Black Chocolate Stout
Brooklyn Brewery

Black Chocolate StoutBlack Chocolate Stout
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Beer Geek Stats: | Print Shelf Talker
Style:
Russian Imperial Stout
Ranked #118
ABV:
10%
Score:
93
Ranked #1,867
Avg:
4.17 | pDev: 10.31%
Reviews:
2,857
Ratings:
6,861
From:
Brooklyn Brewery
 
New York, United States
Avail:
Winter
Wants
  470
Gots
  1,536
SCORE
93
Outstanding
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.
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Reviews: 2,857 | Ratings: 6,861
Photo of DokiDokiLitFam
4.04/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Pours out dark with a finger of tan head.

Smell is strong malt, bitter chocolate. Getting a bit of that soy sauce hinting.

Taste is dark, burnt bread. Really dark chocolate. Strong malt. The 10% ABV is very present.

A little on the thin side with smooth fine bubbles. Makes for easy drinking.

This is made for pairing. Like the bottle says, good for drinking with cheese, dessert, or in front of a roiling fireplace. This would work with a dessert that is perhaps on the sweet side or a cheese that could hold its own against it. It is singularly focused as being a contrast and a counterpoint. By itself, you can feel it needs something. If you have a nice hearty aged Gouda, this would be a good pick.

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Photo of TooManyGlasses
4.27/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2016 vintage. Many times in past and always great. Pours a rich thick black with a short lived deep tan head. Aroma is initially notably boozy - espresso notes and dark chocolate with hint of sweetness. Taste is a very pleasantly boozy rich chocolate with a bit of balancing espresso bitterness. Nicely carbonated for the ABV with great thick mouthfeel and boozy heat.

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Photo of Dr_Gonzo
4.27/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a tall clear pint glass. Jet black body with complete opaque constitution, deep mahogany fluffy head about two fingers thick. Really good retention and lacing.

Aroma is quite elusive and subdued. Primarily notes of milk chocolate, prominent roasted malts, grounded coffee beans, and burnt caramel. Other notes of vanilla, licorice, toffee, dark fruits, and bourbon barrel.

Alcohol can be tasted easily. Taste isn't too bitter, although it remains in the aftertaste. Big notes here are the toffee and roasted malts, while the other notes mentioned in the aroma play a side role. Quite smooth.

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Photo of AllOfTheCats
3.01/5  rDev -27.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.75

2015 bottle consumed in 2017 in a glass at ~55 degrees. Licorice, even after all these years. Can't say I'm a fan. Wasn't much of a fan of Black Ops, either.

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Photo of SierraNevallagash
4.27/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

I have had the 2018 vintage before, which was remarkable, but this review will be of the 2017 Winter Release.

2017 Vintage 12oz bottle (aged a year and a half) - poured into a wine stem at 55F.

Pours a seriously deep, dark mahogany color - thick - sitting jet black in the glass, with zero light penetration. A thin finger of mocha colored foam sits atop, slowly receding to a thick cap, leaving behind very little lacing, but coating the glass with the beer.

Nose: At first, the nose is rather subdued, consisting primarily of milk chocolate, sweet, moderately roasted malt, and the faintest hint of fresh ground coffee. As it opens up, vanilla becomes apparent, along with lesser notes of burned caramel, molasses, and a hint of dark fruits. The faintest whisper of floral hops. Zero alcohol fumes for 10% ABV. Some time in a bourbon barrel would work magical wonders on this. Note: This 2017 bottle seems to have softened quite a bit from the 2018 bottle, lacking the rich dark fruit character, and vibrancy of the 2018.

Palate: Moderately roasted malt leads to flavors of dark chocolate, roasty barley malt, malt sweetness, toffee, vanilla, and as it begins to warm and open up, the dark fruit notes become more evident. Dried cherries, raisins, figs, plum, and even a touch of milk chocolate-covered dried strawberries. It's satisfyingly sweet, in a very natural malty way, never approaching cloying or overbearing. Mid palate, it shifts away from the sweetness, bringing vanilla, dark chocolate, and the impression of oak to the forefront, before leaving everything behind, and finishing with cacao nib, and a slightly tannic charry roasted dryness. Not bitter, but dry, clean, and slightly roasty. Note: The 2018 bottle was a bit fuller, and brighter, with a slightly more all around richness to it.

Mouthfeel/Body: The beer is mild to moderately thick, slightly viscous, with a good amount of heft and body. Just a touch sticky. Effervescence is low, fine, and fuzzy, and very appropriate for the style and over a year of bottle maturation. Feels like a good 10% imperial stout should. Perhaps just a touch on the thinner side, but by no means "thin". Note: The 2018 bottle had a slightly thicker, fuller, more viscous mouthfeel to it, though with roughly the same effervescence.

