Black Chocolate Stout
Brooklyn Brewery

Black Chocolate StoutBlack Chocolate Stout
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Stout - Russian Imperial
Ranked #142
Ranked #2,307
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: 2,907 | Ratings: 6,971 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Reviews by ditch:
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ditch from Virginia

3.86/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I'm reviewing a fresh '09-'10.

Poured an impenetrable black with a thick 2 finger tan head that fades slowly to a chunky covering of the top of the glass. Lacing is pretty thick all the way down the glass. I think this is amazing considering the style.

Smell is of sweet dark roasted malts, dates and raisins, slightly smokey.

Taste is chocolate and molasses, with a bitter espresso finish. A slight citrus peel finds it's way through. Alcohol is light and fitting. The flavors come through as it comes to room temperature. Be patient. =)

Mouthfeel is slightly oily. Carbonation leaves a slight sting.

Drinkability is great for this style. If it wasn't for the alcohol content, you could drink this all night. Sits relatively light. But, it's a sipper.

This is going to be a great ager. Fresh is decent but I'm guessing a year or three will make this an outstanding beer!

Nov 15, 2009
More User Reviews:
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Raisingfable from Minnesota

4.63/5  rDev +11%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Stays true to its 'Black Chocolate' claim. Excellent bitter dark chocolate character, beautiful head retention, with a long chewy finish. Best beer I've had from Brooklyn!

Dec 15, 2014
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PhillyB from New York

4.78/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

I love this beer. From the moment I opened it (knowing nothing about it) I knew I would.

Look: Black. The head is darker than most beers. A 1/4 inch layer on the bottom of the glass is totally opaque.

Smell: Baker's chocolate, heavy cream, coffee. Quite strong. I smelled it the moment I opened the bottle.

Taste: Dark chocolate, malt, cream/coffee.

Feel: Dense. Like drinking a slightly thin milkshake. The alcohol is present but only really felt if you hold it in your mouth. Sticks around too.

Overall: This beer is a smash hit for me. It hits every mark I look for in a stout, but is probably a little heavy to have more than 1 or 2 at a time.

Jan 05, 2016
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aracauna from Georgia

4.44/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

'01-'02: Pours perfectly black with a beautiful deep tan head. The head is slow to form and disspipates quickly however. The Aroma is chocolate, espresso, burnt toast with a bit of fruitiness that makes it seem like the burnt toast has jelly or jam on it. The aroma floods the nose and starts the salivary glands. Burnt toast flavor and a thin bitterness from the hops dominate early on switching to espresso and unsweetened black chocolate later on and a lingering, bitter finish. That's while cold. When closer to room temperature the flavors mellow with the sharp burnt and espresso bitterness become less sharp sliding under a sweeter more chocolately taste. Mouthfeel is slightly oily, but not as thick or gritty as some other imperials. One of the lighter beers of the style.

Aug 26, 2002
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BuckeyeNation from Iowa

3.6/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Ink black with the barest sliver of ruby at the edges. BBCS is as close to absolute black as it's possible to get... without quite getting there. The expansive crown is dark tan in color and appears sticky enough to have some staying power. There's isn't much lace, though small ragged sheets are seen.

The aroma is redolent of sweet dark roasted malt, with the usual RIS overlay of chocolate and black coffee. The former is more prominent than the latter. Hops don't make much of an olfactory splash.

My first impression of the flavor is that the alcohol is more evident than it should be. It isn't masked well at all. There's plenty of bittersweet chocolate, which is nice. It's like drinking a melted Hershey's Special Dark chocolate bar mixed with espresso and vodka. Too bad it's a little too raw and burnt/charred.

This beer doesn't have the power, the depth or the complexity of Samuel Smith's Imperial Stout or Bell's Expedition Stout. Masking the alcohol more completely would go a long way toward letting the flavor profile free to do its thing. The mouthfeel is thick and smooth. No complaints there.

I don't know if cellaring this relatively fresh Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout will soften it a little, but I'll give it a try since I have five bottles left to drink.

Feb 10, 2004
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Beginner2 from Illinois

4.2/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

We got a great beer here.
Listed in the "1001", I read that review that this recipe got Garrett Oliver his job at Brooklyn. (He had been working in a brewpub in Manhattan.) And beer history took a very big step.
Unlike many of the others in this category, Brooklyn's contribution uses no cocoa... but tastes like chocolate. You have to know lots about malts and, apparently in 1994, Garrett Oliver knew lots more than just about everyone.

I bought a 4 pack... which I no longer regret. Two years later, I just drank the last one now and it was worth holding as it clearly had improved... less edge, more smooth.

