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Velvet Merkin - Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Velvet MerkinVelvet Merkin

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
95
world-class

1,377 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1,377
Reviews: 196
rAvg: 4.29
pDev: 9.79%
Wants: 289
Gots: 460 | FT: 89
Brewed by:
Firestone Walker Brewing Co. visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
Oatmeal Stout |  8.50% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes/Commercial Description:
Oatmeal stout aged in a >10 year old Heaven Hill bourbon barrel.

(Beer added by: t0rin0 on 11-20-2008)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,377 | Reviews: 196 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of prior2two
3.81/5  rDev -11.2%
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.

prior2two, Oct 22, 2013
Photo of warnerry
4.25/5  rDev -0.9%
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.

warnerry, Aug 15, 2011
Photo of sean_paul
4.5/5  rDev +4.9%

sean_paul, Yesterday at 02:50 PM
Photo of kirchy
4.25/5  rDev -0.9%

kirchy, Yesterday at 04:16 AM
Photo of TheBrewo
4.19/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

We peel the foil and pop the top on a bottle of 2013 stock. We pour a beer of burnt chestnut brown into our Founders snifters. A one and a half finger tall head of oily chocolate milk colored bubbles. This dissipates on the quicker side, settling into an oil slick across the top of the liquid. Lacing is specked, but highly mobile and truly formless. No haze or sediment is noted, and carbonation appears to be active. The nose is beautifully warming and rich, even when at the coldest of fridge temperature. We meet notes of raw licorice, vanilla-rubbed woodiness, sweet but intensely buttery diacetyls, dark chocolate sugars, black pepper spice, chocolate covered espresso beans, light balsamic vinaigrette acidity, toasted oats and black malts, chemical bite of nail polish, aluminum foil, ashed cigarette tobacco, and buttercream cheesecake frosting. The taste follows the nose very nicely, but gives up a little robustness that we had hoped would carry through. Coming through is a clean blend of soured and acidic oak, soft and melty mallo sugars and milk chocolates, warming bourbon wash, dried raisins and black cherries, vanilla milk shake, light vodka boozy kick, cinnamon and crushed Graham cracker crumble, light bubblegum esters, medicinal phenol spice, watered charcoal, mildly bitter cocoa, and dusty basement muskiness. The body is the lightest shade of medium, and the carbonation is more solidly medium. The liquid moves easily around the mouth, leaving a cooling and lightly palpable coating of sugary stickiness. Slurp, smack, cream, froth, glug, and pop each contribute nicely. The abv is appropriate, and the beer drinks back nicely, although due to its whale status, you want to take your time.

Overall, best…name…ever. Oh so seductive!! Actually, that last part is a true statement about the aroma. It floats out of the bottle, and just like the smell lines of a pie will lift any cartoon character right off their feet, pulls you firmly in. The bourbon is delicate but expertly represented, giving all of the essence without any of the nasty. This blends with the oddity of the malt base, which is oat, setting the stage for a markedly complex presentation. Things are going great at this point. Then, you sip. It would be a crime to say that the beer takes a wrong turn here, but, it just isn’t quite what we were expecting. Remember, this is an oatmeal stout. This is NOT your typical hulked-up American imperial. This is velvet. The flavoring comes across, due in part to the sweetness of grain, wood, and chocolate, much like a milk/sweet stout, with high residual sugars. Once you accept this fact, you will have a much better time, and you’ll enjoy the beer much more. We were so, so excited when we found this beer, and while it doesn’t disappoint by any means, we had hoped it would be a little more bold. That is in our failing of false expectations, not the beer’s or the brewer’s, as the final product presented is worthy of all its accolades.

TheBrewo, Yesterday at 01:43 AM
Photo of oskinker
5/5  rDev +16.6%

oskinker, Monday at 08:32 PM
Photo of hophead_87
4.75/5  rDev +10.7%

Awesome. Subtle bourbon flavor brings this to life. Doesn't overpower at all.

hophead_87, Monday at 08:28 PM
Photo of dgtiii
4/5  rDev -6.8%

dgtiii, Monday at 08:15 PM
Photo of fossage78
5/5  rDev +16.6%

fossage78, Monday at 05:45 PM
Photo of tabascosigned
4.5/5  rDev +4.9%

tabascosigned, Monday at 02:19 PM
Photo of Odysseyalien
3/5  rDev -30.1%

Odysseyalien, Monday at 02:14 PM
Photo of Goldroger
1.04/5  rDev -75.8%

Goldroger, Monday at 03:38 AM
Photo of cjgiant
4.4/5  rDev +2.6%

Bottle, 2014 vintage:
Pours a pretty-much pitch black, with a mildly surprising just off-white foamy head. This head does stick around for a bit, and a swirl of the glass leaves the foam clinging to the glass above the surface.

