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Parabola | Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

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BA SCORE
100
world-class
1,144 Reviews
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BEER STATS
Reviews:
1,144
Ratings:
6,027
Avg:
4.54
pDev:
18.5%
 
 
Wants:
3,120
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3,528
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ParabolaParabola
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
California, United States | website

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 14.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
This Russian imperial oatmeal stout is aged for a full year in a blend of bourbon barrels from Elijah Craig, Four Roses, Pappy Van Winkle, Woodford Reserve, and Buffalo Trace.

Added by largadeer on 03-26-2008

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Reviews: 1,144 | Ratings: 6,027
Photo of TheSevenDuffs
4.43/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to cbeer88 for this bottle in the US/Canadian BIF.
Poured in to CBS Snifter.

A - Poured a thick dark black with a small amount of light brown head.

S - Huge bourbon, oak and vanilla aromas are present up front. Some light cocoa notes are evident in the background but the barrel aging characteristics are definitely dominate the nose.

T - The barrel aging is evident up front - the bourbon, oak and vanilla notes that were evident in the nose are abundant in the palate. There are other subdued flavours in the background, specially cocoa and charred malts. Despite the barrel aging qualities dominating the palate, this is still an excellent and very complex beer and the entire bomber was gone before I even realized it.

M - Full bodied. Thick and viscous. Light carbonation. A perfect mouth feel.

O - An excellent beer. I was able to track down another bottle to age and I am looking forward to trying this one a year down the road.

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Photo of vfgccp
4.55/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A – Almost pitch black. Creamy, yoo-hoo colored head with a nice lace.

S – Huge vanilla and caramel over a bourbony booze. There’s an interesting fruity twist deep in the nose that’s almost like cinnamon apple oatmeal.

T – Soft booze into raw vanilla and caramel. Smooth cream and thick dark chocolate. Semi-sweet cocoa finish with a touch of spicy booze.

M – Full bodied and silky smooth. Booze leaves a nice warmth on the backend.

O – A fantastic RIS. Surprisingly drinkable for the booze.

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Photo of DoubleJ
4.42/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

The one and only Parabola, on-tap at 38 Degrees. The final beer of the night, on to the beer:

Oh my, another darker than black imperial stout! The lacing on this one is actually quite solid for the style. Now in this beer, the barrel qualities are noticable, but are more subtle than the Rasputin XII I had earlier. The aroma is very mellow, with a little oak, and succulent cocoa.

While not as complex, it's still very tasty. There's chocolate, boysenberry(!), licorice, and a little touch of oak. That sounds, good, don't you think? And they're blended and balanced together with the craftsmanship of FW. It's thick and rich, yet never overbeaing or harsh on the palate.

Do I need to say that this is delicous beer? A bomber of this may be a little much for me, but I'd certainly be happy to split one with somebody in the future...or be lucky and find Parabola on-tap again.

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Photo of BARFLYB
4.82/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2011 bomber split with oglmcdgl and sourbatchkid. Glad to see firewalker out here on the eastcoast. The world just got a bit smaller. Sorry Cali :(

Into the Duvel tulip, Parabola pours out a sludgy black color resembling night time. Pretty viscous looking streaming down, it is jet black once in the glass. A nice mocha brown inch of foam bubbly and lasting leaving some marks.

Smell is something to marvel at. It's bold, pungent and full of everything you would think. Bourbon clashing with a big roasted malt scent. Wood with chocolate hints and a underlining vanilla scent. Bold and beautiful.

Had a sip, meh, had another, yeah, and another, give me more!! Roasted malts play a big part as does the bourbon and wood at this young stage in the bottle. A bit of char and smoke and a faint drop of dark fruit resembling cherry. Not sure what the wine barrel influence brings, but something gotta be there. Chocolate over slight and I mean slight vanilla. Not a sweet beer, but well balanced with all above.

Feel is what you would expect from the look. Viscous, a big ol body, adaquate carb yet goes down smoother than that. With all the flavor it's best to sip this slow to get to know it better. A bit oily and a coater of the throat. Get a bit of char with bourbon in the aftertaste and some heat to go with it.

Im not the biggest rizzzz guy, but for what Parabola puts out, im more than game and if a bottle needed to be drank by myself, I would do it. It would take me four hours to do it, but it would get finished. A sipper at heart that begs to be drank more and more and more.

