Chocolate Ale | Boulevard Brewing Co.

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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 Badger6
4.09/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured out of a 750mL bottle into a tulip.

A: Others were surprised by the color...but this is not a stout. Dark coppery color, slightly hazy, active carbonation. Off white, foamy head, almost no retention, receded quickly to a decent ring at the glade edge, almost no lacing.

S: Chocolate and malt. The chocolate is a complementary aroma to the malts. Seems there is some happiness, but not distinct. Slightly boozy.

T: Chocolate stands out. Starts malty, but quickly turns over to chocolate, which builds into the finish and through the aftertaste. This is all about chocolate. No happiness at all in the flavors.

M: Medium to robust body. Carbonation on the palate is not as much as expected form the visible carbonation. Seems very balanced to the body. Slightly dry.

O: Unique and interesting. Wasn't sure if I'd like this, but the manager had 6 bottles, would only let me buy one, so i figured I was up for it. Glad I did. This is an ale, feels like it, drinks like it, but it's chocoaltey. Not like a milk shake, or a chocolate stout. It is an ale infused with chocolate flavor through and through. Very funky, in a really good way.

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Photo of chinchill
3.78/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at the 2014 Secret Stash Bash (Atlanta).
Pours clear dark amber. Very good head.

Nose is mainly rousted chocolate nibs. Chocolate really comes out in this ale.\: Ii's actually the main flavor component. Still, not as tasty as fine chocolate on its own, but an impressive brewing achievement.

Medium light body medium carbonation.

O: exceptional and unusual.

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Photo of alphagnome
3.19/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

The color caught me off guard, I was expecting a dark brown or black body... What I got was a hazy rust colored body, that is topped with a fantastic, porous off-white head. The retention is poor though as the head was almost entirely gone in about a minute. No lacing and minimal carbonation.

When I close my eyes, I don't have to stretch the imagination much.. what I get is rich, sweet fondue chocolate. Heavy cocoa laced with fruit notes, mostly orange and strawberry. A bit of caramel is noticeable.

Unfortunately, the flavor profile isn't as well received as the aroma. Sweet notes of milk chocolate notes hit upfront, until darker chocolate hit bringing along with it some bitter notes. I get some fruit notes, but they aren't pronounced like they were in the aroma. For being 9%, the alcohol isn't detectable at all - unfortunately, this is the highlight. The chocolate notes mentioned are just not enjoyable and the aftertaste is that of cocoa powder with an almost chalky quality.

Smooth and easy to drink and surprisingly light-bodied. Light carbonation and semi-dry finish.

I was really looking forward to this, as I do all of Boulevard's Smokestack beers. To say I'm a fan of Boulevard is an understatement. Sadly, as I glared at the empty bottle, I wish I hadn't purchased it - a first for a BLVD beer. It's worth sampling, as it's unique enough to warrant the addition to your palette... BUT(!) I'd recommend going in on a bottle with a bunch of friends - finishing a bottle by yourself might prove a challenge otherwise.

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Photo of Mein_Bier_Stein
1.9/5  rDev -49.6%
look: 2.25 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 1.75

750ml 09-2014, tulip, drank 2/2014

Loud pop, too much carbonation. Not what I was hoping. Have had previous iterations of BCA. They were MUCH better. They had less carbonation, more sweetness and a fantastic aroma, but not this bottle. Have had previous years, both 750s and on tap.

A - Copper / amber color, very much what I expected. Lots of carbonation, not expecting this. Halfway expecting a dry finish beer due to bottle fermentation. Head dies quickly, light lacing.

S - Yeast. Where is the chocolate? Where is the vanilla? If you wait minutes and sneak up on the glass then you can get a faint chocolate aroma. I get more chocolate aroma from a reeses peanut butter cup package, ugh. If you want to smell the cocoa, then you will have to wait again for it to come back, because it goes away very quickly. Never got vanilla from it this time.

T - Dusty, dry finish slightly bitter finish that may be due to the bitter cocoa. Tangy. Guessing that is what they intended because the bottle reads 'fruity cocoa', but more Saison like.

