beerchugger (716) - North Canton, Ohio, USA - SEP 16, 2011
This poured black as pitch with no head formation but there was a thin halo around the top of the beer. Smells of rich roasted malts and heavy chocolate on the nose. Small hints of leather and tobacco, vanilla and charred oak. Very intriguing nose, very nice. The flavor was full with loads of chocolate and strong roasted coffee notes. Smooth hints of vanilla and charred oak and an overall bourbon-esque quality to it that is really nice. DialSquare (5068) - Columbus, Ohio, USA - SEP 10, 2011
Found an old scratch pad with ratings on it. No idea when and where. -- medium foamy and khaki head. chocolate and alcohol aroma. sweet bourbon, chocolate, vanilla, dark malt taste. boozy. chalky bitter coffee fin. pineypower (3344) - Ocean County, New Jersey, USA - SEP 5, 2011
Bottle, big thanks to Scott for sharing this one. Pours out black with a thin tan head. Aroma is of some sweet bourbon, vanilla, oak, chocolate, roast, light fruit and some slight alcohol. Taste is complex with a nice smooth mouthfeel. Some roast, vanilla, oak, bourbon, chocolate, dried fruits with a touch of alcohol in the finish. Very solid brew. ChadPolenz (1828) - Lakeland, Florida, USA - SEP 5, 2011
UPDATED: NOV 20, 2016 I received a 2009 vintage bottle as gift from a friend (thanks, Patrick!). I split it with two friends and poured mine into a tulip glass.cavery (48) - Palm Desert, California, USA - SEP 2, 2011
Appearance: Completely opaque black - no carbonation visible. Forms a fairly large, dark brown, sudsy head that retains and lacing well.
Smell: Prominent bourbon aroma of vanilla, oak, black cherry and alcohol. Very sweet, although I have smelled even more pungent beers of the style.
Taste: Imperial stouts aged in bourbon, Scotch, or whiskey barrels have become a trend over the last few years and while they all tend to rate very highly on the various beer geek databases they also tend to taste pretty much the same. That’s certainly the case of Brooklyn Black Ops which is a very complex, robust, but highly drinkable imperial stout.
Up front I get a rich, sweet taste of black cherry and a hint of sour red grape, followed by a slightly bitter combination of medium coffee and high end dark chocolate. The aftertaste kicks with a sweet, smoky flavor of rich vanilla and wood with a hint of bourbon or whiskey. The bottle indicates it’s re-fermented with champagne yeast but I get no such qualities in the palate or the drinkability. The sour grape intensifies as it warms, but it’s very tolerable and doesn’t go to the extreme of being sticky and syrupy like many other Russian Imperial Stouts seem to do. A very pleasant drinking experience overall, but it’s missing a certain something to put it in the Hall of Fame category for me.
Mouthfeel: Fairly thick, but not syrupy; minor fizziness; slight alcohol warmth on the tongue and in the throat.
Drinkability: My beef with huge beers like Brooklyn Black Ops is that as great and complex as their palates are, they suffer from a lack of drinkability. This 2009 vintage doesn’t have that problem as it’s very comfortable in the mouth with only a slight dry, bitter aftertaste. The 11.6% ABV is invisible all around, although I don’t think I’d be able to drink the entire 750ml bottle myself. This is a great dessert beer to split with someone who really deserves it.
Overall, Brooklyn Black Ops is a great beer, although I think it suffers a bit from hype and reputation. Still, it’s fun to drink and I’m glad I got to try it.
08 Batch 1 from MikeDashG, a kind BA @ Woodshop Classix. A pleasure to be able to try this beer.
A generous pour left me with a thick deep dark wood stained bubbly head of about 2 fingers. Some nice vanilla swirled smells with carmelly-bourbon chocolate notes. The nose implies a pretty mellowed beer. The taste is very chocolatey with a modest appearance from the bourbon. The bourbon lightly modifies the sweetness with a nutty vanilla/nougat flavor. Lots of milk chocolate in this beer, definitely too sweet to be dark/bitter chocolates. All in all really quite good, I think the wood is the big winner here. This currently tastes like a spendy candybar. Faint almonds appear behind the vanillas for complex note that seems to beginning to develop in the beer. Another year might not be the worst thing for this. Modest alcohol heat in the beer currently.
LtDan (1806) - Los Angeles County, California, USA - SEP 2, 2011
Batch 1, thanks to a good homie at Woodshop Classixben4321 (6548) - Hoboken, New Jersey, USA - AUG 27, 2011
Appearance: Pours a dark brown with no head. A few white swirls as you look down on it.
Aro. Alcohol,cough syrup,sherry ,dark chocolate and roast.
Taste. Burnt roast, booze, dark chocolate .
Mouth. Thinner than I remember of fresh samples, silky with low carbonation.
Overall: A big time treat to try this beer. I think it’s a bit better fresh, but so far has aged gracefully.
Location: 12 oz bottle from Shop Rite - Hoboken, 8/27/11
Leighton (21513) - London, Greater London, ENGLAND - AUG 27, 2011
Aroma: The nose has lots of bourbon, along with some roast, chocolate, and oak
Appearance: This one pours an oily black color with just a bit of medium brown head
Flavor: Tastes heavy malt, mid-heavy sweet and roasty, some bourbon, and an oak bitterness
Palate: Medium-full boddied, with an oily texture, a soft carbonation, and some heat from the bourbon
I can’t believe I’ve never rated Black Ops before. This certainly wasn’t my first rodeo with this beer, but I haven’t had it in a while, so it was good to drink this one again. A very good brew, that’s enjoyable, even though it is a little overpriced.
UPDATED: OCT 13, 2012 Bottle at The Diamond during the Brooklyn Ghost Bottles event. Vintage 2007. I had stopped taking meticulous notes by this, the last bottle of the tasting, as I was with non-RB company and didn’t want to be perceived as anti-social or some such thing. My notes read simply: "Fuckin’ awesome. Rich. Oily. Dark. Not too hot." I might also add it was full bodied with tons of big, roasted malt character, some burnt wood and sugar, notes of chocolate and coffee. Overall it was an awesome beer. Fuckin’ awesome, some might even say. (4.4)callmemickey (4549) - Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA - AUG 26, 2011
Bottle at Chriso’s Pre-GBBF Shindig, 2012, London. Thanks swoopjones! Lots of the richness and strong character of the first bottle of this beer I tried. Although, I would say that this one seemed a bit young and much harsher than my previous experience. Very tasty, but I’d say this beer benefits from a years of seclusion. (4.0)
UPDATED: JUN 9, 2012 2009
A: Black/brown body, nice thick bubbly tan head, decent retention before forming a nice skim, decent lacing.
S: Dark chocolates, licorice, bourbon, vanilla, oak, roasted coffee.. delicate.. not overpowering
T: Much like the nose, the flavoring was nice and delicate... in a very, very good way... soft bourbon flavor throughout... delicious dark chocolate and roasted coffee makes up the bulk of the flavor... vanilla and oak accentuate towards the middle
M: Thick, creamy... smooth flavor transitions... clean finish...
O: One of the more drinkable bourbon RISs ... the key for me was the delicate use of the bourbon barrel aging. jar72404 (426) - USA - AUG 25, 2011
Bomber. Pours black with thin tan head. Aroma is chocolate and coffee. Flavor is chocolate and coffee with oak, bourbon and vanilla in the finish. Very smoothe. Very nice.