***Notes of a Beer Nerd is a column written by resident cellar dwelling mammal, Timperial Stout. Feel free to e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions, concerns or comments***
Enjoyed on 10/20/2010
Brewery: Brooklyn Brewery
Location: Brooklyn, New York
Beer: Black Ops
Presentation: 750ml – Blown Glass Bottle – Corked and Caged
Style: Imperial Stout
Recommended Serving Temp: 55 degrees
Brooklyn Black Ops does not exist. However, if it did exist, it would be a robust stout concocted by the Brooklyn brewing team under cover of secrecy and hidden from everyone else at the brewery. Supposedly “Black ops” was aged for four months in bourbon barrels, bottled flat, and re-fermented with Champagne yeast, creating big chocolate and coffee flavors with a rich underpinning of vanilla-like oat notes. They say there are only 1,000 cases. We have no idea what they’re talking about.
Food Pairings: Grilled meat, ice cream, brownies
Cheese Pairings: Aged Gouda, Cheddar, Parmesan
Music Pairing: Small Black from Brooklyn
Beer Advocate: A- (4.25)
Rate Beer: 100 (4.00)
Being from Philadelphia, I have had pretty much every beer that Brooklyn makes. Well, at least the ones that were available before I moved to Seattle three and a half years ago. In PA, there are some very odd laws based around beer. As a consumer, you have to buy any beer that you want to take home with you from either a bar (six-packs only) or a distributor (full cases only). You cannot buy beer at a grocery store, convenience store, etc. There are a few bottle shops around that sell individual bottles, but they are few and far between. With this in mind, many larger breweries end up producing “variety” cases, almost exclusively for PA consumers. Most of the time, these include 4 different six-packs, but sometimes there’s even more variety.
Brooklyn was one of the breweries that offered the variety case and I purchased it quite often. For me, this was one of the few variety options where I liked every beer, even the lager, and that fact stuck with me. I have always respected Garret Oliver and Brooklyn since those burgeoning days of beer nerdiness. As that nerdiness reached full bloom, I abandoned the variety case all together and exclusively shopped at the bottle shops, despite the inconvenience. Those days allowed me to find Brooklyn’s Black Chocolate Stout. To this day, that beer is one of the beers I most miss from the East coast. It’s just like what you think it would be like, chocolatey, sweet, smooth and warming.
Once I heard that the brewery that made one of my favorite East coast stouts was doing a limited run of bourbon barrel aged imperial stout, I flipped out. But, alas, I quickly excepted the fact that I would probably never get a chance to try it, being so far away from the distribution area. But then, the other 2/3 of beerblotter took a trip to NYC. I said to them before they departed, “If there is one bottle that you return with, for the love of god make it be Black Ops!” Yadda, yadda, yadda, here we are today.
This monster pours with a huge head of brown and a slight hint of clay color. It should go without saying that the liquid itself is oil black. As the head dwindles, which takes quite a while I may add, there is some serious lacing left on the glass that seems to be caramelized or heated to crystallization on the inside of the glass. It’s a sight to see! The head never does fully dissipate, leaving an impressive 1/8 of an inch to the very end.
The scent is outrageously smooth and complex. Notes of bourbon, pretzels, vanilla, white cookie or white cake batter, wood, tobacco and a medicinal booziness exist. As it warms, there is a sense of saltiness that is produced in the nose, possibly a suggestion from the pretzel connotation, or possibly the other way around. Maybe the scent really is of salt and the baked, malty notes bring pretzels to mind. The world may never know. Also uncovered: Burnt sugar, creme brulee, brown sugar, rum, almond biscotti…did I mention that this is complex?
This is smooth without being too cloying or syrupy. The champagne yeast is not as active as I suspected it would feel in the mouth, but it must play a massive role in the body, which is super unique. The use of champagne yeast in beer is rare, but it has produced fantastic results here.
Many of the bourbon flavors are realized on the tongue, which I feel is unique – I generally just get the odors. The dark, roasted malts seem to be most prevalent near the end of the flavor profile. They impart a chocolate nib bitterness, but there is no dryness to be found. Vinous and a bit juicy (read: not drying) with an intense mouth watering nature, but not overly sweet. It’s perplexing how the flavor lingers forever and is not dry but it’s simultaneously not very sweet. Many of the flavors associated with the scents listed above come and go as the liquid washes over the taste buds. The experience is like eating a slurry of every desert ever made, and it’s awesome!
There is a whole butt load of booze in the aftertaste, which makes it a bit challenging to pinpoint the subtle nuances. There is definitely some licorice in there, I did get that.
This beer was shared amongst the three beerblotter members, and each one of us was completely smitten by it. It is, without a doubt, one of the best bourbon barrel aged imperial stouts we have ever had. This beer is not easy to find, especially on the West Coast, but hear me now: do WHATEVER you must to get this!
If you like Brooklyn Black Ops, you should try…
Disclaimer: This beer was purchased on my own with my own hard-earned money at a local bottle shop, and aged to perfection by yours truly.
Ok, we are back, wishing we weren’t and jet lagged. But we are ignoring our heavy eyelids in order to bring you events for this week. Enjoy!
