Chocolate Ale | Boulevard Brewing Co.

very good
275 Reviews
no score
Send samples
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.

For Trade:
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 275 | Ratings: 963
Photo of Chirpie
2.84/5  rDev -24.5%
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.

 1,214 characters

Photo of Wasatch
4.2/5  rDev +11.7%
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.

 933 characters

Photo of bens0n
4.79/5  rDev +27.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer pours a clear brownish-amber color with a very minimal amount of head.

This is by far one of the best smelling beers I have ever had... It smells like extremely rich sweet milk chocolate. I spent a good 5-10 minutes just smelling this beer before I even felt like taking a sip it smelled so good. It has a sweet chocolatey smell I have never experienced before among countless chocolate stouts and imperial stouts.

Flavor wise that rich, sweet milk chocolate carries over into the rest of the beer. Its as close to a pure chocolate tasting beer as I think you can get. The flavor isn't as overpowering as the delightful aroma but its still a very flavor packed brew. It has a nice thickness and it goes down smooth, very little carbonation. Would love to try this again sometime.

 791 characters

Photo of Pegasus
4.35/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Depp golden amber, with an abundance of sediment, a large dense white head, and thick, creamy glass-coating lace.

Aroma: Aroma is of bittersweet chocolate, sweet coffee, and toasted bread.

Taste: Sweet cocoa at the open and a little caramel, as the taste progresses, some mild roasted espresso notes follow, enhancing the chocolate flavor, there is a little sweetened milk as well, Finishes with a ghostly hop presence, and a long, lingering note of semisweet chocolate.

Mouth feel: Smooth, soft, very pleasant and full, almost creamy.

Drinkability/notes: Simply exquisite, pairs very well with chocolate cake. A superb accomplishment of craft brewing.

Presentation: Packaged in a 750 ml bomber with a cork and cage, served in a Chimay chalice.

 761 characters

Photo of Daktyls
3.62/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a hazy dark amber color with a one finger ivory head that quickly dissipates to very little lacing around the glass. Poured from a 750ml bottle into an SA Perfect Pint.

S: Smells lightly of cocoa up front with light notes of malt in the background, other than that, not a whole lot going on.

T: Ah, a little different from the aroma. Taste is of bitter cocoa up from (almost like a sour) with some earthy hops and light notes of malts. Dark fruits are present almost to the extent that I would classify this a Belgian over a Strong Ale.

M: A lot of flavor going on, certainly a big bodied beer with a medium amount of carbonation that goes well together.

O: This beer was surprising from the nose to the taste. I was expecting a little bit more chocolately sweetness but, what I did experience was interesting and enjoyable.

 838 characters

Photo of John_M
3.8/5  rDev +1.1%
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).

 680 characters

Photo of Kegatron
3.97/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 ml corked & caged bottle into a couple of glasses.

Pours a clear rosy amber, topped with a ½ finger of smooth off-white head. This leaves back a foamy cascade of light spotty lacing that quickly slides down the sides of the glass. The aroma smells of earthy hops, cocoa, light toffee and a gentle toasted nuttiness. This has an interesting mix of flavors going on with it.

The taste is green earthy hops, more of a softer fruitiness that pairs up well with the cocoa accents here, some tangier feeling caramel flavor and then finally dry and bitter on the finish with a light lingering nuttiness. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with a smooth and creamy feel up front that then lays a touch of sharpness on the tongue the rest of the way. Alcohol adds some spicy warmth to this, especially on the finish.

This wasn’t what I was initially thinking this was going to be (thought it was going to be darker) but that was OK! I liked how the chocolate here was more of a complimentary flavor to the others things that were going on with this, while the higher alcohol gives this a heft that made it more of a warming after dinner sipper. This was well crafted and interesting.

 1,183 characters

Photo of MaximalC
3.38/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I will preface this review by saying the bottle says "best by 08-2012", and today is August 1st...

*It also turns out that I had one of the "infected" batches (2011-1).

