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Firestone 12 - Anniversary Ale - Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

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

Educational use only; do not reuse.

186 Reviews

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Reviews: 186
Hads: 302
rAvg: 4.41
pDev: 5.67%
Wants: 358
Gots: 55 | FT: 4
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:
Beer added by: barleywinefiend on 11-09-2008

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

No notes at this time.
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Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 186 | Hads: 302
Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.3/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle pour courtesy of wethorseblanket at Woodshop 7 held at Beachwood BBQ & Brewing in Long Beach, CA.

Pours an opaque black with a foamy dark khaki head that settles to a film on top of the beer. Small dots of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, vanilla, wood, bourbon, and brown sugar. Taste is much the same with a woody finish on the aftertaste. This beer has a good level of carbonation with a crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a very good beer that is really tasty and highly drinkable. (524 characters)

Photo of t0rin0
4.3/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

While I thought this was made better than the X and XI, I did not enjoy it as much as the other 2 because its basically a stout. Still a great beer though. Tried it last Wednesday at Stuffed Sandwich and then again Friday night at Blue Palms. Both out of bottles.

Pours dark brown, murky, tan/brown head, nice lacing.

Smells of chocolate, roasted coffee, alcohol, oak, and whiskey. The other things that I knew should be there were not but showed up in the flavor.

Flavor is sweet yet very dry, heavy on the chocolate and roast, moderately boozy (about the only negative of the beer), nutty, very oaky and whiskey-like, and crystal maltiness. Very complex. It also tasted old, in a good way. No idea how long this beer has been aging but I can't see this beer getting too much better than it already is.

Body is medium/heavy and its not overly carbonated. Smooth and very drinkable. Good, not $20 good, but very enjoyable. (928 characters)

Photo of Thorpe429
4.32/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewed from notes. Tasted side-by-side with the 11 and 13.

Pours a dark brown color with a thin head and a bit of retention. A few bubbles here and there as it goes down. The nose is roast, bourbon, oak, vanilla, caramel, toffee, and a tad bit of chocolate. The taste combines everything quite nicely with a bit of vanilla and chocolate coming through atop the oak. Feel has gotten a bit thin and actually has a moderate amount of booze still. Not quite as good as the 11, but still quite tasty. (498 characters)

Photo of brentk56
4.47/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: With a hard pour, the coffee colored liquid generates a small, beige head that fritters to a ringlet rather quickly and leaves more legs than lace

Smell: Caramel and graham cracker, with coconut, fig and a bit of vanilla bourbon underneath

Taste: Graham cracker malt, up front, with a burgeoning fig flavor that is joined, mid-palate, by the vanilla, bourbon and coconut flavors; rather boozy, both before and after the swallow, when the flavors coalesce into a long-lasting and balanced finish

Mouthfeel: Full bodied with moderately low carbonation; plenty of warmth in the gullet

Drinkability: A year or so of aging has helped settle this one down, though I can tell it has quite a few years ahead of it for those who are patient (747 characters)

Photo of largadeer
4.47/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Gravity pour at Toronado in San Francisco, poured from a cute little 5 gallon firkin. Pitch black in appearance, low carbonation and not much head to speak of. The aroma is rich and chocolatey, infused with a strong undercurrent of spirits. The taste follows suit, drinking like a liquid oatmeal chocolate cookie. The presence of wheatwine and Belgian ale in the blend adds an interesting fruity complexity to what would otherwise be a fairly straightforward barrel-aged stout. It's got a slight boozy kick to it, but I didn't find it a detraction at all, and I can see this stuff being incredible with a few months of age. (623 characters)

Photo of emerge077
4.3/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Review from notes, thanks Jay for the sample...

Black with woody brown edges, a tan skim of latte foam leaves a persistent ring around the edge. Aromas of bourbon, cookie dough, and dark chocolate. Wham! Rich chocolate and vanilla, coconut, brown sugar, and light oak flavors. Superior quality barrel showcased here. A long finish with notes of bitter chocolate and earthy hops. Full bodied, fudgy, a dry bourbon finish without the spicy burn. A very tasty sipper that's probably best shared. (493 characters)

Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.97/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Chocolate-covered fig brown with rust orange and cherry red accents at the bottom of the glass. The outstanding looking crown is a thick slice of golden brown sugar colored cream that doesn't look like it will fade in this lifetime. That's a remarkable achievement considering the double-digit ABV. Gossamer-like sheets of currently unbroken lace are now decorating the glass as well.

