Dismiss Notice
We're celebrating 10 years of BeerAdvocate magazine with $10 print subscriptions for US residents.

Subscribe now!

Brooklyn Black OPS | Brooklyn Brewery

Log in or Sign up to start rating.
BA SCORE
92
outstanding
833 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score
Send samples
Brooklyn Black OPSBrooklyn Black OPS
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Brooklyn Brewery
New York, United States
brooklynbrewery.com

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.50%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
Brooklyn Black Ops (2008 commercially available version) was aged for four months in bourbon barrels, bottled flat, and re-fermented in the bottle with Champagne yeast. 940 cases produced.

10.7%-2008
11.6%-2009
11.3%-2010
10.7%-2011
10.5%-2012
11.5%-2013
11.6%-2014

Added by RixBeer on 12-20-2007

BEER STATS
Reviews:
833
Ratings:
2,344
Avg:
4.1
pDev:
12.93%
 
 
Wants:
454
Gots:
1,250
For Trade:
117
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 833 | Ratings: 2,344
Photo of superspak
4.2/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 ml bottle into snifter, bottled on 8/15/2016. Pours opaque dark brown/black color with a 1 finger dense khaki head with good retention, that reduces to a thin lace cap that lingers. Light spotty lacing clings on the glass, with a moderate amount of streaming carbonation retaining the cap. Aromas of big dark chocolate, cocoa, coffee, caramel, toffee, molasses, brown sugar, bourbon, toasted oak, vanilla, dark bread, almond, raisin, prune, fig, date, licorice, light char, and roast/oak earthiness. Touch of booziness appears as it warms. Damn nice complexity and balance of dark/roast/bready malt, bourbon barrel, and light-moderate fruity yeast notes; with great strength. Taste of huge dark chocolate, cocoa, coffee, caramel, toffee, molasses, brown sugar, bourbon, toasted oak, vanilla, dark bread, almond, raisin, prune, fig, date, licorice, light char, and roast/oak earthiness. Light-moderate roasted bitterness and bourbon/oak spiciness on the finish; with lingering notes of dark chocolate, cocoa, coffee, caramel, toffee, molasses, brown sugar, bourbon, toasted oak, vanilla, dark bread, almond, licorice, dark fruit, and roast/oak earthiness on the finish fora while. Fantastic complexity, robustness, and balance of dark/roast/bready malt, bourbon barrel, and light-moderate fruity yeast flavors; with a great roasted bitter/sweet and bourbon/oak spiciness balance, with zero cloying flavors after the finish. Light dryness from roast bitterness and bourbon/oak spiciness, increasing through the glass. Medium carbonation and medium-full body; with a very smooth, creamy, and fairly slick/sticky/chalky balanced mouthfeel that is great. Alcohol is very well hidden, a mild warmth lingering after the finish; with minimal barrel booziness, Overall this is an outstanding barrel aged Russian imperial stout! All around awesome complexity, robustness, and balance of dark/roast/bready malt, bourbon barrel, and light-moderate fruity yeast flavors; very smooth and easy to sip on for the big ABV. This was fruitier on the yeast presence than I expected; but is still spot on for an English styled RIS, with plenty of deep roast and bourbon barrel presence with great balance. A highly enjoyable offering.

 2,217 characters

Photo of Millwightdan
4.77/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

2nd best bba stout next to kbs of course.

