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
98
world-class

172 Reviews
THE BROS
91
outstanding

(Read More)
Reviews: 172
Hads: 245
rAvg: 4.45
pDev: 6.07%
Wants: 323
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 (83) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 172 | Hads: 245
Photo of JAXSON
4.08/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2009 rate.

Bottle. Pours deep, rich mahogany, very dark, with a ring of white head. Big, malty nose with rasisins, figs, some kind of chocolate syrup, and booze. Quite a bit more elegant in the mouth than the nose suggests. Leather, tobacco, and a subtle spiciness really tie it together. Like a bourbon barrel barleywine blended with an old, leathery stout. Very expressive flavor, alcohol heat is quite pleasant. I wish I had a cigar to smoke with this one. Not as good as the XIII. (485 characters)

Photo of craytonic
3.9/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Had this side-by-side with 10, 12 and 13; this one was holding up fine and should be good at least another year (as opposed to the 10th)

Appearance: mahogany/brown/black with a small head

Smell: Molasses, brown sugar, raisins, vanilla, oak

Taste: Toffee, caramel, molasses, brown sugar, raisins, figs, vanilla, bitter chocolate

Mouthfeel: Better carbonated than the 10th, also not as hot.

Drinkability: I think of 10-13 this was the only one we actually finished, I liked it the best. Still, that isn't saying much and I was not blown away or impressed. (558 characters)

Photo of Thorpe429
4.47/5  rDev +0.4%
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. (779 characters)

Photo of sweemzander
4.37/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

bottle poured into a tasting glass. Huge thanks to Jim for sharing this with us!

(A)- Pours a dark brown color that produced some tan bubbles. Plenty of lacing left behind in my glass.

(S)- Lots or rich raisin and molasses with a nice caramel toffee thing. Hints at vanilla.

(T)- A nice caramel and molasses chocolatey profile with hints at vanilla and brown sugar. Very malty. Waves of cocoa & chocolate in this.

(M)- A good carbonation level and balance. A huge difference from the 10 Anniversary. Really rather smooth; not as hot. Minimal bitterness.

(D)- A sipper for sure, but just a nice rich and sweet brew I can imagine having some evening in the heart of winter. Age has been kind to this. The standout from the vertical (738 characters)

Photo of SpeedwayJim
4.5/5  rDev +1.1%
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. (1,444 characters)

Photo of kbutler1
4.42/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle. Pours a murky brown color with a slight tan head that surprisingly had pretty good retention. The smell reminds me a lot like parabola with dark chocolate with vanilla notes. The taste is really nice and well blended with notes of chocolate, toffee, vanilla, and nut. Nice notes of the bourbon barrel as well. In the vertical or horizontal, this is my favorite. Really well blended. Well done. Medium mouthfeel with a nice creaminess to it. (448 characters)

Photo of alcstradamus
4.62/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to the "King of Beers" Jim for sharing this one.

Poured into a 5 oz. taster glass. Not a proper vessel for reviewing appearance, so my rating for this category is adjusted to create an accurate overall score.

Pours a near black color blah blah blah. The aroma is very sweet and oxidized, yet there is a beautiful chocolate aroma that remains. Quite nice despite the cardboard.

The flavor is just fantastic. Oxidation notes are very present, but the luscious chocolate and hazelnut underneath it more than makes up for any flaws.

The body is medium and carbonation is a bit higher than I would like but still is good.

Who says this beer is past its prime? If that is true, then good god I wish I would have tried it earlier. This was drank as part of a full vertical. I did not feel right reviewing Firestone 10 because the oxidation had overtaken everything but the boozy heat, but #11 here was a different animal. Easily the best out of the full vertical (although a mix of all 4 surpassed them all). (1,014 characters)

Photo of nickd717
4.05/5  rDev -9%
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. (689 characters)

Photo of BeerAdvocate
4.08/5  rDev -8.3%
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. (1,277 characters)

Photo of RustyDiamond
4.2/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Split into 2 snifters.

Dark brown cola with oatmeal color head. Head quickly dissipates leaving a nice amoeba film with a ring of bubbles. Nice contrast in colors.

Booze, milk chocolate, subtle vanilla.

New oak, brandy oak, chocolate. Bourbon soaked cherry with pronounced wet bourbon oak. Brandy on the backend.

Velvet in the mouth, balanced as hell with the beforementioned components. As it warms, it gets more boozier on the finish.

Good drinkability, but the booze would keep me from having an entire bottle solo. (523 characters)

Photo of CrellMoset
4.52/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

22 oz. bottle courtesy of bmanning in a trade. Many thanks to a great fellow-VA trader! Poured in to a 22 oz. snifter.

