Dismiss Notice
Save $5 when you subscribe to 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine by selecting auto-renew.

Subscribe now →
Dismiss Notice
Join Our Email List →

And we'll send you the latest updates and offers from BeerAdvocate, because knowing is half the battle.
Dismiss Notice

Pre-order your Respect Beer "Hipster" Hoodie today!

Plus: Free shipping (US only) on orders of $25 or more until 12/18/15. Just select "Free Shipping" at checkout.

Shop now →

PNC Imperial Buckwheat Stout - Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
PNC Imperial Buckwheat StoutPNC Imperial Buckwheat Stout

Educational use only; do not reuse.

42 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 42
Hads: 440
Avg: 4.44
pDev: 7.66%
Wants: 291
Gots: 71 | FT: 12
Brewed by:
Firestone Walker Brewing Co. visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Double / Imperial Stout |  13.70% ABV

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: Rifugium on 06-11-2013

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

No notes at this time.
View: Beers (83) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50  | nextlast
Reviews: 42 | Hads: 440
Photo of brewmastercat
5/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

By far the best barrel aged stout I've ever had.
It's rough, yet smooth. Spicy, yet sweet. Fruity, yet bitter. So many contrasting and complimentary flavors...a great wood character with a hint of a very fine agave.
Fruity, spicy, sweet, smooth, rough edges, chocolate, booze, delicious.

It's like Clint Eastwood in a suit.

 324 characters

Photo of Kuhuh
4.95/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This was the first of the set of 3 someone had given me as a present. The perfect smoothness of a great tequila blended with the dark and rich flavors of an imperial stout. My mouth divulged the oaky flavors and it was a tad bit dry. You will want to have a little water near by in my opinion. This beer will always be in my top due to the fact I never knew you could blend such amazing flavors.

 395 characters

Photo of chugalug06
4.89/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Pitch black body, thick viscosity. Burnt caramel head grows 1 1/2 finger. No lacing

Amazing aroma. Deep toasty chocolate aroma grows the more you sniff. Caramel, no smoke.

Smooth as could be. Amazing. Word cannot describe this brew. Deep dark 90% chocolate, mild sweetness with elegant lingering agave vanilla bitterness. Booze is subtle with mellow kick at the dry end that shoots up the nose.

Clean, crisp, amazingly unique, beyond recommended. So glad I took the time to ask and listen about this brew. Thanks Chris.

 524 characters

Photo of ricknelson
4.85/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Can not believe how far down the Top 250 BA beer list this beer is ranked. A group of four of us had this Firestone Walker PNC Imperial Buckwheat Stout at Falling Rock Pub in Denver. It was sold only as a drink it on premise bootle. It came in a nice Firestone Walker box with a sheet of paper inside which explained how the beer came about. How a group of beer bar owners from across the U.S., that gets together from time to time at a brewery and make a special beer. The PNC was their 3rd effort and was only available at Falling Rock Pub in 22 ounce bottles for consumption there.
A guy was watching the four of us drink this beer at Falling Rock. So I waved him over to our table. It turned out to be Chris Black owner of the Falling Rock Pub and one of PNC's recipe originators. I got Chris to autograph the box for me before we left. All four of us totally loved this beer. I have a chance to get another one from a friend here in Vermont, and I sincerely hope it works out.

 981 characters

Photo of dar482
4.85/5  rDev +9.2%

The beer comes in a dark black color.

The aroma offers a touch of spicy spirit, sweet caramel, roasted malt.

The flavor follows of roasted malt and chocolate, surrounded by tequila. The beer is slightly light in mouthfeel for its ABV, but it makes up for it with a beautiful dance of spicy spirit of tequila and medium roasted malt of the base beer.

A very interesting brew that ends being executed very well.

 412 characters

Photo of bnelson997
4.84/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had this on tap at the brewery the morning after the FW Invitational cause I missed the pour there. You could definitely smell the tequila barrel in this. What an interesting taste too, as one wouldn't necessarily think that tequila would match well with an imperial stout. The flavor had that distinct bite of agave that was smoothed over by the warmth of the alcohol and roasted espresso flavor. The people who get to try this in bottle at the publican places where it was eventually be distributed will not be disappointed!

 526 characters

Photo of vfgccp
4.69/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

A - Pours a thick, dark cola. Dark khaki head settles into a medium halo with nice retention and low lace.

S - Anise, white booze, raisin, oak, vanilla, agave, black tequila, nutmeg, molasses, brown sugar.

