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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

593 Reviews
THE BROS
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no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 593
Hads: 2,641
rAvg: 3.98
pDev: 9.3%
Wants: 211
Gots: 443 | 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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Reviews: 593 | Hads: 2,641
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. (946 characters)

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. (346 characters)

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. (417 characters)

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. (940 characters)

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. (390 characters)

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. (398 characters)

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 (252 characters)

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. (504 characters)

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. (260 characters)

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!!! (572 characters)

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. (495 characters)

Photo of IPAGeorge
3.94/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a Sam Adams perfect pint

A. Very dark brown. 95% opaque. Cappuccino colored 2 finger foamy head that recedes kinda quickly. Lasts a minute. Very little lacing.

S. Roasted malts. Slight hop resin. Slight metallic aroma.

T. Flavor is roasted malts, some bakers chocolate, mild burnt coffee or espresso. It's a light flavored stout. No alcohol flavor but at 5.5% that's expected. Some grassy aftertaste.

M. 6 out of 10 on body thickness. Decent carbonation for a stout. Creamy. Feels a little more like a porter. But they can be similar.

O. Nice if your in the mood for a stout and don't wanna reach for the 11%abv+. Flavor is kinda mild. Smells was turning me off a lil at first but the flavor didn't carry some of the deficiencies. Could be a good french press guinea pig to try different flavors. I'd have to be in the mood to reach for this one but that being said it does have it's place. (941 characters)

Photo of mcintire78
3.56/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

a: Pours deep brown to black. A very small amount of head that quickly dissipates and mild to moderate carbonation. Served out of a bottle and into a nonic pint glass.

s: A sweet, malty smell. Slightly of raisins.

t: Strong oatmeal taste up front, and ends up dry.

m: Little carbonation. A bit thin and dry on the end.

d: The low abv means you could drink more than one if you were so inclined. Not sure I'd be having more than one or two... (447 characters)

Photo of peacebone116
4.47/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Picked up at the brewery in Paso on 12/26/11; poured into tulip glasses.

A: Quickly fading khaki head that rests upon a deep dark brown body. There is considerable lacing on the legs and visible carbonation along all sides of the glass at the pour.

N: Rich coffee and chocolate.

T/M: Beer follows the nose with a wonderful roasty characteristic. There is a subtle tartness in the middle that compliments the malt's sweetness; this aspect, as it warms becomes complex and somewhat boozy. The body is light to medium, with an oily texture that coats the mouth with a wonderfully even bitterness. Even after three days in the growler, there is enough carbonation.

Overall, this is a wonderful stout. It is complex and tasty despite the fact that it is not imperialized, which seems to be a bit of a neglected concept. (819 characters)

Photo of dwilson01
4.25/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

poured from a 12oz into my new belgium tulip, creamy brown mocha head tops the brew, solid retention and lacing, even dissipation. Dark brown to black color of the body, I would say this looks like an oatmeal stout should look like to the T.

The scent is dominated by the malt as it should be, I actually get a small amount of oatmeal in there but this is definitely topped by a roasted malt coffee smell. Very sweet on the nose as well, a fluffier creamy type of smell wafts from the top.

The flavor is awesome, I really like the complexity they get in here. Dark roasted malts impart a freshly brewed coffee taste which is sweetened right in balance with a sugary impartation of creamy chocolate.

Bottom like this oatmeal stout is right on the money, dark to the eyes, roasted coffee, chocolate, smooth creamy mouthfeel, and the drinkability of the best of em. (866 characters)

Photo of Tripphop
3.77/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A trade extra from Loki83. Heard good things about this beer, and it holds up well to its reputation. Color is a medium shade of brown with light gold edges, mead is fine and plenty at first, but doesnt hang around. Aromas are malty and firm, flavors match well, simple but well balanced. Pecan nut flavors linger with a grainy malt taste. Solid Oatmeal stout. (360 characters)

Photo of wac9
4.25/5  rDev +6.8%

my new favorite oatmeal stout wow just stunning creamy dark yummy its good going down looks great in your glass everything you want in a oatmeal stout (151 characters)

Photo of dbmernin83
4.15/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - almost black with over an inch of very pale khaki head
S - roasted malts, sweet oat
T - roasted coffee, smoothed out by oats and a light sweetness
M - good carbonation with a great light sticky sweetness.
D - An excellent stout, with excellent use of the oats to create a smooth finishing, yet complex beer. this coul be a good go-to stout. (344 characters)

Photo of intensify
4.7/5  rDev +18.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

poured a finger head with good retention. Dark like body which represents a good stout. Roasted malts and vanilla on the nose as well as some hoppy aroma lingering around. The palate was almost identical to the smell. Strong taste of roasted malts which do not overpower the beer at all. The vanilla seems to sweeten it out and give it a nice balanced taste. Not a complex oatmeal stout, but a very well brewed and tasting one indeed. Oily thick mouthfeel is as pleasing as they get for this style.
If you happen to come across this limited edition stout I would grab a few. This is definately worth having and cannot find one reason why this should not be a big contender. (674 characters)

Photo of TwoBeers
4.14/5  rDev +4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A: Nice dark brown in color. Chocolaty head that settles quickly. Almost no lacing.

