The Butcher | Societe Brewing Co.

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The ButcherThe Butcher

Brewed by:
Societe Brewing Co.
California, United States

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.80%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
The Butcher is a big imperial stout with an overwhelming roasted malt characteristic. It has a velvety smooth, yet full, mouthfeel that hides any alcohol tones. A thick, dense, dark chocolate-colored head delivers aromas of roast, and the flavors are heavily toasty and biscuity, lingering on the tongue.

There is also some bitterness that comes from the hops and roasted barley, providing for a perceived dryness that makes the beer surprisingly easy to enjoy.

Added by Schmaltzy on 07-20-2012

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Reviews: 27 | Ratings: 350
Photo of RaulMondesi
3.42/5  rDev -17.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Nice oatmeal imperial stout nose, but the flavor is such a letdown. All the beers here show promise; there is an initial excitement (like in the 8th grade when you find your grandpa's Jenny McCarthy playboy) but in the end, of course you want more! It's 2013; Jenny McCarthy is a busted old floozy and we expect more!

Can a playa just get a Barbara Palvin beer now?

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Photo of Alieniloquium
3.58/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

32 oz. growler poured into a snifter.

Appearance - Inky black. Stains the glass. Not much of a head.

Smell - Extremely roasty. Some hop character, I think. Coffee.

Taste - Super roasty. Bitter. Grassy. Coffee. Minimal sweetness.

Mouthfeel - Medium body. Medium low carbonation. Very bitter.

Overall - Intense stout. Very bitter. Too much for my taste.

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Photo of mactrail
3.6/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Richly flavored but somewhat less thick-bodied than you might expect. Winey dark roast taste. Lots of malt coming from every direction.

Really big chocolate caramel candy flavor. Bitterness of blackened barley and plenty of hops. Actually a pretty good balance of malt and hops. Creamy and buttery in the mouth with a hint of ripe cheese. Dark and bitter chocolate bars is the strong flavor.

Handsome brownish black in the big tulip glass. Nice malty, caramel aroma. Plenty of spritz to start but flattens out leaving an oily mouthfeel. On tap at the Regal Beagle in San Diego.

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Photo of HopHead84
3.65/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5


On tap at Societe.

A: Pitch black with two fingers of dense dark brown froth. Good retention with scattered lacing.

S: Charred malt, earth, blackstrap molasses, and dark chocolate. Prominent licorice presence blends with light alcohol notes. Soft milk chocolate and sweeter malt characteristics come out as the beer opens up.

T: Strong roasted grain presence with pervasive licorice and molasses notes. Bittersweet dark chocolate accompanies a moderate bitterness. Big licorice notes in the boozy bitter charred and slightly astringent finish.

M: Lower full in body with upper medium carbonation. The mouthfeel is dry and sticky.

Overall: Not really my style of Imperial Stout in that it's heavier on the roast and licorice than I prefer, but it's well made and still pretty enjoyable.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.75/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

On tap for Churchill's Renaissance 2013 at Churchill's Pub & Grille in San Marcos, CA.

Vintage batch 1 keg.

Pours an opaque black with a foamy dark khaki head that settles to a film on top of the beer. Foamy patches of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of dark roasted malt, cocoa, and slight coffee aromas. Taste is much the same with cocoa and char flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of roasty bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp and medium bodied mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer that is tasty and has aged fairly well in my opinion.

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Photo of ArrogantB
3.82/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Societe. Black. Smell was pretty damn great. Thick black malts, roasty and dense. Really just a great aroma. The flavor was aiight but didn't really hit the notes suggested by the aroma. Alcohol was not well disguised but it is a Russian imperial stout so what do you expect? I'd buy this again to smell it and hope that the taste would live up to aroma.

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Photo of bob_roberts
3.92/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Pretty awesome considering no coffee, spices, chocolate, or other sUchiha hogwash. Drinks like a much bigger stout than it is especially considering I opened 2 months early. Wish I'd have read the label first!

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Photo of ehammond1
3.94/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On Tap

Churchill's Pub & Grille
San Marcos, CA

Black throughout with a thin, creamy, light brown head that leaves behind a thin ring all the way down the glass, leaving irregular webs of lace. This is a very pretty imperial stout--gorgeous, really.

