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Velvet Merlin | Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

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BA SCORE
89
very good
658 Reviews
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BEER STATS
Reviews:
658
Ratings:
2,934
Avg:
3.98
pDev:
21.11%
 
 
Wants:
226
Gots:
577
For Trade:
6
Velvet MerlinVelvet Merlin
BEER INFO

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

Style: Oatmeal Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.50%

Availability: Fall

Notes / Commercial Description:
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 

Added by largadeer on 11-13-2008

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Reviews: 658 | Ratings: 2,934
Photo of GilGarp
4.05/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottled 9/9/11.

12oz bottle served at cellar temp (~55 degrees) into a pint glass.

The Velvet Merlin in a very dark brown color with good clarity seen as it's poured. The head is thick at first but eventually settles to just a thin layer on top.

Aroma is sweet and roasty. It reminds me of a milk stout in that way. A little bit of caramel and cashews too.

Flavor is surprisingly full flavored, despite being lower alcohol at only 5.5%, and a healthy dose of black malt is to blame (in a good way). Roasted malt bitterness is balanced by just enough sweetness. It definately doesn't come across as a milk stout at this point. A good strong, yet smooth, oatmeal stout.

Mouthfeel is medium-plus in body, lowish carbonation, and smooth as oatmeal stouts tend to be.

Overall a really nice version of this classic style.

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Photo of JonathanG
4.2/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle poured into Duvel tulip.

A: Not quite a 2-finger khaki-colored head that sticks around for a minute or two, before receding to leave a sheet of fine bubbles floating on top of the dark coffee colored malty goodness.

S: Can't miss the oats here, joined by coffee and fairly dark cocoa notes. A little bit of charred barrel/smoky bourbon barrel as well.

T: A backbone of oatmeal, along with coffee on the midpalate, followed by dark cocoa, and a pretty dry and smoky/toasted bourbon barrel finish, with lingering bitterness. Oats and coffee dominate.

M: A sort of lean dryness on this medium-bodied oatmeal stout. Seems like you could drink several of these due to this factor, especially with a meal.

O: I think I'll have to stock up on this for the upcoming colder months of winter. Seems like this would be a nice choice sitting next to the fireplace, especially if you want something "seasonal", but not overly heavy or sweet, since this is on the drier side of things.

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Photo of Bendurgin
3.93/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks for this one Sean. Poured into a tulip. Pours a cola colored brown with about a finger of creaming light khaki head.

The aroma has hints of slight cocoa and hints of espresso. Pretty run of the mill but pleasing either way. The taste is pretty much what wone would expect from an oatmeal stout. A little roasty with hints of coffee and some fudgyness to it. Pretty tasty.

The feel is good, silky and smooth with subtle carbonation. Overall this is a well made beer. I just don't think this is the most exciting of styles.

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Photo of denver10
3.55/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Dark with a light brown head that settles on the edge of the glass

S: Rich, full of oatiness and some roasted espresso and chocolate, and some roastiness.

Taste: matches the smell pretty well. Get the oatiness up front which is then followed with the espresso and closes out with some chocolate and hops. And don't forget the roasted malts.

Mouthfeel: definitely creamy and some good body to it.

Overall: I know this is jedi mind tricks but not really a fan of this when I think about it as an oatmeal stout, but become quite a fan once I view it as an oatmeal porter. For me this drinks more like how I enjoy my porters.

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Photo of bfields4
4.57/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Black body with a light brown hue around the edges. Nice mocha head laces the glass.

Aroma is very much oaty with a bit of espresso bit of roasty. Nice.

Flavor profile is similar to the aroma. Nice roasty oat flavor with an espresso finish. Nice dry chocolate/hop bitterness rounds the beer out nicely.

Velvet is right, the mouthfeel is very smooth. Nice creamy body with just a good bit of carbonation. This beer doesn't have big in your face interesting flavors, but the flavors it does have it absolutely nails.

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Photo of Kshock
4.35/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Dark deep brown color. Looks like black coffee. some lacing, but not much retention.

S- Roasted malts(toffee, coffee, bitter chocolate)

T- Dark roasted sweetness. Dries out very quickly; very nice finish.

