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Velvet Merlin - Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Velvet MerlinVelvet Merlin

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

619 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 619
Hads: 2,745
Avg: 3.98
pDev: 21.11%
Wants: 220
Gots: 489 | FT: 7
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.

 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ufa ... tube_gdata 
View: Beers (83) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 619 | Hads: 2,745
Photo of Jonada
3.84/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

12oz bottled on 1/8/13. Served in a Founders imperial pint glass

Appearance: Very dark brown, but not quite black with some ruby red around the edges of the glass when held up to the light. Poured about 2 fingers of a light tan head. Did'nt leave much lacing

Smell: Roasted malt, coffee, slight sweetness, dark chocolate.

Taste: Dark roasted coffee, burt malt, both dark and milk chocolate, with hints of vanilla and a slight earthiness.

Mouthfeel: Lighter side of medium bodied and a little thinner than I would have expected. It's lacking some of the creaminess I would look for in an oatmeal stout, but the finish is incredibly smooth. Carbonation is medium.

Overall: This one is a winner. I definitely recommend grabbing a few bottles if you can find it. It doesn't rank up there with some of the great imperial stouts, but it's certainly one of the best sessionable stouts out there.

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Photo of kingcrowing
3.83/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12oz stubby bottle poured into a Duvel tulip, thanks so Stawn for hookin it up!

Pours a dark ruby brown from the bottle, but it's lookin black in the glass. Nice big 2 finger light brown head. Nose is the most oatmealy of any oatmeal stout I've had, fairly dry and toasty.

Taste is a bit mellow, very well balanced though. It's creamy and rich and that oatmeal character is coming through quite well. Mouthfeel is soft and smooth. Quite an easy drinker.

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Photo of sendsilk
3.83/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I have received several of these as extras in trade from my West Coast trade partners. Seems like the goto beer as an extra for stout lovers.

And rightfully so, it's a very solid, thick and delicious stout. I don't drink them too often but am always pleasantly reminded of how much I like this beer.

Nice and thicl and dark with touches of chocolate and vanilla. A perfect example of a solid, RELIABLE stout.

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Photo of Rifugium
3.83/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

First had: bottle from Capone's, Norristown, PA

Poured a dark brown-black, nearly opaque, with a small cap of off-white head that receded to a patchy layer and left a bit of lacing on the glass. Aroma was heavy with roast: coffee, dark malts, underlying cocoa. More roast on the taste, oatmeal and toasted grains, coffee, cocoa, roasty bitterness, with a definite sugary sweetness in the background. Medium-bodied, creamy, but still a bit on the light/watery side for the style, and not as completely balanced as it should be. Still very good though, and quite drinkable overall.

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Photo of AgentZero
3.83/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Believe Jason shared this one.

A - Black beer with a big layer of tan foam that left a nice amount of fat lace.

S - Coffee and oatmeal, with the grains being roasted and a little bitter. Smells relatively sweet as well, good meaning the oats haven't soured so much.

T - Slightly roasted with oats, sweet chocolate, somewhat depressed coffee, and a little bit of cream. It's not bad, but not as good as I would have thought from the nose.

M - Smooth and creamy, one of the better aspects of this beer.

O - Not bad, liked this one enough that I enjoyed drinking what I had and wouldn't have minded more. Good stuff for a 5.5% oatmeal stout.

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Photo of womencantsail
3.83/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at the Blue Palms. I was really glad to see this one hadn't kicked yet.

A: A very nice looking black pour with a thin layer of tan foam on top.

S: A strong aroma of coffee with other scents such oatmeal, roasted malt, and chocolate joining the party.

T: The flavor is a bit disappointing. The coffee is once again the dominant sensation. The oatmeal is there, but surprisingly not a huge presence. There are also some hints of chocolate and roasted malt.

M: The beer has a nice smooth somewhat creamy mouthfeel. The body, however, isn't quite as full as I was expecting.

D: Certainly a very drinkable beer with very little alcohol presence. I was really excited to get to try this, but a bit let down by it.

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Photo of Spider889
3.83/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On draft at The Mayor of Old Towne in Ft. Collins.

A - Black with ebony/brown highlights. Had a short creamy head with very nice lace. A bit thin for my tastes for an Oatmeal Stout.

S - Smooth roastiness with mild chocolate.

T - Has a nice sweet dark chocolate flavor with some mild toffee in there. Roasty and bready yet never really coming across as bitter. Sweet finish.

M/O - Medium bodied. A nice Oatmeal Stout.

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Photo of froghop
3.83/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

oatmeal stout on tap at coronado brewing company.

pours black with a small khaki head, and very good lacing.

smell of cocoa, coffee, and a touch of roasted malt.

taste is of dark chocolate, bakers chocolate, some coffee, and malt in the back, ends dry and somewhat bitter.

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Photo of scottfrie
3.83/5  rDev -3.8%
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.

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Photo of Schmittymack
3.83/5  rDev -3.8%
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.

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Photo of SirWilliam666
3.83/5  rDev -3.8%
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.

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Photo of SawDog505
3.83/5  rDev -3.8%
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.

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Photo of tectactoe
3.82/5  rDev -4%
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.

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Photo of cbarrett4
3.82/5  rDev -4%
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.

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Photo of rfgetz
3.82/5  rDev -4%
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.

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Photo of leakyfaucet12
3.82/5  rDev -4%
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.

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Photo of Heavenisbeer
3.82/5  rDev -4%
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.

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Photo of beergoot
3.82/5  rDev -4%
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...

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Photo of birchstick
3.82/5  rDev -4%
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!

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Photo of bld81
3.82/5  rDev -4%
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

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Photo of KornWallace
3.81/5  rDev -4.3%
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

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Photo of beagle75
3.81/5  rDev -4.3%
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.

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Photo of Premo88
3.81/5  rDev -4.3%
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.

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Photo of Brad007
3.81/5  rDev -4.3%
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.

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Photo of chinchill
3.8/5  rDev -4.5%

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.

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Velvet Merlin from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
89 out of 100 based on 619 ratings.