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Firestone 17 - Anniversary Ale - Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

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

Educational use only; do not reuse.

105 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 105
Hads: 1,338
Avg: 4.41
pDev: 7.94%
Wants: 197
Gots: 502 | FT: 63
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
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Reviews: 105 | Hads: 1,338
Photo of kojevergas
2.33/5  rDev -47.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 2.25

BOTTLE 650ml. Comes packaged in a fancy cardboard box, probably to sell it as a luxury beer comparable to high-end scotch. The label isn't much to look at. Has a black foil-ed over branded pry-off cap.

Served cold into a pilsner glass and allowed to warm over the course of consumption. Reviewed live as a "barrel-aged blend" per Firestone Walker's website.

13.3% ABV. 30 IBU.

No bubble show forms as it's poured.

HEAD: It has a nice radiant complexion, but it's a meagre half inch in width at most. Has nice creaminess and frothiness, with an even and adequately thick consistency. Leaves no lacing in its wake as it recedes. Could be darker, creamier, richer, and more enticing.

Retention is average - ~2 minutes.

BODY: It's an opaque dark brown-black. It's a generally murky presentation. It lacks the ink-black colour and expressive sheen of the best imperial stouts, but it's also too dark to really deliver on any other style. I see no yeast/sediment.

For a barrel aged blend, it's decent-looking. But it won't have anyone salivating looking at it, and it's neither lively nor inviting.

AROMA: Complex, sure. Raisins, figs, brown sugar, molasses, sugarcane, plum, marshmallow, vanilla from barrel aging, dark malts, creme brulee, faint cocoa dust, candied/caramelized fruit, caramelized sugars, and dark malts. But nothing about it is every expressive or evocative; it's a bit of a muted beer, with no notes shining. Suggests a sticky sweet mess of a brew, though I applaud how well it disguises its high ABV; I'd say the aroma implies a beer of 8-9% ABV. It's probably closest to a Belgian strong dark ale.

The barrel aging seems wasted on the beer based on the aromatics. There's no rich white oak, toastiness, bourbon, etc.

Coconut does stand out as inviting, but for the most part this is a reticent brew.

Aromatic intensity is shockingly low.

TASTE/TEXTURE: It's not as sticky and sweet a mess as I anticipated, but nevertheless it's a chaotic build with a saccharine edge. Not so much imbalanced as unbalanced, this build - which is anything but gestalt - suffers from rough-around-the-edges integration of disparate flavours and a concomitant lack of cohesion, a casualty of the blending process by which it was created.

Its core is a generally underwhelming (and overly sweet) caramelized sugar backbone, with supplementary notes of caramelized/candied fruit (especially dark fruit like figs, raisins, and plums), brown sugar, and molasses. There's a blip of cookie dough in the early second act - which is nice - but it disappears all too quickly. It's not a boozy beer inasmuch as its a syrupy viscous one, and its stickiness clings to the palate, fatiguing the drinker.

There's no harmony of barrel to base. In fact, the barrel aging is subpar, bringing no expressive notes. There's some artificial tasting vanillin, but no genuine bourbon-y vanilla bean. Nor is there any rich toasted white oak, interesting barrel sugar presence, et al. And the coconut from the aroma is barely present here, to its detriment.

The barrel notes may be poorly integrated, but the good news is the base isn't anything special to begin with. I find no expressive flourishes whatsoever, no nuance, no layers of intricacy, no subtlety...why brew this? (Or sorry, blend this). Shallow as can be, with no depth or expressiveness whatsoever. All surface, no substance.

It's full-bodied, with blatant overcarbonation - in spite of its flat, dull presence on the palate. Unrefreshing, of course - but that's to style. Thick for thickness' sake. Heavy and overbearing, lacking the depth of flavour to justify such weight and heft. Overall presence on the palate is poor. There is no harmony of texture to taste. This mouthfeel fails to elevate the beer, and fails to accentuate any specific notes.