The nose is akin to an especially black licorice-like Belgian stout. It's incredibly powerful and speaks of good (make that great) things to come on the palate. No alcohol is noted, which is yet another impressive feat. Warming opens things up even more, which didn't seem possible on first sniff.

Historically, the Firestone Walker Anniversary brews have been blends of four different ales. XII is no exception. Its components include Parabola (Russian Imperial stout), Opal (wheatwine), Bravo (Imperial brown ale), and Saucerful O' Secrets (Belgian quadrupel). Let's see what this potentially devastatingly delicious exilir has to say for itself.

Wow! This 2008 offering may the best in the series to date, and that's saying something. First of all, any concerns about aging and whether this was the right time to crack the crown should be laid to rest. This beer is drinking beautifully right now and should last for many more years to come. Yeah, it's still *very slightly* warm, but show me a 12.0% ale that isn't.

It's impossible to pick out the contributions from the component beers, so I won't try. In any case, the end result in an incredibly well-integrated concoction that delivers the best attributes of several different styles. This beer's depth is unfathomable and its complexity is mind-boggling.

Flavors include dark chocolate-dipped figs, dates and raisins soaked in Sambuca, coffee, bourbon whiskey and brandy. There are caramelized sugar, vanilla bean and toasted oak notes galore, which adds immeasurely to an already jaw droppingly delectable brew. Let's not forget the dark berry vinousness of a large shot of tawny port. My oh my... oh my!

The mouthfeel, once I wrest my attention away from the taste bud extravaganza, is out of this world. It's big beer thick and chewy and heavy creamy smooth and silky. We might have to invent new adjectives to describe what goes on in the mouth with each upending of the glass.

Both Firestone X and Firestone XI were great beers. Firestone XII is transcendent beer that makes me glad to be alive with functioning taste buds. This is easily numero uno for 2010... and I seriously doubt if it will be challenged for that spot over the next several months. (2,608 characters)

Photo of mikesgroove
4.77/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I have to say first, Thank you soo much to Jim and Joan for bringing me this bottle all the way from the Pac NW. Thank you soo much. I took this one home and chilled it down and enjoyed it thoroughly. Served in a large wine glass and consumed on 12/27/2008.

The pour was very nice. Rich, dark brown in color with no light shining through this one at all. Very dark and menacing looking I have to say. Small tan head rose up quickly and faded down almost as quickly, leaving a semi bare top to it.

The aroma was wonderful. Rich with whiskey and vanilla tones that were so absurdly dominant I did not even know what to do with myself. Lots of sweetness in the malt here as well. The flavor was just rediculous. Tons of oak in here, but the vanilla is some of the most dominant and overpowering I have ever come across. Really just superb. Smooth, easy drinking and an exceptional sipper, this offered not a dull moment and for that reason, was a perfect night long sipper.

Overall does it live up to the hype, yes, indeed it does. This is an entirely different animal then last year, but at the same time, simply wonderful. I am very fortunate I was able to try this. (1,168 characters)

Photo of womencantsail
4.37/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: A deep, dark mahogany color with a minimal amount of off white foam on top.

S: A really intense nose of caramel, bourbon, vanilla, and even a touch of roast. Everything seems to compliment the other components quite nicely.

T: Although there is still a fair amount of booze, the bourbon flavors really work nicely with the rest of the beer. Dark fruits make an appearance here along with the sweet caramel malts, vanilla, oak, and just a hit of chocolate.

M: Very full bodied with a low carbonation and some alcohol warmth. To the brink of syrupy, but not quite there.

