Brooklyn Black OPS | Brooklyn Brewery

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Brooklyn Black OPSBrooklyn Black OPS

Brewed by:
Brooklyn Brewery
New York, United States

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.


Added by RixBeer on 12-20-2007

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Reviews: 849 | Ratings: 2,400
Photo of Sammy
4.04/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Enjoyed at Coles. Big bourbon cask aroma, very good bourbon taste at that, supported by some chocolate malts. Above average mouthfeel. Yeasty, a bit of sourness in mid-sip offset by the vanilla in the wood. A RIS with some complexity. Dark colour.A big beer.

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Photo of GRG1313
3.6/5  rDev -12%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

First, let me say that I DO like this beer. I like it a lot. However, it's just too bad that I tasted it only after hearing and reading all the hype. It's a good beer; it's not a great beer. Respectfully, this is over rated. Again, a really good drink; just not the "end all" that people seem to talk about.

Pours thick black color with a deep tan/brown head. Attractive. Appears to be thick and viscous and promises big things, including a big full mouthfeel if one can tell such things from what appeared to be a "thick" pouring beer.

Big assertive nose of sweet dark chocolate.

Mouthfee is somewhat big, viscous and appealingly rich, but it doesn't last. There is a "thin" character to the mouthfeel which actually makes it more drinkable than less, but disappoints a bit from expectations and also is not quite the full rich thick drink one wants or anticipates. Feels a bit thick but not creamy which would really add heavily to the character of this one.

Flavors of big dark chocolate with hints of sweetness and big coffee/dark chocolate flavors with espresso bean finish and just a hint of "bitter." Very drinkable. Very good. Yes, I do want more and I'll drink it. However, this is not the "holy grail" of this style and type of brew. Just my opinion. (And, again...I'm happy to drink it with anyone, anytime!)

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Photo of kylehay2004
4.43/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Two fingers of dark chocolate head on a jet black body. Excellent retention and good lacing. Aroma is is nutty with chocolate, roasted malt and bourbon notes. Flavor is excellent with initially a chocolate with light coffee and coconut notes blending well with a smooth bourbon finish. Thick and full bodied with moderate carbonation. Overall this beer is very smooth with the bourbon present in the flavor and aroma without the sharpness in the mouthfeel.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.42/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to PaulStoneAnchor for sending me this one!

Shared with my buddy who just got back from NY and wasn't able to try this one on his trip.

2010 vintage with the 11.3% ABV.

Pours an opaque black with a 2 inch dark khaki head that fades to a thin cap. Random legs of lacing hang around the glass on the drink down. Smells of cocoa powder, vanilla, wood, and bourbon. Taste is very bourbon forward up front with vanilla, oak, and bourbon flavors. Chocolate and roasted dark malt tastes come around on the aftertaste. The champagne yeast gives this beer a definite prickly and lively carbonation for a RIS, but I think it works very nicely. Slight alcohol warmth is felt in the throat on the drink down. Overall, this is a tasty RIS with a very nice bourbon presence. It is also interesting to see a beer with champagne yeast. I am glad I got a chance to try this one.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
4.44/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

something about the process brooklyn uses to bottle condition, maybe its the champagne yeast, i dont know, but it seems like very bottle of brooklyn beer i taste has an amazing yeast complexion and mouthfeel to it, this is no different. so much different from the other dark brooklyn brews, chocolate stout, cuvee noir, any of those, but its equally smooth, crushed velvet in the feel, but much more intense on the roast, passing the dried fruit realm right into dark chocolate and espresso, but there is a crazy lightness to this not common or even possible i didnt think in a russian imperial type. definitely something interesting going on with the grain, toast and roast, oats, minor tannins, its cool. carbonation doesnt feel all that high, but the yeast lends a maturity to it, a pillowy thing, not enough yeast in these normally i dont think, so this is pleasant. for such a big and bold beer, i just cant believe how delicate it feels, built masterfully, and again, i would nominate these guys as one of the best breweries in the country, but they never seem to be in that conversation. this is incredible beer, a whole new direction for the style. dying for another...

