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Velvet Merlin | Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

YOUR RATING = None |
BA SCORE
89
very good
664 Reviews
THE BROS
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BEER STATS
Reviews:
664
Ratings:
2,955
Avg:
3.98
pDev:
20.85%
 
 
Wants:
229
Gots:
593
For Trade:
6
Velvet MerlinVelvet Merlin
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
California, United States | website

Style: Oatmeal Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.50%

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 

Added by largadeer on 11-13-2008

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Reviews: 664 | Ratings: 2,955
Photo of mithrascruor
3.88/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Callahan's, San Diego.

Pours a solid black color with a patchy, dark tan head. Minimal but deep malt aroma. Smooth and full-bodied (but without being viscous) with light carbonation. Good malt flavor with some coffee - not too much "roasted" flavor, but that lets the cream and oat flavors through. A pretty nice and tasty oatmeal stout, with a fairly low ABV.

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Photo of Gueuzedude
3.88/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A vigorous pour into my New Belgium globe glass produces a fat-two-finger thick, brown stained, dark tan colored head. The beer is a rich black color that shows some clear, brown hues around the edges if it is held up directly to the light. The nose smells of roasted grain, well browned, quite toasted whole grain bread, touches of roasted coffee and just a generally, ample dark / roasted malt character. I like that the nose escapes being sharp or acrid from the roast malt focus. There is a touch of roundness and perhaps subtle sweetness towards the finish of the aroma; this accentuates touches of chocolate and perhaps some sweet coffee ice-cream like aromatics. As the beer warms up it picks up more of a roasted nutty like character.

Light bodied and dry up front, as the beer moves across the palate it picks up a touch of perceived, and perhaps even actual sweetness. The sweetness is brought out by a very soft, subtle Bourbon barrel influence that leans towards toasted coconut and vanillin and perhaps a hint of Bourbon / oak spiciness. The barrel influence is really quite subtle, and if I didn’t know it was here, I might not have really picked it up. Ample cold coffee roast flavors are here, there is a full, whole grain toasted character here, as well as a touch of complexly browned, barley husk like notes; this last is quite smooth and integrated and adds a sort of whole grain spiciness to this brew. The body has a certain creaminess to it, my vigorous pour knocked out much of the carbonation; this is definitely light and quaffable, but I like that it has a touch of fullness to it. The finish has a lingering, slightly bitter, burnt roast character to it; this is accentuated by a light, prickly effervescence from the carbonation.

The Bourbon barrel influence is quite subtle in the aroma, I wasn’t expecting a whole lot of Bourbon character here, but it is definitely quite reduced from Velvet Merkin. In the flavor it is soft, but it is also noticeable; I do like that it was kept at a very low level here, but I almost feel like it could use a touch more as I almost feel like it is too subtle. That can be a dangerous thing though, as I definitely prefer that the barrel character be kept fairly low. Still, this is a fantastic beer and is something I am quite happy to have a 6-pack of (the $6.99 price doesn’t hurt either); the extra boost of smooth complexity from the Bourbon barrel really adds something to this beer.

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Photo of mdfb79
3.88/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a pint glass. Received as an extra from barleywinefiend, thanks Josh!

a - Pours a very dark brown, almost black, color with one finger of off white head and light carbonation evident.

s - Smells of oatmeal, roasted malts, bitter chocolate, light coffee, and light bready malts.

t - Tastes of roasted malts, bitter chocolate, light oat, light coffee, toffee, and bready malts. A step up from the nose.

m - Medium body and moderate carbonation, pretty smooth and creamy. Pretty good mouthfeel.

d - A good oatmeal stout full of chocolate and roasted malts mostly. A little bit bitter but I liked it a lot. Would certainly have again.

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Photo of Sarlacc83
3.88/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle

A: Pours an opaque mahogany with carbonation speckling the sides of the glass. Creamy head dissipates quickly.

N: Grass, leafy hops, and milk chocolate. Light roasted malt and mild coffee. Oatmeal is prevalent in nose.