D: Still a bit warm which is somewhat surprising, but nice flavors and aromas. I would be happy to try this one again and see how it is progressing. (724 characters)

Photo of RblWthACoz
4.47/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

My. This has held up quite nicely after aging for a few years. The fragrance and flavor carry a full vanilla and bourbon character, but it's nice and smooth and at a level that couldn't really be improved upon. I was a bit skeptical about this one, but it turned out to be very nice. (283 characters)

Photo of MasterSki
4.37/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to Chris (spycow) for contributing this one to the FW "vertical" - much appreciated. I've had this beer a number of times over the past few years, and I always felt it was quite hot out of the gate. Let's seem what 2.5 years has done. Served in a Hill Farmstead tulip glass.

A - A finger of tan foam settles to a thin ring of bubbles, with a wisp on top. The body is a dark brown color with a hint of transparency when held to the light.

S - Chocolate, roasted grains, burnt sugars, oak, vanilla, anise, light oxidation, and hints of smoke, charred woods, and dark fruits.

T - Taste has mellowed quite a bit since it was first bottled. Very stout-like in some respects with chocolate and vanilla flavors, but with some malted wheat and sherry-esque oxidation, as well as hints of dark fruits and brown sugar. Not much oak, spirit character, or alcohol at this stage.

M - Smooth medium-full body, lower carbonation, sticky finish and residual feel. Some mild warming after a few ounces, but nothing out of character for a 12% barrel-aged blend.

D - This has settled down quite nicely, and IMHO at this stage in time is on par with the 10 (although a touch behind the 13). I'd say this is probably at or just past its prime. It's getting a bit sweet for me to drink large quantities but I still found it quite enjoyable to sip on. A very good barrel-aged strong ale from the boys at FW that never quite reached the highs of some of the other offerings but seems to be aging quite gracefully. Drink 'em while you got 'em. (1,530 characters)

Photo of mdfb79
4.47/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

From 03/25/11 notes. Huge thanks to nimbleprop for busting this one out; thanks Mac. Poured into a tulip.

a - Pours a mahogany brown color with one inch of tan head and light carbonation evident. No lacing on the glass.

s - Smells of caramel malts, bourbon, oak, vanilla, sweet chocolate, and rich chocolate. Smell is really good.

t - Tastes of caramel malts, bourbon, oak, vanilla, chocolate, roasted malts, and light fruit.

m - Medium to full body and low to moderate carbonation, smooth, thick, and creamy body Light alcohol warmth keeping it from perfect, but a very good mouthfeel.

o - Overall this is a great beer. I had heard this was starting to go downhill but I really didn't see any signs of that. I was lucky enough to try FW 13 at NOTB last month and to me, this was very similiar. Both flavors seemed to have a lot of Parabola going, which is great in my opinion. Would love to have again. (908 characters)

Photo of drabmuh
4.17/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks Thorpe for organizing and hosting the vertical tasting of the Firestone walker beers. Another once in a lifetime tasting experience. Right off the bat I'm going to rank the 5 vintages we had in order of preference 13>14>12>11>>10 (the >> means much greater).

Beer is black to brown with a thin tan head of small bubbles that breaks and pulls to the walls of the cup. some lacing left behind but almost no carbonation.

Aroma is ethanol and roast. Whoa.

This beer is the hottest of all of them for some reason. The lead off is a thin but biting liquor that gives way to some sweet malt and a fuller bodied finish. The finish is mildly bitter with some roast. This was aggressive and in my face but I enjoyed it. (740 characters)

Photo of Rochefort10nh
4.97/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Where to start?

How about this is the best beer I've had this year.

Ruddy, dark drown with minimal head despite a very aggressive pour. Highlights of amber when held to the light.

Smells of torrified malt: caramel, toffee; candied pecans, bourbon, a slight Indonesian coffee component, touch of high quality Tahitian vanilla.

Notes of grade A Vermont maple syrup; bourbon oak; high quality milk chocolate truffle, sultana raisins, refined alcohol, Muscovado sugar, all interwoven perfectly. A beautifully complex beer that showcases the best of barrel aging and blending.

Smooth and slightly viscous in the mouth; luxuriant.

I could drink this as a nightcap without fail. I disagree with some of the other reviews- this is stellar right now! No need to age further. (773 characters)

Photo of mothman
4.12/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a layer of light tan head. Good retention with some lace. Color is a dark mahogany brown.

