Velvet Merlin - Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Velvet MerlinVelvet Merlin

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BA SCORE
90
outstanding

2,352 Ratings
THE BROS
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no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 2,352
Reviews: 559
rAvg: 4.01
pDev: 10.22%
Wants: 201
Gots: 317 | FT: 6
Brewed by:
Firestone Walker Brewing Co. visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
Oatmeal Stout |  5.50% ABV

Availability: Fall

Notes/Commercial Description:
A decadent oatmeal stout. Velvet Merlin offers robust cocoa and espresso aromas with subtle American hop nuances. Rich dark chocolate and roasted coffee flavor with a creamy mouth feel and wonderfully dry finish create the perfect balance in this full-bodied stout. Ideal for sipping in the winter months or at the end of a meal.

Original name was "Velvet Merkin", but name was changed when it began to be bottled in 2010.

 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ufa ... tube_gdata 

(Beer added by: largadeer on 11-13-2008)
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Ratings: 2,352 | Reviews: 559 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by MRsojourner:
Photo of MRsojourner
3.75/5  rDev -6.5%

More User Reviews:
Photo of UCLABrewN84
4/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep, dark brown bordering on black with a 2 inch tan colored head. Lacing is spotty on the glass on the drink down. Smells of roasted malt, oatmeal, and weak coffee. Taste is of dark roasted malt and oats with a slight bitter coffee flavor. Bitterness is slight after each sip. Good carbonation with a medium body. Very easy to drink. A good dark sessionable beer clocking in at 5.5% ABV.

Photo of mikesgroove
4.5/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

completely opaque liquid coming forward in front of me. Rich dark brown notes, with a good sized head of maybe an inch in height coming over the top of it. Nice settling left behind a thin layer and a good amount of side glass lace.

The aroma was your typical oatmeal stout, though a touch more bitter then what I was expecting. Nice notes of lactose, chocolate and vinous hops. Some light grain notes as well in the finish. Rich, though not terribly filling. Lots of burnt and roasted malt flavors in here. Not as sweet as the aroma would have led me to believe it would have been, still though very solid in both bitterness and malt profile. Light notes of chocolate floating around, but again nothing terribly too swee

Photo of metter98
4.05/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

A: The beer is very close to being jet black in color—only slight traces of dark brown are visible near the edge of the glass. It poured with a quarter finger high dark beige head that died down.
S: Light to moderate aromas of oatmeal, dark malts, and roasted malts are present in the nose.
T: Similar to the smell, the taste has flavors of dark and roasted malts along with notes of oatmeal and slight bits of sweetness towards the finish. Some hints of coffee beans are also perceptible.
M: It feels light- to medium-bodied and very smooth on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation. Faint amounts of dryness are also noticeable.
O: For a lighter oatmeal stout, this beer still offers some complexities in the taste that makes it interesting to drink.

Serving type: bottle

Photo of huntley101888
4.2/5  rDev +4.7%

Aroma - smells sweet with notes of coffee and toffee maybe a bit of chocolate, but mostly the first two. 11/12

Appearance - Inky black color. No light is getting through this thing. Half a finger of tan head dissapated very quickly to a thin ring of foam around the surface of the glass. 3/3

Flavor - The obvious flavors are coffee and bitter chocolate up front. Those lead to the oaty sweetness that you'd expect in an oatmeal stout. I'm going to sound crazy here, but the sweetness taste reminds me of the smell of pumpkin puree. Please don't interpret that as this is a pumpkin beer, but that's what's in my brain. 18/20

Mouthfeel - lightly carbed, which is appropriate for style. Creamy mouthfeel - not too heavy but not too thin. 5/5

Overall - This is a very good oatmeal stout and is true to style. If you're looking for a good stout, try this one. 9/10

Photo of Flounder57
4.03/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle was poured into a nonic glass.

Appearance: A one finger mocha head was poured that reduced to a thin layer. It is a pitch black color with no vision of anything.

Smell: Sweet and bready oats, vanilla, milk chocolate, roasted coffee, char, smoke, and earthy aromas.

Taste: Same as above. Nice sweetness and bready oats. Very tasty oatmeal stout.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, some silky and creamy notes, light bodied, and a little chewy.

Overall: Pretty nice oatmeal stout. I wouldn't mind trying out the big daddy version. I am content with this one for the time being.

Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.95/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Burnished walnut brown with burnt orange edges and a lack of opacity... which is no sin in beer of this style and ABV. The lovely looking lid of golden ecru colored foam that was created on the pour is becoming soft and creamy as it melts. Nice lace too.

A small percentage of bourbon barrel-aged Merlin was combined with non-bourbon barrel-aged Merlin to create Merlin. Make sense? There's almost no whiskey in the nose, just the usual roasted and chocolate notes of the style... but it's enough.

As always, my taste buds are more sensitive than my nose. Still, this is not beer that will scare away those who don't care for the taste of America's finest spirit. That particular characteristic is subtle, which is exactly what is needed in a 5.5% oatmeal stout that doesn't otherwise poleaxe your palate with malt flavor.

Specific flavors include bittersweet chocolate, charred coffee beans, burnt sugar, and a complementary tea leaf bitterness from U.S. Fuggles. Barely more than 3 months in the bottle ensures that this is still relatively balanced beer. More bourbon would've been a mistake.

The mouthfeel is the only (slight) disappointment. It's a fraction thin, doesn't hang on like it should, and the carbonation could add more lift and expansive creaminess. Not bad at all, it just doesn't keep pace with the other attributes.

Firestone Walker is a good-to-great craft brewery. Velvet Merlin Oatmeal Stout is closer to good than great, which is fine with me. Here's hoping this is a year-round release.

