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Brooklyn Black OPS - Brooklyn Brewery

Not Rated.
Brooklyn Black OPSBrooklyn Black OPS

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

1,883 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1,883
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: 1,883 | Reviews: 752 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of sholland119
4.5/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to vickster529 for sharing this.

A-Pours a deep, jet black with a dark tan head and nice lacing.

S-Licorice, dark chocolate, vanilla and bourbon. Complex and inviting.

T-Rich chocolate flavor and vanilla bourbon notes up front then some roasted malt that I did not notice in the nose and coffee bitterness in the finish. Complex and satisfying.

M-Rich and creamy with a nice chewiness.

D-Really flavorful and delicious. I wish I could find these near me.


sholland119, Feb 02, 2009
Photo of rudylaw
3.95/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pitch black beer with a gorgeous mocha colored head... about 1-1.5 fingers worth. Just a breathtaking looking beer.

I can smell the bourbon, vanilla, chocolate, coffee... all this stuff hitting at once.

There's a lot of sweetness to it. Coffee comes through a little later on, but the roasty malt, bourbon and vanilla are the standouts here.

This beer is exceptionally thin in the mouth however. I wanted something chewy and this was bubbly. Kind of a bait & switch after looking and smelling it. It was a little hot still, so I'm very curious as to how my other bottle will taste next winter.

rudylaw, Feb 02, 2009
Photo of raninator84
4.65/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to everyone at Belmont Party Supply for an amazing stock of brews.

From bottle poured into Goblet

A - Dark and very thick, glorious dark head with a darker ring around base. Looks very smooth, even the lacing is smooth.

S - Heavy chocolate with prevalent aroma's from the Bourbon. I was honestly worried that from the smell, the bourbon was going to overpower the brew. Alcohol is noticeable.

T - Wow. First comes the hints of chocolate and roasted malt flavors, every bit as smooth as the pour. The Bourbon flavors linger for a bit and finishes mixed with the chocolate. Gets better as you drink it but the bourbon does get stronger. The alcohol is well hidden behind the more prevalent flavors.

M - Smooth with very unique carbonation from the Champagne yeast. Great balance of everything in this brew.

D - The bourbon flavors could be a bit strong for some, but I found it to be very drinkable. A great brew from Brooklyn, next time I sample it I will try it side by side with Brooklyn's chocolate stout.

raninator84, Feb 01, 2009
Photo of tmoneyba
4.18/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle from Party Town, KY.

A - Poured a dark brown color with an average creamy dark brown head that mostly lasted with excellent lacing.

S- Moderate to heavy toasted chocolate malt aroma.

T - Medium to heavy roasted bittersweet flavor with a medium to heavy bittersweet finish of moderate to long duration.

M - Medium to full body with a creamy smooth texture and flat carbonation.

D - This is a standout beer that met my expectations.

tmoneyba, Feb 01, 2009
Photo of craytonic
3.5/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Big mocha head, black opaque liquid, nice downward action on the bubbles, no lacing to speak of.

Smell: Bourbon, chocolate malt, alcohol, vanilla.

Taste: Lots of vanilla; I wonder if they added some of it. Not near as much bourbon in the aroma or taste as a goose BCS. A milder chocolate, but not a high % cacao chocolate, more just chocolate malt. Also alcohol. Just didn't find the complexity I was hoping for, and I don't think it is my taste buds missing it.

Mouthfeel: Mine was a tad thick and light on the carbonation.

Drinkability: I drank this one very, very slow. Very thick; a huge beer.

I fear this is perhaps a tad over-rated due to the high price and the brewer's viral marketing attempt. I much prefer goose BCS; this one could have used a little more time in the barrel; perhaps it should have remained a secret a tad longer. Won't go after it again unless I hear it improves.

craytonic, Feb 01, 2009
Photo of FrognutUnl
3.58/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Black in color with a moderate sized cocoa colored head.

S - Smells of alcohol, vanilla, and roasted malts

T - The alcohol is really up front. Vanilla, bourbon, and chocolate also play a major role. The finish is mostly alcohol and bourbon with slight amount of sweetness and roasted malt character.

M - Full body, a little over carbonated.

D - Found this to be tastey, but certainly not $21 a bottle tasty

FrognutUnl, Jan 31, 2009
Photo of JohnQVegas
4.38/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

First batch, with the "not for resale" label.

Pours opaque black, with a thick brown head that dissipates rather quickly into a thin ring around the edge of the glass.

Aroma is a bit boozey at first, bourbon and vanilla some oak, but those notes strangely receded as the beer warmed, leaving behind a big, roasty dark chocolate note.

