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Brooklyn Black OPS - Brooklyn Brewery

Not Rated.
Brooklyn Black OPSBrooklyn Black OPS

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

1,800 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1,800
Reviews: 748
rAvg: 4.13
pDev: 13.56%
Wants: 401
Gots: 936 | FT: 72
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: 1,800 | Reviews: 748 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Chaney

District of Columbia

4.65/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I've made a few trades involving this beer. It's expensive, but fairly easy to get on the East Coast once you know where to look.

This was the first time I've actually cracked one of mine open because I just hadn't gotten around to it until now. This was the 2009 version.

A: Opaque to the 20th power, with a VERY foamy two inch dark brown head that lingered for a while... a long while even! To detect carbonation visually, I would have needed night vision goggles.

S: Fairly dense bourbon, with tons of vanilla, chocolate, wood, and a little bit of yeasty softness. That must have been the champagne yeast. Did that thing even have booze in it?

T: Very smooth and buttery (bourbony) with an intense chocolate and vanilla flair. There was a little bit of high pitched fruitiness (maybe dates?) wrapped up in the booze that I found just plain awesome. The finish left a yummy, lingering chocolate taste.

M: I got a tad more bitterness and alcohol burn as I got into the session, but I honestly expected those things with a special edition, gourmet brew like this. This was probably the creamiest and foamiest RIS I've ever encountered.

D: Wow, what a disciplined, refined, and well crafted beer! I had a lot of high expectations about this thing due to its high price tag, but I think it was worth every penny!

Serving type: bottle

12-31-2010 00:02:29 | More by Chaney
Photo of thedoubler55

New Jersey

4.6/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A - Black as night, with a huge tan head that was pretty solid looking. Left little bit of lacing around the glass as you sipped away this goodness.

S - Smell was a nice simple bourbon, with hints of vanilla and chocolate that left you wanting to smell more!

T - Taste was fantastic for this beer, I loved it! Very strong bourbon taste upfront but after the second sip your tasting sweet malts and hints of vanilla and chocolate. Just wonderful!

M - The mouthfeel for this beer is simple and cramy not to heavy and over powering.

D - Definitely a beer I will try to buy each year, I bought 2 bottles, one will be aging for a few years or months.

Serving type: bottle

12-30-2010 16:06:39 | More by thedoubler55
Photo of dizknee24

New Jersey

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

Thanks to my cousin for sharing his, couldnt find a few for myself this year.

A - motor oil, with a very brown head. nice lace around the glass.

S - bourbon anyone. chocolate with a strong smell of bourbon

t - chocolate with a strong aftertaste of bourbon. Very good if you like bourbon.

M - as a stout should feel a bit thick and smooth at the end

D - I wish this was around all year, while i couldnt drink this everyday, I would like to have it maybe once or 2 times a month.

if you can find this beer, buy it. dont let the price tag scare you, its worth it IMO.

Serving type: bottle

12-29-2010 02:32:45 | More by dizknee24
Photo of BigPlay1824

New York

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

Served in a new belgium tulip glass

A: pours a deep brown almost chocolattely color with substantial reddish brown foamy head that lingers for quite a while, beautiful lacing

S: chocolatte and cinnamon notes, alcohol is absolutely detected which isn't a bad thing

T: very nice light coffee and chocolate notes, slight alcohol just to let u know its there

D/M: drinks smooth, incredible taste really makes it a joy to drink, slight carbonation tingle, overall I'm incredibly impressed

Serving type: bottle

12-28-2010 00:49:22 | More by BigPlay1824
Photo of bosco7


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

Pours like a chocolate milk shake; thick and creamy.

Smells subdued. Some cocoa powder, slight bourbon aromas including vanilla and oak.

Starts with a bit of chocolate moves into earthy soil like flavors. Heavy on the fruit flavors in the middle. Finishes boozey and full of bourbon. Dry finish accentuates these higher alcohol flavors.

Really dry coupled to excessive carbonation. Not sure that this works for this beer.

Overall a tasty beverage that is a little over hyped. Let it warm up and agitate some carbonation out and it really improves. Recommended.

Serving type: bottle

12-26-2010 01:36:32 | More by bosco7
Photo of olympuszymurgus


3.1/5  rDev -24.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Bottle was acquired last spring, not sure of date. Held onto it and opened it during an epic weekend.

