Velvet Merkin - Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Velvet MerkinVelvet Merkin

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BA SCORE
93
outstanding

253 Reviews
THE BROS
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Reviews: 253
Hads: 1,980
rAvg: 4.2
pDev: 9.29%
Wants: 361
Gots: 773 | FT: 130
Brewed by:
Firestone Walker Brewing Co. visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
Oatmeal Stout |  8.50% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: t0rin0 on 11-20-2008

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.
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Reviews: 253 | Hads: 1,980
Photo of unitypunk
5/5  rDev +19%

Awesome Beer, pours dark, with a nice head smells like liquor, tastes like it minus the bite of alcohol super solid beer dont miss it! worth the price! 9$ 9oz was worth it! (174 characters)

Photo of CaliforniaJohnson
5/5  rDev +19%

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. (773 characters)

Photo of jwhancher
5/5  rDev +19%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Had this beer on tap at Eulogy during Philly Beer Week. Met brewery owner David Walker, who mentioned that this beer will never be made again. Thus, I had at least 3 glasses of this (all served in a snifter).

Pours a jet black with nice little head that fades. Smells of chocolate & bourbon with a nice wood component to it. Tastes wonderful. Rich & creamy, it's like a beer and a desert all wrapped in one. I savored this one quite a bit and was blown away by the sheer awesomeness of a beer of this magnitude.

If you can find it, buy it and drink now! (555 characters)

Photo of woodyhardboner
5/5  rDev +19%

I took my 73 year old uncle Eddy to a doctors appointment in providence RI. It was a routine check up that told us everything was fine. SWEET. After learning this I axed him if he would enjoy a pint with me. His response was "hell yah". Since I was in Providence I took him to Julian's. A place that is known for it's draft selection. When I sat at the bar I noticed A Firestone Walker tap I hadn't seen before. I ordered one because that brewery has not let me down before. The Velvet Merkin was placed in front of me. Its blackness alone was intoxicating. The head was a thick brownish tan that stayed until the end. All I could smell was whiskey. This beer was everything I could hope for in a bourbon barrel stout. The vanilla was just right so it actually tasted like beer. the finish was to good to be true. I could have drank 10 of them but I had to drive my uncle home. Needless to say I enjoyed this fine brew to the fullest. (938 characters)

Photo of Hopinista
5/5  rDev +19%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

22 oz bomber poured into a rastal snifter.

A: Black. Pours moderately thick, small tan head rises and dissipates quickly leaving spotty lacing.

S: Really strong bourbon aroma upfront, followed by some vanilla and roasty malts on the back, very pleasing aroma.

T: Bourbon upfront, but not in a hot, burn your mouth off kind of way, very pleasant oak flavor. Next is straight up milk chocolate, almost like a milkshake. Some bitter chocolate, vanilla, and roasted malts on the back.

M: Thick, smooth, and extremely creamy. Very moderate carbonation, this beer is probably the easiest drinking 8.5% ABV out there.

O: There is absolutely nothing negative I can say about this beer. Up until I tried this Parabola was my favorite all time beer, and this has surpassed this. Everyone needs to seek this out and try it at least once. (834 characters)

Photo of amart79
4.92/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A - Opaque black color with a pretty big brown tinted head that hangs around for a while.

S - toasty coffee beans, some vanilla and a good smell of malts. Awesome.

T - the taste just follows right where the smell left off. The toasted malt and coffee beans flow right into a little taste of vanilla that flows beautifully into a bourbon taste right at the end.

M - creamy lightly carbonated and incredibly smooth. Even with the small bourbon bite at the end, it goes down easy.

O - literally one of the best beers I've ever had. The velvet merlin was already great and the aging in bourbon barrels just enhances every aspect of it. I'd recommend it to anyone that's gonna be around the brewery since it's only on tap. (724 characters)

Photo of cde1218
4.9/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Wow.... I've read all of the reviews on here about poor mouth feel of this beer.... I truly disagree with all of those reviews. This beer is fantastic! I'm thoroughly impressed with the unique flavor profile... Great chocolate, malt, dark fruit etc. True.... It's no bourbon county in terms of mouth feel but truly a great drive king experience in terms of flavor. FBGM (369 characters)

Photo of unclejazz
4.8/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I have been looking forward to trying this ever since trying Velvet Merlin in December. Thank you goes to Brouwerij Lane for getting this and pouring me more than my share.

A-dark brown with a half inch head tan there is great lacing went along with a decent espresso like color.

S-solid bourbon with vanilla and earthy notes which all complemented the roast malt and oat base.

