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Parabola - Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

Not Rated.

Educational use only; do not reuse.

5,048 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 5,048
Reviews: 1,019
rAvg: 4.61
pDev: 8.24%
Wants: 2,424
Gots: 2,730 | FT: 192
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 (80) | Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 5,048 | Reviews: 1,019 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of zac16125
3.7/5  rDev -19.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Firestone Walker Parabola
22oz bomber poured into a snifter
2012 bottle
150th BA review

A big thanks to Pelican5 for sending this one over in a trade.

A: Pours a dark cola brown with lightening on the edges and 1/2 fingers width of mocha colored head which dissipates down quickly to only an outer ring with inner whisp.  Lacing is effectively none, with only the faintest spotty patches left on the glass.  

S: Dark fruit, chocolate, oak, and vanilla come out in that order.  It is also boozy with subtle bourbon notes, with aromas of black coffee and roasted malts. Could be richer.

T: Initially there is a heavier bourbon presence on the tongue, which is quite nice but unfortunately this takes a backseat to a huge bitter component and booze.  There are also notes of roasted malt and a hint of dark fruits, but again these are overwhelmed by a  bitterness consisting of hops and bitter dark chocolate.  Not bad, but too boozy and too bitter, and the booze is not a smooth bourbon booze but a harsh cheap vodka booze.  The potential is there but I don't drink beers for their potential.  

M/D: I wouldn't say it's particularly thick or smooth for the style.  Over carbonated, which when combined with the bitterness, give it a biting quality. Finishes quite dry.  Drinkability is below average, mainly due to the dominating bitter quality,  plus the ABV isn't particularly well masked.  

O: Overall, this is a pretty middle of the road RIS in my opinion.  Some age could do this wonders I suppose, but as is, this one is a pretty big disappointment.  I am a huge fan of barrel aged stouts but this one is far too bitter and a touch too boozy. The bourbon is masked by an almost grain alcohol character, and the rest of the flavor profile is dominated by the bitter qualities.  I would like to try an aged one to see how it develops, but the fresh one is rather meh.  No where near the level of many other big RIS's I've enjoyed, and also no where near as enjoyable as Sucaba.  

Photo of RandyKemka
5/5  rDev +8.5%

Photo of abeerdude
5/5  rDev +8.5%

Photo of Evan
4.75/5  rDev +3%

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

2012 vintage.

Pours a light black with ruby and brown highlights with a small, tan head.

Smells of sweet bourbon/alcohol with notes of charred oak, chocolate, cherry, vanilla, and bready sweetness.

Taste is bready, biscuit malt up front that goes into a chocolate liquor middle (bourbon and hints of others) before finishing on a smooth, yet warm chocolate biscuit character with notes of vanilla and oak. Everything balances quite nicely.

Heavy body with low carbonation works well. The alcohol is a bit too present at this stage, would be killer with some age.

I couldn't ask for a better barrel aged stout. It's not too liquor forward, and it is quite drinkable without aging. No stopping FW.

Photo of tun
4.25/5  rDev -7.8%

Photo of ycortez
5/5  rDev +8.5%

Photo of PowDay
4.75/5  rDev +3%

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

22oz bottle served in a snifter.
2011 batch.

pours a typical imperial stout used motor oil black; somewhat aggressive pour yields a 3/4" mocha toned head. expected below-average retention. nose is very appealing, stands out even in a style populated by worthy foes. rich notes of coffee, chocolate, bourbon, vanilla and roasted malts.

flavor delivers follows and expands on the aroma. in addition to the above-mentioned headliners there are secorndary elements of oak, molassess, and raisin. full-bodied mouthfeel with adequate carbonation.

overall a stellar RIS, one of those rare hyped beers that meets (even exceeds) expectations. another home run from firestone walker.

(originally reviewed: 09-16-2011)

Photo of ShemRahBoo
4.75/5  rDev +3%

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

Poured a few fingers at a time into a bourbon tulip.

A: Deepest mahogany, not quite black, with some red highlights. A ring of beige colored head clings to the side.

S: Toasted oak, marshmallow, dark chocolate, booze, a bit of roasted fruit and dark roast coffee. Quintessential barrel aged imperial stout - very refined.

