Parabola - Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
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Ratings: 3,495 | Reviews: 899 | Show All Ratings:
Reviews by Pahn:
4.95/5 rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5
22oz bottle into a Duvel tulip. Thanks to BA morningthief for picking this up for me in Boston. 2011 batch, 12.5% ABV, 82 IBUs.
Appearance: Free pour yields a 1.5 inch frothy tan head that dissipates slowly and leaves tight rings of lacing that don't last. Pours solid black. Big legs, no lacing.
Smell: Mostly a heavy caramel aroma, along with some roasted malt, chocolate, cookie dough, and a mild influence of oak and hops. Not enormously aromatic, but what's there is nice.
With some warmth, the aroma quickly opens up. The 12.5% ABV starts to show itself with some reasonably heavy booziness, but, as with many great high gravity beers, this deepens the other notes rather overshadowing them. The interplay of alcohol, hops, and deep pastry and dark fruit smelling malt (along with some restrained barrel influence) is very satisfying.
Some surprising, savory molasses comes out late in the bottle, urging me to push this score up to a 5.0. I'm sold; there's the beautiful, decadent dessert stout depth, but the savory molasses and roasted aromas take it all to another level. Exceptional.
Taste: Mellow and smooth up front, with cookie dough, caramel, and some mild oak, leading to a welcome bitter and somewhat highly carbonated finish. Long aftertaste in which the bold alcohol heat dances with roasted malt, chocolate, and caramel (I know "dances with" sounds a little precious, but the heat persists while different beautiful malt flavors make appearances through the long aftertaste).
The flavor integration in this beer is amazing. The caramel, cookie dough, oak, and mild roasted malt flavors up front are silky smooth, rich, and utterly devoid of alcohol heat. Then the back end has a big hop kick, tons of heat, and lots of deep roasty stout flavors. While "start" and "finish" are very distinct, the notes (especially in the start) are in such harmony that it's more artificial than usual to talk about distinct cookie dough, caramel, chocolate, (etc) flavors.
I hate to give out so many 5s, but this is a real "wow" beer. Virtually nothing left to improve upon here.
Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, very smooth and creamy, with a great bitterness and high carbonation apparent at the end that allows for the extremely rich flavor up front. Nice long aftertaste that tries its best to say "I know this beer is delicious and you want more, but take it slowwww...." Wouldn't change anything about it.
Overall: This is a stunning beer. I'd heard that Firestone Walker were barrel aging masters... and it seems they live up to their reputation.
For the first couple sips, I thought, "This is indeed a great beer, with nice dessert flavors balanced out by bitterness and heat; around a 4.5 in most categories." Then in all aspects the beer just kept getting better... if you want more out of a beer than Parabola delivers, you're probably asking too much or are confused. Seriously close to perfection.
Serving type: bottle
08-08-2011 00:32:39 | More by Pahn
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Parabola from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
100 out of 100 based on 3,495 ratings.