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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

240 Ratings
THE BROS
91
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 240
Reviews: 172
rAvg: 4.41
pDev: 9.3%
Wants: 325
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
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Firestone 11 - Anniversary Ale Alström Bros
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Ratings: 240 | Reviews: 172 | Display Reviews Only:
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 t0rin0
4/5  rDev -9.3%

t0rin0, Sep 26, 2012
Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.1/5  rDev -7%
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.

UCLABrewN84, Jul 24, 2012
Photo of djrn2
4.25/5  rDev -3.6%

djrn2, Jun 15, 2013
Photo of Thorpe429
4.47/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured side-by-side with 12 and 13. Reviewed from notes.

Pours a dark brown color with a bit of a thin tan head. A few legs though not much retention or lacing, as must be the case (or at least I assume--never really looked for legs in the midst of ringy lacing). Nose brings forward really nice characteristics with some oak, vanilla, roast, chocolate, bourbon, and slight caramel.

Taste is just as complex and isn't nearly headed downhill, at least as far as I can tell from never having had it before. Either way, this was the best of the bunch for me that day. Mouthfeel is fairly thick and a bit dry with a very mild tannic presence. Drinks incredibly well and I'm looking forward to getting the 11-14 together at once, as I've pretty much lost all hope of having the 10.

Thorpe429, Nov 10, 2010
Photo of zestar
4.25/5  rDev -3.6%

zestar, Mar 08, 2014
Photo of acurtis
4/5  rDev -9.3%

acurtis, Jun 15, 2013
Photo of brentk56
4.93/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Appearance: Pours a very dark amber with a modest head that quickly shifts to a ringlet; a galaxy of dots litter the sides of the chalice

Smell: Rich aromatics of caramel, dark fruit (primarily fig), tobacco, chocolate/vanilla, licorice and wood; just tons of wood, like an antique chest

Taste: From the outset, the wood sets the backbone against which the flavors will be measured; at first, it is fruity, with the hops playing against the wood but as it settles in, the bourbon elements start to take their position, with a boozy blend of vanilla, fig, tobacco, licorice and chocolate moving to the fore; after the swallow, a coconut aspect arrives to mellow out the bold pre-swallow flavors, while the wood and alcohol linger in the background to the finish; licorice is strong at the very end

Mouthfeel: Full-bodied with low to moderate carbonation; very smooth

Drinkability: I was not that big a fan of the Ten, which overwhelmed my taste buds; the Eleven, however, rules the roost; just an incredible blend of flavor

Thanks, urwatuh8, for the opportunity

brentk56, May 28, 2008
Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.18/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Burnt sienna with garnet colored highlights. I'm amazed to see that Eleven isn't quite opaque. Then again, since 82% of the blend is brown ale, maybe that isn't so surprising. The compact crown is a creamy slice of coffee milkshake that leaves no more than a few fine feathery fingers of lace on the upper reaches of the snifter.

First, the details. This 11th Anniversary offering is a combination of four different ales: 82% Bravo (Imperial brown), 7% Rufus (Imperial amber), 7% Velvet Merkin (oatmeal stout), and 3.5% Parabola (Russian Imperial stout). The various elixirs were aged for varying lengths of time in some combination of new American oak, bourbon barrels, brandy barrels and rye whiskey barrels.

The aroma simply isn't as robust as expected. What is appreciated is wonderful, so maybe a few more degrees will open things up. At the moment, the nose contains primarily bourbon mixed with cocoa and a little vanilla bean.

Eleven is definitely good beer. Whether it's special beer or not has yet to be decided. First impressions include the need for more malt and a better mouthfeel. Here's an idea... much more RIS and much less Imperial brown ale. Now *that* would have been an outstanding strong ale. Another early impression is that bourbon is front and center. Just like I like it.

The lack of heft results in a flavor profile that is broader than it is deep. Specific flavors include bourbon whiskey (brown sugar, oak, vanilla), dark toffee, black coffee, coconut shavings and a drizzle of blackstrap molasses. Complexity is present and accounted for. Sustained complexity, which all truly great beer possesses, is not.

The 11.0% ABV is appreciated as bourbon accents rather than ethanol, as it is in some beer this big. My tongue is slowly becoming numb and my belly is becoming increasingly warm and toasty. Even if I don't agree with the final proportions, the barrel aging came off without a hitch. Bourbon flavord beer is never a bad thing.