M - Bit of carbonation bite, after it sits while awaiting the cocoa aroma. Much more carbonation at the first pour.

O - A disappointment. Seriously, avoid this.

I could claim I was spoiled by the previous BCA offerings, but I do not think so. I get more chocolate aroma from beers that lay no claim to using chocolate in the brew!

General commentary; I do not know what is going on with Boulevard, I have had plenty of misses with their smokestack 750ml and this is certainly one of them. Yeast poisoning? Remember a couple of years ago they pulled BCA off the market? Yep, due to yeast poisoning. Read the reviews of on tap vs 750 for the 2014 BCA, they seem to vary greatly.

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Photo of BeerFMAndy
3.79/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

750 ml bottle poured into a snifter.
9.1% ABV

A - The cork's loud pop proclaims this beer has some carbonation! One might usually expect a chocolate beer to be a dark beer but this Boulevard created a bit of a shock leaving the bottle; clear amber in color. Lace sticks to the glass with some fever as the off-white head subsides.

S - Cocoa bean gives the aroma an immediate authenticity but it doesn't quite smell like chocolate, more like old, dried up baking morsels and a pile of cocoa powder with a nice underlying biscuity maltiness.

T - Boulevard's collaboration with Christopher Elbow crosses the tongue with a flavor profile much more akin to a pleasing confection; nudges of toffee sweetness back up a hint of milk chocolate that hides behind dusty cocoa and cocoa beans.

M - The pop of the cork was right; this is a highly carbonated beer. Alcohol hides well considering the beer is fairly lighter bodied as it finishes with a nod to sweetness but lands more on the dry side.

O - Boulevard's Chocolate Ale collaboration has quite a bit of authenticity to it's flavor profile as opposed to artificial ingredients but it doesn't quite help the fact that dusty cocoa and cocoa bean don't give quite a nice liquidy chocolate profile the label's decorated with. This Smokestack series is a nice offering in and of itself but doesn't quite stand up to the series' otherwise impressive gamut.

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Photo of StaveHooks
3.46/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

750ml bottle served in a Old Guardian tulip

A - Brassy copper color with a creamy off-white head. Not what I expected it to look like. Nice retention and lacing.

S - Cocoa powder and caramel malts, some bready nuttiness, toast.

T - Follows the nose with cocoa and caramel malt, the chocolate is dry and not sweet. The sweetness comes from the caramel/toffee malts, there's some yeastiness as well. Not alot going on other than that. Finishes dry with a cocoa aftertaste.

M - Smooth medium body, plenty of carbonation, dry finish.

Well I expected this beer to pour dark so I was surprised to see such a light color. It taste good but it's not great. Glad I tried it but this is probably a one and done.

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Photo of Fender616
1.76/5  rDev -53.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

I was really excited when I bough this beer, completely happy to pay around $14 for it. Boulevard is an amazing brewery, and produce some of my favorite beer. This little nugget was unfortunately nowhere close amazing, and pretty far off from decent.

A - Definitely not the color I was expecting. Amber, not dark at all. Fine, cool, whatever.

S - Dingy liquid Motrin. Vague Tootsie Roll smell. Smell's like the spray they use in the Hershey's gift shop.

T- Truly terrible. Hardly any "chocolate" at all, except for that weird off-Tootsie Roll flavor. Something akin to cough syrup.

M - Fine, well carbonated, light bodied.

Overall- Really, really disappointed. What the impression I came away with was a Michelob Ultra flavored with Tootsie Roll extract.

Definitely not worth $14. If you're curious about trying this beer, I'd save your money. Or get your friend to buy it. Total disaster, I literally poured this down the drain.

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Photo of BarryMFBurton
3.76/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Batch #CH13354-1, best by September of this year.

A: Pours an unexpected amber color with a fizzy, finely-bubbled white head above; looks like your typical IPA or amber ale. A quick moment and the head has vanished, leaving a paper-thin layer of retention and no lacing.