Bold roast aroma dominates, with a bit of ash and char as well. There's mild dark fruit character along with a hint of alcohol, but the bold, expressive, roasted malt is more than dominant.

The flavor is similar to the aroma, though slightly more complex. The roasted malt shines again, with a bit of a grainy chocolate flavor as well, along with alcohol warmth.

Medium to near full in body with low-moderate carbonation.

These guys continue to impress!

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Photo of Stevedore
4.02/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

On tap at Societe Brewing Co., in San Diego, CA.

A- Dark brown, nearly black body. Minimal offwhite head, no retention. Becomes quite placid after a very short time. Dark enough in body to look ominous, especially without a head.

S- Rich roasted malt, nice dark fruit aspects, milk chocolate, cocoa. Nice rich aromas. Not quite chocolate covered raspberries- there isn't that much dark fruit- but the chocolate and coffee aspects are very nice here.

F- Milk chocolate, cocoa, black coffee, roast malts, earth. Not much in way of nuttiness. Dark chocolate bitterness. A bit of dark fruits. Nice richness to a RIS with a fair bit of complexity. It more or less checks off the checkboxes for different aspects of a RIS. It doesn't go much further, but it's quite tasty.

M- Medium-thick body, lower in carbonation. Slick, a bit sticky, not difficult to drink. Not very much alcohol heat at all, even when it warms up. But it has the potential to warm YOU up a bit. Finish is a nice coffee and chocolate duo.

O- Nice effort by Societe. It hits all the aspects you expect from a Russian Imperial Stout and doesn't hit any speed bumps along the way. It's not particularly thick or complex, does not stand out from other good examples of the style but it still remains a very solid RIS with good depth of flavour.

Final score: 4.01

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Photo of Nugganooch
4.05/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On Tap @ Societe

10oz pour

A: Pours damn dark. Totally opaque with a shiny luster and hardly even a thinning edge to it. Light khaki cream head with sufficient stay power and some nice tracks of lace down the glass.

S: Nice coffee rich aroma. Firm use roasted barley evident. Toasted cereals with some dark cherry and mixed dark fruits. A faint chocolate nuttiness. Pretty nice nose with roast coffee at the forefront.

T: Flavor has a big roast coffee influence with some dark fruits and blackberries coming through. Roasted barley with nutty toasted oats. There is some sweet toffee that rounds out nicely with a smooth chocolate note. Has a light prickly bitterness to the beer with a tart edge towards the finish. Like dried black cherries covered in chocolate. Some mild anise noted. Alcohol is incredibly low key here. Flavors and balance really come together nicely on this one. Quite delicious.

M: Moderate body that doesn’t bear down on the palate. Very smooth and silky feel with a bit of lingering sticky sweetness. There is a consistent carbonation with a sharp bite towards the finish that is kind of welcoming here as it cuts through the sweetness. Creamy overall.

D: Surprisingly good for their initial Stout offering. Falls more in the Double Stout territory. Incredibly drinkable and complete. I had a hard time letting this one get to temp. Deep rich roast flavors with such a smooth balance

Nitro offering should be nice and I can only see good things putting this one through a barreling program.

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Photo of Davepoolesque
4.05/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pitch black in color. Good solid, classic RIS. Roasted malt and barley and dark chocolate. Medium bodied and carbed. A nice amount of bitterness rounds it out. Wish it was a bit thicker.

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Photo of corby112
4.08/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Draft at Small Bar in San Diego, CA. March 2013.

Pitch black and opaque with a one finger dark mocha head that quickly settles into a thick, lasting ring.  Streaks of soapy lace left behind.

Nice roasted malt aroma with sweet chocolate notes.  Well balanced with dark and milk chocolate notes, gourmet coffee bean and oatmeal countered by baker's chocolate and dessert fudge/cake-like sweetness.  

Medium bodied and slightly viscous with a nice balance of deep roast and sweet malt notes.  Burnt sugars, roasted coffee bean, oatmeal and dark chocolate countered by lactose cream, sweet bakers chocolate, fudge, dark chocolate cake, caramel and toffee.  Nicely balanced.  Really dry and slightly burnt up front but the lactose and sweeter malt notes come in on the back end balancing things out.  ABV is invisible making this beer very easy to drink.  

