Velvet Merlin - Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Velvet MerlinVelvet Merlin

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BA SCORE
90
outstanding

2,628 Ratings
THE BROS
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Ratings: 2,628
Reviews: 609
rAvg: 4.01
pDev: 9.98%
Wants: 209
Gots: 432 | FT: 6
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.

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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,628 | Reviews: 609
Photo of jlindros
4.15/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Got this interesting looking one thanks to Ultraman9000.

Pours a fizzy 1 finger head that fades at a medium pace over pitch black beer.

Nose is exploding with oats before I even poured it, dark malts, a bit of roast and slight coffee, a touch of dark chocolate, caramel, and hints of vanilla milk chocolate. The oats really show through.

Taste brings plenty of dark malts, but nothing heavy, a bit of roast and chocolate, some caramel and vanilla, tons of oats again almost chewy with oats, smooth and creamy, a touch of milk chocolate. A slight bitterness comes through towards the end and more on the finish as it dries off quite a bit, with a bit of a toasty malt finish, and just a hint of peppermint (I think my mind is making that part up cause it seems like it should be a peppermint patty), bit of chocolate and vanilla lingering with lots of mouthy oats.

Mouth is very full bodied, not too heavy but very creamy, smooth, and silky even.

Drink is good, sessionable but a bit to rich and thick to be really sessionable, dries nicely, no real booze, goes down smooth.

Photo of TheSevenDuffs
4.5/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Ultraman9000 for throwing this as an extra in to a box from a recent trade.

Poured in to Duvel tulip.

A - Poured black with one finger of espresso coloured head.

S - Roasted malts, coffee, caramel. Some bitterness and a slight smokiness. A very nice profile for a regular stout.

T - Roasted malts, lots of smoke, coffee, chocolate and a slight overall sweetness.

M - Medium body; lightly carbonated.

D - A very good stout.

Photo of SirRuss
3.34/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A - Archetypal charcoal body, but retention is fleeting at best, and the lacing unimpressive. Having just glanced at the label - which sports a silky smooth, three fingered head - Firestone should probably thank their litigation stars that they have not yet been sued for false advertising

S - The pour alone wafts a dark chocolate breeze with enough presence to evoke surprise and intrigue. Unfortunately the chocolate notes within the glass are somehow less intense, and are accompanied by prominent notes of diner coffee pot. On the plus side, a dirty earthiness envelops the malt tones to lend an interesting foundation.

T - Very disappointing. It's almost as if the beer has been rapidly degrading from the moment the cap was cracked. All the expression from the nose is present on the palate, but its form is now diluted and scatty. The coffee aspect fairs best, although a watery genealogy confirms its Denny's lineage. The decadent chocolate promised by the pour is a wash out, and the deep earthiness is all but lost. In its favor, a twist of toastiness is imparted, and the roasted malt bitterness prevails in conjunction with the modest hopping. Unfortunately the redeeming features are far from capable of filling the emptiness of the profile, and a lot is left to be desired.

M - It's clear that the composition of this beer is capable of the velvety smoothness professed by the label. However, commercial soda style carbonation detracts from the texture this brew could otherwise boast, and the final effect is a prickly affair.

D - This is in no way offensive, or excessive in any attribute other than its determination to nullify itself into a disappointingly lackluster experience.

Photo of Zaplt
3.5/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

2-14-11

My friend Dave told me I needed to step up to the plate on BA so here I am.

Appearance - Very dark, black as expected. Pours a nice light tan head that has almost no retention nor lacing.

Aroma - Yummy roasty toasty maltiness, not very complex or strong. Not too many flavors in the aroma, slightly weak for a stout.

Taste - Washes down the palette smoothly and almost a bit thin, but then there is a wash of flavor - vanilla, a certain nuttiness that reminds me of hazelnut, raosted coffee and chocolate, slight woody aspects with just enough of a resiny hoppy finish to please the drinker.

Overall - This is a decent beer, although I did have some issues with it. It's a bit too thin for my taste and there seems to be a lack of punch in the malt. Seems a little weak in the taste and aroma but for a standard stout I think that they did a good job.

Photo of chumba526
4/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

It appears dark brown with a dark brown colored head.

It smells a bit coffee like; I get a mild chocolate smell and a bit of a vanilla like smell.

It tastes much like it smells. I get a roasted smooth coffee flavor. There is a bit of a vanilla like flavor and a bit of a nutty malt flavor as well. I get a bit of a smooth chocolate flavor.

It has a thick and smooth mouthfeel with moderate low carbonation.

The beer goes down smooth. I could drink a few of these stouts.

