Big Operator
Big Boss Brewing

Big OperatorBig Operator
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Belgian Strong Dark Ale
Ranked #172
Ranked #18,021
3.87 | pDev: 10.85%
Big Boss Brewing
North Carolina, United States
Very Good
Big OperatorBig Operator
Notes: Belgian Black Raspberry, is a full flavored black ale brewed with imported malt, hops and yeast. This beer is aged for 6 months and infused with 150 pounds of real raspberries. Culminates with an amazing dark raspberry finish.
Reviews: 44 | Ratings: 126 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of Griffin2
4/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a snifter.
L - Poured a dark black with a slight tan head.
S - Smells of chocolate and raspberry.
T - just like the smell, chocolate and raspberry.
F - thick with light carbonation.
O - Really good beer. Seems like a stout more than a Belgian ale, but I really liked it.

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Photo of SFNC
4.03/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Pours black as night, drinks smooth as silk. A nice chocolate/raspberry smell, with a burnt carmel background. Surprise, suprise, the taste matches the smell. Very smooth, with no heat from the 8% ABV. This is the best that I've had from Big Boss to date.

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Photo of brentk56
3.84/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Appearance: Pours a coffee brown color with a bit of a head that disappears before the pour is finished; a bunch of dots are left behind

Smell: Baking chocolate with raspberry and tamarind undertones

Taste: The chocolate is more pronounced and delivers a punch, up front, with the raspberries adding a jammy aspect, in the middle; the finish is rather abrupt, though the flavors from the front end continue

Mouthfeel: Medium body with low to moderate carbonation

Overall: Not much of a BSDA and much more of a Belgian Stout, I would amp up the roasted malt bill to eliminate the confusion

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Photo of Zaccharomyces
4.33/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Bought from Tasty Beverage Company during my most recent trip to Raleigh. Love that place!

A -Black, with a fizzy tan head which disappears immediately

S - You get the raspberries & chocolate malt pretty quickly, with the roasted malts and a vaguely boozy aroma in the background

T - A second sipper, for sure. First sip did not mesh with my expectations of a Big Boss/Escazu colab (aggressive, robust flavor), which sort of disoriented me. Then, with second sip you really get that signature Escazu cacao roast flavor. Its just so well integrated that it is not necessarily obvious. The raspberry and roast malts are blended in just as nicely.

M - Thick & chewey, but the light acidity present from the raspberries really helps lift the beer of your palate. Very drinkable.

O - Definitely not what I expected, but in a good way. I don't think I really get the Belgian yeast character at all. Cocoa and raspberries? Oh yeah. If you're lucky enough to be familiar with Escazu, I think you'll be especially able to appreciate this beer. Either way, its definitely one to try if you ever get the chance.

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Photo of cosmicevan
3.25/5  rDev -16%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

big thanks to cardsfan for the brew. enjoyed from a big boss brewing dimpled stein.

a - brew pours a fairly rich black with a thin dark tan head that was gone quick leaving a ring and thin islands throughout the surface. BSDA? really? not a stout? attractive, but not belgian.

s - crisp black chocolate malt. roast. big roast. i reiterate...BSDA??? really???

t - taste is interesting. my first thought was oxidized. upon 2nd sip...i got a big blast of spiciness...below that was roasted malts. below that, some dark fruit. not really sure what's going on here. sort of a hodgepodge...kind of like a stew with everything you have in your kitchen. perhaps this should be called mystery beer? even some notes of coffee. am i crazy? was the wrong beer put in the bottle? BSDA? really?

m - medium to full bodied. fairly chewy and thick. lots of carb.

o - overall...i don't know. this is definitely different. feels more like a stout. seems like i'm not the only one who felt that way. as a belgian this is a miss, as a stout, it isn't all that a beer in general...not all that bad, but definitely does feel like it is going through some sort of identity crisis when you really focus in on the beer and the nuances since there are some belgian qualities in the background, but they are poor american examples which pull down the stoutiness of the beer. either way, glad to have had the experience and this was far from a drain pour...worth a taste if you get the chance but i wouldn't go out of your way for it.

