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Velvet Merlin - Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

Velvet MerlinVelvet Merlin

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
90
outstanding

1,723 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1723
Reviews: 506
rAvg: 4.02
pDev: 10.45%


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)
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Ratings: 1,723 | Reviews: 506 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of Wasatch
Wasatch

Utah

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

Thanks goes out to G311 for this brew.

Pours a nice black color, nice carbonation, small fizzy off-white head, with some sticky lacing left behind. The nose is malty, with a nice touch of chocolate/toffee. The taste is sweet, malty, with some chocolate/toffee. Medium Body. Drinkable, this is a very tasty brew. I wish it was available in Utah.

Serving type: bottle

03-04-2011 01:40:47 | More by Wasatch
Photo of corby112
corby112

Pennsylvania

4.18/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark chocolate brown color with faint mahogany edges and a pillowy two finger beige head that slowly settles into a lasting ring. Larges streaks and chunks of soapy lacing left behind.

Robust, roasted malt aroma that never becomes acrid or burnt. Slightly smokey with hints of toast, dark chocolate, coffee bean, caramel, toffee and of course, oatmeal. There's also a slight lactic cream presence adding complexity to the nose.

Chewy, full body with a deeply roasted dark malt character that's nicely countered by a subtle earthy hop presence. Very similar to the aroma with lots of roasted malt flavor that never becomes overpowering or burnt tasting. Strong dark chocolate, oatmeal and coffee bean presence along with some caramel, toffee and lactic cream. Very complex and even though it's full bodied, it's very well balanced resulting in an extremely quaffable beer.

Serving type: bottle

01-24-2012 05:09:16 | More by corby112
Photo of stakem
stakem

Pennsylvania

4.13/5  rDev +2.7%
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.

Serving type: bottle

02-02-2011 18:08:57 | More by stakem
Photo of DoubleJ
DoubleJ

California

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 Kegatron
Kegatron

Pennsylvania

4.08/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle into a pint glass.

Pours a deep brown (some ruby highlights come out across the bottom), with a finger of smooth light mocha colored head. This maintains a thin foaminess that skims the top of the glass, leaving back a rich cascade of spotty lacing that dots the sides of the glass. The aroma smells of sweet oatmeal notes up front, before giving away to an underlying mix of cocoa, roast, and a good bit of green citrus flavor. The oatmeal is really standing out to me here in the nose and I’m digging it.

The taste is similar to the nose, with a smooth smelling mélange of flaked oatmeal and chocolate that then leads into a leafy citrus profile across the back. Some light roasted character sits underneath and combos with the hops to finish this a bit bitter with an extra smidge of burnt toast on the tail end. The mouthfeel is medium bodied and initially prickly on the tongue, which helps draw out some of that hops and roast, but there is also an easy feeling silkiness on the edges of this, courtesy of that oatmeal, which gives this an overall crisp slickness in the mouth that works.

This was quite a robust and easy drinking Oatmeal Stout, with a good bit of well balanced flavor that didn’t skimp on the oatmeal character one bit. I’m not sure if this one is making distribution yet on the East Coast but it’s definitely one that I’m going to keep an eye out for.

Serving type: bottle

01-19-2012 17:57:58 | More by Kegatron
Photo of johnmichaelsen
johnmichaelsen

Oregon

3.9/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On cask at Max's today.

The beer pours a blackish brown color with good head retention and lacing. The nose is a bit shy, but I still pick up some nice coffee, light vanilla and light bourbon and light chocolate. On the palate... you can tell this is a low alcohol beer, but damn does it deliver a lot of flavor. The flavor profile basically replicates the nose, but there's just more of everything. There's also a hint of tobacco, smoke and earthiness in the finish that I appreciate as well. It helps to dry out the modest sweetness in this beer. Mouthfeel is pretty good. The beer is soft and plush on the palate, though it's a bit thin as well (but at 5.5% abv., that's hardly a surprise).

While nothing earth shattering here, it's hard not to be impressed with a beer showing this much flavor with such low alcohol. Pretty impressive really...

Serving type: cask

04-27-2012 19:27:53 | More by johnmichaelsen
Photo of Beerandraiderfan
Beerandraiderfan

Nevada

3.93/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark brown pour, tan head, this is a looker. Plain aroma, roast, oats taming it down.

