Monday, June 16, 2014

Speakeasy Butchertown Black Ale


3.5
   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 14/20
Chad9976 (1113) - Albany, New York, USA - JUN 16, 2014
I poured a 22oz bottle into a tulip glass. I could not find a freshness date, though I assume the bottle is old since my beer store had it on clearance for $1.99 ($0.09 per ounce).

Appearance: Opaque black hue with ruby red highlights. Pours to a very large, khaki, soapy head which retains and laces very well.

Smell: Slight cologne or perfume-like chemical scent. Some tanginess as well, though not off-putting.

Taste: I try not to review, let alone buy, beer that’s old. However, a good-looking bottle and a high ABV at a cheap price is hard to pass up. That’s why I picked up Speakeasy Butchertown Black Ale. While this particular bottle is not delicious, it certainly has plenty of enjoyable taste and the flaws are easy to get past.

Usually, old hoppy beers tend to turn overly sweet when they age, though this one seems to have transitioned from hop flavor to hop bitterness. From front to back there’s a strong presence of dry, slightly piney hop bitterness. Perhaps a fresh bottle might be more dank and resiny, but what’s here is at least still tasty. The malt side is not all that complex – just a general dark malt composure. A hint of chocolate and roasted malt on the finish followed by a lingering dry aftertaste. I could see this beer going well with the right full-flavored meal, though a glass by itself is fine.

Drinkability: Something I notice about old beers is they tend to foam up in the mouth. That’s what happened with my bottle of Speakeasy Butchertown Black Ale. Thick with a foamy texture, though in no way cloying or sticky. Soft and smooth in the mouthfeel with an easy finish. I’m not crazy about the aftertaste, but for an 8.2% ABV body there is no alcohol warmth or other presence here. 
Grade: 6/10