1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Parabola - Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

Not Rated.

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

4,972 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4,972
Reviews: 1,006
rAvg: 4.61
pDev: 8.24%
Wants: 2,336
Gots: 2,693 | 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)
View: Beers (79) | 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: 4,972 | Reviews: 1,006 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of RblWthACoz
4.38/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Glad I passed up the chance to try this at a bar I was at and was able to pick it up at a store (at random). Saved some coin and got a chance to truly relax with a nice beer. That being said, you gotta love finally getting to these super hyped up beers. Because you're either going to be blown away and really dig it, or you're going to be under-impressed with it. Guess which of those two this beer was for me. The latter. Sure, it's nice. Has some nice characteristics to it that work well. But this thing is rated up there with other beers that I've had that really made an impression. This one does not do that so much. There are nice vanilla and bourbon tones and a good profile, but there is nothing really interesting about it. It's "nice", but doesn't really do anything for me at all. Especially for the price.

Photo of denimdemon
4.75/5  rDev +3%

Photo of eclipse54
4.65/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A 22 ounce bottle of the 2011 vintage (batch 002). A huge "thank you" to barfdiggs for this one. Split into tulips.

The stream from the bottle is a very dark brown, and it appears entirely black in the glass. A thin veil of mocha-colored bubbles appears atop the liquid, but disappears quickly - unsurprising for a beer of this gravity and ABV. Scattered dots of lacing cling to the glass.

The aroma is of toffee, caramel, bourbon, hazelnut, vanilla, oak, dark chocolate, date, plum, and both brown and cane sugar. It has an almost “caramel-covered candy apple” aroma to it with the dark fruits in there.

It tastes of roasted malt, toffee, oak, bourbon, vanilla, milk and dark chocolate all right up front. Cane and brown sugar, plum, raisin, and caramel all really jump out towards the finish. Exceptionally balanced and not overly sugary by any means.

Mouthfeel is thick, coating the palate thoroughly on first imbibe. It thins to a nice, velvety finish accentuated by ample carbonation.

Overall, this is one phenomenal brew. The bourbon notes are easily noticed, but not overpowering. They add to the beer as opposed to dominating it. Immense kudos to Firestone Walker for this one.

Photo of plumcrazyfx
4.75/5  rDev +3%

Photo of MikeDre
4.5/5  rDev -2.4%

Photo of SDDanC
4.3/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On tap at Toronado SD - 5/5/12

Poured into a flute :/, jet black with half finger of creamy cocoa head. After the first sip, lacing is already showing. Nose is lots of toffee, butterscotch, bourbon and wood is hidden in the back. Taste is creamy milk chocolate, toffee/caramel, very subtle bourbon, bitter bite near the end. Mouthfeel is creamy, low carbonation, and relatively thick, IMO a great example of the style. Overall this exceptionally decadent, worth the $. Might actually get some bottles.

Photo of BBP
4.83/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours thick black with good head and excellent retention. Nice lacing as well.

The aroma is subtle yet powerful. Cocoa, subtle alcohol head, and an almost fruity sweetness come through.

The taste is smooth and rich. Exceptionally blended. A ton of complexity comes through, but almost as a single flavor due to the way it's blended. It has a bit of dark fruitiness and candy sweetness as well. Nearly no heat, but quite sharp tasting.

Medium to full thickness and medium weight. The finish is dry and moderately sticky.

Such a great beer. Incredible balance. The alcohol is present but tamed. Really without any evident flaws.

Photo of olympicgatorade
5/5  rDev +8.5%

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

2010 vintage 22oz bottle poured into a wide mouth wine glass at a bar.

The beer pours pitch black. Little head but honestly I wasn’t paying close attention because it was too cold so I set it off to the side to warm while I finished the 2010 Abyss I was drinking. When I get to the Parabola I take a deep whiff and smell chocolate, bourbon, and roasted malts. I am blown away by my first sip and it only gets better. The alcohol is hidden very well and I get chocolates and bourbon. The beer is sweet and delicious. This is definitely one of the best stouts I have ever had. I am going to pick up a few fresh bottles when it is released this year but I will not hesitate to age as a few years has done this beer well.

