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Velvet Merkin - Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Velvet MerkinVelvet Merkin

Educational use only; do not reuse.

298 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 298
Hads: 2,128
Avg: 4.24
pDev: 25.71%
Wants: 382
Gots: 922 | FT: 140
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.
View: Beers (83) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 298 | Hads: 2,128
Photo of Jeffsta1
3.87/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Root beer brown, pale tan foamy head.
Mild, clean smell. Not intense or stout-y.
Sweet malty flavor, some cocoa.
Moderate mouthfeel, foamy effervescence.
Sweet licorice on the finish.
Overall: this is a weird beer. Do not buy again.

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Photo of mschrei
4.18/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured into Pipeworks Tales from the Oak snifter. Dark brown, tan head that's healthy on pour but dissipates quickly. Little lacing, but the light discoloration on the edges makes the sight of this beer its' highest quality. Not much smell on initial pour other than barrel and booze, but after sitting a sweet smell is most prevalent.
Taste was initially very thin, some sweet tang upfront but not much other than a boozy aftertaste to follow it. After sitting, it's got some sweet syrupy qualities to it. Not a bad beer, but wondering if I should have cellared longer or not drank cold. Live and learn.

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Photo of yesterdayfaraway
4.03/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Lacking overall flavor, and smell compared to all the other barrel aged beers by Firestone walker. It is the lowest abv, but very underwhelmed. It has faint bourbon and chocolate, but it it smooth.

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Photo of Parmesan
4.59/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.5

2014 Vintage
Look: Dark black pour with a creamy brown tan head that sticks around for a while.

Smell: Lots going on here. Some caramel, toffee, peanut. Strong notes of bourbon, stone fruit and vanilla, some booze.

Taste: Very well balanced, lots of bourbon but the other flavors of toffee, roast malt, and chocolate come through well too. Has a nice coffee flavor in the finish. Alcohol is evident but not overwhelming.

Feel: The mouthfeel is a little light and not quite creamy enough. Low carbonation.

Overall: Other than the mouthfeel, this beer definitely lives up to the hype.

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Photo of JohnnyHopps
3.64/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Appearance - The pour was brownish black with tan bubbles clinging to the side of the glass.

Smell - Big booze. By the nose, I am not sure if there is beer in here.

Taste - The booze is dominant. There os some dark chocolate, malts, and a faint hint of vanilla. In the afterburn, I thought about how much I like beer with my barrel aged beer. This one is hot.

Mouthfeel - The carbonation was low, which contributed to a thinner feel.

Overall - Of the higher end FW, this is easily my least favorite.

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Photo of Greywulfken
4.27/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Missed out on this last year, but I'm not too focused on oatmeal stouts anyway - however, it seems a suitable beer to usher in my 1000th review... Poured a black body into a snifter with a couple of fingers of dense light brown foam on top. The head slipped away in short order, leaving just a slim ring of foam around the edge. Aromas of wood and whiskey hovered over darker roasted malt and oats... Felt a bit thin on the body, but smooth, slickly crossing the tongue with woodsy oak and light vanilla and tannins. The chocolate aspects slipped in subtly, along with a bit of watery molasses and hints at dark fruits underneath it all. I was a little put off by the feel (I'm fussy that way), but the quality of the craftsmanship is undeniable. The bourbon is not over-done, and the beer drinks very elegantly and easily.

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Photo of maxifunk777
3.1/5  rDev -26.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

After so many GREAT stouts during my first year of being a craft beer drinker. This is a good stout just not great or outstanding. Some what of a major let down considering it's Herald from such GREAT beers.

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Photo of rjd722
4.59/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Poured at a bottle event, deep brown color with some lacing and slight tan head. Aroma is mostly bourbon with subtle hints of chocolate, toffee, and espresso. Bourbon is up front but this is an incredibly balanced stout, chocolate and toffee coming through very strong. Silky smooth and extremely drinkable, an outstanding brew!

