Velvet Merlin - Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Velvet MerlinVelvet Merlin

Educational use only; do not reuse.

2,626 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 2,626
Reviews: 609
rAvg: 4.01
pDev: 9.98%
Wants: 209
Gots: 429 | FT: 6
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. ... tube_gdata 
View: Beers (84) | Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 2,626 | Reviews: 609
Photo of yourefragile
4.25/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

12 oz bottle, thanks Rich.

Appearance is as is expected for the style; opaque chocolate brown/black with a nice, retentive tan head. Lacing is minimal.

Aroma is dry, oat-y and roasted, with some mild chocolate and sweet malt.

Very easy drinking, with a slightly thin, medium body. Flavor is roasted, sweet with chocolate and coffee. Extremely well balanced and smooth. A little sweet for the style, but will definitely seek this out again.

Photo of i4ourgot
4.25/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Great beer super creamy makes its almost feel like a nitro beer. Lots of great rich dark flavors nice coffee/ chocolate with some sweetness that is well balanced with a subtle bitterness. No over powering flavors just a really enjoyable beer where everything comes together nicely. The aroma while not strong is very pleasant.

Photo of djbreezy
4.25/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

appearance - dark opaque brown/black, medium tan head, moderate retention/lacing

smell - chocolate, roasty malts, oatmeal, grassy notes

taste - velvety chocolate, toasted malts, marshmallow, chocolate nibs/cocoa, light grassy notes/bitter in the finish

mouthfeel - puffy/carbonated, some carbonation bite, evenly medium body, some bitter dryness on the finish

drinkability - smooth and easy with a slight bite, unique notes for an oatmeal stout, very good and enjoyable

Photo of Harvest06
4.25/5  rDev +6%
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.

Photo of Furlinator
4.25/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bottled on 11/27/13.

Pours opaque very dark brown with cola edges. The 1/2 inch of khaki head quickly fades to just a thin ring on top and leaves thin spotty lace.

Smell is of grainy roasted malt up front; similar to whole wheat bread. Dark chocolate and faint black coffee bring up the rear.

Taste is of dark, almost smoky malt, a hint of black coffee and a faint hoppy finish.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied with higher carbonation.

Everything clicks here. Inviting aromas, impressive appearance, delicious flavors and nice body. At 5.5 ABV, I may have found my new go-to session brew.

Photo of WanderingFool
4.26/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Velvet Merlin pours an oily black with a small tan head on top. A few spots of lace stick to the glass as the foam fades away.

The aroma has nice roast and chocolate notes with hints of coffee and an earthy nuttiness.

Each sip of this medium to full bodied beer is creamy with moderate carbonation and an oily body. The flavor is rich with roasted malt, chocolate, toasted oats and nuts. It finishes with a little vanilla, a hint of sour cherry, and a touch of grassy bitterness. Once gone the chocolate and vanilla lingers on the palate.

A very tasty beer that should be allowed to warm so the flavors can expose themselves. Great mouthfeel and easy to drink.

Photo of suspect
4.26/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a Samuel Adams Perfect Pint glass. Thanks to crazydiamond42 for the hookup.

A: Dark mahogany color with really really light hues shining through. Aggressive pour leads to a big 2 finger tan head that lingers throughout the session.

S: Not a whole lot here. Not that I was expecting a ton. There was a bunch of subtle notes of toasted chocolate malts and some hops as well. Slight bitterness from a dark caffeinated beverage that's not soda.

T: Delicious. Wonderfully simple yet, I think, nicely complex. Lovely notes of coffee, cocoa, and toasted malts.

M: Creamy, delicious, amply carbonated, thick big bodied and wonderful.

O: A really excellent Oatmeal Stout. A really excellent beer.

Photo of CoffeePorter
4.27/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Black with a thick white head.
Smells milky and sweet.
Tastes milky/creamy, very sweet with little bitterness. Mild notes of chocolate.
Very creamy mouthfeel, mild carbonation.
Very easy to drink and a good creamy stout option.

