Barrel Noir | Almanac Beer Co.

BA SCORE
90
outstanding
431 Ratings
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Barrel NoirBarrel Noir
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Almanac Beer Co.
California, United States
almanacbeer.com

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
Ratings:
431
Reviews:
78
Avg:
4.05
pDev:
8.89%
 
 
Wants:
71
Gots:
67
For Trade:
7
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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 431 |  Reviews: 78
Photo of tommyguz
2.25/5  rDev -44.4%

Photo of chippo33
2.75/5  rDev -32.1%

Photo of kojevergas
2.9/5  rDev -28.4%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

50% Dark Ale Aged in Bourbon Barrels. 50% American Imperial Stout. 10% ABV confirmed. Cast was $10 USD for a 375ml brown glass bottle with a branded pressure cap and a fancy etched label. Oak-aged according to the label. Served into a conical Samuel Smith's pint glass in me gaff in low altitude Los Feliz, Los Angeles, California. Reviewed live. Expectations are average given the brewery. Acquired at a local SoCal beer store; I've seen this around Westwood.

Served straight from the fridge but allowed to warm over the course of consumption. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

Paired with salted pretzels.

A: Pours a cola-esque khaki-tan head: quite thin, lacks substantial cream, but retains well (~5 minutes, pretty impressive for 10%). Body colour is a solid dark black; not a jet black or silky but black. No yeast particles are visible; it's nontransparent and opaque. No bubble show. Light thin lacing as the head slowly recedes.

Sm: Chocolate, chocolate malt, dark malts, buried roast, a bit of vanilla, light plum/stonefruit, and caramel. Not real bourbon-y, with the vanilla and caramel ringing distinct rather than as part of a whole. A bit of oak wood. No yeast character comes through. Alcohol is well concealed. Bready and a bit burnt. It's evocative but not very deep in terms of flavour depth. I'm excited to try it. A mild strength aroma.

T/Mf: Hrm. It feels like a messy blend of two different beers - probably because that's what it is. Bourbon-y oaky dark malts collide with competing plum notes, biscuit malt, and light vinous character. No balance here at all. The mouthfeel is a mess too; silky and artifically smooth up front which coarsens and dries as it hits the lees-like Belgian dark feel. Carbonation is good. Light oak is a highlight but lacks depth. Alcohol is evident. Heavy thick caramel and bready notes. A bit roasty on the finish, with hints of cold pressed generic coffee. Overly sweet, with artificial vanilla hitting on the climax. Hot and gushed. There's definite boozy warmth here. It doesn't lack body, but it's inconsistent and unfocused. Boy, this one isn't doing me well.

Dr: Something of a sipper, with boozy character warming the stomach. Its messy unfocused flavour profile coupled with its scattershot mouthfeel make it a tough one to drink compared to other beers in the style. This one misses the mark a bit; I feel like either of the two constituent beers would be better on their own. Priced high for the lack of quality. I wouldn't buy this again. I'm distrusting of Almanac now; I've had too many underwhelming beers from them. A very average beer.

C

 2,660 characters

Photo of ChicagoNick
3/5  rDev -25.9%

Photo of seedyone
3/5  rDev -25.9%

On tap at Rattle n Hum, NYC. Took a chance on this as it was highly recommended by fellow bar flies. I usually enjoy dark, rich brews but this lacked a few basics elements that I'd hoped to find. Aroma was very promising. A hint of coffe/toffee that never developed on the tongue. IMHO the flavors were overly assertive on the tart side.

I realize Almanac specializes in sours, which I have a low tolerence for, but reading a description of "a blend of American imperial stout & Belgian-inspired dark ale aged in bourbon barrels" had me. I'm big on all three.

This reminded me of Ommegang's Abbey Ale Dubbel. More of a wine barrel taste.

I guess to each his own still applies.

 681 characters

Photo of vonnegut21
3/5  rDev -25.9%

Photo of pants678
3.21/5  rDev -20.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

No head but black body.

Some barrel, vanilla might be reaching.

Is this not from a pinot barrel? The back's got more than a tinge of sour. Might need to be dialed back a tad. Still, there's a nice blend of bourbon barrel to it. Though it's interesting, I'd love to have either separate. Hard to pick out nuance, little chocolate, no coffee.

