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Velvet Merkin - Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

Velvet MerkinVelvet Merkin

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

1,018 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1018
Reviews: 160
rAvg: 4.28
pDev: 9.58%


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)
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Ratings: 1,018 | Reviews: 160 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of tigg924
tigg924

Massachusetts

4.4/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Had on tap at New World Tavern.

Appearance: low carbonation, 1/4 inch head, opaque, black in color

Smell: dark chocolate, oak, and bourbon

Taste: Deep bourbon taste, dark and milk chocolate, with touch of vanilla

Mouthfeel: sweet, oaky, and roasty, heavy body, moderate carbonation

Overall: Wow. Every barrel aged beer FireStone Walker has done has been lights out amazing and worth every penny. This one is no different. I love the depth of the barrel aging and yet this still has a lot of stout to it. One of the best beers I have had in a while.

Serving type: on-tap

02-28-2014 19:58:15 | More by tigg924
Photo of plaid75
plaid75

New York

4/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On draft at The Lark, East Northport, NY.

Poured a black hue with a two finger foamy tan head. There was decent retention and lacing.

The smell featured roasted malts a d a touch of charcoal.

The flavor was likewise roasted with a touch of sweetness and a hint of black licorice.

The mouthfeel was toward tge fuller side of the style.

Overall a tasty oatmeal stout.

Serving type: on-tap

02-23-2014 22:35:03 | More by plaid75
Photo of RandomExile
RandomExile

Maryland

3.33/5  rDev -22.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

A: opaque black; no head; gothic spiderweb lacing
S: sweet, sharp bourbon barrel, tobacco
T: decided oatmeal on larger pulls, a sweet bourbony flavor reminding me of a candy from my childhood I can't quite place ... I understand why others are citing coconut and vanilla, but disagree that they overshadow the bourbon.
M: Medium-light for a bourbon, dry side of sweet
O: Fine for a bourbon barrel. Not my variety, but this has no dischordant notes, has that decidedly sweet/caramel flavor people are looking for in this style, and can easily stand up to the richest of soups or meats.

12oz / Tulip Glass / VGP, MD

Serving type: on-tap

02-04-2014 03:13:16 | More by RandomExile
Photo of PicoPapa
PicoPapa

Connecticut

3.98/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

On tap at Top Hops. Pours a very dark brown with a 1/4 inch of head. Some lacing. Sweet aroma of vanilla, caramel, chocolate and some coffee. The taste is sweet caramel and chocolate with some vanilla as well. Some bitter dark chocolate towards the end. Boozey. Vanilla and caramel at the finish. Slick mouthfeel with a medium amount of carbonation. One of the boozier Oatmeal Stouts I've had. Overall, I'd get it again.

Serving type: on-tap

01-17-2014 19:09:11 | More by PicoPapa
Photo of Roguer
Roguer

Connecticut

4.39/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Jet black brew, thin tan head, OK retention, decent lacing.

Chocolate malts and a hint of bourbon through the nose. Fairly understated aroma.

Noticeable bourbon, vanilla, and oak, balanced against dark cocoa and oatmeal.
Complex, balanced, sweet, and delicious.

Smooth and chewy. No burn, but the alcohol is present. This is a big bodied beer.

Fantastic beer. Super smooth and understated, very drinkable, and low ABV for the style.

Serving type: on-tap

12-13-2013 17:47:13 | More by Roguer
Photo of MattSweatshirt
MattSweatshirt

Texas

4.33/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Black pour with ruby highlight at the bottom of the glass. Light brown head. Leaves some lacing.

The Merkin tempts you with a sweet chocolate, toffee, and bourbony aroma. Soft oak and coconut barrel.

The flavor is amazing with chocolate, vanilla, coffee roastiness, bourbon, and barrel character.

Smooth medium bodied beer with plenty of tingly carbonation.

Really well done.

Serving type: on-tap

12-11-2013 02:26:33 | More by MattSweatshirt
Photo of Rifugium
Rifugium

Pennsylvania

3.73/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

First had: on tap at Capone's

Dark brown pour, slightly translucent around the rim, with a small beige ringlet. Aroma of roasty dark malts, toasted bread, bourbon and spiced rum, notes of chocolate and vanilla. More dark malt roastiness in the taste, notes of dark berries, coconut, bourbon-soaked oak, vegetal vanilla, bakers' chocolate. Mouthfeel was on the thin side, surprising for an oatmeal stout, body was about medium; boozy presence was felt, but it was pretty smooth and not hot at all. A decent brew overall.

Serving type: on-tap

12-04-2013 23:05:38 | More by Rifugium
Photo of AgentMunky
AgentMunky

California

3.89/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Served in a tasting glass at the brewery. From notes. Reviewed 24 February 2013.

