Dismiss Notice
Curious about recent updates to the site and app? Check the Announcements forum for updates.
Dismiss Notice
Love Belgian Beer?

Join us Sep 17 in Portland, Maine for Return of the Belgian Beer Fest, featuring hundreds of authentic Belgian beers and Belgian-inspired offerings.

Tickets + more: beeradvocate.com/belgian

PNC Imperial Buckwheat Stout | Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

YOUR RATING = None |
BA SCORE
96
world-class
47 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score
Send samples
PNC Imperial Buckwheat StoutPNC Imperial Buckwheat Stout
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
California, United States | website

Style: American Double / Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 13.70%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
This bold and deliciously complex beer is an Imperial Buckwheat Stout aged in Tequila barrels for 13 months. Only a collection of pioneering, well seasoned, extensively traveled and passionate pub owners could come up with such a notion. A massive grain bill consisting of Pale, Munich and toasted Canadian Buckwheat was blended with pearled drum-kilned barley from Chile, a generous amount of Wisconsin toasted wheat and a slug of British crystal malts. A couple lumps of Mexican Turbinado sugar were added for good measure while we loaded the kettle with Styrian Golding hops. This carefully calculated collision of flavors, concocted over copious amounts of Orval well into the night, was laid down in fresh Tequila barrels wrangled over our southern border by the beautiful and gracious Meg Gill. We simply call this beer “PNC” in honor of its collaborative creators – the gothic symphony of flavors will speak for themselves.

Added by Rifugium on 06-11-2013

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

BEER STATS
Reviews:
47
Ratings:
468
Avg:
4.44
pDev:
7.43%
 
 
Wants:
285
Gots:
67
For Trade:
10
View: Beers | Events
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50  | nextlast
Reviews: 47 | Ratings: 468
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 metter98
4.38/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Bottle at Monk's Cafe, Philadelphia, PA

A: The beer is black when viewed from afar, but when held up to the light it is clear dark red in color. It poured with a collar of beige bubbles around the edge of the glass.
S: Moderate aromas of tequila are preset in the nose along with hints of dark malts.
T: The taste has flavors of tequila from the barrel aging along with notes of oaky vanilla, toasted malts, and hints of sugary sweetness. Some hints of alcohol are perceptible in the finish.
M: It feels medium- to full-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation. There is some warming from the alcohol in the finish.
O: This beer grows on you—it gets better as it warms up as the complexity increases. It tastes strong, but the alcohol is not that dominant.

Serving type: bottle

 804 characters

Photo of Rifugium
4.42/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

First had: on tap at Monk's, Philly, PA

Served in a tulip, black, with tinges of brown around the edges, and topped with a thin tan head that receded to a meager ringlet. In the nose, dark chocolate, dark fruits, booze, and lighter notes of coffee and vanilla. Rich, full taste, chocolate, figs, tequila very obvious and actually well-balanced, with a stiff oakiness from the barrel, dark malty sweetness, toffee, and a touch of toasted coconut. This was a big beer. BCBS-ish in nature (only with tequila). Slick, oily mouthfeel, full body, definitely boozy though, so it makes for a good sipper. Very good overall.

 616 characters

Photo of mothman
4/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Tan head. Dark brown color.

Hard to tell the barrels are tequila. Chocolate and coffee roast. Some alcohol heat. Caramel and toffee. Big malts. Toasted marshmallow. Oaky. Maybe a hint of tequila in the finish, but it's hard to tell.

Full bodied. Ends a bit roasted. A very nice beer.

 286 characters

Photo of stakem
4.13/5  rDev -7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Many thanks to anotherjoe for surprising me with a bottle of this. Pours black in color with a rich brown cap. The aroma contains cocoa and lots of barrel with slight mineral feel. Plenty of oak and solvent alcohol blend to almost something like raisons. The solvent alcohol feel carries over from nose to flavor with plenty of roasty char appeal as well as fruity chocolate covered raisons. The barrel aging imparts oak and vanilla with some herbal hops being the last things noted. This is a very full and creamy feeling body with moderate carbonation. I cannot think of a tequilla barrel aged beer that I have enjoyed more than this. Well done.

 647 characters

Photo of Alieniloquium
3.97/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

650 mL bottle poured into a snifter.

Appearance - Black body. A little transparent at the edges. Medium khaki collar.

Smell - Bourbon. Chocolate. Boozy. Vanilla. Some oak.

Taste - Chocolate. Vanilla and bourbon. A little bit of nuttiness. The finish has what must be that tequila barrel flavor, although I wouldn't call it directly tequila. Definitely something that I'm not sure I love. Very oaky finish.

Mouthfeel - Hefty body. Boozy. Sharp oak. Medium carbonation.