Smooth, very cola-esque carbonation.

 380 characters

Photo of Dave_Treat
3.25/5  rDev -19.8%

Photo of Thorpe429
3.25/5  rDev -19.8%

Photo of beagle75
3.25/5  rDev -19.8%

Photo of illidurit
3.25/5  rDev -19.8%

Photo of funkel81
3.25/5  rDev -19.8%

Photo of bcerv-ca
3.25/5  rDev -19.8%

Photo of yourefragile
3.25/5  rDev -19.8%

Photo of jrob21
3.25/5  rDev -19.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Bottle thanks to AtlAggie. Smooth dark fruit drink. Lots of soy sauce and peat. Big barrel presence and a chalky texture. This one should be laid down for a nother couple of years to let it meld together a little bit. The flavor is a little too big and pungent with the soy sauce aspects right now. I can only imagine what this is going to become in another year or two.

 370 characters

Photo of flayedandskinned
3.29/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Bottled on 1/30/13
Poured into a standard tulip glass.

Appearance: (4)
Pours a midnight black with a nice, 2 fingers tall khaki head that has some nice retention. The head eventually falls to a nice quarter finger cap, leaving no retention behind.

Aroma: (3.75)
Rich aromas of sweet dark fruits waft up to your nose as soon as you pour the beer; mostly plum, cherry and fig. Building right alongside these sweet tones are impressions of coconut and vanilla from the bourbon barrel. As the beer warms, the barrel character begins to fade and more of the sweet fruit undertones, paired with a creamy chocolate presence become apparent. Underneath this sweetness, there is a very subtle astringent coffee tone.

Taste: (3)
Similar to the nose, your palate is struck immediately by waves of sweet fruit; mostly plums, cherries and figs. Underneath these fruits is a light streak of bitter coffee and chocolate. The beer finishes watery with lingering notes of chocolate, sweet fruit and coffee. There are some nice notes of coconut and vanilla from the barrel. There is a sizable alcohol presence.

Mouthfeel: (3)
Thin, a tad watery with moderate carbonation.

Overall: (3.25)
I had hopes for this beer; A Dark Belgian Strong aged in Bourbon barrels and then blended with an Imperial Stout? This should be awesome! I was expecting a very robust, creamy ale and what this turned out to be is a thin beer with some decent barrel character. After trying Almanac's Farmhouse Reserve No. 3, and I had bigger hopes for this.

 1,521 characters

Photo of SteveTheDog
3.34/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

I like wine & drank this our of an oversized wine glass and it looked like wine, albeit a little dark & with a good head on it. I got hits of cherries and some dark chocolate in the nose - big fan of that. The taste was a little underwhelming though - it tasted a little on the dirty side but with a clean aftertaste. It was nice once, but I don't plan on having a second.

 372 characters

Photo of Pecan
3.34/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.25

Pours dark brown/black with small tan head.

Hints of spice, oak, and dark fruits on the nose.

Slight malt taste in the beginning, but is quickly overpowered by an astringent, spice taste with dark fruits replacing the caramel beginnings. Barrel flavor is significantly diminished. Some bitterness lingers at the end along with a subtle dark fruit aftertaste.

Mouthfeel begins nicely, but finishes with too much carbonation combining with the spice and bitterness.

This wasn't awful, but seemed significantly influenced by Belgian dark ales and not so much by bourbon or stouts. Judging based on that, it is certainly unique, but does not hold up to other Belgian style quads. Doubt I would buy this again, but certainly a unique beer that I'm glad to have tried.

 767 characters

Photo of TKEbeerman
3.5/5  rDev -13.6%

Photo of Reappropriated
3.5/5  rDev -13.6%

Photo of mdaschaf
3.5/5  rDev -13.6%

Photo of CreativeJeenyus
3.5/5  rDev -13.6%

Photo of DarthKostrizer
3.5/5  rDev -13.6%

Photo of pperez38
3.5/5  rDev -13.6%

Photo of ygtbsm94
3.5/5  rDev -13.6%

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Barrel Noir from Almanac Beer Co.
4.05 out of 5 based on 431 ratings.
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