Velvet Merlin - Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Velvet MerlinVelvet Merlin

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BA SCORE
90
outstanding

2,627 Ratings
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Ratings: 2,627
Reviews: 609
rAvg: 4.01
pDev: 9.98%
Wants: 209
Gots: 431 | 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:
Beer added by: largadeer on 11-13-2008

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.

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Ratings: 2,627 | Reviews: 609
Photo of scottfrie
3.83/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle into 25oz snifter.

A: Pours a very dark chestnut brown, almost black, with a finger of dense light creamy-brown head that slowly faded into a thin film and collar that left spots of soapy lacing down the glass.
S: Strong notes of oats and grains with a good dose of coffee. Very oatmeal-y smelling, maybe a hint of raisin, no chocolate.
T: Pretty much follow the nose. Tastes like I'm eating oatmeal and sipping on a cup of weak coffee. Very rich and creamy all around. Finish is full of coffee and maybe a touch of sweet caramel, and the aftertaste leaves roasted flavors in my mouth with just a hint of bitterness.
M: Tingly carbonation over a full body with an all around soft mouthfeel. The beer does hit the palate a touch sharp at first though. Body falls a little thin in the finish.
D: A really easy drinking oatmeal stout full of mild, well balance flavors. Not my favorite beer, but it does the trick.

Photo of Schmittymack
3.83/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks Dan for this one. Poured a near black with minimal head. No lacing whatsoever. Picked up some coffee and chocolate on the nose. Taste was coffee, bittersweet chocolate, and a nice hop finish that wasn't too harsh. Quite quaffable; I'd do this one again.

Photo of SirWilliam666
3.83/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a very dark, almost black brown. I tried to pour for head and only got about a 1/4 inch of slightly off white head. Smell is faintly of iced expresso. Nice coating roasted flavor. Easy drinking. A quality outmeal stout. I will be enjoying more of this in the future.

Photo of SawDog505
3.83/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a huge Duvel tulip glass. I poured aggressive and got a huge 4 inch tanish head, that fell quickly, leaving a good amount of lacing. A light black color on the beer itself. Smell is dark roasted malts, chocolate, coffee, hints of toffee, and some piney hops. Taste is lots of expresso, really dominates, but it isn't a bad thing. Body is fairly thin, but that is expected for the modest abv. Kind of dry, with a good amount of life. A nice beer, I would drink this a good amount if it was available.

Photo of tectactoe
3.82/5  rDev -4.7%
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 cbarrett4
3.82/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours with slight head fading rapidly to little or no lacing. Displays a great dark nose with lots of malts and roasted notes. Zesty yet rich on the palate, more dark flavors backing up the nose. In the mouth it is very effervescent and light, lacks stuffing. The finish is lingering, tart and slightly bitter but well integrated. For a stout, it is rather light but with good flavor and aromas.

Photo of rfgetz
3.82/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours a dark, deep near black, moderate cap of grayish tinted tan froth. Scent is dark, roasty with some ash and char, notes of spent coffee grinds, bitter cocoa, some leafy hops thrown in and a touch of dark berries. Taste follows scent... dark and roasty, coffee, grains, cocoa, leafy hops, dark berry. Expected a bit more body and smoothness from style. Decent oatmeal stout, doesn't wow in any particular way.

Photo of leakyfaucet12
3.82/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

a- Dark black body with a three finger head that seems go away pretty quickley.

s- You can smell dark roasted chocolate. You can also smell the malts and some bready notes.

t- This beer has a very bland flavor for a stout. I usually like my stouts to taste less like porters.

m- The mouthfeel of this one is really good. I really thought that velvet was a great name for this beer, because that was exactly what it reminded me of. By far the best thing about this beer.

d- Overall I think that this is a really interesting beer and being that it is my first from firestone walker I think I need to try more beer from them.

Photo of Heavenisbeer
3.82/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Dark brown with a little opaqueness on the edges, with a 2 cm head off an aggressive pour that is quickly gone, leaving murky puddles on the surface of the beer. Mid-level cascading lacing. Some visibly light carbonation.

S: Rich dark dark chocolate, with an relatively upfront touch of espresso. Some sweet tobacco and biscuity, bready notes, possibly from the oatmeal.

T: Not as complex as the nose. Tons of roasted malts, a sprinkling of hops, a coffee tease, and some unsweetened chocolate notes. Ends with a dry, malty finish.

M: The highlight for me. Coating and syrupy, with some mild carbonation to cut any cloying potential. No hint of alcohol.

Nothing spectacular here, but not a bad easy drinking oatmeal stout.

