Brooklyn Black OPS - Brooklyn Brewery

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Brooklyn Black OPSBrooklyn Black OPS

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2,167 Ratings
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Ratings: 2,167
Reviews: 816
rAvg: 4.13
pDev: 13.08%
Wants: 441
Gots: 1,132 | FT: 102
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: 2,167 | Reviews: 816
Photo of Reillybrews
4.2/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2014 Blend #4
11.6% abv
Thin 1/4" head typical of high ABV barrel aged brews.
Nose: licorice, cherry, light ethanol
Flavor: roasted coffee, oak, sweet caramel, lingering slightly dry finish.
Good beer, I think the higher ABV adds too much "sweetness" to the flavor", might be amazing in the 8-9% range.
Cheers to another great local beer!

Photo of kojevergas
3.53/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

My notes below are truncated; I'm having this beer as part of my annual Christmas tasting. Reviewed live at high altitude in Castle Rock, CO.

BOTTLE: Brown glass. Hood and wire cap over a cork. 1 pint 9.4 fl oz. 1000 cases produced.

Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated. Served cold into a Guinness goblet.

2011 vintage. 11.3%. Courtesy of schlimenhaumer. Thanks, buddy!

No bubble show forms as it's poured. Expectations are quite high; this should be a dream with 3 years on it - or so I've been told.

HEAD: 2.5 fingers wide. Khaki colour. Nice creaminess and thickness. Full, soft-looking, luscious. No lacing sticks to the sides of the glass as it recedes. Retention is pretty good - 7-8 minutes.

BODY: Opaque solid black. No yeast particulate or hop sediment is visible.

Overall, it's a nice appearance for an imperial stout, but isn't anything to write home about. What you'd expect.

AROMA: Alcohol is present, yes; that champagne yeast packs a punch. Raisin and dark fruit aromatics are prevalent, with the requisite cream, dark malts, caramel, and chocolate malt coming through too. Sadly, I don't find much roasted barley. Hints of grape, plum, and date. Not as boozy as anticipated given this beer's reputation.

No yeast character, hop profile, or off-notes are detectable.

Overall, it's a pleasant and inviting albeit alcohol-redolent aroma of mild strength.

TASTE: Dark fruit is prevalent: grape, prune, dates. A more traditional backbone of caramel, dark malts, and chocolate malts brings some sweetness, which is nicely complemented by cream. The champagne yeast lends it a refined feel, and brings gentle spiciness to the table. A bit of marshmallow.

I find it delightfully well-balanced, but the complexity/intricacy and nuance just isn't there. There's good subtlety - especially where the dark fruit is concerned. It opens up as it comes to temperature.

Good depth of flavour. Average flavour duration and intensity.

I do find coconut after it's suggested, but otherwise the bourbon is quite reticent. Maybe a kiss of vanilla? I'm not finding much in terms of toastiness or rich white oak. Perhaps the bourbon used was insipid.

TEXTURE: Fairly delicate, smooth, wet, creamy, well-carbonated, silky, full-bodied, and somewhat fragile. I love its softness. Luscious and rich. Unfortunately, it's a bit thin on the palate; a heavier thicker texture would do it well. More of a gooey feel would bring out the marshmallow as well. A fantastic texture for an imperial stout, with a great subtle dryness and coarseness that helps accentuate the dark fruit notes without compromising the smoothness and wetness that makes it drinkable. Nowhere near as boozy or hot as the aroma might suggest.

Not oily, gushed, astringent, harsh, rough, or scratchy.

A good complement to the taste. Definitely elevates the beer.

OVERALL: She's a sipper, but one that's easy to enjoy. I'll love finishing this glass and would certainly recommend aging this one. A treat from Brooklyn, but not a world-class imperial stout per se. Absolutely worth trying. Huge thanks to schlimenhaumer.

Low B

Brief impressions from a 2014 vintage bottle below. I wanted to see if this was really as rough fresh as its reputation has lead me to believe.

A: Creamy full head fills my snifter. Soft and smooth. Great retention (~10) minutes - damned impressive at this high an ABV.

Body colour is a predictable opaque black.

Sm: Bourbon-forward, with ample vanilla and toasty oak. Dark and chocolate malts, chocolate, suggestions of faint dark fruit. Cream.

The bourbon character is fantastic, and melts into the base. I don't find the coffee mentioned on the label.

Aromatic intensity is average.

T & Mf: Not the booze-bomb everyone seems to claim it is. The bourbon character is fantastic - especially considering the scant four months of bourbon barrel aging. Vanilla-forward, with a chocolate undertone. It's a nice natural marriage of barrel character to base beer. The subtle dark fruit is a nice touch. I can't detect the champagne yeast, but I do suppose it's a bit cleaner on the yeast profile/attenuation than most beers in the style. On the sweeter end, sure.

