Black Chocolate Stout
Brooklyn Brewery

Black Chocolate StoutBlack Chocolate Stout
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Stout - Russian Imperial
Ranked #132
Ranked #2,188
4.17 | pDev: 10.31%
Brooklyn Brewery
New York, United States
Black Chocolate StoutBlack Chocolate Stout
Notes: This is the famous Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout. In the 18th century, Catherine the Great, Empress of Russia, ordered a stout to be sent to her from England. This beer was brewed strong and hoppy to survive the sea voyage, and it arrived in perfect condition. Soon "Russian Imperial Stout" became the toast of the Russian aristocracy. Brewed since 1994, our Black Chocolate Stout has itself become a modern classic, heralded the world over. It achieves its dark chocolate aroma and flavor through the artful blending of six malts and three distinct mashes. Properly kept, it will improve in the bottle for many years. This stout is the toast of the winter season in many countries, and there is nothing better to enjoy with chocolate desserts, cheesecake, ice cream, fine cheeses and roaring fireplaces.

Given this beer’s higher ABV and sturdy character, we think it’s a prime candidate for cellaring. Find a cool, dry spot away from light sources, and see how it changes in the years to come. You never quite know what will happen when you age a beer: perhaps the body will smooth out, notes of vanilla, oak, and tannins will come to the front, or hints of leather and soy sauce will make themselves known. No matter what, remember that beer is meant for drinking, so don’t keep it to yourself for too long.
Reviews: 2,898 | Ratings: 6,955 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
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LeBron_James from Canada (ON)

4.37/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

2020 edition.
Pours black with small tan head, left no lacing and faded fast.
Smells really inviting. Nice dark chocolate with tons of roasted notes and some light vanilla sweetness.
Taste follows the nose. This is an awesome flavour profile. Dark chocolate, roasted malt, vanilla, caramel, some coffee on the back, and 0 alcohol so this one’s a bit dangerous.
The mouthfeel is sadly kind of thin. Not super full bodied like what I expected for a big stout but it doesn’t ruin the experience. Carbonation is light and the finish is smooth and dry.

Overall, this is a really cool beer and I’m glad I got to try it. It’s balanced very well.

Mar 27, 2021
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Parmesan from Colorado

4.32/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

L:. Pours a dark black with a small tan head and no lacing on the glass.

S:. Sweet dark chocolate, a hint of vanilla, some smoke and ash, a touch of caramel and tobacco.

T:. Sweet dark chocolate, roasted malt, a nice touch of vanilla, and it finishes with a nice long lingering smokey roasted bitterness. Really like the taste of this.

F:. Smooth silky body, little lighter than expected.

O:. It's nice to have a normal imperial stout without all the crazy stuff in it, and this one is fantastic.

Mar 13, 2021
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BergBeer from Virginia

4.41/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a tulip glass

Look: Opaque black with a rich mocha colored head

Smell: Rich bitter sweet chocolate, burnt toast, and vanilla.

Taste: Big blast of semisweet chocolate, rye bread, vanilla, and oak up front. Then a body of cold brew coffee and chocolate.

Feel: Thick and coating. Covers the palate. Big bitterness. Medium alcohol. Smooth carbonation.

Overall: A great example of the style and one tasty brew.

Mar 04, 2021
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mike22ne from Massachusetts

4.43/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bottle, 2020 edition. I've had this many times years ago, but not recently - and only realized now that I've never reviewed it! A blizzard is currently rolling in to Boston so this sounds like a perfect time to sit and sip.

Looks good, a silky thick pour with near-black brown color and a fine brown head that fades quickly. Minimal-to-no lacing.
Smell and taste are big and full of roasted malts. Black coffee, bitter dark chocolate, and burnt caramel, with a slightly metallic earthy quality. Prominent bitterness lies under the layers of flavor.
Feels medium-full bodied, with a depth of flavors but not overwhelmingly sticky. Bittersweet and dry finish. No perception of alcohol heat, only as it warms me afterward.

