Firestone 11 - Anniversary Ale - Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Firestone 11 - Anniversary AleFirestone 11 - Anniversary Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
97
world-class

245 Ratings
THE BROS
91
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 245
Reviews: 173
rAvg: 4.4
pDev: 9.32%
Wants: 322
Gots: 31 | FT: 3
Brewed by:
Firestone Walker Brewing Co. visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Strong Ale |  11.00% ABV

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: Zorro on 12-01-2007

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

No notes at this time.
View: Beers (82) | Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 245 | Reviews: 173
Photo of atrocity
3.98/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Surprisingly, this one still holding up well after 7 years.

Photo of Jwale73
4.27/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks to callmecoon for this long-time want. Pours the color and clarity of cola with no head. Nose suggests burnt molasses, brown sugar, ethanol, vanilla and coconut notes - definitely allow the beer to warm to open up the nose. Taste expresses coconut, cocoa, vanilla and ethanol. Mouthfeel is medium-light in body with a still carbonation. I had the opportunity to try this beer 4-5 years ago and was utterly blown away by it. That said, it has continued to hold up extremely well, but it is definitely on its way down the other side of the slope. The oxidation imparted in the beer right now is pleasant and nicely adds to the complexity; however, in my opinion, drink it within the next 12 months before it starts to fall apart.

Photo of joe1510
4.54/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

22oz Bomber

I got this treat in a trade awhile back from errantnight, way to come through Derek! Firestone's 11th Anniversary brew appears solid black in the glass but the closer it gets to the light the brighter mahogany highlights I get until they glow ruby when directly backlit. A light pour upfront didn't bring much of a head so I got a little more aggressive and wound up with a quickly grown two finger beige head that fell to a half finger cap rather quickly. Peaked sheet lacing gets left behind after each drink making for a great appearance.

Wow! The nose on this brew is potent, rich and complex. The complexity is so much that I can't even begin to describe all the smells coming from this snifter. Silky oak in the form of vanilla, caramel and crystal maltiness, bourbon, mild coffee grounds, and mild chocolate all play roles in this brew. Each swirl brings roastiness to the top and the bourbon brings enough alcohol fumes to tickle my nose hairs. Even with this huge melting pot of aromas nothing is out of place and they all seem to be intermingling seamlessly. I don't want to pull my beak from the glass but of course I need a drink.

The first couple sips of this brew I took were merely good. After another 15 minutes or so of warming they have become excellent! This blend is heavy on the RIS as far as I can tell with roasty malts, dark chocolate and faint freshly ground coffee laying down the base. The bourbon and oak are both big with buttery vanilla and bourbon that seems to bring some heat to the back of the throat. Caramel sweetness pops up here and there along with what tastes to me like crystal malts. The RIS and barrel ageing are what take the cake and that's perfectly fine with me. The overall flavor of this beer is big and in your face with so much dense complexity it'll make you think.

The body was close but not quite where it should be when I first opened the bottle after about 30 minutes out of the fridge, but now after about 50 minutes from the fridge it's hitting its stride. The body tips the scale toward the heavier side while the carbonation adds both creaminess and a slight airiness. The clean booziness doesn't hit until the throat where it warms me up every sip.

This is a huge beer with huge flavor. It's so complex and palate destroying that a bomber is all I could or would want to handle in a sitting. This is a beer to sit and contemplate while you try and pick apart the blends.

I'm glad I got the chance to try this deliciousness. Unfortunately it was my only bottle and I already want more. Firestone, in my opinion, is one of the most consistently good breweries in the country. Thanks for the bottle Derek; I owe you big for this beauty!

Reviewed: 11/29/08

Photo of emerge077
3.58/5  rDev -18.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

FW vertical sampling at Luda's annual cellar clearance, thanks Ben for bringing this one!
Served in a mini-nonic, quick review from transcribed notes.

A similar appearance to the 10 that preceded it, dark brown color, murky with suspended sediment, larger bubbles clustering in a ring around the edges. Minor spotty lacing after each sip.

Smells like dead (autolysed) yeast, lightly musty.

Thinner feel and a llght astringency puts a slight damper on it, dark fruit notes of plum and fig. Lightly bitter, with some nice barrel character. Hardys-esque, leather, prunes, port flavors. Overall slightly different from the 10, the sharp feel is less appealing though.