Photo of beergoot
3.82/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Bottle data: 09/18/14 09:33

Dark, garnet red and brown body with a thick, off-white head that dwindles to a persistent, foam-clinging, thin layer. Charred, roasted grain aroma; a twinge of bitter chocolate. Roasted grain slightly astringent dark grain character with the flavor; baker's chocolate; decent bitterness. Medium body, leaning towards thick; dry character yet somewhat smooth and chewy.

A very solid, well-balanced and smooth stout. Excellent dark and roasted grain flavor with a noticeable and pleasing smoothness courtesy of the oats. Exceeds the summary of its parts overall...

Photo of birchstick
3.82/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - pours a black color with huge head with a taupe head

S - smells of sweet grainy malts with a touch of burnt malt and a lot of sweet chocolate

T / M- starts off with the chocolate and grain malts that goes down silky and smoothly. Next up is a burst of grapefruit hops with a bit of burnt malts / coffee. Very rich and smooth for the style. Very good stuff.

D - pretty solid oatmeal stout. I really enjoyed this the more it warmed. Very rich for what it is. Big thanks extended to BarrytheBear for sending this extra my way!

Photo of bld81
3.82/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

bottle poured into a pint glass:
A: pours dark brown, very small head but thick and dense
S: roasted grain malts and oats, smoky, chocolate
T: baker's chocolate - just sweet enough to notice but some bitterness, earthy, slight alcohol burn
M: full bodied, not as smooth and creamy as I'd like
O: very drinkable and great flavors, despite lacking some smooth oat character

Photo of KornWallace
3.81/5  rDev -5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Date: 11/8/14
Location: The Beer Necessities
Draught/Bottle: Bottle
Glassware: Snifter

Appearance: Black to Dark Brown with a pronounced lightening of the colors around the edges which become light brown to clear. Slight light brown carbonation which doesn't remain for very long.
Aroma: Smells of milk lactose and oats start us off as a very smooth oatmeal stout. Moving to the dark side we find smells of ground roasted coffee, sweet dark malts, charcoal. A slight souring to finish.
Flavor: The dark side is the clear winner of the flavoring. While the lactose and oats give the beer that sweetness it's those malts and coffee flavors that really linger on the tongue. The malts are more earthy now moving to chocolates and earth/dirt. The roast if the coffee really comes through in the flavor.
Mouthfeel: Medium body, medium to high carbonation. Oily from the oats along with the higher then expected carbonation helps move the flavors around the tongue.

Notes: Bottled 1/9/14 7:55

Photo of beagle75
3.81/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a shaker pint glass.

A: Opaque black color with one finger of beige foam head. Light lacing remains on the glass.

S: Dark roasted malt displays a dominating coffee smell initially, but does not change or develop into anything more interesting as the beer warms.

T: Begins off-dry, with milk chocolate, roasted grain, and slight dark fruit (plums and dates). Graininess persists in the middle as other flavors fade and generally dry out. The finish features strong coffee grounds, mild bitterness, and a mineral snap.

M: Thin to medium viscosity, slick on the palate, with low carbonation.

D: A fine oatmeal stout, neither challenging nor boring. Despite the one-note smell of coffee, the flavor manages to surprise and impress by being more multi-layered. A nod to Firestone-Walker for packaging this beer in 6-packs; there are few California stouts from anywhere south of the Bay Area being marketed in that format.

Photo of Premo88
3.81/5  rDev -5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

on tap in pint glass at B.R.C. in Houston

L: black; clear black-amber up to light; 1-inch tan head, nice and thick; not much stick or lace

S: oak; charred wood; salty; molasses; coffee ... the very astringent kind (almost sour beans)

T: smoky oak wood; pecan/nuts; brown sugar; raisins ... coffee

F: solid but lightweight and very drinkable

O: pretty good with just a hint of the alcohol showing through; it came off as closer to raisins with loads of oak-wood notes for me -- others in my party immediately said "coffee". none of us detected any chocolate, so it's just a bit darker than other oatmeal stouts but still very much in line with the style.

Photo of Brad007
3.81/5  rDev -5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Received in a trade from dimce.

Velvet Merlin pours a pitch black with a nice, thick head into my glass.

Aromas consist of roasted malt with a touch of coffee and a creamy, silky texture.

Mouthfeel is dominated by the lingering silky texture courtesy of the oatmeal.It cradles the tongue.

A decent oatmeal stout. It hasn't broken any new ground though for the style.

Photo of chinchill
3.8/5  rDev -5.2%

12 oz bottle consumed in Redwoods Park.

Opaque black-brown; good tan head that leaves layered lacing.

Aroma: dark bread with hints of molasses and dark fruits

Flavor: Follows the promise of the aroma. Moderate level of dark roasted malts flavor. Faint coffee in the aftertaste.

