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Brooklyn Black OPS - Brooklyn Brewery

Not Rated.
Brooklyn Black OPSBrooklyn Black OPS

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

1,799 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1,799
Reviews: 748
rAvg: 4.13
pDev: 13.56%
Wants: 401
Gots: 934 | FT: 71
Brewed by:
Brooklyn Brewery visit their website
New York, United States

Style | ABV
Russian Imperial Stout |  10.50% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes/Commercial Description:
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 added by: RixBeer on 12-20-2007)
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Ratings: 1,799 | Reviews: 748 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of BigB415


4.25/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours jet black with a dark brown head. Label says it was re-fermented with champagne yeast. I get the smell of champagne and taste of champagne right up front. If it weren't for the vanilla notes and pitch black color I'd feel like I'm drinking champagne. I taste no bourbon notes which is nice that's something you normally expect from a beer aged in bourbon barrels. It's very smooth and easily drinkable. I had to try this since I had their black chocolate a couple times and I'm glad I have.

Serving type: bottle

02-09-2011 05:03:00 | More by BigB415
Photo of rhodeska


4.33/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Really solid beer, thanks to ridglens for this beer.

This one had a really nice bourbon/vanilla tone to it, really strong smell, and not a lot of head on the pour. It was pretty similar to the Great Lakes Blackout, but without as much barrel and caramel taste. Really good still, the taste lingered in your mouth keeping you wanting more. Good beer at a good time!

Serving type: bottle

02-07-2011 06:36:36 | More by rhodeska
Photo of corby112


3.73/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours pitch black and completely opaque without even the slightest bit of lighter color when held to a light source and a two and a half sldark mocha head. Excellent retention, only slowly fading into a thin lasting cap. Sporadic rings and splotches of soapy lacing left behind.

Sweet boozy aroma with lots of barrel character. Bourbon dominates the nose but there's also some earthy oak and a mellow vanilla/marshmallow presence. Underneath there are lots of silky chocolate, oatmeal, toffee, roasted coffee and burnt toast.

Medium bodied with a huge blast of bourbon that is quickly countered by an acrid burnt wood presence. Lots of earthy oak with subtle vanilla. The smooth vanilla/marshmallow presence from the aroma is much less evident in the taste. Lots of bourbon flavor but not really hot. The high ABV is very well masked but the overly earthy burnt wood taste hurts the drinkability. Underneath there is some deep roasted malt flavor. Subtle hints of chocolate and lactic cream as well as some roasted coffee bean, burnt toast, oatmeal and toffee.

Overall this beer is decent but a bit unbalanced with too heavy of a barrel presence. The bourbon is nicely integrated and the ABV is well masked but I wish it was fuller bodied with more of a luscious chocolate malt profile.

Serving type: bottle

02-07-2011 03:18:32 | More by corby112
Photo of jdhilt

New Hampshire

4.05/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a one finger brown head that fades quickly leaving traces of lace. Black color - no highlights. Light-medium carbonation and heavy bodied. Nose is bourbon and oak, flavor is bourbon, some coffee and oak. The high ABV is hidden. Interesting imp stout but does it need to be $20.00 for a caged and corked 750ml bottle?? Tully's Beer & Wine Wells, ME. There's only 1000 cases of this.

Serving type: bottle

02-06-2011 23:29:23 | More by jdhilt
Photo of nickhiller


4.38/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: the color and consistency of used motor oil with a thick creamy head and little lacing.

S: molasses, nail polish, chocolate, dark roast coffee, Kahlua--or like a white Russian--raspberries.

T: cacao, vanilla, lactose, cherry cordials, raspberries, finish has the the familiar dry charcoal of an imperial.

M: low carbonation, but just enough to keep it from being flat, heavy body, slick. No hint of the super high ABV, other than warmth.

D: very tasty, I have have this many, many times over.

Serving type: bottle

02-05-2011 21:50:38 | More by nickhiller
Photo of psuimpreza

Russian Federation

5/5  rDev +21.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Best bourbon aged beer I have tasted to date. There is nothing better than the combination of bourbon and beer.

It has a small head with such high alcohol content. Smells like delicious vanilla bourbon. A must try for the bourbon beer lover.

I had heard there were only 1000 bottles made so Good Luck finding it.

