Velvet Merlin - Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Velvet MerlinVelvet Merlin

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

592 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 592
Hads: 2,630
rAvg: 3.98
pDev: 9.3%
Wants: 211
Gots: 438 | 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 
View: Beers (83) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 592 | Hads: 2,630
Photo of beertunes
3.97/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in Imperial pint. The beer poured black, with a thin tan head that had OK retention and lace.

The aroma was nicely roast malts and very well blended. The flavors were very similar, full, well-rounded malt and grain. The body was full, smooth and well-rounded. Drinkability was very good, I could easily have several of these.

Overall, a very good beer that borders on excellent. Worth seeking out. (406 characters)

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

Review from 10/2010 notes. Poured into a Nostradamus flute glass. Pours a dark, dark red amber with a rim of foam and no lacing. Dark and roasted malt aroma. Starts rather thin, with dark, sweet and roasted malts. Finish is quite robust with malts and a nice coffee flavor. Way above average for a low ABV stout. Worth trying again. (332 characters)

Photo of tobelerone
4.42/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Finally got to try this one while on the west coast over Christmas. We only get a handful of FW beers on the east coast at the moment, which is a shame, because I’ve really enjoyed them all and I’d buy this one on a regular basis if I could.

This is a tasty and very easy drinking beer. Pours dark brown, almost black, with a smallish head and minimal lacing. Opaque. A roasty aroma of coffee and vanilla, a touch of sweetness and a bit of a bitter note.

The flavor is all of those things: roasted, with coffee and vanilla, plus a touch of cherry, perhaps, and a general gentle sweetness, finishing with a lightly hopped bitterness. Subtle fruitiness. I’d describe this almost as a porter with coffee, chocolate, vanilla, and cherry. Bourbon and wood make an appearance as well. All of these flavors are here but they’re well balanced and none of them are all that strong despite being rather distinctive. This is not a big beer, just a very tasty one with more subtle flavor notes than one might expect. It really opens up to reveal them as it sits a bit.

The medium to thin body and lively, but not prickly, carbonation also put me more in mind of a porter than an oatmeal stout, although the creaminess of the body is fitting to the style. I really enjoyed this one, it’s definitely right up my alley, and would find a regular spot in my fridge along side Union Jack if it made it to stores over here. (1,418 characters)

Photo of flagmantho
3.85/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from 12oz bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance: deep brown color, nearly black, with a ruby tinge when held up to the light. Head cascaded into a three-finger monstrosity of tan froth. Great.

Smell: rich, creamy, roasty aroma of chocolate and coffee. That's what I come to an oatmeal stout to get.

Taste: roasty chocolate flavor with a fair amount of astringent acidity; more than I like in an oatmeal stout. Finish is OK but, overall, the flavor is a bit milder than I'd have hoped.

Mouthfeel: bodaciously creamy, silky texture. Body is huge and, although the carbonation doesn't seem like a whole lot, it is more than enough to make this thing feel like a champion.

Overall: I like this beer. It has some flavor flaws which are rather minor, and its mouthfeel is awesome, even for a stout like this. Good stuff. (825 characters)

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

A: Poured a very dark brown in color with brown highlights that had a thin head and left a little lacing sticking to the glass.

S: the nose was pretty roasty with coffee bean notes, chocolate malts, and had milky character to the aroma.

T: the oatmeal grain was not to apparent on the nose or the taste but had a little soapy flavor, chocolate malts, coffee beans, some roastiness, and a touch of cinnamon.

M: the brew was medium in body with a low amount of carbonation which had a sweet, roasty, malty, spice, and creamy finish.

D: it drank good but to me the oatmeal qualities didn't really shine or pop out; Really tasty beer though. (641 characters)

Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3.91/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark brown pour, tan head, this is a looker. Plain aroma, roast, oats taming it down.

Taste, richly smooth, great work with the oatmeal here. Not harsh at all, a great session stout. All the harbingers of a good stout, coffee, chocolate, vanilla, none of them in your face, just mingling in the background. Easy to see why this was a component in the anniversary beer.

Beer provides a good coat for the gullet. Stays away from being anything extreme. A good, dry, sessionable oatmeal stout, nothing pretentious about it, does the job quite well, even if it might seem thin at times for peeps always looking for a RIS or a double/imperial stout. Just the right amount of hopping to keep it lively, but not be astringent or out of style parameters. (748 characters)

Photo of HuskyinPDX
4.22/5  rDev +6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Taken from notes on 3.17.11

12oz bottle poured into a pint glass.