Overall a better than average example of the style.

Photo of Beerenauslese
4.13/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at the San Francisco Beer Week Gala

Body is dark brown with a bit of transparency at the edge. Head dissipates quickly to a ring.

Aroma of dark malt, coffee, chocolate, and trace of bourbon.

Tastes pretty smooth. Roasted malt, chocolate, coffee, with some bourbon in the finish.

Body is medium with a good level of carbonation, but has a more fizzy than creamy mouthfeel.

I felt this was a good drinkable brew. Pretty smooth with good integration of flavor and a sessionable ABV.

Photo of drummstikk
4.08/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Black color. Smells roasty and chocolatey. Super light bodied despite the oatmeal. Perfect body that lends to its super high drinkability. Tastes roasty with no oakiness. The bitterness is really smooth. This beer tastes better on tap than from a bottle.

Photo of seedsofchaos
3.87/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Received this bottle in a trade with Sirk. No date indicators but I'm fairly certain it was produced last year (2010). Opened on February 12th, 2011.

Poured into a brandy snifter, this beer is rather impervious to light. Extremely dark fudge brown in color, we're really talking black. A 1/2 inch khaki head rises slowly with the pour and then falls quickly. Highlights are of ruby and blood reds which shine from the surface in the light. Little to no lacing. Big and roasty in the nose with plenty of roasted barley for my nostrils pleasure. Coffee and oatmeal are prominent as expected. The bouquet is creamy, fairly simple and inviting.

Coffee like roast continues in the taste with a touch of bitter from it. Creamy enough but a little yeasty. Definite flavors of oats mingle in with smooth roasted malts. Nothing overpowering here. This beer is very simple as I would expect an oatmeal stout to be.

This is a great morning / early afternoon beer. I would be happy to call this a breakfast stout. With its clean mouthfeel, this beer could definitely pair well with waffles and syrup. Finishes dry but not overly so, I would definitely enjoy washing down my breakfast with Velvet Merlin.

Photo of HosP
3.89/5  rDev -3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Great extra from Scottfrie. Poured 12oz into snifter.

A- Pours not quite black. Some light creeps in around the edges. Nice one finger size head, down to thin cap halfway through the beer.

S- Mostly coffee in the nose. Very subtle hints of oatmeal type aroma. Reminded of a warm breakfast!

T- Coffee flavors up front, although not as strong as I'd hoped. Very smooth creamy drink. Roasted malts come through more at the end and leave some bitterness left with you.

M- Full body with light carbonation. Creamy mouth feel.

D- Very solid oatmeal stout. One of the better ones I've had. Could drink one, maybe two more. Flavors aren't overly spectacular, but still make for a very good beer. Thanks Scott for this nice winter's treat!

Photo of readbaron
4.07/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours out a relatively thin looking - more porter than stout - with a decent light tan head.

Smell is smooth - nearly all malt, with a hint of sweetness. Almost smells like a milk stout.

Taste is good - incredibly smooth. Very malty - not a lot of complexity - all malt and some oaty sweetness. There is no aftertaste - just an incredibly smooth finish.

Mouthfeel is excellent - much richer than I would have expected from the pour. Definitely see why velvet is in this beer's name.

Highly drinkable. Relatively low ABV and incredibly smooth.

Photo of MaltsOfGlory
4.4/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Appearance is good, at first the head looked soda-ish, but now it has settled down and looks frothy and creamy. Body is pitch black. The smell is very interesting, all it says is that it is an oatmeal stout, but it smells more like an espresso stout, all I'm really getting on the smell is coffee and a big roasty malty smell. It smells good, just different. Taste is excellent though, man, this is freaking smooth. The taste is super smooth, super easy to drink, but at the same time it is very complex. You for sure get the coffee and the roasted malt taste, but the coffee isn't quite as present as I thought it would be. Along with those two flavors you also get some chocolate and a tiny tiny tiny bitterness at the end. Super good beer here.

Photo of GregSVT
4/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle into a snifter

A: Pours a deep black with a nice light tan head that fades to a ring leaving some lacing on the glass.

S: The nose is mostly coffee with some chocolate malts in the background. There's also a faint aroma of earthy hops.

T: The taste is chocolate/cocoa, vanilla, and coffee. Pretty standard stout flavors with a bit of hops on the finish.

M: The feel is creamy and medium bodied.

D: With a 5.5% abv this brew is big on flavor and highly drinkable. I'd drink this often if it was available to me.

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

Poured into a Goose Island pint glass. Nice black body with a fingers worth of creamy tan head. The head dies a little bit, but mostly maintains and leaves some good lacing.

