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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

For Trade:
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Reviews: 831 | Ratings: 2,332
Photo of chrismattlin
4.73/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

This is one of the best Bourbon-Barrel Aged stouts you could ask for- the champagne yeast used for the bottle conditioning puts it over the top. Great beer!

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Photo of barczar
3.92/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2014 vintage.

Big fusel alcohol character and licorice dominate the aroma.

Flavor is sweet, boozy, and licorice, as well. Needs much time to develop.

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Photo of SFC21
4.18/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

I always age this one a year. First time I had it fresh the beer was way too hot. Ever since I let it sit for a year and it makes a world of difference. Smooth, light and delicate, almost hard to believe it is a stout. Champagne yeast makes this a really interesting brew. Highly recommend

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Photo of derekgw123
3.28/5  rDev -20%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

I tried this only once and was a little tipsy, so I'll need to try and review again, but it was definitely an interesting beer. Much different from other imperial stouts. It had a lot of flavors at once. Wine, bourbon, beer. I remember being a bit let down. The taste was somewhat flat and dry. Probably a little too much for my taste, but definitely fun to try.

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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...

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Photo of AWSBeerDude
2.21/5  rDev -46.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

2012 - Paid ridiculous price, cellared for over 2 years, EXTREMELY DISSAPOINTED.

Thin and watery. Bourbon overwhelms the weak base beer. Bourbon gets stronger as it warms.

Also,...Holly Hunter is a whore.

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Photo of angelmonster
4.06/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2011 vintage aged almost 4 years

Pours a jet black, opaque body. Small 1/4 inch dark chocolate head. Lacing and head retention were average.

Smell is of milk chocolate and fresh baked brownies. Roasted caramel malt and hints of coffee come through also. Getting very little bourbon and for 11%, the alcohol is pretty light on the nose.

Taste is big on charred oak, burnt coffee, and smoked malt. Bourbon adds some depth to the beer as it warms. Hops aren't present, alcohol is there but not overwhelming. Lots of layers of flavors going on.

Mouthfeel is good, Brooklyn does such a good job with their bottle conditioned beer, carbonation is spot on. Just wish that the head retention lasted longer than 5 minutes.

Overall this was a great beer thats been on my want list forever. One of the pioneers of bourbon aged stouts, just wish the bourbon was more apparent. A nice head would have also propelled this beer to top ten status but its still pretty enjoyable.

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Photo of MistahBeah
3.57/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

2014 vintage poured into a snifter. Consumed while cold to room temperature.

Appearance: Looks nice. Jet black with brown edges. About an inch of sudsy toffee - colored head. No lacing and only a half a minute of retention.

Aroma: Boozy bourbon and oak. Sweet chocolate. Lots of heat here.

Taste: Falls a little flat here for me. Some char, some cocoa and a whole lotta bourbon. The champagne yeast makes this unusually dry. No real oak character. Flavors reminiscent of chocolate truffle. Some earthy notes. Wispy chocolate mousse.

Mouthfeel: Watery for the style and flat. Moderate alcohol heat. Finish is very dry.

Overall: A little disappointing. Bourbon overpowers. Most of the other flavors are under-developed. I would take their Black Chocolate Stout over this any day. Curious to see how it ages but my hopes are not high.

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Photo of noyellowfizzbeer
4.5/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Just bought a bottle at Gordon's in Waltham after their Black Beer Affair. This beer is excellent. Very drinkable. I can definitely taste the barrel aging flavor.

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Photo of skiking70
3.8/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

There are so many barrel aged stouts being offered and I feel like this one falls short. It's good in It's own right, but can't hang with the big boys.

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

Was reminded very much of Alesmith speedway stout, but the champagne yeast made this exceptionally dry. I found myself swirling the glass to knock the unwelcome style of carbonation out. After warming up and breathing for a while, I found it very enjoyable. Flavor and aroma very agreeable to me, champagne yeast - not so much. All in all, glad I tried it. Unique and very solid offering from brooklyn brewery.

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Photo of danh53
2.36/5  rDev -42.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.75 | overall: 2.5

This was a real disappointment given the huge price tag. Its thin and watery and the bourbon overwhelms the base beer. Will not be trying this one again.

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Photo of Theseanlewis
4.49/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2012 750. Corked cellared 60f
A- thin but jet black body with a dark khaki head
A-vanilla,burnt bread, molasses tart cherry
raspberry cookies dark chocolate
T-berries and port. Fast. Followed by cocoa and chocolate.
Finishes a bit hot and very fruity cocoa
bourbon barrel and dark fruit
Creeps in at the end
M-champagne yeast has thinned out what could've been a large bodies stout.
Allows for flavors to come through in a dry beer.
O-this is german chocolate cake in beer form. 2012 is delicious.
Chocolate. Dark fruit. Hints of bourbon.

