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Brooklyn Black OPS - Brooklyn Brewery

Not Rated.
Brooklyn Black OPSBrooklyn Black OPS

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2,075 Ratings
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Ratings: 2,075
Reviews: 796
rAvg: 4.13
pDev: 13.08%
Wants: 425
Gots: 1,083 | FT: 93
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: 2,075 | Reviews: 796 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of mikey711
2.69/5  rDev -34.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

A: Dark black, with no light able to get through, with a decent about of head even with a slow pour. The head is mocha colored and leaves some lace.

S: Heavy bourbon smell to start mixed with fusol alcohol, there is maybe a touch of smokiness, but there is almost no roasted character. Also a heavy yeast note is prevelant, almost like the esters from a wheat beer which was off putting to me.

T: The first thing that I get is that yeast note followed by bourbon. Too me this one is a bit too messy. I enjoy bourbon aside from beer and the but this one really does not do it for me, it lacks roasted character and taste too much a fusol alcohol. I also enjoy woodiness in beers but this was like chewing on a damp tree branch

M: I do enjoy how the bourbon feels in this one but there is still heat.

D: I have had this one on a couple of occasions, the first time i enjoyed it, but since then I have been disappointed

Photo of ianjsullivan
4.45/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

S: 750 ml bottle poured

A: Black with a thick two finger head. The head is dark brown with excellent retention and lacing. When held to the light it still stays black though some red lines the edges and bottom.

S: Coffee, smoke, dark sugar, caramel, cinnamon.

T: Coffee, sweet sugar, smoke, cinnamon, can taste bourbon, oak, char, and spice.

M: Not as heavy as one might expect, but, the finish almost gets on the verge of syrup.

D: Good, but, no way one could have a ton of these at once.

Overall: Great beer, man I was impressed, The bourbon is present and is integrated well. I have another one that I intend to drink in around a year, so I'll make sure to update this review then.

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

A- Fairly sizable rusty brown colored head that leaves lacing all over the glass. It quickly fades to a wispy sheet over the beer. Its obviously a very black beer. Pretty mean looking.

S- HUGE bourbon nose. Really powerful. Despite the crazy, hot and strong bourbon smells there is still some other stuff noticeable. Vanilla and oak mainly but there is some rum-raisin and brown sugar also.

T- One complex and HUGE beer. Like the nose, tons of bourbon, vanilla, oak, licorice, and some chocolate. There is a lot going on in here. Mostly its all bourbon though. This would probably become one hell of a phenomenal beer with some age on it to allow that bourbon to settle down.

M- Lots of carbonation. Its prickly and fluffy. What you might expect from a beer that has been bottle re-fermented with champagne yeast. The body is full, creamy and slick. Finishes semi-dry and chocolatey. Very hot and alcoholic. 2009's boasts a 11.6% ABV and it feels even higher than that.

D- Not at all for the faint of heart. A fresher bottle such as this is really hot, really boozy and really big on bourbon. Share this bottle.

Photo of trbergman
4.88/5  rDev +18.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2008 vintage poured into a tulip from a 750mL bottle.

A - Jet black with one finger of dense, cinnamon-colored head.

S - Roast barley, molasses, caramel, vanilla, bourbon, a bit of smoke.

T - Complex combination of flavors, none of them dominant. Strongest are the tastes of coffee and chocolate, but bourbon and caramel aren't far behind. The signature of oak is also quite strong, with vanilla and a bit of toasted coconut. Somewhat sweet, though not cloying, with just enough alcoholic heat as a counterpoint. Whatever hop flavor was in this beer a year ago is nearly all gone -- there may be a bit of earthiness remaining. Hop bitterness is moderate, but not very noticeable unless you're looking for it. Ends with a lengthy and supremely balanced finish.

M - Exceptionally smooth and creamy. Silky and full bodied.

D - Could drink this all night, despite the hefty abv. Very well done.

Photo of biglite351
2.15/5  rDev -47.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

A - very dark with a tight large head that laces very well.

S - smells very apcohol-like to me. However that is probably because of the bourbon and champagne portions of the brewing. Not very stout like.