Overall - The tequila barrel throws me off, but the rest of this beer is fantastic.

 556 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 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 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 corby112
4.02/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Draft at Monk's Cafe in Philadelphia, PA.

Pitch black and opaque wih a two finger, frothy mocha head that very slowly settles into a thick, lasting ring.  Great retention for the style with streaks of soapy lacing coating the glass on the way down.  

Inviting nose with a really strong barrel character that's nicely integrated into whatever the base beer is.  Plenty of damp oak, spicy bourbon, vanilla and coconut countered by sweet and roasted dark malt notes.  Subtle agave/tequila presence but it's overpowered by the bourbon and oak notes. Wouldn't have guessed it was in there if I didn't know.  Spicy bourbon and vanilla bean flavor followed by gourmet roast, dark chocolate and sweeter, dessert-like bakers chocolate sweetness.  Smells great, I just wish that the tequila/agave was stronger/more noticeable in the aroma.

Thick and viscous full body with a strong boozy barrel presence that gives off a lot of heat and spicy bourbon flavor that lingers over the malt backbone into a sweet, slightly dry and hot finish.  Plenty of warmth in the chest.  Agave syrup and tequilla stands out here more than in the nose with a subtle citrus/honey character but again it's overshadowed by the oak and spicy bourbon.  Subtle toothpick/dry oak flavor with some vanilla, coconut and burnt sugar.  Huge spicy bourbon flavor countered by a nice tequila presence that starts to stand out as it warms.   Thankfully, the prominent barrel notes don't obliterate the malt flavors with plenty of roasted espresso bean, oatmeal and bittersweet dark chocolate.  A little bit of dark fruit in there as well with some fig, plum and raisin.  More tequila/agave than in the nose but the flavor profile isn't quite as complex.   Needs some more malt sweetness and it's a bit too hot/boozy at this point for my preference.  It burns a bit going down and you can feel all 13+%!  This becomes more tolerable as it warms and the palate adjusts but it seems like it needs some time to mellow out.  

 1,999 characters

Photo of barleywinefiend
4.18/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A : Poured a jet black with a light khaki head, some decent head retention leaves a light foamy curtains on the sides of the glass

S: A nice roastiness with a light booziness, some chocolate, coffee, light vanilla and coconut. I barely detect the "infamous" tequila

T: Upfront reminds me of a Parabola. Plenty of roast, vanilla, coconut and coffee. The tequila is sordove undercover until the finish and even then its not as boastful as I believe many, myself included were expecting.

M: Well carbonated, velvety, smooth and very flavorfull. Medium-full to full bodied, not very heavy. No stinging booze or astringency. Just liquid smoothness.

O: Very nice beer by my favorite brewery! This was consumed draft at the Bottleworks release. I was actually wanting a bit more tequila presence.

 795 characters

Photo of GreesyFizeek
4.08/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Bottle shared by Curran last night.

Pours a dark, oily deep black, with a half inch head, and a good amount of lacing.

Smells a bit boozy and tequila forward, but I am not a huge fan of tequila, so I probably pick it up a bit stronger than most people, who seem to say the tequila is milder. Beyond that, I get a good amount of oak and chocolate.

I wouldn't classify this one as the best of the FW boxed series, but it's still pretty tasty. The tequila feels pretty strong to me, with lots of oak, some coconut, vanilla, and a lot of fudgy chocolate. It feels fairly bitter, due to the booze, oak, and possibly the buckwheat?

This is pretty thick bodied, with a creamy, fudgy, and pretty boozy mouthfeel. The booze lingers on the palate a little bit after each sip.

This is a pretty unique stout, but my slight to strong aversion to tequila makes it hard for me to love this. As it is, it's well made and tasty, but a little boozy.

 936 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 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 Beerandraiderfan
4.26/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Well to start out, I am surprised to see this classified as an American double stout. I would have guessed it was gonna be classified as a wheatwine, but whaddo I know.

For a double stout, it sure is light and 'not black' looking. It was a reddish brown from where I was standing, but hey, I was a few beers in already at the time I savored this at the FW Invitational. The head was thin and beige.

Aroma was similar to the Melange 3/Bruery Anniversary beers in that it was full of a toffee and barrel sweetness like an alcoholic box of Cracker Jacks. I liked the aroma of Mikkeller's Tequila barrel black hole, and this one is no different. Throw in some coconut and vanilla in the aroma to round it out. Complex.

Taste drinks frighteningly smooth and is easy to drink for something so strong. Tasted nowhere near that type of abv. Oak is pleasant. Mild cocao contribution to the smoothness and just enough sweetness to counteract any bitterness. A mellow ride, man.

