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Parabola - Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
ParabolaParabola

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
100
world-class

1,069 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 1,069
Hads: 5,594
rAvg: 4.51
pDev: 7.54%
Wants: 2,833
Gots: 3,238 | FT: 246
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: 1,069 | Hads: 5,594
Photo of Furlinator
4.59/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

2013 vintage.

Pours opaque black. The 1/2 inch khaki head quickly fades to a thin ring on top and leaves faint spotty lace.

The smell is of dark chocolate, vanilla, pipe tobacco, coffee, oak and faint bourbon.

The taste is of brown sugar, dark chocolate, earthy almost herbal oak, vanilla and just a hint of bourbon.

The texture is heavy bodied and slightly oily with medium carbonation.

Amazing aromas and flavors. This is a little thinner in body and more carbonated than I expected. Goes down scary smooth considering the 13% ABV. World class. (555 characters)

Photo of Smokesnotes
4.82/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

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. (491 characters)

Photo of Larbear2497
5/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured my bottle of Firestone Walker Parabola 2014 into a snifter.

Appearance-Upon pouring Parabola into the snifter, I noticed the midnight black color. Extremely dark at first, but as it settled, a small amount of dark brown reddish foam stayed at the top of the pour.

Smell-Smelled a lot like the 2013 release with some additions. It had a boozy smell at first, with vanilla, bourbon, and the sweetness of chocolate.

Taste-Had a small amount of smoke. The more I drank, the more chocolate I got. A lot like the chocolate oak aged yeti but more complex.

Mouthfeel-Overall it was very smooth, not chalky like I had expected. It was a nice surprise, and very easy to drink even with the high alcohol content.

Overall-One of the best beers I've ever tasted. I have 3 more bottles of this years brew, and I'm very excited to see how this years vintage ages. (861 characters)

Photo of KYGunner
4.4/5  rDev -2.4%

Not as viscous as I expected it had a deep deep brown color that allowed a bit of light to pierce the edge. The head foamed to a light brown cap but then collared quickly.

Brownie, raisin, chocolate, maple and coconut meet the nose as this has glimpses of a barleywine.

The flavor is all barleywine with dark fruit, raisin, chocolatey sweetness, caramel malt, toffee malt, barley and wine. Vanilla begins to form on the palate as it warms.

The feel is velvety, with a slight alcohol heat and a touch of alcohol tang. It has a nice thickness to it as well.

Very good beer but I thought I was drinking Bourbon County Barleywine the entire time, which isn't a bad thing. (671 characters)

Photo of BullDoza
4.86/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

My first Parabola called for my first rating. 2014 poured from bottle to glass.

A: Very deep, dark brown with a reddish tinge where the light hits toward top and bottom of the glass. The red tinge is subtle, but enough that I can't call this Black; maybe a few shades darker than cola. 3/4 finger, khaki, roasted tan head. Head diminished quickly to only a thin film atop the beer.

S: Wow. Depends on the stage of temperature...this one changes that much. Fresh from the pour, it was not at all what I expected. Whiskey, not bourbon is what hit me in the face. Chocolate and toffee was very faintly present. First thought was: watered down whiskey/cola drink. First thought, based on this, was along the lines of, "I let the hype get me, and this is going to be a let down." NOT SO FAST!! This one morphs as it warms; quickly, at that. What I described as "whiskey" quickly evolved into sweet bourbon, vanilla, and wood. This is what I expected! The chocolate and and roastiness remained as the vanilla became more pronounced. Amazing.

T: based on my initial "nose." I did NOT expect what I tasted. Unlike the whiskey/soda nose, a wave of chocolate and roasted malt hit me. Just as quickly, it fell and finished clean with sweet vanilla and faint toffee. This one changed and presented me with something new as it warmed, and with almost every sip. The bourbon and vanilla/woody tastes became more and more apparent as it warmed. Hints of dark fruit are detectable as well; fig? Dark chocolate and roasted malt linger in the aftertaste. The faintest bit of oatmeal and toffee remain. Vanilla, bourbon, wood continue to dominate 40 minutes later. Could swear there was some caramel in there too. Exceptionally complex beer!

M: this is where the beer could have been a tad bit better, in my opinion. The mouth feel was, though silky and smooth, lighter than anticipated. While not all bad, it wasn't as full bodied as I would have preferred. Was hoping for more "oomph"...thicker and chewier. While not what I was expecting, it certainly wasn't a bad mouth feel.

