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Velvet Merlin - Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Velvet MerlinVelvet Merlin

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

2,094 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 2,094
Reviews: 534
rAvg: 4.02
pDev: 9.95%
Wants: 184
Gots: 238 | 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
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Ratings: 2,094 | Reviews: 534 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of ElGordo
4.25/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from the 12oz bottle into a pint glass. Body is a rich, deep black with chestnut highlights, topped by a thin ring of creamy tan head. Huge aroma of roasted malt, strong, bitter coffee, and a mild sweetness reminiscent of cola.
Palate is full of dark roasted malt, with notes of dark chocolate, oats, mocha, and a hint of plum. Finish is alternately roast and sweet, but smooth all the way through. Body is creamy and silky thanks to the oats, which give it a very nice texture. Rarely is a beer so full and complex also so low in alcohol, which makes this one very drinkable. A pleasure to drink.

ElGordo, Mar 09, 2011
Photo of LazyL
3.95/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A black beer with a thin mocha foam. Really strong heavily roasted malt, chocolate, molasses and coffee notes come through on the nose. The taste is mostly roasted malt and chocolate. The body is light and mouthfeel is dry with mild carbonation. The oatmeal may add some creamyness to it. This is a solid beer and on tap is quite easy to drink rather quickly. Another California brew that I was lucky enough to try on a short stay there.

LazyL, Mar 07, 2011
Photo of Wasatch
3.98/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks goes out to G311 for this brew.

Pours a nice black color, nice carbonation, small fizzy off-white head, with some sticky lacing left behind. The nose is malty, with a nice touch of chocolate/toffee. The taste is sweet, malty, with some chocolate/toffee. Medium Body. Drinkable, this is a very tasty brew. I wish it was available in Utah.

Wasatch, Mar 04, 2011
Photo of Verecund
4.13/5  rDev +2.7%
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.

Verecund, Mar 03, 2011
Photo of wagenvolks
4.1/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle into a New Belgium goblet; received as an extra from the generous hamilton23. Thanks!

Mmm...Velvet Merlin and chocolate chip cookies.

Pours a thick pubic-hair black body with edges of 'Just for Men Brown' and a playful tuft of khaki bubbles on top. Really just a picture perfect aroma for the style, here: big roastiness balances with creamy oatmeal and chocolate. Earthy, fragrant, and nothing like a Merkin in terms of aroma. I should know--I'm wearing one.

Smuggled plums and other phallic dark fruits greet the palate with bold chocolates, black coffee, and roasted malt. A little creaminess from the oat, but acridity is the major player. Body is full and luscious for a 5.5% stout, ending well with a smooth, yet bitter roasted finish. Overall, a tasty beer with a funnier name from the good folks at Firestone. Strap one on and give it a try!

wagenvolks, Mar 02, 2011
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 UCLABrewN84
4/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep, dark brown bordering on black with a 2 inch tan colored head. Lacing is spotty on the glass on the drink down. Smells of roasted malt, oatmeal, and weak coffee. Taste is of dark roasted malt and oats with a slight bitter coffee flavor. Bitterness is slight after each sip. Good carbonation with a medium body. Very easy to drink. A good dark sessionable beer clocking in at 5.5% ABV.

UCLABrewN84, Feb 25, 2011
Photo of sommersb
4.33/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks go out to nickd717 for this one.
12 oz. brown bottle with a date stamp of 12-07-10
Served in a tulip pint glass

A: Black, clear beer, with red highlights on the edges of the glass when held to light. The head is tan and frothy with 3 fingers of height. Good lacing throughout

S: Dark roasted malt aromas dominate, with some chocolate too. Bready, earthy smell with perhaps a slight smokiness.

T: Smooth and creamy, this is a tasty stout! Toasted malts, with some coffee bitterness. Also tastes of dark chocolate with a little sweetness and carries a bit of alcohol warmth.

M: Medium carbonation and a nice full body. Creamy with a roasted bitter aftertaste, but its done just right so as not to be overpowering.

D: Excellent beer that I enjoyed greatly. I wish I had more!

sommersb, Feb 24, 2011
Photo of Gfunk720
3.53/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle, out of my Maudite Tulip. Thanks to David for this one.

