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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.
BA SCORE
97
world-class

114 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 114
Hads: 1,367
Avg: 4.41
pDev: 7.94%
Wants: 195
Gots: 515 | FT: 64
Brewed by:
Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
California, United States | website

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 (85) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 114 | Hads: 1,367
Photo of evanforbeer
4.54/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Pours a scrappy black with small off white head

Aroma- dark fruits, fig newtons, coconut, vanilla, oak, bourbon

Taste- follows nose with fig newton, caramel, oak barrel, molasses, bourbon, vanilla. Like a roastier barleywine

Feel- seems a big thin for this big of a beer, rich, sweet

Pretty awesome, not like a lot o beers or there

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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
22oz

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 BingCrosby7
4.44/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A This beer is very dark with minimal variance around the edges, which is surpassing considering the alcohol content. There is minimal to no lacing or head retention to this beer. That said, the color is beautiful in the light--a ruby underneath the obsidian body.
S Very boozy--the barrels come through with this one. There's a maltiness that comes through the caramel and the toffee and the vanilla, and cherries serve as a nice bookend to the smelling experience
T Very complex--first off, there is a bourbon richness with some burn to it, followed by cherry and savory notes of vanilla and caramel, maly third wave finished off with another hit of bourbon and sugary sweetness.
M This is my least favorite aspect of this beer--very watery and slippery. Not a whole lot of body
O I prefer this to the Sucaba, but I would prefer a parabola over the XVII and the Sucaba. Complex as hell, but still lacks some key qualities (this still stands tall over many many beers). Overall, a wonderful brew.

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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 dirtylou
4.43/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is probably the most consistent series of anniversary beers out there - all similar in principle but varying in blend. For the 2nd straight year, leaning more to the barleywine territory than in the past. Spiced dark fruit, brandy barrel, bourbon barrel, citrus zest, sticky hop resin, pine, brandy soaked cherry.

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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 hops202
4.56/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

22oz bomber poured into Stone Snifter.

Pours a deep dark brown color, not quite black. Aroma is insanely complex - there is almost too much going on, but it smells declicious. Sugary barley wine aroma comes through along with vanilla, bourbon, coconut, caramel and some cookie dough mixed with candied cherries and dates. Taste is similar to the nose with a hint of more chocolate and is incredible! I am sincerely impressed with this release and look forward to cracking open the other bottle that will be aging for awhile.

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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 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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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 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 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 DoubleSimcoe
4.26/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had a $40 bottle of 2013 Firestone XVII Anniversary at South Philadelphia Tap Room and, while tasty enough and plenty drinkable for the massive ABV, I couldn't help but being disappointed at the weak mouthfeel and too-subtle taste. For this brewery, vintage and price, I expect a flavor bomb.

However, I had it on tap at the same venue (June '15 during Philly Beer Week) and it was a lot better. Delicious in fact! Thick, chocolaty, burnt sugar. Coffee, bread pudding, Werther's. The thin mouthfeel of the vintage bottle was not present on the tap version. So my rating is an average of the two versions I had.

But Stickee Monkee '15 beat them all!

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Photo of BucannonXC5
4.32/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Type: Draft
Glass: .25L tulip (8.5 oz.)
From: Blind Lady Ale House in Normal Heights (San Diego), Calif.
Price: $8.00
Purchased: Feb. 7, 2014
Consumed: Feb. 7, 2014
Misc.: Part of BLAH’s fifth anniversary week

Poured a dark mahogany, almost pitch black color with two fingers of tan head when I got it. Fantastic foamy layered lacing on the sides of the glass. Good retention.

Smelled boozy, Jim Beam, bourbon, toffee, caramel, tobacco, light sour fruit and plum.

Tasted a bit better than the smell. Still boozy, bourbon, Jim Beam, sweet caramel, toffee, faint butterscotch, tobacco, plum and fig.

Medium body. Oily-to-creamy texture. Average carbonation. Long, smooth, warming finish.

Just a great beer overall. Not quite what I hoped, but still very, very good.

