Velvet Merkin - Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Velvet MerkinVelvet Merkin

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BA SCORE
96
world-class

1,721 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1,721
Reviews: 229
rAvg: 4.3
pDev: 9.53%
Wants: 299
Gots: 625 | FT: 110
Brewed by:
Firestone Walker Brewing Co. visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
Oatmeal Stout |  8.50% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes/Commercial Description:
Our decadent Oatmeal Stout lovingly aged in Bourbon barrels. Beautiful chocolate, espresso and vanilla-bourbon aromas hold your nose hostage. Rich dark chocolate truffle, bourbon and espresso create a dangerously smooth and incredibly drinkable barrel aged Oatmeal Stout. Hoarding tendencies may occur.

(Beer added by: t0rin0 on 11-20-2008)
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Ratings: 1,721 | Reviews: 229 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by MasterfulIdiot:
Photo of MasterfulIdiot
3.88/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Super excited to try this! Thanks to Coirm for the bottle.

Appearance is pretty much black. A moderately thick coffee-colored head kicks up on the pour, but fades to a film and a frothy ring around the glass almost immediately.

Aroma is coffee, chocolate syrup, with just the faintest hint of vanilla. Bourbon and oaky notes aren't present at first, but begin to show up as the beer warms, along with just a touch of alcohol heat in there. It's actually kind of surprising that they got any alcohol heat to show up, considering the relatively low ABV, but I'm happy they figured out a way! All the flavors are working together really nicely, and it smells like it'll be right up my alley!

Taste is much the same, incorporating chocolate, coffee, oak, and bourbon notes all into one delicious whole. Nice bit of lactic tartness as well. As with the nose, there's a nice feeling of alcohol warmth at its relatively modest 8.5% ABV.

Mouthfeel is moderately thick, but I think could have stood to be a little thicker. Lots of carbonation. Moderately dry.

Overall, a really nice, smooth, and relatively easy-drinking beer. This is positively sessionable as far as barrel-aged beers go! Really well-done.

More User Reviews:
Photo of warnerry
4.25/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Notes from the Parabola release in May

Pours deep brown black with thin ring of tan head.

Relatively subtle aromas of bourbon, chocolate and roasted malt.

Interesting addition of borrbon to an oatmeal stout. Maintains the character of an oatmeal while adding bourbon and a nice amount of vanilla.

Very creamy mouthfeel. Feels like on nitro but I don’t think it is. Slightly thin.

Easy drinking flavorful barrel-aged oatmeal. Glad I got to try this.

Photo of prior2two
3.81/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

A - Black like night, with a head that dissapates quickly. It pours beautifly.

S- smells of oak and bourbon and roasted malt. Super aromatic

T- I was underwhelmed. For an oatmeal stout, it wasn't as creamy as I had hoped, and it was a little too astringent. Maybe a little over carbed or too much hop? Either way, I didn't feel the body held up very well. Had a "cola" flavor that I couldn't shake. The oak and bourbon came through nicely.

M - See Above. I thought it was a little too thin. Its only 8.5%, but I expected a little more body and creaminess from an oatmeal stout.

O - I enjoyed it. I wouldn't buy it again though. FW does some great stuff, but this wasn't a must have for me. Still, it's better than so many things out there.

Photo of Kinsman
4.53/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

As the label suggests, this beer fills the glass as black as Newgate's knocker. Capped with a dark mocha colored head, albeit it is a bit short-lived without and aggressive pour.

Rich and sweet vanilla notes hit you right up front. Oak and spice notes play along as well. Some coffee and roasted barley notes round it all out.

First sip is not quite as sweet as the aroma would have suggested, but nicely balanced between sweet vanilla and fruit notes and more bitter roasted flavors. Bourbon flavors add a little heat and a nice bit of woodiness to it all. Rich and creamy mouthfeel helps carry all this flavor. Overall, Firestone has one the best barrel games in the business, and this one does not disappoint.

Photo of Sparty1224
4.13/5  rDev -4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 4.25

Serving: 22 oz. bomber poured into a snifter. 2014 vintage with no obvious bottle date.

A: You know when you hear the description of some BBA stouts as pouring like "thick motor oil"? Ya, this isn't that. Pours more like Coca-Cola. Once it's in the glass, though, it's not too bad. Dark brown-black body, minimal tan head.

S: Very nice aroma. Hit with the bourbon right up front. Very clean, lots of vanilla, some almond nuttiness. Just a hint of chocolate in the background. Fair amount of oak and barrel character.

T: A little underwhelming. Soft notes of vanilla, oak, flourless chocolate. A hint of toffee near the back end. Whiskey comes through strongly in the finish, but it's nicely balanced.

M: Disappointingly thin. Very, very watery for a BA stout.

