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Firestone 11 - Anniversary Ale - Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

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

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
97
world-class

241 Ratings
THE BROS
91
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 241
Reviews: 172
rAvg: 4.41
pDev: 9.3%
Wants: 326
Gots: 31 | FT: 2
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:
This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: Zorro on 12-01-2007)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 241 | Reviews: 172 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by flexabull:
Photo of flexabull
4.75/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Was pleasantly surprised to see this sitting on the shelves of my local liquor store.

A blend of 4 beers aged in oak barrels.

Parabola - 13% ABV Russian Imperial Stout = 4%
Bravo - 11% ABV Imperial Brown Ale = 82%
Rufus - 11% ABV Continental Imperial Amber Ale = 7%
Velvet Merkin 5.5% Oatmeal Stout = 7% (Actually tried this by itself at the Toronado months ago... I really liked it.)

Anyways, here goes...

Pours a deep dark black color with a faint white head.

Aromas are very potent. This is one of those great beers that you can smell from a couple feet away from your nose. The initial pop of the bottle released a very strong smell that was easily noticed. Beer smells like very dark stewed fruits, biscuits, chocolate, oak, and booze. This is easily one of the best beers I have ever smelled.

Upon my first sip, I didn't think the flavor can stand up to the nose. I was very wrong. This is a wonderful beer. A bit warm, hot, and boozy upon first sip. There is also a bite from the hops as well. Beer then has a super long finish. Very creamy, sweet, oatmeal like, oaky, and with some very prominent cocoa and bitter chocolate flavors. Amazing stuff, super complex.

Mouthfeel is outstanding. This has a crisp, full, and warm feel up front, with a long smooth finish.

Drinkability is very good. This is a top notch beer. Easily one of the top 10 I have ever tasted. This bomber is going to take a while to finish though... too bad I couldn't cork it and finish the rest tomorrow. Oh well, I'll just take my time and savor this wonderful beer.

Well done Firestone Walker, I look forward to year and beer 12!

flexabull, Feb 08, 2008
More User Reviews:
Photo of abeerdude
4.25/5  rDev -3.6%

abeerdude, Dec 11, 2012
Photo of BeerAdvocate
4.08/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Beer review from BA Mag Dec 2007.

Here we go again, another blended collage of different barrel-aged ales. An Imperial Brown Ale, a continental Imperial Amber Ale and a Russian Imperial Oatmeal Stout settle at 11% ABV and 42 IBUs.

No problem with head retention as the foam shoots up to two fingers and drops a blanket of lace on the glass. Deep rosewood color shows a faint haze. Thick aromas of vanilla, brandy, booze-soaked raisins with rich caramel, brown bread and faint baker's chocolate in the nose. Sublime smoothness with a very full semi-syrupy body, just enough crispness from the carbonation without getting in the way. Chocolate comes to mind first, then a barrage of wood and some alcohol kick in. Maltiness comes in with suggestions of caramel and toasted bread. Hops throw modestly against the huge malt presence but the alcohol and wood have no problem balancing everything out. Not a whole lot of fruitiness but some fig does come out; alcohol dangles a boozy mix of whiskey, bourbon and brandy on the palate. Finishes woody and semisweet.

We guess lightning can strike twice, but in this case from the same place. Firestone Walker is a pioneer of barrel-aging beers. Eleven shows a true blended character, the hype is already there so get your bottle now.

BeerAdvocate, Aug 01, 2010
Photo of Twifiter
4.75/5  rDev +7.7%

Twifiter, Oct 15, 2012
Photo of tjthresh
3.43/5  rDev -22.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bottle. The pour is clear brown with not much of a head. Smells of piny hops with some booze and sugary malts. Tastes about the same but is pretty easy to drink. I'm not sure why this one is all that special though. Nothing that makes this stand out.

tjthresh, Feb 11, 2009
Photo of badbeer
4.33/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Dark brown with a red hue. Beige head, but no lacing or retention. Strong mix of bourbon, brandy, and caramel in the aroma. I also got some toffee and vanilla in the nose. Very smooth taste. Sweet caramel and toffee blended with just the right amount of bourbon and brandy (more brandy than bourbon perceived). Low carbonation and medium bodied. Extremely smooth.

badbeer, Dec 28, 2008
Photo of glid02
4.75/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Bottle from Beachwood BBQ in Seal Beach, CA.

Pours a dark brown color with a frothy one-finger tan head. The head recedes fairly quickly into a thin layer on top leaving decent lacing.

Smells of molasses, butterscotch, oak, milk chocolate, and bourbon. As it warms the bourbon becomes more prevalent but manages not to overpower everything else.

