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Velvet Merlin - Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Velvet MerlinVelvet Merlin

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
90
outstanding

1,966 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1,966
Reviews: 527
rAvg: 4.02
pDev: 9.95%
Wants: 172
Gots: 208 | 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:
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: 1,966 | Reviews: 527 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of jjheinrichs
jjheinrichs

Wisconsin

3.75/5  rDev -6.7%

11-28-2013 00:07:26 | More by jjheinrichs
Photo of szmnnl99
szmnnl99

Michigan

3.75/5  rDev -6.7%

01-22-2014 01:08:20 | More by szmnnl99
Photo of dbattey
dbattey

New Jersey

3.75/5  rDev -6.7%

01-10-2014 00:38:32 | More by dbattey
Photo of vitese
vitese

California

3.75/5  rDev -6.7%

05-13-2013 17:47:50 | More by vitese
Photo of ahbithwabm
ahbithwabm

Illinois

3.75/5  rDev -6.7%

04-30-2013 16:46:18 | More by ahbithwabm
Photo of MLaVioletteJr
MLaVioletteJr

Massachusetts

3.75/5  rDev -6.7%

03-07-2014 01:54:24 | More by MLaVioletteJr
Photo of Braz
Braz

Washington

3.78/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pure black stout with one thumb of creamy tan head. Coffee and cocoa dominate the nose. Roasted coffee and dark chocolate flavors, maybe a touch of toffee as well. Lightly sweet and lightly bitter. Creamy velvety texture very pleasing. Pretty full bodied. Has a fairly dry finish. Very nice stout.

Serving type: bottle

12-14-2012 06:19:09 | More by Braz
Photo of Bennettrox
Bennettrox

Tennessee

3.78/5  rDev -6%
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.

Serving type: bottle

05-17-2011 16:34:19 | More by Bennettrox
Photo of jminsc76
jminsc76

Texas

3.78/5  rDev -6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On tap at Haven's Gastropub in Orange.

Pours a decent head that dissipates quickly, with what is left sitting atop an impenetrable black body.

Aromas include plenty of roasty breadiness, with slight whiffs of either molasses, coffee, and cocoa in the nose. A wonderful bouquet.

The flavor profile exhibits some bite, with espresso bitterness and mild carob washing across the palate. It's decent, though it lacks a certain level of the oomph! I have tasted in other quality oatmeal stouts such as Barney Flats.

The mouthfeel is velvety indeed, very full upon swishing, and does not disappoint.

Overall, my initial impression is the aromas and mouthfeel are the saving grace of this beer; however, I have had it at other locations since Haven's and the flavors are better than what I initially experienced. It's a very good oatmeal stout - exhibiting an excellent balance - but still needs a little more to make it a classic. As of now, it's a good session brew, for me.

Serving type: on-tap

04-14-2010 05:07:44 | More by jminsc76
Photo of tut2528
tut2528

Illinois

3.78/5  rDev -6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: pours a solid jet black that is boldly opaque with about 1 fingers worth of tan colored head formation with some nice lacing.

S: i pick up on a strong burnt and smokey malt backbone that is complemented by a robust coffee and oat characteristics. complexity is lacking

T: big oatmeal, only a slight smokiness with hints of dark chocolate and just a touch of vanilla. again, nothing out of the ordinary for an oatmeal stout. however I do find the balance quite nice

M: full-bodied brew, that leaves a smokiness aspect on the palate that is rather intriguing and not overwhelming. minimal carbonation

O: as previously stated, this brew lacks complexity but it makes up for it in its balance. there is a bit more of a body to this one than other oatmeal stouts that I have had in the past which is always a plus in my book. decent beer all the way around, but nothing to get to get excited about.

Serving type: bottle

11-05-2012 17:51:21 | More by tut2528
Photo of Brad007
Brad007

Vermont

3.78/5  rDev -6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Received in a trade from dimce.

Velvet Merlin pours a pitch black with a nice, thick head into my glass.

Aromas consist of roasted malt with a touch of coffee and a creamy, silky texture.

Mouthfeel is dominated by the lingering silky texture courtesy of the oatmeal.It cradles the tongue.

A decent oatmeal stout. It hasn't broken any new ground though for the style.

Serving type: bottle

10-19-2011 18:40:44 | More by Brad007
Photo of lacqueredmouse
lacqueredmouse

Australia

3.78/5  rDev -6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours much lighter than I expected, more a deep brown than a brown-black, and still letting light pass through rather easily. Head is yellowish beige, large-bubbled and frothy where agitated, but otherwise forming a thin film. Pretty good static carbonation when tilted, but overall, it just doesn't win me with its look.

Nose is dry but pleasantly roasted, with grainy cereal notes and a hint of coconut. It's rather mild in aroma, but the characters it has are very pleasant.

Taste is similar, and it has a really nice smoothness on the back palate that melds with the dark grain notes to almost give the suggestion of chocolate, even though there's absolutely minimal sweetness. Finish is quite dry, and with that mealy cereal character that suggests you have another sip. It's light on the palate, really, but it's pretty drinkable.