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Photo of Knapp85
4.1/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Probably one of my favorites from Brooklyn, The Black Ops poured out as a heavy duty looking black oily liquid. The head slowly makes it's way to the top of the beer. The head leaves a light scattered lacing on the glass. The smell of the beer is loaded with roasted malts, dark chocolate and some coffee notes. The tastes of the beer was packed with toasted and burnt flavors, mixed with some sweet dark chocolate in there too. The mouthfeel was slick and smooth, just a touch of booze in the chest. Overall I found this one to be very good, I was very happy to have had it and would drink again if the price was right.

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Photo of metter98
4.32/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: The beer is jet black in color and poured with a finger high tan head that settled down but consistently left a thin layer of bubbles covering the surface.
S: There are moderate aromas of bourbon in the nose.
T: There is an excellent balance between flavors of malts and the bourbon from the barrel aging--the bourbon flavors are prominent but are in no way overpowering.
M: It feels medium- to full-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation.
D: The beer tastes like it is strong, but is nowhere near an alcohol content of 11.6%.

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Photo of BEERchitect
4.35/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Beers just don't get any bigger, roastier, chewier, or bolder. This beer is insanely large with flavor, texture, assertiveness; but at the sacrifice of harshness and drinkability. The aromas of cocoa, kahlua, vanilla, charred oak, and everything else that is delightful about their Chocolate Stout. The beer also looks the part with a froathy, clingy, goopy viscousness that appears much more like a milkshake than a beer. Flavors begin to rival the thickenss and heaviness experienced so far, but do lighten a bit to stout-like consistency with cherries, cocoa, coffee, wild berries, caramel, vanilla, figs, plubs, anise-licorice, oak, aged bourbon and a hint of lactose sweetness. The beer is seriously sweet with a lot of residual sugars left behind. Textures definately favor the robust over drinkability with a thick, chewy, expansive weight that follows with a medium fusal, boozy feel that contradicts all of the attempts at mellowness and softness. Heated, powdery, and numbing late. Finishes with a long, sweet linger of coffee, cocoa, and bourbon-ey vanilla. A grand attempt at the largest stout ever, but the beer needs more time in the cellar before it's potential is realized.

August 12, 2009: Thanks jctribe25!

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Photo of biboergosum
3.99/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml bottle, 2012 edition. It is rather amusing to see the treatment of this purportedly rare beer upon its arrival in our fair province - two stores received it, and the one with which I have more than a passing acquaintance got the lion's share. And what do they do with it? A dismal, hardly visible stack of it in one corner of the store. Hidden gem? Yes, indeed.

This beer pours a solid black abyss, with ever the slightest of basal cola highlights, and three fingers of tight foamy tan head, which leaves but a few elongated specs of island lace around the glass as it groggily abates.

It smells of grainy, woody bourbon notes straight up front - oak, vanilla, dry caramel, and spicy grain - on top of a pungent dose of astringent coffee grounds and baker's chocolate, some mildly soused black fruit esters, a bit of wet ash, and earthy, leafy hops. The taste is nutty chocolate malt, prominent biscuity coffee notes, pleasantly soft bourbon-tinged vanilla, caramel, rye, and simmering alcohol, a subtle black fruitiness - hinged on a singular summer cherry remembrance neuron - some equally sublimated black liquorice essences, and a somewhat musty, yeasty character that disappears rather soon, along with most of the rest as the flavour fades just past the middle, in a just less than concerning manner. The 21-proof booze is damned near imperceptible, so bully - no, hurray for that!

The carbonation is quite sedate, and generally out of critical contention, the body a teetering medium weight, and actually quite smooth, very little taking a pound of flesh out of this low-throttled train ride. It finishes a tad on the sweet side, the cocoa, coffee, and muddled fruit holding fast against, well, against very little, as the expected alcohol and hop cavalcade fails to properly manifest.

