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Velvet Merlin | Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

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BA SCORE
89
very good
661 Reviews
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BEER STATS
Reviews:
661
Ratings:
2,949
Avg:
3.98
pDev:
21.11%
 
 
Wants:
228
Gots:
585
For Trade:
6
Velvet MerlinVelvet Merlin
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
California, United States | website

Style: Oatmeal Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.50%

Availability: Fall

Notes / Commercial Description:
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 

Added by largadeer on 11-13-2008

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Reviews: 661 | Ratings: 2,949
Photo of doughanson78
3.17/5  rDev -20.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

First Firestone Walker beer. 12oz. bottle poured into a snifter.

A: Very dark, but not totally black. Light comes through around edges and bottom of glass. Kind of a dark redish tint where light comes through. Fluffy one finger head. Slightly off white with only small tight bubbles. Head dies down to thin layer but doesn't disappear. Fairly good lacing.

S: Not a big aroma at all. Smells like the inside of a Quaker oatmeal container. VERY light chocolate scent.

T: Nice roasted flavor. Light coffee. Mild sweet chocolate. Nice oaty finish. Very mild hop bitterness.

M: Medium bodied. Mild carbonation. Smooth but not Velvety.

O: Been hearing great things about Firestone Walker. Had a sip of their Double Jack and was impressed. Got a few of their brews, including the Parabola. Not super impressed with this one. It's decent but there's definitely many better.

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Photo of bamadog
3.6/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to beerman207 for bringing this one back from the West coast. Review is from notes taken on 6/18/2011 and poured from the bottle to a snifter.

Appearance: Pour is a nice dark brown with some ruby and burgundy highlights; starts with a 1/4 finger, light tan head that fades to nothing other than a faint wisp and thin ring around the surface; body is dark and nearly opaque, only a few spots of lacing are left hanging around.

Smell: Nice, dry powdery cocoa and a light, toasty maltiness. Smell isn't too big, but fitting of the style.

Taste: It's alright, but I don't know if it's as good as I've been told by others; It has a dry, cocoa powder flavor to it with some bittersweet chocolate; bit of an earthy coffee roastiness; really tastes like a lot of other Oatmeal Stouts out there and runs well with them, but doesn't really stand out.

Mouthfeel: A little thin, but again, it's pretty standard for the style in my estimation; nice carbonation that is prickly, but not too sharp; a thin and dry stickiness is left on the roof of the mouth.

Overall: Not bad, and I wouldn't mind having it again, but I certainly wouldn't go out of my way for it. It's got a nice set of scents to it and matching flavors, but a thin and kind of boring body that doesn't really latch on to me; moderately low ABV certainly doesn't hurt it.

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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.

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Photo of Reagan1984
4.02/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Big shout out to my Cali trading partner Abecall98 for providing me with a couple bottles of the Velvet Merkin. (I refuse to call it by it’s toned down name)

The initial pour produces a classic 2 finger head of light tan foamy head. This lasts for a moment or two before collapsing into a thin cap of foam. Not much in the way of lacing. Deep dark brown, and all brown.. Not really a black color.

Aroma is of cocoa powder or even baked brownies sans most of the sweetness.

Firestone Walker really always delivers, don’t they? Nice beer. The cocoa theme continues here as the flavor is smooth and consistent from front to back. Not overly complex, but it works as you just relax and let it happen. Bitterness is fairly light and rises only to give you a sense that the cocoa powder is somewhat dark. Not dark roasty and I don’t get a lot of coffee here.

Mouth feel is soft, rounded and indeed a touch velvety. Really smooth with just a slight touch of carbonation.

A nice little beer. I mostly prefer Imperial Stouts if I am in this category, but from time to time, it’s nice to lighten up a stout a bit. While I don’t like the lactose qualities of Milk Stouts, I enjoy the mouth feel produced by introducing oats into the stout. This is no exception. Nice beer to relax with.

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Photo of nhindian
4.27/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle poured into a Surly Darkness glass. Bottle provided by jodan I believe, thanks Jordan!