Photo of Sammy
3.94/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

What a blending, elements of a strong ale, an imperial stout, a barleywine. Orange, oak wood, vanilla,booze. Black with a bubbly head. Bourbon aroma. A smooth drinker. Slightly sweet finish.
Opened at My 58th Birthday Bash., with fond memories of 2007.

Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.12/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle pour courtesy of wethorseblanket at Woodshop 7 held at Beachwood BBQ & Brewing in Long Beach, CA.

Pours a murky dark brown with a foamy tan head that fades to an oily film on top of the beer. Small dots of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, brown sugar, toffee, vanilla, wood, and bourbon. Taste is much the same with a woody finish on the aftertaste. This beer has a good level of carbonation with a crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good beer that is pretty tasty and easy to drink.

Photo of orangesol
4.19/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks to clockworkorange for bringing this one to Stakem's Fish Fry.

A - Pours murky brown with a small half finger tall off-white / tan head leaving very thin streaks of lace down parts of the glass.

S - Smells of brown sugar, caramel, toffee, bit of chocolate, vanilla, oak and a touch of bourbon. Some definite oxidation creeps in at the end of each sniff but that is to be expected.

T - Starts off with lots of sweetness - mostly toffee, brown sugar and caramel - slowly giving way to hints of chocolate, vanilla, dark fruits, oak and some light bourbon warmth. Little to no booze and only a marginal amount of oxidation present. Finish is a little sweet, lingering on the pallet for only a short period of time after consumption.

M - Full body with a nice mild sweet flavor and moderate carbonation. Very little, if any alcohol is left and only a marginal amount of oxidation.

O - This one has held up surprisingly well. It still had all of the flavors I was expecting and the oxidation, while present, wasn't overpowering. Glad I finally got to try this one.

Photo of maximum12
4.35/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to stawn for sending me this bottle, old enough that I figured I might not get to sample it after missing a post-Great-Taste vertical this past summer. And lo! here it is. 22 oz. bottle split with my wife.

Pours are spring, muddy brown. Nose is the weakest part of the game, bits of bourbon, sweet malt, chocolate coming off the surface.

I was a touch afraid that Firestone Walker XI had gone south, but lo! incorrect. Bourbon remains the top dog here in a very interesting way - not the hot-shot of alcoholic swoon, but a slow, building fire that only fully arrives somewhere in the small intestine. Brown sugar runs throughout, big vanilla, hair-dryer oak, rich milk chocolate, deep malts. Bourbon drapes the afterburn. Ridiculous. Drinkable? I could happily drink the whole damn bottle, then kill a small mammal for another.

After four years plus, this beer retains an amazing taste profile (hey you dumbasses who say don't age bourbon barrel beeers, you're just wrong!). Never had this fresh, so I can't directly compare, but this is an excellent beer that would be proud to live on in the company of any of the series.

Photo of spdyfire83
4.62/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

133rd Review
Bottle to snifter

From notes. I opened this bottle at bspringer's birthday celebration. An epic night for sure to celebrate his golden day of birth!

A: Light brown. 1.5 (light tan) fingernail head on vigorous pour. Not what I was expecting, but I'll go with it.

S: Dark fruit, caramel, vanilla, oak, cinnamon, bitter chocolate, plum, and toffee. A lot going on here...

T: Initially I wrote "hot", but after much thought...it's not that - just complex. Layers upon layers in this beer. First it was caramel, oak, and fig. Then it was plum, cinnamon, and toffee. Finally it was cloves, molasses, and caramelized brown sugar. Oh so nice!

M: Full bodied with medium carbonation.

O: This beer surely warms the soul (in a good way). The booziness is comforting, but the complexity is very nice. Many different layers and this beer changes quite a bit as it warms. I could definitely stand to search for another!

Photo of iD9
4.22/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Served in a cognac snifter.

Appearance: Looks opaque, but upon closer inspection is a hazelnut brown with a slight copper tinge in the light. Minimal head formation and retention. Viscous on the walls of the glass.

Smell: Immense notes of bourbon and vanilla. Hints of chocolate. Definite heat from the booze. Yum, smells tasty.

Taste: Malty and chocolaty. Bourbon isn't as strong as I was lead to believe! A very subtle beer. You can tell its mellowed out a ton over the years.

Mouthfeel: Rich, thick, full and creamy. Yum~

Drinkability: Infinitely drinkable. Waaay easy.

Photo of JoEBoBpr
4.18/5  rDev -5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a tulip glass form a 22oz bottle.

Pulled form my cellar.

