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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.

293 Ratings

(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
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Ratings: 293 | Reviews: 187 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Murchmac
3.68/5  rDev -16.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Is that guy from the bachelor the same dude that is Firestone? Either way, this beer is better than the show.

Pours a deep dark brown with ruby highlights, frothy tan head. Look out for the yeasty sediment crap that can float on down like a disneyland snow globe.

Smells of strong bourbon up front, makes way for vanilla, dark fruits, coffee, toast. Smells a lot like the 11.

Straight up bourbon taste, bleeds into melted chocolate, hops, roasted coffee, burnt toast. Very complex, the bourbon dominates like Buster Douglas against Tyson.

Warming alcohol numbs your head and coats your throat, bourbon chocolatey coffee tastes linger like Piston Honda. Very complex, good, but not great, yet. I liked it but would let it chill for 4-5 years and see what happens.

Murchmac, Jan 02, 2009
Photo of hoppymeal
4.47/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours black with a good sized dark tan head that very slowly chunks down. Aroma is a nice big bourbony aroma, some definite alcohol is evident by the booziness in the smell. Also, some cola, caramel, and vanilla sweetness. A swirl produces some nice notes of leather and aged dark fruits, raisins etc. Taste is full of a vanilla sweetness, it is up front and a good portion of the way thru the taste. Some booziness and a drying woodiness towards the finish. Some strong licorice characteristics are present throughout as well. Mouthfeel is medium to heavy in body, carbonation creates a nice soft and creamy feel, some biting and warming alcohol in the finish. The alcohol is definitely big, but is balanced by the big flavors and feel, and never becomes disproportionate. Just like ten and eleven before it, this is an excellent beer. This beer needs no ageing, it is drinking great in the present.

hoppymeal, Jan 02, 2009
Photo of AES
4.78/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

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 JWD
4.72/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A- brown almost black in appearance eith a slight red color

S- lot going on here, bourbon, vanilla, oak, booze, and many others, one of the best smelling beers i have ever had.

T- outstanding a thinner much more complex version of GI BCS, continues to change as it warms.

M- thinner than expected however the flavor is intense, it coats your mouth with an array of flavors

D- OK due to the high ABV, I would say that one of these is enough.

Overall outstanding beer with a lot to take in well worth the $20 a bottle.

JWD, Dec 29, 2008
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 gameface23
4.05/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours a whiskey brown with a small, dark head. This beer reminded of bourbon more than any other beer I've tried. It is also similar to an Imperial Stout in a lot of aspects (except for the appearance). The smell was of bourbon barrel vanilla and chocolate. The taste was similar, with strong alcohol that warmed as it went down. Drinkability was average. I doubt I would ever be able to finish an entire bottle of it or want more than 2 full drinks.

gameface23, Dec 28, 2008
Photo of RodBurg
3.78/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours an opaque dark brown with a thin layer of head gracing the top that leaves no lacing. Small highlights of amber peak through the edges when held up to light. Extremely viscous.

Lots of bourbon in the nose. Vanilla, oak, caramel, sweet corn.

Taste is all Kentucky Whiskey and caramel malt. Vanilla, brown sugar and molasses notes combine very well with a thick and chewy mouthfeel. Good carbonation and a slight alcohol burn in the finish.

Incredibly complex and tasty. Definite sipper, I had to share the bottle.

RodBurg, Dec 26, 2008
Photo of Wasatch
4.5/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a very nice dark brown color, very nice carbonation, nice little brownish head, with some nice sticky lacing left behind. The nose is malty, with some whiskey, vanilla. The taste is sweet, malty, with some whiskey/vanilla notes. Medium body. Very drinkable, this is one very tasty brew.

Wasatch, Dec 24, 2008
Photo of WeisGuy
4.45/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

a - pours a dark brown, nearly black color, nice one-inch tan head with retention around the edges and good lacing, cascade of bubbles develops with each sip

s - oak, caramel, and deeply roasted malt are the predominate aromas, some dark fruit and a pronounced toasted pecan flavor add quite a bit of complexity to the nose, along with an underlying note of vanilla, decent amount of alcohol as well

t - very smooth and complex on the palate, semi-sweet chocolate and caramel mix with oak and vanilla cream up front, some dark fruits and caramel malt on the mid-palate lead into a moderate bitterness and warm boozy finish, alcohol is definitely prominent, but not overwhelming

m - full-bodied, medium-carbonation, well-balanced finish with just the right amount of dryness, very good, if not perfect mouthfeel overall

d - certainly a sipper, but a pretty drinkable one, alcohol is there but not overwhelming, pretty easy on the palate, sweetness is not too much and is balanced by the moderately dry finish

Great beer overall, and a worthy continuation of the barrel-aged anniversary series from Firestone Walker. Yes, the price is a bit steep, but I, for one, feel this is worth it. Seek out a bottle if you can!

WeisGuy, Dec 22, 2008
Photo of John_M
4.58/5  rDev +4.3%
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...