S: A light (but unique) ale nose of grainy malts and gourmet chocolate scents: the dessert character of peanut butter and chocolate fondue are drizzled over a mix of raw, rigid husk and wheat toast. Something about the blend gives it an odd plastic aroma, like a Ziploc bag, but it’s not overpowering (though it is constantly noticeable).

T: Earthy, nutty balance places this beer pretty evenly between adjuncts and malt. At first, you can taste that plastic flavor from the nose, but it’s quickly overtaken; what emerge are the dominant tones of nut, with an emphasis on cashew, chestnut, and peanut brittle. A milky, gourmet chocolate taste comes wrapped up in it all, but it never gets center stage, surprisingly. Instead, the palate of a typical Belgian wit take over: straw, white bread, yeasty coriander, and a palpable wheat fruitiness (mainly apricot) rise up. Finishes on that note, slightly grainy but with a grounded sweetness like a Tootsie roll – only lightly chocolaty. But still, there’s that plastic note from the nose lingering in the finish; it’s there to remind you that not all is right here, unfortunately.

M: There’s a soft, creamy quality to this beer’s body that gives the chocolate of the palate an instant foothold; once you sip it, you can instantly make the connection. Carbonation, though, is a bit distracting at times, adding a champagne-like crispness to the body.

O: When it comes to dark ale adjuncts, chocolate seems to be fairly common. Here, Boulevard seems to have had something special in master chocolatier Christopher Elbow, and that shows: the cacao you taste is gourmet. But the beer is hindered by a sad off-flavor, a plastic-y case of what I think is over-carbonation. When I twisted the cork off I was surprised by the pressure it had – that thing ripped out of there like a gunshot – and when I poured I could instantly smell the off-aroma. I’m pretty sure this is unfiltered, though, so I guess it could also be a yeast off-flavor. But, in all, there’s obvious quality beneath this beer’s missteps; I just wish the bottle wasn’t so damn expensive ($14 for 750mL) so I could give it a second chance without feeling insane…

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Photo of Fcolle2
3.65/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours copper in color with a big amount of haze and some light sediment. Head is one finger offwhite fizzy and dissipates rather quickly.

Smell is good. Lots of coaco laced throught the whole thing but there is a small amount funk overlaying it which is slightly hard to determain the origin of. There are also light amounts of toffee vanilla and straw like aromas.

Taste is different then the nose. Toffee and caramel malt is forward followed by a slight presence of vanilla. Big amounts of booze dominate the midsection while a funky tang finishes. Not much coaco is present in the taste if at all.

Mouthfeel is good. High carbonation and stickiness seem nicely balanced. There is a somewhat vinigar like sticky sour finish but is very light and not intrusive.

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Photo of DominoDoug
2.19/5  rDev -41.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 2.5

Copper appearance. Almost a tart/sour smell to it. Zero chocolate flavor. I saw people raving about this and had to buy a bottle. Brewer commented via twitter that "it's not a chocolate bar". What about any chocolate at all? Rather persuaded to see if I can return this bottle for a refund after feeling rather cheated.

2014 vintage

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Photo of snargles
2.63/5  rDev -30.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 2.5

I must agree with many of those who have tried this 2014 batch of Boulevard chocolate ale, the chocolate is faint and barely noticeable. Two years ago I kept going back to BCA because it was quite simply one of the best beers I've ever had. It was a surprisingly easy drinker back then as well, which was strange for a chocolate beer (of course it's not a stout or porter). The balance of chocolate was spot on, a perfect blend that was just sweet enough. It appears this beer has fallen victim to the cost-cutting methods or alternate recipes so many brewers implement to stretch out ingredients and increase production on high-demand limited release beers. I had been eagerly awaiting this beer perhaps more than any other in the last two years and am severely disappointed with the bottle I drank. I just paid 13.99 + tax for a beer that had absolutely no business being in a high priced bomber. Sure it's a solid "3.0" beer to be put in a 6 pack for 7.99 and sold as a typical craft amber ale or something, but with chocolate that isn't pronounced, and sold as "chocolate ale" for around 15$, ratings should be adjusted accordingly. The difference between the bottles I bought in 2012 and 2014 was night and day. I even think 2012 was clearer copper color, while 2014 looked cloudy when poured. I have one more bottle I'll put away and pray for some miraculous aging and I'll try to find it on tap to compare, but wow. MAJOR letdown. Looking at all the wildly variable reviews on this beer... maybe it's just one of those inconsistent beers where every now and then you get a special batch. *sigh*

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Photo of Nostrajonus
4.24/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

A- This is much lighter than I imagined it would be. Light brown with a two finger bubbly white head that fades quick leaving no lacing.