I feel that the mystique surrounding this offering is a little uninformed - it isn't really all that 'big' in the general booze and malt sense. It's hefty, sure, but in a much more restrained, subtle sense - coffee, cocoa, and fruit, all fluffed up by a crazily understated alcohol measure, one which may the enduring point here, as you can barely sense the barest prick of alcohol edge. That may very well be the biggest champion for this offering, which parlays rather well into my overall impression - big, level, and sneaky, all at the same time. Maybe not quite worth spending all that much effort seeking out, but grab it if you can, even if you have to bend your local retailer's ear and/or arm.

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Photo of brentk56
4.15/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: If it did exist, this beer would pour a mysteriously dark, pitch black color with a creamy mocha head that coats the chalice and really delivers the lace

Smell: A myriad of aromas make this one hard to pin down - mocha, dark chocolate, dried dark fruit, bourbon, vanilla, charred oak...and alcohol

Taste: After a brief mocha flirtation, the beer drills into the dark chocolate and, by mid-palate, adds dark fruit and the barrel flavors of whiskey mash, oak and vanilla; all of this is complemented by the hop bill, as well; after the swallow, there are some sweet and sour elements and then a resurgence of the alcohol; the bourbon arrives late and wafts upward from the gullet; lots of wood in the aftertaste

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body with delicate carbonation, from the Champagne yeast; I guess the yeast impacts the mouthfeel as I would have expected it to be fuller

Drinkability: A very different take on the style - a thinner body and more overwhelming bourbon and wood flavors than others of this style; I have tasted this one young and when it has matured a bit and would recommend cellaring it for some time as it is too one-dimensional when young

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Photo of kojevergas
3.53/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

My notes below are truncated; I'm having this beer as part of my annual Christmas tasting. Reviewed live at high altitude in Castle Rock, CO.

BOTTLE: Brown glass. Hood and wire cap over a cork. 1 pint 9.4 fl oz. 1000 cases produced.

Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated. Served cold into a Guinness goblet.

2011 vintage. 11.3%. Courtesy of schlimenhaumer. Thanks, buddy!

No bubble show forms as it's poured. Expectations are quite high; this should be a dream with 3 years on it - or so I've been told.

HEAD: 2.5 fingers wide. Khaki colour. Nice creaminess and thickness. Full, soft-looking, luscious. No lacing sticks to the sides of the glass as it recedes. Retention is pretty good - 7-8 minutes.

BODY: Opaque solid black. No yeast particulate or hop sediment is visible.

Overall, it's a nice appearance for an imperial stout, but isn't anything to write home about. What you'd expect.

AROMA: Alcohol is present, yes; that champagne yeast packs a punch. Raisin and dark fruit aromatics are prevalent, with the requisite cream, dark malts, caramel, and chocolate malt coming through too. Sadly, I don't find much roasted barley. Hints of grape, plum, and date. Not as boozy as anticipated given this beer's reputation.

No yeast character, hop profile, or off-notes are detectable.

Overall, it's a pleasant and inviting albeit alcohol-redolent aroma of mild strength.

TASTE: Dark fruit is prevalent: grape, prune, dates. A more traditional backbone of caramel, dark malts, and chocolate malts brings some sweetness, which is nicely complemented by cream. The champagne yeast lends it a refined feel, and brings gentle spiciness to the table. A bit of marshmallow.

I find it delightfully well-balanced, but the complexity/intricacy and nuance just isn't there. There's good subtlety - especially where the dark fruit is concerned. It opens up as it comes to temperature.

Good depth of flavour. Average flavour duration and intensity.

I do find coconut after it's suggested, but otherwise the bourbon is quite reticent. Maybe a kiss of vanilla? I'm not finding much in terms of toastiness or rich white oak. Perhaps the bourbon used was insipid.

TEXTURE: Fairly delicate, smooth, wet, creamy, well-carbonated, silky, full-bodied, and somewhat fragile. I love its softness. Luscious and rich. Unfortunately, it's a bit thin on the palate; a heavier thicker texture would do it well. More of a gooey feel would bring out the marshmallow as well. A fantastic texture for an imperial stout, with a great subtle dryness and coarseness that helps accentuate the dark fruit notes without compromising the smoothness and wetness that makes it drinkable. Nowhere near as boozy or hot as the aroma might suggest.

