What We're Drinking: The Bruery Black Tuesday

One hell of a beer, with a history that's as dark as its deep, rich, incredibly strong flavors.

The Bruery’s Black Tuesday is one of those highly coveted beers that’s surrounded by endless amounts of hype. We’ve already poured it’s coca-aged cousin, Chocolate Rain, but this is the infamous original with an appropriately dark history.

When it was first brewed, an accident with the equipment caused burning-hot liquid to spray all over the production floor, injuring the brewers and making a mess of the brewery. It was given a foreboding name (after the day of the 1929 stock market crash) and resigned to bourbon barrels for an entire year. The end result is one of the most sought-after beers out there -- and for good reason.

It clocks in at a staggering 18.9% ABV, packaged in an appropriately elegant bottle: a 750ml with an inky, deep-hued label and black wax seal that complement the dark-as-night beer inside.

It’s released only once a year, and last year’s run of 3,000 bottles sold out in ten minutes. Outside of the day-of sales at $30 per bottle, which is limited to California residents, you’ll have to take to the trading forums. If you’re lucky enough to snag a bottle, though, you’ll see why it’s so coveted.

Appearance: The pour is a completely opaque black that’s just as dark as the name would suggest. There’s not much head, and the pour leaves legs on a glass instead of foamy lacing, just like with alcohol-heavy wines.

Smell: “Intense” would be an understatement. You can smell every minute this stuff spent oak-aging, with huge vanilla notes at the forefront of the bourbon-heavy aroma that lives up to the ABV.

Taste: It’s every bit as strong, full-bodied, and dark as you’d expect, with a seriously heavy alcohol burn that’s more akin to sipping on a whiskey than knocking back a beer. The malts come through with caramel, licorice, and oaky vanilla notes. They’re all deeply sweet but with a burnt tinge, and get even bigger (and hotter) as it warms. Everything adds up to a cascade of sugary, booze-heavy flavors that overload your taste buds with a staggeringly sweet richness.

Mouthfeel: Creamy and moderately thick, without much carbonation to get in the way of letting the flavors roll around your palate.

Overall: This is one huge beer, and definitely one to sip on slowly — ideally with a friend or three, unless you’ve got a superhuman alcohol tolerance. The heat does make it a little difficult to drink, so it would probably benefit nicely from some aging to let the booze mellow and allow subtler flavors to shine through. Even without that, though, this beer stands out in a big, big way.

Just like the cocoa-aged version, it’s impressive how the deliciously sweetness balances all of the bourbon heat, with an aroma and taste so strong that it blows the competition out of the water. It falls just slightly short of Chocolate Rain, where the cocoa and vanilla added some well-rounded complexity that didn’t show up quite as well in the Black Tuesday, though again, a little bit of aging would undoubtedly help to change that.

Even with that said, it’s clear that Black Tuesday is an outstanding and outstandingly unique beer that’s in a league of its own. It’s easily one of the finest stouts out there, and lives up to every bit of hype behind it.


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