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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

2,129 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 2,129
Reviews: 536
rAvg: 4.02
pDev: 10.2%
Wants: 191
Gots: 252 | 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: 2,129 | Reviews: 536 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of largadeer
4.5/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Finally picked up a six pack of this. 12 oz into a tumbler.

Looks like a cup of straight coffee in the glass; the center is blackened, the edges slightly translucent. The head is dense and lasting, ultimately settling to a collar.

The nose is sublime, predominantly toasted malt and light roast coffee, with smatterings of chocolate and licorice.

Taste and mouthfeel are where this beer truly excels. A perfect balanced of toasted, lightly roasted malt, licorice and dark chocolate lead into a dry, coffee-like finish. It's mildly sweet up-front, and ends wonderfully smooth, just slightly bitter. Drinkability is through the roof; it's hard to not quaff the hell out of this beer and go back for another bottle.

So glad this was bottled, hands down the best beer Firestone has released in six packs.

largadeer, Jan 12, 2011
Photo of Hojaminbag
3.6/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Velvet Merlin has a dark brown body that is mostly opaque and a light brown head that has decent retention and lacing.

The aroma has chocolate, coffee, and a bit of roast.

More of the same from the flavor. All malt with only the slightest hint of hops in the background. A great balance between chocolate, coffee and roasted malts.

Fantastic mouthfeel on this one, even for an oatmeal stout, which generally have a good feel. Thick, smooth and creamy.

Velvet Merlin has a great name and is a solid if unspectacular beer. I have to say that the mouthfeel might actually live up to the name.

Hojaminbag, Jan 11, 2011
Photo of kbutler1
4.1/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle. Picked up a six pack the other day while in San Diego to give it a try. Poured into a pint glass a dark brown color with a light tan head. Nice aroma in the nose of roasted coffee, slight chocolate, some vanilla, and a tad bit of leather. Nice and smooth medium mouthfeel. The creaminess of this is really its shining star, it just drinks so smooth for me. The flavors are a nice balance as well between sweet and roast bitterness. Starts with a nice sweetness of chocolate and vanilla that is nicely rounded out with some roast bitter flavors along with some subtle muted hops.

kbutler1, Jan 11, 2011
Photo of cjer53
3.93/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Notes from 1/10/11, a bottle with Abby.

app- dark brown with hints of red/amber, very thin head swirling around it's alive!

smell- nutty, malty, brown sugar, molasses

taste- light body, crispy/sharp, slightly chewy, raisins, figs, pretzels, toasted nuts, spicy

overall a solid beer. perfect on those cold southern california days

cjer53, Jan 11, 2011
Photo of Tripphop
3.75/5  rDev -6.7%
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.

Tripphop, Jan 09, 2011
Photo of kaseydad
4.25/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Finally found this at a local Bevmo and excited I did. Poured into a snifter and I am met with a black ale and a beige foamy head that dissolves to a thin layer. The aroma is of roasted malts, semi-sweet chocolate, tobacco and leather. The taste gives a good dose of chocolate followed by a slight coffee character coming through and then a solid chocolate/cocoa finish. A little spicy on the swallow. Mouthfeel is pretty full though there a little too much carbonation for my liking. Wish it was a tad creamier. Drinkability is still high. At only 5.5% this is very drinkable. Finding it is another story.

kaseydad, Jan 08, 2011
Photo of pmccallum86
3.9/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark brown/black color with an enormous light cocoa head.

Smell is of light chocolate malts and oatmeal, nothing special here.

Taste of smooth creamy oatmeal and milk chocolates. Not bad, very easy drinking beer.

Mouthfeel is awesome, super silky smooth and creamy.

Great drinkability, good example of the style.

pmccallum86, Jan 08, 2011
Photo of maximum12
3.6/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Thanks to dgb3 & the artic air mass the currently inhabits Minnesota, this one was nice & cool, found on my doorstep about seven hours ago. Give it a little time to rise about 33 degrees, & here we go.

Pours black with a respectable little cap that falls quickly so as not to inhibit the drinking or tickle the nose. Black. Faintest dark red about the edges. Strongest oatmeal smell ever off a beer, extreme roast that borders on char & coffee. For an oatmeal stout, this is radical!

