Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout | Brooklyn Brewery

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2,787 Reviews
Brooklyn Black Chocolate StoutBrooklyn Black Chocolate Stout

Brewed by:
Brooklyn Brewery
New York, United States | website

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.00%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 12-04-2000

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Reviews: 2,787 | Ratings: 6,569
Photo of cjgiant
3.84/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Review is of one-year aged version, rating is on original tasting on tap of 2014:
A: The 2013 pour is quite black, as I recall it from the origins taste. The head on this pour is minimal, but to the top. A swirl doesn't bring back much. Aged rating: 4.

S: the most distinguishable scent is licorice, but it's not necessarily the predominate scent. There is also a dark cherry or raspberry tartness, laced with alcohol, behind a lightly smokey and cola nose. It's actually kind of strange, and I don't get much chocolate, which I did recall getting in the original taste. Same rating.

T: an unsweetened chocolate comes through from underneath a woody beginning. A coffee bitterness also builds at this time. They all come together and the smoke from the smell makes an appearance. This whole flavor profile, as it plays out, is interesting. However, the whole time the tastes stay rather bitter. No rating change.

M: feel is a bit thinner than I'd like. The alcohol peaks through in some sips, but is mostly subdued. Carbonation is a tad flat. Aged rating: 3.5

O: I liked the fresher version better. I can't explain if the flatness changed the impression of flavors, or the flavors changed, but they are not what I recalled. Will need to re-try a fresh one and decide to really alter the ratings or not. Aged rating: 3.5.

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Photo of JasonHaviland
4.4/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

2011/2012 Edition into a snifter glass.

The age had definitely helped here as I prefer this aged version to the current release.

Pours silky smooth with perhaps the slightest bit of carbonation lost.

Chocolate and cinnamon on the nose and on the finish with a pleasant aftertaste and not too boozy for the 10% ABV. Highly recommend aging and trying side by side.

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Photo of fscottkey
4.11/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

A: [4.00] Aggressive pour yielded a 1/2 finger tan head. The bubbles are tight and look nice in the glass. The head settles back to about a 1/4 finger/ The beer is pitch black and looks syrupy when it pours. My decoder ring tells me this was made May 21, 14 (so almost 7 months old). The ABV is listed on the bottle (10.0%)

S: [3.50] Based on the name I expected chocolate up front. I got mostly dark fruits.

T: [4.25] The taste is great. Charcoal, bitter coffee, chocolate. The beer is sweet, despite the bitter coffee.

M: [4.75] This one shines on the mouthfeel. It is creamy and rich. The beer feels like velvet on the tongue. The carbonation feels like nitro carbonation (tiny bubbles).

O: [4.25] This is a really nice beer all around. It lacks chocolate on the nose, but the taste and mouthfeel are great. The mouthfeel is really silky and smooth. It has a great body. This beer is also readily available - which is a plus. The 10% ABV makes it more of a special occasion beer - than an every day beer.

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Photo of adman08
4.5/5  rDev +8.4%

Bottle labeled "winter 12-13" so it has some age on it. Deep dark brown, nearly black, creamy tan head. Sweet black licorice and blackstrap molasses aroma. Rich flavors of dark chocolate, molasses and dark roasted malt to a lesser extent. Very thick, coats the mouth, fairly sticky. A really good imperial stout. Not overly sweet or overly roasty, good balance and the alcohol is well hidden.

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Photo of TappaKeggaBrew
4.6/5  rDev +10.8%

A: Deep brown, nearly black. Head is half a finger thick, the color of toasted wheat bread. Lacing was minimal.

S: Coffee, chocolate, raisins, and more dark chocolate.

T: Sweet malts married to acrid burnt grain. Dried apricot. Old coffee. Hops? Maybe some bitter-citrus hops notes in the finish as an afterthought.

M: Smooth, lightly carbonated, and creamy. A little alcohol burn. Buttery diacetyl.

O: Not the epitome of the style, but pretty close -- and a great buy at the price. I see myself buying a few more of these soon.