The more I drink, the more I realize it's not merely muted - it's insipid.

OVERALL: It's a nice cash-grab blending already produced beers and marking them up. And that'd be fine if the resultant beer was incredible. But unfortunately, for all the marketing hullabaloo, the end product just isn't remarkable in any way, nor is it particularly good. This is difficult to drink given its syrupy sticky feel, general lack of quality, and high ABV - though I do applaud how relatively well the alcohol is disguised. Granted, in spite of the absence of the alcohol in the flavour profile, it does still heat the stomach. In any case, I continue to be confounded by the high regard for this series (and this brewery), and I can't see how any discerning drinker could claim this emperor has clothes.

In short, the whole is worse for having been a combination of its parts, and the result is a beer in which no note rings distinct and nothing guides; there is only a soulless mess of flavour. There is no music here, gentlemen - there is only noise.

D+ (2.33)

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Photo of beerexpertusahopps
3.35/5  rDev -24%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Very lovely caramel color with a bite of bitter wood flavoring finish and good alcohol kick that delights one on a cold wintery day. I was quite impressed with the smooth silky feel but noticed very little lace going down which seemed unusual. Very good overall.

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Photo of maximum12
3.4/5  rDev -22.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Thanks thanks to the only non-digital chainsaw I know, analogchainsaw, for this bottle of my annual genuflection at the altar of Firestone Walker. 22 oz. bottle split with my wife.

Pour is a dark night with a bit of moonlight bouncing around, reddish blackish brownish brackish. Nose isn't especially strong, surprisingly, with vanilla & barrel coming out of the glass, but not much else.

Firestone Walker XVII is like a knee to the nads of expectations. Caramel toffee erupts from the brew, followed by a lighter strain of vanilla, sweet malts, barrel. All very very restrained & polite & I wish they were a bit more obnoxious.

I don't have much to say about this beer except that it's a huge letdown. The anniversary series has been one of the most intriguing, consistent bunch of beers out there, & this is the first beer since X that didn't make my toes curl. Pretty good, but I wish it were XVI. Or XI. Or XIV. Or XIII. Or XII. Or XI. Or X. Dammit.

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Photo of ArrogantB
3.58/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Another year another barrel-aged treat from Firestone, 22oz bottle $22. I've been drinking these every year since the 10 was first released and I've only been disappointed by the sixteen. These are usually a surefire bet and worth the price tag, I never complain. This one has a lot of Bravo which made me hopeful because I really liked the 11 which was heavy on Bravo. Aroma is boozy, slight wood, sugar, barleywine? Flavor is pretty boozy, some tinges of wood and barrel, a bit of sugar, very easy to drink but a bit thin to be honest. Overall, better than sixteen but one of my least favorite of the series.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.74/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Pours a clear honey brown with a foamy khaki head that fades to nothing. No lacing on the drink down. Smell is of malt, caramel, toffee, vanilla, bourbon, and wood aromas. Taste is much the same with vanilla, coconut, and wood flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of wood bitterness and an alcohol kick on the palate with each sip. This beer has a low level of carbonation with an almost flat and medium bodied mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer with great aromas and tasty flavors but this is not one of the better beers in this series in my opinion.

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Photo of ricknelson
3.79/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Firestone's 17th Anniversary Ale came in 7th in my recent beer tasting of Firestone Walker's top beers. Out of the seven BA guys we had at the tasting, 17th Anniversary got an average review score of just 3.88. It scored lower than the 15th and 16th Anniversary Ales that it went up against in a side by side tasting of the three years, having less smell, less taste, and less appearance.

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Photo of scottfrie
3.95/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

22oz bottle into snifter.