Overall I think this is an excellent BBA beer and one of my top three. It helps that it is not insanely overpriced like a certain ops from Brooklyn. The other barrels used impart so much more than just your average Barrel stout and it shows from the complexities, especially the faint cherry. Got one to lay down till wintertime, maybe christmas.

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Photo of Gueuzedude
3.47/5  rDev -23.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

2010 Bottle Release; Sampled April 2012
A vigorous pour into my Lost Abbey Teku glass produces a dense, darkly browned, fat-two-finger thick head. The beer is an inky black color that shows perhaps a hint of color around the edges when held up to the light, but remains ominously opaque. The aroma smells of hot alcohol, and Bourbon soaked fruit as I pour this, a closer inspection yields lots of barrel and bourbon influences and, at first blush, only a touch of toasted malt character. The barrel / bourbon character is fairly smooth, considering the 13% abv, with lots of burnt sweetened coconut, ample vanillin, touches of spicy oak, and lots of toasted character that supports the toasted malt. The malt character is here, especially as my nose gets used to the barrel influence that was so dominant at first; aromas of sweetened, concentrated black malts, touches of char, cold espresso, and lots of roasted nutty notes. Interestingly enough, the barrel character is dominant at first, but once your really start to dig in for an extended time, the malt aromatics come to dominate and almost completely consume the Bourbon notes; in the end this ends up well balanced between the barrel character and the dark malt character & is quite a bit more enjoyable than my first impression left me with. As the beer warms up it can be a touch hot smelling, which certainly detracts a bit, but isn’t a deal killer for my enjoyment of the aroma.

Thick, rich, and viscous, this beer is most definitely a sipping beer; it isn’t as dense, or cloying as something like Darklord, but certainly is a meal in a glass. The beer isn’t as sweet as it could be, and much of the sweetness that is here is a complex, concentrated, roasted caramelization, rather than simplistic, cloying sweetness; this definitely escapes being cloying. Big, bitter, burnt, roast notes linger on the palate in the long finish; after some time the finish sees my first flavor influence from the barrel with some softer Bourbon-fruit notes (alcoholic melon more than anything), as well as some spicy oak notes and an astringency and alcohol warmth accentuating barrel character. Now that I have noticed the Bourbon character it is quite a bit more noticeable throughout the flavor profile. A rich nutty note, that is definitely on the roasted side of things, flavors the middle and finish of each sip. Vanillin flavors as well as notes of toasted coconut (in that order of noticeability) accentuate the sweetness in the middle of each sip. There is a sweet, somewhat concentrated, coffee syrup like note here that is a product of the ample residual malt and the roasted grains. The beer can be a touch hot and in my second pour the carbonation really seems to accentuated the spicy / hot Bourbon notes over the base, Imperial Stout; this is definitely much more enjoyable with a lighter carbonation. Once I swirl out a bunch of the carbonation a roasted cocoa and dark chocolate note start to come out.

I like that this isn’t overly Bourbon influenced, it is a bit hot & boozy in the end, but what can you expect from a 13% beer. Still, this does achieve a fair amount of balance in the end and is a nice way to cap off a long day; though I certainly wouldn’t want to try and finish off a whole 22oz bottle.

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Photo of liamt07
4.4/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle from Rutager, 650ml into a tulip. Bottled March 14, 2012. Killer!

Black body, with a bubbly light brown head. Mild retention. Nose of oak, whiskey, chocolate and molasses. Sweet and completely balanced. Taste has more oak, vanilla, whiskey, lightly roasted malts, sweet molasses and chocolate. Quite thick in feel, no alcohol and super smooth. Not super complex, but an extremely well crafted BA'd stout.

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Photo of Wasatch
4/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks goes out to dsgolovin for this brew.

22oz. Bomber
Black Tin Foil/Capped

Pours a jet black color, nice carbonation, with a one-finger creamy tan head, with some sticky lacing left behind. The nose is malty, tons of chocolate/toffee notes, vanilla, slight bourbon note. The taste is malty, sweet, with lots of chocolate/toffee. Full/Medium Body. The ABV is too up front on this one. A very tasty brew.

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Photo of JohnGalt1
4.5/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Inflatablechair busted this one out at Eric's a while back... just getting around to entering in the notes.

Pours with a thick brown head... great retention and lacing...

Nose shows more wood than bourbon but with a good roasty background that carries a subtle sweetness reminiscent of dark dark chocolate.