John_M, Dec 20, 2008
Photo of magictrokini
4.5/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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 paytoplay
4.47/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

All the 4.5's will be 5's with a couple years of age on this beer. Aroma is a bit conservative. Drank out of wine type glasses at Live Wire San Diego. only $20! Amazing balance, acidity and alc to go along with the power of the bourbon flavors. that is what sets this beast apart. it all comes together to be very smooth and elegant. So much going on besides the bourbon profile of oak vanilla coco carmel. They know what they are doing with this beer. Give this one a couple hours in the glass to open up and drink at room temp. Glad to have more as this beer will be very rewarding in 2 or 3+ years. Bravo!

paytoplay, Dec 17, 2008
Photo of illidurit
4.8/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Review #500! Poured into a brandy snifter. Out of the bottle it's a maple syrup color but in the glass it sits a complete opaque black. An ecru head tries to form through the dense liquid but manages only about a half finger of height.

Aroma features all the great qualities of a fine bourbon but with none of the alcohol sharpness. Chocolate drizzled on oak and peat, with sumptuous vanilla and a raisiny fruitiness, even hazelnuts.

Flavor seems to morph with each sip. First I got a really portlike Utopias character, then I got a nice roastiness, and now it seems to be sweet bourbon and wood. Similar notes as the aroma, and I'm also getting a slight candied citrus note, which may be the only trace of hoppiness here. Brown sugar, smoke, molasses. Delicious.

Mouthfeel is a touch under thick, which lends a nice drinkability. Carbonation is lowish but there's nothing wrong with that, considering this beer is almost closer to bourbon than beer anyway. Finish is surprisingly clean. Wonderful warming sensation from the high but well-hidden alcohol makes this just perfect for cold weather and winter in general. Top notch beer.

illidurit, Dec 13, 2008
Photo of hopdog
4.38/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22oz bottle purchased and consumed on site at the Stone Bistro in Escondido, CA. I was actually happy to find this during my San Diego vacataion. A little expensive at $28 a bottle, but what is a beer geek to do these days. At least the Waiter asked if I am sure I wanted to pay that much for a beer and also said it was very popular.

Poured a dark brown color with a small sized off white head. Aromas of wood, roasty, chocolate, somem dark fruitiness, and vanilla. Tastes of plums, raisins, woody, chocolate, caramel, vanilla, and wood.

Alcohol finish got stronger and stronger as I drank this and I had a problem finishing the bomber by myself - trust me I did. On the sweeter side. One to share for sure.

hopdog, Dec 11, 2008
Photo of tpd975
4.63/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Picked up on my trip to San Fran.

A: Pours a nice dark black hue with tones of brown showing thru. The heady is brown in color and rather wispy. No retention at all though it somehow manages a bit of spotty lace.

S: Bold oak aromas you can tell this one has been in the barrel. A big blast of vanilla comes next with hints of brown sugar, sweet fruit, and caramelized brown sugar.

T: Missed out on the Ten and Eleven, but if this is an indication I can see why they have a cult following. Lots of barrel in this beer. Bold nutty oak with hints of pure vanilla bean. Dark fruits make an appearence along with some caramelized brown sugar. There is a boozy burn in the finish.

M: Full bodied and smooth. Very rich and creamy. Packs a bit of sting though from the booze.

D: Very sippable. Shared this with the tasting group, and I have to say it was one of those beer that lives up to the hype. Have another one to age, which is what I plan to do. A little age could take this great beer and make it out of this world. Time will tell.

tpd975, Dec 09, 2008
Photo of likestoswallow
4.55/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

650 ml bottle.

A: Pours a dark brown-nearly opaque black color with a small tan head that has fair retention.

S: The aroma is strong and rich with whiskey, roasted malts, dates, plums and coffee.

T: The flavor shows a good balance of whiskey to ale blends. There is a distinct taste of roasted barley intermingled with bourbon, dates, plums, vanilla and black walnuts.

M: The mouthfeel is smooth and creamy with good carbonation. The finish is long and glorious with lingering malts and Bourbon.

D: This is a beer that begs to be sipped and savored. As this is an over-hyped product I approached it with a great deal of skepticism. Much to my surprise it really is that good. Perhaps I'm just too easy to please (sometimes), but this is a great brew that exceeds its hype.

likestoswallow, Dec 05, 2008
Photo of bunnyhustle
4.88/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Wow! This is an amazing beer! It pours a dark mahogany brown with some ruby highlights. A somewhat thinner than expected tan head with minimal lacing and somewhat poor retention. Thats about all I have to say negative about this beer. The smell is great. It has a caramel/vanilla/sweet chocolate/brandy-ness to it. A tad bit of alcohol as well. As far as taste goes, this is easily one of the best beers I have every had the pleasure of tasting. Full of complex dark flavors such as vanilla (the dominant flavor for me), sweet chocolate, brandy, some oak, a bit of coffee, some caramel, and the very warming alcohol as it goes down. I have a feeling there are about 13 more tastes in there that my buds just cant pick up. Mouthfeel is thick and full, I wouldnt say its heavy but very close. A slightly lower score on the drinkability just because this is a very, very slow sipper and that ABV will sneak up on you. One of the best beers I've had and well worth every penny.