Serving type: bottle

02-04-2011 21:24:36 | More by psuimpreza
Photo of tegelaar


4.45/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a jet black with a nice tan head. Smell is amazing! Bourbon, spices and a subtle sweetness. Taste is creamy and thin bodied. Bold bourbon taste but it blends well with the chocolaty malt backbone. Great beer for those not into coffee. Very drinkable for the strength. Advise you to pick up a bottle if possible.

Serving type: bottle

02-04-2011 01:21:23 | More by tegelaar
Photo of jsanford


4.58/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I've enjoyed numerous bottles of this, finally getting around to a review. 750ml bottle poured into a tulip.

A - Pitch black with a moderate head of mocha fluff. Decent retention, some sticky lacing is left on the glass.
S - Mmm...one of my favorite smelling beers. Lots of Bourbon up-front with a generous helping of chocolate, dark roasted malt, vanilla, and oak.
T - Chocolate really dominates the palate with strong notes of high-quality Bourbon. Vanilla, oak, caramel smooth out the rough edges nicely. Definitely a Bourbon-bomb and, while that's a negative for some people, I love it.
M - One of the most unique Stout mouthfeels I can think of, the champagne yeast adds a wonderful, crisp carbonation that works perfectly with this beer. Really nice.
D - While I usually split these bottles between a couple of friends, I could easily drink one by myself.

Serving type: bottle

02-03-2011 22:10:08 | More by jsanford
Photo of adamhimself


2.7/5  rDev -34.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

The appearance of this beer is very nice. The head was very present and it sparkles in the light of my kitchen. The head is a slight off brown color with a jet black body.

The smell is phenomenal. It smells very very good. You can smell the barrels. There are notes of chocolate, caramel, and a slight vanilla smell. The alcohol is very present as well.

The taste was very disappointing. The upfront taste is pure alcohol and it isn't hidden. Actually, this beer is quite boozey. There is a strong whiskey/bourbon taste as well. I was hoping that flavor would take a backseat, but its driving the car. In fact, its keeping me from tasting many of the other flavors that are barely present. As I said to a friend, "it taste like someone poured bourbon into this beer."

The mouthfeel is good. Its quite smooth and slightly creamy.

The drinkability is very low for me. I'm sad to say, but I don't think I would buy this beer again. I wouldn't reject it if offered, but I most certainly wouldn't go out of my way for it.

Serving type: bottle

02-03-2011 04:39:06 | More by adamhimself
Photo of Lazerlobe


4.28/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2009 Bottle

A: Rich black with graham cracker head. Persistent head.

S: Hearty chocolate malt shake, minimal roast'n'toast, inviting dark fruits and some hot buttered rum batter.

T: More roast chocolate, almost smore like with toasted marshmallows and vanilla. A slight almost vinous tang creeps in but A little booze and well integrated bourbon weaved throughout. There is also an enjoyable creaminess left over on the tongue. Looks like a balance well struck.

M: Excellent creamy texture but the carbonation has been ratcheted up a touch too high.

D: An excellent sipper that I want to gulp; I'm glad to have held on to this until now.

Serving type: bottle

02-03-2011 01:51:20 | More by Lazerlobe
Photo of ZeroSignal


4.38/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Pitch black with a billowing light brown head. Fantastic retention and sticky lacing

S - Carries a woodsy aroma with a bit of alcohol. Lingering hints of vanilla, chocolate and just a touch of coffee

T&M - Fuller bodied but not quite as "thick" feeling as I was expecting. Woody notes from the nose follow through with a bourbon laced vanilla and bits of coffee. One of the better barrel aged beers I've had as the flavors from the aging seem to meld perfectly with the beer as opposed to slapping you in the face.

Finish is malty sweet with just a touch of alcohol warmth and a bit of that lingering wood flavor.

D - Dangerously drinkable for something over 11%. Alcohol is very well hidden behind some of the bolder flavors here. This is one I'll be sure to seek out again.

Serving type: bottle

02-02-2011 04:04:30 | More by ZeroSignal
Photo of Genghis22


3.73/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

2009 Corked and Caged 750ml poured into a tulip.

Thanks Stephen!

A - Pours a velvety black color with a creamy looking mocha head. Some nice lacing.

S - Agressive and slightly astringement on the first few whiffs. Alcohol and vanilla very present. Some bourbon like qualities, rich and roasty, but very boozy.