Lots of well roasted malt and dark chocolate on the nose. A little earthy with a touch of oatmeal. Very pleasant for a regular stout.

Taste is dark chocolate and dark roasted malt, much like the nose. Slight bitterness with a touch of coffee and oatmeal. Not overly complex, but well done.

Mouthfeel is smooth, creamy and rich. This has a really nice body for a 5% stout. Not watery at all and no hint of alcohol. Very smooth. The oatmeal really helps.

Drinkability is great. This is a very quaffable stout. I could easily put back a few pints of this. If this were on tap at my local bar, it would become a regular for me. A great go to stout. Nice work Firestone Walker.

Photo of abuliarose
4.09/5  rDev +2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a fluted pint, revealing blackish opaque body under a finger of somewhat thick crema head. Looks ok for an oatmeal stout; I'd have thought with the viscosity there would be more staying power for the head. Creamy-looking regardless. Smells clean and roasty with a nice dark malt presence. Some charred wood, slight milky sweetness.

Tastes light and clean with the signature touch of oat-y sweetness. Nice and roasted up front, fresh watery finish. Some slight bitterness with a roasted character. Very well-rounded for a plain oatmeal stout. Mouthfeel is that oatmeal creaminess with a carbonation that is a little too small-nucleating and tingly to add much to the body. Very drinkable otherwise, almost session-able.

Overall I quite like it. Maybe not my favorite oatmeal stout, but it is certainly an upstanding offering of the style.

Photo of DefenCorps
4.44/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottled 7th December 2010, delivered lovingly by FedEx thanks to largadeer, this has been a long time coming. Thank you, Chris.

Pouring a very dark brown, this beer has the deepest red highlights. A dense, dark brown head is present, receding to a disk leaving no lace. The nose is rather excellent. The oatmeal character is so fresh and so prominent, it smells like I've drizzled some granola with coffee. Rich, beautiful, oatmeal cereal with a little bit of raisin. The coffee isn't the richest or the best, but it works wonderfully well here, despite being rather instant coffee-like. Likewise, the palate opens with a blend of oatmeal, coffee and a little bit of fruit, a little raisin-like? There's also an underlying caramel sweetness that's light, working very well with the oatmeal. A balancing bitterness is provided by a little bit of coffee and a little bit of roast, and I also get a touch of Fuggles in the back, earthy and a little leafy. Drying and roasty on the finish with oatmeal and coffee, this beer is excellent. Medium-light in body with soft carbonation, this has a perfect level of carbonation. As for drinkability, well, I am trying to work on a presentation here, but I just cracked my second bottle of this. Suffice to say, this is one of the better oatmeal stouts I've had in a long time. This is breakfast in a glass with a dollop of happiness.

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

12 oz bottle, thanks Rich.

Appearance is as is expected for the style; opaque chocolate brown/black with a nice, retentive tan head. Lacing is minimal.

Aroma is dry, oat-y and roasted, with some mild chocolate and sweet malt.

Very easy drinking, with a slightly thin, medium body. Flavor is roasted, sweet with chocolate and coffee. Extremely well balanced and smooth. A little sweet for the style, but will definitely seek this out again.

Photo of SQUIDPORT
4.4/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Had this for the first time @ the LA Beer week closing ceremony.
Recently stocked up on some 6pks. Poured into a pint glass.

A: Dark as night but not too thick, good head.

S: Coffee, chocolate, mmm I need another to reflect upon.

T: Like dipping a chocolate oatmeal cookie into your spiked coffee & drinking the remains.

M: Liquid black velvet!

D: Goes down smooth, great to drink! Especially after drinking a few 10% ABV beers. Then you can drink it right out of the bottle & it still tastes good.

Photo of stakem
4.14/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint glass this brew appears dark brown with a finger of brown head that quickly recedes to a thin lace across the top. When held to the light, this brew displays some lighter brown and deep ruby clarity through the body.

The aroma of this brew is a pleasant roasty scent reminiscent of coffee mixed with dark chocolate-like grains. The grain scent of this brew is very fresh and enjoyable which imparts a light sweetness through the nose. Once the brew warms up there is a light citrus hop indication in the back.

The taste of this brew is roasty grain that imparts a light sweetness through the body. It leaves a lingering taste similar to fresh coffee and light semi bitter chocolate. As this brew warms it picks up a light citrus hop influence.

This is a medium bodied brew with a modest amount of carbonation. The oats in this brew imparts a silky smooth feel in the mouth which is exceptional for the style. The alcohol is perfectly hidden and overall this is a fine example of the style.

