The Bruery: Black Tuesday
Released: October 2010
Style: Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Stout
The one and only infamous Black Tuesday is headed into its third release, dropping like a bomb onto the craft beer scene on October 25, 2011. A popular topic and buzzworthy brew throughout internet forums and beer nerd chatter, this behemoth of an imperial stout created an absolute mob scene at The Bruery in 2009 during its initial release, prompting a complete restructuring of the beer’s distribution.
While the original 2009 vintage has turned into “whale” trading status, the great people at the Placentia, California brewery have upped production considerably over the past two years. Members of their special Reserve Society now receive first crack at their allotment and the opportunity to purchase tickets to the release party, which includes three bottles of the highly touted stout. The limit was raised to six bottles for 2011, indicating a jump of nearly double (somewhere around 5 or 6K total), making Black Tuesday slightly “easier” to obtain.
In 2010, people around the country were also given the chance to buy one bottle (of the estimated 3K produced) via online sale, and designate a proxy who could pick up the package and mail it off to the lucky recipient. Of course, this caused a crash of The Bruery’s webstore, prompting delays and rabble-rousing from the peanut gallery, as many hopeful customers were shut out. The process is in place again for 2011, although out-of-state buyers will be able to snag up to three bottles if they choose (also note the $30 price tag before tax and shipping, but that hasn’t stopped anyone yet).
It’s not every day that a beer has its own trailer, but Black Tuesday continues to remain somewhat of a phenomenon throughout craft culture. Sure, bourbon barrel aged imperial stouts are all the rage these days, but there are few others out there that generate a similar ruckus, outside of items such as Bourbon County Rare, Founders CBS, or Cigar City Barrel Aged Hunahpu’s. The near perfect ratings, extreme ABV, and rarity certainly help, but the near instantaneous success of the beer is incredibly scarce.
As for the Black Tuesday itself, the incredibly rich, malty imperial stout spends around 15 months aging in spent bourbon barrels, imparting a luscious smorgasbord of unique flavors. Because of the humongous malt bill on the beer, the burly stout tends to create an avalanche of tastes alongside a thick, syrupy feel on the tongue. Roasty dark malts, warming booze, vanilla, caramel, anise, and oak are just some of the flavors to expect.
There’s some out there who would shout from the rooftops about hype, unreasonable expectations, and high pricing…and they might be right. However, that won’t change the fact that in many people’s minds, this beer is 100% worth the effort, time, and money it takes to track one down.