Velvet Merlin tastes more traditional. The oats are enough to make the Black Stallion happy, lending the brew a zippy bitterness & a glassy mouthfeel. Or are those hops? Either way. The roast is more subdued in the mouth, but is complemented by a creamy smoothness that outdoes most in its class.

Good beer that is notably for a smoothness even for an oatmeal stout & that strong, rabid nose.

maximum12, Jan 08, 2011
Photo of nlmartin
4.5/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This came as an extra from a recent trade with romwarrior. Thank you this is a fantastic beer. The beer was served lightly chilled in an imperial pint glass.

Appearance: The body of the beer is black with a hint of ruby highlight when held to the light. The head of the beer is a nice dark tan. Nice head retention and actually stands up to my mustache. Lacing sort of speckles the side of my glass. Looks good in my glass.

Smell: The aroma is of lightly roasted coffee. This combines well with a bit of cocoa. A whiff of nuttyness and a brief flash of smoke.

Taste: A major delivery on the aroma. The lightly roasted coffee flavors are very well paired semi sweet chocolate and caramel. Nice dried out finish on the end of the flavor.

Mouthfeel / Drinkability: The body of the beer is medium and very smooth. Carbonation levels are low but perfect for this beer. In all honesty I could drink this beer all night long. A straight forward beer that will not bore you during a long night.

nlmartin, Jan 07, 2011
Photo of Augustiner719
3.98/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

opened this one up tonight thanks to a very generous, but still not confirmed (probably overlord) BA who sent me a random package tonight.

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a standard pint glass. Pours a really nice deep dark brownish black color with an off white 1 finger head that leaves behind a ring of foam as the drinking session progresses. there is a very distinct raisin aroma coming through on this that reminds me of having oatmeal with syrup and raisins on top. really nice roasted malty aromas coming through as well. the flavor is nice and balanced. really has a good upfront sweetness that lends itself to a balanced, and even slightly dry finish. some astringent dryness on the backend, but the transition from front to mid to back palate is flawless and really gives a nice experience. the mouthfeel is nice as well. nothing crazy and i would have liked it a bit less carbonated. near perfect body on this, not overly thin even for the low abv. Drinkability is right up there with the best. has a nice low abv, sorta, and really easy to go down. perfect for this time of the year and I would love to get my hands on some more. Worth seeking out.

Augustiner719, Jan 07, 2011
Photo of pwoods
4.5/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Thanks to westcoastbeer for the nice extra.

12oz. stubby brown bottle poured into a snifter.

A: Pours pitch black, no light. Moderate light tan head on the pour with pretty good retention and decent lacing.

S: A healthy oat aroma with light coffee notes and a distinct mocha/latte aroma. Coffee is dry but not over done. Light chocolate. Some caramel and toffee notes as well. Complex and pleasing.

T/M: Flavor mimics the aroma nicely but with less of the mocha/latte, which is a bit disappointing but everything is still very nice. The oats stand out a bit more and play well with the light chocolate, caramel, and toffee notes. The coffee is still dry but even more rounded and smooth. Body is medium or so, not too heavy, and the carbonation is nice and smooth.

D: Very very drinkable. I could definitely session these all night.

pwoods, Jan 05, 2011
Photo of FosterJM
4.22/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

159th review on BA
Bottle to pint
12 oz bottle

After having a FW 14th Anny. I read all the beers they mixed in so I have been trying to get my hands on most of them. This was a 2 dollar single at Total Wine

App- Very nice looking dark stout without the traditional beer head was what I expected from the style.

Smell- Very light notes of coffee, cocoa nibs and roasty malts.

Taste- Much better taste than smell. It's a very nice oatmeal stout. Has the roasty taste you want but also mixes in some cocoa flavor and a little coffee bitter.

Mouth- Medium bodied with a low carb feel to give it that velvety richness.

Drink- For a 5.5 ABV this is a fine beer. It's as smooth as they come without a burn. Could have a ton of these on a cold night.

FosterJM, Jan 04, 2011
Photo of felipe2toes
3.83/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours black with a creamy thin head. Head recedes into some decent edging and crust.

Not much on the nose. Smells of raisins, chocolate, and roasted malt.

Tastes much better than it smells. Roasted coffee and oats, some caramel and molasses too.

Drinks really smooth and easy, lives up to its "velvet" name. Nice carbonation as well. Really approachable and drinkable as well.

felipe2toes, Jan 02, 2011
Photo of seeswo
4.25/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours dark with a good sized head. Looks yummy.

