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Parabola - Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

Not Rated.

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

4,340 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4,340
Reviews: 974
rAvg: 4.61
pDev: 8.24%
Wants: 2,092
Gots: 2,477 | FT: 163
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: 4,340 | Reviews: 974 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of bpfrush


4.5/5  rDev -2.4%

11-14-2011 13:59:31 | More by bpfrush
Photo of Keith238

New Jersey

5/5  rDev +8.5%

11-14-2011 13:40:19 | More by Keith238
Photo of shuajw


4.75/5  rDev +3%

11-14-2011 13:31:24 | More by shuajw
Photo of inflatablechair


4.5/5  rDev -2.4%

11-14-2011 13:27:33 | More by inflatablechair
Photo of richbrew

New Jersey

4/5  rDev -13.2%

11-14-2011 13:20:11 | More by richbrew
Photo of Miamilice


5/5  rDev +8.5%

11-14-2011 13:18:25 | More by Miamilice
Photo of brydeen


4.5/5  rDev -2.4%

11-14-2011 13:17:10 | More by brydeen
Photo of slentz


5/5  rDev +8.5%

11-14-2011 13:14:21 | More by slentz
Photo of jh1982


5/5  rDev +8.5%

11-14-2011 12:56:13 | More by jh1982
Photo of eerbayman

North Carolina

5/5  rDev +8.5%

11-14-2011 11:12:24 | More by eerbayman
Photo of bsuedekum


4.5/5  rDev -2.4%

11-14-2011 09:17:46 | More by bsuedekum
Photo of Agold


5/5  rDev +8.5%

11-14-2011 09:03:15 | More by Agold
Photo of Jspriest


5/5  rDev +8.5%

11-14-2011 08:19:33 | More by Jspriest
Photo of Bobbydigi


4.5/5  rDev -2.4%

11-14-2011 07:55:48 | More by Bobbydigi
Photo of bombadil


5/5  rDev +8.5%

11-14-2011 07:51:24 | More by bombadil
Photo of AlexM


5/5  rDev +8.5%

11-14-2011 07:17:18 | More by AlexM
Photo of tbeq00


5/5  rDev +8.5%

11-14-2011 07:15:49 | More by tbeq00
Photo of BrianTheBrewer30


5/5  rDev +8.5%

11-14-2011 07:11:15 | More by BrianTheBrewer30
Photo of PainkeepBrewing


4.18/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Serving: 22oz bottle, marked 2011. 12.5% abv. Into a brandy snifter. I'm judging this as a young beer.

A: Poured black as night, absolute darkness, no transparency whatsoever. No head to speak of, a thin foam of brownish white head that disappeared immediately.

S: Wow. Strong sweet presence - vanilla, wood, lots of alcohol. Alcohol is strongest character.

T: Not as impressive as the smell, or at least not as complex. Alcohol can be felt my throat as the beer is swirled in my mouth. Very slight roast, heavy sweetness, lots of boozy alcohol. I wouldn't call the booze unpleasant, it's to be expected in a beer this big. Some little bit of wood, some slight vanilla and very very sweet notes. Bitterness on the backend, leaves almost a dry mucky feeling on the tongue.

M: It's thinner than expected, considering that by using a gravity calculator ,if the bottle is accurate at 29.5 deg plato starting gravity, that's approx 1.035 final gravity, which SHOULD be a thick slop. So based on that I'm guessing there's some off numbers. Regardless, it's thinner than expected, leaving a bitter taste on my tongue at the end. It's not as thick as say, Deschutes Abyss, but it's oddly as filling.

O: Well, hrm. I had huge expectations of this beer, based on my opinion of Firestone Walker, the reputation it has, and the price tag. I'm also unfairly judging it against Abyss, which I consider the best beer I've ever had (which is a substantial statement). That said, this beer disappointed a bit. A good beer? Yeah. It didn't blow me away. At $14 I expected a bit more - I understand production costs, especially on aged beers. The nose implied a much better palate, but it was a bit of a letdown, lots of hot alcohol, a bitter strange finish that wasn't as satisfying.

Serving type: bottle

11-10-2011 07:06:06 | More by PainkeepBrewing
Photo of jvillefan


4.63/5  rDev +0.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A: As dark as a starless moonless night. What all stouts should look like. There was not a significant head.

S: Heavy chocolate aroma with malt and hops in the background. It is one of the best aromas that a beer can have.

T: Awesome. There are chocolate, malt, hops. The balance is rivaled by none.

M: Thick as tar but it is not that carbonated.

O: Amazing beer. Well worth the price. You absolutely need to have this beer a the benchmark for stouts.

Serving type: bottle

11-10-2011 06:20:47 | More by jvillefan
Photo of zep9865


4.05/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Beer enjoyed with aasher. Poured into new belgium snifter with a quarter-inch of mocha head that leaves a little lacing. Beer almost has a cherry color to it, rather then the jet-black color that i expected.

Smells like dark chocolate and toffee with some hickory. Any smell of alcohol that is on the nose is slighty masked by the chocolate.

Chocolate immediately hits the palate with lots of coffee and lots of alcohol on the tail end

the transition from dark chocolate to lots of alcohol doesnt make for the best mouthfeel on this beer, and the 82 ibus are starting to make sense

Overall i was pretty impressed with this beer, but it didnt quite matchup to some of the other stouts ive had. Def a sipper, and i appreciate it for that reason

Serving type: bottle

11-10-2011 04:42:13 | More by zep9865
Photo of aasher


4.18/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2011 vintage courtesy of BrewerB, thanks Brian! This beer pours a medium bodied dark chocolate brown in color with a one finger dark kahki head. It smells of sweet milk chocolate, dark chocolate, roasted malts, sweet vanilla, toffee and creamed coffee. It tastes of bitter chocolates, coffee with cream, a lot of oak, and bourbon. It's a pretty well integrated blend. It drinks very smoothly and isn't as viscous as a lot of imperial stouts. It's overly drinkable for the style and pretty approachable. The bourbon is there but kind of mellow. If I were to not pick I'd say it could he stronger but its not a big deal. Overall this is a fine beer and definitely worth trying. Kudos to FW for making this so available.