The mouthfeel is the chink in Eleven's armor. Whatever the reason, there's no excuse for an American strong ale from one of America's best breweries to be this light (actually, it's more like light-medium for the style). That's all the more disappointing because Ten's mouthfeel was out of this world. I wonder if the loud 'pffft' on crown cracking is related somehow. At no time, however, has the beer felt overbubbled.

Firestone Eleven does not deliver on the promise of Firestone Ten. It comes close, though, and probably would have gotten there with a sturdier malt backbone. I will still enjoy the hell out the remainder of the bomber and I'm still glad that I got the opportunity to drink and review it. Thanks a million, Talisker.

BuckeyeNation, Dec 01, 2008
Photo of mikesgroove
4.6/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

So here we go. The Firestone 11th anniversary blend. I had been saving this one, until I realized, why am I saving it? So last night, just popped it open and went for it, as I figured now is just as good a time as any. The pour was a very deep dark brown, with a nearly opaque profile welcoming me in. Really quite dark and looming as it sat in the glass. A very nice two finger high head of tan lace was perched right on top and really did not hang around long, but had enough staying power to put down a fine line of side glass lace. Looked pretty big off the bat, though nothing earth shattering just yet.

The aroma was huge, with loads of bourbon and oak infused smells just wafting into the air all around me. Lots of spicy alcohol in this one, definitely going to be a big one, and that was obvious from the first whiff that hit the air. Very nice balance of smells here with a deep grain profile, that had layer upon layer of oak barrel aged goodness heaped on top of it. The flavor was smooth as silk, and really started to punch through one you let it warm up a good bit. Lots of spice rum, and dark fruit like flavors. Hints of figs, raisins, and plums were all over this one, but the oak flavor really pulled a coup here. Lots of woody alcohol flavor here. Once it hit room temperature though it really faded away quite nicely and really became a very nice mellow sipper. Big alcohol here at 11%, and you know it is every minute. Not really feasible to go for more then one in a sitting, but this was a dozy.

Overall, I really thought this was wonderful. Lots of complex flavors, and a really nice deep profile. Great carbonation that never let it feel flat, thought it looked a little bit that way as it went down. Is it deserving of its reputation? I will let you decide, but I would definitely shell out the dough to get another one of these any day.

mikesgroove, Apr 10, 2008
Photo of womencantsail
4.15/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: The pour is dark amber in color with almost no head to speak of.

S: A lot of different forms of sweetness going on here in the nose. Caramel, chocolate, and vanilla provide that sweetness which goes hand in hand with the bourbon, dark fruit, and a bit of oak.

T: The beer has stood up somewhat well, though there is a bit of oxidation present. Like the nose would indicate, brown sugar, caramel and toffee sweetness dominate, along with just a hint of dark fruit and a fairly substantial bourbon/barrel influence.

M: The body is on the full side of medium with a very low carbonation. A bit sticky and creamy.

D: Still a pretty nice beer, but I would drink this sooner rather than later. The oxidation is noticeable and I don't think it will be getting any better.

womencantsail, Apr 21, 2010
Photo of ygtbsm94
3/5  rDev -32%

ygtbsm94, Jan 13, 2012
Photo of GRG1313
3.75/5  rDev -15%

GRG1313, Apr 09, 2014
Photo of spycow
4.25/5  rDev -3.6%

spycow, Apr 15, 2013
Photo of emerge077
3.58/5  rDev -18.8%
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.

emerge077, Jul 28, 2013
Photo of largadeer
4.7/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Edit: Tried this again with 6 months of age on it and found it to be hugely improved. All of the astringency disappeared and the alcohol faded into the background, while the bourbon really came to the forefront. I have a feeling that this beer will get even better with more time on it.

Appearance - Dark, translucent brown with about an inch of tan-colored head. Retention could be better, but it's about average for a high gravity, low carbonation beer. The body of the beer looks thick and viscous, clinging to the walls of the glass like oil.

Smell - Vanilla and caramel are most prevalent. Sweet, rum-like alcohol is noticeable along with notes of molasses, dried dark fruits and oak.