Taste, richly smooth, great work with the oatmeal here. Not harsh at all, a great session stout. All the harbingers of a good stout, coffee, chocolate, vanilla, none of them in your face, just mingling in the background. Easy to see why this was a component in the anniversary beer.

Beer provides a good coat for the gullet. Stays away from being anything extreme. A good, dry, sessionable oatmeal stout, nothing pretentious about it, does the job quite well, even if it might seem thin at times for peeps always looking for a RIS or a double/imperial stout. Just the right amount of hopping to keep it lively, but not be astringent or out of style parameters.

Serving type: bottle

05-04-2011 18:24:11 | More by Beerandraiderfan
Photo of glid02
glid02

Georgia

4.15/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle shared by Jeremy – thanks!

Pours one shade from black with a one-finger tan head. The head recedes into a thin layer on top leaving decent lacing.

Smells of smooth roasted malts with good amounts of sweet oats and light chocolate aromas.

Tastes similar to how it smells. Lightly roasted malt flavors kick things off and are joined quickly by moderate amounts of light chocolate flavors. Midway through the sip the flavors sweeten a bit with slight amounts of oak and hints of toffee. The sweetness fades out near the end of the sip, carrying through to a moderately bitter ending.

Mouthfeel is very good. It’s got a smooth thickness with grainy carbonation.

Drinkability is also very good. I finished my glass quickly and could easily have a few more.

Overall there wasn’t anything that stood out about this beer besides the mouthfeel but everything worked well together and this is a smooth beer. This beer reminded me of their Reserve Porter but with a heavier mouthfeel and slightly sweeter. Well worth a shot.

Serving type: bottle

04-21-2011 01:37:01 | More by glid02
Photo of Brad007
Brad007

Vermont

3.78/5  rDev -6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Received in a trade from dimce.

Velvet Merlin pours a pitch black with a nice, thick head into my glass.

Aromas consist of roasted malt with a touch of coffee and a creamy, silky texture.

Mouthfeel is dominated by the lingering silky texture courtesy of the oatmeal.It cradles the tongue.

A decent oatmeal stout. It hasn't broken any new ground though for the style.

Serving type: bottle

10-19-2011 18:40:44 | More by Brad007
Photo of HopHead84
HopHead84

California

4.38/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

4/3/2011

Drinking this beer in honor of my mother's birthday. Happy Birthday, Mom! I hope you appreciate what I'm doing for you. Poured into a snifter.

A: Deep brown with a creamy light brown head. Good retention.

S: Aroma shows a little coffee with a moderate roasted malt character. Nice soft oatmeal profile blends with chocolate and a mellow and well integrated bourbon element. There's a light biscuit note and a dash of nut character.

F: Flavor is dry with a blend of chocolate and coffee. Low level of earthy bitterness and a lower moderate roasted malt profile with a dash of toasted character. Bourbon is tame and goes very well with the chocolate and oatmeal. The balance of flavors is superb.

M: Excellent mouthfeel. Creamy and silky. Medium in body with moderate carbonation.

Overall: A fantastic beer. Highly drinkable and enjoyable, and at a great price.

Serving type: bottle

05-05-2011 04:51:55 | More by HopHead84
Photo of mothman
mothman

United Kingdom (Wales)

3.58/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours 1 finger of light tan head. Leaves some rings. Color is a dark copper brown.

Aroma: Rich espresso, chocolate, caramel, and a lot of malts. Some vanilla. Big roast.

Taste: More espresso, roasted malts, chocolate, caramel, and vanilla. A lot like the nose.

Mouthfeel: Massive roast, medium bodied with a medium amount of carbonation. Ends pretty dry.

Overall, too roasted for me. Otherwise, it is pretty good. I got no bourbon or oak out of this beer.