T - Brown sugar, earthy straw, burnt caramel, reduced plums, soy sauce umami, espresso, black roasted grains, and a soft tequila warmth on the backend.

M - Outstanding mouthfeel - silky smooth, soft, and full bodied with excellent staying power.

O - An incredible stout. Great balance, complexity, and mouthfeel.

P - Excellent pairing with red velvet cake, coconut, and chocolate chip cookies.

 604 characters

Photo of robwestcott
4.64/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Cold and black from the tap at Monks in Philadelphia, to a 10oz fluted goblet with a 2 finger long lasting mocha head with a full sheet of lace.

Big aroma of smoky chocolate and bourbon. A big beer.

Barrel forward, smoky, cocoa, bourbon, dark cherries, creamy smooth. Medium carbonation, big bodied.

Great beer.

 314 characters

Photo of Davepoolesque
4.63/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This smells awesome. Huge dark chocolate fudge right away. Toasted coconut after it warms. Getting a bit of fruity, sweetness on the very back end. Super dry on the finish. Medium thickness. Tiny amount of alcohol heat. Divine.

 227 characters

Photo of twiggamortis420
4.61/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

thanks to fthomasl for sharing this one with me. Pours black with a bubbly brown head. Fair retention and not much lace.

Sweet chocolate with caramel. Alcohol, blackberries, wood. I would have guessed some sort of barrel treatment, but never would have thought tequila.

Definitely sweet - more of a sugary sweetness than chocolate. Zing from the alcohol and barrel treatment, I think I can pick out a little agave flavor. If pressed, I probably would have guessed Rum as opposed to tequila after a few sips. Some husky aspect from the buckwheat. Definitely of of FW's finest right here, amazing brew.

 602 characters

Photo of draheim
4.57/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz (batch 001, bottled 5/17/2013) into a tulip. Pours an oily black w/ almost no head, just a thin wispy film remains after a minute or so.

Aroma is huge chocolate, molasses, vanilla, roasty malt, and sticky caramel. This glass is oozing with dense, drippy aromas.

Taste is likewise bittersweet, roasty, chocolatey, and boozy-hot. Lots of nice oaky char. I get a sense of some kind of spirits but if I didn't know better, I would probably assume it was bourbon. But then I am no tequila connoisseur either. I might just like this even better than Parabola.

Mouthfeel is sticky and chewy, heavy, thick, coating. Silky smooth.

Overall a huge barrel-aged beer from Firestone Walker. Tons of flavor, empty calories, and booze. Drinking this beer is like slipping into a velvet smoking jacket and retreating to the game room.

 826 characters

Photo of LiquidAmber
4.56/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured into an Elysian snifter. Pours pitch black with very little carbonation, with only a tiny ring of brown foam around the edge of the glass. Awesome aroma of whisky, dark toasted malt and yes, tequila, possibly a hint of vanilla, but all lighter essences are dominated by the barrel aromas. Flavor is amazing, dark toasted malt, dark dried fruit, coffee, chocolate and vanilla in a high quality liquor base. Tastes very much like a liqueur. Finishes with sweet dark fruit, tequila and chocolate. Medium to full bodied. This is very rich and very nicely balanced. I am floored that the flavor covers the alcohol in this monster, but although there was some in the nose, there is virtually none in the taste. An amazing blended stout. Firestone Walker once again proves to be a master of the barrel.

 802 characters

Photo of jakecattleco
4.56/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Draft at Craft Beer Summit from FW tent. REALLY like this offering, all the flavors are subtle enough to pick them out individually. A great beer, that hides a very potent punch well.

 188 characters

Photo of Igotmypistola
4.56/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Had on tap (multiple times) at the toronado yesterday for their anniversary party. The funny thing is I expected it to be just good, perhaps a bit of a boozy mess, but nonetheless enjoyable. What I GOT was bitchslapped across the face by the tastiest stout I may have ever had. This thing is the TRUTH! When I was describing it to my friends today I told them it tasted like a mix between parabola and bcbs. Just thick and chewy. Rich and robust without being too sweet. And this perfect mild spice/heat lingering just so faintly (tequila?) I could not stop raving about it. top 3 favorite stouts ever tasted. $$ in the bank

 624 characters

Photo of Kevinpitts
4.55/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Opened with about 2 1/2 years age on it (bottled April 2013). Initial smell said it all. Tequila from barrel came through with a rich stouty smell. All incorporated together well. Taste was same... tequila bitterness with a complex buckwheat stout flavor. So much going on, but all characteristics well blended into a truly great flavor. Unique and great!