S- Chocolate...and thats about it. This smells great..not a bitter dark chocolate smell but more milk chocolate.

T- Much like the smell, chocolate is the only thing noticable here. The milk chocolate flavor becomes more pronounced with every drink.

M-The mouthfeel is not as full as as I would like it to be. Very light.

O- This beer was kind of confusing intially with the light color and the lack of texture. All in all I really enjoyed it. I appreciated the milk chocolate flavors just because I'm so used to encountering dark chocolate flavors. I will snag a bottle of this when I see it next.

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Photo of Oxymoron
2.66/5  rDev -29.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

New release with big hype. Pours a mostly brown color with crystal clear clairty. A soft white head with bigger bubbles and good retention.

The nose is limited. Mostly a soft malt tone with a caramel and vegi undertone. Some minor chocolate but really needs more. Some fusel notes and noticeable green bell pepper note. Some minor yeast but mostly clean. A touch of green apple.

The taste is limited as well. The higher alcohol is hidden as it leaves a lack of depth. A soft caramel note with a hint of tobacco and chocolate. Really would like more chocolate notes here. Veg notes come out more vs nose. Some yeast notes come out more vs the nose but noticeable off notes.

The body is moderate to mod light. For the ABV would like a bit more complexity. Carbonation is good. Overall a bit disappointing.

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Photo of Powli
4.66/5  rDev +23.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

BEWARE!!! I had this beer last week on release day and today on tap (in disbelief). It smelled of delicious chocolate somewhere between milk and dark. It tasted fantastic, somewhere between the two again. The look was the last thing I would expect to be a chocolate ale, but had a fantastic deep amber transparent color with a fair head. Mouthfeel was great.

Enter the bottle. Nothing similar. Nothing even close. Shocked at the difference and sincerely disappointed at the lack of consistency between bottle and tap. The bottle tasted and smelled much more like a spicy saison. Luckily I got 2. I will be placing the second in bottle conditioning temperatures for a few months to see how well it develops.

Overall. I'm not sure I could even pick out the fact that these came from the same brewery between tasting both mediums.

On tap: 4.75/5

Bottle: 2.5/5

Severely frustrated with these results!

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Photo of EclipseGT
2.85/5  rDev -24.4%
look: 5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

I want to love this beer and I want to be able to get excited for it every February but I can't. I feel cheated...

The one BIG problem I have with Boulevard's Chocolate Ale is the fact that I really could not taste any chocolate. The chocolate should be the HERO of the beer hence the name CHOCOLATE ale and it's not. There was just so much going on in my mouth, that I begin to wonder what it is that i am drinking. Don't get me wrong, the taste is alright but I don't get what all the hype is about with this beer. Where is the chocolate at? One of my friends tried it last weekend to see what all the hype was about and the first thing she asked was... where is the chocolate? I have tasted Boulevards Chocolate Ale, Young's Double Chocolate Stout, and Samuel Adams Chocolate Bock and my favorite of the three is Samuel Adams Chocolate Bock.

I expected a a rich chocolatey taste but was left with .. ???? Maybe I should add Hershey's chocolate syrup to it...

Sadly .. I will not be buying this brew next year unless they change the recipe by making the chocolate the HERO of the beer!

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Photo of ajzbedo73
1.63/5  rDev -56.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 1.75 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1 | overall: 1.5

Been waiting 3 years to try this! Lucked into 1 bottle. Here goes.

