Barrel Noir | Almanac Beer Co.

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BA SCORE
90
outstanding
76 Reviews
THE BROS
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Barrel NoirBarrel Noir
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Almanac Beer Co.
California, United States | website

Style: American Double / Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.00%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
This oak-aged ale is our love letter to bourbon barrels. Barrel Noir is a sumptuous, inky ale that celebrates the velvety texture and subtle heat that only Kentucky charred oak can impart. Born from a blend of American imperial stout and Belgian-inspired dark ale aged in bourbon barrels, this rich brew can be paired with braised beef dishes and dark chocolates. Enjoyed best in front of a warm fireplace.

Added by Trilogy31 on 02-14-2013

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

BEER STATS
Reviews:
76
Ratings:
428
Avg:
4.04
pDev:
21.04%
 
 
Wants:
72
Gots:
69
For Trade:
8
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User Reviews
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Reviews: 76 | Ratings: 428
Reviews by lacqueredmouse:
Photo of lacqueredmouse
4.11/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz stubby bottle purchased from K&L Wine Merchants in Redwood City, CA. Shared with Rich in Sydney.

Pours a surprisingly light cloudy brown, certainly still stout-worthy, but perhaps less than Impy-level. Head forms a big, burgeoning froth when first poured, settling to a mocha crater of large bubbles. Body is surprisingly light, although the carbonation that forms is still quite fine. Overall it looks good, but with a few quirks to it.

Nose is wonderful. Big American oak flavours balanced with a rich sweetness from the beer itself. Plenty of toasted coconut, vanilla and mild milky chocolate. It's balanced or perhaps shot through with a slight acidity which adds a point of difference from other bourbon barrel aged Imperial stouts. But mostly, it's just sweet, rich and gorgeous. Lovely stuff.

Taste has that slight acidity on the front, but it's quickly packed away by the sweetness giving chocolate and vanilla smoothness. The acidity however maintains a lightness to the palate throughout, making it feel slightly frothy and ephemeral from start to finish. There's a slightly metallic note on the back as well which again countermands the big, sweet vanillin oak characters. On the finish lingers a dry, sweet character of toasted coconut.

Feel is very different to the usual imperial stout: it's light, slightly rounded and a little bit ephemeral. It's an unusual experience, but not an unpleasant one by any means.

Overall, this is very good stuff. Sure, I love imperial stouts, and a big, heavy, boozy, rich example would have suited me fine. But I love that Almanac have done something very different with the same basic construct here. It's a new twist on a big bourbony stout, and that's something that's extremely welcome.

 1,748 characters

More User Reviews:
Photo of tectactoe
3.76/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Thanks to Jeff for cracking this one. Pours very dense and nearly black with the smallest, deep-brown skin at the time, a pretty long cry from being called a "head", even after a straight-down pour. No real lacing or legging of any sort, just a fairly dark and still, troubling looking beer. A little more carbonation certainly wouldn't hurt.

Somewhat musky and deep roasted cocoa beans are the first things to jump out and hit my senses. Quickly following is a brigade of woody and oak notes; surprisingly enough, the bourbon isn't that strong - actually, it's hardly even noticeable in the aroma. Light caramel and sweet, sticky brown sugar softens the finish, coupled alongside some plums, dates, and even a touch of apple skins. Solid barrel-stout aroma with a nice finishing sweetness at the end.

The first sip is pretty heavier up-front - a bit heavier than the smooth aroma would have you guessing. Boozy and strong, but not quite akin to smooth bourbon. It's more of a sharp and abrasive booziness; think straight Jack Daniel's whiskey. It hits hard up front and haunts the palate from start to finish. I'm typically a fan of some nice boozy flavors in my beers, but this one could use some time to mellow out.

Other actually flavors from the profile include some lightly milky chocolates, molasses, nuts, and a strong, woody, polished finish. Barrel Noir leaves your palate a touch sticky and coated with a nutty-oak flavor that's been soaking for days in a vat of Tennessee whiskey. The mouth feel is pretty nice - big and boisterous, heavy bodied and full of itself, and even slightly creamy due to the low carbonation.

I feel that if the bourbon character of this one was toned down a bit, it would be pretty damn great. As it stands, it's simply a good barrel-aged beer that is a little to boozy to enjoy for any prolonged beer drinking period of time. Perhaps waiting this one out is a better route.

 1,917 characters

Photo of Hamburgers
4.25/5  rDev +5.2%

Photo of warnerry
4/5  rDev -1%

Photo of mctizzz
4.25/5  rDev +5.2%

Photo of olradetbalder
4/5  rDev -1%

Photo of chossboss
4.25/5  rDev +5.2%

Photo of standardcherry
3.75/5  rDev -7.2%

Photo of pat61
4.5/5  rDev +11.4%

Nose: bourbon, chocolate with fruit, prunes and raisins.
Pours brilliant deep ebony, ½” finely bubbled tan foam cap. Lacy.
Palate: Starts with chocolate and bourbon, followed by prune and raisins with light espresso in the background mixed with bourbon and chocolate. The aftertaste is long and lingering.
The body is medium full to chewy but it is moussey and foamy due to the fine, soft natural carbonation.

 414 characters

Photo of ehammond1
4.19/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Bottle (2013)

Churchill's Pub & Grille
san Marcos, CA

A delicious, refined, roasty, earthy barrel-aged imperial stout. The aroma comes packed with loads of chocolate and an integrated bourbon barrel character. It actually reminded me a lot of Parabola's aroma. The flavor isn't quite as successful, the but the usual players are all here and are delicious. Everything Almanac puts into barrels turns into gold. Another winner!

 428 characters

Photo of sourdog
4.5/5  rDev +11.4%

Photo of TKEbeerman
3.5/5  rDev -13.4%

Photo of jtladner
4/5  rDev -1%

Photo of 01001111
4.66/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

A: Deep, cola brown. Cloudy but neither very thick nor oily.

S: Let it warm. The vanilla, caramel, and bourbon notes strengthen as it heats up a little.

T: Strong bourbon up front with a coffee roast and mild bitterness on the back; like a bourbon barrel Yirgacheffe drip coffee.

M: A bit thinner than I had expected with only a touch of syrup.

O: As this warms I keep increasing my score. Not the absolute best bourbon barrel aged stout but one of the best; an amazing feat given that this is their first iteration. Another great beer from Almanac.

 553 characters

Photo of BobbysLiquors
4/5  rDev -1%

Photo of acurtis
3.75/5  rDev -7.2%

Photo of ste5venla
3.75/5  rDev -7.2%

Photo of Reappropriated
3.5/5  rDev -13.4%

Photo of switzer
4.25/5  rDev +5.2%

Photo of Johnny58
4.25/5  rDev +5.2%

Photo of mdaschaf
3.5/5  rDev -13.4%

Photo of MrVonzipper
4.25/5  rDev +5.2%

Photo of buzzword
4.25/5  rDev +5.2%

Photo of AlexChillton
4/5  rDev -1%

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Barrel Noir from Almanac Beer Co.
90 out of 100 based on 76 ratings.
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