M- light to med body. Feels very pleasant on the palate. light carbonation.

O- Very good example of the style, very pleasant to drink.

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Photo of biboergosum
4.22/5  rDev +6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle, from a visit to Belmont Station in Portland a few months ago. I was wondering about the name on the bottle I have, given its proximity to a certain crass, um, accoutrement of fame, but nice that BA has dispelled any questions I have in that respect.

This beer pours a very dark reddish-brown colour, practically black, the highlights the only thing giving it away, with one finger of thin foamy beige head, which leaves some sparse, random streaks of lace around the glass as it speedily abates. It smells of soft coffee, mild bitter chocolate, subtle sour black fruit, and moderately bitter earthy, leafy hops. The taste is very lightly roasted caramel malt, genial choco-tinted coffee, and stronger than expected (if I wasn't dreamin' 'bout Cali...) bitter earthy hops with a slight pine edginess. The carbonation is just south of average, the body a solid medium weight, with a nice silky smoothness that dabbles somewhat in creaminess. It finishes off-dry, the coffee caramel holding the fort in the midst of a feeble uptick in generic hop bitterness.

A well-rendered California oatmeal stout, the hops eschewed in favour of a good malty, bitter coffee beast, one that I would hope has displaced Guinness from at least a few central coast watering holes...

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Photo of brian44556
3.6/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured a 12oz bottle into a Schlafly Pint Glass. No dating on the bottle.

Pours a dark black, but is somewhat translucent when held up to the light. A small, chocolate colored head forms and diminishes rather quickly. A good lacing is left on the sides of the glass. Smell notes of coffee, roasted malts, and small hint of chocolate. Taste roasted malts, peanuts, coffee, and small hint of caramel/chocolate mixture. Carbonation is good, but the mouthful seems a bit thin for my liking, but I think that is just the style. Overall a good Oatmeal Stout.

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Photo of jcartamdg
3.5/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Dark black with very little head in my ccb snifter. Very little head but lacing clings to the glass. Ara of coffee and sweet malts. Taste is smooth light with a coffee aftertaste. Mouth feel is surprisingly light and smooth, easy to drink and delicious

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Photo of MrKennedy
4.12/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle with huge thanks to nicks6217! Poured into a Tripel Karmeliet tulip style glass.

Looks jet black with a tan coloured head of foam that commenced at 2 fingers in height. Sat just above film for the duration. Spotty glass lacing.

Nice, complex and relatively big aromas. Coffee, chocolate, licorice, dark fruits as well. Very nice and intriguing.

Taste is nice and smooth and well done. Chocolate is first, coffee at the end and the oats in the middle of it.

Mouthfeel is a little thin early and continues to build and build in thickness. With all the chocolate in this, the finish isn't cloying, balanced out by the coffee and a touch of other bitterness.

Very good oatmeal stout, flavoursome, complex, well balanced.

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Photo of mikesgroove
4.5/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

completely opaque liquid coming forward in front of me. Rich dark brown notes, with a good sized head of maybe an inch in height coming over the top of it. Nice settling left behind a thin layer and a good amount of side glass lace.

The aroma was your typical oatmeal stout, though a touch more bitter then what I was expecting. Nice notes of lactose, chocolate and vinous hops. Some light grain notes as well in the finish. Rich, though not terribly filling. Lots of burnt and roasted malt flavors in here. Not as sweet as the aroma would have led me to believe it would have been, still though very solid in both bitterness and malt profile. Light notes of chocolate floating around, but again nothing terribly too swee

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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 eclipse54
3.62/5  rDev -9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 ounce bottle from leschkie; thanks man! Review from notes taken on 07/19/2011.

Deep brown/red as it pours from the bottle, but appears black in the glass. A light khaki head rests atop, but fades quickly and leaves no lacing. Smells of oats, caramel, sugar, dark fruit, and roasted/charred malt. They blend together nicely in the nose, but are a bit more disconnected in the mouth. It tastes of sweet fruit (plum, date), sugar, oat, roasted malt, and alcohol. Mouth is thick, has medium carbonation, and finishes very dry. Overall, an enjoyable oatmeal stout, but there are some better options out there that are just as readily available.

