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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

641 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 641
Hads: 2,875
Avg: 3.98
pDev: 21.11%
Wants: 227
Gots: 555 | FT: 5
Brewed by:
Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
California, United States | website

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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Reviews: 641 | Hads: 2,875
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 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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Photo of bmwats
3.84/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a snifter.

A: Black. Pours a half finger, bubbly, brown head. Dissipates quickly. Slight lacing quickly retreats into the body of the brew.

S: Roasted malt grains, espresso, dark chocolate.

T: Dark chocolate, roasted espresso, with prominent representation of oatmeal, and a little bitter pecan shell.

M: Roasty and hearty, with a nice lightly sweet/lightly bitter balance. Kind of a shallow finish.

D: Sip and savor.

Atmosphere is pretty nice. Slight head, and light lacing. Nose is roasty and malty, with accentuates of coffee and chocolate. Tastes like it smells... light roasted coffee, components of sweet dark chocolate, the light pungency from the oatmeal, and a bit of bitter. Well balanced collection of components. Overall, this is a really good quaff.

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Photo of ChanChan
3.84/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance quite dark but not as thick as imperial stout; then again its an oatmeal stout. This beer gives off a two finger head that is short lived with big bubbles. The lacing is decent.

Aroma: Nothing special here. Its gives off a roasty and malty aroma with the faintest coffee and chocolate.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied coats the palate well.

Taste: This beer tastes very smooth, not complex but satisfying nonetheless.

Drinkability: This beer is very drinkable. The low ABV makes this beer enjoyable. Drinking a six pack of this will relax your body and mind!!!

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Photo of StoneTSR
3.84/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottled on 10/08/12 at 11:52 AM.

APPEARANCE: A nice half-inch head rises up as the beer is poured, but settles in a thin cap within a minute. The color is nearly black, but a few rays of light that penetrate the top of the glass reveal more of a deep, dark brown. A few streams of bubbles slowly rise from the bottom of the glass, providing some appearance of life, but none of these bubbles or the thin cap lead to any lacing at all.

SMELL: Intense coffee aroma right out of the bottle. This one is intense in the nose and offers a roasty, mildly woody and dry smell. As it warms a touch of toffee comes through as well.

TASTE: The coffee follows the nose and is clearly the leader of the pack in the flavor department. The same roasted malt notes from the nose come through in the taste. A light citrus note enters the mix about mid sip, but quickly gets washed away by notes of chocolate, caramel and wood that come together to provide some balance to this otherwise bitter beer.

MOUTHFEEL: Big bodied and very rich, particularly for a 5.5%er. It truly is a meal in a bottle, very filling. While the Merlin has a creamy feel to it, the carbonation is solid, which gives the very dry mouthfeel a cleansing sensation especially towards the finish. There is some balance of sweet malt, but ultimately, this is on the dry side.

OVERALL: This is about as much bang for your ABV as you are going to find in a beer. At 5.5% it is rich, big and filling. It drinks more like an 8-10%er.

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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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Velvet Merlin from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
89 out of 100 based on 641 ratings.