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Velvet Merlin - Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Velvet MerlinVelvet Merlin

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

2,322 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 2,322
Reviews: 556
rAvg: 4.01
pDev: 10.22%
Wants: 203
Gots: 308 | 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:
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 

(Beer added by: largadeer on 11-13-2008)
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Ratings: 2,322 | Reviews: 556 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of StonedTrippin
3.83/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

true to its name, this one if velvet and smooth, pours dark, smells boozy and roasty. mellow looking, with a one inch white head which only resides a little as it warms. taste is bold but mellow at the same time, burnt and bittersweet in the finish, october-like in the body, just right. like this one a lot better than their double jack, curious to try more beers from this crew...

Photo of zeff80
4/5  rDev -0.2%

Photo of NeroFiddled
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!

Photo of WVbeergeek
4/5  rDev -0.2%

Photo of nickfl
4/5  rDev -0.2%

Photo of Kegatron
4.08/5  rDev +1.7%
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.

Photo of RblWthACoz
4.1/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is a pretty good oatmeal stout. There don't seem to be a lot of them out there to try really. Nice toasted and malty smoked tones that stay consistent. Been a while since I've gotten a nose like this that I can remember. Smooth, well constructed, even. I like it.

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 XmnwildX12
4/5  rDev -0.2%

Photo of oline73
4/5  rDev -0.2%

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

Another California oddity I drank on my trip. Beer was black with a tan head that leaves some lacing on the glass. Bubbles are small and carbonation is moderate to low.

Aroma is roasty and has some oatmeal notes to it. It smells really nice.

Beer tastes like coffee and oatmeal. It has a medium to full body and the sweetness of the stout coats my mouth. Drinkability suffers slightly for me due to the overall weight of the beer but its really good. I would definitely have this again.

Photo of beernads
3.5/5  rDev -12.7%

Photo of Rifugium
3.85/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

First had: bottle from Capone's, Norristown, PA

Poured a dark brown-black, nearly opaque, with a small cap of off-white head that receded to a patchy layer and left a bit of lacing on the glass. Aroma was heavy with roast: coffee, dark malts, underlying cocoa. More roast on the taste, oatmeal and toasted grains, coffee, cocoa, roasty bitterness, with a definite sugary sweetness in the background. Medium-bodied, creamy, but still a bit on the light/watery side for the style, and not as completely balanced as it should be. Still very good though, and quite drinkable overall.

Photo of mactrail
3.43/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pronounced cereal, grainy flavor. Big dose of charred malt with that touch of sourness. Hops are pretty much in the background. Decent head on the black-brown pour. Very light body with appropriate carbonation for a refreshing mouthfeel. Fairly dry but there is a touch of caramel. Spicy in the back of the throat. Just a slight nose of roast grain.

Pleasant drinkable average stout. Not quite the "velvet" one might hope for.

Photo of MarkyMOD
4.5/5  rDev +12.2%

Photo of DrunkinYogi
4/5  rDev -0.2%

Photo of mdfb79
3.9/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a pint glass. Received as an extra from barleywinefiend, thanks Josh!

a - Pours a very dark brown, almost black, color with one finger of off white head and light carbonation evident.

s - Smells of oatmeal, roasted malts, bitter chocolate, light coffee, and light bready malts.

t - Tastes of roasted malts, bitter chocolate, light oat, light coffee, toffee, and bready malts. A step up from the nose.

m - Medium body and moderate carbonation, pretty smooth and creamy. Pretty good mouthfeel.

d - A good oatmeal stout full of chocolate and roasted malts mostly. A little bit bitter but I liked it a lot. Would certainly have again.

Photo of Rochefort10nh
4.25/5  rDev +6%

Photo of kojevergas
3.7/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 fl oz brown glass bottle served into a N'ice Chouffe stem-goblet in low altitude Los Angeles, California. Reviewed live. Expectations are pretty high; I love stouts.

