Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout | Brooklyn Brewery

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Brooklyn Black Chocolate StoutBrooklyn Black Chocolate Stout
6,783 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: 6,783 |  Reviews: 2,838
Photo of xgrigorix
4.31/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Twelve ounce brown bottle. Winter '03-'04 edition.

Pitch black! Seems to actually absorb light, like a black hole. Huge, dense, dark tan head sits proudly atop, like a crown. Amazing head retention. Thick sheets of lace are left behind as the head slowly recedes.

Dense & rich aromas of coffee, tons of dark chocolate, a hint of alcohol, & a bit of dark fruit.

Bitter roast coffee, dark chocolate, & raisins all quickly pass over the tongue. A dryish finish with a touch of orangey hops. A rich chocolate flavour linger for ages. Big, rich, & full bodied. Gentle carbonation.

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Photo of waughbrew
4.8/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

No light will escape this black hole that has the darkest, creamiest brown frosting on top. Smells like a magic elixir that just might kill you. Bold flavors of alcohol, dark malts, and hops warn you of what is ahead. Chocolate mousse riding on a wave of alcohol, cloaked in black bitter burntness, with a crown of hops. Liquid silk. Damn.

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Photo of Gavage
4.25/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Purchased the 2003 version. It pours a black color with a light brown head. There is large bubbles and nice lacing on the glass. The aromas are big on chocolate, coffee, roasted malt, caramel, and alcohol. The roasted malt, chocolate, caramel, and coffee are all through the flavor, with the chocolate lasting long on the tongue after swallowing. The alcohol is very noticable and warms your insides. Very enjoyable, but the noticable alcohol makes this a bit less than good for drinkability.

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Photo of Lafe
3.65/5  rDev -12%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I have just acquired some of the 2003 version of this beer.

It pours a beautiful opaque black, and fills the immediate region with an aroma of chocolate and alcohol.

The taste starts off malty sweet with a strong chocolate component, followed quickly by a hit of roasted malt and an alcohol warmth. It finishes with an almost harsh bitterness, which suggests most strongly to me that this beer is young. This brew seems to be a bit heavier in the alcohol department, and I'm guessing that a bit of aging will help it immensely. Having had the 2002 version not very long ago, I know that this beer has the potential to be one of the best of stouts...

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Photo of aaronh
3.5/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Winter '01-'02 bottling. Essentially a black beer with mahogany highlights, it pours with a syrupy sound, a velvety look, and a toffee colored head. The head fades quickly, and leaves a mild lace on the glass. The aromas are chocolate, roasted malt, with some bourbon overtones. There are also vanilla notes and and some spiciness. Absolutely a treat. The first sip coats the tongue with a luxurious silky feeling. This beer is incredibly smooth, exactly what my ideal stout would feel like. The taste is heavy on the roated malts, with a strong chocolate note and some nice peat smokiness. For 8.5% ABV, the alcohol is not noticable. Some fruity sweetness creeps in on the finish, and the hops are present, but not overpowering. They simply present a nice bitterness on the finish, which is remarkably clean considering how thick this beer feels. This is definitely one of my favorite brews.

Don't see my notes on the '02-'03, but it was equally impressive as the previous year.

Ratings at this point: 4.5 - 5.0 - 4.5 - 5.0 - 4.5

'03-'04 version:

Still looks great, smells pretty good.

The taste is a huge let down. Taste has a strange "moldy grain" component. And as ithaca baron intimated, a bit of a burnt tobacco note on the finish. I'll be aging my remaining bottles ofr a while, but for now, the ratings reflect the current edition.

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Photo of ithacabaron
3.11/5  rDev -25.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

'03 bottling.

This pours the color of burnt oil that's been let out of an old engine during a change -- slick, deep, rich and black, black, black. The head settles comfortably on top with fairly large bubbles, and swirled, multi-toned highlights.

Smell is pretty good as well, with aromas of dark, burnt candi sugar and burnt chocolate...very rich, even in smell.

