Brooklyn Black OPS | Brooklyn Brewery

BA SCORE
91
outstanding
2,416 Ratings
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
Ratings:
2,416
Reviews:
851
Avg:
4.1
pDev:
12.93%
 
 
Wants:
466
Gots:
1,267
For Trade:
111
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Ratings: 2,416 |  Reviews: 851
Photo of Sammy
4.04/5  rDev -1.5%
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.

 258 characters

Photo of acurtis
4/5  rDev -2.4%

Photo of Texasfan549
3.75/5  rDev -8.5%

Photo of kylehay2004
4.43/5  rDev +8%
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.

 456 characters

Photo of jaydoc
4.06/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of GRG1313
3.6/5  rDev -12.2%
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!)

 1,325 characters

Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.42/5  rDev +7.8%
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.

 872 characters

Photo of spycow
4.25/5  rDev +3.7%

Photo of StonedTrippin
4.44/5  rDev +8.3%
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...

 1,177 characters

Photo of kjkinsey
4/5  rDev -2.4%

Photo of djrn2
4.25/5  rDev +3.7%

Photo of Knapp85
4.1/5  rDev 0%
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.

 620 characters

Photo of t0rin0
4/5  rDev -2.4%

Photo of nmann08
4.25/5  rDev +3.7%

Photo of oriolesfan4
3.25/5  rDev -20.7%

Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
4/5  rDev -2.4%

Photo of metter98
4.32/5  rDev +5.4%
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%.

 552 characters

Photo of BEERchitect
4.35/5  rDev +6.1%
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!

 1,225 characters

Photo of biboergosum
3.99/5  rDev -2.7%
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.

 2,505 characters

Photo of kojevergas
3.53/5  rDev -13.9%
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

 4,656 characters

Photo of brentk56
4.15/5  rDev +1.2%
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

 1,176 characters

Photo of oline73
4.07/5  rDev -0.7%
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.

 687 characters

Photo of SocalKicks
4/5  rDev -2.4%

Photo of Phyl21ca
4.01/5  rDev -2.2%
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.

 502 characters

Photo of zeff80
3.93/5  rDev -4.1%
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.

 574 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Brooklyn Black OPS from Brooklyn Brewery
4.1 out of 5 based on 2,416 ratings.
  • About Us

    Founded in Boston in 1996, BeerAdvocate (BA) is your go-to resource for beer powered by an independent community of enthusiasts and professionals dedicated to supporting and promoting better beer.

    Learn More
  • Our Community

    Comprised of consumers and industry professionals, many of whom started as members of this site, our community is one of the oldest, largest, and most respected beer communities online.
  • Our Events

    Since 2003 we've hosted over 60 world-class beer festivals to bring awareness to independent brewers and educate attendees.
  • Our Magazine

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