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Parabola - Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

Not Rated.

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

4,474 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4,474
Reviews: 981
rAvg: 4.61
pDev: 8.24%
Wants: 2,156
Gots: 2,534 | FT: 177
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.

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: 4,474 | Reviews: 981 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by hreb:
Photo of hreb


4.36/5  rDev -5.4%

22oz bottle with foil cap and presented in a cardboard box. 2012 Firestone Walker Parabola. Aged 12 months in a "combination of barrels" and additionally personally cellared several months by me. Served at cellar temperature (mid to high 50°s, F). Beer pours opaque black with nearly zero head. Intense aroma of brandy, apricot, and prunes.

The first sip is both sharp / finely carbonated and rich with big, dark fruit flavors and alcohol warmth. The middle of the beer is deceptively light on the tongue. The beer concludes with a gentle bitter edge, though I'd never have guessed anywhere close to the DIPA-worthy 82 IBUs the label claims. A little bit of treacle / bitter molasses in the end. For an imperial stout this beer is just super mellow; the barrel aging and oak flavors do it really well. Oh, except for the heavy alcohol of course. For a stout there really aren't a lot of roasty, nutty, chocolate or coffee flavors, either. But there are layers of bourbon, fruit and brandy

01-22-2013 04:22:21 | More by hreb
More User Reviews:
Photo of seedyone

New York

4.85/5  rDev +5.2%

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.

08-08-2014 15:46:30 | More by seedyone
Photo of aszatk01


4.75/5  rDev +3%

11-29-2013 20:44:29 | More by aszatk01
Photo of DanGeo


4.5/5  rDev -2.4%

07-01-2013 03:51:17 | More by DanGeo
Photo of Smokesnotes


4.81/5  rDev +4.3%

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.

07-14-2014 02:32:52 | More by Smokesnotes
Photo of steenkampa


5/5  rDev +8.5%

Amazingly balanced hefty stout, at a great price.

The first time I had this one, 2011, I walked into a BevMo to buy two beers for myself to drink during a house party...and got 2 bottles of this, thinking "meh, cheap burly Stout, that'll do great for the night" not knowing at all what I had.

Half way through the night, I'm completely trashed off both bottles wondering what this was and why it tasted so amazing, and when did Firestone get so good when I only remember the DBA being boring before!? This really turned me onto them, and I keep an eye out for any in the Reserve Series (Abacus/Sucaba is great, too).

Anyway. Now I always buy the max, and I have at least 2-3 of each vintage since then in my cellar.

Dark, rich, not much carbonation, chocolate and bourbon notes, lots of roasted malts...just about everything I want in a stout.

Can't wait for the 2014 release, so I can keep the cycle going.

08-08-2013 21:40:22 | More by steenkampa
Photo of tectactoe


4.6/5  rDev -0.2%

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.

07-01-2013 03:01:22 | More by tectactoe
Photo of DavyJones


4.25/5  rDev -7.8%

06-02-2012 03:32:29 | More by DavyJones
Photo of OhioBobcat


4.75/5  rDev +3%

12-31-2013 00:58:32 | More by OhioBobcat
Photo of jono0101


4.75/5  rDev +3%

11-27-2013 19:34:22 | More by jono0101
Photo of brownbeer


5/5  rDev +8.5%

02-14-2014 01:36:08 | More by brownbeer
Photo of abeerdude


5/5  rDev +8.5%

06-22-2012 17:29:21 | More by abeerdude
Photo of Schlais


4.25/5  rDev -7.8%

06-12-2013 01:08:05 | More by Schlais
Photo of Spaten454


5/5  rDev +8.5%

06-14-2014 05:56:24 | More by Spaten454
Photo of Dabeel


4.25/5  rDev -7.8%

06-05-2013 19:46:52 | More by Dabeel
Photo of poibag808


4.63/5  rDev +0.4%

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.

11-27-2011 08:04:42 | More by poibag808
Photo of SanFranJake


4.5/5  rDev -2.4%

07-21-2013 20:46:18 | More by SanFranJake
Photo of delaced21


4.75/5  rDev +3%

03-03-2014 20:30:14 | More by delaced21
Photo of SkiBum22

New York

5/5  rDev +8.5%

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!

07-25-2011 20:15:55 | More by SkiBum22
Photo of RebeccaMB


4.75/5  rDev +3%

05-19-2014 21:16:42 | More by RebeccaMB
Photo of BubalooBrewMaster


4.25/5  rDev -7.8%

04-06-2014 03:47:28 | More by BubalooBrewMaster
Photo of bdkucharski


5/5  rDev +8.5%

02-18-2012 17:00:16 | More by bdkucharski
Photo of Ben7773


5/5  rDev +8.5%

01-01-2014 22:00:49 | More by Ben7773
Photo of newk340


4.78/5  rDev +3.7%

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.

03-01-2011 15:31:54 | More by newk340
Photo of bulldogg915


4.75/5  rDev +3%

04-03-2013 16:04:19 | More by bulldogg915
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Parabola from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
100 out of 100 based on 4,474 ratings.