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Brooklyn Black Ops Stout is Back for 2022, and We Tasted it

Brooklyn Black Ops

Four Roses and Brooklyn Brewery have announced the 2022 edition of the Brooklyn Black Ops Russian Imperial Stout. (Photo: Brooklyn Brewery/Four Roses)

On Tuesday, Brooklyn Brewery and Four Roses Bourbon announced the release of the 2022 edition of Brooklyn Black Ops, the fourth annual release of the Russian imperial stout.

The 2022 edition of Brooklyn Black Ops was aged for about nine months in Four Roses Small Batch Bourbon barrels that were hand-selected by Four Roses Master Distiller Brent Elliott.

“Black Ops is unlike any other barrel-aged imperial stout. Rather than being thick, sweet, heavily roasted, and cloying, this beer is brisk and light on its feet, despite its 11.5% ABV,” Brooklyn Brewery Brewmaster Garrett Oliver said in a news release. “On the nose, we have coffee, chocolate, vanilla, coconut, caramel and toasted oak. A light tang of roast acidity on the palate is followed by layers of caramel, chocolate and a slight bourbon bite. I think it’s fair to compare this beer to ‘third-wave’ coffee, showing less roast and greater balance, structure and elegance.”

The collaboration stems from a friendship between Brooklyn Brewery Brewmaster Garrett Oliver and Four Roses COO and Director of Operations Ryan Ashley.

“Collaborating with Garrett has led to extremely unique, high quality releases over the past four years, and the new edition of Black Ops is no exception,” said Brent Elliott, Four Roses master distiller. “The mellow fruit, spice and oak tones of the Small Batch Bourbon barrels perfectly complement the rich, malty character of the Russian Imperial Stout, creating layers of complex flavors that both beer and bourbon drinkers will appreciate.”

The brands also released a limited-edition snifter glass decorated with the logos of both brands. It will be available to purchase via Brooklyn Brewery’s website and in-person at Brooklyn Brewery’s Williamsburg Tasting Room and Four Roses Distillery’s gift shop in Lawrenceburg, Kentucky.

The limited-edition Brooklyn Black Ops — which the brands described as “truly decadence in a glass” in the news release — will be available in the more than 30 U.S. states where Brooklyn Brewery products are sold in 16-ounce four-packs.

Tasting 2022 Brooklyn Black Ops Barrel Aged Stout

We sampled this year’s Black Ops Barrel Aged Stout ahead of its release and quite enjoyed it. Despite the brands’ description of “decadent,” this is not a beer that will drown you in syrupy sweetness nor thick-as-molasses texture. On the nose, there are aromas of coffee, caramel, toffee and cream. On the palate, this is a very balanced pour. Sweet notes are present but not overpowering at all. Instead, they’re countered by bitterness and citrus. The most prominent flavor is coffee bean, which is paired with cocoa, lime, orange peel, banana and coconut. The bourbon influence from the Four Roses barrels is subtle but present, arriving in the form of charred oak and singed brown sugar.

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