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Velvet Merlin - Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Velvet MerlinVelvet Merlin

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
89
very good

593 Reviews
THE BROS
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no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 593
Hads: 2,640
rAvg: 3.98
pDev: 9.3%
Wants: 211
Gots: 442 | 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: 593 | Hads: 2,640
Photo of DaverCS
4.2/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured little to no head. Moderate carbonation. Not too much lacing.

I get a very nice nose on this beer. I get tons of roasted coffee and intense dark chocolate ... Almost like pure coco powder. Heavy malts also present on the nose.

Taste doesn't match the richness of the nose. The intensity of the flavor is pretty flat and watery. Up front I get carbonation and wateriness followed by mild malt, mild coffee, and mild chocolate. Touch of hops at the finish.

Overall not worth the time. Pretty watery and not too much flavor despite the deceiving nose. I would pair it with smoked brisket or a porcini mushroom rubbed hangar steak. I give it a 83.5/100 (658 characters)

Photo of drdiesel9483
4.24/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Look - normal stout look
Smell - coffee cocoa smell.
Taste - great toasty cocoa taste
Feel - full body with medium carbonation. Fantastic creamy feel.
Overall - incredible oatmeal stout! (187 characters)

Photo of SABERG
3.54/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle dated 11/21/14 into a modified tulip glass.
A - Translucent, pour light slips through with little effort, initially a big
carbonation charge, settles down, leaving a thin off white cap.
S - Milk chocolate, light brown sugar and raisins, Reminds me of breakfast.
Oatmeal with yes, raisins and a sprinkle of light brown sugar. As the beer warms,
more cocoa notes develop, buried way in the back hides a little fig to tease the senses.
T - Medium roast malt, a kiss of black paten, slightly sweet, with ever present light cocoa. A delicate touch of hops tilts to a crispness that is quite pleasant.
F - Thin in body, with the light carbonation combine to leave a lot of edges. Velvet it is not, as an oatmeal stout it could use a fuller feel IMO. The beginning is muted, the finish like a quite exit, with no calling card.
O - I fell like there is something missing in this oatmeal stout, with respect to FW who do some great things. There take on this style is a little short.
Cheer all (1,014 characters)

Photo of Jwale73
3.8/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

12oz. bottle served in a shaker pint. 11/13/14 printed on the label. Pours an inky black with a loose, quarter inch, tan-colored head that sizzles and pops and slowly dissipates towards the shoulders. Nose expresses roast, cocoa and a suggestion of artificial sweetener. Taste follows nose - coffee notes are somewhat reminiscent of coffee syrup. There's also some flaked outs in there; however, the flavor profile all comes off a bit thin. Mouthfeel is light-medium in body (but closer to light) with a water texture and a prickly carbonation. Overall, a decent oatmeal stout but I was expecting a bit more. I wouldn't mind giving this one a shot on nitro. (665 characters)

Photo of DeepBrew
3.56/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured from 12 oz bottle into snifter.

A: Dark mahogany color with some foam, that disappeared quickly. Little lacing.

S: Some hop smell initially, faded almost immediately.

T: Roasted malts and coffee with very discrete hops, but without the bitterness. Taste improves as it warms and the coffee lingers pleasantly.

M: Medium-low mouthfeel and carbonation.

O: Smooth and drinkable, muted but pleasant flavors. (415 characters)

Photo of TheDoctor
4.02/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Service: Bottle
Bottled on: Sept-18-2014


A:
Pours an opaque black with two fingers of tiny-bubbled tan head that settles at a film that can occasionally be roused. OK retention; some isolated spots of lacing. (3.75)

S:
Sweet, creamy, inviting. Oats, brown sugar, milk chocolate, coffee, leather, vanilla. (4.25)

T:
Sweet and creamy. Rich, hearty chocolate flavors with oat mellowness, molasses, and Coke. (4)

M:
Light-medium body and silky with a soda-like carbonation, drinkable, slight pleasant aftertaste. (3.75)