Monday, March 22, 2010
Mikkeller Single Hop Draft Bonanza: Washington, District Columbia
4:00PM-12:o0AM @ Birch and Barley
Come and enjoy 10, yes 10 different single hops by Danish brewery, Mikkeller on tap- MIKKELLER SINGLE HOP CENTENNIAL IPA; CASCADE IPA; AMARILLO IPA; NELSON SAUVIN IPA; EAST KENT GOLDING IPA; TOMAHAWK IPA; NUGGET IPA; WARRIOR IPA; CHINOOK IPA; SIMCOE IPA. This is a great event to truly learn about the various hops and their individual flavors.
Terrapin Kick Off Night: Mount Holly, New Jersey
7:00PM-10:00PM @ High Street Grill
Be one of the first in our area to get a try at the Terrapin Beer Co brews during this beer tasting at High Street Grill. Several beers from the featured brewery will be on tap for your pleasure and enjoyment. Report back!
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
Big Sky Brewing Co. Party: Grand Rapids, Michigan
6:00PM-12:00AM @ HopCat
Tonight Hop Cat will feature several Big Sky Brewing beers on tap, so come down and have a few with the men behind the brews.
Dogfish Head Triple Threat Tapping: Las Vegas, Nevada
5:00PM- 10:00PM @ Aces and Ales
Stop by and you shall receive Dogfish Head’s ‘Monster Limited Edition’ beers in 12 Ounce Goblets of ‘Burton Baton 10%; the Red & White 10% ABV’ and the ‘Black & Blue 11% ABV!
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
Avery Experience: Shawnee, Kansas
7:00PM-9:00PM @ Barley’s Brewhouse
Adam Avery with Avery Brewing is hosting the Avery Experience which will consist of 5 flights (15 beers) with food. Call Barley’s at 913.268.5160 to reserve tickets! Tickets $35/person.
Stone Brewing Co. Growler Madness: Charlotte, North Carolina
7:00PM- 10:00PM @ Flying Saucer Draught Emporium, The
Available this evening will be 2 Litre commemorative Stone Brewing Co growlers full of their delicious and award winning IPA. Buy it, share it among friends, and then take your empty growler home for future fills of….BEER! Growlers are on a first come, first serve basis and are limited.
Thursday, March 25, 2010
Big, Bad Beer Sampling: Indianapolis, Indiana
7:00PM- 9:00PM @ United Package Liquors
Founders Tasting and Meal Pairing: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
7:00PM- 9:00PM @ Harris Grill
In keeping with our love of Mid-western beers and more importantly Founders’ beers, we encourage you to stop by this event. This is a FREE beer tasting and food pairing where a special tasting menu will incorporate and highlight 4 Founders products, including an excellent rarity. Attendees will receive a ticket good for $1 off any forunders product on draft. RSVP is requested but not necessary.
Friday, March 26, 2010
Friday Night Flights: Florence, Kentucky
6:00PM-7:00PM @ Party Town
This event is only one hour, so plan to get there first! A weekly event were at least eight brews, a special barrel or two are poured to coincide with the event. This Friday from 6-7pm Party Town will be opening a selection of beers from the Sierra Nevada Brewing Company.
Troegs Firkin Tapping: Spring House, Pennsylvania
5:00PM – 12:00AM @ Drafting Room
Pouring tonight from the draft tower are special beers from Troegs (sounds cool)- Troegs Nugget Nectar; Troegs Pale Ale and Troegs Dreamweaver Wheat.
Saturday, March 28, 2010
Brooklyn Home Brew Tour: Brooklyn, New York
1:00PM – 5:00PM @ Brooklyn Brewery
A hands on experience to say the least. You will venture inside the homes of the city’s finest amateur brewers to see their set-ups, discuss their craft and, most importantly, sample from their stashes of superlative beer–Rye IPAs, barleywines, saisons, Belgian pale ales and coffee stouts are all on tap. There will be three stops; bring a Metrocard. $25 pp includes samples.
Second Annual Cask Conditioned Festival: Bedford Heights, Ohio
1:00PM-4:00PM @ The Winking Lizard
The Cask Conditioned Ale Festival for 2010 will feature a staunch line-up of some hard to find or specially brewed ales such as Avery Dry Hopped IPA; Thirsty Dog Orthus with Cherries and many more! $30 per person ($25 for 2010 World Tourists) and will include a buffet!
Sunday, March 28, 2010
Help for Haiti: Hudson, Massachusettes
3:00PM – 6:00PM @ Bacon’s Wine and Spirits
We have 4 tables of beer vendors and 6 tables of wine vendors, each paired with a restaurant matching food to beer/wine. Both sides (beer & wine) are joining forces for a good cause as all proceeds from the event will go via the American Red Cross to benefit Haiti. Beer vendors in attendance are Berkshire Brewing, Smuttynose Brewing, Mayflower Brewing, and Atlantic Importing. Tickets are $25 and are very limited.
So, its 6AM in Belgium and we are still awake/its time to attempt to get back on Seattle time. Much more to come on our Belgium trip this week on beerblotter.com. As always if you have been to an event, want us to post an event, have a comment about going to an event or just want to profess your love of beer, leave a comment or email us at email@example.com. Cheers!