Tastes similar to how it smells - a mishmash of flavors that somehow melds very nicely. Butterscotch, oak, and milk chocolate flavors start things off and it's joined by bourbon midway through the sip. The bourbon flavors carry through until the ending, after which bourbon, oak, and milk chocolate flavors linger.

Mouthfeel is good. It has a solid thickness with lighter than average carbonation.

Drinkability is great. I could literally drink this all day long and I wish I had enough of this beer to do so.

Overall this beer certainly lived up to the hype although I attribute some of that to the age of the bottle. If any of this passes around be sure to grab a sip.

glid02, Jul 28, 2009
Photo of pwoods
4.7/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to beachbum1975 for sharing this bottle.

22oz. brown bottle poured into a snifter.

A: Pours a dark tawny shoe leather. 1 finger of frothy light tan head with ok retention. Some lacing.

S: Great bourbon and oak notes. Nice caramelly and toffee scents. Great alcohol aroma, not stinging but assertive. Nice sweetness from the vanilla and oaking.

T/M: Great bourbon and oak flavor. Melds amazingly with the big brown ale base. Tasty tasty alcohol. Big toffee and lighter chocolate malt base. Body is medium full with smoothing carbonation.

D: Very drinkable for as big as it is. Very good beer.

pwoods, Nov 08, 2008
Photo of acurtis
4/5  rDev -9.3%

acurtis, Jun 15, 2013
Photo of sloejams
4.33/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Finally brokedown and opened this on Game 6 of the NBA Finals. I knew my Celtics were going to win this one and bring the trophy back to Boston, so I wanted to have a special beer to watch while it happened. As expected, this was delicious and the Celtics did the job.

When I poured this thick, viscous oil into my chalice I thought "Maybe I should have started with something lighter." I guess the 11% ABV and manifesto included should have tipped me off. Anyhow, the smell reminded me that I made the right decision. Big vanilla and oak aroma comes through. The flavors were complex: there was the vanilla and oak but also chocolate covered raisin, caramel and red zinfindel. The Celtics are murdering the Lakers.

This beer went down as easily as watching Kobe get frustrated with his awful Laker teammates.

sloejams, Jun 25, 2008
Photo of IntriqKen
4.9/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

There is a whole lot going on in this beer and all of it is exactly the kind of stuff I love.
Pours dark amber as expected with a smallish off white head that melts quickly to nothing.

Aromas are a heavenly combination of oak and bourbon. Some candied brown sugar and dark raisins. Absolutely delicious and I could inhale this brew as easily as drink it with equal satisfation.

Taste is heavy bourbon...touch of oak wood...light mixture of prunes, plums, raisins, and dark cherries, and very clean fresh vanilla. Absolutely no aftertaste to the vanilla as is normally found in both beers attempting this and bourbons. Warm alcohol after swallowing...very contenting warmth with just a memory, albiet vivid, of the oaks and bourbon used in aging this brew.

I love it
I rate it highly because it is everything I look for in a beer.
I have no idea what will happen when it ages, but I will find out. I just can't imagine more pleasure than what I am getting now.
***
Months later, now April 2008.
DAMN, this is good...no great.
Absolutely great.

IntriqKen, Dec 14, 2007
Photo of RBassSFHOPit2ME
4/5  rDev -9.3%

RBassSFHOPit2ME, Jun 05, 2013
Photo of AKBelgianBeast
4.43/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Huge thanks goes out to a most generous BA (ipa247) for this one. Birthed a rhinoceros when i saw this one in the box.

Pours a deep ruby brown, almost impenetrable, but not quite. Major ruby highlights, and a nice off white head that falls quickly and turns to a skim with some islands on the surface. Decent lacing but nothing amazing.

Nose is quite complex with huge notes of bourbon, vanilla and oak. Tobacco, leather, and notes of dark cherry abound amongst the bourbony nose.

Wow. This is pretty much exactly what you look for in a Bourbon aged beer. Amazing ride of complex flavors. Bourbon and oak flavors are strong. Super rich caramel and chewy tobacco and leather flavors hit hard with a creamy vanilla presence the whole way through. Some light dark fruit notes, candied cherry almost. A slight bitterness on the finish, but really almost rides right through. Vanilla, oak, bourbon and caramel linger in the aftertaste. Divine.

Mouthfeel is damn near perfect. Nothing annoys me more than a hot bourbony beer with a thin mouthfeel, and this one is the polar opposite. Nice, chewy, viscous, creamy mouthfeel without being too thick or cloying. Carbonation is right where it oughta be.

Drinkability is quite strong, but you can definitely tell this is 11%, and that bourbon came into play. On par with what it claims to be.

