Butchertown Black Ale
Speakeasy Ales & Lagers

Butchertown Black AleButchertown Black Ale
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American Black Ale
Ranked #292
Ranked #20,433
3.85 | pDev: 11.43%
Speakeasy Ales & Lagers
California, United States
Very Good
Butchertown Black AleButchertown Black Ale
Notes: Butchertown Black Ale celebrates the long forgotten neighborhood of San Francisco, Butchertown, where our brewery stands today. The nearby creek was once the home to over 16 slaughterhouses and was a thriving neighborhood till shipbuilding took over the waterfront in the 1930s run up to WWII.

This beer is a play on the senses: black as night, but with a deceivingly light body and a bold dry-hopping regiment more akin to an IPA. Butchertown pours black/brown with a thick, lasting toasted marshmallow head. It has aromas of pine, orange, tangerine, pink grapefruit, & light coffee. Flavors of grapefruit, pine, currants, and red wine come through before overturning to a malt depth intricacy of dark toasted bread, pumpernickel, subtle notes of dark fruits and hints of dark chocolate, tobacco and leather.
Reviews: 67 | Ratings: 197 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of rodbeermunch
3.14/5  rDev -18.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Ah the black ale/ipa, relatively gone but not forgotten, but I'd be ok if it was.

Pours black. Not much viscosity difference between this and their stout. This was a thicker black ale. Big tan head 1" deep.
Solid looking appearance. Aroma was more roasted malts than hoppiness. Some coffee note from the roast. Dude are you sure you aren't a porter? The hops I smell are bitterness hops.

Taste does better than the aroma in terms of being within style guidelines, if there even is such a thing for this category. Plenty of pine like bitterness on a diner black coffee roasted malt body. Bitterness pushed to greater heights (or depths) by a punch of alcohol. Hide the alcohol, this is not one of its qualities. There is a currant red wine dark fruit bitterness to it as well alongside a hit of smoke.

I didn't think there was enough hop flavor, this one went harder on the malty taste notes, which are more akin to a porter/stout.

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Photo of hoping4hopps
4.03/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Went to a local corner market to get a lagunitas cappuccino stout but ironically this beer was placed in front of the beer I had my sights set on. After a brief contimplation I purchased this 22 oz bomber and proceeded to open it. It was as the label said a black ale. Toasted and roasted the malt bill was present but lightly. Followed by a palate full of hop flavor. I over all like this beer and glad that after reading the "limited series" label I'm happy I was able to try something different.

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Photo of biboergosum
3.67/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

22oz bottle, @8.2% ABV, with an ambiguously creepy American gangster backstory for this one's name depicted on the label text. How very Christmasy!

This beer pours a clear, dark brown colour, with prominent orange cola highlights, and three fat-ass fingers of puffy, rocky, and mildly bubbly beige head, which leaves some splotchy and chunky streaked lace around the glass as it very slowly sinks away.

It smells of musty roasted caramel malt, acrid coffee (the sort with stale cigarettes sitting in it), inexpensive bittersweet chocolate, untethered phenolic yeast, some muddled citrus and pome fruitiness, a further free-range campfire ashiness, and more leafy, weedy, and faintly piney hop bitters. The taste is gritty, rather grainy and toasted caramel malt, dusty dime-store chocolate wafers, a bit of edgy umami, generic coffee, and more hard to really get a gauge on leafy, piney, and herbal green hoppiness.

The bubbles are adequate in their supportive and tacitly engaging frothiness, the body a solid medium weight, and more or less smooth (ok, emphasis on the latter), with an oh so subtle airy creaminess arising from someone's latent Yuletide wishes. It finishes off-dry, the coffee and cocoa-flecked roasted malt still duly offset by the well lingering, if still indistinct leafy, piney, and dry citrusy bitterness.

For the style, this is generally all right, the juxtaposition between the two conflicting beer endpoints providing a so-called balance that lovers of such things use to justify its otherwise ill-conceived existence. So, bully for them, I'm done here, and so looking forward to that order of best of local breed Chinese food waiting for me upstairs. Happy Holidays, all!

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Photo of arizcards
3.86/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Picked up a bomber from TW Arrowhead the first of May for $5.99. Bottle received at TW on 1/17/15. Availability per the Speakeasy web site is October thru December.

Beer poured black with a beautiful tan head that is leaving lacing behind.

Nose is a nice citrus hop.

Taste is a heavily roasted malt backbone that melds well with the citrus hops. Malts are a tad bit over-roasted.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and fairly smooth.

Overall this is a pretty decent brew. I can handle a highly roasted highly hopped beer but this one uses too much of a roasted malt that detracts and creates a slightly ashy flavor. Definitely not for everyone.

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Photo of BrewMaven
4.35/5  rDev +13%
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!

