Velvet Merlin - Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
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Ratings: 1,965 | Reviews: 527 | Display Reviews Only:
4.79/5 rDev +19.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5
I had this nearly three times a week in the winter when I was living in Atascadero. I was working at the California Valley Solar Ranch in Santa Margarita from December 2011 to July 2012. This review is being written for Velvet Merlin on nitro tap from the Firestone Brewery. This is by far one of my very favorite beers of all time!
This doesn't get a perfect score because I believe a good stout should have a bit higher ABV. 8% like Board Meeting would be perfect. A 5.5% ABV is like a session beer and stouts don't make very good session beers since they are very filling.
I always sit in a position at the bar where I can get a perfect view of this one betting poured. I love the tan head not as dark and sexy as KBS but it is just right. There is something about this beer that takes me back to my childhood when I used to eat half-melted ice cream with a spork from the paleta man. I often imagine myself eating Velvet Merlin with a spork. The aroma is not immediately prominent until you take a drink. That thick head keeps it all in. You inhale slightly when you drink too, right? Of course you do. I enjoy the aroma and the taste very close together with this one. Almost at once. It is nutty, chocolatey, caramely, roasty, and malty and all in a perfect balance. Not one exceeding the other. Like a group of sexy women walking abreast towards you in slow motion. For me? Fuggles is a funny name for hops. I get taken to another place when I'm enjoying this outstanding beer. It is unfortunate that it is not available year round. See you again in the fall!
Serving type: nitro-tap
05-07-2013 16:14:29 | More by tastyville
2.91/5 rDev -27.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 1.75 | overall: 2.75
Pours a hazy dark brown. Thick tan head that dissipates very quickly. Mild aroma of roast grain and cocoa. Flavor is stronger but similar, with moderate roastiness and cocoa powder. Very thin (for a stout) mouthfeel and dry finish. The beer doesn't taste bad but I was very disappointed by the thin mouthfeel.
Serving type: bottle
04-30-2013 21:41:02 | More by BeerRefugee
4.21/5 rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25
From: Binny's, Bloomingdale, IL
Date: Bottled 12/21/2012
Velvet Merlin is a delicious oatmeal stout, fairly rich in body and quite pronounced in aroma and flavor. Not priced inappropriately, and of high quality: this is a brewery that does things right.
Pours a 1.5cm tall head of light tan foam, made up of tightly packed, small bubbles. Retention is above average, lasting over two minutes. Leaves significant lacing along sides of the glass. Beer has a dark brown to black body, opaque, with light bringing out slight amber hues around the edges. Carbonation is only visible as it moves upwards along the side of the glass.
Aroma is of rich, bitter baker's chocolate, somewhat of acrid roasted coffee, burnt toast, yet balanced by a caramelized sugar sweetness.
The dominant flavors are varying degrees and types of roasted malt, contributing a variety of dark chocolate and roasted coffee bean flavors, with support from tastes similar to caramel and burnt toast. Front of palate notices blackened malt sweetness, with light chocolate and coffee flavors in the mix as well. Mid-palate finds heavy dark chocolate, roasted coffee beans, faint caramel, and hints of burnt toast flavors, all blended excellently. Back of palate picks up roasted malt, dark chocolate, charred toast, thick caramel sweetness, and slight cherry esters. Aftertaste of roasted malt sweetness and acridity, dark chocolate syrup, espresso roast coffee beans, and mild caramel malt.
Beer is medium-bodied with the thickness and smooth flow that one expects from an oatmeal stout. Carbonation is of medium to medium-low intensity, resulting in a gently foamy, slightly medium-heavy overall mouthfeel, well suited for the beer and the style. Closes quite dry, with substantial stickiness lingering upon the palate and lips.
Serving type: bottle
04-16-2013 05:47:19 | More by falloutsnow
3.86/5 rDev -4%
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.
Serving type: bottle
04-10-2013 01:02:01 | More by spoony
Velvet Merlin from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
90 out of 100 based on 1,965 ratings.