Not oily, gushed, astringent, harsh, rough, or scratchy.

A good complement to the taste. Definitely elevates the beer.

OVERALL: She's a sipper, but one that's easy to enjoy. I'll love finishing this glass and would certainly recommend aging this one. A treat from Brooklyn, but not a world-class imperial stout per se. Absolutely worth trying. Huge thanks to schlimenhaumer.

Low B

Brief impressions from a 2014 vintage bottle below. I wanted to see if this was really as rough fresh as its reputation has lead me to believe.

A: Creamy full head fills my snifter. Soft and smooth. Great retention (~10) minutes - damned impressive at this high an ABV.

Body colour is a predictable opaque black.

Sm: Bourbon-forward, with ample vanilla and toasty oak. Dark and chocolate malts, chocolate, suggestions of faint dark fruit. Cream.

The bourbon character is fantastic, and melts into the base. I don't find the coffee mentioned on the label.

Aromatic intensity is average.

T & Mf: Not the booze-bomb everyone seems to claim it is. The bourbon character is fantastic - especially considering the scant four months of bourbon barrel aging. Vanilla-forward, with a chocolate undertone. It's a nice natural marriage of barrel character to base beer. The subtle dark fruit is a nice touch. I can't detect the champagne yeast, but I do suppose it's a bit cleaner on the yeast profile/attenuation than most beers in the style. On the sweeter end, sure.

It is a teensy bit syrupy, though, and the heavy thick feel of this beer on the palate restricts drinkability.

O: She's a sipper, but boy is she tasty. I'll enjoy finishing the bottle, and while I wouldn't pick this up again given its unreasonable price point, I do think the discerning drinker would do well to try it at least once. I'm not sure why this has a reputation as a booze bomb when confused fresh; I found its quality the same.

Low B

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Photo of largadeer
4.42/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle from Dyan, thanks! Shared with some fellow BAs tonight, this one was a definite highlight of the tasting.

Appearance: Black as they get, lots of mocha-colored froth. Very bubbly for the style, lending great head retention and plenty of sticky lace. Impressive.

Smell: Big roasted malt aromas right off the bat, with a dose of whiskey heat backing it. Warmer temperatures bring out the nuance, including plenty of signature bourbon barrel caramel and vanilla aromas. Very dessert-like, bringing to mind rum cake or tiramisu.

Taste & mouthfeel: Rich but bubbly, standout from most imperial stouts in this regard. Big whiskey barrel character, but it's in balance with the base beer. Caramel and vanilla sweetness meets burnt bread bitterness. Moderate whiskey heat is plainly noticeable as well, but not so much in a harsh fusel alcohol sort of way; it's more like sipping on a fine whiskey. The finish is bittersweet, clean and pleasantly lingering. Excellent stuff, as tired as I've become of big stouts, I found myself really enjoying this one.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
4.01/5  rDev -2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle courtesy of Secret Santa: Poured a pitch-black color stout with a super large dark brown foamy head with great retention and great lacing. Aroma of bourbon and sweet malt is interesting though bourbon is more dominating then I had expected. Taste is also dominated by bourbon with some notes of alcohol and very subtle sweet roasted malt. Body is full with somewhat creamy texture with great carbonation and some alcohol is apparent. Good though a bit too much alcohol was apparent for my taste.

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Photo of oline73
4.07/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle into a standard pint glass.

Appearance: The beer pours black as night with a half finger of tan head that fades to a small layer on top of the pour.

Smell: Sweet dark roast with some bourbon, chocolate, and vanilla. I'm also getting some heat from the alcohol. Everything blends together well.

Taste: Not as sweet as the smell suggested. Dark fruit notes with a mild hint of dark chocolate. The finish is bitter from the roast along with some alcohol heat.

Mouthfeel: The body is very thick with aggressive carbonation and a dry finish.

