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Velvet Merlin - Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Velvet MerlinVelvet Merlin

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

621 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 621
Hads: 2,753
Avg: 3.98
pDev: 21.11%
Wants: 220
Gots: 494 | 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:
Beer added by: largadeer on 11-13-2008

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.

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Reviews: 621 | Hads: 2,753
Photo of Chiefy770
4.5/5  rDev +13.1%

12 Fluid Ounce Bottle
Bottled on October 3rd, 2014
Reviewed on December 7th, 2014
Served in a Nonic Pint Glass

Rich dark brown body with a slight amber hue. A sizeable tan head, roughy 2 inches deep, collapsed and left a modest amount of lacing.

Sweet cream, coffee, and chocolate. Toasted malts made a much anticipated appearance as well.

Creamy notes of toasted malts and chocolate. Great bitterness, similar to the kind found in a good cup of coffee. Not as sweet as the nose suggested, which I found to be a good thing. Light carbonation. Full body. Overall a very smooth brew.

Very nice Oatmeal Stout. Not as heavy as others of this variety but packs a ton of great flavours.

90 (A-)

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Photo of bubseymour
4.5/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Very strong oatmeal smell with a hint of chocolate. The most "oaty" smell stout I think I've had. Very flavorful stout with a perfect balance of hints of chocolate, coffee, hops, roast and oats. Really well balanced and quite enjoyable for a standard level stout. Highly recommend.

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Photo of billshmeinke
4.5/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle poured into a standard pint.

Dark brown almost black body. Light beige one finger head that dies down to a layer of foam on top leaving nice lacing behind.

Smells of roast, oak, and a slight hint of char. A touch of brown sugar too.

Taste follows smell. Roasty malt, oak, vanilla, rolled oats and brown sugar. Not very sweet though.

The mouthfeel is quite rich and full bodied. Luscious in fact. A nice balance between slight sweetness and dryness with a slightly roasty/bitter finish.

A really session-able and awesome beer for the alcohol content. It tastes like a much bigger beer than it really is. Not in terms of tasting alcoholic, but in terms of being full of flavor.

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Photo of TheRealBigC
4.5/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Wooo this is a great stout! Black body with a thick head. Roasty, chocolately aroma and flavor. Ultra creamy, nay, velvety mouthfeel that just slides down your throat. This brewery is on the rise and for good reason. Every new brew from these guys gets me excited and they deliver a surprisingly large amount of the time.

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Photo of Dlish
4.5/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A-nothing amazing little bit of head, but dies quickly i guess normal for a stout

S- Prob the biggest let down of this beer, is it smell or lack of it. I get a bit of coffee and dark malts, maybe a hint of oak.

T- Now this is really good. Very up front cream, a very smooth malt profile. Coffee and bit of chocolates. Also get like a whole grain oat flavor. probably from the oatmeal

M- Great the creaminess works well with carbonation.

D- This is great, I love the low alcohol percent and the great flavors. I will be buying this 6 pack a lot this winter.

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Photo of Cyberkedi
4.5/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Comes out of the tap a dark-chocolate brown just a few whiskers above black with a thick tan head. Strong, smoky aroma has rich notes of chocolate, quality coffee and licorice. Mouth-filling, smoky flavor delights the taste buds with molasses, coffee, chocolate and licorice - a liquid feast. Sweet and hop-bitter hints balance each other nicely. Texture has full body and plenty of fizz. Magically delicious. ;)

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Photo of pwoods
4.48/5  rDev +12.6%
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.

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Photo of nlmartin
4.48/5  rDev +12.6%
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.

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

32 oz growler from Big Hops in San Antonio, TX.

A - Pours black with half a finger of mocha head. There is a reddish brown around the edges when held up to the light.

S - Lots of coffee, chocolate, and oats in the aroma.

T - I get a good amount of roasted coffee, chocolate, and creamy oats in this. It's sweet and roasty with a great balance. Minimal bitterness.

M - Moderate-to-thick body with low-to-moderate carbonation. True to its name, this is velvety smooth and creamy. There is a lingering roasted coffee/chocolate stickiness in the mouth.

