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Firestone 12 - Anniversary Ale - Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Firestone 12 - Anniversary AleFirestone 12 - Anniversary Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
97
world-class

292 Ratings
THE BROS
100
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 292
Reviews: 187
rAvg: 4.39
pDev: 9.57%
Wants: 358
Gots: 53 | FT: 2
Brewed by:
Firestone Walker Brewing Co. visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Strong Ale |  12.00% ABV

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes/Commercial Description:
This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: barleywinefiend on 11-09-2008)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 292 | Reviews: 187 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by BeerAdvocate:
Photo of BeerAdvocate
4.5/5  rDev +2.5%

Review from BeerAdvocate magazine Vol. II Issue XI:

Hell yeah, back again for another year. Twelve years, so 12-percent ABV makes sense, right? Black in color with small bubbles that roll around in a somewhat viscous liquid for a nice cap of head. Big aroma with a sharpness of wood, thick with vanilla beans and a slight boozy character, becomes a sweet, truffle-like nose. Thick body, slightly syrupy with a slick and smooth mouthfeel. The alcohol drops a hammer on the palate with a stinging warmth that fades quickly. There is an edge of fusel flavor that tries to dominate, but the maltiness is too big to jump over. Lots of wood flavor, a little tannin and vanilla. Maltiness lays down a coating of sweetness and toasted bread character, showing some balance. Roasted flavors hit middle to end with faint charcoal, unsweetened dark chocolate and a dark-roasted coffee. Finishes sweet with lingering vanilla, wood and roasted tones.

An epic beer; believe the hype. Firestone Walker has helped bring barrel-aged beer closer to the forefront. A sublime sipper.

BeerAdvocate, Sep 20, 2010
More User Reviews:
Photo of abeerdude
4.25/5  rDev -3.2%

abeerdude, Dec 11, 2012
Photo of Tedwarhc
4.25/5  rDev -3.2%

Tedwarhc, Jan 03, 2013
Photo of tjthresh
3.9/5  rDev -11.2%

22 ounce bottle shared with Josh and Jaquie. Pours dark brown with some some red highlights. Lots of bouron and vanilla goodness in the nose. Really nice and robust. Vanilla, oak, bourbon, some smoke, a bit of heat, and even kind of chocolaty. Very full bodied and a malty dry finish with a long boozy finish. This a real good beer, but its just like a glass of bourbon.

tjthresh, Mar 29, 2009
Photo of SkinnyElvis
4.5/5  rDev +2.5%

Cheers to tpd975 for this brew obtained in a trade. Greg, in case you are reading this, I still will kick your ass come fantasy football season!

Dark amber in color. Almost no head. Nice lacing as you sip it. Smell is mostly bourbon & carmel. A hint of something sweeter is also there in the taste: maybe vanilla. Mouthfeel is smooth but you can feel the 12% ABV. A top notch brew worth seeking.

Cheers.

SkinnyElvis, May 18, 2009
Photo of magictrokini
4.5/5  rDev +2.5%

Bottle from Beverages 4 Less. Pours viscous, opaque brown with mahogany edges. Short and thick off-white head. Slight lacing. Rich, oaky bourbon aroma. Vanilla, tobacco, leather, and chocolate abound. Smooth, heavy mouthfeel with very little carbonation. Full bourbon taste with swirling chocolate, caramel malt, vanilla, and licorice. Drinks like a cognac. Very alcoholic, but no ethyl flavors. More porter-like flavors than stout, but both are present. Delicious. Easily one of the best of this year.

magictrokini, Dec 18, 2008
Photo of ehammond1
4.38/5  rDev -0.2%

Bottle (2008)

Thanks for opening this with me, BdubleEdubleRUN!

(Aged for 3.5 years)

Nearly black throughout with a nicely sized dark brown head that leaves sticky lines of lacing down the glass. Gorgeous and decadent.

The aroma isn't particularly expressive, which is a big surprise after tasting this beer. There's some chocolate and barrel character, but nothing particularity expressive. What's here is still very nice.

The flavor is amazingly chocolate-forward without ever being too sweet, rich, or filling. The chocolate flavor comes in layers, rounded nicely by barrel, bourbon, brownie, vanilla, and coconut. This is simply sublime. All traces of alcohol are gone.

Medium to full bodied with moderate carbonation. A sipper though I motored through my glass it was so simply delicious.

Just fantastic. This doesn't seem as complex as Firestone 13 or 14, but it's just as delicious.

ehammond1, Jun 12, 2012
Photo of OStrungT
4.88/5  rDev +11.2%

This beer pours an inky black color, with a tan head that faded slowly, leaving a good lacing.