Appearance: Clear on the pour, a nice woody sepia, with slight rufous and auburn tinges around the edges. In the aggregate, of course, it's a lightless, bottomless brew, with only the faintest hints of amber glow creeping in around the edges. The lightly tanned head - about one finger in height and uneven - fades away inside thirty seconds, leaving a few dashes of delicate, finely patterned lace. Later sips also contribute, lending a few gentle splashes and dollops of wind-swept and glittery crystal. The collar of lace is larger on one side than the other, and there's absolutely no surface lacing of which to speak, a fact made all the more evident by the occasional rising bubble, which simply breaks the surface of the beer, pauses briefly like an unsightly pimple, and then, when the surface tension forces can no longer sustain it, simply pops. Not an unattractive beer, and surely leeway must be given to the age, abv%, and barrel aging.

Aroma: Bright barrel sugars and spirits bounce beautifully between billowing and bountiful burned malts. Tons of baker's chocolate and caramel greet the nose with no effort at all, but agitation reveals peaches, cherries, candied dates, and chocolate-covered raisins. This is one of the first barrel aged beers I've swirled intently, stuck my nose in to the mouth of the snifter, took a huge whiff, and didn't come away slightly singed from. The alcohol heat here is marvelously subdued and well-integrated. Sweet bourbon sugars and slight fruity brandy intermingle with coconut and warm vanilla to round it out.

Taste: FW's Anniversary brews require you to start by looking at the components list and go down it like a checklist - "I can/can't taste that ... next!" Otherwise, your senses are almost overwhelmed.

I definitely get Bravo, no surprise, given that it's 87% of the blend. This beer tastes like a hyped-up brown ale, barrel aged in some capacity, with a kiss of nuttiness and plenty of toffee, toast, and some chocolate malts. My first job was working at a Baskin Robbins, and one of my favorites while working there was a medium praline 'n' cream milkshake/malt ... slightly nutty, almost in a candied sort of nutty way, with ribbons of caramel and plenty of cream and sugar.

The other base beers make their presences known in lesser ways. Most obvious is probably the VM, adding plenty of earthy oat presence. The sweetness of the Candi sugar from Rufus contributes some nice dark honey sweetness, suggesting sweet but well-toasted toffee, dark caramel, brown sugar, molasses. A nice amount of dark toast, baker's chocolate, faint coffee, and even a kiss of char - almost loss in the morass of saccharine sweetness - provides a great foundation for a slew of raisins, plums, and black cherries, courtesy of Parabola.

All of this provides a foundation for the barrel notes. Obviously, the bourbon should be dominant, given its representation here (71.5% of the final product), but a lot of those traditional bourbon notes - sweet, roasted, earthy sugars - are buried, or perhaps just well blended. I definitely detect brandy - which comes across sweet, tannin-like, with that "stone fruit/concentrated grape" flavor, peach, grape, cherry. The spiciness of the rye whiskey stands out pretty obviously to me, as well.

Mouthfeel: Soft, luscious, velvety. The carbonation is immaculately subdued and the body thick but not cloying or sticky, which is the perfect combination for a creamy, slightly aerated, wonderfully even brew. This works beautifully with the slew of malts present in this one, suggesting all sorts of wonderful things - whipped chocolate ganache, milkshakes, you name it. I think if I'd let this one sit another year - even a few more months - and it might have been a little too subdued.

Drinkability: A decadent treat, incredibly sweet and complex, but delicate, subdued, and tight. Nothing jumps out at you here, and that's a good thing. This isn't a chugger, one that provides you with a new aroma, a new flavor, a new experience with each sip. FW11 makes you sit there, concentrate, and ponder each successive sip, holding it in your mouth, before you find that tinge of rye, that wink of fig, and that soupcon of oat. Sometimes, we as a beer community can be guilty of looking for something not only too flavorful, but too "easy," something that jumps out and grabs ahold of us, and while this beer is flavorful, its a flavorful that's difficult to tease apart. Being a critic isn't about noting what's easy about a beer, it's about noting what's difficult, and helping others come to appreciate this. So many thanks to Firestone Walker for continuing to provide beers that provide a challenge - these are the sorts of beers that make me a better Beeradvocate. (4,874 characters)

Photo of afausser
4.32/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle from bmanning, split with CrellMoset.