Reviewed in Roger Protz' " 300 Beers To Try Before You Die!"
MJ's 1999 edition gave this 3.5 stars of 4 and called it "the world's answer to a waring malted milk with a shot of bourbon. It achieves an astonishing black-chocolate flavour through malt alone"

2/5/17 had the vintage bottled two years ago. All the tastes are there, but not at peak. My next tasting of this will be at 18 months.

Mar 28, 2016
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Uncledoobz from New Jersey

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

Effin D-lish! Hit the spot!

Dec 30, 2014
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PatrickCT from Connecticut

4.1/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle poured into an IPA glass.

a. Black body. No hue, no light. Bubbly, brown, leathering head. Wonderfully ominous looking beer.

s: Unsweetened bakers chocolate dominates the aroma. Molasses and thick, tarry coffee follow.

t: Dark unsweetened chocolate and espresso roast coffee. Alcohol bite and tingly hop finish.

mf: Rich, creamy body with mild carbonation. Alcohol makes itself aware on in the mouth and throat.

o: Hard to imagine I have pasted this by all these years, given my love for imperial stouts. This is definitely for adults so kiddies beware! Black Chocolate Stout is rich, complex and very much a sipper. Drink at cellar temp.

Dec 27, 2015
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MNAle from Minnesota

3.43/5  rDev -17.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Some sort of screwy yellow code stamped on the bottle in very crude dot-matrix format - impossible to read. Grrrrr. Very dark, black, opaque. 1 inch tan, creamy, bubbly head that recedes slowly. Aroma is sweet, smoaky, chocolate. Moderately thick feel. Taste follows the aroma: sweet, roasty, bitter chocolate. Transitions from the opening taste through a sweet middle. The finish is bitter. Not boozy despite the high ABV. I can see how this would be highly rated by some, but somehow the sweet roasty fighting the bitter chololate does not work well for me. It is more like a "versus" than it is a balance. I enjoyed this beer as it stands, but it won't likely be a repeat purchase.

Jan 18, 2016
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BevMoAndrew from California

4.69/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Served into a Bruery tulip glass at about 40 degrees.

Pours an extremely dark brown to black in the glass with a thick, creamy, tan froth that, unfortunately, dissipates somewhat quickly...great lacing! The nose is VERY pretty with sweet, almost dessert like, aromas of dutch chocolate, milk chocolate, soft banana, brown sugar, light molasses, black raspberries, dark fruit, vanilla, & subtle espresso. This beer smells awesome! Sweet, but not too sweet flavors of chocolate, banana, molasses, roasted barley, & roasted coffee show through a long finish with a clear citrus/slightly pine bitter hop finish.(necessary for awesome balance) Great, creamy carbonation. Overall, this is an amazing beer that is extremely smooth...esp. for a 10% abv beer. There is a definite warmth to this beer, but I'd never guess that this is a 10% beer...again...very smooth. A must try!

Nov 19, 2009
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BurgeoningBrewhead from Pennsylvania

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

Poured into snifter. Pours oily jet black with a thick brown head that sticks around. Smells of bourbon, coffee and chocolate...this beer smells better than some taste. The smell after a bit changes into some standard stout roasted malt and yeast. Head leaves a lot of lacing for a stout, beautiful. Taste is glorious; creamy and full mouthfeel, with sweet caramel, coffee and chocolate swirling around with dark roasted malts. Finish is a bit boozy but it works for such a big beer. This was my first stout, and I'd die happy if it were my last.

Jul 25, 2012
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woodychandler from Pennsylvania

4.34/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

OMFG! How is it possible that a) I have NEVER previously reviewed this beer & b) it will be my 4,400th on this site?!? I remember sharing a then-vintage bottle with Garrett Oliver & FerMentor Lew Bryson at the State College Beer Expo in 2000(?)/2001(?). I LOVE Brooklyn Brewery & I have visited many times over. I am flabbergasted that I have not reviewed this beer until now.

From the bottle: "This is the famous Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout. Descended from the Russian Imperial Stouts of 18th Century, our Black Chocolate Stout has itself become a modern classic, heralded the world over. A blend of six malts produces its dark chocolate aroma and flavor. There is nothing better to enjoy with rich desserts, fine cheeses, and roaring fireplaces."; "The Legendary Russian Imperial Stout".

Today is T, 20 June 2017.