Flavor is immediately drier than the nose made me believe.. bits of vanilla and sweet cigar wrapper envelope waves of great complexities.. a bit boozy with warmth.. and the malts open up to be a bit sweeter as the temperature rises.

Smooth but present carbonation with a pretty full decadent mouth coating body.

Thanks Sammy.... I really need to try and score some of these before the wells run dry.

4.5 across the board.

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Photo of Halcyondays
4.43/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at Beachwood BBQ, 8 oz. serving, as it is 13%,

A: Pours a jet black, with a light tan head with good retention, and excellent, thick lacing.

S: Get a lot of bourbon notes mixed with some coffee and booze, ethanol volatiles are there that you can feel in the nose.

T: Reminds me of Firestone 11 right of the bat with its initial taste which was full of vanilla. But then the beer changes and shows that it was only a small part of that beer. Major chocolate and coffee notes, definite espresso with a soothing alcohol presence, very tasty stout.

M: Velvety smooth and thick, what you'd expect from a 13% stout, pretty much picture perfect, very full-bodied.

D: This is an outstanding beer from Firestone and I was suprised how fast I finished the glass. Not as good as the blend of Firestone 11, but this is great in its own right, glad I finally got to try it; I definitely want to have it again while it is still out.

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Photo of LiquidAmber
4.91/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured into Fremont and Reuben's Brew small snifters. A long awaited mini vertical of the original bottling (2010) and the fresh 2014 vintage. The older bottle was properly cellar aged. Both were similar in appearance: a very dark mahogany brown, appearing nearly opaque in the glass with a thin, patchy light brown head, slightly more foam on the newer bottle.
2010: Aroma dominated by bourbon and oak, with vanilla, dark malt, dark dried fruit. Flavor is sweet dark toasted malt with a hint of char, chocolate, vanilla, dark dried fruit; finishes with the most amazing cocoa aftertaste similar to finishing a spiked glass of hot chocolate, bourbon. Remarkable and warming. Medium creamy bodied. The initial flavor is beautifully balanced between the chocolate flavors, malt and bourbon, but the bourbon and chocolate eventually dominate the finish. Delicious.

2014: Aroma of toffee, vanilla, bourbon soaked dried dark fruit, faint dark malt. Flavor follows, dominated by toffee, vanilla and bourbon, supported by dark toasted malt and dark dried fruit flavors, finishing boozy with caramel bourbon. Medium bodied with creaminess. Quite a different flavor profile from the aged one, the older version really emphasizing chocolate and whiskey (not quite as identifiable and bourbon) and the newer one brighter with toffee, vanilla and lighter fruit as well as the dark dried fruit. The newer one is slightly less sweet.

The aged Parabola has virtually no signs of oxidation at all, which in my experience is unusual with stouts, and one of the reasons I'm aging fewer stouts in favor of barley wines these days. Except for the wonderful balance and integration of flavors, it is not possible for me to tell this is 4 years old, it has aged wonderfully. I deeply regret not aging more of these now and with this very tough to find on the market now, it appears to be unlikely that it will be easy to find additional bottles for the cellar any more.

This is a stout that completely lives up to its hype. Excellent and very different fresh. Apparently with many, many years left for aging. A masterpiece.

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Photo of Zorro
4.15/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A pure black colored beer with a small dark Brown colored head.

Smells sweet with a strong chocolate and coconut aroma. Lots of vanilla here and a whiff of whiskey. There is a faint orange aroma here like a Cadbury Chocolate Orange.

Starts out strong vanilla and chocolate, with some coconut and caramel. Strong vanilla and a bitter chocolate aftertaste, this is very much a vanilla and chocolate beer. Slightly hot in the mouth still not bad at all for 13% ABV. Tasty but still a little young, let it age a year.

Mouthfeel seems a bit thin; alcohol seems to have everything well dissolved.

Very good drinkability for a young high-test beer. This needs to be aged for a year.

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Photo of biegaman
4.75/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A snifter of the very first pour from a freshly tapped keg. On-tap at the brewery in Paso Robles, August 2008.

What I couldn't be sure was the darkest shade of black I'd ever seen in a beer, could still certainly be considered among them. Although opaque and certainly dark it could not conceal its sleek luster. Its head - remarkably in good standing for a beer this strength - was mocha late brown. The streamlining of lace was exceptional.

Your mind can be swayed just about any which way with an aroma like this. The smell was paradoxically sweet and bitter with forcible notes of anise, oak, vanilla, tannins, and dark berries. It offers every enticement for you to just keep your nose fixed right there.