Serving type: on-tap

01-16-2011 22:27:58 | More by mothman
Photo of superspak
superspak

Michigan

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

Got in a trade with swingracex. 12 ounce bottle into pint glass, bottled on 2/21/2013. Pours fairly crystal clear almost opaque dark brown color with a 1 finger fairly dense khaki head with good retention, that reduces to a thin cap that lingers. Spotty soapy lacing clings on the glass. Aromas of milk chocolate, cocoa, roasted malt, oats, toast, brown bread, light coffee, floral, and roasted earthiness. Very nice aromas with good balance and complexity of roasted malt notes with oats and light hops. Taste of milk chocolate, cocoa, oats, roasted malt, toast, brown bread, light coffee, floral, and roasted earthiness. Slight earthy roasted bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of milk chocolate, cocoa, oats, roasted malt, light coffee, toast, and light earthiness on the finish for a good bit. Very nice balance of roasted/bready malt flavors with oats and light hops; with nice robustness and zero cloying flavors after the finish; moderately dry on the finish as well. Medium carbonation and body; with a moderately creamy, smooth, and crisp mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is very well hidden with hardly any warming noticed after the finish. Overall this is a damn nice oatmeal stout. All around nice flavor balance and robustness; and extremely smooth and crisp to drink. A very enjoyable offering.

Serving type: bottle

05-24-2013 04:04:57 | More by superspak
Photo of ccrida
ccrida

Oregon

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 beertunes
beertunes

Washington

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

Served in Imperial pint. The beer poured black, with a thin tan head that had OK retention and lace.

The aroma was nicely roast malts and very well blended. The flavors were very similar, full, well-rounded malt and grain. The body was full, smooth and well-rounded. Drinkability was very good, I could easily have several of these.

Overall, a very good beer that borders on excellent. Worth seeking out.

Serving type: on-tap

10-20-2010 19:46:46 | More by beertunes
Photo of thagr81us
thagr81us

South Carolina

4.22/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks goes out to womencantsail for picking this one up and sending it to me with my Cali haul! Served from bottle into a Warsteiner mug. Poured a deep dark brown with a one finger off-white head that subsided to a half finger slowly. Maintained phenomenal lacing throughout the glass. The aroma was comprised of sweet malt, cream, dark chocoalte, and subtle coffee. The flavor was of sweet malt, coffee, cream, roasted malt, dark chocolate, and dark fruit. It had a medium feel on the palate with medium-high carbonation. Overall this was excellent. This one went down very smoothly (almost like velvet) on the palate. My only complaint would be that none of the flavors or aroma were very robust, but that is just me being picky. Definitely worth trying and if you're lucky you might get it as an extra in a trade.

Serving type: bottle

04-01-2011 13:28:20 | More by thagr81us
Photo of OWSLEY069
OWSLEY069

Pennsylvania

3.3/5  rDev -17.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours jet black with a light brown head. In the aroma, a light roast and a small sweetness. In the taste, sweet cocoa and a light roast. A smooth and medium to lighter bodied mouthfeel, with a small dry cocoa in the aftertaste. A bit thin across the board, nothing really exciting, nice but boring.

Serving type: bottle

12-29-2011 21:24:00 | More by OWSLEY069
Photo of Cyberkedi
Cyberkedi

Georgia

4.5/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Comes out of the tap a dark-chocolate brown just a few whiskers above black with a thick tan head. Strong, smoky aroma has rich notes of chocolate, quality coffee and licorice. Mouth-filling, smoky flavor delights the taste buds with molasses, coffee, chocolate and licorice - a liquid feast. Sweet and hop-bitter hints balance each other nicely. Texture has full body and plenty of fizz. Magically delicious. ;)

Serving type: on-tap

07-10-2012 03:44:26 | More by Cyberkedi
Photo of largadeer
largadeer

California

4.5/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Finally picked up a six pack of this. 12 oz into a tumbler.

Looks like a cup of straight coffee in the glass; the center is blackened, the edges slightly translucent. The head is dense and lasting, ultimately settling to a collar.

The nose is sublime, predominantly toasted malt and light roast coffee, with smatterings of chocolate and licorice.

Taste and mouthfeel are where this beer truly excels. A perfect balanced of toasted, lightly roasted malt, licorice and dark chocolate lead into a dry, coffee-like finish. It's mildly sweet up-front, and ends wonderfully smooth, just slightly bitter. Drinkability is through the roof; it's hard to not quaff the hell out of this beer and go back for another bottle.

So glad this was bottled, hands down the best beer Firestone has released in six packs.

Serving type: bottle

01-12-2011 06:08:35 | More by largadeer
Photo of GarthDanielson
GarthDanielson

North Carolina

3.88/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass, the beer is jet black with deep brown highlights under light. A thick, foamy, light tan colored 2 inch head. This looks tasty. Aromas of coffee and chocolate are released from this beer. Flavors are rich and creamy on a smooth and creamy body, and tastes are rich of mocha and milk chocolate. The finish is quick and a bit dry, and the aftertaste is chocolaty. Very smooth and easy to drink beer, but lighter than I am used to with Oatmeal Stouts. Tasty brew!

