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Brooklyn Black OPS - Brooklyn Brewery

Not Rated.
Brooklyn Black OPSBrooklyn Black OPS

Educational use only; do not reuse.

816 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 816
Hads: 2,276
Avg: 4.1
pDev: 21.71%
Wants: 456
Gots: 1,226 | FT: 109
Brewed by:
Brooklyn Brewery
New York, United States | website

Style | ABV
Russian Imperial Stout | 10.50% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: RixBeer on 12-20-2007

Brooklyn Black Ops (2008 commercially available version) was aged for four months in bourbon barrels, bottled flat, and re-fermented in the bottle with Champagne yeast. 940 cases produced.

Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 816 | Hads: 2,276
Photo of ajm5108
2.56/5  rDev -37.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.75

Pours an inky black with a decent mauve head which it maintains longer than you'd expect forva barrel-aged beer. Aroma is heavy on the bourbon notes (vanilla, oak) but also features a pretty strong yeast undercurrent which tones the booze smell but also makes it a tad funky. It's fairly thin for what you'd expect, and it isn't particularly balanced. There is a big bourbon wave upfront that features the stronger booze heavy notes (and less of the subtle vanilla or oak flavors) but that fades almost instantly, and the main body is just a pretty mediocre imperial stout (roasted malt, maybe a faint bitter cacao nib). The only consistent note is a stab of astringent alchohol throughout, is too reminiscent of some cheap $5 jug bourbon. Not every beer can tossed into a barrel & magically be great, and this is a great testament to that.

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Photo of Allen_A
3.65/5  rDev -11%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Not a bad example of a bourbon barrel aged stout. its like a less mature version of BCBS. the bourbon notes are definitely pronouned in the nose, but the taste is less so. Its drier than most bourbon barrel stouts that ive tried, but still retains the alcoholic kick. if you're looking for a drier stout with sweeter aromas, this might work for you. but if you like your beers to follow the nose, this might underwhelm you to an extent.

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Photo of Catracho5
4.02/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle poured into a snifter

A: Pours black with a tan colored head, some head retention, not seeing much carbonation, head is creamy and full of tiny bubbles, decent amount of lacing, looks like a solid beer.

A: Bourbon, vanilla, hint of toasted coconut, alcohol is coming through, hint of oak, overall, aroma is pretty subtle and straightforward.

T: Hint of bourbon up front, some oak, vanilla, picking up some of the champagne yeast, it's a grape like note, in the finish there is bourbon, some smokiness, some chocolate, coffee, alcohol comes through pretty strong leaving some heat in the aftertaste.

M: Medium bodied, dry finish.

O: A little different than other bourbon barrel aged stouts, it has a slight sour/wine/grape touch to it in the middle, lots going on but I think it could use some more bourbon, for a RIS I was expecting some dark fruits, did not get them. It has some depth and complexity but it doesn't punch with flavor, it's very subtle.

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Photo of Ozzylizard
4.04/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

25.4 oz bottle at 42 degrees into snifter, allowed to warm to 55 degrees
Aroma of roasted malt, chocolate, and coffee; bourbon comes through as the temperature reaches 53 degrees
Head average (Three cm, aggressive pour), light brown, creamy, slooowly diminishing to a four mm ring and thin layer
Lacing - none
Body dark brown/black, opaque
Flavor primarily alcohol with aftertastes of coffee; no vanillin, no hops, no chocolate, no diacetyl
Palate medium, creamy, lively carbonation

Appearance 4.25, Aroma 4.5, Flavor 3.75, Palate 4, Overall 4

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Photo of smanson56
4.04/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Took a bottle to a family Xmas gathering yesterday to share with my brother in law. He's a wine drinker and didn't care for this at all which was good all the more for me.
Pour a nice black color with a thin tan head. Lots of bourbon in the nose with some hints of chocolate and some yeasty aromas. The taste is mellow with some nice bourbon and chocolate. This beer is a little on the thin side with a little over carbonation IMO. The taste is good but the mouth feel lacks.

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Photo of ThisWangsChung
3.95/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml bottle into a teku.

Appearance: Pours a very dark brown color - the pour itself looks a touch thin. The head is two fingers high and tan in shade. It has a very fluffy texture, almost similar to a Belgian-style beer. While the retention is nice, it doesn't seem to leave much lacing on the side of the glass.