Overall: This beer smells great and tastes really good. I wouldn't have minded if the carbonation was a bit more delicate.

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Photo of zeff80
3.93/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Poured out an opaque, jet-black color with a huge, light brown head of foam. Good retention that left behind thick sheets of sudsy foam on the glass.

S - It smelled of chocolate and roasty malts. There was a boozy and woody character to the aroma.

T - Good sweet chocolate and toffee with a sharp bitter bite of hops. Rich maltiness is made sweeter by a strong boozy taste.

M - Crisp, sharp and smooth. A medium to full bodied ale with a somewhat dry finish.

D - This is a really tasty beer but man is it big and bold. A little to big and bold to not share this one.

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Photo of Thorpe429
4.12/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewed from notes. 2009 vintage.

Pours an opaque black with a thin mocha head. Nose is bourbon, vanilla, roast, and dark chocolate. The bourbon really comes out in the flavor with some silky vanilla and hocolate in back. Fairly full body with a bit of heat. Quite tasty, but not worth he high price point.

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Photo of mothman
4/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2008 bottle, poured into old guardian snifter.

Pours 1/2 finger of tan head. Fades to a thing ring, then good retention leaving some lace rings. Color is an oil black.

Aroma: Lots of chocolate and vanilla. I get some sour grapes as well, which I find odd. That might be from the champagne yeast. Some oak and bourbon, rounded out with some heat.

Taste: So much grapes here. Followed with other fruits: cherries and raisins. Then comes the vanilla, oak, and chocolate. Not a lot of bourbon, but the aftertaste brings some heat.

Mouthfeel: smooth and hot. Medium bodied with a medium amount of carbonation. Ends very malty and hot.

Overall, not a bad beer, but nothing amazing. I shared this with a few other BAs and we all agreed it had more wine characteristics then bourbon flavors. I wouldn't want to spend another $22 on this one. It is good, but I expected better.

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Photo of superspak
4.2/5  rDev +2.7%
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.

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Photo of nickfl
4.24/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours with one finger of orange-brown foam on top of an opaque, black body. The head recedes quickly and leaves little lace.

S - Strong, boozy aroma of whiskey and roasted malt. Notes of plum, brown sugar, milk chocolate, and espresso. Very nice.

T - Lots of dark, caramel malt up front with black coffee flavors. More caramel in the middle with complex sugar notes of molasses and brown sugar. Finishes with a lot of warm alcohol that is further accented by woody vanilla notes of whiskey. Lingering roasted character in the aftertaste, notes of coffee, burnt caramel, and charr.

M - Medium-thick body, moderately low carbonation, and a somewhat sweet finish.

D - As expected, this is a big, bold stout. The barrel aged qualities are readily apparent, yet they don't bludgeon the palate with Bourbon flavors the way one might expect. The whiskey character is restrained to the point that it works with and emphasizes certain aspects of the base beer without overpowering the underlying character. The aroma is fantastic, it is rich and complex and manages to hit all of the characteristics that one would expect from a Bourbon Barrel aged Imperial stout. The flavor reflects many of the characteristics that make the aroma so enjoyable, but it does not come together quite as well. The alcohol is somewhat hot and not particularly well hidden and the flavors come across as just a little bit disjointed. It is still an enjoyable beer to sip, but it seems like it has room to improve with age. Fortunately, I have a bottle of last years release sitting in my cellar; I am looking forward to seeing what a year has done to mature this beer.

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Photo of jlindros
4.21/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

2010 Vintage, been saving for a special day, and letting it age a bit. Hope it's as good as it's price tag makes it out to be.

Pours a somewhat decent fizzy fluffy bubble 1/2 finger head very dark colored, that fades semi quickly, but some decent lacing, typical for this big of a beer, huge thick long legs running down the sides of the glass, beer is black enough to suck the light from the computer screen into it.

