1. Don't miss our 7th annual American Craft Beer Fest featuring 640+ beers from 140+ brewers this May 30 & 31 in Boston, MA! Buy your tickets now!
  2. BeerAdvocate on your phone?! True story. Try the beta now.

Velvet Merlin - Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

Velvet MerlinVelvet Merlin

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

1,725 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1725
Reviews: 506
rAvg: 4.02
pDev: 10.2%

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)
View: Beers (64) |  Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Latest | High | Low | Top Reviewers
Ratings: 1,725 | Reviews: 506 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of TheJollyHop


3.58/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On-tap at the Blue Palms

Pours black with a light brown head.

Nose is dominated by roasted malt, cocoa, and a small amount of sweet toffee.

Taste pretty much parallels the aroma with the addition of oats. Bitterness exerts itself, but knows when to back off and only lingers briefly after the swallow. The alcohol is also well hidden.

Soft, creamy mouthfeel that is highly carbonated and mouth enveloping.

Very filling and enjoyable, however would have benefited more from a lower alcohol concentration.

Serving type: on-tap

01-01-2010 15:55:19 | More by TheJollyHop
Photo of womencantsail


3.8/5  rDev -5.5%
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.

Serving type: on-tap

12-31-2009 01:35:11 | More by womencantsail
Photo of augustgarage


3.98/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at Blue Palms Brewhouse in Hollywood. Served in a generic wide-mouth tulip.

Opaque seal brown body topped by a small desert sand head which recedes to a dense custardy collar and a thin layer of film punctuated by milkshake-like bubbles. Thin sticky lacing lines the edge of the glass.

Smells like pancakes, crackers, nutella, light grain, and mild roast malt.

The roast level and hops merge to contribute equally to a pleasant low-level bitterness. Toast and a slight fruit note mid-palate. Finishes dry with a hints of Ovaltine and Postum. Decent flavor profile, but not terribly exciting on its own.

Smooth medium-light body with prickly carbonation and faint astringency. ABV is concealed well.

Quite mild...with less alcohol this could be a "session" beer.

Serving type: on-tap

12-30-2009 17:42:14 | More by augustgarage
Photo of vacax


3.88/5  rDev -3.5%
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.

Serving type: on-tap

12-24-2009 09:00:04 | More by vacax
Photo of slayer3604


4.2/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

a-rich creamy tan head on dark brown body with cedar colored rim. retention gone to film in about 3 minutes.

S-cocoa butter, cherry, molassses and vanilla.

T-espresso, definately can taste the oat, firm chunky mouthfeel, chocolate and almond.

M-full bodied, lively, clean and ample coffee finish.

D-"Velvet" smooth, with no residual alcoholic burn, long lasting finish.

Serving type: on-tap

12-09-2009 23:21:37 | More by slayer3604
Photo of cbarrett4


3.83/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours with slight head fading rapidly to little or no lacing. Displays a great dark nose with lots of malts and roasted notes. Zesty yet rich on the palate, more dark flavors backing up the nose. In the mouth it is very effervescent and light, lacks stuffing. The finish is lingering, tart and slightly bitter but well integrated. For a stout, it is rather light but with good flavor and aromas.

Serving type: on-tap

12-08-2009 08:55:44 | More by cbarrett4
Photo of ThirstyBird


3.33/5  rDev -17.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

I had this on-tap at Beachwood BBQ - from notes.
Appears opaque black. Cappuccino colored head that lasts.
Smells of Espresso and toasted malt.
Taste is of toasted/ burnt malt, licorice. A little chalky.
The mouthfeel on this beer is wonderful. So smooth, mildly carbonated. Medium body.
Nice sipper - one is enough - the bitter burnt flavor is intense.

Serving type: on-tap

12-04-2009 22:32:03 | More by ThirstyBird
Photo of MisterClean


4.13/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had the purple pubic wig at Sac Brew.

A - Pours a dark brown, with 1.5 fingers mocha colored head. Dissipates fast and leaves no lacing.

S/T - Oats, raisin, medium roast coffee, and lots of chocolate.

M - Full bodied, malt dominated and very smooth. No taste of alcohol either.

D - Great overall, would love to have again and again.

Serving type: on-tap

02-28-2009 16:44:44 | More by MisterClean
Photo of JoeySchlitz


4.05/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Have had this at multiple locations, most recently at the Firestone Night of the Ales, across from the Toronado. It pours a midnight black with no head - some lacing around the edges. The initial smell is of coffee and roasted malt; some chocolate undertones reveal themselves after further sniffing. Overall it is decent oatmeal stout but nothing too remarkable - and considering some of the other FW beers this one falls into the category of 'session beers' but not 'savory beers', like the anniversary and other limited releases in my opinion.