Unfortunately, for me, that's where this fell apart for me. The stout has good dark chocolate flavor through it, but the chocolate seems a bit chalky, and dry, instead of smooth, as if it were made with chocolate baking powder. Additionally, the aftertaste is one of ashed cigar...not wholly bad, and an aquired taste, but, in my mind, not a positive for the beer by any means.

Mouthfeel is very rich and smooth, with a drying end, well fitted to the style.

Due to the tasting notes, I can't give this a real high drinkability rating.

Incidentally, just 12oz. of this stuff got me buzzed. Should be noted.

One important note...I tasted this, and then, noting the similarities, cracked open an extract chocolate stout I had homebrewed, using some adjuncts and malto-dextrine...I could barely tell the difference -- knowing what was in my beer, and the fact that I can replicate it for a fraction of the cost with low-grade ingredients, how can I give this a really great grade?

Anyway, maybe I got a bad bottle, or maybe I missed something with this one. I'll probably try it again for that reason, and I encourage others to give this at least one try -- they might like it a lot more than I did.

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Photo of philipt
4.57/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

My brother's favorite beer...who can blame him?

This is one of the best imperial stouts available. It pours with a smallish head and minimal lacing. The beer itself is black. I cannot find any reddish tint to this beer. Good start. The aroma is incredible. Perfectly roasted malt, subtle coffee/expresso, and hints of chocolate stand out in the aroma. There is an initial burnt, but nice malt flavor. It is borderline bitter, but before it one really focuses on the burnt flavor there is a burst of sweet malt and chocolate. Perfectly balanced. I cannot imagine a better balance between chocolate and traditional malt.

I am stocking up on this beer. I doubt I can wait Spring through Fall for this one again.

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Photo of skar
4.15/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Foreword: 12 oz bottle - Limited Edition '03-'04 - Serving at proper temp

Appearance/Head: Very dark color, rather opaque. The head was a nice ebony, but I was disappointed by how little head there was until I started pouring from a foot above the glass.

Aroma: Dark roasted malts, mocha, with a bit of dark fruits.

Taste: It started with a very nice, rich creamy head. It is a full bodied elixir with a bittersweet cocoa flavor. The aftertaste has some nice burnt taste and perhaps a late sourness. I would have guess the abv at around 6.5 instead of 8.5 .

Bottom line: A nice beer from Brooklyn that I'm sure I will enjoy many times this winter. The flavors are a little light for an Imperial Stout, and I think there are a number of better examples out there.

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

2003 edition... if fall has to be here already, at least we get to enjoy all of the great brews that come with it. I must confess that this is the beer that "converted" me to micros...

Appearance is gorgeous. Jet black, luscious, almost viscous looking pour of melted dark chocolate. Impressive, amazingly dark brown head (probably looks better from a tap...can't wait to find out).
Big malt, clearly chocolate and mocha nose. Hop aroma is subdued. Some nose tingle from the alcohol.
Taste is "truly" exceptional. For me the taste and mouthfeel are a single entity with experiencing this brew. I love the simultaneous carbonation/alcohol tingle that carries a creamy, lush, slick, smooth and slightly sweet blend of malt and chocolate. Served at the correct temperature, the interplay of flavors is a near religious experience.
Drinkability: This IS Imperial Stout! To me, you save your "5" ratings for the very, VERY few that are truly stunning... this brew rates.

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Photo of grynder33
4.21/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I heard so much about it, impossible to pick up in Wisconsin, finally got it over the internet. Color was sinnfully black, the aroma was chocolately malty, but not very bold, then POW, the heavy chewy dark chocolate taste, nice roasted chocolate malt aftertaste, seemed to get a little sweeter as it warmed, and a lot creamier texture.Just wish Mr. Oliver would not make this wonderful stuff so hard to get.