A: pours a sticky dark caramel brown with ruby highlights. Head is dark tan, creamy, and short lived, but a nice thick film and collar lasted most of the beer through.
S: mild booziness up front with rich notes of bourbon barrel and spicy oak. Brown sugar, rich fudge, leather, and hop resin follow. Both stout and barleywine components are easily noticeable. Mild hints of sweet caramel poke through as well.
T: rich bourbon up front, still a bit boozy and warming. Sticky and bitter hop resin, brown sugar, sweet caramel, and earthy oak. Tobacco and toffee fill the finish, with chocolate, leather, and bitter hops lingering in the aftertaste. Booze and spice linger throughout.
M: spritzy tingly carbonation. Not frothy, just not as creamy or smooth as I was expecting.
O: maybe needs a bit more age but I thought this wasn't as great as previous years. Surprisingly still boozy and rough around the edges. Definitely tastes like a stout-barleywine blend. Good, but not the best of the bunch.

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Photo of Rifugium
3.98/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

First had: on tap at Capone's

Dark brown pour, slightly translucent around the edges, small cap of creamy, off-white head that retained as a tiny ringlet, leaving just a few dots of lacing on the glass. Aromas of vanilla, burnt caramel, coconut, toasted nuts, bourbon. In the taste, the toasted nuts and bread of a brown ale mingled with the sweet and somewhat burnt sugary notes of a barleywine, flavors of coconut and bourbon-soaked wood. Mouthfeel was smooth, but not entirely fleshed out, body was about medium, but improved as the temperature rose; boozy, but not overly hot. Good overall.

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Photo of Stinkypuss
4/5  rDev -9.3%

Pours a dark amber color with pretty good clarity. The aroma has big caramelized malt notes, almost to the point of malt extract. Sherry, nutty toffee, bourbon. The taste is complex and goes from sweet and malty to woodsy and dry. Creamy malt body and dries out nicely. A blend of some massive beers, this is a big statement of everything malty, caramelized and aged in a barrel. Let this sit because it opens nicely.

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Photo of Original_Gravity
4/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

My 1 year anniversary on BA, also my 100th beer rating! I recently found the 17 at Tap 25 in Livermore, CA (I couldn't believe they still had bottles just sitting in their cooler!). I'm a big fan of the FW Vintage series, and I've really been looking forward to trying this. This blend may be a bit too complex, so many flavors vying to dominate. I think the brandy form the Bravo and the Helldorado stand out too much for my tastes. Still an outstanding beer, just not my favorite from this series.

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Photo of Chico1985
4.04/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Another shared by Cam I believe.

Appearance - Dark brown, some clarity there along with orange highlights. Beige head retains pretty well for a big barrel beer.

Smell - Good smell that opens up towards greatness with warmth. Bourbon and charred oak barrel lead the way followed by dusty chocolate, molasses, nuts and brown sugar.

Taste - Flavor complexity increases here, although alcohol heat does as well. Still lots of bourbon barrel/spice and brandy now very noticeable as well. Chocolate, caramel, toasted nuts, vanilla, some dark fruit and piny/resiny hoppage. Definitely pretty brown ale-reminiscent which is nice. Sweetness kept in check.

Mouthfeel - Somewhat thin, would've liked more a bit more heft here, carbonation is medium-low, hot booze detracts.

Overall - Definitely another FW barrel beer success, though the alcohol heat was a bit much. Nice complex flavors, nice to get a brown ale vibe the most out of it rather than a stout.

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Photo of Damian
4.11/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4.25

Drank from a 1 pint, 6 fluid ounces (650ml) bottle
Served in a snifter

Dark mahogany appearance. Oily but not super thick. The liquid was topped by a one-finger tall, creamy, bubbly, khaki colored crown that slowly dissipated to a thick ring of bubbles. Streaky lacing coated the glass.

The aroma was rather subtle initially but really opened up with time. Quite sweet with intense bourbon and brown sugar notes. Oaky and somewhat toasty. Dark fruits came through strong. Raisins were most noticeable.

