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Parabola - Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

Not Rated.

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

4,971 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4,971
Reviews: 1,006
rAvg: 4.61
pDev: 8.24%
Wants: 2,339
Gots: 2,691 | FT: 187
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)
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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 4,971 | Reviews: 1,006 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of getinked
4.5/5  rDev -2.4%

Photo of mjr2377
5/5  rDev +8.5%

Photo of USChuy
4.75/5  rDev +3%

Photo of yamar68
4.45/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Finally decided to open the base beer from my very first trade - thanks bpgpitt10! 2011 vintage (batch 002) poured from 22oz bomber to brandy snifter:

Pours an imposing pitch black with barely an edge of deep red clarity. A finger of medium brown head sinks down to a stubborn collar, a swirling island of tan retains in the center of the glass. Thin lacing and obvious alcohol legs.

Big, beautiful bourbon character strikes the nose. Milk chocolate and vanilla, boozy raisin bits, a touch of caramel, soft wood character - such a complex smelling beer. Incredible balance and depth.

Holy fuck this is tasty. That great bourbon profile bites the tongue immediately... the flavors exist in complete harmony with one another. Sweet bourbon, vanilla, heavy wood, cocoa nibs, dark burnt chocolate, a bit of dark fruit far and away. Divine.

I'm glad I finally grew the balls to crack this open. What a great beer.

Photo of Greywulfken
4.81/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

2013 release:
Stats updated to be more reflective of this, the most current release

A: into a snifter, pitch black of outer space, dense head of dark foam

S: bourbon-soaked chocolate syrup with vanilla bean and black coffee

T: outrageously decadent, somehow another animal entirely than the previous releases - rich chocolate malts like syrup drenched in bourbon - had an almost merlot-like essence - hints of dark coffee roast and melted dark chocolate; hidden berries and dark fruits

M: supremely slick and smooth; dark silk; dense and full-bodied, but it plays light across the palate

O: incredible. Even more limited than previous years, but soooo worth it.

2012 release:
A: stout 101: pitch black with a tan head; this head was fairly creamy (like a milk stout)

S: chocolate malt, bourbon, some vanilla and espresso

T: dare I say this was a more balanced bourbon experience than drinking a BCBS - bourbon is there, so is chocolate, vanilla, espresso, and very little anise (which I kind of liked)

M: creamy, a little bitter abv sting, rich, full

O: this made me think of what Goose Island's BCBS line would be if they were RIS - it was a little smoother, less syrupy, more creamy, and well-balanced - on par for certain - and I imagine everyone will have their own preferences - I loved it and was glad to get a hold of this limited release.

Photo of Rau71
4.53/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This beer pours a dark midnight black. It has a rush of carbination that fizzles out fast and leaves no head. The smell I get is vanilla and a hint of bourbon. The taste follows suit, with a hint of chocolate thrown in to a great balanced and smooth taste. A little booze comes out in the aftertaste, but just a peak. This is a wonderful RIS, and I love how easy I can get it during the release.

Photo of phishphorce
4.5/5  rDev -2.4%

Photo of BeerNFixed
4.5/5  rDev -2.4%

Photo of Bobbak
4/5  rDev -13.2%

Photo of ratty918
5/5  rDev +8.5%

Photo of M27
4.75/5  rDev +3%

Photo of zillo043068
4.5/5  rDev -2.4%

Photo of VonZipper
4.75/5  rDev +3%

Photo of EyePeeAyBryan
4.5/5  rDev -2.4%

Photo of JebediahScooter
4.5/5  rDev -2.4%

Photo of Etan
4.33/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Side-by-side comparison of 2011 and 2012 at Agold's tasting last night. Ratings are for the 2012 bottle. Each poured into its own glass.

A: Pours a straight black with a small dark tan head. Some noticeable ruby highlights, head recedes quickly.

S: A bit of liquor, sweet dark fruit and chocolate, slight booze.

T: Nice oaky bourbon, tannic vanilla, big dark fruit, sugary chocolate, a small dose of bitter roast and slight heat on the back end.

M: Pretty thick, small carbonation.

A: Looks basically the same as the 2011. Better retention, less ruby highlights.

S: Bourbon, slight dark fruit and chocolate, roast, a bit more alcohol than the 2011.

