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Velvet Merlin - Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Velvet MerlinVelvet Merlin

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
89
very good

641 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 641
Hads: 2,877
Avg: 3.98
pDev: 10.05%
Wants: 226
Gots: 557 | FT: 5
Brewed by:
Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
California, United States | website

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.

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Reviews: 641 | Hads: 2,877
Photo of tvv375ia
4.03/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

poured from 12oz bottle into pint glass

A-dark brown with some ruby around the edges with about a finger of head that faded to a nice cap

S-some roasted coffee with a little chocolate

T-much like the smell starts with some dark roast coffee and a little bit of chocolate

M- good carbonation with a nice medium body

O-really good glad I got the chance to try this one if I am ever somewhere they have this I will pick some up

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Photo of tony223366
4.15/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Fantastic head! Filled up my entire tulip. 3 fingers of tan, rocky head. Bubbles of all sizes and lacing is already apparent. Color is a deep, deep brown with the faintest hint of red. Clarity is good but no light can get through.

S: I'm getting tons of rich coffee aromas, some chocolate too. A little tobacco. Nice smokiness from the roasted malts.

T: Flavor mirrors the nose. Lots of rich roasted malts. That Earthy, almost tobacco flavor is here. Hops are much more present in a very lightly clean and citrusy way. I love that there's a nice bitter finish. Dark chocolate is always there. A really clean finish as well.

M: Can tell oatmeal is present, nice creaminess. Good carbonation. Maybe a smidge thin.

O: I love how drinkable this is. The aroma and body didn't knock me out but the clean, crisp flavors are incredibly attractive. Nice work from one of my favorite breweries.

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Photo of brurevu
4.1/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The Velvet Merlin poured a deep brown with ruby highlights with a slight tan but effervescent head. The aroma held chocolate and sweet malt roastiness. The flavor followed suit with chocolate, toasted malt and added hints of coffee. It left a slight bitterness on my palate between sips but the roasted chocolate quickly took center stage. The bubbly body was much lighter than the brews appearance and was light and lively. The Velvet Merlin was a top tier Oatmeal Stout.

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Photo of rjd722
4.18/5  rDev +5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Look: Basically black with a thin one-finger tan foam head that dissipates quickly and leaves little lacing.

Aroma: Full of dark chocolate and light espresso. Also picking up some bread crust (the oats I'm sure) and raisins, pretty nice.

Taste: The bitter coffee hops and roasted malts hit at the end while the dark chocolate and oats lead up front. The oats also linger and compliment everything else.

Feel: Smooth and easy drinking, low carbonation and a mild roasted finish. Creamy up front and more dry towards the back.

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Photo of juhl31
3.65/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

-black. cant get any light through that malt infused water. very light brown head in which the ring sticks around a bit

-real roasty to begin with. after a bit some of that oat comes though. small hints of mocha

-a bit off for the style for me. pretty sugary sweet and the oat is way in the background. the roast doesnt show up near as much as the aroma would lead you to believe. some aspects of the taste remind me of the international cafe mocha flavoring

-would like it to be a bit dryer.

-i was surprised when i first saw that this beer was a B+, but after trying it i can understand. a bit off on style, and i have definitely had better O-stouts. but nonetheless, i can drink it for sure without being mad

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Photo of Heavenisbeer
3.82/5  rDev -4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Dark brown with a little opaqueness on the edges, with a 2 cm head off an aggressive pour that is quickly gone, leaving murky puddles on the surface of the beer. Mid-level cascading lacing. Some visibly light carbonation.

S: Rich dark dark chocolate, with an relatively upfront touch of espresso. Some sweet tobacco and biscuity, bready notes, possibly from the oatmeal.

T: Not as complex as the nose. Tons of roasted malts, a sprinkling of hops, a coffee tease, and some unsweetened chocolate notes. Ends with a dry, malty finish.

M: The highlight for me. Coating and syrupy, with some mild carbonation to cut any cloying potential. No hint of alcohol.

Nothing spectacular here, but not a bad easy drinking oatmeal stout.

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Photo of weatherdog
4.67/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle poured into a tulip glass

Pours a deep black, mocha dense head dies down to a thin layer of bubbles. Minimal lacing.

The aroma is of grains. Like freshly mashed dark grains it's inviting and roasty but not over done with just a little back end sweetness and vanilla. Its simple and to the point.