A: Poured from a 750ml bottle corked and caged into a tulip glass. 2 fingers white/cream head. Body is amber and murky. Minimal lacing that disappears quickly.

S: Hmm. No chocolate. As a matter of fact, its the goddamned green beans! Damn it!

T: A little boozy. A tootsie roll, a damn tootsie roll. WTF! The finish is funky. Like...well, the green beans I smelled. Dirty green beans. Unpleasant to say the least.

M: Watery, watery, watery...did I mention watery? Damn it!

O: I wanted to love this beer. I'm a boulevard freak. But I'm let down big time. A waste of 14 bucks. I hate that I hate it. I feel like I'm betraying you boulevard. Maybe it is you that betrayed me! I got caught up in the hype. I feel stupid. You should feel stupid, because the beer is horrible. A damn tootsie roll? After all the hype I get a goddamned tootsie roll that smells like dirty green beans? I will never, never buy this beer again!

Note: I realize people smelled and tasted green beans from the "infected" batch 2 years ago. That did not influence my review. I smelled what I smelled and tasted what I tasted. I'm starting to think the batch wasn't infected at all. Its just a bad, bad beer.

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Photo of Bosoxfan20
3.33/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A- Pours a near peach, amber color with a frothy tan head of 2.5 fingers.

S- Tootsie Rolls immediately come to mind. Chocolate cake frosting. Quite profound amidst the normal fried food bar aroma. I love the smell of a chocolate beer, and this one takes a back seat to none of them.

T- Follows nose with cocoa nibs and chocolate icing. Some caramel, slight toffee and nuttiness makes its way. Yeah, the chocolate character is fantastic, but nothing stands out to go with it, thus leaving this one lacking complexity.

M- Light, low carbonation, clean and fairly smooth.

O- I don't think I totally get this one. Appreciate the ingenuity, but doesn't provide the depth I desire. Aroma is a true star. People went bonkers for this one around KC and I have to say it is probably the weakest of the Smokestack series that I have had.

Pair with chicken and waffles
$15 for 750ml

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Photo of 44Stone
3.61/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a Boulevard Tulip, on tap at 44 Stone.

Smells of cocoa, yeast and fruit. Taste is faintly Milk Chocolate, with a slightly creamy finish with a Cocoa tastes that intensifies as it warms. Very smooth and velvety for a 9.1% beer, there is a mild alcohol warmth at the end.

Not as 'Yoo-Hoo' like as the version from 2 years ago, in a good way. Very drinkable and pleasant, but not mind-blowing. Worth a try for sure.

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Photo of THE-DUDE
3.15/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.25

With all the hype around this beer, the lines at the liquor stores, the 1 bottle per person limit, i had high expectations....perhaps too high. I thought it would taste more chocolatey. There is definitely a chocolate flavor but it more like a faint very mild cocoa truffle like flavor. The chocolate taste is more present on the backside of the drink and definitely more so as it warms. The beer definitely tastes better than it smells, in my opinion. The smell was not so pleasant to me, but perhaps i am just not that familiar with high end chocolate and this is how it smells.

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Photo of LambicPentameter
4.23/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Enjoyed on tap at Bier Station after a day of Chocolate Ale frenzy in Kansas City. Seriously, the combo of Christopher Elbow fans and craft beer fanatics in this city make the hunt for this beer insane. Seems like Boulevard could easily do some kind of event along the lines of Dark Lord Day and turn it into a full-blown spectacle. But I digress--served in a 16 oz Belgian tulip glass.

Appearance - Pours a rusty-orange body with a nice amount of haze to it and some twinges of russet bown. Reminiscent of a nut brown ale. Atop the body sits a one finger sudsy head that is a light tan, somewhat like cocoa powder. Retention is fleeting, with the head soon retracting to a rim of suds around the edge of the glass. No lacing that I can see.

Smell - I honestly expected more of a chocolatey note, sort of like what you might get from a nice rich stout, but instead there is a faint hint of cocoa powder, along with more dominant notes of hazelnut and bready malt and a faint bit of vanilla and creme caramel.