L. Jet black with very little tanish brown head, less than one finger

S. Very strong chocolate, caramel and bourbon with slight coffee. The oak isn't that strong.. surprisingly since it's a bba

T. Caramel and chocolate are first. Strangely enough it's like biting into a snickers the second it hits your tongue. The vanillaish coffer flavor follows right before the slight boozy bourbon finish

F. a little bit lighter than expected. Maybe that's from it being fermented in the bottle. No complaints here about that

O. Like I stated earlier. This is my 2nd favorite bba I've tried. Let's face it... It's damn near impossible to compete with kbs in the bba category... But for only being aged for 4 months this is damn close (considering kbs is aged for a whole year) all in all I'm regretting not spending the extra money and buying the store out of stock

 905 characters

Photo of ksimons
4.05/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

2015 version
A-color is an inky black with a fingers worth of dark tan head

S-roasted malt, chocolate, and bourbon sweetness

T-taste is similar to the smell with a roasted malt backbone, bourbon, and chocolate sweetness

M-mouthfeel starts out rich and full but finishes on the thin side

Overall while this is a big rich beer it does leave something to be desired in the mouthfeel

 383 characters

Photo of mschrei
4.48/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

2012 bottle poured into snifter. Very dark, purplish edges, mild lacing. Big hot bourbon nose that isn't as hot on the taste. Roasty and barrel taste, booze well disguised. Slightly oily feel.

 192 characters

Photo of zonker17
4.55/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2015 release consumed 5/25/16. Nose is an intoxicating blend of bourbon and wood. Taste dominated by the wood, followed by some bourbon heat, and finished with the beer malts, vanilla. Heavy body and mild carbonation.

 217 characters

Photo of rodbeermunch
3.86/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Super thick consistency and black as night used oil appearance. Left a 1/2" cherry cola like head on the top.
High degree of carbonation.

Aroma is chocolate malt, bourbon and alcohol.

Taste and mouthfeel hits with an enveloping thickness that coats the mouth and downward. Nothing unique here, tons of chocolate and bourbon feels, a little bit of vanilla, didn't really pull wood from this one though.

 409 characters

Photo of Odysseyalien
3.32/5  rDev -19%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

On cask at Blind Tiger, NYC. Strong licorice and alcohol flavor which alone kills it for me. Really a bit on the boozy side, minimal stout flavor. I'm beginning to like some of Brooklyn's beers. Unfortunately this won't be one of them. Go for the Niziah Bliss instead.

 268 characters

Photo of infinitebruner
4.01/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

March 17, 2016

750 ml bottle, snifter

A – Very dark brown to black, opaque due to density, with a light chocolate-tan head. Maybe a quarter-inch foam stand that fades quickly, with substantial lacing and bubbles around the edge remaining.

S – Highly fruity, a combination of prominent esters and the alcohol: cherries, blackberries, and apple are all in the mix. Vanilla and dark chocolate follow, with bourbon notes also quite prominent. The barrel is contributing major aromas here.

T – Bittersweet chocolate, vanilla bean, and fruity esters of blueberry and apple. Some light fruity-roasty espresso in the background. A mild tannic quality, and very, very high bitterness on the finish.

M – Very high bitterness, countering fruity sweetness up front. Body is moderately big, and there’s some clear alcohol warmth. Only moderate dryness, allowing some sweetness and bitterness to linger on the aftertaste.

O – I’ve aged this for about four months, and it still drinks a bit “young”, with a lot of interesting components that aren’t quite making a cohesive whole yet. Give this some time in the cellar to fully come together.

 1,163 characters

Photo of brewskifan55
4.1/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a tulip glass. Thanks for the Christmas present, Brenda!

A: Black as motor oil, viscous with very little head. Some tan foam.

S: Bourbon and coffee bring on the charge, followed by a solid chocolate backbone.

T: There goes the bourbon, then the coffee, then the chocolate in perfect order and intensity. A slow sip and a bit of warmth really bring out the boozy aspect.

M: Heavy with heavy, chewy carbonation.

O: I'd love to try one that's aged a bit longer. I think another year on this one could prove to bring out a richer taste.

 560 characters

Photo of Marius
3.8/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle sampled at a tasting. Dark pour, with a coarse espresso head. Smells of alcohol, milk chocolate, anise, champagne yeast. Tastes like sugar, milk chocolate and lactose - pretty underwhelming. Meium body and medium carbonation.