This beer has a strong vanilla aroma. I can detect some hints of oak. A nice mild bourbon aroma is present as well. Sweet caramel and toffee mix in. There is a plethora of aromas in this beer.

This beer tastes like it smells. Vanilla, oak, bourbon, caramel, toffee, figs. The beer has a lot of different flavors, but they go well toghether.

This beer is incredably well balanced. It is full bodied, with low carbonation, suiting the style. The alcohol is well hidden in very aspect of this drinking experience.

This beer is very smooth, making it somewhat easy todrink. It alcohol content is pretty high though.

Overall: This was a great beer. I have one more, and I will probaby age it for a few years. I wish I had more.

OStrungT, Jun 22, 2009
Photo of glid02
4.58/5  rDev +4.3%

Bottle shared by a generous soul – much obliged!

Pours black with a tan head that leaves solid lacing.

Smells of lightly roasted malts, mild molasses, heavy vanilla, dark chocolate, and slight whiskey spiciness. As it warms the aroma sweetens with more vanilla.

Tastes very similar to how it smells. Equal amounts of roasted malts and dark chocolate up front are quickly joined by sweet black molasses. Midway through, vanilla and whiskey smooth things out. Near the end hints of oak come into play, carrying through to a mildly bitter ending. Mouthfeel is very good, with grainy carbonation.

Overall this is my favorite of the series, taking a slight lead over the XI I had quite a while back. A superb beer and one that’s well worth a shot.

glid02, Jul 12, 2011
Photo of girllovesbier
5/5  rDev +13.9%

girllovesbier, Nov 27, 2011
Photo of acurtis
3.75/5  rDev -14.6%

acurtis, Jan 20, 2013
Photo of GilGarp
4.55/5  rDev +3.6%

Another incredible beer at one unbelieveable birthday party. If you were there, you know what I'm talking about.

Tasting served in a St. Bernardus goblet. It pous a very dark brown color with redish highlights. Very little head and no lacing but good clarity.

Aroma is really nice with a caramel toffee sweetness and subtle alcohol.

Flavor is fantastic with great dark fruits, caramel, toffee, and nuts. It has a lot of depth to it and something new comes forward with every warming sip. Flavor is fairly sweet but also nicely balanced with ample hop bitterness and a drying finish from the alcohol. Despite this, it never seems burning or fusel.

Mouthfeel is very full bodied with an almost syrupy feel and very low carbonation.

Overall a great beer that I would love to have in my cellar for a few years.

GilGarp, Sep 15, 2009
Photo of SoCalBeerIdiot
4.25/5  rDev -3.2%

SoCalBeerIdiot, Aug 08, 2014
Photo of BrittQ
4.75/5  rDev +8.2%

BrittQ, Nov 16, 2012
Photo of AKBelgianBeast
4.28/5  rDev -2.5%

Big thanks goes out to a very patient barleywinefiend for this bottle.

Pours an impenetrable black color with a nice light tan head that retains fairly well leaving pretty good lacing.

nose is interesting. Not as roasty as I was expecting. Im getting a lot of oak and vanilla though, indicative of fairly significant barrel aging, as is the FW anny custom. Actually do get a tiny bit of a hop kiss in the nose as well.

Hmmm. Pretty tasty stuff. wow. Starts off less than impressive, but man o man, does this one get good. Out of the gate there is some slight roasted malt, and a bit of sugar. Then the flavor quickly quickly quickly jumps into vanilla, massive oakiness and thick chocolate notes. The finish approaches with slight bitterness. Man, this is the first beer I have had in a while that all of the best part of the flavor profile is after the finish. Major creamy vanilla and chocolate notes ride on an oak canoe through a stream of slight coffee notes. Sorry to get all Robert Frost on you. The aftertaste is nearly endless, with a compromising of all these flavors. Man, this one just keeps changing and changing, like an everlasting gobstopper all through each sip.

Mouthfeel is top notch as well. Good viscosity without being cloying. Carbonation is right where it should be for a beer of this kind.

Drinkability is pretty damn solid for the abv especially. Goes down nicely, not too terribly hot, and not cloying.

Overall, a very impressive beer from FW. I would love to put some age on this one. Crazy how much the flavor changes throughout each sip. Really takes you on a ride. A thoroughly enjoyable and interesing beer. The only gripe I have is the outrageous price. The FW anniversary series is definitely making a name for itself among the top series beers to follow in the country. Good stuff.

AKBelgianBeast, Mar 29, 2009
Photo of augustgarage
4.38/5  rDev -0.2%

Sampled multiple small pours into a snifter as part of a vertical at the Firestone Anniversary party at Blue Palms. Matt, the brewmaster was standing over my shoulder for much of the time, answering my questions about barrel types, blending, etc.

