Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout | Brooklyn Brewery

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Brooklyn Black Chocolate StoutBrooklyn Black Chocolate Stout
6,770 Ratings
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:
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.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 12-04-2000

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Ratings: 6,770 |  Reviews: 2,837
Photo of GilGarp
4.32/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz. bottle from last winter ('09-10).

Taken from the fridge and allowed to warm on the counter for about half an hour. I've had it once before and remember it got better as it warmed.

Served into a pint glass, Black Chocolate Stout really does have a black appearance everywhere except the edges. The thin head settles quickly.

Aroma is very strong. Usually my nose doesn't do much for me but here I can smell all sorts of goodness. Huge roasty dark malts and a good dose of dark chocolate. It also has what I would associate with a bourbon barrel aged beer - primarily oak but also alcohol.

Flavor is intense as well. It starts off sweet and doesn't seem so big and scary. Then it gets big, dark, roasty, and bitter. The middle of each sip is dominated by dark coffee and baking cocoa. The finish is dry and a little harsh.

The mouthfeel is full bodied and low in carbonation. It has a nice smoothness but the alcohol dries my mouth and starts to burn.

Overall I enjoy this beer but it's not one of the best in this crowded style. At 10% I expect it to be strong but it seems like it needs another year to mellow.

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Photo of berley31
4.42/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

A: Poured with a moderate-sized, tan head that hung around for a bit before settling down. Body is jet-black and opaque.

S: Very strong aroma... lots of chocolate, with hints of roastiness as well. Tiny bit of fruity esters, and a whiff of alcohol.

T: Fantastic-tasting beer. The chocolate and roasted notes really complement each other well, with a touch of bitterness in the finish. So smooth and quit easy-drinking for the ABV.

M: Full-bodied and creamy, with low-moderate carbonation, and some alcohol warmth in the throat.

D: Wow... an excellent beer. Dangerously drinkable.

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

A - Pours a viscous black with a 2 finger height head of light brown creamy goodness that sticks solidly to the side of the glass.

S - Rich buttery malts, chocolate of course and also boasts the full run of RIS smells from coffee to dark fruits. Quite strong and there is a touch of alcohol there too.

T - Powerful malts blast your mouth with the chalky flavors of coffee and chocolate as well as plenty of dates and figs. Quite a bit of booze as well. Needs to be consumed at the proper temperature.

M - Nice and creamy but it seems that the alcohol gives this brew a bit of a bite.

D - Goes down pretty easy regardless of the booziness of it. I'd like to have one with a few years on it. Would probably seek out different beers to try, but this is worth a shot. Drink it warm.

EDIT: 12/1/10 Having a year old bottle now. This beer mellows wonderfully and is an extremely good value even if you have to sit it in your cellar for a year to make it better! I have to do some number adjustments. Despite this, there is still a bit of astringency that another year might take out.

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Photo of davod23
4.26/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

This bottle is about three years old. Poured into a Bruery tulip.

This is pretty. Very dark, near-black, with a cascading tan head that culminates at about two fingers. The head recedes to a thin cap, but a swirl causes it to stir from its slumber. Tilting the glass results in a slow ascension of the head to the top of the beer. Very, very nice.

Smell is good, though not great. Perhaps I have been spoiled by barrel-aged brews and other massive stouts. Dark chocolate, some roasted coffee notes, slight anise. The booze is completely hidden, which is impressive. This aroma is just not as aggressive as I'd like to have in a big stout.

The taste is nice though. Bitter, dark chocolate, roast, coffee, toasted malt in perfect balance. Booze is nonexistent. This is slightly sweet, but is balanced by the roasted coffee bitterness on the tail end. This is nearly 11%? That's almost unbelievable. Well done, Brooklyn.

Mouthfeel is okay. Medium-bodied for an imperial stout. I honestly wish that it was a bit more viscous. This is fine, but damn, if this was a bit thicker I would be a much happier drinker right now. Appropriate level of carbonation, finishes reasonably dry.

Drinkability is off the charts. Seriously, I could drink gallons of this stuff. It's very tasty and very balanced - the moderate level of sweetness and the dryness of the finish would allow for copious amounts of ingestion. I don't know that I've had an imperial stout of this strength with greater drinkability than this one.