Pours a dark honey color with sufficient khaki head that settles down momentarily. The appearance is vastly different than what I had envisioned for a "chocolate ale". The aroma smells vaguely of dark fruit and milk chocolate, with some alcohol. Pretty underwhelming for a beer with such a decadent description on the bottle, and certainly not as chocolately as I expected. The odd presentation, unfortunately, serves as a worthy harbinger of the flavors to come. This tastes like a generic Belgian-style ale with adjuncts of chocolate-covered cherries, perhaps with a creme filling. It tastes a little sour up front before the chocolate manifests itself, along with the aforementioned cherries. Neither the chocolate nor the cherries are prominent enough to serve as the backbone this brew desperately needs. This tastes more like a shadow of what was intended, and this could very well be due to the fact this bottle was approaching its best by date, but not necessarily so. The finish is characterized by a bitterness that was previously concealed by everything else.

On the whole, I must admit I was disappointed by this offering from Boulevard, and I say this as a huge fan of some of their other brews. This chocolate ale was short on chocolate and on definition--far too nuanced for me to ever get a grip on what quite it was supposed to be. Hopefully it can be forgiven on account of the proximity to its best by date.

 1,598 characters

Photo of bluejacket74
3.97/5  rDev +5.6%
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.

 777 characters

Photo of drabmuh
3.65/5  rDev -2.9%
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.

 542 characters

Photo of dogfish7
4.74/5  rDev +26.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

If you like chocolate this is the beer for you.
Literally tasted like a liquid tootsie roll.

The pour was a medium-golden brown, semi-transparent. The head didn't stick around too long but get a quick wiff of what it had to offer and sip away.

The mouthfeel was light, easy to move around the pallet if served around the right temperature.

The finish was pretty silky, I got a lot of tootsie roll out of it, which it made it very much like a desert beer.

I probably couldn't drink more than 8-10 oz at a time so I would recommend a bottle share if you get the 750.

 568 characters

Photo of KDawg
3.62/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

poured from bottle into a pint glass. Pours a medium brown color that is slightly see through with a small head.

Very good and pungent aromas of chocolate, roasted malts, coffee and a touch of hops as well. Nice balance with good depth.

Medium/full bodied with a nice feel, but it's a bit clipped on both the mid and finish. It thins out a slight bit with notes of chocolate, roasted malts and some hops.

A very good brew. It just slightly misses for me on several levels, but was a good starter to the Euro final.

 517 characters

Photo of scruffwhor
2.62/5  rDev -30.3%
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.

 451 characters

Photo of GarthDanielson
4.02/5  rDev +6.9%
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.

 512 characters

Photo of Goblinmunkey7
2.85/5  rDev -24.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Appearance: Deep amber with a touch of haze to it. Head appears after an aggressive pour but disappears completely in a matter of minutes. No lacing, no collar, nothing.

Smell: Milk chocolate, a touch of fatty white chocolate, and some deeper cocoa notes. It also has an odd vegetal quality. Some roasted malts and caramel sweetness as well. Sweet and roasty with a big chocolate presence. A touch of alcohol on the back as well. A touch

Taste: Bitter cocoa. Milk chocolate and a smooth, pure sweet white chocolate. Roasted malts round out the back and help cut through some of the sweetness. Oddly sweet, like old chocolate. The same odd vegetable thing comes out as the beer warms. Fruity esters and undercooked grain. A solid amount of chocolate, but not necessarily good quality chocolate.

Mouthfeel: A little thinner than expected. Some nice carbonation and a smooth mouthfeel help make up for the missing body.

Overall: A unique take on chocolate beer, but it loses something in the long run. The chocolate flavors feel old and waxy and don't really help anything. It's all there, but it wasn't put together correctly.

 1,144 characters

Photo of TheSevenDuffs
3.88/5  rDev +3.2%
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.

 822 characters

Photo of Goliath
3.5/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This beeer pours a light amber color with a large 2 inch light tan head. The head quickly receeds to a thin film.

The aroma is decent. There's a nice malt sweetness, a touch of raw grain, some fruity esters, and of course a bit of chocolate.

The taste is incredibly interesting. I'm not sure if this beer is supposed to be this way or not? It's lightly sweet as I taste, giving way to some lighter malts providing some raw grain and chocolate. The part I'm curious about is it finishes a little tart, almost vinegary. I can't tell if this is intentional or if this beer has been infected. I'm not sure how I feel about it either.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied and brightly carbonated with a fine bubbled efforvescence.

Overall it's an extremely interesting beer. However, I feel mine's gone bad and I'm not sure how to rate it. I'll put one in but I'm getting a new bottle.