A - Pours a motor oil blackish-brown with a dark brown, thin head that quickly moves to the edges.

S - Smells of coffee, oatmeal, and a slight vanilla.

T - Tastes very similar to the smells, but with more of an impact, or tingle on the tongue.

D - Interesting tingle feel on the tongue, but low carbonation. (378 characters)

Photo of puboflyons
3.86/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

From the 12 fl. oz. bottle stamped 09/25/14. Sampled on December 24, 2014.

It pours a deep dark charcoal black with ruby red hues and a modest, short lived tan head.

The aroma is of dark malts, oatmeal, and coffee.

The body is better than medium but I would not call it bold and heavy.

The taste has a nice coffee and dark malt character with that oatmeal and the bitterness is mild at the end. It is quite easy to drink. (426 characters)

Photo of Brad007
3.81/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Received in a trade from dimce.

Velvet Merlin pours a pitch black with a nice, thick head into my glass.

Aromas consist of roasted malt with a touch of coffee and a creamy, silky texture.

Mouthfeel is dominated by the lingering silky texture courtesy of the oatmeal.It cradles the tongue.

A decent oatmeal stout. It hasn't broken any new ground though for the style. (370 characters)

Photo of Haybeerman
4.08/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Deep, dark brown; no light comes through. Poured a 2 finger tan head with good retention to a thick skim. Sticky webs of lacing on the glass.

S: Big, toasted malts; chocolate and bitter coffee. Earthy and rich.

T: Big toasted malts consistent with aroma; lots of coffee and chocolate. Lightly bitter finish that's nice and mild.

M: Medium body. Low carbonation. Rich and creamy feel that's really smooth.

O: Good malt character. Nice feel, nice finish. A little filing, ABV good for style. (496 characters)

Photo of drummermattie02
4.15/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a tulip, deep brown and lets very little light through; two finger head that quickly recedes to a ring.

Aroma of roasted malts and coffee, good complexity.

Taste mimics the smell, but some chocolate comes through that i didn't initially detect. Really great finish, too. Very smooth feel, although a bit on the watery side.

Very well done beer, particularly considering the lower ABV and drinkability. (416 characters)

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

This was an extra from Huadog (thanks Russ!). It pours a dark reddish brown, not quite opaque, with a few fingers of tan foam that settle to a stable ring. The aroma is nice, lots of roasted malt and maybe a hint of bourbon? Really rich smelling, especially as it warms.

It tastes sweet, malty sweet up front with a lingering bitterness that seems to be related to roast more than hops. No discernable bourbon in the taste, just the smell. Creamy mouthfeel, this went down easily and quickly.

This was a fantastic oatmeal stout, a style I'm sort of neutral on. But I'd take it again any time. (596 characters)

Photo of glid02
4.15/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle shared by Jeremy – thanks!

Pours one shade from black with a one-finger tan head. The head recedes into a thin layer on top leaving decent lacing.

Smells of smooth roasted malts with good amounts of sweet oats and light chocolate aromas.

Tastes similar to how it smells. Lightly roasted malt flavors kick things off and are joined quickly by moderate amounts of light chocolate flavors. Midway through the sip the flavors sweeten a bit with slight amounts of oak and hints of toffee. The sweetness fades out near the end of the sip, carrying through to a moderately bitter ending.

Mouthfeel is very good. It’s got a smooth thickness with grainy carbonation.

Drinkability is also very good. I finished my glass quickly and could easily have a few more.

Overall there wasn’t anything that stood out about this beer besides the mouthfeel but everything worked well together and this is a smooth beer. This beer reminded me of their Reserve Porter but with a heavier mouthfeel and slightly sweeter. Well worth a shot. (1,033 characters)

Photo of spinrsx
3.78/5  rDev -5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle from Whole Foods Las Vegas for 1.99$

Appearance - Dark brown colour with a large size frothy light brown head. I can't make out the amount of carbonation showing and there is some good lacing. The head lasted for over 5 minutes.

Smell - Malts, chocolate, oatmeal

Taste & Mouth - There is an average amount of carbonation and I can taste malts, coffee, chocolate, and oatmeal. There was also a touch of smoke and a bit of a cola flavour. It ends with a grainy chocolate aftertaste with a hint of lingering smoke.

Overall - The appearance of this beer once poured was really great. A beautiful fluffy/rocky/foamy head. Oh ya, it tasted pretty good too. Although there are better oatmeal stouts available to me locally. (727 characters)

Photo of DrDemento456
4.24/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Paid the price for this single, $3.50 at the house of 1,000 beers. Bottled 1/8/13 so its 5 months old.