Overall, quite simply put, this is the finest barrel aged beer i have had in a long time. An excellent and time consuming comprehensive hands on experience with what barrel aging and blending are capable of. One must admire the time and dedication put in to produce a beer of this quality within this style. If you are a fan of barrel aged beers, this is simply an absolute must try. Drinking much better now than it did fresh (although it was fine then too). Really developing well, and i think it could go for a while yet still. An excellent beer, near perfect. Very very very well done.

AKBelgianBeast, Aug 31, 2009
Photo of Sammy
3.95/5  rDev -10.4%
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.

Sammy, Jun 21, 2013
Photo of augustgarage
4.22/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sampled multiple small pours into a snifter as part of a vertical at the Firestone Anniversary party at Blue Palms. Matt, the brewmaster was standing over my shoulder for much of the time, answering my questions about barrel types, blending, etc.

Cordovan and burgandy body, with copper highlights. Dark liquid, but good clarity. No head, though there is a smattering of lacing. There seems to be an inverse relation between collar size and leg formation - the older the anniversary ale, the thinner the collar and more dense the legs.

11 surprised me as being the hottest of the anniversary ales, even now. Alcohol notes are very strong, and almost fusel at times. Funny to think that this could stand some more ageing compared to 12 or 13. Toasted white oak, with potent coconut, vanilla, and other lactones, though the toasty quality balances the sweetness. As good as I thought the Bruery's White Oak was in terms of barrel notes, it smells almost artificial and in nature compared to Firestone's anniversary ales.

As with all of the blends, bigger than the sum of the parts. The effect of faint oxidation is a positive influence, melding the blend more completely and contributing some sherry notes to the profile. Sweetness on the palate also suggests carmelized red banana and fennel. A slight tart and tannic note emerges mid-palate, like dark cherry, leading into a long dry earthy finish.

Very warm, rather tannic and a bit thicker than 10, but still the textural elements bring to mind a wine or liqueur more than your standard ale.

I know many people I was drinking with preferred 11 to all the others, which could be their preference for Bravo coming through...to me it lacked subtlety and multi-dimensionality compared to the other blends (though relative to most any other beer, it remains remarkably rich and complex).

augustgarage, Nov 21, 2009
Photo of SpeedwayJim
4.53/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Huge thanks to Jeff for this one. Shared at a tasting as part of a FW Anniversary horizontal. Poured 4oz. into a plastic cup. Appearance and smell rating is adjusted for improper "glassware". Reviewed from notes.

A: Pours a nice .5 finger light mocha head with good retention. Beer is a near opaque, black. Lacing is stringy and with good stick.

S: Rich caramel, toffee, brown sugar, and chocolate with overtones of cocoa and fudge. Hugely rich, malty backbone reveals a heavy component of imperial stout and barleywine. Delicious!

T: Opens chocolate, caramel, and fudge. Roasted malt lends a slight bittering component but not really enough to disrupt this malt bomb. Dried prunes and raisin surface in the middle to add another layer of complexity. End is brown sugar, maple syrup, and more chocolate. Finish is the same with an aftertaste that has an added component of cocoa powder bitterness.

M: Medium to full bodied, lightly carbonated, and incredibly rish and smooth in the mouth and going down. This is the aspect of the beer that puts it heads above its peers. Not hot in the least despite the 11% ABV. Finish is rich and warming with a sticky, oily aftertaste that lingers.

D: The best of the bunch by a good margin, FW11 is the best I've had from Firestone Walker to this point. An amazing beer from appearance, to smell, taste, and feel. This beer is a near perfect representation of this diverse (to say the least) style.

SpeedwayJim, Oct 25, 2010
Photo of leschkie
3.5/5  rDev -20.6%

leschkie, Nov 21, 2011
Photo of Photekut
5/5  rDev +13.4%

Photekut, Nov 15, 2011
Photo of ralflord
4.85/5  rDev +10%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Holy Shit! This beer is stunnning. I poured into a Double Bastard glass. The root beer color cascaded into the glass forming a nice and tight head. Smells of malt, carmel, booze, and general sweetness made the mouth water. The taste of this beer is absolutely amazing, as it corresponded well the smells. An excellent balance of alcohol and malt really came through making the beer big and flavorful. Drinkability of this beer is only hampered by the high ABV, as it flowed down my throat. Wanted to drink this all night. Highly recommended! Definetely worth searching out.

ralflord, Oct 03, 2008
Photo of prototypic
4.43/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Many thanks to KingG for the bottle.