Taste & mouthfeel - Vanilla, caramel, coconut rum & bourbon; subtler notes of toasted nuts and dark fruit. Thick and syrupy on the palate; very low carbonation. The finish is rough and alcoholic with a sharp, astringent bitterness similar to a young wine.

Notes - It's already very good, but it has a few rough edges that need time to soften. Much like the 10, I think it will improve greatly in 8 months to a year. I probably won't be opening another bottle for at least a year - it would be a waste to drink this young.

largadeer, Dec 17, 2007
Photo of JAHMUR
4.25/5  rDev -3.6%

JAHMUR, Nov 14, 2011
Photo of Kegatron
4.47/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22 oz bottle into a snifter. Comes with a nice looking classy box and a certificate detailing the blending of the beer. Thanks to Deauane for sharing.

Pours a very deep, dark brown (just almost black) wtih a 1/2 finger of tan colored head. Great retention around the outer rim with some thin wisps across that center that leaves a nice smattering of lace behind. The aroma just has a TON going on with it. Notes of bourbon, vanilla, chocolate, smoke, oak, nuttiness, caramel, fruit and a touch of heat. It's all in there and everything is so very well balanced together.

The taste is similar to the aroma, being so very well balanced yet extremely complex. Oak and char arrive up front first, followed by the extremely well integrated bourbon notes. Notes of vanilla, chocolate, and dark fruit sweeten things up a bit in the rear, before finishing things with a sticky and warm feel on the palette. The mouthfeel is full and viscous with a slight boozy feel that is imparted from the bourbon notes and the ABV, although for the most part, it is fairly well hidden.

Very nice job on the blending of this anniversary beer by Firestone. It's truely a work of art to find a barrel aged beer this complex yet balanced while keeping the whole thing still fairly drinkable. I'm glad I had the pleasure of trying this.

Kegatron, Jun 12, 2008
Photo of russpowell
4.58/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Got this one from Solomon420, cheers Damien!

Pours a ruby tinged ebony with 1 finger of tan head. Above average head retention & lacing

S: Buttery toffee, figs, dates& rum; dissipates as this warms

T: Toffee, butterscotch, a touch of booze warmth, oaky dryness & vanilla & leafy hops up front. Some booze persists as this warms, along with buttered rum; a bit of plummyness, figs & leafy hops, a bit of chocolate & licorice. Finishes with nice dark fruits, leafy hops& a touch of brown sugar

MF: Chewy with low carbonation & medium body & stickyness

Drinks easy for the style & ABV, but proceed with caution!! This damn fine American strong ale (ASA) will knock you down if over indulged. Worth seeking out, a complex. yet approachable ASA

russpowell, Sep 17, 2008
Photo of MasterSki
4.53/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks to dukedevil0 for bringing this gem over. Largadeer shared a bottle a few months ago - but it was at the end of a long list of huge beers, so I don't remember all that much. Served in a FoBAB mini-pint glass.

A - A dime of quick-dissolving light tan foam that leaves a ring and a touch of haze. Dark brown color - semi-opaque when held to the light, with some obvious suspended solids. A few spots of lace are left as the beer is consumed.

S - There's still a little heat after two years, but it's still a little less boozy than the 10. Lots of coconut, raisins and dark fruits, brown sugar, caramel, a bit of tannic tart apple flavor.

T - This has really mellowed with minimal heat in the flavor. I see what people mean by suggesting this is going downhill - it has certainly lost the alcohol presence faster than the 10, but I don't feel that the flavor has suffered in the slightest. Sweet burnt malts, caramel, milk chocolate, vanilla and light barrel flavor. The finish is surprisingly clean and the aftertaste quite mild.

M - Soft, creamy, medium-bodied, low carbonation, minimal heat. Not sure how this could get any better.

D - I had 6oz or so and I'd be happy to have more. There's a little warmth after a full pour, but it's such good stuff that that's barely an inhibitor. Highly recommended.

