Parabola - Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

Not Rated.

Educational use only; do not reuse.

1,079 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 1,079
Hads: 5,644
Avg: 4.53
pDev: 18.98%
Wants: 2,869
Gots: 3,256 | FT: 248
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.

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 (88) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 1,079 | Hads: 5,644
Photo of Docer
4.17/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Fresh 2011 bottle, 12.5% Alc. by Vol.

Appearance: (4.0)
- Nice super dark murky brown and black. Thick fingers of mocha tan head, nice and creamy looking.. slowly settles to a thin blanket and large ring ready to create more rings the whole way down the glass.

Smell: (4.5)
- Lovely sweet toffee, vanilla, oak earthiness and a tart bourbon touch. Barrel aging has worked well with the aroma on this stout. Chocolatey smooth grain and sweet creamy candy. Light grassy bitterness.

Taste: (4.0)
- Very sweet toffee, vanilla, and bourbon flavors melded very well with a candy-like chocolate and dark bitter chocolate. Big bourbon notes with fantastic flavor. Dry bitter grassy and earthy hops are quite present as well to attempt to balance this sweet beast. Super good and doesn't taste too hot. Guessing this beer will taste even better with a few years on it.

Mouth Feel: (3.5)
- Little sticky and syrupy as of now. Cloying, chewy, and drying. Pretty viscous body with a healthy amount of carbonation. Not too bad, but again, something I feel will get much better, and maybe even more creamy and less sticky with age.

Overall: (4.0)
- This is a stellar stout, and rises above many in its field. It is damn fine fresh, and is sure to be a real hit aged. I am hoping to find a couple more to cellar as I now only have one left in the cellar. Damn good, and get it while you can.

 1,384 characters

Photo of Rhettroactive
4.42/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

From 22oz bomber to Jackie O's snifter on our day of Independence,
July 4th 2011
*From notes

I'm skipping ahead in my reviews a bit as this is my 200th, and thought it only right to make it a special one.

A: As expected, it's a rich and dark molasses - almost black. A gorgeous 1.25 finger head that looks like the crispy edges of a homemade chocolate chip cookie. Decent lacing rims the snifter.

S: Dark caramel and chocolate. Rich, with thick layers of tobacco and cocoa that you can cut with a knife. As it warms, that toasty coconut I love so much comes out. The alcohol is present from beginning to end. A top notch bouquet.

T: Boozy. It's apparent from the get-go that this could take some time in a proper cellar. The tanninic acid and bourbon come out right away and never let go. As it warms, the beer really opens up - the toasted coconut and melted 65% dark chocolate come out to play. A refined layer of malt balances the heat here, and the nuances of this beer really come to life over the hour-plus I consumed it.

M: The mouthfeel is good. Very good in fact, but not great. The rich feel to this one is thick and luxurious, but I've had bigger stouts. It's also a bit oily from the barrel conditioning, though it doesn't effect the overall presentation of the beer.

O: Firestone-Walker's Parabola is a wonderful and masterfully balanced Russian Imperial Stout. I feel that with some age, this could be one of the best RIS's in my cellar.

Without question, Parabola is in the upper echelon of the style. I highly recommend seeking it out.

 1,558 characters

Photo of Blanco
4.03/5  rDev -11%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Reviewed from Notes

Black with thin light brown head. Lacing is more along the lines of how wine sticks as a film. Smell is somewhat mute with some dark malt and slight hint of booze bourbon. Flavor is more complex, lending some more bourbon than the smell as well as hints of chocolate and fruit. I feel like there is another liquor working here, but having trouble picking it up. A hint of smokiness as well. Slight burn from the alcohol here. Lighter mouthfeel than I prefer, but still acceptable. Overall, another unique interpretation by Firestone Walker here. It’s not your standard barrel aged stout. The complexity of the flavors keeps me guessing some.

 664 characters

Photo of DrStiffington
4.38/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

OK, so I had to pick one of these up, even though it's not exactly a "summer" beer. It pours very thick into a tulip glass. Dark, thin head. Black color, no light coming through at all. Smell a little chocolate, not much else going on. Ahhhh, but the taste. Roasted malts, chocolate. Absolutely delicious! I rarely comment on the mouthfeel, but I really dig the creamy, heavy taste of this beer. Overall, one of the best stouts out there. Must grab another soon!

 462 characters

Photo of schwaeh
4.24/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2011 22oz bottle enjoyed for hours on end.

A: Pours pitch black. No real head to speak of but some slight bubbles and whisps of foam. Standard barrel aged stout.

S: Whoa, lots of that great sweet bourbon emanating from this glass. Smells of chocolate, brown sugar, molasses, and some alcohol.