Overall: this is by far the most complex beer I have had to date. The aroma, the number of favors I picked up as the beer warmed, and the way it all worked was phenomenal. So complex, yet so well made. No one aspect of this beer felt out of place or overwhelmed any other No matter how much, or how little, each piece contributed...they all worked together to create a master piece.

If looking at style, this one tops the List of BA beers I've had to date: Black Note, KBS, Uncle Jacob's (2012), Black Crack, among others...none are this good. Wow... (2,619 characters)

Photo of Brew_Bear
4.83/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Parabola 2011, tasted on June 28th, 2014.
This beer is very very special for me. Some background is required (jump to TASTING if you don't care).

First off, I discovered Parabola in spring of 2011 or 2012, as part of a flight of imperial stouts in a bar. This changed my life. Before tasting Parabola, I had no idea about the world of vintage beer, barrel aged beer, and most importantly, how an imperial stout could be good. Before that I cared more or less for stout, but now I was in shock. It's afterward that I started buying and aging beer at home. It's been my favorite beer since then, and I don't hesitate to drive for hours and spend lots of money to get some.

Anyway, forward to November 2013. I'm at Boneyard Bistro in Sherman Oaks (CA), and surprise, they have a vertical flight of Parabola: 2011-2012-2013. I'm freaking out!! The 2012 and 2013 vintage were excellent, as usual, but the 2011 vintage.... HO. LY. SH*T. It was like 10x better. Oh my god.

So much in fact, that I declared on several occasions that I would pay good money for a bottle of 2011. Well it looks like the universe heard me! Few days ago I was in Las Vegas, and oh surprise, Aces And Ales is selling the bottle for $75, which is what I was expecting. I thought screw it, it's now or never. I brought the bottle home, and opened it last night. And then...

TASTING

First off, it's an incredibly complex beer. It's hard to describe it in few lines. Furthermore, my impressions evolved during the tasting. Although I will present each sensory aspect separately, in reality I took notes on those aspects throughout the tasting: smell, taste, smell, taste, repeat for an hour and half.

Appearance

The beer pours an opaque black color, topped with a rich mocha head. Swirling the beer in the glass shows thick viscosity that sticks onto the glass wall. Promising!

Aroma

Initially, Parabola lets out smells of malt, lots of licorice, as well as molasses and dark fruit: prune and red raisin, with a touch of blackberry. Those aromas combine marvelously with an impression of brown sugar, typical of the Firestone vintage beer (I strongly suspect their British house yeast).

Once passed the first impression, I realize that the beer has definitely maderized. Very soft aromas of fortified wine and port caress my nostrils.

Then the dessert side of the beer imposes itself smoothly. First, a note of cola. Yes, sweet cola! There is a candy character that's hard to define, something like toffee, truffle, and very subtle chocolate.

It is late that the roasted malt manifests itself, via a subtle coffee aroma, accompanied by black cherry.

The barrel qualities are pratically absent from the aromatic profile. The wood and bourbon are so timid that I didn't really get them. No worries though.

Taste

Madera and a note of port wine welcome my taste buds. Another sip, and molasses and licorice show up. A solid start.

Oh hey, the wood and bourbon of the barrel finally show their nose! It was about time. The bourbon is however closer to whiskey than bourbon. A very dry quality, less sweet than bourbon.

At last, the dessert persona arrives. It's like I'm drinking sugar pie (a French Canadian specialty dish: brown sugar, butter and cream, mostly) spiced with nutmeg and cinnamon. Wow. After swallowing the ichor, caramel and toffee linger for a while. It's later, when the beer has warmed up in my glass, that dates and vanilla softly augment an experience that is already rich and fabulous.

It is very late that I detect the nuances confered by age, via subtle notes of tobacco and leather.

Overall, the flavor profile is incredibly balanced, very smooth and mellow. Sometimes, bourbon barrel aged beers are too "bourbonny" for my taste. This is not the case here. The wood and bourbon take a back seat, letting the other comedian express themselves freely. A perfect harmony.

Mouthfeel

Toward the end of my first sip, a sensation of rough texture manifests on my tongue. I would describe it as when when you eat waffle cookies, and lingers a little bit. The sensation amplifies during the finale. Surprising, but not unpleasant. However, this sensation completely goes away after few sips.