Overall fantastic. To me, this is the "quintessential" American (Russian) Imperial Stout. All-grain brewed, no actual chocolate or other adjuncts in the recipe

Feb 01, 2021
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jockstrappy from Pennsylvania

4.29/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours solid black with a creamy 1” tan head, sticky lacing. Aromas noted are chocolate with roasted malt and coffee. Taste is chocolate with a mild caramel sweetness up front. Mild coffee like bitterness from the roasted malts, hop profile is faint. Mild alcohol warmth detected. Finish leans the sweet over the bitter, a little sticky on the palate. Heavier body with a smooth and creamy mouth feel.

Jan 31, 2021
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reknirdsuomynona from Massachusetts

4.32/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

12oz bottle poured into a pint glass

A - Almost pure black. About as close as you can get with a beer. Small brown head about one finger thick appears with a vigorous pour. It quickly disappates to a patchy coat on the surface that lingers.

S - Sweet chocolate up front. Very little else. A faint hint of the dark roasted malt on the back end. No hops to be found. Simple and straightforward.

T - Sweet chocolate and roasted malts. Finishes dry and malty. As with the aroma, simple and straightforward. No real complexity, but not everything needs to be complex. Everything here is well balanced and well executed. The chocolate might be too sweet to get through the whole bottle without high alcohol content slightly numbing the tastebuds while sipping. Another well considered facet.

M - Probably the only weak point of this beer. It feels too thin. The carbonation is a little too, IDK the best word here, maybe delicate? for the gravity. It just doesn't feel quite like a stout. No where near ruined, but it's the only real blemish here.

Overall, a really good Imperial Stout with a little bit extra. Everything is done by the book and done well. Will gladly enjoy the other 5 bottles over the winter.

Jan 26, 2021
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NYNorseman from New York

4.54/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Solid beer! This is a terrific stout that is pretty widely available. I remember a great afternoon drinking these brews at Totonno’s Pizzeria in Brooklyn before a Cyclone’s game. This beer is rich, malty, chocolatey and has aged pretty well in my cellar. This is a 2019 vintage and is pretty tasty. This is an affordable classic. Give it a shot!

Jan 26, 2021
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dano213 from Pennsylvania

4.48/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Winter 2020 Vintage
12oz bottle purchased off the shelf as part of a mix-a-six pack. Looks like a Julian date of 2960, which perhaps corresponds to a bottling date of 10/24/2020. Drinking this somewhere in between cellar temp and room temp.

Look: Pours a very dark brown almost black color. No light getting through, that's for sure. Looks like it has a thick body to it. A very nice brown colored head with tiny bubbles adhering in a small layer along the sides of the snifter.

Smell: The aroma on this russian imperial stout is what you would expect - dark roasted malts, coffee, pleasant dark cocoa aroma, and just a bit of acidity. I am getting secondary notes of dark fruits like stewed black cherries and plums, nice sweet almond marzipan and creamy vanilla aromas also. A bit of spice comes through also. I got some metallic notes too, but I think that they blew off eventually. Overall, the aromas aren't super expressive but definitely present and accessible. I've heard other people describe previous vintages of this beer to smell like chocolate cake and I totally agree with that.

Taste: Wow, this is very nice. Not quite what I expected, and very enjoyable. Up front, it's hard to describe the flavors. Lots of generic roastiness without much sweetness. Some fruity and nutty notes up front as well. On the finish, there are lots of chocolate and coffee flavors. Huge robust baker's chocolate notes with some pleasant dryness and bitterness. The bitterness doesn't taste like it is coming from hops, rather it seems like is coming from the unsweetened chocolate flavors that are coming from the roasted malts. It's very complex and interesting and I find that after sipping it and savoring it, there is even more to appreciate. There is a tinge of acidity on the back end as well. It's almost an afterthought because it doesn't even cross your mind - the 10.0% ABV is completely undetected.

Feel: This RIS has some nice chewiness to it and the carbonation is moderate, really spot on for this type of beer. Mouthfeel is just a bit thin.

Overall: This is a solid russian imperial stout. It is delicious now and I think that cellaring for a year or a few years would only enhance and help develop and round out the flavors. I think that this beer would be really enjoyable to pair with rich cheeses (think brie or blue cheese for example) or dark chocolates.

Jan 19, 2021
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jdubbs13 from Minnesota

4/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2012 bottle date - nose is dark chocolate; smooth and delicate to start on the body. The chocolate grows as it warms in the mouth. Silky, malt follows as does some light coffee roast on to the finish. Sweetness is moderate for an overall good stout.

