Parabola - Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

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ParabolaParabola

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BA SCORE
100
world-class

1,063 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score

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Reviews: 1,063
Hads: 5,544
rAvg: 4.51
pDev: 7.54%
Wants: 2,797
Gots: 3,205 | FT: 245
Brewed by:
Firestone Walker Brewing Co. visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
Russian Imperial Stout |  14.00% 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.

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]
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Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 1,063 | Hads: 5,544
Photo of azdback
4.7/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a snifter. Utter darkness. Not even a hint of light coming through this beer. There isn't any head to speak of. What little there was, dissipated quickly. No lace is sticking around on this one, this is possibly due to my snifters being washed in the dishwasher (tisk, tisk) or maybe just the high abv.

Smells of vanilla, coffee, and chocolate, with hints of bourbon barrels and a little smoke. All these are wrapped up in a nice whisky booze package. It almost smells as fantastic as The Abyss.

Tastes of dark roasted coffee, bitter chocolate and brown sugar. There is also some spicy flavors of tobacco and charred wood. The barrels are here as well, bourbon, oak and whiskey tastes. Just a perfectly blended Imperial Stout.

The mouth is quite fantastic. Deep rich flavors all the way to the end. Alcohol warminess sooths the throat all the way to the belly. There is no carbonation to speak of. As this warms it almost drinks like a glass of bourbon.

Overall I really enjoyed this. I believe this has cracked my top five Russian Imperial Stout list. Seek this out at all costs!! Really!!! Thanks to aandresen for this bottle. (1,144 characters)

Photo of puboflyons
4.71/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

From the 2012 batch Reserve Series no. 003. Sampled on July 31, 2013.

The pour is a deep dark brown with an opaque black veil dropping down from top to near the bottom. The brown is around the edges and there is a short-lived tan head.

Imperial Stout aroma galore including dark malts, sugar sweetness, licorice, chocolate, fig, wood, and the slightest sniff of smoke. Hops are downplayed on the nose.

The body is full and delicately smooth.

The taste is upfront with sweet malts, a little chocolate, maybe some butterscotch, and bourbon with this moderate hop bitterness that powers its way forward at the very finish lingering briefly. A topnotch Imperial Stout. (668 characters)

Photo of Gregaroo
4.71/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

On tap at Isaac Newtons in Newtown, PA. Served into a tulip glass. Very like head, but great aroma and taste! Went back for a second, but the keg was gone. Nice treat on a Wednesday evening. (191 characters)

Photo of More_betterness
4.71/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

2014 vintage.

A: Absolutely pitch black body with a half finger mocha head that recedes to the thinnest of rings around the glass quickly. Perfect appearance for an RIS.

S: Bourbon soaked vanilla bean, bakers chocolate, and rich dark pitted fruits. Sweet alcohol emerges as it warms. As inviting as it comes.

T: More vanilla, but this time paired with dark cherry and raw cocoa nibs. Charred oak and dark chocolate covered espresso beans linger on the palate long after each sip. Remarkably hidden alcohol for 14%. Glorious.

M: Full bodied and velvety. Coats the mouth completely and a bit of viscous texture remains following each taste.

O: World class. In my opinion the yardstick by which each and every bourbon barrel aged stout should be measured. Remarkably potent flavors and aromas, yet maintains perfect balance throughout. Firestone + barrels = magic. (866 characters)

Photo of BeerBuckeye
4.71/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

2013 Vintage poured into Bell's snifter

A - Pours a little lighter than I was expecting. Mostly opaque, but a dark brown color rather than a viscousy black

S - Good amount of bourbon in the nose, vanilla sweetness, licorice, grapes, and a hint of chocolate.

T - Great complexity here. Taste starts with bitter coffee, nice and roasted. Comes into a good amount of bourbon, provides a kick of vanilla. Works into dark fruits before finishing again with some bitter baker's chocolate and a tinge of hop.

M - Drying almost, but smooth, very (543 characters)

Photo of Fcolle2
4.71/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

A: this pours a thick muddy black with a nice dark tan head. Lacing is beautiful, I've never seen anything quite like this.

S: bitter dark chocolate, minor notes of espresso, dark fruit and oak with a slight alcohol finish.

