Tequila Barrel Noir
Almanac Beer Co.

Tequila Barrel NoirTequila Barrel Noir
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Stout - American Imperial
Ranked #2,159
Ranked #13,617
3.94 | pDev: 12.44%
Almanac Beer Co.
California, United States
Very Good
Tequila Barrel NoirTequila Barrel Noir
Notes: This robust American Stout is aged in used Tequila barrels. As it matures, the toasted oak breathes in the beer, infusing the stout with hints of smoke and spice from its former life holding distilled agave.
Reviews: 34 | Ratings: 156 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
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SHODriver from North Carolina

3.75/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A: Poured into a snifter to a black beer topped by a dense finger and a half of tan head which fades slowly to a collar around the edge of the glass with minimal lacing
S: Smells of strong tequila with some chocolate and roasted malts.
T: Taste is very strong tequila with some oak. It almost tastes a little infected too with some serious sour twang going on. Light chocolate and roasted malts but mostly tequila and twang. Roasted malts with some slight coffee on the finish with some lingering tequila.
M: This beer has a fairly full body with a slightly creamy mouthfeel. Carbonation is slightly effervescent but not prickly while the beer has a drying finish.
O: Overall this is an okay beer. I think it may be a little infected but considering how long I've sat on it it is doing pretty well for itself. Interesting flavors on top of a solid base beer. If the twang wasn't there this one would be really good.

Nov 23, 2018
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rudzud from Massachusetts

3.37/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2

Thanks to JLindros for hooking me up with a bottle of this. Not sure how this wound up in a share box; it got lost in there and wound up being gifted to me after as he originally did a bottle without me. 2014 Vintage?

A - Poured into my Duvel tulip a nice dark brown nearly black with a big two finger mocha head that fades very slowly to leave a thick, creamy blanket. Not much lacing though.

S - Aromas of light chocolate, big roasted malts, little bit of oak, some vegative notes that come from the agave. Light tequilla as well. There is an almost tart note though that I'm hoping isn't oxidation.

T - Taste is dark bakers chocolate, roasted malts, strong acrid burnt roast. Little bit of agave sweetness, some oak. No real alcohol, however, there is a rather tartness going on too that I don't think is supposed to be there. Definite infection cuts through the decent elements of this beer.

M - Mouthfeel is lightly carbonated, thin bodied, almost slick feeling. Alcohol hidden well though.

O - Overall this might have been a solid beer if it was horribly infected as the good elements are in fact quite solid. Really a shame.

Serving Type: Bottle

Apr 23, 2018
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Rockjocknroll from California

3.19/5  rDev -19%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

Vintage 2014.
Originally on tap this beer had a real bile-y quality but I originally enjoyed the bottles when they were fresh so I cellared a few. They are now deeply infected from the barrels; if you like super bretty stouts this is still worth a try but the infection has turned this completely into a sour with the malt nowhere to be found. Fair warning if you have one in the cellar...might be a drain pour.

Jul 06, 2016
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scottfrie from California

2/5  rDev -49.2%
look: 2.25 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 1.75 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.75

375ml bottle into tulip. Bottled November 2014.

A: Pours a deep chocolate brown, near black, with a couple fingers of uncharacteristically fluffy dark brown head that slowly collapsed into a thick and dense film. Looks suspicious.
S: Roasted nose with notes of coffee, caramel, slight vanilla, and buttery tequila barrel. I get a touch of infected tartness but it’s not super strong on the nose.
T: Super infected cherry tartness dominates pretty much everything else. I get hints of chocolate, leather, caramel, and tequila, but it’s hard to pick out over the infection. Vanilla lingers in the aftertaste. Tartness is also reminiscent citrus pith.
M: Over carbonated from infection, with a medium-full body and a tart and harsh mouthfeel. Carbonation really froths up on my palate is and very distracting to drink.
O: Shame, I was looking forward to a good tequila beer as I have only had a few examples before. Time to switch to drinking whiskey instead.

Feb 25, 2016
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jlindros from Massachusetts

3.85/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Thanks to barnold_wc (Reddit) for this one.

Pours a darker creamy frothy almost 1 finger head that fades at a slower pace, decent lacing and long legs, pitch black thick beer.

Nose is interesting, a flash of earthy tequila barrel out front, herbal agave plant like character, with mild toasty oak, then quickly into the stout, mild baking spices, dark roasty malts, little fudgey cocoa and fluffy nougat, cocoa and biscuity cookie notes, then back to a mild wood dust and spicy tequila note, vegetal like green pepper late.