O - A dangerously drinkable brew from FW. The coffee, chocolate, and oats mesh incredibly well and the smooth mouthfeel make this one of my favorite oatmeal stouts.

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

12oz bottle rec'd from romwarrior into a Duvel Tulip

A: Pours a nearly opaque black with dark reddish-brown highlights on the edges when held almost directly in front of the light. A thin beige foam holds for a bit and then fades.

S: Roasted malts with distinct french roast coffee and bittersweet chocolate notes. Grain-y malt character also comes through in the smell. No hop aroma to speak of.

T: A crisp roast leads the way while all of coffee and bittersweet chocolate flavors from the aroma follow along and last through the finish. A very nice medley of roasted flavors without being harsh. A very slight sweetness mingles, but this is a roast show. A quite enjoyable one at that. Hop bitterness and flavor is a bit player.

M: Spot on for an Oatmeal Stout. Smooth and silky; the body helps keep the finish from being too dry, but with just enough carbonation so that it doesn't coat your mouth. It's just short of being creamy. Smooth with a light drying sensation from the roasted barley. I just keep wanting to drink more.

D: Fantastic. While the body is silkier than a dry irish stout, it's not heavy. The roast level is perfect and leaves me wanting more after the beer is in my belly. At 5.5%, it's a nice relatively lightweight beer. It's perfect for a chilly day

O: An outstanding beer that I would buy in bulk to have until springtime. I wouldn't change a thing.

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

A: black body, Tan head

S: creamy oatmeal and coffee a very nice roasted note as well

T: Roasted malt and coffee very smooth finish super full beer for only 5.5 % ABV and a very nice sweetness in this beer

M: med mouth med carbonation

D: very drinkable!

Overall: one of the best stouts I have ever had a great beer man!

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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 peacebone116
4.47/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Picked up at the brewery in Paso on 12/26/11; poured into tulip glasses.

A: Quickly fading khaki head that rests upon a deep dark brown body. There is considerable lacing on the legs and visible carbonation along all sides of the glass at the pour.

N: Rich coffee and chocolate.

T/M: Beer follows the nose with a wonderful roasty characteristic. There is a subtle tartness in the middle that compliments the malt's sweetness; this aspect, as it warms becomes complex and somewhat boozy. The body is light to medium, with an oily texture that coats the mouth with a wonderfully even bitterness. Even after three days in the growler, there is enough carbonation.

Overall, this is a wonderful stout. It is complex and tasty despite the fact that it is not imperialized, which seems to be a bit of a neglected concept.

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

Poured a deep brown-black into a tulip with two fingers of light khaki head (excellent retention). Strong and balanced roasty aroma of cocoa, coffee, toast, and vanilla.

Moderate carbonation and a full, ultra-creamy mouthfeel. Milk chocolate up front followed by toasted biscuit. Slightly bitter espresso on the finish with more hints of cocoa.

Excellent aroma, full-flavored and very smooth. None of the individual flavors bowled me over, but this is one balanced, easy-drinking stout!

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

Pours a VERY dark brown with a thick creamy off-white/tan head. Scent is very roasty with hints of coffee and oats. Very pleasant scent. Taste is just as it smells. This beer has so much flavor for a regular oatmeal stout. I've had imperial oatmeal stouts that didn't taste this good. The coffee, roasted oats, and light hoppiness blend together so well. Very balanced. Mouthfeel is creamy and "velvety." Again, was expecting this to be a bit on the watery side due to not being imperial and having this somewhat low ABV, but I was wrong. Even some reviewers before me said this was a bit on the watery side, but I beg to differ. Drinkability is HIGH! I'm very glad they bottled this delicious oatmeal stout!

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Photo of JerUrbans
4.46/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours jet black with tan head that dissipates quickly

Smell is of coffee and chocolate.

Taste is really good, I get roasted coffee and chocolate, roasted malts, a hint of vanilla and burnt sugar.

Mouthfeel is silky and smooth.

Overall, I love oatmeal stouts, probably my favorite style and this is an excellent one. Very easy drinking, would be great with some baby back ribs. Love the sweetness on my lips after every drink. Highly recommend this one.

