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Parabola - Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
ParabolaParabola

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
100
world-class

1,069 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 1,069
Hads: 5,590
rAvg: 4.51
pDev: 3.33%
Wants: 2,830
Gots: 3,233 | FT: 249
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]
View: Beers (83) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 1,069 | Hads: 5,590
Photo of Yagman3000
4.3/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served from a bottle into my DFH goblet.

Appears a super dark brown with a tiny tinge of black. The most fantastic swirl ever of a tiny film is appearing on top that looks like something from Led Zeppelin 4's cover.

Smells a bit of licorice. I smell the classics: coffee and dark chocolate.

Taste is excellent but a bit heavy. All the smells are present in the taste. What's interesting in this beer is that the tastes blend together in a good way... they meld.

Mouthfeel is really nice. Consistent with a slow finish.

I very much enjoyed this beer and am so happy that I was able to try it. Super-limited edition that I was able to get two of. Having my second tomorrow. (676 characters)

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 BARFLYB
4.82/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2011 bomber split with oglmcdgl and sourbatchkid. Glad to see firewalker out here on the eastcoast. The world just got a bit smaller. Sorry Cali :(

Into the Duvel tulip, Parabola pours out a sludgy black color resembling night time. Pretty viscous looking streaming down, it is jet black once in the glass. A nice mocha brown inch of foam bubbly and lasting leaving some marks.

Smell is something to marvel at. It's bold, pungent and full of everything you would think. Bourbon clashing with a big roasted malt scent. Wood with chocolate hints and a underlining vanilla scent. Bold and beautiful.

Had a sip, meh, had another, yeah, and another, give me more!! Roasted malts play a big part as does the bourbon and wood at this young stage in the bottle. A bit of char and smoke and a faint drop of dark fruit resembling cherry. Not sure what the wine barrel influence brings, but something gotta be there. Chocolate over slight and I mean slight vanilla. Not a sweet beer, but well balanced with all above.

Feel is what you would expect from the look. Viscous, a big ol body, adaquate carb yet goes down smoother than that. With all the flavor it's best to sip this slow to get to know it better. A bit oily and a coater of the throat. Get a bit of char with bourbon in the aftertaste and some heat to go with it.

Im not the biggest rizzzz guy, but for what Parabola puts out, im more than game and if a bottle needed to be drank by myself, I would do it. It would take me four hours to do it, but it would get finished. A sipper at heart that begs to be drank more and more and more.

Overall I think this is an excellent BBA beer and one of my top three. It helps that it is not insanely overpriced like a certain ops from Brooklyn. The other barrels used impart so much more than just your average Barrel stout and it shows from the complexities, especially the faint cherry. Got one to lay down till wintertime, maybe christmas. (1,937 characters)

Photo of pmarlowe
4.44/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Tasted the 2010 and 2011 together. Overall scores are an average.

2011 vintage. Stone Oakquinox taster glass.
(3, 4.5, 4.5, 4.5, 4.5)

Pours a very dark brown coffee color, almost no head and no lacing. Smell is very chocolate forward, creamy vanilla, with the bourbon way in the background (a little more forward once it warms, but still...) Taste is also very chocolate/cocoa forward, vanilla, some more bourbon and oak present. The flavors are stronger here than in the 2010 version, and the bourbon is definitely more subdued. Smooth and chewy, medium carbonation and full body. Alcohol is quite well hidden, but becomes a little more noticeable as it warms; still, this isn't anywhere near "hot", just slightly warming. Overall, this is top class bourbon aged stout, very drinkable.

2010 vintage. Tulip glass. Thanks to spry for opening this one up.
(4, 4.5, 4.5, 4.5, 4.5)

Again, pours a very dark brown coffee color, with a ring of dark khaki foam that has good retention, but minimal lacing. Nicely balanced sweet bourbon, vanilla, plus a little brandy (?) as it warms. The bourbon is much more forward than in the 2011 version. Taste is cola and cocoa, bourbon, nice oaky backbone, fairly dry with a smooth chocolate finish. Mellow, thick and mouthcoating, medium-low carbonation, alcohol is a little present at the finish. Overall, this is a nice contrast to the 2011 vintage: more mellow, more bourbon forward, less chocolate, but still nicely balanced.