A - Pours a chocolate brown with tints of black in the widest part of the glass. It settles into a soft, matte black color. The head is a pillowy, light tan color, about a finger tall with fairly low retention. Lacing is sticky at first, but quickly falls back to the comfort of the liquid. There's some carbonation on the edges of the glass as well.

S - The nose on this is almost all malt. The oat is a big part of the aroma, leading the way but still going strong by the end as well. The chocolate is rich and bittersweet, like dark cacao. There's some espresso here as well, but it mainly serves to add some roast to it rather than any noticeable coffee smells. Hanging beneath everything is a subtle bourbon quality, which adds some vibrant fruits and a slight alcohol feeling.

T - The taste brings a concise version of the nose to the palate. Immediately I'm getting a lot of oatmeal here, giving the beginning a creamy jumping-off point for the rest of the flavors to follow. Again, the chocolate is the main component after the oats, giving off flavors of baker's chocolate and some bitter notes. The flavor is slightly more roasty than the nose, with a lasting impression lingering long after drinking. Thankfully, the bourbon quality in the nose returns as well, playing cheerfully in the background of the beer but still imparting it's tastiness. The finish even brings a slightly cola-like flavor.

M - Mouthfeel is moderately light-bodied with high carbonation. This beer is really smooth, but perhaps the carbonation is a tinge too high as it sort of clashes with the smoothness. I found myself instinctively swirling this between tastes in order to cut that a little. Lasting impression are oats, roastiness, and dark fruits from the bourbon.

D/O - Drinkability is high. Oatmeal stouts are one of my favorite styles if done correctly, but if not they can come off as uninspired. Firestone Walker produces a fine representation here, and the quasi-bourbon notes in here only do that much for this offering. This is a beer that I nearly finished before completing this review, as I just wanted to keep drinking it. If this ever comes to Pittsburgh, it will be a staple in my fridge.

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Photo of Siggy125
3.73/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Dark cola brown, small head dissipated quickly. Almost no lacing

smell: roasted malts, mild hopiness, slight coffee bitterness

Taste. Nice roasted maltiness, a little bit of bitter baking chocolate. Very little to no ABV presence.

Mouthfeel: A little weak in the texture for an oatmeal stout, but very decent. Very smooth drinker.

Overall a good beer to enjoy if youre not in the mood for anything big.

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Photo of Marty30
4.2/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Azurescens for this extra.12 oz bottle dated 2-24-11.Poured into a Founders snifter and fridge temp allowed to warm up for about 15 minutes.

A. Black body when held up to the light appears to be dark brown. Leaves about a 1 finger offwhite creamy head.leaves behind good lacing.

S. Big milk chocolate notes followed up with coffee,dried oats and granola.

T. Dark chocolate and coffee and a little bit of roasted flavor.Very nice flavor of oats.Good hop bitterness.

M. Good medium feel for this,nice carbonation.Smooth very drinkable.

Overall I thought this beer was excellent,maybe my favorite oatmeal stout to date.Firestone Walker just keeps moving up my list.

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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.

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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.

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Photo of Alieniloquium
3.88/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle poured into a goblet.

Appearance - Deep brown, looks black in the glass, but you can see through the edges. Almost no head and no lacing. I am unimpressed.

Smell - Wow, it smells great. The aroma is just as good as a much larger stout. Strong coffee aroma with chocolate a roasted malts. I am more optimistic now.

Taste - Coffee up front and chocolate in the finish. Slight hop bitterness in the finish makes the chocolate taste dark. Mmm. It's good. Surprisingly good, in fact.

Mouthfeel - Well, at 5.5%, it's tough to end up with a heavy stout. Creamy, but low in alcohol. It's a good combination to make it a good low ABV stout.

Overall - I edited this review because I didn't think it was great the first time. Now I think it's quite tasty. I'm beginning to appreciate low ABV stout. They pack a big flavor without being 15% and diabetically sweet.

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Photo of Gosox8787
4.1/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Presentation: 12 oz. stubby bottle poured into a Dogfish Head snifter glass. Served at room temperature.

Appearance: Dark brown, almost black, in color. A nice, two finger beige head and good retention.

Aroma: Coffee, milk chocolate, and a touch of caramel all in good balance. Nice combination of roasty and sweet.

