Parabola - Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

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ParabolaParabola

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BA SCORE
100
world-class

1,063 Reviews
THE BROS
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no score

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Reviews: 1,063
Hads: 5,543
rAvg: 4.51
pDev: 7.54%
Wants: 2,795
Gots: 3,204 | FT: 245
Brewed by:
Firestone Walker Brewing Co. visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
Russian Imperial Stout |  14.00% 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.

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]
View: Beers (83) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 1,063 | Hads: 5,543
Photo of Spreetaper
5/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Had the 2010 version (001 batch) from a cellared bomber from a store in the Socal area near to the brewery.
This was trully amazing - just the right amount of age and hit right on every point.
If I could rate it higher than 5 on all accounts I would! (250 characters)

Photo of LouZ
4.07/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Had the 2013 version from a cellared bomber; label read No. 004. Poured black with no head so I had to knock the look score a bit. Scent was kinda like a wet dog, I hate to say. Taste was better; you really got the smokey oak presence, which was nice. It was a little boozy, but not overwhelming. Mouthfeel was good; not flat, as I feared, but moderate carbonation. Overall, it was a good strong stout that got better as it warmed up; didn't really blow me away as hype had me expecting. Looking forward to trying my 2014 to compare. (534 characters)

Photo of mschrei
5/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Received in a trade, along with Heady, Pliny, and Cellarman Batch 3 for a LOT of Pipeworks and some other Midwest beers.

Drank in a Pipeworks Tales from the Oak 10 oz snifter.

Appearance: If you believe the theory of The darker the stout, The better, than this would work for you. Worked for me.

Smell and taste: Perfectly balanced. So many different notes and flavors, yet nothing overpowered anything else.

Feel: sublime, warming, filling. Just about hit every taste bud it could find and some I didn't know I had.

Warmed up wonderfully, and was an excellent companion to two and a half hours of late night reading of Hunter S Thompson's biography, "Gonzo". (669 characters)

Photo of Zonk
5/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Just an amazing beer. Rich barrel flavors. I prefer this with at least 6 months of bottle age, as the heat and from the barrel flavors tend to not be so overpowering. This is the standard I judge other BBA RIS's by. (218 characters)

Photo of SensorySupernova
4.62/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Appearance: Black. Had a little bit of tan head, but that didn’t last long.

Smell: Raisins, molasses, dark bread, bourbon.

Taste: Hits with a lot up front. Malts (roasted, but not smokey or like burnt coffee at all), brown sugar, wood. Sweet throughout; just enough bitterness to balance. Ends with a nice burst of bourbon.

Mouthfeel: Very thick with low carbonation. Left my mouth with some alcohol vapors to remember it.

Overall: Definitely deserves the Imperial label. I drank 10 ounces over the course of an hour; fortunately it tastes just as good as it nears room temperature. (588 characters)

Photo of Chcshammonde
4.66/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

On tap at Ale Arsenal. Had this right after BCBS, interesting comparison. This was wonderful overall and rated slightly higher because it had more bitterness to balance the sweet malt and bourbon flavors. It was a pleasure to drink this, huge kudos to Ale Arsenal for stashing a keg of this; I don't think I would have been able to try this until next year! (360 characters)

Photo of BryanReed
5/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I've been waiting to crack this sucker open for a few months. Couldn't wait any longer! 2015 vintage

Average aggressive pour yeilds about half an inch of tan head. Fades pretty quickly. Looks like its highly carbonated, tons of rising bubbles can be seen if held up to the light. Very very dark black in color.

Aromas. The best way I can describe the smell is chocolate covered bourbon soaked plums. Very very slight banana yeastyness. A little coffee, and maybe a bit of vanilla.

Taste: first sip..... The aroma misleads. I was expecting a bourbon bomb. Nice and smooth, almost "crushable", for the style, that is. Stone fruit, earthy barrel flavor, caramel dark chocolate truffles, with a bit of bourbon. As it warms in your mouth, the bourbon and barrel become more pronounced, finishing with a nice warmth/booziness. Mouthfeel is nice. Nowhere as near carbonated as it appeared.

If I had to describe this beer in one word: Smooth.