It is a teensy bit syrupy, though, and the heavy thick feel of this beer on the palate restricts drinkability.

O: She's a sipper, but boy is she tasty. I'll enjoy finishing the bottle, and while I wouldn't pick this up again given its unreasonable price point, I do think the discerning drinker would do well to try it at least once. I'm not sure why this has a reputation as a booze bomb when confused fresh; I found its quality the same.

Low B

Photo of Evango
3.96/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

More vanilla than I remember in previous years.

Photo of IPAIsaac
2.99/5  rDev -27.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

2013, opened today, cleaning cellar. Not much of a reviewer but this didn't sit well with me and perhaps one of my least favorite beers I've had lately. Smell seems off, taste was pretty interesting. I didn't finish my glass because I did not care for this at all.

Photo of lewzer99
4.34/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

L: pours black with a one finger caramel head
A: toffee, butterscotch, vanilla, sweet smelling
T: wow, surprisingly light, sweet caramel, bourbon, and a bit of roast at the end
M: creamy, but not heavy
O: the easiest drinking stout of its kind. That uniqueness alone makes it remarkable. Tons of taste, without being heavy.

Photo of RichD
4.43/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

First review in a really long time. Poured this into a teku.

L: Pours a pitch black with about a finger or so of dark khaki colored sudsy foam. The head disappears into a ring around my glass.

S: The smell yields some vanilla and booze from the bourbon. There's a little oak in the background. Roasty, chocolate malts are also prominent. Pretty much what I expect from a barrel-aged imperial stout.

T: The taste follows the nose pretty well. Vanilla flavor kind of dominates this which is quite alright with me. There's a bit of oak and chocolate. The yeast also brings a level of carbonation that I'm not used to in a stout. Overall, this is top notch.

F: This definitely does not feel like it's 11% abv. The alcohol burn is minimal as this warms and the chocolate flavor lingers on my palate until I take another sip.

Overall: I can see why this is highly regarded. Garrett Oliver is the true definition of a brewmaster. The addition of champagne yeast makes this beer stand out from the rest of the stouts on the market. Definitely a unique brew. I'll probably pass on this in the future because there are other BA stouts that will allow me to get 4 bottles for the same price of this one. However, I will enjoy the rest of this 750 and savor every last drop.

Photo of VTR
4.25/5  rDev +2.9%

Walked into my local bottle shop last night and found this sitting on the shelf. 2014 edition. I have never had the opportunity to purchase this and decided to give it a go. A/Poured very black. It is what I was expecting from this RIS. S/Bourbon followed by roasted malts, followed by hints of chocolate, and smokiness. T/Bourbon upfront followed by smokiness, hint of chocolate with a creamy finish. O/This beer was a little light with more carbonation than what I expected of this RIS. It is bad? No it was a very enjoyable deviation than what I am used to or expecting. While every sip was consistent it was enjoyable and got even better as it warmed. I found the best range was probably about 10 degrees cooler than room temp. I would seek this out again if it wasn't for the $20 price. That is the only factor holding me back from purchasing this again. I think if you have the chance spring for it at least once.

Photo of chinchill
4.36/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2010 (4.3) and 2011 (4.6) editions sampled back-to-back in Dec. 2014.
Both clearly excellent. Oddly, the 2010 seemed a bit hotter despite the extra year of aging, but it turns out the ABV was higher that year.
O: very well crafted and balanced.

Photo of dd43
4.3/5  rDev +4.1%

Should a beer review incorporate perceived value in the score? This is the first beer I've tasted that I feel compelled to adjust its score based purely on the fact that, while outstanding, is over valued from a retail perspective.

Strong notes of vanilla, alcohol, and dark chocolate meet you immediately upon the pour. Make sure to let this beer warm up a bit before diving in, something like 45F and up feels right to me. Head is minimal, same with lacing. Pours inky with a dark tan foam. Carbonation is hard to spot, but easy to perceive on the tongue.

Flavors run the gamut from vanilla to chocolate to roasted malt, all in great harmony. Very much reminiscent of a port wine as you feel the alcohol warm you from the inside out. Special. The bourbon barrel aging comes through both in the aroma and in the boozy woody qualities as you savor each sip. I've not had many BA beers where the oak was so readily apparent.

Interesting that the second fermentation uses champagne yeast, as the mouthfeel is quite reminiscent of both the carbonation and astringency of champagne. Kind of amazing when you're getting hit with roasted stout and vanilla qualities at the same time.

