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Velvet Merlin - Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

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Velvet MerlinVelvet Merlin

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2,566 Ratings
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Ratings: 2,566
Reviews: 599
rAvg: 4.01
pDev: 9.98%
Wants: 205
Gots: 408 | 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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Ratings: 2,566 | Reviews: 599
Photo of eulerthegrape
4/5  rDev -0.2%

Photo of Zuidman
4/5  rDev -0.2%

Photo of Vonerichs
4.1/5  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.

Photo of jvillefan
4.45/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Velvet Merlin

A: Deep brown with a mocha colored lace head.

S: There is heavy roast aromas with chocolate and toffee.

T: Nice lighter chocolate, coffee, and toffee flavors. This is one of the better non barrel aged stouts out there.

M: It has a nice viscosity and mild carbonation

O: Great beer, worth getting if you can get it.

Photo of mcintire78
3.56/5  rDev -11.2%
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...

Photo of hilgart1
4/5  rDev -0.2%

Photo of WoodBrew
3.97/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The Firestone Wqalker Velvet Stout is good. The beer pours an opaque dark with thin, almost non-existent hear that is leaving a very spotty lace. The smell carries waffs of coffee/espresso. The taste carry a nice bitter burst with good coffee and roast. The mouthfeel is medium in body with good carbonation. Overall it is a great session stout. Perfect for a winter tailgate.

Photo of hagbergl
3.84/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A buddy of mine and I spotted this in six-packs at the local store and he decided to buy it for the Ravens-Patriots game. As a big fan of Firestone Walker's other beers, I was excited to try this. Served in a big old mug. Review is from notes.

Appearance (4.25/5): A moderately hard pour produces a huge, billowy khaki head. The luxuriant head sits atop a pitch black body of beer. Plenty of soapy residue lines the sides of the glass. Looks pretty great.

Smell (4/5): Very aromatic. Oats, grain, cereal, malty, light milk chocolate, black coffee, roasty. The oats give the aroma a slightly acidic twang. Basically everything you would expect from an oatmeal stout in terms of smell. One of the beer's stronger suits.

Taste (3.5/5): Black coffee, roasty, some nice dark chocolate notes arrive late and recede shortly thereafter, oats and grain. Dark maltiness borders on richness but doesn't quite cross the threshold–this is a fairly restrained and mild stout. While certainly flavorful, it doesn't approach the decadence of its bigger Russian Imperial and American Double cousins. I'm not enamored by the flavor here. While this is pretty good, there is nothing that stands out and 'wows' me–it features a fairly simple flavor profile and does it well.

Mouthfeel (4.25/5): In my opinion the best feature of this beer is its creamy smoothness. Velvet Merlin indeed. Very drinkable. Nice medium carbonation and medium body. These qualities almost make up for its shortfalls in the taste department.

Overall (4/5): Velvet Merlin is good, not great. Firestone has brewed a very drinkable, though simple and mild stout. I prefer my stouts to be a bit bolder. I know some people (weirdos, all) that would prefer this approach. But if you're an oatmeal stout aficionado, maybe you'll find virtues in Velvet Merlin my palate doesn't appreciate as well. My own stylistic preferences asides, I do think this is still a very respectable beer even if it's not by any means a show stopper.

Photo of SocalKicks
4/5  rDev -0.2%

Photo of bambam2517
3.61/5  rDev -10%
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.

Photo of Moose90
3.99/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottled On: 09/07/12 @ 14:39
Tasted On: 01/30/13 @ 20:39

A - Dark translucent brown. 1 finger light brown head, thins out and leaves medium lacing.

S - Licorice. Dark heavy roasted malts. Light chocolate, coffee, and vanilla notes.

T - Big dark roasted chocolate malts. Rich bitter chocolate.

M - Crisp and dry, a bit light for the style. Dry and drinkable.

O - Good not great oatmeal stout. Typical flavors. Nothing outstanding. For a seasonal release and an oatmeal stout, the ABV should be higher.

Photo of beerme411
4.5/5  rDev +12.2%

Photo of M1A2
4/5  rDev -0.2%

Photo of ramblinwreck101
3.5/5  rDev -12.7%

Photo of h2k2c
3.75/5  rDev -6.5%

Photo of Hoptometrist
3.65/5  rDev -9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served from the bottle (bottled on 10/8/12) into a snifter

A- Poured very dark brown with mocha colored frothy head that dissipated quickly that left some spotty lace

S- Big sweet bready and caramel notes and roasted malt

T- Big sweet bready and caramel flavors, some roasted malt notes, very light chocolate notes. Very rich and sweet malt character with some nice roastiness for balance.

M- Pretty high carbonation, medium to light body, finished slightly watery

O-Some really nice sweet malt character. Tastes like a robust brown ale, missing some of the characters I like in a stout.

Photo of popery
4.04/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

From notes. Opaque dark-brown with highlighting along the edges of the glass. The aroma, unlike the flavor, was fantastic. There are notes of chocolate, coffee, roasty malt, dry oak and a well-balanced bourbon flavor that meshed very well unlike some bourbon barrel-aged beers. The taste had all of these flavors, but they were far more muted. The bourbon flavor became almost watery. The feel may have been the real culprit. It was much too thin for a stout, much less a barrel-aged stout. A cask would likely bring out the creamy lush mouthfeel of the oatmeal stout. At any rate, it was still a good beer, and they get points for not overwhelming a relatively small stout with bourbon barrel-aging. Would be nice to see it in a cask. Edit (12/2/10): Bottle. I’ve been drinking this regularly since six-packs arrived and like it even better now. Excellent chocolate aroma/flavor, little bourbon. Smooth. Tons of flavor for the size. Great stout.

Photo of fivetime
4.5/5  rDev +12.2%

Photo of bcostner1
4/5  rDev -0.2%

Photo of camelgar
3.75/5  rDev -6.5%

Photo of KiMiRaiK
3.75/5  rDev -6.5%

Photo of barnzy78
4.15/5  rDev +3.5%
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.

Photo of Guinnsslvr
4.75/5  rDev +18.5%

Photo of CorneliusBunker
4.5/5  rDev +12.2%

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.

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Velvet Merlin from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
90 out of 100 based on 2,566 ratings.