Dismiss Notice
Save $5 when you subscribe to 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine and select auto-renew.

Subscribe now →
Dismiss Notice
Join Our Email List →

And we'll send you the latest updates and offers from BeerAdvocate, because knowing is half the battle.
Dismiss Notice

Pre-order your Respect Beer "Hipster" Hoodie today!

Plus: Free shipping (US only) on orders of $25 or more until 12/18/15. Just select "Free Shipping" at checkout.

Shop now →

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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 619 | Hads: 2,745
Photo of bubseymour
4.5/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Very strong oatmeal smell with a hint of chocolate. The most "oaty" smell stout I think I've had. Very flavorful stout with a perfect balance of hints of chocolate, coffee, hops, roast and oats. Really well balanced and quite enjoyable for a standard level stout. Highly recommend.

 285 characters

Photo of Chris_Huston
2.83/5  rDev -28.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

I don't know if this is a bad bottle, or just how bad they can conceivably get, but this was a huge disappointment. Nothing wrong on the eyes -- classic, unsurprising stout look and pour, very healthy. But very weak, roasted aroma, same on the taste, and little other scents or flavors. Body is more like a porter, too watery for a stout. Not horrible, but just very bland compared to other entries in this competitive category, and definitely way below FW standards. I'll try it again eventually just to verify my findings, but won't rush for another.

 552 characters

Photo of gopens44
3.88/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Pretty standard looking stout, dark as night with gently lacing thick brown head. Nose is tangy, earthy and a little spicey. Taste is very similar but it's got a touch of chocolate and a nice bitterness hanging out as well. Finish is a tad bitter, virtually no sweetness and aside from some tingly carbonation, it's pretty smooth.

 335 characters

Photo of KYGunner
4/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

In my opinion, this is one of the best "low alcohol" stouts. At only 5.5% this milks a whole lot of flavor in a low malt situation. Plenty of roast, char, burnt coffee, chocolate malt and coffee grounds.

 203 characters

Photo of Chickenhawk9932
4.16/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep dark mahogany bordering on black with a coffee colored head that quickly dissipates.

Smells of coffee, chocolate, whole grain bread, caramel, and fig.

Taste is nice bitter coffee and chocolate notes followed by malty bread notes and fig and plumb. It has a thick mouthfeel (full bodied) with a creamy smoothness balanced by the dry bitter finish.

 363 characters

Photo of Wiffler27
4.23/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

pours black with slight ruby tones at the bottom of the glass. solid white head as well.

smells very sweet, like cream-milk.

taste is very sweet with a creamy dry finish, if that makes sense. goes down smooth but the cream-flavored finish is a bit off.

overall a pretty good beer but nothing spectacular. there are other stouts/porters that i would drink over this. not bad at all but far from great in my book.

 414 characters

Photo of dbl_delta
3.9/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Bottle dated 10/6/15 into pint glass. Pours a dark ruby-black with just a slight hint of color at the edge. Tan head dissipates rapidly. Initial impression is mildly chocolate with a slightly sweet malt backbone. Moderate carbonation. Mouthfeel is a little thin for an oatmeal stout. Very smooth, though. Perhaps not my favorite oatmeal stout, but well worth a try.

 372 characters

Photo of Jeffsta1
3.89/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Nice dark color.

Bouquet is malty, a bit sour, kinda funky. Unique.

Taste is subtle, malt, cocoa, bitter.

Mouthfeel is moderately rich. Possibly light for a stout, more of a rich imperial porter.

Finish emphasizes the bitter notes, not quite as good as the rest of the beer.

 278 characters

Photo of StoutElk_92
4/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours dark, almost black with a tan head. Smells of toasty, roasted chocolate malts. The taste is like mild dark chocolate, oats, and dark roasted coffee. Feels creamy and light with mild carbonation. Overall a pretty good oatmeal stout.

 237 characters

Photo of josephandbrown
3.7/5  rDev -7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

12-oz pour into a shaker pint glass.