 971 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 Stevedore
4.34/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

8oz pour on draft at Falling Rock in Denver, CO. Poured into an unlabeled goblet today, 11/18/2014.

Looks positively black. Dark opaque and black body with a lovely one finger width head with great retention that finally drops into a thick mocha film. Not much lacing.

Smells damn sweet. Lots of oak and a delicious, chocolately sweetness with a nice sharp rye-like flavor to cut the sweetness. Very good, not quite decadent but more than enjoyable.

Similar to the nose- lots of chocolate dark malt sweetness cut by a nice sharpness and plenty of barrel oak. Very interesting combination with the touch of tequila but not über complex. Very tasty nonetheless.

Phenomenal. Thick bodied, creamy and fluffy on the palate. Leaves a nice heat on the back end similar to doing tequila.

Great mouthfeel, unique sharpness and sweet chocolates accompanied to the excellent oak barrel presence as expected of Firestone. I suspect it's higher rated because of the limited bottle production and I wouldn't give up what people ask for bottles. At the same time I'm glad to have tried this thanks to the folks at Falling Rock.

 1,123 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 AgentMunky
4.29/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22 ounce bottle into an Altamont glass. Vintage 2013. Batch 001.

A: Nice off-white head fades fast and leaves nice lacing.

S: It smells...fine? Reminiscent of something. Cereal grain? Maybe that's the buckwheat. Slightly oxidised?

T/M: Huge vanillins right up front and they just last and last. A really rich, sweet, beautiful beer. I get barely (if any) tequila at all. Maybe barrel-aging? My tequila-hating friend Adam swears he can taste it right at the end, and I do suppose there's a tang right at the end. It's mostly just a big sweet stout. I don't taste the booze but my buddy,

O: Man, this is good. Skepticism aside, FW knows what's up. Incredibly delicious, highly recommended, very nice stout, Sweet, but balanced.

 743 characters

Photo of ArrogantB
4/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at the Falling Rock for their Imperial Stout mini-fest. Almost no head on this one and completely black. Aroma is odd, boozy, must be the tequila. Flavor is a nice maltiness backed up by that punch of alcohol. Overall, pretty good but I bet bourbon barrels would be better.

 280 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 rlee1390
4.28/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A-Black in the glass with a one finger brown head that left some lacing, but more clear around the edges.

S-Some spirit flavor, not much of tequila, but maybe I haven't had enough good tequila. Oak, some char. Sugar, molasses and chocolate as well.

T-Once again it starts with the spirit flavors, more spicy that say a bourbon. Oak and char as well. Then rounded out with molasses and some chocolate.

M-Medium bodied, not much carbonation.

O-I was iffy on the tequila barrels, but they gave off a nice flavor and produced a really good beer.

 545 characters

Photo of scottfrie
4.21/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

2013 batch 1. Reviewed from notes. Snifter.

A: Pours black with a thin dark brown head.
S: Sweet nose with light raisin notes and mild barrel or perhaps buckwheat spice.
T: Slightly sharp alcohol notes of a tequila followed by toasted marshmallow, chocolate, caramel, vanilla, and spicy buckwheat. Spicy and sweet but slightly astringent.
M: Full body, thick, slick, and greasy mouthfeel.
O: Sweet overall with the barrel and other flavors adding a integrated blend of complexity.

 484 characters

Photo of FosterJM
4.2/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

1792nd Review on BA
Bottle to Stemmed Tulip
22oz

Batch 1
Purchased at Toronado SD for my birthday 5/16

App- A standard appearing stout from FW on this one for. A good solid dark color, a nice soft khaki brown head, a slight cling and no light penetration.

Smell- I am going with a 4 because it was just a little hard to pick anything out on this one really. I let warm for about 10 mins and tried to get the Tequila and had minimal chocolate aromas. Maybe a touch of lime to go along.

Taste- I enjoyed this one. It was quite different and brought a lot to the table. Many flavors competing on this one and then they all kind of got lost in the shuffle. The oak is really what dominates.

Mouth- A big solid medium body with a medium carbonation level. Delectable creamy and quite a bit smooth. The tequila is there when it warmed to almost room temp.

Drink- I don't quite think this was worth the price I paid for it, wish I would've had it at retail price. Don't we all have those moments though.

 1,002 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50  | nextlast
PNC Imperial Buckwheat Stout from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
96 out of 100 based on 47 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • Return of the Belgian Beer Fest

    BeerAdvocate Brings its All-Belgian Fest to Portland, Maine on September 17, 2016. Tickets are on sale now.

    Learn More
  • Get the Mag

    Become a BeerAdvocate magazine print subscriber today.

    Subscribe