T - Hot! Wow, that's boozy. The first sips are all alcohol. There is a chocolately wash over the tongue, but it is quickly ran over by the hops. The aftertaste provides some of the roasty malt flavor and nice bit bourbon like flavor - boozy and vanilla.

M - Full bodied, almost oily. Very nice carbonation. Coats the tongue nicely, and sticks around for a bit. The alcohol dries the tongue.

D - This needs more time. This beer is already aged a year (plus), and still tastes crazy hot. Sooo boozy. I can see the where this might be headed, but it will probably take a few more years to get there. This beer would rate higher for me if the alcohol wasn't so overpowering.

Serving type: bottle

02-02-2011 03:46:00 | More by Genghis22
Photo of nhindian


3.85/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml bottle poured into a Victory tulip. Split with russwbeck.

A - Pours an absolutely pitch black, nothing's getting through this at all. Builds about 2-fingers worth of tan head with poor retention. Leaves behind faint lacing, and when it finally diminishes it's gone for good, not even leaving a smidge of cap in its wake.

S - Smell is strong bourbon with some fruits maybe? There's a sweetness in here that seems a bit separate from the bourbon. Some oak, but there's something in the nose that's off-putting to me. It's an astringent characteristics that somehow reminds me of paint thinner. Not sure if it's the alcohol coming through mixed with the bourbon and sweetness, but it's a bit of a deterrent.

T - Unlike in the nose, the taste has a ton of vanilla and woody oak to it. The bourbon is lighter here as well. The strange astringency also comes through here, though, unfortunately. But it's balanced a bit with some roast, coffee, and pleasing alcohol.

M - The mouthfeel is creamy and medium bodied. Like similar bourbon Russian Imperials, the carbonation is on the low end of the spectrum. Long, bitter finish filled with a nice alcohol heat.

D - Drinkability is moderately high. If not for the strange, distinct astringency in the nose and taste this would be a winner. The alcohol complements the flavors marvelously and everything comes together nicely to make it better than the sum of its parts. If not for the high price tag, I could see myself drinking this a few times during its release.

Serving type: bottle

02-01-2011 04:11:24 | More by nhindian
Photo of Hoops4life511

New Jersey

4.58/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750 mL bottle poured into tulip glass.

Appearance - Pours almost opaque black with fluffy tan head. Lacing clings to the glass amazingly while the head lasts. Eventually the head falls to a patchy cap. Very nice looking example of a stout.

Smell - Bourbon influence is very apparent in the nose. Vanilla and oak overpower while malt tries to show itself from the background. Overall pleasant and what was expected from a bourbon barrel aged stout, but its lacking some of the roasty robust aromas I'd expect from a big stout.

Taste/Mouthfeel - BAM! Flavor is huge. Roasty and dry with sweet vanilla like bourbon in the finish. Some underlying coffee and a pretty apparent alcohol content, without too much burn in the finish. Medium to full body is great. Carbonation is light but present.

Drinkability - Drinks really well for such a big beer. Drinking an entire bottle would be a little too easy.

Overall, I was happy to have tried this special brew. The big league price tag scared me a little but it is definitely a treat.

Serving type: bottle

01-31-2011 00:28:51 | More by Hoops4life511
Photo of mattsdenney


4.1/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

One of the lucky few to get a bottle in Nashville (1 per customer of course).

A: Pours pitch black with a dark brown foamy head.

S: Bourbon, alcohol, coffee, malts.

T: Strong up-front taste of bourbon followed by coffee, chocolate, licorice, malts and some bitterness. I wonder what type of bourbon barrels they used?

M: Creamy and smooth.

D: Sunday afternoon, watching golf, fully expect to put the whole bottle down easily. One note, if you prefer a chocolatey RIS this may not be for you.

Serving type: bottle

01-30-2011 23:03:27 | More by mattsdenney
Photo of TheFightfan1


3.88/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a snifter. Opague black,abnormally carbonated and full of life. Left tremendous lacing until halfway down then turned completely flat.

Smell is whoa all whiskey upfront. Nice heavy malty kick than blend's well with the oak aroma's.

Taste after first sip is all whiskey. A bit much at first but does sooth out to let you get some of those soft oak taste's,and slightly sweeter vanilla side to balance this monster out.Finishes a little bit hot on the palate and warm in the belly.

