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Parabola - Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

Not Rated.

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

4,600 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4,600
Reviews: 988
rAvg: 4.61
pDev: 8.24%
Wants: 2,201
Gots: 2,578 | FT: 184
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)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 4,600 | Reviews: 988 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of champ103
4.53/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A big thanks to wolffman17 for sharing this with me and several other BA's.

A: Pours opaque black. No light gets through at all. A small tan head forms, but recedes in a minute. Light lace. Head and lacing are to be expected for the ABV, but this looks menacing.
S: An excellent aroma of toasted malt, sweet toffee, dark chocolate. Light vanilla and oak. Light dark fruits of figs, plums, and raisins. Very soft, but nuanced.
T: A great toasted malt flavor. Big dark chocolate, vanilla, and slightly woody flavors. Soft doughy and brownie like. Light dark fruits that follow the nose. Just excellent.
M/D: A full body that is low on the carbonation. Though not under carbonated at all. Soft, creamy, smooth, and velvety. So easy and smooth to drink. The alcohol is almost non existent.

For such a huge beer, this is incredibly nuanced and subtle. I can't get enough of this. All around excellent, and highly recommend.

champ103, Aug 09, 2010
Photo of zeff80
4.63/5  rDev +0.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Good looking Imperial Stout. Opaque, jet black hue with a small, light brown head of fluffy foam. Nice retention and minimal lacing.

S - Lots of dried dark fruits like raisin, plum and maybe some figs. Also, chocolate, roasted malt and bourbon notes.

T - Delicious beer. So much balance in a huge beer. Bourbon, raisin, rich dark chocolate, toffee, vanilla. Fantastic.

M - It was crisp, sharp and smooth with a dry finish. A medium to full bodied beer with a potent alcohol warmth.

D - Again, a fantastic tasting brew. I wish I could get my hands on some more.

zeff80, Aug 02, 2010
Photo of Zaplt
4.25/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Just purchased a bottle of Firestone's Parabola. Never was excited about the beer until my friend recommended it to me telling me it challenged the Abyss. What a claim, we'll see how well it does...

Appearance - Pours a deep endless black with a beautiful reddish brown, caramel colored head with not the best retention and light lacing.

Smell - Immediately I can tell this beer is going to be complex. I don't know where to begin. Levels, of tartiness, Manhattan?! I smell one of my favorite cocktails - bourbon, cherry, bitters? Interesting... coffee, deep roasty maltiness, floral?!, light hop presence?

Taste - Holy Shit! There's an amazing whitewash of tastes in the beginning - alcohol, tart, cherry, that slowly fades into the malt - deep roasty coffee, toffee, caramel, vanilla, oak...

The beer is extremely alcoholic but for the 13 percent it is relatively smooth. Pretty sweet from what I expected as well.

Overall - This beer far surpassed my expectations. Amazingly well done with perhaps just a little too much of a bite (so age it to perfection!). Delicious but from memory I must say I don't think it tops the Abyss. But hey you two, that I know will eventually read this - lets try it out. Simultaneous tasting - Abyss vs Parabola August 2010 !!!

Zaplt, Aug 02, 2010
Photo of ruberbox
4.85/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Parabola is a delicious treat that surpassed my extremely high expectations. Pour is black as can be. Smell is a chocolate toffee combo with a slight alchohol hint. Taste is amazingingly decadent, thick and satisfying. I am shocked that this beer lives up to all the hype. I went in skeptical of all the hype, but was very surpised at my result. Can not recommend this any higher, it is near the top of the stout list.

ruberbox, Aug 01, 2010
Photo of glid02
4.72/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle shared by Jay - thanks!

Pours black with a one-finger brown head. The head recedes into a thin layer on top leaving solid lacing.

Smells of robust roasted malt with good amounts of dark chocolate and tobacco aromas. Also present are light amounts of vanilla.

Tastes similar to how it smells. Smooth roasted malt flavors kick things off and are joined quickly by well-integrated dark chocolate and vanilla flavors. Hints of bourbon hit midway through the sip along with mild amounts of tobacco. Near the end of the sip slight amounts of coffee flavors make a brief appearance before fading into a moderately bitter ending.

Mouthfeel is very good. It's got a nice thickness with soft carbonation.

Drinkability is also very good. I finished my glass quickly and could easily have another.

Overall this was simply a phenomenal beer. Nothing was out of place and everything worked exceptionally well together. Well worth a shot.

glid02, Jul 30, 2010
Photo of wagenvolks
4.88/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Drum-roll, please....
...REVIEW 1000!