T: This is awesome! Big and bold flavors. First thing noticed was that sweet bourbon flavor, it is so well integrated into this beer. Flavors of bitter chocolate, lots of licorice, brown sugar, dark candied fruits, oak barrel flavor, and plenty of alcohol to make you slow down and enjoy the complexities. Some roastiness is left over after the swallow with a very slight lingering hop bitterness.

M: Thick and creamy. This has a lot of sugar so it leaves your mouth slightly sticky. Quite low carbonation.

O: This beer is instant gratification from the moment you pop the cap off. I would jump at the chance to get as much of this as possible. Firestone does magical things with barrel aging, this and their anniversary beers have set the bar very high with that technique. I might open my next bottle once the heat drops out some, this is a slow sipper by all accounts.

 1,169 characters

Photo of CaptainTripps
4.97/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2011 Vintage
22oz bottle poured into a Duvel Tulip, served at cellar temp.

A: Pours pitch black, motor oil thick. The pour came with a small half fingers worth of head -dark mocha in color. Little to no lacing left on glass.

S: Bitter dark chocolate followed by mocha/expresso and bourbon. Also getting some rich molasses and vanilla along with some woodyness, Oak? The nose is very rich and complex. With one sniff, this beer will have you on your knees. Very, very good.

T: Oh. My. God. FanFREAKINGtastic. Once you start sipping you just can't stop. Bitter sweet dark chocolate paired with charred oak and vanilla. also some expresso notes coming through along with a small amount of dark fruits. There is some booziness coming through in the taste of bourbon, but that is to be expected this fresh. Its actually a nice note that works well with the other flavors. This thing is like sipping on a nice scotch. Rich, complex and satisfying.

M: Full bodied, with some carbonation. Would like a little more carbonation, but that is to be expected with a barrel aged beer. There is a slight amount of heat from the alcohol but unlike with most beers, it blends in perfectly with the other flavors.

O: This beer is one for my own beer tasting history book. Completely amazing. I only bought one to try, but I will be going back TOMORROW as soon as possible to pick up some more. Worth every freaking penny spent.

 1,418 characters

Photo of zaphodchak
4.42/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Brown-beige head, about a half-finger, and opaque black body. I see only my reflection. Some nice surface memory.

Smell is of coffee and steak, some smoke.

Taste is phenomenal. Bitter, a bit hoppy, and there's a lot of sweetness to balance. Oaky, woody, and faintly boozy.

Mouthfeel is nice and punctuates the very thick body.

Incredible; I couldn't ask for more from an oaked imperial stout.

 396 characters

Photo of mikul93
4.85/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

22 oz 2011 batch

A Black with a small head with a hard pour that dissipated rather quickly, which is to be expected from a high ABV

S Coffee, chocolate, alcohol with sweet fruit.

T Wow! This is one complex beer. Roasted coffee, bitter chocolate, hops, booze, vanilla. Outstanding beer!

M- Surprisingly light feel. Creamy goodness

O Just an outstanding beer. This beer is getting a lot of hype and there are haters out there that dismiss it just for that fact, but this beer is all it is cracked up to be and more. I am so glad I scored a case of it.

 555 characters

Photo of OPWN3NTSL4Y3R
5/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

An aggressive pour into Duvel glass tulip

A- Black as midnight, tan/brown 3 finger tight frothy head, dissipates into intricate lace

S- Bittersweet dark chocolate, espresso/coffee, charred oak

T- Blew me away, BIG coffee, BIG chocolate, oak barrel, not too bitter, balanced sweet malts, warming alcohol is present

M- Creamy sweet, medium carbonation, full bodied, not too dry on the finish

O- Quite an experience in a bottle, incredibly complex, flavors come in waves, not jumbled together. This one will only get better with age

 535 characters

Photo of Gushue3
4.22/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Notes from split bottle wih my friend. Thanks Doctor B2B for this bottle before it hit my state.

. a- pours very dark but can still see through. 1 finger mocha head that has very little retention and no lacing to speak of. 3.5

s- alcohol scent and dark fruits dominate the nose. smells hot. 4

t- big combo of flavors. alcohol from the barrel is most prevelant. coffee ,chocolate, dark fruits. nice mixture of flavors. 4.
coffee and hot alcohol heat mix is great when cooler. 4.5

m- heavierthicker moutjhfeel thays kind of syrupy. moderate carbonation thays suits it well.

o- nice beer that could use a little age but not bad by any means. crazy complex flavors

 665 characters

Photo of Yagman3000
4.3/5  rDev -5.1%
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 +3.8%
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 +6.4%
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 -2%
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 -0.7%
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%
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 +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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

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.

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.

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

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 +8.6%
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 -10.6%
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 +8.6%
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 +7.1%
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%
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 +2.4%
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%
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 +4.9%
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.


 1,102 characters

Parabola from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
100 out of 100 based on 1,079 ratings.