Taste brings big stout out front, heavy dark roasty malts, very roasty a little burnt char, with a little dark roasty cocoa, charred cocoa, a faint biscuity cookie, with some burnt dark chocolate cocoa, char, faint nougat caramel. Then mild agave notes, a little peppery tequila and earthy vegetal like character but it's very light, hard to get through the roast, mild roasted burnt coffee late, with a touch of toasted oak. Finish is dry but a bit sticky, big flash of cocoa and burnt roasted coffee, little vegetal tequila.

Mouth is heavier bod, little creamy, faint flash of booze warmth, nice carb.

Overall not bad, started nicely on the nose, but the taste was just too much acrid roast burnt flavors and the tequila barrel was almost nonexistent on the flavor.

Jan 04, 2016
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WheelsPSU from New Jersey

3.68/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

2014 vintage on tap at The Owl Farm in Brooklyn.

Pour was hazy, cloudy brown. Kind of a neat color for a car or a bag.

Smell was dominated by the sweet tequila barrels. A bit different for me since this is my first tequila barrel aged beer.

Taste reminded me more of a sour than a rich creamy imperial stout. The tequila was the obvious note but also salt, roastyness, raisins and some molasses.

A bit too carbonated for me and made me pucker a bit from the barrels.

Dec 16, 2015
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Moose90 from Washington

4.1/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Served On-Tap

A  — Pours a super dark, deep black hue out of the tap and into the glass. There is a semi-thick dark brown colored head that forms atop the beer, leaving behind some lightly clinging and sticky lace, it almost leaves legs along the inside of the glass.

S — Smell is dominated by barrel character, tequila, agave, oak, and there is a really nice charred and roasted malt component as well. Little bit of licorice, coffee, and chocolate as well.

T — Taste is focused on the Tequila aspect, but it is actually quite nice, big sweet agave notes, balanced with dry charred oak and malts, little bit of a sharp Tequila bite on the finish as well.

M — Medium-Full bodied, sticks to your ribs.

O — Very well done overall, wondering why more breweries don't use tequila barrels more often, its worth the premium price tag in this instance.

Oct 13, 2015
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manfromanotherplace from New York

3.84/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Looks very dark with a amber cream head that lingers.smells like a glass of red wine. Taste is a strange one, its pretty much a sour stout. Tequila aging is obviously not as complimentary to the stout as whiskey or bourbon. Its not a bad beer, definitely unique and gets better the more you sip it but won't be buying again.

Jul 26, 2015
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Hop_God from California

3.74/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Jet black. Smells of stout. Then tequila with some salty notes also. Taste has a smooth roastiness to it. Much more subtle than expected. Tequila and salt on the finish. Interesting. It is good. But different. Worth a try.

Jul 23, 2015
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mrn1ceguy from Illinois

3.87/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Unfortunately the tequila was a little off-putting, making the nose and the finish not quite right. Aspects were enjoyable, but the overall experience was average-ish.

Jun 30, 2015
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vfgccp from New York

3.22/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Nov 2014 bottle, opened Jun 2015

A - Really nice looking stout. Deep black body with almost no highlights. Medium-dark khaki head iwth nice retention and lace.

S - Sweet molasses and tequila right up front, notes of golden raisins, brown bread, caramel, toasted oak, and a hint of vanilla through the backend.

T - Sweet opening with caramel, molasses, raisins, and brown breads, but quickly arcs into sharp tequila, oak, and tart prune juice.

M - Smooth, medium body up front with a super sharp boozy finish.

O - It's an interesting beer, but the balance and integration feel off, and there isn't much about it that I'd associate with a stout.

Jun 21, 2015
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JohnnyHopps from Indiana

4.21/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Appearance - The stout was a murky black color with a modest head.

Smell - The nose was composed of dark malts with a little twang to it.

Taste - This is really interesting. I get dark malts, but then the sour kicks in. The sourness blends well with the tequila barrels, giving the impression of lime and coffee. The soured tequila continues in the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel - I would have liked more thickness, allowing the stout to stick around longer.

Overall - This was my first tequila aged beer, and I found it very interesting.

Jun 17, 2015
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Davepoolesque from Massachusetts

3.46/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Dark as night in color. Tart, roasted malt, charred and milk stout like. Short finish. Tasting some sort of fruit. Sour stouts are just not my thing.

Jun 01, 2015
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rlee1390 from Indiana

3.9/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Black in the glass but clear brown around the edges. Tequila flavor is present but not overpowering. Yet it does not really add much to the beer. Mild chocolate and roasted malt are present, but do not shine through. Bourbon Barrel Noir was much better.

