Chocolate Ale
Boulevard Brewing Co.

Chocolate AleChocolate Ale
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Strong Ale - American
Ranked #247
Ranked #33,594
3.76 | pDev: 15.96%
Boulevard Brewing Co.
Missouri, United States
Very Good
Chocolate AleChocolate Ale
Notes: One of the brightest stars in a city filled with culinary treasures, Christopher Elbow has been handcrafting masterpieces in chocolate for more than ten years. In that time the reputation of his artistic delicacies has spread around the globe. Elbow’s sweets are distinguished by their use of unusual and sometimes surprising flavors and ingredients; in that adventurous spirit we joined forces to bring you a very special Chocolate Ale.

In developing this beer, Elbow and Boulevard brewmaster Steven Pauwels sought to harmonize the interplay of chocolate and malt, with each supporting and enhancing, but not overwhelming, the other. Just the right chocolate was essential. Elbow recommended a rare variety from the Dominican Republic, prized for its robust flavor and aroma, and a personal favorite. More than a mere flavoring, the chocolate — in the form of nibs, or crushed, roasted beans – was incorporated into the brewing process itself.

24 IBU
Reviews: 315 | Ratings: 1,036 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of RonaldTheriot
RonaldTheriot from Louisiana

3.82/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Boulevard Chocolate Ale has a medium, off-white head, a translucent, light tan appearance, with some bubbles and lots of light sediment chunks. There is some lacing. The aroma is of, maybe, a faint white bread crust, but there really isn't much smell. The taste features touches of cocoa, some harsh grain burn, vanilla, and oddly-high bitterness. Boulevard Chocolate Ale has a medium body and finishes mostly dry.


Mar 11, 2021
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backblast from Alaska

3.49/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This is an interesting one. It reminds me of a Hersey's chocolate bar w/almonds - just a hint but neither chocolate nor almonds but the slight flavor of both mixed. There's also a bread presence along with malt and caramel. It is rather light in mouthfeel and flavors. It leaves you wondering what it really is.

Feb 22, 2021
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MonDak_Joe1953 from Minnesota

3.92/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

12oz bottle. Label is marked for best by date of 02DEC2021.
Clear, medium amber colored body. Tight egg shell white head. Some lacing follows down the glass.
Aroma is toasted malts with a slight addition of chocolate and vanilla.
Taste goes through a progression of flavors - more malt and vanilla at the beginning and then more chocolate at the end. Very little aftertaste. All in all a lighter tasting ale.
Medium mouth feel with some smooth coating. Numbs the tongue. Good carbonation.
Expresses as a delicate ale with balanced touches of cacao and vanilla, along with the malts. Better savored in small sips that allow the beer to warm in the mouth. Far from overly sweet.

Feb 20, 2021
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stephens101 from Oklahoma

3.71/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours amber with a flimsy off-white froth. Doesn't scream hearty chocolate ale, but then again, it's not advertised as a "hearty" chocolate ale, and just because that is what I was assuming it would be just makes an ass of me I suppose.

Smells nice with burnt sugar, caramel and medium fruits such as plum and persimmon.

More ripened, sweet medium fruits on the tongue with copious amounts of burnt sugar, sweet chocolate and some herb in the finish.

Medium in body with a well-concealed alcohol heat.

Not a bad beer by any means, just no the beer I was looking for.

Feb 15, 2021
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rickw12 from Texas

2.9/5  rDev -22.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

I'm not enough of a beer connoisseur to know how all the above items should be rated. The beer looked fine, except that chocolate ales I've had before have been dark. I was surprised when this poured out light. I was even more surprised when I detected no chocolate whatsoever in the taste. This a light ale; it certainly isn't strong. I gave it a 3 on the taste because it was okay for a light ale; if I rate the taste according to the expected chocolate taste, it would get less than 1. If I spend $14 for four beers, I think it's reasonable to expect they will match the label. This will make me suspicious of any Boulevard label.

Feb 08, 2021
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BeerAndGasMasks from Virginia

3.44/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

From the bottle, it pours a hazy light coppery brown with a modest head, soon diminishing to a ring. In the nose, it is alcohol forward, with some chocolate and vanilla notes. In the mouth, vanilla comes out strongly, with cocoa and malt behind.