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Photo of craftaholic
4.34/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

The biggest issue I have with this beer is how ...velvet...soft it is. It has the pricetag of parabola, sucaba, and stickee but it drinks like a lighter brethren. The flavor is delicious with hints of bourbon, espresso and cocoa but the vanilla seems artificial

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Photo of mobrado
4.22/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A very delicate beer. Doesn't look like much, smell is subtle, feel is thin. But the taste is very alluring (mainly chocolate and bourbon) and the feel improves a lot when you let the beer warm up a bit (it's REALLY thin when cold). I enjoyed this overall, but the big drawback is that it's priced in line with Parabola, Stickee Monkey etc. In contrast to those I easily finished this one alone and was ready for more...If you're planning to share, grab a couple if you can afford it.

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Photo of Monkeyknife
4.08/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle a dark brown-black with two fingers of tan head. No lacing with this one.

Aroma of roasted malts, chocolate, vanilla, and boozy oak.

Like the aroma, tasted of roasted malts, chocolate, vanilla and a boozy oakey sweet warmth. Boozy notes linger thru the finish.

Lighter-to-medium bodied and smooth with a moderate carbonation.

Thinner bodied and boozier than I expected. Still, a real nice stout.

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Photo of IKR
4.05/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

2015 Vintage

Appearance: Very dark brown bordering on black with a modest beige head that slowly fades. Good looking stout.

Smell: Moderate brown sugar, vanilla, coffee/roasted malt aromas, and some mild oak notes.

Taste: A fairly balanced palate of Bourbon notes, roast malts, vanilla, and oak. The flavors are all there but they aren't as forward as in some beers. The finish is fairly dry with some roast malt notes, vanilla, and oak notes. No real alcohol presence to speak of.

Mouth-feel: On the light side of medium-bodied with a good level of carbonation, especially considering the bal-aging. Though the 2015 vintage blends in some Lactose Stout to enhance the body this is still fairly thin bodied. Velvet Merlin has a good body for it's ABV so maybe it's the bal-aging in Velvet Merkin.

Overall: I enjoyed this beer. It has a fairly restrained taste profile in comparison to the other Firestone walker bal-aged beers but I like it.

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Photo of JOldewurtel
3.9/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

This review probably isn't going to be a fair one. I made the mistake of trying this beer AFTER trying the 17th and 18th Anniversary Ale. And I had decided after drinking the 18th Anniversary, that that was probably the best beer of the almost 550 different beers that I had tried.

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Photo of manfromanotherplace
4.56/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Like the Merlin, it looks a little thin, the finish is also slightly thin, but they are the only small negatives about this beer.Smell is great, taste is of chocolate, oatmeal, slight vanilla with a very subtle barrel presence.an excellent stout

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Photo of Thirstygoat
4.29/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 2014 bottle into a FW Barrelworks glass. I guess I am celebrating XIX day along with Halloween, Breeder's Cup, the World Series and falling backwards.
Lot's of mocha head that remains with a bit of lacing as long as it takes to finish.
Smells of coffee, vanilla, wood, chocolate
Taste all those, with the wood a bit more prominent
Not exactly thin on the mouth, but a bit light for all that's going on
I was looking forward to trying this and thought I'd be giving even higher marks. I might revisit this review after drinking a 2015.

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Photo of gopens44
4.14/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Not the most picturesque beer nor does it go much deeper than the bourbon on the nose, but the complexity in taste make up the difference. Bourbon opens up into the vanilla and coffee masterfully before a thin bitterness rides out.

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Photo of MattLev
4.74/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

L: Pours dark, almost black with a small non frothy head
S: Bourbon and Chocolate, with hints of hazelnut and coffee
T: Wonderful, very light for a barrel aged beer, though obviously not an imperial. Superbly balanced.
F: Smooth and rich, it goes down smooth.
O: A wonderful intro to a bourbon barrel aged stout that non cask lovers can also enjoy. Scary how easy it goes down.

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Photo of Jr1982
3.06/5  rDev -27.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

2015 bottling. 22 oz. bomber

When I open a bourbon barrel aged stout I expect something thick and juicy. I'm looking for a "meat and potatoes" beer that will stick to your ribs. Velvet merkin did not meet my expectations at all.

It pours a nice dark (though not as dark as you'd expect from a barrel aged stout) coffe brown with a weak head that dissipates about as quickly as any mass produced light beer. No lacing.

It has all the notes you'd expect in the aroma and flavor but they're weak and anemic. Slight hints of coffee, oak, bruised apple, and bourbon but not enough. Amazingly, the alcohol was very prominent, very surprising since it's 8.5 abv. The mouthfeel is thin and watery, like someone snuck in and stole a few drinks and topped the bottle off with tap water.