A - A very good amount of head just a 1/4 inch from a soft pour that pulls back to a mocha lined lace ring that sticks around. Color is almost pitch black with a tiny bit of ruby hue at the base.
S - Very good roasty mixed with some chocolate malts and some oats. Smells a bit of smoke but not overwhelming
T - A very pronounced dark chocolate malt, borderline sweet but not overly so. Then a nice kiss of smokey ash and a finish of some mild coffee grounds. Damn tasty.
M - Medium bodied, very creamy and silky.

Overall I am impressed it drinks better than my all time favorite "Anderson Valley oatmeal stout" yet its around the same ABV. If I ever get the chance at a case I will be sure to pick it up. (809 characters)

Photo of jrallen34
4.06/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz extra given to my Craytonic, served in a Bruery tulip...A dark brown pour with a brilliant light tan head. At least six fingers of head rises and stays forever, tightly compact bubbles on this are great. Unbelievably thick lacing. This is a looker...A fairly muted aroma, lots of oatmeal, a little roast and bitter, pretty sweet. A little alcohol and the sweetness bring my score down a touch, not balanced enough...The taste is pretty muted as well, disappointed. Light roast, oatmeal, a little sweet chocolate cake. Better balanced, just not strong enough. The more I drink it the more I like it as its so easy to drink, yet flavorful. A nice full feel.

Above average oatmeal, worth a shot. (699 characters)

Photo of ccrida
3.63/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Henry's, served in a shaker pint, Velvet Merkin is black with a small, very creamy light tan head leaving light, scattered lace.

Smell is roasted malt and oats, served cold, it's rather muted with all chocolate and toffee coming out a bit as it warms.

Taste is well balanced to the point of almost bland, just a bit of coffee and chocolate really.

Mouthfeel is the strong point here, really creamy and smooth.

Drinkability is pretty good, it goes down very easily due to rounded flavors and smoothness. On the other hand, it's rather boring and lacking depth, and I didn't feel like having another. (616 characters)

Photo of xnicknj
3.95/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into large snifter glass

Pours a decent blacked out color with a nice frothy beige head. Retains pretty well with plenty of filmy clouds and some patchy lacing on the glass.

Scents of roasted oats followed by coffee beans and some softer sweetness. A touch of dark chocolate and toffee as well.

Some hop bitterness right up front, followed by sweeter chocolate tones. Slightly bittersweet, with caramel and roasted oats. Dark malts are heavy with an almost charred edge lying underneath the softer sweet attributes. Finishes a bit dry with some lingering dark chocolate.

Fuller medium body, a bit higher carbonation, dry and tingly on the palate, chewy as well. Pretty solid flavor and the body is pretty full, especially with the lower ABV. If this was available here I'd definitely drink it again. (825 characters)

Photo of DefenCorps
4.44/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottled 7th December 2010, delivered lovingly by FedEx thanks to largadeer, this has been a long time coming. Thank you, Chris.

Pouring a very dark brown, this beer has the deepest red highlights. A dense, dark brown head is present, receding to a disk leaving no lace. The nose is rather excellent. The oatmeal character is so fresh and so prominent, it smells like I've drizzled some granola with coffee. Rich, beautiful, oatmeal cereal with a little bit of raisin. The coffee isn't the richest or the best, but it works wonderfully well here, despite being rather instant coffee-like. Likewise, the palate opens with a blend of oatmeal, coffee and a little bit of fruit, a little raisin-like? There's also an underlying caramel sweetness that's light, working very well with the oatmeal. A balancing bitterness is provided by a little bit of coffee and a little bit of roast, and I also get a touch of Fuggles in the back, earthy and a little leafy. Drying and roasty on the finish with oatmeal and coffee, this beer is excellent. Medium-light in body with soft carbonation, this has a perfect level of carbonation. As for drinkability, well, I am trying to work on a presentation here, but I just cracked my second bottle of this. Suffice to say, this is one of the better oatmeal stouts I've had in a long time. This is breakfast in a glass with a dollop of happiness. (1,374 characters)

Photo of Cyberkedi
4.5/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Comes out of the tap a dark-chocolate brown just a few whiskers above black with a thick tan head. Strong, smoky aroma has rich notes of chocolate, quality coffee and licorice. Mouth-filling, smoky flavor delights the taste buds with molasses, coffee, chocolate and licorice - a liquid feast. Sweet and hop-bitter hints balance each other nicely. Texture has full body and plenty of fizz. Magically delicious. ;) (412 characters)

