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Velvet Merkin - Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Velvet MerkinVelvet Merkin

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
93
outstanding

256 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 256
Hads: 1,994
rAvg: 4.2
pDev: 3.33%
Wants: 365
Gots: 779 | FT: 129
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: 256 | Hads: 1,994
Photo of creepinjeeper
4.48/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

22 oz. bottle from 2013 poured into a Solemn Oath snifter.

Look - thin blackness. Dark khaki head that settles into thin lacing on top.
Smell - chocolate, roasted grain, with hints of bourbon.
Taste - smooth, sweet, hints of whiskey, chocolate, toasted grain and oats. A little on the thin side.
Feel - again, for a lack of a better adjective, thin. Slight creaminess and light on carbonation.
Overall - enjoyable, easy going, BA oatmeal stout. (446 characters)

Photo of Robomunky
4.56/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

2013 bottle. Opaque black, very thin tan head. Smells like a chocolate hug. Tastes like Bourbon and chocolate. With a couple years on it, it's thinned out a little but is one of the smoothest, most drinkable, warm blanket stouts I can remember. It won't blow your mind like Parabola or PNC but it will make you smile like a 6-year-old with a cup of cocoa on a snowy day. (370 characters)

Photo of ttp86
2.38/5  rDev -43.3%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 1 | overall: 1.5

Opened a 2014 bottle and it was way over carbonated and thin, there was a constant 2 inch head in the bottle. Even with the issue the beer still tasted pretty good. Hoping to try a good bottle next time. (203 characters)

Photo of eifster82
4.26/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Look - black. Not very viscous.

Smell - barrel aging process is noticeable on the nose. Very full scent. Oats, malts… it's all right there.

Taste - slightly light, under-whelming when considering appearance and smell. Certainly not as full bodied as it's big brother, Parabola, or cousin belgian quad Stickee Monkee.

Feel - light. There should be a genre called Session Stout.

Overall - do not get me wrong, this is still a good stout. Lighter than what you would expect, but good none the less. However, not as good as other Firestone barrel aged offerings, and certainly not as good as Parabola. (614 characters)

Photo of boilermakerbrew
4.31/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Pours an off-black color in the body, with a good amount of brown peaking through the edges with just a touch of red in there as well. A fairly large, 2.5 finger thick head forms and retains very well. The head is tan in color and a very thick and dense, frothy foam. Lacing is very good from the luscious head.

S- Barrel flavors hit the nose first with a bang of barrel oak and spice along with a touch of vanilla. The base stout scents kick in next with a good bit of dry and toasted dark malts. Lingering scent afterwards is a mashup of barrel and dry malts.

T- Starts off with a very mild barrel flavor similar to the scent. This time the barrel flavor is almost entirely mildly spicy oak. The dry and burnt malts hit next and bring a somewhat chalky and burnt flavor to the tongue before a touch of dark chocolate comes out. The barrel picks up a little again at the end of the drink, but the malts are stronger and end the drink with a bit of lingering chocolate flavor.

M- This beer is just about what you would expect from a bigger oatmeal stout; smooth and slick on the palate. It drinks rather easily and the alcohol is hidden rather well. The carbonation level is a touch on the high side for the style, but doesn't distract from the overall smooth feel of the beer.

Overall, I really like how the barrel aging in this beer is subtle and doesn't overpower the base beer. Some really good dry and burnt flavors in the base beer's malts are really good and make this beer very easy to drink. (1,508 characters)

Photo of leroybrown10
4.26/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours out a rich brown going towards black. Voluminous khaki colored head. Head vanishes slowly and a thin creamy layer of foam lingers. Nice lacing though it doesn't stick around.

Aroma is molasses, sweet oats, caramel, and whiskey. Chocolate and oak. Sweet, heavy cream.

Taste is sweet milk chocolate, smooth bourbon, and heavy cream. Caramel and molasses. Oak barrel, mild coffee, and just a hint of underlying char.

Somewhat thin mouth feel with medium+ carbonation. Sweetness lingers. A bit of a creamy feel.