Mar 13, 2015
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brentk56 from North Carolina

3.86/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Appearance: Bubbles up to produce a massive over the black liquid; webby lacing

Smell: Chocolate and dark fruit tones; berries, as well

Taste: As others have noted, this beer has an infection; the chocolate flavors quickly give way to sour fruit and berry tones that, fortunately, are interesting in their own right, but clearly not what was intended; the finish is tart, with the chocolate tones underlying

Mouthfeel: Full bodied with moderate to high carbonation and a puckering effect; some warmth in the gullet

Overall: On the backs of the Cognac Barrel Noir, this is a disappointment; I was curious to see how the Tequila flavor contrasted with the Cognac but that was not to be; fortunately, it wasn't a total loss

Feb 28, 2015
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Kevinpitts from Illinois

4.25/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Unique beer from Almanac. Flavor comes through as a mild stout with notes of the tequila barrel. Not overpowering at all. Unlike any beer I've had before in a good way. Nice offering.

Feb 22, 2015
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riotontheroad from California

3.7/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

The tequila really starts to come through by the end, and is almost overwhelming. Theoretically, this beer sounds good, but to me it just landed flat and awkward.

Feb 20, 2015
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John_M from Oregon

4/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Piaci's in Ft. Bragg.

While I thought this an interesting, innovative effort, ultimately there was just too much going on, and the flavor profile comes across as very muddled. I'm really not sure the Tequila aroma and flavor (which thankfully, was not all that strong or intense) went all that well with the wine aroma and flavor, and in combination with the dark chocolate, coffee, vanilla and light licorice, the beer just comes across as a bit over the top. Alcohol is pretty well integrated into the flavor profile, though you can tell the abv. is up there a bit. Mouthfeel is fairly full and soft on the palate, and the beer finishes well (no heat or bite from the alcohol).

A decent enough beer, but the 10 ounce glass I had was more than enough.

Feb 12, 2015
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StonedTrippin from Colorado

4.06/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

even more than agave maria from the lost abbey, this may be the single most expressive example of tequila in a beer, its really forward and intense, and its neat in a dark beer like this, its entirely new to my palate. the beer has a frothy thick soapy head on it, a contrasting light color to its hazy darkness. the nose is spiced heavily, and almost hot, but its all tequila, shocking. i get black pepper and licorice and smoke and burning wood and dense dark barley all in here at once. the flavor has a lot of the same elements the nose does, but an almost prickly citrus as well, lime, its like a shot of tequila followed by a suck on a lime wedge, thats what this tastes like to me. it must have spent some serious time in the barrel, but i like the beer a whole lot. the dark grain works beautifully with the tequila flavors, and its all united by the wood. special brew, you would never know its strength drinking it. havent loved much of the non sour stuff from these guys, but this one is a huge hit for me.

Feb 04, 2015
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DrRambis from New Jersey

4.38/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into goblet at slightly below room temp. Not quite sure on the bottle date for this one.

Look: Appears inky midnight black w/ zero light shining through. With a regular pour a small tawny "1 slowly recedes into just a faded rim of foam. Very little lacing.

Smell: Slightly sour and earthy aromas dominate upfront, quite expected from something aged in tequila barrels. A singing meaty smokiness is also pervasive throughout. Good strong roasty malt flavors finish, rich and bready. Also some hints of chocolate and licorice. The smell is quite complex but not altogether harmonious.

Taste: A mild sourness pervades over oak and loads of chocolate. The smokiness is far less dominant in the taste than the smell. Its very earthy and has a slight vinegar edge to it. I'm not quite sure if this is infected, if it is its a mild infection - I believe its really just the tequila and chocolate flavors, both quite dominate, clashing. Dark fruity elements poke around as well. Despite this it actualy finishes rather sweet with milk chocolate notes and dark bread flavors. Almost tastes a bit like pumpernickle bread with the spiciness from the tequila barrel. The sweet-sour tension lingers on the finish quite nicely.

Feel: Medium bodied, slightly thin for the style. Medium carbonation, a bit more than expecting for the style. There is a slight acetic edge that lightly shocks the sides of the mouth.

Overall: So I am pretty sure this beer does have a slight infection. I'm glad I didn't sit on this at all otherwise I think any increased sourness would really take away from the beer. As it is the beer is more of sipper and thinker. You can't really keep going back to it too quickly or the sour vegetal flavor begins to overwhelm. That being said it is a beer that I would be very interested to taste again. The chocolate notes are decadent and lovely, some of the best I've had, but they are really hidden behind some other less pleasant flavors. I would love to try the base beer or just another non-barrel imperial stout form Almanac because I think this could've been a home run but they just sort of overcomplicated things. I can't really complain about it being aged in a tequila barrel, I mean its in the name for god sakes, so I have to judge it on its merits. I really could give it a zero across the board because nowhere on the label is there any description of sourness - but that is sort of besides the point by now. So i'll judge it w/out preconcieved notions. This one taunts me, I want it to be so much better, but its not. Will update my ratings if I ever get a chance to try a "cleaner" bottle.