Appearance: Pours a clearish dark chestnut with tons of bubbles sticking to the side of the glass, and about a finger of what looks to be a mix of foam and mud-colored head, which disappears quickly, the bubbles popping like soda carbonation. A few minutes in and all that remains is the carbonation clinging on to the side of the glass, which shows a great amount of movement in the brew as bubbles rise up from the bottom, and an asymmetrical fluffy foam patch on the left side of the glass. Tilting the glass reveals very slight foamy lacing. Not as pretty as FW13.

Smell: Lots of fruit and booze in the nose. Sour cherries and raisins are the most dominant notes. There's also a bit of caramel and vanilla as well as a slight hint of anise, but predominantly made up of the fruit notes. Some acidic red wine is also in the mix as well as lots of oaky bourbon and brandy barrel notes. Bourbon is more dominant, which makes sense given the Parabola/Bravo/Rufus/Velvet Merkin combination. I get very little, if any rye out of the nose. The oak from the Bravo really stands out nicely. Slight chocolate and oatmeal notes stand out as well. Bit of spice in the nose, which grows quite a bit as it warms.

Taste: The taste isn't particularly overwhelming--I expected this brew to be a lot bigger, but it comes across to me as understated. The first thing that I would say about it is boozy, but it's not hugely boozy either. Chewy light toffee and caramel notes stand out, but there are also some dark, oaky earth notes as well as some bourbon soaked raisins, and perhaps a hint of apricot and vanilla. Creamy, in a way. Alcohol is apparent. Sour cherries come out quite a bit more as it warms, as do tannins and hints of red wine--and even perhaps a bit of white in the aftertaste. A bit of dark chocolate as it warms. Slight spice and pepper. Better and more full as it warms, with the toffee and caramel standing out a bit more as well as some hops that blend well with the malty notes. A bit of rye and whiskey heat as it warms. Additionally, some chewy molasses that wasn't there before comes out as it warms.

Mouthfeel: Chewy consistency with a bit of heat in the finish. Despite the carbonation evident in the appearance, there isn't a ton in the mouthfeel--the appearance looked like huge, foamy, abrasive carbonation. It's actually a heavy-bodied, thick and creamy brew, with initial numerous small carbonation bubbles that pop in your mouth and then disappear, leaving you with a smooth, thick and creamy brew.

Drinkability is medium on this one. It isn't super-heavy, but there is definitely enough alcohol to make it non-sessionable--I'm glad I'm inside in the air conditioning for this one instead of sitting out on the porch. (2,786 characters)

Photo of mothman
4.45/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to masterchiefmd for sharing this at DLD. Review from notes.

Poured into Duck Rabbit snifter.

Pours a light fizzy tan head. Decent splattered lace left. Color is a dark caramel brown. Some sediment in my glass.

Aroma: Bourbon and oak. Very warming. Reminds me of a BA Bwine. Toffee and caramel with sweet fruits. Very well done.

Taste: Just like the aroma: like a warm BA bwine. Toffee, caramel, bourbon, oak, and dark fruits. I also picked up some vanilla in the taste.

Mouthfeel: Very warming and smooth. Medium to full bodied withe a decent amount of carbonation. Ends hot and a bit dry.

Overall, this beer was very well done. Drinking very easy and I know I put a decent dent in the bottle. This beer was drinking pretty good at the moment and I don't know if I would want to cellar this if I had any of it. Really glad I could try this one. (858 characters)

Photo of akorsak
4.37/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to Zorro for this 650 mL bomber.

A: The strong ale looks like a stout, a moonless night that envelops everything. An eggshell white head, stark contrast to the blackness underneath it.

S: My first impressions are barleywine and oak. The barleywine aspect is rich and malty, strong no doubt with ample chocolate malts, while the oak aging adds a distinct vanilla aroma. The oak is impressively rich, an enjoyable sniffing experience.

T: The barrel (or barrels) stand out from the get go. The oak barrels have a vanilla and coconut presence that screams bourbon. Their richness lingers, well into the chocolatey malt finish of the beer. Along with the oak and bourbon, the ale does have a strong dose of red wine tannins, a flavor that contrasts a bit with the bourbon and gives me awkward burps. Underneath all of the barrels, the ale doesn't skimp on stout and barleywine flavors, rich and malty with an excessive dose of chocolate. Back to the barrels, the bourbon is most dominant (btw the flavor I appreciate most), an oaky, vanilla and coconut melange. Warming with each sip, it is fantastic.

M: The mouthfeel, dominated as it is by multiple barrels, is complex and full. The oak and its bourbon strength, paired with red wine, is divine. This beer has to be near its peak, I can't imagine it being much better. Just incredible.