Certainly something I'd happily drink again, and something with plenty of dry roasty character that is eminently sessionable. No bad at all.

Serving type: bottle

10-10-2011 03:21:32 | More by lacqueredmouse
Photo of jzeilinger
jzeilinger

Pennsylvania

3.79/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.75

A - Pours very dark brown/black and leaves a creamy, one layer, toffee colored coating with a slightly thick lacing ring. Leaves a sticky coating on the glass that is more like a high alcohol beer. Impressive legs.

S - Dark chocolate roast, grainy, and light char.

T - Follows the nose with deep/dark chocolate roasted malt and a chocolate charcoal finish.

M - Light medium body and finishes a little watery.

O - A nice, session able stout.

Serving type: cask

12-12-2013 03:24:03 | More by jzeilinger
Photo of tectactoe
tectactoe

Michigan

3.8/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

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.

Serving type: bottle

09-17-2013 11:24:45 | More by tectactoe
Photo of AgentZero
AgentZero

Illinois

3.8/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Believe Jason shared this one.

A - Black beer with a big layer of tan foam that left a nice amount of fat lace.

S - Coffee and oatmeal, with the grains being roasted and a little bitter. Smells relatively sweet as well, good meaning the oats haven't soured so much.

T - Slightly roasted with oats, sweet chocolate, somewhat depressed coffee, and a little bit of cream. It's not bad, but not as good as I would have thought from the nose.

M - Smooth and creamy, one of the better aspects of this beer.

O - Not bad, liked this one enough that I enjoyed drinking what I had and wouldn't have minded more. Good stuff for a 5.5% oatmeal stout.

Serving type: bottle

07-14-2011 21:16:32 | More by AgentZero
Photo of womencantsail
womencantsail

California

3.8/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at the Blue Palms. I was really glad to see this one hadn't kicked yet.

A: A very nice looking black pour with a thin layer of tan foam on top.

S: A strong aroma of coffee with other scents such oatmeal, roasted malt, and chocolate joining the party.

T: The flavor is a bit disappointing. The coffee is once again the dominant sensation. The oatmeal is there, but surprisingly not a huge presence. There are also some hints of chocolate and roasted malt.

M: The beer has a nice smooth somewhat creamy mouthfeel. The body, however, isn't quite as full as I was expecting.

D: Certainly a very drinkable beer with very little alcohol presence. I was really excited to get to try this, but a bit let down by it.

Serving type: on-tap

12-31-2009 01:35:11 | More by womencantsail
Photo of leakyfaucet12
leakyfaucet12

Wisconsin

3.8/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

a- Dark black body with a three finger head that seems go away pretty quickley.

s- You can smell dark roasted chocolate. You can also smell the malts and some bready notes.

t- This beer has a very bland flavor for a stout. I usually like my stouts to taste less like porters.

m- The mouthfeel of this one is really good. I really thought that velvet was a great name for this beer, because that was exactly what it reminded me of. By far the best thing about this beer.

d- Overall I think that this is a really interesting beer and being that it is my first from firestone walker I think I need to try more beer from them.

Serving type: bottle

01-28-2011 05:06:49 | More by leakyfaucet12
Photo of ETF5000
ETF5000

California

3.8/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap from O'Briens Pub in San Diego.

A- Poured a dark brown, opaque looking with about a fingers head. The head quickly disappears leaving only the dark brown beer.

S- dark roasted malt comes up front with a vengeance. Somewhere in the mix comes the mealy oats, not too upfront , but nicely nestled within classic beer smells. A hint of his rounds out the nose. Nice

T- caramel malt, as with the nose comes up front. Further back comes the smoothness if the oats. Unfortunately, for an oatmeal stout, it left me wanting a bit more on the oat side. Hops round out the finish. Nothing too bitter, but they complete the trio

M- not too carbonated, but certainly not flat. No complaints here.

D- an easy drinker, I would get this beet again yo introduce people to the style, but it's really nothing too complex.

Serving type: on-tap

01-02-2010 23:45:48 | More by ETF5000
Photo of arlingtonjoe
arlingtonjoe

Illinois

3.8/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

a:nice dark coloring with 2 finger tan head, slight cascading in the glass from a strong pour

s:breadiness from the yeast, subtle coffee, earthy

t:slight bitterness from the oats followed by dark chocolate and a little licorice

m:a little light in body but has a nice resinous charachter

o:nice addition in the lighter stout category and at 5.5 abv you cant go wrong

Serving type: bottle

02-21-2013 05:27:12 | More by arlingtonjoe
Photo of Premo88
Premo88

Texas

3.8/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

on tap in pint glass at B.R.C. in Houston

L: black; clear black-amber up to light; 1-inch tan head, nice and thick; not much stick or lace

S: oak; charred wood; salty; molasses; coffee ... the very astringent kind (almost sour beans)

T: smoky oak wood; pecan/nuts; brown sugar; raisins ... coffee

F: solid but lightweight and very drinkable

O: pretty good with just a hint of the alcohol showing through; it came off as closer to raisins with loads of oak-wood notes for me -- others in my party immediately said "coffee". none of us detected any chocolate, so it's just a bit darker than other oatmeal stouts but still very much in line with the style.

