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Almanac Beer Co.

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Wild Ale
4.14 | pDev: 8.94%
Almanac Beer Co.
California, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
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Notes: This dark sour ale was inspired by classic Old Fashioned cocktails. We fermented a velvety imperial stout with our house sour culture, then aged it in Woodford Reserve Bourbon barrels alongside sweet Bing cherries and freshly zested oranges to create a rich, tart stout that’s perfect for sipping on cold winter nights.
Reviews: 35 | Ratings: 146 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
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GarrettB from Colorado

3.79/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

January 24th, 2016 - Here's an odd bird. It looks soft and velvety like Guinness (or any nitro stout), but tastes like raisin and fig, more like a barleywine, But the front taste is sour and even a little tangy, and the aftertaste is almost absent. Good, but a tad strange.

Mar 25, 2020
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stortore from Illinois

4.38/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

375 ml bottle into a tulip glass. Bottled 12/2015, had 7/3/17.

Pours near black with a two inch plus foamy head on an aggressive pour, a good amount of foamy lacing. Aromas of malt, cherries, dates, oak, bourbon, raisins, light yeast, some wine, a light sourness. The taste is cherries, malt, bourbon, oak, dates, light wine and vanilla, a light citrus flavor, some sourness. Smooth, a solid medium to full body, well carbonated.

Lots of flavor and aroma, the barrels are subtle but effective. Don’t pick up the orange zest, but the cherries come through nicely. Not overly sour, possibly due to the age. Thought this was pretty awesome.

Feb 18, 2018
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DavidR_9 from California

4.29/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Beautiful looking beer. Smells of that intense astringent sour/wild aroma that almanac is know for. First sip is chocolate with a touch of oak, earthy hops and slight roasty bitterness, followed by a nice sweet fruitiness from the oranges, and ends with a lingering intense sour lemon warhead astringency mixed with sour cherries. Tartness lingers for a long time but each new sip gives you a kick of that nice roasty stout with the touch of bourbon heat. Very complex brew and well done. Not ky favorite kind of sour but I’d buy it again.

Jan 18, 2018
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Lone_Freighter from Vermont

4/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This was poured into a tulip. The appearance was a thick black color with a slim finger-ed white foamy head that dissipated nicely. Lacing is speckled. The smell takes on sour cherries sliding into subtle dark chocolate malts and creating a nice tart citrus to semi-sweet cocoa background. The taste took those flavors and combined to bring about a nice dry woody flavor riding underneath. No aftertaste but a nice dry to tart finish. On the palate, this one sat about a light to medium on the body. Sessionability to sipping quality runs nice over the body. Not as harsh as expected from some other "sour" ales I’ve had. Overall, Almanac pretty much knocked this one out of the park as far as a sour stout.

Jun 20, 2017
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Phyl21ca from Canada (QC)

3.95/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Bottle: Poured a deep pitch-black color stout with a light brown foamy head with good retention and some lacing. Aroma of light tart notes with some dry roasted malt notes and nice bourbon and vanilla notes. Taste is also a nice mix of tart notes with some dry roasted malt notes with vanilla and bourbon with light oak notes. Chocolates notes are also noticeable. Body has a nice creamy texture with good carbonation. I think this could have been a top imperial stout without the tart notes.

Dec 31, 2016
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scottfrie from California

4.37/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

8oz tulip on tap. Reviewed from notes.

A: Served a very dark brown with a finger of dense dark tan head that faded into a fuzzy and thick collar. Sheets of fine, wispy, and spotty lace was down the glass.
S: The nose is full of buttery bourbon combined with a mild tartness. Caramel and vanilla are easily noticeable, and I get hints of dark cherries, candied dark fruit, and milk chocolate.
T: Super buttery and smooth Woodford reserve barrel flavors combine surprisingly well with a clean, subtle, fruity tartness. I get complex layers of dark fruits (including Bing cherries) and butterscotch alongside a touch of caramel and tobacco. The vanilla is there, although not as strong as the nose. Bourbon is smooth, caramely, and lightly leathery. Dark fruits and chocolate are lightly sweet in the finish. The aftertaste has some lasting tartness that remind me more of gritty and tannic fruit skins than it does of acid.
M: Thick body, greasy and slick mouthfeel, fuzzy and soft carbonation, tartness is well balanced. There is a slight citrus rind bitterness that pokes through the complex flavor profile.
O: Very well done. Flavors remind me of a Manhattan. Super smooth bourbon flavors and buttery oak mixed with just the right amount of tartness, cherry, and rich base beer flavors. An amazing flavor blend of sour stout and bourbon barrel stout.

