Brooklyn Black OPS - Brooklyn Brewery

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Brooklyn Black OPSBrooklyn Black OPS

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1,980 Ratings
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Ratings: 1,980
Reviews: 765
rAvg: 4.13
pDev: 13.32%
Wants: 420
Gots: 1,004 | FT: 84
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.

2014 Batch is 11.6% ABV


(Beer added by: RixBeer on 12-20-2007)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,980 | Reviews: 765 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of scottyg354
4.85/5  rDev +17.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

I've been eyeballing this one for quite some time but at 30.00 dollars a bottle I figured i'd wait until it was a special occasion. Then came my birthday.

We picked up a champagne bottle of this.

We served this beer only slightly chilled, I would say maybe 50-55 degrees.

A: Typical Stout, decent head, pretty much opaque

S: Chocolate, Coffee and Bourbon. Roasty and Sweet

T: An initial blast of Chocoalte and Coffe. Bourbon and Oak finish. Malty and Toast like a stout should be.

MF: Suprisingly light considering the color and ABV. Smooth with a light carbonation

Overall: This really was a great beer. No a session drink by any means, but very taste and creative. Brooklyn never seems to disappoint.

Photo of tat2dhllblly
5/5  rDev +21.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Appearance: Black hole from your worst nightmares. This brew sucks in all light around it and destroys it. No head to speak of.

Smell: Boozy, Leather, Tobacco. No real hop presense. I could sit a smell sit and sniff this brew all day long. I wish Brooklyn made a cologne out of this!

Taste: Just like its smell. Boozy bourbon burn up front with a strong leather and tobacco rich back bone. Sweet dark fruits, vanilla/oaky hints with a finish of burnt chocolate.

Mouthfeel: Low Carbonation and big and slick that coats the tongue but leaves it wanting more.

Overall: One of the best beers I have ever had the pleasure of drinking!

Photo of claytong
3.95/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2010 vintage

appearance - black with a mocha head that dissipates to lacing around the rim fairly quickly

smell - dark bitter cocoa, dark to brown malts, brown sugar, alcohol

taste - dark chocolate (not so bitter), lots of malts (just everywhere and all kinds in there), a bit of brown sugar, and some smoke (not enjoyable for me)

mouthfeel/overall - malts lead the way a bit too much, not overly sweet, nice alcohol burn in throat but not much in the mouth. interesting but not incredible. a bit thin in the body as well for my liking.

Photo of crossovert
3.7/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2010 vintage.

It pours a dense black with a foamy caramel colored head that dissipates kind of quickly with no lacing.

The smell is definitely bourbony. It has a sharp alcoholic scent with caramel and cocoa. There is a bit of vanilla and oak.

The taste is a bit more bittersweet chocolatey. The oak is definitely there and the bourbon notes as well. It isn't as alcoholic as the nose would lead you to believe, but it is sharp and alcoholic overall. The mouthfeel is interesting for a stout, prickling but still smooth. It is nice.

It isn't too sweet imo (maybe it is my palate tonight) and that is why it deserves some credit, it has more subtlety than most Russian imperial stouts. Nice one.

Photo of ehammond1
3.53/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Bottle (2010)

Acquired via trade
Thanks, Kgristoff!

Black on black on black with a very thin brown head. Spots of lacing down the glass.

There is a lot going on in this aroma, perhaps too much: coffee, roasted malts, chocolate, bourbon, barbeque char, vanilla, and alcohol. It's a dizzying and complex aroma, and would probably be far better served if the alcohol was far more subdued, unfortunately. That being said, this beer smells nice, but I feel like just underneath, it has the potential to be great.

I have similar complaints with the flavor. All the right components are here, but they're overwhelmed by a strong bourbon and alcohol presence. The roasted malts, coffee, chocolate, and vanilla flavors are all very nice, but the strong alcohol component makes this one tough to drink in any quantity.

Medium to thick mouthfeel with low carbonation.

