Tonight we’re getting back into the winter warmers with one of selections that I got while burning up a Binny’s Christmas gift card. I remember spotting it on the shelf and it nearly jumped into my arms. A perfectly designed label and carton in black, white and gold. That wasn’t enough. The name of the beer hit very close to my taste buds.
The beer was from the Brooklyn Brewery out of New York. It’s name? Black Chocolate Stout. I am one of perhaps seven people on the face of this Earth who just loves dark chocolate. Putting some of that stuff into a stout along the order of 10% ABV keenly interested me. Into the shopping cart it went.
I have most of the other beers that I bought that day under the night stand in my bedroom where it stays nice and cool. Unfortunately, the Pyramid Outburst IPA and Avery’s The Reverend didn’t make it this far. They got consumed along the way during previous good times.
I had dedicated much thought as to which beer would be the worthiest for this Saturday night. I was reluctant to break out the Westvleteren but I know I owe a review to the beer geeks who visit SPT and I want to taste the stuff myself. I chose the next best thing, that Black Chocolate stout from Brooklyn. Bottled for this season.
I was wondering if I had enough to last the session, but I reassured myself that at 10%, the beer would put me six inches away from bedtime by the time I got done. I had to search through the clutter on my computer desk to find the receipt. I know I had saved it and found it sticking out from under the external HD I use for backing up the iMac.
I was surprised at how cheap I bought it. 8 bucks for 4 big, bold beers. I hoped the taste of the beer stood up to the brewer’s reputation rather than the bargain price.
There it sat, right next to the Westy 12. We have suffered quite a cold spell recently and the taste of my favorite dubbels and The Reverend quad were still fresh in my memory, I opted for diversity and grabbed the chocolate stout. Into the fridge it went.
Even at the last minute, I thought about that Westy and the $92 I had invested in it. I know I could get hundreds for it on eBay or other places, but just to say that I’ve tried it and experienced the taste would be worth it. I decided to let it sit for at least another week.
Time for drinking beer arrived and I wondered how my old camera would perform. My #1 son borrowed my Canon to shoot pics at the UFC fight in Chicago he was attending. Bear with me and let’s see how this goes. The graininess will seep in.
The beer poured with a dense black/dark brown color and brought up a head of about 3/4”. While typing the above, I could smell a bit of the aroma coming from the glass. No light shown through the liquid. The aroma was sweet with some chocolate characteristics. Not too much roastiness came through.
The first sip was outstanding. The beer had a thick feel in the mouth almost like chocolate milk. Sweetness and some chocolate came through right away and then the swallow with a slight malty bitterness followed by the gullet warming heat. This was a big beer.
The massive dose of alcohol was not apparent in the taste at all, but its effects were felt all the way down to the stomach. There were no hop flavors present and all the bitterness that was experienced were definitely malt related.
The taste was smooth and somewhat creamy. Every so often the dark chocolate tastes would jump out then fade into the background with all the others. Same thing with the roasted barley tastes as it it played tag team with the chocolate.
I cannot relate the taste of this beer with any other that I’ve had. It’s nowhere near to any species of Guinness and it probably compares better to North Coast’s Old Rasputin or GI’s Bourbon County. This beer lives in the same neighborhood as 3Floyds’ Dark Lord but on the tamer side of the tracks.
The beer sits nicely right smack dab in the middle of the BJCP guidelines in the ABV department. It’s 1% more than Old Rasputin and 5% less than Bourbon County. Regardless of this spec, the beer would be a welcome addition to anyone’s fridge or beer cellar. I can only imagine what this beer would taste like in a year or two.
The Brooklyn Brewery’s website has a spec sheet which I lifted is above. One interesting number is the Plato or original gravity. This beer came in a 21.7° Plato which converts to an O.G. of about 1.090. This beer then equates to a final gravity of about 1.010 which means the yeast they used in fermentation was quite the hungry, hearty strain.
This beer has been winning awards since 2009 and that doesn’t surprise me. Glad that they brew this BCS each winter season. It would make for a very interesting vertical tasting through the years.
As I sipped my way to the bottom of the first glassful, the warmed up beer offered up more flavors. The roastiness set up camp at the back of my throat and the sweetness made my lips nice and sticky. There’s a lot to like about this beer and the pricetag is one of them. 8 bucks for the fourpack when I looked back at the receipt. Even if it was 10 bucks, it’d be a worthy price. The beer was that good. And in some odd way, it’s good to know that this beer is not as hyped up as much as the aforementioned ones. That means that there’s more available for us poor, working-class beer geeks.
Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout is available from October through March and I urge you to pick up a four pack or two if Brooklyn beers are available in your area. There’s still time left. If your LBS doesn’t have it, ask them if they can get it. This BCS is world-class beer.
Taste: Outstanding. And they are mild. No, really. Just like that.
Smoothness: One sip follows the other right down.
Drinkability: This one is a sandbagger. Before ya know it… POW!
Bang for the buck: Excellent!
Amount paid: $7.99 (Don’t know if my Binny’s card helped.)
Get it again? Abso-frikkin’-lutely!
Wife’s all-encompassing opinion: Like mud. (sniff) Got that burned coffee smell. (sip) Yick. Yeah. I don’t get any chocolate I just get the burned coffee bitter. (I have no idea how she got coffee out of that. And yes, she did actually say “Yick.”)
Brooklyn Chocolate Stout review from the Beer Geek Nation
Brooklyn Brewery tour