1. American Craft Beer Fest returns to Boston on May 29 & 30, featuring 640+ beers from 140+ brewers. Tickets are on sale now.

Parabola - Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

Not Rated.

Educational use only; do not reuse.

5,049 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 5,049
Reviews: 1,019
rAvg: 4.61
pDev: 8.24%
Wants: 2,426
Gots: 2,729 | 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
Sort by:  Recent | Likes | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Parabola Alström Bros
Ratings: 5,049 | Reviews: 1,019 | Display Reviews Only:
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%

Photo of manjanai
5/5  rDev +8.5%

Photo of Rado
4.75/5  rDev +3%

Photo of SammyJaxxxx
5/5  rDev +8.5%

Photo of beergorrilla
4.5/5  rDev -2.4%

Photo of ManuelHerrera
4.73/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Ah, to go back to the days when Firestone's Double-Barrel could blow my mind. But as Firestone has grown in popularity on the west coast, it's clear that they've needed to step up their game substantially to make a mark on the craft beer culture. And with Parabola they've done just that.

Appearance - Midnight black with a heavy head retention and consistent lacing.

Smell - Perhaps this beer is the distinct bourbon and sherry aromas that hit the nose instantly. Extremely complex

Taste - The complexity in this beer is matched only with it's distinct balance. Sweet tobacco flavors fill the palate as well as bourbon and red wine flavors. It's like a dark, beautiful explosion in your mouth.

Mouthfeel - Light carbonation with a thick, chewy movement.

Drinkability - This one's for sharing if you get the bomber. Thick and strong, don't try to chug this.

Two Years Later:

I'm coming back to Parabola two years after my first encounter with the beautiful beast. Still packaged in noble condition in a box with the insignia and a bottle to rival the finest wines, this beer is an experience to cherish.

Served just under room temperature really brings out all of the complexities of this brew. The midnight black body and ominous burnt head make this beer incredibly intimidating. The lacing and thick presentation add to the appeal. The aroma is heavily sweet with dark malt wafting in a big way. Bourbon, a bit of booziness, chocolate, carmel, and coffee notes all layer on thick on the nose.

The flavor profile is something that the written word can't even really harness, but here's a shot: Thick carmel and chocolate notes load the front end, yet flavors open brilliantly as you chew Parabola on the palate. Dark cherry and oat flavors come into play, smokiness comes in waves and the touch of bourbon at the back end plays with a hop bite to remind you that yes, they do still love their hops in California. Thick and chewy all over, this beer is not to be taken lightly.

No beer is perfect, but it's hard to find fault in Parabola. The far end of the aftertaste ends up with a lingering sugar taste that can be irksome, but I'll enjoy this beer for years to come.

Photo of Zaphog
4.25/5  rDev -7.8%

Photo of Hanzo
4.5/5  rDev -2.4%

Photo of rkarimi
4.86/5  rDev +5.4%

Photo of Shnanign
4.5/5  rDev -2.4%

Photo of wattershed
4.75/5  rDev +3%

Photo of jhb138
5/5  rDev +8.5%

Photo of jorgeg528
4.25/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: medium viscosity on the pour. As dark as where the sun don't shine. Minimal head on the pour that quickly dissipates.

S: bourbon smelled as soon as it was poured. Big on the chocolate and cherries. Back end of raisins and coffee. Bit of roastiness from the coffee notes. Makes the back of your nose feel all warm and toasty.

T: Fig and dried fruits. Not as big on the bourbon as previous vintages. A bit hot still, but nothing a year or two can't fix.

M: feels more viscous than it pours. Minimal if not absent of any carbonation.

O: This beer definitely needs to age but It's potential is through the roof. The fruit notes balance very well with the roastiness and the minor hints of bourbon. I really wanted to give this beer a 4.5 overall, but it still has some growing up to do. Can't wait to get this bad boy aged.

Photo of bifrost17
4.89/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

2013 vintage.

I've had this beer so many times, bottle, and on draft, but for some reason now is the first time I've taken the time to really sit down and review it.