A - Pours a nice rich dark caramel color with some nice slight reddish hints. There is a nice thin but dense light tan head. It is about .25 inches tall. It recedes at a fairly quick place and leaves a ring around the glass.

S - Aroma starts off nice and sweet. Brown sugar and molasses. There is also some maple syrup notes. The boozy and Bourbon notes seem to have mellowed because its not as intense as the 15. There is definitely some Bourbon and oak notes in the nose. There is some slight cinnamon and slight vanilla notes as well. Nose is also a bit spicy. It is pretty mild nose for the style IMO.

T & M - Starts off with some nice strong molasses notes mixed in with some nice sweet and strong Bourbon notes. Tons of dark fruit that I couldn't quite pick up on the nose. The beer is surprisingly smooth for 11% and for the barrel aging but its also been aged for about 4 years. There is definitely some nice prune notes as well as raisins and some mild licorice. There is also some nice woody spice and slight cinnamon. The finish is a bit drier than expected with some slight buttery sweetness to the end of it.

O - Pretty good offering. It definitely mellowed with age but all the flavors are in a better balance now. They all work so well together. base don the blend the lighter mouthfeel is probably due to the brown ale. Its definitely a good brew but should have a better mouthfeel for the style IMO.

Photo of scottfrie
3.38/5  rDev -23.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22oz bottle into snifter. Thanks for opening up this one, Mike.

A: Pours a murky brown color with a thin, bubbly, light khaki colored head.
S: I get hints of nuts, wood, sweet caramel and a bit of oxidation. Doesn’t smell bad.
T: Caramel, toasted malts and toffee come through the most, but I get flavors of brown sugar, chocolate and maybe a hint of vanilla as well. Oxidation is very light but noticeable. The aftertaste is lightly warm with booze.
M: Medium-thick body, syrupy mouthfeel, with a touch of alcohol heat that is still present after all this time.
O: Better than 10 at this point but not the best, or even second best, of the series. A good beer on its own though, but I wouldn’t sit on this very much longer.

Photo of cpetrone84
3.63/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark brown almost black color with red edges and a thinner dirty white head. Dried dark fruits, sweet caramel, hints of malt chocolate, notes of wood and vanilla with some bourbon and booze in the back. A fair bit of chocolate and vanilla, smore esq. with slightly burnt caramel and toffee, notes of oak and fair presence of bourbon with a semi hot finish. The body feels a little thin in the finish with a moderate carbonatin and chewy body. Well integrated, might be a touch over the hill.

Photo of woosterbill
4.4/5  rDev 0%
look: 2 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Bomber into a tulip; huge thanks to Matt for sharing this renowned brew.

A: Muddy brown body with a thin tan head. Kinda ugly, actually.

S: Wow. Oak, vanilla, sherry, spice, caramel, brown sugar, and general goodness. Very, very nice.

T: Follows the nose: rich, sweet, smooth, complex, + old. Fruity, oaky, sugary, and awesome.

M: Moderately thick body, medium carbonation. Perfect, and especially impressive for being a relatively old, barrel-aged beer.

O: This one lived up to its reputation, being an absolutely delicious all-around strong ale. The base beer and barrel both delivered serious complexity, and the age showed itself nicely via the pleasant sherry-like oxidation. I don't think I'd recommend letting it get much old, but it's definitely still in a good place.

Cheers!

Photo of tmoneyba
4.5/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured clear reddish brown color with a large frothy off-white head that mostly lasted with excellent lacing. Moderate to heavy toasted malt, woody and spice with a small alcohol aroma. Medium to full body with a creamy texture and lively carbonation. Medium to heavy balanced toasted malt flavor with a medium to heavy sweet finish of moderate to long duration. This is a standout beer.

Photo of jethrodium
4.2/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz bottle generously shared by colonelforbin. Thanks Mike. Pours a dark brown with a small tan head that has good retention and leaves a decent amount of lacing on glass. Aroma is roastiness, caramel, bourbon, some light brandy, coconut and some vanilla. The taste follows the nose. Some light sweetness and vanilla, a bit of roastiness and some caramel. Then a bit of bourbon as well as some cherry. The finish has some light bitterness as well as some light alcohol warmth. Medium body. Relatively low carbonation. Great beer.

Photo of Arenbeer
4.47/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle into a Goblet glass

Served at 52 degrees

A- Pours a nice dark dark reddish brown with practically no head other than a slight off white ring around the glass. Slight splotchy retention with some nice legs as well.