Photo of ElGordo
4.27/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from the 12oz bottle into a pint glass. Body is a rich, deep black with chestnut highlights, topped by a thin ring of creamy tan head. Huge aroma of roasted malt, strong, bitter coffee, and a mild sweetness reminiscent of cola.
Palate is full of dark roasted malt, with notes of dark chocolate, oats, mocha, and a hint of plum. Finish is alternately roast and sweet, but smooth all the way through. Body is creamy and silky thanks to the oats, which give it a very nice texture. Rarely is a beer so full and complex also so low in alcohol, which makes this one very drinkable. A pleasure to drink.

Photo of OneDropSoup
4.27/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a shaker pint: Deep black body under two fingers of cappuccino head with drops to form some nice lumps.

Smells niiice. Toasty, brown, muffiny oatmeal & malt note, sweetly baked but with a thick graininess, like buckwheat pancakes. Or even baked corn, in a very good way. Some light roast coffee develops - good stuff!

Combo of many "dark" flavors in the taste: acidic dark fruit skins, coffee, that bready character again, with more oomph from the roasty bitterness in the finish, a little astringent but just pleasantly so.

Medium-full-bodied & nicely chewy, with a mild acidity & astringency that helps to balance things out.

Nice little number here! Feels like moderate ABV stouts are becoming less & less visible, & glad to see a full-flavored, well-composed oatmeal stout. Wish we got this in my area more regularly.

Photo of nhindian
4.27/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle poured into a Surly Darkness glass. Bottle provided by jodan I believe, thanks Jordan!

A - Pours a chocolate brown with tints of black in the widest part of the glass. It settles into a soft, matte black color. The head is a pillowy, light tan color, about a finger tall with fairly low retention. Lacing is sticky at first, but quickly falls back to the comfort of the liquid. There's some carbonation on the edges of the glass as well.

S - The nose on this is almost all malt. The oat is a big part of the aroma, leading the way but still going strong by the end as well. The chocolate is rich and bittersweet, like dark cacao. There's some espresso here as well, but it mainly serves to add some roast to it rather than any noticeable coffee smells. Hanging beneath everything is a subtle bourbon quality, which adds some vibrant fruits and a slight alcohol feeling.

T - The taste brings a concise version of the nose to the palate. Immediately I'm getting a lot of oatmeal here, giving the beginning a creamy jumping-off point for the rest of the flavors to follow. Again, the chocolate is the main component after the oats, giving off flavors of baker's chocolate and some bitter notes. The flavor is slightly more roasty than the nose, with a lasting impression lingering long after drinking. Thankfully, the bourbon quality in the nose returns as well, playing cheerfully in the background of the beer but still imparting it's tastiness. The finish even brings a slightly cola-like flavor.

M - Mouthfeel is moderately light-bodied with high carbonation. This beer is really smooth, but perhaps the carbonation is a tinge too high as it sort of clashes with the smoothness. I found myself instinctively swirling this between tastes in order to cut that a little. Lasting impression are oats, roastiness, and dark fruits from the bourbon.

D/O - Drinkability is high. Oatmeal stouts are one of my favorite styles if done correctly, but if not they can come off as uninspired. Firestone Walker produces a fine representation here, and the quasi-bourbon notes in here only do that much for this offering. This is a beer that I nearly finished before completing this review, as I just wanted to keep drinking it. If this ever comes to Pittsburgh, it will be a staple in my fridge.

Photo of alexgash
4.27/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. bottle.

Very dark root beer brown body. Pinkie finger of dense, light to washed out brown head. Some lacing. Appetizing nose, highlighted by rich dark chocolate, roasted coffee, caramelized fruits, and light peat.

Tinny, roasted barley and coffee bitterness up front. Palate fills in with semi-sweet chocolate, hearty soda bread, licorice, peat, wood, and a hint of vanilla. Finish features lingering chocolate sweetness, with minor notes of espresso and cream (think latte). Medium-full body with a nice creamy feel. Very nice.

Photo of C3likesbeer
4.29/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A- Nice mahogany almost black with a nice creamy beige head that dissipates relatively quickly.