A- The blackest of black, but a little thin on the edges. A healthy tannish head forms, and retains for a bit. The beer laces quite nicely.

S- Rich and creamy, dark roasted malt and oatmeal. Chocolate, coffee, and vanilla notes as well.

T- It's a decent oatmeal stout, nothing too crazy. Primarily roasted malts. Subtle notes of coffee and chocolate.

M- A little lighter than I like from a beer of this style.

D- It's drinkable, but not terribly memorable.

D-

Gfunk720, Feb 21, 2011
Photo of ehammond1
4/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

On Tap

Patrick's Irish Pub
Poway, CA

A nearly black beer with a thin light brown head that fades quickly. Leaves significant and sticky lacing on the glass.

Very impressive nose on this one! I smell loads of coffee and chocolate, makes me want to jump in!

An unaggressive and very balanced oatmeal stout. Some bitterness but the taste is mainly of sweet coffee and chocolate. Uncomplicated.

A somewhat thin mouthfeel. Not as smooth, full, and decadent as my favorite stouts.

An extremely drinkable and accessible oatmeal stout. I would use this to introduce the style to someone. Any coffee or chocolate lover who might also be interested in beer should seek this one out.

ehammond1, Feb 21, 2011
Photo of jlindros
4.15/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Got this interesting looking one thanks to Ultraman9000.

Pours a fizzy 1 finger head that fades at a medium pace over pitch black beer.

Nose is exploding with oats before I even poured it, dark malts, a bit of roast and slight coffee, a touch of dark chocolate, caramel, and hints of vanilla milk chocolate. The oats really show through.

Taste brings plenty of dark malts, but nothing heavy, a bit of roast and chocolate, some caramel and vanilla, tons of oats again almost chewy with oats, smooth and creamy, a touch of milk chocolate. A slight bitterness comes through towards the end and more on the finish as it dries off quite a bit, with a bit of a toasty malt finish, and just a hint of peppermint (I think my mind is making that part up cause it seems like it should be a peppermint patty), bit of chocolate and vanilla lingering with lots of mouthy oats.

Mouth is very full bodied, not too heavy but very creamy, smooth, and silky even.

Drink is good, sessionable but a bit to rich and thick to be really sessionable, dries nicely, no real booze, goes down smooth.

jlindros, Feb 21, 2011
Photo of TheSevenDuffs
4.5/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Ultraman9000 for throwing this as an extra in to a box from a recent trade.

Poured in to Duvel tulip.

A - Poured black with one finger of espresso coloured head.

S - Roasted malts, coffee, caramel. Some bitterness and a slight smokiness. A very nice profile for a regular stout.

T - Roasted malts, lots of smoke, coffee, chocolate and a slight overall sweetness.

M - Medium body; lightly carbonated.

D - A very good stout.

TheSevenDuffs, Feb 20, 2011
Photo of SirRuss
3.3/5  rDev -17.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A - Archetypal charcoal body, but retention is fleeting at best, and the lacing unimpressive. Having just glanced at the label - which sports a silky smooth, three fingered head - Firestone should probably thank their litigation stars that they have not yet been sued for false advertising

S - The pour alone wafts a dark chocolate breeze with enough presence to evoke surprise and intrigue. Unfortunately the chocolate notes within the glass are somehow less intense, and are accompanied by prominent notes of diner coffee pot. On the plus side, a dirty earthiness envelops the malt tones to lend an interesting foundation.

T - Very disappointing. It's almost as if the beer has been rapidly degrading from the moment the cap was cracked. All the expression from the nose is present on the palate, but its form is now diluted and scatty. The coffee aspect fairs best, although a watery genealogy confirms its Denny's lineage. The decadent chocolate promised by the pour is a wash out, and the deep earthiness is all but lost. In its favor, a twist of toastiness is imparted, and the roasted malt bitterness prevails in conjunction with the modest hopping. Unfortunately the redeeming features are far from capable of filling the emptiness of the profile, and a lot is left to be desired.

M - It's clear that the composition of this beer is capable of the velvety smoothness professed by the label. However, commercial soda style carbonation detracts from the texture this brew could otherwise boast, and the final effect is a prickly affair.