Overall: I've had this once before, but as a 2018 vintage. If my memory serves me right, the 2018 was bolder, both on the nose and on the palate. It was sweeter, and had more vibrant flavor, particularly those dark fruit notes that I love so much in a big stout. The age seems to have mellowed this one out a bit, subduing the overall character, subduing the roasty bitterness, and rounding everything out a bit, bringing forth more of the vanilla and malted barley character. Nevertheless, regardless of the vintage, this is an excellent imperial stout, and the price of this makes it a true gem. $2.50/12oz in my neck of the woods. This stands toe-to-toe with any non-barrel-aged imperial stout I've had, and for the cost, I will choose it any time. Zero glaring flaws, and a nice traditional European style RIS in a world of over-hopped American stouts. This is a must try, and a great starting point for anyone looking to get into big stouts, while not breaking the bank, and still experiencing outstanding quality.

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Photo of npolachek
4.13/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Pours light black with caramel-colored head. Nose of dark cacao, malts, caramel and toffee. Taste of dark chocolate, dark berries, and malt. Only chirp was thinness, but solid brew either way.

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

Rating is based on the Winter 2018 release. Enjoyable bittersweet dark chocolate and heavy roast, a lovely appearance with great retained lacing from an aggressive pour, but a touch of acrid bitterness that takes the roasted notes a slight touch farther than I would prefer.

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Photo of jrc1093
3.77/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Winter 2018 bottling

Pours a light black with no translucence and a fluffy cap of caramel-colored foam; nice retention on the head with some sparse walls and stringy patterns of thicker lacing left around the glass.

Aromas of dark cacao nibs and roasty malts dominate; lighter hints of caramel, toffee, and milk chocolate influence the bouquet smoothly in the background.

Taste of dark chocolate and toasted granola upfront, with lighter tones of dark berries/stone fruits, smooth malty roast, and a faint milk chocolate imparting the slightest sweetness toward the finish; bits of booze are somewhat prevalent on the latter part of the profile.

Mouthfeel shows a nice medium body, slightly sticky, and with lower levels of carbonation with an occasional odd spike; hints of booze come through on occasion, but not enough to become a consistent distraction; a well incorporated package of sweet, dry, and roasty.

Integration of dark chocolate really evens out the expected stone fruit and dark berry tones, striking a nice balance where plenty of lighter (mainly sweeter) notes are given space to shine through. I do think this didn’t quite reach the next level, though, as the profile was muddied in spots, and the mouthfeel suffered from the occasional thinness and inconsistency. Overall a really solid brew that does shine in its approachable flavor and drinkability.

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Photo of Apple78
4.11/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured a beautiful pitch black, with a finger of Carmel head. Solid lacing. Not much retention. The smell is outstanding! The chocolate notes dominate from start to finish. The chocolate that dominated the nose takes a back seat to the smokey taste. Very good Russian!

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Photo of VoxRationis
4.21/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Served on tap in a 13 oz (385 ml) goblet at Alamo Drafthouse in Yonkers, NY.
A: Pours a very dark brown to black color with a one finger, tan head, low retention, and solid lacing.
S: Very light aromas of cafe au lait and chocolate.
T: Semisweet with flavors that follow the nose, although bitterness quite strong.
M: Medium bodied with low carbonation.
O: Tasty and enjoyable.

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Photo of HellsRanger
4.08/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

This is another brew that I cellared in fall of 2016 and it also cellars well...and still pours a nice dark almost ebony body with a hearty lite tan foam that dissipates fairly quick, but leaves a nice foam around edge...could be the cellaring.
As for the aroma...it has mellowed some, but yet it still has the hint of the roasted malts, chocolate & slight coffee to it along with the ABV a lil' more pronounced.
The taste in your face ABV with the chocolates, malts, & coffee along for the ride, and what a ride to take...Well worth admission!!!
As for feel I fell it has mellowed with the ABV upfront, but that's me...it is smooth with some very slight dryness at the end, but very pleasant at the same time.
Either way you have this brew (cellared or fresh)...it is a win win, cellared or not...it delivers! Enjoy!

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

L-dark with nice head when poured quick
S-great notes, a nice strong aroma
T-smooth, wish it was a touch thicker
F-strong taste and strong smells, it’s a great taste
O-for the price it’s a winner!

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Photo of Czequershuus
4.43/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

The beer pours a deep black with a large brown head. The aroma is thick and powerful, with loads of dark chocolate, but also molasses, raisin, plum, licorice, burn caramel, and mocha. the flavor layers dark and milk chocolate throughout the sip with blackstrap molasses, rum soaked raisins, cedar, dried pine, hickory, burnt meat ends, caramel, licorice, and just a hint of orange peel. The mouthfeel is medium bodied, with aggressive carbonation and a dry finish. Overall a masterpiece that reminds me of the power and intensity of a classic imperial stout, not sweet finish, not flavorings, just solid beer all the way through.