Smell: Now THIS, this is interesting. I get some champagne qualities upon first whiff. After a bit of time, its base beer (Black Chocolate Stout?) shows up with heavy notes of earthy dark chocolate and fudge - there's also a distinct umami note lurking around. It takes a while for the bourbon barrel to show up, but it does after a while. The gentle vanilla, oak, and alcohol all add to the beer nicely. This smells like it will be a unique - and excellent - barrel-aged stout.

Taste: I really taste the champagne yeast at first imparting a decent Belgian-style tone (apples, pears, white grapes). It transitions into a fudgy, chocolaty flavor around the middle. Belgian yeast (err...champagne yeast) can actually embellish dark chocolate flavors when used right - and it ultimately does. The finish is gently bourbon-esque, bringing a light toasted oak quality. Having said that, the barrel qualities aren't as nuanced as the finest barrel-aged stouts. Another nitpick: the yeast flavors tend to obscure the base beer and barrel notes occasionally. Still, this one is well-balanced and not sloppy in its complexity.

Mouthfeel: This one feels light and airy for the style - almost...like...champagne! I know, shocking. It's not fully dry, but it goes down well for 11.6%. Looking past the semi-slender mouthfeel, this feels nicely creamy on the tongue. Remember how I said airy? Though not intense, the carbonation gently scrubs the lingering sweetness off of the palate.

Overall: BCBS this is not. Parabola this is not. But this carves a niche for itself, easily. It's lighter and crisper than those two, with a distinct Belgian bend that meshes decently with the rest of the beer (though it could be restrained a bit more thoroughly). Shame it's so damn expensive, though...

3.95/5: I can see why it's polarizing; but personally, I think it rocks

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Photo of jtslpowley
3.67/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Black Ops pours beautifully, however for me that's where it stopped. Too much of a punch on the front end with the carbonation ruined this one for me.

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Photo of ryan1788a5
4.03/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

750ml bottle poured into a snifter.

A: midnight black. Fine-bubbled brown head retains well, but eventually settles. It can always be revived with a swirl of the glass. Wispy and patchy lacing.

S: Dry bakers chocolate. Bourbon balls. The barrel has its stamp all over this, bringing great aromas of woody char, caramel, and sweet bourbon. Some earthy and leathery yeast. Sharp phenols and smoke as it warms. Hints of alcohol.

T: Bakers chocolate and semi sweet dark chocolate. Molasses sweetness up front. Heavy roast and French roast coffee dominate the mid palate. Barrel comes hot on the heels of the roast, bringing a lot of wood char and peppery bourbon. Yeasty and earthy flavors emerge as the palate adjusts. Figgy. Smokey phenols. Quick spike of alcohol toward the back. Smoke, bourbon, and trailing malt on the finish.

M: Full in body with a whipped creamy texture. Medium weight, it sits fairly lightly in the mouth. Fine-bubbled carbonation is very gentle, but it does provide a light loft and some tingling on the tongue.

O: The champagne yeast is an interesting wrinkle, and makes this a unique brew.

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Photo of WesMantooth
3.06/5  rDev -25.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pour looks great. Pitch black with a decent brown head.

This does not smell good. It is a sour champagne with some dark roasted malts.

It only tastes a hair better. A lot of bret up front. Very, very sweet. Some dark roasted, ashy malts and some lingering bitterness.

A lively, crisp body. Pretty thin.

I know they advertise it as bottle conditioned with a champagne yeast, and it delivers there. However, as a Russian Imperial? Nope. I think my score is generous. I didnt really enjoy this at all.

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Photo of q33jeff
4.26/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

** Old Notes: 5/15/14
Bottle to snifter.Appearance: Dark black. Rich tan head. Aroma: very sweet. Bourbon, brown sugar, vanilla and coffee jump right out. Underneath is a toasty malt aroma.Taste: Strong bourbon and alcohol up front. Sour cherry and vanilla notes later. Warming.Feel: Thin for such a heavy beer. Carbonation lasts probably because it?s thinner. Astringent. Excellent beer, very complex. Only downside is that the bourbon flavor overshadows the stout.

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Photo of MacMalt
4.06/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from cork and cage bottle into snifter. The color is almost jet black with a creamy mocha colored head and lacing. The prevalent smell is caramel, coffee, chocolate, and bourbon. There is just enough bourbon smell but it's not overpowering. The taste is coffee forward with bitter chocolate, vanilla, and a decided champagne tartness at the finish. As the stout warms, the sourness increases. The bourbon is prevalent throughout and is quite hot. I tasted no dark fruit, which I like to have in an RIS. This is a medium-bodied, lightly-carbonated stout. The fermentation with champagne yeast creates a unique taste that sets it apart. You can definitely feel the 10.5% ABV and this is decidedly a sipper. Overall, it is quite good and I'm glad I sought it out.