Serving type: on-tap

03-19-2014 01:08:00 | More by Premo88
Photo of StoneTSR
StoneTSR

Colorado

3.8/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottled on 10/08/12 at 11:52 AM.

APPEARANCE: A nice half-inch head rises up as the beer is poured, but settles in a thin cap within a minute. The color is nearly black, but a few rays of light that penetrate the top of the glass reveal more of a deep, dark brown. A few streams of bubbles slowly rise from the bottom of the glass, providing some appearance of life, but none of these bubbles or the thin cap lead to any lacing at all.

SMELL: Intense coffee aroma right out of the bottle. This one is intense in the nose and offers a roasty, mildly woody and dry smell. As it warms a touch of toffee comes through as well.

TASTE: The coffee follows the nose and is clearly the leader of the pack in the flavor department. The same roasted malt notes from the nose come through in the taste. A light citrus note enters the mix about mid sip, but quickly gets washed away by notes of chocolate, caramel and wood that come together to provide some balance to this otherwise bitter beer.

MOUTHFEEL: Big bodied and very rich, particularly for a 5.5%er. It truly is a meal in a bottle, very filling. While the Merlin has a creamy feel to it, the carbonation is solid, which gives the very dry mouthfeel a cleansing sensation especially towards the finish. There is some balance of sweet malt, but ultimately, this is on the dry side.

OVERALL: This is about as much bang for your ABV as you are going to find in a beer. At 5.5% it is rich, big and filling. It drinks more like an 8-10%er.

Serving type: bottle

11-11-2012 22:45:31 | More by StoneTSR
Photo of Heavenisbeer
Heavenisbeer

Georgia

3.8/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Dark brown with a little opaqueness on the edges, with a 2 cm head off an aggressive pour that is quickly gone, leaving murky puddles on the surface of the beer. Mid-level cascading lacing. Some visibly light carbonation.

S: Rich dark dark chocolate, with an relatively upfront touch of espresso. Some sweet tobacco and biscuity, bready notes, possibly from the oatmeal.

T: Not as complex as the nose. Tons of roasted malts, a sprinkling of hops, a coffee tease, and some unsweetened chocolate notes. Ends with a dry, malty finish.

M: The highlight for me. Coating and syrupy, with some mild carbonation to cut any cloying potential. No hint of alcohol.

Nothing spectacular here, but not a bad easy drinking oatmeal stout.

Serving type: bottle

12-20-2011 03:21:06 | More by Heavenisbeer
Photo of marikoangel
marikoangel

California

3.8/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint glass at Amsterdam

A: Very black, I can't see through it at all. There was a little tan head that dissipated into a thin tan covering over the top of the beer.

S: Nice roasted malts, oats, there's a funky, musty, wet earthiness to it, I can pick up coffee notes, and maybe something that reminds me of cigars.

T: I can definitely get a nice roasted coffee right off the bat. A very light bitter, but also a light sweet that balance each other out to the point where you notice them, but you almost don't. The finish is a bit bittersweet. The flavors are lighter than I expected, and there is a quality to it that reminds me of drinking a glass of milk.

M: Crisp but not carbonated. Creamy with a medium thin mouthfeel. It looks like it would be a thicker beer, and from the name I just assumed it would be, but it's not. It has a drier finish.

D: It's a nice beer, very drinkable, but not my all time favorite. I would drink it again though, but wouldn't seek it out.

Serving type: bottle

12-14-2010 00:06:41 | More by marikoangel
Photo of imscotty
imscotty

Massachusetts

3.8/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.75

A: Pours with a modest tan colored head that settles quickly. Very little lacing. The beer is dark brown in color with a reddish tinge when held to the light.

S: Smell some dark fruit, coffee, malt. Some slight earthy tones, not overly aromatic.

T: The slightly bitter coffee flavor is the most forward. Some chocolate, malt and almond notes. Nothing too aggressive or complex. The finish is dry and prominently taste slightly bitter coffee.

M: I think this beer is surprisingly thin and watery for the style, more like a black ale. Fairly well carbonated.

O: The flavor is good but not spectacular or overly complex. I feel the mouthfeel is off for the style and detracts from the beer. This is a very drinkable brew but not a world class beer. Even Firestone Walker hits singles sometimes.

Serving type: bottle

03-05-2014 23:46:09 | More by imscotty
Photo of whatthehull
whatthehull

California

3.8/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured into a New Belgium snifter

A - Mud meets tar, with a tan light and fluffy head, trace lacing

S - Toasty 'o so toastedness, burned oak, grains, malt and a bit of sweetness

T - Toasty everything and burned oak. Nice hop finish, a bit malty and lots of earth tons, most of which were toasted

M - Medium/Heavy, fluffy carbonated and bitter toasted finish

D - Because of all the toastedness, it is a bit hard to just session this beer. It tends to end up room temp before you're done

Final thought - Nice, toasty. This is a great stout, not the best, but great

Serving type: bottle

01-30-2011 09:24:10 | More by whatthehull
Velvet Merlin from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
90 out of 100 based on 1,966 ratings.