Its very initial impressions on the palate are boozy and sweet and have the mark of a port or sherry. It is robust with fruity esters and flavours of red grapes, dark berries, and the remnants of rich fortified wine. But this is not even half the story.

Once settled into the back of the mouth, your tongue will pick up on an entirely different cast of flavours. Here anise spice, black licorice, bittersweet chocolate, dark caramel, and soft fudge set in. The oak becomes buttery and vanilla is introduced.

With swallowing, the whole package - tannic red wine, aged sherry, chocolate fudge and vanilla scented oak - coat the palate with a bittersweet glaze and then gracefully pass down the throat as one. It may be hard to believe but the texture is almost creamy, like a freshly whipped mousse.

There's really no way around the high gravity. Thirteen is a lot of percentage to hide even for a beer with this much taste. To get around it, however, the blending and barrel aging have integrated the alcohol amongst the flavours and proportioned just the right amount of heat to each mouthful. Besides, sipping is only appropriate for a beer this rich.

What can be said of this creation? It was outstanding. Like the Firestone 10 and 11, it is the result of skilled blending and masterful craftsmanship. Consider brewing and blending as an art - this is certainly one of its masterpieces.

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Photo of aasher
4.15/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2011 vintage courtesy of BrewerB, thanks Brian! This beer pours a medium bodied dark chocolate brown in color with a one finger dark kahki head. It smells of sweet milk chocolate, dark chocolate, roasted malts, sweet vanilla, toffee and creamed coffee. It tastes of bitter chocolates, coffee with cream, a lot of oak, and bourbon. It's a pretty well integrated blend. It drinks very smoothly and isn't as viscous as a lot of imperial stouts. It's overly drinkable for the style and pretty approachable. The bourbon is there but kind of mellow. If I were to not pick I'd say it could he stronger but its not a big deal. Overall this is a fine beer and definitely worth trying. Kudos to FW for making this so available.

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Photo of Georgiabeer
4.85/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2010 bottle I've been aging in my cellar- I decided to crack it with my wife in this prelude week to Christmas. I very much like the way the 13% abv edges have been smoothed out and the Bourbon flavors have become integrated into the beer. Definitely noticeable Bourbon notes, but it doesn't dominate the beer, and it's become oh so smooth. Pours inky black and viscous with a thin brown rim of a head and some legs on the glass. Nice aromas that present as a seamless whole- outstanding notes of licorice, vanilla, bourbon, and molasses. The taste is even better- really nice bourbon notes coupled beautifully with roasted notes, dark chocolate, licorice, and a slight woodiness than underlines the beer. Wonderful stuff. Absolutely silky in the mouth, with the sense of having swallowed some excellent drinking chocolate laced with good quality whiskey. Thoroughly enjoyed this, and I'm glad I was patient enough to wait.

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Photo of John_M
4.35/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at TJ's today.

The beer pours a blackish brown color with good head retention and minimal lacing. In short, this looks like a beer that had seen considerable barrel aging (which I gather it has). On the nose, I get dark chocolate and bourbon, but not much more than that (surprisingly). On the palate, however, this beer is just killer, with considerable dark chocolate, coffee, vanilla, licorice and light dry citrus... and a ton of bourbon (yum!). Although the beer is fairly sweet, there is enough dry bitterness to counter the sweetnees, making for one rich, over the top, flavorful RIS. Mouthfeel is long, rich and fairly sweet, with considerable licorice and dark chocolate in the finish.

Just delicious, and a beer that I suspect will only get better with age. Impressive.

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Photo of HopHead84
4.55/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Review #700

7/2/2010

Pours forth from the bottle with a viscosity so great that a rheologist would marvel at it. It appears ebony, with a huge light brown head, excellent retention, and scattered lacing.

The nose exhibits a great blend of caramel, roasted malt, and chocolate. The roast is of a moderate strength, and a dash of coffee is evident. There's a nice level of booze heat and a well integrated bourbon character. Do I detect cream? A wonderfully complex and balanced nose.

The taste is earthy bitterness up front with big chocolate and caramel notes, accompanied by a moderate roast and a light astringency. Again, bourbon is well integrated, and quite delicious. The beer finishes with a moderate bitterness, a touch of astringency, and just the right amount of booze heat, with a lingering bourbon-chocolate-caramel character.

The mouthfeel is incredible...full, creamy yet viscous, and sticky, with a lower moderate level of carbonation.