Serving type: bottle

03-30-2011 04:22:47 | More by GarthDanielson
Photo of DrDemento456
DrDemento456

Pennsylvania

4.24/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Paid the price for this single, $3.50 at the house of 1,000 beers. Bottled 1/8/13 so its 5 months old.

A - A very good amount of head just a 1/4 inch from a soft pour that pulls back to a mocha lined lace ring that sticks around. Color is almost pitch black with a tiny bit of ruby hue at the base.
S - Very good roasty mixed with some chocolate malts and some oats. Smells a bit of smoke but not overwhelming
T - A very pronounced dark chocolate malt, borderline sweet but not overly so. Then a nice kiss of smokey ash and a finish of some mild coffee grounds. Damn tasty.
M - Medium bodied, very creamy and silky.

Overall I am impressed it drinks better than my all time favorite "Anderson Valley oatmeal stout" yet its around the same ABV. If I ever get the chance at a case I will be sure to pick it up.

Serving type: bottle

06-15-2013 04:52:30 | More by DrDemento456
Photo of DefenCorps
DefenCorps

Oregon

4.45/5  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.

Serving type: bottle

02-04-2011 04:02:47 | More by DefenCorps
Photo of gford217
gford217

Georgia

3.83/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle from rhertan poured into a tulip.

Pours deep, deep brown out of the bottle, sitting almost black in the glass. The head is small and tan, leaving streaks of lacing.

Aroma is mainly toasted chocolate malt and oatmeal. There are hints of coffee and cocoa powder as well.

Taste is more of the same and predominantly chocolate with bitter espresso and lactose with a healthy dose of oatmeal in finish.

The mouthfeel is light to medium bodied and feels a tad thin, though it is a low ABV stout.

This is a very drinkable if not very complex stout.

Serving type: bottle

11-22-2010 02:29:17 | More by gford217
Photo of flagmantho
flagmantho

Washington

3.83/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from 12oz bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance: deep brown color, nearly black, with a ruby tinge when held up to the light. Head cascaded into a three-finger monstrosity of tan froth. Great.

Smell: rich, creamy, roasty aroma of chocolate and coffee. That's what I come to an oatmeal stout to get.

Taste: roasty chocolate flavor with a fair amount of astringent acidity; more than I like in an oatmeal stout. Finish is OK but, overall, the flavor is a bit milder than I'd have hoped.

Mouthfeel: bodaciously creamy, silky texture. Body is huge and, although the carbonation doesn't seem like a whole lot, it is more than enough to make this thing feel like a champion.

Overall: I like this beer. It has some flavor flaws which are rather minor, and its mouthfeel is awesome, even for a stout like this. Good stuff.

Serving type: bottle

11-25-2011 22:00:05 | More by flagmantho
Photo of LiquidAmber
LiquidAmber

Washington

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

Review from 10/2010 notes. Poured into a Nostradamus flute glass. Pours a dark, dark red amber with a rim of foam and no lacing. Dark and roasted malt aroma. Starts rather thin, with dark, sweet and roasted malts. Finish is quite robust with malts and a nice coffee flavor. Way above average for a low ABV stout. Worth trying again.

Serving type: bottle

07-15-2012 03:05:00 | More by LiquidAmber
Photo of jrallen34
jrallen34

Illinois

4.08/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz extra given to my Craytonic, served in a Bruery tulip...A dark brown pour with a brilliant light tan head. At least six fingers of head rises and stays forever, tightly compact bubbles on this are great. Unbelievably thick lacing. This is a looker...A fairly muted aroma, lots of oatmeal, a little roast and bitter, pretty sweet. A little alcohol and the sweetness bring my score down a touch, not balanced enough...The taste is pretty muted as well, disappointed. Light roast, oatmeal, a little sweet chocolate cake. Better balanced, just not strong enough. The more I drink it the more I like it as its so easy to drink, yet flavorful. A nice full feel.

Above average oatmeal, worth a shot.

Serving type: bottle

12-10-2010 23:30:45 | More by jrallen34
Velvet Merlin from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
90 out of 100 based on 1,723 ratings.