Thanks to weibull for the trade. 22oz black-foil bomber into an unmarked snifter.

Bubbly, inky-black body with a thin rim of mahogany at the edges. The mocha head fizzles quickly, as expected for the 13% ABV, but surprisingly maintains a ring of bubbles at the edges of the glass. Heavenly aroma, rife with dark fruits such as plum, black cherry, and currant. Roasted chocolate malts, vanilla bean from the bourbon, and cookie dough add a superb malt profile that mingles with a fruity, boozy tinge of chocolate liqueur.

Oh wow, this stuff is good.

Palate is hit instantly with a sharp, carbonated, and semi-boozy bourbon note that suggests dark bread, vanilla, and cocoa. Mid-sip is when the magic of Parabola takes effect, laying down layer upon layer of decadent Baker's chocolate, oak tannins, fig & plum fruitiness, and earthen hops. The alcohol provides warmth to the palate, but never becomes too hot or solvent-like. Mouthfeel is a velvety, viscous treat. Perfect carbonation and consistency that never gets heavy or taxing to the tongue. All in all, a flat-out fantastic brew. Glad I chose this one as review Numero 1K, it was well worth it. For me, Parabola is easily in the top tier of Imperial Stouts, and, for that matter, any beer in general.

wagenvolks, Jul 29, 2010
Photo of hayesez
4.47/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to ridglens for sharing this one a few days ago. I've been excited to give this one a shot for a while now!

A strong pour into my Dogfish Head snifter produces a mocha head that reduces quickly to a thin cap. The beer itself is damn near black. Ruby highlights around the edges, but you definitely have to put some work to notice that this thing isn't 100% opaque. Spotty lace is left inside my glass.

The smell of Parabola is all over the place. Whiskey and vanilla are the first two that jump out at me...and they are obvious! However, there is a ton of other stuff going on in there as well. Roasty malts, chocolate, caramel. Lots of sweet to balance out the bourbon kick. Very roasty with a tiny bit of coffee to round things off. Although the bourbon is obvious, the alcohol from the beer itself is not noticeable.

Very sweet beginning. With a smooth transition into the chocolate roasty whiskey. Not nearly as roasty as the nose, but still an outstanding combination of malts and chocolate goodness (which is a nice combination of both dark chocolate and sweet chocolate). A nice dark cherry taste, that I haven't picked up on the nose, is obviously present as well. The coffee that finishes the smell also runs caboose on the taste. I'm quite impressed. Parabola is creamy and silky - and thick. There is a bit of alcohol burn at the end that is a bit detracting, but come on, this beer is 13%...

This is a fantastic stout. It's a damn shame it is a bit difficult to procure, but I'll see if I can snag a couple more before they become impossible. I'm a huge fan of the big stouts and this one ranks right up there with some of the finest. Glad to see they are finally bottling it!

Consumed: 7/21/2010

hayesez, Jul 28, 2010
Photo of JosephLondon
4.2/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I think my expectation of this beer was too high. I expected an Abyss or Hunahpu caliber stout. Parabola is excellent, but lacks in some categories.

The appearance had a good, deep color. But the was not much of a crown of glory and left little lacing. The smell and taste paralleled near perfection with bold aromas/flavors of cocoa nibbs, oak, bourbon, coffee or espresso, and some alcohol. Really, this is a great stout by what matters to me the most: taste and smell. The feel was good. It wasn't frothy, but oily. Some may prefer the oily feel in a stout. An oily feel is just not my preference, but it was still good. I opened this one for mine and my girlfriends anniversary and I could not finish it. I was too full. It is a heavy beer and would be best split over a meal or partially consumed before the meal. I was really disappointed to waste about 1 3rd of such a landmark beer.

JosephLondon, Jul 28, 2010
Photo of andrewinski1
4.18/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into tulip. Not much head forms, lacing is very thin to none. The body is pitch black. Smell is mostly chocolate and a hint of sweetness; enjoyable but not the most complex. The taste is slightly sweet, but nowhere near cloying. Vanilla and maple flavors dominate. This goes down smooth; the alcohol is very hidden. Mouthfeel is decent and this is relatively drinkable for the style. It's not too thick but still has the viscosity RIS should have. Love it.

andrewinski1, Jul 26, 2010
Photo of Bendurgin
4.22/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

Time for another barrel aged beer. Thanks Andy for letting me drink all your beers lately. Poured this into a White Birch goblet. Big black body on this with a nice tan head. Good sticky lacing all around. I initially smell the barrel aging with dark fruits. Roasted malts and rich chocolate linger in the background. The barrel aging smells really good on this. Not overpowering, but the presence is known. The taste is really nice. Maple and bitter cocoa really dominate the pallet. This finish very nicely and lingers on the tounge. Rich and heavy and I'm digging it. The silky mouthfeel is partnered wonderfully with subtle carbonation. Great drinkability for a 13% barrel aged beer. The alcohol is hidden very well.