Quite good, and considering its price and ubiquity, is a great buy. Recommended.

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Photo of Spider889
3.88/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

I was very surprised with this beer, bought a single a couple weeks ago for $2.99 and saw a 6-pack for $8 I think. I might have to go back for the 6-pack.

Definitely as big, strong beer, but I found it very enjoyable and an excellent value.

Poured into a snifter, dark black with a dark mocha head on it. Lots of thick heavy lace.

Smelled of rich roasty, chocolaty malts. Lovely.

Tastes of semisweet chocolate, lots of booziness, and some strong underlying dark fruits like raisin, figs.

Full-bodied but thin, cloying dryness, coffee bitterness coats the mouth with its aftertaste for some time.

A good beer, buy heavy and boozy. I was craving a second, but two would have likely destroyed me for the rest of the night.

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Photo of jzeilinger
4.1/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

(Review updated on 11/5/15)

A - Black as coal! Opaque with a creamy, toffee colored head. NO light is passing through this baby!

S - Bittersweet chocolate, deep roasted malt, molasses, and cream. The aroma is not as bold and aggressive as what I would have thought.

T - Deep roasted bitter chocolate, toasted malts, coffee, and vanilla cream. The flavor is consistent throughout the entire sip with coffee and bitter chocolate dominating. There's a small amount of a booze-like finish. Coats the mouth with deep roasted chocolate with a dark chocolate bitterness to balance things out and it lingers.

M - Heavy and full bodied, thick, very smooth on the tongue with gentle carbonation.

O - This is a fine, fine stout, especially for the price point - never ceases to satisfy my stout craving!

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Photo of Jeffo
4.02/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This was a seasonal release at the LCBO last winter. My buddy Logan did the grunt work and picked up a few for me. Thanks a lot man!

From a bottle into a snifter.

APPEARANCE: Pours dark brown and produces a small ½ finger medium looking mocha colored head that quickly fizzes down to a half wisp and ring. Sits jet black in the glass with no carbonation evident. A ring remains and leaves a few dots of lace down the glass.

SMELL: Mild strength nose of roasted malts, dark malt, smoke and some dark bitter chocolate. Not as bold as I'd hoped, but nice non-the-less.

TASTE: Much bolder flavors. Roasted malts all over, with some black licorice and dark chocolate notes of course. A bit of spicy alcohol in there along side the roasted and chocolate notes. A medium strength and shorter lived aftertaste is roasted and alcoholic with some chocolate notes still. Plenty of black, dark chocolate, but nicely balanced as well with the roasted and spicy qualities. A bitter-sweet finish. Very tasty.

PALATE: Medium-full body with medium carbonation and creamy enough on the palate. Goes down smooth and finishes slightly mouth-coating.

OVERALL: A solid brew I'm glad I had the chance to try. The chocolate comes out more as the beer sits, but because I serve most of my beer at room temperature, I don't think it had much to do with warming up. A very tasty beer that needs a bigger nose as well as a thicker pour and more impressive head to bring it up a notch. Non-the-less, a tasty treat for sure. Thanks for grabbing me a few of these when they were around Log!

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Photo of Marcrates
4.68/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

A - Very thick, dark like black paint with a thick carmely looking head that hangs around for quite some time.

S - Chocolatey and roasty

T - Unbelievably balanced malts and chocolate taste. This leaves a good aftertaste without being too much. One of the best tasting beers, if not the best tasting beer I've tried to date.

M - Feels amazing. Like eating an ice cream sundae.

D - Very drinkable, but at 10% ABV you may want to be careful. I would think of this more as a dessert.

Overall - I am blown away by this beer. I'll have to revisit this one in a month or so to make sure it isn't my mind playing tricks on me. I really enjoyed drinking this tonight.

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Photo of Luk13
3.5/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Thanks Blankboy. Pitch black. with small brownish head. Very aromatic nose with plenty of chocolate, some vanilla, wood and cherry. Flavor is very chocolatey, some fruits (cherries), maple and rum, quite sour and sweet for a IS. Average mouthfeel, sirupy and sticky. Too rich for me.

