Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout | Brooklyn Brewery

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Brooklyn Black Chocolate StoutBrooklyn Black Chocolate Stout
6,778 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: 6,778 |  Reviews: 2,838
Photo of earthboundagain
4.1/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2009 batch of BCS. Poured into a snifter and tasted after 15 mins at room temp.

A- Well they got the black part right in the name. Decent head with some thin lacing.

S- Ok I get dark chocolate, dark fruits, espresso bean candy, and alcohol.

T- Ok we got some dark chocolate but not over sweet. Roasted malt is big with some dark fruit hiding in the background. Some coffee bitterness to balance the job, with a splash of good ole alcohol.

M- This beer is slick on the tongue, but very smooth. Carbonation is there, making this one easy to pour down your throat.

D- This one is easier to drink then most beers in its style. But do not be confused the alcohol is there and will creep up on you.

N- This is not as big and bold as some Imp stouts but it is an easier brew to have more then two at a time. This is no sipper but be careful or you may get smacked down. I will age this beer and see what a year does to it. 

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

Bottle to Snifter. Served at cellar temp.

Pours a completely opaque jet black with a 1 finger khaki coloured head that leaves thin, spider leg-like lace across the glass.

Big dark chocolate, dark fruits, dry espresso, black licorice, and alcohol dominate the nose with a few loaves of bread stuffed in between. The nose makes me want to eat this stuff rather than drink it.

Smooth and rich dark chocolate, roasted malts, very light dark fruits, all capped off by a dry and bitter espresso like finish and a noticeable but not offending warming alcohol presence, which both work together to compliment the sweet chocolate notes.

Slick, smooth, and coats the mouth. Excellent level of carbonation. Not as intense as other RIS's I've had, making this a nice drinker.

Overall, an excellent beer from Brooklyn, and the best RIS (based on the few that I've had) I've had yet. I can see why this style of beer takes a such a prominent seat in the ratings on this site.

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Photo of Augustiner719
3.83/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a Duvel glass

Appearance; Aggressive pour yielded a 3 finger head that was very cloudlike and filled with lots of tiny bubbles. Great head retendion and medium lace down the glass. Pitch black color, no visibility through the brew. the head is a dark mocha/cappacino color.

Smell: Smells like rich dark melted chocolate, bittersweet. Has an aroma of burnt espresso with a few roasted almonds in the background.

Taste: Tastes rich and vibrant. A little bit of upfront acidity followed by a huge dose of dark bitter chocolate with some roasted coffee beans. On the backend it gets a little bit bitter but is saved with the good malt character.

Mouthfeel: Surprisingly thin on the palate. Doesnt leave a huge aftertaste to me. A little bit too carbonated than I would like in a RIS. Nonetheless a good mouthfeel, just not what I expected.

Drinkability: Despite the ABV, its easy to drink. Very strong upfront flavors limit this from being a quick drink. It would be a lot better at a closer to room temp but overall its a solid brew.

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

Ah, Brooklyn BCS. If memory serves me correctly, Gordon Ramsay famously spat this beer out when he tried it on TV, proving that we needn't take cues on matters of taste (or etiquette) from him. Or was his disgust justified? We shall see..

It is indeed black, one of those rare beers that really lets no light through at all and has an oily malted-milk brown head. It also does smell of chocolate, but it primarily smells of sherry, vanilla, and stewed prunes. The alcohol is quite hot. The flavor is lush and chocolatey with harmonies of espresso and raisins and a spike of hot, spicy, spirited alcohol. I do think the alcohol is much more pronounced than it needs to be, especially in the aftertaste, where it numbs the tongue with a vaporous medicinal quality. However, I am impressed with the level of chocolate flavor here without using any chocolate malts; it does taste quite a bit like cocoa.

Thick, rich, hot, and heavy, this imperial stout makes an impact even to a jaded geek like me. That said, it isn't a personal favorite in the style, but even so, Ramsay was a complete idiot to spit it out.

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Photo of tr4nc3d
3.24/5  rDev -21.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

12fl oz bottle poured into my snifter

Pours an opaque black with no light shinning through this beer. 1 inch mocha colored head that fades quickly only leaving a slight ring around the edges of the beer. Very slight lacing left behind on the sides of my glass.

Smell consist that of dark malts, very sweet syrup like smell, dark brown sugar, roasted malts, and a prominent alcohol heat.

I get a sweet dark chocolate like taste upfront with a medium roasted coffee bitterness following it from behind to even out the sweetness, slight cola like taste finishes it up.