 878 characters

Photo of iabeerbaron
3.47/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

"Aroma was more subtle than I thought it would be, chocolate, vanilla, maybe a little coffee aroma in there. A nice thick tanish colored heat, huge amounts of lacing. Flavor is chocolate through and through with some vanilla in there as well. A fantastic beer for chocolate lovers! Well done Boulevard!"

 303 characters

Photo of Rhettroactive
1.79/5  rDev -52.4%
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.

 1,393 characters

Photo of billab914
2.44/5  rDev -35.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Thanks to IrishColonial for sharing this one the other night. Poured from a 750ml bottle into my CBS snifter. It poured reddish copper in color with a thin white lacing. Color was nice looking but not at all what I expected for a chocolate beer.

The aroma has a very strange green bean flavor to it. Some Belgian yeast spice is there and a hint of chocolate but the combination just comes off so vegetal like. I can't stop thinking of green beans every time I take a whiff.

The taste shows a little more chocolate to it with some cocoa lasting into the finish. The Belgian yeast gives it a bit of a earthy, spicy flavor. A little too much cocoa powder like though. It doesn't come together well at all for me.

The mouthfeel is thin with carbonation being high. Overall I didn't think this was a good beer at all and most of it got dumped in the sink. The green bean aroma was probably the strangest aroma I've ever encountered in a beer. It didn't taste as bad as it smelled, but it wasn't that great either.

* I didn't write down the batch number on the bottle but we looked it up before we opened it and it was not one of the reportedly infected batches they are offering refunds for.

 1,193 characters

Photo of LiquidAmber
4.77/5  rDev +26.9%
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.

 435 characters

Photo of vkv822
3.95/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

750ml bottle into tulip snifter.

Pours a clear orange with a fizzy, foamy light toffee colored head.

The aroma is of cocoa and a light spice character from the hops.

Smooth, earthy cocoa, that blends incredibly with the grassy, spicey hop notes.

A medium body with soft carbonation.

An interesting beer, the cocoa is unique and really blends well with the hop character.

 375 characters

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

Thanks to JeepCop for this bottle...

A: Pours a nice redish-brown, a translucent light ruby color with one full finger of bone white head that settles nicely over time. There is a bit of lacing as it drinks.

S: The nose is sour cherry, raspberry, and lemon. There is a slight bit of earth, but it's very minor.

T: The taste is big sour. It's super tart. There are huge flavors of cherry and lemon mixed with a bit of vinegar. It's astringent, that is for sure.

M: Medium bodied beer. It's light on the palate, but very tart. It's stinging.

O: I understand that this is one of the infected bottles (2011-1), but I've had infected Boulevard beers before and they still deliver. This may not be what the Chocolate Ale is supposed to taste like, but it's still delicious. Labeled under any different name, and this is a delicious sour. It's super tart, super fruity, and surprisingly drinkable. In a month or so, this might change. I'm glad I opened it when I did. This beer could easily turn into an infection time-bomb in the near future. If you have a bottle... drink it now.

 1,079 characters

Photo of quirkzoo
4.09/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Trinity while waiting for Younger.

Pours much lighter than I was expecting, looks more like a light tan soda than a beer, very clear with minimal head. Whoa, the smell is pure chocolate. Like taking a container of unsweetened cocoa powder and snorting a line. Very bitter and complex without the usual sweetness I associate with chocolate, even dark chocolate is sweeter smelling than this. Very unique aroma. The taste is good but not quite as good as the aroma. Definitely still get a heavy chocolate taste with just enough malt backbone to remind you this is a beer. Hard to discern any hop presence behind the the bitterness of the cocoa. The mouthfeel was good, very easy to drink especially for 9%. Overall this is a very unique beer. Most chocolate beers I have tried have been beers flavored with chocolate, this is more like chocolate in beer form.

 868 characters

Photo of lurpy1
3.62/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at the Town Hall Tap.

Quite the brewing oddity here. Don't think I've ever seen so much cocoa packed into a beer so pale! The nut brown pour was quite a shock, me having been conditioned to expect chocolate beers to be dark, dark, dark. The smell is melted Hershey's bittersweet chocolate all the time. Interesting. But I can't say it's a great experience, simply because it isn't delicious. A bit overpoweringly bitter for me, but I think it's quite an accomplishment in brewing engineering.

 500 characters

Chocolate Ale from Boulevard Brewing Co.
3.76 out of 5 based on 963 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.