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Brooklyn Black OPS - Brooklyn Brewery

Not Rated.
Brooklyn Black OPSBrooklyn Black OPS

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

1,848 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1,848
Reviews: 749
rAvg: 4.13
pDev: 13.56%
Wants: 412
Gots: 946 | FT: 77
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: 1,848 | Reviews: 749 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of deliriumfest
4.33/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Consumed on 1/17/09

750ml bottle

Poured a coal black color as viscous as motor oil. The aroma was a very strong bourbon and cherry smell overpowered with alcohol and vanilla. The taste was that of the aroma plus some more alcohol; in fact, this beer does not hide its alcohol at all. The mouthfeel was smooth as silk and a nice full, rounded body. Very easy to drink if you can just get past the alcohol which for me, was quite easy to do. The champagne yeast made this one different from most RISs so it was a real treat and another awesome brew from Brooklyn.

If this one did exist, I would definitely recommend it!

deliriumfest, Jan 27, 2009
Photo of bluegrassbrew
4.25/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

From a 750ml bottle into a snifter.

Pours an octopus ink black with a good size coffee colored head that quickly disappears.

Smell is bourbon, bourbon and more bourbon. Almost a hint of chocolate, but the whiskey quickly knocks that out.

Taste is luxuoriously whiskey filled. Chocolate and mocha mantain the backbone of this stout.

Overall, a very nice beer. If you enjoy bourbon you will dig this brew. It is considerable in body yet easy going down. Although the whiskey flavor really comes to the forefront, it is not the alcohol itself that is noticable. Very well done barrel aged beer.

bluegrassbrew, Jan 27, 2009
Photo of Dubbercody
3.9/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From a large bottle (guessing 750), Black in that nice super dark light stopper kind of way, with a little tan head. Bitter and chocolaty when it hits your mouth, then it leaves with a bourbon rub and a lingering chocolate finale. Nice beer to start off the tasting with...

Dubbercody, Jan 27, 2009
Photo of sonicdescent
4.63/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This pours a beautiful black with bubbly tan head, coating the glass as it comes down.

Smells unlike any RIS I have smelled before, probably because of the champagne yeast. Very light and fruity with a hint of the vanilla/bourbon and other typical RIS staples such as chocolate. Those background scents come to life as you raise and agitate the glass. Amazing.

Tastes like it smells. At first hits with the fruity taste, followed by your average RIS, and then the bourbon warmth. Not as over-bourboned as I had feared from some buzz here, but it's still probably a tad over done. Nothing close to the most over-done bourbon I have had (Black Magick) but still more than I like. East End's Homewood Reserve is where I like my bourbon level, and I know some say that was too little, but thats me.

Mouth is medium with med/high carbonation. The yeast creates this combination that I haven't had done right in an RIS, but this comes close.

Drinkability..this is good and I will probably easily be able to finish the bottle, but if it gets any warmer from the alcohol, it will be difficult to put down.

ADDENDUM: I actually raised the ratings on the last three categories after drinking some more. This beer really gets better with each sip. Worthy of the hype and a real winner from BB.

sonicdescent, Jan 27, 2009
Photo of francisweizen
3.3/5  rDev -20.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I sampled this at one of our epic SF tastings at Jasons house.

Fromt eh bottle, this was a dark blown/black licorice coloured brew with a small tan head of foam. Not much bourbon int he aroma really, more of a sweet malt and slight acrid hop. Taste was a bit thin with some roasty malt, and a good hop balance. Bourbon was there, but kind of hot, and all wrong in flavor profile. Mouthfeel a bit thin, drinkability a bit blah. I would not go out of my way to try this one again...

francisweizen, Jan 26, 2009
Photo of Viggo
4.25/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Glass from the bottle at Coles rare beer fest.