A-thick dark roast coffee style body
A-toasty and phenolic flavors up front.
Quickly fading to prunes and dates. Finishes with
Slight booze.
T-dark fruit and oak, dark fruit is dominant
Followed by slight cocoa and roast.
M- medium thickness. Sweet flavors cling a
O- 2012 carries more dark fruit and bourbon notes.
Figs plums dates all these sugary caramel lay flavors come to
Mind when summarizing 2013

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Photo of rdilauro
3.28/5  rDev -20%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

I had to miss the mark on this one. I have enjoyed most beers coming from the Brooklyn Brewery and Black Ops was not an exception. It just that it didnt live up to some of the hype I read about. I was enjoyable, hard to distinguish between a stout and a Belgium beer.

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Photo of ryanmextorf
2.99/5  rDev -27.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This beer poured a dark inky black with about a finger of foamy khaki head off of an aggressive pour. Solid looking beer in the glass. Nose on this was strange... Super super bourbon forward with very subtle hints of vanilla and oak, maybe a touch of chocolate. The worst part about this nose for me is if you let the beer sit in the glass for a few minutes. The beer actually takes on an aroma of stale bud light left out overnight. But moving on... Mouth feel was average at best. On the thinner side especially for a BBA stout. Taste was bourbon. That's about it. Bourbon. Pretty much covered up any other notes present in this beer. I've got another bottle of this stuff I'll be aging for a couple years but I do not have high hopes. We fan only hope time helps the bourbon mellow to a reasonable level. Really saddened by this one, especially for the price point :(

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Photo of BradenMK
3.13/5  rDev -23.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

LOOK (4.0) - Really billowy, thick khaki head that stuck around for a while, but then it dissipated absolutely entirely and left not a leg of lacing. Very dark black beer, but the body let a little light in, leaving some brown around the edges.

SMELL (4.0) - Smells dark, roasty and sweet with big, soft bourbon and vanilla notes. Smells nice, but rather than the more pleasant chocolate and/or coffee notes you might typically find in the huge malt profile of an american imperial stout, it's a bit acrid and slightly sour to my palate. Some interesting dark fruitiness in here, in the form of very subtle raspberry or black currant.

TASTE (2.75) - Holy bourbon bomb, Batman. WAY too bourbon forward and the barrel is in-your-face as well. Each swig literally tasted, to me, like a shot of scotch. Whiskey and burnt wood. This flavor was so intense that I couldn't pick up ANY typical stout flavors here, except maybe too much black patent malt for my taste.

FEEL (2.75) - Too thin, and none of your typical stout creaminess. It's big, and bold, overly so in my opinion, but the bottle-conditioning doesn't lend it enough carbonation. After the initial head dissipates, there's nothing left. Average, perhaps below average to style, but nothing more.

OVERALL (2.75) - I have never drain-poured a beer before. I drain-poured this one. I tried letting it warm, but it just didn't get any better. I got halfway through maybe a 6oz portion and I had to pour out the rest of the glass. The rest of the bottle is still sitting in my refrigerator and I'm wishing that I'd never opened it, because it could have used about two or more years of age. It wasn't the worst beer ever, for sure, but I wanted something tasty that night, and this was not it. It could definitely have developed a lot more in the bottle over time, but as my first experience with this stout I can't understand how it's so highly rated. Straight up BCS is way better than this and is more than four times cheaper (per ounce).

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Photo of Rutager
4.22/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Cheers to jonnybeers for sharing this 2011 bottle! Can't believe I haven't tried this! Amazing mouthfeel, medium-full body and smooooth fine carbonation.

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Photo of Jmamay22
3.89/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

The beer pours a completely opaque black with a thick and long lasting coffee colored head. Nice scent of vanilla, molasses and chocolate. Faint whiff of fruity alcohol driven esters.

First taste I immediately pick up on a background flavor that is hard to place. Up front there is a nice roasted chocolate and coffee flavor. Nice vanilla tones and warming alcohol. The background flavor has a woody herbal tone. Difficult to pin down, but seems to be driven by the yeast and barrel aging.

The mouthfeel is a bit thinner than I expect from a big stout. This is likely influenced by the strong level of carbonation, which feels a little out of place. Overall very enjoyable, but in some ways it feels that all the pieces don't come together cohesively.

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

I picked up a bottle of Brooklyn's Black OPS a couple weeks ago for $20.99 at The Lager Mill. Well it's New Years Eve and since I don't partake in champagne any more I thought I would try a beer with champagne yeast in it, so lets see how it goes. 2014 Vintage. Poured from a brown 750ml bottle into a snifter.

A- The label looks good, it's got a clean and classy look to it and I think it's eye catching. It poured a nice black color that didn't let any light come through and it had two and half fingers worth of very creamy brown head that died down to a thick ring that stayed till the end and it left just a little bit of spotty lacing behind. This was a very nice looking beer, but I wish it left a little more lacing behind.

