Chocolate Ale | Boulevard Brewing Co.

very good
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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.

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Reviews: 274 | Ratings: 963
Photo of vfgccp
3.7/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

Best by Sep 2014, opened Jan 2015

A - Tons of sediment throughout the glass. Light maple apricot body. Low head with ok retention and low lace.

S - Dry milk chocolate, hint of booze, cinnamon, nutmeg, prune.

T - Huge tootsie roll flavor. Chocolate milk, edge of booze, pumpernickel bread, caramel.

M - Medium-light body. Par carbonation.

O - Really interesting. A well executed take on a chocolate flavored beer.

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Photo of WoodBrew
4.27/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

My excellent neighbor once again provides a wonderful delight from Boulevard. The Chocolate Ale deom the smoke stack series hits a home run! The color was a complete surprise to me....I was expecting a dark rich color, but instead it was a cloudy amber beer with thin white head. The aroma screammed dark choclate. The tast starts as a normal ale, then the finish is a sweet hersey chocolate bar. The mouthfeel is quite nice, the abv is nicely balanced.

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Photo of smakawhat
3.41/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Poured from the bottle into a snifter glass. Batch Number CHI-3364-2 Best before Sept 2014.

A deep copper and red tinted orange body and fairly opaque. A faint tan head matches nicely almost with red hues, but is only one finger tall and and gives a good collar that looks thick and white.

Bouquet. So where's the chocolate? Bananas. Taffy sugar. Some vanilla creamy like character, just the faintest hint of chili like heat and spice it seems (yes I know there is no chili in this beer). But chocolate... nothing, maybe some faint cocoa barely.

Palate is interesting. A very milky and runny body, that really coats in a creamy chocolatey way. Hints of pepper and fruit like finish, chili, and spicy bitterness. The milky quality hints just to a little bit of wet texture though too unfortunately. As warmth comes there's some soft orange sour fruit and mellow hop bitterness that comes together.

It's an interesting beer, but it's chocolate angle is more akin to bitter fruit and chili warmth and mild bitterness, and the label seems very misleading. I am sure people are drinking this and thinking... brown or chocolate sugar expectations, but this has some real neat spice character, but chocolate is really just the secondary for the main act.

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Photo of GarthDanielson
4.02/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured on-tap and served in a vase, the beer is a cloudy, amber coloring with a thin, small bubbled, low profile off-white head. Aromas of semisweet chocolate, roasty notes, and an earthy undertone. Flavors are much more chocolatey. Seriosuly, this is a melted Hershey bar in your mouth. Creamy, smooth body, with a mild chocolate milk aftertaste. The finish is smooth and light. I really can't expound on the flavor any more, because it is truly all chocolate. Impressive flavor profiles given the style. Tasty.

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Photo of Tone
3.54/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear, copper color. 1/4 inch head of an off-white color. Decent retention and decent lacing. Smells of peanut butter, sweet malt, hint of alcohol, hint of yeast, and a hint of roasted malt. Sadly, chocolate is lacking in the aroma, but strangely peanut butter present. Fits the style of an American Strong Ale. Mouth feel is sharp and crisp, with an average carbonation level. Tastes of dark chocolate, sweet malt, hint of hop, hint of yeast, slight peanut butter, and a hint of roasted malt. Overall, more peanut butter than chocolate, but otherwise weak appearance, and blend. This beer does not live up to the hype.

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Photo of drabmuh
3.65/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Gift from my sister, thanks! Served in a Boulevard Smokestack cerviose glass. This beer was a little odd, not bad just not my thing.

Beer is dark amber / slightly red and mostly clear with a big tan head of small bubbles, aggressive carbonation, nice retention.

Aroma is chocolate and alcohol.

Beer drinks a little like a chocolate flavored spirit. The body of the beer does very little to conceal the presence of alcohol and the whole thing comes off a little solventy. The chocolate is nice but a little one note. I won't have it again.

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Photo of ShanePB
3.19/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Bottle shipped to us for review courtesy of Bill - thanks!

A - For a "chocolate" American Strong Ale, this looks a bit...odd. Cloudy orange-copper body with a one finger beige head. Not what I was expecting, at all.

S - Rich, bittersweet chocolate morsel notes that only enhance as the beer warms. Some hints of vanilla beans, pecans, powdery cocoa and some smokey ash.

T - A bit of a let down. No where near what I was expecting. Anyway, chocolate is the dominant taste but it's sort of, once again...odd. It's kind of artificial tasting and has some weird straw-like quality to it. Subtle hints of vanilla, roasted nuts and caramel malt peak through but it just doesn't help the flavor profile.