T: wow, lots dark chocolate and vanilla upfront that fades into the rich charred malt that is highlighted by the oak and hints of dark fruit. Bourbon is subtle, not over powering and very well balanced. Alcohol is there but well hidden.

M: thick in the best way possible, coats the mouth entirely and great small bubble carbonation, has the velvety feel of a nitro, really nice.

O: best beer I have had in a long time. Perfectly balanced and very complex. I can't wait to re-review the one I'm putting away for next year. (749 characters)

Photo of Dlish
4.71/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A- It is murky black with a hint of ruby. its foam is a dark brown and lightly beaded.

S- smells of dark chocolate, hits of Bourbon and alcohol.

T- Rich deep chocolate, hints of vanilla race by as a bourbon and rich dark cherries spread over the tongue. coffee and roasted malts start to grow and ends with just a hint of smokiness. Overall amazing, taste like liquid black forest cake but better.

M- thick chewy milky.

D- I've had this both on tap and from the bottle, both are amazing, I enjoy the small 4oz of it just fine, the 22 becomes over whelming. but now that i have had it, i keep getting the urge to by more or drive back to firestone! (653 characters)

Photo of beerthulhu
4.72/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Reserve series #003. 12.5%abv. 2012 vintage.

A: Dark hersey chocolate pour is a pitch black in the vessel accompanied by golden micro-beads of carbonation slowly rising to build up the creamy, dark khaki head that sits stubbonly about with no where to go. Decent lace coverage.

S: Nice wiff of whiskey upon first uncapping gives you a good indication for what follows on the nose. Whiskey laced smooth chocolate malts appear with a slight smoky and charred nature of woodiness. Burnt licorice and burbon soaked dark fruit are always welcomed with roasted barley and a scorched toffee sweetness that balances just right.

T: The flavor is even more endearing. Whiskey heavy with bitter dark chocolate and licorice first pops out. Flashes of sweet scorched toffee offers balance and sweetness with a soothing campfire minerality of burnt grains and currant. Burbon touch of dark fruitiness comes about while the alcohol still is shy, feeling much lower then its advertised 12.5%abv which is just fine with me, it just shows how well and clean as smooth this beer really is on the next level. Smooth earthy and silty bitterness follows the swallow along with some freshly brewed french roast.

M: Luscious mouthful, silky thick and creamy from the oats with a warming of whisky and vanilla coffee bean ease. Amazing bite of earthy dark bitterness covers the tongue.

O: Overall this beer is certainly on a level above most others and a 1% by style. For such a dark and high abv beer this comes off amazingly smooth, refined, balanced and is so deliciously inviting i feel i can continue much longer then the bomber should allow me to. Was literally awestruck from the first sip to the last, kept my attention and excitment thoughout with vocal explanations thrown around as to its heavenly nature. I dont hand out 5's to often but really couldnt find much else i would rather see here that could make this any more enjoyable except for another bottle in hand. Highly recommended. (1,982 characters)

Photo of spark3148857
4.72/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours bitch black (midnight black according to FW) with a one finger tan head that recedes to a ring of tight bubbles. Notes of bourbon, oak, cherries, dark fruit, dark chocolate, coffee, some booze and brown sugar sweetness in the nose. Taste opens with bourbon and oak followed by dark fruits in the middle of the palate. Back end is a pop of intense milk chocolate and coffee that coats the mouth. The alcohol is imperceptible. Mouthfeel is thick and coating, among the best I've had. Parabola meets the hype and in some ways exceeds it. Certainly the best barrel aged RIS I've had (still waiting on KBS). (608 characters)

Photo of jsanford
4.72/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle poured into a Firestone-Walker Snifter. 2010 vintage.

A - Dark, inky black with a short-lived mocha-colored head that recedes to a slight ring and wispy haze.
S - Dark chocolate and roasted malt with huge caramel, vanilla, and oak aromas from the Bourbon barrels. Incredibly dark and complex!
T - Oboy. Tons of dark chocolate, espresso, malt, and molasses with a strong Bourbon character. Deep, sweet, and pleasantly boozy, this is what a BA Stout should be.
M - So smooth, velvety even, with a creamy mouthfeel, full body, and nice prickly carbonation. Superb.
O - Easily one of the best Barrel-Aged Stouts I've had, this is an exceptional beer! (659 characters)

Photo of deadonhisfeet
4.72/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2011 bottling poured into a Stone IRS snifter. The pour is pitch black, opaque, and very sinister-looking. A rough pour produces a thin, dark brown head that quickly dies down to a thin edge lacing. Mild nose (perhaps it's a bit cold) with muddled bourbon, oak, fudge, and dark fruit notes.