D: Far too heavy and rich to spend a whole day drinking, this is a special treat that has aged nicely. Complex and soothing, I wish I had a couple more bottles. (1,505 characters)

Photo of psiweaver
4.53/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had at Blue Palms American Craft Beer Week Festival

A: A rich brown/black with very little head. think viscous when lightly swirled.

S: smells rich and complex with some chocolate and earthy tones. not as pronounced as the Firestone 12 that we had after this.

T: very complex with layers of chocolate and bold red wine. some sweetness on the finish but like a great bar of dark chocolate.

M: very smooth and viscous

D: very easy to drink, the age on the bottle has allowed everything to completely mellow out and meld together into a complex beer.

Was very good, I think that its a little past its prime right now as the flavors were almost too mellow. The FW12 was better and the 13 has the potential to be great but doesn't have the age on it yet to compare to the 12 right now. (788 characters)

Photo of Kaiser81
4.08/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Special thanks to Henry for sharing this

A - Deep reddish-brown. Minimal head, nice lacing.

S - Complex. Oak, cherries, vanilla, and barrel mix together, with a noticeable booziness present. All mix to make it damn good. But, there is a slight cardboard smell.

T - Faint tastes of all the smells mentioned above mix together. There is a noticeable boozy aftertaste, and slight oxidation present, though it is hard to pickup.

M - Med boxy with mild carbonation. Booziness lingers on the tongue.

D - Overall this beer has held up very nicely, but it might just be on its way downhill. Drink 'em fast, or give 'em to me so I can drink 'em. (641 characters)

Photo of womencantsail
4.17/5  rDev -6.3%
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. (771 characters)

Photo of steadydose
4.2/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I've been wanting to drink this bottle since I acquired it in a trade a while back, and finally found the right time to enjoy this one...

I poured the 11 in an oversized wine glass and was impressed by the blackish, brown body. It showed amber hues when I held it up to the light. This beer had a good looking brown fluff, which reduced to a thin ring throughout the entire glass.

I inhaled this beer deeply and was hit in the face with sweet figs, loads of bourbon with some booziness. It smells like its going to have some heat in the flavor. This beer smells outstanding.

The flavor starts very sweet, and is followed by bourbon. It seems the flavors have really married with each other and what is left is a deep complex flavor, which for me was like an english barleywine style ale. There may have been a touch of oxidation in the flavor, but did not effect this beer in a negative way.

Great mouthfeel, soft carbonation, medium body.

This is a nice sipper, I made sure to enjoy the first half of the bottle before lighting up my cigar, so I could really enjoy the flavors. I actually enjoyed the beer more with a stogie as the smoke was complimented nicely by the bourbon and alcohol type notes of this beer. Great 11% beer. This was my first time trying FW11, and it was worth the effort of seeking it out. (1,318 characters)

Photo of DrewOSU
4.42/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Provided by Newtonty during a FW X-XIII vertical @ beachbum1975's place. I had an awesome time and thanks to Newtonty for providing ¾ beers for this EPIC vertical!

A: Pours a caramel cola color with minimal gray head The lacing was light and oily on the side.

S: I get malt tones on the top, followed by dark fruit, raisins and a sweet bourbon under tone.

M/T: Mouth feel is lighter than FW X. I first get the sting of the alcohol, followed by a current of vanilla and then a malty finish. Very low woody quality for a barrel aged beer and less bourbon than what I was expecting also.

D: Having had FW XI for the first time during a vertical, I have to compare it to the FW X. The FW XI is far lighter than the X, but does have a strong alcohol burn to it. Very nice sipper, but not as much going on compared to the X. (826 characters)

Photo of br3wmeister
4.42/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A- Medium light tan head moderate retention and some mild lacing. The beer itself is a dark redish brown color.

S- Huge caramel and roasted nut aroma up front. bourbon, raisins, plums, vanilla, oak, peppery alcohol and toffee all blend together very nicely.

T- lots of toffee, roasted nuts, caramel, light piney hops, mild ripe fruit, and chocolate.

M- Full bodied silky smooth beer, very nice mouth feel.

Overall this is a very good beer, it has a lot going on and is very easy to drink. (496 characters)

Photo of MrFootstones
4.05/5  rDev -9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Vigorous pour yields an evanescent head which quickly recedes to wispy thin foam atop the beer. Murky brown until held up to the light, revealing a rich mahogany color with vibrant crimson highlights

S: Dried fruits, coconut, vanilla, grain, musty wood

T: Booze, vanilla, coconut, toffee, rum, raisins, old damp oak

M: Better than XII and XIII, despite the others being oatmeal imperial stout based. More rich and velvety. Great for this beer.

D: A complex and interesting sipper. This bomber took me a while to finish, but was nice the whole way through.