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Photo of F22Chris
4.75/5  rDev +14.5%

Got a 12oz bottle aged for 3 years from a family member who's friend works for Brooklyn. Needless to say it was a few above the 10.6 ABV rating. Into a tulip, very dark like motor oil, gave a 1/8in dark tan head that quickly dissipated with little to no lacing. Aroma: chocolate, coffee, burnt notes, molasses. Mouth feel was very smooth, very thick but still very drinkable. Tasted of dark chocolate, caramel, little char, the alcohol is noticeable at the finish. Overall I quite enjoyed this brew. I'm going to try it again not aged to see how it compares.

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Photo of Severdali
4.25/5  rDev +2.4%

Beer is as says:

Roasted malt, assertive but not aggressive. Chocolate hits you up front. Make sure you warm appropriately as this is where the goods are at with this beer. Even delicious slightly warm. And the roasted malts become more assertive as well. A fresh bottle will reward you with the nice coffee flavor others are talking about as well as some vanilla. I love that the coffee aromas in this particular beer are more on the smooth side for coffee aromas.

It should be reasonably priced wherever you are, as all BB beers are. And I have yet to drink one that does not meet its value. Killer at 10ABV also for the price. Simple but extremely rewarding, straightforward, uncomplicated developed flavors. Delish

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Photo of Roguer
3.78/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Nice dark brew, topped with a 1 finger dark tan head. Retention is so-so.

Surprising aroma, most strongly hinting at overripe dark fruit and roasted barley. Dark cacao and cream as it warms.

Flavor is pretty traditional RIS territory: dark, overripe fruit; red grapes; dark cacao; and waves of super roasty, slightly metallic-tinged barley, finishing with a bit of char. Definitely a nice chocolate component to this brew on the tongue, much more so than in the aroma.

Flavor improves dramatically as it warms, losing quite a bit of the fruit, and gaining a much smoother and more consistent chocolate profile. However, as a counterbalance, the high ABV comes out a bit more, as well.

Fairly long finish, strong with the very bitter roast, and tinged with slight chocolate sweetness. A little heat in the chest, but not in the mouth. Pretty thick and sticky brew. Lively with a little sting, but very little foaming.

This is a good stout, but I get way too much tartness and fruit for a chocolate stout. With this name, I'm thinking dessert stout, but it comes across more as a traditional, bitter, strong RIS.

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Photo of DaveBar
4.77/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Purchased at Champagne's as a 4pk for $7.99. Served at 12deg C in a tulip

A- Just as good as Fidy. Enough said

S- Better than Fidy. Enough said.

T- Better than Fidy. Enough said

M- Better than Fidy. Enough said

O- Better than Fidy. This is the first review I ever wrote this way for a reason. This beer is better than Fidy. Enough said

Food Pairing

This FANTASTIC stout went well with....... Lamb leg rubbed with rosemary, cinnamon and salt.


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Photo of doktorhops
4.14/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

So lately I’ve begun seeking out Russian Imperial Stouts, I yearn for their bold chocolate/coffee notes, and Brooklyn’s Black Chocolate Stout is next on my hit list. Originally brewed in 1994 this Stout has taken home many beer show awards and I’m looking forward to a brew as great as that tasty old Russian monk: Old Rasputin (North Coast Brewing).

Poured from a 355ml bottle into Duvel tulip.

A: Looks exactly as it should with a jet black body and a light (but dense) mocha dusting for a head. So perfect I want to take a picture, get it framed, then take a picture of the picture next to another glass of this and admire its beauty again. 10/10.

S: Whiff of solvent alcohol upfront isn’t doing Brooklyn any favours - follow this with deep dark chocolate, notes of coffee, vanilla & molasses, and you’ll be bang on the RIS nose money. Bit of a mark down for that solvent hit though. 7/10.

T: Bold and delicious, now entering flavour country, population: Me (i.e. you when you drink this). Upfront dark bitter chocolate, hints again of coffee and molasses with brown sugar thrown in. There is a smoky mid palate and slightly bitter aftertaste. The alcohol is nowhere to be found in the flavour profile, which is a surprise given the aroma. Like a big dark chocolate brownie - sweet, bitter and moreish. 9/10.

M: Heavy bodied with a light but dense carbonation, exactly how I like my Russian Imperial Stouts! 10/10.

