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Velvet Merlin - Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Velvet MerlinVelvet Merlin

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
89
very good

593 Reviews
THE BROS
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no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 593
Hads: 2,641
rAvg: 3.98
pDev: 9.3%
Wants: 211
Gots: 444 | 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.

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Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 593 | Hads: 2,641
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. (658 characters)

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. (370 characters)

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. (361 characters)

Photo of Braz
3.8/5  rDev -4.5%
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. (297 characters)

Photo of t420o
3.8/5  rDev -4.5%
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. (907 characters)

Photo of Jwale73
3.8/5  rDev -4.5%
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. (665 characters)

Photo of StonedTrippin
3.8/5  rDev -4.5%
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... (382 characters)

Photo of whatthehull
3.8/5  rDev -4.5%
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 (568 characters)

Photo of jooler
3.8/5  rDev -4.5%
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 (224 characters)

Photo of gonzo000
3.79/5  rDev -4.8%
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. (521 characters)

Photo of jminsc76
3.79/5  rDev -4.8%
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. (979 characters)

Photo of lacqueredmouse
3.79/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours much lighter than I expected, more a deep brown than a brown-black, and still letting light pass through rather easily. Head is yellowish beige, large-bubbled and frothy where agitated, but otherwise forming a thin film. Pretty good static carbonation when tilted, but overall, it just doesn't win me with its look.

Nose is dry but pleasantly roasted, with grainy cereal notes and a hint of coconut. It's rather mild in aroma, but the characters it has are very pleasant.

Taste is similar, and it has a really nice smoothness on the back palate that melds with the dark grain notes to almost give the suggestion of chocolate, even though there's absolutely minimal sweetness. Finish is quite dry, and with that mealy cereal character that suggests you have another sip. It's light on the palate, really, but it's pretty drinkable.

Certainly something I'd happily drink again, and something with plenty of dry roasty character that is eminently sessionable. No bad at all. (980 characters)

Photo of imscotty
3.79/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.75

A: Pours with a modest tan colored head that settles quickly. Very little lacing. The beer is dark brown in color with a reddish tinge when held to the light.

S: Smell some dark fruit, coffee, malt. Some slight earthy tones, not overly aromatic.

T: The slightly bitter coffee flavor is the most forward. Some chocolate, malt and almond notes. Nothing too aggressive or complex. The finish is dry and prominently taste slightly bitter coffee.

M: I think this beer is surprisingly thin and watery for the style, more like a black ale. Fairly well carbonated.

O: The flavor is good but not spectacular or overly complex. I feel the mouthfeel is off for the style and detracts from the beer. This is a very drinkable brew but not a world class beer. Even Firestone Walker hits singles sometimes. (797 characters)

Photo of MiScusi
3.78/5  rDev -5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On tap at Toronado in San Diego. Poured a blackish with no head at all. I could not even generate more than a little tiny bit of tan fizz after major swirling. There was absolutely no aroma on this beer at first smell. I even had friends check to make sure my nose wasn't messed up and they didn't get any smell either. After drinking about half the glass I could get a slight bit of roastiness out of it. The taste was much better though, real mellow overall. A tiny bit of chocolate but mostly a roasted barley type of coffee flavor. Had a pretty good silky mouthfeel. Despite the lame appearance and smell it was still a pretty good beer, and fairly sessionable I would say. (677 characters)

Photo of spinrsx
3.78/5  rDev -5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle from Whole Foods Las Vegas for 1.99$

Appearance - Dark brown colour with a large size frothy light brown head. I can't make out the amount of carbonation showing and there is some good lacing. The head lasted for over 5 minutes.

Smell - Malts, chocolate, oatmeal

Taste & Mouth - There is an average amount of carbonation and I can taste malts, coffee, chocolate, and oatmeal. There was also a touch of smoke and a bit of a cola flavour. It ends with a grainy chocolate aftertaste with a hint of lingering smoke.

Overall - The appearance of this beer once poured was really great. A beautiful fluffy/rocky/foamy head. Oh ya, it tasted pretty good too. Although there are better oatmeal stouts available to me locally. (727 characters)

Photo of dar482
3.78/5  rDev -5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

On cask.

The beer hits of cocoa, light roasted malt, powdery chocolate and a creamy/almost lactose flavor. A good amount of flavor throughout of creamy chocolate and coffee, but in general a medium beer for the style. (218 characters)

Photo of jzeilinger
3.78/5  rDev -5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.75

A - Pours very dark brown/black and leaves a creamy, one layer, toffee colored coating with a slightly thick lacing ring. Leaves a sticky coating on the glass that is more like a high alcohol beer. Impressive legs.

S - Dark chocolate roast, grainy, and light char.

T - Follows the nose with deep/dark chocolate roasted malt and a chocolate charcoal finish.

