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Velvet Merlin - Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Velvet MerlinVelvet Merlin

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

2,096 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 2,096
Reviews: 535
rAvg: 4.01
pDev: 10.22%
Wants: 185
Gots: 238 | FT: 7
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)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,096 | Reviews: 535 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of ralphw56
3.75/5  rDev -6.5%

ralphw56, Jan 19, 2012
Photo of brother_kenneth
3.75/5  rDev -6.5%

brother_kenneth, May 20, 2014
Photo of beagle75
3.85/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a shaker pint glass.

A: Opaque black color with one finger of beige foam head. Light lacing remains on the glass.

S: Dark roasted malt displays a dominating coffee smell initially, but does not change or develop into anything more interesting as the beer warms.

T: Begins off-dry, with milk chocolate, roasted grain, and slight dark fruit (plums and dates). Graininess persists in the middle as other flavors fade and generally dry out. The finish features strong coffee grounds, mild bitterness, and a mineral snap.

M: Thin to medium viscosity, slick on the palate, with low carbonation.

D: A fine oatmeal stout, neither challenging nor boring. Despite the one-note smell of coffee, the flavor manages to surprise and impress by being more multi-layered. A nod to Firestone-Walker for packaging this beer in 6-packs; there are few California stouts from anywhere south of the Bay Area being marketed in that format.

beagle75, Dec 29, 2010
Photo of BucannonXC5
4.2/5  rDev +4.7%
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.

BucannonXC5, Aug 13, 2011
Photo of mctizzz
4.25/5  rDev +6%

mctizzz, Feb 24, 2013
Photo of Bouleboubier
4.03/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A: coal black with a mellow glow up to the light... head dies shortly after the pour, lace blobs stick here and there... pretty much what one would expect

S: dominant, yet hardly overbearing roasted barley with a decent showing of mild-moderate dark crystal malt...coffee and perhaps chocolate syrup later... nice balance, supple yet subtle

T: noticeably roastier than most Oatmeal Stouts I've had and sports a decidedly ash-tray like aftertaste - but not in a bad way necessarily.... I'd be surprised if they didn't use an English yeast in this - maybe it's the hops they used.... bit of a tinge of cardboard in the finish... clean malt flavors overall

M: nice, smooth, faintly-silky, fullish body - but not slick

O: I believe the label had a "best by" or "bottled on" date of Dec 2012 - might explain some of the oxidized flavors, if the former.... either way, one of the more solid, somewhat more authentic takes on this style I've come across... I could drink it again

Bouleboubier, May 09, 2013
Photo of ryan1788a5
3.9/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

12oz bottle poured into a pint glass.

A: Black on the pour with what appears to be good clarity. Sandy colored head sputters out shortly with some lively snap, crackle, and pop. Spotty lacing. I would have expected better head formation and retention from an oatmeal stout.

S: Starchy, bittersweet chocolate, hints of cola and black molasses, woody roast. Brownies, vague whiff of fruit.

T: Blackstrap molasses, cola, brownie batter, woody roast, espresso, bittersweet dark chocolate, flash of blackberry, starchy. Hops kick in with a bitter bite and some citrusy orange peel flavors toward the back. The finish is all bakers chocolate and smokey roast.

M: On the lighter side of medium bodied. Silky. Low, gentle carbonation. Great texture, but I find a part of myself wishing it had a bit more weight behind it.

O: Lighter in body than I was expecting. It seems better suited to its warmer home climate than the dead of winter here in the northeast, where a more robust beer is often preferred. Still a good beer, and it offers enough complexity and nuance to keep it from feeling boring.

ryan1788a5, Mar 03, 2014
Photo of MattXT
3.25/5  rDev -19%

MattXT, Mar 18, 2014
Photo of DovaliHops
4.47/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a VERY dark brown with a thick creamy off-white/tan head. Scent is very roasty with hints of coffee and oats. Very pleasant scent. Taste is just as it smells. This beer has so much flavor for a regular oatmeal stout. I've had imperial oatmeal stouts that didn't taste this good. The coffee, roasted oats, and light hoppiness blend together so well. Very balanced. Mouthfeel is creamy and "velvety." Again, was expecting this to be a bit on the watery side due to not being imperial and having this somewhat low ABV, but I was wrong. Even some reviewers before me said this was a bit on the watery side, but I beg to differ. Drinkability is HIGH! I'm very glad they bottled this delicious oatmeal stout!

