Black Ops (Four Roses Small Batch)
Brooklyn Brewery

Black Ops (Four Roses Small Batch)Black Ops (Four Roses Small Batch)
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Stout - Russian Imperial
Ranked #203
Ranked #4,604
4.27 | pDev: 7.03%
Brooklyn Brewery
New York, United States
Black Ops (Four Roses Small Batch)Black Ops (Four Roses Small Batch)
Notes: This variant vintage is aged in Four Roses Small Batch Bourbon barrels, emerging with deep chocolate and coffee notes and a rich underpinning of vanilla-like oak.

2019 vintage 12.4% ABV
2020 vintage 12.2% ABV
Reviews: 22 | Ratings: 38 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of Bluecrow
Bluecrow from New York

4.12/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The jet colored pour hosted a thin cap of tan, fine foam and an aroma of burnt sugar and whiskey.
The flavor includes toasted malt, bourbon aspects and a hint of licorice.
The mouthfeel is sticky.
This is rich and tasty. -not a favored bourbon for me.

Sunday at 05:28 PM
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firesidewithphil from Illinois

4.25/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Brooklyn Brewery’s brown ale was one of the first craft beers I had way back in the day and I still enjoy it from time to time. I recently found my first Black Ops can and wanted to see what they could do in the BA realm. The beer is a true bourbon lovers dream; bourbon in the front and bourbon in the back. The sweet base and oak help mellow out the ABV which can be overpowering in a bourbon forward rendition. I like the classic approach here and I think it was well done.

Sunday at 04:50 PM
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Greywulfken from New York

4.19/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Can't read the best by dating on the can, but I assume this is the 2021 version, 12.4% abv... I'm not as big a fan of Black Ops as a lot of BAs are, so when I tell you I was underwhelmed by this, don't let me discourage you from giving it a try - it runs full-bodied and smooth, with more than ample bourbon swirled into the sweet chocolate malts... Solid body, leans toward the sweet end of the stout spectrum...

Nov 26, 2021
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gopens44 from Virginia

4.28/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Well crafted beer, no surprises in the appearance but taste is clean, crisp and well balanced and not too hot or muddled in sweetness like a lot in the style. Coffee, hints of caramel and of course, some good whiskey flavor. Body is pretty thin but otherwise it's a good time

Nov 25, 2021
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Darkmagus82 from Texas

4.12/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a can into a snifter
Appearance – The beer pours a pitch-black color with a one finger head of tan colored foam. The head has a great level of retention, slowly fading over time to leave a light level of foamy lace on the sides of the glass.
Smell – The aroma of the brew is massive of a roasty malt smell mixed with tons of chocolate, molassas, and caramel as well as some notes of vanilla. Along with these aromas are notes of a dark roasted coffee smell as well as some aromas of dark fruit of cherry and raisin. Mixed with the aromas comes some nice warming boozy smells of oak and bourdon, mixing with the rest, producing a very nice warming and inviting aroma overall.
Taste – The taste begins with a big roasted malt flavor mixed with flavors of bitter cocoa and some coffee as well as a little bit of caramel and brown sugar. As the taste advances it bitters, taking on more bitter roast flavors at the expense at some of the caramel and brown sugar. At the same time oak and wood tastes come to the tongue along with a bit of a somewhat hot boozy burn. Flavors of char and toast join in more toward the end, and with a somewhat bitter bitting flavor coming at the very end, one is left with a drier and roasty, warming, bitter taste to linger on the tongue.
Mouthfeel – The body of the brew is thick and creamy with a carbonation level that is on the slightly lower side. For the big nature of the brew, the dark roast, and the feel is good and makes for a nice slow sipper.
Overall – Quite dark and slightly more bitter with a rather big boozy flavor and feel. Overall fun to try.

Nov 24, 2021
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jcoleMA66 from Massachusetts

3.19/5  rDev -25.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Based on ABV (12.4), this must be 2019 vintage. Can’t make sense of stamp on bottom of can.

Not sure I should be reviewing this can because my experience is nothing like others that have reviewed this ahead of me. I’ll try another can at some point and adjust my rating as needed.

Appearance of this beer is decent although it did have a cola look as I was pouring it. The smell isn’t off putting but there is a bit of soy and odd spicy note that I chalked up to booziness from the bourbon or oak barrel. The taste is where I was let down. I’m getting a slightly sour astringency along with soy sauce and miso flavors. Just doesn’t taste right. Mouthfeel is lighter than others are describing, too. Not sure this can is a fair representation of this beer… I’ll circle back to it at some point.

Nov 19, 2021
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Antg8989 from New Jersey

4.39/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Nose: from the barrel - vanilla, coconut, wood and bourbon. Deep chocolate tangy notes. Taste is chocolate with a significant barrel presence. Overall, definitely enjoyable. Always one of my favorites from Brooklyn.

