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Firestone 17 - Anniversary Ale - Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Firestone 17 - Anniversary AleFirestone 17 - Anniversary Ale

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105 Reviews
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Reviews: 105
Hads: 1,338
Avg: 4.41
pDev: 7.94%
Wants: 196
Gots: 501 | FT: 62
Brewed by:
Firestone Walker Brewing Co. visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Strong Ale |  13.30% ABV

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: dwagner003 on 10-30-2013

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

30% Bravo Barrel-Aged Imperial Brown Ale
25% Stickee Monkey Barrel-Aged English Barley Wine
15% Velvet Merkin Barrel-Aged Oatmeal Stout
15% Parabola Barrel-Aged Imperial Russian Oatmeal Stout
8% Double Double Barrel Ale
4% Helldorado Barrel-Aged Blonde Barley Wine
3% Wookey Jack Black Rye India Pale Ale
View: Beers (87) | Events
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Reviews: 105 | Hads: 1,338
Photo of Chaney
5/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

It's so easy to put this one up on a pedestal based on it's base beer profile alone.

Served in a Boulevard tulip.

A: Poured about a shade lighter than Parabola with only some red poking through if you're wearing Special Operations goggles. Slight head…… more than I was expecting. Beautiful!

S: Not a bourbon bomb, but the bourbon was still present. Doesn't smell like a 13.3% brew. What gives? Subtle roast, with cocoa notes to the forefront.

T: Holy crap this was smooth. I got Parabola in there even before it barely even hit the palate. Even the booze had a candy-coated quality to it. Cocoa, roast, slight bourbon, and tons of vanilla.

M: Thick, chewy, and so, so good. The sweetness was there, but this makes no aspersions to be nothing more than a dessert beer.

O: My highest recommendation. My top so far in 2014.

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Photo of mrotstein
5/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

If there was an elixir a God would drink. This would be it. Plain and simple.

A: Deep, dark, rich mahogany with nuances of dark garnet. Bordering on black. Head is moderate and quickly dissipates leaving traces around the edges.

S: Vanilla, bourbon, rich dark fruit, and actually a little tequila maybe. Also getting some fresh baked doughnuts strangely enough. Very complex.

T: Ridiculous. So much going on. Among the flavors I'm getting are: molasses, maple, brown sugar, doughnuts, wood, bourbon, vanilla, rum drenched raisins, milk chocolate, toffee, chocolate cake batter, and caramel. I'm even getting a little bit of the tequila (I swear) which I thought would be offputting but I'm actually digging it. Phenomenal tasting brew.

M: Satisfying for sure. Perhaps still a little on the "hot" side as I'm drinking it. ABV definitely detectable. Viscous, thick, and rich.

What can I say? This is one of the top beers I have ever had in my opinion. I loved the 15 and I may love this one even more. World class for sure.

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Photo of reebtaerG
4.99/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Had on tap on 2/28/14 at Victoria's GP in a 12oz snifter

A-Pours a dark maroon color. Small off white head. The head dissipates leaves and ring has great lacing.

S-Nose is bourbon, oak, vanilla, chocolate, and biscuit.

T-Flavor is like a bourbon chocolate shake, with vanilla and slight coffee and smoke notes.

M-Nice mouthfeel, medium balance with light carbonation

O-This beer is awesome get your hands on it. Let the beer warm up it gets even better!

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Photo of hagbergl
4.96/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Rodman's in Friendship Heights, Washington, DC let it be known that they had about a case more of Firestone Walker's XVII, their 17th anniversary ale, an outrageous blend of some of their most difficult to find and complex beers (including Parabola, Double DBA). 22 oz. bomber, split between myself and my girlfriend.

Appearance (4.25): Pours pitch black with red-brown highlights and a very little light brown head.

Smell (5/5): Vanilla, oak, bourbon barrel, toasted coconut, a sweet booziness, cookie dough, and an ever so slight touch of chocolate. Amazing amount of barrel character on this beer.

Taste (5/5): All these scents are masterfully realized in the taste--even more oak barrel in the taste, some brown sugar and cinnamon spice (which does great work with the spicy-sweet alcohol flavor), and a lot of vanilla and toasted coconut. The alcohol is present throughout the taste (as you'd expect at 13.3% ABV) but it works well with overall flavor profile. Dark fruits work their way in, as well as a touch of dark chocolate. 17 could be described as a stout-barleywine hybrid. Sounds weird? Well, no matter, it's incredible, complex stuff.

