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Velvet Merlin - Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Velvet MerlinVelvet Merlin

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

621 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 621
Hads: 2,761
Avg: 3.98
pDev: 21.11%
Wants: 221
Gots: 499 | 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.

 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ufa ... tube_gdata 
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Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 621 | Hads: 2,761
Photo of Mississipping
4.2/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a dark brown that settles to an almost complete black with just a hint of ruby highlights when held to light.  A one-finger caramel-color head rises and falls quickly leaving a patchy film and thin ring behind.  Very modest legs and lacing on the edges of the glass. 

S: Chocolatey, slightly smokey, and oats with a touch of maple and raisin.  Nicely balanced and a pretty nice complexity that is really refreshing.

T: Starts out with some slightly bitter chocolate, hops, and a touch of coffee.  The bitterness is not very strong and is quite pleasant on the palate.  It transitions to a sweeter chocolatey flavor with some sweet dark fruit.  Finishes between the two with a great balance on the finish. 

M: Medium-bodied with a pretty good level of carbonation.  Starts out slightly bitter and ends a little on the sweeter side.  Nice transition from start to finish, with a touch of drying at the end. No hint of the modest amount of booze.  A nice little oatmeal stout. 

D: I really enjoyed this for a year-round stout that isn't barrel-aged.  Tasty and complex enough with a good balance and nice finish.  I wish I could get this on a regular basis. 

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Photo of dcook11
4.13/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pencil thin head with minimal lacing . Coca-cola like look with medium carbonation. The beer itself is stout dark with a tinge of red around the edges. The smell is of chocolate, roasted malt, sweet malt, and vanilla. The taste is heavy on the coffee and chocolate excluding the vanilla almost completly. Mouthfeel is light bodied and drinkability is high.

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Photo of i4ourgot
4.25/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Great beer super creamy makes its almost feel like a nitro beer. Lots of great rich dark flavors nice coffee/ chocolate with some sweetness that is well balanced with a subtle bitterness. No over powering flavors just a really enjoyable beer where everything comes together nicely. The aroma while not strong is very pleasant.

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Photo of matttttYCE
4.09/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Tan creamy head, a little less than a finger high. Pitch black color. Smell is really nice. Milk chocolates, roasty and burnt malts, oats, coffee, molasses, hazelnut. Taste is along the same lines. Milk chocolate, roasted malts, oats, some lactose notes almost, light coffee, molasses, nut/hazelnut. Very drinkable, light but flavorful. Smooth and creamy consistency, light carbonation, medium body, and a nice light finish.

Overall great beer. Pleasantly flavorful and drinkable for being a lighter brew, especially at 5.5% Definitely one of the better oatmeal stouts. Must try, in my opinion.

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Photo of trevorjn06
4.12/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark brown and is almost black when held up to the light. No head really, just a thin layer of tan foam.

Aroma is roasty and toasty with chocolate, espresso, some fruits (plums and cherries) and light caramel.

Taste fairly smooth with caramels, rich chocolate and some coffee. There is a smooth, nutty oat flavor through the middle of this stout, it makes it very drinkable an delicious. The finish is sweet caramels, chocolate and roasted flavors.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied with a smooth feel to it and medium/low carbonation.

Overall a very smooth and drinkable stout with nice chocolate and malt flavors, I would drink this again.

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Photo of Marty30
4.2/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Azurescens for this extra.12 oz bottle dated 2-24-11.Poured into a Founders snifter and fridge temp allowed to warm up for about 15 minutes.

A. Black body when held up to the light appears to be dark brown. Leaves about a 1 finger offwhite creamy head.leaves behind good lacing.

S. Big milk chocolate notes followed up with coffee,dried oats and granola.

T. Dark chocolate and coffee and a little bit of roasted flavor.Very nice flavor of oats.Good hop bitterness.

M. Good medium feel for this,nice carbonation.Smooth very drinkable.

Overall I thought this beer was excellent,maybe my favorite oatmeal stout to date.Firestone Walker just keeps moving up my list.

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Photo of MacMalt
3.92/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured into snifter glass. The color is a deep, deep brown, almost opaque, with a fairly thin, cafe au lait colored head and lacing. While the smell is not strong, it is aromatic: oatmeal, chocolate, burnt coffee, and malt. The taste features the oats and coffee, along with some dark chocolate. It is quite dry with a touch of hops at the finish. For a stout, it's rather thin. It lacks the thick creaminess I really enjoy. It is only mildly carbonated. On the plus side, at only 5.5% ABV, it is extremely easy drinking for a stout. "Session stout" is somewhat of an oxymoron but this comes close. I'd like to try it on draught. Overall, it is a good example of an oatmeal stout. I'm looking forward to trying the velvet merkin.

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Photo of weizenbob
4.03/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle received in a trade with RichBeer. Thanks Rich! Poured into a pint glass, two fingers of frothy tan head mounts a brew that's just a couple of shades from black. Head retention is good and heavy lacing lines the glass.

Pleasant aromas of chocolate and roasted malt waft off the brew, as well as the faint scent of coffee. There's also the distant notion of floral hops on the nose.