Jul 31, 2020
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H-TownMcBuck from Texas

3.93/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Nut brown, copper, and slight orange color, very appealing. Smell of chocolate, caramel, and bready. Malty flavor as expected, nice subtle chocolate undertones, not overwhelming. Poured from tap and not much carbonation. Overall a another solid beer from Boulevard. Good for after dinner.

May 26, 2020
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CTHomer from Connecticut

3.94/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A: crystal clear; bronze in color; 1 finger off white head that receded to a thick collar; very little acing;

S: chocolate and brown sugar;

T: chocolate, brown sugar and caramel from start to finish; mild bitterness at the end; chocolate lingers through the aftertaste;

M: medium bodied; moderate carbonation; dry finish;

O: I was concerned that this would be cloyingly sweet; instead, it was a beer with some chocolate in the flavor/aroma profile;

Apr 29, 2020
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DannyBoy15347 from Missouri

3.56/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Pours a nice clear amber color with lots of foam that subsides quickly. Aroma I get an amber malt with just hints of the chocolate. Taste is similar in you get a lot of the flavor from the malt with a hint of cocoa and a nice boozy finish. Pretty smooth overall and a nice brew for a rainy day. Not entirely what I was expecting but thats the fun in trying something different. Cheers

Apr 23, 2020
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BB1313 from Ohio

3.66/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Collaboration with Christopher Elbow. Enjoy by 12/15/20. 12oz bottle poured into a tulip. Pours a burnt golden with nice clarity and transparency with bubbles racing upwards; small light khaki head that fades leaving solid retention and lacing. Some sediment/floaties. The aromas have some caramel and toffee along with some mild hints of vanilla. I'm not really picking up on the chocolate, although you can pick up some hints of it if you dig deep. Lots of malts. The flavors follow the nose. More caramel leading the way. More hints of toffee and vanilla. Some banana in the mix. Some raisins and dark fruits. The chocolate is mild and subtle in the flavor department as well. Some bread and toast. Low bitterness, but it's not really sweet. Nice malt backbone. Alcohol basically goes unnoticed for the most part although there's a subtle warmth in the finish. Mouthfeel is very nice. It's on the lighter side of full-bodied with active carbonation. It's sharp, fluffy, smooth and dangerously drinkable.

This is a solid brew. This isn't exactly what I'd expect from a "Chocolate Ale", but it's still nice and enjoyable nonetheless.

Feb 17, 2020
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EnderFett11 from Virginia

4.25/5  rDev +13%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured moderately hard from a bottle into a snifter glass, resulting in a bit of head that quickly faded to nothing. The color appeared golden brown while pouring, but was closer to a red Amber when looking through a full glass. Smell is a slightly fruity malt, very pleasant and refreshing. Taste is light biscuit malt first, a bit of fruit, followed by a subtle chocolate flavor. Light body with light carbonation. Very interesting ale with nice chocolate hints.

Feb 10, 2020
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Gajo74 from New York

3.85/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

On tap at George Keeley, NYC.

Pours a dark mahogany color, with a wisp of a head that quickly dissipates. A thin ring of lacing retains throughout the drink.

Soft and subtle aromas of cacao nibs, chocolate and toffee. As the nose opens up further, there are hints of dark fruit and a biscuity and toasty malt profile.

The taste opens with robust and biscuity malts complimented by flavors of cacao nibs, dark chocolate and caramel. However, I find it interesting how developing flavors of dark fruit, red grape and plum, evoke a Belgian Dubbel or strong dark ale like taste. It is even more apparent in the dry finish, which prevents this drink from being too sweet. The bitterness is low with a touch of earthy hops presence. Medium bodied, perhaps a little thin, with a smooth mouthfeel.

A decent, well crafted and balanced brew, albeit, not the most interesting thing I’ve ever drank.

Feb 07, 2020
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Livyatan1996 from Missouri

3.67/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

man what i expected and what i'm drinking are worlds apart. this one, from the bottle, poured a crystal clear reddish dark brown, with a tight foamy head thats now a steady ring. looks like an amber ale/brown ale mashup but that's alright. the nose has caramel, toasted breads and some chocolate that keep it together but there's an underlying green apple four loko scent, not a strong one but it's very much there. that flavor doesn't show up at first, this is plenty earthy, nutty and roasty with a good touch of chocolate. there's grassy hops and some darker fruits to balance out the sweetness. but as it's warmed there's something lingering on the back of my throat that i can't quite place nor enjoy. drinks a heftier medium-bodied and pretty smooth for it's weight. it's a bit of a weird one but been an adventure.