Overall: I would say a bit past its prime, though this is my first time having it. Delicious, but I daresay I enjoyed XII/XIII more. (696 characters)

Photo of nlmartin
4.94/5  rDev +11%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This beer came my way via trade. I cannot remember who I got it from but thanks!... The beer was chilled and served in a wide mouthed wine goblet. My wife and I consumed the beer over the coarse of the evening. This beer is fantastic!... My ability to describe and add to the descriptions of this beer is limited.

Appearance: The beers appearance is a murky dark brown coloration. A bit of ruby opaqueness is noted. The head is a thin white coloration. Small rings of foam mark the beers passage. The beer has the kind of unlovely appearance that lets you know the beer is going to be fantastic.

Smell: The aroma of the beer is phenomenal. I am not certain of my ability to describe the beer but I am going for it. The aroma of the beer is boozey in a wonderful way. The aromas of vanilla, bourbon, tabacco, cocoa, butterscotch, apples, pears, dark fruits raisins, dates, maple syrup, brown sugar. All throughout the aroma of the beer is well layered bourbon / brandy.

Taste: World class! The beer delivers a very sweet bourbon / brandy mixture. Roasted, toasted and charred flavors help to counter balance the sweetness. In short this delivers a nuanced layered flavor. This beer taste even better than it smells. If you dont like bourbon / brandy you will not like this beer.

Mouthfeel / Drinkability: The body of the beer is full low carbonation. Very very smooth no alcohol heat noted. Its boozey but very smooth. The beer passed from my glass very rapidly. Wish I had a few more of these in my cellar. Exceptional! (1,526 characters)

Photo of mjl21
4.67/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Review #300.

22 ounce bottle poured into a snifter. Comes in at 11%. Paper describing the blend is included in the box. This is a review of my last bottle of XI and consumed after trying XIII and XII.

A-Pours a dark muddy brown and has a minimal light brown head that is quite bubbly over 1/3 of the glass. There is some streaky film left in the middle that looks like a layer of dust. There is some visible sediment that can be seen floating in the glass. Like XIII and XII, it leaves spotted lace patterns throughout.

S-Lots of caramel and toffee start it out, giving it an almost barleywine like aroma. Oak and vanilla come out after it has been in the glass for a few minutes. As it warms I get an aroma that reminds me of a cigar dipped in a nice glass of bourbon. There is some coffee aromas that come out towards the end. There is no noticeable booze. It is quite tame and is perfectly blended.

T-Like the nose, lots of toffee and caramel jump out first. The sweet flavors are followed by vanilla and oak. The finish tastes like a freshly toasted marshmallow. There are hints of chcocolate and the bourbon soaked cigar wrapper flavor appears toward the end.
Like the nose, the booze is well hidden and this seems to be at its peak blend.

M-Smooth and silky with a perfect light level of carbonation.

D-It is at the perfect level right now. It has all of the great -bal aged charcateristics along with a nice sweetness level without the burn.

It was nice to revisit this beer after not having one in two years. I don't see it getting much better so it is probably best to drink what you got. It would be ashamed to try it past its prime. (1,651 characters)

Photo of jeffthecheff
3.37/5  rDev -24.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Had a pour of a bottle split between four people. Thanks for the pour Joe.

The pour is a dark brown, with only small bubbles surrounding the edge of the glass. The aroma is very strong, and the most powerfull character is an aged, oxidation aroma. At this point the oxidation is a bit much, and I'm guessing its because of the storage conditions of the bottle. There is also a liqour like aroma, and a bit of hot alcohol fumes.

The flavor is rich and sweet, and again has a big oxidation character. I had a hard time figuring out the beer so I took a quick look of the contents of the blend. Most of the beer is an imperial brown, which lends a toasty nuttiness to the flavor. It is aged in a few different barrells that previously held an assortment of liqours. I couldn't figure out the flavors each liqour brought to the beer, but it's probably because I don't drink these liqours. I'm a beer guy. There was a burning sweetness that probably came from the barrells, and a bit of oak.

The mouthfeel is not very thick despite it's abv and richness. It's lowly carbonated, but has more carbonation than the appearance would lend you to believe.

Overall, I think this bottle would have been better at an earlier time, or if it was aged in better conditions. My overall impression was that this beer is rich, old, and boozy. I probably would have appreciated it more if I understood the characters the barrell aging brought to the beer. (1,438 characters)

Photo of augustgarage
4.2/5  rDev -5.6%
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). (1,840 characters)

Firestone 11 - Anniversary Ale from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
98 out of 100 based on 172 ratings.