Mouthfeel (5/5): Full bodied. Thick yet smooth as velvet going down, and not the least bit sticky. Very low carbonation, almost none. Warming sensation occurs upon taking the first swallow. It's by no means an easy drinker, but that's no matter. This is meant to be consumed over a long session.

Overall (5/5): This is one of Firestone Walker's most masterful creations. The level of craftsmanship and inspiration that went into the brewing and blending of it is truly astonishing (make sure to read the inserted paper to get the details on its creation). Allow this beer to warm up to the appropriate temperature, sip, and marvel at it.

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Photo of BurgeoningBrewhead
4.95/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Poured into tulip; jet black with a moderate tan head that fades slowly, leaving nice sticky lacing.
Smell is brown sugar, bourbon, oak, toffee, caramel, banana, raisins...wow. Complex and tons of barrel character.
Taste is...magnificent. Oak, bourbon, burnt sugar, toffee, caramel, raisins, dark fruit, black bread, vanilla, spice, slight hops...everything.
Mouthfeel is smooth as hell, slick and amazing.
Overall, this is awesome. I was a bit worried as to how a blend would be, but this has removed all doubt. This is amazing stuff. Every flavor you'd desire in a beer, and so much barrel character, all in perfect harmony. Wow.

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Photo of GreesyFizeek
4.9/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Bottle split with my dad the weekend after Christmas. He claims it is the best beer he's ever tasted. Not bad for a guy who was primarily a Bud drinker a year ago!

Pours a medium-to-dark brown into two snifters. Small but nice looking head, not much lacing.

Smells great. Brown sugar, molasses, oak, vanilla, bourbon, caramel, toffee, all of that great stuff. Can't wait to put this in my belly.

Tastes very similar to the smell. Very strong brown sugar and oak. The bourbon flavors are strong, but well integrated, doesn't taste boozy at all, really. There's a bit of a nut flavor I'm getting in the taste that I didn't pick up in the smell.

Mouthfeel is full and wonderful. The beer warms you right up.

A must try. One of the best beers I've had this year. Worth the steep price.

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Photo of vfgccp
4.86/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

A - True to tradition, it's a great looking brew. Crystal clear mahogany ruby body. Fine, dirty white head has nice retention but low lace.

S - Awesome nose. Milk chocolate, caramel, plum, oak, raisins, burnt toast, savory ancho pepper, and cardamon.

T - Wow, absolutely fantastic. Rich and silky smooth. Opens with almonds, coconut, and dark chocolate truffles. Molasses, leather, cherry cordial, and cognac erupt throughout the center, and ebb into a thick, seemingly everlasting pumpkin, oak, bourbon, vanilla, and pumpernickel finish.

M - Holy crap. A stunning combination of a full, smooth body that sits impossibly light on your palate.

O - Hands down, Firestone Walker is home of the best blending program in the US. Period. A tip-of-the-hat to another outstanding anniversary ale.

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Photo of bpasquini
4.83/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

A: Pours a dark amber/brown color, but while sitting in the glass it is pitch black, on a heavy pour it left a tiny, light tan colored head, leaves no lacing, even though it sits pitch black in the glass, you can somewhat notice that dark amber color from the pour, very intriguing color to this beer and it's fantastic!

S: Primarily I am getting the bourbon barrels, but it is mixed with sweet vanilla and brown sugar, a very slight hint of booze, chocolate, and broken down hops, slight hints of tobacco, and coffee.
It is very interesting to smell this beer, every time you smell it, you notice something new, or the presence of a smell is stronger than the last, I am literally getting a new smell from this beer every time I smell it, great smell to this beer! Only negative is that the smell is a little faint, if it were stronger it would definitely be a perfect score

T: This section blew me away, I was skeptical about the flavor of the blended beers, but damn this tastes good! Initial flavor is broken down hops blended wonderfully with caramel and brown sugar, then it transitions to a slight boozy chocolate, tobacco flavor, and finishes with that lovely bourbon vanilla flavor mixed with brown sugar and chocolate, the flavor lingers ever so slightly but you only taste the vanilla, it's not overly sweet which is fantastic! This is definitely one of the best tasting beers I have and probably will ever have!

M: The mouthfeel to this beer is phenomenal, it's medium bodied, incredibly smooth, very drinkable especially for a beer at 13.3% ABV, there is a slight creaminess to it as well which compliments the sweet flavors of the beer, just a perfect mouthfeel to this beer, that's all that needs to be said about it.