A good but unspectacular RIS--perhaps it would have been great if I had the patience and foresight to sit on it for a few more years.

Photo of surprenant1138
4.4/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours into a snifter a deep dirty-oil black with about an inch of thick, creamy deep tan head that fades very slowly. Superb retention of lacing. Aroma is surprisingly light; earthy, nutty, slightly hoppy, with some vanilla and coffee noticable. There is a faint boozy smell there also. Mouthfeel is creamy and rich. Taste is of hops, coffee, some chocolate, vanilla, oaky, and a bit boozy. This is a crazy heavy stout that is excellent, but worth the $20 price tag? I'm not sure.

Photo of missginsu
1.65/5  rDev -60%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

I really wanted to like this beer. I like bourbon and I love stout. Plus, I paid a dear price for the bottle.

I opened it with two beer-loving friends and we couldn't drink it. With much regret, I poured it down the drain.

A - Rich black color with a tan head that dissipates quickly.

S - Wow. Smells like bourbon. I was expecting more of a blend with the stout.

T - The bourbon flavor overpowers everything. There might be something more going on underneath, but I can't really taste it.

M - Mouthburn, as you'd get with liquor, and a thin texture, but a lot of carbonation. Not rich and smooth, as I'd expect in a stout.

O - I know they went to great lengths to do this project, but unfortunately, it's just not my thing.

Photo of SkiBum22
4.5/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Jet black color, with a very thin tan colored head. Great lacing as well.

S - Bourbon right off the bat, but chocolate, vanilla, and oak aromas follow right behind.

T - The taste very much mirrored the aroma, but with less of a bourbon taste as aroma suggests. It mellows with definite chocolate, oak, and vanilla presence.

M - Full bodied with medium carbonation. The beer feels very smooth and creamy. The Bourbon flavors through warm the mouth in a really nice way.

Overall, I think this is an underrated beer. It's a little expensive but well worth the money in my opinion. I'd like to try one with some age on it.

Photo of PaulStoneAnchor
3.3/5  rDev -20.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Black OPs 09 Bottle

A: When poured it leaves an amazing 2 in foam which then recedes into about an inch of foam which lasts for awhile.

S: On first smell, I got the smell of slight vineous notes in that I almost thought it was infected, but it wasnt. But after warming up, it gives a lot of oak, caramel, bourbon, and some coffee.

T: On first sip you get a lot of oak, booze, and coffee, but after it warms up you get more dark fruits, like raisin and fig; and also you get an almost dry fruityness from the bottle conditioning.

M: The body was quite thin with some carbonation that dissipates after a some time. After it warms up it is almost flat.

O: Overall, it was better then a 2010 I had, because the booziness was actually complementing the flavors instead of hindering them. But nevertheless, it was pretty enjoyable and definitely better with some age on it.

Photo of woosterbill
3.65/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

750ml bottle of the 09 vintage into a tasting glass. Big thanks to Jason for sharing this one.

A: Black body with red highlights and a finger of medium brown head. Ok retention, light lace. Pretty good.

S: Super woody - nothing but oak, vanilla, bourbon, and char. Ok, but a bit one-dimensional.

T: Bourbon starts things off, followed by fairly sweet chocolate and vanilla. Fairly big booze on the finish. A little rough, but tasty.

M: A little thin and fizzy, and yet still somewhat sticky; not great.

O: Too thin, too oaky, and yet still pretty tasty. I'd gladly drink it again any time, but I'll never shell out $20+ for a bottle. The one in my cellar is definitely FT.


Photo of Knapp85
3.93/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Probably one of my favorites from Brooklyn, The Black Ops poured out as a heavy duty looking black oily liquid. The head slowly makes it's way to the top of the beer. The head leaves a light scattered lacing on the glass. The smell of the beer is loaded with roasted malts, dark chocolate and some coffee notes. The tastes of the beer was packed with toasted and burnt flavors, mixed with some sweet dark chocolate in there too. The mouthfeel was slick and smooth, just a touch of booze in the chest. Overall I found this one to be very good, I was very happy to have had it and would drink again if the price was right.