O:
Very good Oatmeal Stout.
This beer is nice and substantial while still not huge. Something I love about oatmeal stouts.
The aroma is the first thing that hits you. It's really warm, creamy and rich and the taste (creamy mocha and toasted oats) follows suit. On down through the palate it gets progressively less 'rich'. The pop-like carbonation and thin feel kind of take away from the decadence of the rest of it for me, but also mean it is pretty easy drinking. Same goes for the slight Coke/Dr. Pepper vibe I get in the flavor... : )
Would definintely have again; worth trying if happened upon. (4) (1,140 characters)

Photo of jooler
3.8/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Smells like coffee and a hint of chocolate. Initial taste was pretty flat but the more I drank, the smoother it becomes. It is really good, better than continental breakfast stout from butchers brewing. The finish is lacking (224 characters)

Photo of keithmurray
3.73/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Appearance - dark mahogany nearly black beer with dark tan head

Smell - roasted malts, coffee bean, chocolate, oats

Taste - similar to the aroma with roasted malts, coffee bean, chocolate and oats

Mouthfeel - medium bodied, medium carbonation, slight sweetness upfront, flavors coat the palate on the back end

Overall - decent example of the style, worth a try

Price Point - $1.89/12 oz single (398 characters)

Photo of Jeffo
3.67/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Got this one from Doopie a few weeks back. Cheers for the brew man!

From a bottle into a snifter
Bottled 18 September 2014

APPEARANCE: A clear brown pour yields a two finger, medium looking, fizzy, light tan head with half decent retention. Head fizzes down to a ring only. Clear bistre brown body with slightly higher levels of carbonation evident. Only a ring remains until the end leaving no lacing down the glass.

SMELL: Roasted notes, dark chocolate, some oats, caramel and light vanilla on the nose. Some leather and lightly burnt coffee aromas as well.

TASTE: Oats, roasted notes with chocolate and sweet caramel at the swallow. Medium strength finish of oats, lightly burnt grain, caramel sweetness, some chocolate and vanilla notes as well. Flavorful for sure, with burnt grain and leather lingering.

PALATE: Medium body and slightly higher levels of carbonation. Creamy on the palate, goes down smooth and finishes a bit sticky.

OVERALL: Good stuff. A bit over-carbonated perhaps, but perhaps that’s just the case with this particular batch. Color is a touch lighter than I’d expect as well, but that can be forgiven. A solid brew that I quite enjoyed. Cheers for the gift man! (1,202 characters)

Photo of Harvest06
4.25/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A: dark brown to blackish with reddish hues
S: Coffee & Chocolate notes with a beady earthy maltiness.
T: Coffee, chocolate, bread.
M: Medium body.
O: A light yet complex ale that increases in complexity as it warms. Sets the standard for a session-able oatmeal stout. (268 characters)

Photo of puboflyons
3.86/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

From the 12 fl. oz. bottle stamped 09/25/14. Sampled on December 24, 2014.

It pours a deep dark charcoal black with ruby red hues and a modest, short lived tan head.

The aroma is of dark malts, oatmeal, and coffee.

The body is better than medium but I would not call it bold and heavy.

The taste has a nice coffee and dark malt character with that oatmeal and the bitterness is mild at the end. It is quite easy to drink. (426 characters)

Photo of ronniebruner
2.77/5  rDev -30.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Gotta say right off the bat I was disappointed in this brew as I have thoroughly enjoyed all the other Firestone beers I have had. It could just be a bad batch I presume, but it is hard to say. The beer is very black, almost too black to be enjoyable considering the horrid burnt wood taste. It is nowhere as thick as other stouts and it took me several weeks to finish this 6 pack off. Overall I have a very high opinion of Firestone Walker and would rate it as one of the top 3 breweries in the state of California, but I have to say this really was just not that great. Not terrible, but just not worth the time or money. (628 characters)

Photo of brureview
3.75/5  rDev -5.8%

Bottle date; 9/18

Poured a dark opaque coffee brown color in a stein with a 2F head.

