Majestic. That's the word I'd use for the Brooklyn Black Ops bottle, a tall tapering 75cl embossed with the Brooklyn logo and labelled silver on black with matter-of-fact sans serif lettering. It's the sort of class that bottles which strive to be classy never quite manage and makes you feel like you really have something as you twist the cork cage open.
This imperial stout is a little light on its feet for a barrel-aged job, just 10.7% ABV and you can see in the pour that it doesn't gloop out like others of its kind, splashing into the glass and forming a lively dark brown head, settling down to a tan skim. Coffee is what leaps out in the aroma to me: a big, sweet, almost fruity, roast smell. There's an echo of the bourbon cask too: that sharp sour mash tempered by vanilla oak.
The coffee is still there in the flavour but takes more of a mocha direction as bitter dark chocolate comes into play. The wood and whiskey thing is still going on, but it doesn't blend so well with the stouty flavours, drowning the sweetness in the foretaste somewhat and taking most of the credit for the finish with its heady alcoholic vapours.
It's a class act, though perhaps not as multidimensional as some of the stronger barrel-aged imperial stouts. And I'm beginning to think, between this and the Bourbon Barrel Ale I had recently, that maybe bourbon is a little to brash for aging beer well. Something called "Black Ops" should be a little more subtle, I think.
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