Taste: A really nice, approachable flavor profile highlighted by nice coffee and chocolate notes. Again, the balance of sweetness from the caramel and chocolate pairs great with the coffee. Some small earthy hop notes underneath as well. Very well done and to style.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied and creamy. Coats the mouth nicely.

Overall, a really pleasant and balanced oatmeal stout. All the flavors are in good balance. A really nice oatmeal stout.

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Photo of LiquidBread219
3.7/5  rDev -7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

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.

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

Basically black with med-big tan head slowly shirnking to a foamy ring and some nice lace.

Aroma is rich coffee/mocha, roasted malt, dark, rich toast, hint of molasses-gingerbread, some fermented winey prune joining later.

Taste is nice, smooth & mellow but flavourful and balanced. It has fermented prunes, rasiiny bread up front with light oatmeal sourness behind, dry roastiness, hints of coffee and choclate, woody-peppery spicy light bitterness. It has a little complexity and good, solid depth of character, and is highly drinkable.

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Photo of Bennettrox
3.75/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Pitch black aggressive pour, didn't leave much of a head. Half finger tan.

S - Oatmeal, roasted malts, a little bittersweet chocolate

T - Very tasty. Follows the nose with roasted malts, oatmeal, and a sweetness to follow. Not picking up the coffee as much as others, I'm just fine with that.

M - Creamy and delicious. This one has a full body with moderate carbonation. Goes down very easy and feels good in the mouth.

O - Enjoyable oatmeal stout. Pretty good example of this style all around, would have no problem putting several of these down.

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Photo of nickshep7
4.07/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours black with a 3 finger light tan head. The smell is a combination of fresh roasted coffee and dark malts. Some chocolate now coming through. Initial taste is all coffee and finishes with a decent amount of bitterness from the hops. Mouthfeel is good though I wish it was a bit thicker. Overall, a solid brew.

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Photo of badboyrsl84
4.05/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours Jet black with tan/white 2 inch head that laces the glass as it fades

Smell - I get lots and lots of roasted oats and malt. A hint chocolate (Both sweet and burnt). there is no hop character.

Taste - Very smooth taste! Follows the nose really well. it starts out with a toasty oats and burnt chocolate and and with more sweet chocolate and an oaty finish. I get some chocolate in the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel - Its super smooth and easy to drink. Nothing really overpowers you but the flavors work together like a championship team to bring you a win in the flavor department.

Overall - I can't complain and can easily see myself drinking more than one in a session. Beautiful.

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Photo of olmatty
3.88/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance-Pours a deep black color with a sticky tan head head.

Smell-Coffee and roasty almost burnt roast aroma, but not harsh or astringent and certainly not unpleasant.

Taste-Smooth balance of roast, burnt coffee grounds, chocolate, and a sour oaty finish that smooths out the whole thing. Hop bitterness hits the front of the tongue at the very end and lingers. fading gradually.

Mouthfeel-Creamy, smooth

Overall-A very nice oatmeal stout, perhaps one of the best. Why is this no longer Merkin?

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Photo of HopHead84
4.35/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

4/3/2011

Drinking this beer in honor of my mother's birthday. Happy Birthday, Mom! I hope you appreciate what I'm doing for you. Poured into a snifter.

A: Deep brown with a creamy light brown head. Good retention.

S: Aroma shows a little coffee with a moderate roasted malt character. Nice soft oatmeal profile blends with chocolate and a mellow and well integrated bourbon element. There's a light biscuit note and a dash of nut character.

F: Flavor is dry with a blend of chocolate and coffee. Low level of earthy bitterness and a lower moderate roasted malt profile with a dash of toasted character. Bourbon is tame and goes very well with the chocolate and oatmeal. The balance of flavors is superb.

M: Excellent mouthfeel. Creamy and silky. Medium in body with moderate carbonation.

Overall: A fantastic beer. Highly drinkable and enjoyable, and at a great price.

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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.

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Photo of ThreeWiseMen
4.13/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Split a growler with my roommate, JustinA1, last week. The following review is based on notes taken at that time.