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Photo of BucannonXC5
4.18/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a tap into a pint glass at KnB Wine Cellar’s in San Diego, Calif. Color was coffee black. Probably heavy on the head, but I missed the pour. Good looking beer, though.

First smell was coffee. Also some caramel, nuts, Nyquill and cough drops.

First taste was coffee, followed by a strong alcohol bite and then a chocolate finisher. Dark, but so smooth.

Mild carbonation. Some licorice and almost a liquor taste, like Bailey’s Irish Cream. The Nyquill/cough syrup kept coming in and was off-putting.

I really like this beer, but it was much better out of the bottle. I usually am a draft guy, but the taste specifically was better out of the bottle.

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Photo of biga7346
4/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Foamy, big fluffy tannish head takes a while to dissipate, good lacing, brown chocolatey milky coloring.

N - Aromatic notes of dark roasted coffee beans, burnt vanilla; oakey, woody suggestions opens up a tinge of nutmeg or clove. Dense breadiness, rye bread, and a very fleeting touch of blue cheese.

T/M - Opens with a cloying lactic, velvety mouthfeel, vanilla bean, wet coffee grounds, creaminess and a sugary, grainy finish melts in the back of your palate. Noticeable suggestions of brown bread, golden raisins, rum cake. I can see this bordering on a sweet stout but is complimented nicely with oaky and charred notes. It is thin but very sessionable at 5.5 abv, set me up with good cheese, maybe pears and/or apricots and like 4-6 of these babies and I'll be all set.

D - My first sampling from Firestone-Walker, a great sessionable oatmeal stout, seems like this is slightly unique in that regard but it reminds me of English brown ales without the presence of dark fruits.

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Photo of Chriscrundwell12
3.75/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into a Town Hall snifter.

A- Two finger brown head, nice carbonation, moderate lacing, dark brown almost black color, orange brown hues on the bottom.
S- Nice oatmeal aroma roasted malts, coffee, slight chocolate aroma as well.
T- Really smooth, nice roasted oatmeal flavor, coffee, slight chocolate, bitter taste, really easy drinkability.
M- Medium mouth feel, well carbonated, thin, smooth drinking, with a crisp finish.
O- Solid beer, strong oatmeal flavor mixed with roasted coffee notes, really easy drinkability, enjoyable.

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Photo of DavoleBomb
2.92/5  rDev -26.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Poured into a snifter.

3.0 A: Black color. Two fingers of frothy light brown head that fizzes away a la Coca-Cola post haste.

3.5 S: Lots of oats and dry, dusty cocoa powder. Good bit of roastiness. Super dry overall.

3.0 T: The taste is really nice, but it has one major flaw. Again this is simple with a moderate roastiness, lots of oats, and cocoa powder. The flaw, which tastes a pretty damn good beer down to an average one is that this is as dry as the nose suggests. It's painfully dry and because of this, it comes off as quite watery.

2.0 M: Light body. Light body indeed. Way too light for the style. Never had one like this. Also, too much carbonation. Not creamy due to the body and not smooth due to the carbonation level.

2.5 D: Not impressed with this one. With some crystal malt, this would be a damn good beer as the flavors present are pleasant. However, what isn't there is more important.

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Photo of DarthKostrizer
4.7/5  rDev +18.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Look: Black in color with brown rings around the top and bottom. 1/4 inch head no retention and a spot of lacing here and there

Smell: Roasted malts, coffee, chocolate, and oatmeal

Taste: Coffee flavor right up front and it is in perfect balance with the roasted malt. Traces of bitter chocolate and oatmeal in the middle and finishes with hints of vanilla and more coffee delicious

Mouthfeel: Medium body and medium carbonation and some really nice buttery silkyness

Overall: This is one of if not my favorite oatmeal stout. It is almost perfect on every level. Just another fantastic beer from firestone

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Photo of 4DAloveofSTOUT
3.57/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

poured into tulip glass.

Appearance: Black bodied beer with thin white cap. Mild lacing noted on the glass.