M - Really thin, overly carbonated, wow.... this is a bit messy.

Nothing about this beer screams Chocolate Ale or American Strong Ale. It's a wacky blend of styles that just seems to miss on most levels, except the aroma. I'm glad they're only brewing this once....

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Photo of Gavage
4.11/5  rDev +9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Appearance: pours a hazy amber color with a short 1/4" head.

Smell: caramel and chocolate are detectable by the nose.

Taste: Caramel, chocolate, ripe dark fruits, and a moderate bitterness.

Mouthfeel: medium bodied beer. Lightly crisp from start to finish,

Overall: a nice ale that has a decent chocolate flavor but it is not overpowering. Easy to drink.

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Photo of LiquidAmber
4.77/5  rDev +26.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Review from 3/2011 notes. Poured into a Black Raven pint glass. Pours a somewhat cloudy red-orange amber. Massive off white head that lasts a long time and leaves abundant lacing. Very attractive. Delicious chocolate and light malt aroma. Taste is very different, mild light and dark fruits, sweet malt, caramel, vanilla and chocolate. Mild hops in the finish. Very tasty and well integrated. I really enjoyed this ale. Will buy again.

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Photo of aasher
4.1/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

This bottle poured a very cloudy, murky, and chunky auburnish brown in color with a heaping, frothy and soapy cream colored head. It has a moderate amount of stirring sediment. It smells of chocolate flakes, cocoa powder, and has a light citrusy hop aspect. It's very appealing on the nose. The flavors are in your face, melted and velvety soft milk chocolate. It really, really makes me think I'm drinking a glass of chocolate milk, ala Nesquick. The flavors are phenomenal and insanely delicious. The aftertaste may be the best part, being rich and bold. This beer is shockingly good. To be honest, I really didn't expect that much but wow. It is also impressively smooth. It's hard to classify this as a traditional American Strong Ale. I feel it should be in a different category. This beer is just too drinkable, and at 9%? I can't believe it. I only got a tad of alcohol at the very end of my glass. This beer is a must try and bested only by Boulevard's BBQ in their 750ml bottle series.

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Photo of Mebuzzard
2.58/5  rDev -31.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

Well, I've loved all the other Smokestack brews from Boulevard, but this one I couldn't finish.

Pours a murky, dark copper with a very large head..about 5 fingers. Just billowed up with white froth. Lacing was nice.

Aroma is chocolate forward with vanilla and some earthiness. That's about it, really. It's not bad and really backs up the name. But it seems basic, not very complex.

Yeah, taste is the same. Very faint earthiness up front and in the middle, with a chocolate finish. Yet the chocolate doesn't seem rich or smooth. Stale comes to mind. Vanilla provides some sweetness, but it's a bit much. Hops don't seem to be around. The chocolate is intruding and not all that good.

Thin, could use something else. Perhaps a stout version would be better. I don't know. This one didn't sit well with me.

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Photo of TheSevenDuffs
3.88/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured in to CBS Snifter.

A - Poured medium to dark amber; only very slightly translucent. One finger of cream coloured head that slowly receded to a few bubbles. Not what I expected at all.

S - Nutty malts and a slightly earthy hop aroma up front. A touch of chocolate in the background. Not nearly as much chocolate as I expected.

T - Sweet nutty malts up front that are complimented by a slightly earthy and herbal hop flavour. The chocolate shows up in the finish with some caramel sweetness. A very good balance of the slight hop presence and sweet malts and chocolate. The chocolate plays a secondary role here, which surprised me given the name of this beer. That said, it was a really well made beer.

M - Medium body, slightly creamy. Moderate carbonation.

O - Not what I expected but still a solid beer.

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Photo of Wasatch
4.2/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks goes out to portia99 for this brew.

This is my 2600th review, thanks everyone I've traded with to reach this goal.

Batch Number: 2011-2
Best By Date: 08-2012

Nice HUGE pop when releasing the cork. Poured into a chalice a very nice hazy golden amber color, very nice carbonation, with a nice one-finger creamy/fizzy off-white head, which leaves some nice oil slicks and sticky lacing behind. The nose is malty, with some nice yeast notes, very nice touch of dark chocolate, some slight notes of bananas, nice little hop note to boost, lightly spiced. The taste is very nice, malty, with that nice touch of yeast, throw in some dark chocolate, and bananas/spice note. Medium body, slightly dry finish, very drinkable. ABV is hidden very well. Overall a very tasty brew. Do not expect a Stone Arrogant Bastard here folks, this is more like a Belgian Strong Dark Ale. Thanks Bill for sending this one my way.

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Photo of Mora2000
4.12/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours a dark amber with a cream-colored head.

