleChocolate Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

773 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 773
Reviews: 243
rAvg: 3.71
pDev: 16.98%
Wants: 51
Gots: 158 | FT: 8
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)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 773 | Reviews: 243 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.98/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap 2/17/2012 at British Beer Company, in Walpole, MA served in a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a medium brown color with a short off-white head that fades quickly and leaves a thin lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is all chocolate along with some caramelized malts and a touch of hops.

T: The taste likewise is all chocolate up front and chocolate throughout which is surprising given the lighter color of the beer compared to other beers with the heavy chocolate flavor. The malt character is hearty and the hops presence is mild but complementary creating a good balance. The after-taste is slightly sweet.

M: Smooth and crisp, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is dry but slightly sticky.

O: Tasty, goes down easily, not too filling, good kick, good representation of style in that this beer is exactly what the name implies, it’s not a stout, it’s a chocolate ale.

TheManiacalOne, Feb 21, 2012
Photo of Kegatron
3.98/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 ml corked & caged bottle into a couple of glasses.

Pours a clear rosy amber, topped with a ½ finger of smooth off-white head. This leaves back a foamy cascade of light spotty lacing that quickly slides down the sides of the glass. The aroma smells of earthy hops, cocoa, light toffee and a gentle toasted nuttiness. This has an interesting mix of flavors going on with it.

The taste is green earthy hops, more of a softer fruitiness that pairs up well with the cocoa accents here, some tangier feeling caramel flavor and then finally dry and bitter on the finish with a light lingering nuttiness. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with a smooth and creamy feel up front that then lays a touch of sharpness on the tongue the rest of the way. Alcohol adds some spicy warmth to this, especially on the finish.

This wasn’t what I was initially thinking this was going to be (thought it was going to be darker) but that was OK! I liked how the chocolate here was more of a complimentary flavor to the others things that were going on with this, while the higher alcohol gives this a heft that made it more of a warming after dinner sipper. This was well crafted and interesting.

Kegatron, Sep 20, 2012
Photo of jlindros
4/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had at SMBDC growler/bottle tasting thanks to BlessedBeBeer.

A: Big fluffy head, lots of lacing, semi hazy ruby brown orange maple color.

N: Cocoa nibs, dark & med to light malts, very light dirty, musty earthy malts, light earthy hops, various chocolate aromas.

T: Chocolate! Baker's, cocoa nibs, tootsie rolls, creamy choc, some dark fruit, bit spicy, sweet malts, chewy malts, light bitter earthy hops, all that with light malts overall. Finishes creamy, semi sweet, bitter hops, light chocolate, long finish.

M: Med to a bit heavier bodied, decent carb.

O: Good, nice choc, malts, light hops, not much for booze either, tasty.

jlindros, May 25, 2011
Photo of russpowell
3.95/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Cheers to Fred at the Biergarten in Jenks for setting aside a bottle for me!

Pours an effervescent amber with a pinky of sand colored head into a Boulevard Smokestack goblet. Opened with a big pop! Above average head retention & some lacing

S: Cocoa nibs & vanilla, faded over time

T: Follows the nose, slight cakeyness, reminds me of slightly boozey cake batter to be more specific. Booze & cocoa dance as this warms along with dryness, a slight hazel nuttyness & woody hop bitterness, piney notes too. Finishes with cocoa powder dryness, slight apricot fruitiness from the yeast fights through at the end along with a bit more hazel nut

MF: Medium bodied fairly assertive carbonation, nice warming sensation, working for me on a cool damp winter's eve

Drinks very easy for the style & ABV. Tasty, but not mind blowing, I would be just as happy with another bottle of Ommegang's Chocolate offering. This one actually could age into something better, I'm thinking. Since I only got the 1 bottle, I may never know...

russpowell, Mar 05, 2011
Photo of oline73
3.68/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle into a Unibroue goblet.

Appearance: Pours a slightly cloudy dark amber color with a finger and a half of creamy off white head that leaves a layer.

Smell: Sweet caramel malt, lots of chocolate and some dark fruit.

