Early October, cellarmen at The Bruery in Placentia show up to their barrel warehouse, inhale the smell of bourbon-oak angel share, then turn the key on their well-worn forklift. The pages stapled to the barrel heads all say Black Tuesday, a ~19% Russian Imperial Stout that was made twelve months ago and left to marinate on freshly-emptied bourbon barrels. One-by-one, the racks are hauled down, sampled, and emptied into a giant brite tank for carbonating prior to bottling.
This practice has happened every year since 2009, a year after The Bruery was born. The original brewday was a complete disaster, hence naming the beer after the iconic stock market crash of 1929. The beer is released on the last Tuesday of the month to commemorate/commiserate the start of the great depression, usually with a swanky party, complete with top hats, pearls, and every variation one can dream up (besides Taco Tuesday).
Although much of the hype behind Black Tuesday is long gone, the beer still holds up in deliciousness. If you like bourbon and stouts, the beer is perfect meld between the two. I pulled a 2010 bottle out of my cellar last week, and it was a rock-solid ride from start to finish.
Past impressions: S’Mores character, complete with chocolate truffles, toasty marshmallow, and even graham cracker. 2014’s had a big maple syrup character that was undeniable. It smells like if you were to drop a bottle of Buffalo Trace inside a See’s Candy Store, where oaky-brown booze riffs off of sweet chocolate, caramel, and vanilla aromatics. Some years are hotter with alcohol than others and tend to smooth out with age. 2017’s release had a notable concord grape note that I couldn’t shake. Each year, the beer evolves.
Founder Patrick Rue on the 2018 Release: “This marks the 10th release of Black Tuesday! This year’s ABV is 19.2% with a flavor profile of caramel, dark chocolate, vanilla, and smoldering oak. The batches that went into this year’s Black Tuesday developed in barrels between 13-16 months, which is a bit longer than our previous average of twelve months. This year is drinking well out of the gate, but of course will continue to mellow with time. Also new this year, we blended in a touch of what we refer to as “Farbe Black Tuesday”, which is a version of BlackTuesday that we use to enhance color and roast characteristics. This has certainly made the beer darker, as well as provides a bit of coffee-like roast in the finish.”
How do I get a bottle? Head over to the official Black Tuesday website at 9:59 A.M. on Tuesday October 30th and snag a bottle for $29.99 (limit 6 per person).
Greg Nagel has been writing about beer since 2011, is an avid homebrewer of wine, cider, and beer, is a certified Cicerone Beer Server, a podcaster with the Four Brewers Show, and runs a yearly beer festival called Firkfest.