Taste is just outstanding. Roasted barley in the forefront, a mild coffee bean flavor and then it finishes with just the smallest amount of plum fruit. The finish has a lingering bitter /roast that is welcomed. Mouthfeel is medium light but the oats give it a silky impression that makes it feel fuller bodied without knocking down the drinkability.

This is seriously a great beer. One of the best simple no frills stouts that I've ever had. Truely impressed.

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

Poured a very dark brown (almost black) like a stout normally does. About a 1/4 inch thick head tan colored and dense.

smell is mostly dominated by chocolate. Oatmeal plays in the back round

Taste nutty, and rich chocolate. with a mild hint of oatmeal

mouth feel is smooth and creamy like your typical stout

overall this is a good seasonal stout worth enjoy during the winter time nothing to special but easy to drink.

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Photo of AWolfAtTheDoor
3.85/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Giving this brewery another shot. I was thoroughly disappointed by the Double Barrel.

Pours dark, but when held up to a light, it's very very dark brown. Darkest brown I have ever seen, but not quite black. Interesting. Vigorous pour yielded a 1cm light brown head, which dissipated in no time. I give the lacing about a B- so far.

Lots of chocolate on the nose. Coffee appears later as it warms up. Some roasted malts as well.

Chocolatey taste. Bitter chocolate, just a hint of chalk. with some malts in there, hint of dark fruit as an after taste. Well balanced and tasty.

Pretty thick beer for 5.5%. Carbonation is pretty spot on for the style. Definitely wouldn't go any higher, but a little less wouldn't hurt.

Quite drinkable. I'm looking forward to finishing this 6 pack.

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Photo of lighthabit
3.69/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

never really cared for this one before, always had a hint of dull, dry, bitter, but tonight i opened one that's been sitting in the fridge for a while, and the hint above is not there, it's picked up a hint of chocolate/licorice, and it's creamy, much nicer feel than before. tonight was straight from the bottle, but in the past, poured in a glass. color is typical dark. one i'll revist . . .

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Photo of bambam2517
3.61/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

12oz. bottle poured into a pint glass and drank at 45-55F. Bottled date of 11/05/2012.

A - Dark espresso brown, very still body. Flat watery bubble ring on top, no traces of lacing.

S - Toffee-raisin, dark chocolate, a little sugary sweetness. roasted malt base, even a little peaty smoke.

T - Mostly pick up on the toffee, chocolate and caramel initially. It dries out some at the end and finishes in bready malt. I like it.

M - Very wet and slick in the mouth, has a bit of a smoky bitter finish like a rauchbier. I could go through a few of these working in cool fall temps, itd be well-matched.

O - A pretty good effort, more sessionable version of an oatmeal stout than others I've had. I do like them "stouter" though...Ipswich outdoes this one IMO.

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Photo of gbontrag
4.56/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

what a great, well-made beer. Partially aged in bourbon barrels, but this doesn't define the beer. So, it really still reviews as an oatmeal stout. The bourbon barrel adds some depth to the nose, and blends seamlessly in the flavor. There's some barrel char and sweetness in the finish. Maybe a little buttery, but this is all perfectly wedded to the yeast.

Velvet Merlin presents a black body with tan foam, and walnut wood highlights when back lit. The finish is so delicious, and long: Caramel and char take turns on the palate with ripe apple core in the retronasal. That's only part of the story. The mouthfeel is thick, creamy, and like a stout-flavored chapstick on the lips. It's well carbonated, and the carbonation holds in this thick ass beer. This beer has back!

15% of the grist is oats! Sucking crawdad heads gives you the real mud bug experience; drinking Velvet Merlin is the real oatmeal stout experience. The oats are palpable in this velvet beer, and they're not polite. They are oily, thick, slightly astringent and grainy, and omnipresent here. Bring it on! This is one of those beers that make me say, hell yah, from recipe to regal pour.

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Photo of jminsc76
3.79/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On tap at Haven's Gastropub in Orange.

Pours a decent head that dissipates quickly, with what is left sitting atop an impenetrable black body.

Aromas include plenty of roasty breadiness, with slight whiffs of either molasses, coffee, and cocoa in the nose. A wonderful bouquet.