Boozy, bourbony notes hit hard right off the bat in the flavor profile. Loads of dark fruits and brown sugar. Quite raisiny. Rich and robust. Slightly roasty. There was a strong caramel malt and toffee presence in the center. The beer finished noticeably hot with loads of oak/barrel. A touch of earthy hop bitterness came through as well. Dry, tannic notes lingered on the palate.

The beer was medium bodied for the style. Slick and smooth but lighter than anticipated. At 13+ percent ABV, it seemed that the barrel really thinned out the liquid.

I buy Firestone Walker's anniversary beer every year and am usually impressed by them. Although the overall flavor and aroma profiles seem to differ fairly little between vintages (which might be expected, seeing as each release uses a recipe consisting of pretty much the same beers but in different quantities), the alcohol presence has varied significantly. Even with a year-plus of age in my cellar, 17 was still very boozy and rough around the edges. I would love to see if this calms down in other year or two.

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Photo of TheSevenDuffs
4.14/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Bottle to snifter.

A - Deep black with a thin layer of light brown head.

S - Charred oak, bourbon, caramel, vanilla, toffee, chocolate, nuttiness. A lot going on in the nose but extremely inviting and complex.

T - Chocolate, roast and a nutty flavour come through at first as the Bravo flavours come to the forefront. The mid-palate adds massive barrel qualities with bourbon, vanilla, charred oak and a hint of brandy coming though. They are followed by barley-wine flavours of caramel, toffee and raisin. A warming alcohol presence is noticeable throughout but is fairly tame for the ABV. Very complex.

M - Medium, just short of full body. Light to moderate carbonation.

O - This was an excellent beer but fell short of 15 & 16.

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Photo of barleywinefiend
4.14/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A: Poured dark brown with a moderate sized light tannish/dirty white cap, the head retention was good but the lacing was almost obsolete.

S: Big coconuts, vanilla, caramel and toffee with a healthy dose of bourbon and nuts. I can tell the Bravo and Stickee Money are the big bases for this beer.

T: Initially toasted malts coconut and lots of nuts. Midtaste is a pronounced bourbon/booze sting with more toffee, caramel and a hint of chocolate. The barrel is still strong, very strong at this point. The finish is warming w/ caramel, toffee, a light candy stickiness, toasty witha subtle bitterness.

M: Wamrining, medium-full body, a little low carbonation, velvety, sticky and sweet. A big lingering warming alcohol on this beer, more so than previous FW Anny releases

O: Very good but not amongst my favorites. I thought the heat was pretty damn in your face with this beer, which is odd for FW who do a great job of masking and blending. However, I have a couple and won't kick them out of bed!

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Photo of Zorro
4.15/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The gift that comes just once a year, the Firestone Walker Anniversary ale just in time for the holidays.

In the glass we have a clear dark brown colored beer with a small brown head that doesn't last long must be all the weight of all that alcohol in this one.

I don't have to get very close to the glass to smell it, it is a very aromatic ale. Strong scent of vanilla and whiskey with a nice scent of spruce. Scents of pepper and menthol with some toasted coconut and brown sugar.. Cedar chest and cinnamon with a hint of ginger but this has a strong evergreen tree scent to it. This has a distinct scent I can only call Christmas Tree.

Starts out malty with a strong whiskey flavor to it, alcohol seems to numb the mouth a bit. Whiskey and vanilla with a strong coconut flavor. Brown sugar and a bit of spice mostly cinnamon and cardamom. Little bit of spruce flavor.

Mouthfeel is thinner than usual must be all of the alcohol.

Overall not bad but I seem to remember last years version being more complex.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
4.15/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

On-tap 12/21/2013 at Track 84, in Warwick, RI served in a flight glass.

A: The beer is a medium brown color, with a thin off-white head that fades slowly and leaves a thin lace on the glass.

S: The aroma contains brown sugar, caramelized malts, dark fruit and some hops.

T: The taste starts out sweet with flavors of caramel, brown sugar and dark fruit. There’s a hearty malt character and no trace of the high ABV. The hops presence is mild but complementary and brings a good balance. The after-taste is slightly sweet.