DovaliHops, Oct 15, 2010
Photo of dunix
4/5  rDev -0.2%

dunix, Aug 05, 2014
Photo of pisano
3.25/5  rDev -19%

pisano, Apr 07, 2014
Photo of vkv822
4.05/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle into tulip.

The beer pours black with deep brown highlights and a light toffee colored head that dissipates fairly quickly. There is some rising carbonation visible.

The aroma is of wonderful roasty coffee notes with very pleasant hints of sweet malts and cocoa.

The flavor is an incredibly smooth blend of roasted coffee malts upfront. There are very faint notes of vanilla and cocoa, with just a hint of bitterness to the finish.

The mouthfeel is quite smooth and creamy, with a medium body, though I would have liked a bit less carbonation.

This is a very drinkable beer, and I definitely plan on picking up some more of this while I can.

vkv822, Oct 08, 2010
Photo of Hugonaut13
4/5  rDev -0.2%

Hugonaut13, Dec 02, 2012
Photo of Omnium
3.91/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Bottle > Pint Glass

A - Pours pitch black, one finger tan head, no lacing.
S - Roasted oats and some coffee, a little smokiness, some toasted grains.
T - Creamy roasted flavor, nice bitterness, some nutty quality on the end as well, some burnt qualities in the aftertaste.
M - A little bitter and thin for a stout, but not bad.
O - Taste doesnt follow aroma enough, but its an average oatmeal stout, I'd look elsewhere for cheaper and better oat stouts.

Omnium, Aug 12, 2013
Photo of MNBeerGeek
4/5  rDev -0.2%

MNBeerGeek, Jun 14, 2014
Photo of pin
3/5  rDev -25.2%

pin, Jun 01, 2013
Photo of claytong
4/5  rDev -0.2%

claytong, Dec 15, 2011
Photo of shehateme
4/5  rDev -0.2%

shehateme, Feb 22, 2014
Photo of AdamBear
4.23/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

A-dark black with a lack of head

S-dark chocolate, very sweet. Sugary caramels. Medium strength

T-great flavor of roasted grains and very sweet chocolate. The ingredients are all of high quality and very raw tasting. Tastes like a real beer. Matching after-taste

M-medium carbonation with a semi dry finish.

O-it's a great flavor. I wish it was a bit creamier though and less dry. I think it'd be perfect via nitro. Definitely something I'd recommend anyone to try

AdamBear, Feb 24, 2013
Photo of JKV96
3.75/5  rDev -6.5%

JKV96, Apr 13, 2014
Photo of thereal_adam
4.5/5  rDev +12.2%

thereal_adam, Jan 13, 2014
Photo of sharpski
3.5/5  rDev -12.7%

sharpski, Feb 15, 2012
Photo of mc4z
4/5  rDev -0.2%

mc4z, Jun 29, 2014
Photo of Eriktheipaman
4.22/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured a solid black with great tan head.

The smell was slightly on the hoppy side with just a touch of roast.

Taste was good with a fairy sweet coffee like character to it. But where this beer comes through is the mouthfeel. Very light and the oatmeal give it a thicker creaminess to it.

With 5.5% ABV you could drink a few and enjoy every bit!

Eriktheipaman, Feb 28, 2011
Photo of PicoPapa
3.83/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

64oz growler from Top Hops. Pours a dark blackish brown with a small amount of head. Minimal lacing. The aroma is vanilla, caramel, chocolate chip cookies, and hints of light and sweet coffee. The taste is roasted malts and vanilla upfront. Caramel, chocolate, and sweet coffee. Vanilla and caramel finish. A bit light. Moderate amount of carbonation. Overall, decent Oatmeal Stout I'd buy every once in awhile.

PicoPapa, Jan 21, 2014
Velvet Merlin from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
90 out of 100 based on 2,096 ratings.