All around, this is an exceptional barrel aged RIS at a reasonable price for the style.

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Photo of tobelerone
4.42/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2011 vintage.

Pours nearly, but not quite, jet-black; with a small, frothy tan head that settles rather quickly. Minimal patchy lace.

Aroma of bourbon, certainly, and accompanying vanilla; fudgy chocolate, roasted, charred notes; caramel. Complex flavor has a bit of sweetness and stickiness; fairly bourbon forward; some heat that has been tamed to a pleasant level by age; caramel, chocolate, burnt sugar, vanilla, charred malt, oak, traces of dark fruits underneath; raisins, dates, and figs.

Medium-full bodied but not viscous; medium-low carbonation. Smooth, creamy, and delicious. Not the biggest or most over-the-top barrel aged stout but one of the most well-balanced and drinkable, certainly. Would love to see what a longer cellaring would bring about.

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Photo of weeare138
4.62/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appears a turbid opaque onyx with russet toned edges. A small, foamy tan head slowly fades. Scattered streaks of pacing are left around the glass.
Smell is of dark bakers chocolate, vanilla beans, sugary rum, bourbon, and intense caramel. Sheesh! I could smell this all afternoon.
Taste is of the aromas with a fine sipping version of caramel, vanilla, and cocoa. Obvious bourbon influence on amwell done imperial stout. Hells yeahs!
Mouthfeel is a tad boozy, as expected, full bodied, chewy, with a resonating sugar cookie and chocolate chip finish.

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Photo of lacqueredmouse
4.5/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2012 boxed bottle purchased from Belmont Station in Portland, OR. Shared with @LaitueGonflable and @tobeerornottobe during a brewday in Sydney, Australia.

Pours a fine deep brown-black, with a slightly frothy, large-bubbled head of mocha brown that leaves speckled lace. Body is solid but fluid, leaving fine carbonation, but swirling quickly. Looks good.

Nose is an excellent deep sweet oak-aged stout melange. Hints of vanilla mixed with a depth of roast, with a sharp ashy tinge like the cold remains of an overnight campfire. There's a little touch of sulphur to it as well, which lends some organics in a slightly weird, but not necessarily unpleasant way.

Palate is exceptional. Incredibly smooth and rich, and wonderfully balanced. Deep darkness is obviously the order of the day, but it's blended and folded over itself again and again until it has no harshness in it: it's smooth, rich, and certainly dark, but in the most mellow and approachable way. Light oak gives some vanilla, but as ever, that darkness sits around and draws the flavour back to its midnight depths. Wow. Incredible stuff.

Feel is smooth but with a lightness that again antagonises the true darkness that is at its heart.

This is a wonderful beer. It straddles the dichotomy of dark and light, of good and evil of sweet and bitter. Of everything. This beer is a little of it all. Really great stuff.

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Photo of corby112
4.5/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bomber, received in a recent trade with BelgianBeerGal. Thanks again Amy!

Pours pitch black and completely opaque with a one finger dark mocha head that quickly fades into a thick lasting ring. Sporadic spots of lacing left behind.

Complex aroma with a good balance of luscious roasted malt, dark fruit, coffee and bourbon. The barrel character is there without overpowering the other notes. Lots of earthy oak/dry wood in the nose along with sweet boozy bourbon as well as some hints of vanilla and toasted coconut. Lots of dark roasted malt giving off hints of dark chocolate, roasted coffee bean, oatmeal and tobacco. Slightly smokey but not burnt or acrid smelling. Smells like there might even be some cedar in there. Surprisingly, underneath all of this, there is some very faint light fruit and licorice as well as a good bit of earthy, piny hops. This beer has 80 IBUs and it shows in the nose, even with all of the other intense aromas.

Chewy full body with a blast of dry, bitter hops up front that lingers thrughout the intense malt backbone into a nice warm fnish. Resinous, earthy pine flavor that holds it's own against the more intense, robust flavors. This adds another dimension to this beer that I wasn't expecting. After the initial bitterness there is a strong barrel presence with a prominent dry oak/wood flavor. The bourbon and other spirits are there but they are well integrated into the beer withut turnng it into a hot, boozy mess. The smoother vanilla/marshmallow/coconut notes that were suggested in the aroma aren't evident to my palate.