The beer is very full-bodied with a rich, complex flavor and velvety feel. The flavor is amazing and the super creamy feel of this beer pushes it completely off-the-chart. Extraordinary depth and complexity here. I don't think I've ever detected this many flavors in a beer since I first tried The Abyss. Sweet malt, toffee, and milk chocolate up front, followed by bourbon, licorice, and vanilla at mid-palate. Finally, I get fudge, coffee, and molasses in the back of the palate. There is just a whiff of alcohol warmth as the bourbon and toffee return and linger briefly on the finish with the coffee, then it all turns to rich, fruity port.

I am a huge fan of Russian Imperial Stouts and this is a masterpiece of a beer that approaches RIS flavor perfection. I'd love to try this a little fresher so I can get the total effect. My thanks to ThaFATkid for giving me the opportunity to try this. I owe you one, buddy! (1,212 characters)

Photo of beerdrifter
4.72/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Picked this up at a great beer store, Tops Liquor, while at a conference in Phoenix. Been saving it for almost a year so it has some nice age on it. Pitch black pour with beautiful chocolate-colored two finger head that fades quickly with minimal lacing. The bourbon and oak are huge right from the first whiff. Hints of vanilla, tobacco, espresso and dark chocolate make every sip a pleasure to the nose. This is one big beer! The taste is huge and complex. As in the nose, the bourbon and oak are the stars. The balance is perfect with just enought bitter hops to offset the sweet malts. Dark chocolate, vanilla, roasty coffee, oak and lots of bourbon only get better as this warms. The mouthfeel is thick and smooth as silk. And although this is a huge sipper of a beer, it was extremely drinkable. I had read complaints about the size of the bottle being too big for one person, but I was totally enjoying every drop and never felt overwhelmed. The alcohol is warming but not overpowering. This is one of those rare beers and I can't thank the staff at Tops Liquors enough for hooking me up with this classic! (1,113 characters)

Photo of KeefD
4.72/5  rDev +4.7%
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! (799 characters)

Photo of Beerandboards
4.72/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bomber into a large wine glass. 2012 vintage, reviewed fresh.

A - black, almost pitch, but when tilted and held to the light, a dark brown sugar color comes out on the edge. Very little carbonation, even an aggressive pour straight into the middle produces very little head. I wish there were a teeny bit more head, but almost no complaint here.

S - absolute 5 here. Top notch. Vanilla, bourbon, some very rich roasted malt, slight oak. Can't quit huffing this throughout the life of the pour. Really smells great.

T - also really really great here too. Vanilla, toasty malt, bourbon, rich deep flavors and I can't do a great job of describing. There are some hops that come in at the end and really assert some bitterness at the end. My only (tiny) complaint is that the hops may be just ever so slightly too bitter. As he beer warms, I find the hop bitterness less and less off putting, but I still have to say I'm glad I have another to cellar for a year or so to see if the hops quiet down.

M - again, no fault here. Where I complained a bit about no head, I have to give the beer props for perfect low carbonation. Rich, thick mouthfeel.

O - Very close to 5s all around, but not quite. This is about as close to perfect as I can think of though, really excellent. (1,288 characters)

Photo of TheEarl
4.72/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I had this in a snifter at Brouwer’s “Back in Black” Stout Festival on May 11, 2012. I believe it was from a keg of the 2011 that Brouwer's had been saving.

Appearance: Jet black with a mid-brown head and fairly big bubbles.

Smell: Huge dark chocolate, vanilla, oak/wood, and bourbon notes with a general, but not unpleasant, whiff of vaporizing alcohol.

Taste: Sweetness is the most overt taste but, once I got accustomed to it, plum, coffee, raisin, chocolate, vanilla, and bread crust flavors come through.

Mouthfeel: Heavy, sticky, and somewhat alcohol tingly.

Overall: Parabola is probably my favorite stout of the moment. It manages to be the perfect balance of sweet and complex without being overwhelming. After having my first pour, I went out and purchased two bottles. (795 characters)

Photo of Falcon91Wolvrn03
4.72/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

2012 Vintage opened in 2015. Review #200.

Appearance – A very dark black, with a light brown head and medium light lacing.