I'm not picking up any of the fruit that you might expect from this (and that a number of other reviewers reference), so perhaps this merits another go at it.
----
2013 vintage

Fresh: Something was off with this vintage. I get more heat/alcohol, a thin body, moderate tobacco, and very little chocolate/bourbon/etc. After a year: A little better, with substantially less heat, but the roast and ashiness are still prominent (though the flavor overall is fairly muted). (1,939 characters)

Photo of peacebone116
4.5/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2011 Vintage enjoyed on 6/1/11, shortly after its release. Poured from 22-oz bomber (obtained direct from the brewery/taproom) into Delirium snifter.

A: Midnight black with thick brown head that fades fast to the outside leaving wisps of white to swirl in the center, giving the appearance of the Milky Way Galaxy.

N: Raisins and bourbon and chocolate and a bit of vanilla.

T/M: Creamy body with alcohol burn on the finish that lingers. (This beer is HOT!)
Toffee and a toasted note are initially evident on the tongue. Subtle dark fruit notes in the middle, which give way to a chocolate and boozy character. From middle to finish, there is a defined hop spice that remains just perceivable below the dark malt's contributions.

This is an excellent stout. I honestly prefer Parabola's barley wine cousin to this--the beer is very hot and I think the darker, toastier malts tend to mask the barrel aged qualities that I really enjoy.

I think this will improve with age (alcohol may tone down a bit and the flavors may blend a bit more, while the hop spice recedes a bit), while I found that the Abacus seemed quite at its peak. (1,134 characters)

Photo of doughanson78
4.8/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

22oz. bottle poured into a snifter.

A: The thickest beer I've ever seen (Edit: Ten Fidy now holds this mark). Black, nothing getting through this one except cutting it with a knife. About a quarter finger head with a nice mocha color. Doesn't stay that long, but do you really expect it to? Lovely lacing. Top notch looking beer.

S: Very complex. Bourbon. Dark cherries, light raisins and figs. Nice roasted malts. Dark chocolate. Fresh dark roast coffee. Vanilla hints. Light oak and black licorice aromas peeking through. All with a good light booziness.

T: Sweet dark chocolate, dark cherries and vanilla upfront, quickly followed by other dark fruits, and the roasted coffee. The licorice and bourbon come towards the finish. Very light boosiness throughout, which is this beers only (minor) flaw (could have been hidden just a tad more).The awesome butterscotch after taste, that Bourbon Barrel Aging gives, lingers forever while the light boosiness creeps in just a little more, letting you know this is a Big Boy.

M: As full bodied as you can get. Chewy (my friend, who is not a beer drinker, was the first to say Chewy). Creamy (he said this immediately after). All while having a velvety texture. Awesome warmness while not overpowering anything. The taste lingers forever, allowing you to savor every little sip.

O: Easily the best beer I've ever had. As I mentioned earlier the only flaw, and the only reason it didn't get 5's across, was because for the very slightest moment you thought about the alcohol. I'm sure with a little age that will be gone. Just a world class beer and nothing else. (1,612 characters)

Photo of bugaboo416
4.82/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A
Black in appearance and poured out with a good, heavy viscousity, forming a short (~1/4 inch) but long lasting creamy head.

S
Aromas of chocolate, coffee, figs, whiskey or Cognac/wine, and vanilla. High ABV so alcohol was very pronounced but hightened the whisky/cognac aroma rather than detracted from it.

T
Wonderful. My wife commented it tasted like a fine wine. We're not sure whether it was a whiskey or cognac barrel but we'll put our money on cognac because of the smooth, not burning sensation with some grape-like qualities to it. Dark, moderately bitter chocolate and coffee flavors stand out with some vanilla in the middle and lingering chocolate at the end. Great example of an imperial stout with alot of complexity to each flavor. A real sipping beer.

M
smooth mouth feel with medium/high viscousity. Coats the tongue nicely.

