Velvet Merlin - Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
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Ratings: 2,016 | Reviews: 531 | Display Reviews Only:
4.19/5 rDev +4.2%
Appearance: Poured thick and foamy into a tulip glass.Color is a wonderfully rich deep brown/black, that cascaded into a quickly disappearing head that left some fine lacing bhynd.
Smell: This was the only part of this tasting that wasn't spectacular. Smelled rather bland and unimpressive, with a little whiff of caramel and chocolate. Could not detect any boozy impressions...which is perfect, seeing how this is only at 5.5% abv.
Taste: This is where this beer shines through. Amazing from the first hit on the tongue to the lasting impression on your palate. Wonderfully smooth and complex hints of chocolate and caramel, with virtually no bitterness at the end. This is a fine expression of an oatmeal stout.
Mouthfeel: Just what a nice oatmeal stout should be. With a wonderful medium bodied mouthfeel that just rests on your palate long after it has departed.
Overall: This is a wonderfully great example of what I think an oatmeal stout should be. Not overpowering and boozy, with a nice lingering afterthought that tells you that you just enjoyed a fine beer. Can't wait to try the barrel aged Velvet Merkin. Thanks Firestone!
10-03-2013 05:18:28 | More by bhyndthebottle
3.88/5 rDev -3.5%
A vigorous pour into my New Belgium globe glass produces a fat-two-finger thick, brown stained, dark tan colored head. The beer is a rich black color that shows some clear, brown hues around the edges if it is held up directly to the light. The nose smells of roasted grain, well browned, quite toasted whole grain bread, touches of roasted coffee and just a generally, ample dark / roasted malt character. I like that the nose escapes being sharp or acrid from the roast malt focus. There is a touch of roundness and perhaps subtle sweetness towards the finish of the aroma; this accentuates touches of chocolate and perhaps some sweet coffee ice-cream like aromatics. As the beer warms up it picks up more of a roasted nutty like character.
Light bodied and dry up front, as the beer moves across the palate it picks up a touch of perceived, and perhaps even actual sweetness. The sweetness is brought out by a very soft, subtle Bourbon barrel influence that leans towards toasted coconut and vanillin and perhaps a hint of Bourbon / oak spiciness. The barrel influence is really quite subtle, and if I didn’t know it was here, I might not have really picked it up. Ample cold coffee roast flavors are here, there is a full, whole grain toasted character here, as well as a touch of complexly browned, barley husk like notes; this last is quite smooth and integrated and adds a sort of whole grain spiciness to this brew. The body has a certain creaminess to it, my vigorous pour knocked out much of the carbonation; this is definitely light and quaffable, but I like that it has a touch of fullness to it. The finish has a lingering, slightly bitter, burnt roast character to it; this is accentuated by a light, prickly effervescence from the carbonation.
The Bourbon barrel influence is quite subtle in the aroma, I wasn’t expecting a whole lot of Bourbon character here, but it is definitely quite reduced from Velvet Merkin. In the flavor it is soft, but it is also noticeable; I do like that it was kept at a very low level here, but I almost feel like it could use a touch more as I almost feel like it is too subtle. That can be a dangerous thing though, as I definitely prefer that the barrel character be kept fairly low. Still, this is a fantastic beer and is something I am quite happy to have a 6-pack of (the $6.99 price doesn’t hurt either); the extra boost of smooth complexity from the Bourbon barrel really adds something to this beer.
09-30-2013 02:51:13 | More by Gueuzedude
3.9/5 rDev -3%
Poured from 12oz bottle into a goblet. Bottled on 1/8/13, so 8 months old.
Poured jet black, with a little under 2 fingers of oatmeal colored head. In fact the head really looks like oatmeal pancakes on the griddle. Head dissipated rather quickly tp a thin covering and collar. Lacing was decent though.
Smell was mostly roasted malt and a little grain
On taking a mouthful, was immediately hit by the roasted malt around the edge of the tongue. But was was interesting to me was that it didn't linger to much, smoothed out quite quickly to a very pleasant and grainy aftertaste. (I'm not a big fan of the stouts whose heavily roasted malts stay with you for hours, so this was enjoyable)
My only real problem with this stout was the extremely thin, almost watery mouth. Would have been a much more enjoyable drink with a medium to full finish.
Overall, I would have it again, though likely won't be scouring the shelfs for it.
09-20-2013 16:10:47 | More by MikeWard
3.8/5 rDev -5.5%
Black. Black as black can be... Surprisingly black, actually, with another surprisingly deep brown and tainted mocha colored head that foams up to a few fingers quickly, and then hastily retreats to a weak film stretched across the black hole. A few splotches of tan lacing are left near the top of the glass and that's about it. I know it's an oatmeal stout, but I wasn't expecting this level of darkness.
The aroma ventures into the cream and silky chocolate range with a mild oat undertaking and plenty of dark and lightly roasted malt. The darkness and roast don't come without a somewhat out of kilter, but nevertheless balancing, creamy sweetness - the beauty of sweet/oatmeal stouts, right? The nose shows just a touch of dark fruit in the finish... Not as captivating as I was expecting, but a decent smelling oatmeal stout nonetheless.
Velvet Merlin tricks me a little bit, as the taste is definitely more roasted than you would ever be able to anticipate just from taking a few whiffs. Lightly charred malt is met by a quieter, softer prune and dark fruit sweetness that lends every hand it has in an attempt to balance, and eventually does a respectable job of it, even if not immediately.
More milk chocolates explode about halfway through, flowing into a graciously soft and dry oat filled finish. Sweetness is contempt, yet notable and overall balanced pretty well with the roast and the dry oats. The mouth feel of this beer doesn't swoon me with its sexy silkiness like oatmeal stouts should (and like many of them do), so I must dock it a few points in that regard.
Velvet Merlin is a pretty good oatmeal stout all around, but it really wasn't a mind-blowing or incredible experience for me, and there are certainly some options that are more local to me that I'd take over it (New Holland's The Poet, or even Rogue's Shakespeare, as much as I hate Rogue and their business practices... but that's neither here nor there). Really good, but not legendary.
09-17-2013 11:24:45 | More by tectactoe
Velvet Merlin from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
90 out of 100 based on 2,016 ratings.