S: This beer smells great. Fantastic chocolate aroma, with a hint of cherries and maybe some fig. A nice malty, nutty aroma follows.

T: Almost as good as the nose, the taste follows a similar profile. Chocolate up front, nutty with a big malty, nutty finish. Was hoping more of the fruity smell would come through.

M: Like a stout should be. Thick and creamy. Little carbonation.

O: This is a very warming stout. Easy drinking and very enjoyable. Once again impressed by Firestone Walker. (580 characters)

Photo of badboyrsl84
4.05/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours Jet black with tan/white 2 inch head that laces the glass as it fades

Smell - I get lots and lots of roasted oats and malt. A hint chocolate (Both sweet and burnt). there is no hop character.

Taste - Very smooth taste! Follows the nose really well. it starts out with a toasty oats and burnt chocolate and and with more sweet chocolate and an oaty finish. I get some chocolate in the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel - Its super smooth and easy to drink. Nothing really overpowers you but the flavors work together like a championship team to bring you a win in the flavor department.

Overall - I can't complain and can easily see myself drinking more than one in a session. Beautiful. (687 characters)

Photo of Foxtrot
4.39/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

So glad this is available in sixers! Got a six pack from BevMo for 9.99.

Pours a pretty nice jet black body with russet brown hues around the edges when held to the light. Head was light tan with slowly receding bubbles with some modest lacing. Just a little foam left around the edges throughout the entire session.

Nose presents a beautiful array of roasted malts, along with undertones of brown sugar, molasses, vanilla and just the slightest hint of oak. Perhaps this is due to the addition of the oats. This nose puts some IRS's to shame, and especially that since this brew has a modest ABV. Shaping up pretty good so far.

The initial taste begins with bitter chocolate and roast, and slowly moves to coffee and a nice hint of astringency mid palate the just really opens up this beer and then finishes with a creamy milkshake chocolate. It was nice to get some astringency in this brew, it opens up big and then even bigger mid palate making it a incredible tasting Oatmeal Stout. This Oatmeal Stout easily puts alot of stouts to shame. This a Porter Lovers Oatmeal Stout.

Mouthfeel is creamy and milkshake like. Edging on full, but just light enough to enjoy a few pours.

Drinkability is the apex of this beer. Great tasting with great complexity, and not to mention the big flavors for being a 5.5 ABV beer. That is just incredible. (1,349 characters)

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

12oz bottle rec'd from romwarrior into a Duvel Tulip

A: Pours a nearly opaque black with dark reddish-brown highlights on the edges when held almost directly in front of the light. A thin beige foam holds for a bit and then fades.

S: Roasted malts with distinct french roast coffee and bittersweet chocolate notes. Grain-y malt character also comes through in the smell. No hop aroma to speak of.

T: A crisp roast leads the way while all of coffee and bittersweet chocolate flavors from the aroma follow along and last through the finish. A very nice medley of roasted flavors without being harsh. A very slight sweetness mingles, but this is a roast show. A quite enjoyable one at that. Hop bitterness and flavor is a bit player.

M: Spot on for an Oatmeal Stout. Smooth and silky; the body helps keep the finish from being too dry, but with just enough carbonation so that it doesn't coat your mouth. It's just short of being creamy. Smooth with a light drying sensation from the roasted barley. I just keep wanting to drink more.

D: Fantastic. While the body is silkier than a dry irish stout, it's not heavy. The roast level is perfect and leaves me wanting more after the beer is in my belly. At 5.5%, it's a nice relatively lightweight beer. It's perfect for a chilly day

O: An outstanding beer that I would buy in bulk to have until springtime. I wouldn't change a thing. (1,383 characters)

Photo of tbern007
3.86/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours very dark brown/black, gigantic head, very good lacing.
Scent is lighter than I expect- coffee, mild chocolate, roasted malt, slight sweetness of the chocolate.
Taste is of primarily coffee, mild chocolate.
Very light- less carbonated, not as creamy as I would have liked.
Overall good- the mouthfeel is a little disappointing. (334 characters)

Photo of arvidkoval
4.22/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

L- Black, but lets some red through. Tan head that dissipates quickly.

S- Smells of roasted malts and chocolate.

T- Follows the nose but with some coffee and a dry finish without overpowering the mild sweetness. Well balanced.

F- Lives up to the name, very velvet like, but I wouldn't mind it being thicker.

O- Very well put together oat stout! Probably my favorite! (378 characters)

Velvet Merlin from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
89 out of 100 based on 593 ratings.