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Photo of cindyjeffsmith
4.21/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

look: Not quite opaque dark brown. Some ruby/cola highlights when held to light. Big mocha head on the pour that mostly recedes.
smell: Big and bourbony. Some other RIS notes but bourbon dominates in this fresh version.
taste: Bourbon is still prominent but doesn't dominate. nice roasty char and dark chocolate balance the sweet vanilla bourbon.

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Photo of mabermud
4.26/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

2013 Bottle poured into my best brandy snifter.

Look: The body appears dark brown and viscous. The head is mocha colored and appears fine and creamy. The lacing disintegrates into sheets of smooth and creamy broken curtains. Good looking lacing, legs, and movement down the sides of the glass.
Smell: The dominant aromas are of dark chocolate, medium roast, and yeast. Booze and barrel are definitely in the smell. Some sourness sticks out.
Taste: Nice. Champagne, bourbon barrel, medium roast, and dark chocolate. The champagne yeast combined with the barrel makes this a very unique beer, there is a good touch of sourness. Reminiscent of OK-Si.
Feel: Higher level of carbonation for an RIS. Bubbly? The ending has a nice creamy lather.

Overall - Nice drinking here. I did not expect this amount of bourbon and such a pronounced representation of the champagne in this RIS. I am pleasantly surprised. For me, this is very similar to OK-Si.

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Photo of IvoryFoxhole
3.84/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Blend 6 Q4 2014. Stored in beer refrigerator. Poured into teku glass.

Very dark with some cherry hints. Light tan 1 finger head which disappears quickly.

Smells of bourbon, coffee, tiny bit of the refermentation yeast

Taste is bourbon, coffee, vanilla, roasted malts. Oak and alcohol on the back end.

Too light bodied, fairly carbonated, too much alcohol burn on finish.

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Photo of iTunesUpdates
3.95/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 4

This beer just isn't doing it for me. I was expecting a black as night beer. It poured with a red hue and looks nothing like it should. Very light bodied on the tong, almost porter like.

I wanted this to be think as anything and it did not deliver. Taste is ok but is overshadowed by the light feel which does not pair with such a big beer.

Granted I did age this for a bit so I will try another fresh and re rate as needed.

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Photo of cjgiant
4.13/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Bottle blend #6, Q4, 2014:
Pours black, and a regular pour yields load of brown head. The head is slow to recede, and ends up creamy at the edges with a galaxy of random bubbles in the middle.

Nose is vanilla, light bourbon, little wood (oak). With some whiffs as the beer warms so get a little marshmallow, as well as a light chocolate/coffee/latte note - but they accent the main flavors.

The taste started initially as like a root beer, with additional notes of licorice as the bourbon tastes come on. A few sips later I can get a dark cherry cola taste as an alternative take on the root beer. The bourbon or some other flavor add a little bite/tingle that seems like ginger,or maybe licorice again.

The carbonation I think helps lead me to my soda analogies. However I think the absence of the effervescence is necessary given the lighter weight of this brew. My mouth actually has thin oily film at the end that allows the flavor to linger.

Very enjoyable. A bit more licorice than I expected, and the feel as a whole wasn't as enticing as I'd hope. Blend of flavors are nice, the barrel aging seems integrated fairly well with the beer.

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Photo of larryarms847
4.06/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours black as night, but instead of the usual thickness that accompanies most impy stouts with a high abv, this pours very light with high carbonation. A very noticeable effect from the use of champagne yeast.

Huge chocolate, oak, roast, and vanilla aroma.

Chocolate and a huge vanilla flavor explodes through, although the bottle states coffee flavors, aside from a faint roastiness, I'm not getting any of that. The vanilla is tasty, but a bit overpowering. The bourbon is almost non-existent.

Medium-Heavy bodied, high carbonation, very airy and light for an impy stout.

Overall, while I think champagne yeast plays an interesting role, this came off way too sweet. I think this could use a little more bourbon character to cut through the high sweetness.

