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Velvet Merlin - Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

Velvet MerlinVelvet Merlin

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

1,721 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1721
Reviews: 506
rAvg: 4.02
pDev: 10.45%

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

Style | ABV
Oatmeal Stout |  5.50% ABV

Availability: Fall

Notes/Commercial Description:
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 

(Beer added by: largadeer on 11-13-2008)
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Ratings: 1,721 | Reviews: 506 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of buschbeer


4.23/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

12 FL. OZ. bottle
Served in a perfect pint glass

A - It is dark, dark brown with some ruby highlights. It is topped with an inch of tan head.

S - The smell contains roasted malt, cocoa, and dark chocolate.

T - The taste leads with dark chocolate. There is a slight bitterness on the finish. Some cocoa and roasted malt comes through.

M - Full and slick.

O - This is a great oatmeal stout. I would put it right up there with any that I have tried so far.

Serving type: bottle

04-19-2014 00:35:46 | More by buschbeer
Photo of JerUrbans


4.49/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours jet black with tan head that dissipates quickly

Smell is of coffee and chocolate.

Taste is really good, I get roasted coffee and chocolate, roasted malts, a hint of vanilla and burnt sugar.

Mouthfeel is silky and smooth.

Overall, I love oatmeal stouts, probably my favorite style and this is an excellent one. Very easy drinking, would be great with some baby back ribs. Love the sweetness on my lips after every drink. Highly recommend this one.

Serving type: bottle

04-18-2014 02:04:45 | More by JerUrbans
Photo of Uanof


3.99/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: as dark as darkness with dark brown hues towards the edges, 1" head at the most but it quickly went away leaving a fine tan layer of foam on the beer.

S: smells like grains and oats with some decent coffee aromatics.

T: ccoffee is slightly more pronounced on the palate than on the nose with sharp grain notes it leaves an almost unnoticeable soapy aftertaste.

M: it has a fulfilling well rounded body, clean and somewhat dry.

O: there's no doubt that FW knows what they're doing and this beer shows well the excellent control they have at the time of brewing.

Serving type: bottle

04-11-2014 09:02:45 | More by Uanof
Photo of auee92


3.6/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Aroma: Muted coffee and chocolate, with a hint of motor oil. This smells like a low gravity stout.

Appearance: Deep black in appearance, thin head, tan foam, dissipating slowly giving way to nice light lacing.

taste: Sweet with almost no bitter aftertaste.

Palate: Light to medium body, creamy, slick, soft to no carbonation,

Overall: For a low gravity stout, this is not bad. Reminiscent of a Porter, with hints of flavoring, but not really my definition of a stout.

Serving type: bottle

04-10-2014 02:54:42 | More by auee92
Photo of goochpunch


4.1/5  rDev +2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

Pours out a deep ruby brown with a thin head. Smells of chocolate, raisins, and lightly burnt toast. Flavor is big on malts, dried fruits, medium roast coffee and chocolate malts. Fruity esters and earthy hops. Finishes really dry. Mouthfeel is fairly light and prickly. I expected fuller from an oatmeal stout. This is a really solid stout. If it were a little lighter in alcohol, I could session this. I love the dryness in this.

Serving type: bottle

04-09-2014 01:39:42 | More by goochpunch
Photo of maxcoinage


4.01/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle (bottled 12/20/13) to DFH signature glass, 2 finger mocha colored head. dark black colored beer

a - chocolate, light roast

t - fairly mild, some coffee, nutty, some dark fruits

m - nice and creamy, medium body, lower carb, very drinkable

o - solid oatmeal stout, this is a good 'session' stout for sure. i could easily polish of a few of these.

Serving type: bottle

04-08-2014 01:43:19 | More by maxcoinage
Photo of Andrew041180


4.14/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

A - Very nearly black with a bubbly tan head. It recedes quickly. Not much lacing on the glass. I occasionally catch a glimpse of some visible carbonation.

S - I'm putting my whole face in the glass and not coming up with much. Some light roastiness.

