Butchertown Black Ale - Speakeasy Ales & Lagers

Not Rated.
Butchertown Black AleButchertown Black Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

177 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 177
Reviews: 64
rAvg: 3.82
pDev: 11.78%
Wants: 6
Gots: 11 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Speakeasy Ales & Lagers visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Black Ale |  8.00% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: capra12 on 09-04-2009

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 177 | Reviews: 64
Reviews by tempest:
Photo of tempest
3.99/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Had a glass at Oliver's in Astoria. My big complaint with black ale is that they're usually just hoppy porters—thick and roasted with vague hops buried under the malts. No so here. In fact, I'd call this my favorite Speakeasy beer. There are a clean, clear dark chocolate and roasted grain flavor next to, and complementing, the big citrus hop character. The body is no thicker than a pale ale, making this a little dangerous, but very tasting and pleasing. Give it a shot.

More User Reviews:
Photo of Jason
4.07/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

22oz brown bottle with no freshness date.

Towering head drops a near perfect lacing on the glass, black nearly all the way. Pungent hops, piney, minty, faint tobacco, dark berries, burnt toast, resiny, slightly dank and floral alcohol in the nose. Smooth, deep creaminess, semi-thick body. Very pungent hoppiness, bitterness is less assertive in comparison but still tackles the palate. Growing warmth, mildly boozy, grapefruit rind, hemp seeds, peppery, floral, roasted bite, currants. Semi-dry hoppy finish.

There is a whole lot going on here, a lovely mashup of flavors which in the end all seem to work together. When I think of bigger American Black Ales this is what I am looking for ... Speakeasy should re-think the limited release on this one.

Photo of BrewMaven
4.35/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

I'm fairly new to this style, but if this beer is a representative example, I'm hooked! Great head, smells and tastes like MORE and only $6 for a bomber? Sign me up!

Photo of TheSixthRing
3.38/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Had on tap at Final Gravity Taproom in Roseville, CA.

Appearance - Pours near black that shines a dark ruby brown when held to any light source. The head is light tan, about a finger thick and with fair retention. The lacing is spotty with decent stick.

Smell - Musty aroma, hitting on mostly faint notes of pine. Earthy. Not much else.

Taste - Hits on pine hop bitterness to start. Earthy notes. leaf. Grassy bitterness toward the finish.

Mouthfeel - Light to medium body. Soft, bubbly carbonation. Finishes fairly dry.

Overall - Decent brew. Not a great CDA. Flavors are a bit muddled. Not much in the way of dark roasted malt character. Kinda weak.

Photo of Sammy
3.82/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On tap at The Cannery. Its the way they make the style, a very good aroma of hops and roast .Black with a big head and lots of lace. The taste does not deliver, its muted,herbal but it is a smooth mouthfeel. Chocolate malt. Not the bold taste I have come to expect in the style.

Photo of augustgarage
4.11/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap @ Blue Palms Brewhouse in Hollywood - served in a goblet.

Dark dark auburn body with faint crimson highlights. Puffy desert sand stand of foam leaves behind pasty lacing; good retention.

Light roast barley, weak coffee, and herbal hops in the nose.

Rich malt, toasty and dark with a woody note. Herbaceous citrus-kissed hops add lots of flavor and a moderate bitterness. Dry hopping works so well for this style. Finishes dry and toasty with hints of black bread, pine, and earth.

Medium-light bodied, well carbonated with mild astringency and a nice alcohol kick.

A very satisfying example of the style and a fitting re-incarnation of their anniversary ale (which was an "Indian Black Ale" last year as well).

Photo of Fatehunter
3.9/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured a finger and half of tan head on a black body. Looks great.
The aroma is pine, spruce and some caramel candy. Enjoyable.
The taste has nice roasted malt with a big dose of pine bitterness. I like it.
The texture is crisp with moderate carbonation.
It's the best of roast malt and bitter.

Photo of 20ozmonkey
3.38/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Got a bottle at Healthy Spirits today. Poured into a tulip.

Beer forms a surprisingly light tan head that forms quite strongly and is dissipating fast. The beer is clear, but is so dark brown that you almost can't see through it.

Smells fist and foremost of piney and citrusy hops. Can't smell much more than the hops.

The hop flavor is actually subdued compared to the smell. Or maybe it's just an overall subdued flavor? The hops are the foremost flavor with a sort of stale coffee finish with the bitterness of the hops lingering.

Light carbonation, plain mouthfeel. It leaves an odd feeling in the back of my throat.

I was quite excited about this as I'm always looking forward to a new Black Ale, but this beer is perhaps a bit too dull. I could very easily drink large quantities of this if I were looking for an easy drinking beer, but this doesn't seem much like a "special" beer.

Photo of hoppymcgee
3.75/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Picked up a 22oz. counter-pressure filled bomber of this at Bierkraft in Brooklyn, NY. Poured into a Narragansett pint glass.

A: Dark, but slightly translucent, brown with a beautiful "tight bubble" head that starts as a monster but then dwindles down.

S: There's not much going on here. I mean, I know I'm a little stuffy but I don't get anything in the nose here.