Nose is about as good as I expected, a big time stout with great bourbon barrel notes. Dark malts galore, some black malts, little roast, charred coffee beans and a bit of fresh coffee grinds all from the roast, as well as some decent dark chocolate and powdered cocoa. Then bourbon, so much awesome barrel, plenty of vanilla and a little buttery oak, but no dusty oak barrel, as well as nice bourbon aromas, plenty of bourbon. It brings just a touch of booze, and light earthy spicy hops, there are hints of brown sugar covered brandy soaked raisins somehow.

Taste brings more great flavors, an aged soft dark malt bonanza. Starting with some dark malts, plenty of black malts, some roast bringing a hint of char, and some slightly over roasted coffee beans, and a light cocoa powder. It also has a touch of a soft aged malt flavor but not a lot. Not as full bodied in the malt area as I expected, but enough there, probably just not thick enough but at least it's not too syrupy. Booze kicks in quickly with warmth, tingle, and even a little fusel booze flavor, but not overbearing, and the roasted malts bring a bit of acrid flavor. Some dark chocolate comes through as well, with some vanilla barrel, the oak cuts in and brings the vanilla and a bit of buttery oak, but not nearly as much oak as the nose had. Similarly the bourbon is there, but not as much as the nose, and it seems to bring some of that booze flavor on its own. A little caramel and syrupy chocolate flavors round out the flavor, as well as a hint of an earthy spicy hop character, although more bitterness from the roast it seems. Finish is drier but very sticky and syrupy, a kick of tingly booze as well, more cocoa, roasted malts and faint burnt coffee, more vanilla and touch of bourbon barrel, but at the same time a nice big dark malty RIS flavor lingering too.

Mouth is med to fuller bodied but somehow seems a bit thinner than it should be, with plenty of tingly warming booze, and decent carb.

Overall pretty good, but mixed. The aroma is awesome, but flavor doesn't come through as much as I expected, and the body seems a bit thin for what it should be. Still tasty and a treat to drink, the aging didn't seem to really help as much as I expected as the booze is still rampant, bourbon seems to have died off a bit perhaps, and it's sweet and syrupy, but the soft aged dark malt feel brings a decent touch. However, the over roasted burnt acrid coffee I think I remember from fresh small sample I had is mostly gone, so that helps a bit. Still a pretty good beer.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4.15/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Brooklyn Black OPS is/was supposedly aged in Bourbon barrels right across the street from the brewery for sixteen weeks (they used to distribute from there, remember?). I guess it was a secret operation, and therefore, Garrett must have been a "black operator". But what about Andrew? Was he involved? - The truth is out there.

The appearance as it pours is not surprisingly unlike that of motor oil (perhaps darker), and with that said, it shouldn't be surprising to hear that it's an opaque black in the glass. A three to four inch thich head of foamy dark tan rises above and holds for quite some time, very slowly eroding to a creamy one inch cap! A wide ring of sharply craggy lace is left behind.

The aroma expresses dark juicy fruit, some acidity, a hint of vanilla, roastiness, a bit of dark milk chocolate, and a few passing fumes of Bourbon.

In the mouth it's medium-full in body and slick with an under-note of alcohol. The carbonation is very fine, and I'd imagine that this is bottle conditioned - Ahh, yes, the back label confirms that. It's just delicately zesty on the tongue. Oddly, it doesn't warm to become creamy smooth, but I think the alcohol is probably cutting through and putting the kabosh on that.

The flavor delivers everything that the aroma suggests, but it's not wide and rich and flowing and sweet like so many others. Instead, it's compacted into a tight wedge that focuses the fruitiness, dark malts, and alcohol/bourbon barrel notes (bourbon, vanilla, some mild oakiness) into one serious sip. In a way that's good because it's not overly sweet, but in a way that's bad because it's just so 'taut'. There's not a lot of play for the flavors to move around; and even though there's a lot going on, I feel the complexity is hampered by its stiffness in a way. Of course, the name Black OPS is ultimately perfect as this is one focused, solid, strong, and fast moving machine.

(I should also note at this point, as it didn't seem to quite fit into the last paragraph, that I got a lot of tropical fruits (papaya, mango, and a waft of coconut) as it warmed a bit.