D: From that sniff of solvent alcohol to one of the best tasting Stouts out there, Brooklyn have managed a few surprises with this “drink of the Czars”. That said it comes close but falls short of the mark set by Founders Breakfast and Old Rasputin, and is more pricy than both of those fine brews... and more difficult to obtain here in Australialand. However if, like me, you have become slightly obsessed with Russian Imperial Stouts and have added: “Dying due to drinking too many Stouts” to your bucket list you should definitely give this one a go. 7/10.

Food match: Borderline dessert sweet - so it’s heavy roasted meats with dark gravies, after dinner cigars or dark chocolate brownies for this brew.

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Photo of mwilbur
4.5/5  rDev +8.4%

Poured from 12 oz bottle into snifter. Winter 14-15 vintage.
A: Pours black as a moonless night with 1/4 inch dark mocha head with good retention. Beautiful. (4.5)
S: Caramel malt, dark chocolate, leather, tobacco, grainy hops, and a hint of vanilla and wood. (4.5)
T: Sweet dark chocolate, dark roast coffee with cream, charred wood, dark caramel malt, and a hint of grainy hops in the background. With warming, a note of cinnamon emerges. (4.25)
M: Sweet, dark, creamy feel. Medium body (drinks lighter than the ABV). Mild boozy bite (again, not as much as would be expected from the ABV). Surprisingly light and sweet given the style and ABV. (4.25)
D: An extremely drinkable RIS...probably the most drinkable I have ever had. The ABV will catch up with you eventually, but until then... (5)

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Photo of ThePaintedGrey
4.2/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

12oz. bottle poured into imperial pint glass.

A: Tar black. I might have chalked this up to being absolute black, but the iPhone flashlight test reveals the faintest glimmer of garnet around the edges. It's absolutely opaque, however, with no amount of light able to pierce through it. A deep beige head is full and frothy, with excellent retention. This bad boy is here for the duration, leaving blankets of lace in its wake.

S: Lots of malt upfront, roasted black yet still offering some sweet aromas. The staple notes of coffee and dark chocolate are the frontrunners of the show, with the dark chocolate being the real star. Bitter, pure gourmet dark chocolate emanates ostentatiously from the glass. Not picking up anything in the hop department. That's okay with me in this instance.

T: Drinking this cold is blasphemy. I made that mistake. Right from the fridge, into the glass, and a sip not 30 seconds later revealed that this far too chilled and resulted in a boozy mess of flavor, like a chocolate bar soaked in vodka for hours. Off to the side it goes... Now we're back roughly 20 minutes later. At nearly room temperature, the show truly begins. The alcohol is still too pronounced for my liking, but the flavors have shown their true colors and the booze is easy to look past. The bittersweet dark chocolate runs the show once again. This is no chump's dark chocolate either. We're talking one of those 60% - 70% cocoa bars paired with a robust cup of morning brew, served black with one sugar. It's strangely a little bready in the finish along with some booze lingering on the tongue.

M: Full, creamy, and smooth. Does a great job of coating everything in the mouth. Borderline chewy, but never quite becomes that big. Not much to praise, but nothing that can really garner a complain. Just less than outstanding.

O: I am quite particular about my Russian Imperials. Due to being in my top 3 favorite styles, they have the potential to become one of my favorite brews. They also have the potential to be clunky, malty messes. Lucky for BBCS, it's not the latter. Unfortunately, it's not the former either. There's a LOT going on in this beer, but amongst the business some blunders arise. The booze isn't veiled as delicately as it could have been. Some of the coffee notes are reminiscent to burnt gas station coffee. With those complaints aside, BBCS truly is a wonderful RIS, but it simply straddles the line between good and great falling just at the border.

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Photo of themind
3.5/5  rDev -15.7%

This is a good beer but over the years it seems the quality of this brew has declined. When this first hit the beer scene it was a chocolate masterpiece but a few years later it turned into a booze bomb. If this returns to its old form, I will change my rating and seek it out.

Bottom Line: Not sure.

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Photo of seedyone
3.5/5  rDev -15.7%

12/20/13 From bottle at home. Label reads "winter 2013-2014 limited bottling". Big bold beautiful Imperial stouts are what lured me into the craft world. Black Ops & Bourbon County at the beginning. Later I found Victory at sea, KBS & Rasputin so I know the possibilities. Although I found this drinkable it seemed to lack that kick in the ass character that the above named had that impressed me. The coffee & chocolate were distinct & enjoyable but the lack of body was distracting. I'll save a bottle or 2 to see if it improves as they say.