T: Now we're talkin'. Very well balanced - not too much hop or malt component. Slight chocolatey aspect too.

M: Good, but could have a little more body for 8.5% ABV.

D: The best feature of this beer. No problems here.

Photo of jeffjeff1
4/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This was a present from my wife. I finally got around to trying it today.

Appearance- black color, nice looking thin head that dissipated pretty quickly

Smell- bready malt, chocolate, coffee

Taste- starts out a little bit sweet, coffee flavor, gets a little bitter towards the finish but not much, mellow flavor as well

Mouthfeel- medium bodied

Drinkability- I thought this was really good. I will probably be buying some more. I enjoyed it very much.

Photo of afrokaze
3.42/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Bomber poured into a Perfect Pint. Hard to pass up on Speakeasy, and this might be their best label yet.

A - Deep red but not quite black ale, decent lacing.

S - Lots of piney hops and a little bit of citrus, roasted malt sweetness and alcohol is present but not out of place.

T - Piney and slightly mineral hops (Cascade) with nice roasted malt that has a touch of cocoa. A little citrus bitterness at the end but leaves the palate pretty cleanly.

M - A little thinner than I would have liked, but in line with the ABV and slighlty slick on the palate, carbonation is average.

O - Another solid one from Speakeasy. A bit more work and this could be a great year-round that I'd grab often in a sixer.

Photo of metter98
3.89/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A: The beer is clear but very dark red in color (black when viewed from afar) and has a moderate to high amount of visible carbonation. It poured with a finger high beige colored head that died down but consistently left a thin head covering the surface and lots of lacy rings of bubbles down the sides of the glass.
S: Moderate aromas of roasted malts are present in the nose along with hints of pine resin hops.
T: The taste has bold flavors of dark roasted malts and is accompanied by a moderate amount of bitterness. Burnt and roasted malt flavors are most prominent in the finish and linger through the aftertaste. Hints of pine resin hops also become noticeable once the beer warms up.
M: It feels medium-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation; the hops don't feel crisp but these and the roasted malts give this beer a "bite" that leaves your mouth tingling.
O: This is a nice Black IPA if you're looking for something that has lots of burnt and roasty flavors. It's not too difficult to drink and no traces of alcohol are perceptible.

Photo of RyanK252
4.04/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Bottle poured into a Speakeasy Ales and Lagers glass

A: Pours deep brown with a ruby hue and a creamy mocha brown head that settles and laces very well.

S: Roasted malt, some coffee, light chocolate, and a touch of pine.

T: Pine bitterness up front, followed with roasted malt, sweet chocolate, faint coffee, a bit earthy, with some light citrus on the finish.

M: Medium body, moderate carbonation, creamy smooth.

O: Very tasty brew.

Photo of plaid75
4.15/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a deep black hue with a one and a half finger frothy off white head. There was good retention and lacing.

The smell featured a serious dry hopped citrus.

The taste was a full citric hop experience.

The mouthfeel was light considering the ABV.

Overall a nice hop driven hefty IPA.

Photo of DarthKostrizer
3.49/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Alucard4 for sharing

Look: Black with brown edges and a 1 inch head and good retention with some circular lacing

Smell: Piney hops with a chocolate background

Taste: Very similar to the nose. Upfront is a nice chocolate malt character that is backed up by the piney hops

Mouthfeel: Medium body and mildly carbonated

Overall: For the style its not bad at all would I drink it again yes. Would I buy it probably not

Photo of david18
3.88/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

When I bought this beer I totally misread the IBA, just thinking it was another IPA from Speakeasy. It was odd when I got it and it was as dark as it was but Southern Tier does it with their Iniquity, so what the hell. This was a very good beer but I thought it could have been a little more hop forward than it was.

Very dark color, ok aroma, good flavor. This is one to get if you see it.

Photo of Zorro
3.41/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Clear dark brown colored ale with a small light brown colored head.

Smells strongly of English style hops. Mild smell of patent malt. Smells of coffee and smoke and a little toffee. Slight amount of leather smell.

Starts out mildly sweet with the tastes of coffee and toffee candy. Not strongly flavored at all this is very mellow for the style. Mild carrot taste. After a while this tastes mostly like highly hopped porter.

Mouthfeel is good.

Overall an OK ale, but sort of boring.

Photo of CHickman
4.33/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

Pours very dark brown that borders on black, with the brown color only showing around the edges when the light hits it. The tan head was 2 fingers, very thick and foamy, leaving excellent foam lacing coating the sides and rings as it went down; an outstanding looking beer.

Smells of sweet malt, coffee, caramel, toffee, roasted grains, bakers chocolate, grapefruit, floral hops, herbs and cocoa powder; the sweet chocolate notes stand out the most and the ending citrus and floral hop aroma mix well with the malts and roasted grains, which smell like charcoal or burnt wood. A great smelling nose that is very complex and full of everything that makes beer enjoyable.

