Chocolate Ale | Boulevard Brewing Co.

Chocolate AleChocolate Ale
Liked This Beer
3.71 w/ 964 Ratings
Chocolate AleChocolate Ale

Brewed by:
Boulevard Brewing Co.
Missouri, United States

Style: American Strong Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.10%

Availability: Spring

Notes / Commercial Description:
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

Added by HOPPYKC on 02-09-2011

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 964 |  Reviews: 275
Photo of acurtis
4/5  rDev +7.8%

Photo of kylehay2004
3.5/5  rDev -5.7%

Photo of Texasfan549
4.5/5  rDev +21.3%

Photo of jaydoc
4/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.69/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Thanks to jmgrub for sharing this one at his birthday tasting.

Batch 2010-2. Best by 9/2011.

Pours a hazy orange with a foamy khaki head that settles to a film on top of the beer. Small dots of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, brown sugar, cocoa, and a nutty aroma. Taste is much the same with cocoa and spice flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of roasty bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer with some interesting aromas and flavors.

 592 characters

Photo of GRG1313
3.25/5  rDev -12.4%

Photo of spycow
3.75/5  rDev +1.1%

Photo of StonedTrippin
4.32/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

really interesting beer. a chocolate brew that isnt black or brown. pours a beige to dark tan color with a one inch lasting off white head. smells entirely different. cocoa powder in its bittersweet glory is the dominant smell and flavor, but it also as a jovial belgian like yeast thats extremely active and complimentary, as well as a unique malt profile that gives a lot of dimension to the chocolate flavor, which is not overpowering in the slightest. alcohol is well concealed and this is amazingly drinkable with very bright carbonation and a medium body. i was quite impressed with this one, well worth a try if you can find it.

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Photo of kjkinsey
4/5  rDev +7.8%

Photo of djrn2
3/5  rDev -19.1%

Photo of Knapp85
4.17/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured out as a nice looking golden color with a white head on top. The smell of the beer was very nice, it had a chocolate aroma that was subtle but dominant at the same time, very interesting. The taste of the beer was very interesting also, the chocolate was in there for sure but yet it seemed natural and not overly sweet or artificial tasting. It's much more natural tasting that Southern Tier's Choklat. The mouthfeel was nicely carbonated and was medium bodied. Overall I was really impressed with this brew. I would enjoy having this one again someday.

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Photo of nmann08
4/5  rDev +7.8%

Photo of t0rin0
3.75/5  rDev +1.1%

Photo of metter98
3.78/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A: The beer is very hazy amber orange in color. It poured with a quarter finger high off white head that died down a bit, leaving a thin layer of bubbles on the surface and a collar around the edge of the glass.
S: Light aromas of chunky yeast (the kind of yeast you taste at the bottom of a large bottle) are present in the nose.
T: Unlike the smell, the taste has flavors of cocoa nibs.
M: It feels medium-bodied but a little thin on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: Considering its strength, this beer isn't that difficult to drink because it hides its alcohol very well from the taste.

Note: February 2010 vintage

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Photo of BEERchitect
4.08/5  rDev +10%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A inquisitive ale that's as drinkable as it is decadent. With medium-strength chocolate at the forefront, the beer never shys away or overwhelms the caramel-rich base beer.

The beer pours a copper-orange color that reminds me of caramel coloring. A light haze penetrates the liquid with particles of yeast and chocolate. Very well-headed, especially because the chocolate oils usually prohibit proper foam or lace. A very nice looking beer, even with the inconsistent haze.

Grainy-sweet aromas carry a lot of caramel aroma. A lightly tart grain character makes me think of tanins. Mildly fruity with peach and appricot, the beer's aromas go in a lot of different directions, albeit with medium intensity throughout.

Flavors start with a mildly chocolatey note, but moreso of caramel and peanut brittle. But as the beer crosses the middle of the tongue, a weighted flavor of true chocolate emerges. The balance of chocolate to English-like (toffee) malts is exquisite; not waxy milk chocolate, but not bitter cocoa either. Medium richness in chocolate taste is met with medium hop bitterness for balance and drinkability. The balance allows the hop bitterness to fade and allow a linger of chocolate to reside in aftertaste. A delicious and well balanced beer.