Aroma: Rich and malty with some heat showing. I get a nice dose of bourbon and oak. I also get some vanilla. Some nice caramel sweetness with some roast and chocolate. Very nice aroma.

Taste: A bit more roasted and chocolate comes out here. Big bourbon and oak. Caramel and vanilla sweetness. It is warming. It has a bit of toffee as well. A bit hot, but good.

Mouthfeel: Warming and smooth. Full bodied with a medium amount of carbonation. Ends with a lot of booze showing.

Overall, this is a great beer, but it is still hot. I have had it multiple times and I always say it can still use some time. How much time does it need? I like it, but it needs to lose some heat. (771 characters)

Photo of Huhzubendah
4.42/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle shared by bmanning. Thanks Ben!

Firestone Walker tasting, including FW 10-14, Abacus, Parabola, Walker's Reserve, Black Xantus.

Order of preference and notes: 13, 12, 11, 14, 10
Abacus and Parabola still shined. Along with FW 13, these were my three favorites of the lineup, with FW 12 not far behind.

The beer is dark brown, with a thin, beige head that leaves some decent lacing behind.

The aroma brings, roasted malt, toffee, alcohol, oak, and light chocolate.

Nice flavor here. This is my second favorite of the FW anniversary series. Well balanced and forward. The beer packs a punch, but does it gracefully.

The feel is much smoother than FW 10 or 11, but still brings some heat, most notably in the finish.

Delicious beer. Highly recommended. (765 characters)

Photo of GClarkage
4.82/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

01/17/09- Purchased at Ledger's Liquors in Berkeley, CA.

Presentation- 22oz bottle in a commemorative box with a piece of paper describing the beer and what went into the making of the beer. Later 2008 release poured into a wine style glass.

Appearance- Copper-caramel colored pour. Slight 1/4 inch head upon pour, quickly dissipates. Lacing is spotty and rather sparse, but wasn't expecting much anyway. Pretty much the norm. Not much to fault.

Smell- Rich nose of lots of stuff. Vanilla, butterscotch (in a good way), brandy, bourbon, oak barrels, wine-like aromas, dirt, caramel...you name it, it's in there. I would call this a dead on highly aromatic English Barleywine if you had asked me.

Taste- Again, lots of flavor melded together. Alcohol is noted, but not as much as one would think. Feels and tastes like a 16-20% abv beer, but is actually only a 12%. Thick and viscous. Caramely and sugary. Brandied dark fruits and some rich milk chocolate. Vanilla intertwinded throughout. Mild hoppy burn during consumption.

Mouthfeel- More carbonation than I was expecting. Thick and chewy, fairly smooth though. Hoppy lasting aftertaste as well as a caramel tongue coating.

Drinkability- Had to keep reminding myself this was NOT an English Barleywine and was a Strong Ale. Therefore, it's about the most perfect tasting Strong Ale I have had. I think it's going to improve also when the hops burn off a bit and the carbonation lessens. This is the first beer I have had that costs $20 and was worth every penny. (1,520 characters)

Photo of Gueuzedude
3.82/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Sampled January 2009
A vigorous pour sneaks up on my and creates a bit of a foam over in my 25cl tulip glass. The head starts out a fat-three-fingers in height with a nicely browned, dark tan color. The beer is quite dark, but more of a concentrated brown than black color, when held up to the light the beer shows flashes of a brilliantly clear, ruby color. The aroma has a nice mix toasted coconut, a light barrel spiciness, lots of vanillin, butterscotch and a finish that has a touch of bourbon like warming to it. The aroma is incredibly smooth for showing so much barrel influence and is actually not quite as powerful as I was expecting. Notes of toffee, hints of dark fruit and some toasted grain notes provide a touch of character underneath the other more dominant notes.

