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Brooklyn Black OPS - Brooklyn Brewery

Not Rated.
Brooklyn Black OPSBrooklyn Black OPS

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

1,884 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1,884
Reviews: 752
rAvg: 4.13
pDev: 13.56%
Wants: 411
Gots: 944 | FT: 79
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)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,884 | Reviews: 752 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of GehenHerzog
4.43/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2010 750ml Bottle poured into a Gulden Draak Tulip.

A- Pours a DEEEEP black with a thick mocha head. Looks great.

S- Smells of sweet malty chocolate, vanilla and a slight hint of bourbon.

T- Taste is as follows: Chocolate, vanilla, bourbon and on the back end you get a roasted coffee malt flavor.

M- Smooth and creamy. Full bodied and silky.

D- Absolutely awesome for the 11.3% abv in this beer. The sweetness (which is not overly sweet by any stretch) hides the alcohol. No burning sensation at all going down. Very good.

I found this beer for an incredible price and glad I bought a few of them. One of my favorite RIS beers. It was an absolute pleasure drinking this. Now it's time to let one age for a long time.

EDIT: The beer gets even better as it warms.

GehenHerzog, Jan 14, 2011
Photo of CooperEllis
3.93/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml into dfh snifter - 2010 batch.

Have had the '08 and the '09 but never took notes. After reading some recent chatter wanted to try the '10 fresh.

I love the way this beer looks, it is perfect deep brown color with a rich milk chocolate head that leaves a thick layer of lacing across the head of the brew and moves across the glass with each swirl.

The smell of this after a couple years is, in my opinion, better but reviewing just this bottle of '10 I'd say it is too one dimensional. The one dimension is an evenly balanced bourbon over malt.

The taste is also a bit more rounded than I was expecting for being so fresh. This has a solid malt flavor and an excellent set of flavors from the bourbon barrels. This also has a only slight boozyness from the 11.6%.

Really easy to drink; the mouthfeel here is light and the carbonation mild. There isn't anything here that would be described as 'rich' and that keeps all of this being rated higher.

I'll be interested to see where this is in another year, and I know that revisiting any of the older vintages will result in this being a higher rating but I'm sitting on my last bottle of each.


CooperEllis, Jan 10, 2011
Photo of RaginBull
4.65/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

As we were all intrigued to open the bottle and really find out what the hype was, once again Brooklyn did not let us down.

Poured into a sniffer a rich dark chocolate with nice thick white head.

Hit the beginning of my mouth like a strong Calle Ocho expresso and then hit back of my mouth with a smooth bourbon missed with raisins, vanilla, wet wood and all the great things the earth can produce.

Well with that said, my brothers and I have beeb able to round a total of 15 bottles to store and crack open every year.

Brooklyn Brewery, you guys have done it again.


RaginBull, Jan 10, 2011
Photo of movingtrain
4.45/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is the 2010 vintage...ABV at 11.3%. The first bottle of this that I had was, I believe, at 9.6% ABV. It changes from batch to batch, I guess...interesting.

The first Black Ops I had was on my wedding day this past October. The one I am reviewing I sampled on January 3, 2011.

Pours a jet black with a creamy tan head floating on top. Good carbonation throughout.

Whiskey aroma, alcohol in the nose, too. There are hints of cherry, bitter chocolate, raisin, oats, wet wood, vanilla, some coffee notes...

The flavor is excellent. Very balanced, almost perfect. There is some sweet spice in the flavor, good, warming alcohol presence, brown sugar, cherry, vanilla, creamy milk chocolate, bourbon notes, and espresso.

The beer is slightly astringent on the tongue, but it works well with the complexity of it. All of the elements of this beer work in harmony, creating a very drinkable, delicious ale. If you can find it, pick up a bottle (or two, and save one for years to come).

movingtrain, Jan 08, 2011
Photo of jt31914
4.45/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A: Beautiful black with a mocha head. About 1 inch of head. More carbonated than I expected, very nice looking beer.

S: Coffee, chocolate; boutbon is dominant, light fruitiness caused by champagne yeast. Slight vanilla, the coffee and chocolate are in the background, but still noticable.

T: Strong bourbon and chocolate on the palate. Coffee in the finish. Light fruitiness in the background to balance out the beer. Very nice flavors, well balanced. Best beer I've had from Brooklyn.

M: Very bubbly for a stout. Very unique and nice feel. Goes down easy for a stout.

D: Most drinkable stout I've had recently.

jt31914, Jan 07, 2011
Photo of atsprings
4.25/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

750mL bottle into a tulip glass pours a deep opaque black with a thin diminishing head. Aroma is roasted malts with a hint of oak and Bourbon. The taste is a nice blend of roasted malts, vanilla, cherry, bitter cocoa and a hint of Bourbon. The beer is slightly heavy, but is surprisingly smooth and easy drinking. This is a very enjoyable barrel aged stout, far from the best, but quite respectable.

atsprings, Jan 05, 2011
Photo of Pahn
4.15/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

750ml bottle into a wine glass. Thanks to BA morningthief and his wife for sharing this bottle with me.

Appearance: Careful pour yields a 3/4 inch tan head that dissipates steadily. Pours solid black and leaves thick, longlasting swatches of lacing.

Smell: Raisin, booze, with a milder aroma of vanilla, bourbon, and oak. Sweet, with the raisin note bordering on bubblegum. Really fills out with warmth; roasted notes emerge, the sweeter flavors deepen, and the bourbon and oak influence is always apparent along with the big raisin note.

Taste: Vanilla, raisin, and a lot of alcohol heat. Mildly dry finish. The barrel influence is subtle. With warmth, the flavor really deepens, with banana bread and roasted malt notes showing up strongly. Brooklyn really knows how to make a full flavored stout.