T - tastes like a car-bomb or whatever it is called when you toss a shot glass into a beer. There is not much stout flavor to grab onto or rate. I do not like hard alcohol so this flavor combination is not for me.

M - typical hard alcohol tingles and burn, just a milder than usual shots.

D - if you like bourbon then you will like this. I do not so I do not. I do not like dissing this brew, but it is not my bag.

Photo of JosephLondon
3.28/5  rDev -20.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

I don't mind saying, I have been let down by this beer. I had been waiting for the opportunity to enjoy this beer only to have a major let down.

The appearance is outstanding. The head built a massive, dark brown head. The retention is one of the best I've seen. The smell was loaded with coffee, butter scotch and bourbon alcohol. The taste is not impressive though. It is one-sided, full of wood, bourbon and a sour coffee with a high alcohol taste. The taste is below average making me rank it at 2.5. The feel is really good. This beer is at odds with itself. Not too thick but not thin. The feel is smooth but a harsh alcohol, wooden aftertaste quickly robs the pleasure of the feel. Considering what a big bitch this is(the beer), the drink is decent. But if this was a Raspy or Yeti, the drink would be lower.

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

09 Vintage

A - Pours a thick black, with a sizeable cherry mocha head that sticks for a few minutes., receding to a small patch of micro bubbles and a heavy collar.

S - Pretty wood forward, at the risk of being one-dimensional - but not quite. Some roasted malts and heavy chocolate with only a hint of bourbon. Reminds me alot of Raspy XII

T - Not as woody as the nose, but pretty wood-forward nonetheless. Bourbon is right up there as well, with the combo hiding alot of latent flavors that seem to be there but just aren't yet - dark burnt chocolate, coffee. A year in the cellar would do this wonders.

M - Very creamy, quite delicious.

D - Very good, but not so sure its worth buying several bottles at $20 a piece.

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

Exceptionally dark black with a mocha head. Smells of alcohol, reminding me of an aged scotch. Very complex and pleasant smell. Honestly the taste reminds me more of a nice scotch/bourbon than a beer. Obviously sweeter than a bourbon and I do taste a burnt sugar. Smooth mouthfeel, with nice carbonation that hits the back of the tongue. It's a nice beer once and a while, but obviously you're not having more than one.

Photo of slaintemhor
4.7/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Got to try this in August of 2009 thanks to a friend who got it in a beer trade. The colour was as black as the night we had it, in the forested foothills of Mt. St. Helens! The aroma was reminiscent of Brach's caramels, toasty oak and dark sweet chocolate. On the palate, the CO2 was rather light but the flavours that followed were not! Loads of bittersweet chocolate, Scottish toffee, burnt brown sugar, Christmas cake with hard sauce and strong black coffee. What a treat!

Photo of TMoney2591
4.32/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a Dogfish Head snifter.

Pours a deep, shiny obsidian, opaque, with a small brown head that fades into the darkness. The nose holds hints of anise, coffee, vanilla, and oak, with a slightly perceptible booziness. The taste follows suit, the oak and vanilla taking a stronger stance from within their dark confines, and a very slight sweetness creeping up from underneath, not unlike a rivulet running through a deep dark cave. Yes, he's heavy, but he's still my brother, and I will support him constantly (with my tongue, anyway). A fine, sturdy stout indeed!

Photo of OSUBeerStudent
4.12/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Finally picked one of these suckers up. Poured into tulip (a couple times).

Appearance is good for an imp stout. Natural opaque black with a mocha head. The head's a bit larger than expected at this strength, probably the yeast. Enticing.

Smell is ridiculous. A little coffee, decent amount of chocolate, roasty malts, and really good bourbon. The bourbon smell itself encompasses all the good smells you want in a good bourbon - vanilla, plenty of oak, etc. Great smell if you like bourbon, but a bit heavy on the booze keeps it from the 5.

Taste is as expected. You need to at least be ok with bourbon to drink this, and love bourbon to appreciate it. Starts sweet and chocolate-y as it hits the tongue. All malts and aging here, no hops to speak of. Most of the rest in this bottle is bourbon. Plenty of oak notes and a good undercurrent of vanilla. A bit spicy from the bourbon too. Booziness is definitely there. More boozy/bourbony than I expected from other reviews, but that's not a bad thing really.