Winter 2016: I Pop!ped the cap & commenced a slow, gentle pour into an awaiting glass. Once decanted, a vigorous in-glass swirl raised a finger of dense, deep-tan/light-brown head with moderate retention. Color was Black/Opaque (SRM = 44), allowing ZERO light penetration. Nose smelled less like chocolate candy and more like fudge brownies. It was very rich and chocolaty, but also with a breadiness from the malt. Mouthfeel was big and full, like a scoop or dollop on my tongue. I let it lay there & rolled it around to better get a sense of its flavors. Interestingly, it not only had the rich chocolaty fudginess that I noted on the nose, but it also tasted of cherries, raisins, tobacco & charcoal smoke. Phew! Another no-playin'-around beer. Finish was dry, not sweet at all, with lingering cherry-chocolate flavors, like a torte.

Next, on W, 21 June 2017:

"Limited Bottling - Winter '14 - '15": I Pop!ped the cap & performed a very gentle pour. The in-glass swirl raised a brief finger of foamy, deep-tan/light-brown head with modest retention. Color was Black/Opaque (SRM = 44), allowing ZERO light penetration. Nose was really rich with a fudgy, chocolaty, brownie-like quality, underlain by a light smokiness and a malty breadiness. Mouthfeel was somewhat lighter than in the more recent batch. It was not as thick or chewy, but it was still bigger than simply "medium-bodied". The taste was MUCH more chocolaty without any of the fruity flavors noted earlier. It was like a rich, fudgy brownie at this point, almost a dessert beer, although a smokiness kept it in check. Finish was dry which I might have thought unexpected had I not noted such in the fresher batch.

"Limited Bottling - Winter '12 - '13"; "In the last century, British brewers made strong stouts for the Czar's Court. They were called Imperial Stouts. Our Black Chocolate Stout, brewed once yearly for the winter season, achieves a chocolate aroma and flavor through the artful blending of six varieties of black, chocolate and roasted malts."

Having Pop!ped the cap & conducted a gentle pour, the in-glass swirl raised a brief finger of foamy, dark-tan/light-brown head with modest retention. Color was Black/Opaque (SRM = 44), allowing ZERO light penetration. Nose had begun to take on a pronounced smokiness, more roasty than chocolaty. Mouthfeel continued to moderate, becoming less thick & chewy with each older iteration. The taste was more like raw baker's chocolate now, nary a hint of sweetness, but with a smoky, charcoal bitterness. Finish was quite dry at this point.

Jun 21, 2017
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keith40 from Massachusetts

4.5/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle purchased at Moonshine Liquors in Hyannis. Dark brown color and chocolate nose. Dark chocolate/strong coffee taste, probably should call it strong mocha. Leaves a slightly bitter aftertaste. 10% alcohol is well hidden. This is the best Russian Imperial Stout we've had so far.

Jan 04, 2018
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HoppySeb from Washington

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

Poured from 12 oz. bottle into KBS snifter, bottled in 2013. Bottle stored in cellar then briefly refrigerated prior to opening. Pours a beautiful jet black and forms a two inch foamy head that's beige in color. The head ultimately settles into a thin ring around the glass.

The nose is French roast coffee and milk chocolate, quite inviting. There's also a strong roasted malt aroma, followed by a spicy presence that hints of nutmeg. The taste is quite similar to its nose, bitter mocha, sweet molasses and roasted malt, fudge and spicy (chile ancho and nutmeg).

The mouthfeel of this beer is quite pleasant, almost no carbonation present which in my opinion helps savour the beer even better.

Overall - very excited to discover this beer, its quite enjoyable and hides the 10% ABV extremely well. Its sweet yet no overwhelmingly so and all of its flavors are well balanced.

Jun 29, 2014
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dleigh from California

3.89/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I kept going back and forth between "wow, cool chocolate notes" and "meh, this is okay" while drinking this beer. Not quite sure why, but it just didn't jive with me.

Apr 03, 2015
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mbaer1970 from Pennsylvania

4.68/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

I love my imperial stouts and I also love Brooklyn, so I had to try this one. This is an amazing sipping beer and is not for your run of the mill beer drinker. I mostly like my beer like I like my coffee, nice and dark; so this is well within my wheel house. Overall the smell is spot one and second to none for an imperial stout. The taste is also very good and gives it a feel of drinking dark chocolate. Overall I am quite pleased with this Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout and will be partaking of it through out this fall and coming winter.

Sep 10, 2016
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StevieW from Florida

4.35/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Winter '01-'02 bottle purchased at Harringtons in Boston Sept. '03.
Midnight black body as expected, with a dense, creamy, foamy, wet khaki head. Hints of ruby along the edges, oily bubbles dancing along the top. Plenty of aroamas of rum soaked raisans, plums, figs, and burnt fruit along a super bitter base. Taste is nice and rummy, lots of roasted fruit flavors. Chocolate taste is subtle not up front, but I think alot of that flavor has settled maybe in nearly 2 years. Plenty of Imperial Stout flavors, well balanced and burnt bitterness finishes up. Medium to full bodied, well carbonated as well. A very good beer, and dinner finisher, well worth the wait.

