Beer Profile: Black Ops

Profiled by Maria Devan for PGA

pgaprofileblackops This pours pitch black. No light escapes this dark brilliance. A chocolate colored head of creamy foam resides on top and plans to stay forever. It has no choice but to fall slowly and almost deliberately leaving spots of lace in defiance to the alcohol legs. By the bottom of the first glass I have a thick ring and layer of film on top.

Nose is complex. It has some dynamic dark bakers chocolate on it. The kind that has dryness, snap and perfume to it. It has a lovely bourbon scent that is fruity like bourbon is and seems to be almost like there’s a shot of bourbon sitting under your nose. BUT it’s not so loud as to disturb the fragrant bit of vanilla that’s wafting around on the nose like some kind of butterfly. There’s a breath of oak, a fruitiness you cant name yet and the underpinnings of molasses and toffee just starting to show themselves.

Taste is brilliant in it’s unique texture. This is dry, crisp, creamy, fluffy and light as feather. It reminds me of one of those puffed up chocolate candies that melts in your mouth as soon as you bite into it and leaves itself on your tongue sensually and as if it has died a little. Malt is soft. There is a surprising bit of bold espresso coffee on this that is not on the nose. Some licorice back notes that add depth but not that harsh licorice flavor. The bourbon is sweet and sultry, the vanilla smooth and seductive. The palate culminates with a touch of back cherry and a faint bit of bitterness from roast.

I am in love with this beer. The mouthfeel is a light as a feather considering that this is a stout. The champagne qualities of the yeast have done this beer many graceful favors. It has given it a texture that is almost ethereal. It finishes dry and drying to leave resonant aftertastes of toffee, cherry and chocolate. This one was a ride in a limousine.

(I have not written a review this long since Palo Santo – Happy New Beer Sunday )

4.7

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Welcome to the PGA beer rating system: one beer “Don’t bother.” Two: Eh, if someone gives it to you, drink. Three: very good, go ahead and seek it out, but be aware there is at least one problem. Four: seek it out. Five: pretty much “perfecto.”

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meMaria Devan lives in Ithaca, NY and is frequent reviewer of beer and a beer lover deluxe.