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Brooklyn Black OPS - Brooklyn Brewery

Not Rated.
Brooklyn Black OPSBrooklyn Black OPS

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2,083 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 2,083
Reviews: 798
rAvg: 4.13
pDev: 13.08%
Wants: 426
Gots: 1,089 | FT: 91
Brewed by:
Brooklyn Brewery visit their website
New York, United States

Style | ABV
Russian Imperial Stout |  10.50% ABV

Availability: Winter

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

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

Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,083 | Reviews: 798 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of WVbeergeek
4/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Some stores decided to price this at 45 to 50 dollars a bottle, which I consider pure exuberance compared to the sticker price of 20-25 dollars a bottle. Limited release that's for sure, but I got this bottle in Ohio for 25 versus the 45 dollar mark up. Pours from a corked and caged bottle that releases oak barrel effects of oak wood and soft notes of vanilla and whiskey barrel aging that I just can't get enough of in the nose. Aroma and flavor have ample loads of bourbon barrel aging, dark black malts bring alcohol infused whiskey barrel markings which burns the back of the throat. The rest of the flavor brings in dark malts and alcohol burn, a lot of bitter dark chocolate and burning beer barrel whiskey effects. Dark chocolate and burning alcohol can be quite the cloying flavor. Mouthfeel is dry bitterness from the dark chocolate with warming burning alcohol screaming out like whoa. Drinkability overall is too intense for a general public's flavor profile. It's just a bit too much for me and others in my drinking circle.

Photo of Bung
4.06/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle 2009. Solid black pour, about 2 fingers of dark tan head that recede quickly to a ring. Light lacing.

Can definetely smell the yeast in the nose. Some roast malt and dark bakers chocolate, but more earth-like tea and peat.

Taste luckily does not have so much of that Belgian style yeast presence. Chocolate, toasted malt, and a real nice vanilla/caramel barrel presence. Not overly oaky or harsh. Finishes with a nice bourbon fade.
The aroma really does this a dis-service.

A little bubbly and to the lighter side of full body, solid medium. Pretty warming, but not hot or boozy to me. Had a Smutty Barleywine before this and it had much more burn to it.
Still the drinkability is quite good, being a bit lighter and the abv not really present.

Saving a 2008 and another 2009, we'll see how some age does it. I'm sure the carb will settle down and improve this even more.

Photo of CHickman
3.88/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.75

Pours opaque jet black with a massive 3 finger creamy/foamy chocolate milk-like light brown head that lasts for a few minutes; it looks like a coffee, literally.

The aroma was like bourbon; not like a beer with hints of bourbon, but like a glass of bourbon. Wow, it is strong and if you can get through the bourbon smell there are some whiffs of coffee, chocolate, roasted malt and light hops.

Tastes of bourbon up front, with the alcohol starting hot and heavy and not backing down. The flavor comes around with coffee, caramel, chocolate, light vanilla, dark fruit like plums or figs, amaretto or some other liquor with fennel and licorice, molasses or syrup and then a bitter finish that is a combo of lemon, chicory and/or cocoa, none of which can dilute or hide the alcohol taste or presence which to me is over the top and a bit too much. Perhaps I should have cellared this for a few years, but I was so excited to try it that I opened it only 3 months after purchasing it. I am disappointed as the bourbon dominates this beer so much that the other flavors can't be appreciated or complimentary. The Champagne yeast mentioned on the bottle may add to the fermentation, light mouthfeel and huge head, but I was unable to taste any yeast. You can definitely taste the bourbon barrel residue in this brew.

The mouthfeel is surprisingly light for a beer that has so much punch; the mouthfeel is light and on the creamy side until the alcohol smacks you back into reality. The body is medium, with the carbonation medium as well, and maybe even on the lighter side considering the density of this beer. The finish is malty with the bourbon showing up once again, and it is chalky and on the dry side and seems to slide down with a silky feel like a Johnnie Walker Blue, to the point of almost being watery.

Since I cracked this open on a Sunday night I will be useless on Monday morning, as this beer is strong and has F'd me up. This is a nightcap beer to try with several other beer enthusiasts, not one to take down alone as I mistakenly did this evening. Overall it was a good beer experience that is meant to be enjoyed in small quantities (4-8 oz glasses). Worth trying this beer just to indulge in something that can kick your ass. I'm glad I tried it, but would not seek it out again.