The body of this beer is tricky. Medium creaminess comes via carbonation, but the chocolate taste gives the impression of richness or more robust character. But as the carboation subsides, the beers chocolate and caramel sweetness becomes heavier while the warm alcohols bring in a lightly oily and semi-dry finish.

The most impressive part about the beer is how it retains its beery malt and hop profile. The chocolate additions are flamboyant decoration that command attetion throughout, but the base beer anchors the chocolate very well. It's nice to see chocolate represented in a beer other than a porter or stout.

Thanks BlueOkie!

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Photo of biboergosum
3.54/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

750ml, caged and corked bottle, another in the Smokestack Series to arrive on the lack of shores in Alberta of late. 'Christopher Elbow' sounds like something out of a children's bedtime story book.

This beer pours a clear, medium orange-brick amber colour, with two fingers of puffy, tightly foamy, and slightly bubbly tan head, which leaves some chunky approaching iceberg profile lace around the glass as it evenly subsides.

It smells of bready, grainy caramel malt, bittersweet, biscuity chocolate wafers, free-range brown sugar, floral honey, muddled Noel spices, equally indistinct, yet somehow sharp black orchard fruit, leafy, weedy hops, and a burgeoning metallic alcohol warming. The taste is grainy, doughy caramel/toffee malt, still fairly steady and understated cocoa nibs, further biscuity and chocolate powder coffee notes, a strange clammy yeastiness, hints of Mars Bar nougat, wan green vegetables (in the leafy, edible form), and a continuing sense of alcohol duly checked, but about to leap out and getcha.

The carbonation is nice and light in its gentle frothiness, the body a solid middleweight, and generally smooth, as none of the proclaimed guest ingredient seems to cause any trouble, and by the same token the well-hidden ABV keeps to itself. It finishes off-dry, a gamely persisting grainy caramel malt wondering where its sweet saviour has run away to - cocoa, can you hear me?

Not a particularly engaging chocolate ale, I gotta say - where the booze giveth, the cocoa taketh away, it would seem. Let's start with the appearance - ain't nothing 'chocolate' in bearing there, and the flavour just continues with its lack of follow-through. Everything else is just a reminder of how this whole thing disappoints - once again, the chocolate, and not the scarily integrated big ABV.

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Photo of kojevergas
3.41/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

750ml brown glass bottle with attractively understated label and branded red hood-and-silver-wire cap over a branded cork acquired at a local TX bottle shop many weeks ago and served into an Avery stem-tulip in me gaff in low altitude Austin, Texas. Reviewed live. Expectations are high given the brewery - which makes some beers I really adore. 9.10% ABV per the label. "Batch Number/Best by Date: CH13354-1 09-2014." Cost was $10.99 USD. Reviewed as a flavored ale.

Served chilled and allowed to warm over the course of consumption. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

A: No bubble show forms as it's poured.

Pours a two finger wide head of white-khaki colour. Nice creaminess and thickness. Has a nice soft complexion and an even albeit slightly thin consistency. Inconsistent spotty lacing clings to the sides of the glass as the head recedes. Head retention is rather good for the high ABV - about 5-6 minutes.

Body colour is a translucent transparent gold of good vibrance and excellent clarity. Quite clean; no floating yeast particles or hop sediment are/is visible. Appears well-carbonated.

Overall, it's looking pretty good, but admittedly isn't quite what I expected given it's a chocolate ale. I'm looking forward to the first sip.

Sm: Caramel, nutty notes, brown malts, and malty sweetness. Chocolate? Sure, but it's not quite what you'd expect. This isn't the dark chocolate or milk chocolate character you'd find in a stout. It's more like a natural raw cacao character, and evokes crumbly dusty bricks of chocolate. Truffle too. Hazelnut. Cream.

No hop charactr, alcohol, or yeast character is detectable.

I admit, at first I was a bit put off. There's something vaguely artificial about it and the chocolate aromatics are pretty arresting if you're expecting a stout-like chocolate character. But I find myself coming around to it the more I take it in.