This starts out on the cool side (high 40s to low 50s), but I plan on slowly consuming this over the course of the evening. Thick, viscous and heavy as it first hits my tongue, there is a solid prickle of carbonation as the bubbles struggle to release from the beer. The beer is sweet tasting, but this is balanced a lot by spicy bourbon notes, a lingering woody bite in the finish, a middle that has notes of toasted coconut as well as a roasted malt contribution that is sprinkled throughout. The finish also has a touch of cherry like fruitiness to it, though this quickly succumbs to a more dominant, spicy, bourbon heat (which can be a little too much at times). The sweetened coconut flavors are heightened by barrel influenced notes of vanillin and butterscotch.

As the beer warms up it looses a bit of the sweetness but remains quite rich. This is most definitely a sipping beer. While I was grilling some chicken I was noticing a bit more fruit in the flavor as it seemed to bring out notes of figs and raisins. Dark caramel notes, some solid toffee and some salty caramel start to become noticeable after my third pour of this beer. The flavor has some nice things going on, but it just gets too hot, almost phenolic in the finish because of the barrel spiciness and higher alcohols.

Perhaps not quite as much toasted coconut as the XI, but this certainly has quite a bit of it too. I really like this in strong, barrel aged beers, and it makes me wonder what are they doing / using that most other brewers are not. For some reason I am not quite enjoying this near as much as the 10 or 11, it is not bad, but just doesn't achieve the finesse of either of those brews. (2,464 characters)

Photo of Halcyondays
4.51/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

22 oz. bomber, procured at the BevMo in Cypress, CA,

A: Pours a very dark brown, with a firm, milky tan head with good retention and lacing. Definitely a lot more initial carbonation than the 11 had.

S: Nice bourbon notes, vanilla, oak character, though it doesn't have the pungency I thought it would have, especially comparing it to the GI BCS. Not bad at all, just wish there was a little more.

T: Parabola. That's what I thought on the first sip. The abundance of that brew in the blend really carries it initially, strong oak and roasted malt components along with a big alcohol character. The beer continues to evolve giving a full vanilla which I love, resinous wood, dark chocolate, sweet caramel and a hint of solvent which finishes the brew. Well done again. OK, as it warms up to room temperature and I finish it, it is starting to get really good, the vanilla and caramel are really opening up, with a background of the roasted malt flavours. Giving it a 5, though I still think the 11 is slightly better.

M: Full-bodied and very smooth. The carbonation is kept minimal which I like in barrel aged beers as it keeps it very drinkable, and allows the fullness of the flavours to come out.

D: Of course I'm going to compare it to the 11, which is arguably the best tasting beer I've ever had. I don't think it's as good as the 11 yet, but a couple years of aging could change that, it still is a little boozy. Nevertheless, it is another excellent barrel aged product from Firestone, glad I got to try it, outstanding, they know what they're doing. Sign me up for the next 20 Anniversary releases. (1,612 characters)

Photo of weeare138
4.6/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to Josh for opening this one...
Appears a dark brown, nearing black with auburn edges when held to the light. A decent sized, tan head slowly fades out into a floating cap of sea foam. Scattered remnants of the lacing are left around the glass.
Smell is of rum, bourbon, cocoa, caraamel, ripe fruit, raisins, and pecan pie.
Taste is of the mentioned complexities with more of caramel and nuts coming through.
Mouthfeel is medium-full bodied, oaky, bourbon laden, with cocoa clinging to the palate. (504 characters)

Photo of HopHead84
4.55/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours black, with a huge, thick creamy, light brown head and moderate lacing. The aroma is superb. Chocolate is very strong, as is vanilla. There is some bourbon and caramel in the nose, and the faintest hint of coffee. I'm very glad to see coffee take a back seat to the other wonderful aromas that XII has to offer. The initial taste is of bittersweet chocolate. Delicious. Sweet caramel, butterscotch, vanilla, and some bourbon and oak. The alcohol taste is very minimal, considering the high abv of 12%. The mouthfeel is creamy and the carbonation is substantial. (567 characters)

Photo of Zorro
4.28/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Once again Firestone releases this years Anniversary ale, the 12th one hence the name.

A black colored beer and no light passes through the glass, perfectly sized light brown colored head forms. Not sure what they could do to make it look any better in the glass.