Nov 17, 2021
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jlindros from Massachusetts

4.45/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Can date smudged, but just picked up at the store
Pours a very large frothy tan 2+ finger head with great retention, decent lacing, pitch black color

Nose is quite lush, thick cocoa and fudgey chocolate, rich vanilla and caramel candy, vanilla barrel with some sweet bourbon, nutty coffee and a little roast, little nougat and marshmallow candy bar, caramelized candy and vanilla, it's almost like a barleywine and stout blended together and aged in a barrel

Taste starts rich as well, a little dark chocolate cocoa, fudgey, with fair vanilla, sweet vanilla and more caramel candy, caramelized sweet sugar but nice sweet balance, fair warming alcohol, juicy bourbon barrel juice, rich whiskey with some toasted vanilla oak, hint of baking spice, into mild nutty coffee but not really roasty, cocoa dust, fair fruity characters almost caramel candied apple, touch of bitterness, again a rich velvety caramel cuts through, with a little spice and chocolate cake, touch of bitterness, soft semi dry finish

Mouth is fuller bod, soft creamy but not too thick, med frothy carb, a bit of warming alcohol

Overall quite nice, despite the high alcohol it's quite smooth and rounded, nice bourbon and barrel coming through, with the heavy caramel and candy notes it really is like a RIS and barleywine blended but more towards the stout side, with great barrel, I'm quite impressed with this one and glad a 4-pack is less than I remember the 750ml bottle going for years ago

Nov 14, 2021
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Apellonious from North Carolina

4.29/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

16 oz can poured into a tulip glass. Pitch black , slim thin tan lace. Aroma of heavy chocolate and bourbon. Roast. Taste is more whiskey notes than chocolate, though a good bit of that and cocoa powder are present. A touch thin on the feel, though not overly so. Gets more balanced as it warms. Will be interested to see how this develops over time.

Nov 14, 2021
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garymuchow from Minnesota

4.32/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

I figure this is a 2021 version. Listed on can as 12.4% abv.
Interesting aroma in that most are strong on booze, bourbon or vanilla. This is not. It's more of a subtle whiskey with some alcohol but a strong RIS quality with some malt and fruit showing through. Any vanilla and oak are light. Quite complex yet somehow soft. The wood and vanilla are stronger in time but still not overpowering.
Dark head that laces well. Very black body. There are no highlights.
Taste is more bold and still complex with all the parties involved showing forth and blending quite well. Whiskey is strong and borders on boozy, but the malt is strong enough and shows it's own fruity character. The vanilla never leaves and finishes strong with a long dry woody finish lingering on the tongue.
Soft feel and moderately big. Seems somehow that the whiskey thins it out a bit.
The blending on this is better than most. I like how the big stout retains presence in the flavors

Nov 14, 2021
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johnnnniee from New Hampshire

4.19/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Can from the Packie.
Inky black with a small frothy tan head that persists.
Roasty chocolate and sweet caramel maltiness against a spicy earthy hop and vanilla tannic oak. Hints of bourbon alcohol and dark dried fruits. Great complex sipper!

Nov 13, 2021
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LunchMoney from Minnesota

3.85/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Looks good - deep black color. Carbonation is a little more fizz than foam, detracting from the look and the feel. The smell is not off putting, but doesn’t really have anything to it other than some light four roses. And the taste follows in a similar way. I’m not sure if there should be an enormous difference between barrel aging and just pouring some bourbon in, but this tastes more like the latter. It’s a stout and there is four roses bourbon flavor - but that’s all I can say. Other than that, a little disappointing.

Nov 12, 2021
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MonDak_Joe1953 from Minnesota

4.31/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

16oz can. No dating information found, even though the label says to find the best by date stamped on can bottom.
Black colored body, with a back lit red mahogany edge. Two fingers of billowy tan head, which takes several minutes to recede. Leaves rings and strings of lacing.
Aroma of roasted malts, chocolate and caramel, along with oak bourbon barrel which brings forth oak and vanilla.
Taste is joined by dark fruits, along with the flavors of chocolate, caramel, and a hint of coffee. Lots of oak bourbon barrel, and its vanilla. Boozy and dry at the end. Chocolate bourbon in the aftertaste.
Creamy thin mouth feel. Carbonation brings out a bid head, but does not show in the mouth.
Lots of higher ABV% effect from this beer, with a balanced blend of barrel and dark roasted malt flavors. Definitely a sipper. The dark fruit in the taste is a surprise, but this is seen in other higher ABV% barrel aged stouts.

Nov 11, 2021
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ZebulonXZogg from Illinois

4.35/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

L: Pours black with a two fingered head that hung around and left a nicely laced glass.
S: The bourbon dominates the aroma.
T: Coffee, dark fruit, some coffee and some molasses.
F: All things considered, this was thin for the style.
O: I wonder, Is there Black Chocolate Stout the base beer? If so, it's a bit of a disappointment.

Nov 09, 2021
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gruntypups from Massachusetts

5/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Look, I don’t know if I like this beer of not (I’ve only had maybe 3-4 cans of ~ ½ liter per serving) – but I can tell you this: This is a tremendous, world class brewing effort. Period.

Deserves a 5/5 for that effort, and for those specific, targeted drinkers, it drinks at a 5/5.