Mouthfeel is good. That's all, though. The champagne yeast doesn't introduce a ton of carbonation, so it's pretty well-balanced. Nice to quaff (if you quaff bourbon) or sip.

Drinkability's a bit low, due to the style. Maybe it's this bottle/batch, but the bourbon is high enough in the mix that I have trouble finishing the one 750.

Overall this is great. Like everything else I said, it depends on your feeling of bourbon. The bottle I had was heavy on the bourbon but you can tell it's a good imp stout underneath. Hard to drink in quantity for sure but definitely worth seeking out. I've put a couple in the cellar from when I bought this one too - some age would probably go quite well with this. Overall a very good beer and a worthy step up from BCS.

Photo of nickfl
4.24/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours with one finger of orange-brown foam on top of an opaque, black body. The head recedes quickly and leaves little lace.

S - Strong, boozy aroma of whiskey and roasted malt. Notes of plum, brown sugar, milk chocolate, and espresso. Very nice.

T - Lots of dark, caramel malt up front with black coffee flavors. More caramel in the middle with complex sugar notes of molasses and brown sugar. Finishes with a lot of warm alcohol that is further accented by woody vanilla notes of whiskey. Lingering roasted character in the aftertaste, notes of coffee, burnt caramel, and charr.

M - Medium-thick body, moderately low carbonation, and a somewhat sweet finish.

D - As expected, this is a big, bold stout. The barrel aged qualities are readily apparent, yet they don't bludgeon the palate with Bourbon flavors the way one might expect. The whiskey character is restrained to the point that it works with and emphasizes certain aspects of the base beer without overpowering the underlying character. The aroma is fantastic, it is rich and complex and manages to hit all of the characteristics that one would expect from a Bourbon Barrel aged Imperial stout. The flavor reflects many of the characteristics that make the aroma so enjoyable, but it does not come together quite as well. The alcohol is somewhat hot and not particularly well hidden and the flavors come across as just a little bit disjointed. It is still an enjoyable beer to sip, but it seems like it has room to improve with age. Fortunately, I have a bottle of last years release sitting in my cellar; I am looking forward to seeing what a year has done to mature this beer.

Photo of steeltown71
3.63/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

First off, I love the look of the bottle. Limited releases should always look special, and this just looks so much cooler than other Brooklyn releases.

I guess with Black Ops I was preparing to be blown out of the water, so the overall experience ended up being surprisingly muted. This isn't boring in the slightest, it's just much more toned down than I've come to expect from the IRS/Bourbon craze. The problem is, at this stage, I don't really want toned down. I'm sure people would disagree, but I don't think an outrageous, boozy stout like Bourbon County loses anything in the way of subtle flavors and complexity. Maybe I've become desensitized if this qualifies as understated - but either way, when I'm going to drop a decent amount on a bomber of something rare, I want it to be exciting and explosive.

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

Out of a bottle this RIS was a used-motor-oil-black color with one finger of head the color of stained wood. The retention as a collar was good and the lacing impressive, sliding down my glass in slick sheets. The aroma was dark and musty like a stone cellar packed with fermenting figs and plums. I'm not sure how appealing that sounds but it was indeed pleasant to me! The flavors were quite tasty! All the usual coffee, chocolate and tobacco notes one would hope for plus molasses, musty malt, earth and a bitter dry finish. And bourbon. Oh yes.... Can't miss the bourbon... Solid and balanced. The mouthfeel was rich and smooth, the body full and the carbonation appropriate. Not amazing but good for sure!

Photo of StarlightSeraph
3.44/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

2009 vintage. Poured from a 25.4 oz bottle into my Brooklyn tulip. ABV on this one is 11.6%.

Appearance: Pours jet black, thick, with three fingers of frothy, chocolate brown head. The head lingers for an incredibly long time, and leaves thick blankets of lacing. This is what an imperial stout should look like.

Smell: Nutty bourbon, lots of alcohol coming through. Sweetness from the malt. Some notes of dark chocolate, but mild. The bourbon and the alcohol smells are the dominant one.