Full bodied and slightly cloyingly sweet dry finish that lingers in your mouth way after you have taken your sip.

A little to sweet for my liking.


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Photo of kbutler1
4.18/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from bottle. Dark black color with nice tan head. Aroma of sweet, dark roasted malts and chocolate. Wow, this tastes amazing! Very smooth for a 10.6% abv RIS. Very smooth beginning followed by a slight biterness of coffee and dark chocolate. Excellent mouthfeel. This is one very smooth RIS, perhaps not as complex as others but a great drinker.

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Photo of Gtreid
4.08/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle poured into my CCB tulip.

A: Almost black, just a small reddish hue lingers at the side of the glass. The pour produced a Nickel size cream color head that retained nicely and left spotty lace.

A: Very nice bitter sweet chocolate and toasty coffee. But the chocolate is where this one's at. Good earthiness from the hops. The only knock I can give this here is the lack of complexity.

T: great chocolate flavor with a nutty malt background. As the brew warms to room temp some dried fruit is coming through. It finishes dry from the hops.

M: Medium to Heavy body with moderate carbonation. Not too bad but I wish it was just a touch thicker.

D and overall impression: Very good marks on drinkability here. The chocolaty flavor is spot on. Overall this is a pretty darn good beer. I will definately pick this up again. Skal.

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

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle identifying it as '09 -'10 winter release, into a stemless wine glass. Poured black as nite almost like old used motor oil with very little carbonation. Pretty thick head that is disappears rather quickly. Scent of roasted chocolate, and malts, slightly burnt smell. The tasty mix of dark and sweet chocolates, roasted coffee flavors. Mouthfeel is pretty heavy. It is very drinkable, alcohol is warming.

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Photo of ritzkiss
4.23/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

09-10 bottling - Massive ripe fruit notes coming out on the nose and taste, head dies quickly. Way fruitier than I remember, chocolate, light cocoa powder dryness, pleasant warming in the finish. Way different than last year's batch as I reviewed it.... have to do them side by side.

08-09 bottling - Pours a jet black with a finger of dark coffee head (perhaps the darkest I have seen). Leaves light lacing down the side.

Smell is a little on the light side for a RIS. Some nice chocolate, light coffee, some malts, a little bit of alcohol - some soy sauce as it warms... can that be right? Going to have to revisit that in another bottle.

Taste is much more like it. Big dark chocolate notes meld with espresso, bitter malts in the back. Some serious alcohol heat in the back as well. Medium body, enough hops in there to leave a dry mouthfeel.

This is a sexy beer. If the alcohol wasn't so high this could easily be a beer I'd drink two or three or ten of...

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Photo of tanousa
4.85/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Beautiful deep black with an delightful tan head.

S- Delicious chocolate, hints of coffe , licorice and strong alcohol.
T- Chocolate , roasted malts and hints of expresso.

M- smooth , nice carbonation.

D- Potent stout @ 10% alcohol content, a beer to drink slowly, great for desserts, a whole different experience enjoying this stout.

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Photo of bonsreeb85
4.58/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2008 vinatage. Thanks to ironbike1 for offering up this brew in a recent trade.

Black as night, completely opaque. Looks thick and sticky with a beautiful brown head.

Alot going on in the nose. Tons of semi-sweet chocolate morsels, black licorice, bread pudding, roasted and choc. malt, alcohol and hints of coffee.

Remarkably sweet at first which then turns to a dry cofee-like bitter close . The booze sticks its nose out just a bit adding a little warmth.

The feel is that of a full bodied brew and has a bit of chewy thing going on.

One of the better RIS i've had although I am still getting my feet wet with this style. I am curious what this tastes like fresh.

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Photo of dpodratsky3
4.02/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle poured into pint glass

A: Essentially black, nice creamy light brown head, looks like a good stout, but pretty normal

S: Lots of big roasted malt and a dose of molasses, hops aren't left out lending a nice spicy warmness

T: Big bittersweet chocolate flavor, roasted malt notes, not real sweet like I expected though, mostly roasted malt with the addition of hops adding a flavor enhancement and some more bitterness, especially in the finish, definitely very spicy

M: Thinner than some dark stouts, more porter like almost

D: Not to high, sipping beer, not super creamy like I would have liked

Notes: A good stout. Not syrupy sweet like I thought it would be. It has more bittersweet chocolate notes than sweet notes. Definitely interesting and definitely worth trying if you like stouts.

