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Barrel Noir - Almanac Beer Co.

Not Rated.
Barrel NoirBarrel Noir

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

388 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 388
Reviews: 71
rAvg: 4.06
pDev: 8.87%
Wants: 75
Gots: 70 | FT: 9
Brewed by:
Almanac Beer Co. visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Double / Imperial Stout |  10.00% ABV

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes/Commercial Description:
This oak-aged ale is our love letter to bourbon barrels. Barrel Noir is a sumptuous, inky ale that celebrates the velvety texture and subtle heat that only Kentucky charred oak can impart. Born from a blend of American imperial stout and Belgian-inspired dark ale aged in bourbon barrels, this rich brew can be paired with braised beef dishes and dark chocolates. Enjoyed best in front of a warm fireplace.

(Beer added by: Trilogy31 on 02-14-2013)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 388 | Reviews: 71 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of tectactoe
3.74/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Thanks to Jeff for cracking this one. Pours very dense and nearly black with the smallest, deep-brown skin at the time, a pretty long cry from being called a "head", even after a straight-down pour. No real lacing or legging of any sort, just a fairly dark and still, troubling looking beer. A little more carbonation certainly wouldn't hurt.

Somewhat musky and deep roasted cocoa beans are the first things to jump out and hit my senses. Quickly following is a brigade of woody and oak notes; surprisingly enough, the bourbon isn't that strong - actually, it's hardly even noticeable in the aroma. Light caramel and sweet, sticky brown sugar softens the finish, coupled alongside some plums, dates, and even a touch of apple skins. Solid barrel-stout aroma with a nice finishing sweetness at the end.

The first sip is pretty heavier up-front - a bit heavier than the smooth aroma would have you guessing. Boozy and strong, but not quite akin to smooth bourbon. It's more of a sharp and abrasive booziness; think straight Jack Daniel's whiskey. It hits hard up front and haunts the palate from start to finish. I'm typically a fan of some nice boozy flavors in my beers, but this one could use some time to mellow out.

Other actually flavors from the profile include some lightly milky chocolates, molasses, nuts, and a strong, woody, polished finish. Barrel Noir leaves your palate a touch sticky and coated with a nutty-oak flavor that's been soaking for days in a vat of Tennessee whiskey. The mouth feel is pretty nice - big and boisterous, heavy bodied and full of itself, and even slightly creamy due to the low carbonation.

I feel that if the bourbon character of this one was toned down a bit, it would be pretty damn great. As it stands, it's simply a good barrel-aged beer that is a little to boozy to enjoy for any prolonged beer drinking period of time. Perhaps waiting this one out is a better route.

tectactoe, May 09, 2013
Photo of Ludwigkpa
4/5  rDev -1.5%

Ludwigkpa, Today at 12:10 PM
Photo of spycow
4.25/5  rDev +4.7%

spycow, Oct 11, 2014
Photo of ianw87
4/5  rDev -1.5%

Overall a great beer. Nice oaky, caramel, almost caramel corn nose. Nice dryness from the stout that battles the sweetness from the dark ale. I really like it.

ianw87, Oct 04, 2014
Photo of chadwicktorres
4/5  rDev -1.5%

chadwicktorres, Oct 02, 2014
Photo of ZenBiscuits
4.5/5  rDev +10.8%

ZenBiscuits, Sep 22, 2014
Photo of Marco_Gtz
4/5  rDev -1.5%

Marco_Gtz, Sep 21, 2014
Photo of HookemHoos
3.75/5  rDev -7.6%

HookemHoos, Sep 19, 2014
Photo of jaymo18
4.15/5  rDev +2.2%

jaymo18, Sep 19, 2014
Photo of mike312
4/5  rDev -1.5%

mike312, Sep 19, 2014
Photo of atrocity
4/5  rDev -1.5%

atrocity, Sep 17, 2014
Photo of seedyone
3/5  rDev -26.1%

On tap at Rattle n Hum, NYC. Took a chance on this as it was highly recommended by fellow bar flies. I usually enjoy dark, rich brews but this lacked a few basics elements that I'd hoped to find. Aroma was very promising. A hint of coffe/toffee that never developed on the tongue. IMHO the flavors were overly assertive on the tart side.

