I've posted a few beers from The Bruery here over the past year including Chocolate Rain and White Chocolate. The Bruery is an amazing place in California, a short drive from the very dry Disneyland, with a wonderful taproom featuring a plethora of crazy sours, barrel aged beers, and more. Feel free to check my previous posts for more background and my taproom review.
The Bruery's Black Tuesday 2011 Vintage
Black Tuesday is The Bruery's version of a Russian Imperial stout. This is a very strong beer, in fact one of the strongest legitimate RIS beers I've had--clocking in at 18.3% ABV! The beer gets some of its booze from being aged in bourbon barrels. The beer is named after the famous stock market crash of 1929 and is released the last Tuesday of October each year since 2009. I've had this wax dipped 750 MLbottle for a few years, stored in a dark and cool cellar to keep it as fresh as possible. This beer has a 100 rating on RateBeer and a 99 on Beer Advocate. It is much hoarded and traded among us beer geeks. The first time I tried this beer it was after a 5 year vertical of Surly Darkness and this booze bomb was our finisher.
As usual for this first 2016 Whale A Week tasting I invited over some knowledgeable friends to help out. Our cast of characters was:
Me (Eric Wentling)--BJCP National ranked beer judge, homebrewer for over 20 years, beer hoarder.
Kevin Meintsma--Also a beer judge, award winning homebrewer (in fact he got to brew a beer with Mike Hoops at Town Hall this past year!)
Dan Beaubien--Craft beer geek, fellow beer blogger for Beerploma.
Sarajo Wentling--My wife who gets to try all the beers because she lets me buy them...
We started with a trip over to Waconia Brewing for a few samples, then on to the serious job of Whaling!
Aroma: In which we are feeling the effects before we even sip it!
Eric: Demerara sugar. Bourbon and some strong HOT BOOZE! Smells very sweet. Mild cocoa--almost a chocolate covered cherry aroma mixed with some vanilla for good measure. No hops.
Kevin: Boozy! More booze! Moderate vanilla. Moderate oak. Light clove. Low sherry from oxidation. Moderate sweetness. Hot alcohol.
Dan: Lots of barrel. Slight molasses. Very boozy in the nose. Sweet and hot. Slight vanilla note. Chocolate cake?
Eric: Dark brown in color. Not opaque. Ruby color at edge of glass. Fine but transient tan head. Some moderate legs on glass.
Kevin: Brown-dark mahogany. Very clear. Small head dissipates quickly to a collar.
Dan: Not much head. Looks like a cup of coffee.
Flavor: In which we drink concentrated sugar...
Eric: Tooth-hurting sweetness up front for me. Vanilla is very prominent--I can't believe they don't add some. Flavors of bourbon filled chocolate covered cherry. Strong alcohol booziness. Some prune or raisin oxidation. Mouth coating but not really creamy--more syrup sweetness. Marshmallow as it warms up. Burning alcohol finish.
Kevin: "Huuuuuge vanilla!" To quote Donald The Trump. Rich malt, buttery. Thick, creamy, very sweet. Light oak. Very low tannin. Somewhat cloying--sweetness and the vanilla stays and stays--like a guest that won't leave. Spicy hops behind the sweet thick vanilla.
Dan: First sip is very hot and almost cloyingly sweet. Second sip--molasses and vanilla. Syrupy chocolate feel--very thick and stays on the tongue to create a molasses aftertaste.
Overall: In which between the four of us we can only drink half the bottle...
Eric: An impressive beer, but just too sweet. Not as complex as I'd like--I don't get much of the roast, dark malt complexity from this as I usually do from RIS. I can't drink much of this due to the booze and sweetness. Having recently tried Gray Monday, I like that more since the hazelnut adds some character. 4.25
Kevin: Very complex. Honestly the vanilla is a bit overpowering and unbalances the beer. It's a bit buttery (diacetyl) but in a pleasant way. Enjoyable, but I can't drink much of this. Would pair well with a custard, creme brulee, or chocolate torte. 4.5
Dan: Very sweet. Seems out of balance. If you like molasses--this is a dream. I was hoping for more dark chocolate and coffee malt flavor. 3.5
Sarajo: Delicious, but it makes my teeth hurt. 4.25
Overall Score: 4.125
Stay tuned for next week: Cantillon Lou Pepe Framboise!
Photo information: This was a composite of three shots--my wallet (with more money it than usual), flames from the gas fire in front of Surly Brewing, and the bottle of Black Tuesday.