T-this delivers the goods, it is not at all boozy, but wonderful bourbon carmel favors that have wonderful oak undertones. This is an amazing accomplishment.

M-thick and definitely in the sipper category. Just a touch of heat from the bourbon left a great burn in the aftertaste. I could sip this for days, so rewarding.

O-I thought I might never try this but so glad I did. This is e future of beer, some day it will be bottled and I will be there. Fantastic! (843 characters)

Photo of 01001111
4.79/5  rDev +14%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

A: A dark but not opaque chestnut color with little-to-no head and some oil slick patterns.

S: Wood, roast, oats, vanilla, pipe tobacco, and a slight bourbon bite.

T: Chocolate, hazelnuts and walnuts, vanilla, a hint of coconut. The bourbon character comes through as it warms in the mouth. The finish is very bold and roasted; not bitter at all.

M: Velvety, but a bit thin with some syrupy character, more like a nut brown ale in body, but the robust flavor boosts the mouthfeel. The alcohol heat appears mostly in the back of the throat.

O: I'm quite impressed. Velvet Merlin is a great oatmeal stout but the other reviews had me worried about this one. While not the most amazing barrel-aged stout, this is an excellent brew. (732 characters)

Photo of Tristen84
4.79/5  rDev +14%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Firestone Walker is not capable of making a bad beer and in fact they only make good beers. If its a beer that is meant to be to style they will follow it to the T. If it is a hybrid they are willing to go nuts with it. Velvet Merkin has a good story behind it and is made with so much love and care you can taste it. I am overwhelmed by the thick dark toasted presence of this beer. Some toasted coconut is present with also a nice roasted tobacco. Some alcohol warmth but nothing as compared to their other specialty beers, This is the zenith that all beer should try to achieve. If have not had this yet, try and find a bottle to drink now and bottle to cellar. (664 characters)

Photo of cosmicevan
4.79/5  rDev +14%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

had this at an in store tasting yesterday at beer city and grabbed a few 16oz growler fills of it.

a - poured into a 6oz FW snifter. brew pours a shiny almost watery black with little to no head. has a barrel shine to it.

s - smell is phenomenal. just smells like a perfect oatmeal stout. great roasted malts and chocolate and coffee notes with a perfect balance of oats.

t - taste is just as amazing as the smell. a fantastic oatmeal stout with the wonderful barrel aging of firestone walker. it is really the perfect blend of oats, chocolate, roasted malts, some coffee and a nice barrel vibe.

m - this one is surprisingly thin. i'd want it to be more rich and creamy, but for the size of this beer, it is just surprising how watery it is.

o - overall, this should be bottled. it is as good if not better than parabola. firestone walker is an amazing brewery and this beer blew my mind (like many other firestone beers i've tried in the past). sad that i only have another 16oz of this beer and it needs to be consumed soon. worth seeking out if you like barrel aged brews, or FW, or just damn fine beer.

---edit 2012-03-24---
honestly, i'd say that i may have even rated this too low. what a f*ckin beer! (1,213 characters)

Photo of JohnG190
4.76/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

2013 vintage. Pours black as pitch with a huge, tan head that slowly dissipated into a nice cap. Dark chocolate and coffee on the nose with prominent vanilla and bourbon notes. Lots of chocolate, coffee, vanilla, and bourbon on the tongue. Smooth, velvety mouth feel, medium bodied with nice carbonation. Overall, an extremely well crafted and balanced beer. In my opinion, Firestone Walker has the finest barrel aging program out there. (437 characters)

Photo of crob3888
4.75/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

L: Dark brown, nearly totally black and opaque. Some light shines through around the edges. A tan head forms, but eventually settles and disappears entirely.

S: Notice the smell during the pour. Vanilla bourbon notes dominated the sweet aroma, with dark chocolate as well. A good nose.

T: This is where the beer shines, as it should. The vanilla bourbon blends with rich dark chocolate truffle, and a hint of velvety espresso rounds it out. This is a brilliant bourbon aged beer.

F: Velvety smooth, as the name implies. Medium-full body, slightly chewy mouthfeel. Low carbonation.

Overall: A fantastic oatmeal stout. Velvet Merlin is one of my all-time favorite oatmeal stouts and Velvet Merkin is now an all-time favorite of the BBA variety. Firestone, as usual, knocks it out of the park. (796 characters)

Photo of bcerv-ca
4.75/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Fluffy dark khaki head. Dark mahogany, cola body.

Bourbon barrel smell at the forefront. Powdery dark chocolate and mildly sweet dark fruit follows.

