Friday, 12 February 2016

Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout

Origin: USA | Date: 2009 | ABV: 10% | On The Beer Nut: September 2008

This got less than 20 words on my blog when I first encountered it, sipping a teeny tasting glass at the 2008 European Beer Festival in Copenhagen. It went on to become a firm favourite over the years, after it became regularly available in Ireland. For a while, I think, it had the big American imperial stout sector to itself. And yet I can't remember the last time I drank it, and that's not because of the double-digit ABV. But it's a classic, I've always enjoyed it: how does it hold up after seven years at the back of my attic?

Like a hackneyed movie drunk I had to double-check the label as I poured: it smells powerfully like port wine as it comes out of the bottle. More considered sniffing provides dense dark chocolate liqueur and a not unattractive meaty autolytic note. I remember it as being pretty hop-forward when fresh, but that's all gone on tasting, with not even a residual bitterness left behind. This is chocolate all the way round, sweet and smooth as you like. There's maybe a burr of leathery oxidation in the finish, but it's barely noticeable, accompanied as it is by a distracting waft of winey booze up the back of one's hooter.

I'm surprised to find that the aroma is this beer's best feature, but what an aroma! And even the flavour has developed a classy aged character. If you can keep your mitts off your stash of Black Chocolate long enough, it's rewarding.


  1. Great beer. I once robbed 4 bottles from Bin No9, a wine shop near my missus' house at UCD. For some reason they were only charging €2 per bottle and I took full advantage. Funnily, they went bust shortly after...

    1. I'm reasonably sure that the bottle above came from Holland's of Bray when they were marked as €2.50. My shelf-clearing armful rang in on the till as €4 each but when I pointed out the label they marked them down for me.

    2. I had the same luck with some Bigfoot recently, though to be fair it was horrendously stamped (by the importer I can only imagine) with a best before date for 11 months from bottling. The saddest thing above my love for Black Chocolate is that for the past couple of years I've only been able to buy bottles from the Winter 12-13 batch; such was the abundance that I never bothered to collect a reasonable stock. Then, suddenly, all I can get is fresh 15-16 stock. Boo hoo, lesson learned. Thankfully this is still one of the best value big beers around (in my opinion) so stocking up isn't a problem.

    3. The epic Bigfoot vertical tasting is coming. Maybe when I have some of this year's, but then I've been saying that since 2008.