S- Wow were to begin. Toffee or caramel, dark fruits like raisins and dates. Burnt sugars, molasses, vanilla from the oak, and some chocolate. Surprisingly the alcohol is apparent but blends in nicely and doesn't kill the overall aroma.

T- Everything I pulled out of the aroma comes through in the flavor. A really nice complex array of dark fruits, molasses and burnt sugars, strong toffee, and finish's with some nice sweet vanilla and oak. The alcohol is a lot more apparent in the taste than the aroma but adds a nice element to the overall feel of this beer. Gives it some balls in a way.

M- Full bodied with very little to no carbonation left and a nice finish that combines an alcohol sting with a smooth creaminess.

Overall this beer is aging quite nicely. I with I had another one to see what it will be like in a couple years. The flavors are still nice and complex and only getting better. The only thing I would be worried about is the lack of carbonation and the strong booziness.

SkÅL!

Photo of AgentZero
4/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I don't remember who shared this, but thanks!

A - Dark brown beer with a beige head that dissipated quickly to a solid ring. No real anything left on the sides.

S - Toffee, caramel, cinnamon, brown sugar, dark fruits, vanilla, molasses. Really has a lot going on, and it's pretty pleasant.

T - Taste is a lot like the smell, the Parabola comes through pretty well. Pretty sweet, with a lot of barrel and chocolate notes which are complimented by the sugars and dark fruits. Nice blend.

M - Full bodied with soft carbonation.

O - Very nice, I liked this blend more due to the complexity than the actual taste, but it was still really good.

Photo of Huhzubendah
4.32/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle shared by Lunch. Thanks Paul!

Firestone Walker tasting, including FW 10-14, Abacus, Parabola, Walker's Reserve, Black Xantus.

Order of preference and notes: 13, 12, 11, 14, 10
Abacus and Parabola still shined. Along with FW 13, these were my three favorites of the lineup, with FW 12 not far behind.

The beer appears dark brown, transparent to a certain degree when held to the light. The head is a thin beige cap that fades within a few moments, leaving sparse lacing.

The aroma is of roasted malt, toffee, booze.

The flavor in FW 11 is certainly better and more palatable than FW 10. Everything is more balanced, and the heat is toned down a notch.

The finish still brings a boozy kick, but thankfully, lacks any harsh burning sensation.

Overall, a solid beer, good representation of the style, and worth a try if you have the opportunity.

Photo of drabmuh
3.95/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks Thorpe for organizing and hosting the vertical tasting of the Firestone walker beers. Another once in a lifetime tasting experience. Right off the bat I'm going to rank the 5 vintages we had in order of preference 13>14>12>11>>10 (the >> means much greater).

Beer is black to brown with a haze to it, doesn't seem to be as dark as the others. Thin head of tan bubbles, minimal lacing apparently low carbonation.

Aroma is sweetness and a mild bourbon with a little roast.

Beer is a little more bourbony than the 10 but the malt wins out overall, a little syrupy but not as off putting as the 10 and there is no sign of that paper-y flavor I got in the 10. The finish is even a little bitter with some sort of roast, a decent beer for sure.

Photo of mdfb79
4.22/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

HUGE thanks to Lunch for providing this one at our Firestone Walker tasting. We did the 10-14 diagonal side by side with Abacus, Parabola, Black Xantus, and Walker's Reserve.

a - Pours a deep dark brown color with less than an inch of white head and light carbonation evident.

s - Smells of bourbon, caramel, oak, whiskey, chocolate, toasted malts, and roasted malts. Great smell, with a ton of whiskey to it, which I loved.

t - Tastes of more bourbon, oak, vanilla, caramel malts, toasted malts, and roasted malts. A slight step down from the nose, but still enjoyable.

m - Full body and low carbonation. Thick and smooth, goes down easy.

o - Overall a really nice beer. I liked this one more than the 10, but not nearly as much as the 13 and 12. Lots of bourbon in the nsoe of this one; think it was a little too much for some but I enjoyed it. Worth checking out.

My order went: 13, 12, 11, 10 tied with 14.

Photo of Sean9689
3.97/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle shard at our FW Anniversary Vertical Tasting. Poured into Bruery tulip.

A - Pours dark brown, small touch of cream-colored head, and a thin ring on top.

S - Brown sugar, cinnamon, dark fruit. Nice level of sweetness that balances well with the alcohol. Very smooth.