Mouthfeel: Somewhere between full and medium bodied, but too carbonated (distractingly so). Lots of alcohol heat.

Drinkability: Good flavor, but the mix of subtlety and boldness doesn't fully work with so much alcohol heat and carbonation. In 2 years, though, I could probably sip this beer all day and all night.

Black OPS is a great beer that should only get better with age. A bit overpriced, but I'm glad I got to try it. Have to admit that I could just as happily have a Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout, 12 bottles of which I could buy for the price of Black OPS.

Pahn, Jan 05, 2011
Photo of gskitt
4.53/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Magnum bottle, holding on to this for a year. Opened NYE to share with non-craft friends. Black and even pours thick. Light chocolate colored head. Smells amazing, bourbon and dark chocolate and vanilla. Tastes incredible. Super warming alcohol and chocolate up front with bourbon and vanilla on the end. Wow! Glad I waited and it was worth it. Mouthfeel was creamy and smooth, thick and chewy. Dessert in a glass. Drinkability might be hindered by the high ABV but this is one RIS thats hard to put down. Bravo Brooklyn!

gskitt, Jan 02, 2011
Photo of webmanspidey
3.95/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured into a snifter, this is a thick dark black with an inch of foamy head. Smell is a creamy, buttery mix of chocolate, bourbon, and rum. Taste is heavy on bourbon with whipped cream and chocolate. Thick and creamy mouthfeel. Alcohol is present, but masked fairly well. Worth trying.

webmanspidey, Jan 01, 2011
Photo of metter98
4.33/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: The beer is jet black in color and poured with a finger high tan head that settled down but consistently left a thin layer of bubbles covering the surface.
S: There are moderate aromas of bourbon in the nose.
T: There is an excellent balance between flavors of malts and the bourbon from the barrel aging--the bourbon flavors are prominent but are in no way overpowering.
M: It feels medium- to full-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation.
D: The beer tastes like it is strong, but is nowhere near an alcohol content of 11.6%.

metter98, Jan 01, 2011
Photo of Gouxman
4.18/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2009 Vintage

I figured this is as close to a champagne as I want to get on NYE. I've had this bottle stashed in the basement for over a year....

A: black, nice tan head that clings nicely to the glass

S: bourbon, oak, vanilla, coffee

T: this is where things get different. this beer has a much different flavor profile from the other bourbon barrel beers I've had. The champagne yeast plays an interesting role in this brew. The bourbon flavor is definitely prominent and works nicely with the roasted malts.

M/D: This Imperial Stout finishes much dryer than most other Bourbon Barrels, but still has a unique and complex flavor definitely worth checking out.

Gouxman, Jan 01, 2011
Photo of mondegreen
4.47/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

750ml into a balloon tulip. I believe this is the 2010.

This is quite a polarizing brew. Some say it is worth every bit of the $20 that it demands. Others find it too bland to be a barrell aged stout worth such hype. Me? I'm looking forward to popping this bottle and seeing for myself.

Pours pitch black with a very dense tan head. Lots of lacing hangs to the side of my tulip with each sip. Looks absolutely delicious.

Aroma of sweet bourbon, chocolate, and roasted malts. The nose says this beer is very well put together.

Taste follows with a big chocolate flavor. Sweet and roasty in the middle with plenty of bourbon heat in the finish. this beer isn't a bourbon bomb nor is it boring. It is a well-crafted, elegant barrell aged stout.

Mouth is silky smooth. Maybe a slight touch thin, but still coats the mouth very well.

Drinks very well, will make a perfect night cap for New Years Eve. With the flood of Bourbon Barrell Aged Stouts on the market, I see how this one could get lost in the mix. It is worth trying at least once, as it is a great example of the style from a more traditional American brewery.

mondegreen, Jan 01, 2011
Photo of uberkane
3.6/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

A: Dark dark beer. Not too much of a head, decent lacing, and some bubbling.

S: Vanilla and bourbon smack me in the face. There is the faintest sour note here as well.

T: Vanilla and bourbon smack me in the tongue. Bourbon can be abrasive at times. It has a general bitterness to it. At the back of the palate is a residual tang. There is a ghost of chocolate here that appears randomly as an aftertaste.

M: Pretty thick, but has a champagne-bubbly mouthfeel that struggles to cut through the dark.

D: Not very drinkable--more of a sipper than a swigger. Strong bourbon prevents this from being too drinkable. Not sure if I'd want a full pint of this unless I was going to nurse it the whole night.

Notes: This beer is a little too oaky-bourbon and not enough stout. I'm not getting enough of the dark malty flavors that I love in a stout. I would have to be in the right mood to drink this again--a bourbon mood, as it really showcases some good bourbon tastes. I could also see it improving with a little age.

uberkane, Dec 31, 2010
Photo of Chaney
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!

Chaney, Dec 31, 2010
Photo of thedoubler55
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.

thedoubler55, Dec 30, 2010
Photo of dizknee24
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.

dizknee24, Dec 29, 2010
Photo of BigPlay1824
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

BigPlay1824, Dec 28, 2010
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.

bosco7, Dec 26, 2010
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)

olympuszymurgus, Dec 25, 2010
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.

Phelps, Dec 25, 2010
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.

mulder1010, Dec 25, 2010
Photo of SteveS1
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.

SteveS1, Dec 24, 2010
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

deereless, Dec 24, 2010
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.

megahurts4, Dec 23, 2010
Photo of DoubleSimcoe
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.

DoubleSimcoe, Dec 23, 2010
Brooklyn Black OPS from Brooklyn Brewery
92 out of 100 based on 1,884 ratings.