Jan 30, 2020
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ichorNet from Massachusetts

4.2/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is probably one of the most classic "divisive" beers on the market, not only for having previously been recalled for an infected batch in like 2010 or 2011 or so (of which I purchased a bottle and remember being promptly refunded), but also cuz it's just so damn weird. An "American strong ale" brewed with chocolate and cacao nibs. I don't recall the vanilla extract in the 2020 batch being in prior batches, but I also think this was gone for a few years. Haven't honestly kept track of it because I was never a huge fan, even when it wasn't an infected mess, but there's no time like the present to catch up and see what's going on with a beer you've had before and have felt odd/conflicted about, right?

Pours a clear dark amber with a thick head of chalky white foam that settles down quite quickly to a thin, retentive ring, leaving behind no lace while doing so. I've always found the appearance of this brew pretty strange. I know BLVD didn't want to go with a traditional stout for the base recipe of a chocolate-focused strong ale, but this just seems a few shades lighter than it should be regardless of that. Still, I have to respect the craftsmanship here; although there is no lace to speak of, the surface is mildly-obscured, and the clarity of the beer is remarkable in spite of the clear suspension of particles, no doubt mostly chocolate-related, therein.

The nose here is perfumey and floral with a definite chocolate element. It's almost acetaldehyde-like with a slight green apple undertone, but it luckily cuts just short of that and delivers some nice toffee malt and caramel character that I appreciate. This definitely doesn't seem like an infected beer, which is good. Jokes aside, the nose here is alright but it really doesn't capture the palate-encompassing chocolate experience that happens afterwards, so I consider it an afterthought. I know regarding the smell of a beer like this as an "afterthought" is a weird take, but trust me.

The flavor of this one goes through a lot of different stages, and each one is satisfying enough until you get to the finish, which is sublime. Let me break it down: upfront there are notes of florals, light grassy (almost earthy?) hops, oatmeal, ripe coffee cherries/cascara, stone fruit, and toffee upfront and in the middle, with a spectacular acrobatic act into pure, unadulterated "gourmet chocolate bar" right at the end of each sip. How?! This beer is a mystery to me. It's crazy just how much the final flavors of each sip taste just like a good 75% dark chocolate bar. And, although I cannot taste the vanilla at all, I trust that it helps a bit with smoothing out the mouthfeel, which is rather nicely detailed and well-balanced. Honestly, this beer is a one-and-done for me, just like many great chocolate bars I've had. It's a nice, fun treat that is interesting to think about, but not a repeat drink. Take from that what you will... but do give it a shot if this review intrigues you!

Jan 16, 2020
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Darkmagus82 from Texas

3.62/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle into a tulip glass
Appearance - The beer pours a murky orange amber color with a tiny white head of fizzy foam. The head fades almost instantly leaving almost no lace on the sides of the glass.
Smell – While the brew does not look like it should have a cocoa aroma, the beer certainly has a nice dark chocolate smell. Along with the chocolate comes some notes of vanilla and a little bit of a caramel and bready malt. Overall very interesting.
Taste – The taste is interesting but pretty good. It begins with a caramel and bready malt taste that was in the nose with some flavors of vanilla and a touch of cocoa upfront. At the start the cocoa is very light with it getting stronger in nature as the taste moves forward. Along with the cocoa getting stronger some other tastes of a warming alcohol and a bit of spice of nutmeg comes to the tongue. At the same time the sweet fades a bit and with the increase in cocoa and the bit of booze joined by a little bit of a earthy and hay flavor, one is left with a warming and sorta strange and deceiving warm bready cocoa taste to linger on the tongue.
Mouthfeel – The body of the brew is thick and chewy with a carbonation level that is normal. For the interesting mix of cocoa, booze, and bread the feel is pretty good and makes for a chewy medium that matched the flavors well.
Overall – An interesting cocoa brew that really threw me off at first. While it doesn’t look chocolate like, it certainly does have the cocoa taste. An interesting one for sure.

Jan 05, 2020
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Harrison8 from Missouri

3.9/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours foggy, lightly-murky with two fingers of khaki foam. Aroma is roasty, toasty, earthy, nutty malts with cocoa nibs and chocolate skimmed off the top. Chocolate and cocoa nibs are lightly dry and sweet, with the bulk of the malts being lightly sweet to moderately bitter (leans bitter). It has a distinct dryness. Flavor profile is earthy, nutty, bready, roasty, toasty malts with dry cocoa nibs up front that become heavy chocolate at the front. It never becomes sugary sweet, maintaining a nice balance with the chocolate delivering a lightly sweet and dry presence. Mouth feel is medium-thick with a little velvety texture. Overall, balance is struck well with chocolate being a heavy presence in the flavor profile, but not so much the aroma.