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Photo of kevinlater
4.38/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle into snifter. bottled on september 10, 2013. enjoyed on september 15, 2014

a: pitch black with two fingers of gorgeous tan head. with a bit of swirling, the head becomes a more darker brown which is kinda cool. this is a big stout alright

s: dark fruits, chocolate, roasted malt. coffee aroma is very slight

t: dark fruits up front, then a huge roasted malt and chocolate flavour explosion. it just tastes so... dark? which is delicious of course. very chocolatey and roasty all throughout. little alcohol presence. mild-to-moderate dryness at the end. superb

m: nearly-full and sticky mouthfeel, coats your mouth. little to no carbonation. excellent & very fitting for the style

o: not a complex stout, but it's very tasty and has a deep, lingering roasty character. i've had this beer closer to fresh in terms of age, and i remember the alcohol presence being a bit too much. one year of aging worked wonders. such a good stout at an unbeatable price. try it if you haven't already!

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Photo of BaalDagon
4.5/5  rDev +8.4%

An amazing beer... pure and simple. One of the better stouts I've had up to this point. I heartily encourage anyone who is a stout drinker to give this one a taste for themselves!

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Photo of Nightwing
4/5  rDev -3.6%

Poured from bottle. Very nice aroma of chocolate and coffee. Pours black with minimal head. Medium bitter taste. Full bodied with creamy texture and soft carbonation, slightly bitter finish. Very nice Imperial Stout.

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Photo of Buschyfor3
4.35/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

12oz bottle; 2011 vintage (note: review from my tasting notes from March 2012 – I don’t know why I never got around to posting this until now)

A: Nearly jet black, and pretty thick-looking pour; as near as makes no difference to opaque; a dark khaki head bubbles up at the start, peaking at about a finger’s width, but it is quick to fade into nothing more than a small collar of bubbles with an oil-slick sheen on the surface; coats the sides of the glass.

S: Dark roast and bittersweet dark chocolate come to the forefront; the overall impression is a distinct, mocha-like quality of premium coffee blended with sweeter chocolate hints; not overly sweet, as there is a nice balancing dose of roast bitterness that contributes some burnt and smoky notes; a touch boozy as the bottle warms – almost like a coffee-liqueur with a slight sting to the nostrils.

T: Dark chocolate rides high on the initial wave of flavor as the beer hits the palate – bittersweet chocolate, fudge and lighter hints of powdered cocoa keep things sweet at the first sip; then the bitterness gets turned up a notch as dark roasted coffee beans and burnt malts break through that initial sweetness to lend a balancing hand; then a boozy, dark fruit character begins to take hold – the alcohol quickly growing in warmth and presence as the glass warms to room temperature; the finish measures out a second dose of smooth dark chocolate alongside earthy/smoky char and a nutty coffee flavor to try to temper the alcohol burn; the aftertaste sustains long after each sip.

M: Full bodied; low carbonation; pleasantly thick, but not nearly as much as other imperial stouts I've had recently.

O: Quite a tasty RIS we have here. True, it’s not nearly as complex as other imperial stouts on the market, but Brooklyn does a fine job emphasizing its namesake bittersweet dark chocolate in the aroma and on the palate. A touch boozy, but that seems to be a recurring theme for the style, and at 10.00% ABV, the might of this one is felt. Drinkability would likely be improved with some age on the bottle to smooth over the edges of the boozy heat. Overall, a very nice stout, and very nicely priced too at just $8/4pk. Will enjoy this one again, that is for sure.

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Photo of WhiteHillsStore
3.98/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A nice stout that offers a lot. The appearance is a dark black with a coffee colored head. The smell is very sweet with lots of chocolate notes. The smell though is a bit more subtle with malt and more mellow flavors, before a semi sweet chocolate finishes off the taste. The mouthfeel is very nice, coating your cheeks. Overall very good.

