The Bruery (Playing off of Brewery with the last name of the founders, Rue) has come from humble beginnings to create some of the most sought after beer in the United States. Their online releases of beers sell out almost as fast as they’re posted, and membership to their Reserve Society only lasted a day when they expected it to remain open for a few weeks. They try a number of things, age a lot of beer in a lot of barrels, and continue to brew at an extremely high level despite the insane increase in demand. You can read their story on their website.
This week, a drinking buddy and I opened up two of their more sought after bottles: Black Tuesday and Chocolate Rain. According to the website, Black Tuesday is “Our infamous Black Tuesday is an Imperial Stout aged in Bourbon barrels for over a year. Rich caramel, toasted malt, vanilla, burnt wood, anise are just a few of the many flavors of this rich, decadent imperial stout.” Chocolate Rain builds on Black Tuesday, which is then aged Vanilla Bean Cocoa Nibs. Both beers weigh in at 19.5% ABV and therefore are certainly not to be messed with.
Black Tuesday (2011 Vintage)
Thick black pour with a small light brown head. Hardly any retention and spotty lacing, but a nice amount of bubbles rise from the bottom of the glass. Significantly darker in color than Chocolate Rain, and a better looking head. BT gets the nod in terms of appearance. The smell is a bit more subdued, but seemingly more balanced than Chocolate Rain. Bourbon, vanilla, chocolate, and booze much like CR are the focus of the beer, but when comparing the smell: this is much smaller.The booze isn’t as offensive, and it is not quite as sweet, but the other smells are also not as big. I can’t quite tell which I prefer. Going to call this one a push. The first taste certainly merits the WOW factor. A ton of booze, molasses, licorice, bourbon, vanilla, chocolate, smokey charred malts, and other flavors I’m not quite sure my palate was ready for. As the booze fades on the backend, I’m getting some very dark fruits developing as well. I completely understand why this beer is so highly regarded, but I must say I was expecting a bit more balance and less booze and licorice. Not nearly as much bourbon as I was expecting, but the other flavors certainly make up for it. However, I cannot honestly say this is the best stout I’ve ever had. The flavors do develop very well on the palate. Chocolate, molasses, and licorice up front. Bourbon, vanilla, and booze in the middle. Booze, roasted malts, and a dry finish combine with that typical warming alcohol feeling. Not quite as thick as I was expecting. I mean don’t get me wrong, this beer has a heavy body and is carbonated well. However, it is not syrupy or creamy like other big stouts. A pretty good body considering the size of the beer. The drinkability is a bit tough on this one. In the end, it is very sweet and very boozy. Half a bottle was honestly a bit much to put down. With that said, it was phenomenally tasty and I was very happy to have tried it. I just was expecting a bit higher drinkability. Very good overall.
4.5 / 5 A
Brown pour, amazing how less dark this is than fresh Black Tuesday. Extremely noticeable change in color. Neither have a very distinct head. What head there is light brown and leaves no lacing or retention. BT gets the nod in terms of appearance. The smell is very boozy and sweet, but also extremely complex. Booze and bourbon mix with chocolate, vanilla, and molasses to create one of the biggest smells I’ve ever encountered in beer. I must say I am worried about the booziness and sweetness here. Hoping the taste is balanced and not too over the top. Going to call this one a push between BT and CR. All I can say is wow. I graded BT before taking a sip of CR and fully developed an opinion on it first. I must say, this is better. All around the taste simply blows me away. This has to be the best thought out beer I’ve ever had the privilege of tasting. The way the tastes develop on my palate simply cannot be put into words. The initial taste is boozy, offensively so, but once you become accustomed to it, the booze becomes an afterthought. As soon as the booze subsides, a TON of vanilla, bourbon, oak, chocolate, and dark fruits simply attack the palate. Roasted malts, warming alcohol, and dark fruits finish the beer off perfectly. The complexity and balance is unmatched in craft beer and honestly until you taste it, you could not possibly understand how a beer could encompass so much with each and every sip. A 5 if I’ve ever had one. Extremely similar mouth feel to BT. Not quite as thick as I was expecting, but by no means is it light. It is not syrupy or creamy like other big stouts. The ABV will catch up with you before too long. Overall this was the best beer I’ve ever had. I’m aware it might not be the highest rated beer on this site, but this was simply the cream of the crop. Blew me away. The drinkability is not terribly high, as the sweetness and extreme ABV are not easy to deal with, but this category is now considered ‘Overall,’ and overall it is a 5.
4.9 / 5 A+