Cordovan and burgandy body, with copper and carnelian highlights. Dark liquid, but good clarity. Small head that disappears rapidly, though there is a smattering of lacing. There seems to be an inverse relation between collar size and leg formation - the older the anniversary ale, the thinner the collar and more dense the legs.

12 is still pretty fresh, with juicier aromatics than 10 or 11 at this point. A little sweeter than previous blends, the nose is still packed full of bourbon elements: vanillin, toasted coconut, leather, and fine pipe tobacco. A touch of citrus, and some complexity from hops - though the herbal aromas are consumed by the overall vinuous and barrel scents.

As with all of the blends, bigger than the sum of the parts. Using Parabola as the base, 12 strikes me as sweeter, smoother, more quenching, and more robust than previous blends. Barrel notes are evident, but may bloom with more age. Dates, plums, figs, licorice, leather, and hops on the palate. Everything slowly evolves and grain dances in and out of the mix (oats, along with elements of a spicy wheat wine - Opal peeking out). The finish yields lots of tobacco, suggesting Pappy Van Winkle barrels were involved. Lovely.

Rich velvety texture, and very slightly tannic - excellent medium-bodied feel overall.

One of the best tasting of the anniversary ales, but the flavor profile keeps shifting beneath your feet - a frustrating delight.

augustgarage, Nov 21, 2009
Photo of AES
4.78/5  rDev +8.9%

Bottle from Spencer's Fresh Markets, Atascadero 12-31-08

A: Pours nearly black with very dark reds when held up to a neutral color. A centered pour produced one-finger head after a few moments, which soon dissipated. Lacing is fair, sticky.

S: The smell is striking in its similarity to Walnut lumber, rather sweet. Esters come through late and stick.

T: Very complex, the initial impression was very sweet chocolate with some caramel and bitterness from the hops. Esters quickly came through; this tastes like a chocolate-covered banana. The finish is bourbon with malt bitterness and alcohol.

M: Mouthfeel is heavy and smooth. Silky comes to mind. The carbonation is initially noticeable but dissipates quickly. Leaves residual sugars on the tongue and lips.

D: After the first few sips, this brew is very impressive but not especially drinkable. It becomes more palatable as the sips go by and by now I'm wishing I had bought the other. The only real limiting factor is 12% alcohol.

Overall, this is an excellent brew and I can't wait to see what FW puts out next year. These anniversary ales are always interesting.

AES, Jan 01, 2009
Photo of SpeedwayJim
4.38/5  rDev -0.2%

Had at hoppymcgee's tasting 1/16. A 3oz. pour into an 8oz. pint glass. Sampled alongside FW13. Reviewed from notes.

A: Pours a .5 finger light cream colored coarse head with moderate retention. Beer is opaque black. Not quite like an RIS black (still a tiny bit of light penetration) but still... Lacing is stringy.

S: Boozy, chocolate, dark fruit, very hot and heavy. Also cocoa, possibly prunes, rainsins.

T: A strong roasted character is apparent here. Prunes, raisins, molasses, honey. Very hot going down, this one is a true sipper. Hops are present in the background at the beginning and end but their presence is very subtle, the imperial stout flavors dominate here.

M: Full bodied, very hot. Smooth and oily on the mouth, finish is surprisingly clean on this one. Leaves the palate sweet and sticky.

D: A very complex beer and artfully blended. What takes the rating down a bit for this one is how hot and boozy it still is after aging. A real sipper and quite enjoyable but I can't see myself having this over and over again. Perhaps the perfect beer for a 3oz. pour.

SpeedwayJim, Jan 17, 2010
Photo of dirtylou
4.43/5  rDev +0.9%

22oz bomber, received kindly in a previous bif

appearance: snifter treatment - very dark body, mahogany hues, very light tan rim, relatively still

smell: bourbon, vanilla, dark chocolate, toffee, caramel. nicely layored but not overly complex

taste: complex and layered, smooth bourbon, dark chocolate, coffee roast, caramel, licorice, vanilla, oak, toffee and raisin, roasted nuts. sweet beer from firestone walker - very lucky to try this one

mouthfeel: medium body, lingering bourbon, creamy and velvety. really nice

drinkability: good, especially given the strength

dirtylou, Jan 03, 2010
Photo of mikeale
5/5  rDev +13.9%

Thanks to a few BAs for this.

A. Poured in to my Portsmouth snifter. Poured like cola, minimal head, no lacing.

S. Heaven!! Toffey, vanilla, oak.

T. Oh yeah! Tobacco, bourbon, oak, caramel, vanilla, coffee.

M. Thick mouth coating, sticky sweet, warming alochol.

D. This is a wonderful beer, worth all the hype. I could drink this all the time.

mikeale, Jun 06, 2009
Photo of leschkie
4.5/5  rDev +2.5%

leschkie, Nov 21, 2011
Photo of Photekut
5/5  rDev +13.9%

Photekut, Nov 15, 2011
Photo of prototypic
4.4/5  rDev +0.2%

Big thanks to EinWeizenbitte for the bottle.