Light, almost watery, mouthfeel. Some might be turned off by such a light stout, but I think it works perfectly with this beer.

Fudge-chocolate, oaky taste. Slight maple or maybe molasses sweetness lingers. Hardly notice the alcohol. Very easy drinking stout (especially for being barrel-aged).

If you like stouts or barrel-aged beers, you need to try this. It's amazing. (525 characters)

Photo of W_Des
4.72/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

2013. Chocolatey goodness. This one ages very well. There was litttle heat from the bourbon but the flavor accented the beer wonderfully. The vanilla comes out as it warms. The coffee was almost non existent to me. A wonderful stout, (233 characters)

Photo of El_Guapo
4.71/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Wow, this beer beat the Deschutes Sucaba, Parobola, and Anniversary Beers that I have had (2012 and 2013). Smooth and potent. The bourbon aging is so smooth that it sneaks up on you. The appearance is without reproach. Creamy head and dark body. If you can find it, buy all that you can. I got 3 bottles and am debating between aging the remaining two or drinking them now because the first was so good. I lucked out and found it at my local Whole Foods after visiting numerous Bevmos and other local beer stores in my area. Enjoy, enjoy, enjoy. Cheers! (553 characters)

Photo of iTunesUpdates
4.69/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Very delicious! A bit sweet for me though. Love all the carbonation.
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Photo of BierJager89
4.69/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Had on tap at the brewery (at the place across the street from the restaurant) in Paso Robles. Thank God I got accepted into Cal Poly, and had an excuse to get my family to stop nearby so I could get a look at the campus (and the amazing brewery only 20 minutes or so away) on our way to Anaheim for vacation.

A: Black with no head. I gave this a 5 because it's worthy of a better score than what it would otherwise get.

S: Chocolate, roasted malt, caramel, vanilla, oak, nice bourbon character. Smells delicious.

T: Tastes delicious! Chocolate, roasted malt, caramel, vanilla and oak bourbon character, but it's a bit weak on the bourbon. Well blended though. A bit oaky.

M: Full bodied, and smooth, though maybe not quite as smooth as Velvet Merlin.

O: I wish they would distribute this amazing beer! If you get a chance to go to the brewery, do so. It's my personal favorite brewery, and I feel blessed to live within a 4 hour drive of it. If you do go to the brewery, taste this! It wasn't available in the taproom restaurant when I went, but it was available across the street in the gift shop. (1,104 characters)

Photo of mverity
4.68/5  rDev +11.4%
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! (433 characters)

Photo of rjp217
4.68/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

2013 edition poured from the bottle into two HF tulip glasses....

A - Dark, dark brown, half finger head that dissipates quickly. Not much lace left

S - Bourbon, molasses, malt, oatmeal, chocolate, roasted coffee, vanilla

T - Exactly the same as the nose, in that order. The bourbon hits you upfront and then a mix of awesome favors come together with a vanilla oatmeal finish. It's like my palate is able to pass through the nose flavors and detect each one along the way, amazing! Tastes a little thin but fits the 8.5%

M - Smooth, velvet smooth, rolls off the tongue. Almost perfect

O - Outstanding! Reminds me of BCBS but in a lighter form. The ABV is perfect. I love the feel. Impressed with all the flavor that got packed into it. If this was a readily available beer I'd be broke. So glad I got the opportunity. Almost a standard bearer for me. Another barrel aged beast from FW. Bravo! (898 characters)

Photo of Mersh
4.68/5  rDev +11.4%

This BBA oatmeal stout lives up to the hype and more. Hints of vanilla, bourbon and roasted malt flow throughout the nose and taste. An exquisite pleasure to drink. Not overly boozy at all. Creamy and smooth. Love the mouthfeel on this. Wish I had a case. Firestone Walker are the masters of stouts and barrels. I highly recommend searching this out. I was lucky enough to get 2 on trade from the bottle release. It develops even more as it warms up. Cheers to an almost perfect oatmeal stout. (493 characters)

Photo of mfnmbvp
4.67/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22 oz. bottle, with no apparent bottled on date present. I bought the very first bottle from my local beer store, just minutes after they unloaded it off the truck. The blurb on the back of the box made my mouth water with anticipation. "Aged for a full year in seasoned bourbon barrels". Yeah, needless to say, I am exponentially stoked to have this bottle.

Poured into a clear balloon snifter glass.

A - Pours a solid opaque black with maybe just the faintest hint of brown-red highlights. Two fluffy creamy fingers of tan mocha head. Beautiful lacing.

