Barrel Noir by Almanac Beer Co. is a 10% ABV Imperial Stout with 50% Belgian Dark Ale aged in Bourbon Barrels and 50% American Imperial Stout
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.
There are very few Belgian Stouts out there that can take beers to new levels. The style is simply one of my top favorites. Some of these beers are coveted while others are easier to find. Today, I try this one which has been partially aged in bourbon barrels. Many of the ingredients are farm grown locally. So a lot of them are fresh. Upon opening the beer, I knew was another awesome special chocolate beer.
Aromas are of rich milk chocolate, dark chocolate, coconut, bourbon, vanilla, dark fruits, dulce de leche, flan, marshmallows, espresso coffee notes, brown sugar, candi sugar and sweet Belgian bread notes
The flavors are of very rich milk chocolate, rocky road ice cream, pecans, walnuts, almond joy chocolate, coconut cream, vanilla, raisins, prunes, hints of minor cherry and raspberry notes, bourbon, oak, hints of Kahlua, dulce de leche caramel, flan, chocolate cake with brownie batter and minor earthy bitterness to balance it all out.
Aftertaste leaves with nice chocolate, coffee cake and minor earthy notes along with a bit of vanilla. The alcohol is not too fondly present and makes it nice. Very hidden.
Overall, this beer is simply amazing. Sweet to a not too overwhelming level, yet so many flavors and to a certain point, moderate drink-ability. This beer is a fusion of a bourbon barrel aged quad and an imperial stout which is not something that is done often. So I really think that the right level of brewing fusion is what really makes it outstanding and different from others. The dominating characters that each part brings to the table is simply exquisite. I love chocolate beers, so the extra points in rating are for those awesome awesome chocolate flavors but also because it works so well. A must try for anyone that is a stout and Belgian beer fan. If they ever make this in larger bottles and more available, that would be the best!!
*Overwhelming with milk chocolate, yet not to the super sweet level and enough to give great complexity