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Parabola - Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
ParabolaParabola

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
100
world-class

4,732 Ratings
THE BROS
97
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4,732
Reviews: 993
rAvg: 4.61
pDev: 8.46%
Wants: 2,250
Gots: 2,619 | FT: 185
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:
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]

(Beer added by: largadeer on 03-26-2008)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 4,732 | Reviews: 993 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by 1Adam12:
Photo of 1Adam12
3.7/5  rDev -19.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2011 batch 2. Pours dark black with huge white head, brown lacing. Smells of bourbon, oak, malt, vanilla, chocolate, and a bit of cherry. Taste is mostly bourbon, followed by a sweet malt, chocolate, then comes the vanilla, and then slammed with more bourbon. Everything seems kind of meshed together though. Not layered very well. Burning in my nose from the bourbon. Mouthfeel is full bodied and creamy. Bourbon burns my cheeks. Kind of a funny finish on this. Overall, this dude is way too hot. It just tastes messy to me. It's good, but not what I was expecting at all. Very underwhelming from the reputation, and the rating, IMO. This was hard to get, and I've had better beers that are easier for me to get. I do have 2 bottles left, and I'm not touching one at all for at least a year. I'm hoping the bourbon mellows and there will be less of a mess.

1Adam12, Jul 28, 2011
More User Reviews:
Photo of seedyone
4.85/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

05/14/13 On tap at Rattle n Hum, NYC. 2013 vintage. The first sip is like an innocent kiss & then it's too late. You find you have a tiger by the tail...or should I say it's got you. There's so much going on in the glass it's difficult to home in on where to start. Each sip is different from the last & they are spiraling upwards until you reach a plateau of familiarity that has simplified all the complexities of aroma & flavors that make up this admirable brew & you start to feel at home & very comfortable.

Not for the faint of heart (or anyone driving). I found myself sipping at a leisurely pace for 1) enjoyment 2) preservation of the potion, as it's a rare find & 3) self preservation. The 12.5% ABV, although present in every sip, never let's on that this is for adults only. Think of it as an encounter on a plane trip, sitting next to some extremely attractive & engaging person & your smitten. It's a short lived experience & most likely once in a lifetime. Because of that, all feelings are multiplied & enhanced, in memory, by distance from the moment.

Do yourself a big, big flavor favor & make some time for this indulgence. If you do I guarantee your self esteem will improve based on that decision alone.

seedyone, Aug 08, 2014
Photo of tectactoe
4.6/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to the numerous BA's who sent me some bottles of this; I've put it off for way too long. It pours an extremely dark brown color that might as well be called jet-black as it sits, motionless in the glass. A light-mocha colored head plumes up and shows excellent retention; it lasts for days and leaves nice lace spots behind as it slowly recedes down the glass.

The aroma is magnificent; lots and lots of bourbon that's mellowed out by a deep onset of wood and oak. Plentiful amounts of chocolate graze the top of the booze; sweet, creamy and delicate, like a molten mocha cake. Mild hints of vanilla ride over the top of everything, most likely an induction of the barrel itself.

A nice, underlying blanket of roasted malts gives a solid base upon which everything else seems to stand, although the bourbon is strong enough that it may not even need a "base". Parabola has a very large aroma; its potency outright is surely something to behold, and if nothing else, it tells you that this is gonna be one hell of a beer.

Wow. One sip in, and color me impressed. Incredibly smooth, silky, and soft on the palate with just a light tingle of carbonation as the bourbon-heavy brew slips across my palate. The "first and foremost" flavor would be the monumental heaps of chocolate that assault my palate. Deep, dense, dark, bittersweet, and creamy fudge-y chocolate cascades over my senses, clashing with smaller pips of vanilla to create an almost dessert-like delicacy with each sip.

Make no mistake about it, though, the bourbon and oak are as heavy as can be. Soft, warming bourbon entrances every sip just as well, showing the huge robustness of the brew and sending a permanent warmth from the back of your tongue to your belly. Not "hot", but pretty warm, while still remaining smooth thanks to the blunting efforts of the creamy chocolate and the oatmeal.

The aftertaste also contains a bit of bourbon and lots of oak; almost enough oak to call the finish "dry", but falling just shy of this mark. The malts open up a bit more with time, adding more complex notes of burnt caramel and maybe even a touch of sweet maple syrup in the finish. The dominant chocolate and bourbon notes still reign supreme, making this beer like an "adults only" dessert that would be fit for a king.

Well, it's taken me long enough to finally try Parabola, and now that I have, I'll be sure to nab up as much as possible each year that it comes out. Being from Southeast Michigan, some might say we're spoiled with "big" stouts; BCBS, KBS, Black Note, etc... But I'd put Parabola RIGHT up with those brews, and possibly even ahead of a few. So what the hell are you complaining about West Coasters?? This stuff is amazing.

tectactoe, Jul 01, 2013
Photo of utopiajane
4.66/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

This pours out the paragon of virtue. Completely opaque. Black walnut. If you only pour a bit like I did you will not see too much of the mocha colored head but it does refresh even though I did not pour one. It created a ring as I swirled it and left spot of lace and alcohol legs. In the natural light the beer showed a deep chestnut brown with engaging clarity. ( In the photo you can see my face in the beer)

Deep rich, sweet chocolate and hearty roasted malt combine on the nose. Subtle blushing cherries, bold bourbon and a bit of espresso coffee. The bourbon is like a flower that opens on the nose. It is fragrant and seductive. There is a scent of toasted coconut that is light and accented by a bit of vanilla. Dark fruits dance gayly in the background. Molasses rounds out the nose and the scent of sweetened nuts.