Pours a deep opaque black, no light gets through, thick brown head forms, drops a nice lace ring on the glass, very thick and chunky, great retention. Smell is nice, sweet at first, some brown sugar and toffee, molasses, vanilla and oak, chocolate milk, fruit, raisins, roast, bourbon sweetness, some cherry and strawberry, not bad. Taste is pretty intense, heavy vanilla and oak, bourbon, toast and toffee through the middle, chocolate, roast, burnt sugar, alcohol, pretty smooth through the middle but a rough oaky finish. Mouthfeel is medium to full bodied with low carbonation, some warmth going down but the alcohol is well hidden. Pretty nice bourbon barrel RIS, I would think this would age pretty well. Not my favourite but still pretty damn good.

Viggo, Jan 26, 2009
Photo of Sammy
4.03/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Enjoyed at Coles. Big bourbon cask aroma, very good bourbon taste at that, supported by some chocolate malts. Above average mouthfeel. Yeasty, a bit of sourness in mid-sip offset by the vanilla in the wood. A RIS with some complexity. Dark colour.A big beer.

Sammy, Jan 26, 2009
Photo of rasta16ry
4.5/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I also feel compelled to review this beer after tasting it at the Blue Point Cask Festival yesterday (which was way too crowded again this year).

It was a really nice treat to see this when we showed up, and it was one of the first beers we tried. I've had it in the bottle a few times, but the head, lacing and overall appearance were really better out of the cask. It looks really dark and I'm glad we only had half-pint glasses. Otherwise this beer would have been disastrous.

The smell was much oakier to me this time. Definite bourbon and almost a chocolate-y scent - very rich, and I also got some syrup out of it as well.

But the taste was obviously what drove me to write. It was warmer and richer than I remember in the bottle, and its complexity was enhanced by by the sharper and subtle smells. The dark malt, syrup, and coffee were all prevalent, but the bourbon was not intrusive at all. In fact I think it added a much warmer feel the the finish, and really made it so much more enjoyable to continue drinking it.

Overall this was probably the best beer I had yesterday, and definitely better on cask. Awesome warmth, taste and smell alike, and not a harsh imperial stout at all.

rasta16ry, Jan 25, 2009
Photo of bonbright7
4.58/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This monumental dark creation in the cask form just stopped me in my tracks at the Blue Point Cask festival yesterday as I had two generous servings of it in the company of some friendly home brewers. It was unforgettable from such a strong presentation that it seemed to resonate and linger longer than any other item in the show.

The jet black ale came out with purple and brown edges in my glass as I looked down into my half pint glass. The aromas of dark fruit, burned wood, and maple syrup came to my mind as I inhaled the bold ale. Of course, the aromas translated well into the first taste and the flowing dark malts came to life.

I had tasted the Black Ops in the bottle form a few times before and thought that it would be great to put down for a few years as if it was a new bottle of Chateau-neuf de Pape.
The cask version seemed to have aged the taste to approximate point that I thought it might get to in a few years.

The exceptional warmth of the aftertaste was a reminded of its strength and abv, so my second share of the dark ale revisited and confirmed all the special highlights I could talk about at length in the company of friends.

bonbright7, Jan 25, 2009
Photo of bluejacket74
4.5/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750 ml caged and corked bottle. Served in a snifter, the beer pours black with about a two inch frothy brown head. Head retention is excellent, lacing is good. It smells like chocolate, bourbon, oak, vanilla, coffee and roasted/charred malt. It's a very nice sweet and malty aroma. The taste is similar to the aroma, no surprise there. Bourbon is what I tasted first, but there's also coffee, bittersweet chocolate, oak, vanilla, molasses and roasted malt noticable too. The bourbon taste in the beer is nice and smooth, and it has a lingering bourbony/bittersweet dry finish. Mouthfeel/body is medium/full, it's rich and creamy with good carbonation. Drinkability is pretty good, it's smooth and very enjoyable to drink. It's definitely a sipping beer, the alcohol does catch up to you after a while if you end up drinking the whole bottle by yourself. Overall I think this is a pretty good beer, I definitely recommend this. With that being said, I like big stouts and bourbon so I'm a bit biased!

bluejacket74, Jan 25, 2009
Photo of ejquin
4.03/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Cork came off with a loud pop, and reveals a deep black colored stout with thin brown head, that fades to a slight lacing.

