Its been a pretty long time since I've reviewed a beer, so I thought I throw one in. And what a worthy one it is: the seasonal Black Chocolate stout from Brooklyn Brewery in ... well, Brooklyn is a damn fine beer.
I had the chance to visit the brewery when I was visiting NYC, I was even supposed to meet up with the famed brewer Garrett Oliver. However, I was an idiot and got to the brewery too late on the day I was supposed to be there, at which point I had to leave to meet a friend. Fired!
The beer pours BLACK... I can't see through it at all, and my glass is pretty thin at the bottom. Very little head, which is quite brown. No lacing, although seemingly very thick running down the side of the glass.
I get a slight alcohol aroma off the initial nose, as well roasty and dark chocolate notes as well. Possibly a fruity note in there as well... I can't tell if its from hops or the yeast though.
There isn't a whole lot of carbonation in the beer, maybe 2.1-2.2 vol CO2.
The first thing I notice about drinking this beer though is how smooth it is. It goes down VERY easily. I had one of these last week, and I felt a little more buzzed than I expected... then I checked the bottle... this beer is 10.6% alc/vol! It certainly doesn't have the characteristics I associate with a very strong beer. I detect no fusel alcohols (which tend to give me a slight sinus headache), not a lot of alcohol warming in the stomach, and no biting finish that would make me cringe. The beer is so well balanced... very thick body and solid malt character. I detect little hop bitterness or character until the finish, about 5 seconds after a sip I get a slight bitterness bite on the side of my tongue. But it seems the hop character are just there for balance, the flavour of this beer is dominated by the chocolate & malt roasty character.
Overall, this beer is quite interesting... its a very strong beer, but it goes down so easily. You almost have to force yourself to drink it slower. Usually the strong beers make you drink them slower by their intense overpowering flavours. While the black chocolate stout is very flavorful, there is nothing overpowering about it. Its so smooth... so well balanced.
I give it a 9/10 for the style and for beer in general :)
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