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Photo of COYS1984
4.1/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured with not much attention to its aesthetic potential. Dark, thick, blackness with slight tan head. Nose is nice - roasted coffee, wood chips?, chocolate, maybe some vanilla on the back end. Taste is first sweet - chocolate, mocha, espresso. The finish is where this beer gets interesting. The sweet richness and dark chocolate qualities dissolve into a smokey bitterness. Pretty bitter for an imperial stout with what comes across to me like some burnt wood (in a good way). Drinks relatively heavy and the alcohol is present the whole time, which is fine at 9.5%. Mouthfeel is really good. Carbonation is there but it still keeps a nice creamy quality. Really nice RIS overall.

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Photo of notchucknorris
4.17/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On tap at O'Brien's

A: Pitch black and super oily looking with almost no head on the pour.

S: Huuuge roasted malt and dark roast coffee aroma with some espresso, dark chocolate and charred wood as well.

T: Wow. Short of Big Black Bear Stout, I don't know that I've ever tried a beer as bitter an dark as this. Tons of roasted/charred malt, bittersweet chocolate, espresso bean and wet earth notes. Ends in's burnt chocolate/ dark roast coffee note. Mouthfeel is smooth and velvety without ever really showing the ABV. Really nicely done. Make sure you like them really dark before you touch this one.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
4.17/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

starting to see a lot of beer from these guys around town lately. really unsure whether it comes from leftover GABF sources, or if these guys are sending beer into colorado no in some quantity. draft only in my experience, but quite a few different ones. this was on tap at tap and handle in fort collins and its excellent. one of the first not hoppy beers from them that i have had, and they did a heck of a job with it. deeply dark, matte finished black color, not real viscous, and as dense as a lot of them, but still entirely impenetrable to light. the head is creamy and tan, but it doesnt last real long. it smells and tastes like very very dry irish stout type grain base, which is odd in a russian imperial, that usually carry a little sugar and weight to them. this is totally fermented out, and i love that feature, it makes me drink it a little quicker, but the booze slows me down just enough. notes of coffee and char are strong in nose and taste, and it almost has a woody profile too, despite not seeing a barrel. one of my favorite grain flavors in the style i have had in awhile, and the lighter body comparatively makes it very very drinkable. it warms up really well too, coming on with some more dark chocolate and alcohol warmth. these guys have really impressed me so far, i hope their beer keeps popping up.

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Photo of CAMRAhardliner
4.18/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I tried this on tap at the brewery a few days ago. Reviewed from notes.

Light repelling obsidian black with a dark brown cap. Head retention is excellent. The aroma is roasted malts and espresso and dark chocolate in the back. Strong burnt toast roastyness in the taste. Chewy, thick dark malts mix with plenty of bitter hops in the fray. The mouthfeel is velvety thick on the verge of oily. A long lasting bitterness, equal parts from the roasted malts and hops, makes up the finish. Alcohol heat is always kept in check, never detracting from the roasty assault.

This is a fantastic Imperial Stout. Very dry and bitter. If you like your stouts with a strong roasty character, this one's for you.

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Photo of rodbeermunch
4.22/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Damned pretty beer, deep black, over an inch of head that isn't going anywhere. Lots of roasted, charred malt in the aroma, wasn't hot, was straightforward.

Taste, chewy, big malt structure, hiding the alcohol. We're getting close to 100ibu in the bitterness, but it melds well. Not sweet at all despite a sturdy chocolate malt presence. Top tier RIS stuff right here. Got the chewiness of a double American imperial stout, but stays away from the dark pruny stuff in a lot of RIS.

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Photo of reebtaerG
4.25/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Had on tap at Societe

A-Black in color with a good sized tan head.

S-Aroma is of heavy coffee and roasted malts, chocolate, molasses, and light smoke.

T-Taste is of dark chocolate, roasted malts, espresso, light smoke, and caramel.

M-Thick mouthfeel and not too sweet.

O-Overall a great russian imperial stout

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Photo of MasterSki
4.27/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Growler shared by Chris (spycow). Served in a Hill Farmstead tulip.

A - Tan foam settles to a wispy cap and thin collar, leaving tiny spots of lace behind. Black body.