 232 characters

Photo of GreatStoutman
3.26/5  rDev -20.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Bottled Q4 2015. 11.6% abv... Was looking forward to this, but didn't care for it in the end.

Look is great; a dark oily pour with big, foamy three finger head that hangs out all night.

Smell is just like champagne to me, my wife (who usually had a better nose) says she just smells beer, which was weird. There are hints of bourbon and oak, but really not much.

Taste is okay at first, and I have to say that this was much better colder than when it warmed. But even so, the stout, bourbon, chocolate and coffee are nowhere to be found. Its just a light bubbly taste of kind of citrus and a little fruity. Toward the end of the bottle it gets astringent, and really not enjoyable.

Feel is highly carbonated, medium body, slightly oily. Eventually turns bitter and harsh.

Overall, this is one of the bigger disappointments I've come across. I really wanted to like this (especially since I picked up two bottles and have another that I'll be 'aging' for quite a while), but in eventually I ended up pouring out over half the bottle. I never do that, and I'm rather cheap, so to do it on a bottle this expensive was painful.

 1,129 characters

Photo of Ciocanelu
3.75/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Black color with brown head. Aroma is astringent, slightly alcoholic and a bit of chocolate and roast in the background. Taste is also pretty boozy, dry at first but the finish is fudgy with bourbon notes. Medium body and carbonation. Not bad but it's not what I would expect from a barrel aged imperial stout.

 310 characters

Photo of Xenoreactive
1.42/5  rDev -65.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

Bad. Just bad. Thin. Muted flavors. Odd combination of champagne that merges with a bourbon nuanced... stout? Drainpour beer. Do not pay 18+$ for this garbage.

 159 characters

Photo of craftbeersweden
4.2/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Bought at the release date in Sweden, February 19 - 2016.
750 ml bottle. Best before: September 2017. ABV: 11.6 %
Aged for four months in bourbon barrels, bottled flat, and re-fermented in the bottle with Champagne yeast.

I've had this beer before. Last time at #Porterfestivelen in November 2015 and I know I wanted to get hold of a bottle at release.

The beer pours dark, dark brown - almost black with a huge five finger high, mocca-colored head.

Nose: Vanilla, bourbon, sweet licorice, oak, some smoke and roasted malt. Oh! This is SOOO beatiful!
Taste: Soft, silky smooth taste of vanilla, bourbon, oak, dark chocolate, molasses, roast coffee, ash and milk chocolate.
Mouthfeel: This is "pretty light" mouthfeel for an ABV of 11.6% - Still: Soft an creamy, light carbonation. Dry, sweet ending.

This IS a beatiful, tasty, smooth and GREAT beer but at a bit to high pricetag.
149 SEK for 75 ml that's 18 USD for 25 oz.

 940 characters

Photo of Gables
2.47/5  rDev -39.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 1.75 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Smelled like wine. Thin and watery and way too boozy. Where is the beer? I was looking forward to this one and I struggled through one glass and then sadly a drain pour

 168 characters

Photo of 911CROFT
4.2/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2014 Vintage: Blend #5 (11.6%)
750ml bottle into an oversized tulip. Paid £19.99 for a single bottle.

Pours a completely opaque, pitch-black body that is unchanged when held to the light. A two-finger in height, tan coloured bubbly head, maintained by masses of streaming carbonation eventually reduces to a dense foamy cap that slinks down the side of the glass leaving very little lace.

Big, sweet bourbon aromas undoubtedly dominate the nose. Noticeable underneath are plenty of heavily roasted dark malts, champagne yeast and hints of bittersweet dark chocolate and alcohol. Taste follows suit with huge notes of bourbon and vanilla sweetness leading the flavour profile upfront. Heavily roasted malts, smooth tangy acidic coffee bean and sticky dark fruits form the robust malty backbone and majority of the mid-palate. Small amounts of bittersweet chocolate and a trace of liquorice enter towards the end. In the mouth a slick, smooth and oily full-body is lifted by lively carbonation that despite not being to style, helps dry the palate towards the finish and counterbalance sticky residual dark fruit sweetness. Bourbon, vanilla, oak, coffee, and small amounts of dry roast linger for an age, while woody oak tannins and alcohol warmth finish with moderate astringency.