M: Crisp and smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

O: Tasty, goes down dangerously easy, not too filling, strong kick, no style to represent here since this is a conglomeration of several beers but it’s a very good beer to sip on for a long time.

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Photo of DefenCorps
4.15/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle from Mainbrew.

Pouring a very dark brown with a dense, brown head that falls off to a ring rapidly, leaving little lacing. The nose has a nice, big, barrel character. The American strong ale base is clear, with flavors or agave syrup, toffee, caramel and a clean, bready pale malt character. Along with this is the layered barrel character. Vanilla, bourbon, amaretto, a brandy pomace aroma, a little bit of coconut, some cinnamon.... This is complex. Clearly boozy, bit in a nice way, this is an enjoyable blend. The youth of the components is clear, with a rather snappy malt character, cereal-like in some ways. An oatmeal cookie note is also present. Intoxicating stuff.

The palate opens with a nice blend of brandy and bourbon flavors with fruit, vanilla, coconut and pomace. The base beer components come in next, with the roast from Parabola and oatmeal from Velvet Merkin blending nicely with flavors of agave syrup, buckwheat honey, light caramel, toffee and some sugar cookie dough. Fruit, With a blend of grape, pear, a little peach even, is present. A boozy sweetness lingers on into the finish, mildly spiced with, again, sugar. The clean malt character on the midpalate, present in so many young barleywines, especially of the American persuasion, is present. Tannins are low here, with just a little bit of oak. Medium in body with moderate carbonation, the balance in the blend of barrels - brandy, bourbon and whiskey- is excellent. The mild burn on the finish is wholly appropriate.

A very nice beer, a welcome return after the disappointing 16, though if I am to be honest, I'm more enjoying deconstructing the beer than drinking it. While these beers might be getting better (or not), the sheer number of big, barrel aged beers makes the likelihood of experiencing another epiphany like the 11 at 9 months unlikely. And I'm forced into drawing that comparison because the 11 like 17, had Bravo as a main component. Still, this is highly recommended.

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Photo of smakawhat
4.16/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle into a snifter glass.

A faint light tan one finger head is made off the pour, nothing too large, but with some decent staying power that it sticks around for a bit. Body color is mahogany brown out of the bottle but fills with a big dark walnut brown/black body, and some see through character towards the collar.

Impressive nose. A nice interesting tinge of vanilla, but a large toasty and creamy coconut aroma all throughout the bouquet. Some faint hiding cherry fruit in the background as well, giving a black forest cake like sensation. Real unique sensation, if not much oak woody or even roast and malt like character showing up.

Controlled mouthfeel, with a hint of tight fizz and light bodied not very much coating the palate. Some more tannic wood like character, and mellow hop and roast comes through in the finish compared to what is hinted on the nose. Interesting mix of mellow roast with some minor piping warmth that doesn't quite get the coffee and chocolate angle coming out, but has some malt depth.

Overall it has a nose that just senses greatness but just comes out as a solid aged and blended beer instead, no complaints.

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Photo of FosterJM
4.18/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

1774th Review on BA
Bottle to Firestone Walker Snifter

App- When out of the bottle, this had all the indicators that it was a stout. Color was missing and it was a dark brown, black mix of color. A little red sprinkled in for good measure as well. The light tan foam cap was only about 1/2" and faded quickly. A nice bit of stick to it.

Smell- You can always tell a FW BA beer IMO. The character of all the beers comes wafting up at you and you get hit in the nose and you tend to stick around a bit and try to decipher all the aromas coming up. This had hints of oak, bourbon, vanilla, spice and a booze. A bit stringy vs smooth for me.

Taste- I had heard the rumblings that this wasnt as good as the other vintages because of the new blends and the direction FW took this one. I say pish posh. This was a tasty beer. Sadly I wish that price point was a bit lower to get a few more. The opening was a bit more brown ale than I was expecting even after reading the blend list. It was smooth and flavorful. Melded well with all the ingredients.