MasterSki, Nov 13, 2009
Photo of drabmuh
3.95/5  rDev -10.4%
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.

drabmuh, May 26, 2011
Photo of mdfb79
4.2/5  rDev -4.8%
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.

mdfb79, May 26, 2011
Photo of Gueuzedude
4.1/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A slightly hard pour produces an initially two-finger thick, light chocolate stained, tan colored head in my 25cl tulip glass. The beer sits in my glass a near black color with deep brown hues; when held up to the light it shows a brilliantly clear, deep ruby color. Wow, what an interesting mix of flavors. I have never gotten such a distinctive note of coconut from a barrel influenced beer before; it is really quite nice and you would swear there was actual coconut added to this brew. There is lots of other things here as well though; aromas of vanilla, light cherry, brandy soaked dried fruit, hints of clove, bourbon-soaked vanilla beans, toffee malt, light chocolate, a backdrop of toasted grain / bread crust notes. Despite being so influenced by the various barrels, this beer is quite mellow and smooth for a barrel aged beer; it is really well integrated and a true sign of the blender's art.

Quite a bit sweeter and fuller tasting than the aroma might have suggested, but still quite in line with what I was expecting of this beer before I opened it. The barrel spirits are a touch more noticeable in the flavor than they were in the nose with the various whisky components being most noticeable, but also some fruity brandy notes towards the late middle, before some more spicy bourbon notes kick in for the lingering finish. A bit of alcohol warming is found in the finish as well. Coconut flavors play a role here as well, though not quite as distinctly as in the aroma. The coconut mixes with rich toffee flavors, distinct & rich vanilla flavors and a dark, concentrated fruitiness; this last reminds me of bourbon soaked dried fruit, the types one might use in a dense fruit-cake (though the fruit plays a soft, supporting role here).

The carbonation is not overly heavy here, but does provide a nice, persistent texture to this beer that just scrubs the tongue as it flows past, though not enough to really compete with the reasonably viscous body of this brew. Speaking of which, this beer is definitely not heavy for a beer of this strength, though it is most definitely a sipping brew. At times the finish takes on some bitter cocoa notes, though in a good way; just before this though can often be found a rich chocolate-cream character. As the beer warms up it really starts to pick us some interesting spiciness in both the aroma and flavor. It is hard for me to pick out individual components, but if I had to describe it I would say it is a mix of cinnamon, fenugreek, mace and allspice; these notes are all fairly subtle, but compliment nicely the mix of vanilla, molasses and fruit notes that are found in this beer. The sweet, light roasted chocolate notes really start to come to the forefront as the beer warms too.

A tasty beer, a bit more integrated than the 10, but only just barely. Still seems to be lacking in an intenseness, a richness and even a complexity that would be necessary to make this world class. Still it is an incredibly tasty brew, that really helps to showcase what can be accomplished with blending.

Gueuzedude, Apr 25, 2008
Photo of Halcyondays
4.93/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

22 oz. bottle, bought for $18.39 at the Costa Mesa BevMo in Costa Mesa, CA, on Monday, Dec. 17. Having been severely hyped up akin to a Dark Lord or a Darkness, I had high hopes for this beer, one of my most anticipated beers ever, it did not disappoint,

A: Pours a very dark brown, clearly brown though, with a small, light tan head, but they said in the complementary letter that they minimized the carbonation, so I'll give them a break. Very nice lacing on what head is there, however.

S: Not the fullest smell in the world, but it just smells so damn good, that I'm giving it a 5. It reminds me a lot of Angel's Share, in fact that's the first thing I thought when I smelled it for the first time. Nice oak, wood, bourbon scents, along with heavenly vanilla, I just can't stop smelling it.

T: Actually, the vanilla hits first then molds into the bourbon character. Slight coffee character is there as well, and as the beer is going down, there is this great dark chocolate note. Warming alcohol as well, but it is not fusely and unpleasant, it is smooth and light and melds perfectly with the beer.

M: So silky smooth, viscous, and warming, but it has a lightness about it and an ethanol quality about it that makes it insanely drinkable for 11% abv.

D: So drinkable, a delight going down, drank the first half of the bottle in about 5 minutes, it was so easy to drink, but I held up for about 30 minutes to let it warm up close to room temperature which just added to the complexity of the beer. Stellar production, definitely worth the hype, I will be eagerly and anxiously be awaiting the 12, or another bottle of the 11, if I can find it. Easily one of the top 5 beers of the year for me. Great job, Firestone, this beer is absolutely outstanding.

Halcyondays, Dec 21, 2007
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Firestone 11 - Anniversary Ale from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
97 out of 100 based on 240 ratings.