Photo of lackenhauser
3.94/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

09 vintage-i have an 08 that will be well cellared.

Just a gorgeous looking RIS. Almost looks "chunky" when poured. Jet black with a huge cocoa head on top. Would make a great ad for sure! Aroma is ok but not as big as I expected. Some dried fruit and dark espresso notes. Flavor screams of alcohol. Deep roasted grains and flavor. Figs,licorice and espresso. Too bad the alcohol gets in the way. Considering the BCS is roughly the same alcohol I am suprised how "hot" this is. Still huge flavor wise dont get me wrong. Nice residual dryness in the finish. Decent enough body-I was expecting a bit more "umph". Wouldnt call it thin by any means. A really, really good beer. Don't know if it lives up to the hype but well worth trying if possible. Looking forward to the other bottle in a few years.

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

750 ml bottle split and poured into a Duvel tulip. 11.6% ABV, 3229 on back label. Assuming it is Julian, its Nov. 17th, 2009.

Thank yous to Beerwolf77 for another crazy RIS!

A - Like the name Black Ops implies, light is never seen here. The pour, completely black, results in a dense, semi-cascading head piling up to a one-and-a-half finger tan head. Low retention and tiny fingers of lace are left over.

S - Hot fingernail polish remover type alcohol is evident right away with a low fruity phenol thing. A bit of Testors model paint aroma too. Deep roasted malts have a very subtle coffee and mocha touch that doesn't beat the Russian Imperial Stout horse to death. A bit hot but still balanced on some level.

T - Hot, boozy alcohol with the same nail polish remover mild fruity flavor as the aroma lets on. The roasted malts are pushed to the rear of the profile. A bit hot for me, the alcohol shouldn't be this strong a player in the flavor of a RIS.

M - Full-bodied and rich but incredibly warm on the alcohol front. A bit dry and bitter to the finish, the mouthfeel is a bit more balanced than the flavor and aroma.

D - The alcohol is killing me. It's a really solid beer with serious potential with age but hot damn, the booziness is a bit ridiculous with it's young age. Close to difficult to drink but as a sipper, its ok.

Photo of kingcrowing
4.75/5  rDev +15%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Sampled at the 2010 Stout tasting in a Orval Chalice.

2009 limited release 750ml corked & caged bottle.

Pours black, black with a small rich dark brown head. Nose is bourbon. It's sweet, rich and awesome.

Taste is sweet and smooth, lighter body due to champagne yeast. Makes it very drinkable and slightly higher carbonation. There's some chocolate and smoke on the finish.

Photo of rye726
4.13/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5


Pours an oily black with a silky tan head. Nice lace and retention.

Nose has roasty malts, coffee, molasses, light whiskey oak and vanilla.

A bit one dimensional. Dark malts, pitted fruits, hops, molasses and again a very subtle barrel presence.

Body is a bit thin for the style.

A bit weak, but not bad.

Photo of sk8man121
4.38/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 ml bottle poured into an 8 oz wine glass at the Great Lost Bear.

A: Pours an absolutely gorgeous pitch black with a copper-colored, creamy head. Settles into what can only be described as what looks like motor oil. This beer is fucking beautiful.

S: Ethanol is by far the dominant smell, along with some smoke, dark fruit and oak. Smells less like stout aged in bourbon barrels than bourbon aged in paint buckets - and I mean that in the best way possible.

T: Super hot. More ethanol, along with some nice roasted malts, campfire and more oak. Tough at first, but it grows on you more than you can even imagine.

M: Thick, silky, chewy; mmm! A lot of people have complained that the carbonation in the 2009 Black Ops is too heavy, which I have to disagree with. Being such a strong, intense beer, I think the carbonation is perfect and really helps make this beer more drinkable.

D: Definitely young, and could probably benefit from a year in the cellar, although I think it's delicious as is. I've heard comments ranging from this being extremely drinkable to it being a sink pour; I suppose it is a very personal taste, and if you don't enjoy the flavor/smell of bourbon or a RIS then you'll likely hate this. Otherwise, you might be like me and seek out every opportunity you have to drink this.

Either way, it's well worth a shot for just about everyone, regardless of preference. Highly recommended.

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

A - dark as night. nice lasting tan foam.

S - Milk chocolate. Bourbon. Not too roasty. Mellow.