Mouth- A solid medium body BA ale that even for me bordered on being a stout. A big feel behind it with a solid carbonation level. Smooth and velvety. The residual flavors were a blend of the beer and left you wanting another sip.

Drink- I will say that it was good. It was a solid beer and that FW always does a good job. It wasnt the best of the Anny series I have had, but thats only because I like stouts better than strong ale blends. Wonder how this one will age.

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Photo of Scotchboy
4.18/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Christmas present from the wife, split with my brothers on Christmas day.

A: Very dark brown pour, red transparent hues follow the edge of the glass; decent amount of off-white head and lacing.

S: The nose starts brown ale with notes of toasted malt, nuts, chocolate, roast, coffee, and even some hops. The barrels are there too, but a little more in the background than I'm used to from FW Anniversary beers; warmth reveals mellow toasted oak, vanilla, and toasted coconut, as well as some caramel and toffee.

T: More of the barrel character comes forward here, with bourbon and a little of the brandy showing up in flavors of toffee, vanilla, caramel, and some coconut. There is a bit more burn here than on the nose but its completely manageable. More malty roastiness and hints of coffee as well as butterscotch as the palate unfolds.

MF: Fuller bodied with medium-to-low carbonation; light alcohol presence lends some bitterness but minimal burn.

O: Started drinking this one at slightly cooler than room temp, and while the bouquet was nice at that temperature it still left me wanting a little more. I don't think this one will age as well as some of the others; its very mellow and tasty right now. Overall a very good beer.

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Photo of cjgiant
4.18/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

I do really like Double Jack, and for some reason expected this to be more like that. Upon pouring, it was darker than expected, but closer to what one would expect for a strong ale. The head is barely there, clinging to the edges.

The smell has a molasses sweetness on top of a bourbon tinged woody nature. My first few sniffs I thought there was a very weird smell I recognized but couldn't place. It dissipated, but I think what I noticed was melon in nature.

The taste is similar to the nose, starting with dark brown sugar and molasses sweetness. There is also a bite from the "spirits" (seems like bourbon to me), but it's very understated. The wood tones come in later, but the sweetness doesn't really dull, in fact it seems to become reborn briefly in the later taste, with a birch beer or cola taste.

This beer doesn't measure up to Double Jack, in my opinion, but it's a very good beer, if you don't mind a sweeter, somewhat sugary beer.

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Photo of CuriousMonk
4.19/5  rDev -5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours black-brown espresso with a tan one-finger head that recedes quickly but leaves along a nice thin lacing throughout. A quick whiff of vanilla and oak escaped the bottle once I opened it just as you would expect from a traditional FW Anniversary beer. Strong bourbon, oak, vanilla, dried fruit, chocolate, figs, and perhaps some crème brûlée are picked up in the nose. Good golly! This brew was pretty hot with its bourbon traits rushing out like the running of the bulls in Spain which made me a bit remorseful for not laying this brew to rest to allow it to age a bit longer so that the heat would mellow down significantly to enjoy the other complexities of the beer. After allowing for the beer to get just below room temperature, I could once again detect the oak and vanilla. I also picked up rich molasses, cinnamon, and the flavor was reminiscent of the Stickee Monkey, FW’s barleywine, as I understand the most forward component of this beer was the barleywine style. Medium bodied mouthfeel and decent carbonation throughout. Overall, this beer was very well made and tasted better after each sip mostly due to the temperature change which allowed the other flavors to open up and finally underwhelm the bourbon heat. Again, I wish I had laid this beer to rest and I plan to do that with my extra, so I’ll be seeing this one again next year!