T: Deep dark coffee dominates at first, with a fruity-honey center that evolves into a cocoa-dry vanilla whip-cream syrup. Absolutely delicious.

M: Very full bodied but never too syrupy with just the right amount of carbonation. This stayed slightly bubbly for the 2+ hours I sipped it.

A true masterpiece, Firestone Walker does big beers as well as any brewery I've ever tried.

Photo of pearljam118
4.75/5  rDev +3%

Photo of carteravebrew
4.5/5  rDev -2.4%

Photo of ant880
4.75/5  rDev +3%

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

A - Oily pitch black pour, very viscous. Absolutely no light shining through this. Small tan head recedes into darkness, but that's totally expected for a 12.5% abv beverage such as this.

S - Wow! There are so many componentes to this aroma. I get cherry, vanilla, chocolate, coffee, earthy hops, some leathery flavours, and big roasty character. This smells incredible!

T - I get the same components as in the aroma, but with some more sweetness. This is well balanced by bitterness from both the hops and the roasted malts. There are some definite vinous qualities here. This is a beautifully crafted work of art.

M - Huge mouthfeel on this beer. The creaminess of an oatmeal stout x10! What an amazingly rich beer. This is a beer in no need of pairing, it is a meal on it's own.

O - I'm sure this is the best imperial stout I've tasted, and it's very likely the best beer I've ever had. This blew my mind, I'm soooo glad I've got one more bomber. I'm going to give it a good old fashioned cellaring. I highly recommend this beer. If you see it, buy it! don't worry about the $14 price tag, it's totally worth it.

Photo of ajramirez1
4.08/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Initial look is typical, nothing to exciting here. Smell was quite stromg w/the high abv. First taste when chilled was avg, got better with warmth asbit should. Better than avg imperial but was disappointed. The Abyss blows this out of the water. Tasty beer but nothing special. Sucaba is the best FW brrr ive had to date

Photo of Cowcakes
4.5/5  rDev -2.4%

Photo of jpbebeau
4.75/5  rDev +3%

Photo of Listers
4.5/5  rDev -2.4%

Photo of EzraAtom
4.75/5  rDev +3%

Photo of Beerevity
4.48/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into tulip glasses, half in mine, half in Dad's (Happy Fathers Day!). It's a beautiful black with a tan head that's gone before you know it. After one whiff I knew this was something special. I instantly picked up on sweet cherries that are nicely balanced by smokey oak and vanilla. Taste up front is of dark chocolate, bourbon, sweet raisin, dates and cherry. This gave way to the notes of burnt coffee, oats and roasted malt. I picked up on a bit of liquorice and several other flavors that my palate just couldn't identify. The bitterness and light carbonation in this stout is perfect. The brew felt thick and the booziness really warms is it goes down. Overall this beer is powerful, complex and excellent. I'll be aging another bottle to crack on a cold winter's day several years in the future.

Photo of agaloco9
5/5  rDev +8.5%

Photo of G-Hawk
5/5  rDev +8.5%

Photo of rodkin
4.1/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2012 release.

Looks nice, big and dark, decent carb. One finger head that dissipates, leaves some decent lacing.

This smells great. Chocolate, vanilla, coffee, a bit of a dark fruity character, some barrel notes. Really nice.

Taste doesn't quite live up to the smell for me. You get all the same flavors, but the balance seems a bit off. Stronger bourbon up front, not as smooth and balanced as the nose would indicate. A bit more heat than I'd like, it's not unpleasant by any means but it kind of hurts the drinkability. It's a great beer with a lot going on, but I think it needs some age to mellow out a bit. I'd be curious to see how the '11 is drinking right now. This is probably more like a 4.25, but I'm docking it to a 4 because it disappointed me when compared to my memory.

Nice mouthfeel. Big and thick, decent carbonation but not overwhelming. Coats the mouth nicely.

A really nice beer, but this is not as good as I remember the '11 being. I definitely think it needs some time to mellow out. The bourbon is a little overpowering, adds a bit more heat than I'd like and hurts the drinkability. I'll be holding onto my other bottle for at least another year before I try this one again.

Photo of johnnyboy76
4.75/5  rDev +3%

Parabola from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
100 out of 100 based on 5,048 ratings.