Taste is surprisingly a bit mellow - dark roasty malt and a hint of cocoa combine with a hint of effervescence in the front, moving to a very roasty, almost charred oak note, smooth with a bit of cocoa, and just a hint of vanilla on the finish.

Mouthfeel is smooth, thick but not oil-thick. Thinner than some impys, with a light, sparkling carbonation.

Both the mouthfeel and the sheer size of this beer make it a sipper - I could easily savor a bottle of this over an evening, but much more than that would be a bit much.

JohnQVegas, Jan 31, 2009
Photo of Bitterbill
4.38/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks go out to Nutbrown and jwc215!

This pours a very very dark brown(near black)with a 1 finger head of tan foam.

The smell is roasty with a strong nose of coffee, chocolate, and bourbon. Nice.

The taste has the roasty and coffee up front with a good dose of chocolate, and a very nice bourbon flavour that hits my tastebuds about mid palate. Now some light vanilla notes are moving up the ladder and there's an ever increasing sweetness to the brew.(that part reminds me of a Black Albert) Ok, the coffee/chocolate bitterness is battling back and calms the sweet...something that I like as a good balance is what I was looking for. It's definitely a strong brew but the alcohol is hidden very well.

The mouthfeel is just a notch below being full, the carbonation is fairly robust, and it finishes with a nice send off of that tasty bourbon.

Drinkability? Watch out. This is so easy to drink that it's scary. Plenty of flavour and so smooth, I have to catch myself before I take too many sips too quickly.

Head retention and lacing are definitely above average for the style.

Bottom line: This is an excellent RIS and I'm *so* happy that Alan and Joe gave me the chance to try it. Thanks guys!

Bitterbill, Jan 31, 2009
Photo of czfreeman
4.4/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This super-special bottle was purchased at Community Beverage right here in Elmhurst, Ny. We recieved two Chimay goblets to drink from. Thanks!
After the cork explodes off,fueled by Champange yeast carbonation, this big bad muther pours out, an amazing head is revealed. Ive never seen such a highly effervscent head on an Imperial Stout. Two fingers of cocoa colored espresso foam billow up in the goblet, looking perfectly delicious. Color is devoid of anything but black dark deliciousness.
A nose of malted toffee, cocoas, deeply roasted coffee, vanillas, and a nose warming alcohol phenols ad to the mix. This is a serious glass of burbony-soaked-raisiny-chocolate- espresso-with vanilla creamy foam..in a word..wow. I can't say perfect,because Ive smelled better, but this one is right up there.
Flavor is explosive, due to the Champange yeast. By this, I mean an immediate mouthfull of coffee, burbon,oaky spiced vanilla,rummy figs,toffee,spicy Mexican Chocolate, my tongue is tingling with the chile-like spiciness of this brew. Lots of Burbon warmness on the finish,with a nice mix of espresso.
Mouthfeel is exceptional. I say this in regard to the Champangne yeast utilized. Whereas most Imperial Stouts aim for the heavy cream consistency, this one delivers with a lightness of carbonation that truly sets it apart from the rest.
Drinkablity is low, only due to the fact that there is alot to dissect here and it's so damn rare and expensive, other than that, this is a fine sipper, hugely warming and highly enjoyable.

czfreeman, Jan 31, 2009
Photo of Reagan1984
4.2/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Special Thanks to Brooha for providing this in a recent trade. Just today I literally found another in a liquor store in CT... I will look to pass along the glory to another BA in trade.

Pours with a dark tan head that is creamy in texture and shows nice retention... The beer itself is virtually black and totally opaque. Lots of sticky tan lacing sticks to the glass.

The aroma is not quite as strong as I had expected. If it's possible, I smell both light chocolate... and some vanilla in the background & yes you can smell the alcohol... Very delicate aroma.

Wow, I've sat here sipping and sipping trying to decipher what I think.... I do like it. This seems more delicate in flavor than the Black Chocolate Stout. I wish I had one to pop and try right next to it... I'll have to try that in the future. It really drinks like a delicate bourbon. Some real woody and vanilla characteristics. Big roasted malt flavors in the flavor...

A real smooth thickness to the body here. Very thick... A touch hot from the alcohol...

Drinks like bourbon and like bourbon.... So that means it's nicely drinkable.... Goes down nicely on a night where we are supposed to have a snow storm. Perfect for the occasion.

Reagan1984, Jan 28, 2009
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
Brooklyn Black OPS from Brooklyn Brewery
92 out of 100 based on 1,883 ratings.