Taste: Nutty and bourbon flavors up front, backed by a wave of alcohol. The booze is present, and very strong in this one. Leaves a warming sensation going down. There's a surprisingly bitter aftertaste, though it's a little difficult to tell if it's from the hops or roasted malts. The flavors do blend together nicely, however, but they all seem somewhat muted - almost watery.

Mouthfeel: Creamy and perfectly carbonated, but too thin. I think the fact that this beer is a little thin caused some of the flavors to come off as a little muted. As it warms, it just gets thinner.

Drinkability: I have to say, this was a little bit of a disappointment. The alcohol was incredibly strong, almost to the point of dominating the beer, and the other flavors just didn't stand up. A definite sipper. I am a big fan of bourbon-aged beers, but this one didn't live up.

I have a 2008 vintage I'm sitting on, so I'll add the notes to this review when I eventually crack that one - I'd be interested to see how this is with some age on it.

Photo of ArrogantJaron
4.43/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a bomber into a 10 ounce sniffter. 2009

A- Poured a dark, heavy choclate color. Just what a black ops should be. A healthy dark brown head with deep strong lacing.

S- bourbon hits you at first. It's followed by dark fruits, plumbs and rasins.

T- A very well balanced beer. It starts with, ofcourse, bourbon. As it fades, the almost sweet malts come in and sit on your palate. Cocoa and cola account for the sweet flavor. It finishes nicely when the champaign yeast finally comes into play.

M- a surprisingly thin beer. The bourbon makes it almost dry. Like a fine aged scotch.

D- I could drink this all night! It is very filling and strong. But what a way to say goodbye to a night?! Very good beer that I consider a treat anyone would be lucky to get.

Photo of far333
4.32/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2008 vintage
Served at cellar temp in a crystal snifter

Pours dark brown and opaque with a light brown head that starts out firm and frothy and quickly settles out to a fine cap.

Rich and inviting aroma of cocoa and espresso, bourbon and smokey wood. Complex and interesting mix of flavors from start to finish, cocoa and charred bark, vanilla, root beer, licorice and very noticeable but not overdone bourbon. The ABV is well hidden.

Even mouthfeel, just a tad thin, a bit dry. Very flavorful and interesting beer, a great sipper in front of the fire on the coldest night of the year.

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

2008 bottle, poured into old guardian snifter.

Pours 1/2 finger of tan head. Fades to a thing ring, then good retention leaving some lace rings. Color is an oil black.

Aroma: Lots of chocolate and vanilla. I get some sour grapes as well, which I find odd. That might be from the champagne yeast. Some oak and bourbon, rounded out with some heat.

Taste: So much grapes here. Followed with other fruits: cherries and raisins. Then comes the vanilla, oak, and chocolate. Not a lot of bourbon, but the aftertaste brings some heat.

Mouthfeel: smooth and hot. Medium bodied with a medium amount of carbonation. Ends very malty and hot.

Overall, not a bad beer, but nothing amazing. I shared this with a few other BAs and we all agreed it had more wine characteristics then bourbon flavors. I wouldn't want to spend another $22 on this one. It is good, but I expected better.

Photo of ShadesOfGray
4.73/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Been looking forward to this one for a while... waiting for the right night. Poured from a 750ml bottle into my Chimay chalice. Pours motor oil black with a huge brown frothy head. Head lasts a long time, infact remains a nice surface of creamy head until beer is just about gone. Excelent lacing, frothy and sticky.

Aroma is a little more mild than I expected, but definitely picking up chocolate and coffee.

Flavor is incredibly good. Sweet of chocolate and coffee. Surprisingly, a little hoppy on the back side. Thick mouthful, booze warming...malty, a little creamy vanilla. Great RIS!

Photo of Brent
4.73/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

One of those beers that just does it all right. Massive dark malt, with a touch of sorgum sweetness and the hint of bourbon vanilla. Not too much heat from the alcohol, but enougth to add a little spicyness. Swirling in the glass reveals an almost oily coating legs. Finish is surprisingly smooth. Deserving of its sougth-after status.