Photo of FanofHefe
3.95/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2010 edition poured into a Chimay chalice. Deep, black body with zero light penetration. A one-finger, creamy dark tan head that hangs around for a bit but leaves little lacing.

Wow, the most bourbon aroma I've ever had in barrel aged brew. Strong at first, and continues even as I get down the glass, but in lighter amounts. The bourbon is complimented by dark chocolate, and roasted malt. Not getting much else due to the strong whiskey aroma.

The flavor continues with the strong bourbon flavor as dominant. Chocolate, oak, and roasted malt accompany the bourbon and provide a bit of balance.

Good idea to try the champagne yeast, but it's not working for me. It makes the mouthfeel too light and carbonated for a stout in my opinion. Overall, a good RIS, but not great in my book. Although this has some age on it, more time in the cellar might lighten the overpowering bourbon and allow for a better blending of the flavors.

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

2010 vintage poured into a snifter.

Pitch black, appears pretty viscous.  Huge creamy tan head which settles to a finger in thickness with decent lacing.  You can see bubbles rising up the sides of the glass.

On the nose is predominantly coffee, espresso, and dark chocolate.   I also get licorice and maybe some oak.  It smells like it might still be hot, or maybe that's the bourbon barrel aging?

Wow this is an interesting flavor profile.  Right up front I get lots of chocolate and roasted malt followed by coffee liquor and espresso.  There's some woodsyness, bourbon, and a sweetness in the middle; like dark fruits, brown sugar, and molasses.  I feel like I pick up Belgian yeast as well.  Aftertaste is a mildly bitter licorice taste.  Also, you know the alcohol is there.

Mouthfeel medium, but a little light for a stout.  Carbonation is high, but works... The champagne yeast shows it's work here.

Overall, this surpassed my expectations.  It's pretty complex!  It's a little sweet for my taste, and I'm not getting enough of bourbon from this one.  Also, it's expensive... But definitely worth getting once a year in my opinion.

Photo of ShanePB
4.2/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

750 ml bottle from the 2010 batch consumed last month. Thanks for cracking this one open for everyone Steve! I've had this same vintage a few times before and really enjoyed it.

A: Deep dark black body with a frothy mocha colored head. The opaque body lets no light through and does provide really wonderful lacing and retention, even for a beer of its size. Some "big" stouts like this struggle with retention and lacing but not this one.

S: Bourbon and oak open up the nose immediately, followed by some alcohol notes going off on a tangent. Chocolate roasted malt comes through giving this a nice base to work from. Towards the end, a hint of vanilla and some caramel elements seem to come out.

T: If you like bourbon, and more specifically bourbon barrel aged beers, this is wonderful. Huge bourbon notes explode across the palate, along with some woody elements. A roasted malt back end is here, with some bitter coffee notes and a touch of sweet honey [or vanilla, I can't pinpoint it] at the finish. The linger leaves nice bourbon notes along the palate, stretching out each sip to its maximum potential.

M: Pretty carbonated, it kind of reminded me of the Splinter Black mouth feel but it does actually remain really smooth. This is very easy drinking for its size but had the carbonation been toned down a bit, this would be outstanding.

I've always thought Black OPS was an extremely well done demonstration of how to bourbon barrel age an Imperial Stout. This had all the elements: bourbon, wood, chocolate and sweet vanilla in the perfect balance. This is easily one of the better beers of this style out there.

Photo of ChadQuest
2.55/5  rDev -38.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Looks decent at the start, thick dense cap, body doesn't show any legs,tan over black, rock n roll.
I like this aroma, it shows very noticeable heat complimented mostly by roasty coffee like malts. The heat is very warm, most people would rather let this sit i would assume.
The flavors are very one dimensional, while the aroma was fine, on the palate the alcohol flavors are coarse and grating, and same goes for the roast notes with some chocolate hints along the path. I really enjoyed the first 6oz, but as i work through this 750ml alone they get a bit much, but really who does that alone? Anyway, the mouthfeel is thin for a RIS if you ask me, and most other people too.