Not too much going on in the nose. Smells roasty and appropriately like an oatmeal stout, with an excess of modesty.

The taste is superior to the nose, with big roast and creamy stout flavor. Really tasty beer that is one of the better oatmeal stouts I have had.

Medium body, good carbonation. Appropriate for the ABV (I have to remind myself not to compare this area to imperial stouts).

This beer is very drinkable. There is none of the residual bitterness or dryness from the hops/dark cocoa flavors that sometimes appear in stouts that makes a beer less drinkable to me. I could put down several of these without getting sick of it.

seeswo, Dec 31, 2010
Photo of wajacobs
3.55/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I've never been the biggest fan of Firestone Walker but picked up a sixer at BevMo when the store clerk said it was one of her favorites.

I typically like stronger stouts but must admit I really like this ale, its extremely smooth and but the flavor and aroma are dominated by roasted coffee and light caramel notes. It would be nice if it were a little stronger and provided a more warmth on the back end.

wajacobs, Dec 31, 2010
Photo of kflorence
3.53/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Purchased at BevMo! a week before Christmas; $7 for a sick pack (what a steal).

A: Pours an opaque, black with a nice frothy layer of tan foam. Not much lacing around the glass as you drink. When held up to a light, carbonation looks good. Looks inviting, if perhaps a little bit light as far as body goes.

S: As advertised, the roasted coffee comes through prominently. Also prominent are roasted malts, chocolate and some cloying caramel. The aroma suggests this beer will be very malty with some underlying sweetness and perhaps some astringency.

T: Wow, this one is truly roasted, almost overpoweringly so. Roasted malts and roasted coffee dominate the flavor; hops are rather subdued, almost indistinguishable. Not much of the cloying sweetness that was detected in the aroma was present, but it is there right after the initial roasts hit the tongue, and right before the lingering barbecue flavor. A tad bit astringent, which I guess is to be expected from a highly prominent coffee presence. Oatmeal is strangely absent as well.

M: For an oatmeal stout, I would consider this medium bodied. I was hoping it would be a bit more on the creamy side, maybe even with some chewiness. Carbonation levels are perfect and it does have body, just expected it to be a bit thicker.

D: Overall this is a pleasant beer and I have absolutely no complaints for the price tag. This is a solid stout that's simplicity and body make it very easy to drink. That said, I think this brew was a little overly roasted for me which made it seem a bit imbalanced. It also had almost no detectable oatmeal flavors, was a bit astringent due to the coffee and was not as creamy as I expected. There are much better oatmeal stouts out there, but this one definitely was on the above average side. I wouldn't hesitate to drink it again, but I probably wouldn't seek it out.

kflorence, Dec 30, 2010
Photo of koopa
4.05/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle received as an extra in a trade with a generous BA thanks!

Appearance: Pours black and opaque with minimal crown, retention, or lace.

Smell: Toasted oats, roast malt, and chocolate malt.

Taste: Same as nose.

Mouthfeel: Smooth (as an oatmeal stout should be) with a medium body.

Drinkability: Highly drinkable.

koopa, Dec 30, 2010
Photo of beagle75
3.85/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a shaker pint glass.

A: Opaque black color with one finger of beige foam head. Light lacing remains on the glass.

S: Dark roasted malt displays a dominating coffee smell initially, but does not change or develop into anything more interesting as the beer warms.

T: Begins off-dry, with milk chocolate, roasted grain, and slight dark fruit (plums and dates). Graininess persists in the middle as other flavors fade and generally dry out. The finish features strong coffee grounds, mild bitterness, and a mineral snap.

M: Thin to medium viscosity, slick on the palate, with low carbonation.

D: A fine oatmeal stout, neither challenging nor boring. Despite the one-note smell of coffee, the flavor manages to surprise and impress by being more multi-layered. A nod to Firestone-Walker for packaging this beer in 6-packs; there are few California stouts from anywhere south of the Bay Area being marketed in that format.

beagle75, Dec 29, 2010
Photo of nkersten
4.15/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle courtesy of Kevin - Thanks! poured into a NB globe, black liquid with a tan head that quickly fades to a bubbly cap. Smells of dark roasted malts, some coffee, and spicy hops. Taste is very malty and a bit smokey from the roast. Hop flavor to start that fades into a nice balance of hops and roast finish. Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation. Not as silky as most oatmeal stouts but a good beer regardless.

nkersten, Dec 29, 2010
Photo of brewerburgundy
4.18/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle, Bruery tulip, bottled 12/7/10.