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Photo of jsanford
4.17/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

09 Vintage, poured into my Stone IRS tulip

A - Inky black with a very thin, quickly receding off-white head. Leaves a tiny bit of sheeting, but overall kinda underwhelming. I was hoping for a huge head on this one.

S - Dark, sweet malts, roasted coffee and black chocolate.

T - Same as the nose, but I'm certainly getting a nice amount of vanilla that really smooth the edges on this one. Faintest hint of a hop presence in the finish. ABV is very well hidden.

M - Medium to medium-thin bodied with a very silky mouthfeel. Carbonation is sharp and bubbly.

D - I look forward to this one every year. Delicious beer, great value, it cellars phenomenally well, and the bottle is cool as hell.

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Photo of StephenRich
3.98/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Its a beautiful thing for me when fall and winter roll around. Not for the weather, I really love summer and always hate to see it go. But the colder seasons do bring about the big stouts again. Its a seasonal thing, and I understand, but I still think that you can enjoy a nice big stout on the hottest of days. Just last week on a steamy Friday afternoon a friend of mine and I sat down and enjoyed the Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout.

I did already mention it when writing about a beer dinner that I prepared, but I don't think I gave it as much attention as it deserves. This is a big stout made available by the Brooklyn Brewery from October through to March. It is brewed as an Imperial Stout reaching 10.1% abv in regular 355ml bottles. I do wish that it came in the larger corked 750s, but I'll survive. I have only had this beer fresh, but I recently put four bottles of it in my cellar to see how they mature - and I am expecting very positive results!

Being a big Imperial Stout, you could enjoy the Black Chocolate Stout warm around 14c (54F), however I have a lot of experience with this beer, and I like to start it off a touch colder around 10C (48F). The hoppy character in this beer will react very well as the cooler temperature, but the warm cloying thick malts will be perfect warmer - so this way you get the best of both worlds!

I have a Brooklyn pint glass so I poured it gently in. It flows smoothly out of the bottle in a very creamy and silky manner building gently in the bottom of the glass. About a quarter of the way up a rich brown foam starts to build on the surface of pure blackness, so I raise the bottle to enhance the action. By the end of the pour a medium brown, milk chocolate 1.5 inch foamy head is lifted showing dense carbonation and fluffy airy texture. It is perfectly constructed and shows excellent head retention.

The beer it is resting on is black as night shinning deeply with only a very faint touch of garnet or ruby along the sides of the glass when held into the light. With a light twirl the beer shows smooth ink-like thickness - a perfect indicator of things to come.

The nose shows much malt complexity and right away brings rich deep flavors of roasted barley, dark malts, bitter chocolate, a hint of molasses and touches of alcohol. Dark roasted coffee shows up after another smell, and a slight touch of hops come in with a floral finish. Hops don't stand much of a chance here on the nose; the rich flavors of dark malt and roast are easily dominant showing strength and power along with the beer's 10.1% alcohol.

Go in for a drink and let the Black Chocolate Stout sooth your palate. It really does exactly that. It glides in gently with silky smooth sweet malts and big and round roast chocolate. The malts are rich and dark showing a lot of sweet upfront power, but slowly rest into a gentle, more mellow sweet flavor. Caramel candies, dark brown sugar, a bit of molasses and mulled dark berries are present on your tongue while the soft bitter chocolate floats past your tongue and onto the cheeks.

A hint of smoke, most likely just light roast, also shows up, with a soft finish of bitter hops. Overall the hops add bitterness to the roast and bitter chocolate, but are not overpowering in any way. The alcohol is relatively apparent, and the strength of the beers body comes out with it. It is just a big roasty and dark chocolaty stout with huge depth. It is not really the most complex, so it fits a very nice niche in the Imperial Stout category.

The finish is warming and smooth showing slight hops, rich roast and soft chocolate. Very soothing. I do think with 1 or 2 more years this will mature into perfection, but only time will tell. The best thing I have ever had this beer with is creamy cheesecake - wow, the creamy textures are so elegant next to each other. But chocolate cake or vanilla icecream work wonders as well. In any case, enjoy the Black Chocolate Stout when you need a simple and deep chocolate stout - it will treat you right.

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Photo of GBalbin
4.01/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Black beer with nothing of translucency. Foam: brown, dense and persistent. Aroma: roasted malt, very smell of coffee, chocolate and alcohol. Creamy texture. Taste of coffee, bitter chocolate and roasted malt. Alcohol is properly inserted. Medium carbonation. Dry and bitter end.