I realize Almanac specializes in sours, which I have a low tolerence for, but reading a description of "a blend of American imperial stout & Belgian-inspired dark ale aged in bourbon barrels" had me. I'm big on all three.

This reminded me of Ommegang's Abbey Ale Dubbel. More of a wine barrel taste.

I guess to each his own still applies.

seedyone, Sep 17, 2014
Photo of freemanj
4/5  rDev -1.5%

freemanj, Sep 17, 2014
Photo of pat61
4.5/5  rDev +10.8%

Nose: bourbon, chocolate with fruit, prunes and raisins.
Pours brilliant deep ebony, ½” finely bubbled tan foam cap. Lacy.
Palate: Starts with chocolate and bourbon, followed by prune and raisins with light espresso in the background mixed with bourbon and chocolate. The aftertaste is long and lingering.
The body is medium full to chewy but it is moussey and foamy due to the fine, soft natural carbonation.

pat61, Sep 14, 2014
Photo of maxcoinage
4.25/5  rDev +4.7%

A - poured bottle (Winter 2012) into snifter. Some decent head, light mocha in color and about 2 finger settled at a decent pace. Beer is pitch black

S - oak, raisins, coffee, roastiness

T -roasted malts, dark fruit sweetness, chocolate, some barrel character slightly bitter with some heat on the finish

M - good carbonation, heavier side of medium body.

O - very complex and enjoyable brew.

maxcoinage, Sep 12, 2014
Photo of Lucnifter
4/5  rDev -1.5%

Lucnifter, Sep 07, 2014
Photo of halfbarrelbrew
4.25/5  rDev +4.7%

halfbarrelbrew, Sep 06, 2014
Photo of LawLow74
4.16/5  rDev +2.5%

LawLow74, Aug 30, 2014
Photo of sourdog
4.5/5  rDev +10.8%

sourdog, Aug 12, 2014
Photo of ThePorterSorter
4.23/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

The beer pours a viscous looking, inky black (with flecks of dark brown in the light) topped by a loose, yet creamy looking tan head that settles quickly into a thin blanketing around the glass's perimeter. Chocolate predominates the nose when cold, but as the beer gradually warms there are hints of charred oak, roasted malt, cardboard, bready caramel, and booze (minimal). The beer drinks with roasty, chocolaty sweetness upfront, which is gradually chipped away by bitter bourbon oak and bitter cocoa and finishes with a quick bite from the alcohol and bitter-sweet cocoa that lingers. It's medium-full bodied and minimally carbonated with a great roasty, bourbony sweetness upfront and transitions to a lingering and slightly watered-down, boozy, cocoa bitterness. This is another fantastic offering from almanac, one that highlights spirit barrel goodness without the syrupy sweetness found in most beers in its class.

ThePorterSorter, Aug 12, 2014
Photo of tviz33
4.25/5  rDev +4.7%

tviz33, Aug 11, 2014
Photo of Kmlund
4/5  rDev -1.5%

Kmlund, Aug 05, 2014
Photo of Odysseyalien
4/5  rDev -1.5%

Odysseyalien, Jul 31, 2014
Photo of FrankHammer
4.5/5  rDev +10.8%

FrankHammer, Jul 24, 2014
Photo of Davepoolesque
4.05/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured out into a teku, black with a fluffy khaki colored head. Smell up front is lots of vanilla and oak. Getting very little roasted malt. Taste is vanilla, a subtle roasted malt flavor, oak, almost a milk stout sweetness, and a bit of bourbon. This one is creamy and super smooth. No rough edges at all but it's on the thinner side for a stout. Kind of reminded me of a less complex Abyss.

Davepoolesque, Jul 23, 2014
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Barrel Noir from Almanac Beer Co.
91 out of 100 based on 388 ratings.