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Butchertown Black Ale - Speakeasy Ales & Lagers

Not Rated.
Butchertown Black AleButchertown Black Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
86
very good

161 Ratings
THE BROS
91
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 161
Reviews: 59
rAvg: 3.8
pDev: 11.84%
Wants: 4
Gots: 8 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Speakeasy Ales & Lagers visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Black Ale |  8.00% ABV

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes/Commercial Description:
This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: augustgarage on 10-07-2011)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Butchertown Black Ale Alström Bros
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Ratings: 161 | Reviews: 59 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of surlytheduff
2/5  rDev -47.4%

surlytheduff, Dec 07, 2012
Photo of Arbitrator
2.63/5  rDev -30.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2.5

Chilled bottle into a glass.

A: Pours a clear maroon body that appears opaque in the center of a large pour. The head is a limp formation of beige bubbles that falls quickly into a mild collar. Some streaks of lace are left in the head's retreat, but there are no curtains or register marks during the drink.

S: A modest aroma of roasted grains and possibly some nuts and cocoa. No hops on the nose. When I first opened the bottle, there was a strong burst of citrus hops, but they're considerably weaker in the nose. I detect some pine needles.

T: Roasted grain with baker's chocolate: the two contribute a light bitterness that segues easily into pine needles, hemp, and some grapefruit. It's not a bad flavor profile, though it lacks the boldness and punch of some of my favorites in this style.

M: Light-medium bodied, watery finish, with a metallic aftertaste.

O: This is a fairly easy drinker. I was expecting a lot worse. Still wouldn't buy it again when I could pick from SSR, Stone 15th, and some others on the shelves right now.

Arbitrator, Nov 08, 2011
Photo of John_Squires
2.75/5  rDev -27.6%

John_Squires, Nov 08, 2013
Photo of lsummers
2.78/5  rDev -26.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance looks great, a nice almost opaque brown/black with some great lacing.

I feel like it goes downhill from there, it has a caramel berry smell to it that comes out even more in the taste. I can't say I enjoyed the taste that much even if the hoppiness in the backend was nice. It just felt like there wasn't much body. It's not a bad beer, but I was expecting more. It definitly hides it's abv for sure.

Overall, I don't know if I'll ever have this again. It might be my fault I don't like any blueberry flavors that come through in my beer. But I'm overall unimpressed.

lsummers, Aug 31, 2012
Photo of kojevergas
2.83/5  rDev -25.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Served on-draught into a plastic cup at Speakeasy's decrepit warehouse - I mean - brewpub. Reviewed from notes.

Presentation: I couldn't be turned off to a beer more. When a brewer sees no issue with serving beer into plastic cups, there's a big problem.

A: Pours a 1.5 finger head of nice cream, fair thickness, and decent retention. Colour is black.

Sm: Hops - that's it. A moderate strength aroma.

T: Hoppy, but with an unnaturally strong malt and barley foundation. It's very simple to the point that there's little to describe. I won't pretend to know what hop variety is used merely by the taste. Simple but decently built. Largely imbalanced. Fortunately, no alcohol comes through.

Mf: Smooth and wet. Standard fare. A touch too thick. Meh.

Dr: Drinkable but unremarkable. I won't have it again. Maybe fans of the style would appreciate it more. It does hide its ABV well, but there's nothing unique or inspired going on here.

kojevergas, Dec 24, 2011
Photo of Elicoleman
3/5  rDev -21.1%

Elicoleman, Aug 29, 2014
Photo of largadeer
3/5  rDev -21.1%

largadeer, Dec 12, 2013
Photo of kdown
3/5  rDev -21.1%

kdown, Jan 23, 2012
Photo of jskennedy
3/5  rDev -21.1%

jskennedy, Jan 27, 2012
Photo of Davepoolesque
3/5  rDev -21.1%

Davepoolesque, Feb 17, 2013
Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
3/5  rDev -21.1%

westcoastbeerlvr, Aug 30, 2013
Photo of Jason1337
3/5  rDev -21.1%

Jason1337, Sep 21, 2013
Photo of Amerikon
3/5  rDev -21.1%

Amerikon, Feb 18, 2013
Photo of mactrail
3.01/5  rDev -20.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.75

Pours quite a dark, near black color in the tall Stella glass. Handsome off-white foam. Winey nose with a hint of hops. Carbonation and foam last well.

Not very sweet, but plenty of malt flavors. Even fuller bodied than what you'd find in stouts. It's just a big strong ale that happens to be black. Some burnt flavors but the hops take over with a lot of herbal bitterness. Very bitter aftertaste that borders on the medicinal. Better than some of the Speakeasy brews. However, that dank flavor with the murky burnt taste keeps this from being much of a pleasure.

From the 22 oz bottle bought at Coit Liquor in San Francisco.

mactrail, Feb 08, 2013
Photo of cpetrone84
3.2/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

pour is black with red hues, creamy light brown head with some larger bubbles. Nose is milk chocolate, tobacco, butterscotch, and faint herbal hop. Thick and creamy with roasted malts, faint chocolate and vanilla with a fair amount of butterscotch. Tinge of herbal hop and bitterness, very creamy but flavors are surprisingly light. Assertive carbonation.

cpetrone84, Nov 29, 2012
Photo of lordofstarside
3.2/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Bomber to snifter, no freshness date

Pours pitch black with a finger and a half of foam, good lacing and lots of carbonation on the sides. Pretty impressive retention also, looks good

Smells of hops, strong malt, chocolate, smoke, pine, and some alcohol. There's not much to this

Taste follows the nose, which unfortunately isn't the best. Strong up front malt melded with some hops, very distinct taste of tobacco, some smoke, and alcohol

Feel is full and creamy, pretty thick. Alcohol isn't very detectable

Overall I think this might have been sorta old, but this was not an enjoyable experience. Too much malt over powering everything, nothing came together well. I'm already pretty out of it, there's no way I'm going to be able to finish it. Steer clear of this beer

lordofstarside, Apr 21, 2013
Photo of Kmlund
3.25/5  rDev -14.5%

Kmlund, Oct 03, 2013
Photo of n2185
3.25/5  rDev -14.5%

n2185, Apr 21, 2014
Photo of bnelson997
3.25/5  rDev -14.5%

bnelson997, Oct 28, 2014
Photo of casapy
3.25/5  rDev -14.5%

casapy, May 06, 2013
Photo of Thomas_562
3.25/5  rDev -14.5%

Thomas_562, Jun 27, 2014
Photo of RblWthACoz
3.3/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Nose is all piney citrus. Flavor is like cold black tea mixed with beer. Ick. Hopefully that is going to change over time. It doesn't seem to be. And if it stays that way, it makes this a pretty weak black ale. Can't really say that I suggest this one.

RblWthACoz, May 09, 2012
Photo of 20ozmonkey
3.38/5  rDev -11.1%
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.

20ozmonkey, Oct 07, 2011
Photo of TheSixthRing
3.4/5  rDev -10.5%
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.

TheSixthRing, Dec 11, 2012
Photo of woodychandler
3.4/5  rDev -10.5%
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.

woodychandler, Jul 18, 2014
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Butchertown Black Ale from Speakeasy Ales & Lagers
86 out of 100 based on 161 ratings.