Velvet Merlin poured a dark brown color with significant head. I honestly expected the beer to be quite a bit darker; if you hold it to the light, you can almost see through it. The smell and taste are both pretty typical of an oatmeal stout- roasted malt and the oatmeal itself make up the majority of scent and flavor. It's a bit more carbonated than I expected as well, but that might be because it sat in a bottle shop for a while before consumption.

It's a fine beer, but a little lackluster compared to some of the other excellent beers that Firestone Walker makes.

 610 characters

Photo of pinyin
4.14/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Very happy that I found this fresh.

Bottled 10/6/15. Served in a 12 ounce snifter at 39F.

Six pack purchased in North Western NJ.

Typical stout coloring. Brownish black with a slight creamy whitish head.

Very nice aroma. I get coffee beans, chocolate malts, some flaked oats.

Excellent mouthfeel. This is where Velvet Merlin shines. Very nice texture and flavor balance. Not too hoppy, but just bitter enough to offset the coffee and chocolate undertones.

The best attribute of this stout is how closely it resembles Velvet Merkin. FYI, Velvet Merkin is a world class stout. One of my favorites.

Velvet Merlin has a lot of similar qualities to its bigger, more expensive brother. Unfortunately Merkin is a small batch and very limited availibility due to retail hoarding.

Velvet Merlin is a good, price consciouss alternative for us dolts who dont trade or dont have the ins with the distributors or local bottle shops to score some bombers of Merkin.

 963 characters

Photo of dank203
3.99/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

really satisfied with this one. great mouth feel for relatively low abv. roasty tones with soft fluffy oatmeal feel and light chocolate notes. slick, wet finish, good stuff in the morning

 190 characters

Photo of SmashAdams
3.25/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Really nice stout. Super smooth and easy drinking and nice low abv. The smell is light toasty malts and oats with some chocolate. The taste is similar. I see why they call it velvet. yb

 185 characters

Photo of smanson56
3.98/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

First time drinking this beer. Poured a dark black color with a thin light tan head. There is a grain smell to the nose not sure that it reminds me of oatmeal but an oat, earthy smell. The taste is mild with a very faint coffee flavor. The mouth feel to me is thin and perhaps a little over carbonated. In all not a bad beer I think for am oatmeal stout it is a solid choice.

 375 characters

Photo of thefreakinjman
3.97/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

12oz, Bottled 10/06/15, Enjoyed 11/05/15

A: Dark brown with small tan head

S: Roasted coffee, oats, hints of toast

T: Roasted malts, coffee and oats hit first then the roasted malts linger with a very slight bitter chocolate finish

M: Medium to full body, medium creamy

O: Had a nice roastiness, with more oat smell than taste. Very well balanced. The nice roasty, bitter cocoa finish encourages even more sips. A must try for oatmeal stout lovers.

 454 characters

Photo of Tonyjenlasc
4.08/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Look - An opaque black color, minimal head on this one
Smell - Roastiness, some coffee, oats, hints of chocolate
Taste - Roasted malts, some coffee, some chocolate, nutty, oats
Feel - A bit thin but very drinkable

Overall - A solid oatmeal stout!

 251 characters

Photo of 81tillinfinity
4.25/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Well done I've always enjoyed this beer. The mouthfeel is rich the roasted malts invite the nose and the taste is smooth. A great go-to stout to keep on hand throughout the colder months.

 187 characters

Photo of jmasher85
3.57/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Possibly the most oatmeal-smelling oatmeal stout I've ever smelled. Smell is straight-up breakfast. I'm almost tempted to pour some molasses on this so it's just the way Mom used to make it when I was little. A hint of sour bread and yeast too. Taste is similar - lots of oatmeal in this, with a bit of bitter, burnt flavor. No chocolate and very little coffee flavor often associated with stouts. Texture is nice, if a hint thin, both on body and carbonation - I was surprised to see the head dissipate that fast. Overall, a nice brew and good rendition of the style, but certainly not a great one.