T - Really mild but tasty flavors. Nothing burnt. I think it's mostly coffee with hints of dark chocolate.

M - Velvet indeed. The highpoint of this beer is the softness of it. Nearly full-bodied. Not slick. Just right. Finishes remarkably clean.

O - Solid beer for someone who isn't crazy about stouts. Recommended.

Serving type: bottle

03-30-2014 21:15:24 | More by Andrew041180
Photo of gonzo000


3.75/5  rDev -6.7%
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.

Serving type: bottle

03-30-2014 18:03:15 | More by gonzo000
Photo of Kendo

New York

4.06/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A: Served (at the restaurant Taste in Albany) in a pint glass. Body is black with no real head when it arrived. No lacing.

S: Roasty and chocolatey with a touch of coffee beans.

T: Chocolatey malt and roasted barley malt up front, with a decent roasted coffee-like and earthy hop bitterness towards the finish. I really don't get any bourbon at all despite this being a blend.

M: Silky-smooth - dare I say velvety? - in feel. Call it medium bodied with modest carbonation.

O: Really good oatmeal stout. Perfect at lunch on a workday.

Serving type: on-tap

03-21-2014 01:45:06 | More by Kendo
Photo of Premo88


3.8/5  rDev -5.5%
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.

Serving type: on-tap

03-19-2014 01:08:00 | More by Premo88
Photo of scotorum


4.06/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottled 1/9/14. Poured from the 12 oz. bottle into a Samuel Smith English tulip pint.

a: Black with clear ruby highlights when seen through light. Inch tall tan head receded slowly to even surface foam and spotty lacing.

s: Black coffee and dark malt, strong enough to make me cough when I inhale.

t: Smooth dark malt, black coffee and chocolate notes. Some hop bite balances the brew. Bittersweet finish.

m: Light to medium, "velvety" smooth. Hint of wateriness.

o: A flavorful and easy-drinking stout.

Serving type: bottle

03-17-2014 02:20:35 | More by scotorum
Photo of GJ40

North Carolina

4.25/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Sampled from a 12oz bottle dated 01/09/14.

Black with some light coming through at the edges. A beautiful tan head. Surprisingly interesting aromas with lots of depth from the malts including toasted oatmeal, biscuits, nuts and cookies. That follows through in the flavor as well. Very interesting and complex for a relatively small beer. A light and airy mouthfeel.

What a great beer!

Serving type: bottle

03-13-2014 12:09:35 | More by GJ40
Photo of pkalix


4.93/5  rDev +22.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

wow! what a nice smell!! pours a thick milkshake-like head, with an almost transparent dark brown body similar to, but less thick than, a samuel smiths....
super awesome taste. a little sweet, kind of roasty malts, dark fudge (as the last guy said), vanilla and honey (as another guy said), milk chocolate... what an awesome taste! a little tang on the finish, but that is utterly in significant considering all the wonderful flavors going on with this brew. I am really surprised at how much I like this brew. I had the merkin and the sucaba and anniversary, etc.... but never felt I wanted to try this one and I regret not trying it sooner! this is a world class beer! I thought it was labeled a porter but it says stout(?). I have to give this one high marks for every category. I wish I had another one to follow this one up RIGHT NOW!!!!

Serving type: bottle

03-09-2014 23:46:21 | More by pkalix
Photo of portia99


3.95/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle (1/9/14) poured into a Bruery tulip.

A - Pours black in the glass with small heading forming briefly and then falling to leave behind a thin collar of grayish foam and random traces of lacing on the glass.

S - Tons of burnt, charred malt, traces of burning tires, molasses, over-roasted coffee, dark chocolate, mild licorice. A bit too much burnt character for me.

T - Flavor follows the aroma fairly well. Large quantities of smoke, burnt, charcoal-y, acrid and deeply roasted flavor. Dark chocolate, fudgy, molasses, coffee, licorice. More complexity and balance than the aroma indicates...chocolatey sweetness comes in just enough to smooth out all of the heavy burnt character.