If it weren't for the price I would make more of an effort to hunt this down. It is truly worth having at least once, make an occasion of it. Highly recommended.

Photo of Onefootlarry
4.5/5  rDev +9%

Picked up the 2013 at the Burger Bar in Vegas. Poured well, minimal foam. Has a very fruity nose at first. The carbonation is different, more smooth than a standard beer. Fairly light mouth feel for a stout. Fantastic coffee finish.

Photo of jonfoto
4.75/5  rDev +15%

STRONG, felt like sipping whiskey, and delicious, worth every expensive cent.

Photo of McMatt7
4.25/5  rDev +2.9%

2010 and 2012

Photo of Davepoolesque
3.75/5  rDev -9.2%

2012. This is light. Wow. Its ok, wish it had more flavor.

Photo of Ohiovania
3.66/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Not at all what I've come to expect from a barrel aged RIS. Comparable to a lawyer who's son decides to goes to Art School... A complete disappointment.

Photo of PEBKAC
3.93/5  rDev -4.8%

BK Black Ops '08 vintage 10.7% abv.

Adorable Duck Rabbit snifter. Cork spares my eyes, but still had some kick.

Slick, espresso head. Matte black body. Head lingers & coats the glass on every spin.

Smells of sharp, charred malt & burnt toast. A bit vinous. Rich bourbon glaze.

Cigar smoke, dark chocolate, black coffee, burnt sugar. Tasty. Oxidation is starting to show though. Wood ash, burnt bbq, some slight edges of dark fruit peaking through.

Pretty dense, creamy body, just barely cut by some beady carbonation. Still pretty boozy after all these years. Waxy.

Thanks for the gift Al.

Photo of clayrock81
3.9/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a black body with a mostly dark fruit, raisin/prune aroma along with roasted malts, touches of sweet malts and bread and booze. A really dry, roasted malt beer with some cracker like dryness that is big and boozy, almost medicinal, with a strong dark fruit flavor (raisins, figs, prunes) and subtle tastes of coffee and dark chocolate sweetness. More of a dry, sipping stout than it has sweetness or balance and finishes dry with a little alcohol heat.

Photo of utopiajane
4.45/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

This pours pitch black. No light escapes this dark brilliance. A chocolate colored head of creamy foam resides on top and plans to stay forever. It has no choice but to fall slowly and almost deliberately leaving spots of lace in defiance to the alcohol legs. By the bottom of the first glass I have a thick ring and layer of film on top.

Nose is complex. It has some dynamic dark bakers chocolate on it. The kind that has dryness, snap and perfume to it. It has a lovely bourbon scent that is fruity like bourbon is and seems to be almost like there's a shot of bourbon sitting under your nose. BUT it's not so loud as to disturb the fragrant bit of vanilla that's wafting around on the nose like some kind of butterfly. There's a breath of oak, a fruitiness you cant name yet and the underpinnings of molasses and toffee just starting to show themselves.

Taste is brilliant in it's unique texture. This is dry, crisp, creamy, fluffy and light as feather. It reminds me of one of those puffed up chocolate candies that melts in your mouth as soon as you bite into it and leaves itself on your tongue sensually and it is as if you have died a little from pleasure. Malt is soft. There is a surprising bit of bold espresso coffee on this that is not on the nose. Some licorice back notes that add depth but not that harsh licorice flavor. The bourbon is sweet and sulltry, the vanilla smooth and seductive. The palate culminates with a touch of back cherry and a faint bit of bitterness from roast.

I am in love with this beer. The mouthfeel is a light as a feather considering that this is a stout. The champagne qualities of the yeast have done this beer many graceful favors. It has given it a texture that is almost ethereal. It finishes dry and drying to leave resonant aftertastes of toffee, cherry and chocolate. This one was a ride in a limousine.

Photo of FFreak
4.19/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Poured from 750 ml bottle into glasses. Dark brown, almost black with a nice, thick tan head that holds fairly well. Smells straight up of bourbon. Very slight notes of chocolate and roast, but mostly a subtle but distinct American bourbon aroma. Lots of bourbon in the taste as well, but again subtle, not overwhelming. A very easy drinking smoothness to this stout. Not harsh or astringent at all. Overall, it's priced much too high, but is still a wonderful bourbon barrel-aged stout.

Photo of BoldRulerVT
3.98/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured from the 750 bottle into a large tulip.
Pours jet black with minimal caramel colored head.
Smells really nice with lots of woody bourbon, good roastiness. Some chocolate notes.
Tastes really nice as well, very much in line with aromas, bourbon notes ease up as I drank more.
Mouthfeel could have been thicker. Thought it was a touch thin.
Overall a very nice beer. Maybe too expensive for the level of beer it is, but it was nice.