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Photo of Ryan011235
3.53/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a snifter on 1/4/10

Winter 2009-2010

Pours a very dark brown/burnt crimson; settles black. Almost two fingers of porous, light brown head. As it's riddled with pores, it quickly settles to 1/2 inch, leaving pretty good lacing. Swirling keeps alive thin retention throughout. Splotchy lace.

Smooth aromas of roasted dark malts. Chocolate is most notable. Undertones of dark fruits, especially raisins. A touch of booze on the peripheries. On the whole, the nose is more subtle than I'd expect.

Lots of dark, roasted malts offer a something of a sweet quality. This is offset by a large amount of dark chocolate that tends to be bitter. Mild hits of hops around the edges. Tastes pretty good, though not particularly complex.

Full bodied with smooth & creamy carbonation. Negligible alcohol heat coming through, if any. Hints of roasted chocolate linger.

As mentioned earlier, this isn't the most complex example of the style. It tastes pretty good & is ultimately enjoyable. For some reason, I imagined this beer would be more righteous. Maybe it needs a year or two.

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Photo of nickd717
3.88/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Notes transcribed from 2007, re-tried again in 2010 to validate score. 12oz bottle both times.

This beer is in fact black, with a small brown head, but I wanted to see a little more chocolate.

Roasty coffee-ish aroma with a hint of chocolate.

Flavor is rather subtle for the style but very good, with roasted malt, coffee, and a little dark chocolate. Considerable alcohol presence, especially when fresh and/or cold.

Palate is decently full but I would like a little more. Fairly creamy on the mouthfeel.

Solid offering but not quite as complex as some of the other imperial stouts out there. It's a hell of a beer overall though and gains points for its subtletly and balance.

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Photo of billab914
4.33/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into my Bruery tulip. Poured black in color with a half inch, dense, tan head covering the top of the beer. The head settled down to a thin covering where it left some great lacing on the glass.

The aroma shows some very good chocolate flavors to it. It has both a roasty bitterness and a milk chocolaty flavor to it at the same time. Smooth and balanced aroma to it overall.

The taste has a lot of good dark, bitter-sweet chocolate flavor coming through. Some roasted, slightly burnt flavors come through more towards the finish. It has a sweetness to it though that really helps balance it out some. The chocolate is very nicely done, the bitterness and sweetness of it really comes together nicely.

The mouthfeel is on on the thicker side, but probably middle of the pack for imperial stouts. Carbonation is also moderate for the style. Drinkability is very good, it has some great flavors to it and was a very tasty beer for an after dinner drink tonight.

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Photo of Sjokvistarn
4.45/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A: Pours dark, but pretty straight, and easy out of the bottle with a thick, high head that lingers for quite some time before it disappears smoothly.

S: Dark, cacao rich chocolate, possibly the kind spiced with flake salt, some coffee. A discreet warming smell of alcohol shines through.

T: Creamy, thick, mocha chocolate, hints of raspberries and red currants. Not quite the obvious salty taste as I would expect, but it's there alright. Warmth of alcohol shines through but in a very pleasant way.
The mouthfeel is nice thanks to the minimal amount of carbonation and bubbles, another sip is very hard to resist.

Overall impression then? Well, given the price, which was a bargain at 19.90 SEK this is nothing short of a fantastic beer. Truly regret that I didn't buy more than one.

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Photo of nickadams2
4.28/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A_Pours oily jet black with a dark brown head that dissipates into a thick, creamy ring.Thick spotty lacing.

S_Dark chocolate,espresso,dark fruit and alcohol.

T_Dark chocolate and roasted espresso dominate.Roasted barley as well. Dark fruits such as figs and prunes on the back end. Not as boozy as the smell but definitely a nice alcohol burn.

M_Thick and viscous. Coats the mouth.

D_Definite sipper but could easily enjoy a few of these.

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

(transcribed from an old rating now that this is in top 100)

12 oz bottle pours jet black with little mocha head.

chocolate, dark roasted oatmeal, molasses and hints of cherry on the nose.

Great deep dark roasted chocolate sweetness with a bitter mocha finish.