T: Same as the 2011 with noticeably more heat and more vanilla. Less fruit notes as well.

M: Same as 2011.
O: Of course both were delicious. The 2011 was a little less roasty, less vanilla, less alcohol heat, and more fruit. I gave it a slight edge.

Photo of RuckusDu
4.53/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2012 version into Avery Sourfest tulip.

A - About 1 1/2 fingers of lighter than expected head. Some decent cappuccino color to it. Nice tiny bubbles that stick around. Body is deep black that you cannot see through unless you get less than 4mm.

S - Simple bourbon and vanilla. Some chocolate and a hint of alcohol. Wonderfully sweet, but a bit lacking.

T - Wonderful and simple in vanilla, chocolate, and bourbon. A little light molasses to it. Just a little bitter hops at the back-top of my mouth which pulls this down a bit.

M - Wow, I was not expecting that smooth milkiness to this beer. Just flows right through your mouth. Makes this a top beer. Good carbonation and decent body.

O - They don't try to do too much with this beer except make it excellent. Nice all around and best mouthfeel I have experienced.

Photo of BuffaloTapHugger
4.45/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

10 oz. pour served in a snifter

A: Midnight black in color with a fast dissipating caramel head and lacing put on hold for another day.

S: Robust in nature: coffee bean, dark chocolate bar, smokey wood

T: The star. Deep notions arise in the beginning with the kick of the robustness of the mentioned flavors above. As it warms it comes more complex in nature and can mess with your mind. Intriguing without coy.

M: Medium body, sticky, abv noticeable with heat senses, low carbonation, but present.

O: Completely stoked to be finally able to try this beer, and to have it on tap form makes the experience that much more pleasurable. World Class all the way. Next for me is finding a bottle...I recommend the same for you

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

Poured into a snifter after being allowed to warm for a bit. Very, very dark with a nice 1 finger creamy mocha head. Lovely.

Smells of oaky vanilla soaked in just a few drips of bourbon. Yet you can tell that this is a big beer. Alcohol is there in the nose as alcohol soaked raisin and sugar. Just a dusting of cocoa dusted espresso beans in there. Complex and sweet.

To me, the taste profile follows the nose in reverse. I get cocoa and alcohol at first, with fruit in the middle. This beer is strong and chewy. A hint of bourbon with the vanilla. Held in the mouth a bit brings out the warmth and oak and a little black cherry. This beer has a large amount of sweetness to it, something that I wish was mellowed out a bit. I would have liked a little more dryness to this one. After the swallow, the beautiful roastiness comes through, with slightly bitter coffee and cream. So, so good.

Mouthfeel is practically perfect. Big and chewy. Thick and viscous. Completely coats your tongue in it's gigantic flavor. Very must a slow sipper. No beer I've ever had has gone down this slow. A bomber is to share for sure.

Overall, this is a world-class RIS that is full of big huge flavors. Most of the time I find that it is overly sweet and wish it was a tad more dry. I have one to age for a while and I cannot wait to visit this one again in the future with some years in the cellar on it.

Photo of BeerHunter76
4.25/5  rDev -7.8%

Photo of jtingue
4.5/5  rDev -2.4%

Photo of rogerthegill
4.25/5  rDev -7.8%

Photo of haazer
4.65/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Khyber Pass Pub for PBW.

A - Completely back, fully opaque brew. Light brown rim due to the pour into a snifter.

S - Milky chocolate malts. Rye bourbon and vanilla candy sweetness. There's a bitter cream smell in here also.

T - this beer provides so many complex flavors. Begins with vanilla, rye and a bourbon barrel heat from what this was aged in. The barrel and wood quality hits first, but the base beer finishes. A chocolate truffle leads its way into a wonderful Colombian coffee roast. A heavy flavor of toffee ends this incredible beast. There's even a bit of maple syrup in here, just incredible.

M - Full bodies stout with mid level carbonation. Smooth drinking, and somewhat refreshing for a stout actually.

O - Sit back and savor this beast. I enjoyed every last sip of this. Utterly delicious. The base beer must be great, to barrel age it excess, but also necessary. One of my favorites from PBW, and one of my favorite stouts period.

Photo of bluntedboywonder
5/5  rDev +8.5%

Parabola from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
100 out of 100 based on 4,971 ratings.