Serving type: bottle

11-10-2011 04:36:44 | More by aasher
Photo of Arbitrator


3.35/5  rDev -27.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Revision on 11/5/2011: Batch 001 has simply fallen off a cliff. Less heat, but simpler flavors. I am no longer optimistic about Batch 002 improving. In fact, I'm disappointed: a recipe change that results in a beer I don't particularly enjoy fresh, and it doesn't age into something I enjoy later? Time to be honest with my score. I honestly don't plan to buy Batch 003.


Batch 002 review from 6/7/2011.

A: Pours a dark brown body (I'd call it an opaque black, but some light penetration at the edges makes it evident that that's not quite right). A finger of tan head leaves a nice collar on the edges. No lace.

S: Dark chocolate, roasted coffee, earth, licorice, tobacco. Bourbon is muted. In reading over my comments for the previous batch, I'm surprised by how much the impressions are the same. They seem to have dialed in the recipe. It's a little hoppier than I remember from last time, though.

T: Dark chocolate, roasted coffee, and an earthy, borderline green hoppy bitterness (Willamette?). The flavors work fairly well together, but I've never been a huge fan of bitterness in my barrel-aged imperial stouts, and I confess that I find it a distraction here. Flavors of tobacco and charred oak only accentuate the bitterness. Bourbon, licorice, and a mild presence of dark fruits (plums) are pleasant, as is the vanilla on the finish, but those are all weaker elements. There's a light spicy bite in the aftertaste.

M: Medium-full bodied with low carbonation. It's creamy. Bitterness lingers on the palate. It's a little warm as far as ABV goes, with a bite to it.

O: It's merely good right now. I suspect it will become better with time as the bitterness fades, but truthfully, I'm not that enthused about it. I wish they would use the old keg recipe.


Old review of Batch 001: 4 / 4 / 4.5 / 4.0 / 4.0

Chilled bottle into a glass. Split with the girlfriend, who is becoming a connoisseur of expensive barrel-aged stouts.

A: Pours a dark, not fully opaque, black body in the glass, with a finger of short-lived mocha head. Edge penetration shows ruby colors.

S: Dark chocolate and roasted coffee in equal strengths, when cold. As it warms, the aroma gets more balanced brings out tobacco, earth, light anise, light bourbon, oak.

T: The taste is big, but balanced (or at least, not as overwhelmingly bourbony as so many other barrel-aged impy stouts). The base beer shines through first in dark chocolate and roasted coffee flavors. The barrel kicks in later with a contribution of bourbon, tobacco, charred oak, vanilla. I pick up anise at times, but it's very light. I pick up some dark fruits lingering faintly behind all this, but I can't tell what they are. There is an underlying earthy bitterness that works well with the tobacco and oak to counteract the sweet flavors; at no point do I feel this beer is cloying. Parabola actually reminds me a lot of the 50/50 Eclipse (Heaven Hill).

M: Full-bodied in flavor, though the body isn't uber-viscous. Low carbonation, giving it an overall coating, creamy presence.

D: I paid $16, which is a fair price for a stout of this caliber. I would go no higher, though. I think some of the tannic and bitter flavors could stand to be toned down a bit, but I'm sure if I wait a few months the beer will hit its sweet spot for me. Right now it's not in the top-tier of barrel-aged stouts, but it's just on the cusp.

Serving type: bottle

11-06-2011 04:24:05 | More by Arbitrator
Photo of IKR


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

2010 Vintage

Appearance: Black (only appears very dark brown at the edges if held up to a light) has a 1/2" dark brown head which dissipated quickly.

Smell: Mild Bourbon, vanilla, and coffee/roasted malt notes almost equally balanced.

Taste: Bourbon, vanilla, oak, chocolate, and roast malts. The finish is fairly dry with just a hint of sweetness. Slight alcohol presence in the finish but very subtle for the ABV.

Mouth-feel: Medium to full bodied with very subtle carbonation appropriate tor the style.

Overall: My first time time trying this beer and I like it. Unfortunately the availability in Southern California isn't so hot compared to other RISs I would consider in it's class (e.g. Abyss). I would gladly seek it out at the price I paid if it were distributed in decent numbers to my area.

Serving type: bottle

11-05-2011 22:39:44 | More by IKR
Photo of BrewtifulMind


4.72/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at The Bottle Room, Whittier. 9 oz pour

This is just about as black as black can get. No light gets through this one. Has a minimal brown head, if you can even call it that. Its more of a thin blanket that recedes to the sides of the glass. It leaves minimal, spotted lacing down the glass. The aroma on this one is amazing. A very strong vanilla presence, chocolate, espresso, dark fruits, and a nice touch of bourbon booziness. It smells sweeter and sweeter as it warms up as well. On to the taste test. Just as the nose described, really heavy tones of vanilla, bitter chocolate, coffee, oak, and booze. The boozy taste is by no means in the way. Its the perfect complement to the rich sweetness. Taste is just phenomenal and very complex, all of the flavors just seem to meld with each other perfectly. It has a very rich, thick, and creamy mouthfeel. Just phenomenal. I was very excited to try this, and very glad to say that this exceeds its hype. Being someone that is fairly new to BA Imperial Stouts, they are quickly becoming my new favorite style. Cheers.

Serving type: on-tap

11-05-2011 01:05:56 | More by BrewtifulMind
Parabola from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
100 out of 100 based on 4,340 ratings.