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Parabola - Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
ParabolaParabola

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
100
world-class

5,264 Ratings
THE BROS
97
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 5,264
Reviews: 1,061
rAvg: 4.61
pDev: 8.24%
Wants: 2,662
Gots: 2,962 | FT: 214
Brewed by:
Firestone Walker Brewing Co. visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
Russian Imperial Stout |  13.00% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: largadeer on 03-26-2008

Russian Imperial Oatmeal Stout aged for 8 months in circa 1990's Heaven Hill bourbon barrels.

2011
OG: 29.5p [plato]
IBU: 82 [high]
Cases: 3000 produced [LTD]
Aged: 12 mo [time in barrel]
Yeast: British Ale [house]
Color: 167SRM [midnight black]
View: Beers (79) | Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 5,264 | Reviews: 1,061
Photo of Kuaff
4.86/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

In my snifter at cellar temperature. I'm excited!

Midnight black, as the label describes it, is accurate. A fleeting sheet of rich-looking dark mocha froth.

That's quite an aroma. VERY forward with dessert-like caramel, butterscotch, and maple. It also has vanilla, oak, toasted pecans, bourbon, leather, earth, and yeasty dark bread dough. It even brings the dark fruits like raisins and plums! Add to all this the most lusciously rich, enticing of dark chocolate scents , and it makes for a superbly sniffable stout.

Oh my dear. That first sip just took me on quite a ride. EVERYTHING I just described above comes through in the flavor, if not more. And it's incredibly well-integrated and smooth. Intense bourbon, leathury oak, vanilla, dark fruits, and chocolate barrage the palate, yet nothing feels over-done. The finish leaves me feeling not cloying sweetness, but rather a dry, almost woody, earthen grainy sensation. Powerful, yet balanced.

The feel is sticky and wonderfully viscous.

Words cannot do this stout justice.

Photo of osant37
4.85/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Simply put the best bourbon barrel aged imperial stout I have ever had. Just slightly above bcbs.

Photo of Shaler_Tate
4.68/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

The hype is for real on this one.... Absoluely incredible in all facets.

Photo of tony2beers
4.81/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

2014 vintage poured from bottle into snifter

Poured a deep black color and immediately smelled chocolate and vanilla up front with a more bourbon as it warmed.

Very thick mouthfeel, and taste of chocolate and bourbon.

Photo of aleigator
4.5/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Parabola '12 vintage

Many thanks to Kevin for the bottle.

Pours a black color, with a decent, bubbly head.

Aromas reveal a rich Bourbon note among chocolate, coffee and wood. The Bourbon is very well pronounced, hovering on top of sweet, toffeeish malts, bakers chocolate and molasses, well balanced between sweet, earthy and bitter aromas. Toffee and hot Bourbon blend outstandingly well into each other, with coffee playing a balancing role, bittering the nose.

Drinks incredibly smooth, revealing the rich, decadent body of the beer, with almost no carbonation necessary to showcase its complexity.

While the Bourbon is very prominent on the nose, it is well integrated into the beers taste, due to earthy malts, wood and creamy milk chocolate, balancing the bourbonic impact. It tastes quite hot though, with coffee blending into the oak incredibly well, exhibiting a slightly dry quality, absorbed by sweeter chocolate with lots of cream. The bitternes turns quite prominent, due to the wooden, hot bite, inviting matured hops and coffee to the tongue. Until the very end, coffee and chocolate are on par, leading to a semi-dry, slightly burning finish.

Fantastic brew, outstandingly balanced, while providing an amazing depth. Wooden coffee and creamy milk chocolate are balancing the Bourbon artfully, both staying recognizable until the finish, while their taste gets gently transformed due to luscious, slightly dry, warming Bourbon and notes of coconut, as well as vanilla.

Photo of BuccoFan
4.53/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a 22 oz bottle into snifter. 2015 bottle. Didn't find it much different than BCBS, which is to say I found it exceptional. Totally robust feel with nice bourbony taste. Worth every effort to get hold of, if you can.

Photo of raynmoon
4.61/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

2015 bottle

Looks a little strange actually. Doesn't pour as black as some other stouts out there, but that is how parabola has always been. The strange thing is how large the bubbles are on the foam. No head to speak of. But to be expected.

The smell is glorious however. You get that classic firestone barrel character shining immediately. I get a big amount of brown sugar sweetness, toasted coconut.

Wooh, this is a big boy. Boozy heat comes in the back end of the sip, starts to tingle and burn the tongue a little. But the first taste is a soft, warm wave of dark chocolate and coconut. It has quite a bit of vanilla and barrel coming through while also maintaining tons of balance.

Mouthfeel is superb, very velvety, low carbonation.

This vintage of parabola is coming off a little hot, which it don't quite remember any of their barrel beers being, but this is a super fresh bottle of a 14% abv beer! should be expected.