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Photo of chinchill
3.92/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Consumed this under the description of "chocolate raspberry stout" which seemed passably accurate, Brewery website says "BELGIAN BLACK RASPBERRY ... black ale". It is near black in color with a dark tan head that leaves very good lacing. The aroma fits "raspberry stout", with little detectable chocolate. The flavor has a well-balanced mix of chocolate, raspberries, and dark malts. Perhaps a touch too sweet despite a kick of bitter in the finish from dark roast and hops.

M: creamy smooth but a tad thin.

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Photo of RWLawman
3.55/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Black in color. Minimal head left behind, even after a relatively hard pour.

S - Raspberry is apparent, as are the roasted malts and cocoa.

T - Raspberry upfront, then roasted malts, followed up by the chocolate notes which are semisweet, and there's also a bitterness to it, but the flavors all complement each other very well.

M - Mild carbonation. Very smooth, with somewhat of a sticky texture, probably due to the raspberry. Goes down smooth.

O - I really enjoyed this Big Boss offering. I consider myself a fan of the brewery, but this is above and beyond the majority of what they put out, in my opinion. Belgians aren't even my favorite, but the flavor in this is intriguing.

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Photo of sommersb
3.89/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Tasted On: 01-22-2013
Freshness: Not indicated
Packaging: 12 oz. brown bottle, pry-cap
Glassware: Tulip
Purchased: Single from Brawley's Beverage, Charlotte

A: Black and opaque brew, with a finger's worth of tan-colored head. The head shows low retention and just a little lace.

S: Aromas have dark bread, roasted malts, raspberry fruit and wood/oak notes. Very nice

T: The taste features a coffee-like bitterness from the toasted malts, as well as the raspberry fruits, bittersweet chocolate and some earthy hops.

M: Full-bodied mouthfeel with a moderate amount of carbonation. The finish is multi-layered with notes of raspberry, chocolate and toasted grains.

O: A good solid ale here, with lots going on. It tasted more like a stout to me than a Belgian-style beer, however.

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Photo of dbrauneis
3.98/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours an opaque jet black in color with some light amounts of dark brown highlights. The beer has a finger tall mocha colored head that slowly reduces to a medium sized patch of very thin film and a thin to medium sized ring at the edges of the glass. Light amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Moderate to strong aromas of dark roasted malts with some lighter notes of raspberries.

T: Moderate flavors of dark roasted malts with some lighter notes of raspberries and some hints of dark fruits. Light to moderate amounts of bitterness in the finish which fade very slowly.

M: Medium bodied with moderate amounts of carbonation. Smooth.

O: This is a very enjoyable beer with a very pleasant addition of raspberries to the Belgian Strong Dark Ale - the alcohol is well masked and the beer is pretty easy to drink. I enjoy this beer and am glad that I was able to pick it up when I visited NC (I missed this beer from back when it was draft only and I moved out of state).

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Photo of jtd1969
3.58/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Dark brown color, good brownish head

S - Roasted malts, almost like a a faint wine notes

T - Roasted malts, fresh raspberries, chocolate

M - Medium to full body with decent carbonation

O - Good beer. It is kinda a belgian dark/ stout hybrid.

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Photo of tdm168
3.56/5  rDev -8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at World of Beer at North Hills 2/16/12.

Pours a pitch black with a thick brown head that has great retention. The nose has notes of big, deep, roasted malts, faint coffee, and faint raspberries. The taste is chocolaty and roasty up front followed by some raspberry fruitiness and tartness. The mouthfeel is a little dry, but smooth and medium to full bodied.

My only real complaint is that the dryness detracts from the flavor. If it weren't so dry the flavor would linger longer on the palate. Overall, this is a very enjoyable and rather unique beer especially locally.

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Photo of thagr81us
3.7/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served from tap into a sampler tumbler. Poured a massively dark brown with a half finger khaki colored head that subsided to a minimal amount quickly. Maintained excellent lacing throughout the glass. The aroma was comprised of sweet malt, dark chocolate, dark fruit, and milk chocolate. The flavor was of sweet malt, roasted malt, dark chocolate, dark fruit, and milk chocolate. It had a heavy feel on the palate with mild carbonation. Overall this was a fairly decent brew. I was really surprised by the flavor on this one as it was quite nice and well balanced. Loads of various chocolate clearly apparent in this one made it rather enjoyable. Unfortunately the aroma and the rest of the brew fell short on this but were still not bad. Definitely worth trying for sure if you get the chance.

