Almanac Emperor Norton
Almanac Beer Co.

Almanac Emperor NortonAlmanac Emperor Norton
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Belgian IPA
3.87 | pDev: 8.01%
Almanac Beer Co.
California, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
Very Good
Almanac Emperor NortonAlmanac Emperor 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: 92 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Reviews by mactrail:
Photo of mactrail
3.89/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Hazy yellow amber with a gargantuan pile of foam in the narrow Kolsch glass. A very sharp and zingy mouthfeel. Fruity scent with an unusual hoppy and flowery note.

This is one of the more unusual beers I've tasted in a long time, but that's a good thing. I simply could not fathom what's in this stuff without reading the label. Dry hopped with Citra and Hallertau Blanc. But it's apricots for sure, starting out with the sweet taste of dried fruit and then the tart finish. The alcohol is kind of a sledge hammer after a few sips.

This is a dry and fruity brew with a hot taste of alcohol. It makes me think of the Eau de Vie fruit brandies. From the 22 oz bottle purchased at Bottlecraft in San Diego.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of chrisjws
4.41/5  rDev +14%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Served from a 22oz bomber into a pint glass

A: Light orange, almost straw colored. Very cloudy. Nice two fingers of head. Exceptional lacing on the glass.
S: Apricots right up front, funky belgian yeast right in the background, some tropical fruits, lots of malt sweetness in the background
T: Apricots first and foremost, some funk, some tropical fruit and then finishing sweet with bready malts
M: Medium mouthfeel, coats the mouth with sweet fruity/malty tastes that linger. No carbonation bite at all.
O: Super easy drinking beer. If you want a fruit beer that doesn't taste artificial or overly sweet, this is exactly what you're looking for. It hits all the great parts of a fruit beer without the excess or fake that's so typical.

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Photo of RBassSFHOPit2ME
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.

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

Photo of scottfrie
3.71/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

22oz bottle into tulip.

A: Pours a clear golden with a fluffy white head that slowly faded into a fuzzy collar. A sticky network of lace was left down the glass.
S: Very fresh, fruity, and fragrant hoppy notes of pine, weed, apricot, brussel sprouts, and a slight solventy scent that I’m not sure how to describe.
T: Apricot is prominent alongside notes of phenolic Belgian yeast and mild peppery spice. I still get hints of cooked vegetable, dank and herbal hops, and sweet and bready base flavors. The finish is lightly bitter with a lingering sweetness and peppery spiciness in the aftertaste. The weird solvent quality is still there but I still can’t put my finger on it.
M: Medium-full body, slick and lightly greasy mouthfeel, soft and tingly carbonation. Drinks well.
O: Nice and hoppy with a clean and sweet fruity quality to it. Not my favorite though, but a solid and hoppy take on a tripel.

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Photo of vermilcj
4.27/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of oline73
3.75/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of djrn2
3.67/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of Knapp85
3.93/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Photo of Rick778
3.23/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Photo of impending
4.05/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.29/5  rDev -15%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Pours a murky honey orange with a foamy beige head that settles to a partial film on top of the beer. Small streaks of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of grain, earth, Belgian yeast, citrus zest, grapefruit juice, nail polish remover, and slight fruit aromas. Taste is much the same with citrus zest, grapefruit juice, nail polish remover, earth, dried apricot, and Belgian yeast flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of hop and yeast bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is an above average beer that is drinkable, but the aromas and flavors are an odd mix of fruit, dry hop, Belgian yeast, and nail polish remover characteristics that clash with each other somewhat.

Serving type: bottle.

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Photo of jeff1973
4.06/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of kojevergas
2.6/5  rDev -32.8%
look: 2.75 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.5

Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
4.06/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of dipso123
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.

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Photo of afsdan
4/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of pat61
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.

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Photo of Nugganooch
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.

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Photo of kylehay2004
3.75/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

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

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

Photo of bigred89
3.5/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of DBosco
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.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
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...

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Almanac Emperor Norton from Almanac Beer Co.
Beer rating: 86 out of 100 with 92 ratings