Photo of tectactoe
3.8/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

Black. Black as black can be... Surprisingly black, actually, with another surprisingly deep brown and tainted mocha colored head that foams up to a few fingers quickly, and then hastily retreats to a weak film stretched across the black hole. A few splotches of tan lacing are left near the top of the glass and that's about it. I know it's an oatmeal stout, but I wasn't expecting this level of darkness.

The aroma ventures into the cream and silky chocolate range with a mild oat undertaking and plenty of dark and lightly roasted malt. The darkness and roast don't come without a somewhat out of kilter, but nevertheless balancing, creamy sweetness - the beauty of sweet/oatmeal stouts, right? The nose shows just a touch of dark fruit in the finish... Not as captivating as I was expecting, but a decent smelling oatmeal stout nonetheless.

Velvet Merlin tricks me a little bit, as the taste is definitely more roasted than you would ever be able to anticipate just from taking a few whiffs. Lightly charred malt is met by a quieter, softer prune and dark fruit sweetness that lends every hand it has in an attempt to balance, and eventually does a respectable job of it, even if not immediately.

More milk chocolates explode about halfway through, flowing into a graciously soft and dry oat filled finish. Sweetness is contempt, yet notable and overall balanced pretty well with the roast and the dry oats. The mouth feel of this beer doesn't swoon me with its sexy silkiness like oatmeal stouts should (and like many of them do), so I must dock it a few points in that regard.

Velvet Merlin is a pretty good oatmeal stout all around, but it really wasn't a mind-blowing or incredible experience for me, and there are certainly some options that are more local to me that I'd take over it (New Holland's The Poet, or even Rogue's Shakespeare, as much as I hate Rogue and their business practices... but that's neither here nor there). Really good, but not legendary.

Photo of DavyJones
4/5  rDev -0.2%

Photo of t2grogan
4.25/5  rDev +6%

Photo of Narshwaggle
4.25/5  rDev +6%

Photo of Tiernan
4.25/5  rDev +6%

Photo of weatherdog
4.7/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle poured into a tulip glass

Pours a deep black, mocha dense head dies down to a thin layer of bubbles. Minimal lacing.

The aroma is of grains. Like freshly mashed dark grains it's inviting and roasty but not over done with just a little back end sweetness and vanilla. Its simple and to the point.

Taste is just outstanding. Roasted barley in the forefront, a mild coffee bean flavor and then it finishes with just the smallest amount of plum fruit. The finish has a lingering bitter /roast that is welcomed. Mouthfeel is medium light but the oats give it a silky impression that makes it feel fuller bodied without knocking down the drinkability.

This is seriously a great beer. One of the best simple no frills stouts that I've ever had. Truely impressed.

Photo of TimBeaulieu
5/5  rDev +24.7%

Photo of SanFranJake
4.13/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I really liked this beer. Poured into a plain ass snifter and was great!
Beer buying (not yet drinking) a lot of their beer lately (five XVI's, Parabola and DDBA's as I find) and had to try.
Pours a deep dark brown with great head that slowly dissipates.
Usual aromas of coffee and chocolate as expected but suprisingly drinkable and not the least bit filling as I expect a stout to be.
Great aftertaste and overall, if I'm looking for a drinkable stout that isnt barrel aged or fancy, I think I've found it.

Photo of SoundZero
4/5  rDev -0.2%

Photo of drewkennedy
4.5/5  rDev +12.2%

Photo of bdkucharski
4.5/5  rDev +12.2%

Photo of NWer
4.05/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Promoted as a Merkin @ local joint known for small number but top quality tap line.
Couldn't wait.
Enjoyed the beer enough but where was the bourbon? I reviewed it as a Merkin & blamed the thin taste on too cold serving temperature.
Elliott Bay Pizza later tweeted that it wasn't a Merkin at all but a Merlin.
That's better. Explains the taste but still doesn't excuse the serving temperature.
Still, I have the growler to go & can give it an updated rating on my terms in the future.
With the $10 price tag for the growler, not complaining at all. Should have known it was too good to be true. They're allowed to screw up once in a while. They're still my go-to local place for pizza & killer beer.
As a non-bourbon barrel aged oatmeal stout, this is excellent and more in line with what I expect from FW not the disappointment when I expected it to be a Merkin. Deleted my Merkin review.

Photo of chip26
4.16/5  rDev +3.7%

Photo of Beaver13
3.38/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle. Pours dark brown with a big creamy light tan head that retains well and laces the glass a little.

The aroma is roasted malt, oatmeal and some coffee.

The flavor is a little on the mild side - some sweet chocolate and caramel malts with some earthy coffee notes. The mouthfeel is medium bodied and fairly watery.

Overall, a decent oatmeal stout, but a little on the mild and sweet side. I slightly preferred the Slow Elk by Big Sky which is very similar.

Photo of Jared14
3.75/5  rDev -6.5%

Photo of SmellsofMahagony
4.25/5  rDev +6%

Photo of abottrill
3.75/5  rDev -6.5%

Photo of mverity
3.33/5  rDev -17%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Bottle courtesy of a BA trade. Pours inky black with tan colored head that went away almost immediately. Good legs, okay lacing. Aroma is faint. I'm only getting deep malt with a touch of brown sugar. Taste is much different, still the heavy malt character, interesting oat flavor, faint hop earthiness, brown sugar/caramel. Mouthfeel is surprisingly thin. Not nearly as syrupy as I was hoping for from a oatmeal centered stout. I'm surprised this beer becomes so damn tasty in the barrels. Merkin is considerably better. Maybe I shouldn't have aged this one. Who knows?

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Velvet Merlin from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
90 out of 100 based on 2,352 ratings.