 355 characters

Photo of TommyLiam
4.54/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A joy to drink but a bit steep on price. Cellar for at least six months to lose some of the heat.

A -- Black, translucent brown on the edges. Thin, light brown head with little retention and almost zero lacing.

S -- Lots of vanilla, some tequila and a base of wet quality coffee grounds.

T -- The tequila is bordering the dominant upfront vanilla and sweet roast malts. Amaretto Cherries with cocoa transitions to a finish of very sweet wood.

M -- heavy and structured. Light carb disapates quickly.

A great one off from a favorite of mine. It will no doubt be too sweet for many fans of the Imperial Stout style.

 618 characters

Photo of rand
4.51/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

22 oz bottle imbibed at Toronado SD. Poured into a small goblet.

A bit of a surprise, I wasn't aware they were brewing this until recently. Nice of Ian at Toronado to give us the heads-up. This is an amazing brew, not unlike Parabola's flavor profile, with touches of warming, astringent tequila around the edges.

A: Jet black in color, highly viscous in appearance, which seems to dampen any chance of a head.

S: Big notes of vanilla and oak, joined by a hints of chocolate and coffee. Cherries and esters are also noted. The sweet aspects are checked by notes of tequila and booze. Really boozy, especially as it warms.

T: Malt-forward as expected...big notes of vanilla and hazelnut and sugar-sweetness. Some might find the profile too sweet, but these aspects are quickly balanced by warming booze and vinous, pithy tequila. Cherry, oak, toasty grain are all distinct mid-sip. The brew warms significantly as it finishes long and sweet and boozy.

M: About as oily and chewy and viscous as you'd expect...bordering on syrup.

 1,037 characters

Photo of SaltySizzle
4.48/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Had this via On-Tap at Toro SD and also via bottle. Not much variance between the two. Enjoyed this thoroughly. Deep black, with a silky mouthfeel. Hints of caramel and oak, and a sweet finish. With a bit more age, this score would go up higher. Usually hate tequila, but this had notes of it and did it well. Excited to try this again if a certain friend decides to crack his bottle! ;)

 387 characters

Photo of DefenCorps
4.46/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

SEP 26, 2014
Bottle, batch 1. Bottled 17 May 2013, consumed 26 Sept 2014. Thanks, Chris! Pours jet black with a dense, creamy, dark brown head with excellent retention and lacing. The nose is awesome. Rich, dense and layered, there’s dark chocolate, dark wheat bread, buckwheat honey, and a beautiful tequila note, rich with its agave character. Booze is shockingly well hidden. Toasted bread, toasted agave, brown sugar, mild toffee, some earth, a touch of cinnamon. Really good. The palate opens big, full and with a blend of booze and sweetness. Dark brown sugar, toffee, dark chocolate, flavors of German fitness bread and a mild Kahlua note are present. The mid palate is where the tequila character really comes out. Toasted agave, mild vanilla, plenty of tequila flavor. A long, mildly biker, moderately roasty finish with a blend of tequila, caramel, buckwheat honey and dark chocolate are present. Immaculate palate. Exceptional stuff.

 946 characters

Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.45/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Wowcoolman for sharing this one at his tasting.

Batch # 001.

Pours an almost opaque super dark brown with a foamy dark khaki head that settles to wisps of film on top of the beer. Small dots of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of dark roasted malt, cocoa, alcohol, and wood aromas. Taste is much the same with cocoa, wood, and alcohol flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of woody bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp and medium bodied mouthfeel. Overall, this is a very good beer with an awesome barrel aged presence but I am not getting any discernible tequila aromas or flavors.

 692 characters

Photo of TheSevenDuffs
4.44/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap @ Toronado in SF

A - Pitch black with a thin layer of light brown head.

S - Oak, light tequila, chocolate, roast. Lots of barrel but not an intense tequila aroma.

T - Big barrel notes come to the forefront immediately: Oak, char, and light tequila. Chocolate, roast and molasses are all present as well.

M - Full body. Smooth. Light carbonation.

 359 characters

Photo of cbutova
4.44/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Reviewed from notes taken at Toronado, San Diego.

A- Pitch black oil thick brew from the taps into a small flute. Dark mocha colored head forms on top of it. A nice size and good retention. Nice ring remains as well as some islands and lace is patchy.

S- Rich chocolate and roast malts lead the way like Parabola but there is a distinct difference with the barrel feel, semi-tequila hint.

T -Super rich roast chocolate malts with some vanilla and tequila character, that hard to describe flavor in only tequila, just a hint of it. Oak vanilla, pepper, spice and some fruit feel. Barrel feel is quite nice.