O: Damn good beer in my opinion, if it weren't so pricey or if I didn't have a budget, I would go to all the bottle shops that still have this beer and buy all of them, I had low expectations for this beer and it shattered every doubt I had about it, get your hands on this beer!

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Photo of breadwinner
4.81/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

One of the best vintages of this series I've had, it bursts with incredible barrel notes, chocolate, caramel, and coconut, with perfect viscosity, and a nose to die for. Kudos, FW -- you've raised the bar again.

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Photo of dar482
4.79/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

The beer pours out of the bottle in a dark amber brown. In the glass, it is a very dark brown, leaning towards black.

The aroma hits of vanilla, tons of sweet bourbon and barrel character. Dark fruit of plums and raisins. Lots of sweet complexities from caramel to brown sugar to toffee candy, even a pure cane sugary syrup. Underlying that is a touch of roasted and toasted malt. A truly delectable nose.

On the flavor, up front is a smack of bourbon and a touch of brandy to open up the palate. However, it does not linger too long and is taken over by caramel and brown sugar sweetness, a touch of toasted malt, cacao and chocolate then onto some bitterness from the roasted malt of the stouts, but only so gently that it is barely noticeable without knowledge that they are integrated into the beer. Waves of vanilla, a touch of coconut candy come through, as the beer finishes with some spice, anise, tannic drying.

One of the best beers from Firestone next to XVIII and better than Parabola and Sucaba as an individual brew.

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Photo of arizcards
4.76/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Picked up a boxed bomber from BevMo on 11-22-13 for $23.99.

Beer poured dark brown with a nice off white head on the initial pour.

Nose is wonderful, oak, vanilla, light bourbon, some chocolate, hints of citrus.

Taste...perfect again this year. What is striking is that you do not get the in your face bourbon alcohol blast. What you get is a glassful of soft blended flavors that artfully come together. Cocoa, vanilla, light bourbon, cinnamon, and mocha are all there. It is sweet but in a complementary way as there is enough hopping in the blended brews.

Mouthfeel is medium to full bodied and pretty smooth.

Overall i have to say the craftsmen at Firestone Walker have topped themselves again. If you are looking for a bourbon bomb you are not going to get it. What you are getting is a gently barreled masterfully crafted beer that is blended to perfection.

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Photo of BergBeer
4.75/5  rDev +7.7%

Look: Opaque black with a vanilla head.

Smell: Huge bourbon, chocolate, and vanilla notes explode from the bottle. Also getting toffee, coffee, vanilla ice cream, chocolate chip cookies, earthy hops, and more bourbon. Smells absolutely fantastic.

Taste: Huge vanilla hits the palate followed by chocolate chip cookies soaked in bourbon, a slight hint of cinnamon, mocha, Irish cream, Molasses, and a finish of vanilla ice cream with bourbon.

Mouthfeel: Rich and decadent. Big bodied and sticky. Wets the palate and goes down with a slight alcohol burn that warms the chest.

Overall: Outstanding! So rich and complex with all of these decadent flavors melding into one barrel lovers treat. ! I've said it a million times but this one deserves it again. There is magic in Firestone Walker barrel system and this beer is liquid proof.

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Photo of JoeBloe
4.75/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Into a Spiegelau snifter - I dig the presentation of the bottle in the box with the 'pedigree" paper dated 10-1-13 - Looks like the real deal as it fills the glass with it's richness and puts up a 1/2 finger head - head quickly dissipates into a thin ring, spotty lacing drifts down the sides of the glass - I can smell all the good stuff described in previous reviews - Taste is very complex with all the dried fruits, caramels and toffees, and all the roasty goodness of the gods - the barrel aging flavor is superb - just right -
mouthfeel is slick and thick, but not too much of either - carbonation feels just right as well - an incredible blend - FW has achieved it's goal once again - blending the various beers to 'create a synergistic whole that is greater than the sum of it's parts' - fantastic stuff !

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Photo of LiquidAmber
4.74/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Poured into a Reuben's Brew snifter. Pours a very dark, nearly opaque brown with a thin tan head that dissipates to a ring around the glass, with slippery light lacing. Aroma of whisky, dark fruit, vanilla, hints of nuts and chocolate, dominated by the whisky barrel elements. Flavor is wonderfully integrated dark dried and fresh fruit, vanilla, oak wood, bourbon, caramel, pale malt, and a hint of grassy hops. Finishes with bourbony caramel. Medium to heavy bodied, nearly syrupy. Complex but balanced, the flavors really do meld together as if several people spent a lot of time blending different components (which is the origin of this strong ale). The high ABV shows through even the dense flavor of this, but mostly as bourbon and toffee. Delicious. Really hard to say how this could be improved, except the pour is kind of one note dark brown with little excitement from carbonation (the carbonation is fine in the taste).