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Photo of BierReise
4.14/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Finally got a chance to sample this thanks to a trade. Limited bottling '03-'04. Dark as night with maybe a tinge of garnet at the edges while held up to bright light. An inch of tan head is settling down quickly. Sensational aroma of bitter sweet chocolate and roasted malts with a hint of licorice. Creamy and delicate mouthfeel. Flavor is definitely semi-sweet chocolate with a dry finish. This is a very nice stout and deserved of its praise.

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Photo of silks636
4/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured from 12 oz. brown bottle. 02-03 batch. This one sat for a year and I can’t wait anymore...

Thick syrupy black in hue with a slight foamy mahogany head. Lacing in large sheets. Nose is all dark chocolate with traces of alcohol (rum?) soaked fruit. A mellow burnt coffee aroma present as well. A sip of this almost knocks you over. Heavy creamy mouthfeel and smooth as silk. Heavy unsweetened chocolate up front with overtones of alcohol and plum. Some bitter hops are detected but very understated. The unsweetened chocolate continues with light roasted coffee flavors. The alcohol seems to vanish and the burnt chocolate charcoal aftertaste kicks in. A peppery twang hits momentarily at the finish.

A gorgeous stout. Very tasty, heavy, and warming. One best enjoyed as a dessert brew. Since this one packs such serious flavors, I probably could not drink more than one at a sitting. Best at cellar temperature. Laying this one down for a year or so is definitely the way to go - if you can resist the temptation!

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

03-04 batch.

Poured a deep inky black with a huge deep tan/brown craggy ead with good stickage. The scent is chocolate malt with roasted grain , slight fruit sweetness, alcoholic noted.
Taste is roasted malts, heavy on the chocolate finish. Lesser hop presence, warming alcohol in the belly.
Mouth is smooth, medium full to full bodied, chewy, sticking to the palate, light to medium carbonation.
Very drinkable for its style, high abv, means you aren't likely to go overboard. Quite tasty, for dessert, or with dessert.

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Photo of ecoboy
4.16/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I am pretty sure the Atkins diet lot would run screaming at the first taste of this beer. A dessert stout from a man who knows his food pairings. Drinkability issues fly out the window with such a rich end-of-night concoction such as this.

Big firm plush head, one of the most impressive I have ever seen. Opaque black hue as expected.

What was both unexpected and impressive: the fruity esters and notes: with the dominant chocolate and creamy cappucino notes came banana and black cherry with a touch of sour. The touch of sour replaces the bittering in the balance equation.

Roasty sweet carbs. Heavenly for those who want their cake and drink it, too. Thanks to pournutha1 for the sample.

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Photo of Stubbie1
4.85/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

03-04 bottling.
This is one beautiful stout. It pours a dark black color with a dark brown head on top. The head stays for a spell and slowly gives way to a thin sticky lace. The aroma is of burnt coffee, deep roasted malt and a slight sweetness in the air. There is also a faint wisp of alcohol roaming around. The taste is wonderful; Deep roasted malt combined with the coffee and the hints of sweetness (plum, raisin?) attack the tongue. There is a slight warming of the lips with a slight presence of the alcohol. Also present is a smooth creamy feeling in the mouth. It is a very enjoyable and defiantly easy to drink. I need to get more before it is all gone!

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

Dark, almost black with beautiful creamy brown head. Smells of malt, smoke and alcohol...nicely blended. Taste is strong on alcohol, but tempered well with a nice malty, chocolate-smoky flavor. Mouthfeel was good, but high alcohol content reminded you to sip. For a high abv, extremely drinkable....a definite strong stout all should try.

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Photo of yankeeheel
4.6/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

There is a reason this is a top rated beer. It is everything a big, strong, imperial stout should be. Pours as black as possible with a huge cascading espresso colored head. Served at a lovely 65 degrees. 03-04 vintage.

Smells of chocolate, smoke, malts, chocolate, figs, get the idea. The taste is something to behold. Just a massive attack of dark burnt malt, creamy chocolate, oak, and alcohol. Hopped up like crazy but it works with all the dark stuff going on. I equate the taste to the realm of a single malt scotch. It should be sipped, savored, and revered.