Feel: soft medium carbonation. Medium-light body.

O: good for style.

Photo of Braz
3.8/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pure black stout with one thumb of creamy tan head. Coffee and cocoa dominate the nose. Roasted coffee and dark chocolate flavors, maybe a touch of toffee as well. Lightly sweet and lightly bitter. Creamy velvety texture very pleasing. Pretty full bodied. Has a fairly dry finish. Very nice stout.

Photo of t420o
3.8/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Six pack from Bevmo for 7.99

A- Dark brown but not opaque. Tan head that is only about one finger with an aggressive pour. Head dissapate quickly and leaves little lacing.

S- Smoked oats, chocolate, coffee

T- At first it is very light and a but acidic. After only a could sips that quickly fades away into a pretty good oatmeal stout, yet not the best I've had by a long shot. Smoked oats, coffee, chocolate, and some creay goodness in there.

M- At first kind of thin, but begins to feel creamier (sp?) as I keep sipping. Maybe a little too much carbonation until it settles a little

D- I'd say excellent drinability. The creamy taste and feeling is like a Guinness but with different flavors going on. I easily killed the six pack I had.

I wouldn't seek it out but if it is on tap or around the same price I got it for (7.99) I'd give it a try. Its a good beer but I'd expect a little more from FW.

Photo of Jwale73
3.8/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

12oz. bottle served in a shaker pint. 11/13/14 printed on the label. Pours an inky black with a loose, quarter inch, tan-colored head that sizzles and pops and slowly dissipates towards the shoulders. Nose expresses roast, cocoa and a suggestion of artificial sweetener. Taste follows nose - coffee notes are somewhat reminiscent of coffee syrup. There's also some flaked outs in there; however, the flavor profile all comes off a bit thin. Mouthfeel is light-medium in body (but closer to light) with a water texture and a prickly carbonation. Overall, a decent oatmeal stout but I was expecting a bit more. I wouldn't mind giving this one a shot on nitro.

Photo of StonedTrippin
3.8/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

true to its name, this one if velvet and smooth, pours dark, smells boozy and roasty. mellow looking, with a one inch white head which only resides a little as it warms. taste is bold but mellow at the same time, burnt and bittersweet in the finish, october-like in the body, just right. like this one a lot better than their double jack, curious to try more beers from this crew...

Photo of whatthehull
3.8/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured into a New Belgium snifter

A - Mud meets tar, with a tan light and fluffy head, trace lacing

S - Toasty 'o so toastedness, burned oak, grains, malt and a bit of sweetness

T - Toasty everything and burned oak. Nice hop finish, a bit malty and lots of earth tons, most of which were toasted

M - Medium/Heavy, fluffy carbonated and bitter toasted finish

D - Because of all the toastedness, it is a bit hard to just session this beer. It tends to end up room temp before you're done

Final thought - Nice, toasty. This is a great stout, not the best, but great

Photo of jooler
3.8/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Smells like coffee and a hint of chocolate. Initial taste was pretty flat but the more I drank, the smoother it becomes. It is really good, better than continental breakfast stout from butchers brewing. The finish is lacking

Photo of gonzo000
3.79/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

a. Dark brown with a 1.5 finger head. Appears to lack body I typically like in a stout.

s. Sweet smell - reminiscent of a milk stout. Burnt sugar, malt chocolate with a bit of coffee. Extremely inviting.

t. Taste was Chocolate and burnt malt on the front and coffee and bitter, bitter taste on the finish.

m. mouthfeel was good, a bit flat overall, but good.

o. Nothing special here. Seems like a typical 'watery' stout. Flavors were OK, the smell was so very, very good - a bit disappointed the taste did not match.

Photo of jminsc76
3.79/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On tap at Haven's Gastropub in Orange.

Pours a decent head that dissipates quickly, with what is left sitting atop an impenetrable black body.

Aromas include plenty of roasty breadiness, with slight whiffs of either molasses, coffee, and cocoa in the nose. A wonderful bouquet.

The flavor profile exhibits some bite, with espresso bitterness and mild carob washing across the palate. It's decent, though it lacks a certain level of the oomph! I have tasted in other quality oatmeal stouts such as Barney Flats.

The mouthfeel is velvety indeed, very full upon swishing, and does not disappoint.

Overall, my initial impression is the aromas and mouthfeel are the saving grace of this beer; however, I have had it at other locations since Haven's and the flavors are better than what I initially experienced. It's a very good oatmeal stout - exhibiting an excellent balance - but still needs a little more to make it a classic. As of now, it's a good session brew, for me.

Velvet Merlin from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
90 out of 100 based on 2,627 ratings.