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Photo of Totalpackage411
5/5  rDev +29.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

My favorite brewery right now, glad I finally got to try this one. This is a very smooth beer with a nice hoppy after taste. One of the better beers from Speakeasy but I still have not had one I don't like from here. This is a limited release so if you see this one you better take advantage. Chill it on ice before opening and enjoy a nice refreshing cold craft brew.

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Photo of DoubleJ
3.97/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

22 ounces are in my hand, thanks to my co-worker Tina! Let's go on to the beer:

The head forms two finger's thick on top above a body that is obsidian colored. As the beer's level drops, creamy and spotty lace sticks around the glass. The straightforward aroma of sharp bittering hops make their mark from the start. Subtle notes of cocoa and vague fruits offer a second dimension to this hoppy dark ale.

Sticking to the theme of the India Black Ale, Butchertown is strong, roasty, and bitter. The hops bring a side of grapefruit and strong piney and bittering flavors. A little dark cocoa and roasted malt brings this beer together. Despite its listed 8% ABV, I can't find the alcohol. The beer is nearly full bodied with a smooth body and a lingering mix of biiterness and chocolate in the aftertaste.

Don't mess with Butchertown. This is not only flavorful, but strong enough to knock you down. Aficionados of the style should seek this out.

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Photo of RyanK252
4.04/5  rDev +4.9%
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.

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Photo of FLima
3.82/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Deep black color with red highlights and a thick caramel head with medium retention and leaving laces and a constant plate.
Aroma of coffee, roasted malt, caramel, faint dark chocolate, some citrusy and melon. Dry hop was lost at this point.
Hoppy and roasted flavor with notes of coffee, charred wood, some pine, herbal, earthy and floral hops, grapefruit, lemon peel, caramel, dank tobacco, resin, spices, cocoa powder and charcoal. Very dry and bitter aftertaste.
Medium creamy body with appropriate carbonation. Alcohol of 8.2% abv is well hidden.
Black IPA with a clean bold bitterness and strong roasted and burnt character. Good layered complexity. It felt a bit like a hoppy Foreign Extra Stout with American flavors.

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Photo of CTHomer
4.13/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A: dark brown with mahogany at the edges; 2+ finger head the receded slowly to a thin cap; nice lacing;

S: piney hops with roasted malts in the background;

T: roasted malts throughout; bitterness comes in mid-palate and fades in the finish; hides the alcohol well;

M: creamy; medium to full bodied; moderate carbonation;

O: really enjoyable; one of the best black ales/black IPAs I've had;

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Photo of woodychandler
3.43/5  rDev -10.9%
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.

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Photo of hops202
3.58/5  rDev -7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a Stone Snifter.

Decent look - dark brown/super dark red even. Lots of persistent lacing covering the sides all the way down. Nose has some roasted malts along with pine - basically an IPA and Porter combination. Taste is fairly bitter even with the roastiness present. Tolerable. Certainly glad this wasn't very expensive.

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Photo of Tony49er
3.71/5  rDev -3.6%
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

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Photo of tempest
3.99/5  rDev +3.6%
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.

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Photo of Fatehunter
3.9/5  rDev +1.3%
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.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
3.96/5  rDev +2.9%
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.

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Photo of Mrappinin
3.67/5  rDev -4.7%
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

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Photo of metter98
3.89/5  rDev +1%
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.

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Photo of Jason
4.07/5  rDev +5.7%
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.

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Photo of Zraly
3.74/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Heavily carbonated. Poured pitch black with a nice tan head. Lacing is very nice. Good looking beer.

Some roasted grain and smoke notes upfront. Resin and pine dominate. A bit of dirt and earth kick around. A bit of mint in the finish. Crisp and packs a bit of a punch in the flavor department. Finish is dry and the body is medium to medium-heavy. A bit rough around the edges but the feel and flavor are good.

Definitely west coast in style, I'd say this reminds me of something Rogue would make. I'd like to eat something sweet with this to counter some of deep resin flavors.

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Photo of lordofstarside
3.23/5  rDev -16.1%
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

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Photo of mactrail
3.05/5  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.

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Photo of TheSixthRing
3.38/5  rDev -12.2%
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.

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Photo of austincsuf
4.7/5  rDev +22.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

poured into cold pint glass...

A- real dark appearance, looks like a pepsi, it is a black ale so kind of expected...2 fingers of head which is dark colored as well

S- definitely some roasted notes, also picking up some fruit/citrus possibly

T- geez thats some tasty craft brew...super refreshing and a great light roasted aftertaste definitely worth TRYING

M - light carbonation, full body flavor

O-really one of my favorites, this beer has it all, dark bodied appearance w/ full flavor that leaves a pleasant aftertaste, and at the same time really easy to drink, could slam 3-4 of these real quick and at 8% that's a good thing..

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Photo of cpetrone84
3.22/5  rDev -16.4%
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.

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Butchertown Black Ale from Speakeasy Ales & Lagers
Beer rating: 86 out of 100 with 197 ratings