Emperor Norton
Almanac Beer Co.

Emperor NortonEmperor Norton
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IPA - Belgian
3.87 | pDev: 7.75%
Almanac Beer Co.
California, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
Very Good
Emperor NortonEmperor Norton
Notes: All hail His Imperial Majesty, Emperor Norton I, of The United States and Protector of Mexico! A beloved 19th century San Francisco denizen, Emperor Norton was best known for issuing his own currency, calling for the overthrow of the Federal Government, and for prophesying a future bridge connecting San Francisco and Oakland.

Emperor Norton is an eccentric ale brewed in his honor, blending a classic Belgian-style tripel with California-grown summer apricots and dry-hopped generously with Citra and Hallertau Blanc hops. Enjoy in the company of unconventional friends!
Reviews: 29 | Ratings: 93 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of DBosco
DBosco from Massachusetts

3.75/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

I'm going to guess this was an 042916 bottling date, batch 2063, from the ink sprayed note on the 22oz bottle. Well, it was the last one left on the shelf, and I'm thinking it has not aged that well. I think the hops have gone a little off and the apricot is not as fresh either. Seems like it was probably an interesting idea; maybe they should try it again sometime and back off on the oily hops.

Jan 21, 2018
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Lone_Freighter from Vermont

3.94/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The appearance was a brisk golden yellow color with a carbonation rising at a moderate pace to fill a one finger white foamy head that died off ever so slowly to fill small valleys here and there. Ringed messy lacing ran here and there. The aroma leaned towards the IPA/DIPA side of the wheelhouse with some white pepper and a sweet lemon pulp and then some light apricots. Grassy sweet hops tickle some white grapes with a fresh oily scent to it. Light pine at the end. The flavor blends white grapes, the apricots and lemon pulp to the grassy sweet hops nicely. Pine is starting to becomes slightly stronger. Hop oils are becoming stronger too. Strong hop oily aftertaste with a dry white grape finish, but not vinous. On the palate, this one sat about a light on the body with a medium carbonation, acceptable. Mild dryness seems inviting to the bitter hoppy portion over my tongue. Feels pretty good. Overall, nice Belgian pale ale.

Jun 09, 2017
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pat61 from Minnesota

4.49/5  rDev +16%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

It has a big apricot nose suplemented with Belgian yeast stone fruit aromas, over ripe fruit, and traces of citus and biscuit. It pours hazy gold, releasing streams of tiny bubles rushing to refresh a 3" white to cream colored foam cap that takes 5 minutes to reduce to a thick, lacy film. Apricot and Belgian yeast flavors lead the attack lightly sweetened by honey and supported by a mild biscuit flavor. Over ripe fruit, banana, stone fruit and citrus flavors are slighly lower in intensity. A moderate hop bitterness emerges by mid-palate and carries through into the after taste where the beer dries slightly. the Belgian yeast flavors and texture moderate the hop bitterness a little. Mild, soft alcohol flavors come out as the beer warms. Emperor Norton has a very creamy medium body with light warming and slightly above average, soft carbonation. Overall the flavors are well-rounded yet interesting and complex.

Mar 22, 2017
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StonedTrippin from Colorado

3.77/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

a tasty and interesting beer for sure, but i had a little higher hopes for this one. its a belgian imperial ipa, brewed with apricots and uniquely dry hopped, not something you see very often or ever, but somehow the beer just doest come across all that unique to me. the fruit adds more of a generic sweetness to this, rather than a true apricot flavor, and it seems to be lost a little to the booze and the yeast, both of which are pungent. the yeast has some spice thats a nice counterpoint to the citrusy hops, but it does take over the beer a little bit, especially in the finish were the hops should really be at their strongest. i like the idea better than the execution, and also think this might benefit from being something more like 7% abv, the extra weight and alcohol seem to interfere pretty significantly with more delicate flavors like the apricot and hallertau blanc hops. still, i like the idea a lot, and the beer is very good, pretty darn drinkable despite my criticism of its strength too. better with food maybe than on its own. this could be tweaked to be amazing pretty easily though...

Aug 05, 2016
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russpowell from Arkansas

4.24/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a very hazed peach color with 3 fingers of fluffed up pearl colored head. Stellar lacing & head retention, never really clears up

S: Peach must, pears, some tartness

T: Pears, white grape, a little boozey apricot jam, some lemon zest as well up front. Sweet apricot as this warms along with dryness, slight tartnesss too, just a hint of pineapple. Finishes with apricot, a little honey, grapefruit & some bready notes with just a bit of grapefruit & peach

MF: Medium body, fluffy carbonation, a little grittiness that sort of enhances this

Drinks too easy, was really iffy about this one, but damn tasty!

Jul 22, 2016
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tigg924 from Massachusetts

3.34/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Had on tap. Pours hazy gold in color with one inch head. Taste is pineapples and wet dank hops. Medium heavy bodied. Really did not get much tripel flavors at all. Decent, but nothing I would rush out to get again either.