A chewiness, typical of imperial stouts, accompanies the rough texture. Contrary to that texture however, the chewiness doesn't go away. The beer is completely round. I suspect the use of oats grants it great velvety quality. The beer coats my tongue and leaves a soft viscous impression.

The heat from the alcohol warms up my throat during the finale, but is not burning. Very pleasant.

Overall

A spectacular beer, nothing less. Very mellow, very smooth, yet bold, complex and multi-faceted. No aroma or flavor is competing with another, nothing feels overwhelming or off-balance. It completely deserves it's rating, and then some. (4,828 characters)

Photo of DavidVega
4.89/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A: jet black, deep tan head
S: rich, complex roasty. Reminiscent of coffee, toffee, dark chocolate, caramel. Some fruity esters.
T: sweet bourbon, chocolate, espresso, dark fruits, plums, raisins. Alcohol is evident but not "hot"
M: big chewy, viscous, very full-bodied stout. Velvety luscious texture.
O: everything I look for in a BA stout. One of the best I've had. Great representation of the style. FW brews gold.. (420 characters)

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

I had done a quick review as a 4.75 but am updating to 5.0 across the board after careful reconsideration. I claim to be an IPA guy but this stuff is perfect. A nice thick strong stout that is overflowing with flavor. Cary strong but you would;t know because it tastes so good. (277 characters)

Photo of Admbmb92
5/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2014 vintage poured into a dogfish snifter. First time with this, here we go!
App-poured aggressively. Half finger head. black as night with some brown on top of the sides. Legs sticking to the glass.
Ar-huge oaky barrel-aged notes. Oak, vanilla, bourbon, tobacco, dark fruit, and sweet alcohol.
T-Wow. Just wow. Everything the aroma promised and then some. Love the alcohol sweetness. Dangerously drinkable for being 14%. First get barrel flavors followed by amazing imperial stout kick. Chocolate, vanilla, bourbon, coffee, dark fruit.
MF-velvety smooth and chewy.
Overall- pure barrel aged perfection. Nuff said (614 characters)

Photo of ZagZagg
4.56/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

2014 Vintage into goblet

A: Thick oil black, viscous brew. Completely opaque, no light able to pass through this guy – Head is thin, just shy of one finger with a flecked silvery bronze hue. Body looks big and chewy – lacing appears weak along with retention and carbonation.

S: Tangy, roasted malts, bitter, dark chocolate, smoke, some acidity of tobacco and rich wood. Coffee beans, espresso, light hints of aged liquor, whisky and bourbon. Aggressive nose that reminds me of a smoldering fire pit, lightly earthy, very roasty

T: Sweet warm bourbon leads the charge with superb power. Espresso, chocolate liqueur, and a pungent smoky character follow the Bourbon; the smoke accompanies notes of burnt tobacco and oak. The middle mouth showcases a fantastic melding of sweet chocolate malts, chocolate syrup and the bitter elements imparted by ground coffee bean, bakers chocolate, vanilla extract, and a light nuttiness. The barrel profile instills essences of black cherry, date, and amaretto - Hop character is blended and quite indirect, robust vanilla bean chauffeurs in the finish, which is warming without being overly boozy.

M: Big oil slicked chewy mofo, the mouth feel you seek in a big stout. Little to no carbonation. Aftertaste is sweet and aged tasting – syrupy and very reminiscent of bourbon.

O: This is a fantastic imperial stout. Possibly the best I’ve had. Excellent BA character, big body, sweet while also piquantly bitter - There are a lot of elements here that seamlessly coalescence - exhibiting the essentials; roasty malts, sweet warming bourbon, while also presenting a aged resin with a bit of dank earth. Itsss aaaa parrrabbbboooolaaaa. Get some. (1,695 characters)

Photo of prtwin2a
5/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A: Pitch black
S: Bourbon and espresso, chocolate, vanilla
T: Hands down, the best stout I've ever had. I literally babysat this beer for hours, because I did not want it to end.
M: Smoothest, most syrupy stout I've ever had.
D: Best stout, makes it my only A+!

Overall: A+

This stout, in my opinion, beat out Dark Lord, Hunahpu, and Black Note. (347 characters)

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

2013 bottle enjoyed in March 2014, reviewed from notes.

For my 100th review, I'm going to put down my long-standing "favorite beer," recently dethroned by BCBCS 2013.