Mouth does have a fine full body and carbonation is tremendous for how heavy this is.Not exactley smooth bodied more of a chewy hot alcohol bite.

All and all a solid beer. This would have to be cellared a little while to calm down the crazy amount of whiskey in it.I would have to question the 11.6% ABV. This just seems so much higher alcohol content.

Serving type: bottle

01-29-2011 15:12:13 | More by TheFightfan1
Photo of NefariousR


4.03/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 750ml bottle into a tulip imperial pint glass.

A - Dark black with a thick, foamy, 3-finger mocha head. Thick.
S - The bourbon influence is INCREDIBLY apparent, with a strong, earthy, vanilla note. Roasted coffee and chocolate in the background.
T - Again, the bourbon shines through. Additional notes of roast, dark fruit, and molasses. A bit of chocolate (milk and dark).
M - Surprisingly, barely medium-bodied. Not too thick. The carbonation brings forward a foamy creaminess, while the alcohol brings a warming sensation.
D - This is a BIG beer. Full on flavor and very assertive. I wouldn't recommend drinking more than a pint or so, though if you're into this kind of thing you could definitely finish the bottle on your own (I did).

Serving type: bottle

01-29-2011 06:56:51 | More by NefariousR
Photo of MayLattimore

North Carolina

4.5/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Dark Black. Nice frothey head that sticks to the glass. Sugary and sweet smelling. Really like this beer. Perfect carbonation for a rich creamy beer. I could do a whole bottle of this myself. But, thankfully I had some help with this one. Really a wonderful beer and I really liked it.

Serving type: bottle

01-28-2011 20:12:30 | More by MayLattimore
Photo of russwbeck


4.35/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Pour is of absolute darkness, nice brown head stays around for just a little bit.

S: Still trying to properly pin down the smell. A slight roastiness, minimal bourbon, almost a sweet woodiness with some hints of alcohol. Really interesting.

T: Roasted malt heaviness up front, vanilla woodiness to follow. Really amazed at how little the bourbon comes through, it comes through more prominently the more I drink it at the end. Very well balanced.

MF: Heavy and creamy, nice bite of carbonation.

D: Really drinkable, tried this one directly after Victory Dark Intrigue, Black OPS was the clear winner.

Serving type: bottle

01-27-2011 17:45:33 | More by russwbeck
Photo of YouSkeete


4.8/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A: Very dark brown, jet black appearance. Thick bubbly dark tan head, fades into simple lacing.

S: Big aged bourbon, bittersweet chocolates, champagne and raw alcohol aromas.

T: Nice smooth and dry bourbon flavor. Aged oak and thick yeast and malt are strong, but not overpowering. Dark fruits like figs, raisins and dates make their way to the surface, and follow through the body. Notes of bittersweet cocoa and burnt coffee are present. The body of this beer masks the alcohol content very well. Aftertaste is almost exactly what one would expect after taking a shot of aged bourbon.

M: Smooth and dry. Medium to heavy body with medium carbonation.

D: For an 11.6%ABV RIS it drinks spectacular. GREAT brew.

Serving type: bottle

01-26-2011 22:45:17 | More by YouSkeete
Photo of Brenden


4/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Notes are somewhat old, but thorough as always. More thanks to Steve (a74gent) for another great pickup.

To clarify beforerhand: this is a very good beer that really needs to be aged to reach its potential. I imagine it would absolutely be an A with a year or more of age to allow it to level out. I'm reviewing it fresh.

This beer is a big, black beast that can't be seen through and lets very little light into the edges. A small brown head forms and, while not large, has very good retention and leaves a bit more lacing than I'd expect.
Alcohol dominates the aroma. What's underneath is very nice, but difficult to get to: vanilla, wood, and something like bourbon. This is a beer that aromas could just explode out of when it was aged and mellowed. I'm reviewing it fresh, though.
The flavor is essentially the same: fresh, as it is, I would drink this as a liquor rather than a beer. Some great flavors and complexity exist underneath the alcohol and boozy bourbon-like flavor that overtakes them: chocolate, vanilla, maybe even something like cherry, wood, and a touch of smoke. I'd love to taste these in full, but they just can't fight the booziness. It's still tasty.
The body is big and rich, not the thickest or most massive with all the alcohol, but obviously still full-bodied. It's also pretty smooth.
This is very good fresh. I can imagine how good it would be aged.