Edited for second tasting: I will leave my original notes above but will adjust my score. Split another bottle w a friend and this one was definately NOT infected. Wow what a beer. Decadent chocolate, milky creamy and delicious. Beautiful spicy smoke flavors meld the chocolate, roasted grain and vegetal tequila notes quite harmoniously. No sourness whatsoever. If you can get this and it's not infected try it. It's really unbelievably original and delicious. Bar none the best chocolate flavor I have ever tasted in a beer.

Feb 02, 2015
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SteveB24 from New York

4.05/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Look-color is black, yet there are some big bubbles that are visible on the edges of the glass rising to the surface, pours a half finger of tan colored head that settles quickly.
Smell-very complex aroma, some chocolate in there, some coffee, cherries, plums, and some corn-like graininess.
Taste-this tastes very much like a sour stout. classic yet subdued stout flavors of chocolate and coffee, with a kick of cherries and cranberries with a strong sour punch in the background, very interesting and very tasty.
Feel-medium body, pretty carbonated for a stout, not too wet but not dry either.
Overall-this was a really interesting beer. definitely worth trying.

Jan 30, 2015
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dar482 from New York

4.54/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

What a interesting beer. The beer hits of almost tart sour cherry notes, then onto a medium plus roasted quality. Barrel punches through giving the beer spicy qualities, presumably from the tequila spices.

The beer drinks slightly smaller than its ABV, but it's so fun and delicious.

Jan 27, 2015
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krustster from Maine

2.76/5  rDev -29.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 2.5

I was surprised to see the positive reviews for this one as I thought it was clearly infected based on my tasting and the comments some people made. Upon inspection, several of the positive reviews listed the sourness as a favorable aspect, which is weird to me. Maybe they don't know what tequila tastes like?? I dunno.

Anyway this looked okay, a dark cola brown that appeared a bit thin for the style but no real complaints. Smell was a robust chocolatey/roasty stout with a strong tequila presence that got my hopes up because the barrel seemed to be working well with the beer and I love tequila. However there's a sour fruity note to it with a bit of that farty smell that you get with some beers that are infected rather than intentionally soured. The taste was bad; while some of the original beer was detectable in the smell, the taste is covered up by what seems like bacterial sourness. If this was regular stout it may have been drinkable in this state, but the tequila and sour flavors clash in a way that I found disgusting. Mouth feel was okay, kind of thin, I didn't pay too much attention because the taste was just bad. I was pretty sad about this because I've wanted to try a good tequila barrel beer for some time.

I also tried the Pumpkin Barleywine from Almanac and that too was infected, but still quite drinkable and delicious with the sourness added. Probably won't buy that one again though. Overall I would recommend steering clear of their barrel aged beers outside of the actual sours, which are solid. I drank this one the day after Christmas and the bottles out there have got to be even more sour by now

Jan 22, 2015
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travolta from California

4.11/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Appearance: Jet black, pepsi head with as much retention. Nice thick lacing.

Nose: Sour cherry, chocolate, thick malt.

Taste: Hot and smooth up front. The heat is from the agave and the tequila. The smoothness comes from the nice carbonation. The finish is sweet and sticks around for a bit. Something is adding a syrupy sweetness to this, is it agave? The syrupy sweetness holds the tequila taste/nose in it as well.

Notes: A nice pick, and a great one to sit and ponder with.

Jan 06, 2015
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ONovoMexicano from New Mexico

4.27/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Served at Blind Tiger Ale House in a glass whose name I don't know.

A- Frothy, creamy oatmeal-colored head. Persists well. Pitch-black body and light carbonation visible. 5

S- Sour notes blend with chocolatey porter notes, dark malt and caramel. 4.25

T- Sour barrel notes and hints of agave and tequila up front, but then it finishes chocolatey and semi-sweet. The flavors mingle well and don't outshine each other in any way. It's a good harmony. 4.25

M- It feels light and is slightly tart and sour, with a bit of a tequila dryness and booze towards the finish. 4

I like what I'm tasting. A good medley of flavors and a standout for what that medley is.

Jan 05, 2015
Tequila Barrel Noir from Almanac Beer Co.
Beer rating: 89 out of 100 with 156 ratings