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Photo of Murchmac
4.45/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Been drinking this beer for years on tap as Merkin, I get the name change, glad the recipe didnt.

This is about the most perfect oatmeal stout you can buy. Worth trading for, worth buying, worth drinking.

Just delicious goodness in a pint glass. Roasty, chocolatey, thick mouthfeel, coffee all blended perfectly.

By Merlin Olsens beard, get this.

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Photo of hitter114
4.45/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Another tasty brew from FS walker for breakfast today

A: Brown with tan head, can see through some of it in the light
S: Oatmeal roastiness, great smell
T: Great... drinkable and light but flavorful and has all the good qualities of stouts (roasty chocolate coffee a little) and a nice hoppy addition
M: refreshing but with a presence

O: Gem from Firestone. Great beer and great price 9.99 A SIXER. These guys can make beer

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Photo of jvillefan
4.45/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Velvet Merlin

A: Deep brown with a mocha colored lace head.

S: There is heavy roast aromas with chocolate and toffee.

T: Nice lighter chocolate, coffee, and toffee flavors. This is one of the better non barrel aged stouts out there.

M: It has a nice viscosity and mild carbonation

O: Great beer, worth getting if you can get it.

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Photo of DefenCorps
4.44/5  rDev +11.6%
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.

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Photo of SavvyStudent
4.44/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: pours pitch black with a toffee foam head and solid lacing.
S: Cocoa, coffee, sweet malts and syrup
T: amazingly flavorful for an oatmeal stout. Coffee, oats, bitter malts and some sweetness coming through
M: creamy with very little carbonation and medium heavy as expected out of a stout
O: Another potent creation from firestone that is delish

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Photo of Wes-Cat
4.43/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

This is my go-to oatmeal stout. The head isn't huge, it's sort of dark brown atop the black stout below that fades relatively fast. It smells like oatmeal stout. It tastes great, semi-sweet and coffee-y. The feel is different from many other stouts in that it isn't heavy, but also makes it feel much more accessible. It's a hot night, you're sitting at your desk, and you can reach for this over the really heavy beers. It's only 5.5 or 5.6%, but it tastes great. It's sort of session-y for a stout. Oh and on tap is even better.

Why did they change the label from the dope silver one? Bah.

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Photo of Gatch
4.43/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Served from the beer engine at Papago Brewing Co. in Scottsdale, AZ.

A - Slowly settles in a thick, tar black with a thin, smooth, beige head. Looks like the top of a latte in a coffee shop.

S - Heavy roasted malt in the nose with smoked and charred meat.

T - Tastes like a stout milkshake. Chocolate and roasted malt dominate. Not a lot of depth if you're looking for several characteristics to describe it. Seriously just like melted chocolate.

M - As you'd expect from a cask, it's extremely smooth. A sweet, chocolate aftertaste that lingers. You can taste and feel the difference between cask and draft. Two very different beers, in a good way. Velvet Merlin is one of the better oatmeal stouts in production. Plain and simple.

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Photo of gregb13
4.42/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours very dark with minimal head; nice sticky lacing. Smells very strongly of coffee with some chocolate. Taste follows the nose, along with some added oaty character. Mouthfeel is medium and somewhat viscous. Overall this is excellent, better than others of the style (Samuel Smith Oatmeal Stout comes to mind). Highly recommended.

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Photo of lnashsig
4.42/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Snosage22 for the chance to taste this one. I've been intrigued with Firestone Walker, and happy to have the chance to review one of their beers. Bottle dated 2-24-11. Poured into my dfh snifter, pours a light bodied consistency, pitch black color, nice off white head emerges, but recedes quickly and completely. Smell- chocolate, with a watery but enjoyable light scent. Definitely smell the oatmeal here. Light scent of coffee grind. its faint, but its there. taste- nice milk chocolate, met with immediate nice carbonation, and there is the coffee grind in the back. Mouthfeel- its pretty light bodied for an oatmeal stout, but it works well with the tight carbonation. Drinkability- for a 5% beer, this one packs a ton of flavor and is really enjoyable.

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Velvet Merlin from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
89 out of 100 based on 621 ratings.