A: Damn near perfect. Just as black as you'd expect it to be. Pours with a nice fingers worth of off white colored head. Surprisingly thick lacing for the high ABV.

S: Smells so inviting. Honestly it's kind of hard to describe. You can definitely smell the barrels, but not overpowering, like some BA beers. Big time chocolate, vanilla, and coconut notes come through as well. Chocolate chip cookies come to mind.

T: OH.MY! Seriously, so perfect. Chocolate, vanilla, coffee, licorice, bourbon, and some faint smokiness. All of those notes blend together perfectly. Finishes with a slight sweetness, but then a strong dry bitterness comes along that cleans everything up.The 13% ABV is only apparent in the pleasant warming feeling you get as it goes down.

M: Silky, velvety smooth perfection. Parabola just glides across the palate. Carbonation is perfect. So so smooth, seriously. Doesn't get better than this.

O: As I said at the beginning of the review. I've had this beer countless times, and it never ceases to amaze me. Absolutely my favorite BA Stout. The balance is amazing. Firestone Walker, in my opinion, has the absolute best barrel program in the country right now. Beers like Parabola, PNC, and Sucaba all show the barrel aging dominance that is Firestone Walker. I really need to buy a case of Parabola next year....the 6 bottles I got this year seem to be dwindling quickly.

Photo of glitchedmind
5/5  rDev +8.5%

Photo of beerMeh
5/5  rDev +8.5%

Photo of bcostner1
4.9/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2012 Vintage. Poured into a tulip glass.

A: Going from the bottle into the glass, this beer actually appears to be a very deep, dark, rich garnet/ruby mahogany as opposed to the sheer pitch blackness you see in a lot of imperial stouts. Beautiful pour.

S: Bourbon, vanilla, dark rich fruits, malty sweetness. Intoxicating.

T: Blows me away. Absolutely, ridiculously delicious. The perfect melange of bourbon, vanilla, chocolate, caramel, molasses, figs, dates, dark raisins, and malt all woven together by the woody undertones. Seriously, this is one of the best tasting beers I have ever had. I think I will probably pick up different nuances in this beer each time I have it. It's very complex.

M: Perfect. This stuff is silky smooth, rich, creamy and dangerously drinkable. Probably one of the smoothest brews I have ever had. If this is really 12.5% ABV, I really can't find it anywhere.

I can see now why this beer gets so much hype. It deserves every bit of it and more. It is phenomenally crafted and I am grateful to have finally been able to try it (and glad I have a few more). I would drink/buy this at every opportunity and recommend that anyone else who loves world class barrel aged stouts to do the same. Simply amazing.

Photo of switzer
4.75/5  rDev +3%

Photo of InfernoBoss
5/5  rDev +8.5%

Photo of freduardo
4.75/5  rDev +3%

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

Midnight black pour with two finger tan head. Nose of dark chocolate, cherries, rum, coffee, graham cracker, sandalwood, toffee, and bourbon. Flavor is similar, but there’s a good deal of plum, nougat, vanilla, leather, and tobacco as well. Mouthfeel is silky, and rich without being too thick. The finish is pretty balanced, and absurdly lengthy, but there is char, and a hint of bitter coffee grounds which I happen to think only adds to this big boy’s character. In the same league with The Abyss, but more complex, and even better.

"Ignore the comments on that it's too hot, it's perfect."

What Sirtomtom said!

Photo of Giovacchini
4.78/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2012 Parabola poured into a tulip.

A- pours a nice dark dark brown with a tan head that disapates

S- dark chocolate, oak, vanilla, candied fruit, molasses, and grain.

T- Dark chocolate milk, figs, molasses, carob, oak, heat from, alcohol candied plum, some grain, and vanilla.

M- silky creamy mouthfeel with beautiful lacing and subtle carbonation.

O- this beer blew me away. This was my first Parabola and now I know why people buy cases of it upon release. It has a lot of the same flavors I've seen in RIS's but is extremely well balanced and the mouthfeel is incredible. A+ brew!

Photo of DavyJones
4.25/5  rDev -7.8%

Parabola from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
100 out of 100 based on 5,049 ratings.