It's a very soft approachable aroma, and I find it inviting. A pleasant mellow aroma of mild strength.

T/Mf: It's got a comforting, soft texture to it. Supple and giving. Smooth and wet. Comforting and refreshing, even soothing. Well-carbonated. Has a medium body and an apt thickness. Nicely creamy.

Not oily, hot, gushed, boozy, astringent, or harsh.

The chocolate notes do evoke that crumbly dusty powdery feel of raw natural cacao. Brown malts fill out the body nicely. Caramel. Faint hazelnut. There is some vague fruitiness, but I lack the palate to place it. (Forgive me). I don't pick up on any yeasty character, hop character, or overt alcohol.

It's a well balanced flavour profile, and has a nice cohesion. Not quite gestalt. Nuanced, sure. I've never experienced this particular kind of of chocolate character in a beer (at least that I can remember). Not the most intricate or complex brew, but it boasts some nice subtlety. I do like it, but the one-two punch of brown malt and crumbly chocolate takes some adjusting to.

One could make the argument that it's a bit too sweet, but I find the sweetness to be kind of apt.

Above average depth of flavour. Average duration and intensity of flavour.

Dr: Drinkable and enjoyable. Hides its ABV nicely. I'll finish the bottle with relative ease, though I doubt I'd want more than one bottle in the same night. It's not Boulevard's finest work, but it's a near-unique brew with a lot of interesting atypical chocolate character to offer. Whether or not you like it, I think it's worth trying just to see one shade of what chocolate can be. I'm not sure I really like it, to be honest, but it does give me pause. It's certainly not what one imagines when they think of a chocolate ale, but boy is it interesting.


 3,695 characters

Photo of brentk56
3.58/5  rDev -3.5%

Appearance: Two fingers of rocky foam cover the clear copper liquid but leave just a few spots of lacing

Smell: Chocolate spread, toast, peanut butter

Taste: The peanut flavor jumps forward though there is a nut skin astringency that follows into the middle; toast and a powdery chocolate element merge, in the middle; the aftertaste is very phenolic with a medicinal character

Mouthfeel: Medium body with moderate to high carbonation

Overall: Not quite sure what to make of this; I know this beer is eagerly anticipated in Kansas City each year when it is released but I find the aftertaste so off-putting that I can barely bring myself to have another sip now that I have finished my notes

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Photo of oline73
3.7/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle into a Unibroue goblet.

Appearance: Pours a slightly cloudy dark amber color with a finger and a half of creamy off white head that leaves a layer.

Smell: Sweet caramel malt, lots of chocolate and some dark fruit.

Taste: Sweet malt, as in the smell, there is a lot of chocolate. The finish is quite bitter with a rather strong alcohol taste. Would have liked it to be a little smoother.

Mouthfeel: Medium body with smooth carbonation and a very slightly dry finish.

Overall: I enjoyed this beer, but I would have liked it to be a little smoother in the finish.

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Photo of zeff80
3.75/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Looks like a slightly cloudy amber ale. It had a small, off-white head of soapy foam. It left very little lace.

S - It smelled of cocoa and a little cola. Some mild floral notes.

T - It tasted of cocoa and cola with a nutty flavor. Vanilla presence gets stronger and stronger as it continues to warm.

M - It was crisp, sharp and smooth. A medium bodied ale with a sneaky ABV.

D - This tastes good, but it must be shared. It is too much to handle as a 750ml beer.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
4.23/5  rDev +14%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Bottle: Poured an amber color ale with a large light brown foamy head with good retention and some lacing. Aroma of chocolate and nutty malt notes is quite interesting. Taste is also dominated by really nice floral black chocolate notes without much bitterness. Nutty caramel malt notes are also easily discernible and really enjoyable. Body is about average with good carbonation with no apparent alcohol. Very enjoyable and nice integration of chocolates notes without going back to a stout.

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Photo of zestar
3.75/5  rDev +1.1%

Photo of Boone757
3.25/5  rDev -12.4%

Photo of mothman
3/5  rDev -19.1%

Photo of DrBier
4/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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Chocolate Ale from Boulevard Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 58.8% out of 100 with 964 ratings
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