Taste: Sweet malt, as in the smell, there is a lot of chocolate. The finish is quite bitter with a rather strong alcohol taste. Would have liked it to be a little smoother.

Mouthfeel: Medium body with smooth carbonation and a very slightly dry finish.

Overall: I enjoyed this beer, but I would have liked it to be a little smoother in the finish.

oline73, Jul 23, 2011
Photo of drabmuh
3.63/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Gift from my sister, thanks! Served in a Boulevard Smokestack cerviose glass. This beer was a little odd, not bad just not my thing.

Beer is dark amber / slightly red and mostly clear with a big tan head of small bubbles, aggressive carbonation, nice retention.

Aroma is chocolate and alcohol.

Beer drinks a little like a chocolate flavored spirit. The body of the beer does very little to conceal the presence of alcohol and the whole thing comes off a little solventy. The chocolate is nice but a little one note. I won't have it again.

drabmuh, Jul 24, 2012
Photo of mendvicdog
3.5/5  rDev -5.7%

mendvicdog, Jun 01, 2014
Photo of mdfb79
3.68/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

From 06/25/11 notes. Bottled shared by nimbleprop at a recent tasting; thanks Mac. Poured from a 750ml bottle into my Bruery tulip.

a - Pours a very dark brown color with one finger of off white head and moderate carbonation evident.

s - Smells of chocolate, wood, toasted malts, and roasted malts. Chocolate obviously dominates the nose, and it's really nice.

t - Tastes of chocolate, roasted malts, wood, and slightly bitter chocolate/hops. Good but a slight step down from the nose due to the light bitterness.

m - Medium body and light carbonation.

o - Overall a good beer, though I think this is one to share with some friends. I think it would be tough to tackle a whole bottle of this by yourself. Would have it again.

mdfb79, Jun 30, 2011
Photo of Trashcat
3.5/5  rDev -5.7%

Trashcat, Nov 18, 2014
Photo of Mora2000
4.1/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours a dark amber with a cream-colored head.

The aroma is a nice mix of chocolate, bready malt and some grassy hops. The hops, chocolate and malt all mix very well together.

The flavor is heavy on the milk chocolate. Overall, the beer is very sweet. There are a lot of creamy, milk notes in the beer. There is also some nice biscuit and caramel malt as well as some grassy hops. The hops contribute more flavor than bitterness, but there is a tad bit of bitterness to keep the beer from being overly sweet.

Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation.

Mora2000, Apr 05, 2011
Photo of kojevergas
3.4/5  rDev -8.4%
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.


kojevergas, Mar 30, 2014
Photo of drewone
3.25/5  rDev -12.4%

drewone, Feb 25, 2013
Photo of wrightst
3.75/5  rDev +1.1%

wrightst, Apr 26, 2014
Photo of imperialking
3.5/5  rDev -5.7%

imperialking, Jan 24, 2012
Photo of stakem
3.53/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Leon for the chance to try this brew. From a 750ml bottle into a mini snifter. This brew appears a golden brow color that is hazed. A white head forms with decent retention that recedes and hangs close to the edges leaving a pattern of lace on the glass that is both spotty and leggy. A light swirl revives the cap with a yellowish stained coloration.

The smell of this brew is quite chocolate filled leaving little room for much other characteristics. The chocolate is rich and familiar in a raw cacao sort of way with a lightly fruity sweet scent coupled with a fresh grainy sweetness.

The taste of the brew is sweet with grain and lots of chocolate flavoring. The chocolate is bold enough to be noticed upfront and lingers into the aftertaste with a flavor that again is reminding me of cacao nib with a light baking cocoa aspect. Through the body is a bit of young yeastiness and a minor contrasting herbal bitterness.