O
If not for the high price ($18) for one beer, I'd buy this more often. As is, it's a definite must-have for special occasions. (976 characters)

Photo of rfgetz
4.92/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a deep dark near-black with minimal cap of brown creamy head, gone quickly save for a ring around the edges and a pool in the middle. Scent is amazingly complex and as almost as important as the taste... Strong bourbon and cocoa notes, backed by ample vanilla, dark fruit, strong coffee grinds, roast and char throughout. Light touch of acidity, coconut and fresh cut wood. First sip is heavy on the bourbon but amazingly doesn't overpower. Strong dark Belgian chocolate, port wine and vanilla. Roasted grain and charred oak Espresso, berry and leather also noted. full bodied and smooth, lacking only a little creaminess, perfect carbonation. Amazingly fantastic beer. One I would love to partake in on a regular basis. Another great one from FW.

Update: Had on draft 8/1/11. While slightly superior in body and flavor, I can not justify submitting a second review that would barely raise the rating. (908 characters)

Photo of rka758
4.05/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2001 poured into snifter
paid about $14/22oz bottle

A: Dark and more dark with a bit of a deep mahogeny head.
S: Dark fruit and chocolate.
T: This is very good, but still a bit too boozy for my liking. Flavors of dark fruit, dark chocolate with a little coffee background.
M: Chewy thick and viscous.
D: This is a heavy hitter. Thought I could take this down by myself, but suspect to find myself beaten. (406 characters)

Photo of cosmicevan
4.92/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

love that firestone walker comes out to me.

a - a beer like this called for the big guns in glassware so i pulled out my southampton 2011 RIS oversized snifter for the job. opened the bottle and gave a generous pour...the beer is dark as halloween night with a nice rich shine. at first there was a thin deep brown head which quickly dissolved to spotty mocha bubbles. i don't usually expect to see a head on a barrel aged RIS but every now and again you get one. this one could be rebuilt on command with a swirl of the glass, but it never hung around long. also, love that this beer comes in a box with a wrapped cap...just adds to the specialness of it.

s - in a word deliciousness. a nice dark fruit booziness. wonderful balance. fruity and rummy and bourbony...dark cherries dominate the fruitiness, but there are certainly notes of chocolate and roasted malts. smell very rich, but spot on.

t - that's a BIG beer...and it has a HUGE flavor profile. dark cherries, coffee, roasted malt, chocolate and a variety of boozines. extremely well made and well balanced. heavy like a chunk of chocolate cake.

m - rich and full, the heat is in the flavor but not so much in a burn.

o - overall this is a top beer. this is a beer that you talk about. this is a beer that blew my mind. far and away worth the praise it receives. (1,327 characters)

Photo of oglmcdgl
4.85/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A bottle split with onix1agr and sourbatchkid.

A- a stiff pour yields a small cap of tan head that settles quickly and leaves a think frothy ring around the glass and a wispy island on top. A hard swirl brings the head back nicely then settles as before. Utterly completely black in color with no light making it through.

S- bourbon forward with chocolate and some dark fruits. Lots of dark roasted malts bringing coffee and a touch of anise.

T- opens up with a sweet chocolate liquor and espresso punch that smoothly rolls into massive dark roasted malts and creamy vanilla. Bourbon is well integrated and creeps up slowly then finishes strong but not over baring.

M- full bodied with a touch of chew to it and lightly carbed with a smooth creaminess to it. Nice amount of heat in the back that works perfectly.

O- this is a stellar barrel aged stout. This style is becoming a bit over done but when you get one this good it makes it all worth while. A sipper for sure and very complex but so easy to enjoy. This stuff kicks ass. (1,040 characters)

Photo of barleywinefiend
4.62/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Poured opaque black with a huge frothy brown head.

S: Nose is boozy,oats, light bourbon, cocoa.

T: After having Parabola on draft numerous times and initially at FW 13 release I thought the bottled 2011 was a tad bit hotter and bourbon heavy than previous years. Nose and taste mirror are very close with molasses and dark chocolate being most prominent with some bourbon and oak in there. This beer is pretty boozy but the ABV is hidden pretty good. If you dont watch it this beer will sneak up on you.