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Photo of Samuel906
4.74/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

All I can say is WOW! This is a seriously amazing beer! Firestone has really outdone themselves. This is made from some of my favorites from FW; Stickee Monkey and Parabola are among the best barleywines and stouts respectively on the planet, and combined with several other amazing brews, it all comes together in one amazing beer. Pours a rusty brown, very transparent with a thin white head with little to no retention. Not surprising that there is little head as there is not much carbonation. Appearance was definitely the weak point; just nothing too exciting to look at. Smell is huge canvas of milk chocolate, vanilla, mocha, cherries, raisins, , and of course some bourbon (probably thanks to the DDBA). There is a hint of boozeyness when it gets a little warmer, but not terribly so. Taste is simply stunning, as damn near perfect as I can remember.Caramel, toffee, mocha, hazelnut, macadamia, banana some tobacco earthiness and some brown sugar sweetness. Feel is surprisingly drinkable, an area I feel XVI did not perform as well in. XVII still has some syrupy sweetnes, but it's medium body and silky carbonation make it go down easy. You can feel only a touch of booze in the mouth, but it starts to burn like hot fire once it's in the belly. Overall, I am absolutely in love with this beer, and I think it now ranks as my favorite out of the Firestone brewery.

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Photo of rand
4.72/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

22 oz bomber to snifter

I was expecting a bit of a let down since this year's anniversary batch is a lot easier to acquire, but no...they just made a lot more of it (if you're reading this and you can't get it in your area, it would be a good time for a San Diego vacation, it's in pretty much every bottle shop, well stocked). Complex and layered and completely delicious, this brew will undoubtedly do well with a few years under its belt. The specs:

A: The beer looks like a dark cola, deep and brown and viscous. The tiny, wispy head leaves little islands of lacing.

S: Boozy, chocolatey, and buttery. Oak stands out, playing nicely against a whole array of decadent desert tones - coconut, vanilla caramel.

T: The flavors are even more complex, as a distinct hazelnut tone speeds to the front of the palate. Again, chocolate, vanilla and caramel are all present, rolled into one big boozy desert-like aspect. A touch of oak and drying hops keeps the sugar at bay - barely, but enough to add balance. Booze warms throughout, regardless of the temperature, but its accent it welcome. Finishes long and sweet and yummy.

M: Of course it's chewy and viscous...as much as you'd expect. But there's enough carbonation to keep the palate cleaned and primed for each sip.

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Photo of Sam-VW
4.71/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

A - Pours Black with a thin tan coloured head which dissipates quickly. No lacing.

S - Big hit of Bourbon followed by some Toasty notes, Vanilla, Brown Sugar and Dark Fruits.

T - At first you get a big Bourbon flavour, followed by Toffee, Vanilla, Brown Sugar, Liquoriche and some subtle Red Wine notes. Very complex.

M - Very Thick body with a small amount of carbonation. Finishes quite sweet.

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Photo of MarriedAtGI
4.7/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

A: Dark brown with reddish notes through backlighting. Minimal head, tan foam that dissipates quickly. Swirling the glass shows some viscosity and legs.

S: Smoky, leather, maybe a little figs, a hint of tar

T: Figs and raisins, molasses, tar, very sweet

M: Rich and almost syrupy, enough carbonation to give it life without interfering with the flavors

O: A delicious beer analogous to a dessert wine. It is remarkable how FW blends the various barrel aged beers to come up with an elegantly integrated single beer experience.

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Photo of ryannosaurus
4.69/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Refrigerated bomber poured to snifter, allowed to warm 10-15 minutes

Pours black as night, about 1 finger tan head that settles to a light lace

Aroma is complex: whiskey and oak first, vanilla, toffee, butter, roasted malt, plum sneak in

Taste is delicious whiskey, sweet malt up front and brown sugar, coffee, vanilla, chocolate, toffee, fig, molasses, licorice and faint fuggles spiciness on the back as well as hot alcohol. Not "woody" at all

Mouthfeel is heavy but not syrupy

Overall: one of my favorite beer styles, my first time having FW 17 from the bottle (previous had it on tap). Not often a beer comes with two pages of reading material. Definitely a sipping brew, that continues to improve in all facets as it warms. Tremendous melange of flavors present, with none of them really overpowering... a well orchestrated symphony of flavors, each sip a little different as it warms. I'm scoring it damn close to perfect, as it is difficult to imagine a better imperial stout.