The aroma is a nice mix of chocolate, bready malt and some grassy hops. The hops, chocolate and malt all mix very well together.

The flavor is heavy on the milk chocolate. Overall, the beer is very sweet. There are a lot of creamy, milk notes in the beer. There is also some nice biscuit and caramel malt as well as some grassy hops. The hops contribute more flavor than bitterness, but there is a tad bit of bitterness to keep the beer from being overly sweet.

Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation.

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Photo of John_M
3.8/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From notes...

The beer pours a reddish amber color with good head retention and lacing. The nose is fruity and malty, with a hint of chocolate in the background. The beer definitely smells as if it will be on the sweet side. The flavor profile replicates the nose, but on the palate the chocolate flavor is much more pronounced. That's fine, and I appreciate that the sweetness isn't over the top, but the beeris a bit more boozy and alcoholic than I like to see. Mouthfeel is medium bodied, with fairly long, fairly sweet finish.

Shrug. This is a nice enough beer, especially for those who like the flavor of chocolate in their beer (I'm fairly neutral on the concept myself).

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Photo of rudzud
2.98/5  rDev -21%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Hands down, this one one of the hardest corks to remove. This was on level with some Element brews I've had. Picked up at Julio's.

A - Pours a crystal clear dark amber. The initial pour had a fizzy head that instantly dissappeared, but after sitting a nice quarter inch creamy blanket reformed.

S - Eh...this is mostly sweet malts with just a hint of chocolate. A huge let down.

T - Better than the nose. The first thing to hit the pallet are the sweet carmel malts. Afterwards there are some nice sweet milk chocolate flavors. Does seem a bit artificial and the booze is slightly noticeable.

M - With so much carbonation in the glass I wasnt expecting much but after a few minutes things mellowed nicely. The result is a light, soft carbonation, not syrupy. The ABV is somewhat noticeable though.

O - Really unimpressed by this beer. Until drinking this, I hadn't had a bad beer from Boulevard. This though...average at best. Perhaps it was a bad bottle, I dont know, but regardless I wont be buying this again.

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Photo of Rhettroactive
1.79/5  rDev -52.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 1 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

From 750mL C&C bottle to Portsmouth glass on 3/29/12
*From notes

-- Thanks, Eric. Well...sort of. --

A: Huh. You'd think a beer called "Chocolate Ale" would look, you know, chocolatey. It doesn't. It's a clean amber color, not too dissimilar to Vienna Lager. Heck, maybe a bit lighter, even. A generous pour yields a .5 finger head that fades too quickly for my liking. No lacing or collar.

S: Terrible. Just God awful. The group thought it smelled like green beans. I thought it smelled like the rotting veggies you see crammed in the back of a refrigerator on A&E's "Hoarders". Letting it warm doesn't help a bit. It just becomes more pronounced. Even if I tried, I couldn't brew a beer that smelled this rank.

T: Meh. I get more white chocolate (which isn't even chocolate) then milk or dark, though it certainly doesn't scream "CHOCOLATE!" Lots of off-putting minerality and baby powder. Very geen, with more of that rotting vegetal quality.

M: Just ok. It's fairly thin. You'd think this would have a thick, liquid chocolate mouthfeel. But but like the rest of this mess called a beer, it dissapoints.

O: Not good or even close to it. Boulevard brews some solid beers. This, though, ain't one of them. Nothing here would ever get me to return to it. Easily one of the bottom five to ten worst beers I've had the displeasure of quaffing.


*This is not from the infected batch.

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Photo of barleywinefiend
4/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Poured a butterscotch color with good good carbonation and a nice white cap

S: Lighter milk chocolate, caramel, toffee, butterscotch

T: At room temp this beer comes alive with a whirlwind of flavors. Some smooth nutty elements, perhaps pecans, some toffee and light caramel, hints of butterscotch present, chocolate comes in midway thorugh to the end. Nice chocolate feel, not overlydone but for a chocolate ale I thought it should have finished stronger.

M: Nice feel, had some Co2 in there, sweet, light booze, medium body

D: Good

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Photo of bluejacket74
3.97/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 ml caged and corked bottle, Batch 2010-2 (I don't think this is one of the infected batches), best before 09-2011. I saw this on sale at Bridge Liquors recently, and I've never had this beer before so I figured why not buy it? Served in a tulip (as recommended on Boulevard's website), the brew pours a hazy dark amber with about an inch light tan head. Head retention is good, and there's a decent amount of lacing. Aroma is nice, it smells like chocolate, vanilla, and caramel. Taste is similar to the aroma, it tastes like bittersweet and milk chocolate, tootsie rolls, nuts, and some booze and bready malt. Mouthfeel/body is medium, it's slick with moderate carbonation. I liked this brew, although I would like to try a fresher bottle sometime. Definitely worth a try.