Appearance: It pours a very dark, chestnut brown color. There's a little yeasty sediment swimming around. The head was minimal and an off-white color. Retention was virtually non-existent. It was gone before it really got started. I suspect the abv was just too much for it.

Smell: A very nice bourbon scent rolls off the top. It smells excellent. It suggests that Firestone really nailed this one. I'm easily put off by over the top bourbon in my beer, but this one seems just about right. There's an excellent vanilla scent blended in. There also appears to be some raisin, plum, and fig. This is a very complex beer. I'm sure I'm not even remotely doing it justice. An oaky aroma is noteable throughout and adds a nice element. Alcohol is a little noticeable, but is surprisingly mild.

Taste: The bourbon flavor kicks in first. As I suspected, it's played very well. It's cast as a secondary, complementary flavor. It's not overbearing or the strongest aspect of this beer. Love it. There's a wealthy amount of caramel and roasted malts which provide and excellent foundation. The middle of this beer is chock full of flavor. The vanilla flavor is a nice touch. The plum, raisin and fig add a lot of complexity and depth. There's a bit of a hop punch that kicks in and gives it a bitter twist. Finally, an earthy spicy flavor that I can't quite identify emerges. Alcohol is a noticeable and a little stronger here than on the nose, but that's welcome here. I was expecting a big beer and would've been let down otherwise. Finishes sweet with a nice tobacco flavor.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability: This one's thick and chewy. Damn, what a sipping beer. The mouthfeel is nothing short of fantastic. Carbonation is a little low and renders a very creamy and smooth feel. Drinkability is actually pretty high for this beer. It's limited a little by it's big feel and high abv, but I'm really enjoying this bottle. It's going down easy.

This really is a hell of a beer. It's so big, complex, and full of flavor that it's really difficult to constructively critique it. Go find one while you can. It's well worth it.

prototypic, Sep 04, 2008
Photo of MASPuros
5/5  rDev +13.4%

MASPuros, Jan 03, 2012
Photo of deliriumfest
4.35/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Consumed on 10/12/09 for my 1 year anniversary on BA.

Poured a dark brown/deep amber color with no visible head. Aroma is very complex and features a huge bourbon/oak smell along with hints of vanilla coconut, and alcohol. The taste is beautifully mellow and has all of the characteristics of the aroma along with dark fruits and a nice chocolate malt backbone. The alcohol isn't quite as well hidden as I thought it would be for the age of this beer. The mouthfeel is particularly smooth and creamy but much thinner than expected. The drinkability is pretty high considering the alcohol presence and the thin body. A very nice treat especially considering it was a gift from Gabe at the Beachwood BBQ in Seal Beach, CA. I hope to try this one again in a few years to see if it really has peaked like a lot of people are saying.

deliriumfest, Oct 12, 2009
Photo of bradford
4.88/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

22 oz bottle purchased from the Buellton Tap Room for $16.95 plus tax. I already wish I bought more
Appearance is a dark reddish brown with swirls of black in there as well
Smelled very intense and a bit mystifying. There are a lot of components in here that get lost in my amateur nose
Taste is phenomenal. Very rich chocolate, caramel, and dark fruits. As well as the very distinct vaanilla and bourbon from the casks.
Mouthfeel is unlike any beer I have tasted, just as this beer as a whole is unlike any beer I have tasted. Very velvety smooth, like a cream ale, but with a sharp bite of alcohol like a glass of whiskey, and then the very nice palate warming sensation like that of a fine glass of scotch.
Drinkability is there, oh yeah. This is a beer to savor. Take in the senses...smell, taste, mouthfeel, etc., but it is very easy to take long sip after long sip. Holy shit, this is amazing. Well worth the price. I just hope they have more for sale when I go through there next.

bradford, Dec 25, 2007
Photo of Gonzoillini
3.75/5  rDev -15%

Gonzoillini, May 25, 2013
Photo of nickd717
4.03/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

22oz bottle shared by largadeer, finally. Thanks, Chris! I waited quite awhile for this tick.

Pours very dark brown with a one-finger light beige head that leaves bubbly foam for awhile.

Very good aroma - typical of Firestone anniversary beers with caramel, roast, chocolate, oak barrel, vanilla, and bourbon.

The flavor is very nice, much better than I expected from people who have told me this beer has gone downhill. Toffee, chocolate, roasted malt, maple syrup, bourbon, oak, and vanilla.

A little thin on the palate, but there is nice soft carbonation and a good slick mouthfeel.

Good stuff, most similar to 12 off the top of my head, although I haven't tried them side-by-side.

nickd717, Aug 18, 2010
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Firestone 11 - Anniversary Ale from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
97 out of 100 based on 241 ratings.