Beer: Black Chocolate Stout
Brewer: Brooklyn Brewery
Style: Russian Imperial Stout
Description: Brooklyn’s Black Chocolate Stout pours thick and is oil colored, with a rocky brown head that quickly disappears but leaves behind a wispy ring. The aroma is overpowered by bitter dark chocolate, with background notes of fresh roasted coffee and slight hints of rich red fruit. The taste is surprisingly bitter up front, accentuated by the roasted malt. However, its bitterness is from the chocolate, not hop bitterness, although the hops are certainly present. The bitterness does not last long and is quickly followed up by intense chocolate and coffee, soon joined by rich red fruit and black licorice flavoring before the beer heads to a very dry, almost wine-like finish. The 10 percent ABV is extremely well hidden, which means you should be careful with this one! The full body and mild carbonation create a very smooth and surprisingly easy drinking stout that is absolutely perfect for the winter months. Allow this one to warm up a bit, though, to fully appreciate all the flavors and aromas locked within.
Food pairing: Black Chocolate Stout is an absolutely stellar dessert beer, which should be a no-brainer given the name! It is also hefty enough to be its own dessert, but for a real treat, there are plenty of great partners out there. Try having it with a fresh fruit tart, ice cream, or crème brûlée: the creamier, the better. For a truly amazing experience, try pairing this with a fresh vanilla bean cupcake with buttercream icing. Another great treat with this beer is to use it in a beer float. Grab yourself a pint of your favorite ice cream (I recommend vanilla bean flavor, but you can try whatever you like) and put a nice healthy scoop into a pint.
The final word: Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout has developed quite the cult following over the years. The reason is not only because it’s absolutely textbook for the style and extremely enjoyable, but also because of the ability this beer has to age. Black Chocolate Stout has the capability to age for several years, which makes for a great beer to buy in bulk every year and stash a few away for future usage. Many parties have been set around this beer being involved in vertical tastings, which is a side-by-side tastings of varying years of the beer. This makes for a very interesting and eye-opening experience to show how far beers have come, and to gain respect and understanding of the complexities they possess. It is also great to do in order to test your taste buds, as over the years certain flavors grow more pronounced, while others disappear altogether. For added convenience, the release date is prominently displayed on the label every year. Certainly get yourself some Black Chocolate Stout to enjoy now, but don’t forget to store some away!
Rating: W W W W V
Where can I get it? Currently available in 12-ounce bottles at Exit 190 Beer Deli, Dickson City; Backyard Ale House, Scranton; Krugel’s Georgetown Deli & Beer, Wilkes-Barre; and Wegmans, Dickson City and Wilkes-Barre.
Remember, enjoy responsibly! Cheers!
-Derek Warren is a beer fanatic, avid homebrewer, and beer historian. Follow Derek’s beer blog at idtapthat.org.