O: So my expectations for Merkin were low because I wasn't a huge fan of Merlin. I thought the base beer was unimpressive, very thin and watery, and weak in flavor. So I wasn't sure how barrel-aging would help that. For the most part, it's an improvement. Wonderful flavors of vanilla, oak, almond all come through and the beer is very balanced and drinkable. The bourbon character is very nicely wrapped around this beer. However, a thin base beer leads to a thin BBA beer and the look and mouthfeel are just so unimpressive and leave a lot to be desired.

Recommendation: Not a must-try if you don't care for Velvet Merlin, but definitely still worth seeking out just for the fact that FW is so good at barrel-aging beers.

Photo of themind
2.89/5  rDev -32.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

a 96??? after having BCBS, Devils Due, Backwoods Basterd and a host of other BB beers recently, this beer is truly a disappointment. The aroma is weak, the carbonation is fizzy and the taste is below par for the standard these days. A thin mouth feel just adds to the many short comings of this beer. I am shocked as this beer to me gets smoked by many so called " shelf turds " out there. If your seeking this out, save your money. The only redeeming factor of this beer is the ABV is hidden, but it's not very hard at 8.5%

Bottom Line: Not buying this again.

Photo of ronricorossi
3.59/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Yeah, the complaints about the mouthfeel are pretty accurate. Much thinner than one would expect. Flavors are fine, but not exceptional. The weakest of FW's special releases (which is almost an unfair comparison, since the others are all world-beaters, or close to it...)

Photo of CaliforniaJohnson
5/5  rDev +16.3%

poured into a tulip glass from a 650mL bottle.'
Pour Date: Nov 29, 2014

APPEARANCE
Jet black with brown hue. Head 1-inch, light-caramel brown. Head retention shows inhomogenious lacing with a ring around the surface. The low effervescence during the pour suggests a creamy beer.

SMELL
Vanilla, Irish creme, cocoa.

TASTE
Bright and lively grains really hit the roof of the mouth, quickly overcome by creamy, marshmallowy, chocolatey, smoky goodness. You can really taste the roasted grains with the aftertaste. The flavors really work in harmony on this one; the ABV is masked.

FEEL
Although the taste is very creamy, the feel isn't so cream-like; it's pretty bubbly and pleasant.

OVERALL
This beer has everything I look for in a stout -- every aspect lacks nothing.

Photo of jonathanjones27
3.25/5  rDev -24.4%
look: 5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

It seriously fell short of my expectation. Mouthfeel just was thin, flavor was light bodied and dissipated quickly.

Photo of DavyJones
4.5/5  rDev +4.7%

Photo of t2grogan
4.75/5  rDev +10.5%

Photo of abeerdude
4.75/5  rDev +10.5%

Photo of cjn40277
3.8/5  rDev -11.6%

Photo of SanFranJake
3.75/5  rDev -12.8%

Photo of jose_alehouseSD
4.25/5  rDev -1.2%

Photo of Ben7773
3.75/5  rDev -12.8%

Photo of freshflesh
4.25/5  rDev -1.2%

Photo of Jared14
4.25/5  rDev -1.2%

Photo of Callmecoon
4.5/5  rDev +4.7%

Photo of mverity
4.69/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

On tap at FIrestone Walker in Paso Robles! Great taproom! Nice tan head with fair lacing. Color is opaque black. Aroma is heavily of vanilla and bourbon. Maple and brown sugar is also present. Taste is a bit different from the aroma. Sweet bourbon and earthy coffee is what I get at the front, toasty oats and charred oak on the tail end. Mouthfeel is surprisingly light for an aged stout. Creamy, and a great finish. Wonderful beer!

Photo of 77apm
4.25/5  rDev -1.2%

Photo of JakerLou
4.5/5  rDev +4.7%

Photo of Beerswag
4.25/5  rDev -1.2%

Photo of ElSid
4.36/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

The Beers of California

#96

Bottled Date: 2013

A: Deep black with a head of khaki foam. The variable sized bubbles slowly fade to a net of lace cling on the glass

S: Bourbon warmth, smooth hot cocoa sweetness, and earthy, woody textures. The admixture is balanced, smooth and stimulating resulting in the perfect nose.

T: Behind the medium bourbon booziness comes strong currents of toasted grain, cocoa nibs, raisin and brown sugar sweetness, along with wood and tobacco qualities. There are also hints of vanilla and marshmallow stickiness .

M: Medium bodied and velvety smooth with moderate carbonation.

O: This little of brother of Parabola is able to marry complexity with smooth drinkability. The Firestone barrel program succeeds again.

Photo of mctizzz
4/5  rDev -7%

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Velvet Merkin from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
96 out of 100 based on 1,721 ratings.