Black as night, notes of wood and smoke and sugars. Not a lot of nose, a nice level of carbonation. Tastes a bit heavy on the roast, a fair bit of fruit, nothing outstanding. No depth to the flavor, juts roasty dark fruits sitting on a small pile of wood chips.

Not impressed. Not bad mind you, but really, in the end, its not worth the price and not worth the hassle to get(for a west coaster that is, maybe super easy to get for easterners)

Serving type: bottle

12-25-2010 23:14:52 | More by olympuszymurgus
Photo of Phelps


3.4/5  rDev -17.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Enjoyed during a tasting with tlay10. This one was poured from the bottle into a snifter.

The head is a two-finger dark ginger-colored glob of pancake batter, very tightly packed. It recedes at a snail's pace, becoming half a finger in height before halting its retreat completely. The beer itself is black, sucking in all light. Snaking horizontal lines of lace decorate the glass in sticky streaks as I drink.

In the nose: bourbon, maple, graham cracker, vanilla, a bit of bright green oak. There's not a ton of fruitiness, though I do pick up some amaretto cherries. There's also a lot of bourbon in here, imparting heavy vanilla with smooth integration.

While the nose was fairly well-balanced, the flavor has let the bourbon run rough-shod over the other flavors. This tastes like straight liquor without the burn. As it warms, other tastes start to emerge: molasses, black malt, vodka, perhaps some cinnamon, cigarette ash, a tiny bit of fruit tang. It's not bad; just off-balance.

The carbonation is a prickly medium and fairly fizzy. The body is cream and moderately full, but the fizziness and alcohol are a little distracting.

Black Ops drinks like booze. It's heavy and uncomplicated -- a lot of bourbon with a little bit of beer. It improves impressively as it warms, but never reaches the smoothness or balance you'd expect from a $20+ bottle of beer.

Serving type: bottle

12-25-2010 22:48:37 | More by Phelps
Photo of mulder1010


3.28/5  rDev -20.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

750 poured into a Great Divide tulip. Good way to end Christmas. 2009 vintage I believe
Thanks to Biglite351 for the beer. Much props.

A--- Tough cork to get off and it poped off on it's own volition. Sounded just like a sparkling would have. Poured black, a little bit black sludgy at times but ink black. No head at all, just a little bit on swirling the beer. what was there was dark chocolate in color.

S-- Dark fruits, black cherry, raspberry, and bourbon. Little bit of ABV smell.

T-- Carbonation was higher than I thought. Very fizzy first sip. After really noticing the Champaign yeast I got bourbon, dark chocolate and black cherry. Dark chocolate cherry fizz.

M-- High carbonation and heavy at the same time. Darned yeast. Get bread in my mouth in addition to bourbon, chocolate, and cherries. Very fizzy.

D-- Not at all what I expected. Very different. Good parts are that the bourbon is well hidden does have some good fruity qualities to this. Negative is the yeast. Too carbonated for me and this style. Big time sipper.

Serving type: bottle

12-25-2010 13:58:33 | More by mulder1010
Photo of SteveS1

New York

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

Look: Pitch black, large dark brown head, decent retention. Minor lacing.

Smell: Sharp combination of fruits on the tongue- cherry, raspberry, even citrus notes. A bitter booze rounded out by licorice on the palate. Licorice cut with a sharp boozy bourbon going down. Dark chocolate aftertaste.

Taste: finishes with a bite of bourbon and a rich dark chocolate aftertaste.

Feel: Not entirely thick, but plenty full. A lot more carbonation than I would expect from the style.

Drink: So long as you don't find the strong alcohol intrusive, this is one delicious brew. I prefer to sip, but there is plenty to enjoy in a mouthful as well.

Overall this was more complex a beer than I was expecting. My senses were instantly cut off by the alcohol flavors, which is a rarity for me, even in some of the high alcohol RISs. I returned to the beer after resting for a bit, and found a lot of different flavors on the tongue at once. It's no Kate, but it's nice to find something that doesn't lean towards chocolate milkshake either.