Is the taste dominated by the astringency a la red wine barrel aging? - it’s there, I would welcome more.

Is the taste strong of vanilla (which I do not like?) - it’s there, I would welcome less.

Try it: it’s specific, as are you.

Nov 07, 2021
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trevormajor from Ohio

4.26/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

750 ML bottle, 2019 vintage, poured into a snifter at 55 degrees F:
L - black as the night with no head
S - bourbon, molasses, chocolate
T - follows the nose
F - silky smooth with no carbonation
O - very smooth and silky, you can't tell its 12+%

Oct 15, 2021
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zeff80 from Missouri

4.39/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle. Poured out an opaque, jet-black color with a small, tan head of foam. It left subtle rings of lace on the glass. It smelled of bourbon, oak, vanilla, dark chocolate, roasted malt and coffee. Big bourbon taste with notes of vanilla, charred oak, chocolate and rich toffee.

Jul 10, 2021
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BFCarr from New Jersey

4.37/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours black with a medium tan head. Aroma is bourbon and coffee. Taste follows and is delicious bourbon and coffee and a touch of vanilla. Feel is very good, rich and coating. Overall it's a very nice stout with deep flavor and feel.

Mar 12, 2021
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Alieniloquium from Florida

4.01/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

750 mL bottle. Almost black. Smells of bourbon, oak, roasted malt, booze. Tastes of bourbon, milk chocolate, oak, booze. Medium heavy. Boozy, but not sweet. Excellent drinkable bourbon stout.

Feb 10, 2021
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sulldaddy from Connecticut

4.59/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I picked up this 2019 vintage bottle of Brooklyn Black Ops about 6 months ago at a local bottle shop. Its been in my cellar since then. Seemed the bottle had been on the shelf at the shop since original release.
the beer pours a jet black color with soft fluffy beige colored head of 1.5 cm foaming up from a gentle pour. The foam sticks around for most of the sampling. Leaves some dense lacing after each sip or swirl of the glass.
Aroma is dark chocolate malt, some black coffee and some char, with a healthy dose of bourbon and some oak notes. A little vanilla mixes in, but the bourbon and a roasted note of almost burnt wood are dominant. The burnt scent is unexpected by me. No hop presence that I can detect on the nose.
First sip reveals a pretty big body with sticky texture and gentle mild carbonation.
Flavor is what the nose tells me to expect.
I find dark chocolate, black coffee notes followed by some sweet vanilla and a good dose of bourbon. I dont get any of the char from the nose and the oak notes arent present here either. Flavor is a little sweeter and bourbon flavor is strong, but boozy heat from the ABV is mild and hidden.
Ive had this beer in previous years and didnt remember the charred note on teh nose, but otherwise this is a nice treat for after wrapping presents on a rainy evening.

Dec 26, 2020
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mynie from Maryland

4.65/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

2020 vintage sitting in a case in my bottle shop.

For as good as Black Ops is, and as sought after as it once was, you'd think a small release like this would summon *some* hype, or at least more than a single review. But, ehh, the times have changed. They should try adding Shock Tarts into the kettle, or maybe turning it into a seltzer.

Anyhow, the cage and cork are removed with a small pop, and the pour is very dark and minimally fizzy. Less lively than regular Black Ops, but, you know, it has been aged considerably.

Aroma is quite smooth but tamer than I was anticipating. The barrel aging adds some pronounced vanilla sweetness but does not, at least in the nose, lead to any more booziness--a welcome break from contemporary trends, considering the base beer. Chocolate, coffee, and oak.

The flavor is, again, remarkably smooth and well-composed, but lacking in the sort of intensity that many might expect from a BA beer. Milk chocolate up front, coffee and bittersour barley in the middle, and the end is as soft as velvet, with milky cocoa taking you down to a finish that's enticingly alcoholic. There's juuuust enough burniness to keep you wanting more without feeling masochistic.

As with music and film, I've accepted the fact that I'm too old to understand or anticipate trends. I do hope, however, that there's still an audience for a beer that's as well made as this one, especially since it's relatively accessible.

Dec 08, 2020
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EMV from Pennsylvania

4.31/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2019 vintage. Poured from a cork'n'cage bomber into a Dogfish Head tulip

L: Inky black pour.. thick and viscous with a finger of mocha colored head. Decent lacing.

S: Bourbon, roast, and booze.

T.F: Rech and roasty... bourbon and vanilla mingled with oak, char, espresso, and dark chocolate. Hits all the right notes. A hint of dark fruit... some nice sweetness but balanced by the bitter roast. Smooth and creamy mouthfeel. Medium to heavy body... relatively low carbonation.

O: A nice take on a classic... and as usual when done properly the bourbon barrels do good things to the RIS. A nice treat and worth the higher price point. It's not on the level of 'Dark Lord', but for something relatively available it's a good pickup.

Dec 04, 2020
Black Ops (Four Roses Small Batch) from Brooklyn Brewery
Beer rating: 91 out of 100 with 38 ratings