Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout | Brooklyn Brewery

2,804 Reviews
Brooklyn Black Chocolate StoutBrooklyn Black Chocolate Stout

Brewed by:
Brooklyn Brewery
New York, United States

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: 2,804 | Ratings: 6,658
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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Photo of Mightykingmalard
4.08/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: cappuccino colored head lingers for a long time. Jet black. Completely opaque.

S: smells like a dove dark chocolate bar. Maybe a little tobacco.

T: good full taste. Super smooth. The chocolate is a little too light. Nice and creamy though.

M: fairly chewy. Has a quick finish and leaves a nice semisweet aftertaste.

O: not a bad imperial stout. Wouldn't mind having it again and it is worth a try, but not something I will scout for.

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Photo of MrWilliams
4.44/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

If I'm reading the Julian Code right bottled on September 10th 2013.
Poured into a goblet.

A 4.5 Rough pour created about two fingers of head, which came as a light brown, what I would think of as latte. Some lacing as the glass was swirled but didn't last long.

S 4.25 A bit over boozy but at 10% abv not unexpected. Slight hint of smoke and bread but chocolate and cherries dominated.

T 4.5 As the smell indicated black cherries and dark chocolate dominated but was not overdone. A bit of smoke but not as much as the smell would leave to believe. Very low bitterness with virtually no hop presence.

M 4.5 Quite thick, just what I would expect in an imperial stout, with slight carbonation and alcohol burn on the finish.

O 4.5 The 10% abv is hidden well throughout the glass, extremely smooth. I've had a few chocolate stouts and this one is by far the best of the lot. May be because it's an older bottle but the chocolate does not seem forced as many do. Overall Freaking delicious and I'm glad I stumbled on it.

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Photo of dcmchew
4.41/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Limited Bottling - Winter '13-'14
Pours tar black with a finger of tan head that fades first to a thin cap, then to sticky lacing. Very very sticky.
The obvious chocolate in the smell, but it doesn't completely dominate, leaving room for dark fruit (berries, raisin, fig), roasted malts, burnt sugar and faint light coffee. Smells nice and rich.
Starts pretty sweet, with lots of juicy plums, cherries and raisins covered in chocolate (a bit dark, but not too much). Burnt sugar, roasted (almost charred) malts and coffee keep the sweetness in check and start bittering things up, but not before some hints of vanilla, licorice and anise are felt. Hops don't have much to say, but the finish is dry, ashy and quite bitter.
Full body, sticky, low carbonation. Booze isn't perfectly subtle, but doesn't bother. It all kinda reminds of Kahlua.
Does bring in the "chocolate", really tasty. A great imperial stout, probably even better aged for some years.

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Photo of brstls4drmrs
4/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A - dark as night with a nesquik color head. Nice ring of lacing sticks around as well.

S - lots of great aromas here. Chocolate fudge with some dark as well, raisins, fig and bits of cream and caramel.

T - big chocolate fudge with some dark fruits and slightly bitter and a bit thin on the finish. Not too much on the thin side but it's there. There's also some licorice dancing around in there as well.

M - medium carbonation and slightly thin crisp not he finish.

O - very nice stout.

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Photo of Dna_Infinity
4.2/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Bottle to glass

Appearance - Dark black with no light coming through, mocha coloured head

Smell - Dark chocolate, coffee, dried fruits

Taste - Dark chocolate, coffee, creamy, alcohol

Overall - Great beer that tastes like chocolate. Would do well with cellaring some of the alcohol taste burns off a bit

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Photo of mabermud
4.18/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

I have been wanting to try this beer for awhile. It is super dark brown with a dark beige head that has legs and dark brown edges. It smells like burnt caramel, roasted malts, faint chocolate, and licorice. There is a smell of alcohol. This beer tastes just like it smells. Roasted malt, slight licorice, burnt caramel, and faint chocolate. Much roast/char. Mouth feel is syrupy and thick. Overall, this is a very good stout. I will have it again.

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Photo of MIchelle
3.88/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

This is a very interesting beer. Pours a beautiful deep mahogany brown, nearly black with a thick 1" tan head. Visually this beer is amazing. It has a terrific toasty chocolate malt smell. First sip it was very intense and I was surprised at how many sips it took for me to kind of warm up to this one being a stout drinker. I didn't read the abv prior to purchasing as I purchased in a mix a six pack. I think the intense first few sips are due to the high abv. It may in fact be just a little to much, sort of throws the balance off for me in this brew. The chocolate doesn't come thru as much in the sipping of this, I taste more of a roasted coffee flavor. It's a good beer but it's not my favorite overall. Perhaps this beer is a bit to cold right now since it's just out of the fridge, maybe as it warms slightly other flavors will come out in this.

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Photo of MonkeyBread
2.82/5  rDev -32%
look: 3.25 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

On tap part of a 6 stout blind taste test. This was second worst. No smell. Strange off flavor of vegetables overpowering the beer. Mouth feel was decent, that's the best I can say.

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Photo of mpedara429
4.21/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A: Poured out an opaque dark brown. Nearly black in color. There was only a thin layer of head but it is probably because the surface tension from the thickness of this beer that broke it's fall.

S: It smells like a wonderful piece of dessert. Sort of like a rum soaked chocolate cake.

T: A little bit of a boozy bite, but other than that the dark chocolate is prominent with an earthy hop backdrop.

M: Medium heavy body that is very sticky. Light carbonation.

O: The boozy bite is slightly off-putting but the rest works pretty well. The clarity of chocolate flavor in this is pretty solid.

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Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout from Brooklyn Brewery
4.15 out of 5 based on 6,658 ratings.
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