Velvet Merlin - Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Velvet MerlinVelvet Merlin

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BA SCORE
90
outstanding

2,628 Ratings
THE BROS
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Ratings: 2,628
Reviews: 609
rAvg: 4.01
pDev: 9.98%
Wants: 209
Gots: 432 | 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.

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Ratings: 2,628 | Reviews: 609
Photo of ronniebruner
2.77/5  rDev -30.9%
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.

Photo of brett606
3.34/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A little too boozy for my taste. I would expect an oatmeal stout to be more creamy

Photo of brureview
3.75/5  rDev -6.5%

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.

Photo of Stoutanddark
4.25/5  rDev +6%

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!

Photo of CTbrew32
4.1/5  rDev +2.2%
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.

Photo of Chiefy770
4.5/5  rDev +12.2%

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-)

Photo of Sparty1224
3.75/5  rDev -6.5%

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.

Photo of byronic
4.25/5  rDev +6%

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.

Photo of wac9
4.25/5  rDev +6%

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

Photo of Schmegan
4.5/5  rDev +12.2%

Delicious

Photo of jellikit
4.25/5  rDev +6%

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.

Photo of huntley101888
4.2/5  rDev +4.7%

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

Photo of TruePerception
3.59/5  rDev -10.5%
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.

Photo of cosmicevan
4.25/5  rDev +6%
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.

Photo of spacecake9
3.5/5  rDev -12.7%

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.

Photo of metter98
4.04/5  rDev +0.7%
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

Photo of Greywulfken
3.9/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: just-short-of-black brown, light barely slipping through the edges; tower of pale mocha-colored bubbly foam left some lace arms down the glass

S: roasted dark malts suggested something like dry cocoa and coffee grounds; faint oat and molasses

T: follows the nose into the dark bitter roasted malts, slightly edged with char and sugar; earthy and roasty; hints of dark skinned nuts and bittersweet chocolate

M: smooth and light, faint buzz of carbonation, but very slick and creamy

O: easy-drinking but with a bitter char and a smooth body - not a style I go for often, but this is a great beer for the style.

Photo of KornWallace
3.81/5  rDev -5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Date: 11/8/14
Location: The Beer Necessities
Draught/Bottle: Bottle
Glassware: Snifter

Appearance: Black to Dark Brown with a pronounced lightening of the colors around the edges which become light brown to clear. Slight light brown carbonation which doesn't remain for very long.
Aroma: Smells of milk lactose and oats start us off as a very smooth oatmeal stout. Moving to the dark side we find smells of ground roasted coffee, sweet dark malts, charcoal. A slight souring to finish.
Flavor: The dark side is the clear winner of the flavoring. While the lactose and oats give the beer that sweetness it's those malts and coffee flavors that really linger on the tongue. The malts are more earthy now moving to chocolates and earth/dirt. The roast if the coffee really comes through in the flavor.
Mouthfeel: Medium body, medium to high carbonation. Oily from the oats along with the higher then expected carbonation helps move the flavors around the tongue.

Notes: Bottled 1/9/14 7:55

Photo of RyanK252
4.19/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

On tap at BC's Pizza and Beer

A: Pours dark brown with a slight ruby hue and mocha head that fades.

S: Dark roasted malt, a bit earthy, with light coffee.

T: Lots of dark roasted malt, some sweet cocoa, light coffee, a touch of vanilla, some earthy hop notes and a mild bitterness on the finish.

M: Medium body with moderate carbonation, velvety smooth.

O: Flavorful brew that really hits the spot on a cold night.

Photo of johnnnniee
4/5  rDev -0.2%

Bottle from Bert's
Solid dark brown black color with a decent sized tan head that shows moderate retention. Aromas of creamed coffee and chocolate dominate. Light earthy hop, cereal grain, and a faint pitted fruit round out the aroma nicely. The flavor is rich mocha with just a touch of vanilla. Light earth and fruit for posterity. Medium body with a creamy silky mouthfeel and a light level of carbonation. I could drink the hell out of these given half a chance.

Photo of dasenebler
4.2/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

11.1.14
Firestone Walker Velvet Merlin
12oz, bottled 9.18.14

Dark garnet with a one-finger tan head. Lacing/retention average. (3.5)

Aroma has a lot of toasted malt with a hint of earthy hop. Some roast. Clean. (3.5)

Flavor is complex and smooth. Molasses, coffee, date, dark fruit and other crystal malt flavors. Roast is restrained. Herbal hop is subtle. Finish is pretty dry for style, but mouthfeel is huge and, well, velvety. Oats playing a big role here. Carbonation is medium-low. (4.5, 4.5)

A very nice stout. Soft, smooth and balanced. Not a bitter roast bomb at all. Highly drinkable and satisfying. Merlin strikes again! (4.5)

Photo of Flounder57
4.03/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle was poured into a nonic glass.

Appearance: A one finger mocha head was poured that reduced to a thin layer. It is a pitch black color with no vision of anything.

Smell: Sweet and bready oats, vanilla, milk chocolate, roasted coffee, char, smoke, and earthy aromas.

Taste: Same as above. Nice sweetness and bready oats. Very tasty oatmeal stout.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, some silky and creamy notes, light bodied, and a little chewy.

Overall: Pretty nice oatmeal stout. I wouldn't mind trying out the big daddy version. I am content with this one for the time being.

Photo of beergoot
3.82/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Bottle data: 09/18/14 09:33

Dark, garnet red and brown body with a thick, off-white head that dwindles to a persistent, foam-clinging, thin layer. Charred, roasted grain aroma; a twinge of bitter chocolate. Roasted grain slightly astringent dark grain character with the flavor; baker's chocolate; decent bitterness. Medium body, leaning towards thick; dry character yet somewhat smooth and chewy.

A very solid, well-balanced and smooth stout. Excellent dark and roasted grain flavor with a noticeable and pleasing smoothness courtesy of the oats. Exceeds the summary of its parts overall...

Photo of part-time-alcoholic
1.1/5  rDev -72.6%

After coming here for a few years I made an account specifically to comment on this brew. I hate to trash a beer from a brewery I love but wow this is bad. Watery mouth-feel, caustic scent, absolutely bitter taste with zero other qualities. I don;t think I've ever seen a BA Score (90, currently) I disagree with more. Maybe I just got a bad batch?

Photo of brewskifan55
4.09/5  rDev +2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a snifter. Bottled 1/29/14. Thanks, Darren.

A: Cola brown with a tan half finger head that dissipates fast. Curtain-y lacing.

S: Dark Chocolate, coffee, molasses. Burnt sugar.

T: Follows nose, oh, so nicely! Robust, full-bodied, smokey, toasty, sweet. A terrific concoction of chocolate, coffee and molasses. Smooth and decadent.

M: Medium with medium carbonation. Thick and chewy.

O: I wasn't sure if this one would hold up 9 months after being bottled. But it was killer. A magical brew that must be sought out like the Holy Grail.

Velvet Merlin from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
90 out of 100 based on 2,628 ratings.