Firestone XII pours a very dark, ruddy brown color. It's nearly opaque and black looking. But, faint burgundy highlights emerge at the outermost edges. Unfortunately, no head developed. The few bubbles that collect on the surface appear to be tan, but it's tough to tell. No lacing developed. Not bad, but pretty disappointing, even in light of the 12% abv.

The nose is very sweet and malty. Lots of chocolate and caramel in this bad boy. The chocolate variety seems to lie somewhere between sweet milk chocolate and bittersweet dark chocolate. A little brown sugar and molasses are noted. They add quality depth. Coffee is here, but it isn't very strong in the mix. There's certainly a distinct bourbon aroma. It doesn't completely overwhelm the other characteristics, but it's definitely there. I like the restrained approach. It works well and lets it breathe.

The flavor profile is very good. Very well-rounded and flavorful. The caramel/chocolate malt base is sweet and sturdy. The taste even throughout. The chocolate flavor adds a nice bittersweet flavor. Brown sugar, vanilla, and, to a lesser extent, molasses complement the malt flavors very well. Coffee is subtle, but does add something positive to the overall flavor. That's especially true for a coffee fan...like me. The bourbon flavor is very well done. It's not too strong, but not too light either. It's just right. For a barrel-aged stout, it tastes very well balanced. The bourbon flavor complements the stout flavors extremely well. Alcohol comes through loud and clear. Somehow, it never feels hot. That's surprising. This is damn good stuff. If it weren't quite as sweet as it is, it would earn the next highest score.

Firestone XII has a medium body that grows thicker with warming. It's nice and smooth, but never feels creamy. Carbonation is light and restrained. Just a little more body would help. Drinkability is good. This stuff goes down smooth and easy. It is quite big at 12%. But, damn it's easy drinking. I'm sharing the bottle, but could easily take one for myself.

Firestone XII is damn good beer. Personally, I don't think it's quite as good as Firestone XI, but it's not far behind. The score here won't reflect quite how good it is. The 'look' score hurts it. But, it needs some work there. As far as flavor goes, it delivers. I don't know how many of these bottles are still floating around, but you should start looking for one while you have the chance.

prototypic, Jan 31, 2010
Photo of MASPuros
4.47/5  rDev +1.8%

A: Dark Burgandy with little tan head. slight glow when held to light

S: Bourbon, Oak and Vanilla
Picking up some biter chocolate and caramel. Seems well balanced and aging it has mellowed it a bit.

T: Wow, layers upon layers of bourbon, caramel, vanilla, oak, toffee and dark fruit. A bit Syrupy

M: Smooth and velvety. Stick to the roof of your mouth. Very pleasant aftertaste

D: Time has done wonders. This is a nice sipper but you can get in trouble with this one if you don't take it slow

Have 1 more bottle left =(

MASPuros, Jan 05, 2010
Photo of bradford
4.3/5  rDev -2.1%

I will preface this review by saying that I am a huge fan of Firestone Walker. I found Firestone when I moved to San Luis Obispo to go to college in 2004 and fell in love with the seemingly simple, yet incredibly complex and quaffable brews that FW consistently put out on the shelves and in their brewery tasting rooms. On to the XII.
22 oz bottle purchased for $17.99. I am a little disapointed that the price of these anniversary beers has steadily gone up with each successive release, but I can understand considering the progression of the beer industry and Firestone Walker especially.
Appearance-A medium dark brown with an incredibly smooth and lasting head that looks akin to a Guinness Draft poured from Nitrogen. It appears darker when poured into a wide mouth goblet.
Smell-Very strongly dominated by vanilla, wood, bourbon, and a rum-like sweetness.
Taste- Again, heavily leaning towards vanilla and wood. A very strong alcohol presence comes through as well, providing a warming sensation to the palate, throat, and stomach. As well as the head! Tastes a lot like a bourbon aged stout, but also has slight notes of a nuttier blend mixed in the lot.
Mouthfeel- Very smooth, which is pretty standard for the style of wood aged, malt driven beers like this. A good deal of residual sweetness and little to no hop bitterness. I do get bitterness from something else though, like a strong cup of coffee.
Drinkability- I was a bit unsure of this through the first few sips, but just like it's predecessors, this beer is a strong sipper to be enjoyed over a long period. Well done, Firestone

bradford, Nov 22, 2008
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Firestone 12 - Anniversary Ale from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
97 out of 100 based on 292 ratings.