Jun 27, 2016
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TheManiacalOne from Rhode Island

3.99/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

On-tap 6/21/2016 at Flynn’s in Mansfield, MA, served in a tulip glass.

A: The beer is a bright gold color, with a short white head that fades slowly and leaves a very thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma contains Belgian yeast, citrus, caramelized malts and a touch of spice.

T: The taste starts out sweet with flavors of caramel and some spices. Then some breadiness comes in from Belgian yeast and a hearty but not too heavy malt character. The hops presence is good for the style and brings a good balance. The after-taste is slightly sweet.

M: Crisp and smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

O: Tasty, goes down dangerously easy, not too filling, strong kick, good representation of style, this is very solid beer to drink for a long time if you’re in the mood for the style.

Jun 22, 2016
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BradMacMullin from Massachusetts

4.02/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had on tap at Salty Pig. After last weeks beerfest it was nice to have a beer I remember. This was different. Nice floraly drink....I didn't get the apricot everyone else did....I'm not sure I've ever had an apricot seeing as I'm not 90 years old. But this was refreshing and didn't detect the 9% at all.

Jun 11, 2016
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BeerSamurai34 from Texas

3.5/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I am not so sure I would call this a tripel. It certainly wasn't a wild ale either. To me this was a weird IPA hybrid and it was a little strange for me. No apricot and tons of hoppiness. Weird beer.

May 02, 2016
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Slatetank from Pennsylvania

4.01/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

thanks to my brother for sharing this enjoyed chilled in a tulip

The color is medium amber with light haze with white head and lasting retention with fine bead. The smell is good with a mix of floral and fruity esters with slight alcohol in the nose. The feel is very good with moderate sweetness which is balanced by bitterness and moderate carbonation without excessive alcohol in the feel for 9%.

The taste is great a nice mix of Belgian yeast with slight fruitiness of apricot with gentle hop flavor that adds a mild tropical citrus aspect to the ale. The taste has a subtle candy-like flavor with apricot in the back and mild tea-like hop with subtle alcohol in the finish. Overall I found this to be exceptional for drinkability with a nice blend of fruit hops and the base is well brewed with relatively low alcohol compared to the abv taste wise with nice use of dry hops for hybrid tripel/fruit ale

Mar 04, 2016
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jzlyo from Iowa

4.02/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Aroma is strong tropical fruit/kiwi/key lime, fruit sweetness and spices. The flavor is tropical fruit, hop resin, mild/medium sweetness and a spicy/slightly tart/sour finish.

Feb 05, 2016
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detgfrsh from Texas

4.17/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Love the name and the label art! Pours a bright gold color with two fingers of head. Lovely smell of hops and fruit. Creamy mouthfeel, a bit sweet with some hop bitterness and a lingering taste of apricot. Feels more like a double IPA than a tripel, but it's pretty good whatever it is.

Jan 23, 2016
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sloelco from California

3.81/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Nice enough beer. Hops and Apricot combine well in the nose. Apricot doesn't come through as much in the taste. Not much character to suggest it is a tripel. Would have again.

Dec 13, 2015
Photo of Nugganooch
Nugganooch from California

3.68/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

On Tap at Soma Eats – San Francisco, CA
4oz taster - Notes taken on 06/11/2015

A: The pour is a very clear and burnished gold look with a soft shade of brass brushed in. Head is fairly lacking as well as any sticky remnants. What is present is a light and frothy short-lived paper white fizz.

S: I get citrus peel, lemongrass, and chamomile shifting into more sweet malts and lightly toasted grains. There is something somewhat dank and tropic to the hops as well with a little grapefruit zest emerging. The finish reveals a bit of the Belgo yeast character with some coriander like spices. Interesting choice of hops here it seems.

T: Tastes sweet with a bready sourdough like maltiness and touch of vanilla crème. The finish remains dry and light however. Definitely picking up some mild yeasty twang like old dusty barn and soft banana esters with coriander and dried lemon peel. Has some golden fruit and apricot fused with the hops which are tangerine and tart melon, tropical flowers, as well as some light herbaceous notes. The beer has a mild bitterness to it overall and feels a bit laced with alcohol here. Quite a lot going on to this one. I am on the fence with this one really.

M: Light in body with a cream like consistency and a drying finish. There is a mild peppery bitterness to this that aids in that crisp retreat. Pretty clean overall.

D: A real interesting brew to say the least. Seems like way too much going on here but it sort of all comes together at times. Definitely not a fav for me but nice to try and maybe worth revisiting down the road.

Dec 03, 2015
Photo of Zorro
Zorro from California

3.81/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Heavily Chill hazed gold with a medium sized puffy white colored head.

Smells strongly fruity with a strong dried apricot scent. Lots of powdery yeast and grape must. Mildly sweet smelling with some green apple scent. Not picking up on coriander.