The smell is strongly of vanilla no doubt from both the oak barrels and the Bourbon barrels used; one of the barrel types was a Brandy barrel.
As you would guess there is a strong Bourbon scent to this beer and some fruit mainly currants and grape. As it warms the fruity scents intensify as the alcohol becomes more airborne and you can really smell the Brandy elements. Chocolate, coconut, molasses and almond appear also. Reading the back of the box it says "nuances of Tobacco, leather, spice and molasses" I only smell the tobacco and molasses.

The taste starts out strongly of vanilla and the bourbon with a bit of an alcohol edge to it; HEY it is a 12% beer. Mildly sweet there is a lot of dark fruit flavor here mostly raisin. Strong warming of the stomach and throat by the alcohol, this is a great winter cold day beer. It gets sweet as you sip it and it warms, quite a lot like bourbon actually. There is an unexpected pineapple aftertaste to this one, must be much higher Hopped that it appears to be right now. Also getting leather and chocolate in the aftertaste. Complex ale going to be lots of different interpretations of this one.

Mouthfeel is creamy.

Drinkability is not going to be real high for a beer this strong and this one is way up there. Definitely a sipper you aren't drinking two bottles of this a night unless you regularly chug whiskey. Might still be a bit young, give it a year and see if it is a bit less boozy to the mouth. (1,727 characters)

Photo of barleywinefiend
4.47/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

After having this on cask at the release and my bottle last night I can say this brew varied alot in my opinion.
Poured a deep, deep brown almost black with a nice tan head, pretty good carbonation. Nose was vanilla, oak, bourbon, coffee and some cocoa. Taste was more bourbon forward from the bottle than on cask. In fact I noticed the bourbon and vanilla were way more prominent from the bottle. It tasted boozier as well. Mouthfeel was nice, full, complex and creamy. Excellent! This is an exceptional brew and better then 11 in my book. I thought the cask was much more enjoyable of course and little more mellow, it seemed more put together and balanced. (660 characters)

Photo of John_M
4.54/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

With some help from my friends, I was able to drink most of a bottle of this elixir at Stone today.

The beer pours an impressive dark brown color with minimal head retention, but OK lacing. The beer doesn't look super impressive, but then I stuck my nose in the glass.

On the nose, one gets a huge aroma of chocolate, molasses, prunes and vanilla. As good as this beer is on the nose, on the palate it's other worldly. The beer has the consistency of liquid butter on the palate, with flavors of chocolate, vanilla, more molasses and honey. There is also some lovely underlying hoppy bitterness, which keeps the beer from tasting too heavy or cloying. The beer has a huge soft creamy mouthfeel, especially after it warmed up a bit. (this beer really should be served close to room temperature, IMO). The beer is very, very boozy, but that's expected and appreciated in this beer. The flavor profile keeps the alcohol in check, though there's no denying that a little bit of this goes a long way.

A very, very impressive beer from FireStone. Just very good stuff... (1,068 characters)

Photo of akorsak
4.2/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

It's about time to dig into this 650 mL bottle. From a mini Duvel tulip.

A: Popped open, the ale didn't generate much carbonation. Even now, a few minutes after opening, a wispy band is all that remains. Underneath that underwhelming head, a stout dark ale sits contentedly. Nothing more to say, black is black.

S: Nuttiness, vanilla and wood, barleywine and stout. Plenty going around in my glass. Coconut joins the vanilla as the most instriguing aroma, the strongest by a hair. Well-roasted malts, deep and chocolatey and stoutlike, along with thick barleywine, is a strong pairing with the barrel.

T: More barleywine in the first sip, big malts concentrated to the nth degree. The barrel aging adds the requisite vanilla flavors and wooden depth. The barrels don't dominate though, instead sharing the stage. Boozy heat runs alongside the ale, adding a sweet complexity. Larger sips, when allowed to sit on my palate, evoke more bourbon. The finish is a little thin at times but generally provides enough thick maltiness and bourbon goodness. Sweet vanilla as a swansong.

M: I relish my annual afternoon along with Firestone's Anniversary Ale. This is no exception. It was, for those keeping score, the lowest of my Anniversary Ales to date. (1,249 characters)

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Firestone 12 - Anniversary Ale from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
97 out of 100 based on 186 ratings.