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Photo of HoppingMadMonk
3.83/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A solid offering from Brooklyn. Aroma was mostly coffee followed by roasted malt and chocolate.
Taste was bitter black coffee upfront followed by bitter dark chocolate. Roasted malt added flavor and the high abv did add to the o erall flavor as well but made it a little rough around d the edges
Worthy of a try but not going to compete for world class yet but that's ok,still a solid beer

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Photo of CaptainHate
4.08/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a 12 ounce bottle with a smudged date (bought it at a grocery store so it was probably fresh) into an Abbey long stemmed tulip. Color was dark impenetrable brown with a sizable tan head that stuck around for a while. Smell was increasingly chocolatey as it warmed up with a charred malt base. Taste mirrored the smell with minimum alcohol presence. Mouthfeel was fine.

This got mentioned in Vintage Beer as a good candidate for aging so I already have another to cellar and it's not very expensive so maybe I'll snag a couple others.

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Photo of DenverHopHead
4.08/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle with no clear born on date, however, I believe it is a best by 11/21; into a snifter.
Appearance- a deep black in the body, but a little clearing at the bottom and the head, similar to cola; head is merely a thin mocha ring around the edge and lacing is absent.
Smell- dark chocolate, brownie batter and dark roasted coffee!
Taste - dark roasted, malty coffee is most profound in the flavor profile, with hints of soy sauce and the dark chocolate making a brief cameo!
Feel - definitely a sipper, but a fairly easy one at that; smooth with some dark chocolate and coffee bitterness!
Overall- all in all this is great, it just lacks the character to stand amongst the best in the category; a very good RIS that I would certainly recommend if you haven’t tried!

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Photo of micada
4.14/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

2015 vintage score...thanks John at Twin-Lo! Poured moderately hard to a tulip glass at room temp. Dark black color, with a nice 1/2” mocha head. Tons of heavy lacing just grips the glass and doesn’t fall. Nose is all dark chocolate, with a slight smokey char aroma. First sips follow the nose, with a bit of dark pit fruit. I’ve had this fresher, and this seems like it got hotter with age! Not overly boozy, but unexpected compared to the way the ABV usually hides. Mouthfeel is full and satisfying. Always a stable stout, aging brings some subtle differences. Another 4 cellaring!

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Photo of Nass
3.75/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The flavor of this beer is quite muted for a beer naming itself Black Chocolate Stout. I am getting a lit bit of dark chocolate roast, a little syrupy taste, a little bit of hop presence. Now this rarely happens but it's happening here folks, the 10% abv is not well hidden as compared to other RIS. Oh! it's going to lose a point or 2 for that. Cheers! B

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Photo of The_Kriek_Freak
4.24/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

This is a very well balanced Russian Imperial Stout. The intense sweetness is balanced by enough bitterness from the hops and dark chocolate. Very nice creamy mouthfeel and a nice velvet-like finish. A great beer and a surprisingly easy to drink stout despite the high ABV!

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Photo of RareJugPirate
3.96/5  rDev -5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this on tap at Can Can in Richmond, VA. Paired very well with the Creme Brulee. Good mouth feel. Enjoyed the chocolate notes as well as a smoky finish. Smell was a little underwhelming compared to similar stouts. Overall a good beer. Would drink again.

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Photo of MonDak_Joe1953
4.28/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 12oz bottle into glass. Neck is stamped '2787 15:25'. Below label is stamped '4121274170140'.
Black colored body, with very dark highlights when presented to light. Persistent tan cap. Some spots of lacing.
Aroma is roasty and toasty malts, with a little dark chocolate. A touch of toffee.
Taste is mostly dark chocolate, with oak and tannins. A little soy and vanilla.
Super smooth mouth feel, somewhat dry.
A very easy sipping higher ABV stout, with very tasty chocolate taste, along with others that blend in well. Somewhat sweet as a dessert beer, but would fare well in conjunction with red meat and strong cheese.

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Photo of Claude-Irishman
4.29/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

This beer pours a jet black color with uprising head bubbles(as I have only seen in Guinness on draft),or nitro-Smells oak barrel ,toasty,vanilla,chocolate toffee.Tastes amazing. Feels a bit thin for such a big beer. Overall a worthwhile stout that should be enjoyed-

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Photo of ZorroZ
4.42/5  rDev +6%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Look: Jet black. Beautiful. A thin head that sticks to the side of the glass as it dissipates.
Smell: Surprisingly little smell to this; I'd expected a wallop of chocolate, hops, and malted barley, especially given the brewery's description. Despite the high ABV, you don't get a strong whiff of alcohol off of this.
Taste: My, oh, my, is that nice! Chocolate predominates, as one would expect, but the malt and hops come through subtly afterwards.
Feel: Very nice body to this beer. Not too "thick" feeling as some stouts are.

A friend of mine has raved about Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout for years. Now, I can see why.

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

Pours dark black with dark tan head that lingers and leaves plenty of lacing. Rich chocolate, coffee and malts on the nose - taste follows with some bitter-sweetness on the finish. The 10% is disguised well, great balance to this beer.

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Photo of basaywhat
4.12/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle. Pours black with a tan head great lacing. Nose is chocolate , licorice and ever-so-slightly coffee. Taste is very much the same, it has nice sweet start but then goes into a lingering bitter finish.

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Black Chocolate Stout from Brooklyn Brewery
Beer rating: 93 out of 100 with 6861 ratings