T: A fine balnace leaning a shade to the malty sweet side. Hops add a nice roundness and the oatmeal adds some pleasant grain. Lots of chocolate notes.

M: carbonated and feeling; drinks like a heavier beer. Quite smooth.

O: A perfect 'summer' stout. Easy to sip and a pleasure to drink while grilling.

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Photo of olmatty
3.88/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance-Pours a deep black color with a sticky tan head head.

Smell-Coffee and roasty almost burnt roast aroma, but not harsh or astringent and certainly not unpleasant.

Taste-Smooth balance of roast, burnt coffee grounds, chocolate, and a sour oaty finish that smooths out the whole thing. Hop bitterness hits the front of the tongue at the very end and lingers. fading gradually.

Mouthfeel-Creamy, smooth

Overall-A very nice oatmeal stout, perhaps one of the best. Why is this no longer Merkin?

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Photo of seedsofchaos
3.87/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Received this bottle in a trade with Sirk. No date indicators but I'm fairly certain it was produced last year (2010). Opened on February 12th, 2011.

Poured into a brandy snifter, this beer is rather impervious to light. Extremely dark fudge brown in color, we're really talking black. A 1/2 inch khaki head rises slowly with the pour and then falls quickly. Highlights are of ruby and blood reds which shine from the surface in the light. Little to no lacing. Big and roasty in the nose with plenty of roasted barley for my nostrils pleasure. Coffee and oatmeal are prominent as expected. The bouquet is creamy, fairly simple and inviting.

Coffee like roast continues in the taste with a touch of bitter from it. Creamy enough but a little yeasty. Definite flavors of oats mingle in with smooth roasted malts. Nothing overpowering here. This beer is very simple as I would expect an oatmeal stout to be.

This is a great morning / early afternoon beer. I would be happy to call this a breakfast stout. With its clean mouthfeel, this beer could definitely pair well with waffles and syrup. Finishes dry but not overly so, I would definitely enjoy washing down my breakfast with Velvet Merlin.

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Photo of Stevedore
3.87/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle, bottled 11/27/2013; the freshest I've ever seen it. Poured into a clear plastic cup today, 1/9/2014.

Pours a dark mocha brown body, could be nearly black; with a very well-formed head that takes quite a while to recede. It's on the verge of being overcarbonated. The head is tan coloured; and there is a good bit of lacing that reminds me of espresso. Solid stoutish looking beer.

Smells very roasty, with a nice nuttiness and bitter espresso flavours to it. Not particularly earthy or hoppy, but the nuttiness stands out in the nose. Fairly strong and aromatic nose.

Tastes a bit thin; like the notes in the nose except quite a bit more muted. Mostly a wateriness up front, with a fairly roasty, nutty middle and a bitter coffee backend. Not the most complex, but certainly presents a decently drinkable flavour profile.

Medium bodied, very creamy and well carbonated. Very slick and viscous on the tongue- Firestone Walker has nailed the mouthfeel on this one for sure. Very creamy and smooth. Aftertaste is a mild espresso bitterness that does have some staying power.

Solid oatmeal stout, for the style it's got an exceptional nose and mouthfeel. The flavour profile doesn't quite live up to the rest of the beer, but it's a solid seasonal six-pack from Firestone Walker. Probably the first one from them I've actually enjoyed.

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Photo of puboflyons
3.86/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

From the 12 fl. oz. bottle stamped 09/25/14. Sampled on December 24, 2014.

It pours a deep dark charcoal black with ruby red hues and a modest, short lived tan head.

The aroma is of dark malts, oatmeal, and coffee.

The body is better than medium but I would not call it bold and heavy.

The taste has a nice coffee and dark malt character with that oatmeal and the bitterness is mild at the end. It is quite easy to drink.

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Photo of philbe311
3.86/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A - A standard pour yields two fingers worth of active audibly fizzy rapidly fading medium brown colored head... The minimal at best retention gives way to an uneven splotchy veil of lacing and a thin collar... Mostly still with some stray sluggish carbonation streaks deep within... The color is an opaque black that splits the difference between flat and shiny... Not a bad looking beer by any means...