A: Pours a deep, opaque, syrupy black with minimal fine khaki head. Very little light through the edges of the glass reveals a dark brown color. 4.5

S: Caramel and chocolate are prominent; along with vanilla, coconut, bourbon, and oak from the barrel. A very slight smoke character has emerged in this bottle. Interestingly, in another three months most of the coconut and vanilla that I found on this bottle were nowhere to be found in either of two 2013 bottles opened. 4.75

T/M: Thick, slightly coating, and with moderate carbonation (that pretty quickly leaves as the beer warms.) Caramel, cocoa, and mild bitterness lead into swelling notes of molasses, light coffee roastiness, and finally a coconut and vanilla finish. Since then the coffee has begun to fall off slightly and some more dark fruit character has emerged. 4.75/4.75

O: After almost a year, still a phenomenal beer. I think I'm finding out that I actually prefer Parabola from fresh to just under a year in age, but even with those bottles that I've enjoyed slightly less I have had no real complaints. My favorite parts about this (and most of FW's barrel-aged beers) are the coconut and vanilla notes, so I strongly prefer enjoying this while they are still present. (1,410 characters)

Photo of leroybrown10
4.66/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Pours black, thick, oily, and light sucking. Small dark khaki head is slow to form. Head leaves small spiderweb lacing behind as it dissipates. Lacing doesn't last.

Aroma is roasted malt, sweet bourbon, and tobacco. Caramel and toffee add more sweetness. Undertones of chocolate and coffee.

Taste is bourbon, cocoa, oak, tobacco, and caramel. Hints of vanilla. Mild espresso. Rich malt undertones tie everything together. Sweet without being cloying or syrupy.

Rich, luscious mouth feel. Full body. Oily, thick, and creamy. Paints the tongue with flavor. Mild carbonation.

This is a true standout beer. Amazing complexities in both aroma and taste. Everything blends and compliments well. Great sipper. Even with the high abv, I didn't get any alcohol notes. (784 characters)

Photo of putonyourwalkingshoes
4.56/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2013 bottle cellared. I have a couple more bottles thought I'd review one from last year:

A: fairly vicious machine pild black. Nice carbonation for a ba stout. Solid tracing.

S: admittedly a little offputting but I've noticed this during the aging process in the past. Somewhat muted bitterness from dark chocolate and coffee notes. Subtle esters. Deep fruit but not prominent. Fresh smells a lot better although some might say a bit harsher.

T: more balanced albeit the coffee is toned down and rather muted. It lingers on the finish very nice. Good bourbon character and sweetness from the hh barrels. Currants come through with some vanilla. No ester presence. Some mild prune, deep fruits, but mostly luxurious coffee. Not perfect but close.

M: solid with no alcohol burn. The finish is very clean. Coats the mouth well. Would love a thicker mouthfeel but this is nice. More subtle with age.

Overall: a hyped up barrel aged stout that deserves the hype. Its balanced and still hasn't complete lost the coffee and it hasn't distorted the beer either. I thoroughly enjoyed the 2014 fresh. The flavors come out real well. Firestone makes ba beers that drink really well fresh which I appreciate although this is more balanced with zero alcohol presence. Fresh smells a lot better too. Overall a difficult beer to review because time changes this a lot for the better. (1,375 characters)

Photo of ThisWangsChung
4.33/5  rDev -4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Brief re-re-review of the 2014 vintage. Now, I can safely say, Parabola finally lives up to the hype. All the best qualities of the '13 vintage (the depth, the richness, the bourbon character) was here in full force, but - despite being 14% - it wasn't that harsh. The oak was prevalent, but the fusel-y abrasiveness of the '13 was almost perfectly muted this time around. I was really shocked how well balanced this was (especially taking the last 2 vintages into account). Only thing I can really nitpick now is that it was rather sweet - hell, so is BCBS, and look at the score I still gave it! This is everything I hoped Parabola would be ever since I moronically spent $40 for a bottle at a DC bar 2 years ago.

2014: (3.5/4.25/4.5/4.5/4.25)
2013: (3.5/4/4/4/4)
2012: (2.5/3/4.5/3.5/3.5)
----

Re-review of the 2013 vintage. 22 oz bottle poured into a snifter.

