Big Operator
Big Boss Brewing

Big OperatorBig Operator
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Belgian Strong Dark Ale
Ranked #175
Ranked #18,597
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
Reviews by RollDamnTide:
Photo of RollDamnTide
5/5  rDev +29.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

More User Reviews:
Photo of oberon
3.95/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The B-O poured into a chalice a near ink black with just a hint of ruby hue,a thin tannish colored head atop that was gone quickly.Aromas of butter and raspberry essence,a hint of bitter chocolate as well.Flavors were great with good complexity and it wasnt overly sweet.A mix of sweet raspberry and again that butter intertwined with some chocolate,a dry earthy finish really rounds the beer out nicely.Its not overly sweet and/or heavy and drying finish makes it very drinkable,very nice.

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Photo of JISurfer
4/5  rDev +3.4%

Photo of asabreed
4.18/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle number 713 poured into a Brooklyn tulip / snifter. Every label printed has its single number printed with the label. Maybe it's just me, but I think that's pretty awesome.

Appearance: Belgian strong dark? More like a Belgian dark stout I'd say. Lots of mocha-headed lacing hanging out and bubbling all around. Good retention and raindrops.

Smell: Initially big and dark roasted malts and sour and tart raspberry notes, but then you realize it's not as heavy as you initially thought. Or what I originally thought. Also some lighter coffee and chocolate in there. Sour and weirdly and lighter dark and aromatic.

Taste: Again, the seemingly bigger roasted mild chocolate and coffee flavors are there, but then the tartness and fruitiness of the raspberries come through, comprising an excellent compliment to everything else going on. The weirdly subtle chocolate comes through a lot here, but again, in a lighter version, making me wonder if chocolate was actually used, or if the yeast is just doing a lot of things. Long finish with raspberry, good sourness and tartness, mild chocolate, and big roast malt flavors. Yet somehow it's not a big-bodied brew. Willy Wonka style wondrousness?

Mouthfeel: Oddly lighter to medium-bodied from the color and flavor and taste. With a nice sparkling-like touch on the carbonation, making it too-much sip-worthy, more quickly than one would anticipate after the first pour.

Drinkability: A very, very solid brew from Big Boss. I imagine there's not necessarily a huge demographic that would like this brew, but I could be wrong. I am, however, one among those. Even though this is 8%, it seems to me a brew that needs to be consumed fresh. Hell yes.

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Photo of Sammy
3.85/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

3.25/5  rDev -16%

Photo of tastybeer
3.9/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Completely opaque, very dark brown brew topped by a dark tan-brown head. Nice big head initially that fades at a moderate speed into a thin tight ring. Aroma is pleasant, deep and soft, with toasty coffee and chocolate, with real raspberries (not syrup-like or candy-like) and light hopping. I sense a little bit of spice, similar to coriander but it could just be the yeast and raspberries. Taste is good also. Thick but soft malts....bittersweet chocolate, roasty coffee, fresh raspberries. Not very complicated and easy to enjoy. The fullish body, smooth and velvety texture, and lightly tingly bitterness are sweet as well. The is easy to drink, but I've discovered I like to take my time sipping this brew.

This would be perfect with chocolate cake topped with raspberry sauce. Mmmm...

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Photo of Zorro
4.17/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Black colored beer with a small brown head, no light passes. This really looks like RIS in the glass.

Smell is chocolate and sour raspberry with a bit of vanilla. Smells like Chambord liquor in Guinness.

The taste starts out chocolate, vanilla and raspberry. Not really any Belgian beer characteristics to this one, this is Raspberry Stout and a good one. Not a lot of subtleties here, just exceptionally smooth Raspberry stout without a fault at all.

Mouthfeel is velvet.

Hell of a tasty beer here, but I don't know that you can call it Belgian at all. This is a really good raspberry stout.

Sampled through the efforts of Bentk56 and Secret Bunny 09 BIF. Black colored beer with a small brown head, no light passes. This really looks like RIS in the glass.

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Photo of wedge
3.88/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours black with a fat, creamy brown head that shrinks to a sticky ring around the edge. Dark, berry-like actual fruit not some syrup product. Belgian yeast adds a slight phenolic note and some roasted malt rounds things out. Fresh roasted chocolate malts and a mellow raspberry flavor that starts up in the middle and carries on into the finish. Not too sweet at all, which makes this all the more enjoyable. Again, nothing about this tastes like a processed syrup kind of fruit beer...real raspberries, earthy flavors. Smooth, creamy, and quite drinkable for it's strength. I'll be sure to grab a bottle when they release it.