S - Big enticing aroma... Sweet milk chocolate... Lightly roasted coffee beans... A slight lactose component... Perhaps some raisins and dark fruits... Everything one should expect in an Oatmeal Stout in wonderful balance with nice layers of depth and complexity...

T - The lightly roasted coffee is first to the party... Then a slightly sweet lactose component... The milk chocolate takes a slightly distant back seat... A hint of roasted malt... The dark fruit notes are buried way beneath the surface, but still noticeable... There is a nice dark chocolate component on the deep finish...

M - On the fuller side of medium bodied... A limited bit of sharp crisp carbonation... Slightly sleek... Slightly smooth... A touch of creaminess...

D - A rock solid Oatmeal Stout (which shouldn't be a surprise coming from Firestone Walker who does everything)... Not world class, but way better than average... Highly enjoyable... Loaded with character and complexity... All with a 5.5% ABV bow wrapped around... All components work well together and the end result is a brew that seems to be a bit more than the sum of its parts... Nicely done...

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Photo of vacax
3.86/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

On-tap at Beachwood BBQ a few weeks ago at the Firestone 13 party. Review from notes. Poured into a goblet, very dark brown with red highlights. About one centimeter of tan head, high retention, fair lacing. Aroma is bready with oats, toasty, biscuity, fruity, and pops with some chocolate malts to it. Tastes of estery chocolate malts, robust levels of oats, biscuit and dough. Finish is roasty, bready, and cookielike. Feels thick and silky. Good oatmeal stout, better than average, but do not expect anything more than a regular oatmeal stout.

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Photo of tbern007
3.86/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours very dark brown/black, gigantic head, very good lacing.
Scent is lighter than I expect- coffee, mild chocolate, roasted malt, slight sweetness of the chocolate.
Taste is of primarily coffee, mild chocolate.
Very light- less carbonated, not as creamy as I would have liked.
Overall good- the mouthfeel is a little disappointing.

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Photo of VelvetExtract
3.86/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.75

A-Pours black. I'm not seeing much besides black I. The body. Head is initially a bigger, plop of doughy, tan foam. Then is settles down but it leaves thick lacing.

S-Sweet chocolate and cocoa. Oats and some roastiness. Even some dark fruitiness. I think the chocolate is nice; it's got some dark and milk chocolate notes.

T-Milk chocolate and light roast coffee and burnt oats. Good flavor but fairly tame. A little bit of cola. Some vanilla as well.

M-The flavor isn't as rich as some other Oatmeal Stouts but it's supremely drinkable. I will have no problem gulping through this six pack.

O/D-I have always wanted to try this beer. I was a bit disappointed, especially having Velvet Merkin first. It's a nice, very drinkable Oatmeal Stout. That's it, though.

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Photo of spoony
3.86/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

From a 355 ml bottle (dated January 8, 2013) into a globe.

A-An aggressive pour fails to produce any head. The beer is slightly thin and watery looking. Color is dark, dark brown with ruby highlights. No bubbles visible.

S-The smell is a pleasant mixture of roasted malts, creamy oats, milk chocolate (lots of chocolate) with a touch of char and old coffee bitterness.

T-The taste is on the sweet side with milky chocolate and oats. I found it a little tight at first (45-50 degrees), but it opened up nicely as it neared room temperature. The chocolate came out along with some roasted malty flavors.

M-The feel is on the thin side with a fine, prickly carbonation.

O-This is a decent smelling and tasting brew, but I feel let down by the completely lackluster appearance and mediocre feel. Perhaps I got a bad bottle, but thin and watery is not how I prefer my oatmeal stouts. I am also surprised by how this beer's flavor profile blossomed at 65 degrees. In other words, this beer is something of an enigma for me.

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Photo of pmccallum86
3.86/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark brown/black color with an enormous light cocoa head.

Smell is of light chocolate malts and oatmeal, nothing special here.

Taste of smooth creamy oatmeal and milk chocolates. Not bad, very easy drinking beer.

Mouthfeel is awesome, super silky smooth and creamy.

