The acquisition of a “rare” beer is a special treat. But like Uncle Ben once said, “with great power comes great responsibility”. What the hell am I talking about, you might ask. Well, I’m talking about the decision of when to crack open that hard-to-find gem you’ve just spent (usually) a good amount of money on. Do you drink it right when it’s fresh? Or do you set on it for a little bit and save it for a special occasion? Usually I tend to fall into the latter category of beer drinkers. So when we decided to get together for drinks at our house for a close friend’s birthday I saw the perfect opportunity to share one of these special beers.
Our infamous Black Tuesday is an imperial stout aged in bourbon barrels for over a year. Rich caramel, toasted malt, vanilla, burnt wood and anise are just a few of the many flavors in this rich, decadent imperial stout.
I would have been surprised if this beer poured any other color than black. And black it was. One may say that there are none more black when it comes to beer. The head was a small layer of bubbles that dissipated quickly. Thankfully a small ring of these brown bubbles clings to the edge of the glass, breaking up the appearance of a bottomless abyss of nothingness.
Huge notes of oak and booze blast forth from the glass. Notes of dark chocolate and paint thinner are each easily detectable in the nose. Hints of molasses, dates, and biscotti cookies fill things out in the aroma department. Everything you could want out of a bourbon stout are here times two.
My initial reaction when taking my first sip of this beer was “Oh! I think there are four layers to this beer and they’re all a punch in the face”. Molasses and dark fruit start things off before fading instantly into a touch of leather. This then fades into an alcohol brightness that finishes with some oak and dark chocolate that tastes like it’s been drizzled in bourbon. This was a very large, very intense beer. The term “sipping beer” is thrown around a lot, but it was created specifically to describe drinking Black Tuesday.
The combination of molasses, booze, and dark fruits create a layer that coats your mouth like a Fruit Roll-Up. With that being said the mouthfeel is surprisingly light, but viscous. This thickness pairs with a dryness that is rather odd and may be do to its age. Booze notes couldn’t hide during any other part of the drinking experience and that’s no different here.
Sweet baby Jesus was this a huge beer. Everything about bourbon barrel-aged Imperial Stouts is taken to the umpteenth level here. This beer was so strong that it edges out of the sipper beer category and into the craft beer punishment stage. I enjoyed this beer, but I had to drink quite a bit of it due to the fact that several of my friends couldn’t even handle the small tasters they were poured. I think that 1.5-2 years may be too long to age it or perhaps I didn’t age it long enough. It’s hard to say. Maybe I should get another bottle this fall just to be sure…
Overall: 8 out of 10
As an IMPERIAL STOUT: 9 out of 10
FOR FANS OF: 3 Floyds BOURON BARREL AGED BLOT OUT THE SUN, Surly DARKNESS, Alesmith BARREL AGED SPEEDWAY STOUT