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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

293 Ratings
THE BROS
100
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 293
Reviews: 187
rAvg: 4.39
pDev: 9.34%
Wants: 357
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
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Firestone 12 - Anniversary Ale Alström Bros
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Ratings: 293 | Reviews: 187 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of t0rin0
4.33/5  rDev -1.4%
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.

t0rin0, Nov 20, 2008
Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.33/5  rDev -1.4%
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.

UCLABrewN84, Jul 24, 2012
Photo of djrn2
4/5  rDev -8.9%

djrn2, Jun 15, 2013
Photo of Thorpe429
4.33/5  rDev -1.4%
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.

Thorpe429, Nov 10, 2010
Photo of zestar
4.25/5  rDev -3.2%

zestar, Jan 18, 2014
Photo of nmann08
4.5/5  rDev +2.5%

nmann08, Nov 18, 2011
Photo of acurtis
3.75/5  rDev -14.6%

acurtis, Jan 20, 2013
Photo of brentk56
4.47/5  rDev +1.8%
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

brentk56, Feb 04, 2010
Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.97/5  rDev +13.2%
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.

BuckeyeNation, Sep 22, 2010
Photo of mikesgroove
4.75/5  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.

mikesgroove, Dec 28, 2008
Photo of GRG1313
4/5  rDev -8.9%

GRG1313, Apr 09, 2014
Photo of womencantsail
4.38/5  rDev -0.2%
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.

womencantsail, Apr 21, 2010
Photo of ygtbsm94
3.5/5  rDev -20.3%

ygtbsm94, Jan 13, 2012
Photo of spycow
4.25/5  rDev -3.2%

spycow, Apr 15, 2013
Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
4.5/5  rDev +2.5%

westcoastbeerlvr, Nov 14, 2011
Photo of emerge077
4.33/5  rDev -1.4%
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.

emerge077, Mar 10, 2009
Photo of largadeer
4.47/5  rDev +1.8%
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.

largadeer, Nov 13, 2008
Photo of RblWthACoz
4.48/5  rDev +2.1%
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.

RblWthACoz, Aug 30, 2012
Photo of MasterSki
4.38/5  rDev -0.2%
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.

MasterSki, May 15, 2011
Photo of drabmuh
4.15/5  rDev -5.5%
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.

drabmuh, May 26, 2011
Photo of oline73
3.5/5  rDev -20.3%

oline73, May 27, 2014
Photo of mendvicdog
3/5  rDev -31.7%

mendvicdog, May 29, 2014
Photo of mdfb79
4.47/5  rDev +1.8%
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.

mdfb79, Apr 01, 2011
Photo of Rochefort10nh
4.97/5  rDev +13.2%
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.

Rochefort10nh, Nov 26, 2008
Photo of Gueuzedude
3.78/5  rDev -13.9%
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.

Gueuzedude, Jan 31, 2009
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Firestone 12 - Anniversary Ale from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
97 out of 100 based on 293 ratings.