Taste - Now that's more like it. In my opinion, the taste must be why people rave about this beer, because it's a wonderfully succulent yet delicate wafting of cocoa and blonde brownies, but not quite as rich. Completely different than the kind of ganache and baker's chocolate bittersweet notes you get from stouts, this one is a more of a milk chocolate kind of taste, but the inherent nature of the beverage--fermented malt grain--is still very much present. Not overpowering with booze, but there is a pleasant grainy presence to provide a backbone for the decadent chocolatey notes. The hazelnut that I detected in the aroma is also present to round out the flavor.

Mouthfeel - Medium-bodied and low carbonation. Fairly smooth and low bitterness, with just enough bite from the CO2 to give the beer a bit of texture. Quite drinkable, especially for a 9% ale.

Overall, I can't really say that the beer lives up to the crazytown hysterics that people go through to get it, but that is no fault of the beer. The way people hunt this one down is simply unreasonable for ANY beer, even one as delicious as this one. It certainly shows just how creative Boulevard can get with their brews, demonstrating that you can infuse chocolate into a beer without making a stout or porter. I can't help but wonder how ridiculous getting hands on a bottle would be if this was just Boulevard Chocolate Ale instead of Chocolate Ale by Boulevard in Collaboration With Christopher Elbow.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
4.23/5  rDev +12.2%
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 fostah
3.37/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

From the infected batch:

I realized this after my initial taste of the bottle (with a "Best By" date of 08/2012, by the way... guess I missed that) and it tasted... off. I checked the bottle, something I should've done a year or so (or more!) ago, and thought I had, but obviously hadn't: 2011-1. Ding! Ding! Ding! We have a Winnah!!! So, with that information in my head, I settled in to review the beer I HAD, not the beer Boulevard intended, or the beer I THOUGHT I had. The beer in the glass: a known infected batch of Boulevard's Chocolate Ale, that has been sitting upright in my basement, in temperatures varying from approximately 55-60 degrees for about a year (give or take).

Pours a nice mahogony, with a tan/off-white head. Head sticks around for a bit, and laces the glass. Nose of bitter cocoa, some gentle funk that I didn't expect .
Initial tastes: sharp sour funk, with bitter choocolate flowing underneath. This beer is clearly not right, but in an "oh so good" way. The chocolate, though strong, stays underneath a stiff tart, that turns fruity toward the end. It finishes acidic, with that chocolate underneath, giving the impression of a mouthfull of pennies, kind of metallic

I wonder if every bottle was bad in the recalled batches, or just some? Also, along those lines, did aging the beer work with the infection, and improve the flavor (completely unlike that of the fresh infected bottle reviews I've read), or did I have a clean bottle in a bad batch, and catch something in the cellar? Either way, this was a delight.

If I review the beer against what it was SUPPOSED to be, its a total miss. Maybe a 2.0, because the chocolate is still noticeable.

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Photo of metter98
3.78/5  rDev +0.3%
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 UCLABrewN84
3.69/5  rDev -2.1%
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.

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Photo of Chirpie
2.84/5  rDev -24.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I've had around 6 bottles of this stuff over the last few years. You'd think by looking at my rating that I would've stopped with 2 at the most. LOL

My first introduction to this beer was the infected version (Some Brett yeast infection from another part of BLVD's brewery was infected with this) and I must say... I think I preferred it. Not by much, but the mouthfeel, choco character, and aroma of the 2014 batch have all helped me decide that I'm officially staying away from this beer. I wish I could have my money back and put it towards buying more Saison-Brett, a completely superior beer in every way.

Almost no carbonation to speak of, flat as day old soda.

Barely there smell, and nothing jumps out at you. Not in a well-balanced way, more in an underwhelming way.

Those who say there's almost no chocolate flavor to be had... are right. They could completely change the label and one wouldn't be the wiser. Again, not well balanced or subtle, just disappointing.

The only upside is the appearance. (Damning with feint praise.) It's a friendly auburn color that looks attractive with any light shining through it.

If you're new to the Smokestack series, avoid this one, BLVD can do so much better.

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