Smell – Malt, sweet vanilla, bourbon, and oak.

Taste – Follows the nose – malt, vanilla, bourbon, and oak. Delicious!

Mouthfeel – Nicely carbonated, smooth, and creamy. Goes down amazingly well and doesn't feel like 13%abv.

Drinkability – This went down easy for 13%abv. Very nice! (425 characters)

Photo of comfortablynumb1
4.72/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A present from my awesome wife for Fathers Day...

2011 vintage

Poured from a bomber into an AleSmith Brewing imperial pint glass...

A - Pours black with a one finger brown head on a fairly passive pour. There is a good amount of head retention, but there is next to no lace to be had...

S - Coffee, chocolate, a hint of vanilla, and a good dose of bourbon. Smells a little hot, but still inviting...

T - Dark chocolate and coffee are the most prominate flavors up front. Vanilla is present along with some sweet caramel, and oak. Smooth bourbon comes through in the finish with some lingering valilla. For a 12.5 percenter this one is exceptionally smooth and balanced. Delicious...

M - Nice and creamy, with an above average amount of carbonation for the style. This one rides the line between being full/medium bodied...

O - Ridiculously drinkable considering the abv. The hype for this one was high, and it lived up to the praise. Firestone impresses again with another top notch brew...

Cheers... (1,008 characters)

Photo of kbrown
4.72/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

2013 Vintage purchased by A&I in Las Vegas.

Appearance - Dark brown with slightly ruby tint

Smell - Sweet bourbon, chocolate, ginger bread, cinnamon, coffee

Mouth Feel - Extremely, velvety smooth. Best that I have had even though I could do without the carbonation.

Taste - Follows the smell. Balanced, but more prominent bourbon taste than KBS.

Overall- As the label says, "a one-of-a-kind sipping beer". (412 characters)

Photo of Chico1985
4.72/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Bomber shared with cbutova. nerd sent me this as an extra in a trade, much thanks! This was exactly 1 year, 1 day old and I didn't even know it until I had already opened it, awesome.

Pours black as black. Small brown head turns to ring eventually leaving some lacing.

Smell is rich chocolate cake and roasted malt, not much bourbon barrel. Simple but great scent, gains strength with warmth.

Tastes like fudge brownies, vanilla, oak and bourbon are on the light side but balanced excellently. Big on roasted malts, smoky almost. Has the feel of a very traditional imperial stout with a good, not overpowering bourbon taste which is awesome.

13%, wha wha? Insanely hidden, goes down so easy. Lowish carbonation, thick mouthfeel, great balance. 13% here is a magic trick.

Comparing it to other bourbon stouts, it doesn't have the complexity of The Abyss, but this is WAY less harsh and more balanced than 1-year old Bourbon County Stout. Great beer, hope to get another bomber. (981 characters)

Photo of tut2528
4.72/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Batch 3

A: pour is lightly viscous, deep brown in color. Almost no head formation on this pour and minimal lacing. Little carbonation.

S: big sweet bourbon soaked raisins and other dark fruits are profound and there is an awesome touch of vanilla. A nice solid malt backbone holds this one together. Not all that complex, but extremely well balanced.

T: wow, this one is sweet delicious bomb. I pick up on the sweet brown sugar, alcohol soaked raisins, big bourbon and massive vanilla. Alcohol is more noticeable than in the nose, but I think it sits perfectly with all the other sweetening flavors. There is a very faint chocolate note and a mild hint of hops, thus increasing the complexity.

M: Full bodied, light burn of alcohol on the lips, and the light carbonation is perfect for this brew.

