Velvet Merlin - Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
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Ratings: 1,951 | Reviews: 527 | Display Reviews Only:
4.21/5 rDev +5%
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 -3.7%
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
4.41/5 rDev +10%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
Firestone Walker Velvet Merlin Oatmeal Stout
12 oz. bottle, dated"01/08/13 12:01"
$3.50 @ The Beer Shoppe, Ardmore, PA
So what is it that makes an oatmeal stout, because just using oatmeal doesn't exactly do it?
Well, it's black in color with a long-lasting head of pillowy dark tan foam. When held to the light ruby highlights can be seen glimmering along the edges of the glass. Oddly, the lacing could be better as it only leaves spots and streaks behind.
The aroma displays graininess with both straightforward pale malt and a mild roastiness as well. There's a bit of yeasty fruitiness, and a suggestion of floral hops as well. They all work together, and although there's a bit of a sweet coffee aroma to it, it's not overly roasty or "harsh".
In the mouth is where oatmeal stouts seem to shine the brightest: it's medium-bodied and silky smooth with a fine bubbled median carbonation. As it warms it becomes nicely creamy across the palate.
Oatmeal stout is a derivative of the sweet stout style, and as such it should have a sweetish balance, offset by some delicate roastiness that conjures up flavors of milk chocolate, creamy coffee, toffee, and cocoa or fudge. Check, check, check! The bitterness is restrained, somewhere in the upper 20's, and there's just a subtle hint of underlying dark malt acidity that helps to balance it. Following that, there's a slight hint of floral and grassy hop flavor but it's quite restrained.
This is a beer that's about malt, and about drinkability - although it's generally more to be savored than gulped! It's flavorful without being aggressive, and it's complex but the components are very well woven together into one main fabric of flavor. Add to that a remarkable smoothness across the palate and a standard alcohol content, and you've got a remarkably enjoyable and drinkable stout.
It's not an easy beer to brew because the balance between malt sweetness, hop bitterness, and dark malt acidity is so important; yet Firestone Walker has pulled it off. Quite nice!
Serving type: bottle
04-08-2013 13:55:32 | More by NeroFiddled
Velvet Merlin from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
90 out of 100 based on 1,951 ratings.