T - Bourbon is not hidden. Wow. Very smooth. But alcohol is not overwhelming. Not too bitter. Or at least very well balanced. Very chocolately, but leaning towards actual cocoa flavor instead of intense roasty cocoa.

M - low-moderate carbonation helps to make this beer really smooth.

D - Not overwhelmingly syrupy like other RISs (TenFity). Easy to drink, which I really like.

Photo of jampics2
4.35/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2009/2010 vintage (I believe this was brewed in 2009 and released to some markets but it just got to Cleveland in 2010). 750ml bottle into my New Belgium globe.

Black with a mocah head. Looks sublime in my glass.

Smells of bourbon (really nice bourbon), chocolate, vanilla, and some woody notes from the oak.

Taste is certainly this beer's strong point. It's smooth even when young. Sweetness is there but there is also a seriously bitter mix of whiskey, roast, and some hops too which ride the flavor rollercoaster for the duration. The burbon tends to flare my nostrils a touch - I like that! Madagascar vanilla bean truffles. Dark caramel dipped in chocolate. Takes a .5 hit on the score because it's hotness masks some nuances that the superior bourbon and oak should have imparted. But this is crafted with finesse and is a great example of how the beer and the barrels should bring their unique flavors to the end result.

Sparkle takes away from the mouthfeel. Nice viscosity though. Champaigne yeast is interesting with bourbon - it makes that flavor pop.

Huge hotness detracts from drinkability but we'll see how it mellows out. Overall a great beer that could be legendary in a few years.

Photo of hawks10
4.2/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

750ml bottle vigorously poured into a Dogfish Head snifter...

Pours jet black with an abundance of thick toffee brown head, head starts out pretty dark and lightens as it settles leaving a lot of lacing...

Super sweet on the nose, tons of sweet chocolate and lactose...brown sugar and molasses with a slight hint of bourbon, even a bit of vanilla and a tiny bit of coffee, but not roasty at all, very nice...

More bitter on the tongue than the smell would indicate. Dark chocolate and roasted malt (did not smell roasty at all though)...bittersweet chocolate, leaning more towards the sweet at the finish...starts bitter, finishes slightly sweet...

Thick and creamy, slick and coating...good carbonation level and a nice slight burn from the alcohol, although it is pretty well hidden...

Nice beer from Brooklyn, definitely think the nose was the highlight but tasted quite nice as well, would definitely try this one again if I came across it...

Photo of OskarL
3.81/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance - Pitch black with a fluffy head in different brown colors that leaves a lot of lacing.

Smell - Smoked oak, bourbon, roasted malts, chocolate and a very present smell of the alcohol but not in a bad way.

Taste - Quite sweet with lots of bourbon-like alcohol. Then there's also tobacco, chocolate, faint vanilla and coffee bitterness in the finish.

Mouthfeel - Smooth, creamy and full bodied with some carbonation

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

Review from notes taken 2/4/10

Poured into my Brooklyn short snifter, it appears black with no light shining through. Darkly tanned-brown head more than two fingers strong. Lace clings all over the glass. Nose is a strong blend of woodsy and smoked oak, bourbon, slight vanilla, coffee and chocolate. Bit of yeast is notes in the background. Taste is very bourbon forward with smoke, oak, bitter chocolate, coffee and traces of vanilla. Slight alcohol astringency and very warming finish. Surprisingly light mouthfeel with moderate carbonation. Drinkability is very good an clearly a sipper. Lingering taste left in the mouth of bitter chocolate, bourbon and oak. Really enjoyed this beer and was surprised at how strikingly different this is from the base beer in so many ways.

Photo of BearsOnAcid
3.58/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle from 2008.

Pours out pitch black with a brown sugar colored head. Very lively with small bubbles. You can see a good amount of carbonation.

It's carbonated like drinking a pale ale or something sessionable. Bourbon and oak in the nose. Roasted malt and more bourbon in the taste. Sweet and slightly tangy finish. Nothing really crazy going on.

The mouthfeel on this beer is the most interesting but it didn't throw me off that much. I like it's use of champagne yeast and bumping up the carbonation. But it leaves your mouth feeling a little watery. It makes for an interesting presentation though.

