1. Extreme Beer Fest. March 20 & 21, 2015 in Boston, Mass. Join us!
  2. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  3. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Velvet Merlin - Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Velvet MerlinVelvet Merlin

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

2,103 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 2,103
Reviews: 535
rAvg: 4.02
pDev: 10.2%
Wants: 186
Gots: 241 | 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
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 2,103 | Reviews: 535 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Eriktheipaman
4.22/5  rDev +5%
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 -4.7%
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
Photo of jwat
3.25/5  rDev -19.2%

jwat, Feb 24, 2012
Photo of kew
4.25/5  rDev +5.7%

kew, Oct 19, 2013
Photo of Vonerichs
4.11/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark brown body, lightening up around the edges. The head is minimal and doesn't last long.

The nose is abundant with coffee, roasted malt, and chocolate.

The taste is bitter coffee on both gbe front and bsck end, chocolate in the middle.

I was expecting the body to be a little softer considering its an oatmeal stout and the name. It's still smooth, but the carbonation is a little prickly.

A very solid stout. I especially appreciate the modest abv and robust flavor.

Vonerichs, Feb 03, 2013
Photo of rydev24
4.25/5  rDev +5.7%

rydev24, Mar 02, 2013
Photo of rawfish
3.56/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.5

Dark, garnet highlights with a quickly building two finger mocha head. Below average retention with hints of sticky lacing left on the glass.

Obvious cereal grains, husky and raw with burnt malt, spent coffee grounds and hints of chocolate sweetness and dried prunes.

Thin profile with some husky light grains, grape juice comes to mind as well as some burnt toast, ashy with hints of chocolate and coffee. Pleasantly bitter and drying on the finish though.

Not velvety smooth or creamy but definitely easy to drink. Lighter body and muted carbonation paired with nearly no alcohol.

Drinks like an oatmeal stout but ultimately disappointing, lots of burnt, ashy and raw grain flavors get collected on the palate before a nice coffee bitterness and drying take over. FW makes great beers but this is closer to the bottom of their list.

rawfish, Jan 26, 2013
Photo of thebouch01
4.25/5  rDev +5.7%

thebouch01, Mar 07, 2013
Photo of fossage78
4/5  rDev -0.5%

fossage78, Sep 29, 2014
Photo of CEDAMA
5/5  rDev +24.4%

CEDAMA, Oct 16, 2012
Photo of Goblinmunkey7
4.05/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Black, not pitch, but black. Some deep reds when held to direct light. Head is tan, creamy and full. Drops to a small head, more lacing than expected. Small cap retains the creamy aspect.

Smell: Oats, malted barley, super grainy. Roasted malts. Chocolate malts. Nice levels of caramelization and sweetness. Milk chocolate mixed with some deeper cocoa edges. Some old coffee. Smells like breakfast. Sweetness pushes something akin to light molasses. Chewy.

Taste: Roasty. Toasted edge. Caramel sweetness. Oats and old coffee. Some solid chocolate notes. Milk, dark, and even some cocoa. Light bitterness from the roast. Burnt sugar. Light molasses. Vaguely nutty. Breakfast candy bar. Some smoke and char in the back. Vague earthiness as well.

Mouthfeel: Smooth and creamy. Light moderate carbonation. Medium body. So smooth.

Overall: Avast ye smooth wizard!

Sets the new standard for an oatmeal stout. Roasty and smooth. It makes me hungry and that's what it should do. Malted goodness layered with chocolate and happiness.

Goblinmunkey7, Oct 22, 2012
Photo of TheBigBoy
2.75/5  rDev -31.6%

TheBigBoy, Jun 09, 2012
Photo of robwestcott
4/5  rDev -0.5%

robwestcott, Jul 22, 2013
Photo of Lucnifter
3.75/5  rDev -6.7%

Lucnifter, Aug 23, 2014
Photo of MastaShonuf
4/5  rDev -0.5%

MastaShonuf, Jun 01, 2013
Photo of HattedClassic
4/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours an extremely light head that dissipates very quickly. Some head is still left and the color is a creamy brown color. The beer itself is an opaque dark brown that is a little bit black and dark. The beer smell has strong oatmeal notes and dark chocolate notes. Some roasted malt smell comes out but not much. The oatmeal smell is pretty nice and ... oatmealy. The beer flavor is very similar to the smell with strong creamy oatmeal notes with a side of sweet dark chocolate. The taste also has an interesting slightly metallic water taste that adds to the eflavor and provides a nice balance. The mouthfeel is heavy bodied with biting carbonation. The beer feels fairly smooth and goes down smooth as well. Overall, a very good oatmeal stout and one worth getting again.