Very full bodied and silky mouthfeel.

This is an amazing brew that I look forward to every winter. On a cold night, I'm thankful this beer is there to comfort me.

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Photo of punkrkr27
3.6/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

07-08 bottle. Black pour with a 2 finger tan head that fades quickly to a thin ring. Chocolate and alcohol dominate the aroma with a healthy dose of roastiness and a noticeable amount of pine with a little bit of dark fruit and slightly vinous. Flavor is lots of bitter dark chocolate and coffee with lots of alcohol. A little more dark fruit and banana up front than the aroma with quite a lot of hop bitterness. Body is a bit thin for an imperial but fairly full. Loads of prickly carbonation break up the mouthfeel too. Just a bit too much alcohol coming out that seems to hide some otherwise great flavor and aroma. Some aging to mellow out the hotness would serve this beer well.

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Photo of Thorpe429
4.27/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours black without being terribly thick with a nice mocha head and a bit of lacing. Smells quite sweet with loads of chocolate and some roasted malt. Hints of anise and molasses. Taste isn't quite as complex and full of depth as the nose, and adds a bit of alcohol, which doesn't take too much away from the mouthfeel given the style and abv. Very nice and drinkable, and much better with some age on it.

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Photo of Jiggamyte
4.62/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from bottle to pint glass.

A Pours a dark black opaque. Creamy brown head that lasts until the beer is done. Lots of lacing along the sides of the glass.

S Lots of chocolate and coffee smell. Malty background notes.

T Strong tasting chocolate notes, coffee, as well as toffee and caramel malts.

M A very full bodied and creamy beer. Heavy on the tongue. Slight alcohol warming.

Overall impression of this beer is very good. A great beer to have on a cold winter night to warm you up and provide some time in thought. A very drinkable beer if you have the time to appreciate depth of flavor.

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Photo of TexasTowHead
4.13/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a Winter '09-'10 bottle.

Inky black color with a finger-width dun head that lingers the whole way. Very limited lacing on the glass. You can smell the alcohol along with dark roasted coffee, but the taste is all coffee and chocolate. The medium carbonation helps with the head retention and makes for a real nice mouthfeel. Extremely drinkable stout but the alcohol does sneak up on you.

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Photo of generalnotsew
4.53/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Rich and dark with a 2 finger milk chocolate head. Loads and loads of chocolate in the nose. Has a very sweet and milky smell to it. Taste is quite rich and nutty. Not a lot of bitterness which is actually how I like my stouts. Has some fig/raisin notes. Mouthfeel is very thick and good drinkability with the alcohol very well hidden. Nice well rounded RIS.

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Photo of Arenbeer
4.73/5  rDev +14%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to BeerMasterD for this brew!

A- Pours a solid jet black with a nice 1 finger light brown head that's insanely fluffy and leaves some nice lacing around the glass.

S- Sweet roasted nose with a great chocolate background that combines with an almost wood, vanilla notes and slight alcohol.

T- Dark roasted malts and barley with a great almost chalky bittersweet dark chocolate flavor in the background. Little alcohol sting in the finish that creates a decent fullness in the body.

M- Full bodied with lower carbonation and a decent bitter dryness in the finish.

Love this beer, it's so delicious and so well balanced. Brooklyn really knew what they were doing with this one.


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

12oz into a snifter.

pours dark brown but looks black in the glass. forms a pinky of creamy brown head that calms to a thin film right away. spotty lacing here and there.

smells like pumpernickel, kinda musty, and with a bit of alcohol presence.

holy good g*d d*mn is this beer rich. it could almost pass for barrel aged if it weren't for the lack of bourbon/oak flavor. this brew starts off with a ton of roasted, almost burnt malt, then comes in with some tart, dark fruity notes. cherry maybe? bitter dark chocolate pops up then fades into a dry bittersweet finish. not as malt forward as i was expecting, and the alcohol is barely noticeable.

full bodied, kinda chewy and has a finer co2 profile. very slight alcohol warming going on.

very drinkable considering the 10%, but this will catch up to you quick. a must for any stout lover and certainly worth seeking out.

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Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout from Brooklyn Brewery
Beer rating: 4.15 out of 5 with 6,770 ratings