Photo of nickd717
4.08/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle very generously shared by nickd717. Nick is really an awesome guy. No really, I mean it, he is amazing. Hands down the greatest RateBeer and BeerAdvocate member ever. No contest.

Anyway, self-flattery aside, this beer pours as black as a black op with a huge creamy tan head and excellent lacing. Really looks stunning. Sort of reminded me of Jessica Alba in her heyday in a bikini.

Aroma is nice and subtle, balanced and not in your face with the bourbon. Lots of chocolate and roast along with some vanilla and bourbon notes from the -bal aging.

Flavor is also great and complex. Not quite as flavorful as some of the top tier RISes, but balanced. Roasted malt, chocolate, oak, vanilla, anise, and a little bourbon booziness.

Medium-plus body for the style, just a little boozy. Really enjoyable overall and drinkable for the style. Paired pretty nicely with a cigar.

Photo of Daniellobo
3.9/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Nice bourbon stout, a touch light but uplifted and dominated by a yeasty champagne character.

Presentation: 750 ml corked bottle. Black and silver simple and exclusive-like design with a Brooklyn initial on a silver circle at the center. Tongue in check narrative on the back pretending not to exist and noting the main qualities and intent of the non-existent brew. Offers a relief batch number but no legible best by or bottling date, this is however the late 09 release, available early 10. Notes Alc. by Vol. (11,6%) Served into a snifter.

A - Black pour with small dark brown-ruby edges, good brown bubbly head. Average to small retention with very brief touches of lacing.

S - Big champagne/cava yeast whiff right after the pop. It settles, fades and gives room to a nice bourbon range, a bit of chocolate, roasted malt, and then the champagne weaves itself back around the malted bourbon.

T - The taste follows the smell in sync albeit the champagne yeast does not feel so present early on. The bourbon note is rich but not overpowering, in fact it is a bit short not only as the roasted malt emerges and is joined finally by a very clear champagne, or cava/bubbly sense never to retreat.

M - Full to medium body with good and tingling carbonation... The champagne is surely picking it up but equally takes quite a prominent character with the carbonation and a bitter, dry, and crisp finish. Nice, but best for those who might be after this particular combo.

D - It's not too bad a sipper but in the end the champagne character takes over as the main drinkability aspect. In that regard if one can enjoy the length of a stout with that undercurrent it may feel extraordinary, if not... In any case it remains nicely drinkable, but not extraordinary for my taste.

Notes: It is certainly not only over-hyped but painfully overpriced. Unless one is a great admirer or the subtle if persistent champagne edge for a bourbon stout this feels rightly undeserving. Mind you, it is pretty good, but not that good.

Photo of Ranbot
4.62/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bourbon smell and flavors are front and center. I wouldn't be surprised if they added a little bit of straight bourbon to the brew. Malts are relatively sweet and only mildly smoked complementing the bourbon flavors. Very mildly hopped. Well-carbonated, but dies down quickly from the high alcohol. Surprisingly light mouthfeel considering it's pushing 11% ABV...texture is not at all syrupy. It goes down dangerously easily, so I'm giving this a high drinkability score. If you like bourbon, scotch, or whiskey, Brooklyn's Black Ops won't disappoint you.

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

I was saving this beer for something, I don't remember what. Then, on my birthday, it was snowing so we didn't go out for dinner, and I decided what better time to have this beer. It was a great birthday treat. In a tulip glass it was black with a thick cocoa head. Great aroma: cocoa powder and sweet chocolate, coffee, and big bourbon. Taste fulfilled my expectations. Chocolate, coffee, vanilla, and bourbon. Warming in the mouth. Spectacular.

Photo of CampusCrew
4.32/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

appearance: deep dark black, nearly ebony, loaded head and creamy dark froth.

smell: definitly smell the bourbon and brown sugar aroma. some coffee, and chocolate aromas

taste: strong bourbon. a little overpwering though. rich and slight chocolate roasted flavors but had a smooth rich taste

mouthfeel: thick, creamy, good carbonation and very tasty

drinkability: solid RIS as expected from Brooklyn. Ilike BCS better. this was too bourboned for me.

Brooklyn Black OPS from Brooklyn Brewery
92 out of 100 based on 2,075 ratings.