Serving type: on-tap

02-13-2009 07:32:24 | More by JoeySchlitz
Photo of MiScusi


3.83/5  rDev -4.7%
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.

Serving type: on-tap

01-13-2009 01:38:10 | More by MiScusi
Photo of DoubleJ


3.95/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On-tap at Beachwood BBQ, on to the beer:

Ummm....it's black in appearance, the beer leaves some amount of lacing on the glass. What we have here is a very sweet stout. Semi-sweet chocolate all around, rolled oats...what else? A little thinner than I was expecting, but overall, this is a good oatmeal stout.

Serving type: on-tap

01-03-2009 00:41:18 | More by DoubleJ
Photo of ccrida


3.63/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Henry's, served in a shaker pint, Velvet Merkin is black with a small, very creamy light tan head leaving light, scattered lace.

Smell is roasted malt and oats, served cold, it's rather muted with all chocolate and toffee coming out a bit as it warms.

Taste is well balanced to the point of almost bland, just a bit of coffee and chocolate really.

Mouthfeel is the strong point here, really creamy and smooth.

Drinkability is pretty good, it goes down very easily due to rounded flavors and smoothness. On the other hand, it's rather boring and lacking depth, and I didn't feel like having another.

Serving type: on-tap

12-30-2008 22:21:20 | More by ccrida
Photo of Halcyondays


3.93/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On-tap at Beachwood BBQ,

A: Pours black, basically, with a smattering of white bubbles.

S: Strong roasted malt smell, with caramelized sugar and coffee. Nice mix of sweet with bitter roast.

T: Strong sweet creamed coffee at first, almost like a Parabola-lite. Bitterness of the roast comes in giving a bit of charcoal acridity to balance the sweetness. Good flavour, with light wood notes that always stay in the background.

M: Perhaps since I expected a bigger beer, the body seemed thin to me, though for the regular style it is solid across the board. Smooth and creamy.

D: Nice oatmeal stout from Firestone, it shows that they don't have to create a big beer when they barrel age stuff. Nice brew all around.

Serving type: on-tap

12-28-2008 23:26:03 | More by Halcyondays
Photo of charlzm


4.1/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Consumed 12/17/08 at Blue Palms, Hollywood, CA.

Very dark brown beer with mahogany highlights. A fine tan foam head.

Sweet malts and a little smoke in the aroma.

A bit thinner than expected in the mouth.

Flavorful, this one. It starts with a dark roasted maltiness, vaguely sweet, then moves into the oatmeal. Also present are a pronounced chocolate (almost syrupy), a roasted nuttiness and some bitterness appearing on the palate after swallowing.

Evaporative flavor on the slightly dry finish. Not especially complex despite what is written, but very enjoyable to drink.

Serving type: on-tap

12-20-2008 02:51:37 | More by charlzm
Photo of errantnight


4.2/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at the Blue Palms in LA (originally as part of Xmas v. Hanukkah... not sure what this has to do with either, but hey!)

A creamy dense pitch black brew with a little bit of head with tenacity. Love the color.

Aroma is a gentle roastedness with a bit of biscuity malt. Subtle, simple, a little sweet. Really nice.

Tastes creamy smooth, nice medium full velvety texture carrying exactly what the aroma promises... a nice textured sweetness along a backbone of easy roastiness.

Really couldn't have a better structure, which makes this incredibly drinkable... but the flavor didn't blow me away. Pound for pound I'd still go Sammy Smith.

That said... the incredible bourbon barrel aged version had a few weeks ago was a different beast entirely. Perfect subtle vanilla and bourbon notes and the extra tannins all worked together for a phenomenal brew that didn't sacrifice the easy drinking experience but added nuances of flavor.

Certainly a tasty brew and fans of Firestone Walker will of course love to seek this out... and the should.

Serving type: on-tap

12-18-2008 18:20:28 | More by errantnight
Photo of magictrokini


4/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Tap @ O'Brien's. Pours dark brown with a medium tan head. Nestle Quik cocoa, malted milk balls, leather, vanilla, and roasted coffee in the nose. More malted chocolate and oatmeal in the taste, with a strong cherry pop towards the finish. The cherry sweetness came out of nowhere, was out of character for the beer, but kind of nice. Almost like a German chocolate cake taste. Good beer.

Serving type: on-tap

12-08-2008 22:53:03 | More by magictrokini
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 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
Velvet Merlin from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
90 out of 100 based on 1,725 ratings.