Thursday, June 20, 2013

IMPERIAL STOUTS ARE BACK: ALMANAC's "BARREL NOIR"

Remember the imperial stout? Dark beer, lots of alcohol, held 98 of 100 slots on Beer Advocate's Best Beers of All Time list? Man, we sure liked those for a time, didn't we? Then those saisons came along, and we freaked out. Then the IPA swamped everything. And wow, look at us – we almost totally forgot these things existed, didn't we? Not our pals at ALMANAC BEER CO. They've made their single best beer since "WINTER WIT", a wonderful 50% barrel-aged "dark ale" that combines beautifully with a straight-up big boy imperial stout. It adds up to 100%, and it adds up to greatness in my book.

That first half of "BARREL NOIR" gives this its Kentucky bourbon barrel kick, and probably most of its alcohol as well (10% overall). Vanilla and oak are heavy in the taste – what a surprise, right? But it's the luscious, creamy, velvety imperial stout portion that makes this such a joy to drink, and why I'm going out to clear the San Francisco Bay Area shelves of this beer this afternoon before you get to 'em. That's where those chocolate "notes" come from, but it's not a bitter chocolate or a weirdo chocolate, like the taste I get from their very good "Biere De Chocolate". Maybe I should have aged this closer to five years, rather than the, uh, 60 days that I did, but I'm sure either way it's a knockout, straight up. 9.5/10.

2 comments:

Beer Rover said...

Thanks to your reviews I purchased my first Almanac beer over the weekend. It's a sour, and I'm looking forward to trying it sometime over the next few days.

Jay Hinman said...

Excellent - hope you like their stuff as much as I do.