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Photo of happygnome
4.37/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

a: pours a jet black color with about a good inch of head that doesnt disappear quickly at all. there is stick lacing left on the side of the glass as the level of beer drops
s: sweet chocolate malts accompanied by hints of roasted malts
t: sweet chocolate roated malts very nice
m: full bodied beer with some chewiness factor

overall a wonderful beer i wish i could get around here

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Photo of chickenm
3.55/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Winter 08-09 bottling poured into a pint glass. Dark black color with a very thin tan head. Aromas of dark chocolate, roasted malt, and dark fruits. Taste is more dark chocolate and coffee flavors. The alcohol in this is way too noticable. Not a bad beer but there are better Imperial Stouts out there. I'd like this more if it hid the alcohol a bit better.

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Photo of dmits
4.19/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Been waiting awhile to make a first review:

Poured into an oversized wine glass (winter 09-10 bottling)

A: dark brown with 1/4 inch coffee coloured head which stuck to side of glass and only dissapeared about halfway through drinking so far great

S: chocolate, coffee and burnt nuts, I love the smell of Russian Imperials and this one is no exception

T: strong coffee taste with a rich chocolate aftertaste, no over sweetness in begginning, nor any substantial bitterness in the end

M: a bit to bubbly for my mouth, I prefer more flat versions of this stout

D: at 10% alc, it is definately noticeable, but served at around room temp its very drinkable, at the usual half hour per bottle pace I consume a R.I.S.. However i've found dogfish head's world wide stout at a higher abv much more drinkable, albeit harder to come by as a canuck. I'll let a few of these sit for a while in the cellar

overall, decent i've drank better versions of this style (my favorite style), if your in Ontario, this beer is a steal at $2.50 for a 355ml, a fraction of the cost you will have to pay for most R.I.S. once you include the trip across the border, thank you whoever was responsible for this beer's arrival on LCBO shelves. I bought twelve and will be stocking up a few more for sure!

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Photo of Mosstrooper
4.58/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 12oz bottle into Macado's "Halloween 2009" branded American pint glass.

Appearance: Jet black with a substantial brown head that stays for a while and leaves thick lacing behind.

Smell: Chocolate all over, with a hint of roastiness and slight grassiness.

Taste: Sweet chocolate up front, with more bitter dark chocolate towards the middle, finishing with roasted bitterness. Slight hop spice at the end as well.

Mouthfeel: Full bodied and chewy, with moderate carbonation and a sticky finish.

Drinkability: This is a very good stout. This possesses a depth of flavor and is a pleasure to drink. Given the higher ABV and the thickness, though, this one is good to enjoy slowly.

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

Pours inky black with a brown foamy head. The aroma extends 18 inches from the glass - smooth, velvety, rich, dark, roasty. Flavor is sharp, a shock to the tongue, like a smooth semisweet chocolate, with brown sugar and dark caramel. There is a deep, woody bitterness on the finish and considerable heat from the alcohol. The mouthfeel is rich and velvety, smooth and enveloping with a strong sting of carbonation.

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Photo of wahhmaster
4.67/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a nonic imperial pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a pitch black color. The head is large and brown. It dissipates quickly and leaves considerable lacing.

Smell: Smells strongly of coffee, chocolate, and fruit. Has hints of plums, something I've never found in a stout before.

Taste: Starts with an intense chocolate flavor that absolutely rocks your taste buds. Develops into a coffee/dark chocolate flavor with hints of fruit and roasted malts. Surprisingly, the alcohol is not very noticeable in this one.

Mouthfeel: As full-bodied and smooth as you could possibly want.

Drinkability: A great beer and one everyone should try. By far the best stout I've had so far.

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Photo of Cylinsier
4.3/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

from a 12 oz.

Pours an inky jet black with a minimal brown sugar head that dissipates quickly.

Smells like smokey roasted coffee beans and a hint of chocolate.

Tastes sweet and chocolatey, with hints of roasted coffee. The alcohol taste is mild at the end.

Feels not very thick but kind of syrupy and smooth, with minimal carbonation.

A very tasty flavorful stout, a new favorite. Doesn't totally hide the alcohol content but contains it well. A good sipper and easy to enjoy; definitely worth trying for RIS fans looking for something on the sweet side.

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

12 oz bottle poured into 20oz nonic pint; bought from the cooler but set out for 2-3 hours before drinking.

The stout is inky black with medium-dark head. It stands tall and proud for a bit before receding some. Its lacing is a bit sticky. Smells mostly roasty. Taste is also roasty but chocolatey. Feel wise, it's nicely carbonated but isn't as thick as I might expect a beer of its stature to be. This beer is hot! Warming. BCS gets easier and easier to drink as I continue down the glass, but it will have its way with me if I have more. I'm sure this is a good candidate for cellaring, but its too delicious to leave alone for long.