D - This is in no way offensive, or excessive in any attribute other than its determination to nullify itself into a disappointingly lackluster experience.

SirRuss, Feb 15, 2011
Photo of Zaplt
3.55/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

2-14-11

My friend Dave told me I needed to step up to the plate on BA so here I am.

Appearance - Very dark, black as expected. Pours a nice light tan head that has almost no retention nor lacing.

Aroma - Yummy roasty toasty maltiness, not very complex or strong. Not too many flavors in the aroma, slightly weak for a stout.

Taste - Washes down the palette smoothly and almost a bit thin, but then there is a wash of flavor - vanilla, a certain nuttiness that reminds me of hazelnut, raosted coffee and chocolate, slight woody aspects with just enough of a resiny hoppy finish to please the drinker.

Overall - This is a decent beer, although I did have some issues with it. It's a bit too thin for my taste and there seems to be a lack of punch in the malt. Seems a little weak in the taste and aroma but for a standard stout I think that they did a good job.

Zaplt, Feb 15, 2011
Photo of chumba526
4/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

It appears dark brown with a dark brown colored head.

It smells a bit coffee like; I get a mild chocolate smell and a bit of a vanilla like smell.

It tastes much like it smells. I get a roasted smooth coffee flavor. There is a bit of a vanilla like flavor and a bit of a nutty malt flavor as well. I get a bit of a smooth chocolate flavor.

It has a thick and smooth mouthfeel with moderate low carbonation.

The beer goes down smooth. I could drink a few of these stouts.

Overall a better than average example of the style.

chumba526, Feb 13, 2011
Photo of Beerenauslese
4.13/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at the San Francisco Beer Week Gala

Body is dark brown with a bit of transparency at the edge. Head dissipates quickly to a ring.

Aroma of dark malt, coffee, chocolate, and trace of bourbon.

Tastes pretty smooth. Roasted malt, chocolate, coffee, with some bourbon in the finish.

Body is medium with a good level of carbonation, but has a more fizzy than creamy mouthfeel.

I felt this was a good drinkable brew. Pretty smooth with good integration of flavor and a sessionable ABV.

Beerenauslese, Feb 13, 2011
Photo of drummstikk
4.08/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Black color. Smells roasty and chocolatey. Super light bodied despite the oatmeal. Perfect body that lends to its super high drinkability. Tastes roasty with no oakiness. The bitterness is really smooth. This beer tastes better on tap than from a bottle.

drummstikk, Feb 12, 2011
Photo of seedsofchaos
3.88/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Received this bottle in a trade with Sirk. No date indicators but I'm fairly certain it was produced last year (2010). Opened on February 12th, 2011.

Poured into a brandy snifter, this beer is rather impervious to light. Extremely dark fudge brown in color, we're really talking black. A 1/2 inch khaki head rises slowly with the pour and then falls quickly. Highlights are of ruby and blood reds which shine from the surface in the light. Little to no lacing. Big and roasty in the nose with plenty of roasted barley for my nostrils pleasure. Coffee and oatmeal are prominent as expected. The bouquet is creamy, fairly simple and inviting.

Coffee like roast continues in the taste with a touch of bitter from it. Creamy enough but a little yeasty. Definite flavors of oats mingle in with smooth roasted malts. Nothing overpowering here. This beer is very simple as I would expect an oatmeal stout to be.

This is a great morning / early afternoon beer. I would be happy to call this a breakfast stout. With its clean mouthfeel, this beer could definitely pair well with waffles and syrup. Finishes dry but not overly so, I would definitely enjoy washing down my breakfast with Velvet Merlin.

seedsofchaos, Feb 12, 2011
Photo of HosP
3.9/5  rDev -3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Great extra from Scottfrie. Poured 12oz into snifter.

A- Pours not quite black. Some light creeps in around the edges. Nice one finger size head, down to thin cap halfway through the beer.

S- Mostly coffee in the nose. Very subtle hints of oatmeal type aroma. Reminded of a warm breakfast!

T- Coffee flavors up front, although not as strong as I'd hoped. Very smooth creamy drink. Roasted malts come through more at the end and leave some bitterness left with you.