S: Very nice mix of bourbon and spice. Lots of vanilla. Reminded me of Black Albert. Coffee is there as well with alcohol.

T/M: Interesting mouthfeel. Medium bodied with some prickly carbonation in the background. Lots of vanilla and oakiness with some milky sweetness. Bourbon notes really come through on the finish and toy with being a bit overpowering due to the lighter mouthfeel. Also slightly hot. Bitter espress and alcohol on finish.

ejquin, Jan 25, 2009
Photo of Riverwarrior
3.68/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

S = Big notes of bourbon with some chocolate and vanilla notes in the background.

T = Again, big bourbon notes upfront with the chocolate, vanilla, and roastiness taking a back seat. Alcohol was hidden, but it faintly showed up near the end and the warmth was there as well. The finish still had the bourbon flavor, but it quickly disappeared leaving a semi-sweet roasted flavor.

MF = Very rich and thick body with low carbonation. Silky smooth.

Overall, this was not my favorite RIS, but solid none the less and certainly worth trying.

Riverwarrior, Jan 24, 2009
Photo of BrewerB
4.47/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to jwc215 for the hookup on this beer! Cheers, sir!

A - Sharing with a friend, we poured the beer into New Belgium globe-like snifter glassware. An opaque, very dark brown with a medium-dark tan head. Leaves a lacing on the glass after swirling. Great retention for such a high ABV beer.

S - Upfront bourbon mingles with floral hops - jasminey. Certainly boozy, we both comment. Semi-sweet chocolate. Vanilla shows up after the beer has had some time to aerate. Hints of some dark fruit are also present.

T - A noticeable, somewhat shocking warmth from alcohol. Did I just do a shot? Bourbon flavor is there but restrained as it should be. Provides a nice backdrop under the prevalent stout flavors. Sweetness is there, something in between molasses and sugar. Darker chocolates. Bitterness is high and well-matched to the other malt complexities and lingers on into the dry finish. Subtle cherry flavor.

M - Medium-full body, moderate to mid-low level of carbonation. My drinking partner is noticing a carbonic acid-like bite that's detracting from this score. Not as smooth as it could be.

D - For a beer of this strength and complexity, the drinkabilty is impressive. Not that I'd want to drink this all night as it's clearly a sipper. I'm knocking it a .5 point since it's not as stellar as some of my favorite RIS's but I'm definitely looking forward to aging the few extras I have.

BrewerB, Jan 24, 2009
Photo of LilBeerDoctor
4/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle. Pours black with a huge, thick dark chocolate head. Aroma of sweet milk chocolate. Flavor of harsh alcohol initially with a chocolatey finish. Slight nuttiness and cookie malt. Surprisingly, the bourbon is extremely mellow--I only got hints of alcohol but no specific bourbony notes. Very nice. I would like to have this again.
8/4/8/4/16 (4.0/5)

LilBeerDoctor, Jan 24, 2009
Photo of zerofear13
4.38/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Found Brooklyn Black Ops sitting on the counter of Community Beverage. Drank with fellow BeerAdvocates. Amazing look. Creamy head with a virtually jet black color. I can't help but make the BCS comparisons, so the smell does smell similar, but there is more of a warm alcohol scent to the Black Ops. The taste is amazing. Very, very smokey flavors - as a friend joked, it tasted like camp fire, and I'd agree to some extent. Not in a terrible way, but in a very full-body, well-balanced way. Great creamy texture.

I think what sets the Black Ops apart from a lot of other stouts is the overall impression you get from Black Ops. Well named. Well marketed. Just a great presentation and terrific beer.

zerofear13, Jan 23, 2009
Photo of aubuc1
4.53/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

750 ml beautiful bottle poured in to a goblet.

Pours black with a thick, creamy, fine bubble, tan head.

Smell is oaky bourbon, surprise. Some winey smell. The warming whiskey smell almost is rummy.

Much more mellow than I expected. Pretty hot, but the combination of the bourbon and high abv inevitably do this. Roasty, bitter, yet sweet taste. Great taste.