Aroma: very bitter chocolate.

The mouth feel seems very carbonated.

The taste is predominantly chocolate, with a touch of oats. There isn't a coffee nor lemon taste
which I have found in Sam Smith stout. The bitterness also transitions from the aroma.

I would have liked a smoother stout. There is no creamy texture present in other Oatmeal stouts, nor lemon.

One of my favorite Oatmeal stouts is brewed by Sam Smith: lighter texture, more oats, coffee,
and lemon. Perhaps the beer should have been tasted fresher, but it is within the date ranger recommended by the brewer. (665 characters)

Photo of Stoutanddark
4.25/5  rDev +6.8%

classic notes of chocolate ,coffee,toffee and a light hint of residual aged bourbon from the barreling . Rich, decadent, with a nice mouth feel. Very black indicating a much heavier brew however actually quite drinkable for a Oat stout.

Firestone takes pride in replicating American versions of wordly traditional brews. Here all the flavors of a big oat stout with a much lighter drink-ability and moderate ABV of 5,5%.

A solid cold weather offering to enjoy without over filling meaning you could probably have more than one before a sit down dinner and room for one or two after without feeling bloated
and heavy.

$7.99 a six pack at Bevmo = about a $1.70 a bottle . Quite a value when considering the costs of English oat stouts.

Only draw back seasonal however a winter offering . Cheers! (817 characters)

Photo of CTbrew32
4.1/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Appearance- Pours a one finger, creamy, white/mocha head. Jet black color.

Aroma- Great aroma consisting of milk chocolate, bready/oats, and very faint roast notes. Smells like chocolate cake or pancakes.

Taste- From start to finish milk chocolate flavors are front and center alongside dry brown sugar bread flavors and dry oats which help clean the palate. Chocolate becomes less pronounced as it warms up oddly, but sweetness from the oats makes up for that slight loss.

Mouthfeel- Medium/full mouthfeel with chocolate malts coating the mouth and the oats providing a dry palate cleansing finish. Very smooth and easy to drink.

Overall- Amongst all the high abv stouts the lower abv stouts can be overlooked too frequently. However, Velvet Merlin is a great stout that does a few great things rather than a bunch of average things. (846 characters)

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

Eyes
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.

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

Mouth
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.

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

90 (A-) (720 characters)

Photo of Sparty1224
3.75/5  rDev -5.8%

Serving: 12 oz. bottle poured into a stout glass. Dated 9/25/14, so just over 2 months old.

A: Pour pitch black, minimal carbonation. Very thin and watery appearing.

S: Lots of smoked and roasted malt. A hint of burnt coffee.

T: Some smoked, roasty flavors up front. Subtle coffee flavors. Not a very impactful flavor, very mild. Rather watery and clean aftertaste. Drinks way less than 5.5% for me.

M: Thin and watery. Drinks like a session stout.

O: As you can maybe sense, I'm not crazy about this beer, which is unfortunate because I had high hopes for it. Bought it along with Merkin, and I'm worried that barrel-aging this beer may only make it worse because the base is so weak. But we'll see. Anyway, this beer was just not very strong or memorable. It was very one-dimensional. Basically roasted and smoked malt with very little character or depth. The thin mouthfeel was also a minus as I like my stouts very full. If this was maybe re-branded as a session stout, it could do well.

Recommendation: Seek out only if you're a diehard FW fan. There's better oatmeal stouts out there. (1,101 characters)

Photo of byronic
4.25/5  rDev +6.8%

Pours dark as the night leaving behind a trace of lacing which remains persitant for the glass. Very mild yet quite on point mixture of coffee and chocolate and roasted oats. A touch of bitterness smoothed out by the chocolate and perhaps a touch of vanilla. The finish is quite sublime. Silky smooth and incredibly easy to drink. Very light yet offering some complexity. Hoping that it improves further with age. (413 characters)

Photo of wac9
4.25/5  rDev +6.8%

my new favorite oatmeal stout wow just stunning creamy dark yummy its good going down looks great in your glass everything you want in a oatmeal stout (151 characters)