Sweet roasted malt leads the flavor profile. There is a strange but pleasant snap pea flavor that sounds strange but actually works. A little caramelized sugar lines the palate. The finish is dark chocolate with a lingering earthy aftertaste. Chocolate becomes more apparent as the brew warms. Alcohol is not perceived. It's a pretty straightforward brew, but well done none the less.

The mouthfeel is well-balanced. It's substantial but not too thick. The carbonation level is on the high end of medium and helps this stout seem lighter than it is.

All of this adds up to an oatmeal stout that is pretty drinkable. It has enough flavor and body to satisfy the stout lover in me without overwhelming me in any category. The 5.5% ABV is well hidden but it's a bitter enough brew that you're probably not going to drink them too fast. I could drink a couple of them back to back with relative ease. In a scene where it seems like brewers are trying to out-stout each other, Velvet Merlin is a pleasantly sturdy brew and a nice change of pace.

The Two Schlitz Scale: (see my profile for an explanation)
I give a solid Schlitz for this stout. I'd revisit Velvet Merlin.

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Photo of Gfunk720
3.55/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle, out of my Maudite Tulip. Thanks to David for this one.

A- The blackest of black, but a little thin on the edges. A healthy tannish head forms, and retains for a bit. The beer laces quite nicely.

S- Rich and creamy, dark roasted malt and oatmeal. Chocolate, coffee, and vanilla notes as well.

T- It's a decent oatmeal stout, nothing too crazy. Primarily roasted malts. Subtle notes of coffee and chocolate.

M- A little lighter than I like from a beer of this style.

D- It's drinkable, but not terribly memorable.


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Photo of JamisonM
4.47/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: black body, Tan head

S: creamy oatmeal and coffee a very nice roasted note as well

T: Roasted malt and coffee very smooth finish super full beer for only 5.5 % ABV and a very nice sweetness in this beer

M: med mouth med carbonation

D: very drinkable!

Overall: one of the best stouts I have ever had a great beer man!

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Photo of Chiefy770
4.5/5  rDev +13.1%

12 Fluid Ounce Bottle
Bottled on October 3rd, 2014
Reviewed on December 7th, 2014
Served in a Nonic Pint Glass

Rich dark brown body with a slight amber hue. A sizeable tan head, roughy 2 inches deep, collapsed and left a modest amount of lacing.

Sweet cream, coffee, and chocolate. Toasted malts made a much anticipated appearance as well.

Creamy notes of toasted malts and chocolate. Great bitterness, similar to the kind found in a good cup of coffee. Not as sweet as the nose suggested, which I found to be a good thing. Light carbonation. Full body. Overall a very smooth brew.

Very nice Oatmeal Stout. Not as heavy as others of this variety but packs a ton of great flavours.

90 (A-)

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Photo of jibbyvonjibb
3.92/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Color pitch black.
S: Roasted coffee. Cocoa.
T: Strong chocolate malt toastiness. Like drinking dark-roast coffee with cream or maybe 80% chocolate. Finishes a bit acrid (maybe the American hops coming through?). I would prefer the earthiness of British hops here, like Kent Goldings.
M: Medium. Somewhat thin for the style. Some creaminess, but would have preferred a bit more to balance the bitterness of the roast.
O: I enjoyed it overall. However, it doesn't quite reach the level of sweetness and creaminess that I would expect from an oatmeal stout (my benchmark is Samuel Smith). That being said, disregarding style, it's a very pleasant session beer more focused on toasted bitterness than malty sweetness.

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Photo of arfenhouse
3.55/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.5

A: Almost fully black and pours a decent tan head. Retention is a bit poor.

S: Aroma is a bit fleeting. A bit of coffee and chocolate mainly. A small amount of prune and grape.

T: Starts off with a bit of mocha sweetness. A bit of bittering roasted grains Aftertaste is of dark fruit and some bitter black coffee.

M: Light on the carbonation and feels medium-full. Has a pretty good creaminess to it. Definitely wet.

O: Decent oatmeal stout. Inexpensive and overall tasty.

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Photo of TheFlern
3.5/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Very dark brown, not black. Off white head. Dissipates to a thing head covering the surface. Minimal lacing.

Smell: Light burnt notes. Small amounts of roastiness. Light oat aroma. hearty

Taste: follows the nose, not as thick tasting as it smelling.

Mouthfeel: pretty average. good carbonation. slightly bitter from the malt.

Overall: this isn't bad but it isn't anything worth seeking out. If you haven't tried it and you want to give it a shot I wouldn't dissuade you but I wouldn't persuade you to try this beer over another oatmeal stout of the same quality and price. Meh.

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

12 oz. bottle. Received as an extra from mrbubbler. Thanks!

Pours a char brown with some mahogany hues about the edges. Not much in the way of head on the first pour; a tan ring sits about the edges of the glass. The second pour is better, yielding a half-finger head, but it recedes fairly quickly.

Milk chocolate, some milky, lactic tones, toasty malts, and a caramel nuttiness. Nice depth to it, though there's a bit much in the way of lactic milk creaminess.