S- Rich, thick roasty malts with chocolate and coffee. Some smoke in there as well. t

T- Nice rich dark chocolate with a smokey espresso shot. Surprisingly refreshing finish that's rounded off with an alcohol warmth.

O- My favorite oatmeal stou. Firestone makes good beer and this may be one of my favorites. This can be consumed in the summer or winter. I could drink one on a cold rainy night in a pub or on the beach at a barbecue. Nice all around beer.

Photo of srhoadsy
4.29/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Served slightly chilled into a snifter.

Pours as dark brown as you can get without being black. Half an inch of dark tan head that quickly recedes leaving light surface layer and lacing.

I can't say enough about the aroma of this beer. Coffee, chocolate and roasted nuts with just a hint of smoke.

Flavors follow through the aroma. Reminds of Ferrero Roche chocolates or Nutella spread. Chocolate, vanilla, hazelnut, coffee with cream.

Medium bodied with a sweet, creamy finish and moderate carbonation. Mild aftertaste of bitter coffee.

I thoroughly enjoyed this beer, will most definitely get again.

Photo of abaer123
4.3/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - I had this one out of the bottle, so hard to say what the actual appearance is. The carbonation is low, so I would think that there would not be much head on this one.

Smell - malty, rich, chocolaty. When I purchased this, I was going for a rich seasonal brew. I found that and more.

Taste - rich, creamy, coffee and cocoa without being too sweet.

Mouthfeel - rich and lacey. Not overly pwering like other more hoppy varieties I have been drinking lately. A nice contrast and comfort.

Drinkability - goes down way to easy! This is a luxurious brew that could be trouble at 5.5 after a few.

Overall, I am impressed by the Velvet Merkin. My hats off to Firestone for a delicious seasonal treat. Good work.

Photo of jmarsh123
4.3/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep brown almost black with no head at all. Some slight lacing down the glass.

Sharp roasted notes leap at the nose. A little bit of chocolate and earthiness as well.

Flavor follows the nose. Huge bitter roasted coffee maltiness with some chocolate background. Bold flavors.

Not quite as velvety as I'd like, but still very solid mouthfeel. Got a little creamier as it warmed.

Very tasty beer especially if you like lots of roastiness. One of the stronger roast presence in this style I've had.

Photo of sommersb
4.3/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks go out to nickd717 for this one.
12 oz. brown bottle with a date stamp of 12-07-10
Served in a tulip pint glass

A: Black, clear beer, with red highlights on the edges of the glass when held to light. The head is tan and frothy with 3 fingers of height. Good lacing throughout

S: Dark roasted malt aromas dominate, with some chocolate too. Bready, earthy smell with perhaps a slight smokiness.

T: Smooth and creamy, this is a tasty stout! Toasted malts, with some coffee bitterness. Also tastes of dark chocolate with a little sweetness and carries a bit of alcohol warmth.

M: Medium carbonation and a nice full body. Creamy with a roasted bitter aftertaste, but its done just right so as not to be overpowering.

D: Excellent beer that I enjoyed greatly. I wish I had more!

Photo of ArrogantB
4.3/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Huge thanks to LuvMtdew420 for sending me this beer. Dark inky black, tan head, looks like a stout should. Smell is oats, stout, chocolate, mmmm. The taste is very rich oats and chocolate, silky almost and really impressive. I really, really wish I could buy sixers of this because it's probably the best low alcohol stout I've tasted so far. Good job FW.

Photo of dragonWhale
4.3/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

black and beautiful, with a receding hairline. oatmeal is big, with some roast and tannins.
a quick bitter hop flavor accompanying the black malt burnt coffee flavor. oat sweetness and some chocolate to admonish the bitterness. the finish is long and sweet with waves of astringency.
glad to have this available in the bottle, one of the nicer oatmeal stouts.