The initial nose (I did let it warm a bit before tasting) definitely has the bourbon barrel scents throughout. There is a vanilla and perhaps a light cinnamon notes to what is really, to me, pretty mush simple roasted malt goodness. When searching, I get wood notes and something that reminds me of a "bowl of oatmeal", but neither is overt or obvious to me.

The taste, surprisingly does not rely on or even focus on the bourbon barrel tastes. I do get the oats more up front than I'd imagined I would. To those flavors are added a fairly significant woodiness that accentuate the initial notes, and meld together to something greatly interesting to me. The bourbon fades in lightly mid-taste, and just stays on the fringe of the taste. I get a touch of coconut, and a dark-roasted nuttiness for the lingering taste.

The feel is actually a little light early, and dries out in a woody feel/taste for the longer term. I think the beer is very smooth throughout, overall, though.

A very good beer that is just solid in its structure. It's not very showy in it's flavors, but does throw enough out there to not be too boring. I like it for being a more subdued higher-octane stout.

cjgiant, Monday at 03:17 AM
Photo of AndyEdgar
4.5/5  rDev +4.9%

AndyEdgar, Monday at 02:39 AM
Photo of miltm
4.48/5  rDev +4.4%

miltm, Monday at 12:01 AM
Photo of Cubatobaco
4.29/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

I'm glad that I got a chance to drink this fresh as I don't think it will hold up very long, especially at 8.5%. The mouthfeel is amazing and the taste is of dark chocolate and roasted coffee. I think, if it had more barrel presence, I would have rated it higher. It was kind of muted. Great beer and I am glad that I have a few more bottles.

Cubatobaco, Sunday at 10:48 PM
Photo of Moheban
4/5  rDev -6.8%

Good but not as good as I expected

Moheban, Sunday at 07:59 PM
Photo of kidzord
4.5/5  rDev +4.9%

kidzord, Sunday at 05:19 PM
Photo of Modernrickk
4.08/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Serving type bottle

This beer looks like cold black coffee. When held up to the light I can see thru it. Not much head retention. Not exactly an elegant looking beer. Sure does smell good tho. It's not in your face in the aroma but very pleasing mix of malts and bourbon.the vanilla-like aroma from the wood smells amazing. Tastes like a bit of chocolate dipped in a bit of watered down bourbon. The low abv kinda makes the mouthfeel a bit thin for a BBA stout but really helps the balance of the taste. Overall this beer is pretty darn good. Balance in the bourbon and stout flavors is everything here ..

Modernrickk, Sunday at 04:41 PM
Photo of durlta
4.5/5  rDev +4.9%

durlta, Sunday at 03:47 PM
Photo of GJ40
4.2/5  rDev -2.1%

Beautiful with a big black color and a sturdy tan head. Awesome aroma with bourbon, vanilla and cane sugar. Smooth flavors follow led by a well behaved bourbon aspect. Maybe a little thin for a bigger oatmeal stout. But I really enjoyed this one.

GJ40, Sunday at 12:03 PM
Photo of Celtics17
4.5/5  rDev +4.9%

You without a doubt get the bourbon character in the nose, and in the front. After awhile the bourbon character softens, and you get more of the oatmeal. I get a slight vanilla, but little to known of the chocolate flavors. Great beer.

Celtics17, Sunday at 07:10 AM
Photo of badmotorgrunge
4.25/5  rDev -0.9%

badmotorgrunge, Sunday at 06:09 AM
Photo of Kevinpitts
4.15/5  rDev -3.3%

Kevinpitts, Sunday at 05:59 AM
Photo of JPJAM
4.4/5  rDev +2.6%

JPJAM, Sunday at 05:25 AM
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Velvet Merkin from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
95 out of 100 based on 1,377 ratings.