Photo of jellikit
4.25/5  rDev +6.8%

Bottle.
Appearance: dark, dark brown to black with a brownish, ruby hue when held to light. Clear. Thin head. Thin lacing that dissipates.
Smell: bread dough. Roasted cocoa nibs.
Taste: clean, slightly roasted, light coffee flavor.
Mouthfeel: medium-low carbonation. Medium to medium high body. Dry.
Overall: easy drinking stout. Balanced extremely well. Great gateway stout for non dark beer drinkers. Would buy again. (432 characters)

Photo of huntley101888
4.2/5  rDev +5.5%

Aroma - smells sweet with notes of coffee and toffee maybe a bit of chocolate, but mostly the first two. 11/12

Appearance - Inky black color. No light is getting through this thing. Half a finger of tan head dissapated very quickly to a thin ring of foam around the surface of the glass. 3/3

Flavor - The obvious flavors are coffee and bitter chocolate up front. Those lead to the oaty sweetness that you'd expect in an oatmeal stout. I'm going to sound crazy here, but the sweetness taste reminds me of the smell of pumpkin puree. Please don't interpret that as this is a pumpkin beer, but that's what's in my brain. 18/20

Mouthfeel - lightly carbed, which is appropriate for style. Creamy mouthfeel - not too heavy but not too thin. 5/5

Overall - This is a very good oatmeal stout and is true to style. If you're looking for a good stout, try this one. 9/10 (863 characters)

Photo of TruePerception
3.59/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Firestone's Velvet Merlin, oatmeal stout. A light one, at 5.5% ABV.

A: A lot of head on this one; about two and a half fingers, and I didn't even manage to get all the beer in the glass. I almost over poured, too. Slightly fluffy, pancake-colored head. A bit of lacing. Pure black, with a golden brown in the dimple.

S: Dark, yet soft aroma. Dark coffee and char. Not getting much else. Maybe a touch of really dark chocolate. A hint of oat sweetness in the background.

T/MF: A lot of char on the palate, with a slight upturn of dark, powdered cocoa towards the end. A touch of sweet graphite. Soft, but not the typical velvety softness you get in a good oatmeal stout. Hint of black coffee on the finish.

I'm a bit disappointed with this one. Maybe it's just a bad year for Firestone's Velvet line, in general. I had heard a lot of good things about this one.

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle, into a Belgian tulip glass. (922 characters)

Photo of cosmicevan
4.25/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bottled 10/24/14 enjoyed from a FW snifter.

a - none more black, thin off grey cap.

s - nose is a really delicate roasted chocolate. Velvety indeed. The oatmeal gives a really nice full oaty smell

t/m/o - picks up where the nose leaves off with a really nice full bodied roasted bakers chocolate. Oaty and full. Silky smooth and easy drinker with a decent amount of char. Worth checking out. (396 characters)

Photo of spacecake9
3.5/5  rDev -12.1%

Pours black. In a blind taste I would have called this a coffee porter. Thinner than I expected, more coffee flavor than I expected and more bitter than I expected. I was expected a thicker mouth feel and a sweeter flavor. A good beer but my rating will be lower than others. (279 characters)

Photo of metter98
4.04/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

A: The beer is very close to being jet black in color—only slight traces of dark brown are visible near the edge of the glass. It poured with a quarter finger high dark beige head that died down.
S: Light to moderate aromas of oatmeal, dark malts, and roasted malts are present in the nose.
T: Similar to the smell, the taste has flavors of dark and roasted malts along with notes of oatmeal and slight bits of sweetness towards the finish. Some hints of coffee beans are also perceptible.
M: It feels light- to medium-bodied and very smooth on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation. Faint amounts of dryness are also noticeable.
O: For a lighter oatmeal stout, this beer still offers some complexities in the taste that makes it interesting to drink.

Serving type: bottle (789 characters)

Velvet Merlin from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
89 out of 100 based on 593 ratings.