Photo of 100floods
4.31/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours dark, black you could say. No head. Amazing crushed coffee bean/toffee aroma. It reminds of almost of a chocolate covered coffee bean, which is probably one of my favorite aromas. Extremely smooth texture. There's a touch of carbonation and a very smooth finish. The sweetness from the sugars seems to result in a smooth texture, one of the reasons I love this beer. Very nice caramel malt notes. There are notes of roasted malts, but they are very subtle. The roasted malts kind seem to be in a battle with the carbonation. Every sip I take I can taste it, but the bubbles cut through at times, you get just enough to know it's there. The carbonation makes this beer feel thinner than it really is. The funny thing is, there's not that much. This is a very gentle beer; however, I would have liked some more of the aromatics to come through in the taste, it's too much of a tease. This schools Anderson Valley's Oatmeal Stout anyway.

Photo of reebtaerG
4.31/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured bottle dated 2/7/14 into New Belgium globe

A-Pours a beautiful black with a one finger tan head that dissipates to a ring. Decent lacing.

S-Aromas of milk chocolate, roast, espresso.

T-Great flavor of chocolatey malt sweetness initially, roasty malt bitterness, hops seem less prevalent.

M-Mouthfeel gives a medium bodied, mild carbonation and a hint of bitterness.

O-Overall another great brew from FW will buy some more.

Photo of newsage
4.32/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

velvet merlin 5.5% one of the better oatmeal stouts out there other than the velvet merkin 8.6% which is only served at the brewery. The difference is merkin is age longer in bourbon barrels which gives it an higher ABV, silky smooth mouthfeel and great oak bourbon smell.

Photo of rawla
4.32/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served a 5 week old 12 bottle into a 14 oz beer mason jar.

Pours a dark, velvety chocolate pour with solid carbonation off the bottle. Creamy, tan/coffee head with a 2 inch retention. Good lacing on the sides.

S: Mmmm... Chocolate, charred marsh mellow, and freshly pulled espresso shots. A very truly welcoming bouquet of aromas.

T: French pressed coffee, toffee, sweet chocolate milk, and toasted oats. Small bite toward the end that smoothes out the delicate, sweet, chocolate and coffee flavors. Well done.

M: Silky smooth; feels like a thai iced coffee. Wow.

o: An amazing take on an oatmeal stout. Only thing that keeps me from giving this a higher overall rating is it's limited yearly release. Otherwise, a fantastic brew.


Photo of Khazadum
4.33/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- Tight creamy head develops, easily two fingers, sticky lacing, mountains of froth stick to the edges and just layer on each other like grandma's famouse yellow cake. A cola brown color and an off-white toasted froth.

S- Chocolate, like a cocoa and milk chocolate infusion. Roasted grains, toasted malts, a charred barrel nature. There is a back end oxidized malt character betraying the age on this. Still, even if its aged a bit it is very enjoyable.

T- Roasty... Its truly an example of smooth, creamy, roast. It opens like a nice crust of bread, then it flows into a light burnt edge. Like you bit into the wrong end of the loaf. After that a sweetness comes to dominate. Minorly caramel, mostly just bright. Finishes grainy, oats, and a bit of cardboard from oxidized malt.

M- Super creamy, a bright and crisp middle that flows around and helps disrupt the creamy nature so it isn't syrupy or gross. The carbonation sometimes breaks things up too much. Full bodied. Finish is a good amount of sticky. Nothing bothersome. Great texture.

Photo of VanillaHeat
4.33/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I had this one on-tap at The Skeptical Chymist in Scottsdale on two separate nights. I first saw it in an ad while visiting the restroom and thought i would try it. Thursday nights is special Firestone Walker nights at the Skeptical Chymist so I recommend trying it then or Tuesday when all pints are $2 off.

The beer is a dark color Oatmeal Stout with a small head. A bit of a tobacco or coffee flavor was the one thing that stood out to me. I love dark beer and the taste was pleasing. The signs claim Firestone is 3x brewery of the year. I can see why - this one I was unfamiliar with but Velvet Merlin instantly appeared in my top 5 favorites.

Velvet Merlin from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
90 out of 100 based on 2,626 ratings.