Photo of tubeyes
4.04/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Brooklyn Black Ops 2012.
A Black in color, nice thick brown fluffy head. Brown sticky lace.
S chocolate, coffee, port, bourbon.
T chocolate, coffee, port, bourbon, very sweet, coconut.
M silky smooth, porty chocolate aftertaste.
O I guess I shouldn't really discuss this, due to the hush hush nature of this non-existent brew, but if it did exist I'd say it was quite a nice bourbony heavy brew that kept giving me some real port feels throughout the bottle. It was a good drink.

Photo of Roguer
2.49/5  rDev -39.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 1.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2

Pours a surprisingly thick, dark brown head, with decent retention for the style, never completely fading. Brew is black as midnight, as I'd expect.

Big bourbon nose that really starts to come through as it warms, surrounded by vanilla, chocolate, and roasted barley. Reminds me of BCBS, in that the bourbon is really the dominant aroma. Just a hint of wood.

Sweet vanilla, bourbon, slightly sour oak barrel all up front; big boozy bourbon notes in the finish. Unlike BCBS, the chocolate and roasted barley are completely overwhelmed by the bourbon. That's a shame.

A little thin for a stout, but not overly surprising for the style. Slight tangy sting and extremely hot, slightly sour finish. This beer is infected, as much as I might wish otherwise.

I have no choice but to assume this bottle is infected. I tried really, really hard to justify it along other avenues, but the conclusion was unavoidable.

If I ever get my hands on another bottle, I'd be willing to give it a second chance (and a new review), but I'm not going to pay for it, that's for sure.

Photo of tviz33
4.39/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

2013 bottle purchased at Lewis Bros. in Horseheads, NY. Served in a tulip glass.

A- Dark dark body, one finger of medium brown head. Looks the way it should.

S- Whew! Pretty boozy nose accompanied by dark fruits. Pretty much bourbon, but in a positive way.

T- Taste is out of this world. One of the richest things I've ever tasted. Cherries, tons of bourbon. Felt like I was sucking on the very barrel itself. Huge vanilla and chocolate notes. Pretty warm towards the end.

M- Thinner body and medium carbonation.

O- Pretty freaking solid RIS that you should not pass up!

Photo of WoodBrew
4.46/5  rDev +8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The 2012 bottle is awesome! The beer poured a dark opaque with tan head that is not lacing. The scent carries roast, bourbon and dark fruit. The taste is very smooth with bourbon base with touches of earth roast and plume at the finish. The mouthfeel is full body with smooth carbonation. Overall this is an excellent beer.

Photo of zimm421
4.04/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2013 Bottling.

Poured from the bottle into a snifter. Appears a solid black with a thick, fluffy brown head. The head has great staying power and leaves some nice lacing.

The nose is bourbon forward with good roasted malts. There's a touch of chocolate and vanilla, but overall, it's subdued. The taste follows those same lines, but dark fruits come through first, followed by chocolate, coffee, vanilla and heavy roasted malts. The finish is bourbon centered, and leaves notes of the dark fruit on the back-end as well. The yeast definitely plays a presence here.

The mouthfeel is very light and active for a barrel aged stout, which was expected due to the re-fermentation. There's still some stickiness on the finish. Overall, this is an appealing brew with very deep levels of complexity, and the mouthfeel is very interesting. With a few months on it, the bourbon has seemed to move into the background a bit, but is still there. Worth trying, but the price was just a tad high for me.

Photo of AxMad
3.77/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

2013 poured into a snifter

A-- blacker than black. Tan head that dissipates quickly.
S-- I only detect a faint scent here. It's mostly coffee with some woody, smoky undertones, I suppose from the barrel aging.
T- coffee and malt up front with a lot of that caramel and vanilla backed bourbon taste as it goes down. Only a slight alcohol burn. After taste here was my least favorite part. To me it was similar to coca-cola.
M- very smooth. you finish with this mouth watering sensation at the back of your throat. Like I said, not much alcohol burn which makes for surprising drinkability for such a strong beer.
O- overall I thought this was pretty good. My previous bourbon barrel stout was from Central Waters Brewing co, which in my opinion is one of the best examples of a barrel aged beer out there. I think what threw me off here was the after taste. It wasn't bad, just odd. I think the big takeaway here is that I should probably have aged this for a few months at least. That's the plan for next time.

Brooklyn Black OPS from Brooklyn Brewery
92 out of 100 based on 2,167 ratings.