M: This brew is totally full bodied and smooth. The ABV is pretty high and this keeps drinkability at Good. Not a session beer for sure but great for a cold day!

O Oh so well done and down right fantastic (718 characters)

Photo of grittybrews
4.64/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Poured near-black into a tulip with a finger of quick-receding dark tan head. Aroma is surprisingly gentle with a touch of bourbon, oaky vanilla, and cocoa with a hint of dark fruit.

Moderate carbonation and a lively, full mouthfeel. Creamy and not too thick. Chocolate up front followed by vanilla, bourbon, molasses, and a lingering espresso bitterness mixed with caramel, more cocoa, and boozy warmth.

This one packs a punch but the flavors are still subtle and balanced. Lots going on here and yet the overall experienced remains really smooth and refined. Very, very nice. (579 characters)

Photo of TheFightfan1
4.53/5  rDev +0.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Thanks to Trenton Road Takeout for this. Finally some Parabola in the area. Poured into a snifter,midnight black not to crazy of a fluffy heading from a hard pour. It did leave some great globs of lacing though.

Smell was not what I anticipated. Although it did have some nice bourbon notes not huge but mostly of a heavier oak barrel aroma.

First sip again was a solid bourbon taste not overpowering but noticeable detected.Big oaky notes are more detectable like the nose and there is a heavy hop bitter kick towards the end. A kind of hot anise finish.

Mouth is tremendous. Super slick velvet texture. Excellent full body and not very thick and chewy for such a high ABV.

This is a damn good barrel aged version. Probably my favorite right now. Easily drinkable for such a high ABV at 12.5%. (798 characters)

Photo of woosterbill
4.75/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2011 bottle into a La Chouffe tulip. Gigantic thanks to Hopstoopid120 for bringing this long-anticipated want by NEBCO while I was canning up some homebrew.

A: Pretty f-ing black, with a finger of creamy light-brown foam. Good retention, spotty lace. Very attractive, especially for being an enormous 13%.

S: Gigantic chocolate, with more than a hint of chocolate-covered cherry. The wine barrels really add some serious complexity, but this is all about the rich, sweet, chocolatey malt. Significant, but acceptable booze.

T: Mmmm. Chocolate, vanilla, molasses, cherry, wine, tannins, and more chocoate. Huge, sweet, lightly boozy finish. Truly spectacular in its sheer decadence.

M: Creamy, full, and well-carbonated. Insanely good.

O: Holy crap, that's a beer. I can't imagine drinking a whole bottle, what with the intense sweetness and alcohol, but I'll be damned if I wouldn't like to have a small snifter of this with dessert every single night. I love eating chocolate and drinking a robust red wine, and this beer was like that but amplified and melded into pure liquid nirvana.

Cheers! (1,102 characters)

Photo of dvsbizzyb
4.47/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - Beautiful pitch black pour with a tint of dark brown on the edges.

Smell - Powerful aromas fill the air as you sniff this. The symmetry is an imprecise sense of pleasing proportionality and balance.

Taste - With every sip the focus changes. Chocolate and coffee switches back and fourth. Then at it's vertex sweet vanilla and caramel comes in and gives a wonderful intense flavor.

Mouthfeel - Silky smooth.

Overall - Parabolas can open up, down, left, right, or in some other arbitrary direction. (513 characters)

Photo of teamizm
4.5/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a RRBC tulip glass.

A - Dark brown, coffee like but opaque. Little to no head

S - Dark cocoa, vanilla, coffee roasts, bourbon

T - dark chocolate, vanilla, roastiness, bit of espresso. Bourbon comes through, but not as much as in the nose.

M - Love the mouthfeel on this one. Very velvety, smooth, like chocolate milk.

O - Love it, probably more so than prior years. (382 characters)

Photo of aval89
4.58/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Boulders on Broadway.. review from notes.

A: black as night.. small brown head .. settles to thin cap..

S: vanilla, bourbon notes, dark espresso beans, darkest chocolate.. some woody notes..