Bendurgin, Jul 26, 2010
Photo of thatsfine
4.35/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is my first review on here and this is a beer I've been wanting to try for a long time. Seemed like the right time to start posting. I'm new at this so please forgive any shortcomings, as I am learning each day.

The beer appeared extremely dark in the glass. I couldn't see any light through it. No head or lacing at all. Looks amazing.

Not a very strong smell. Traces of coffee and chocolate. The rest of it is too subtle for me to identify. The scent is just a tease of what the beer tastes like but it smells delicious.

Chocolate and coffee immediately. Bourbon taste stood out at the back of my mouth in particular. Not overpowering but enough to kick you in the pants. I loved the taste.

Felt good to drink. Perfect amount of heat on the back end, but pretty creamy and good.

Outstanding beer. Tons of different flavors. But not overdone and a pleasure to drink. Just had one glass, but definitely was sad to down the last sip. I love Firestone and this lived up to my expectations. If it were more available I would always have some in the cellar.

thatsfine, Jul 24, 2010
Photo of ShadesOfGray
4.3/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22oz bottle into my Portsmouth large snifter glass. I got a couple of these bottles from a few different BA'ers...so I don't know who to thank for this perticular one. In any case...if you sent me one...THANKS! Really looking forward to this one, since BA stouts are my favorite syle! Pours a super dark, and semi-thick black that fills the glass a murky darkness with a very, very small toffee colored creamy head that dissipates pretty quick. Not much for lacing...but who really cares!

Aroma is a slight let down...simply because it's very weak. I can pick up the chocolate, booze, and malts. Other than that, it's just so distant.

Flavor is outstanding! Thick and creamy mouthfeel, mild carbonation, big boozy flavor! Tons of chocolate all over the palate. All the big stout characteristics are present, but the barrel aging makes this so nice! The sweet flavors are not overkill, but just enough to make you keep wanting more...making this thick beer surprisingly drinkable! A great beer from Firestone Walker...can't weait to age a couple to see how it mellows and/or changes!

ShadesOfGray, Jul 23, 2010
Photo of KeefD
4.75/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Had this one side by side with BA Yeti during our first all grain brew day celebrations. This was the clear winner, IMO. Review from tasting notes:

Pours dark and thick, viscous, completely black in the glass but no head or lacing.

Aroma isn't overly crazy, but there's a great balance between chocolate, char, barrel, vanilla, only a touch of whiskey, which I kind of wished was more pronounced, but it's nice.

Taste is fantastic. I like how it's not incredibly sweet like most stouts this thick. Some chocolate blends well with vanilla, ample roastiness, but not astringent, dark fruit on the finish. Would kill for just a tad more bourbon.

Body is full, sticky yet dry, low carbonation. Alcohol is perfectly hidden. Delicious.

Easy drinking, lovely beer. Love that it's not a sugar bomb!

KeefD, Jul 23, 2010
Photo of zimmerbloke
4.8/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

My first sampling of Parabola. 22oz bottle shared with three friends.

A: Not much head. As I drink, the lacing works it way down the goblet. Beer is so dark, you can hardly see through a 1/4" of it.
S: Muted, but alluring. Coffee, roasted malts. Some sweetness, but not overpowering. Very good, enticing.
T: Wonderful. Beautifully balanced coffee, vanilla, chocolate, roasted malt. Couldn't imagine a better combination.
M: I could feel each sip slowly melt on my tongue. Slight carbonation dissipated very quickly and led to a remarkably smooth beer. Not the thickest I have had, but substantial, especially for an Imperial Stout, without being sticky.
D: Such a smooth drinking beer, especially for the 13% ABV. After each sip was gone, I wanted another.