Photo of Kevlee722
4.75/5  rDev +3%

Photo of shadytony
4.5/5  rDev -2.4%

Photo of magsvmi
5/5  rDev +8.5%

Photo of UnderJoath
4.75/5  rDev +3%

Photo of herman77
4.79/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

2011 Batch 2

A: Black with a one finger brown head that dissipates fairly quick. Leaves some dots of lacing and alcohol legs behind.

S: Lots of dark chocolate, vanilla, fudge, bourbon, oak and some dark fruits (raisins). Charred malts, molasses, a bit of coffee and carmel, lots going on. Very robust, but well integrated.

T: Wow, so smooth and lots of flavors. You get lots of chocolate, roasted malt, oak, vanilla, bourbon, dark fruits and some hop bitterness all in a great complex balance. Long finish with some warming alcohol.

M: Medium-full body, lower carbonation. Smooth for sure, but I thought it was going to be thicker.

O: Stellar. One of the best barrel aged beers I've had, right up there with 2011 and 2012 BCBS and KBS. If only we could get this in MN. ABV is noticeable, but not hot at all.

Photo of danoble1
4.75/5  rDev +3%

Photo of BigE90
4.75/5  rDev +3%

Photo of brentk56
4.15/5  rDev -10%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2011 bottling

Appearance: Pours a pitch black color with a ringlet of foam that fades away though it leaves some dots and dashes behind

Smell: Chocolate, oatmeal/raisin and Bourbon

Taste: Rich chocolate flavors, up front, with the oatmeal/raisin and marshmallow flavors developing; by mid-palate, the Bourbon adds its heft to the sweeter elements, creating a boozy counterpoint; after the swallow, the sweeter flavors re-emerge, providing balance into the finish

Mouthfeel: Full bodied, slightly creamy; boozy, with low to moderate carbonation

Overall: As can be inferred from the geometry of its name, this beer is still moving along the curve to the apogee; not sure how long the process will take but it is still a ways away from its optimal point of consumption

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

Pours a very dark brown, with a brown-tan, quickly attenuating head. Aromas of sorghum, coconut, chocolate, and tobacco. The mouthfeel is creamy and viscous, with some scrubbing on the back of the tongue at the finish. Milk chocolate, coconut, and unflavored leaf tobacco are prevalent and alternating flavors. There is even that mild pang in the back of the jaw that occassionally occurs with dry leaf, unflavored chewing tobacco. Notes of sorghum and bourbon as well. This is my favorite FW brew. It's a phenomenal concoction.

Photo of jmarsh123
4.23/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours deep black with a small coffee head that lingers around the rim. Good sludgy lacing.

Smells strongly of chocolate, with bourbon in the background along with some roasty malts and licorice.

Chocolate is the overpowering flavor as well. The barrel asserts it's presence and while it finishes with a nice boozy kick, it's more subdued and barely noticeable at times until it reaches room temperature. (Take note of this Sucuba). Not one note, but definitely a little two note. Chocolate and bourbon overshadow everything else a bit.

Thick mouthfeel and got a bit cloying as it warmed. Low carbonation.

Very good beer, but not the best in style. This one is good as a sipper, but I wish it were more complex and the sweetness were dialed back a bit. I know they are different styles, but so much better than Sucuba, it's not funny.

Photo of tobelerone
4.43/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2011 vintage.

Pours nearly, but not quite, jet-black; with a small, frothy tan head that settles rather quickly. Minimal patchy lace.

Aroma of bourbon, certainly, and accompanying vanilla; fudgy chocolate, roasted, charred notes; caramel. Complex flavor has a bit of sweetness and stickiness; fairly bourbon forward; some heat that has been tamed to a pleasant level by age; caramel, chocolate, burnt sugar, vanilla, charred malt, oak, traces of dark fruits underneath; raisins, dates, and figs.

Medium-full bodied but not viscous; medium-low carbonation. Smooth, creamy, and delicious. Not the biggest or most over-the-top barrel aged stout but one of the most well-balanced and drinkable, certainly. Would love to see what a longer cellaring would bring about.

Photo of brealbg
5/5  rDev +8.5%

Photo of wdarcy77
4.5/5  rDev -2.4%

Photo of amart80
5/5  rDev +8.5%

Photo of Sheaffdogg
5/5  rDev +8.5%

Photo of mrsdrabmuh
4.5/5  rDev -2.4%

Parabola from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
100 out of 100 based on 4,972 ratings.