Tastes like it smells, but more rich and full of flavor, with sweet malt, coffee, caramel, toffee, cocoa powder, roasted grains, bakers chocolate, grapefruit, citrus hops, lemon zest, floral hops, flowers, herbs, pine cone/piney hops, brown sugar and spruce tips or some other spice like tea leaf or pepper; the sweet chocolate notes start things off, followed by herbs and floral hops and then some more sweetness like caramel, vanilla or a Frappuccino. The hops let this brew end bitter and still sweet, completely hiding the ABV.

Mouthfeel is creamy and very smooth, with a medium chewy body, mild carbonation and a nice sweet bitter finish.

This is what a craft beer is all about: the total beer experience that smells good, looks good and tastes great. Factor in that the price ($8 for a 25 oz bottle) was reasonable and I will seek out the beer again and suggest everyone tries it.

Photo of colforbin73
4.17/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

this is sort of an inbetween beer, having the high imperial-ish ABV but the style is sort of nebulous, not a stout, not a porter, not quite a black ipa. i like it though -- not mind blowing but very satisfying.

pours a dark brown/black with a small tan head -- the head peters out quick and you get sort of a chocolate milk type residue on the glass. there's a good amount of hops in the nose with only minimal malt presence.

the hops hit first in the taste, but it is not an overly bitter beer -- strangely it is sort of like the hop bitterness is where you would expect the roasted malt. i am thinking this beer used black patent and a touch of chocolate malts and left the big roasty/crystal malts out.

gets better as it warms a touch. this may be the best "black ipa" i have had yet.

Photo of Thorpe429
4.2/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a very dark brown, nearing black. Creamy off-white head.

S: Lots of resinous piney hops and some roasted malts in the background.

T: Pine galore. The pine aroma leads into a quite strong bitterness with not much else making its way out. A good representation of a growing style.

M: Medium bodied and well-carbonated. Somewhat dry.

D: Quite drinkable--had no idea the abv was so high until I looked this one up on BA this morning.

Photo of woodychandler
3.43/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I really enjoy both the concept behind Speakeasy's beers and the beers themselves. I am currently reading Akashic Books' "San Francisco Noir 2: The Classics" so this was perfect. A high school classmate and contemporary drinking buddy, Mike, came over last night and we laid waste to a bunch of bombers. Bombers are a real sticking point in my backlog as I do not like to drink them by myself. I could, but I like when others help me to do so. This one came from The Fridge and went into my fridge.

From the bottle: The cow's ear has a tag reading "94124", which is the brewery's zip code. Ha!; "Limited Series"; "This black ale beguiles you with its light body and soft maltiness - just before it unloads the hops and finishes clean. Butchertown commemorates the district of old San Francisco where the water ran red and the tide carries its secrets out to sea. It's where Speakeasy Ales & Lagers now stands today."; "Legit since 1997"; "Independently owned & operated".

The top was popped and glasses were made at the ready. The pseudo-cascade settled into a finger of deep-tan head with limited retention, quickly fading to wisps. Nose had a smoky sweetness, almost like maple syrup or maple-cured meat. Color was a deep-brown with ruby highlights (SRM = > 34, < 44) and NE-quality clarity. Mouthfeel was medium. Taste was slightly minty, but the prevailing flavor was its charcoal smokiness. Finish was dry, but I just found myself shaking my head at the (mis)use of hops in this style. I was happy enough to have drunk it, being from one of my favorite breweries, but I will not be returning to it.

Photo of Tony49er
3.71/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Serving Type- From a bottle poured into a pint glass

Appearance- Dark black, thick off white head, almost a silky black color

Smell- Pine, roasted malts, chocolate, spruce

Taste- Pine, roasted malts, chocolate, resin, coffee, a bit of an booze taste but goes down pretty smooth for an 8 plus ABV beer

Mouth-feel- Smooth silky taste, foamy head

Overall- An outstanding black ale one of my favorite black ales around and one of the best beers made by Speakeasy..If you have not tried this beer and you can get it...you MUST try it...its pretty great

Photo of womencantsail
3.63/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On-tap at Beer Revolution

The beer is nearly black in color with a tan head. Herbal and piney hops with a bit of roasted malt and maybe a hint of licorice. A little bit of grapefruit peel and pineapple on the back end. The flavor is slightly sweet with only a moderate hop flavor to it. Some herbal and pine notes, but it's not super hoppy, though. Medium bodied with sort of low carbonation.

Photo of Mrappinin
3.67/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A- inky black with a small amount of light around the edges, head is think off white and rocky, thins rather quickly sticking to the glass as you drink.
S- sweet vanilla and alcohol
T- chocolate, slight coffee , piney/spicy hops, and a boosy note at the end
M- viscous with medium carbonation make this a a very drinkable black ale

Photo of flexabull
3.51/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a deep black color with a nice off white head that receded with great lacing.

Aromas are mineral like, some chocolate, espresso, and bread dough.

Taste is mineral like, some tonic water, toasted malts, notes of coffee, and roasted nuts. Finish has a light creamy sweet quality, and mineral hop bitterenss.

Mouthfeel is light, decent crisp carbonation, but lacking body.

Overall, this is a decent, but flawed Black Ale. Not a bad beer, but not a beer I'm likely to repurchase. Pretty average...

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Butchertown Black Ale from Speakeasy Ales & Lagers
86 out of 100 based on 177 ratings.