T: upfront you get major bourbon notes.. sweet whiskey like flavors & vanilla..oak, black licorice, dark espresso beans.. bakers chocolate. Coffee bitterness lingers as well as bourbon notes.. dry woody finish.. some booze is present, but minimal for a 13%

Mf: thick, chewy, creamy.. some heat from alcohol

O: great brew! Absolutely world class! (552 characters)

Photo of kerklein2
4.35/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Jet black with a creamy dark brown head that doesn't stick around forever.

S: I had a hint of cherry, but only after it was mentioned. Some of the alcohol comes through if you really pay attention.

T: Just like this beer should taste. Roasty malts with some caramel up front and then as I wait for it, the coffee bitterness really comes through and is great. Lots of malt complexity. Barrel flavors are good. God damn it's good.

M: Thick, obviously, but the carbonation is nice. The bitterness at the back end gives you that puckerness, but I like it.

O: Having this side by side with Abacus and damn these are two great beers. I said in my Abacus review I liked it better, but now I don't know. Kudos to FW. (715 characters)

Photo of drummermattie02
4.6/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours absolutely black with a nice brown head, recedes to a ring quickly. Viscous, too -- sticks to the glass nicely.

Smell oddly reminds me of cherries, with a hint of vanilla. Roasted malts and coffee come through as well.

Taste and mouthfeel are so smooth. There is a bit of the roasted bite, but very well balanced with the barrel flavors. Chocolate is very pronounced, this is a perfect after dinner drink.

Overall a great beer, velvety smooth, flavors are all balanced, and very easy to drink. (502 characters)

Photo of seeswo
4.23/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Batch 002. Pours pitch black with a very light cocoa head. The nose is chocolate, roasted malts, oak and a touch of booze. The taste is sweet vanilla, bourbon and oak, melded together against a dry chocolate and charred roasted malts. Also, just a touch of licorice. Comes together very nicely, but the finish is a bit dry and overly bitter, with a bit much in the way of oak tannins. It brings out an excess in the charred malt / chocolate flavor. This is really my only problem with it. Really fantastic mouthfeel - silky and full on the tongue. The barrel and the medium-low carbonation just round the mouthfeel out to smooth, smooth, smooth. Overall, this is a really good beer, particularly when it warms - the anise flavor blooms a touch more and some of the dryness and bitterness in the finish mellows. I think a few months might really bring this beer around. Once again, FW does some fantastic work with a barrel. (923 characters)

Photo of baconsausage
4.5/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Drinkin 2010 Parabola and rockin out to Chest Fever by The Band.

I know she's a tracker, any scarlet would back her
They say she's a chooser, but I just can't refuse her
She was just there, but then she can't be here no more
And as my mind unweaves, I feel the freeze down in my knees
But just before she leaves, she receives

Beautiful black pour with tan lacing ringing the cup. Complex nose yealds bourbon and wood, sweet toffee, coffee and a little spice. Flavors abound in this beauty as well. Robust sweet bourbon and chocolate are balaced by roast and little char, almost nutty flavors. Bitter coffee and vanilla play around the edges. A very faint vinous character emerges as the beer warms. Smooth and silky on the tounge, Parabola is a boozy sipper that will benifit from some age. (798 characters)

Photo of DoubleSimcoe
4.27/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Parabola! Fancy boxed bottle bought at Whole Foods Bowery for $17.99 plus tax.

Appearance: Served in my Sierra snifter, looks great, super dark and thick with a good one finger of mocha-colored head that doesn't last long. No lacing or retention whatsoever, but good carbonation. Super black, with some mahogany tones when swirled.

Smell: Petroleum (gasoline), sharp booze, oil well. Lotta smoke, wood. A tad of dark fruit and vanilla. Hot chocolate, thick, European style. I also get a barnyard aroma that takes me back to the American Heartland. Native prairie on fire, or warm hearth inside a Galician palloza in the Ancares.

Taste: Carbonated and sharp, tingles and burns the tongue. Thick and spicy chocolate, the Aztec-Mexican kind. Bourbon, some distant sweetness at the end. Smoke and barrel, but above all, FIRE! :-) This reminds me of the artisanal "aguardiente" ("fiery water") made in my native Galicia. Some prune/smashed pickled cherry. Dry spicy finish with a hint of wood.