Photo of SeanRedd
3.38/5  rDev -18.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Good gift from my buddy Jae. Always nice to check in on my partners in Brooklyn. Looks stunning, (out of the oversized wine glass,) cappacino head sits in the center like a dark, chaotic universe forming. Aroma reaks of vanilla booze cream, whiskey, wood, and oreos dunked in Grandads. So easy up front; light chocolate, coffee, custard, vanilla, pudding, and then ease into booze. It may be young, but it definitely hurts. Maturation is key with this one. An early serving leads to stomach twitches and bad breath. Im excited to hit this one up five years from now.

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

Pours opaque in body with a coffee tinted head that dissipates quickly. An aroma that has me wondering who put the Jack Daniel's in the milk? Alcohol, cream, slight chocolate, and bourbon. Flavors of faint chocolate, booze, slight vanilla, plums, licorice, bourbon. Medium bodied brew with almost no carbonation. The whiskey aftertaste is a bit too strong for my liking but its rather drinkable for such a heavy beer. This beer is like a good novel that has a disappointing last chapter.

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

2008 Vintage Corked & Caged into a snifter

A: Pours pitch black with a big tan head that sticks around forever and leaves lot of lacing. Seriously the head will not leave and it's really creamy looking. This is what a BA stout should look like.

S: The nose is full of cocoa, dark fruits, and vanilla. Smells very rich and complex.

T: Taste is full of molassess, dark fruits, and cocoa. This is like the Black Chocolate Stout but even more complex and full of bourbon barrel goodness.

M: The feel is thick and creamy with great carbonation. Perfect for a RIS.

D: One of the best barrel aged stouts I've had to date. If this wasn't $25 a bottle I'd buy it by the case. The ABV will sneak up on you though.

Photo of br3wmeister
3.4/5  rDev -17.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

A- This beer pours a dark brown/black in color wit a large brown foamy head, good retention and good lacing.

S- Toffee, Chocolate, oak, vanilla, bourbon, spicy peppery alcohol, caramel, molasses light floral hops, and ripe dark fruit.

T- Vary malty, overly roasted bitter malts, mild hops, light bourbon, hints of vanilla and oak, some nice dark ripe fruit as it warms. A little boozy and hot.

M- Dry bitter and boozy.

I was not greatly impressed with this beer yes it was good but I was expecting a lot more.

Photo of dqrull
3.34/5  rDev -19.1%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pitch black with a moccho coloured big head, really, really black.

Smells heavily of oak with a clear burbon to it, Chocolate along with alcohol as well, the alcohol is mildly distracting, but it doesnt ruin anything, a hint of smoke and tobacco as well. Almost a hint of paint thinner.

Sweetness and a fruity alcohol dominates. The chocalte is absolutely not dominating, nor is any other roasted flavours, the malts really take a step back to let the bourbon barrel and the fruity alcohol, wich pretty much rules the show. A slight tartness reminiscent of red berres comes through, empowered by the alcohol. It actually gets more fruit to it as I drink it and I also think I get some yeast, not sure if it's the original yeast or the champagne yeast used to bottle-ferment it. Tastes dissapointingly little beer actually.

A pretty rich mouthfeel wtoh a soft and appealing carbonation.

Photo of PDXHops
3.82/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2009 vintage 750 ml bottle, poured into an oversized snifter.

Pours near black with an initial 3 fingers of tan foam that slowly settles down into a dense 1/2 finger thick layer that lingers nicely and leaves pretty good lacing.

Excellent nose. Even at this young age, the bourbon is quite well integrated. Sweet boozy barrel, cocoa, dark malts, very appetizing.

But... the boozy flavor is very pronounced, almost to the point of distraction. Nice juicy citrus hop presence. A little dark fruit, a little vanilla. The roasted malts are somewhat overshadowed by the alcohol. Quite tasty, but needs to mellow out.

The body itself isn't as thick as I expected, but it's fluffed up nicely by plentiful tiny bubbled carbonation. Finishes rather dry with some lingering bourbon and burnt malt.

Overall impression: Hot and raw, yet still very enjoyable. This seems like a great candidate for cellaring. Would love to try this with a couple of years on it.

Photo of FreshmanPour77
4.48/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Reviewed 03-04-10 courtesy of Shango42
Reviewed cold from a bottle to a glass

A - Poured black with a finger of foam, good lacing ring, can see some carbonation present at the top of the glass

S - Strong bourbon smell to it followed by dark chocolate and coffee. Malts with a bit of hops lingering about but nothing to noticeable

T - Warm alcohol taste, a bit dry but followed with chocolate with hints of roasted coffee beans. Couldn't taste much hops

M/D - A full bodied brew which as it warmed in my glass it seemed like it got better. Coffee beans, chocolate came through better. Still not a lot of hop flavor. I would love to have this brew again. I highly recommend purchasing or trading for this. A well done Russian imperial stout!