It's easily drinkable, and the beer is focused and the Bourbon is kept in check. It's like an Imperial Russian with just a little bit of extra character. I'd personally like more malt, but I've had some English examples that have had less (Le Coq from Harvey & Son comes to mind). Worth trying, but it's a limited release.

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Photo of chinchill
4.36/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2010 (4.3) and 2011 (4.6) editions sampled back-to-back in Dec. 2014.
Both clearly excellent. Oddly, the 2010 seemed a bit hotter despite the extra year of aging, but it turns out the ABV was higher that year.
O: very well crafted and balanced.

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Photo of Kegatron
4.35/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 ml corked & caged bottle into a snifter.

Pours an absolute pitch black with a finger of smooth cocoa colored head. This settles down into a rock solid layer of creamy covering that throws a huge, frothy cascade of lace and oily brown residues that stick and then every so slightly slides down the sides of the glass. The aroma is heavy and assertive in the nose, with bourbon, wood, vanilla, and warmth greeting the nostrils first. Not too far behind (and are very nicely integrated I might add) are notes of roasted chocolate, espresso, smoked malts, molasses, maybe a touch of citrus and darker fruits in the back. This is quite nice.

The core of the taste is backer's chocolate, roasted malts, coffee-bitterness, and earthy citric notes. This is all encapsulated in the barrel notes. Light bourbon, a smack of vanilla sweetness, and some tannic oaky notes. It all flows together seamlessly, with the bourbon seeming like it should dominate more but it never gets to that point. This really evens out nicely as it hits room temp. The mouthfeel has a big, mouth filling creaminess to its carbonation up front, which then lessens into an equally thick but more viscous feel. The overall feel has a vinous texture to it, I'm assuming because of the champagne yeast. There is some beef and warmth in this but it doesn't hold the flavors or feel back too much, with most of the alcohol flavors seeming to mostly come from the Bourbon character in this.

This was nice. Excellent blend of flavors here, between the Imperial Stout and barrel notes, even if the heavy ABV held back the feel and drinkibility a bit. This was a pleasant sipper. Reminded me a bit of Deschutes The Abyss with a yeasty kick to it.

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Photo of dbrauneis
4.19/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2012 Vintage

A: Pours an opaque jet black in color with some minimal amounts of visible carbonation and some very dark cola brown highlights. The beer has a two finger tall dense foamy mocha head that slowly reduces to thick film covering the entire surface of the beer with a slightly thicker ring at the edges of the glass. Moderate amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Moderate aromas of bourbon, vanilla, and oak with some lighter notes of dark roasted malts.

T: Upfront there is a very light flavor of dark roasted malts that is soon covered up by some more moderate flavors of bourbon, caramel, vanilla, and oak. Very well balanced, not overly sweet or bitter.

M: Medium to full bodied with moderate amounts of carbonation. Very light amounts of alcohol warming in the finish.

O: The beer is strong but not as strong as one might think considering the ABV - the alcohol is not overly present but this is a beer that needs to be slowly sipped and enjoyed. It is very enjoyable and the bourbon really complements the flavors and aromas.

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Photo of Rifugium
3.94/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2009 vintage consumed Jan. 2014.

I'm not a huge fan of Brooklyn Brewery, but this one definitely caught me off guard, and I'd say it's one of their better brews for sure. Thick, pitch black pour, with a foamy mocha head that receded to a thick ringlet and held there, leaving some sparse spotty lacing on the glass. Roasty malts in the nose, and quite a bit of oak, hints of coconut and vegetal vanilla. I was actually surprised at how boozy this still was even after 5 years in the cellar. Dark chocolate malts in the taste, some coffee bitterness, earthy, with big barrel notes, and a lot of bourbon heat, dry vegetal notes of coconut and either faded vanilla or faded earthy hops. Slick mouthfeel, medium-full body, and a good drinker overall.

I have another bottle in the cellar--2012 I believe--that I'm just going to let sit for a while. Should be interesting in a few years.

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Brooklyn Black OPS from Brooklyn Brewery
4.09 out of 5 based on 2,400 ratings.
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