M - Light medium body and finishes a little watery.

O - A nice, session able stout. (445 characters)

Photo of arlingtonjoe
3.78/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

a:nice dark coloring with 2 finger tan head, slight cascading in the glass from a strong pour

s:breadiness from the yeast, subtle coffee, earthy

t:slight bitterness from the oats followed by dark chocolate and a little licorice

m:a little light in body but has a nice resinous charachter

o:nice addition in the lighter stout category and at 5.5 abv you cant go wrong (371 characters)

Photo of marikoangel
3.78/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint glass at Amsterdam

A: Very black, I can't see through it at all. There was a little tan head that dissipated into a thin tan covering over the top of the beer.

S: Nice roasted malts, oats, there's a funky, musty, wet earthiness to it, I can pick up coffee notes, and maybe something that reminds me of cigars.

T: I can definitely get a nice roasted coffee right off the bat. A very light bitter, but also a light sweet that balance each other out to the point where you notice them, but you almost don't. The finish is a bit bittersweet. The flavors are lighter than I expected, and there is a quality to it that reminds me of drinking a glass of milk.

M: Crisp but not carbonated. Creamy with a medium thin mouthfeel. It looks like it would be a thicker beer, and from the name I just assumed it would be, but it's not. It has a drier finish.

D: It's a nice beer, very drinkable, but not my all time favorite. I would drink it again though, but wouldn't seek it out. (992 characters)

Photo of felipe2toes
3.78/5  rDev -5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours black with a creamy thin head. Head recedes into some decent edging and crust.

Not much on the nose. Smells of raisins, chocolate, and roasted malt.

Tastes much better than it smells. Roasted coffee and oats, some caramel and molasses too.

Drinks really smooth and easy, lives up to its "velvet" name. Nice carbonation as well. Really approachable and drinkable as well. (379 characters)

Photo of Tripphop
3.77/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A trade extra from Loki83. Heard good things about this beer, and it holds up well to its reputation. Color is a medium shade of brown with light gold edges, mead is fine and plenty at first, but doesnt hang around. Aromas are malty and firm, flavors match well, simple but well balanced. Pecan nut flavors linger with a grainy malt taste. Solid Oatmeal stout. (360 characters)

Photo of cadaugherty
3.77/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Generous extra from nicks6217.

Appearance- Dark black with a thin off-white head that fades quickly.

Aroma- Roasted malts and dark coffee

Taste- Mainly roasted malts, some coffee notes and a hint of chocolate. A bit bitter.

Mouth- Fine, not too thick or thin but lacking in carbonation.

Drink- Pretty easy drinking for a stout but more carbonation really would have helped this. (383 characters)

Photo of fscottkey
3.77/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

A: [4.50] Beer is dark brown and forms a 1 1/2 finger head when poured. The head is a creamy tan color. The head dissipates pretty quickly. The bottle lists the ABV (5.5%) and REALLY clearly has a born on date (10/24/14)

S: [4.25] I get a crusty baguette smell. Then coffee and roasted malts. The nose is pretty strong. It filled the air when I cracked the bottle.

T: [3.50] The taste is subdued. I get roasted malts and maybe a hint of cocoa.

M: [3.25] A little thin and watery. The is a twang of carbonation. There are no lingering flavors.

O: [3.75] This is a decent stout. I didn't get the creamy feel I'd expect on an oatmeal stout. Blindfolded I'd call this a lower ABV porter. The beer is 7 months old - so it may have lost a little bit of character. That being said it still holds up. It is not my favorite in the style - but I'd drink more. (871 characters)

Photo of benclimbs
3.77/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

pours black but with practically no head and not much lacing - looks tasty.

smell is nice, coffee, woody vanilla and roasty malts - good porter/stout smell.

taste is solid - basic but good, hints of chocolate, some bitter espresso subtleties and thats about it...finishes clean and smooth.

mouthfeel is very smooth, and thick but refreshing and light-bodied.

good beer - basic, but good... (396 characters)

Photo of ETF5000
3.76/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap from O'Briens Pub in San Diego.

A- Poured a dark brown, opaque looking with about a fingers head. The head quickly disappears leaving only the dark brown beer.

S- dark roasted malt comes up front with a vengeance. Somewhere in the mix comes the mealy oats, not too upfront , but nicely nestled within classic beer smells. A hint of his rounds out the nose. Nice

T- caramel malt, as with the nose comes up front. Further back comes the smoothness if the oats. Unfortunately, for an oatmeal stout, it left me wanting a bit more on the oat side. Hops round out the finish. Nothing too bitter, but they complete the trio

M- not too carbonated, but certainly not flat. No complaints here.

D- an easy drinker, I would get this beet again yo introduce people to the style, but it's really nothing too complex. (815 characters)

Velvet Merlin from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
89 out of 100 based on 593 ratings.