Although there is a nice bourbon flavor, the robust, roasted malt flavors are very prominent. Lots of luscious dark chocolate, oatmeal and burnt toast as well as a very strong roasted coffee bean presence. The coffee/espresso flavor is deep and roasty but is not stale, burnt or acrid tastng at all and doesn't overpower the other flavors. Again, I'm picking up a good amount of smokiness/tobacco flavor that I'm really loving. All of these flavors are bouncing off of one another resulting in an incredibly complex, delicious beer. Each sip brings something new and although there is some nice heat and burn in the finish, the ABV at 13% is very well masked. Very quaffable and tackling the whole bomber was no problem for me. Maybe that says more about me than the beer but that's a discussion for another time.

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Photo of VeganUndead
4.83/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured into Chimay Chalice

Motor oil. As black and syrupy as 30 weight. The nose is all toasted malt, coffee, chocolate, with some spice. Definitely a sipper, probably good for your health to share the bottle but you won't want to. Absolutely delicious. People who call oil liquid gold clearly haven't had this. One of the best RISs I've ever had and one of my new favorite beers. Can't wait to open the other bottle in a couple years.

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Photo of barleywinefiend
4.62/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Poured opaque black with a huge frothy brown head.

S: Nose is boozy,oats, light bourbon, cocoa.

T: After having Parabola on draft numerous times and initially at FW 13 release I thought the bottled 2011 was a tad bit hotter and bourbon heavy than previous years. Nose and taste mirror are very close with molasses and dark chocolate being most prominent with some bourbon and oak in there. This beer is pretty boozy but the ABV is hidden pretty good. If you dont watch it this beer will sneak up on you.

M: This brew is totally full bodied and smooth. The ABV is pretty high and this keeps drinkability at Good. Not a session beer for sure but great for a cold day!

O Oh so well done and down right fantastic

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Photo of JohnParadee
4.74/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Holy Fock!! Poured from bottle into chilled pint glass. Deep, dark pour. Virtually zero head, but nice even lacing with infinite bubbles. I almost trembled as I brought the glass to my nose, but the reward was remarkable. Licorice and chocolate dominate both the nose and the palate, but the taste is literally intoxicating. Upon the palate, the bourbon chocolate is phenomenally drawing and absorbing, warm and inviting, and consistently sensual. Mere words cannot possibly describe just how innocently lustful this brew envelops the senses. Both the nose and the mouthfeel expression are intoxicating. Pure rapture in a bottle. I so stunned that I cannot possibly do justice to the experience, except to say that when you get here you will understand what I mean. Pure nirvana...

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Photo of Derek
4.85/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I love Imperial Stouts, but I'm often not a fan of the really big ones... the one's that are so over-the-top they're not even drinkable for a couple of years. Thankfully, this is not one of those. This one has been tamed by a year in a barrel.

A: Black with a tan head. Leaves a thin ring around the glass and has a nice leg.

S: Big alcohol aroma, like a barrel-aged sherry. Hints of molasses, licorice, roasted nut and dark sponge toffee.

T: The alcohol is up front, but in an extremely pleasing way... like a fine port or sherry. Plenty of molasses, bakers chocolate, light licorice, a little rum, vanilla, sponge toffee, roasted nut, solid bitterness. Well done.

M: Well-attenuated, moderate-to-full body, modest carbonation, slightly oily, hint of roasted acidity, drying alcohol finish.

D/O: A divine sipper. A beer this big really does need some age, they used a barrel... and they did it well.

Now I wish I had saved this for my 2000th review. What an epic brew.

Huge thanks to Rutager for picking this one up!

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Photo of akorsak
4/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A bottle shared at Al's blow-out.

A: The imperial stout sure is imperial looking, dark and black. A moderate-sized head, a tan color, stands out against the darkness.

S: The nose is nutty and roasted, plenty of malts to go around. Call me an outlier, but I wasn't impressed with the bourbon presence.

T: The roasted flavors consume the stout, burnt and bready, well toasted. Nuttiness matches the dark stouts, a sweeter flavor that puts a few dents into the roasted depth. Again, the barrel aging isn't very dominant. Instead the malt profile is left to fend for its own. Some oak comes through late, but the oomph of bourbon seems to be lost on me. Anyone wanna send me another to try?

M: The mouthfeel is that of an imperial stout, sweet and deep, burnt and full. Much more stout than bourbon, at least what was in my glass.

D: Big and bold, a mouthful of a stout. Only problem is that is like every other imperial stout, dark and warming with plenty of roasted flavors.

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Parabola from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
100 out of 100 based on 1,144 ratings.