S - Ahh yes, this thing smells like heaven. Chocolate, oatmeal, some raisins, figs, dates, smooth creamy vanilla, and earthy oak bourbon barrels.

T - Oh my. Truly lovely. Decadent. Delicious. Smooth "velvety" chocolate, coffee bean roast, oatmeal, creamy vanilla, & some warming bourbon presence. This beer is truly amazing.

M - This is one dangerously smooth, creamy, and "velvety" beer, that's for sure. Perfect low lying carbonation, and an almost nonexistent alcohol presence. Finishes with a bit of bitterness and stickiness on the palate, and a hint of booze warmth.

Overall, this is pretty much everything I could ask for in a bourbon barrel aged stout. I don't see how it could get much more amazing than this. Firestone Walker has truly wowed me with this one; it will be hard for them to top this. Highly recommended; trample innocent women and children to get this if you have to.

Firestone Walker Velvet Merkin ---4.5/5 (1,493 characters)

Photo of derftron
4.67/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Had on Tap at APEX in Portland - 2 Glasses

Appearance - Black with a little carmel head

Smell - Outstanding. Like bourbon chocolate oatmeal.

mouthfeel - not too thick on the tongue, but not "thin" either as some have said. just right

taste - wow. just what I was hoping for. a perfect execution of what bourbon barrel aging can do for a beer. The bourbon taste is right up front, and this beer is beyond smooth. for 8.6%, I could drink these all day. Chocolate, oats, and bourbon dominate for me.

Overall - outstanding beer. one of my favorites. as soon as some bottles hit the shops, I will definitely pick up 3-4. This is not a 13% imperial stout that pours like oil, so get that out of your head. But again, this is a wonderful marriage of a great beer and bourbon barrel aging and Firestone has done it again. Had it next to '12 Parbola and it just reinforced my admiration for the quality of beers that they produce. bravo (932 characters)

Photo of VelvetExtract
4.67/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A-Pours a very, very dark brown with only minimal light penetration. The head is a thin accumulation of sand colored bubbles and foam. Dots and waves of lace.

S-Interesting! I find it to be noticeably nutty. Almost like a nut flavored coffee. Toasted coconuts, too. A respectable and well set bourbon aroma. I notice coconuts more and more and I love that. Bits of vanilla and even some tobacco leaves. Almond chocolate bars!

T-The flavor is also delicious. I like how the bourbon isn't the main flavor, it merely accentuates the other flavors. Coconut milk chocolate. Roasted oats. Medium roast almond/hazelnut coffee. Chocolate chips. Vanilla and oak. Light tobacco. Then the whiskey kicks back in on the backside. Very tasty.

M-Body is thinner than expected but it seems to fit the beer's ABV. I actually enjoy its lack of viscosity. Tantalizing bubbles. A bit creamy and spicy/hot from the bourbon. Drinks too easily.

O/D-Firestone Walker barrel aged brews are an automatic. This one may be one of the best in my opinion. Not as huge as the others but it's complexity is unmatched. This beer tastes like it was made just for me and my taste buds. I really, really enjoyed this beer. Instant classic. (1,208 characters)

Photo of RichD
4.67/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Poured this into a tulip glass.

A: Pours a deep black with a small light tan had that is reduced to a mere ring around my glass. There is also some lacing left in the glass as I drink.

S: Smells of chocolate and vanilla almost exclusively. The smell is quite faint. I also pick up some bourbon sweetness. It's definitely very pleasant, but if the smell was more prominent I would give this a higher score.

T: Whoa! Immediate bourbon sweetness that consists of vanilla and some oak. The chocolate and roasted malts give a light coffee-like flavor. I also pick up some oats before the flavor transforms into a strong caramel flavor that takes my taste buds for a ride. Some warmness is also coming through at the end. The flavors mesh so incredibly well that I have a hard time setting each flavor aside.

M: I've read that some don't like the mouthfeel on this. I absolutely love it. It's remarkable that even with the bourbon barrel treatment that this beer retains the smoothness of an oatmeal stout. This is truly a one of the best mouthfeels I've ever had with a barrel aged beer. The 8% is almost nonexistent which is even better.

Overall: This beer is awesome. Firestone Walker really might have the best barrel aging program out there. Between this and the 3 other offerings that FW has, I'm having a hard time figuring out which is my favorite. This beer will be on my purchase list every year and I'm already anticipating when I can buy it again even though I still have half the bottle left. (1,504 characters)

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Velvet Merkin from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 253 ratings.