This is a medium bodied brew with a modest amount of carbonation. It's easy drinking and a unique experience that's worth giving a shot. Im only now seeing this listed as a strong ale with 9+% that is shocking to me, the abv is well hidden. It's not something I would want to drink on a regular basis but it makes for an interesting offering to pair with food. A word of caution, at the time of this beer being shared, a non-beer drinking person in the room tried a sample and chugged the rest of the bottle... This beer does appeal to those who "don't like beer."

stakem, Apr 12, 2011
Photo of barleywinefiend
4/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Poured a butterscotch color with good good carbonation and a nice white cap

S: Lighter milk chocolate, caramel, toffee, butterscotch

T: At room temp this beer comes alive with a whirlwind of flavors. Some smooth nutty elements, perhaps pecans, some toffee and light caramel, hints of butterscotch present, chocolate comes in midway thorugh to the end. Nice chocolate feel, not overlydone but for a chocolate ale I thought it should have finished stronger.

M: Nice feel, had some Co2 in there, sweet, light booze, medium body

D: Good

barleywinefiend, Feb 20, 2011
Photo of mothman
3/5  rDev -19.1%

mothman, Oct 18, 2014
Photo of ejimhof
3/5  rDev -19.1%

ejimhof, Feb 03, 2013
Photo of afsdan
4.25/5  rDev +14.6%

afsdan, Apr 04, 2014
Photo of Mebuzzard
2.53/5  rDev -31.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

Well, I've loved all the other Smokestack brews from Boulevard, but this one I couldn't finish.

Pours a murky, dark copper with a very large head..about 5 fingers. Just billowed up with white froth. Lacing was nice.

Aroma is chocolate forward with vanilla and some earthiness. That's about it, really. It's not bad and really backs up the name. But it seems basic, not very complex.

Yeah, taste is the same. Very faint earthiness up front and in the middle, with a chocolate finish. Yet the chocolate doesn't seem rich or smooth. Stale comes to mind. Vanilla provides some sweetness, but it's a bit much. Hops don't seem to be around. The chocolate is intruding and not all that good.

Thin, could use something else. Perhaps a stout version would be better. I don't know. This one didn't sit well with me.

Mebuzzard, Feb 11, 2011
Photo of smakawhat
3.43/5  rDev -7.5%
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.

smakawhat, Mar 10, 2014
Photo of Wasatch
4.23/5  rDev +14%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks goes out to portia99 for this brew.

This is my 2600th review, thanks everyone I've traded with to reach this goal.

Batch Number: 2011-2
Best By Date: 08-2012

Nice HUGE pop when releasing the cork. Poured into a chalice a very nice hazy golden amber color, very nice carbonation, with a nice one-finger creamy/fizzy off-white head, which leaves some nice oil slicks and sticky lacing behind. The nose is malty, with some nice yeast notes, very nice touch of dark chocolate, some slight notes of bananas, nice little hop note to boost, lightly spiced. The taste is very nice, malty, with that nice touch of yeast, throw in some dark chocolate, and bananas/spice note. Medium body, slightly dry finish, very drinkable. ABV is hidden very well. Overall a very tasty brew. Do not expect a Stone Arrogant Bastard here folks, this is more like a Belgian Strong Dark Ale. Thanks Bill for sending this one my way.

Wasatch, Oct 07, 2012
Photo of brandoman63
3.25/5  rDev -12.4%

brandoman63, Jan 16, 2013
Photo of John_M
3.78/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From notes...

The beer pours a reddish amber color with good head retention and lacing. The nose is fruity and malty, with a hint of chocolate in the background. The beer definitely smells as if it will be on the sweet side. The flavor profile replicates the nose, but on the palate the chocolate flavor is much more pronounced. That's fine, and I appreciate that the sweetness isn't over the top, but the beeris a bit more boozy and alcoholic than I like to see. Mouthfeel is medium bodied, with fairly long, fairly sweet finish.

Shrug. This is a nice enough beer, especially for those who like the flavor of chocolate in their beer (I'm fairly neutral on the concept myself).

John_M, Sep 20, 2012
Photo of rab53
3.5/5  rDev -5.7%

rab53, Mar 24, 2012
Chocolate Ale from Boulevard Brewing Co.
84 out of 100 based on 773 ratings.