It is thinner than I expected, but maybe that keeps it more drinkable.

This was a high pressure beer for me to review/taste, as I had very high expectations. I thoroughly enjoy the bourbon flavors, as well as the oak. I enjoyed it more than any other ris I have had, but have not had any other bourbon barrel ris'. I am glad I bought two, the other can sit for some time.

aubuc1, Jan 23, 2009
Photo of tempest
4.33/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The aroma is sort of a sweet white, vanilla cake smell with a hint of charred oak. At first, however, the stout dominated with dark, dark chocolate, and espresso which reminds me of Middle Ages' Dragonslayer. The flavor has a raw barrel character with wet oak, vanilla, and coconut over the burnt cocoa flavor. Very drinkable and slowly warming. Watch out for this one, share with a friend or two.

tempest, Jan 23, 2009
Photo of StoutSlayer
3.93/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

A Good beer? Definitely. Worth the hype or the 20+ dollar price tag? Not really. First let me tell you what I loved about the beer. I, unlike my home slice that I shared this brew with (younger 35), like my stouts a step or 2 below pudding consistency. I really loved that Brooklyn was able to do a "big" stout with a lot of flavor while doing without the motor oil viscosity that so many other breweries do for their super top secret limited release RIS's. So cheers to Brooklyn for going against the grain. What made this really great for me was the use of champagne yeast to finish this brew. Those plentiful little bubbles did worlds for this stout's mouthfeel and flavors. They made every sip seem as fresh as the first, and helped bring the more subtle vanilla flavors out too. This ended up being important because the nose of this beer was heavily of Bourbon, as well as the aftertaste of each sip- which for me was the slightly disappointing side of this brew, way to much Bourbon. To be fair I probably should have aged it for at least six months, but, oh well, this is what I'm working with. It would have been a perfect stout if they had actually skipped the burbon barrel aging! All in all I do recomend this beer, but I also recommend putting it in your basement and drinking it next year.

StoutSlayer, Jan 22, 2009
Photo of SacoDeToro
4.1/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The beer was a dark coal black with a dense brown head.

The aroma of the beer was of roated coffee, intense malt, licorice, chocolate, and some alcohol.

The flavor of the beer was intesely malty. Huge roast, chocolate, coffee, chewy malt, and notes of licorice made up the bulk of the flavor. The hops were herbal and citrus and reasonably assertive. Some dark fruits in the background. Possibly more would develop with age.

The carbonation was soft and complimented the flavors well. Full-bodied with a medium-to-full mouthfeel. The alcohol was well hidden.

This was a very nice imperial stout that was straight-forward and cut to the chase. Not quite as complex as some other top examples, but a very drinkable and enjoyable big beer.

SacoDeToro, Jan 21, 2009
Photo of younger35
3.88/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Shared a bottle of this tasty treat yesterday afternoon with my buddy (StoutSlayer). Lets see if this thing is worth the pretty lofty price tag of $22.99. Drank from a Sam Adams specialty glass with the cool shape and laser etching on the bottom. 750mL corked and caged bottle.

Appearance- Pours somewhere between seriously dark brown and black with a fairly bubbly one finger dark brown head. Thousands of teensy tiny bubbles maintain a great cap and collar that leaves some lacing that craws about a half inch above the head.
Smell- Hot from the start with a fair amount of bourbon and alcohol. Some soft milk chocolate and tons of sweet caramel are present but nothing drastic. We served the beer fairly warm so I'm surprised it isn't a bit bolder than it is. Not a lot of barrel character other than a hint of vanilla and the bourbon.
Taste- Like the nose it starts a bit hot with a rush of alcohol and bourbon. Fairly roasted with a nice light acidity backed by some sweet caramel and toffee. Some light vanilla woodiness but again, not as much as I was hoping for. The barrel seems to have added more bourbon, than barrel. Not that that's necessarily bad, I just prefer my barrel aged beers the opposite way. Not necessarily chocolaty but a nice Tootsie Roll aspect is present and the beer finishes slightly sweet. Nearing cloying but I'll give it the benefit of the doubt.
Mouthfeel- On the lighter side of medium body with the finest carbonation I've ever had grace my tongue. A bit thinner than I like my stouts but the carbonation adds an aspect I've never felt in a beer like this.
Drinkability- I think my overall review seems a bit more negative on this beer than I meant it to be. I really enjoyed it tremendously but I think it's probably still a bit young. Give it another year or more and the alcohol will fade out a bit and make this thing even better. Thanks to my buddy for sharing!

younger35, Jan 21, 2009
Photo of ATPete
3.95/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

corked caged 750ml

Black Ops does not exist.