Very nice barrel aged stout. Flavors are nicely balanced. Could use more heft in the body as it is thin even for a non-imperial stout. (665 characters)

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

Very good BA beer, but I understand the mixed reviews. The relatively high carbonation is the biggest fault here. My best description is a lite BA RIS, which is still great, but falls short of the full bodied wonder that is Parabola. However, I will say that the lower ABV makes this a beer I'll revisit if I want solid BA taste, but don't want to share. - Cheers (363 characters)

Photo of BottleConditioned
4.07/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Look: heart of black walnut with Carmel edges. Carbonation is too scarce and course. A bit frothy with larger bubbles. Would be amazing to try on nitro.
Nose: nouget, vanilla, Carmel competes with a yeast overtone. Very understated on the bourbon.
Pallet: true to the name; super smooth. Fresh tobacco humidor, milk chocolate.
Feel: velvety smooth.
Beer is pure to its oatmeal stout vision; best in class for that. More than sum of its parts. Incredibly drinkable. (465 characters)

Photo of StinkyFishBoys
3/5  rDev -28.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

#carbonationcity if this was a boy it would be like those old super carbonated bubbly flavored waters boys. This is a trade beer. This is a "happy birthday dad" beer. (166 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 atr2605
4/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-pours black with a tan head with decent retention
S-chocolate, vanilla, roasted coffee, hint of sweet cream
T-lots of roasted chocolate flavors, like eating a dark chocolate truffle.
M-medium bodied with average retention
O-very solid beer, definitely worth trying (266 characters)

Photo of Sludgeman
3.55/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a snifter at Rustico Arlington

Disappointing, over hyped - 3.5

A - Black, minimal tan head 3.75
S - Bourbon, sweet, a faint spiciness, and some roasted malt but the barrel overwhelms everything. 3.75
T - Heavy on the bourbon, a bourbon bomb but not hot or solventy. 3.5
MF - Not particularly smooth for an oatmeal stout. Thinner than expected. 3.25 (363 characters)

Photo of kbwalters
3.92/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured cold into a Libby stout glass. Vintage 2014.
Look = 4.0 Pours a dark cola brown into an opaque black with lots of brown highlights. 1.5 fingers of dark brown head that fades to a light ring with good bubbly lace early.
Aroma = 3.75 Grainy, oatmeal aroma is most evident. Bourbon booze and roasted malt notes too but not much chocolate or coffee. Overall on the weak side.
Taste = 4.0 Muted chocolate and coffee notes; oatmeal and grainy taste. Bourbon and vanilla comes through on the back end. Bourbon notes are on the weak side.
Feel = 3.75 Medium to high carbonation on a medium body. Smooth but thin; more fizz than expected.
Drinkability = 4.5 Really easy drinking bourbon aged stout here; bourbon notes are far from overpowering.
Overall = 3.95 Highly drinkable BB aged oatmeal stout. Aroma and feel are lacking somewhat though. (849 characters)

Photo of Cylinsier
4.4/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz.

Pours jet black, no light penetration, with a brown sugar lacing for a head.

Smells of rich chocolate, vanilla, brown sugar, and toasted bread.

Tastes of brown sugar, toasted oatmeal bread, vanilla, cocoa, coffee, and fig. Woody finish.

Medium to full body with light tingling carbonation throughout.

A fantastic oatmeal stout, probably one of the best out there for my money. Worth seeking out and definitely something I will revisit. (453 characters)

Photo of larryarms847
4.48/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Pours dark brown and sits black as coffee in the glass with a light brown half finger of thick foam.

Espresso, dark chocolate, roasted malt, caramel, and a hint of bourbon.

Tons of dark chocolate and expresso, roasted malt, vanilla, caramel, toasted oat, and subtle bourbon.

Heavy-bodied, light carbonation, slick, unfortunately thin, subtle bourbon warming sensation.

Overall, a mighty fine brew, the only downside is the thinner mouthfeel than I look for in an impy stout, but delicious nonetheless. (505 characters)

Photo of MtnSoup
4.41/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2013 (001) Version. Drinking very smooth at this point, but I'm honestly not sure what more time would do. I'm not getting a ton of bourbon flavor at this point (or espresso). Still really tasty, but maybe it's time to open the others... (237 characters)

Photo of brentk56
3.83/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

2014 Vintage

Appearance: A massive mocha head forms on top of the dark chocolate colored liquid; nice retention and an interesting pattern of lace

Smell: Brown bread, chocolate and caramel, with hints of coconut, vanilla, oak and Bourbon

Taste: Chocolate and brown bread, up front, with the caramel, vanilla and coconut tones developing somewhat; the Bourbon appears in the finish, almost as an afterthought

Mouthfeel: Medium body with moderate carbonation; lacks the creamy mouthfeel I would expect from the oatmeal

Overall: I knew with an 8.5% ABV that this wasn't going to be a big stout but I was surprised at it, nevertheless; it's a decent beer but it lacked the depth of flavor and the mouthfeel I would expect from a beer so highly rated, let alone from a brewery that has always impressed me greatly