Overall this is a very good beer. It’s big, bold, characterful and unique, but certainly dominated by bourbon. As a bourbon drinker I don’t mind this, but even so, I would like to see more of the delicious Black Chocolate Stout base come through in the latter half. As good as it is, at nearly £22.00 for the current 2015 bottling it is by no means a cheap drop; I can’t see myself picking up another bottle unless it was for a very special occasion.

 1,743 characters

Photo of mikeg67
5/5  rDev +22%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

750 ml bottle. Pours black with tall, long lasting, foamy brown head and nice lacing. Aroma is of bourbon, wood, smoke, coffee, toasted malt, dark fruit and some hops. Body is full and slightly crisp. Taste is of toasted malt, bourbon, toasted malt, brown sugar, coffee, vanilla, dark fruit, herbal hops and much more. Finish is long and very dry. Amazing brew.

 367 characters

Photo of fx20736
4.01/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle diate says BQE Q4 2014. Poured nto a Duvel tulip at cellar temp.

Look: Black, mocha head that recedes to a thin film

Smell: Big Bourbon, some licorice,

Taste: Like the smell; boozy licorice. Not getting any coffee or chocolate

Feel: A little thin IMO

Overall: Hot and not enough flavor

 300 characters

Photo of Furlinator
4.18/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Vintage 2015.

Pours opaque pitch black with a thin tan head that quickly disappears completely and leaves no lace. The smell is of chocolate, oak, dark fruit, vanilla and booze. The taste follows with chocolate, sweet bourbon, dark fruit and a subtle smoked flavor. Thick and smooth texture. A solid bourbon barrel aged stout.

 327 characters

Photo of ajm5108
2.56/5  rDev -37.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.75

Pours an inky black with a decent mauve head which it maintains longer than you'd expect forva barrel-aged beer. Aroma is heavy on the bourbon notes (vanilla, oak) but also features a pretty strong yeast undercurrent which tones the booze smell but also makes it a tad funky. It's fairly thin for what you'd expect, and it isn't particularly balanced. There is a big bourbon wave upfront that features the stronger booze heavy notes (and less of the subtle vanilla or oak flavors) but that fades almost instantly, and the main body is just a pretty mediocre imperial stout (roasted malt, maybe a faint bitter cacao nib). The only consistent note is a stab of astringent alchohol throughout, is too reminiscent of some cheap $5 jug bourbon. Not every beer can tossed into a barrel & magically be great, and this is a great testament to that.

 840 characters

Photo of Allen_A
3.65/5  rDev -11%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Not a bad example of a bourbon barrel aged stout. its like a less mature version of BCBS. the bourbon notes are definitely pronouned in the nose, but the taste is less so. Its drier than most bourbon barrel stouts that ive tried, but still retains the alcoholic kick. if you're looking for a drier stout with sweeter aromas, this might work for you. but if you like your beers to follow the nose, this might underwhelm you to an extent.

 436 characters

Photo of Catracho5
4.02/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle poured into a snifter

A: Pours black with a tan colored head, some head retention, not seeing much carbonation, head is creamy and full of tiny bubbles, decent amount of lacing, looks like a solid beer.

A: Bourbon, vanilla, hint of toasted coconut, alcohol is coming through, hint of oak, overall, aroma is pretty subtle and straightforward.

T: Hint of bourbon up front, some oak, vanilla, picking up some of the champagne yeast, it's a grape like note, in the finish there is bourbon, some smokiness, some chocolate, coffee, alcohol comes through pretty strong leaving some heat in the aftertaste.

M: Medium bodied, dry finish.

