3.6AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 14/20
UPDATED: SEP 30, 2012 Stouts tend to have a chocolaty taste, but ones that actually advertise themselves as chocolate beers, in my experience, have been only average at best. Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout is, to date, the best “chocolate beer” I’ve had, but even that’s not saying a lot because it’s far from perfect. It’s a good beer, but not outstanding.
POUR, COLOR AND AROMA
Black Chocolate Stout pours extremely smooth as though it were not carbonated at all. As I poured the beer I noticed what looked like little chunks of debris flowing out of the bottle – what the hell? Fortunately, there were no signs of FOD floating in my pint glass.
The beer has an appearance very similar to Guinness and other stouts – black as night and totally opaque as if it were drinkable motor oil (but with a MUCH thinner body of course!). The aroma was surprisingly mild with mostly a malt scent as well as a significant alcohol component. I was expecting a dry, bitter beer in the tradition of most stouts from the nose alone.
Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout is a good example of how some beers are fantastic at first taste, but just plain good at the end. Unlike other “chocolate beers,” where the chocolate taste was more noticeable in the aftertaste, Brooklyn’s chocolate flavor is apparent up front and immediate. My first taste of this beer was a very pleasing experience as it was sweet, tasty and quite rich.
However, as my glass got shorter I noticed the taste took a back seat to the alcohol content, which became much more potent as I drank. What was initially a tasty, chocolate beer became a heady, rich stout with a chocolate aftertaste.
Even allowing the beer to warm did nothing for the basic taste and only made the alcohol all the more prominent. Not that it was bad, not by any means, but I was hoping for a richer, more consistent taste.
I’m never surprised by the fact that expensive, “imperial” beers tend to be some of the smoothest brews you can possibly buy. I get the feeling beers such as Black Chocolate Stout are sold on their finish rather than their taste.
For the money, this beer definitely earns its keep with its clean, smooth finish which is never dry or coarse by any means. As it warms and the alcohol becomes more apparent it has almost a slight warming sensation as if it were hard liquor, but otherwise it’s very smooth.
When we talk about the “body” of a beer we’re actually talking about two separate but related aspects: the actual weight of the beer and the potency. As far as weight is concerned, Black Chocolate Stout is surprisingly light on its feet. I drank two bottles in a row and did not feel the least bit bloated or full.
However, as potency goes – man, this beer is a whopper. At 10% ABV this is most definitely an imperial brew and although the first bottle only had me buzzed, I was a few sheets to the wind after two. I’m not sure I understand the logic behind making a chocolate beer so alcoholic. In fact, I think this could have been a 5-star brew had it been a fairly normal beer at 5 or 6% ABV. Why Brooklyn felt the need to make it so strong I do not understand. Craft beer drinkers drink beer for the taste – if we wanted to get drunk we’d be liquor drinkers.
I have a lot of mixed feelings about Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout. It started out so well and then turned, almost on a dime, into an average brew. I really enjoyed the authentic chocolate taste, but was a little let down by how much its flavor changed so fast. As is the case of most chocolate beers, it’s definitely worth trying for the experience, but just don’t get your hopes up.