"All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn't hurt."

Brewery and Country of Origin: Brooklyn Brewery of 79 North 11th Street, Brooklyn, NY 11249, USA

Date Reviewed: 1-14-13

As we all know, America is the most overweight developed country on Earth. With an overweight percentage above 75%, the rise in healthcare costs attributable to being overweight and obese (over 10%), and the increase in preventable deaths caused by an unhealthy lifestyle, the issue of healthy weight has become as vast as our proud people's waistlines. There are of course, many reasons why the wealthiest, most powerful, and most influential nation on the planet is dealing with this problem, and two of the biggest ones, go hand in hand. And though we sometimes do give recommendations to food pairings, we have yet to really tackle the issue of beer and chocolate pairings. Yes, the beautiful, versatile, delicious cocoa bean. A pseudo wonder of the natural world, this tropical seed has been a widely cultivated crop in many equatorial developing nations since 1100 BC, for use in the production of, among other things, chocolate... obviously. Today, chocolate represents a $24 billion industry worldwide. It is, in its most basic form, usually made up of three singularly sourced components: cocoa powder, cocoa butter, and cocoa liquor. Sometimes condensed milk (or other forms of milk), sugar, vanilla, and other things are added to enhance the flavor of chococlate for use in candy, bars, or baking. And in some cases, certain "essential" ingredients are deliberately excluded from the list (white chocolate leaves out non-fat cocoa solids). Solid ingredients, like fruits, herbs (mint), and nuts (almonds, peanuts, walnuts, macadamia, etc.) can also be added. Chocolate is produced all over the world, and enjoyed all over the world. Of course, as we usually say in pairing foods and beers, its up to you. Personal preference in anything should and will always take precedence over what some dumb critic or beer reviewer says. If you wanted an opinion though, we'd probably say that opposites attract in this case more than not. Darker, bitter, and more acidic tasting beers are better paired with contrasting sweet, white or milk chocolates, while ligher, sweeter beers like Wits, Weissbiers, and other Wheats are enhanced with flavor and spice accentuating dark chocoalte. But it's usually best to experiment for yourself and see what's the most rewarding to you.

Anyway, so we know that beer is plenty full of carbs and calories. Alcohol (ethanol) is a biological form of semi metabolizable energy, and the ingredients that go into brewing are attributable to a relatively high carbohydrate content. So why is chocolate included then? Well, for one thing, sweet chocolate is well, sweet. And that means there are a lot of sugars present. Sugar is the body's preferred form of energy, and is the only form consumable by the brain (glucose), but having more than you should leads to expanded clothing sizes, cramped airplane seats, and collapsed park benches. And as cocoa butter (the fatty portion of the bean) is a main ingredient in consumer chocolate, this confection is usually relatively high in fat as well, and we know where that leads. But it's not all bad for cocoa. Chocolate, whether milk, white, dark, or unsweetened, has a variety of health benefits, aside from making people happy. Various research efforts have labeled chocoalte as a brain stimulator, anticancer food, cough preventor, and an aphrodisiac. So the solution? Drink less, and eat chocolates which contain less cocoa butter and sugar, which can be hard to do if you're not used to it. Cocoa by itself is much like a cranberry. With the help of sugar, it can be transformed into wonderfully tasty treats and beverages. Naturally occuring, however, they are as bitter as Margaret Thatcher on the issue of unions. So it's an acquired taste. So is beer. Get over it. The FDA (USA) classifies milk chocolate as any containing greater than or equal to only 10% cocoa liquor and 12% milk solids. Dark chocolate must contain less than 12% milk solids, and greater than 34.99% chocolate liquor. And though the percentages vary by country or trade regulation jurisdiction (EU), they are fairly similar no matter where you are in the world. Chocolate is a great thing. It makes people happy, has some great health benefits, and is awesome when paired with other things. But too much of a good thing leads to problems, so you might as well enjoy it right. Hopefully after this year long lecture on stuff that you probably didn't even find interesting, this Brooklyn Brewery offering can help.
Date Sampled: 12-29-12 (4-21-11 Original) At: Mead Hall Bar, 4 Cambridge Center, Cambridge, MA, 02142, USA
Beer Style: American Imperial Stout
Alcohol by Volume: 10.00%
Serving Type: Keg, 10 oz Snifter Glass
Rating: 3.24


Brooklyn's Black Chocolate Stout pours very soothly with a below average level of carbonation action. Still, this beer produces a very thick, high density, inch tall foam head with a creamy texture and moderately good retention. This beer has an opaque appearance showing a very dark brown color with no shine or glow, not even in fairly bright light. Full lacing occurs on the glass.


This stout has a very strong aroma full of dark chocolate and coffee flavors, as well as a fair amount of alcoholic tinge present. These are semi-sweet malts with a bitter balance, though this is only malt induced as no hoppy character is detectable in the aroma.


This is a medium high bodied brew with a high, almost syrupy like viscosity, high weight, and a medium low level of carbonation, giving this beer a heavy, smooth, and almost chewy like feel. This beer's high alcohol content gives off a strong warming effect at the close, along with a somewhat dry finish.


Dark chocolate accompanied by bitter coffee toasty malt flavors dominate this beer's flavor profile, producing both somewhat sweet and mostly bitter tastes. These are bold, pronounced, and somewhat complex flavors which will satisfy dark malt lovers, but may come across as overpowering to most. This beer's flavor finishes off with a bitter linger and a very subtle amount of hops at the close. Alcohol induced flavor is present throughout. There is also a slightly earthy sidenote detectable.

Our Take

This is not your everyday chocolate stout. In fact, not every dark chocolate stout drinker is going to find this beer enjoyable. We certainly found it more than satisfying, but at times, a 10.00% ABV can be distracting, as the flavor of the alcohol definitely influenced the overall profile. On top of that, we weren't prepared enough to bring along a bar of sweet chocolate. Our mistake. That said, this is a great, strong, warming beer which makes for a great sipper, or accompaniment to meaty meals. An overall bitter flavor mixed in with some intense cocoa like aromas makes this a dark chocolate lover's dream, if you're into high strength beers. Unfortunately, we do believe that this beer would have scored higher if either the flavor wasn't as alcoholic, or if the percentage was brought down a peg or two. Still, even if your name isn't Milton S. Hersey or John Cadbury, you may find this beer to be simply enjoyable as a standalone beer with a pronounced chocoalte malt twist. Many dark beers do contain chocolate malt, and this is no flaming exception. So there you go. Much like dark chocoalte, this imperial stout won't be enjoyed by everyone. But those who do enjoy it, will only be asking for more by the truckload. Thankfully, they aren't driving the truck.