The palate is alive at once with earthy and full roast. This malt has been brought to the edge of blackness and yet it stays mellow and tempered with sweetness that collapses inward on all it's sides. The blushing cherry, the dry date, the light and airy oak, the creamy coconut and vanilla. The malt is dry and firm but just bitter enough to come up to the brink of char and stop short. Nothing burnt here. Smooth, creamy, chewy, full mouthfeel. Exceptional smoothness. The molasses takes over the palate as this finishes with bourbon getting lighter and the dark fruits getting stronger.

A slightly boozy finish takes hold at the very last moment of the swallow not with a big taste of alcohol but with a warmth like a smile from a gracious host who is sincerely happy to have set all this before you. The alcohol leaves a bit dry and fully engages the senses one more time before it's done.

Drinking this beer is like doing something you know is wrong and loving every minute of it.

utopiajane, Jul 27, 2014
Photo of aszatk01
4.75/5  rDev +3%

aszatk01, Nov 29, 2013
Photo of DanGeo
4.5/5  rDev -2.4%

DanGeo, Jul 01, 2013
Photo of Smokesnotes
4.81/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Excellent beer.

A: Very dark brown, not much head.

S: Good bourbon/vanilla aroma.

M: Great mouthfeel. Pretty smooth finish.

T: Lots of caramel flavor.

O: I want more.

Drank at a bottle share alongside Black Xantas and KBS. Parabola definitely holds up next to these beers even though I think KBS edges it out slightly. I enjoyed the info on the label and was surprised how high the IBUs are for not seeming too hoppy. Definitely recommend if you like BA stouts or Imperial Stouts.

Smokesnotes, Jul 14, 2014
Photo of DavyJones
4.25/5  rDev -7.8%

DavyJones, Jun 02, 2012
Photo of t2grogan
5/5  rDev +8.5%

t2grogan, Oct 08, 2014
Photo of OhioBobcat
4.75/5  rDev +3%

OhioBobcat, Dec 31, 2013
Photo of jono0101
4.75/5  rDev +3%

jono0101, Nov 27, 2013
Photo of brownbeer
5/5  rDev +8.5%

brownbeer, Feb 14, 2014
Photo of abeerdude
5/5  rDev +8.5%

abeerdude, Jun 22, 2012
Photo of Schlais
4.25/5  rDev -7.8%

Schlais, Jun 12, 2013
Photo of Spaten454
5/5  rDev +8.5%

Spaten454, Jun 14, 2014
Photo of Dabeel
4.25/5  rDev -7.8%

Dabeel, Jun 05, 2013
Photo of poibag808
4.63/5  rDev +0.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

poured from bottle into a snifter.

A: Poured black almost oily with very little head. Some lacing on the glass.
S: sweet with hints of oak and coffee.
T: Initially strong dark fruit/raisin flavors. As the beer warmed up a bit I got dark chocolate, roasted coffee and hints of vanilla. Amazing complexity and drinkability as the beer opened up.

M: The colder it was the more syrupy sweet it stuck in my mouth, almost cloying. As the beer warmed up it become much smoother.

Overall great beer, wish I could get my hands on another bottle.

poibag808, Nov 27, 2011
Photo of SanFranJake
4.5/5  rDev -2.4%

SanFranJake, Jul 21, 2013
Photo of delaced21
4.75/5  rDev +3%

delaced21, Mar 03, 2014
Photo of SkiBum22
5/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A - Dark as night, absolutely viscous appearance. Very minimal head with strong lacing on the glass.

S - Chocolate, bourbon, vanilla, dark fruits, coffee, oak. You can barely smell the alcohol.

T - Sweet roasted malts and chocolate up front. On the back coffee, toffee, caramel, and vanilla. You can barely taste the bourbon.

M - Very good smooth feel. A lot softer then I would have guessed. Just like velvet.

O - Wow, that was the first word that came to mind after the first sip. This beer is as close as excellence can get in my opinion. By far the best beer for me this year and definitely in my top 5 all-time. Thank god I have one more bottle aging!

SkiBum22, Jul 25, 2011
Photo of RebeccaMB
4.75/5  rDev +3%

RebeccaMB, May 19, 2014
Photo of BubalooBrewMaster
4.25/5  rDev -7.8%

BubalooBrewMaster, Apr 06, 2014
Photo of bdkucharski
5/5  rDev +8.5%

bdkucharski, Feb 18, 2012
Photo of Ben7773
5/5  rDev +8.5%

Ben7773, Jan 01, 2014
Photo of newk340
4.78/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A: a dark mocha pour, very little visible carbonation and an thin tan head.

S: certainly hints of chocolate and vanilla at first with some lingering notes of caramel, malts, and bourbon to round out an absolutely delicious smelling beer.

T: YUM. similar to the smell there was an immediate blast of chocolate and bourbon while undertones of vanilla and toffee took some time to develop.

MF/D: definitely could've drunk the bottle by myself if it were my own (and it wasn't 13%). went down fairly smooth, though some lingering IBU's tickled my tongue. could feel the ABV at the end of my 8oz pour.

newk340, Mar 01, 2011
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Parabola from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
100 out of 100 based on 4,732 ratings.