Barrel Noir - Almanac Beer Co.
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Ratings: 358 | Reviews: 64 | Display Reviews Only:
4.09/5 rDev +0.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
12oz stubby bottle purchased from K&L Wine Merchants in Redwood City, CA. Shared with Rich in Sydney.
Pours a surprisingly light cloudy brown, certainly still stout-worthy, but perhaps less than Impy-level. Head forms a big, burgeoning froth when first poured, settling to a mocha crater of large bubbles. Body is surprisingly light, although the carbonation that forms is still quite fine. Overall it looks good, but with a few quirks to it.
Nose is wonderful. Big American oak flavours balanced with a rich sweetness from the beer itself. Plenty of toasted coconut, vanilla and mild milky chocolate. It's balanced or perhaps shot through with a slight acidity which adds a point of difference from other bourbon barrel aged Imperial stouts. But mostly, it's just sweet, rich and gorgeous. Lovely stuff.
Taste has that slight acidity on the front, but it's quickly packed away by the sweetness giving chocolate and vanilla smoothness. The acidity however maintains a lightness to the palate throughout, making it feel slightly frothy and ephemeral from start to finish. There's a slightly metallic note on the back as well which again countermands the big, sweet vanillin oak characters. On the finish lingers a dry, sweet character of toasted coconut.
Feel is very different to the usual imperial stout: it's light, slightly rounded and a little bit ephemeral. It's an unusual experience, but not an unpleasant one by any means.
Overall, this is very good stuff. Sure, I love imperial stouts, and a big, heavy, boozy, rich example would have suited me fine. But I love that Almanac have done something very different with the same basic construct here. It's a new twist on a big bourbony stout, and that's something that's extremely welcome.
Serving type: bottle
09-07-2013 05:42:59 | More by lacqueredmouse
3.96/5 rDev -2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
375ml bottle poured into an Idle Hands tulip.
A - Pours an opaque black color with no light coming thru at all around the edges. Two fingers of dense creamy head shows excellent staying power and a beautiful mocha color. Thick lacing is left on the glass completing this very good looking stout.
S - Lots of dark roasted malt with some char and licorice making a first impression. Combination of chocolatey aromas from sweet milk chocolate thru bitter dark chocolate. Smooth bourbon takes a bit of a background position, sweet vanilla and a tiny bit of tartness mixed in too.
T - Very smooth, but not very assertive flavoring. Touch of vanilla up front with slightly warm bourbon. Burnt malt, a bit of char, dark chocolate, touch of coffee. Touch of bitter hops and maybe a bit of caramel on the finish especially as it warms in the glass. I'm surprised how subtle the flavorings are here.
M - Very smooth, warm bourbon that leaves a bit of a burn on the throat after the swallow. Medium bodied with a tingly mid-level carbonation. Quite mild flavors, especially for the style.
O - Absolutely beautiful beer in the glass with an aroma that is really nice and inviting. Nothing wrong with the flavors, just not enough there. If the flavor matched the aroma in intensity and complexity this would be truly outstanding. Still a good beer, but had so much more promise.
Serving type: bottle
08-30-2013 22:55:26 | More by portia99
3.25/5 rDev -20%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25
Bottled on 1/30/13
Poured into a standard tulip glass.
Pours a midnight black with a nice, 2 fingers tall khaki head that has some nice retention. The head eventually falls to a nice quarter finger cap, leaving no retention behind.
Rich aromas of sweet dark fruits waft up to your nose as soon as you pour the beer; mostly plum, cherry and fig. Building right alongside these sweet tones are impressions of coconut and vanilla from the bourbon barrel. As the beer warms, the barrel character begins to fade and more of the sweet fruit undertones, paired with a creamy chocolate presence become apparent. Underneath this sweetness, there is a very subtle astringent coffee tone.
Similar to the nose, your palate is struck immediately by waves of sweet fruit; mostly plums, cherries and figs. Underneath these fruits is a light streak of bitter coffee and chocolate. The beer finishes watery with lingering notes of chocolate, sweet fruit and coffee. There are some nice notes of coconut and vanilla from the barrel. There is a sizable alcohol presence.
Thin, a tad watery with moderate carbonation.
I had hopes for this beer; A Dark Belgian Strong aged in Bourbon barrels and then blended with an Imperial Stout? This should be awesome! I was expecting a very robust, creamy ale and what this turned out to be is a thin beer with some decent barrel character. After trying Almanac's Farmhouse Reserve No. 3, and I had bigger hopes for this.
Serving type: bottle
08-26-2013 01:20:54 | More by flayedandskinned
3.91/5 rDev -3.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75
Bottle shared by Chris (spycow). Served in a snifter.
A - Tan foam settles to a thick collar, wisps, and minimal lace. Dark brown body with some ruby-brown transparency when held to the light.
S - Lots of bourbon barrel, oak, roasted malts, charred wood, a slightly buttery note, anise, dark chocolate, and well-concealed alcohol.
T - More malt character, with less overt bourbon and oak character. Caramel, roasted malts, vanilla marshmallow, fudge, and again the same buttery note I picked up in the aroma. Still, pretty enjoyable on the whole.
M - Medium body, and a tad thin and watery for the listed 10%. Dry, oaky, and tannic, with light alcohol warmth that is less than one would expect.
D - A solid barrel-aged stout, although it's marred by a mildly buttery note and an overly thin body.
Serving type: bottle
08-20-2013 03:06:30 | More by MasterSki
Barrel Noir from Almanac Beer Co.
91 out of 100 based on 358 ratings.