M - Quite thick and full bodied. Medium carbonation that comes in just a touch to high for my preferences but is not offensive. Increasing hoppy bitterness as the beer warms in the glass.

O - Overall, enjoyable stout. Bigger beer than the ABV would indicate. Super thick in feel and a bit heavy. Nice with dessert.

Serving type: bottle

03-08-2014 00:53:45 | More by portia99
Photo of donkeyrunner


4.25/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

$7 for 14 oz at Meadhall, Cambridge MA

Dark browny black with a thin, quick to dissipate head.

Smells smooth. I know that's not a scent but it does. Mushy brownie batter or moist chocolate trifle with more and more char emerging as VM warms.

Features the usual chocolate and roast malt flavors but the mix and creamy mouthfeel just makes this a better tasting oatmeal stout. Mild something in the back - orange mint? Bigger body than 5.5%.

Serving type: on-tap

03-06-2014 23:45:13 | More by donkeyrunner
Photo of imscotty


3.8/5  rDev -5.5%
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.

Serving type: bottle

03-05-2014 23:46:09 | More by imscotty
Photo of wvsabbath

West Virginia

3.98/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Serving Type - Bottle

Appearance - Black, dark brown with trances of tan, 1/4 inch creamy head, nice thick lacing.

Smell - Smoked malts, raisin, plum, figs, brown sugar, some chocolate and cocoa, faint coffee and a little vanilla.

Taste - Starts off very silky with additions of coffee and chocolate. Oatmeal adds a bittered flavor. Smoked malts add boldness. Dark fruits give a nice fruity flavor that works well to add sweetness to balance the bitterness of the oatmeal and coffee. Cocoa and honey come out more as this warms up.

Mouthfeel - Rather light on the tongue. Smoked malts, chocolate and coffee are main flavors on the tongue. Palate gets dark fruits, and a little honey and vanilla. Aftertaste is malty, and actually a little watered down bitter.

Overall - Really good. Smooth, easy to drink and enjoy. Balanced really well and nothing is overdone flavor wise. Only gripe keeping this world class is the finish is a little watery, weak. Still solid and worth a drink.

Serving type: bottle

03-05-2014 23:08:37 | More by wvsabbath
Photo of DenverHopHead


4.24/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a bottle with a bottled on date of 1/25/14; into a pint glass.
Appearance - very black, but the bottom of the pint glass reveals a mahogany glare. Some carbonation bubbles are noticeable as it builds a creamy, egg shell white head. Lacing was relatively weak for the style.
Smell - dark chocolate, vanilla, coffee and graham crackers!
Taste - pleasantly surprising rich, robust flavors! Taste mirrors the nose, very nice!
Feel - creamy mouthfeel, with some bitterness from the robust coffee and dark chocolate flavor.
Overall - an easy drinking stout that reminds me more of a rich, coffee stout, as opposed to an oatmeal stout.

Serving type: bottle

03-03-2014 03:27:42 | More by DenverHopHead
Photo of ryan1788a5


3.9/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

12oz bottle poured into a pint glass.

A: Black on the pour with what appears to be good clarity. Sandy colored head sputters out shortly with some lively snap, crackle, and pop. Spotty lacing. I would have expected better head formation and retention from an oatmeal stout.

S: Starchy, bittersweet chocolate, hints of cola and black molasses, woody roast. Brownies, vague whiff of fruit.

T: Blackstrap molasses, cola, brownie batter, woody roast, espresso, bittersweet dark chocolate, flash of blackberry, starchy. Hops kick in with a bitter bite and some citrusy orange peel flavors toward the back. The finish is all bakers chocolate and smokey roast.

M: On the lighter side of medium bodied. Silky. Low, gentle carbonation. Great texture, but I find a part of myself wishing it had a bit more weight behind it.

O: Lighter in body than I was expecting. It seems better suited to its warmer home climate than the dead of winter here in the northeast, where a more robust beer is often preferred. Still a good beer, and it offers enough complexity and nuance to keep it from feeling boring.