S- The aroma starts off with a lower amount of high sweetness with the bourbon barrels being the first to show up and they impart a nice bourbon like aroma with a little bit of oak and vanilla coming through in the background. Up next comes lots of sweet malts that lead into some dark roasted malts with some nice chocolate and slight coffee aromas coming through, Towards the end comes a fruity aroma that's similar to dark fruits with some cherry aromas showing up. This beer had a good aroma, the barrel showed up nicely and it had some good complexity to it.

T- The taste seems to be similar to the aroma, but it's a little lighter and it starts off with a higher amount of medium sweetness with the bourbon barrels still being the first to show up and they impart the same aspects and they are a little more balanced this time, but it's still the bourbon that sticks out the most. Up next comes a little bit of alcohol that goes right into the malts which impart the same aspects that they did in the aroma, but it's not as sweet this time and the chocolate comes through just a little more. On the finish there's a little warming alcohol with pretty much not bitterness and it had a bourbon barrel and roasted malt like aftertaste. This was a good tasting beer, it had good balance, no aspect was too overpowering.

M- Smooth, slightly warming crisp, slightly sticky, on the thicker side of being medium bodied with a higher amount of medium carbonation. The mouthfeel was good, I thought the Champagne yeast worked nicely with it.

Overall I thought this was a good beer and good example of the style, it had pretty much everything that i expect from the style with more barrel aspect than I expected and I thought the champagne yeast made it pretty unique for the style. This beer had good drinkability, it was smooth, slightly warming, crisp, slightly sticky, not to filling and the taste did a good job at holding my attention, with how smooth it drinks I wouldn't rule out drinking the whole bottle and it's just smoother than I expected. What I like the most about this beer was how well the champagne yeast worked with it and the balance, to me those were the highlights of this beer. What I liked the least about this beer was the price, it's pretty damn expensive. I might buy this beer again, but because of the price it would be for special occasions only. I would recommend this if you want a unique barrel aged Imperial Stout. All in all I was happy with this beer and I was impressed with how well the champagne yeast worked with it, I just enjoyed how unique it was. So far it's one of the better beers I've had from this brewery and while it's not my favorite of the style it's for sure on the unique side. Good job guys, this was tasty and unique barrel aged Imperial Stout, keep up the hard work.

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Photo of stortore
4.21/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

2013 bottle into a Pipeworks snifter.

Looks good in the glass, not a large head but it stayed on the surface the whole time. Aroma is boozy, a little yeasty. Got a little bit of a banana kind of smell, like a hefeweizen, early on. Very flavorful, still pretty boozy. The champagne yeast certainly impacts the taste in a positive manner, kind of makes it refreshing. Not getting much chocolate or coffee, though. Nice body, full and actually kind of refreshing for an Imperial stout.

This is a really good beer, different than the standard. Price ($20) was a little high.

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

2014 Blend #4
11.6% abv
Thin 1/4" head typical of high ABV barrel aged brews.
Nose: licorice, cherry, light ethanol
Flavor: roasted coffee, oak, sweet caramel, lingering slightly dry finish.
Good beer, I think the higher ABV adds too much "sweetness" to the flavor", might be amazing in the 8-9% range.
Cheers to another great local beer!

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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

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Photo of IPAIsaac
2.99/5  rDev -27.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

2013, opened today, cleaning cellar. Not much of a reviewer but this didn't sit well with me and perhaps one of my least favorite beers I've had lately. Smell seems off, taste was pretty interesting. I didn't finish my glass because I did not care for this at all.

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Photo of lewzer99
4.34/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

L: pours black with a one finger caramel head
A: toffee, butterscotch, vanilla, sweet smelling
T: wow, surprisingly light, sweet caramel, bourbon, and a bit of roast at the end
M: creamy, but not heavy
O: the easiest drinking stout of its kind. That uniqueness alone makes it remarkable. Tons of taste, without being heavy.

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Photo of RichD
4.43/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

First review in a really long time. Poured this into a teku.

L: Pours a pitch black with about a finger or so of dark khaki colored sudsy foam. The head disappears into a ring around my glass.

S: The smell yields some vanilla and booze from the bourbon. There's a little oak in the background. Roasty, chocolate malts are also prominent. Pretty much what I expect from a barrel-aged imperial stout.

T: The taste follows the nose pretty well. Vanilla flavor kind of dominates this which is quite alright with me. There's a bit of oak and chocolate. The yeast also brings a level of carbonation that I'm not used to in a stout. Overall, this is top notch.

F: This definitely does not feel like it's 11% abv. The alcohol burn is minimal as this warms and the chocolate flavor lingers on my palate until I take another sip.

Overall: I can see why this is highly regarded. Garrett Oliver is the true definition of a brewmaster. The addition of champagne yeast makes this beer stand out from the rest of the stouts on the market. Definitely a unique brew. I'll probably pass on this in the future because there are other BA stouts that will allow me to get 4 bottles for the same price of this one. However, I will enjoy the rest of this 750 and savor every last drop.

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Brooklyn Black OPS from Brooklyn Brewery
4.1 out of 5 based on 2,332 ratings.
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