Starts out mildly sweet and very fruity, apricot and apple are strong flavors. Medium level of bitterness and the taste of Grappa.

Mouthfeel is OK.

Overall an acceptable Tripel.

Oct 31, 2015
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dipso123 from Oregon

3.5/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Small head, brief and little to no lacing, a bit hazy. Aroma is more alcohol than malt or hop. Taste starts with light citrus and goes to alcohol and heat fairly quick. Not one of the better Almanac efforts I've had. Can't recommend.

Oct 09, 2015
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Reedbrew from California

3.46/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pretty good. Not very apricot flavor at first, though it becomes a bit more prominent as it warms up. A fairly high ABV that's definitely noticeable though not unpleasant. Not spectacular but if offered it, I'd have another.

Sep 16, 2015
Photo of Absolut
Absolut from California

4.16/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at blue palms.

Pours a dark orange

Smell is hop forward with a hint of apricot.

Taste is middle of the road- mAlt yeast Nd citrus

Overall a good beer. Taste is not in line with the nose.

Sep 12, 2015
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stortore from Illinois

3.94/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 ounce bottle into a tulip glass.

Pours, appropriately, a slightly hazy apricot color, with a one finger head and some lacing. Smell brings hops, citrusy and dank; also some yeast and apricots. Taste brings less hops than the nose, allowing the yeast and apricots to come through a bit more. The Hallertau hops are the more prevalent, the Citra hops fading. Also picking up some malt, a little caramel. Hop bitterness throughout. Crisp, smooth, a little dry.

This is a fine beer, giving it a good rating. Thought the apricot taste and aroma were really nice. Did not feel like this was, at any point, a Tripel. The hops were dominant enough, for me, to bury any Belgian feel. So, it's a good, apricot DIPA.

Sep 09, 2015
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braker649er from Washington

4.23/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

This one is fun and hard to pin down, though a few components are easily identifiable.

First come the citrus hops and apricots, that are right there, 1-2, in the smell. I didn't know there was Citra until I read the description. But they were there at a sniff. Then you know the fruit follows--apricot speaks to citrus and sweet. Taste follows, with the booze of a tripel. Quite an unusual brew!

L - cloudy orange, think head and lacing
S - smell stands out, as noted above
T - components blend nicely/unexpectedly
F - a little sharp / fizzy, but not harsh
O - glad I tried this

Sep 03, 2015
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RBassSFHOPit2ME from California

4.25/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

If this were categorized as a Funky or Farmhouse Belgian IPA with Apricots, the scores would be higher.

Order with this in mind and you won't be disappointed. You'll actually be somewhat impressed!

Boom! Minds blown.

Aug 27, 2015
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Sound_Explorer from Washington

3.92/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Being a Belgian fan I had to try this and it did not disappoint. Not a mind blowing tripel by any means but it would be solid in it's own right. With the added apricots you would think this would be really sweet but the dry hopping does a nice job of adding the bitterness to offset that extra sugars. Definitely get the fruit imbibed in the tripel style but doesn't overpower. Rather drinkable for 9.00% and a rather unique take on a style that doesn't get tinkered with enough, at least that I have seen.

Aug 22, 2015
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stevoj from Idaho

3.84/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

On tap at PreFunk. Hazy orange golden pour, fluffy head subsides to small silky skin. Savory, buttery aroma. Taste is a bit more snappy, some fruit (apricots), and a hint of citrus. Slick, oily mouth feel, some herbs/fruit linger on the finish.

Aug 17, 2015
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metter98 from New York

3.96/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A: The beer is very hazy yellow in color. It poured with a half finger high white head that retreated into a thin layer of bubbles on the surface and left a collar around the edge of the glass.
S: Moderate aromas of passionfruit and gooseberries are present in the nose
T: The taste has flavors of gooseberries along with notes of passionfruit, citrus, and Belgian candi sugar with hints of spicy yeast.
M: It feels medium-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: I found this beer to be quite unique as it had the hop aromas and flavors you would expect from an Imperial IPA but had an underlying sweet base with yeast that you would expect from a Belgian triple. It did a good job at masking the alcohol.

Serving type: bottle

Aug 04, 2015
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TruePerception from California

3.52/5  rDev -9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Almanac's Emperor Norton, dry-hopped tripel, brewed with apricots. 9% ABV.

A: 2 fingers of head. Clear, orange-yellow. Whitish, yellowish clear in the dimple. Decent lacing. Slight sheeting.

S: A bit of fuzzy apricot skin. Some piney, resiny hops. The two combine in an interesting way.

T/MF: Very crisp. A decent amount of dry, yellow apricot flavor. Hoppy towards the finish; lingers for quite a while. And almost minty flavors, sans cold feeling.

Not a lot to this one, but what is there works well together.

Poured from a 22 oz. bottle, into a Belgian tulip glass.

Jul 15, 2015
Emperor Norton from Almanac Beer Co.
Beer rating: 86 out of 100 with 93 ratings