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

Finally got my hands on the infamous black ops. Probably more excitied that i found it more that i actually enjoyed tasting it. But here it goes

A-Piercing black appearance with nice dark brown head with great retention.

S-Strong sent of bourbon, chocolate, and espresso.

T-Really smooth beginning with nice taste of chocolate. Ends with a strong smoky after taste with bourbon and espresso

M-Sits really heavy with real bitterness. Mild carbonation

O-Really happy i got to try just to say i tried it, but not anything special when compared some of the other Imperial Stouts that i have had. Like KBS for example. Good beer but slightly disappointing

Photo of AgentZero
3.53/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Brownish black beer, brown head, decent retention.

S - There's some bourbon and oak, with mild chocolate, coffee, and toffee. You do pick up the champagne yeast in this one, kind of interesting.

T - Some roast, broubon, coffee, chocolate, and a noticably champagne yeast finish. It makes this beer unique, although I find I'd care for a more traditional brewing of an RIS than this one.

M - Smooth, moderate carbonation, full bodied.

O - Not a bad beer, it's something different, but it's not what I'd really go for. Worth trying.

Photo of jwinship83
4.1/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2010 vintage, courtesy of user Yesac. thanks casey! drank from my stone IRS snifter.

A- the pour yields an opaque black body with a small khaki colored head composed of tightly knit bubbles. the head is long lasting and leaves complete rings on the sides of my glass. cant ask for anything more from an imperial stout.

S- booze and bourbon. very potent. after that i pick out some dark roasted malts. dark and milk chocolate towards the middle. the vanilla from the oak takes a distant backseat to the bourbon from the barrel. espresso moves in at the end. lots of booze throughout.

T- the taste starts out with the dark roasted malts that i could smell. after that i get loads of bourbon from the barrel. milk and dark chocolate show up next. a little bit of the vanilla from the oak comes in towards the end. strong notes of espresso and rich coffee move in at the end.

M- the body isnt as full and viscous as i would have liked. id say its on the upper end of medium or lower end of full. strong fusel alcohol. the carbonation is a nice and low level.

O- i liked this beer more than i thought i would having read some of the reviews. i have one more left, and im going to see how it ages. if i cant wait that long id love to pair it with a big and bold cigar.

Photo of willyc
3.83/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I was excited about this one and personally I was not disappointed (much). If this beer did not exist as the Brooklyn Brewery claims I would have nothing to say about it. But since it does I will say that this 2010 poured a ninja black. Had a light brown, full head with full lacing. It smells of cocoa and coffee. It tastes good I can pick up the oak barrel but I'm not sure I get as much Woodford burbon as I would like. More booze please. I can see how hardcore Russian Imp. Stout fans could disapprove but I enjoy the lighter mouthfeel of this brew.

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

Shared with Jeed2316.

Bomber, vintage 2010. Poured into a Boulevard tulip glass.

Excellent mouthfeel and overall very smooth Russian Imperial Stout. The bourbon flavor is very faint but is noticeable. I am not a big fan of this style, but this is definitely a beer I can get behind. Will drink again.

Photo of ColdPoncho
2.95/5  rDev -28.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Shared with tsatem 06/14/2011

From notes

A - Very dark brown body, big brown head with great retention.

S - Chocolate and bourbon, wood, sweet, some plastic.

T - Doesn't seem right. Metallic, very plasticy, some chocolate and dry woodiness. Improves towards chocolate and bourbon as it warms, but lots of plastic.

M - intese, and full.

O (D) - pretty disappointing. Perhaps this was a bad bottle...