M- Full body with light carbonation. Creamy mouth feel.

D- Very solid oatmeal stout. One of the better ones I've had. Could drink one, maybe two more. Flavors aren't overly spectacular, but still make for a very good beer. Thanks Scott for this nice winter's treat!

HosP, Feb 12, 2011
Photo of readbaron
4.1/5  rDev +2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours out a relatively thin looking - more porter than stout - with a decent light tan head.

Smell is smooth - nearly all malt, with a hint of sweetness. Almost smells like a milk stout.

Taste is good - incredibly smooth. Very malty - not a lot of complexity - all malt and some oaty sweetness. There is no aftertaste - just an incredibly smooth finish.

Mouthfeel is excellent - much richer than I would have expected from the pour. Definitely see why velvet is in this beer's name.

Highly drinkable. Relatively low ABV and incredibly smooth.

readbaron, Feb 11, 2011
Photo of MaltsOfGlory
4.43/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Appearance is good, at first the head looked soda-ish, but now it has settled down and looks frothy and creamy. Body is pitch black. The smell is very interesting, all it says is that it is an oatmeal stout, but it smells more like an espresso stout, all I'm really getting on the smell is coffee and a big roasty malty smell. It smells good, just different. Taste is excellent though, man, this is freaking smooth. The taste is super smooth, super easy to drink, but at the same time it is very complex. You for sure get the coffee and the roasted malt taste, but the coffee isn't quite as present as I thought it would be. Along with those two flavors you also get some chocolate and a tiny tiny tiny bitterness at the end. Super good beer here.

MaltsOfGlory, Feb 11, 2011
Photo of GregSVT
4/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle into a snifter

A: Pours a deep black with a nice light tan head that fades to a ring leaving some lacing on the glass.

S: The nose is mostly coffee with some chocolate malts in the background. There's also a faint aroma of earthy hops.

T: The taste is chocolate/cocoa, vanilla, and coffee. Pretty standard stout flavors with a bit of hops on the finish.

M: The feel is creamy and medium bodied.

D: With a 5.5% abv this brew is big on flavor and highly drinkable. I'd drink this often if it was available to me.

GregSVT, Feb 05, 2011
Photo of sisuspeed
4.15/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a Goose Island pint glass. Nice black body with a fingers worth of creamy tan head. The head dies a little bit, but mostly maintains and leaves some good lacing.

Lots of well roasted malt and dark chocolate on the nose. A little earthy with a touch of oatmeal. Very pleasant for a regular stout.

Taste is dark chocolate and dark roasted malt, much like the nose. Slight bitterness with a touch of coffee and oatmeal. Not overly complex, but well done.

Mouthfeel is smooth, creamy and rich. This has a really nice body for a 5% stout. Not watery at all and no hint of alcohol. Very smooth. The oatmeal really helps.

Drinkability is great. This is a very quaffable stout. I could easily put back a few pints of this. If this were on tap at my local bar, it would become a regular for me. A great go to stout. Nice work Firestone Walker.

sisuspeed, Feb 04, 2011
Photo of abuliarose
4.08/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a fluted pint, revealing blackish opaque body under a finger of somewhat thick crema head. Looks ok for an oatmeal stout; I'd have thought with the viscosity there would be more staying power for the head. Creamy-looking regardless. Smells clean and roasty with a nice dark malt presence. Some charred wood, slight milky sweetness.

Tastes light and clean with the signature touch of oat-y sweetness. Nice and roasted up front, fresh watery finish. Some slight bitterness with a roasted character. Very well-rounded for a plain oatmeal stout. Mouthfeel is that oatmeal creaminess with a carbonation that is a little too small-nucleating and tingly to add much to the body. Very drinkable otherwise, almost session-able.

Overall I quite like it. Maybe not my favorite oatmeal stout, but it is certainly an upstanding offering of the style.

abuliarose, Feb 04, 2011
Photo of DefenCorps
4.45/5  rDev +10.7%
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.

DefenCorps, Feb 04, 2011
Velvet Merlin from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
90 out of 100 based on 2,094 ratings.