S - Plenty of roasted grains, cocoa, molasses, light dark fruits, perhaps a hint of char or burnt coffee. Really impressive aroma for a straight-up RIS. Great balance and no alcohol to be found.

T - The taste doesn't have the same sweetness as the aroma, but it's still quite enjoyable. Heavy on the roast, with light notes of cocoa and vanilla, and a bitter anise-heavy finish. Again, not much in the way of alcohol.

M - Medium-full body, smooth texture, pleasant lower-level carbonation, and minimal warming for the listed ABV.

D - It's nice to reminded that a stout can be this good without going in a barrel of some sort. The flavor is a tad too bitter for me to drink this in large quantities, but otherwise it's a very well-crafted and somewhat traditional take on the style. Will have to try more offerings form Societe in the future.

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Photo of Beerandraiderfan
4.28/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A nice middle of the road black color, substantial 1.33" head on the chalice. Sure is pretty. Retention solid. Lacing very good. Aroma was pretty simple, heavily roasted malt, no alcohol discernable, smelled like virgin oak. Straightforward.

Taste, wow, chewy, big malt base eats up all the alcohol perceptibility. Serious bitter notes. Not very sweet, we're talkin' that dark baker's chocolate that offers just as much bitterness as it does sweetness. The liquid fits the description of "coating" the mouth. Silky and bitter at the same time. Carbonation is spot on, a little lower than other offerings at the brewery.

Just a massive straight up stout with tons of two row, and keeps the chocolate and coffee to a minimum. Never picked up on any wood in the taste. Pretty substantial stuff, and yet, enjoyable to drink throughout.

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Photo of captaincoffee
4.33/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

On tap at the brewery. Pours uber dark with a thick dark brown head that just sits and stares back at you. Nose is very coffee the point I thought this beer must have coffee added. Nice roasty notes as well. Flavor is quite creamy, and coats the mouth nicely. Plenty of roasted grain and a bit of coffee and licorice as well. Overall, a very good beer.

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Photo of mabermud
4.35/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

This beer was poured at Urge in Rancho Bernardo. It was served with a very short head.

A - Short tan head. Dark body.
S - Roasted malts, light coffee, dark/bitter chocolate, and smoke.
T - Bitter chocolate, burned malts, coffee, and faint barbecue smoke.
M - Thick and robust. Low carbonation. Smooth.
O - Very tasty. The smokey flavor makes this stand out. It is a well-done stout that deserves recognition.

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Photo of funkel81
4.36/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Toronado

Served in snifter

Nice dark tan head that stayed present throughout. Near black in color. Smells great, roasty, what you'd hope to expect.

To me the taste was just delicious. Great balance, great mouthfeel. One of the best imperial stouts I've tried in a long long time. Reminded me a lot of founders imperial stout, which is definitely a good thing.

Looking forward to trying this gem again!

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Photo of claaark13
4.38/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Thank you, my friend.

A - Thick, creamy tan head that looks fantastic, dark body.

S - Lots of roast, mild hops, sweetness comes through after a bit.

T - Much like the aroma upfront, with lots of roasted malt. Bitter yet chocolate takes a sudden grab of the flavor with what seem to be some light hops, then some earthy woody flavor hits (almost like it was in a barrel). Finishes well with the early flavors, which seem very favorable. Maybe a slight hint of heat in the finish, but I'm stretching to detect it.

M - Medium yet creamy.

O - I really like this, especially for a non-BA RIS. On par with something like Darkness.

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Photo of GreesyFizeek
4.43/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle purchased at Societe Brewing Company in San Diego, CA.

This one pours a very dark black, with a small white head, and a little bit of lacing.

Smells like roasted malt, bittersweet caramel, coffee, slight dark fruit, and rich nutty chocolate.

This is quite the impterial stout. There's no alcohol heat at all- it's just so smooth. There's a nice earthy sweetness that reminds me a bit of caramel. It's pretty nutty too, with an intense roasted malt character, and lots of chocolate. This is definitely what a stout should be.

This is pretty thick bodied, quite chewy and full, with a normal level of carbonation for the style.

I'm all about this one- good job, Societe.

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The Butcher from Societe Brewing Co.
4.13 out of 5 based on 350 ratings.
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