Serving type: bottle

12-24-2010 04:47:28 | More by SteveS1
Photo of deereless


4.08/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Black Ops pours thick and result in a dense and tan head, there is a good deal of lacing that sticks to the sides of the glass like glue, dark brown to pitch black in color, a very nice looking beer - 4.50, S: The initial nose is strong with whisky and dark chocolates, I also pick up a slight medicinal aroma in addition to a bit of chalkiness, faint Tootsie Roll and burnt caramel, noticeable vanilla rounds out the nose, wonderful aroma all around - 4.50, T: My first impression reminds me of chocolate covered cherries that have been soaked in booze, there is a mild alcohol burn and some faint medicinal flavors, considerable dark fruits including sugared dates and prunes, extremely sweet and with a hint of licorice - 4.00, M: Though the mouth is quite creamy the body is a touch on the side of thin in my opinion - 3.50, D: All around a very nice beer and certainly an above average bourbon barrel aged beer - 4.25

Serving type: bottle

12-24-2010 01:07:39 | More by deereless
Photo of megahurts4


4.55/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Brooklyn Black OPS

Appearance: dark brown, small head, and some good lacing.

Smell: sweet bourbon, dark chocolate, and slight coffee.

Taste: rich malts, dark chocolate, coffee, and slight bourbon.

Mouthfeel: medium-heavy, yet smooth.

This is great. The bourbon flavors do not overpower the beer. It is definitely one to try. It is very well balanced.

Serving type: bottle

12-23-2010 20:45:43 | More by megahurts4
Photo of DoubleSimcoe

New York

4.25/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Brooklyn Black OPS, bottled, into a Sierra snifter/gobler.

Appearance: Definitely black, with a coffee-foam-like brown head, a huge one! Even if you pour carefully, it'll yield a big head. Lacing is almost non-existent, only a brown rim around the glass.

Smell: Bourbon, vanilla pods, some faint chocolate and dark sugars. Booze as it warms up. A bit cellar-like, you can feel the age. Can only imagine what this would be like after four years. The nose is pretty straight-forward but tasty.

Taste: Bourbon hits right away, with some liquid vanilla and dark chocolate. Then a roasty bitterness that reminds me of oysters, very smoky stout-like. I do not, however, detect the champagne yeast.

Mouthfeel: Creamy, chewy, thick. Highly-but-rightly carbonated. Full body. A pleasure!

Drinkability: Surprisingly high. I served it very cold and let it warm over more than one hour. It developed, changed, grew and lost. It drank easy and well for most of its run, until the last quarter, when it became a bit too warm, boozy and hot.

I liked OPS much better this time around than the first time I bough it. Still, nothing justifies the $20 price tag. This is a very good beer, but no better than a $9 barrel-aged imperial stout.

Serving type: bottle

12-23-2010 06:27:43 | More by DoubleSimcoe
Photo of Brez07


4.3/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2009 vintage (3229). Poured into a snifter

A: As expected, dark as night. Even with an easy pour, leaves a thick 3 finger light mocha head. Rentention is amazing considering the ABV. Barely any lacing

S: Nose is mostly creamed coffee and rich cocoa. Some vanilla mixed in there. Bourbon (and some accompanying alcohol) is hidden in the background

T: Time has certainly mellowed this one out. Had this fresh and the alcohol was much more present. Currently there is a warming feeling, but the other flavors shine through. Cocoa, light coffee and vanilla. Finishes with bittersweet chocolate and bourbon. As the beer warmed, got much more roasted malt flavor

M: Medium bodied. Smooth and creamy but has a roasted finish. Carbonation is higher then usual for the style. Residual mouthfeel is similar to drinking coffee. Not the thickest of stouts but no slouch either

D: I found this easy to drink, all things considered. The alcohol has really faded. The beer was somewhat lacking from a mouthfeel standpoint though. I've got one more of this vintage to try in another year

Serving type: bottle

12-23-2010 01:36:19 | More by Brez07
Photo of BeerAndBourbon


3.78/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2009 vintage

A. Pours black with creamy coffee colored head that dissipates leaving lots of residual lacing.

S. Vanilla, oak, chocolate, coffee with some (subtle) bright fruity esters.

T. Coffee and dark chocolate bitterness are most prevalent with some bourbon. The champaign-y characteristics come out as it warms: fruity esters with some harsher alcohol presence.

M. High level of creamy carbonation highly reminiscent of champagne.

D. It drinks almost like a dark champagne. The aroma is a bit misleading - the chocolate and coffee characteristics are much more prevalent than expected. Decent, but not great.