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Photo of CalgaryFMC
4.13/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 355 ml bottle into a snifter, winter 2013-2014 vintage. This one is indeed dark, pitch opaque black with nary a ray of light passing through, with a halo of dark brown foam rimming the glass but otherwise no real head to speak of. Aroma is equal parts roasted, sweet, and floral/fruity, which is unexpected and quite pleasing. Some wood char and dark roast coffee jump out initially, with the latter carrying over onto the palate, burnt toffee, chocolate-covered raisins, and bright floral hops at the end of a sniff, really appreciating this latter element. The taste is well-rounded and mellow despite the bevy of dark malts and roasted grains advertized on the label, the alcohol is almost perfectly concealed (particularly considering this is an imperial stout!) and the flavors are aforementioned dark but smooth instant coffee, toffee, pancake batter, raisin, and baker's cacao mixed with milk. Just the barest tinge of ash at first, although this effect does emerge over time. Finishes quite sweet and here's where one does get a slight hint of alcohol. This is quite thick on the palate but the beer somehow goes down as lighter than it is. Careful or the high ABV will sneak up on you. This beer has won numerous awards and I can see (taste) why. Nothing to criticize here although some may want an Imperial stout to translate as hotter and more aggressive. Truthfully, there is something to be said for such an artful and skilled approach as this.

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Photo of BSDA
4.83/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

This is what you're looking for if you are looking for a beer of this type. Greatly appreciated but only lasted for so long. Getting at least two cases at my local Specs. Great price, case price is around $7/ 4pk. Can't tell it is 10% ABV, hardly in the taste. Smell isn't strong like a coffee so it isn't noticeable from a distance. Drank two of the my first time and forgot it was like for other beers! Same thing goes with the much less-drinkable Blaecorn Unidragon from Clown Shoes. Highly recommended since I just discovered it in early January 2014, now it is indeed my favorite beer to date. Sucks it is only seasonal.

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Photo of Ozzylizard
4.1/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

$ 2.49/12 oz bottle at Vintage Estates in Boardman, OH
Bottled winter 13-14 at cellar temp into snifter
Aroma of chocolate and alcohol
Head small (1.5 cm), medium brown, fizzy, rapidly diminishing to 2 mm ring and broken layer
Lacing poor – occasional small island and atoll of small bubbles
Body dark brown/black, opaque
Flavor of bitter chocolate which ends with a whiff of alcohol; no malt, no hops, no diacetyl
Palate medium to full, creamy, carbonation soft

A very good chocolate stout which hides the 10% ABV well. This is one which definitely could sneak up on you. The rapidly disappearing head and scanty lacing detract from the appearance.

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

A: Dark brown to black virtually opaque beer with a rusty brown foam on the top, with lighter tan notes also in the foam. Chocolate milk lacing.

S: Dark chocolate, cocoa nibs, Russian Imperial Stout all the way. Alcohol present, creamy, sweet, tar, black licorice, overall black and dark. Reminds me of Old Rasputin by North Coast.

T: Wow, it packs a punch. Loaded with flavor. I get all the dark chocolate, sweet notes tar notes, alcohol, black licorice, cocoa nibs. Its really umami, soy sauce, a saline quality there as well, and snow, or almost freezer burn. Slight sour, little bitter. Really complex.

M: Thick syrupy bready body, medium low fine bubbled carbonation.

O: Really enjoying this one which exceeded my expectations. Liking it a lot, comparable to Samuel Smith’s Imperial Stout and Old Rasputin Ale. Think I may like it equally to these. Will give it 9.3 out of 10. Got in Stratford, On, but drank in Kunming China February 17, 2014, a year after purchase and on return from Chiang Mai to China.

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Photo of HoppySeb
4.18/5  rDev +0.7%
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.

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Photo of wrightst
5/5  rDev +20.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I left the marks high, because over the years this is one of my "dimes"; a ten out of ten. A consistently perfect beer, and my only 10 in the RIS category.
However, this year my crew and I think they changed the recipe. The hops are less balanced, and there is a slightly more pronounced bitterness to the beer. I'd mark it lower, but that's what happens when you tinker with perfection.

Still, this year a tan, lacy head, with chocolate and coffee in the nose and tongue. Strong alcohol without the burn. You really can't tell how high it is by taste alone. No flavors fighting for the front row. 55 IBU, give or take, balances well with the alcohol and the signature black and chocolate malts, and those hops don't drown out the roast. Again, balanced.
I'd have made it a little sweeter, but then I don't win any prizes. Still trying to clone this one.

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Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout from Brooklyn Brewery
93 out of 100 based on 2,787 ratings.
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