Not impressed with this beer at all. This isn't the first beer I've had from Firestone Walker but it's the first time I've been disappointed. Maybe next years batch will be better but at $16 a pop there's a chance I won't find out.

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Photo of pagriley
3.96/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

2015 fresh into snifter.
Pours almost black but translucent at edges - a bit watery looking
Smell of coffee and barrel with roast malt lurking in the background
Taste is coffee forward, but integrated into the barrel and base beer
A bit light and thin for a barrel aged stout - was expecting more body from the oats

Overall a bit of a let down. A fine beer, but not on the same level as the rest of the firestone boxed beers.

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Photo of zeledonia
4.32/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Bottle from the 2015 release. Tasted 24 October 2015.

Pours dark brown, nearly black in the glass. One finger of medium tan head, okay retention and good lacing.

Smell is sweet and heavy on the bourbon. Brown sugar, molasses, and something like plums. The oats provide a solid base, most support than is typical.

Taste is delightful. It's restrained and sophisticated, which is an unusual combination for a barrel-aged stout. Rather than slamming you over the head with every flavor in the book, the details come through in subtle waves. I get roasty notes, sweet candy, some charry bitterness. Each one flows through, allowing the next phase to come to the fore.

Feel is lovely. Smooth and luscious, though lighter than many BA stouts. Fluffy carbonation. Excellent.

I really like this beer. It's light for a barrel-aged stout, but the oats give it body and full flavors that would otherwise be lacking. Yummy.

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Photo of TjMosby
4.83/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

22oz. bomber poured into snifter
Vintage 2015

Appearance - Thick black opaqueness with a slight reddish brown at the top.

Smell - A remarkably sweet bourbon. Chocolate, espresso, oak.

Taste - Chocolate cream and espresso. With a very impressive bourbon finish.

Feel - I think this is exactly what an oatmeal stout is supposed to be in texture. It balances nicely in the mouth and finishes even better.

Overall- If there is any bourbon aged stout that should be considered top class, it is without a doubt this one. It has an overwhelming bourbon scent that is slightly misleading in the incredibly smooth pour. Dangerously drinkable.

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Photo of Motleydrunk56
4.81/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

22 oz bomber poured into a Firetone glass.Smell is chocolate with a hint of vanilla and coffee in the background.Maybe a touch of coconut.Very nice and smooth stout.The taste is chocolate up front with vanilla and coffee in the background.Great mix of flavors.ABV is 8.5 but you can`t taste it until it warms up and then a hint of bourbon comes thru.This one is a must try for all stout fans.Even if stouts are not your favorite,try it it`s that good.

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Photo of mothman
4.02/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Light tan head. Black color but nearing brown.

Definitely a porter. Thin compared to a stout. Lots of bourbon and vanilla. Oaky. Caramel and chocolate. A little heat. Fairly smooth. Some roast.

Good porter. I'd have this one again.

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Photo of justintcoons
3.96/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

2015 Vintage
22 oz bottle poured into a snifter.

Deep chestnut brown (near black) with a short head that dissipates quickly. Some light penetrates around the rim of the glass.

Bourbon, fudge, dark chocolate, peanut, wood, coconut, and vanilla.

Semi-sweet chocolate, caramel, toffee, and peanut. Smooth bourbon, vanilla ice cream, and oak. Hints of fudge and toasted coconut.

Medium-light bodied, slick, smooth, and warming.

Smooth, warming, and decadent. While still a great Oatmeal Stout, this seems to be the least complex of the Firestone Walker barrel aged beers that I’ve had. I expect a little more for the $20 price point on this.

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Photo of LADaveBN
4.21/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2014 vintage. Pours dark with a tiny mocha head that dissipates quickly. Nose is roasty malt, bourbon, vanilla, coffee, chocolate. Front of palette I get toasted oats, subtle chocolate. Finish is quite dry, light, with a touch of coffee bitterness. Feel is lighter than expected. Overall, I really enjoyed this beer. It's much easier drinking than most of the Proprietor Vintage series.

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Velvet Merkin from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
94 out of 100 based on 298 ratings.