Serving type: bottle

03-03-2014 03:15:29 | More by ryan1788a5
Photo of tigg924


4.05/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Had on tap at New World Tavern.

Appearance: moderate carbonation, minimal head, clear, dark brown in color

Smell: roasted malt, toasted malt, and oats

Taste: oats, milk chocolate, and dark chocolate. The milk chocolate is stronger than the dark chocolate.

Mouthfeel: sweet with slight roasty bitterness, medium body, moderate carbonation

Overall: An excellent oatmeal stout. Nice and chewy with malty complexity. Great brew for a winter's day. I will look for this in bottles.

Serving type: bottle

02-28-2014 19:49:49 | More by tigg924
Photo of GreesyFizeek

New York

4.39/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Bottle purchased at Oliver's in Albany, NY.

Pours an opaque dark brown, almost black. One inch of mocha head forms, good lacing down the glass.

Smells like roasted malt, chocolate, and coffee.

Tastes strongly of roasted malt, with a silky smooth taste that signifies oats. Some bitter chocolate in there too, with a hint of coffee. Not very bitter.

Medium mouthfeel, silky smooth due to the rolled oats. Feels more full bodied than a 5.5% ABV beer would signify. Very drinkable.

A great beer from Firestone Walker that gets lost amongst their other bigger beers. Very sessionable, with tons of flavor.

Serving type: bottle

02-28-2014 00:36:45 | More by GreesyFizeek
Photo of thecheapies


3.75/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Velvet Merlin. Bottled on 12/20/13.

Pours out of the bottle with a lovely head abound. Lighter color foam, but nice and foamy and dimply. Looks dark and delectable.

Sweet malts with a friendly roasty character. Notes of dark cocoa and toffee with a faint lacto-sweetness. Kiss of evergreen from the hops with a turn of fruitiness.

Nice and chewy body with that oaty bitterness. The roasted malts has a dark cocoa flavor and a bit of char. Almost in the favor of burnt sugars, but it's not as sweet as most milk stouts. It still has a bit of that lacticity, in the way that some coffees have a higher acidity. A little nutty. Could use burlier notes. Carbonation is almost ideal, but perhaps short on the light side. A good winter stout with a mild hop presence.

Serving type: bottle

02-25-2014 15:40:31 | More by thecheapies
Photo of VelvetExtract


3.85/5  rDev -4.2%
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.

Serving type: bottle

02-22-2014 01:19:24 | More by VelvetExtract
Photo of WanderingFool


4.26/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Velvet Merlin pours an oily black with a small tan head on top. A few spots of lace stick to the glass as the foam fades away.

The aroma has nice roast and chocolate notes with hints of coffee and an earthy nuttiness.

Each sip of this medium to full bodied beer is creamy with moderate carbonation and an oily body. The flavor is rich with roasted malt, chocolate, toasted oats and nuts. It finishes with a little vanilla, a hint of sour cherry, and a touch of grassy bitterness. Once gone the chocolate and vanilla lingers on the palate.

A very tasty beer that should be allowed to warm so the flavors can expose themselves. Great mouthfeel and easy to drink.

Serving type: bottle

02-21-2014 01:20:11 | More by WanderingFool
Photo of Billolick

New York

3.95/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Firestone Walker Velvet Merlin Oatmeal Stout

12 oz. bottle ,Bottled on dating ( "01/09/14") etched onto the neck of the bottle.

Pours near black, mocha head, stays nicely and leaves low sheeting and thicker strands of lace.

Chocolate and some vanilla on the nose.

Thick and flavorful, with more milk chocolate and smooth dark malt notes. Dry finish but maintains a quite moderate hop presence. Nicely done and well worth a try if ya see this available in your local area.

Serving type: bottle

02-18-2014 22:05:49 | More by Billolick
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Velvet Merlin from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
90 out of 100 based on 1,721 ratings.