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Velvet Merlin - Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Velvet MerlinVelvet Merlin

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
90
outstanding

2,434 Ratings
THE BROS
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no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 2,434
Reviews: 574
rAvg: 4.01
pDev: 10.22%
Wants: 203
Gots: 358 | 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:
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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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,434 | Reviews: 574 | Display Reviews Only:
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.

Photo of rawfish
3.56/5  rDev -11.2%
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.

Photo of Norseman
4/5  rDev -0.2%

Photo of sharpski
3.5/5  rDev -12.7%

Photo of nrs207
4/5  rDev -0.2%

Photo of mctizzz
4.25/5  rDev +6%

Photo of klipper
4/5  rDev -0.2%

Photo of ckeegan04
4/5  rDev -0.2%

Photo of falloutsnow
4.21/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

From: Binny's, Bloomingdale, IL
Date: Bottled 12/21/2012
Glass: Tulip

Velvet Merlin is a delicious oatmeal stout, fairly rich in body and quite pronounced in aroma and flavor. Not priced inappropriately, and of high quality: this is a brewery that does things right.

Pours a 1.5cm tall head of light tan foam, made up of tightly packed, small bubbles. Retention is above average, lasting over two minutes. Leaves significant lacing along sides of the glass. Beer has a dark brown to black body, opaque, with light bringing out slight amber hues around the edges. Carbonation is only visible as it moves upwards along the side of the glass.

Aroma is of rich, bitter baker's chocolate, somewhat of acrid roasted coffee, burnt toast, yet balanced by a caramelized sugar sweetness.

The dominant flavors are varying degrees and types of roasted malt, contributing a variety of dark chocolate and roasted coffee bean flavors, with support from tastes similar to caramel and burnt toast. Front of palate notices blackened malt sweetness, with light chocolate and coffee flavors in the mix as well. Mid-palate finds heavy dark chocolate, roasted coffee beans, faint caramel, and hints of burnt toast flavors, all blended excellently. Back of palate picks up roasted malt, dark chocolate, charred toast, thick caramel sweetness, and slight cherry esters. Aftertaste of roasted malt sweetness and acridity, dark chocolate syrup, espresso roast coffee beans, and mild caramel malt.

Beer is medium-bodied with the thickness and smooth flow that one expects from an oatmeal stout. Carbonation is of medium to medium-low intensity, resulting in a gently foamy, slightly medium-heavy overall mouthfeel, well suited for the beer and the style. Closes quite dry, with substantial stickiness lingering upon the palate and lips.

Photo of shehateme
4/5  rDev -0.2%

Photo of ralerwen
4/5  rDev -0.2%

Photo of coreyfmcdonald
4.22/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into a tulip glass

A: Pours dark brown with a finger of tan head. After a few minutes the head is a fairly thick ring on top of the beer. Good for the style.

S: A mixture of roast, milk chocolate, and very light hops. Nothing overpowering and in very good balance.

T: A significant roast character with milk chocolate and light hop bitterness on the background. Extremely drinkable.

M: Full bodied with good carbonation.

O: Fairly straightforward, very well balanced, a great oatmeal stout.

Photo of fthegiants
3.75/5  rDev -6.5%

Photo of Urbancaver
4.47/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a beautiful black with a lot of nice thick creamy head. Smells very chocolatey. A nice solid sweetness that couples with a touch of dryness. Very smooth and rich on the tongue. A wonderful light chocolatey flavor that is very solid. Overall the mouthfeel is just wonderful. A very solid brew

Photo of grittybrews
4.47/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a deep brown-black into a tulip with two fingers of light khaki head (excellent retention). Strong and balanced roasty aroma of cocoa, coffee, toast, and vanilla.

Moderate carbonation and a full, ultra-creamy mouthfeel. Milk chocolate up front followed by toasted biscuit. Slightly bitter espresso on the finish with more hints of cocoa.

Excellent aroma, full-flavored and very smooth. None of the individual flavors bowled me over, but this is one balanced, easy-drinking stout!

Photo of BarrytheBear
3.05/5  rDev -23.9%
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.

Photo of jdense
4/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle from local bottle/bird shop, poured into shaker pint glass 10.10.11.

One finger light brown head, fairly quick dissipation with broken layer of head retained on top of dark brown nearly opaque body with red highlights when held up to light, no visible carbonation. Prominent Cocoa nibs, some coffee in nose, floral hops. Taste is pretty chocolaty, some dark chocolate, cocoa nibs, a bit of roast malt, caramel sweetness, hop profile hard to identify, floral with a bit of citrus? Medium mouthfeel, not a lot of effervescence, the oatmeal really dries out the finish, ultra smooth. Tasty stuff, but what else would you expect from the fertile mind of Matt Bryndelsen? Certainly one of America's best Oatmeal Stouts, really drinkable at this ABV. Recommended.

Photo of NickThePyro
4/5  rDev -0.2%

Photo of aquazr1
4/5  rDev -0.2%

Photo of Big_Dave
3.75/5  rDev -6.5%

Photo of polishkaz
4/5  rDev -0.2%

Photo of Kramerbarthomer
3.75/5  rDev -6.5%

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.

Photo of fossage78
4/5  rDev -0.2%

Photo of Hugonaut13
4/5  rDev -0.2%

Velvet Merlin from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
90 out of 100 based on 2,434 ratings.