Since I had three Black Tuesday variants from The Bruery, I thought it appropriate to have instead of just my line opinion, three total. So, here goes…
Guest reviewers Jennie and Richard and I cracked open the Vanilla double barrel and the initial reaction was not good. Overly sweet and masking the bourbon barrel of the original while being 1.2% higher in ABV. I found it unbalanced and overly sweet.
The Maple double barrel got better though still mixed reviews probably due to the fact that the maple was less pronounced and was in better balance with the base beer. It too was 1.1% higher in ABV. I liked it better than the vanilla getting a pancakes and syrup vibe.
The Port Barrel variant was the most complex. Different adjectives flowed which was a good sign. Considered overall a sitting by the fire with a snifter beer. I thought it showed off the barrel better and had Belgian and cider characteristics.
Not great was the main takeaway with Maple and Vanilla a distant 2nd and 3rd overall and the Port version winning mostly because it wasn’t as sweet as the other two.
When I saw that the classic Black Tuesday was going to be put in 16oz cans, I was happy. I will be even happier when they come in adorable little 10oz bottles.
So, I typed that intro before I received a mega bounty of Black Tuesday 2020 which included cute little 10 ounce cans of three different variants!
You’ve got your maple, vanilla and Port barrel-aged versions but those will wait until November. Can’t rush a beer that hasn’t been rushed.
First, let’s talk the original. Almost drank it straight out the can like a libertine. It is boozy. But not as hot with alcohol as I feared. There is a burn. At 19+%, there is going to be one. But this drinks smooth and might well smooth more with extra aging. I get raisin and fig and big bourbon notes swirling. I can totally see why other flavors would appeal as additions to this.
It may be passé to say that we as beer fans need to hew close to our roots but there are relatively few beers that I believe need to be tasted each year. Black Tuesday is one of those beers.
The Bruery is adding a 3rd wrinkle to their popular barrel-aged Imperial Stout. They have made a Grand Reserve version that adds in time in a Brandy barrel to complement the bourbon barrels that it spent months in. Look for it in cans too.
Right on time, The Bruery sent me a bottle of the latest Black Tuesday for Barrel-Aged Beer Day earlier this month.
I unfortunately could not crack it open that day but I scheduled it for a long, lazy Sunday. Here are my results…
2017 pours with some loud powerful bubbles. This is the same boozy bourbon load that I remember. But those bubbles add a bit of a cola note chocolate and coconut abound. And it packs heat going down. That espresso head disappears with a quickness. Not as viscous when coming out of chilled to more room temp. Jet black in color.
Traditionally, I break out the more expensive beers for Christmas and New Year’s Eve. The holidays demand something more, in my mind.
This year, a bit of a change-up though. I had a Gose from Cascade to pop as 2014 became 2015 but decided to save it for a different type of taste test. A Colbert Platinum version. (Sad to see that show go)
I brought a Gose and my beer buddy Richard provided the Black Tuesday (2014) and we proceeded to have a light vs dark but both over $30 session.
The Gose starts off with a green apple aroma coming off the well laced glass. The salt is in the foreground but not in a savory way until it sits for a bit. I took one sip near the end of the glass and it was a bit more concentrated. The sourness does bite. The mouth does pucker. This is certainly one of the more straightforward examples of the style. Especially considering that Cascade is not shy about additions of fruits and spices. After it sits for awhile, a ton of floral aromatics show up. Almost potpourri like.
The 2014 Black Tuesday begins with a hot aroma. That heat extends to the taste which is also quite syrupy. So to start it seems the balance is off. Was this meant to sit longer? Lots of chocolate and maple syrup taste. Their is some coconut from the barrels but the alcohol runs over that taste. Overall, the dominant flavors are syrup and caramel.
On a positive note, the near 20% alcohol doesn’t warm up the cheeks or burn on the way down which is good. But I just wish it wasn’t so syrupy. I keep thinking pancakes when drinking. I think I will age my bottle a few years.
The winner for me was the Gose. It had multiple elements going on and despite the high salt factor it was still quite tasty to drink.
A new beer show has arrived on Vimeo, it is called Limited Release. And it chronicles the craziness and passion of those highly sought after beers. They start with Kate the Great (which may be slightly less hyped since the head Portsmouth brewer has now left), they move on to Dark Lord and then to one closer to home, Black Tuesday.
They videos are a fun which I wasn’t expecting since I am not a big fan of these hyper hyped brews when there are so many other great beers out there. Nice chunks of history of the style of beer and the brewery. Check them out. It is much better than some of the new shows that will be airing later this year. Plus now you don’t have to brave the crowds.