Photo of clayrock81
4/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a almost black body with khaki head that left some pace patches. Smell is of roasted and sweet malts, akin to some coffee and chocolate with possible nuts (hazel) or toffee, maybe caramel. The oatmeal is noticeable as it smoothes down a light bodied beer (light for a stout) and helps balance a light coffee/roasted malt edge with some minor chocolate and toffee like sweetness. Little bit of woodiness on this beer as well and at times there seems to be a boozy, dry finish. (482 characters)

Photo of tectactoe
3.82/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

Black. Black as black can be... Surprisingly black, actually, with another surprisingly deep brown and tainted mocha colored head that foams up to a few fingers quickly, and then hastily retreats to a weak film stretched across the black hole. A few splotches of tan lacing are left near the top of the glass and that's about it. I know it's an oatmeal stout, but I wasn't expecting this level of darkness.

The aroma ventures into the cream and silky chocolate range with a mild oat undertaking and plenty of dark and lightly roasted malt. The darkness and roast don't come without a somewhat out of kilter, but nevertheless balancing, creamy sweetness - the beauty of sweet/oatmeal stouts, right? The nose shows just a touch of dark fruit in the finish... Not as captivating as I was expecting, but a decent smelling oatmeal stout nonetheless.

Velvet Merlin tricks me a little bit, as the taste is definitely more roasted than you would ever be able to anticipate just from taking a few whiffs. Lightly charred malt is met by a quieter, softer prune and dark fruit sweetness that lends every hand it has in an attempt to balance, and eventually does a respectable job of it, even if not immediately.

More milk chocolates explode about halfway through, flowing into a graciously soft and dry oat filled finish. Sweetness is contempt, yet notable and overall balanced pretty well with the roast and the dry oats. The mouth feel of this beer doesn't swoon me with its sexy silkiness like oatmeal stouts should (and like many of them do), so I must dock it a few points in that regard.

Velvet Merlin is a pretty good oatmeal stout all around, but it really wasn't a mind-blowing or incredible experience for me, and there are certainly some options that are more local to me that I'd take over it (New Holland's The Poet, or even Rogue's Shakespeare, as much as I hate Rogue and their business practices... but that's neither here nor there). Really good, but not legendary. (1,975 characters)

Photo of barnzy78
4.15/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz, bottled 12/04/2012, pours dark brown topped with a foamy beige head that holds decent retention. Aromas and tastes are similar with oatmeal, chocolate, faint coffee, background toasted grain, roasted barley, kind of smells and tastes like how a bag of freshly cracked roasted barley smells. Mouth-feel is exceptionally smooth and creamy, while having a medium-to-full body. Overall, not a whole lot of complexity, but this brewery knows how to streamline a good, solid beer. (480 characters)

Photo of VelvetExtract
3.86/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.75

A-Pours black. I'm not seeing much besides black I. The body. Head is initially a bigger, plop of doughy, tan foam. Then is settles down but it leaves thick lacing.

S-Sweet chocolate and cocoa. Oats and some roastiness. Even some dark fruitiness. I think the chocolate is nice; it's got some dark and milk chocolate notes.

T-Milk chocolate and light roast coffee and burnt oats. Good flavor but fairly tame. A little bit of cola. Some vanilla as well.

M-The flavor isn't as rich as some other Oatmeal Stouts but it's supremely drinkable. I will have no problem gulping through this six pack.

O/D-I have always wanted to try this beer. I was a bit disappointed, especially having Velvet Merkin first. It's a nice, very drinkable Oatmeal Stout. That's it, though. (765 characters)

Photo of champ103
3.58/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4

A: Pours an ink black color. A one finger tan head forms and recedes to nothing after a minute. Light lace is left behind.
S: Big roasted malts up front. Coffee and chocolate apparent. Nice typical stout aromas. The coffee becomes a bit acrid and bitter as this warms.
T: Like the nose, big roasted, coffee, and chocolate flavors. Again the coffee becomes too bitter and acrid after a while.
M/D: A medium to full body. Moderate carbonation. Fairly viscous as well. Not the ultra smooth body I want for an Oatmeal Stout though. Not hard to drink. I have gone through a six pack without a problem over the last week.

A decent stout. Nothing special. The biggest downfall in the flavor department is the bitter and acrid finish. Not one of my favorite stouts and certainly not one of FW's better year rounds. (811 characters)

Velvet Merlin from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
89 out of 100 based on 592 ratings.