Poured (repeatedly) into a New Belgium globe.

Appearance: A thick, light brown, layer of foam sits atop a pitch black body. Head shows excellent retention and drags thick, clumpy lacing. Light barely penetrates the outermost edges when directly back-lit; I'm willing to call this one opaque.

Smell: Oats, wholegrain bread, dark chocolate, roasted malt, and coffee. A touch of salt also appears in deeper whiffs. Although this version doesn't smell as complex as previous experiences, it boasts a hearty grainy/bready character that softens up the heavy roast aromas. I dig.

Taste: Dark chocolate, oats, wholegrain bread, coffee, roasted malt, and caramel. Very smooth and balanced; harmonious. Alcohol creeps in just a bit as it warms. Roast and oat flavors cling to the palate deep into the aftertaste. Well done.

Mouthfeel: Creamier and more full-bodied than most oatmeal stouts. Very smooth and soft with fine carbonation; velvety, as implied by the name. Long-lasting and enjoyable aftertaste.

Overall: Very tasty, smooth, and balanced - an excellent example of the style!

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Photo of HotHands
4.05/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - pours jet black with a nice tan head.

S - chocolate and burned, roasty malt.

T - A fairy dry interpretation of the style. Malty and roasty up front with a nice bitterness that lingers quite a while. Finish is long and coffee-like. I like that the hops here are well-integrated. Sometimes in stouts they just get in the way but this feels like a fluid transition from malt to hop.

M - good carbonation and a bit of a silky feel from the oatmeal.

Overall - a very nice interpretation of the style. I tend to prefer single stouts and porters over the big boys except on really special occasions so this was right up my alley.

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Photo of birchstick
3.82/5  rDev -4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - pours a black color with huge head with a taupe head

S - smells of sweet grainy malts with a touch of burnt malt and a lot of sweet chocolate

T / M- starts off with the chocolate and grain malts that goes down silky and smoothly. Next up is a burst of grapefruit hops with a bit of burnt malts / coffee. Very rich and smooth for the style. Very good stuff.

D - pretty solid oatmeal stout. I really enjoyed this the more it warmed. Very rich for what it is. Big thanks extended to BarrytheBear for sending this extra my way!

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Photo of Urbancaver
4.47/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a beautiful black with a lot of nice thick creamy head. Smells very chocolatey. A nice solid sweetness that couples with a touch of dryness. Very smooth and rich on the tongue. A wonderful light chocolatey flavor that is very solid. Overall the mouthfeel is just wonderful. A very solid brew

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Photo of PintOHops
3.97/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Glass - Tulip

A - Nice dark black color with basically no transparency. It produced a 2-finger tan head that held decently. A bit of a ring held atop my beer but no lacing was left.

S - Rich roasted coffee notes and dark chocolate. A very rich malt aroma here, I can pick up soft leafy hop notes but that's about it. As it warmed a bit I got some toffee notes in there.

T - Upfront a get a bit of tartness that reminds me of the acidity in coffee. Flavors unfold to dark chocolate and very roasty coffee notes. It finishes with a bit of leafy hop flavors but mild, and lingering dark chocolate notes. Bitterness is very very mild here.

M - Soft crispness with a bit of a creamy feel and a lite-medium body.

O - Overall I really liked this beer. It reminded me of lots of other great oatmeal stouts Ive had in the past. I think I would have liked a creamy texture but that's just a picky thought I just had. Very very drinkable and a wonderful flavor profile. I'd definitely buy this one again and I recommend this fine brew to any stout and porter lover. Cheers!

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

glass: Tulip

Black colored body. Rich 2-finger mocha colored head.

Dark chocolate, light cherry, a nuttiness and faint airy/milky aroma that may be indeed from the oatmeal. A little toffy and caramel.

A pillow of rich malt flavor. It's creamy and light yet has a sting from the carbonation. Rich dark chocolate, mocha and a touch of toffee. tart cherry through the middle. A dry floral flavor that may be from the hops and alcohol (although ABV is pretty low).

Such an easy drinking outmeal stout. I like it.

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Velvet Merlin from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
89 out of 100 based on 661 ratings.