Photo of Stinkypuss
3.95/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Brooklyn : Black OPS (2010 vintage)

Pours a midnight black, small brown head and some lacing. Aroma is quite boozy with bourbon, chocolate malts, coffee and clean alcohol all present. They follow through to the flavor, a strong Russian Imperial stout base laced with with Jack Daniels. Deeply roasted malts make themselves known along with a strong hit of alcohol. Some tannins and oak barrel qualities are there but somewhat muted. Mouthfeel is very smooth and carbonation is moderate to low. Overall, this was a big beer and a unique experience. I'd save a bottle for quite a while in the cellar if I had one, time would be good to let the heat die down.

Photo of ToddT
4.05/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- Black topped with a large medium brown head. Head is long lasted and leaves some nice rings of lace on the glass.

S- Heavy chocolate and coffee note with a background of bourbon and oak.

T- Strong notes of bourbon right away there is some coffee in the middle to balance out the boozy beginning. Chocolate peaks out a little as this warms and adds a little more depth in the middle. The finish is dry and back to a boozy, and hot with alcohol, bourbon note as a finale.

M- More than medium in body, creamy but not silky a little more carbonation than I was expecting as well, not too much but it might account for the lack of a silky feeling.

O- A little hot for my tastes, the 11.6% ABV is noticeable. It’s a sipper to be sure and nicely done but I’ve had better examples of the style.

Photo of ngeunit1
4.58/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - The beer pours a rich dark black color with a finger of tan-brown head. The head hangs around forever and takes a very long time to fade, and once it does it leaves behind some nice lacing.

S - Aroma is full of Bourbon. Lots of Bourbon. There is also just a touch of chocolate and roasted malt in the background.

T - Starts off with lots of Bourbon. There is also some roasted malt and chocolate alongside. Through the middle, the roasted and chocolate flavors get a bit stronger and a bit of vanilla and earthy flavors come through. The finish is a mix of Bourbon, chocolate, roasted malt, and a bit of alcohol that lingers.

M - Full bodied with moderate carbonation. The beer feels very smooth and even creamy. The Bourbon flavors through warm the mouth in a really nice way.

D - Pretty drinkable, even with the extremely strong flavors. The Bourbon flavors are very strong, and the beer is not quite perfectly balanced, but the strength of the Bourbon flavors is really nice on top of the BCS.

Photo of Auracom
4.03/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.75

Badly wanted to try this before I left for my NY vacation. In a instance of complete and utter luck, my friend bought two bottles before I arrived and graciously cracked open one of them for me. I had encountered Brooklen BCS for the first time about three days before, so I had the base beer experience pretty fresh in mind.

Anywho... split a 2010 bomber on May 27th, 2011 in a New Belgium tulip glass.

Black OPS pours flat black with no brown hue whatsoever. Great initial two finger head with awesome awesome lacing. Retention doesn't last more than a few minutes sadly. Fairly oily appearance to the brew once it settles. The added yeast in this one certiainly benefits the appearance. BCS was standard as far as stouts go, but Black OPS kicks it up a notch and really looks nice prior to the drink.

Aroma is an extremely crisp chocolate with almond, pecan, and very nice vanilla undertones (initially mistaken for fruit). There are also slight coffee and bourbon elements that aren't quite as strong as Brooklyn notes on the bottle.

Taste is very much the same, with more chocolate emphasis. The yeast presence contributes towards the vanilla quality which is enhanced in the drink and really shines as the secondary note.

Mouthfeel is as expected from the appearance. Huge carbonation for the style, obviously the yeast helps here. Medium body with a nice strong finish and a bit of dryness. The oily look doesn't show up in the feel... it's not overly thick or chewy.

Drinkability is pretty damn good. It's not thick or huge enough to wreck the palate and feels uniquely refreshing compared to so many other RIS or American stouts. There's absolutely no abv presence in any respect. The oak quality never showed up as much as I thought it might throughout the drink, but that's a minor knock against a really nice beer.

Brooklyn Black OPS from Brooklyn Brewery
92 out of 100 based on 1,980 ratings.