 606 characters

Photo of MacMalt
3.92/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured into snifter glass. The color is a deep, deep brown, almost opaque, with a fairly thin, cafe au lait colored head and lacing. While the smell is not strong, it is aromatic: oatmeal, chocolate, burnt coffee, and malt. The taste features the oats and coffee, along with some dark chocolate. It is quite dry with a touch of hops at the finish. For a stout, it's rather thin. It lacks the thick creaminess I really enjoy. It is only mildly carbonated. On the plus side, at only 5.5% ABV, it is extremely easy drinking for a stout. "Session stout" is somewhat of an oxymoron but this comes close. I'd like to try it on draught. Overall, it is a good example of an oatmeal stout. I'm looking forward to trying the velvet merkin.

 739 characters

Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.93/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a deep dark brown color medium beige head that fades quickly and leaves a thin lace on the glass.

S: The aroma contains coffee, oats, roasted malts, some chocolate and a touch of hops.

T: The taste starts out sweet with flavors of coffee, molasses and chocolate. Then some mild smokiness comes in along with toasted oats and a hearty malt character. The hops presence is very mild but complementary and brings a good balance. The after-taste is slightly sweet and slightly bready.

M: Crisp and smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is a bit dry and slightly sticky.

O: Tasty, goes down easily, not too filling, decent kick, good representation of style, this is a solid beer to drink for a while if you’re in the mood for the style.

 823 characters

Photo of The-Adjunct-Hippie
4.03/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Nonic pint, watching American Dad!

Appearance : Charleston chew colored chocolate body, 90% opaque, fluffy khaki head with lace receding from its initial 3 finger pour.

Smell : Dark spices, oats, cocoa malts, burnt pan brown sugar, fudge covered banana. Little to no hop aroma. Medium volume.

Taste : Definitely softer on the palate than other oatmeal stouts. It glides across the tongue with softened oats, vanilla, coffee bean, and roast cocoa malts. It's not really fabulous, but it's smooth.

Feel : Nice and creamy, just what an oatmeal stout should be. Very subdued, mild, muffled carbonation. Ends with a slight parch matched with a shot of skim milk density to hydrate it just a tad.

Overall : A nice oatmeal stout. Hard to beat the silk on this one. It's not mind blowing, but I wod drink it again.

 813 characters

Photo of BbyDigital
4.22/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

A lighter oatmeal stout with a little extra carbonation. Very drinkable and almost refreshing in a malty sweet kind of way. Loved the whole 6 pack and I'm thinking I'm buying a second relatively soon.

 202 characters

Photo of Wes-Cat
4.43/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

This is my go-to oatmeal stout. The head isn't huge, it's sort of dark brown atop the black stout below that fades relatively fast. It smells like oatmeal stout. It tastes great, semi-sweet and coffee-y. The feel is different from many other stouts in that it isn't heavy, but also makes it feel much more accessible. It's a hot night, you're sitting at your desk, and you can reach for this over the really heavy beers. It's only 5.5 or 5.6%, but it tastes great. It's sort of session-y for a stout. Oh and on tap is even better.

Why did they change the label from the dope silver one? Bah.

 601 characters

Photo of MHurley
4/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours jet black with carmel head that quickly fades. Think carmel lacing that dissappears quickly. Smells of chocolate, carmel and oats. Very light body taste to this stout with alot of carbonation. Chocolate taste with light hits of carmel and coffee. Overall good taste. Its always nice to get your hands onto some limited release.

 333 characters

Photo of manfromanotherplace
4.21/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Yes, for a stout this is a little thin bodied but i dont get the harsh reviews based on that. I dont think that light body effects the beer too much, its still a nice smelling and great tasting beer, in fact it made a nice change to drink a stout that wasnt too cloying or heavy, meaning i could drink it on a warm day rather than having to wait til Winter. Regardless of the light body, its a tasty stout, sweet and obviously strong oatmeal flavour, i cant wait to try the Merkin.

 482 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Velvet Merlin from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
89 out of 100 based on 619 ratings.