The flavor profile exhibits some bite, with espresso bitterness and mild carob washing across the palate. It's decent, though it lacks a certain level of the oomph! I have tasted in other quality oatmeal stouts such as Barney Flats.

The mouthfeel is velvety indeed, very full upon swishing, and does not disappoint.

Overall, my initial impression is the aromas and mouthfeel are the saving grace of this beer; however, I have had it at other locations since Haven's and the flavors are better than what I initially experienced. It's a very good oatmeal stout - exhibiting an excellent balance - but still needs a little more to make it a classic. As of now, it's a good session brew, for me.

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Photo of JosiahS
4/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

glass: Tulip

Black colored body. Rich 2-finger mocha colored head.

Dark chocolate, light cherry, a nuttiness and faint airy/milky aroma that may be indeed from the oatmeal. A little toffy and caramel.

A pillow of rich malt flavor. It's creamy and light yet has a sting from the carbonation. Rich dark chocolate, mocha and a touch of toffee. tart cherry through the middle. A dry floral flavor that may be from the hops and alcohol (although ABV is pretty low).

Such an easy drinking outmeal stout. I like it.

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Photo of Tele
3.89/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A: 4.5 Looks nice. Pours almost black with a two-inch tan head that dissipates quickly.

S: 4.25 Roasted malt up front giving off coffee and bittersweet chocolate aromas. Faint hops.

T: 3.75 Similar to the nose, just a bit more toned down. Nice overall, bit it almost seems a little watery. Not bitter at all, actually a bit tart on the finish.

M: 3.5 Fairly thin for an oatmeal stout. Not a big beer, so I don’t think the mouth feel is too bad but could be a bit more rich.

O: 3.75 A nice drinking stout with good flavors, but there are better examples of the style out there. I’ll probably stick with my one six-pack per season.

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Photo of MaltsOfGlory
4.4/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Appearance is good, at first the head looked soda-ish, but now it has settled down and looks frothy and creamy. Body is pitch black. The smell is very interesting, all it says is that it is an oatmeal stout, but it smells more like an espresso stout, all I'm really getting on the smell is coffee and a big roasty malty smell. It smells good, just different. Taste is excellent though, man, this is freaking smooth. The taste is super smooth, super easy to drink, but at the same time it is very complex. You for sure get the coffee and the roasted malt taste, but the coffee isn't quite as present as I thought it would be. Along with those two flavors you also get some chocolate and a tiny tiny tiny bitterness at the end. Super good beer here.

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Photo of psuKinger
4.19/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Velvet Merlin

Bottle given to me by my buddy PVG, poured into my Sam Adams Perfect Pint Glass.

A: Pours pitch black. Thin brown head that dissipated quickly. 3.5

S: Big roasty oatmeal notes come pouring out of the glass. A touch of chocolate and a hint of pine underneath. 4.5.

T: Taste follows the nose. Roasted barley and oatmeal dominate. I'm picking up on something reminiscent of the *char* you got out on the outer crust of a good seared steak. Struggling to find the chocolate on the tongue that I picked up in the nose, but the hint of pine is definitely present. 4

M: Lighter than I would have expected based on the pour. The 5.5% ABV is for real here. But not really in a bad way. It's smooth, and finishes with a nice dry hoppy stickiness. 4

D/O: Very drinkable, and certainly repeatable. 4.5

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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 jmasher85
3.57/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Possibly the most oatmeal-smelling oatmeal stout I've ever smelled. Smell is straight-up breakfast. I'm almost tempted to pour some molasses on this so it's just the way Mom used to make it when I was little. A hint of sour bread and yeast too. Taste is similar - lots of oatmeal in this, with a bit of bitter, burnt flavor. No chocolate and very little coffee flavor often associated with stouts. Texture is nice, if a hint thin, both on body and carbonation - I was surprised to see the head dissipate that fast. Overall, a nice brew and good rendition of the style, but certainly not a great one.

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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

Eyes
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.

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

Mouth
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.

Overall
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 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 StoutElk_92
4.05/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours dark, almost black with a tan head. Smells of toasty, roasted chocolate malts. The taste is like mild dark chocolate, oats, and dark roasted coffee. Feels creamy and light with mild carbonation. Overall a good oatmeal stout.

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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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Velvet Merlin from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
89 out of 100 based on 641 ratings.