Velvet Merlin - Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
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Ratings: 2,006 | Reviews: 530 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by portia99:
3.95/5 rDev -1.7%
12oz bottle (1/9/14) poured into a Bruery tulip.
A - Pours black in the glass with small heading forming briefly and then falling to leave behind a thin collar of grayish foam and random traces of lacing on the glass.
S - Tons of burnt, charred malt, traces of burning tires, molasses, over-roasted coffee, dark chocolate, mild licorice. A bit too much burnt character for me.
T - Flavor follows the aroma fairly well. Large quantities of smoke, burnt, charcoal-y, acrid and deeply roasted flavor. Dark chocolate, fudgy, molasses, coffee, licorice. More complexity and balance than the aroma indicates...chocolatey sweetness comes in just enough to smooth out all of the heavy burnt character.
M - Quite thick and full bodied. Medium carbonation that comes in just a touch to high for my preferences but is not offensive. Increasing hoppy bitterness as the beer warms in the glass.
O - Overall, enjoyable stout. Bigger beer than the ABV would indicate. Super thick in feel and a bit heavy. Nice with dessert.
03-08-2014 00:53:45 | More by portia99
More User Reviews:
3.8/5 rDev -5.5%
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.
09-17-2013 11:24:45 | More by tectactoe
4.7/5 rDev +16.9%
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.
10-31-2011 01:19:18 | More by weatherdog
4.13/5 rDev +2.7%
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.
11-27-2012 01:46:18 | More by SanFranJake
4.05/5 rDev +0.7%
Promoted as a Merkin @ local joint known for small number but top quality tap line.
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.
10-13-2012 12:44:38 | More by NWer
3.38/5 rDev -15.9%
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.
01-13-2012 02:47:34 | More by Beaver13
3.33/5 rDev -17.2%
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?
11-03-2013 22:01:19 | More by mverity
3.95/5 rDev -1.7%
Firestone Walker Velvet Merlin Oatmeal Stout
12 oz. bottle ,Bottled on dating ( "01/09/14") etched onto the neck of the bottle.
Pours near black, mocha head, stays nicely and leaves low sheeting and thicker strands of lace.
Chocolate and some vanilla on the nose.
Thick and flavorful, with more milk chocolate and smooth dark malt notes. Dry finish but maintains a quite moderate hop presence. Nicely done and well worth a try if ya see this available in your local area.
02-18-2014 22:05:49 | More by Billolick
3.95/5 rDev -1.7%
The Beers of California
Bottled Date: 9/27/12
A: Deep black with a light brown head of foam which dissipates to a faint layer of bubbles.
S: Smokey with dark chocolate and hints of espresso.
T: Bittersweet chocholate with hints of smokiness, vanilla, and espresso. Smooth, dark, sweet bread foundation. Some earthy bitterness and warming alcohol in the finish. Great flavor profile with complementing characteristics.
M. Full, creamy, and velvety smooth with good carbonation.
O: A great, smooth stout for the cold winter nights. Simple and balanced with good drinkability.
11-11-2012 03:47:19 | More by ElSid
Velvet Merlin from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
90 out of 100 based on 2,006 ratings.