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Photo of mdfb79
3.7/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

From 06/25/11 notes. Poured from a 22 oz. bottle into my Bruery tulip.

a - Pours a murky dark brown color with two inches of off white head and moderate carbonation evident. Spotty lacing left on the glass.

s - Smells of dark fruits, chocolate, roasted malts, and bready malts.

t - Tastes of dark fruits, sweet fruity malts, roasted malts, chocolate, and light bready malts.

m - Medium body and average carbonation.

o - Overall a nice beer heavily focused on dark fruits, though it kind of reminded me more of a stout than a Belgian dark ale. Would have it again.

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Photo of LittleDon
3.62/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A pint at the Saucer in Raleigh.

Black and oily, tan head to start that disappears never to return. Little to no lace. Roasted coffee, dark chocolate and dried fruit (cherries? strawberries?), both aroma and flavor, with the former being much more subdued than the later. Heavy body and medium high carbonation. Drinks like an Imperial where the alcohol, bitterness, and roast has been dialed back.

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Photo of OhYesILoveBeer
4.32/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big Boss Big Operator poured by Lynn @ the tap room above the brewery. Nice dark color, small dark tan head sitting atop. Smells of Belgian yeast, mild chocolate, raspberries, and a bit of roasted malt. Tastes incredible with all above mentioned characteristics, but the raspberries really added alot of the character to this brew! Mouthfeel was thick and luxurious. Overall this was my favorite brew of the night, and was a great complement to my personal tour of the brewery. Thanks again Lynn!

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Photo of Cylinsier
4.2/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4


Pours jet black like a stout with a deep brown head.

Hints of chocolate and brown sugar in the nose.

Sweet chocolate liqueur flavor with raspberry sweetness peaking through.

Moderate to thick, low carbonation, hint of alcohol warmth.

A good interesting dark ale, the raspberries are perfectly understated. Delicious and unique, a standout.

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Photo of GarthDanielson
4.08/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A friend from NC brought a growler down to Florida while we were visiting. I had the beer in a pint glass, and it pours a jet black coloring with brown highlights and no head. The aroma is bitter coffee and sweet smoked malts. The beer's flavor is heavy on bitter coffee with very light undertones of raspberry. A creamy body, but slightly dry at the same time. There is a sweet malt aftertaste, again with a hint of raspberry. Smooth, subtle, slow transition finish, starting with the bitter and sweet fruit and quickly, but quietly trailing off to nothing. Very tasty. Makes a good ice cream float, too.

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Photo of metter98
3.98/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at Big Boss Brewing, Raleigh, NC

A: The beer is jet black in color and poured with a thin mocha colored head that slowly faded away and left a ring of bubbles around the edge of the glass.
S: There are aromas of roasted malts and raspberries in the nose.
T: The taste has flavors of dark roasted malts and subtle notes of raspberries. There is a slight hint if bitterness.
M: It feels medium-bodied and smooth on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation.
D: The alcohol is very well masked from the taste, which makes this go down very smoothly.

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Photo of aasher
4.3/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I was lucky enough to receive a bomber of this from a friend after they visited family in N.C. I was very surprised and pleased with the Big Operator. It poured a dark, dark brown with a dark red tint. It had a slight off white head which laced the glass. It smelled of roasted coffee, malt, chocolate, and slightly tart raspberries. The taste mirrored the smell. It was an excellent combination of chocolate, coffee, malt, and raspberries with not one of those attributes overpowering. The balance was superb. It was medium bodied and drank almost like a stout. It was very drinkable and delicious. The 8% wasn't even present in the flavor and left me craving more. I greatly recommend the Big Operator.

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Photo of SIRIUS2
3.82/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served on tap in a Big Boss pint glass at Tyler's Tap Room in Apex, NC

Pours dark brown with a reddish tinge and plenty of off-white head. Very nice head retention, moderate lacing down the glass. Generally attractive.

