Everyone, meet Murphy.
The above picture is one that Lindsey took for the Brooklyn Brewery Beertography Contest back in October, but never submitted. As you can see, it's a fantastic, crisp B&W photo of her pup, Murphy, snuggling up with a bottle of Brooklyn's Black Ops. If you have never had Black Ops before, it is a beast of a beer. It is a bourbon barrel-aged Russian Imperial Stout that really can kick your ass (it sits at around 11%). When drinking a bourbon barrel-aged beer, it is important to realize that the bourbon is really going to come through. This combined with the already complex flavor of a RIS means that your taste buds are going have to deal with a lot of flavor.
Side Note: Bourbon barrel aging is usually used for darker beers because the flavors don't get overwhelmed by the bourbon. Lighter beers are sometimes barrel aged, usually resulting in a strong bourbon flavor (see Allagash Curieux).
It is certainly a sipper. I would strongly suggest splitting this among several people, which is how I would generally recommend drinking (it's more fun to try a bunch and talk about them together). Seriously, if it is your first time, drink it slowly and in small quantities. RISs, especially barrel aged ones, are definitely acquired tastes, so take it slow and get used to them before ordering one at the bar.
Quick History Lesson: Russian Imperial Stouts are called as such because they were originally brewed in England for the Russian monarchy (specifically Catherine II). They were brewed with this high alcohol content for similar reasons that IPAs are extremely hoppy and why Port is fortified: to last the trip from producer to consumer. Back when they had to actually ship things via ship, it took longer. The extra alcohol prevents the beer from spoiling over time.
Ok, that's enough knowledge to drop for one post. Bringing this whole thing full circle, I am kind of glad that Lindsey decided not to submit her photos to the Beertography competition, because I am positive that I would have lost. Here is another one of her non-submissions.
From now on, I am going to try to give a similar beer to the one I am posting about. This may give you a better idea of what the beer is like, or it might give you a new beer to try (if you like the post beer). I'm just going to call it a synonym beer.
Synonym beer: Bourbon Country Brand Stout (Goose Island) (Except without the coffee)
If you want me to look at a particular beer or have anything to say to me, email me at email@example.com.