Probably my favorite of Imperial Stouts I have tried. Manages to get across all of the enticing flavors (coffee, chocolate, oak) of a strong RIS on Oak without bashing you over the head. So easy to drink; can't wait for an opportunity to try another bottle.

zimmerbloke, Jul 22, 2010
Photo of ridglens
4.7/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a portsmouth snifter, shared with my beer sensei. big thanks to Chazmo for this amazing extra!!

A- beautiful, super dark with no light coming through the edges. pours a thin dark brown layer of head that goes to a thick ring in about ten minutes.

S- Holy roasted everything batman! roasted wood, coffee, and a little chocolate. a little bourbon and vanilla at first (fridge temp). as it warms to proper temp, bourbon blooms, and sweet vanilla comes out more. caramel makes an appearance to. great friggin' smell!

T-really good... a cascade of like ten flavors all within about 4 seconds, then bourbon washes them all to aftertastes... freekin great! most prevelent are a smokey caramel (not over-sweet though!), with oak and vanilla hints as well! bourbon hits at the end and sticks around long after the swallow. Just a little hot (a good thing)...super compex without a sweet overload!

M- Great thickness, creamy and silky, dig this one out of your teeth 2o minutes later!

D- damn smooth and never harsh

ridglens, Jul 22, 2010
Photo of sisuspeed
4.25/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to solomon420 for sending this out!

Poured into a Portsmouth tulip glass. Parabola produces a large, foamy, tan head that sits on top of an opaque, black, body. The head reduces a bit, but maintains fairly well. Patchy lacing left behind. Pretty good for a 13% stout.

Thick, sweet, roasty malts with a large wave of grassy, bitter hops attack the nose. Barrels come out nicely with a bit of alcohol heat. Traces of vanilla and a touch of bourbon.

Bitter dark malts and hops mix with smooth, almost creamy, chocolate and barrel notes. Faint coffee flavor lingers in the background alongside vanilla and a bit of alcohol. A very well balanced imperial stout with many subtle nuances.

Mouthfeel is smooth with light carbonation. Almost creamy at first, but finishes quite dry. A decent amount of bitterness with the 80 IBU, but the mouthfeel could change a bit with some age as the hops fade out. Would like to see this a bit thicker, but still pretty good. Warming alcohol on the finish.

Drinkability is pretty good. This is a big beer and definitely a sipper. Splitting a bomber with 1-2 other people is about perfect. The alcohol is noticeable on the finish, but it makes for a great stout to warm you up when it's cold out.

Overall, I'm really happy I got a chance to try this beer and I'm looking forward to seeing how the other two age in my cellar. I feel like this beer would benefit from a 2-3% knock in the ABV and a slightly thicker body, but it's quite good as it is. Firestone Walker always does a good job with their blending and this beer is no exception. Definitely worth seeking out.

sisuspeed, Jul 21, 2010
Photo of rhodeska
4.78/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

I was trying not to buy into the hype when my buddy decided we would taste one of these together, but here is what i thought:

Had a nice, thin head, not like many other stouts that have a frothy thick head on pour.

The smell was delicious, great aromas of chocolate and bourbon were there, as well as a few other things I can't quite place. (maybe vanilla, something from the barrels)

The taste of the beer is really good, it started with a smoky start and has a slight chocolate taste, and borubony flavors at the end. This beer kept changing as I drank it over time, and it had a ton of different flavors I couldn't place exactly. The vanilla? seemed to come through as i drank more and more at the beginning of the drinks.

This was a very drinkable stout, easy to put down, and didn't feel super heavy. I'm not sure how I feel about it being so thin as opposed to other stouts, but this beer was very smooth and tasty.

rhodeska, Jul 20, 2010
Photo of jdense
4.55/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

PIB 7.17.2010, bottled version, late arrival at the festival.

Minimal head and dissipation, resulting in a very thin layer of head around the edge of the glass. Dark dark brown body no visible carbonation due to hue. The nose is pretty winy due to barrel aging with a lot of bittersweet chocolate aromas. Taste is huge hit of chocolate upfront, with oaky and winy notes, and significant hop bitterness on back end but kept in balance by significant malt bill, caramel, and the pervasive chocolate with a wee bit of coffee present. Mouthfeel is medium full, just a bit sticky, and a surprisingly dry finish given the chocolate notes. Pretty boozy effects drinkability, a sipper to be sure, this could certainly benefit from some cellaring. This is one very tasty beer, worthy of the buzz it has generated, wish I'd had grabbed a bottle at By the Bottle in Vancouver WA, as I am sure this is harder than hell to come by now.

jdense, Jul 19, 2010
Photo of BearsOnAcid
3.8/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

Parabola poured out pitch black with a very small mocha head. I was surprised not to find that this beer had some oxidized/cardboard aroma that I find in their anniversary beers. Lots of sweet roasted malt and a light soy sauce aroma lifts out of the beer. It tries really hard to hide the alcohol in the beer. Very well rounded at this point.