Overall, I haven't had too many BB stouts, but I can see why this is in the top 50 brews on this site. Super smooth, balanced, complex goodness, even for a " younger" 2015 vintage brew. Try it, 100%!!! (1,144 characters)

Photo of gatornation
4.74/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

2014 vintage, pours a dark brown,black color with a small head smells of bourbon , vanilla oak and roasted malt, Taste follows the nose its just superb the BA notes in each sip is perfect its mellow bourbon so smooth so tasty with this stout some hops and roasted malts play in with some vanilla and oak, mouth feel is velvet smooth with notes of bourbon, abv is there but i found my self drinking this way to fast, again this is top tier for BA Stouts (454 characters)

Photo of yesterdayfaraway
4.98/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

L: Pitch black, thick, no head until you swirl you glass.
S: Bourbon soaked chocolate cover cherries!
T: Bourbon soaked chocolate cover cherries!!!! Holy amazing. The bourbon is not as in your face as BCS, but more so than KBS.
F: Very coating, flavor stick around long after you drink it. My only light knock is it's just not as thick as BCS.
O: Worth the search and hype, absolutely fantastic!!! (405 characters)

Photo of Robomunky
4.99/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2015 on tap at the Beer Junction in Seattle. I always remember this beer being excellent. Then it comes back around and knocks me on my ass all over again. World class BA stout. (177 characters)

Photo of makeyourself
5/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2014 bomber in a bourbon taster glass. Just everything about this beer is perfect. From the way it looks/pours to the way it smells to the way it taste and finally to the way it finishes. Its truly an experience. You simply end up wanting more after each pour. Firestone BA program is top notch and the best example comes from its Parabola. There is really nothing bad I can say about this beer other than you need to be on top of the release schedule for it at all your craft beer spots. (488 characters)

Photo of GregJ
4.47/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark brown/black with a light tan head. Smells of bourbon, vanilla, caramel, sweet malt. Tastes of caramel, vanilla, bourbon, sweet malts, dark malts, some coffee. Bourbon and coffee. Medium/full body, medium carbonation. (229 characters)

Photo of DoctorZombies
4.74/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Black with tan head, little lace; Caramel, toffee and chocolate aromas - there is a dank fruit nose here too; Caramel and toffee flavor a up front, cherries dipped in dark bittersweet chocolate, and a boozy finish; Rich velvety tongue coating, long lasting medium mouthfeel, with a little alcohol burn with dry wood linger; Overall so well balanced, the interplay between the toffee/chocolate malt and dark stone fruit, and earthy hop flavor is sublime. (454 characters)

Photo of Jeffreysan
4.99/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

22 oz bottle, poured into a goblet

Appearance: Pours a gorgeous, completely opaque, pitch-black color with a finger of caramel/chocolate-colored head that quickly dissolved away into a thin lacing of foam that completely covered the top of the beer.

Aroma: Wow! Very aromatic, with tons of rich, earthy, roasted malt, which imparted aromas of freshly toasted dark bread, boozy bourbon with lots of dark stone fruit, tobacco, hints of vanilla, caramel, dark chocolate, oak, and dark molasses and tons of caramel. Smells inviting and delicious!

Taste: Wow! Just…wow! Holy shit, actually!! Absolutely delicious! Tons of roasted malt up front, followed by lots of boozy bourbon which imparts lots of dark stone fruit, tobacco, hints of oak, vanilla and lots of brown sugar-like sweetness. Awesome, spectacular, incredible, world class!

Mouthfeel: Chewy an extremely smooth as there is no carbonation what-so-ever. With an ABV of 14.0%, there is a pleasant alcohol warmth on the palate, and a very, very long finish.

Overall: Wow, just…wow! Holy shit, actually!! I totally understand and see why this beer has such a world class reputation! Next to BCS, this is one of the best beers I’ve ever had! Absolutely world-class! (1,245 characters)

Photo of Gregaroo
4.71/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

On tap at Isaac Newtons in Newtown, PA. Served into a tulip glass. Very like head, but great aroma and taste! Went back for a second, but the keg was gone. Nice treat on a Wednesday evening. (191 characters)

Photo of scottzilla
4.46/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Was in a BevMo with some Firestone Walker beer tasting going on and some gy cam in looking for Parabola. The Sales Rep said all sold out but try a couple places in the area...50 mile radius...and the guy split. Found out it's a super tough get but a local pub had some on tap. Wife and kids were out of town so I went over...beefy looking beer with an interesting nose and a motor oil look as i remember....but velvety smooth and all the taste you could ask for. Doesn't disappoint. (482 characters)

Photo of krrockwe
4.64/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Bought myself 2 and I figured I would save the second one for a year from now. Even without aging it was easily in the top 5 beers I have ever had. Very strong taste that lets ya know this is a strong imperial stout. Even after a big meal this beer got my drunks gears moving. I wish this was more readily available so I could enjoy it again and again. (352 characters)

Photo of Hesscabob
4.65/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Have one now and have one for later. Boozy right now, not that anything is wrong with that. Fudge, roast, and caramel hopping off with bourbon in the back. If you have one, I'd recommend saving it, but two have right meow. Go Hawks!! (233 characters)

Photo of Rob23
3.7/5  rDev -18%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Not sure if I purchased a bad bottle or just did not care for it.The sweetness was way too much for my palate.It seems like sweet stouts are taking over especially in the BBA era.I may revisit it in the future to see any difference. (232 characters)

Photo of TomMorris
4.93/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This beer is magical.