Nearly a black Stout; some purple highlights lurk near the bottom of the glass and a darker brown head towers above. The lacing is top notch.

Very nice nose for a seemingly humble Oatmeal Stout; ghostly bourbon'd wood, vanilla oak, wet earth, and cocoa powder. Complexly dry, earthy, and chocolatey.

Mineral ridden dark chocolate with sneaky bourbon flavors behind. The woody, earthy U.S. Fuggles are definitely here and probably supporting the small bourbon barrel aged character. A little acidic coffee plays but fortunately does not steal the show.

A little thin, but truly smooth. Moderate to low carbonation holding some bite. Could be a little more full to go with the silkiness.

I am finding lots of complexity to enjoy here, without the mammoth abv often associated with Stouts that are considered the best. Smooth and warming nonetheless.

brewerburgundy, Dec 29, 2010
Photo of abaer123
4.33/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - I had this one out of the bottle, so hard to say what the actual appearance is. The carbonation is low, so I would think that there would not be much head on this one.

Smell - malty, rich, chocolaty. When I purchased this, I was going for a rich seasonal brew. I found that and more.

Taste - rich, creamy, coffee and cocoa without being too sweet.

Mouthfeel - rich and lacey. Not overly pwering like other more hoppy varieties I have been drinking lately. A nice contrast and comfort.

Drinkability - goes down way to easy! This is a luxurious brew that could be trouble at 5.5 after a few.

Overall, I am impressed by the Velvet Merkin. My hats off to Firestone for a delicious seasonal treat. Good work.

abaer123, Dec 29, 2010
Photo of fsimcox
3.95/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Picked up a sixer from BevMo for $6.99. Never had this one before.

Pours a deep, rich, black color. A thin, tan foamy head forms, but dissipates almost immediately. A little lacing, but not much.

Smells of roasted malt, strong coffee, and a hint of bitter chocolate. Roasted coffee beans stands out, but not overpowering.

Roasted malt, coffee and a hint of hop bitter. Full bodied, robust, with a sweet, roast coffee bean after taste. Some hints of bitter-sweet chocolate.

Mouthfeel is creamy, rich, full bodied and smooth. Some carbonation, and a hop bitter after taste. The coffee lingers.

A wonderful holiday beer. Robust, and full bodied. I love the roast coffee taste. I think I would enjoy this with smoked cheese.

fsimcox, Dec 25, 2010
Photo of Goldfish19
4.2/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

~ 12 oz bottle purchased online.

This oatmeal stout pours dark brown in color with a thin tan head.

Velvet Merlin has a pleasant aroma. Roasted malt, oats, coffee and chocolate all make an appearance.

The taste is very similar. All the above are present, but I also detect some vanilla, which I couldn't initially pick out in the smell. It's not sweet, but from what I understand this was the brewer's intention.

The body is a little on the thin side, but no complaints here. It's smooth, creamy and at 5.5% it went down without a hitch.

Overall, this is a solid offering from Firestone. If anyone is on the lookout for a well-crafted oatmeal stout, give this a try - you will not be disappointed. ~

Goldfish19, Dec 25, 2010
Photo of BeerManDan
4.38/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a very dark brown, with a little bit of tan foam and some lace on the side of the glass.
The smell of roasted malts and an aroma of chocolate coffee filled the nose with a pleasant soft aroma. The taste of this Oatmeal Stout was just what the smell and aroma was, but, without the usual bitterness of a stout. Nice balance of malts and all components involved. Soft, with a nice bitter/sweet finish on the palate.

BeerManDan, Dec 23, 2010
Photo of Bfarr
4/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Dark brown with a medium tan frothy and a bit foamy head with good retention but not much lacing as it slinks down the side of the glass. Smoky, peaty aroma. Chocolate, peat, and smoked malts wna sweet balance with a light bittersweet lactose linger. Silky mouthfeel yet chewy and anormally a velvet coating.

So smooth it goes down way too easy but if you hold on for a moment you're rewarded with a good amount of flavor. I don't know, is a Velvet Merlin like a Velvet Elvis?

Bfarr, Dec 23, 2010
Velvet Merlin from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
90 out of 100 based on 2,129 ratings.