HattedClassic, Jun 12, 2014
Photo of skaboom420
3.5/5  rDev -12.9%

skaboom420, Mar 07, 2014
Photo of HoistinBrews
3.75/5  rDev -6.7%

HoistinBrews, Dec 28, 2013
Photo of Tiernan
4.25/5  rDev +5.7%

Tiernan, Oct 14, 2013
Photo of angrybabboon
4.11/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Cheers to Goblinmunkey7 for giving me a bottle of this

Consumed 2/28/13

Appearance: Dark brown, some nice clarity around the edges - small, light tan head - fades to a minimal, wispy cap - leaves some nice streaks of lacing though

Smell: Roasty and lightly sweet - roasted grains, with some touches of burnt, chocolate malts - some dark chocolate as well - a distinct, lightly sweet oatmeal aroma - some chocolatey, grainy sweetness overall

Taste: Roasty oatmeal with a splash of coffee and chocolate - roasty malts, toasted malts, and some lightly sweet caramel malt - touches of roasty coffee, dark chocolate, and some semisweet chocolate - minimal bitterness, mostly of the roasty variety - some cooked sugar - nicely balanced overall

Mouthfeel: Medium body, about as smooth as an oatmeal stout should be, clean, nicely dry and very drinkable

Overall: Merlin's beard!

This is quite the clean, well-balanced, and drinkable oatmeal stout. No surprise from Firestone Walker... I would definitely seek this out. I get other Firestone Walker beers, and I hope this eventually makes it to the East Coast, as this is one of the best oatmeal stouts I've had in a while.

angrybabboon, Feb 28, 2013
Photo of NickThePyro
4/5  rDev -0.5%

NickThePyro, Mar 02, 2013
Photo of BarrytheBear
3.05/5  rDev -24.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Thanks to Ryan for filling a want and for being an awesome trader.

12 oz bottle in a tulip. Pours dark brown, with a deluge of tiny bubbles along the edges and a beige ring and spotty surface bubbles.

Molasses and coffee on the nose. Not nearly as pronounced as I'd hoped. In fact, it's lacking much complexity and for the style is a tad weak. There is a weird cooked plastic smell that ain't too groovy.

Taste and mouthfeel veer towards watery. Oats don't vibe with the beer well, leaving more of a coffee dark ale than a rich, roasty, full bodied oatmeal stout which I am after. A richer, more velvety mouthfeel and dialing down the carbonation might pick this beer up a notch. Crank up the oatmeal here!

Kind of a bummer. Granted I haven't had an inordinate amount of Firestone, but this is not up to the standard I expected from a great brewery. Plenty of other oatmeal stouts in the sea.

BarrytheBear, Dec 23, 2010
Photo of TheSixthRing
4.13/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Appearance - Pours a near black with a hint of auburn brown peeking through where light can penetrate. Head is tan, powder snow fluffy and 2 fingers thick, good retention and a decent lace.

Smell - Potent oatmeal stout aromas here: Classic, roasty chocolate and coffee.

Taste - Bold cocoa and roasty coffee malt backbone, complimented by a nice hoppy bitterness. Simple, but assertive.

Mouthfeel - Medium to full body, smooth and velvety. Goes down easy, despite the big flavor.

Overall - First time having this beer, and it's my favorite Firestone brew to date. Classic oatmeal stout flavors, but big, bold and beautifully balanced. Definitely a future buy.

TheSixthRing, May 19, 2012
Photo of jbertsch
3/5  rDev -25.4%

jbertsch, Apr 13, 2014
Photo of pknyc
4/5  rDev -0.5%

pknyc, Feb 02, 2014
Velvet Merlin from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
90 out of 100 based on 2,103 ratings.