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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

2,106 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 2,106
Reviews: 535
rAvg: 4.02
pDev: 10.2%
Wants: 187
Gots: 246 | 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: 2,106 | Reviews: 535 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of GallowsThief
4.08/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Received in trade from HeadyHops81 (much thanks!!).

Poured out of 12 oz. bottle into my tulip.

A - Pours a deep black with a nice two inch tannish brown head. Trace of lacing left behind.

S - Oatmeal, coffee, dark chocolate. mocha. Just a bit sweet.

T - Very nice roasted oats flavor. Chocolate and coffee flavor much like the smell. Well balanced flavors. Has a touch of sweetness followed by a bitterness that is very subtle.

M - Medium bodied with medium carbonation. It's just a bit thinner then I expected.

D - High. Very high. Nice stout. Cant go wrong here if you can find this one.

GallowsThief, Apr 03, 2011
Photo of jethrodium
3.95/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle. Pours a black which looks cola brown at the edges when held up to the light. Two finger light brown head which pretty good retention and leaves a very small amount of lacing on the glass. Aroma is roasted coffee, light earthy hops, and light dark chocolate. A bit of vanilla and licorice comes out as it warms up. I wouldn't have guessed a portion of this was barrel aged, but when you are looking for those notes you can find them. Initial taste is roasted coffee going into light dark chocolate with some hints of vanilla and licorice. The finish has a slight tea-like bitterness. Don't really get any bourbon in the taste. Medium body. Low carbonation. Smooth, creamy mouthfeel. Pretty standard for an oatmeal stout. Pretty great beer, especially for the cost.

jethrodium, Apr 02, 2011
Photo of thagr81us
4.22/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks goes out to womencantsail for picking this one up and sending it to me with my Cali haul! Served from bottle into a Warsteiner mug. Poured a deep dark brown with a one finger off-white head that subsided to a half finger slowly. Maintained phenomenal lacing throughout the glass. The aroma was comprised of sweet malt, cream, dark chocoalte, and subtle coffee. The flavor was of sweet malt, coffee, cream, roasted malt, dark chocolate, and dark fruit. It had a medium feel on the palate with medium-high carbonation. Overall this was excellent. This one went down very smoothly (almost like velvet) on the palate. My only complaint would be that none of the flavors or aroma were very robust, but that is just me being picky. Definitely worth trying and if you're lucky you might get it as an extra in a trade.

thagr81us, Apr 01, 2011
Photo of notchucknorris
3.95/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Pretty much black with a thin light brown head that shows good retention. The head lasts pretty much the entire beer.

S: I'm getting cocoa powder, roasted malt and a little bit of cinnamon. Pretty nice.

T: Lightly roasted coffee, dark chocolate and some roasted oats. There's a hint of sweetness, but it's hidden behind a lot of coffee/dark chocolate bitterness. The mouthfeel is a little thin for me but there's a nice creaminess to this beer that lets me know I'm drinking an oatmeal stout. Pretty good example of the style.

notchucknorris, Apr 01, 2011
Photo of GarthDanielson
3.88/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass, the beer is jet black with deep brown highlights under light. A thick, foamy, light tan colored 2 inch head. This looks tasty. Aromas of coffee and chocolate are released from this beer. Flavors are rich and creamy on a smooth and creamy body, and tastes are rich of mocha and milk chocolate. The finish is quick and a bit dry, and the aftertaste is chocolaty. Very smooth and easy to drink beer, but lighter than I am used to with Oatmeal Stouts. Tasty brew!

GarthDanielson, Mar 30, 2011
Photo of xnicknj
3.95/5  rDev -1.7%
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.

xnicknj, Mar 26, 2011
Photo of brentk56
4.05/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours a shade lighter than black, with a modest head that leaves splotches of lace before descending to become a collar

Smell: Wafts of roasty coffee and chocolate

Taste: Mocha and oatmeal, up front, with a growing earthy, chocolate bitterness that develops by mid-palate; after the swallow, the hops add a nice balancing effect to the flavor profile, though the lingering effect is of mocha sweetness; on the finish, the Bourbon adds a subtle complexity

Mouthfeel: Medium body with moderate carbonation; lacks the creamy character I would expect from the style

Overall: Mouthfeel issues aside, I really like the flavor profile; the hint of Bourbon barrel adds just the right touch

Thanks, mrmiles, for the opportunity

brentk56, Mar 25, 2011
Photo of capra12
4.1/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Reviewed solo served out of a pint glass.

Appearance: Deep dark brown with a 1 finger head with spotty lacing.

Smell: This really got my off guard, I got a medium roasted iced coffee with roasted powdered chocolate.

Taste: Opens very with a dark malt profile with coffee and chocolate malts that meld together from the middle to end. Leaving a dark and malty stick aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Rather light bodied and moderately carbonated. Slightly sticky and drying finish.

Drinkability: I would definitely have this again and thanks to alexander for this bottle from Darkness day. I recommend this to those seeking a solid oatmeal stout with a ton of well balanced flavor.

capra12, Mar 22, 2011
Photo of TurdFurgison
4.1/5  rDev +2%
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.

TurdFurgison, Mar 21, 2011
Photo of azdback
3.58/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a pint glass. Black but not jet black. Some light gets through, brown highlights. Head is light brown, one finger and creamy looking. Lace is very nice

The smell is great. Lots of coffee. Dark malts. Kinda sweet. As it warms I'm getting the slightest of cocoa.

The taste has all the same components as the smell but much smaller doses. Kind of a little bitter but I don't think from hops. I think it's cherry on second thought.

The mouthfeel is a little bit of a let down. It is very hollow, watery, and dry. No creamyness or chew at all. More of a porter feel than an Oatmeal Stout.

This brew is probably not as bad as the score I have given it. I am a Stout (oatmeal, coffee, chocolate, milk, imperial...etc.) any style lover. So for this to come from such a great brewery was kind of a let down.... But still recommended.

azdback, Mar 17, 2011
Photo of ChanChan
3.93/5  rDev -2.2%
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!!!

ChanChan, Mar 17, 2011
Photo of dbmernin83
4.18/5  rDev +4%
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.

dbmernin83, Mar 10, 2011
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
Velvet Merlin from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
90 out of 100 based on 2,106 ratings.