A: Pours a very dark brown color; it isn't quite as pitch black as the 2012 version. There's more head than the previous vintage, though - a one finger khaki shade. It doesn't last a very long time, however a thin collar of lacing is left on the side of the glass.

S: There's a lot of dark chocolate at first, subtly augmented with a good bourbon character. Concentration will yield additional notes of brown sugar, hazelnut, currants, plums, vanilla, and coconut. I wish the aroma was more 'in-your-face', but I can't at all complain about the decent complexity and relative lack of harsh alcohol.

T: Pleasant dark chocolate and vanilla opens the palate, before it develops a currant-heavy midtaste. The back end is very heavy in charred oak, with some additional roasted malts (a welcome addition compared to last year), and piny hops. The big problem here is how obnoxiously boozy the finish is - especially taking its lack of notable alcohol aroma into consideration. However, much like Sucaba, the harshness seems to decrease the more this is imbibed. Even better, it shows good depth of flavor. At the end of the day, I enjoy it's decent bitterness and bourbon character too much to nitpick its flaws.

M: This seems to be a bit drier on the back of the palate compared to last year. It's just as sticky and viscous, though. The body itself is wonderfully creamy, with a medium texture befitting a barrel-aged RIS. Carbonation isn't terribly strong, and alcohol presence is assertive.

O: Let me start out by saying I'd be lying through my teeth if I said this wasn't a great BA RIS. It presents an excellent bourbon character and a depth others in the style lack. However, it's just too harsh to be world-class in my mind. Still, I'm really intrigued over aging my other bottle for a year to see how it develops. (2,688 characters)

Photo of MakeMineADoubleJack
4.91/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Poured from a bomber I let sit on my counter for twenty-five minutes into a snifter. Get the fridge chill off, ya dig? Now...I feel as though BCBS was the finest example of a bourbon barrel stout I've had up to this point. I gave BCBS an easy 5 in all categories so I can't help but measure Parabola against BCBS.

The appearance is nice and dark, deep and brooding. It's a night in Transylvania in a glass. But the motor oil thickness I was so hoping would accompany the pour wasn't there. Not a big issue, but a mark down from BCBS.

Smell...tremendous. I love a nose full of boozy bourbon, the alcohol burning my nostrils. It's incredible! I'm sure there's more to appreciate, but I'll toss it all aside in favor of the booze.

Taste...everything an imperial stout should be, plus that killer booziness! YES!

Mouthfeel...again, a slight demerit here. Ever so slight. And only because it doesn't quite match the syrupy quality of BCBS. It's not as thick, and I wanted it to be.

Overall...a gem. I'm sorry I even said anything negative. (1,041 characters)

Photo of HoppyDazed
3.11/5  rDev -31%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

To start I am trying the 2014 vintage and I admit that stouts aren't my preferred style, but I do like trying new things and I do attempt to expand my horizons. That being said, I just didnt really care for this. I found it overwhelmingly sweet. My first sip I immediately get the bourbon, followed by chocolate. The oak and coffee begin to creep in after a couple of sips but sweetness is dominate. The mouth feel is a bit heavy for my preference, but not off-putting necessarily. I can appreciate the number of flavors and the balance of those flavors but this is just not for me. Kind of reminds me a little of a barley wine, maybe I'm way off on that, I dont know. I would say if you know you dont like this style but you are trying it because of the hype (like I did) then save your money and save the bottle for someone that will enjoy it. (845 characters)

Photo of D-18V
4.82/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I'm hard pressed to say this isn't the best beer i've ever had. in my opinion the only beer I enjoy entering my chambers as much is Bourbon County Coffee, Cherry Rye, or Proprietors. I'm speaking about a cold night on a porch. This isn't fair because I drank this 2014 Parabola on the edge of a wall next to a beautiful girl, feet in the bay, 7 beers deep (and then remembered I brought Parabola). Set and Setting, this was the best beer I've ever had. It is unreal. Its like this elixir, it has the same mouthfeel as homegrown mountain Dew. It is unbelievable, unbeatable, and it is firestone walker. (601 characters)

Photo of fourZero
4.85/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Good God!! This is as close to a meal in a bottle as you will find, ANYWHERE. If you taste this without food on the palate, it comes across as deceptively minorly-boozy. Once any type of food hits the palate, the booziness comes through in a BIG way and this will kick your ass. For SURE a sipping beer, not just for the $/mL but for the mouthfeel if nothing else. A meal in a bottle and hard to match anywhere.. (412 characters)

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

I had the honor of experiencing this brew on tap at the New England Tap House Grill in Hooksett NH on 5/28/14. This was one of those ultra-surprising unexpected finds on their(or anyone's) rotating beer list.

