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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
85
very good

159 Ratings
THE BROS
91
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 159
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:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: augustgarage on 10-07-2011)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 159 | Reviews: 59 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Sammy
3.78/5  rDev -0.5%
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.

Sammy, Nov 12, 2012
Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.65/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

First thing I have to say is that this is the coolest Speakeasy bottle I have seen thus far. Nice design and graphics.

8.2% ABV per the label.

Pours an almost opaque super dark brown with a 1 inch puffy khaki head that settles to a thin cap. Foamy rings of lace line the glass on the drink down. Smell is of dark malt, chocolate syrup, and some citrus zest hops. Taste is of dark roasted malt and herbal hops. The chocolate and citrus zest aromas I was getting don't make an appearance in the taste. There is a mild bitterness on the palate each sip. This beer has a crisp level of carbonation but finishes smooth. Overall, this is a pretty good black ale but the smell is a bit misleading in terms of how it actually tastes.

UCLABrewN84, Jan 06, 2012
Photo of zestar
3.75/5  rDev -1.3%

zestar, Jul 20, 2014
Photo of Thorpe429
4.22/5  rDev +11.1%
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.

Thorpe429, Oct 03, 2009
Photo of metter98
3.9/5  rDev +2.6%
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.

metter98, Aug 28, 2013
Photo of GRG1313
3.5/5  rDev -7.9%

GRG1313, Feb 10, 2012
Photo of womencantsail
3.63/5  rDev -4.5%
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.

womencantsail, Dec 30, 2011
Photo of Knapp85
4/5  rDev +5.3%

Knapp85, Nov 03, 2013
Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
3/5  rDev -21.1%

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

largadeer, Dec 12, 2013
Photo of StonedTrippin
3.96/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

a really nice black ale, I wish there were more of these around. my second beer from speakeasy in as many days, both impressive in some fashion. this one pours inky black with a brown tinted soapy white head. looks like a bubble bath on top, almost 3 inches tall and sticking tightly to the edge of my English bubble pint. the nose is dark barley, char, bitter chocolate, and hops. west coast in nature, the hops here are dank and oily, pungent, and offer a fruity element to contrast with the really dark roast on the malts. bitter hints of coffee on the finish of this one, and a round almost oatmeal body on it gives it a silky smooth feel. its a bigger beer, maybe unnecessarily strong in alcohol content, not that you can taste it, but just that I want to drink more of this stuff than my limits will let me before being wasted. a bomber is plenty, but if this were closer to 6%, a sixer would not be too much. overall a nice brew, expertly crafted, and perfect for the fall season. I will continue to explore the speakeasy lineup new to Colorado.

StonedTrippin, Oct 05, 2013
Photo of Jason
4.06/5  rDev +6.8%
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.

Jason, Aug 20, 2013
Photo of Kegatron
3.5/5  rDev -7.9%

Kegatron, Jun 17, 2013
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 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 DrunkinYogi
3.75/5  rDev -1.3%

DrunkinYogi, Aug 11, 2014
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 GClarkage
4/5  rDev +5.3%

GClarkage, Jul 07, 2014
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
Photo of tempest
4/5  rDev +5.3%
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.

tempest, Nov 25, 2013
Photo of ejimhof
3.5/5  rDev -7.9%

ejimhof, Nov 21, 2013
Photo of Zorro
3.43/5  rDev -9.7%
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.

Zorro, Jan 23, 2012
Photo of plaid75
4.13/5  rDev +8.7%
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.

plaid75, Dec 03, 2009
Photo of HuskyinPDX
3.75/5  rDev -1.3%

HuskyinPDX, Sep 23, 2013
Photo of GraduatedCashew
3.75/5  rDev -1.3%

GraduatedCashew, Aug 29, 2013
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Butchertown Black Ale from Speakeasy Ales & Lagers
85 out of 100 based on 159 ratings.