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Photo of MunchkinDrinker
3.88/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

A - Inky black with a thin but rich light chocolate colored head. Good lacing in rings.

S - Sweet chocolate. Some very faint vague fruitiness and spiciness. Inviting, but simple.

T/M - Bitter dark chocolate. I feel like I'm drinking a 80%+ cocoa dark chocolate bar. Not much else there. Very tasty, but simple. Thick and slick mouthfeel, but doesn't leave a thick film.

D - Oh no. Try to eat a whole 80% dark chocolate bar and you'll get the idea. This beer is no different. Rich and tasty, but take it slow.

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Photo of OldSchoolGamer
3.78/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

One of Brooklyn's winter seasonals. I have had this one in the past, but never really cared much for it. Lets see if my opinion has changed within the past year.

A: Pours a pitch black color. Head is minimal, and lacing is non-existant. Looks pretty typical for a stout.

S/T: The aroma stings the nose slightly with its alcohol presence. Along with the alcohol, slight chocolate and caramel notes are present. The taste is much more satisfying than the aroma. Alcohol is present in the taste, but only becomes bothersome when paired with food, in my case a chocolate-pretzel bar. Chocolate, caramel, molasses, and a nice roasted malt backing are all there in full-force. A little harsh due to the alcohol, which remains upfront and not blended in with the rest of the flavors. Better than I remember, but not the best stout available.

M/D: Mouthfeel is full-bodied and creamy. The alcohol kind of hurts the drinkablility somewhat. Definetly a sipping beer.

Without a doubt, this is the best beer in the Brooklyn lineup that I have tried. While what is here is very good, there is room for improvement. Worth picking up, and is a great value for what you get.

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Photo of Donerik
3.94/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - jet black, light escapes the gravity at the edge of the event horizon, but barely.

S - Not much scent, only a little burtness, aroma smelled by 3 people to make sure it wasn't me.

T - Great, bitter bitter roasted malts, with a chocolate finish. Like 92% dark cocoa bars.

M - Smooth going down, well carbonated.

D - one was just about right, but I could have had more, I liked it, so I'd have gone back to it if need be.

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Photo of hayesez
3.91/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2009-2010 bottle received in trade from nyrangerfan - thanks for the brew!

Produced a thick, dark-black pour with a half-inch mocha colored head that dissipated slowly in my standard goblet. Small amounts of garnet light came through where the beer met the head. A sticky lace is left as I slowly drink this one down. This a good looking beer!

The beer did not smell as complex as many of RIS's. An obvious mixture of darker chocolate, malts, and alcohol is present.

Again, the chocolate and alcohol are prevelant in the first drink. Once again, I got impatient and popped this sucker open instead of letting it age for a while. Virtually wihtout exception, I appreciate the more mellowed-out, aged versions of these stouts as opposed to drinking them the year they come out. While the roasted malt flavor of the beer was nice, I prefer the alcohol to be a bit more masked. As the beer warmed up, I caught a bit of bitter coffee on the back-end...pretty indiscernible througout the rest, however.

A bit thinner than many of your heavier RIS's, but the beer still left that oily coating in my mouth...I have certainly enjoyed this one.

Overall, I really enjoyed this beer. Had it smoothed out a bit, I have no doubts I would have scored it better. I will certainly edit this one after I drink the 2008-2009 aging in my basement right now.

Consumed - 10/27/2009

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

Appearance: A thick, inky black body that blocks all light from passing through. Up top, there's over a finger of tan head that sticks around surprisingly long and leaves great lacing.

Aroma: Lots of dark, toasted malt character accompanied by some sweet chocolate and a fair share boozy notes. Clearly a Imperial Stout.

Flavor: A rich dark malt body featuring lots of bitter chocolate, dark roasted coffee, and some dark fruit notes. There a nice alcohol component throughout, and it pairs wonderfully with the rest of the flavors. The aftertaste is boozy and toasty.

Mouthfeel: Medium-full bodied and nicely creamy with good carbonation and plenty of heat from the alcohol.

Drinkability: Clearly a beer meant for a slow tempo, this is a perfect companion for dessert and conversation.

Verdict: I've been waiting to try this beer for many years, and I have to say I'm not disappointed. Black Chocolate Stout is a big Imperial Stout with lots of character, and also quite bargain. Now, to find a new white whale...

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Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout from Brooklyn Brewery
Beer rating: 4.15 out of 5 with 6,778 ratings