Served in a 15.5oz Speigalau tulip from a 12oz bottle.

Sep 16, 2019
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donspublic from Texas

4.15/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured from bottle into tulip, good 1 finger tan head, good retention and lacing. Rubyish amber in the glass, somewhat opaque. Chocolate on the nose, along with some brown sugar, vanilla. Taste is caramel malt up front with chocolate and vanilla in the middle. Finish is semi sweet with the chocolate and vanilla lingering on the palate. Very enjoyable, not too much of anything, really easy drinker for 8.7%. Would be great to have after a good meal or with a cheese plate.

Aug 20, 2019
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Lucular from Maryland

3.75/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

5 oz pour on tap. Pretty mediocre considering it's a strong ale from Boulevard. Weak on the (almost medicinal) chocolate flavor and not very complex. The 8.7% alcohol is fairly well hidden. Not bad, but disappointing.

Jul 31, 2019
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Franziskaner from Missouri

3.54/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Brown in color with a hazy complexion. There’s plenty of carbonation bubbles erupting from within. Faint milk chocolate and vanilla is detectable in the nose. I’m tasting pure milk chocolate with a splash of vanilla in the finish. The mouth is lightly oily and dry.

Jun 08, 2019
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jjamadorphd from Florida

3.92/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Good chocolaty taste without really being a dessert beer...

I expected a darker beer but was instead greeted with something that was somewhere between dark orange and a caramel-brown, thin foam, no lacing. The smell was a mix of cocoa, chocolate, and light on malt - making for a sweet scent, with a mouthfeel that was well carbonated and just slightly astringent. Taste-wise it was a blend of chocolate, some spice, and the malt all full-flavored and quite enjoyable. Not the best I've had but certainly one you can impress a person or two with...

Jun 03, 2019
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Saylor from Pennsylvania

3.98/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This beer takes me back to the days in the restaurant business where you would make a deep, heavy brownie w a slight crispy top that got served warm and covered w caramel sauce and vanilla ice cream. Well done Boulevard!!

Jun 01, 2019
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ChrisMon02 from Ohio

2.93/5  rDev -22.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 2.75

I usually love Boulevard's offerings but this one is just plain weird. Chocolate ale? I don't taste or smell any chocolate. Believe me, I tried. I get faint berry flavor and that is it. Thankfully I bought a single. If I had bought a 4 pack I would be pissed.

May 19, 2019
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Shade1951 from Pennsylvania

2.13/5  rDev -43.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Sorry. This didn't work for me. I must say that the flavor IS chocolatey, but not a pleasant type of chocolate - unless you are into very dark, bitter chocolate flavors.

I'm not. And I rated my experience as best I could based on my aversion to very bitter chocolate flavor.

However, anyone actually reading this shouldn't take my word for it. If you like bitter, and you like dark bitter chocolate, you may love this brew. It's just not my thing.

Apr 23, 2019
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dd53grif from Michigan

3.84/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours a reddish-brown color with a minimal head that disappears quickly. Aromas of caramel and chocolate. Tastes of caramel, chocolate and a hint of fruit. Good mouth feel.

Apr 10, 2019
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Greywulfken from New York

3.5/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Features cacao nibs and chocolate and vanilla extracts - a collab with Christopher Elbow - 8.7% abv, best by date of 12/20/19...

Pours a ruddy brown, hazed to a uniform translucence under a coupla fingers of off-white foam... Nose and palate receive impressions of hearty malts, watery hot cocoa, and muted citrus, with the chocolate and malts kinda melding together while the citrus runs subtly throughout... Medium-light body has a bit of tingle and leaves a little bit of shellac behind...

I'll say that the beer does what it says, but I guess I prefer a chocolaty stout, or an amber or pale ale that isn't chocolaty, or something like that... A top-tier beer would overcome my personal biases, and though this beer is good, it's not that good...

Still worth checking out if you're a fan of chocolaty and malty "pale" ales...

Apr 07, 2019
Chocolate Ale from Boulevard Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 85 out of 100 with 1036 ratings