O: I find this one absolutely awesome. Everything is so well balanced in this one, but be warned that this is a sweet sugary bomb. The only knock on it may be the heat on this one. I find it appropriate for the massive sweetness in this brew. (1,044 characters)

Photo of JayAre46
4.72/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

batch 002. split with mr. cloeren, crack! and immediately the aroma shows its face, 22 oz bottle poured into duvel tulips. gives a pitch black liquid of midnight madness producing a half finger of a soft khaki head, tight bubbles remain for a while covering their tracks as they slowly fall. sweet bourbon straight to the head through the nose with vanilla, barrel characteristics and molasses. before i took the first sip many thoughts were racing through my head that i did not want to be disappointed more so than ever. parabola walked the walk son! the taste is even better perfect balance amongst bourbon, vanilla bean and molasses with appropriate supporting roasted malt and hints of chocolate in the back. complex and layerd to absolute, as it flows and rolls on the palate and finishes it is nothing but absolute silk to my surprise for the age (< 1yr in the bottle). the only flaw for me was that i thought it could of been slightly heavier, perhaps im wrong. it would be easy to drink every drop of this in a sitting. overall this beer was absoultely divine and i could not be happier that i have more. for myself bourbon, vanilla and molasses are my favorite characteristics for stouts and FW nailed it. (1,218 characters)

Photo of StonedTrippin
4.72/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

this is a near perfect beer, and defnitely the best firestone brew ive had, including the anniversary blend. pours jet black, dense and mean, with a one inch mocha colored head that fades out after a few minutes. smells is incredible. tons of wood, vanilla, bourbon notes, wine tannons, fresh pipe tobacco, chocolatey malt. i could smell this beer for ages. the flavor is lovely, very rich. notes of oak, milk chocolate, burned sugar, and that pipe tobacco marry perfectly in the mouth for a long complex drinking experience. not sure ive had any stout this good. mouthfeel is right on. velvety smooth with all that body, mellow carbonation from the barrel time. overall this may be one of the best stouts out there, its absolutely fantastic, and worth every penny of the 15 bucks it cost. you must must try this (812 characters)

Photo of stonermouse
4.72/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

2011 vintage.

I grabbed three bottles of this beauty, and couldn't resist trying a relatively fresh one.

Pours "midnight" as it is described on the bottle. Not quite a jet black- a little dark brown creeped in. Head is cocoa and minimal, yet a bit dense for what sticks around.

I know from the aroma that I'm going to love this beer. Big bourbon right away, with faint hints of chocolate and the littlest amount of coffee. Heavy, thick aroma.

I am admittedly biased when reviewing bourbon barrel brews. I love bourbon, and I love them fresh and boozy. This one has booze in spades. Quite smooth and a bit sweet- perhaps some dark berry flavors here. Some sweet chocolate as well, but very light. For a bourbon nut, this one hit the spot. I wish I hadn't shared it ;-)

Mouthfeel is solid, complimentary to the flavors, and true to the style. Some might want it a bit more viscous, but I thought it hit the mark pretty well.

I loved this beer fresh, in all its boozy glory. I imagine this beer will mature into something quite complex, but I'm considering drinking my remaining stash sooner rather than later. (1,113 characters)

Photo of Beerampage
4.72/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

2013 Vintage. Poured from a 22oz bottle into a wine glass

Appearance- Black with no transparency. Thin head laces nicely with movement.

Smell- Tons of vanilla right off the bat. Dark Chocolate, with a bit of sweetness. The booze is very present in the nose with a long draw. Bourbon. Smelling this thing is amazing. Its hard not to taste it right away, but like all things anticipation makes the experience more memorable. This is my third spin with this beer in consecutive years. I look forward to it each year.

Taste - Vanilla again very present in the front as it was with inital nose time. If you keep it on top of the tounge down the throat, you get the sweetness of chocolate, and vanilla with the bourbon and oak. The finish is smooth with a bit of bitterness from the choclate and coffee. Booze is warming and not overpowering. If you taste letting it spill all over your tounge to the sides and beneath, it just explodes. Fruit comes out with some cinnamon. our friends Bourbon and Oak in the middle of it all. The flavors are just insane, and change along the way.

Mouthfeel - Light dispite its big flavors and dense color. Carbonation is perfect as you get a little tounge buzz from it. Not too boozy, but it makes it clear your drinking a big one. Finish is clean with sweet glazed bitter finish.

Overall- This is tops in this style for me. I'm a hop head who enjoys a strong stout in the winter. This one is as stong as you want, with all the warmth the season commands. The flavor palate is just a perfect celebration of the season. Its your favorite black morning coffee, your decadent after dinner desert, and your evening bourbon all in one. If you see it get it, and share it with those who aren't afraid.

Cheers! (1,740 characters)

Photo of ManuelHerrera
4.72/5  rDev +4.7%
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. (2,183 characters)

Parabola from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
100 out of 100 based on 1,063 ratings.