Parabola - Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

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5,478 Ratings

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Ratings: 5,478
Reviews: 1,095
rAvg: 4.61
pDev: 8.03%
Wants: 2,758
Gots: 3,149 | FT: 243
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.

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 (84) | Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 5,478 | Reviews: 1,095
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.

Photo of Jeffwildcat
4.84/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Had this saved for my 40th bday (2014 version) this past week. Was a great beer. The alcohal didn't punch me in the face as much as BCBS does. Very smooth and cant wait for 2015...

Photo of rodmanfor3
4.63/5  rDev +0.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

This is a great stout.

And it trades evenly with Heady Topper.

We are spoiled here in Vermont and get to enjoy the best of both worlds.

Photo of von_kaiser
4.46/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2014...I really want one to age:/

Photo of rwf08
4.94/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Parabola 001
This is my favorite beer by far.
Color: opaque jet-black
Head: thin mocha head around the glass
Flavor: coffee upfront, warming alcohol, chocolate notes, bitter burnt grain, wood and vanilla.
Smell: soy sauce, dark chocolate.
Mouth-feel: medium body with a slightly dry finish

Photo of Tbone2131
4/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Too strong for my liking

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

been lucky enough to have 2012 and 2014 this beer never disappoints

Photo of TychoNDC
4.63/5  rDev +0.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

A quick unfocused review. This beer delivered...completely lived up to the hype. It's up there with BCBS among my favorite bourbon barrel aged stouts. Immense, chewy, roasty, delicious, but still true to its RIS base. Just wonderful.

Photo of 31Sam13
5/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Just having this 2013 now...the hype is real...just amazing...let it sit...

Photo of BuckeyeBeers
4.6/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Amended rating: Just tried a 2012 bottle and it was a dramatic difference from the relatively fresh bottle consumed last fall. Despite what some folks have said, age made a great beer an extraordinary beer.

Photo of iwanatalk2sampson
4.87/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

2013 ages better than I though would (wow!!!!!!!) liked it fresh better with age

Photo of humuloner22
4.88/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

This one was the 2014 edition.

Appearance: Dark frothy caramel colored head that sits there pretty long considering the abv.

Aroma: Vanilla initially is dominant on this one, it does not smell too boozy considering the abv. but the bourbon and the oak do come through on the nose. It also has some roasted malts and a mild hop presence.

Taste: Bourbon and barrel are upfront, then vanilla and caramel come through in the mid palate. This is not a cloyingly sweet beer its very well balanced and surprisingly not boozy at all considering the 14% abv. It also has a nice velvety smooth mouthfeel. Its a very enjoyable BA stout and I am happy I have had the opportunity to try this one.

Overall: Very well worth the place it holds as one of the best stouts out there! I think this one kicks Bourbon County out of the room. Its not boozy considering the similar abv whereas Bourbon County is very alcoholic in flavor and pretty one sided. This beer is really what most bourbon barrel aged stouts should try to achieve.

Photo of Heatwave33
5/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Look- Creamy black silk that is only found inside the deep crevices in California.

Smell- Dark chocolate aged in roasty bourbon barrels for her pleasure.

Taste- As if the whiskey barrel creamed in my mouth!

Feel- Creamy, smooth, refreshing and hoping for a call the next day.

Overall- The first time a met her we made love all night. I told myself not to jump straight into the sack with this and build respect for a well founded relationship. But I couldn't help myself. My animal magnetism took over and I did what felt right. I'm thankful she still answers the phone when I call.

Photo of cubs943
4.75/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

This is a pretty good beer.

Photo of Dodgerrigo77
4.99/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Fantastic, different texture then Abyss or BCBS!
Awesome lots of body!!
Not as boozym, the Molasses in Abyss was nice.
On a tap @ Toronado all 3 awesome but Parabola takes the cske!!!

Photo of TheBrewo
4.5/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

We unleash a bottle of 2013’s “No. 004” into our three-quarter sized tasting snifters. It glugs out a very dark and oily espresso brown coloring, producing no real head despite a heavy-handed pour. Small aggregates of chocolate brown bubbles cling to our glasses as you swirl the liquid, but otherwise no lacing comes forwards. The dregs of the bottle actually helped stir up a half finger’s worth of this same foam, but this wasn’t reproducible either, thereafter. No haze is noted, but punctate sediment sits suspended throughout. Carbonation appears to be mildly moderate. The aroma is breathtaking. Notes of charred chocolate, coffee, and black malts, musky oak, heavy buttery diacetyls, fresh vanilla, cream cheese cake icing, Graham cracker crustiness and flaky croissant breadiness, black cherry and prune fruitiness, raw barley, chlorine, burnt coconut, aloe and creamy sunscreen chemicals, mild Magic Marker phenols, smoky rye whisky warmth, whole black peppercorns, and sweet molasses enliven the senses. The flavoring is much, much sweeter than expected at first, but holds onto this harsh and heavy booziness and smokiness on the back to offer supreme balance. Here, we experience heavily charred barley, clean and bittering chocolate and coffee grain, soured rye grainy grit, brassy metallics, acidic vinegar, hot and fusel bourbon ethanol kick, raisins and dried cherry fruitiness, clove and medicinal phenolic wash, brown sugar sweetness, fired oak, chalked ale yeastiness, campfire char, Concord grape sugars, light soapy hops, creamy vanilla pound cake, dried coconut flakiness, Elmer’s glue, bitter devil’s food cake, raw cacao nibs, and sarsaparilla fumes. The body is sufficiently full and chewy, and carbonation is medium, but remains soft as you work it around your mouth. Slurp and smack are as oily as ever, with the same effect subduing froth, cream, and foaminess. The mouth is slicked, warmed, and wrinkled of tannins, with intermittent twangs of puck and suck, while the lips are left to lick themselves clean of stickiness. The abv is appropriately large, and the beer sips well between the two of us.

Overall, this is an exceptional offering. What a few days it has been for us!! Yesterday we got to enjoy Firestone’s other coveted rarity, §ucaba, and less than twenty-four hours later, we have the supreme pleasure of tackling Parabola. This pairing has really helped put the landscape of barreling into perspective for us, and have, in part, reestablished where the bar should sit. From the moment you open the bottle the aroma is already settling into your nasal mucosa, even at a distance. It highlights some of the most authentic and warming oaky butters we’ve experienced to date, effectively setting the stage for a decidedly serious beer. With this in mind, the first sip takes you a bit by surprise. There is so much cloying sweetness to it. Thankfully, this is transient, and only serves to shock the palate before the real complexity of the flavor begins to settle in. The final blend is intensely bittering, with primary contributions from the deeply burnt malt bill, the wood, and the booze. It is simply succulent and wonderfully savory. If you are going to force us to complain about one thing, it would be the feel. It was by no means poor, but felt, at times, lacking in substance and creaminess compared to what you’d expect for the style, and for such a big beer. As we watch the next winter storm creep towards us on the radar, we are thankfully for such a beer to keep us warm through the evening. This beer should be on everyone’s list, if it isn’t already.

Photo of chIAhawks89
4.77/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Had the 2012, incredible with age

Photo of WI-Beer-Man
4.78/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

2014 bottle.

Amazing beer. Heavy sweet chocolate flavor, bourbon on the back end, a tad hot but incredibly smooth. Thick, rich mouthfeel. One of the best beers that I've had.

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

Very smooth. First impression,"Wish I had more."This is Awesome!

Parabola from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
100 out of 100 based on 5,478 ratings.