Dec 03, 2003
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Beaver13 from Colorado

3.96/5  rDev -5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

12oz bottle. Pours opaque black with a big fluffy brown head that retains well and laces the glass.

The aroma is roasted malts, slightly tart dark fruits, chocolate, anise.

The flavor is roasted malts, slightly lactic chocolate, dark fruits with a bit of a tart / sour twang, a little black licorice and bourboney alcohol. It has a pretty big charred bitter finish. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with smooth carbonation, slightly watery.

Overall, a very nice imperial stout. It's pretty well balanced. A bit too much on the alcohol and bitterness for me, and the slight sour was a bit weird, but that didn't bring it down much. I wish I could get this more often.

Oct 18, 2010
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mushroomcloud from Texas

4.63/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

05 - 06 Version. Much anticipated!!

A - 1" dense tan head. Absolute darkness. Black and no light will penetrate. The head retains for a little while at 1/4". Surprising nice lace left behind.

S - Rich, thick malt. Rum. Sweet fruit. Coffee. Alcohol.

T - Bitter chocolate. Caramel. Molasses. Coffee. Chocolate syrup. Malt. Smoke? Nuttiness. Earthy. Boozy flavor explosion in the finish. Complex.

M - Huge, thick mouthfeel. Syrup. Low carbonation. Long, long finish.

D - Outstanding!! Wonderful drinkability. The best RIS or Double Stout that I have ever had. Great right now!!!! Thank you xcjetta!

Mar 11, 2006
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Latarnik from New Jersey

4/5  rDev -4.1%

May 28, 2014
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biking4beer from Colorado

3.45/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

07-08 Vintage
12 oz bottle enjoyed on a cool winter day after hitting the slopes in Breckenridge.

Pours a pitch black with a nice brown head. Good lacing.

First whiff brings the obvious to the nose. Chocolate. Roasted malts. A hint of some bitter baker's chocolate. Even a touch of pine, or is that the blue spruce I just put up for a Christmas tree?

Milk Chocolate up front on the palate. Some bitter dark chocolate too. Is there lactose in this one? It has a slightly milky taste and feel. The taste ends on a tart/sour note that is slightly unpleasant. There is also too much hop bitterness in my opinion.

Mouthfeel is the highlight of this beer. Thick and creamy. Perfect carbonation.

This is a good beer, but I feel the latest incarnation is still a bit green. I have no doubt this well become a finer beer over time. If you have plenty to spare, try one now and save the rest. If you only have a couple, set them away for at least a year.

Dec 09, 2007
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throwitallaway from Alabama

4.07/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to gford217 for this one. Poured from bottle into pint glass. Dark with almost no head. Smells like chocolate, malts, and a bit of alcohol. Taste has tons of chocolate, and a nice roasted bitterness, with a little alcohol peaking through. Mouthfeel is full and creamy. Very easy to drink for a RIS. Overall this beer is very enjoyable.

Apr 21, 2008
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intovert2438 from Michigan

4.08/5  rDev -2.2%

Oct 07, 2014
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bcdees47 from Texas

4.12/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance is opaque black with a lingering, creamy brown head and some lacing. Smells of dark chocolate and roasted malts, along with some alcohol. This one tastes of bitter, dark chocolate and has a definite roasted character, some malt sweetness on the front of the palate and a dry, bitter finish. The mouthfeel is thick and viscous, very full bodied.

Drinkability: more on the bitter than the sweet side, and quite strong for a chocolate stout. Perhaps a dessert beer to complement a sweeter dish.

May 24, 2009
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samie85 from Illinois

4.8/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A- Pours an opaque jet black with a cratery, dark khaki head. Leaves decent lacing.

S- I get roasted malt, cocoa, a sweet alcohol aroma and some vanilla.

T- Rich, dark chocolate with roasted coffee upfront and then finishes with a slight bitterness and alcohol.

M- Not thick per se, but definitely smooth. I find some RIS's to be a little thin, but this beer avoids that by having just the right amount of carbonation. Finishes with a slight alcohol warmth in the throat.

D- This is not the same beer I had a year ago on tap. I think it might have been dirty lines or something. This is phenomenal compared to what I remember. Really smooth, and well hidden alcohol for a RIS. This would be a nice beer to keep on hand during the winter months.

Oct 12, 2009
Black Chocolate Stout from Brooklyn Brewery
Beer rating: 93 out of 100 with 6971 ratings