Aromas are more subtle than expected after reading the description for the brew, but were very pleasant nonetheless. Some interesting hits of chocolate, light bit of coffee, and an earthy feature I couldn't quite put my finger on. The feature scent was in the raspberries, but it was a rather delicate and well entwined with the other aromas. Very cool.

Flavors remind me of a reasonably constructed stout with plenty of moderate chocolate and coffee notes. There are some other malty notes in there too... perhaps caramel or toffee. The raspberries are relegated to the finish as they didn't really bring much to the table in the way of flavors. Don't read this the wrong way - the berries were a nice addition but took a back seat to everything else going on in this brew.

Mouthfeel was interesting to me. There was a slight separation on the tongue that went almost watery. The berries? Not sure. It was slightly distracting to an otherwise very enjoyable brew.

Overall I enjoyed this pint but, to tell the truth, one was enough and I was ready to try something else. Give it a shot.

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Photo of Monkeyknife
4.12/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle an opaque plum-black with a thin reddish mocha head.

Tart aroma of raspberry syrup, raisin, vanilla, sweet roasted malts and chocolate.

The taste is a medley of chocolate, coffee, tart raspberry, vanilla and roasted malts. Coffee and tobacco linger thru the finish. The 8% alcohol is well-hidden.

Medium bodied, dry, and lightly carbonated.

The raspberry adds a nice twist to the Belgian Dark Ale. Very nice, indeed.

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Photo of Crittervision
4.33/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

on tap at raleigh times

honestly the best retention ive ever seen. bubbles turn to lacing at every sip, in the end leaving a webbing that is truly interesting to observe. dark body with reddish edges.

smell is of fresh raspberries underneath lies a dirtiness that is like that kicked up from under a rug. interesting nonetheless.

taste is raspberries first, roasted darkness, not darkness the beer, but just a dark roasted character, with an ultra-slight coffee character.

carbonation is beautiful. a little thin, but soothing.

raspberries are subtle enough to keep the beer [----?]ness in check. as i drink this, i have no idea what style this is going for but its a wonderful beer [excepting the style?].

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Photo of tpd975
3.6/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A: Pours a nice dark black hue with a tall tan head. Okay retention and some small streaks of lace.

S: Bold raspberry aromas, with strong notes of chocolate, and coffee.

T: The raspberry is there but not as bold it is in the nose. Nice chocolate and coffee flavors. Hints of caramel as well. A touch of smokey malt in the finish with just a hint of bitterness.

M: Medium in body. Adequate carbonation.

D: Not too bad. Better than I thought it would be.

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Photo of Wasatch
4.2/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks goes out to cvstrickland for this brew.

22oz Bomber
Bottle # 537 of 1,750
Bottled: Feb 2009

Pours a very nice dark brown color, nice carbonation, nice little fizzy tan head, with some nice sticky lacing left behind. The nose is malty, slightly yeasty, with some figs, raisins, plums, with some caramel. The taste is slightly sweet, malty/yeasty, very nice dark fruit notes, and some caramel. Medium body, nice smooth brew, nice slightly dry finish. Drinkable, this is my first from this brewery, hopefully not my last, very nice brew. Thanks Chuck.

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Photo of blackie
3.92/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

a: pours into my snifter pitch black, capped with a mocha head that recedes to a thin ring

s: intriguing aroma of woody cocoa and earthy dried raspberries, Belgian yeast adds spicy clove and perhaps some esters that mesh in a novel way with the roast backbone, baker's chocolate and mild charcoal, very earthy and loaded with dry roasts, raspberries are obvious but in excellent proportion

m: carbonation on the low side of medium with a light-medium weight body, seems a touch thin in context of the assertive roast aroma and flavors

t: similar in construction to the aroma but it seems a bit disjointed and even watery without the most interesting aspects of the roast-fruit interplay from the aroma, charcoal roast body with dusty cocoa and bitter chocolate, earthy dried raspberries linger into the charred roast finish with a mild bitterness and a touch of astringency, the Belgian yeast is apparent but tame in effect underneath all that roast, remains dry throughout

d: just fine, a pretty unique beer that drinks well

Feb 2009 bottle #1039/1750 from Whole Foods Raleigh

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Big Operator from Big Boss Brewing
Beer rating: 87 out of 100 with 126 ratings