Flavor is deeply roasted malt, sweet, and some hoppy bitterness. Mouthfeel is nearly the same as the anniversary beers. For a stout, this is considered watery. It feels more like a porter which I find to be the major fault in the beer. Other wise this is an extremely well balanced and flavorful stout. The barrel aging does not seem to take a huge role in this though. I'd be interested to so if this could stand on it's own without the barrel aging.

BearsOnAcid, Jul 19, 2010
Photo of ChadQuest
4.53/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

GREAT looking beer. black with a coffee colored head. I really like how the top of the head is alot larger more robust bubbles then the finely packed main part of the head. Just looks super oily on the pour, and i made sure to center pour quite a bit of this, and it turned out looking fantastic.

Aroma is fantastic too. an absolute perfect amount of roasted qualities mixed with bourbon and barrel effects. So inviting.

I've had this once before at a tasting, and it was my highlight then, and still amazes me now, i just can not believe how complex this beer is! Vanilla and smooth creamy chocolate, just melted together with caramel provide such a rich sweetness, and to brash things up a bit and provide the balance is roasted malt,and some alcohol heat, and seemingly even seperate from the heat is the bourbon. This barrel aging and heat do great things to this beer, this beer has some of the best use of barrels i've ever tasted, nothing is huge but everything is easy noticable, this is how its done.

pretty thick feel i love the viscosity its perfect, and the light carbination is just how i like them to be, slight popping accent but not overdone.

This bomber is alone, and i am enjoying every bit of it. yea its got some heat, but its so great for 13%.

ChadQuest, Jul 18, 2010
Photo of Xul
4.65/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a deep, viscous black, capped by a frothy two finger mocha colored head. Retention is good as the head settles down to one finger of tight carbonation and dissipates slowly from there, leaving scant lacing down the glass.

S: The most evident aromas up front are caramel, roasted malts, dark chocolate and vanilla, but none of these overpower each other, nor any the supporting smells. Moderate bourbon notes, light oak - including somewhat of a burnt wood character - some coffee, and faint notes of tobacco and leather. Amazingly complex and well integrated.

T: Starts out with caramel, dark chocolate and vanilla before moving into bourbon, light oak and light tobacco on the mid-palate. Moderate coffee and roasted malts come up and add some bitter notes before receding, revealing some dark fruits - cherries and perhaps a touch of plum. Finish maintains some of the dark fruits and brings back dark chocolate and vanilla.

M: Full bodied with low to moderate carbonation...it occupies the perfect spot between creamy and chewy, smooth and viscous.

D: The alcohol is kept firmly in check, manifesting itself only in the bourbon notes...dangerously drinkable for such a big beer.

Xul, Jul 16, 2010
Photo of SpdKilz
4.55/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Had on tap last night at The Library in Santa Monica.

Appearance - Comes in a 10oz sniffer. Arrives with about a finger of dark, mocha colored head that slowly dissipates. The beer itself is opaque, with literally no light showing through, even around the edges. As the beer begins to disappear, great looking lacing is left on the sides of the glass.

Smell - Wow, this smells amazing. Dark roasted malts, heavy on the dark chocolate, slight vanilla. I believe there is a hint of brown sugar and bourbon with slight burnt wood. This beer smells freaking amazing.

Taste - Wow again. Massive amounts of roasted (thought not overly bitter) malts up front. The dark chocolate is immediately made known and the other flavors just begin to make themselves known. Dark fruits such as sweet cherries and plums, vanilla, oak, and bourbon. This beer tastes just utterly amazing. Having had the Abyss on tap I was expecting it to be a bit muddled with picking the flavors out being so "fresh", however, this is not an issue whatsoever with this beer.

Mouthfeel - Great, thick viscosity. Lower carbonation, and finishes with a slight alcohol warming of the throat.

Drinkability - A sipper as it should be. However, let me preface that by stating at such an early and fresh age for this beer, it is more drinkable than BCS and the Abyss at the same age. I was very impressed at how this beer turned out and I wish I could have had a second glass. Good thing I have two in my cellar. Highly recommended.

