Butchertown Black Ale | Speakeasy Ales & Lagers

very good
195 Ratings
Butchertown Black AleButchertown Black Ale

Brewed by:
Speakeasy Ales & Lagers
California, United States

Style: American Black Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
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.

Added by capra12 on 09-04-2009

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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 195 |  Reviews: 66
Photo of surlytheduff
2/5  rDev -47.4%

Photo of Arbitrator
2.6/5  rDev -31.6%
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.

 1,048 characters

Photo of John_Squires
2.75/5  rDev -27.6%

Photo of lsummers
2.79/5  rDev -26.6%
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.

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Photo of kojevergas
2.82/5  rDev -25.8%
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.

 945 characters

Photo of Elicoleman
3/5  rDev -21.1%

Photo of largadeer
3/5  rDev -21.1%

Photo of kdown
3/5  rDev -21.1%

Photo of jskennedy
3/5  rDev -21.1%

Photo of Davepoolesque
3/5  rDev -21.1%

Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
3/5  rDev -21.1%

Photo of Jason1337
3/5  rDev -21.1%

Photo of Amerikon
3/5  rDev -21.1%

Photo of mactrail
3.05/5  rDev -19.7%
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.

 628 characters

Photo of cpetrone84
3.22/5  rDev -15.3%
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.

 355 characters

Photo of lordofstarside
3.23/5  rDev -15%
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

 778 characters

Photo of Kmlund
3.25/5  rDev -14.5%

Photo of n2185
3.25/5  rDev -14.5%

Photo of bnelson997
3.25/5  rDev -14.5%

Photo of casapy
3.25/5  rDev -14.5%

Photo of Thomas_562
3.25/5  rDev -14.5%

Photo of RblWthACoz
3.35/5  rDev -11.8%
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.

 252 characters

Photo of TheSixthRing
3.38/5  rDev -11.1%
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.

 656 characters

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.

 898 characters

Photo of Zorro
3.41/5  rDev -10.3%
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.

 486 characters

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Butchertown Black Ale from Speakeasy Ales & Lagers
3.8 out of 5 based on 195 ratings.
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