Jan 18, 2021
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blazerkor from Nevada

4.41/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

The smell is like the name a dark chocolate dominant stout. Bitter sweetness and roasty malts come in after the cocoa heavy chocolate.

It tastes like a dark chocolate malt with very little sweetness.

The mouthfeel is foamy, full and silky smooth. The finish is dry and bitter, the bitterness lingers for a while.

Overall this is a phenomenal straight forward imperial stout. Hardly an alcoholic taste absolutely was not aged in anything wooden because it is just a stout. I give it a 5.2 out of 6.

Dec 29, 2020
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RumDude from Connecticut

4.22/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Look: Richly dark body. Dark tan head with decent longevity. Thick pour.

Aroma: Rich traditional balance of black/dark malts with a hint of chocolate/ stonefruit.

Taste: Nicely balanced continuation of the aroma with just enough alcohol flavor to let you know its the real thing.

Feel: Pleasant enough but would be better if a bit thicker. It’s on the light side of moderate/medium.

Overall: A solid performer and a bit better (2020) than in other years. As a comparison, it is not as complex as Founders Breakfast Stout but richer with a slightly better feel. Definitely worth $2.50 per bottle.

Dec 22, 2020
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klarcbarr3 from Michigan

4.03/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

An aggressive pour into a pint glass provides a 2 inch head and a perfect fill to the top. The head lasts several minutes, and enough remains to provide some pleasant, tawny lacing to the end. An earthy, robust smell of coffee and modest chocolate greets you. The taste is strong, a bit raw.. boozy, good, and not subtle. It is every bit an Imperial Russian Stout, a tad more chocolatey than many. I drink it with a touch of nostalgia.. In the seventies and eighties, I had progressed through the endless sameness of American lagers, skunky European imports, pilsners and fruity summer ales, concluding by the nineties that Sam Ale and Pete Wicked were the beer zenith.. but on a hot summer night, two quick Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout draft imperial pints, to parch my thirst, shook my world. I now buzzedly knew more existed.. and my quest for beer perfection continues to this day. I fondly remember Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout as the beer that opened my eyes and inspired my thirst. Thank you, Brooklyn Brewery!

Dec 08, 2020
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tp1962 from Illinois

5/5  rDev +19.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is an excellent imperial stout! In my wheel house of what I like and respect! And expect in an RIS

This is the real deal.
Look: black with beautiful 1” tan head with zero light coming through!
Smell: dark chocolate, roasted grains, smells amazing
Taste I can taste the chocolate, the ABV ever so slight and the toasted malt
Feel: very smooth and moderate carbonation
Overall: hey! This is a great imperial stout! I should know! If it’s not good I won’t support it!! You won’t be sorry you purchased! Well done!

Nov 29, 2020
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Crow0 from New York

4.42/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

L - poured 12 oz. bottle into medium 16oz stemless wineglass curious head quickly scales back to rim. deep mahogany copper body looks like a winner,

S- cocoa, toffee slightly bread carrot cake

T - very rich dark chocolate malt, sugary pleasantly bitter, alcohol is there blends nicely though

Feel is dense and slightly syrupy

O- A stout with complex character look forward to it every year at this time

Nov 24, 2020
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mickyge from Massachusetts

4.48/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a tulip glass yielded a thick foamy head with heavy lacing as it was consumed. Dark chocolate color
Aroma was deep dark Chocolate and a bit of roast and alcohol
Taste was chocolate forward, not sweet but as in semi sweet chocolate, some roasted malt and a tick of alcohol
Mouth feel was kind of chewy, sticky chocolate, and a faint alcohol burn.
Overall it’s a really nice RIS, easy drinking and very appealing

Nov 21, 2020
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RacerX5k from Pennsylvania

4.44/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Old school favorite at $2 a bottle (what it's worth) i used to call it Big Sexy for the gorgeous label and the beer I was drinking when I got the bad phone call, that my Dad had died from an quite unexpected fall 2013. Healthy enough but not healthy enough to survive an rigorous hike at 83, yes, an hike we've all done many times ... the review?