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Photo of GarthDanielson
4.23/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

BQE Q4 2014. Poured from a 750 cork and cage into a tulip, the beer is jet black, with a massive amount of carbonation action throughout the body, with legs of tiny bubbles feeding into a foamy, light tan halo of head. Aromas of subtle white grape on the effervescence given off from the carbonation. Deeper in, you find an entire layer of boozy overlays, followed by rich vanilla, oak spice, earthy tones, chocolate truffle, cocoa nib, and mocha. Flavors are rich chocolate, a nice blend of milk, bitter baker's, and truffle. Layers of rich vanilla, oak spice, bourbon overlays, and a dry wine-like character. Very dynamic, and the dryness undercuts the otherwise rich, robust, and velvety smooth body. The dryness also helps keep the drinkability up despite the increased ABV and building warmth. The finish is smooth and big, and it fades slowly, with a velvety transition that is eventually cleaned crisply off the palate from the last ditch efforts of the carbonation. This is an extremely tasty, extremely unique take on the style.

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Photo of Jwaks
2.39/5  rDev -41.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 1 | overall: 2.5

It takes an extremely talented brewer to make an barrel aged imperial stout that is completely and utterly lacking in body. honesty it is near impossible to achieve. Congrats, you done it!! how the fuck you did it is beyond me. Perhaps the sugar and carbohydrate hungry champagne yeast ate up everything during fermentation that would give this brew any substance or you forgot to put in any flaked barley, oats or any unmalted grains that would add some mouthfeel to this beer. What an amazing failure this is.

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Photo of alarmclock314
4.08/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2012 release, 10.5% ABV, 25.4 oz bottle with cork. Pours black with a large-sized foamy tan head. Smells of bourbon, cocoa, and some roasted malts. The taste was surprisingly mellow; roasted malts, bourbon, dark fruits, and some port flavors. Not as malt forward as most RIS's. The carbonation was average, despite the large head. The mouthfeel was a little thin. Overall, the taste too mellow but had an interesting wine characteristic.

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Photo of uvachief
4.35/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2014 Bottle. Poured a deep dark black with a thin layer of mocha colored head that lingered a bit. Smells of chocolate, toffee, whiskey and roasted malts. Taste is much the samr. Very smooth for high ABV. Bourbon flavor is nicely folded in on this one. Delicious Imperial stout. Would definitely buy again. Not bitter. Hardly any noticeable ibus. Really tasty.

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Photo of brianmandell
3.89/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

2013 Bottling, pours a dark brown with tan head. This is an interesting brew. The belgian yeast profile makes this stylistically closer to a quad than a stout. The nose is fruity with raisin and cherry (the age might be a factor here) and a heavy hand of cocao powder. Malty with very little bitterness. The back end is boozy (with some acetone) and slightly astringent but not overly so. The flavor falls flat in the finish. The mouthfeel is very nice - thin but with very fine creamy carbonation. If you prefer thick, full bodied stouts - this isn't it. A good show from Brooklyn but it leaves me wanting to drink a good belgian quad instead.

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Photo of Neorebel
4.12/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

With an opaque ebony appearance, and a head reminiscent of espresso crema, Brooklyn Black Ops looks to be one fine stout. The soda-like bubbles in which the head is comprised of, seem to give one the impression that there is some level of carbonation going on. This is the 2014 Black Ops of 11.6%. The aroma is somewhat unique in that in addition to raisins, vanilla bean, and strong Bourbon Whiskey, a hint of cranberry can be sensed as well. After a sip, the first reaction is that the Bourbon is coming in loud and clear, but there is also a nice cocoa powder element amongst the roasty bitterness. Medium bodied and fairly soft for the ABV, it still warms a bit going down. Overall quite a deluxe brew, but not enough so to really hang amongst the heaviest hitters in the BA stout arena.

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Photo of mrcarterxxl
2.12/5  rDev -48.3%
look: 2 | smell: 1.75 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 1.75 | overall: 2.5

Honestly I've had better imperial stouts, black ops is definitely not worth the $25. You really have to let it sit on your pallet for a while to form a opinion of flavor. It's more vanilla (Madagascar) dominant, not the traditional coffee, espresso, chocolate, flavors you'd expect.


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Photo of ptykozoon
3.95/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Unsure vintage - at least a few years old.

Pours black with a caramel ring.

Smell is chocolate, graham crackers, dark sweets, caramel, raisin.

Delicious beer. Decent complexity.

ABV is subtle and refined. Sugary finish.

Drinkability is solid. Not an overpowering beer at 10%. Would seek out again.

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Brooklyn Black OPS from Brooklyn Brewery
92 out of 100 based on 816 ratings.