The brew pours black/brown color with bright reddish highlights and a small bubbly brown head. This beers got one high octane nose! Thick chocolatey roasted malts, slight bourbon sweetness, even subtler wet woody aroma and big whiffs of booze. Bright and almost acidic to the tongue initially, i think its a balance of the alcohol, hops and time in the barrel. I wish the bourbon barrel was a bit more pronounced, i get vanilla and hints at bourbon mash but i crave more!! This beer is full of malt flavor, it really wows me because of its super light body, a little bit more carbonation would warrant a perfect score here. I expected this beer to be sold with a spoon attached but i was pleasantly surprised. Definitely a sipper and a nice one at that. Be warned, this beer is 'hot' right now, i have a feeling that 6 months to a year in the cellar would do this one wonders.

ATPete, Jan 21, 2009
Photo of TStandley13
4.43/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

lucky to have this courtesy of my friend from NYC

Poured a dark oily color. Not opaque whatsoever. Looked like it was drained from the oil tank in my car.

Smells like a nice fine whisky.

Taste is exceptional. First a little sweet taste, followed by an apparent bourbon taste courtesy of the barrels it was aged in. Definitely burns the tounge. Aftertaste of dark chocolate.

This is certainly a slow sipper. Awesome brew, hope to find another bottle to age for a while.

TStandley13, Jan 20, 2009
Photo of Huhzubendah
4.45/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Just split a 750 ml bottle with my wife and a friend.

A: Jet black with a nice, lingering, beige head and a copious amount of thick lacing on the glass.

S: Prominent bourbon with hints of toffee, roasted malt and chocolate.

T: Smooth and delicious. ABV masked pretty well. The lingering bourbon aftertaste is very pleasant and intriguing.

M: Very well balanced and enjoyable. A truly well-crafted brew. Easy to swill and taste the complexity of this big beer.

D: Extremely drinkable, given the ABV and style. Personally, one generously poured snifter was just right for me. A nice beer for a special occasion (or not) to share a few ways.

Huhzubendah, Jan 19, 2009
Photo of Shaw
3.65/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Pours totally black with a nice, thick chocolate-milk-brown head.

The aroma is all about bourbon. I smell a little bit of chocolate and coffee, but that takes effort.

The taste is also heavy on bourbon and charred wood flavors. It's a bit too much like liquor for me. I'm only getting hints of typical stout flavors like coffee, molasses and chocolate. The bourbon flavors mix well with the strong alcohol level.

The body is nice and creamy and glassy: just about perfect.

Overall this is an interesting beer. For those bourbon and Scotch whisky fans, I think it's certainly worth a try.

Shaw, Jan 19, 2009
Photo of bainard
4.8/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

bottle to monogrammed tulip, my girlfriend gives the best birthday gifts...

a- nearly black with a formidable medium khaki head.

s- bourbon and coffee and a little bit o' chocolate.

t- so they say this is a bourbon-aged stout finished with champagne yeast. i say it's a novel of coffee, cocoa, and extremely complex bourbon (vanilla, grain, coffee, toffee, etc.) with a bubbly sort of finish.

m- the finishing yeast does so much for this one. i can't even begin to explain. it's seriously perfect. it's not forced but merely assertive.

d- a little boozy, yes, but this is a tremendous brew, perfect for showing off to friends at parties and the like.

bainard, Jan 18, 2009
Brooklyn Black OPS from Brooklyn Brewery
92 out of 100 based on 1,848 ratings.