Beer Review 0223: Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout

I haven’t reviewed many beers from Brooklyn Brewery, but I’ve been on the lookout for this one for quite some time. Even though Brooklyn beers are distributed here in North Carolina, I seem to have a hard time finding this one — their Black Chocolate Stout. On a recent trip to Blacksburg, Virginia, I located a bottle. This review is out of season in terms of when the beer is released; Black Chocolate Stout is a winter seasonal brew, available in October-March, so the bottle I’m reviewing does have a bit of age on it, as it is from Winter 11/12.

Brooklyn Brewery is the first successful commercial brewery located in New York City since Schaefer & Rheingold closed in 1976. Founded by Associated Press writer Steve Hindy and banker Tom Porter, they both quit their day jobs to make the beer dream a reality.

Black Chocolate Stout uses three mashes to achieve a dark chocolate flavor, using a blend of these malts: American two-row pale, Caramel, Malted Wheat, and a blend of American malts and barleys. The alcohol by volume (ABV) comes up to 10%, and the IBUs (International Bitterness Units) are 51.

Pouring gave up an average size head, deep khaki in color, creamy and moderately fast diminishing. The beer was a deep, dark, midnight black, opaque and with a muddy body. This is Imperial Stout to a tee. I couldn’t begin to guess on the particles or sediment, because it’s too dark to see. There were several good patches of lacing left behind on my glass as I drank.

The aromatics were heavily malted, as expected. There’s some dark, fudge-like chocolate up front but equal notes of black roasted coffee, and a bunch of dark fruit, particularly plum and prune. Hops are faintly present with a subtle note of pine, and then a hint of smoke rounds everything out. For a beer called Black Chocolate Stout, it’s not really sweet so much as it is roasted.

Tasting this massive beer, the flavors kick off with heavy dark fruits, almost to the point of a rich grape flavor, then transitions into general roasted malts, some coffee, and finally, layer upon layer of rich dark chocolate. And as the drink warms, the more the chocolate comes out, and the better the beer tastes. Mouthfeel is thick and creamy, with a soft carbonation, and no hit from the high alcohol. Black Chocolate Stout finishes with a dead-even hit of creamy chocolate and sharp dark fruit.

Like I mentioned, this is one to pull out of the fridge and let sit for about thirty minutes before you enjoy it. While this one is called Black Chocolate Stout, there are really as many flavors of coffee and general roast as there are chocolate. The alcohol is expertly hidden, but you can start to feel it after about six ounces. I enjoyed this Brooklyn beer immensely, and would love to have it again.

Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout, 93 points. Price: $2.40 US for one twelve ounce bottle.

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