T - Brown sugar, dark fruits, oak, touch of vanilla. You can def taste the Parabola in there, which is nice to pick out. The chocolate and vanilla are smooth, but still excellent.

M - Full bodied, light carbonation, smooth.

O - I liked this one, but not sure I preferred this to FW10. Not a whole lot going on and not sure if I dig this blend that much. Good, not great.

Photo of JWD
4.66/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Had this in a vertical tasting at Sam Hornes tavern in Folsom during Firestone Walker night. The Vertical included 10,11,12,13, and 14 (draft).

This was the most unique of all vintages.

A- Appearance was significantly lighter than all other vintages and appeared to be the lightest in viscosity as well. I believe the component mix of this one most have much less Parabola in it with I believe Bravo Brown being a heavy percentage of influence.

S & T - WOW & WOW this is where this one shines. I will say from the nose perspective none of the other ones even came close which was unexpected given the appearance. Taste was much more subtle than the nose but still very well integrated. This beer is in my opinion the best in the series with 13 coming in second.

M-Indicated by the appearance and verified by the mouthfeel it seemed to lack the body that i enjoy in the series of anniversary beers by Firestone, just not quite "velvety" as a lot of FW beers are.

D-outstanding only a bit lower due to the high ABV. I could have done a whole bomber but 6 or so ounces was good enough.

Overall 13 was my favorite year but now having had all vintages i will say the 11 was the most unique and best in the lineup.

Photo of Retsinis
4.52/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Have had this beer as part of three separate vertical /horizontal tasting events of Firestone Walker Eleven, Twelve, Thirteen, Fourteen, & Parabola. All of which took place in the last 4 months. One was at an apartment with beers from my, and a fellow Beer Advocates cellar, the other was at a bottle share at Instant Replay in Canoga Park, CA. The third was hosted & served at Blue Palms in Hollywood, California. I compiled notes from all three events, before I reviewed this beer here, to be as fair as possible to something that is rare, released once (for each anniversary) sought after, aged, and to a degree hyped as well. Also, each event I had 3-4 oz of each beer, and I felt I needed to try them again to better evaluate them, since storing conditions can affect the beer. Since I have now had about 9-12 oz of each beer in totality, I feel I can post my humble opinion of them in a review.

Poured from a 22 oz bottle into a Bruery Tulip glass (was a large Brandy snifter at Blue Palms, but a Bruery Tulip at the other two tastings)

In Appearance, when poured, the beer pours a contrast of two colors, a coca-cola brown, with a ruby red highlights when held to the light can be seen through the glass at the edges. Very little head, and what there was, was a thin wisp of carbonation, none of which was unexpected given the 3+ years of age, as well as the components of this blended beer being the "Bravo" an imperial brown ale, "Rufus", an Imperial Red Ale, Walker's Reserve Robust Porter, and "Parabola", the Russian Imperial Stout.

I smelled this beer a while before tasting it. The Aroma's are complex, and rich. A wonderful mixture of musty wood, bourbon, coconut, oatmeal grains, along with some whiffs of alcohol heat, chocolate, dried fruits , and subtle vanilla.

A slow one to sip while tasting, to savor every last drop. The flavors that come through in the taste mirror the nose mostly, with some variations. The complexity is layered, likely due to the blending, and the age. Initially I got toffee, new French oak, and rum. On the second sip, raisins, coconut, vanilla, bourbon, and brandy. Again, all layered. None of these were a face punches, more like savoring homemade candy, that is not overly sweet, or like freshly made butter melting on fresh toast, then soaked in a fine bourbon.

The mouth feel was creamy, velvet smooth, but a little thin on the finish, almost like it evaporated in my throat! I chalked this up to the age, the low carbonation, and the alcohol. It didn't really detract much at all from the beer, since the aroma & tastes are so balanced.

Fantastic sipper, complex, and I sipped what I got slowly each time I've had it. Would love to have just a bottle to myself, since it would be a great ride all the way.

Reading through some of the reviews, the beer does seem to have lost some of its potency. Seems the all flavors were subtle, at least I assume from what they use to be, although they are still present, and just layered more now.

Photo of CampusCrew
4.45/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

appearance: deep dark black, nearly ebony, loaded head

smell: loaded coffee, and sublte chocolate aromas

taste: lots of coffee, some chocolate, anise, raisins. very complex.

mouthfeel: full bodied stout

drinkability: we had a rare sout party is this was one of the selectons.

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Firestone 11 - Anniversary Ale from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
97 out of 100 based on 245 ratings.