Smell: Big time Oats and coffee. Toasty and roasty smell.

Taste: Mildly bitter coffee and mildly sweet chocolate notes. The oat is fairly strong and flavorful in this beer.

Mouthfeel: Disappointed here. Average at best. Way thinner than i expected and hoped for. Light end of a medium bodied stout and moderate carbonation.

Overall: better than average oatmeal stout, but I expected alot more from this brew.

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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 lnashsig
4.42/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Snosage22 for the chance to taste this one. I've been intrigued with Firestone Walker, and happy to have the chance to review one of their beers. Bottle dated 2-24-11. Poured into my dfh snifter, pours a light bodied consistency, pitch black color, nice off white head emerges, but recedes quickly and completely. Smell- chocolate, with a watery but enjoyable light scent. Definitely smell the oatmeal here. Light scent of coffee grind. its faint, but its there. taste- nice milk chocolate, met with immediate nice carbonation, and there is the coffee grind in the back. Mouthfeel- its pretty light bodied for an oatmeal stout, but it works well with the tight carbonation. Drinkability- for a 5% beer, this one packs a ton of flavor and is really enjoyable.

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Photo of ArrogantB
4.3/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Huge thanks to LuvMtdew420 for sending me this beer. Dark inky black, tan head, looks like a stout should. Smell is oats, stout, chocolate, mmmm. The taste is very rich oats and chocolate, silky almost and really impressive. I really, really wish I could buy sixers of this because it's probably the best low alcohol stout I've tasted so far. Good job FW.

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Photo of doughanson78
3.17/5  rDev -20.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

First Firestone Walker beer. 12oz. bottle poured into a snifter.

A: Very dark, but not totally black. Light comes through around edges and bottom of glass. Kind of a dark redish tint where light comes through. Fluffy one finger head. Slightly off white with only small tight bubbles. Head dies down to thin layer but doesn't disappear. Fairly good lacing.

S: Not a big aroma at all. Smells like the inside of a Quaker oatmeal container. VERY light chocolate scent.

T: Nice roasted flavor. Light coffee. Mild sweet chocolate. Nice oaty finish. Very mild hop bitterness.

M: Medium bodied. Mild carbonation. Smooth but not Velvety.

O: Been hearing great things about Firestone Walker. Had a sip of their Double Jack and was impressed. Got a few of their brews, including the Parabola. Not super impressed with this one. It's decent but there's definitely many better.

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Photo of bamadog
3.6/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to beerman207 for bringing this one back from the West coast. Review is from notes taken on 6/18/2011 and poured from the bottle to a snifter.

Appearance: Pour is a nice dark brown with some ruby and burgundy highlights; starts with a 1/4 finger, light tan head that fades to nothing other than a faint wisp and thin ring around the surface; body is dark and nearly opaque, only a few spots of lacing are left hanging around.

Smell: Nice, dry powdery cocoa and a light, toasty maltiness. Smell isn't too big, but fitting of the style.

Taste: It's alright, but I don't know if it's as good as I've been told by others; It has a dry, cocoa powder flavor to it with some bittersweet chocolate; bit of an earthy coffee roastiness; really tastes like a lot of other Oatmeal Stouts out there and runs well with them, but doesn't really stand out.

Mouthfeel: A little thin, but again, it's pretty standard for the style in my estimation; nice carbonation that is prickly, but not too sharp; a thin and dry stickiness is left on the roof of the mouth.

Overall: Not bad, and I wouldn't mind having it again, but I certainly wouldn't go out of my way for it. It's got a nice set of scents to it and matching flavors, but a thin and kind of boring body that doesn't really latch on to me; moderately low ABV certainly doesn't hurt it.

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Photo of drummermattie02
4.15/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a tulip, deep brown and lets very little light through; two finger head that quickly recedes to a ring.

Aroma of roasted malts and coffee, good complexity.

Taste mimics the smell, but some chocolate comes through that i didn't initially detect. Really great finish, too. Very smooth feel, although a bit on the watery side.

Very well done beer, particularly considering the lower ABV and drinkability.

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Velvet Merlin from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
89 out of 100 based on 658 ratings.