Peaks and Valleys: Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout

In Cellared Beer Reviews by Ryan

We’ve sampled Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout across a five-year vertical and six years in the cellar. Which will be our favorite?

peaksvalleysPeaks and Valleys is a new feature at Guys Drinking Beer and will serve as a home for cellared beer reviews that don’t quite warrant a traditional post but still warrant an update.

When we sat down in early 2014 with five bottles of Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout there was one bottle absent, one that was six years old. I purposely held it out of the tasting, in part, because five years is a good benchmark for cellaring a beer. It gives a good cross-section of changes — both good and bad. The 2008/2009 bottle was the odd man out.

Looking back at the vertical the oldest bottle, a 2009/2010 vintage, retained some complexities. There was bakers chocolate and liquid smoke. Overall, still firing on most cylinders. The beer improved from there with each pour.

It was refreshing to work our way through a five-year vertical of a beer that had a good amount of depth and did change, for the better more often than not.
As a brief aside, I’m a big fan of this beer as an introduction to cellaring beer. It’s reasonably priced, pretty accessible and — overall — a good beer. Sure, it’s fun to cellar the likes of Goose Island Bourbon County Stout and Founders KBS. But at $7.99, or thereabouts, a four pack it’s tough to beat the value of Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout.

So what happened to that six-year-old bottle? Had it peaked at five years or does it still have some legs?

Unfortunately, Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout did peak at the five-year mark as a six-year-old pour lost a lot.

Pouring out charcoal black in color the nose gave off subtle whiffs of bakers chocolate, more dry than sweet — if something can smell “dry.” Beyond that, there was little else to speak of in the aroma.

Take a sip and you find a rather thin body carrying toned down milk chocolate and muted dry fruit. The flavors were underwhelming and, frankly, disappointing. There was no liquid smoke or cocoa powder or cherry cola that were prevalent in a 2009/2010 pour.

Unlike our last Peaks and Valleys review, where we found that Stone’s Imperial Russian Stout can hold up to more than five years in the cellar, the Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout could not.

But, hey, at least now we know.

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About the Author


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Equal parts beer nerd and policy geek, Ryan is now the curator of the Guys Drinking Beer cellar. The skills he once used to dig through the annals of state government as a political reporter are now put to use offering unique takes on barrel-aged stouts, years-old barleywines and 10 + year verticals.