Imagine dipping the finest cherries into a fondue pot of rich dark chocolate, soaking the combination in bourbon, and then roasting it over a smoky campfire. Somehow, that is exactly what this beer tastes like. (234 characters)

Photo of 1000lbgrizzly
4.21/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A: Black with ruby periphery. Wet-sand colored head, nice and thick which is appreciated for a barrel aged brew (suggesting massive hopping), but disappears entirely with no lace.

S: Oak, chocolate, vanilla.

T: Intense dark chocolate, oak, vanilla, pronounced bitterness (alpha acids as well as burnt malt), some coffee. Warm alcohol, some tang like barbecue. Fruit phenols like strawberry on retro-olfaction.

M: Thick, surprisingly non-astringent, mildly oily.

O: Balance and realness of flavors fell short of supreme, and I wasn't a fan of the hop notes in my stout, but still a solid brew with character to spare. (620 characters)

Photo of Sparty1224
4.55/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Serving: 22 oz. bomber poured into a Founder's CBS snifter. No bottled on date, but this is roughly 4 months old at this point.

A: Not super thick, pours a medium-body, pitch black with a light brown head that sticks around the edges.

S: So for the style, this one is very, very boozy and with a ton of oak, char and barrel characteristics. Underneath that first layer is more tobacco and smoke, followed by a dark chocolates and vanilla notes.

T: Right up front you're just hit with booze and alcohol. Very hot. Middle of the mouth is your chocolate and vanilla notes, but not too strong. Finishes quite sweet with hints of coconut and dark cherry.

M: For as thin as the appearance is, it's a bit more fuller in the mouthfeel. Decent carbonation. Tons and tons of booze and heat with the burn all the way down your throat.

O: After hearing so many rave reviews for this beer, it just doesn't live up to the hype for me. I can't get away from how hot and boozy it is, making it seem really unbalanced. It's very, very aggressive. At 4 months, I thought this was ready to go, but maybe not. Right now, BCBS is still the winner, and even Black Note and BB Plead are a touch higher for me. This beer is still great, and a nice representation of the style, but this year's vintage is just a bit too strong and unbalanced for me.

Recommendation: Even though it's not the best of the best for BA Imperial Stouts, it's still worth fighting for to try at least once. Keep your eyes peeled for this one. (1,504 characters)

Photo of BradfordStuckey
4.69/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

An incredible beer. Very limited. Got lucky to purchase a bottle at bevmo this year(never put on shelves, sold right at the cash register only). Great scents of chocolate and toffee from the BA. Very sweet at first but decadent bourbon flavors ease you into a welcoming boosiness. The bitterness is masked by the incredible scent and outstanding barrel aged flavors. Had the pleasure of trying it on tap at barrelworks in buelton as well. One of my favorite beers. (464 characters)

Photo of DM1293
4.48/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Black as night, with the essence of dark fruit on the nose. Taste is dark chocolate, with those notes of dark fruits playing off caramel sweetness. Creamy without being too rich, very low carbonation, and the alcohol taste is kept in check.

A deep yet approachable stout. (273 characters)

Photo of Moose90
4.62/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

2015 Vintage No. 006
22oz Bomber served into 16oz tulip

A – Pours a deep and rich brown, opaque, head is coffee cream colored and thin, leaves behind sticky, spotty lacing, and thick legs coat the inside of the class, quite thick.

S – Warm oak, buttered toffee, coffee, licorice, creamy caramel, rich bourbon, cinnamon, rich mocha, chocolate roasted malts.

T – Deep layers of flavor, bourbon dominant, rich and spicy bourbon notes, cinnamon, spicy, leads way to rich and decadent notes of chocolate, cocoa nibs, coffee, espresso, caramel, vanilla bean, licorice, anise, spice, warming, wonderfully rich.

M – Thick, rich, and sweet, coats the inside of the mouth and has a long and lingering finish that warms you to your core, very enjoyable and decadent.

O – Excellent beer, very nice balanced notes of coffee, chocolate, bourbon, oak, vanilla, caramel, toffee, just amazing, this absolutely lives up to its "hype" grab it if you can. (952 characters)

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Parabola from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
100 out of 100 based on 1,063 ratings.