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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 Bung
4.31/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

22oz. Picked up while in Santa Barbara after the Rose Bowl.
Super dark brown pour, thin layer of cream colored head. Recedes to a ring, sticks to the glass only momentarily.

Aroma, Toasted malt, molasses, toffee. Some nice peat and woody bourbon barrel. This aspect opens up nicely as it warms.

Taste, Toffee, fudge brownie, roast malt. Brown sugar, molasses, vanilla, bourbon.
A leather and tobacco like element is the most interesting for me. It all lingers on very nicely.

About full body, slick mouthfeel with a just shy of creamy carbonation. It is a tad warm, but not overly so especially for the size.
Very interesting blend of styles. A cigar beer for sure. Others should start dabbling in this process.

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Photo of Wardo
4.37/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Loved it, but then again, what do I know, I thought XV was great!

What a difference a year makes, very different than XVI.

XVI was certainly more stout forward with roasted malts, slightly bitter, oak front end; you could really pick up the oatmeal stout influence. The XVII comes across as an great blend of a BA english barleywine and a BA old ale; some of my favorite styles. With those styles in mind - it's top shelf. Thrilled I have a handful of these to try over the next couple of years.

Kudos to FW, they do a great job blending these anniversaries and creating new and unique taste experiences every year!

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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 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 sprucetip
4.45/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Very fizzy and active initially, with a half a finger of loose foam forming briefly and then going away. No lacing. Mahogany colored liquid reveals continued activity when backlit, has good clarity, and just kind of looks very dense. Nothing particularly remarkable about the appearance. But I don't drink beer for the appearance.

Boozy esters are notable but not overwhelming, and there is some boozy heat as well. Caramel is also strong. Oak and vanilla elements are present. At first it seems a little disjointed, but it gels more as time goes by, and the boozy aspects dissipate some. Really nice. Lovely.

Rich caramel maltyness, oak, vanilla, alcohol, dark fruit and bitterness all come to forefront at first.

Plenty of slightly tingly carbonation, almost but not quite too much. Rich full body, medium viscosity and a mildly bitter and surprisingly drying finish.

As expected, this is an exceptional beer. Most likely the first and last time I will have it. Lucky to find one.

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Photo of notchucknorris
4.36/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

A: Pours a deep cola color with a one finger tan head. Fades fairly quickly, but leaves a swirling film on the surface and some spotty lace.

S: Rich, dark malt and bourbon on the nose. Toasted coconut, milk chocolate, vanilla, booze, spicy oak, toffee and some toasted brown sugar. The spiciness from the oak emerges more and more as this warms. Lovely.

T: Opens with some nice bourbon notes. Caramel, roasted malt, lots of spicy oak mingling with a trickle of boozy heat. Toffee, cola, vanilla, charred barrel, burnt brown sugar and a light trace of hop resin on the finish. Definitely reminds me more of an English Barleywine than anything else in here, and I love it. Mouthfeel is a touch lacking, but this is a fantastic beer. Can't wait to see how it ages.

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Photo of beerdrifter
4.56/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Picked this up from a great trade with Evan! Dark brown pour with a touch of mahogany and a two finger beige head that quickly fades with pretty nice lacing. Very complex nose with lots of caramel malt and toffee along with hints of dark fruits, vanilla, oak, brown sugar, tobacco, butterscotch, and quite a bit of booze. The taste is just as complex. Loads of caramel, toffee, and oak up front along with hints of vanilla, maple, brown sugar, butterscotch, dark fruits, tobacco, bourbon, nuts, booze, and subtle cocoa and black cherries. The mouthfeel is thick, full bodied, velvety smooth, and subtly creamy with a slight alcohol warming on the finish. Overall, this is a masterfully crafted beer. You truly get all the best characteristics of all the beers that make up this unbelievable blend. I think that Firestone Walker has now solidified itself as my favorite brewery.

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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 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 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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Firestone 17 - Anniversary Ale from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
97 out of 100 based on 114 ratings.