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Velvet Merlin - Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

Velvet MerlinVelvet Merlin

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BA SCORE
90
outstanding

1,714 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1714
Reviews: 505
rAvg: 4.02
pDev: 10.45%


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)
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Ratings: 1,714 | Reviews: 505 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of SQUIDPORT
SQUIDPORT

California

4.43/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Had this for the first time @ the LA Beer week closing ceremony.
Recently stocked up on some 6pks. Poured into a pint glass.

A: Dark as night but not too thick, good head.

S: Coffee, chocolate, mmm I need another to reflect upon.

T: Like dipping a chocolate oatmeal cookie into your spiked coffee & drinking the remains.

M: Liquid black velvet!

D: Goes down smooth, great to drink! Especially after drinking a few 10% ABV beers. Then you can drink it right out of the bottle & it still tastes good.

Serving type: bottle

02-04-2011 01:02:13 | More by SQUIDPORT
Photo of MaltsOfGlory
MaltsOfGlory

Oregon

4.43/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Appearance is good, at first the head looked soda-ish, but now it has settled down and looks frothy and creamy. Body is pitch black. The smell is very interesting, all it says is that it is an oatmeal stout, but it smells more like an espresso stout, all I'm really getting on the smell is coffee and a big roasty malty smell. It smells good, just different. Taste is excellent though, man, this is freaking smooth. The taste is super smooth, super easy to drink, but at the same time it is very complex. You for sure get the coffee and the roasted malt taste, but the coffee isn't quite as present as I thought it would be. Along with those two flavors you also get some chocolate and a tiny tiny tiny bitterness at the end. Super good beer here.

Serving type: bottle

02-11-2011 00:26:52 | More by MaltsOfGlory
Photo of lnashsig
lnashsig

Texas

4.43/5  rDev +10.2%
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.

Serving type: bottle

07-14-2011 01:25:40 | More by lnashsig
Photo of BerkeleyBeerMan
BerkeleyBeerMan

California

4.43/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Staid pitch black and luminous brown undertones with a finger thick creamy tan head.

Smell: Oat, chocolate, blueberry, cafe espresso and chocolate moose. Slight bitterness

Taste: British hops, earthy and herbal. Granite charcoal malts. Coffee. Sweet fruit. Blackberry. Dry charcoal malt finish.

Mouthfeel: Beautifully balanced, smooth and tasty treat. Full flavored and not too heavy. Medium malt texture. Savory.

Overall: A great beer for the price. You can pick this one up on sale seasonally at Trader Joe's. About a $1.20 a beer. Drinkable. I only wish it was available year round.

Serving type: bottle

10-17-2011 05:27:22 | More by BerkeleyBeerMan
Photo of gregb13
gregb13

California

4.43/5  rDev +10.2%
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.

Serving type: bottle

12-04-2011 09:24:42 | More by gregb13
Photo of tobelerone
tobelerone

Connecticut

4.43/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Finally got to try this one while on the west coast over Christmas. We only get a handful of FW beers on the east coast at the moment, which is a shame, because I’ve really enjoyed them all and I’d buy this one on a regular basis if I could.

This is a tasty and very easy drinking beer. Pours dark brown, almost black, with a smallish head and minimal lacing. Opaque. A roasty aroma of coffee and vanilla, a touch of sweetness and a bit of a bitter note.

The flavor is all of those things: roasted, with coffee and vanilla, plus a touch of cherry, perhaps, and a general gentle sweetness, finishing with a lightly hopped bitterness. Subtle fruitiness. I’d describe this almost as a porter with coffee, chocolate, vanilla, and cherry. Bourbon and wood make an appearance as well. All of these flavors are here but they’re well balanced and none of them are all that strong despite being rather distinctive. This is not a big beer, just a very tasty one with more subtle flavor notes than one might expect. It really opens up to reveal them as it sits a bit.

The medium to thin body and lively, but not prickly, carbonation also put me more in mind of a porter than an oatmeal stout, although the creaminess of the body is fitting to the style. I really enjoyed this one, it’s definitely right up my alley, and would find a regular spot in my fridge along side Union Jack if it made it to stores over here.

Serving type: bottle

01-11-2012 16:02:48 | More by tobelerone
Photo of hopfacebrew
hopfacebrew

Colorado

4.43/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from updated bottle to pint glass. Pours a deep dark opaque brown, nearly black, with a fine 1 finger head with good retention and some lacing. The nose is that of roasty malts mixed with coffee and vanilla. Somewhat sweet and not much in terms of hop character. The flavor starts with a smooth roasted malt flavor mixed with the milder tones of coffee and vanilla and a residual sweetness. There is almost a subtle fruit flavor. Finishes extremely smooth with a hint of mild bitterness and slight woody flavor. Extremely well balanced and well crafted beer. The mouthfeel is like velvet, as the name implies, it's perfect. Very easy to drink, not over the top considering all the flavors. Medium to Thin bodied.

Overall, this is an excellent beer and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Highly recommended.