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Photo of VelvetExtract
3.73/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-Pours surprisingly orange. Was expecting this to be darker. Head is bubbly, even, and larger. Retains to a degree and leaves slight lacing.

S-My first initial thought was not chocolate. Mostly just generically sweet and a surprising amount of corn. Strange nose.

T-Here she lies. A pretty spot-on chocolate flavor. Very, very sweet. I liked it more at the beginning than at the end. Nutty as well.

M-Not as heavy as expected. Good amounts of carbonation. Overall, a medium bodied beer with a sugary lingering feel.

O/D-A cool gift for Valentine's Day. I was happy to try it but at about $10 for the 750 ml, I think I kinda wasted my money.

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Photo of pat61
4.4/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

I am drinking this on tap at the Bryant Lake Bowl. It pours a light, slightly hazy brownish amber with a thin white cap that leaves whore stocking lace. The nose is chocolate over light grains with some light sugars. It has a very intensely chocolate palate which is surprising for a beer this light colored. It actually starts a little thin and grows in body and character as it moves over the tongue and finishes with lingering chocolate tastes. The chocolate is semi-sweet to a little more. Medium body and medium levels of fine soft carbonation.

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Photo of avalon07
3.79/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

L: Poured from a bottle to a pint glass. Had a dull orange color and a cloudy texture. There was an inch and a half of foamy head that lasted a fair amount of time. Average lacing.

S: A subtle aroma of malt, chocolate, and a booziness.

T: Tasted of a good amount of malt, some grain, a breadiness, booze and chocolate. This last item pops up in the finish, but is somewhat muted. A forceful flavor, for better or worse.

M: A good amount of carbonation with a powerful, alcohol-heavy finish. Full-bodied.

O: This is a very bold and generally well done beer. It has its flaws, but worth a shot.

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Photo of tigg924
3.73/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: 3/4 inch head, moderate carbonation, brownish-orange in color, cloudy

Smell: toasted malt and chocolate

Taste: toasted malt and caramel at the start, pale malt, then big cocoa in the middle an at the end

Mouthfeel: sweet with a slightly bitter backbone, moderate-high carbonation, light bodied

Overall: Very chocolaty. Love the big cocoa taste and it still tastes like beer. This is another beer from Boulevard, that when I first started drinking it, I was like this is just above average. Then it will hit me that it is very good, then I will go back and forth between above average and good until I discovered I finished the bottle and want more...So long story short--a good beer, but Boulevard makes better--or maybe they don't...yes I will get this again--once a year for Valentine's day.

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Photo of scruffwhor
2.62/5  rDev -30.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Great foam, head and stickage. PLus some great lacing in this dar bronze colored beer. Looks like a sipper to me.

Tart cocoa nibs with medium toasted crackers. But the undeniable undertone of Virgin grean grapes and Granny Smith Apples is undeniable. This does not smell like a chocolate beer.

Tastes lie green apple, green apples, vinegar, toasted malts, and a little cocoa powder.

Not a good beer really. Interesting, but not much to recommend.

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Photo of maximum12
4.1/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Ever just not feel like beer-hunting? It's a rare feeling for me, but I just didn't feel like scrambling around town for a bottle of Chocolate when it came out. So imagine my surprise to see a lonely bottle on a shelf recently. Naturally, I ambled over & picked it up. Shared with my wife.

And for the love of steaming shit, Boulevard, do something about your corks. You're the only brewery that I regularly have to use a backhoe to get the damn cork out. I know I'm going to bust a neck & slice a vein on a Smokestack brew someday.

First off, this pours the weirdest color ever for a chocolate beer - orange. Plenty of hovering sediment in the mix, despite leaving the bottom ounce or two in the 750ML bottle. Smells good, malt & citrus influenced chocolate.

Chocolate Ale is a chocolate keynote address: wow! Chock blocks assail the senses, & only when the shock begins to wear off do other pieces of taste emerge. Plenty of spice in the batter, sweet malt playing off the main ingredient, then nice hops on the down plane, citrus, bitter, really balances this out nicely. For a beer this sweet, that bitter swipe at the end makes it much more drinkable.

Tips into excellent territory. Thought this might be a gimmick, but in reality it's a well-crafted brew that pleases this crowd of two. The Smokestack Series is as good a line of beer as you can get - keep it up, Boulevard (& use caps!).

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Chocolate Ale from Boulevard Brewing Co.
3.77 out of 5 based on 963 ratings.
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