Great drinkability, good example of the style.

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Photo of Zorro
3.85/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Clear black colored beer with a smallish light brown colored head.

Smells strongly of chocolate. Scents of oak and vanilla with a little chocolate. Little bit of toasted bread aroma and a slight menthol and carrot scent from the hops.

Starts out mildly sweet and roasted grains with the distinctive Firestone oak barrel taste. Bittersweet taste with a bit of vanilla and caramel.

Mouthfeel is good.

Not a bad beer at all. A little disappointing though, Firestone normally hits home runs; this is more of a Double.

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Photo of PicoPapa
3.85/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

64oz growler from Top Hops. Pours a dark blackish brown with a small amount of head. Minimal lacing. The aroma is vanilla, caramel, chocolate chip cookies, and hints of light and sweet coffee. The taste is roasted malts and vanilla upfront. Caramel, chocolate, and sweet coffee. Vanilla and caramel finish. A bit light. Moderate amount of carbonation. Overall, decent Oatmeal Stout I'd buy every once in awhile.

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Photo of GarthDanielson
3.85/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass, the beer is jet black with deep brown highlights under light. A thick, foamy, light tan colored 2 inch head. This looks tasty. Aromas of coffee and chocolate are released from this beer. Flavors are rich and creamy on a smooth and creamy body, and tastes are rich of mocha and milk chocolate. The finish is quick and a bit dry, and the aftertaste is chocolaty. Very smooth and easy to drink beer, but lighter than I am used to with Oatmeal Stouts. Tasty brew!

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Photo of flagmantho
3.85/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from 12oz bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance: deep brown color, nearly black, with a ruby tinge when held up to the light. Head cascaded into a three-finger monstrosity of tan froth. Great.

Smell: rich, creamy, roasty aroma of chocolate and coffee. That's what I come to an oatmeal stout to get.

Taste: roasty chocolate flavor with a fair amount of astringent acidity; more than I like in an oatmeal stout. Finish is OK but, overall, the flavor is a bit milder than I'd have hoped.

Mouthfeel: bodaciously creamy, silky texture. Body is huge and, although the carbonation doesn't seem like a whole lot, it is more than enough to make this thing feel like a champion.

Overall: I like this beer. It has some flavor flaws which are rather minor, and its mouthfeel is awesome, even for a stout like this. Good stuff.

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Photo of d1ucb4u
3.85/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

I can see why Firestone Walker's reputation is good and improving. This is a good oatmeal stout. Simple, tasty, but not something I had to change my pants over. I bought a 6 pack, but I wish I would have only had to buy four. Especially with an oatmeal stout, I was looking for a bigger mouthfeel. Its an easy drinking beer, I'm glad I tried it, but I'll probably not get it again.

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Photo of AWolfAtTheDoor
3.85/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Giving this brewery another shot. I was thoroughly disappointed by the Double Barrel.

Pours dark, but when held up to a light, it's very very dark brown. Darkest brown I have ever seen, but not quite black. Interesting. Vigorous pour yielded a 1cm light brown head, which dissipated in no time. I give the lacing about a B- so far.

Lots of chocolate on the nose. Coffee appears later as it warms up. Some roasted malts as well.

Chocolatey taste. Bitter chocolate, just a hint of chalk. with some malts in there, hint of dark fruit as an after taste. Well balanced and tasty.

Pretty thick beer for 5.5%. Carbonation is pretty spot on for the style. Definitely wouldn't go any higher, but a little less wouldn't hurt.

Quite drinkable. I'm looking forward to finishing this 6 pack.

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Photo of gford217
3.85/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle from rhertan poured into a tulip.

Pours deep, deep brown out of the bottle, sitting almost black in the glass. The head is small and tan, leaving streaks of lacing.

Aroma is mainly toasted chocolate malt and oatmeal. There are hints of coffee and cocoa powder as well.

Taste is more of the same and predominantly chocolate with bitter espresso and lactose with a healthy dose of oatmeal in finish.

The mouthfeel is light to medium bodied and feels a tad thin, though it is a low ABV stout.