Photo of Mistofminn
3.82/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Got 2 bottles of this, one from roopy40 and one from koopa. Thanks guys for the chance to try and cellar this!

2009 Vintage.

Pours a deep black color, with a large, overflowing brown sugar colored head. The head is creamy and smooth, with great retention and leaves some nice lacing.

The nose is big on the chocolate and the vanilla notes. Bourbon isn't strong at all, but I get some oak and earthiness. A very light roasted malt character comes out more as it warms. Alcohol doesn't play a big part here.

Wow, what a 180. Ethanol is extremely strong in the taste. It's probably not old enough. Chocolate, vanilla and roasted malts all play small roles while bourbon, ethanol and sweetness play the biggest parts. Too young, too young.

Mouthfeel is actually pretty smooth and creamy, but the ethanol ruins it. Drinkability takes a hit because of this.

Definitely a raw brew, and could benefit from a year or two in the cellar. If the ethanol character where to mellow, this would be a fantastic brew, but for now it's sub-par. Thanks for the chance Dennis and Paul, I really look forward to trying this in the future!

Photo of juhl31
3.41/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

poured into a bruery tulip glass

-appearance was by far the best aspect of this beer. black, with a light brown tall, tiny bubble style head. what got the extra marks for me was the the incredible retention that the beer had throughout

-the first whif was nice. some dark chocolate with that bourbon background. then it started to get a little more harsh and a bit tangy. alas, it was nice from start to finish

-i don't feel that i rated this beer low because of the high expectation that i had because i rated BT very high in the same instance. anywho....the bourbon is right there up front and kind of dominates the chocolate and caramel and vanilla involved. the carbonation also really seemed to mask any flavor of the beer. seems a result of the champagne yeast

-again, the carbonation was just in the way and made it much more harsh than it needed to be. extremely light for the style and abv as well. i like my RIS's to be more thick

-did not have a great time drinking this and i had to work hard to get through it. i feel like we need to hold onto the 2nd bottle for like 4 years to get some of the carbonation out of there. then it might be much more enjoyable. i kind of feel bad writing about it badly, but this is how i felt

Photo of Gyle41386
4.05/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 750 (08) into a snifter. Back label says 3178.

Pitch black pour. About a finger of tan foam retains for a little while. Some nice dark lacing on the glass.

Aroma is of deep roasted barley and bourbon. Some vanilla/oak, and maybe a small bit of caramel also show up in the nose. Little bit of heat.

Sweet, rich chocolate fudge up front, with a good roasted coffee bitter finish. To me, Black OPS is a little too barrel-dominated to rate higher...I believe that the beauty of barrel-aged beers lies in their subtle contributions to the base beer's flavor, but I feel like Black OPS gets overrun by the barrel. There's still some noticeable alcohol in the finish. It may seem like I'm trashing this beer, but it's still damn tasty.

Medium-full body. I thought the carbonation level was fine. This beer is an absolute mouth-coater. Slow sipper for sure. Really tasty beer from Brooklyn, but I think more subtlety from the barrel could potentially make this world-class.

Photo of hosehead83
3.96/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Sampled 2009 vintage 22oz. bottle
Poured into a standard pint glass
Black cherry in color with a huge,chocolate brown head of foam. Beer appears thick and unsettled.
Aroma-Big whiff of bourbon whiskey dominates-Dark roasted, and black patent malt aromas are pushed hard into the background
Taste-Hot whiskey floated over chocolate and dark roasted coffee-Not for the faint of heart!
Upon warming,subtle vanilla notes emerge, but the whiskey is dominant to the point that it is difficult for me to separate the other flavors.
Overall: This beer would do well to be aged for at least a year or so before sampling. The fresh version that I had was just too "hot" for my tastes with an almost overpowering whiskey flavor that just took away from the other complexities of this beer. Hopefully, cellaring
this potent brew will mellow it out to the point where it doesn't have to be served in a shot glass! ;)

Brooklyn Black OPS from Brooklyn Brewery
92 out of 100 based on 2,083 ratings.