Thanks, fthegiants, for the opportunity (859 characters)

Photo of cjelden
3.44/5  rDev -18.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I love FW beers. I go nuts over them. But Velvet Merkin didn't live up to the reputation for me. I drank this after drinking another local stout and it just showed how light on all fronts this beer was. Not a lot in the nose. Not a lot in flavor. I wish it had more bite to it's flavor and mouth feel. If you want real real smooth then you would like this more than I did. (372 characters)

Photo of jellikit
4.65/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

2014 Bottle.
Appearance: coca cola with a foamy, tan head. Sticky lacing.
Smell: figs, raisins, light bourbon, light oak.
Taste: see above. Plus a little cola. Yum.
Mouthfeel: light carbonation.light body. Slightly sweet.
Overall: great beer. Worth the $17. Almost like having a whiskey/coke with a great stout backer. (328 characters)

Photo of TX-Badger
4.46/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark brown with khaki colored head. Bourbon, roasted malt, and oak on the nose; follows onto the palate, with some coconut and oats. Finishes with a little sweetness and bourbon. (186 characters)

Photo of KYGunner
4.43/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The nose has a light lactose-sweetness with fresh brewed coffee, some caramel and toffee, oats and lots of chocolate.

This is a chocolate bomb at first sip, thick and creamy. It opens late with bourbon, oats, cream, vanilla, chocolate, coconut and a ribbon of toffee.

FW nails this as they always do! (303 characters)

Photo of kaseydad
4.05/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Batch 1 2013

Pours a nice black ale with a decent sized brown foamy head with ok lacing. Turns rather quickly to a ring around the glass and then nothing but a flat cola.

Aroma still has some nice bourbon kicking through with some roastiness, espresso, leather, char, rubber, and subtle chocolate.

Taste is a bit spicy with more espresso tones and boozy elements. Each sip gives a bit of a bite. Hoppy. Dark chocolate.

Much too thin. Was hoppy for something creamy ala the oatmeal experience.

Overall this was a nice but lacking in that big "it" factor. The thin body was much too noticeable on each sip. Still it is Firestone and therefore is always worthy of a try. (681 characters)

Photo of marieli
3.57/5  rDev -15%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Draft. Dark brown. Coffee, bourbon and oak were the dominant smells and flavors. A bit on the thin side. I can see why people would be attracted to this stout but it's not quite my cup of tea. (192 characters)

Photo of Anker13
4.05/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Review for 2014 Vintage

Appearance: Great pour, deep brown almost black, looks slightly thin, decent tan head

Aroma: Boozier than i remember... Bourbon upfront followed by a chocolatey, burnt marshmallow / campfire aroma

Mouthfeel: Light-Moderate carbonation, pretty thin, slight astringency

Taste: Bourbon flavor upfront... Spicy with a hint of vanilla. Muted chocolate and coffee follow

Residual: Flavor does not linger long. There's a definitive start to the beer but the chocolatey center is short lived

Overall: This is a great beer, truly it is, worth trying if you've never had it. However, the 2014 version is a little thinner and less flavorful than I was expecting. Reminds me of the difference between bourbon neat and bourbon on the rocks. The flavor is there but it's a little muted. Don't get me wrong though... Few BA beers live up to the quality of Firestone Walker's BA program. Would recommend to anyone (927 characters)

Photo of busternuggz
4.44/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 22 oz bottle into a tulip. 2014 vintage, aged in Rittenhouse Rye, Elijah Craig, and Woodford Reserve barrels.

Nice mostly opaque black color with a frothy, creamy beige 1/2" head. Recedes to about 1/8" with good retention. Leaves persistent spots of lacing.

Scents of sweet bourbon, chocolate chip cookies, blackberry pie filling, vanilla, a little coffee. So nice...

Big whiskey notes on the taste. I taste some spicy rye up front, sweeter bourbon follows. Creamy chocolate comes in next, followed by vanilla, toffee, some toasted oak, and a slightly bitter finish of roasted malt, coffee, and berries. More whiskey comes out as it warms up. Nice balance, the whiskey barrel is present but doesn't overpower the base stout.

Body comes on creamy and medium bodied, but ends kind of thin. Nice carbonation, but could maybe stand a little less.

Overall, hey, it's freakin Velvet Merkin. It's delicious, fuhgedaboutit. The body is a bit of a weak spot, but still a delicious FW beer. (1,000 characters)

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Velvet Merkin from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 256 ratings.