Tequila Barrel Noir | Almanac Beer Co.

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Tequila Barrel NoirTequila Barrel Noir
Very Good
154 Ratings
Tequila Barrel NoirTequila Barrel Noir

Brewed by:
Almanac Beer Co.
California, United States

Style: American Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
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.

Added by impending on 11-21-2014

User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 154 |  Reviews: 34
Reviews by 2GOOFY:
Photo of 2GOOFY
4/5  rDev +3.1%

More User Reviews:
Photo of krustster
2.76/5  rDev -28.9%
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

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Photo of ronricorossi
4.13/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Really interesting beer. The tequila flavor is an unusual addition that goes surprisingly well with the stout profile, and without becoming unbalanced. Definitely worth trying.

One thing: the bottle, in tribute to San Francisco's Mission district, suggests pairing with a NorCal style taqueria burrito. Love that they went with the theme, and assuming they did it for the "fun" value, because two things I'm NOT looking to drink when I have a huge, dense meal in my hands is (1) a heavy stout, and (2) tequila. Just saying. (Ha!)

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Photo of DanGeo
3.83/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of tappangordo
4.16/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of ONovoMexicano
4.27/5  rDev +10.1%
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.

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Photo of Nick29
3.5/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of riotontheroad
3.7/5  rDev -4.6%
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.

 162 characters

Photo of PretzelCity
4.29/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Gonzoillini
4/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of jason_nwx
4.62/5  rDev +19.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Photo of GRG1313
3.87/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of TWStandley
3.93/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of drummerdwzp
4.03/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Photo of Basoos1
2.75/5  rDev -29.1%

Photo of Crunk_certified
4.04/5  rDev +4.1%

Photo of LakerLeith
3.92/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of mj81
4.23/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Photo of nataku00
3.81/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Photo of jaydoc
3.78/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Photo of cdean801
3.75/5  rDev -3.4%

Photo of Greywulfken
4.3/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A: obsidian ale with a frothy mocha cap a finger thick; left some arms of dark lace down the glass

S: dark malts but with a woodsy vanilla infusion; hints of espresso and cocoa, but with herbal and vanilla accents

T: rich dark chocolaty malt is air-dried with a solid oak backbone; lots of vanilla - and if you're a tequila fan, that agave flavor is also present amid the vanilla tones; some hints toward darker fruits along the way

M: medium-to-full bodied, mild carbonation, smooth but with a tingly drying effect of the barrel woods and tequila; a little more viscous on the finish...

O: another one of those little barrel aging gems that pop up - double stout + tequila barrel? Why not? The tequila agave character developed a very interesting vanilla flavor in the ale, and created a very compelling union with the base stout.

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Photo of largadeer
2.85/5  rDev -26.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

Barrel integration is nice, not too heavy-handed, but seems to have a low level infection. Some noticeable tartness.

116 characters

Photo of DrRambis
4.38/5  rDev +12.9%
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.

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Photo of SveNss0N
3.94/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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Tequila Barrel Noir from Almanac Beer Co.
Beer rating: 3.88 out of 5 with 154 ratings