Aug 24, 2016
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GreatStoutman from Texas

4.51/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This really captures the essence of the Old Fashioned. Most sours I prefer chilled, and this is really good on the sour/fruit side when cold, but when it warms and the bourbon starts to really come through you can taste what the brewer was going for.

Small is dominant cherry, and there isn't much in the way of typical stout characteristics except for the deep, dark brown body and a thicker mouthfeel than you would expect from a sour, but its probably more heavy than thick. Overall, this is excellent and something I will seek out again.

Aug 11, 2016
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jzeilinger from Pennsylvania

4.13/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A - Pitch black opaque pour with a moderately thick, creamy, toffee colored carbonation.

S - Bourbon, cherries, some alcohol, oak, and funk.

T - Follows the nose. Cherries, funk, delicate chocolate, oak, bourbon, and booziness. Some alcohol warming.

M - Big medium body, silky smooth, with alcohol effervescence permeating through the sinuses.

O - This is a great beer worth trying.

Jul 13, 2016
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bnes09 from Illinois

3.7/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Nice dark color with no head. Roasted, woody, balsamic and bourbon aroma. A little sweet. Slightly sour. Vinegar like character. Orange and cherry qualities. Dry finish. Slightly unbalanced toward the balsamic side. Full, grainy body. Descent carbonation. Gritty, dry finish. Not bad.

May 30, 2016
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mac31 from California

4.17/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Tulip on draft

Bright sourness and acidity adds great complexity to a dark beer/stout. Just after the brightness rings in chocolate covered cherries. The cherries are sweet and tart. Dark chocolate is a component of the stout, rather than the majority. Hints of coffee from time to time near the finish. Thinner bodied, not a problem for me. Not looking too much for body from a sour. Lower carbonated brew. Slight vanilla adds an element of mellowness in the finish. Earthy hops are minor, but add some low level spiciness to an already fantastic beer. Great balance between sweet and sour. Finishes pretty clean for a stout. It doesn't linger like the usual stouts you come across. A fantastic dark sour. I'm a big fan of tequila noir as well. I'm sure I'm in the minority, but I think their dark sours are much better than than their lighter sours/Farmer's Reserves fruited sours.

May 27, 2016
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Rutager from Canada (BC)

3.95/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

That's actually pretty good for a style that's tough to pull off (well). Stout comes through, nice bourbon and barrel notes, pretty big mouth feel for the style, and best of all, tooth enamel intact!

May 08, 2016
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pkalix from California

4.12/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

beautiful and dark on the pour. interesting, different kind of sourness i was preparing for. kind of expecting something along the lines of The Bruery's Tart of Darkness.... getting some of the cherries, some of the orange peel. a different kind of funkiness to it but an awesome taste of 'something' in there.... over all, very nice, but a 'thin' kind of sourness, ya know?

Apr 14, 2016
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FriedSlug from North Carolina

4.46/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Dark black, tan had, moderate lacing. Smells sweet with toasted oak, vanilla, bourbon, tart cherries. The taste is sweet and tart with oak, vanilla, tart cherry, and orange zest. Awesome beer.

Apr 01, 2016
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rudzud from Massachusetts

4/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Kyle for sharing this beer.

A - Poured into a Kate the Great tulip a nice dark brown hue with a thin head that fades to leave a thin halo.

S - Aromas of light citrus peel, soft juicy bourbon barrels, decent cherries too.

T - Taste is similar to the nose, nice citrus peel and cherry tartness. The bourbon is pleasant, juicy sweet barrels. Nice balance.

M - Mouthfeel is lightly carbonated, not overly flemmy.

O - Overall this beer was rather tasty, solid barrel notes.

Serving type: bottle

Feb 26, 2016
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jlindros from Massachusetts

4.08/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Thanks to Kyle
Decent smaller foamy head, super dark almost black.

Nose more dark malts, toasty brown malts, hint of orange marmalade, little cherry fruit too, biscuity toffee caramel, little bourbon and vanilla barrel.

Taste more fruity, some cherry out front, little orange peel, nice tartness, juicy brown malt and some bourbon juice, little toasted caramel, bitter orange rind and hop presence. Little vanilla soda sweet candy and barrel. Finish little sticky, fair bitterness, candy.

Mouth is med bod, lighter carb, very little booze.