Looks like stout, huge aroma and flavor, char, chocolate, coffee, roast, bitter, everything an RIS needs to be great. This year's rendition seems better than recent years. Overall, this is beer. i already know will have many more this year.,

Nov 14, 2020
Photo of hankp59
hankp59 from New York

3.06/5  rDev -26.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I love this stuff. This review is of a bottle from 10-11. It’s just too old. Even at 10% this particular brew does not improve with age. Buy fresh and it’s a world class beer. Aging does nothing for this beer. Pinky sized head, mediocre all around. Drink fresh!

Sep 26, 2020
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titty_mcbitty from Tennessee

3.94/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.75

I think this is an Oct 2018 bottle, but the date is smeared. Anyway, it pours black with almost a finger's worth of khaki head. Mostly small bubbles appear, and the foam dissipates pretty quickly.

I don't get too much on the smell, other than a faint milk chocolate or some kind of turned milk aroma.

The taste is pretty good. Up front is bitter dark chocolate and malt. Maybe a roasted nuttiness is there as well. Hops come through. There's something like a dark Belgian thing going on in the background.

Consistency is very good! Not thin and not crazy thick. It's oily and some of the bitter flavors linger on the palate for a while.

Overall this is a great beer for the money, and a good beer in spite of the price point. What impressed me most was the feel of the beer - it wasn't thin at all, which I love. I also liked the bitter chocolate flavor that Brooklyn pulled off. No wonder this has been such a staple for them.

Apr 21, 2020
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BJB13 from Maryland

4.03/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

12 oz. bottle poured into a nonic style pint glass.

Pouring dark brown and thick it is near black and opaque in the glass. A conservative pour yields two fingers of rocky light brown foam leaving slick lace and oily residue on the glass. The nose is subtle, featuring notes of light roast, caramel and a ghostly whiff of cocoa. A flavor profile starting with a balance of semi-sweet chocolate and floral hops with alcohol moves to a slightly bitter aftertaste. The body is full and soft with medium carbonation and a little warmth.
A straight forward solid offering in my humble opinion.

Apr 06, 2020
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rudiecantfail from Pennsylvania

4.18/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

12 ounce bottle poured into a Duvel tulip glass.

L---As dark a brown as exists. Huge, brown, soapy head faded slowly and left impressive lacing.

S---Aroma of high percentage dark chocolate, more bitter chocolate, not sweet. A touch of vanilla is present along with a hefty amount of alcohol which is not unexpected at its double digit ABV.

T---Dark chocolate, as advertised is up front. In the background is some vanilla and coffee.

F---Lighter than expected for the high ABV. It's still medium-full bodied and surprisingly well carbonated.

O---An excellent offering by Brooklyn Brewery. I'm actually going to go back to where I picked up this single and get a few more.

Mar 23, 2020
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stevoj from Idaho

4.36/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

12 oz bottle from Beer Peddlers. Black pour, small beige head, settles quickly. Aroma is bitter roast malts, dark chocolate, small hit of coffee. Taste blends it all together perfectly, chocolate, coffee, cocoa. Slick and smooth, with a bit of heat.

Mar 16, 2020
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Whyteboar from Michigan

4.77/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

For a Non BA Imperial Stout, this stuff is amazing. For my palate at least, the level of hops is excellent, lower than most RISs but still present to cut the cloying taste of all the malts in here. The mouth feel is superior to most non BA stouts and some that are. Absolutely enjoyable and I was sorry to reach the end.

Mar 09, 2020
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harrypowers from Massachusetts

4.18/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours an opaque black with a small tan head that leaves lacings.

Smells of bitter chocolate. Tastes of chocolate and malt with a slightly bitter finish.

Medium body and carbonation.

Jan 31, 2020
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Bluecrow from New York

4.35/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

The opaquely dark bottle pour hosts a thin, tan foam cap and a boozy, sweet aroma. The flavor is remarkably consistent: toasted, dark malt, bittersweet chocolate and a bit of licorice are present. The mouthfeel is smooth, but not slick. This is a seasonal gift.

Jan 11, 2020
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cjeep from Pennsylvania

4.59/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is the real deal.
L: deep dark color with beautiful head
S: dark chocolate, stone fruit, decadent
T: delivers on the aroma. sweet, dark fruity, and wonderful
F: super smooth and wonderful
O: outstanding stout. if you don't love it, it's on you.

Jan 09, 2020
Black Chocolate Stout from Brooklyn Brewery
Beer rating: 93 out of 100 with 6955 ratings