Serving type: bottle

12-22-2010 05:34:00 | More by BeerAndBourbon
Photo of jamie2dope


4.53/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I picked this up yesterday at Cambridge Wine and Spirits for about $24. A little steep price wise, but that is why it is a limited/special release. I also have loved other vintages of this brew, so I didn't mind throwing down for this. As expected, Black Ops comes out completely black, with about a finger of brown tan heading. The nose is deep with complexities. Rich, dark chocolate kicks things off, followed by hints of bourbon, earth, molasses, and some vanilla. Coffee, chocolate and vanilla flavors are the most dominant tastes here, along with brown bread, and dark stone fruit such as cherry and plum. The mouthfeel is the most extraordinary part of the experience. The body is thick as expected, but there is also an amazing carbonation that is almost reminiscent of champagne. That same superb mouthfeel can also be felt in Local 1 and 2. I tend to like big imperial stouts more slick and oily, but this is a definite exception, it works perfectly. The bourbon barrel aging is definitely noticeable, but does not deter from drinkability. In fact the alcohol heat is kept very much in control. It is hard to see Brooklyn outdoing themselves stout wise with the strength and quality of Black Chocolate Stout. But they have, and have made one of the best Imperial Stouts I have ever encountered. Truly a dark masterpiece.

Serving type: bottle

12-21-2010 02:41:54 | More by jamie2dope
Photo of SASN


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

A: beautiful, thick, dark brown with nice head

S: bourbon with a touch of sweetness

T: bourbon with mild sweetness, very smooth

M: smooth and thick

D: a little too heavy to drink all night

Conclusion: perhaps the best bourbon barrel aged stout I have ever had

Serving type: bottle

12-19-2010 20:37:13 | More by SASN
Photo of bcmac983

New York

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

One of the best I've had from Brooklyn. Pours a very dark color with a coffee colored head.

It leaves a great crisp dark taste thats stays with you throughout. What surprised me was that it didn't leave any borubony after taste. There is a nice, smooth, fizzy feel in the mouth.

Look forward to see what Brooklyn Brewery has up there sleeve next.

Serving type: bottle

12-18-2010 02:24:05 | More by bcmac983
Photo of mcgwire756

New Jersey

4.15/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2009 Vintage from a 750 ml bottle.

A - Poured a completely black with a gigantic 3 finger head. Great retention on the side of the glass.

S - It smells of chocolate and bourbon.

T - A big bourbon taste but it goes down smooth. Also some tastes of wood.

M - A little harsh at first sip but smooth after a minute or two. Similar to Bitches Brew as that it is not heavy but is very smooth and does not taste like 11.7% at all. This drinks so easily which is a big thing for me.

D - Tastes a little heavy at first sip, but it becomes completely smooth and perfect for what it is afterwards. Is it worth $20 per bottle? Not in my opinion, but still worth trying once.

Serving type: bottle

12-17-2010 02:08:54 | More by mcgwire756
Photo of zeff80


3.93/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Poured out an opaque, jet-black color with a huge, light brown head of foam. Good retention that left behind thick sheets of sudsy foam on the glass.

S - It smelled of chocolate and roasty malts. There was a boozy and woody character to the aroma.

T - Good sweet chocolate and toffee with a sharp bitter bite of hops. Rich maltiness is made sweeter by a strong boozy taste.

M - Crisp, sharp and smooth. A medium to full bodied ale with a somewhat dry finish.

D - This is a really tasty beer but man is it big and bold. A little to big and bold to not share this one.

Serving type: bottle

12-15-2010 23:08:52 | More by zeff80
Photo of codewarrior

New York

4.55/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Cork and Caged 750mL Bomber poured into a Balloon. Bottle 3229 from the 2009 release. I believe this puts the drinking date 13 months after the bottling date.

Been hanging onto this bottle waiting for a moment to share it with friends and the opportunity arose. Picked this up on my last trip to Finger Lakes Beverage Center in Ithaca. At a super $20 price-point, I expected a lot out of this beer ... and it delivered.

L: Pours a thick peat black, with a whisper of thick brown-cream head. Looks phenomenal.

S: Full-bodied chocolate with a hefty amount of booze behind. Great depth, lingering boozy sweetness. Bourbon is there just behind the chocolate, but blends brilliantly.

T: Phenomenal balance. Big malt-forward imprint right up-front, attached by a massive bourbon-y sweetness. Fades into a malty-bourbon finish. Notes of chocolate run throughout. Really just wonderful.

F: Thick, even for a cold pour. Really just a great velvet feel to this guy.

D: Surprisingly drinkable for the ABV, 2-glasses in and still have an in-tact palate.