Serving type: bottle

01-25-2012 14:08:22 | More by hopfacebrew
Photo of JoshuaB
JoshuaB

California

4.43/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Easily one of my favorite stouts, balancing mild bitterness and acidity with hints of sweetness, moderate gravity and alcohol percentage, perfect for a long, cold night.

It is very, very dark, as expected, although it doesn't have quite the epic head some stouts do.

The oatmeal flavor is present but not overly forward; the caramel maltiness is a much larger part of the character of both the taste and smell. Long aftertaste that again is more bittersweet than bitter. Coats your mouth, definitely on the creamier side. Has the feel of a higher alcohol beer, surprisingly.

Goes well with anything BBQ, though I mainly drink it alone. It's become my go-to beer for drinking by itself this winter.

Having not tried the Merkin, I can't compare yet.

Serving type: bottle

11-26-2012 13:26:33 | More by JoshuaB
Photo of MacQ32
MacQ32

South Carolina

4.43/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A - almost motor oil black with a finger of chocolate heat, decent retention and lacing.

S - Tons of sweet chocolate, smokey/almost roasty aromas. Lots and lots of oats.

T - Sweet milk stout with tons of great oat flavor. Minimally rosary with minimal dark fruit flavors. Kind of simple but absolutely fantastic.

M - perfectly smooth. Minimal carbonation, thick, very warming combines with a great balanced flavor profile to form an incredibly nice drinking brew

Serving type: bottle

11-29-2013 02:39:28 | More by MacQ32
Photo of DefenCorps
DefenCorps

Oregon

4.45/5  rDev +10.7%
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.

Serving type: bottle

02-04-2011 04:02:47 | More by DefenCorps
Photo of chugalug06
chugalug06

Colorado

4.45/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Delicious. Nice off-white thick foamy head. Brew is black, very black. Nice lacing with good head buildability when swirled.

S - Oatey. Some small chocolate. Mildly smokey and heavily roasted. Some nice coffee scents too.

T - Very nice! Smooth as a baby.... Some gentle milk chocolate, nothing heavy. This brew is quite good.

M - Gentle on the tongue. Above average carbonation, dry and well-rounded.

O - What a great brew! I'm glad I picked this one up! Highly recommended.

Serving type: bottle

10-23-2011 01:05:27 | More by chugalug06
Photo of Gatch
Gatch

Massachusetts

4.45/5  rDev +10.7%
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.

Serving type: cask

10-31-2011 01:44:54 | More by Gatch
Photo of CasanovaCummins
CasanovaCummins

Nevada

4.45/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Just yum. Silky smooth chocolate coco puffs in liquid form.

This is an everyday kind of pour that you just don't get tired of. The dram you go back to again and again. Great texture. Great consistently deep flavors. Lots of warm darkness.

This is a jazzy Morgana King type of beer. Velvety and soft-spoken, yet deeply sexy. More to the traditional side. All polish and depth.

Serving type: bottle

01-11-2012 04:21:06 | More by CasanovaCummins
Photo of hitter114
hitter114

Colorado

4.45/5  rDev +10.7%
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

Serving type: bottle

11-27-2012 18:58:48 | More by hitter114
Photo of jvillefan
jvillefan

California

4.45/5  rDev +10.7%
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.

Serving type: on-tap

02-03-2013 01:42:01 | More by jvillefan
Photo of SavvyStudent
SavvyStudent

Texas

4.45/5  rDev +10.7%
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

Serving type: bottle

12-14-2013 04:14:37 | More by SavvyStudent
Photo of DovaliHops
DovaliHops

California

4.47/5  rDev +11.2%
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!

Serving type: bottle

10-15-2010 06:25:44 | More by DovaliHops
Photo of JamisonM
JamisonM

Arizona

4.47/5  rDev +11.2%
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!

Serving type: bottle

11-02-2010 01:10:28 | More by JamisonM
Photo of grittybrews
grittybrews

Washington

4.47/5  rDev +11.2%
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!

Serving type: bottle

11-12-2010 05:34:02 | More by grittybrews
Photo of gwguest
gwguest

Kansas

4.47/5  rDev +11.2%
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.

Serving type: bottle

12-03-2010 05:35:15 | More by gwguest
Photo of Murchmac
Murchmac

California

4.47/5  rDev +11.2%
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.

Serving type: bottle

12-22-2010 22:56:41 | More by Murchmac
Photo of Urbancaver
Urbancaver

Ohio

4.47/5  rDev +11.2%
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

Serving type: bottle

04-27-2011 00:45:56 | More by Urbancaver
Photo of peacebone116
peacebone116

California

4.47/5  rDev +11.2%
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.

Serving type: growler

12-30-2011 03:42:38 | More by peacebone116
Photo of ExaltedNecrosis
ExaltedNecrosis

Texas

4.48/5  rDev +11.4%
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.

Serving type: growler

12-17-2013 06:05:38 | More by ExaltedNecrosis
Photo of JerUrbans
JerUrbans

Wisconsin

4.49/5  rDev +11.7%
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.

Serving type: bottle

04-18-2014 02:04:45 | More by JerUrbans
Velvet Merlin from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
90 out of 100 based on 1,714 ratings.