Surprisingly, a second bottle yielded a much creamier, smoother and chocolaty feel and taste, not as hot and brutal as the first taste.

Mouthfeel: Full body and flavor, no doubt. Sweet, heavy finish. Great carbonation. Starts out too hot, but it opens up like a fine wine and becomes balanced, complex, smooth, delicious. If anything, a little too dry!

Overall: A solid 4.5. Grows up on me, mellows out as it settles on the glass. A schizo beer- super drinkable, with the 12.25% (not 13% as the listing says) ABV nowhere in sight, but also hot and fiery. Would love to try this aged a further year (beyond the 12 months it already spent in a barrel). As it is, feels a little too young and green, but still so very delicious.

More balanced and less sweet than other barrel-aged stouts like Goose Island's, but also not as enticing. It lacks that "wow factor" that makes my knees weak. (1,884 characters)

Photo of baybassboy
4.62/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured at a tasting/bottle-share with a couple friends into my Stone Specialty Tating glass on 6/18/11. 2011 Vintage

A: Black. Pours, excuse the phrase, black as night. Extremely viscous coming out of the bottle and into the glass. There is a medium-small mocha head, maybe just under a finger. Great lacing, especially for a barrel aged beer. Obvious alcohol legs on swirl. I knew this was going to be a winner when the beer settled and a Happy Face appeared in the head

S: To put it simply, I will quote my friend who was at this tasting, "I want to make cologne of this!" Ya, it smells that amazing. The first thing that hits me is roast, followed by lots of chocolate and vanilla. I can also pick up some welcome oaky aromas. Can smell a light bit of alcohol, but it is the amount that seems to draw you in for more instead of forcing you away.

T: The first sip was amazing... i just wantd to savor it and not think of anything. Again, the roastiness is what hit me hard upfront, followed again by that chocolate vanilla mix. I know this fits more into mouthfeel, but it actually tastes velvety smooth. Has a great richness that is balanced from the barrel aging, and a good, medium alcohol burn that seems to only further enhance the overall tastes.

M: This is one viscous beer. It coats the mouth well, but not to the point that I would describe it as chewey. There is a great light carbonation. More than I would expect after aging. Again... velvety smooth.

O: I flat out LOVE THIS BEER. There is honestly not much else to say. I was afraid of it being overly complex and tough to decipher after reading some other reviews, but it was balanced near perfectly. To be honest, the only fault I can find with this beer is that it almost smells better than it tastes. Don't get me wrong, it tastes amazing, but if i had to put a number on both, I would put Smell at 98 and Taste at 96. I can't wait to open my next bottle, which I'm sure will be sooner than I had anticipated before tasting this one. (2,007 characters)

Photo of oregone
4.03/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle (2011) into NB globe at cellar temp (55F):
A: Very nice.Dark brew, nearly black with only a little light showing through the edges when held up. Light brown head, about a fingers worth rises from a mildly gentle pour and settles back to persistent lacing.
S: Fudge and booze (bourbon. Some hot caramel and vanilla oak smells but definitly bourbon and chocolate dominant. Smells very good.
T: Chocolate and bourbon again dominant. Caramel, some dark bread flavors and licorice come in to play. Licorice and oak dominate the finish with some alcohol becoming apparent.
M: Rich, thick, smooth through the majority with some bite after it settles in a handful of seconds later. Some slightly apparent wood tannin on the finish and the alcohol spice again finds it's way in, but not incredibly strongly.
O: Very good but wish I'd set this aside much longer. Tried a few ounce sample of '10 and it had melded into something much richer and smoother. This was very good, but it lacks the harmony that settling for a year or more will bring. Definitly something I'm happy to wait on though quite good now.
This is better than my review would lead me to believe. However, all the components are in place for this to be a monster of a brew, devastatingly complex and delicious, with some time. Give it time. (1,309 characters)

Parabola from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
100 out of 100 based on 1,069 ratings.