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Photo of mfnmbvp
4.67/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22 oz. bottle, with no apparent bottled on date present. Exponentially excited to have this beer, my first of the Firestone Walker anniversary ales that I've gotten to purchase in a bottle. I had the 15 and 16 on tap last year. Of this blend, I have only tried one or two of the beers that were blended. Expectations are through the roof.

Poured into a clear balloon snifter.

A - Pours a dark cola brown; opaque black in the glass. Subtle ruby / chestnut highlights around the edges when held to a light source. About one finger of chocolate tan head that falls to a ring quickly. Looks beautiful.

S - Smell is so rich and complex. Beautiful creamy vanilla up front. Chocolate. Oak wood. Raisins. Brown sugar. Bourbon & rum alcohol fumes. Smells amazing.

T - Taste follows suit of the nose: silky vanilla, creamy chocolate, caramel, toffee, brown sugar, hint of coconut, charred oak wood, some subdued bitter herbal hop presence, and bourbon / rum alcohol heat. Tastes more like a delicious barrel aged stout to me than anything else. This is a seriously amazing tasting beer.

M - Feel is smooth and creamy, with a good amount of roasty bitterness and sticky sweetness clinging to the palate. Just a mild hint of alchol warmth lingers, but it is hardly noticeable. Delicious.

Overall, another wonderful delicious blend from Firestone Walker; I cannot wait to try more of these. More of an amazingly delicious barrel aged stout / barleywine hybrid to me than anything else, but the other components of this beer are clearly present. Highly recommended & ridiculously delicious.

Firestone Walker XVII (Seventeenth Anniversary Ale) ---4.5/5

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Photo of Sintech
4.65/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Bottle share at Courtyard & Cellar for Toppling Goliath Mornin' Delight release!

22oz Bottle

Had this side by side with XVIII. Incredibly smooth and complex. The extra year in the cellar did wonders. Highly recommended.


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Photo of Beerampage
4.64/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Where/When: Secluded North East KS in a cabin by the lake @ approx 12PM CST on Dec 28th. Sharing with old friends who may have had a significant head start in the alcohol race.

Appearance: Deep Brown in color with a nice cream laced ring around the top. Looks delicioius.

Smell: Sweet smelling. Brown sugar is prominent. Bourbon fills the nose with the barrel notes. Tobacco. Very well balanced in the nose. Changing from sweet to boozy. Just like an evening lady should.

Taste: This beer isn't obtrusive or loud. Its very soft. The nose doesn't lie as the brown sugar is present up front. Was hard to get ahold of at first with a toasted vanilla flavor to the back of the tounge. Just a tad of bitterness. Much more revealing on the second sip. Nutty, and sweet. Very rich and delicious. Sexy beer.

Mouth-feel: Carbonation is perfect. FW does a very nice job with this. Feels the way it tastes, beautiful.

Overall: Three days removed from this years Parabola, this one is softer, but doesn't lack any complexity. This beer does what an outstanding beer should. The nose is a precursor to what's to come, and upon tasting, validation. I was lucky enough to grab two, and I count the days till our second meeting.


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Photo of RaulMondesi
4.62/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

On tap at The Playground in Downtown Santa Ana, CA.

Christmas in April and Raul is feelin' it like when Tupac was sprung out of County!

Dark fruits, dark like my baby mama soul, dark ecstasy...Raul is feelin' it!

Get all over it when you can, my children, get it good!

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Photo of t8dd
4.6/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle poured into a snifter. Aroma is all bourbon-caramel, vanilla, wood, boozy. Dark amber with no head, nice lacing. Tastes amazing, lots of bourbon barrel presence with alcohol heat, dark jammy fruit, sweet and roasted malt. Long, long finish. Got another bottle I plan on aging. Will be interesting to see what time will do for this one.

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Photo of 01001111
4.58/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Dark chestnut brown with significant lacing.

S: Caramel, toffee, vanilla, hazelnuts, oak, faint bourbon and booze.

T: Caramel, bourbon, vanilla, alcohol. Aftertaste is bitter hops reminiscent of those found in English ales.

M: Very heavy and syrupy with a significant alcohol heat. The booze becomes stronger as it heats up.

O: A great sipper. Complex and enjoyable but not quite greater than the sum of its parts.

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Firestone 17 - Anniversary Ale from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
97 out of 100 based on 105 ratings.