This is a very drinkable if not very complex stout.

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Photo of BoldRulerVT
3.85/5  rDev -3.3%

Poured from the 12 oz bottle into a willi becher glass.
Pours jet black with minimal caramel head.
Smells nice and roasty, touch of molasses.
Tastes soft and roasty. Not an overly complex beer though. Very light mouthfeel, very drinkable.
Overall a good beer, but I was expecting bigger and more complex flavors.

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Photo of hagbergl
3.84/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A buddy of mine and I spotted this in six-packs at the local store and he decided to buy it for the Ravens-Patriots game. As a big fan of Firestone Walker's other beers, I was excited to try this. Served in a big old mug. Review is from notes.

Appearance (4.25/5): A moderately hard pour produces a huge, billowy khaki head. The luxuriant head sits atop a pitch black body of beer. Plenty of soapy residue lines the sides of the glass. Looks pretty great.

Smell (4/5): Very aromatic. Oats, grain, cereal, malty, light milk chocolate, black coffee, roasty. The oats give the aroma a slightly acidic twang. Basically everything you would expect from an oatmeal stout in terms of smell. One of the beer's stronger suits.

Taste (3.5/5): Black coffee, roasty, some nice dark chocolate notes arrive late and recede shortly thereafter, oats and grain. Dark maltiness borders on richness but doesn't quite cross the threshold–this is a fairly restrained and mild stout. While certainly flavorful, it doesn't approach the decadence of its bigger Russian Imperial and American Double cousins. I'm not enamored by the flavor here. While this is pretty good, there is nothing that stands out and 'wows' me–it features a fairly simple flavor profile and does it well.

Mouthfeel (4.25/5): In my opinion the best feature of this beer is its creamy smoothness. Velvet Merlin indeed. Very drinkable. Nice medium carbonation and medium body. These qualities almost make up for its shortfalls in the taste department.

Overall (4/5): Velvet Merlin is good, not great. Firestone has brewed a very drinkable, though simple and mild stout. I prefer my stouts to be a bit bolder. I know some people (weirdos, all) that would prefer this approach. But if you're an oatmeal stout aficionado, maybe you'll find virtues in Velvet Merlin my palate doesn't appreciate as well. My own stylistic preferences asides, I do think this is still a very respectable beer even if it's not by any means a show stopper.

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Photo of larryarms847
3.84/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Pours very dark brown with a light tan head of foam.

Roasted malt, light chocolate, slight coffee aroma.

Flavor matches aroma but is rather subtle in comparison. Coffee, chocolate, and roasty but rather subtle.

Medium-bodied, low carbonation, smooth, silky, luscious.

Overall, a nice oatmeal stout here, but could use some aroma and flavor enhancement.

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Photo of ZoomanCru
3.84/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Velvet Merlin – Oatmeal Stout (5.5%) - Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
☆☆☆☆

App: Pours a gorgeously deep brown, not quite black, but damned close. Throws a massive two finger tan head that settles down to a nice half-finger ring that retains really well. Minimal lacing.

Smell: Deep roasted flavors balanced with a light chocolate cookie like aroma. Notes of caramel and toffee. Slightly creamy smelling. Slight cooked cereal aroma as the brew warms. No hops aromas to mention.

Taste: Toasty and slightly sweet on the foretaste, opening to a more assertive roasted flavor. Slightest hints of charr add an extra level of complexity. Little bit of chocolate and caramel, but not as much as suggested by the nose. Very well balanced and easy drinking. A hint of sweetness on the fore and true, but the aftertaste is fairly dry with roasted flavors lingering on the palate long after the swallow. Could be a little stronger in overall flavor, but for the most part really good.

Mouth: Oatmeal adds a creaminess to the feel. Pretty heavy bodied but not syrupy. Crispness from the dry, roasted malts. Carbonation is soft and contributes to the overall creaminess of this stout.

Home tasting, 12oz bottle into Tulip. 2/6/14.

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Velvet Merlin from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
89 out of 100 based on 664 ratings.