Photo of scottfrie
3.83/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle into 25oz snifter.

A: Pours a very dark chestnut brown, almost black, with a finger of dense light creamy-brown head that slowly faded into a thin film and collar that left spots of soapy lacing down the glass.
S: Strong notes of oats and grains with a good dose of coffee. Very oatmeal-y smelling, maybe a hint of raisin, no chocolate.
T: Pretty much follow the nose. Tastes like I'm eating oatmeal and sipping on a cup of weak coffee. Very rich and creamy all around. Finish is full of coffee and maybe a touch of sweet caramel, and the aftertaste leaves roasted flavors in my mouth with just a hint of bitterness.
M: Tingly carbonation over a full body with an all around soft mouthfeel. The beer does hit the palate a touch sharp at first though. Body falls a little thin in the finish.
D: A really easy drinking oatmeal stout full of mild, well balance flavors. Not my favorite beer, but it does the trick.

Photo of jsanford
4.12/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a tulip

A - Dark black with a thin, mocha-colored head that dissipates quickly to a thin ring and slight haze. Leaves a tiny bit of spotty lacing.
S - Dark roasted malt, bitter dark chocolate, toasted oats and just a slight whiff of toasted marshmallow. Very nice.
T - More dark malt and dark chocolate, with a nice coffee bitterness in the finish. Very nicely balanced, not to overwhelmingly "roasty".
M - Incredibly (dare I say it?) velvety with a medium-heavy body and ample carbonation.
D - Having no problems drinking this one, the amazing mouthfeel helps a lot.

Photo of Cinderbike
3.51/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a bottle on a rainy afternoon. Velvet Merlin pours a dark brown with minimal head and lacing. Carbonation and mouthfeel to style, with that distinct oatmeal slickness.

Aroma is earthy with some toasty/biscuit notes, and a touch of alcohol warmth.

Flavor: burnt toast, coffee, coffee, coffee. More coffee. This is not a session beer. Flavor is much more complex when it warms.

I am glad this was not a bomber, but it is a good oatmeal stout.

Photo of whatthehull
3.8/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured into a New Belgium snifter

A - Mud meets tar, with a tan light and fluffy head, trace lacing

S - Toasty 'o so toastedness, burned oak, grains, malt and a bit of sweetness

T - Toasty everything and burned oak. Nice hop finish, a bit malty and lots of earth tons, most of which were toasted

M - Medium/Heavy, fluffy carbonated and bitter toasted finish

D - Because of all the toastedness, it is a bit hard to just session this beer. It tends to end up room temp before you're done

Final thought - Nice, toasty. This is a great stout, not the best, but great

Photo of leakyfaucet12
3.82/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

a- Dark black body with a three finger head that seems go away pretty quickley.

s- You can smell dark roasted chocolate. You can also smell the malts and some bready notes.

t- This beer has a very bland flavor for a stout. I usually like my stouts to taste less like porters.

m- The mouthfeel of this one is really good. I really thought that velvet was a great name for this beer, because that was exactly what it reminded me of. By far the best thing about this beer.

d- Overall I think that this is a really interesting beer and being that it is my first from firestone walker I think I need to try more beer from them.

Photo of Axic10
4/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a tulip glass.

Appearance: Pours black with a finger of tan head.

Smell: Bold iced coffee, roasted malt and chocolate.

Taste: Bold coffee, coffee, roasted malt and a nice vanilla taste in the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied and smooth.

Drinkability: I really enjoyed this beer and would definitely drink again. Firestone Walker continues to amaze me.

Photo of Klsfgiants15
4.62/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

Poured this beautiful beer into a Firestone Walker pint glass.

Appearance: You know it's a good bear when you hold it up to a light fixture, but can see anything. This beer is as black as my heart is sinful. But like my heart, it is redeemed. I think the brewmasters of Firestone Walker themselves atoned for this beer. I'm noticing a nice carbonation in this beer, but the head is not posing a problem to me getting this beer to my mouth as fast as possible.

Smell: I keep smelling it over and over. And it seems like a different smell overpowers my senses each time. The three recurring smells are chocolate, coffee, and oatmeal.

Taste: The beer continues to taste better as it warms. But the thing is, I loved the taste straight after the pour. So each time I take a sip I get more and more enthused with this beer. The smells and tastes are similar. But I'm tasting a good presence of malts along with the coffee, oatmeal, and chocolate.

I highly recommend this beer. I hope that Firestone starts to make this delicious drink year-round.

Velvet Merlin from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
90 out of 100 based on 2,628 ratings.