The beer was poured into a snifter glass and the first glance offered up one dark beauty of a beer. Mostly black with hints of brown on the edge when hit by the right lighting. No head to speak of just a slight mocha ring around the top and virtually no lacing as well. Smells of, well, bourbon. Some vanilla, aged oak, dark coffee, and some espresso also join in with the abundance of bourbon. Taste is great with the hints of the above mentioned with bourbon being the most pronounced flavor for me. Very well done mouthfeel that coats the palate and is very smooth. I found Parabola to be moderately sweet and extremely easy to drink, but a sipper with that high abv. I really enjoyed this aged stout tremendously and it was amazing to get a hold of this masterpiece . Highly recommended! (1,002 characters)

Photo of FitnessForBeer
4.87/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

2014 vintage, served in sniffer glass

A: pours a dark black, almost no head. Looks like a stout
S: oak, vanilla, coffee, caramel, smells very rich, a little dark fruit maybe cherry
T: Wow this is just amazing. Rich dark coffee/ espresso, lots of oak and vanilla, cherry, chocolate all blended so perfectly. It's a little hard to pick out any one flavor, I was a little skeptical about this due to the hype but it really is very good and well made. I absolutely love the barrel oak and vanilla that comes though just spectacular.
M: big bodied imperial stout, exactly what I expect it to be
O: glad I was able to get multiple bottles of this I will certainly be aging it. Glad I was also able to partake in this hard to come by beer that lives up to the hype (759 characters)

Photo of ohiobeer29
4.87/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

2014Parabola from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
had it from the bottle. a lot of hype and happy to report it lives up it.pours a coal black.smells of bourbon vanilla chocolate.
the mouth is very good.
the taste is right up there with good island bcs
it's not as good but it's darn close a world class beer worth the hype get a few if you can. (341 characters)

Photo of Tmyhre802
4.4/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

On tap in MA 5/16

A-Very dark with a slight bubbly head which was pleasant.

S-Bourbon, roasted coffee and chocolate.

T-Vanilla, roasted coffee, almond. Really awesome.

M-Oily texture but the dark aspect for the coffee and chocolate don't linger too much. Really enjoyed it.

O-Glad to finally get to try this beer, especially on tap. Typically I am a ipa fan but the KBS, parabola and others are really starting to turn me onto the darker side of craft beers. Can't wait to try more! (487 characters)

Photo of foobula
4.63/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

2013 bottle. Refrigerated for a few hours before enjoying. Very dark brown when pouring. A full glass is opaque black with virtually no head. Aroma of coffee, oak, roast. Taste is tangy, slight bitterness, some sourness, sweet, booze. Finish is tremendously oaky, sweet, a little bitter, persists for a long while. Mouthfeel is medium to full, a little sugar stickiness if you let it hang around. A real barn burner of a beer: super-complex, intense, and enjoyable. Wonderful.

EDIT: Re-capped the bottle (not air-tight), put it back in the box, in the fridge and came back to it a day later. It held the carbonation well, and the taste is just as delicious on day 2. (667 characters)

Photo of Bonsall_Phil
4.84/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2014 vintage

Purchased from La Bota Liquor in Vista CA

Poured hard into a pint glass resulted in a 1.5 inch mocha head. Caramel scent from far away as I brought the glass closer the caramel had a milky- cocoa touch to it. The first taste oozed into my tongue with a candy bar like flavor... Snickers, three musketeers, etc... A kind of chocolate that has some other creaminess to it. Some nuttiness and the booze is ever-present. The aftertaste has a minimal alcohol burn to it, and it more warms the body than the mouth. This is the most pleasant mouthfeel I have had in a beer to day. Fully sticky and silky, filling the mouth like chocolate syrup and feeling pleasant even after swallowing.

Was fully expecting some degree of hype to the ratings, but I really do not believe there is. This is a truly world class offering, a must buy 2 if you are lucky enough to see. Drink one soon and save the other for a special day. I hope to have a BCBS and Black Note soon to compare. Cheers (987 characters)

Parabola from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
100 out of 100 based on 1,069 ratings.