SpdKilz, Jul 15, 2010
Photo of DefenCorps
4.55/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Chris sent me a couple of these. Thanks, dogg!

Pouring jet black, this beer glugs from the bottle with an oily consistency. A dense, dark brown head, iridescent and long-lived is present, leaving little lace. The nose is just excellent. Right off the bat, I get decadent chocolate brownies, but as it breathes, the malt complexity really shines. Molasses , roast, grainy bitterness are all present, along with a little licorice. The barrel character is delicious. Toasted coconut, bourbon, vanilla are present in wonderful harmony, working well with the base stout. Sweetness is discernible with some caramel and toffee, but there's a mild charred malt bitterness to balance it out.

My oh my! What a wonderful beverage! The dark chocolate and coffee fudge character again open up the palate with the bourbon, coconut and vanilla following. Caramel sweetness, a little toffee and molasses are also present. Alcohol is wonderfully hidden, I would not guess this was 13%. However, the light spiciness that the alcohol brings pairs very well with the heavily caramelized sugars, reminding me in some ways of pumpernickel bread. The finish is long lasting, with a blend of dark chocolate, bourbon and coconut. Very, very well-balanced, this is truly wonderful stuff. Maybe some dark fruit too? The mouthfeel is incredible, with a big body that never gets tiring, moderate carbonation which, surprisingly, works. A decadent finish, I do get a little char as well. Exceptional stuff, this is going to be a fun two hours with this beer. And two hours later, I could still go fore more of this. Wonderful stuff.

In some ways, it reminds me of the FiftyFifty Imperial Eclipse Stout that was aged in Elijah Craig barrels. Paired with rum and amaretto truffles from RMCF, this is truly wondrous. The nuttiness of the amaretto works harmoniously with the coconut character from the barrel, making this one of the better pairings I've conceived.

**Edit 28 Nov 2011**
I'm drinking my last batch of batch 2. The only other time I drank this batch was earlier this summer on a very drunken night.
At cellar temperature, I'm astounded by how hoppy this beer is. There's a lot of English hop character here, with a fairly high bitterness and leafy character noticeable. In addition, this batch has a lot more licorice character than I remember the first batch having, with a mild anise-like spiciness. Dark honey, a moderate bourbon character with vanilla and toasted coconut. The stout base is pretty nice too, with unsweetened baker's chocolate, molasses and licorice. The palate has all of the flavors the nose would suggest in a nice balance. Hoppy bitterness is strong on the finish, melding with the coconut and vanilla as well as some grainy bitterness. Moderately sweet as well, this has some dark caramel and candy sweetness on the mid-palate. A little less fudge-like and with more licorice and anise than I remember the first bottled batch having, this is an excellent stout. I want to drop my scores a hair, but I can't find a fair way of doing that, so my scores will stand for now.

DefenCorps, Jul 14, 2010
Photo of drabmuh
4.72/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle shared at a recent small tasting. Split between three people. Beer served in a snifter. Beer is dark black and forms a one fingered head of small brown bubbles that leaves some lacing on the glass. Nice.

Aroma is bourbony and nice. Its a little hot in the nose, much hotter in the nose than in the mouth.

This is close to the perfect tasting beer. Its creamy and smooth, mildly sweet up front, not hot in the mouth. A subtle and well balanced liquor flavors, nice bourbon character. Its mildly dry but not harsh or acrid. Good roast in the back, some almost coffee like flavors. Very wonderful beer. I would drink this again if given the opportunity.

drabmuh, Jul 12, 2010
Photo of MexicanSkittel
4.2/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

13% ? Yah you can certainly feel the heat in the after taste of this little gem. But the sweet port like upfront taste is a good balance to the Alc.
When I received this glass last night I noticed the very light cream colored head floating on an over powering DARK brown with highlights of black.
The nose was pleasant notes of coffee grounds, burbon, chocolate, and a subtle oak lingering.
Along with the smells I tasted each of those in this beer, along with a sweetness of port, which I think better described as Burbon in cherrywood casks.
I was preparing my mouth for a more viscous beer from the color, but it was a little lighter in texture, but it made up for that in the Alc. Then having a lasting finish of an irish coffee made from sweet american burbon, without the cream.
Quite a drinkable beer, but make it an after dinner sipper, or pair with bacon pancakes for a sunday brunch to get your day started.
Another yummy beer from the Firestone Walker.

MexicanSkittel, Jul 10, 2010
Parabola from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
100 out of 100 based on 4,600 ratings.