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Photo of oberon
4.23/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Pours into an oversized wine glass a deep chesnut brown with a thinner lighter beige head atop.Aromas are on the lighter side wich was surprise but still pleasant,cocoa and some "meatiness" along with some alcohol sweetness,and dark fruit.Wow the complexity on the palate is just awesome,cocoa powder and buttery rum make for a rich taste and the feel goes hand in hand,it's sticky in a very good way,there is a noticable toasted pecan-like flavor as it warms as well.I admit at first I was dissapointed but once the first sip hit me I was hooked,just a great beer.

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Photo of ONovoMexicano
4.23/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Poured from the bomber into a snifter.

We're first attracted by what we see, right? That applies here. I'm looking at a finger-thick, khaki-colored and espresso-looking head. The head is persistent and slowly settles into a thick lace above the liquid. Below is a viscous and pitch black beverage with an almost oil-like consistency.

Surprisingly, the aroma and taste aren't entirely as complex and diverse as I'd expect given the mix of beers. On the nose I get bourbon, oak, vanilla and sweet malt. It's straightforward and seems very much the result of bourbon-barrel aging. My tongue gets much more enjoyment, although the bourbon, spice and vanilla notes continue to reign supreme. Still, there is sweet malt, a slight resinous hop presence, and the finish is lingering oakiness. The taste that sticks on my tongue is very much like Dr. Pepper.

This beer is excellent and I think what really makes it notable is the silky smoothness and the thick viscous feel that drinks smoothly, yet so full-bodied. There is a slight astringency, but hardly anything notable given the ABV. Nothing like a big, bold beer being so creamy. I really enjoyed and look forward to seeing what this will taste like a year from now.

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Photo of LambicPentameter
4.23/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Received this bottle from BA SammyJaxxx after trading away my only bottle to another fellow BA for a beer I wanted a tad more. I was so excited to see it return, so to speak. Obviously, this is the 2013 vintage, and I poured it into a large 22 oz snifter glass.

Appearance - An aggressive pour yields a frothy, soap-like head about a finger thick (slightly less) with a mix of large and small bubbles the color of taupe or khaki. The head lingers for a bit before returning to it's home in the rich walnut-bark brown, almost black liquid that sits beneath the foam. Eventually settles to an archipelago of bubble islands mottling the surface and a rim of foam along the edge of the glass. No lacing to speak of until I begin drinking, leaving a bits of spotty lace here and there along the glass. As I drink it down, some deep, rich burgundy tones become more present, as the liquid is less thick to block out the light. Very enchanting.

Smell - With a blend of so many different beers, I'm not sure what to expect--whether it will be muddled and hard to decipher or a symphony of various profiles blending. Thankfully, it is more the latter than the former. Notes of graham cracker and caramelized sugar interplay with some lighter notes of cocoa powder and just the faintest touch of molasses. Some tannins from the various barrels come through, but not aggressively in the slightest. Honestly, there could be a bit more wood here for my personal liking.

Taste - Disappointingly, the fear of muddling that I had going into the smell has come to fruition a little bit on the taste. It would be unfair to call it unpleasant, because it is anything but. That being said, it's harder to pick out the individual flavor characteristics than it was in the aroma. If I had to sum it up into one impression, it would be that of a homemade dark chocolate caramel, with a blend of slightly bitter and richly sweet. Good in many ways, but my personal preference is to beers that seem to change and evolve, coming to the forefront with different emphasis with each subsequent sip. This one is a bit muddier and more simplistic, considering the complexity that went into its composition.

Mouthfeel - Slightly viscous and somewhat velvety, if a little thin considering the rich and powerful blend of aromas and flavors. I would prefer a tiny bit more body. Carbonation is very low, but enough to get the job done in the face of the more viscous feel.

Overall, a really great beer. It's the first I've sampled in the FW anniversary series, and I must admit that it didn't quite rise to the pedestal level it occupied in my mind before opening. That being said, I'd gladly drink it again and I was very pleased with how easily it drank for a rich, 13% abv beer. At the very least, it has me curious to try the next installment in the series, when Firestone Walker becomes legal...

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