O: A little different than other bourbon barrel aged stouts, it has a slight sour/wine/grape touch to it in the middle, lots going on but I think it could use some more bourbon, for a RIS I was expecting some dark fruits, did not get them. It has some depth and complexity but it doesn't punch with flavor, it's very subtle.

 966 characters

Photo of Ozzylizard
4.04/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

25.4 oz bottle at 42 degrees into snifter, allowed to warm to 55 degrees
Aroma of roasted malt, chocolate, and coffee; bourbon comes through as the temperature reaches 53 degrees
Head average (Three cm, aggressive pour), light brown, creamy, slooowly diminishing to a four mm ring and thin layer
Lacing - none
Body dark brown/black, opaque
Flavor primarily alcohol with aftertastes of coffee; no vanillin, no hops, no chocolate, no diacetyl
Palate medium, creamy, lively carbonation

Appearance 4.25, Aroma 4.5, Flavor 3.75, Palate 4, Overall 4

 545 characters

Photo of smanson56
4.04/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Took a bottle to a family Xmas gathering yesterday to share with my brother in law. He's a wine drinker and didn't care for this at all which was good all the more for me.
Pour a nice black color with a thin tan head. Lots of bourbon in the nose with some hints of chocolate and some yeasty aromas. The taste is mellow with some nice bourbon and chocolate. This beer is a little on the thin side with a little over carbonation IMO. The taste is good but the mouth feel lacks.

 476 characters

Photo of ThisWangsChung
3.95/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml bottle into a teku.

Appearance: Pours a very dark brown color - the pour itself looks a touch thin. The head is two fingers high and tan in shade. It has a very fluffy texture, almost similar to a Belgian-style beer. While the retention is nice, it doesn't seem to leave much lacing on the side of the glass.

Smell: Now THIS, this is interesting. I get some champagne qualities upon first whiff. After a bit of time, its base beer (Black Chocolate Stout?) shows up with heavy notes of earthy dark chocolate and fudge - there's also a distinct umami note lurking around. It takes a while for the bourbon barrel to show up, but it does after a while. The gentle vanilla, oak, and alcohol all add to the beer nicely. This smells like it will be a unique - and excellent - barrel-aged stout.

Taste: I really taste the champagne yeast at first imparting a decent Belgian-style tone (apples, pears, white grapes). It transitions into a fudgy, chocolaty flavor around the middle. Belgian yeast (err...champagne yeast) can actually embellish dark chocolate flavors when used right - and it ultimately does here. The finish is gently bourbon-esque, bringing a light toasted oak quality. Having said that, the barrel qualities aren't as nuanced as the finest barrel-aged stouts. Another nitpick: the yeast flavors tend to obscure the base beer and barrel notes occasionally. Still, this one is well-balanced and not sloppy in its complexity.

Mouthfeel: This one feels light and airy for the style - almost...like...champagne! I know, shocking. It's not fully dry, but it goes down well for 11.6%. Looking past the semi-slender mouthfeel, this feels nicely creamy on the tongue. Remember how I said airy? Though not intense, the carbonation gently scrubs the lingering sweetness off of the palate.

Overall: BCBS this is not. Parabola this is not. But this carves a niche for itself, easily. It's lighter and crisper than those two, with a distinct Belgian bend that meshes decently with the rest of the beer (though it could be restrained a bit more thoroughly). Shame it's so damn expensive, though...

3.95/5: I can see why it's polarizing; but personally, I think it rocks

 2,175 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Brooklyn Black OPS from Brooklyn Brewery
4.1 out of 5 based on 2,344 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.
  • Extreme Beer Fest® Cometh

    February 3-4, 2017. Boston, Mass. Limited tickets available. Prepare for epicness.

    Learn More
  • 10 Years of BeerAdvocate Magazine

    We're celebrating 10 years of BA mag with $10 print subscriptions for US residents!

    Subscribe