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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 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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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 daliandragon
3.95/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

After their success with Aces and Ates, I am pretty much conditioned to automatically purchase anything I see from these guys, given that I've got the means. This is #403 of 1750 and comes in the same 22 oz bomber and dark silver label as its predecessor.

This one looks like a stout, with a jet black hue and tight bubbled dark brown lacing. The nose is dark malt, a touch of yeast, plenty of raspberry annd alcohol, and the obvious sweet dark malt base.

The Belgian yeast is definitely in place, and there is plenty of dark malt fused with baker's chocolate, smoke and spice to give it some necessary complexity. I'm a bit surprised by the thickness and density of the texture, especially after reading the reviews. If anything, I find this too heavy and inflexible for the style, but certainly not lacking in body. I never say this, but maybe this beer could benefit from more carbonation (or less aging?)

In spite of its flaws, this is enjoyable to drink and worth trying. It's no Aces and Ates, however.

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

On-tap at Horniblow's Tavern. Really looking forward to this one ever since hearing about it at February's brewery tour.

The bartender pours a pitch black, stout-colored brew with a thick cap of muddy, earthen head. The foam retains well enough, but doesn't leave much lacing. Nevertheless, this is a beauty in a pint glass. Peat hops and chocolate malts combine with notes of red grapes, blackberry cobbler, and caramel to make for an enticing scent. It doesn't jump out at you, but if you give it some time the aroma is quite enjoyable.

This beer is deliciously sweet with a well-placed bitter bite of unripened berry and fresh, earthen hops. Raspberry notes hide behind a chocolate-rich, malty smoothness and a touch of alcohol. Mouthfeel is heavenly: silky smooth, full-bodied, and viscous with a lingering bittersweet finish that I can still taste hours after having the pint. A slight chalkiness is all that keeps it from perfection. Although I will sorely miss the Coffee Stout at Horniblow's, Big Boss' Belgian Black Raspberry does a nice job of filling the void.

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Photo of Soto
4/5  rDev +3.4%

Photo of jak
4/5  rDev +3.4%

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

"BO" as it has come to be known looks pretty much opaque in the slightly dim lighting of Horniblow's Tavern. The aromas are black malt and a slight rasberry fruitiness. A bit of Belgian quality in the nose as well, I guess phenolic.

The taste is dark maltiness that isn't so much chocolate as roastiness. Along with that is a spiciness with a good bit of rasberry in the finish. The mouthfeel is lighter than expected. Perhaps medium? Drinkability gets two thumbs up, but pace yourself with the 8%.

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

I was surprised to find this on tap at Tyler's Taproom in Durham, and pleasantly so. It poured pitch black with a dark tan, half-finger head of dense foam. Aromas of mild raspberry are faintly detected, but not much else. As the brew warmed I noticed more espresso-like smells coming forth. Flavors of dark malts dominate the taste, while a nice fruity raspberry essence underpins the whole experience. It's not sweet. The finish is lightly hoppy with a distinct coffee overtone, while the raspberry flavor continues to play with the palate. It's a very stout-ish brew, and I wouldn't have thought of this as a Belgian Strong Dark Ale; it's almost more like a raspberry-infused coffee stout. Very, very good!

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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 atsprings
4.15/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22oz bomber into a Duvel snifter, pours a nice dark opaque black with a lasting dark tan head. Aroma is a nice amount of raspberries with some roasted malt and yeast. The taste is a great blend of sweet raspberries, roasted malts, slight coffee and cocoa. The beer is certainly somewhat heavy, but an enjoyable sipper. This is certainly an example of my local brewery doing me proud!

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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 NCSUdo
3.92/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22 oz bottle, bottle 1081

A: Deep black under a tiny brown head. No lace and very slight retention.

S: Slight raspberry, roasted malt, hints of chocolate and coffee. Very subtle aroma, wish it had some bigger raspberry.

T: Raspberry much more noticeable in the taste department. Nice sweet and tart up front, fading to a bitter roasted malt mixed with some dark chocolate and hint of coffee. Slightest hint of booze. Very nice taste.

M/D: Full bodied, but not as heavy as you would expect. Carbonation is a touch high. Drinkability is pretty good. For a bold beer, it's pretty easy to go down. Overall, a good beer, but I'm a little underwhelmed. Probably would be best described as something other than a Belgian Strong Dark Ale.

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Photo of deebo
4.25/5  rDev +9.8%

Photo of Kegatron
3.75/5  rDev -3.1%

Photo of t0rin0
3.25/5  rDev -16%

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