If you’re among the lucky folks selected in The Bruery’s lottery this week for the annual Black Tuesday release (or you’re in one of the brewery’s membership societies), congratulations. Now here comes the hard part: Place a bottle of the prized, bourbon barrel-aged imperial stout in your cellar and forget about it for a few years.
We cracked open a 2015 bottle of Black Tuesday to gauge how it drinks now. The stout, which rings in at 19.9% ABV this year, pours murky soot brown with easily visible legs that coat the side of the glass. Bourbon’s brawny scent radiates up from the liquid, with raisin and dark cherry peeking through amidst the booze and damp oak. The first sip features an extremely sweet array of vanilla, dark orange and minor tones of chocolate. The alcohol rears its head near the finish, but while it’s definitely very warm, it never veers toward harsh booziness. Black licorice and a hint of cola emerge as the beer warms.
Black Tuesday is thoroughly enjoyable fresh, but some cellar time should help smooth any sharpness and bring out characteristics now hidden in the sweet warmth. We’ve tried bottles approaching 4 years old that were divine with a velvety smooth mouthfeel. The Bruery started brewing the beer in 2009, so the outer limits of aging this boozy beast may still be unknown.