Feb 26, 2016
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PBRmeasap1980 from Indiana

3.85/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A - Jet black with thin brown head... tiny, tiny bubbles
S- Whiskey/bourbon, vinegar, maybe tart cherry
T - Whiskey still has a bit of a kick that works OK with the sour, but not quite in step. Not sure why they chose orange and cherry to put together, but doesn't work for me. Orange is present, but no cherry
F- Medium/thin
O - Interesting, but doesn't work for me

Feb 25, 2016
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RoamingGnome from Wisconsin

4.46/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

I chilled this for just a bit and then poured it into a Teku glass. It's was dark brown with a finger of head. The head disappeared quickly, leaving behind some lacing. The aroma was very inviting... Tart cherries and chocolate. The flavor had a lot going on, and blended together seamlessly. Stout characteristics with cherry and citrus rind. You can pick it all out. It closes out with a pleasant sweetest that transitions to bourbon heat. And yet somehow still sour. I'm digging this brew... The mouthfeel is medium with lighter carbonation. I'm pretty happy just sipping on this and watching some basketball. Glad to recommend this beer!

Feb 21, 2016
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neurobot01 from California

4.29/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

375ml bottle into a Teku at fridge temp, allowed to warm.

Look: deep brown, light brown head, dissipates after a few minutes.

Smell: chocolate, orange, cherry, bourbon.

Taste: tart cherry, chocolate, orange, smoke, toffee, bourbon. A lingering sour/bitter/fusel aftertaste is the primary (minor) drawback. The bourbon flavor in particular stands out as very high quality.

Feel: medium-thick, with just a bit of prickly carbonation.

Overall: this was a surprisingly good beer. No one flavor dominates, yet they're all discernible. Easily displaces Farmers Reserve Pluot as my favorite Almanac offering to date.

Feb 17, 2016
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Fcolle2 from Illinois

4.23/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours black with a thin dark tan head. Aroma is incredibly balanced with sweet cherry,chocolate, vanilla, caramel and bourbon all in proportion. Taste has a nice blend of Both sweet and sour cherry flavors. Chocolate malt vanilla and a faint hint of boozy bourbon in the finish. Feel is high in carbonation and on the lighter side for a stout but I think it works well with the aroma and flavor.

Feb 11, 2016
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larryarms847 from Illinois

4.02/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours thin and watery for a stout, but as my first time with a sour stout I'm unsure if this is the norm. Dark brown, very little head, and watery.

Tart cherry, char, oak, citrus, and some funky barnyard/wet hay notes.

Cherries, bourbon, oak, and bretty funk.

Medium-bodied, low carbonation, thin, watery, subtle tart crispness.

Overall, literally just a funky stout. Nothing to blow a wad of cash on.

Feb 06, 2016
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AnotherBrick00 from California

4.48/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Pours with a dark brown head that doesn't subside too quickly. Beautiful bourbon vanilla notes really shine on the nose. The body is only missing a hint of viscosity to be perfect for how dark it is. Cherries and orange are much more background than pronounced.

Feb 03, 2016
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snaotheus from Washington

3.75/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

375ml bottle split between a pair of Georgetown samplers. Bottled December 2015.

Pours like a stout -- black with a small light brown head. Smell is tart -- red grapes, plums before their prime.

Taste is interesting. Maybe a little red wine, a little roast (but not much), more like a combination of overripe and underripe plums.

Mouthfeel is smooth and surprisingly crisp. Overall, it's pretty good.

Feb 01, 2016
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breadwinner from California

4.25/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

I really dig Bourbon Sour Porter from these guys, so I was stoked to give another of their dark sours a try. Nice on the nose, a touch of acidity, super light on the roasted stout notes, more forward with cherries/dark fruit and maybe a touch of the orange. Not especially barrel forward on the palate, but it's certainly there, alongside lightly tangy cherries, a sort of herbal/mentholated note, a slight citric pucker. It all comes together fairly well, I dare say. Maybe not quite the tour de force of BSP, but a worthy addition to the sour stout category.

Jan 31, 2016
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cherche from Washington

4.09/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

After a couple of rounds of ratings I am going for a review...first rating was 4.25, next was 3.75

L: obsidian black, think tan head, some retention and strong lacing
S: pomegranates and dates, red wine, bourbon, tobacco and earth, slightly tart
T: in line with the nose, very nice. Dark, tart fruits, bourbon and red wine.
M: light carbonation, sticky, and full body
O: I've had this beer three times now. Twice out of the bottle, once on tap. Loved it both times out of the bottle, underwhelmed out of the tap. It's interesting, complex, unique. I'd say worth grabbing a bottle of for sure.

Jan 31, 2016
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Rimbimhoot from Illinois

4.28/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

A: Very dark brown with no head
S: Dark chocolate, bourbon, cherry, light tartness, light roast
T: Chocolate, light roast, bourbon, vanilla, tart cherry, hint of orange peel, coffee
M: Medium and suitable for a stout
O: Fantastic and balanced sour stout with tons of flavor

Jan 23, 2016
Truthful Statement from Almanac Beer Co.
Beer rating: 92 out of 100 with 146 ratings