Photo of blues_fever
4.98/5  rDev +8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Having had Parabola 3 years in a row, it can do no wrong. Well worth obtaining or trading for.

Photo of Straycorn
4.78/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Just consumed a 2015. Started out chilled; as it warmed it got so much better. Loved it; glad that I have 3 more that I'm aging!

Photo of Mattygross44
4.92/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Amazing Amazing Amazing Amazing Amazing!!! Enough said!!!

Photo of nedvalton
4.37/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Smooth pleasant taste and feel. Nice aroma with minimal head.

Photo of santomark
5/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I normally hate FS beers. But this one is just great! Very balanced, nice kick, great warm or cold. Just beautiful.

Photo of elliot23
4.96/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Perfect example of the style; this is the gold standard that all RIS beers should be held to. Right there with Abyss

Photo of tprinzing
4.95/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured a 2015 into a 6 oz snifter, warmed to about 50 degrees.

This is one of my favorite beers. I get heavy vanilla both in the smell and the taste. I really like the Anniversary series, and now that I've tried Parabola I see where a lot of the appeal comes from. If there was any way it could be more awesome, IMO it would be just to have a slightly more heavy feel. I absolutely love this beer!!
Good thing I bought a bunch of them!!

Photo of MtnSoup
4.74/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Better than 2014 (in my opinion). 2014 was very bourbon-y, too much so, with not enough carbonation and less lacing. 2015 seems to be perfectly balanced, super heavy bourbon nose, but could not be more balanced upon tasting. Just a wonderful beer, and oh so glad I have more. Will be interesting to taste side by side with the 2013 and 2014 that has had some time to settle in.

Photo of Phigg1102
4.88/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

This lived up to all the hype for me. It was simply the best BA beer I've had and possibly the best stout I've had. I would love to try a '13 or '14 for perspective, but the '15 was brilliant.

Photo of HopDawg40
5/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Amazing. Easily best beer I have ever had.

Photo of IPAGeorge
4.76/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Poured from a bottle into a tulip

A. A jet black poured with a cappuccino colored 2 finger sudsy head. Splashy lacing around glass.

S. Bakers chocolate and booze fill the nose. Caramel, Coffee and Vanilla aftertones. Slight licorice notes.

T. Very nice. Chocolate, Caramel, Coffee Bourbon oak boozy, roasted malts all nicely blended together. Delicious. Slight bitter aftertaste.

M. Creamy, luscious, silky. A very nice feel in the mouth. Nice and thick. 8 out of 10 on body. Slight carbonation. Finishes clean. Some warming going down. Can't ask for a whole lot more mouthfeel.

O. An excellent beer. Every aspect. If there was something to nitpick at and I would have to, to say much is wrong with this beer it would be the lacing. It's a bit spotty. But everything else is pretty top notch. Get this beer and enjoy it!

Photo of CJNAPS
4.91/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

EXCELLENT !!! This was nice and tasty

Photo of Falcon91Wolvrn03
4.72/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

2012 Vintage opened in 2015. Review #200.

Appearance – A very dark black, with a light brown head and medium light lacing.

Smell – Malt, sweet vanilla, bourbon, and oak.

Taste – Follows the nose – malt, vanilla, bourbon, and oak. Delicious!

Mouthfeel – Nicely carbonated, smooth, and creamy. Goes down amazingly well and doesn't feel like 13%abv.

Drinkability – This went down easy for 13%abv. Very nice!

Photo of don1481
4.86/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

6 oz snifter at Firestone taproom.

Appearance: Pitch black, very tiny off white head.

Smell: Coffee, chocolate, oatmeal, booze. This smells like heaven.

Taste: I can't put this into words, but I'm gonna try. Amazing. The bourbon is just right. Not overpowering, not barely there, but a perfect balance.

Mouthfeel: Slick, bourbon, wonderful.

Overall: I wish this was available back home.

Photo of BenwayPHD
4.83/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Pours a dark, dark [bordering on black] brown with slight auburn on the edges and a very thin mocha head. The smell is very classy and subtle. Vanilla, molasses, dried figs, dried cherries, chocolate, the bourbon is present but not overwhelming, there is a subtle hint of alcohol but it adds a little warmth instead of distracting. The flavor is exquisite. Toffee, vanilla, chocolate, mocha. With a nice thick mouthfeel that coats the tongue. This is the most subtle yet perfect BBA Stout I've ever had.

Photo of trippytbta
5/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Best most balanced and amazing BA Imperial Stout there is.

Photo of eLeMeNOhPee1
4.7/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Great beer. Cant want wait to taste it in a year.

Photo of MjBrewhouse
5/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2012 vintage. This is the best beer I've ever had. Perfect across the board. Got this in a trade, hope the 2015 is anywhere close to this.

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Parabola from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
100 out of 100 based on 5,264 ratings.