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Parabola - Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
ParabolaParabola

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
100
world-class

4,893 Ratings
THE BROS
98
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4,893
Reviews: 1,005
rAvg: 4.61
pDev: 8.46%
Wants: 2,301
Gots: 2,673 | FT: 189
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.

2011
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
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Parabola Alström Bros
Ratings: 4,893 | Reviews: 1,005 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of mulder1010
2.98/5  rDev -35.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

From notes
Thanks to Mr Kennedy for opening this
Bomber poured into a tulip

A-- Poured black, one finger light brown/ sugar cane colored head. Decent retention. Little bit of spotty lacing, visible alcohol legs and bits of spotty lacing.

S-- Sugar. Lots of sugar. Very little barrel notes, what was there was faint and short lived. Vanilla and coconut were faint and fleeting. More coffee and roasted malts mixed with lots of sugar.

T-- Sweet dairy milk, sugar, more sugar. Somewhat thick and smooth.

M-- Feel and carbonation are perfect. Good body. Sugar is much more toned down in the feel and more about chocolate and malts. Have to note had BA Yeti before having this and the barrel notes in BA Yeti were much more obvious in every respect.

O-- Decent sweet beer. was it really aged in a barrel?? That was my biggest question. Bottle says so, so I have to concur. Really disappointed but as a straight RIS it was OK.

mulder1010, Dec 01, 2011
Photo of Mudawg
3/5  rDev -34.9%

Mudawg, Dec 04, 2011
Photo of bevoduz
3/5  rDev -34.9%

bevoduz, Oct 04, 2014
Photo of soldat329x
3/5  rDev -34.9%

soldat329x, Sep 10, 2013
Photo of sjrodriguez
3/5  rDev -34.9%

sjrodriguez, Aug 13, 2014
Photo of parkingphi
3/5  rDev -34.9%

parkingphi, Jun 08, 2013
Photo of Brew33
3/5  rDev -34.9%

Brew33, Jul 11, 2013
Photo of bennettj1087
3/5  rDev -34.9%

bennettj1087, May 13, 2013
Photo of SiegeSpitfire
3/5  rDev -34.9%

SiegeSpitfire, Mar 06, 2014
Photo of hoppyboy69
3/5  rDev -34.9%

hoppyboy69, Aug 24, 2013
Photo of Nichols33
3/5  rDev -34.9%

Nichols33, May 09, 2014
Photo of dcoat
3/5  rDev -34.9%

dcoat, Jun 21, 2014
Photo of Jerryt0000
3/5  rDev -34.9%

Jerryt0000, Jun 07, 2014
Photo of TaylorBrake
3/5  rDev -34.9%

TaylorBrake, Apr 14, 2014
Photo of HoppyDazed
3.1/5  rDev -32.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

To start I am trying the 2014 vintage and I admit that stouts aren't my preferred style, but I do like trying new things and I do attempt to expand my horizons. That being said, I just didnt really care for this. I found it overwhelmingly sweet. My first sip I immediately get the bourbon, followed by chocolate. The oak and coffee begin to creep in after a couple of sips but sweetness is dominate. The mouth feel is a bit heavy for my preference, but not off-putting necessarily. I can appreciate the number of flavors and the balance of those flavors but this is just not for me. Kind of reminds me a little of a barley wine, maybe I'm way off on that, I dont know. I would say if you know you dont like this style but you are trying it because of the hype (like I did) then save your money and save the bottle for someone that will enjoy it.

HoppyDazed, May 31, 2014
Photo of obiwan_k3n00bi
3.25/5  rDev -29.5%

One of the first craft beers I ever had, and for some reason I kept one from that same time.

Genuinely bad idea, tasted like old salty raisons.

obiwan_k3n00bi, Oct 27, 2013
Photo of Mikeluzzjr
3.25/5  rDev -29.5%

Mikeluzzjr, Mar 24, 2014
Photo of ImperialBrau
3.25/5  rDev -29.5%

ImperialBrau, Jul 29, 2014
Photo of Broden
3.25/5  rDev -29.5%

Broden, Nov 06, 2012
Photo of Hill4Hops
3.25/5  rDev -29.5%

Hill4Hops, Jul 31, 2013
Photo of pmccallum86
3.28/5  rDev -28.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a super deep and dark black color with a small bubbly cocoa colored head. The color here is very dark, this beer looks awesome.

Smell is very woody, almost like a campfire. Looks of dark and bitter chocolate aromas as well.

Taste is unlike any other beer I have ever had, very big, rich, and woody. Lots of barrel flavors come through here with a light bourbon burn on the finish. This beer seems a little messy right now, it is very dry, it tastes like I am sucking on wood.

Big, full, and rich mouthfeel. Medium carbonation, a little hot on the finish. Very dry, something seems off.

Overall kind of a disappointing beer. I won't be seeking it out again.

pmccallum86, Jul 04, 2010
Photo of Jayli
3.3/5  rDev -28.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Acquired from beerbeerbeerbeer so a big THANK YOU goes out to him!

Consumed 4/19
Poured in to my Portsmouth snifter

A: This beer pours an opaque deep brown with a one finger brown head. Head recedes quickly leaving small spots of lacing.

S: Nose is sweet, toffee, molasses, brown sugar and a bit of roast.

T: Taste starts with a sweet vanilla and toffee flavoring. Middle has a roastiness where a hefty dose of alcohol flavoring takes over. Helloooo bourbon! More oaked vanilla notes and bitter bakers chocolate are present in the background.

M: Medium body, medium carbonation, a bit thin and slightly prickly.

O: Goes down alright, somewhat tasty, somewhat filling, decent kick, ok representation of style. I was really looking forward to this beer, and although it's not undrinkable, I would opt for others of the style. Perhaps aging a bit would enhance this beer.

Jayli, Apr 22, 2011
Photo of groovejackson
3.3/5  rDev -28.4%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance - What you would expect....complete black...looks good!

Smell - Not overpowering....some currents...some toffee.

Taste - The first and lasting impression is twizzlers. You could think of it as wine but It's a bit medicinal...not in a good way. Alcohol is nicely hidden. I do taste some vanilla and wood as well.

Mouthfeel - nice and smooth....luxurious.

Overal - I was so excited about this one but I have to say I'm disappointed. The synthetic fruit is overpowering and I think it is just not my cup of tea. I really prefer a more cocoa and coffee profile in my Imperial Stouts. I'm glad I tried it but I don't think I'll be getting it again.

groovejackson, Sep 18, 2012
Photo of tewaris
3.33/5  rDev -27.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Batch # 1 poured into a New Belgium balloon. Thanks Frank!

Jet black with a sheet of dark brown bubbles for the head. Hardly any lacing but the beer itself clings to the glass sip upon sip. Certainly "strong" looking.

Aroma is mostly vanilla and bourbon. Some alcohol here and there, nothing fusel though. Taste is signature -bal stout: slightly sweet with notes of vanilla, slightly acidic with a powerful roasty and woody finish and lingering roast on the palate. While not a coffee stout, the aftertaste is very close to chewing on a roasted coffee bean.

Certainly warming in its strength with a medium body among similar examples. The carbonation is too high for my liking. Another flaw, in my opinion, is the excessive wood. Whisky sits in a barrel to get mellow; the effect of barrels on this beer seems to be the exact opposite. Not that I mind an intense beer but Parabola sometimes feels like wood and vanilla, and nothing more.

4, 3.5, 3.5, 2.5, 3

tewaris, Nov 19, 2011
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.

Arbitrator, Nov 06, 2011
Parabola from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
100 out of 100 based on 4,893 ratings.