Great balance here. Toasty, biscuit maltiness, a light, sweet coffee note (like coffee with cream), some milk chocolate. A nice oat graininess helps round this out.

Medium-bodied, with just-under medium carbonation. As with most oatmeal stouts, it's fairly creamy and full in the mouth.

A pretty nice example of the style, what I find distracting in the nose actually works on the palate - the lactic finish blends nicely with the light roasted malt notes. It goes down easily.

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Photo of Kshock
4.35/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Dark deep brown color. Looks like black coffee. some lacing, but not much retention.

S- Roasted malts(toffee, coffee, bitter chocolate)

T- Dark roasted sweetness. Dries out very quickly; very nice finish.

M- light to med body. Feels very pleasant on the palate. light carbonation.

O- Very good example of the style, very pleasant to drink.

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Photo of DM1293
4.2/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Seasonal Sample from the Lazy Dog Cafe.

Its pretty good. Appears a reddish brown to the light, but then again the light was kinda dim.

A bit less smooth than other oatmeal stouts, being up-front with the bitter smokiness and coffee notes, but it falls into a semi-rich chocolate finish, which I find strangely decedent of a beer. So the finish does balance out the beer quite well.

A very unimposing, tasty stout.

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Photo of 100floods
4.31/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours dark, black you could say. No head. Amazing crushed coffee bean/toffee aroma. It reminds of almost of a chocolate covered coffee bean, which is probably one of my favorite aromas. Extremely smooth texture. There's a touch of carbonation and a very smooth finish. The sweetness from the sugars seems to result in a smooth texture, one of the reasons I love this beer. Very nice caramel malt notes. There are notes of roasted malts, but they are very subtle. The roasted malts kind seem to be in a battle with the carbonation. Every sip I take I can taste it, but the bubbles cut through at times, you get just enough to know it's there. The carbonation makes this beer feel thinner than it really is. The funny thing is, there's not that much. This is a very gentle beer; however, I would have liked some more of the aromatics to come through in the taste, it's too much of a tease. This schools Anderson Valley's Oatmeal Stout anyway.

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Photo of quirkzoo
3.92/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a nice dark brown with minimal khaki head. Classic stout aroma with lots of roasted malt, chocolate and some coffee aromas. Taste is very nicely balanced a touch of sweetness from the malt and just enough bitterness. The mouthfeel is a touch thin. There is a little bit of the oatmeal body but I wanted to be just a bit heavier. Overall it is a very easy drinking well balanced stout.

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Photo of blackc5
3.62/5  rDev -9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Somewhat surprised by the high reviews on this - I guess Firestone Walker's reputation supercedes sometimes, or perhaps I had a bottle from an off batch. Found this to be a pretty straightforward, adequate outmeal stout, but fairly disappointing as I generally enjoy FW's offerings. Both in taste and mouthfeel this came out watery for my taste, with little complexity or creaminess. A miss for FW.

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Photo of jcartamdg
3.5/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Dark black with very little head in my ccb snifter. Very little head but lacing clings to the glass. Ara of coffee and sweet malts. Taste is smooth light with a coffee aftertaste. Mouth feel is surprisingly light and smooth, easy to drink and delicious

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Photo of Star80
4.06/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dated 1/22/13

A - Pours out a pitch black color with a tan head, quickly dissipated.

S - Smells like lots of chocolate, some sourdough bread, malted milk, and smoke.

T - Tastes like a burst of chocolate, dark roasted coffee and malts, some sourdough, and some leafy smoke.

M - Mouthfeel is good.

O - Overall a beautiful, sessionable oatmeal stout that is definitely on the chocolatey side of things. Another great beer from Firestone and a fills a needed gap in the sessionable American Stout arena.

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Photo of Schmittymack
3.83/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks Dan for this one. Poured a near black with minimal head. No lacing whatsoever. Picked up some coffee and chocolate on the nose. Taste was coffee, bittersweet chocolate, and a nice hop finish that wasn't too harsh. Quite quaffable; I'd do this one again.

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Photo of ChanChan
3.84/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance quite dark but not as thick as imperial stout; then again its an oatmeal stout. This beer gives off a two finger head that is short lived with big bubbles. The lacing is decent.

Aroma: Nothing special here. Its gives off a roasty and malty aroma with the faintest coffee and chocolate.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied coats the palate well.

Taste: This beer tastes very smooth, not complex but satisfying nonetheless.

Drinkability: This beer is very drinkable. The low ABV makes this beer enjoyable. Drinking a six pack of this will relax your body and mind!!!

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Photo of mfavoino
4.02/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into a pint glass on 5/24/12.

Appearance: Very dark brown with only a small rim of tan head. A couple of spots of lacing.

Smell: Bold roasted malts with some coffee notes. Smells sweet.

Taste: Sweet coffee flavor, dark roasted malts, with just a bit of hop bitterness as it finishes. Smooth and balanced.

Mouthfeel: Medium body that is smooth and drinkable.

Overall: Nothing out of the ordinary, just another good offering from FW. Flavorful, low abv, and drinkable.

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Velvet Merlin from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
89 out of 100 based on 621 ratings.