bunnyhustle, Dec 03, 2008
Photo of LittleBreeze
4.83/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is a fantastic beer! How do you blend and get these type of results?
Just in the aroma there is so much going on...vanilla, caramel, coffee, chocolate ,oak, fruit and bourbon....maybe even a tad of pepper. Deeply complex nose and taste. The change in aroma and taste just going from cellar temp to room temp is amazing. There is a little bit of a booze bite. I expect that will smooth out in time. Mouthfeel is creamy. This easy drinking sipper is one to share.

LittleBreeze, Dec 01, 2008
Photo of 0110x011
5/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

My first perfect score. This may be the best beer I've ever had.

Pours near-black into a snifter. Tight, tan one-finger head fades fast, leaving a thin collar behind. Spotty lacing. Incredible nose, hints of caramel, toffee, butter, cream, oak, bourbon, cocoa, vanilla, and coffee intermingle, none dominating any other. If this were the last thing I ever smelled, I'd die happy. Cocoa, caramel, vanilla, coffee and oak are the main flavors on the palate. As it warms, more flavors come through; maple, cinnamon, coffee, and bourbon. The depth and complexity are astounding, yet everything is balanced very well. Medium-full body, with a soft, creamy mouthfeel. Barely any hint of alcohol. It's a sipper, but I could sip this all night.

This is a beer that deserves your full attention to really appreciate the subtleties and complexity. If my supply disappeared, I would sell my soul for more. I suggest you do the same.

0110x011, Nov 30, 2008
Photo of francisweizen
4.55/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Dark nearly black brown with ruby highlights and a nice tan head of foam that rises up and away and is easily revived with a small flick of the wrist and swirl of the snifter. Aromas of oak, chocolate, coffee, roasted malts, resiny hops, dark fruits, raisins, nuts, and more. Similar to the 11 this one is more stout heavy and the parabola really shines through. Taste is balanced and smooth with oak notes, roasted malts, and imperial stout notes abounding. Mouthfeel is thick but remains not too over the top which lends to a greater than average drinkability for a beer this large.

francisweizen, Nov 28, 2008
Photo of barleywinefiend
4.47/5  rDev +1.8%
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.

barleywinefiend, Nov 28, 2008
Photo of calsbeek
4.5/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Wow, openend this beer on thanksgiving right after dinner but before pie. :)
untouchable except by 11 (which I found a bit more drinkable).
Firestone Walker is just the best there is when it comes to blending.

the vanilla comes through on this just like in 11, but this is a bit more boozy right now. The three bottles of 11 I drank were all at least 6 months old which may have influenced things.

Can't wait for 13!

calsbeek, Nov 27, 2008
Photo of BrewMonkey
4.97/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours deep deep brown to nearly black with a light amount of tannish head that dissipates quickly.

Aroma of sweet bourbon and caramel arrive first, with earthen tobacco, oak and dark fruit in the background. A slight tartness on the nose reminiscent of blackerries and sherbert. Subtle alcohol warmth on the nose. Vanilla, cherry, toffee.

The exceptionally creamy mouthfeel nearly distracts from the wave of flavors starting with berries and fruit which give way to toffee and chocolate, some vanilla, creamy, dreamy, wonderful. Finishes warm and oaky.

Warms to a more distinct bourbon and vanilla climax but never loses it's smooth nature, despite the stength of the beer.

Really fantastic, shows an increased depth in the componant parts from last years offering. Deserved of being shared with all comers. A great beer, maybe the greatest.

BrewMonkey, Nov 27, 2008
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 scottoale
4.6/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Another WoW of a big strong brew. Boxed 22oz. brown bomber with gold foil cap cover and a bottle/date of: 11/04/08 17:56. This was truly a PITA to aquire, but it met my expectations, based on the last two anniversary offerings.

It pours a very black-brown and viscous liquid, with just a 1/2" darkish tan head. The carbonation is good and visually evident from the pop of the cap through the pour. The head fades slowly to the surface and leaves no lace clinging.

The smell at first is sweet and dark fruity, with notes of prune, toffee, chocolate, coffee, molasses and some alcohol. And once it warms a bit, complexity unfolds and the alcohol grows. This is the smell that I sometimes live for, it's awesome. With the warming comes the vanilla and oak, and as well the alcohol punches through with a wonderful booziness.

The taste is the smell, with just a little less pizazz that will come after ageing a bit. It is great now, but I think it will be incredible down the road. Very strong and tasty as is, right now.

Big body but not too so. Easy to drink if you like big boozy beers. Smooth and rich in the mouthfeel with a lingering molasses and warming booze finish. Awesome blended brew!

scottoale, Nov 26, 2008
Firestone 12 - Anniversary Ale from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
97 out of 100 based on 293 ratings.