A: Pours a one finger head of good cream, good thickness, and pretty good retention - though the ABV is merely average. Colour is a nontransparent dark brown-black.

Sm: Chocolate, heavy oats, caramel, and light nuts. Very appealing. A moderate strength aroma.

T: Oats are dominant, with notes of chocolate, caramel, and light nuts atop. Complex and balanced. Quite nicely built. It's not layered, but it has a depth of flavour I don't usually experience in oatmeal stouts. Often, oats are there just to smooth things out, but here, they're a dominant flavour and it suits the profile quite nicely. Bravo.

Mf: Smooth and wet, but not too thick or thin. Suits the flavour quite well.

Dr: Very drinkable. I quite fancy it. I'd love to try this on draught. Quite a nice flavorful brew. Give her a spin, lads.

Photo of Gueuzedude
3.88/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A vigorous pour into my New Belgium globe glass produces a fat-two-finger thick, brown stained, dark tan colored head. The beer is a rich black color that shows some clear, brown hues around the edges if it is held up directly to the light. The nose smells of roasted grain, well browned, quite toasted whole grain bread, touches of roasted coffee and just a generally, ample dark / roasted malt character. I like that the nose escapes being sharp or acrid from the roast malt focus. There is a touch of roundness and perhaps subtle sweetness towards the finish of the aroma; this accentuates touches of chocolate and perhaps some sweet coffee ice-cream like aromatics. As the beer warms up it picks up more of a roasted nutty like character.

Light bodied and dry up front, as the beer moves across the palate it picks up a touch of perceived, and perhaps even actual sweetness. The sweetness is brought out by a very soft, subtle Bourbon barrel influence that leans towards toasted coconut and vanillin and perhaps a hint of Bourbon / oak spiciness. The barrel influence is really quite subtle, and if I didn’t know it was here, I might not have really picked it up. Ample cold coffee roast flavors are here, there is a full, whole grain toasted character here, as well as a touch of complexly browned, barley husk like notes; this last is quite smooth and integrated and adds a sort of whole grain spiciness to this brew. The body has a certain creaminess to it, my vigorous pour knocked out much of the carbonation; this is definitely light and quaffable, but I like that it has a touch of fullness to it. The finish has a lingering, slightly bitter, burnt roast character to it; this is accentuated by a light, prickly effervescence from the carbonation.

The Bourbon barrel influence is quite subtle in the aroma, I wasn’t expecting a whole lot of Bourbon character here, but it is definitely quite reduced from Velvet Merkin. In the flavor it is soft, but it is also noticeable; I do like that it was kept at a very low level here, but I almost feel like it could use a touch more as I almost feel like it is too subtle. That can be a dangerous thing though, as I definitely prefer that the barrel character be kept fairly low. Still, this is a fantastic beer and is something I am quite happy to have a 6-pack of (the $6.99 price doesn’t hurt either); the extra boost of smooth complexity from the Bourbon barrel really adds something to this beer.

Photo of wrightst
4.5/5  rDev +12.2%

Photo of GClarkage
4.3/5  rDev +7.2%

Photo of Halcyondays
3.93/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On-tap at Beachwood BBQ,

A: Pours black, basically, with a smattering of white bubbles.

S: Strong roasted malt smell, with caramelized sugar and coffee. Nice mix of sweet with bitter roast.

T: Strong sweet creamed coffee at first, almost like a Parabola-lite. Bitterness of the roast comes in giving a bit of charcoal acridity to balance the sweetness. Good flavour, with light wood notes that always stay in the background.

M: Perhaps since I expected a bigger beer, the body seemed thin to me, though for the regular style it is solid across the board. Smooth and creamy.

D: Nice oatmeal stout from Firestone, it shows that they don't have to create a big beer when they barrel age stuff. Nice brew all around.

Photo of orangesol
4.25/5  rDev +6%

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.

Velvet Merlin from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
90 out of 100 based on 2,322 ratings.