Serving type: bottle

01-26-2011 17:42:56 | More by Brenden
Photo of Cascade77


4.4/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Shared with some friends in NYC. This was the bottle from the first commercial release.

a - Black as night. Viscous and it sticks to the glass with a little swirl. Head frothy, creamy, dense.

s - Burnt sugar, bourbon, alcohol, kind of sweet smelling. A hint of coffee.

t - Really nice. Plums, toffee, lots and lots of bourbon. More so than the fresh bottle I tried the day before. Just slightly acrid. Still pretty boozy. Some port like stuff comes out as it warms.

m - Smooth and creamy low carbonation. Definitely coats the tongue. Just plain rich.

d - Couldn't do a whole bottle but a good size snifter went down pretty easy.

A really great beer. Glad I got to try it.

Serving type: bottle

01-26-2011 16:26:29 | More by Cascade77
Photo of KAP1356


4.33/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 750 ml. bottle marked 2920 (October 19, 2010) into a DFH signature snifter...

A - Pours a dark oily black with a HUGE 2.75 finger head that is a nice espresso color. Head retention is unbelievably good. Must assume the champagne yeast has something to do with this.

S - Obvious bourbon barrel aging on the nose along with some sweet chocolate notes. Roasted malts are in the background and some ever so slight vanilla comes through.

T - Bourbon, milk chocolate and roasted malts all over the palate. Vanilla and cream also come through along with some hints of oak. Very well balanced and nice barrel aged integration here. Not overpowering but adds nicely to the overall profile

M - Very well cabonated and adds such a different mouthfeel to an RIS. Bubbly and creamy all at the same time. Medium bodied and really quite nice.

D - Really great sipper with such a different feel and complexity for a barrel aged RIS. Looking forward to seeing how the rest of the case ages as I'm sure it just gets better.

Serving type: bottle

01-26-2011 02:34:29 | More by KAP1356
Photo of Beerandraiderfan


4.03/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Came out with a tar like blackness and consistency, good tan and cherry cola ring of head left. If you're one of those guys who rips on a barrel aged stout because the carbonation isn't like a pilsner (i.e. high) than this is your beer, the champagne yeast really gives it the high edge of carbonation.

Mild bourbon booziness in the nose.

Taste, so thick and coating, but not over the top, but yet, it kinda did put me over the top after a day of drinking/grilling and getting to this point. Plenty of bourbon and chocolate, neither dominating the other. Balance is thy name of the black ops game, I guess it works, when you think black ops, you think, secretive, you won't know its there. Nothing over the top, but a discreet strong presence here. Very sticky though.

Drank this during the AFC Championship game, played for the right to lose to the Packers in 2 weeks. I'm glad I still have 2 more of these left, we'll see what they're like in December or 2011 and beyond.

Serving type: bottle

01-25-2011 17:26:37 | More by Beerandraiderfan
Photo of seedsofchaos


3.9/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Received this bottle as an extra from generous BA, ubufan2112 (2010/11 bottle). Decided to pay it forward and take this rarity (in the Midwest) to a local beer tasting and share amongst fellow beer geeks.

Imagine lights-out within a cavern deep inside the belly of the Earth. This brew pours blacker. Light is no match against the thick, opaque body of Black Ops. Head is delightful at a solid inch of milk chocolate hues. Alcohol, slightly fusel, permeates in the nostrils for a bit followed swiftly by champagne/Beligiany yeast, roast, plums, bourbon and dark chocolate.

The flavor is a bit different with the use of the champagne yeast but the straight-forward whiskey flavor plays well with the malt bill. Roasty for sure but not quite as much as I would like in an RIS. Chocolately? Definitely, but it's a bit hidden. A little bit of age would due this bad boy some good as the alcohol is a bit too hot still to truly enjoy the complexities of this brew. Oak and vanilla are not present on my palette as I would expect from a bourbon barrel aged ale. Finishes with the great bittersweet nature of dark chocolate/cocoa.

I'd love to try this again with a bit more time to mellow out as I believe this beer can only get better with age.

Serving type: bottle

01-25-2011 17:09:53 | More by seedsofchaos
Brooklyn Black OPS from Brooklyn Brewery
92 out of 100 based on 1,799 ratings.