Serving type: bottle

12-06-2010 07:15:59 | More by codewarrior
Photo of morimech


3.93/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

Black as coal with a head that started out as being somewhat cascading but settled to a couple of fingers. Must be the result of the Champagne yeast used to carbonated this beer. Moderate amount of sticky lacing is left on the glass.

Aroma is overwhelming bourbon. Wow! Almost smells like straight whiskey was infused into this beer instead of leaching into it from the barrel. I think the better barrel-aged stouts maintain some maltiness in the aroma, this beer is severly lacking and overwhelmed. I still enjoyed the bourbon.

The flavor is full of booze, bourbon, with hints of chocolate, vanilla, and dark fruit. Slightly roasted with low bitterness. A little too hot for my tastes but it packs a lot of flavor. About nuetral in the sweet/dry department. Plenty of warmth in the finish with a clean ethanol flavor.

I loved what the yeast did in the bottle with this one. Fine carbonation bubbles and a full body give an excellant texture. Coats the palate beautifully.

More of a bourbon lovers beer than a stout lovers beer. Just too hot and boozy to consider this in the elite realm of barrel-aged stouts.

Serving type: bottle

11-28-2010 17:36:32 | More by morimech
Photo of kbanks13


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

Split this with several fellow beer geeks for a Thanksgiving tasting.

2008 vintage

Poured into a snifter with a jet black body, impossible to see any light through. Cascading, dense mocha color head that is nice and big with great retention for a brew this size. Smells of cocoa, vanilla, booze, coffee, and some spice. Incredible flavor! Tasted of chocolate fudge brownie batter upon first sip. Huge roasted coffee flavor with lots of raisin and vanilla. Oak, caramel and vanilla sweetness from the bourbon barrels, but not much booze (thankfully). Thick and viscous but nice and velvety body, decent carbonation. Very creamy, but still smooth and easy to drink. Drinks easy from a taste standpoint, and the booze isn't as overpowering as expected, but at nearly 12% it is still one to share with friends. Great job by Brooklyn, and I'm looking forward to the upcoming release!

Serving type: bottle

11-25-2010 22:49:46 | More by kbanks13
Photo of sweemzander


2.98/5  rDev -27.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

75omL corked and caged bottle poured into a snifter. Thanks to kstrickler for this one!

(A)- Pours fairly thick and pitch black. Produced a great tan colored foamy head with great retention. Minimal lacing.

(S)- A good mellow roasted profile with some cocoa, raisin, and molasses. Very dry too. Some woody spice aspects. Minimal coffee notes in the background.

(T)- A very dry profile. Some good roasted aspects and mellow sweetness. Extremely dry with some potent woody characteristics. The bourbon is not shy in this as it warms.

(M)- A good carbonation level. This is extremely dry with some mellow rich roasted characters. As this warms up, it turns into rocket fuel with its boozy heat.

(D)- Its showed promise, but this needs at least a few years before I would even touch it again. The boozy heat throws its weight around very much. Perhaps the booziest beer I have had. 11.6% ABV? It really feels more like 20%+

Serving type: bottle

11-23-2010 18:31:17 | More by sweemzander
Photo of cope0021


4.7/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours dark, dark black with lots of head that slowly subsides.

Smell is overwhelmingly bourbony. I am a little afraid of the ammount of bourbon I am smelling.

Tast is suprisingly smooth. Bourbon is deffinitely prominent, but much more ballance than the first smells led me to belive. Taste is complimented by the hops and sweetness. Aftertaste of bourbon, but it is pleasant.

This is like velvet on my tongue.

Serving type: bottle

11-16-2010 03:38:58 | More by cope0021
Photo of WildRage

New York

4.65/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Brooklyn Black Ops is one of those beers that I HAVE to order when it's available, regardless of the mood I'm in or where I am. I seem to find it at the most random places.

In my opinion, it is best served just a tad under room temperature (maybe the 60 degree range). When sharing a 750ml bottle with a friend, I drink it more like a cognac then a beer...just have a taste and you'll see what I mean - definitely not a session beer.

Price is usually expensive, typically in the $25-$35 range. A treat that is well worth it; just make sure you have an hour or so - it is definitely a 'slow sipper.'

Serving type: bottle

11-13-2010 14:12:59 | More by WildRage
Brooklyn Black OPS from Brooklyn Brewery
92 out of 100 based on 1,800 ratings.