MF- Super thick and chewy with smooth, moderately high carbonation. Finishes with a substantial but nice warmth.

Reminds me a lot of Parabola in the base beer but the barrel feel is substantially different enough to make this have its own character. Would love to try again but don't see that happening.

 914 characters

Photo of dirtylou
4.35/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

on-tap x2; Burgundian

I was out of town when this limited-release bottle whale blew through Bottleworks and I was beginning to think I was never going to have an opportunity to try it until Burgundian put it on tap for their uber-casual 2nd anniversary. Dark bodied and sporting a full mocha head - this beast is heavy on the chocolate, toffee and vanilla. The tequila barrel imparts boozy and wooden notes, but no discernible tequila flavors for me

 450 characters

Photo of jdhowe
4.35/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Batch 001, enjoyed 7 March 2013 at Falling Rock Taproom in Denver, CO.

A: Pours an opaque black with brown-tinged light visible through the edges. 1/2 finger of mocha colored head quickly dissipates to a thin ring. No lacing.

S: Strong aromas up front of tequila/agave, coffee, caramel, alcohol, molasses, and mild cocoa powder. Chocolate emerges more as it warms, and tequila becomes quite strong.

T/M: Wow, this is a huge beer. Strong roasty and chocolatey flavors are accompanied by a strong tequila presence. Huge smooth tequila character is present throughout the beer, leading into a coffee roasty finish. The alcohol in the beer is highly evident and it imparts a coolness to drinking from the volatility. Tequila and chocolate open up with warming, and a mild coconut emerges. Mouthfeel is thick, coating, with low to moderate carbonation. Lightly astringent and very sweet.

O: This is a really enjoyable beer with a very prominent tequila flavor. While tequila is not really my thing, I really enjoyed this beer.

 1,027 characters

Photo of bifrost17
4.34/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

So glad I was able to score three of the last four bottles of this available at Bottleworks.

A: Exactly what you'd expect. Dark (not totally opaque) inky, viscous. A vigorous pour produces a solid finger and a half worth of a khaki/mocha colored head. The head goes away pretty quickly, as you'd expect in a beer this big, but it sticks around as a nice off white ring around the glass. Only the slightest amount of lacing is left on the glass as I drink it. Honestly this beer looks kind of intimidating, but not in a bad way....if that makes any sense.

S: Oh my god....TEQUILA! I'm not fan of tequila, it's one of my worst enemies, but the way the tequila barrel aging in this beer comes through in the nose is divine. I can't exactly describe it, but this beer has that familiar FW barrel aged beer scent that I'm used to, at least it's the scent I get in the anniversary beers they brew, and Parabola, and Sucaba. Good lord, the tequila, seriously. Wow. Chocolate, vanilla, coffee, coconut, and maybe slight bourbon....? Seriously though, the overwhelming scent I get is all tequila, and not that cheap shit that will get you into a bar fight, I'm talkin like top shelf tequila here. Amazing.

T: Unfortunately the taste doesn't quite live up to the nose. I mean don't get me wrong, it tastes amazing, but the overwhelming flavor I get right now is just BOOZE, especially as it warms up. Although, I'm keeping in mind this is a very fresh bottle, and at almost 14% abv I'm not surprised that it's so boozy. Very sweet, but finishes very nice, just a slight pleasant lingering sweetness. Warms you inside as it goes down.

M: Slides across the palate very slick. Almost oil like. Not too thick. Carbonation is straight up perfection, not flat, but just enough carbonation to let you know it's beer.

O: I'm not sure why, but my expectations weren't that high on this beer, but honestly it's one of the best and most unique beers I've tried. I'm tackling this bomber alone because I just couldn't wait to try it, but this is definitely one that I'd recommend sharing with some friends that will really appreciate it. Firestone Walker has the barrel aged "big beer" game on straight up total lockdown (in my opinion) Parabola, Sucaba, the anniversary beers, and now this...all of them world class. I can't wait to see how amazing Velvet Merkin is once it hits the market this year. Anyways, I'm extremely grateful that I live in a city that has members of the PNC so that I was able to buy some bottles of this at their bottleshop. Thanks to Firestone Walker, Matt Bonney, Matt Vandenberg, and the rest of the PNC members for making this possible. I can't wait to see what some age does to this amazing beer, thank god I have 2 more bottles. Definitely in the top 10 beers I've had. I'll be sure to edit this review in a year or so when I decide to crack another bottle.

 2,873 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50  | nextlast
PNC Imperial Buckwheat Stout from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
96 out of 100 based on 42 ratings.