Just incredible. The other 5 of these lovelys are going to the cellar for a while. Thanks to JahNoth for the hookup.

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Photo of ViveLaChouffe
4.26/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle, the remnant of a case I picked up in Eastern PA in mid-February 2003.

This is more like it...

Pitch black. Pours a thick brown head that quickly swells to 2 inches and then recedes to 1/4 inch. Lacing is evident.

Aroma is complex. Nutty and chocolatey, bitter and sweet. Hint of bananas and cream.

Taste lives up to the smell. Sweet nutty chocolate gives way to bitter roasted malt. Hint of nutmeg. Big beer. Lingers on the back of the tongue. One of the better stouts I have tasted.

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


Dark, muddy brown bordering on blackness. Good sized tan froth on top.
Roasy, mocha nose. Not quite Imperial, but good nonetheless.
Flavor is full, but somewhat limited, breadth-wise. Chocolate hits up front, then stays away. Roasty twags of Black malt appear. Just minor suggestions of the burnt dark fruits and anise that I adore in the style. Turns woodier and nuttier late. Just enough green-ish hops for dryness.
Well-structured body, but could use some additional heft.
Not an overly complex Imperial, but a nice stout.

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

Thick coffee black with an equally thick cocoa brown head. Heavy roasted overtones mixed with the perfect amount of chocolate sweetness in the aroma. Very thick and creamy in your mouth, as it should be. Heavily roasted and chocolaty sweet at the same time. Hops are present, leaving a leafy aftertaste near the back. Extremely enjoyable beer, very highly recommended. A different take on the style, but right up there with the best of them. Thanks again to francisweizen for this and the other Brooklyn brews!

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Photo of Ellbert
4.56/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Appearance: Wonderful dark brown/black color that I look for in an Imperials Stout. Wonderful brown head that is huge and settles after a while to a nice layer on the brew. It sticks to the glass like no ones buisiness.

Smell: Very caremelly and alcoholic. Can smell roasted chocolate and coffee.

Taste: Very complex. Same taste as the smell with more roastiness and chocolate. Alcohol lingers in the background to give you a sublte spicy bite at the end of your taste.

Mouthfeel: Exceptional. It is nice and thick and has a wonderful consitency. Not too suryp like. Nice carbonation breaking throught the thickness.

Drinkability: This is unusually drinkable. The 8.5% will knock your socks off if you have a few but you don't notice it much when you drink it. This is dangerously delicious and drinkable.

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Photo of beerinator
4.05/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance- BLACK, creamy brown head.

Aroma- Sweet coffee bean smell, with a slightly burnt aroma. Like cold coffee beans.

Taste- Strong alcohol up front. Cold coffee taste, smoky. Full body, with slight lingering bitterness.

Notes- Great beer for coffee lovers who have healthy livers. Not a beer for session drinking. I could see myself enjoying this with a nice bowl of Breyer's Vanilla Ice Cream.

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

Pours a deep,dark black with a nice almond colored head that leaves great lacing,the aroma is very coffeeish and slightly bitter sweet.A real nice complesx beer starts out somewhat earhty and coffeish with a dried fruit flavor comin thru and a hint of dryness in the finish.Very complex,a masterpiece of a beer.

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Photo of beerguy101
4.22/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Dark black color. Large tan head. Aroma is choclately and malty. A full-bodied stout. Roasted chocolate malts, slightly sweet. Coffee and toffee, anise, plums and cherries flavors, but it really chocolaty. Some hop bite. Very nice stout. Well balanced. Smooth and roasty. Mouthfeel is full and round. Finish is clean and smooth. Aftertaste is slightly bitter.

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Photo of TheDM
3.64/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This brew pours an opaque black colored body with a large creamy head. It had a strong coffee aroma. It also had a strong alcohol flavor with strong coffee notes. I am hoping the chocolate referred to the color and not the flavor because I did not get any chocolate in the flavor.

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Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout from Brooklyn Brewery
Beer rating: 4.15 out of 5 with 6,783 ratings