It smells of sweet bourbon. Like scotch and chocolate. The taste is like oatmeal with chocolate milk. Finish is ozone and chalky sweet. It's okay, but it really suffers from the mouthfeel -- it's thin and flat. Smooooth, but it kills the flavor. I'll try it again sometime, but this was not that impressive.

Serving type: on-tap

11-19-2013 06:04:48 | More by AgentMunky
Photo of Tristen84
Tristen84

Washington

4.78/5  rDev +11.7%
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.

Serving type: on-tap

11-03-2013 03:39:07 | More by Tristen84
Photo of denver10
denver10

Colorado

3.34/5  rDev -22%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3

Pours black with a big marshmellow mocha head. Aroma is smooth bourbon and its barrel, caramel, chocolate, and a kiss of vanilla. Flavor was a bit disappointing for a FW barrel aged beer; smooth bourbon barrel comes in as I would like but the rest of the beer is quite lackluster. A little roasted barley, some caramel, and chocolate as well, and some of the sugars from the oats. A creamy, medium bodied mouthfeel. Overall, I would probably have been far more lenient on this beer if it came from just about anyone other than Firestone Walker. However, knowing the magic these guys can do I was quite underwhelmed here. Not bad, and I easily finished my pour, but I would not come back to this one.

Serving type: on-tap

10-11-2013 01:12:28 | More by denver10
Photo of derftron
derftron

Oregon

4.65/5  rDev +8.6%
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

Serving type: on-tap

10-02-2013 16:40:50 | More by derftron
Photo of mverity
mverity

Florida

4.69/5  rDev +9.6%
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!

Serving type: on-tap

09-27-2013 02:26:54 | More by mverity
Photo of abaer123
abaer123

California

4.35/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

I had the velvet merkin the next day after it was released at Firestone Walker in Paso Robles. my first try was from a four taster tray with my favorites double jack, tap room ipa and walkers reserve porter. the merkin was a special treat for me and surpassed my standby favorite, the double jack. I enjoyed the taster so much that I bought a full pour (6 oz), and a bottle to go.

Appearance - very dark in color while echos the richness of the flavor.

smell - delicious chocolate overature with coffee tones.

taste - again deliciousness with bourbon richness that delivers great flavor. I ha ve read some reviews saying it is thn, but given the heat of the day, the viscosity worked for me.

mouthfeel - full as I can remember. the flavor gave me an extra richness that I did not expect.

I did not have much expectation for this beer. I have has the merlin in the oast - in fact, I thought that was what I was ordering given I have never seen the merkin. I was glad I had a chance to try it and recommwnd that you give it a try if at all possible.

this is one of my favorite brews.

enjoy.

Serving type: on-tap

09-18-2013 17:49:35 | More by abaer123
Photo of BierJager89
BierJager89

California

4.68/5  rDev +9.3%
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.

Serving type: on-tap

01-17-2013 19:20:29 | More by BierJager89
Photo of Tucquan
Tucquan

Pennsylvania

4.23/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this on 2012-12-08 at TJ's pub in Paoli, PA for their 9th anniversary celebration.

A - Black or very dark brown with a 1/2-finger dark tan head and mild lacing.

S - Dark roasted grain, spice, light bourbon, coconut.

T - Rich medium-dark roasted grain, toasted oats, coconut, vanilla, illusion of chocolate, bourbon. Nice amount of bitterness in the finish. Delicious.

M - Medium body and carbonation. Not overly creamy.

O - A very fine oatmeal stout although I like Founders Breakfast Stout a little more.

Serving type: on-tap

12-09-2012 21:23:08 | More by Tucquan
Photo of brystmar
brystmar

Texas

3.23/5  rDev -24.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

On tap for Barcade's 8th anniversary.

Dark brown pour, minimal tan head and lace. Traces of bourbon mix with the roasted malts for a pleasant aroma.

Gotta start by saying the body is unacceptably thin -- especially for an oatmeal stout. Roasty malts prevail in the flavor, somehow hiding most of the bourbon. Kinda watery throughout, but somehow finishes really strong with a bold rush of hazelnuts. Yum.

Pretty disappointing overall.

Serving type: on-tap

10-18-2012 22:13:53 | More by brystmar
Photo of axeman9182
axeman9182

New Jersey

4/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

On tap and served in a goblet at Barcade's anniversary party.

Velvet Merkin pours jet black, with around half a finger of mocha foam crowning the beer. Head retention is surprisingly good, though there's very little in the way of lacing left behind. The nose isn't bad, though it's more barrel than beer. There's plenty of bourbon and wood, joined by more subtle aromas of vanilla and milk chocolate. The base brew shines through some more in the flavor profile, as rich chocolaty notes take the lead here. Vanilla is the main supporting player, though oak and a very mild bourbon flavor are also present. The body is velvety smooth and not at all heavy, and is paired with an appropriately muted carbonation. Picture perfect mouthfeel. I had supremely high expectations for a 100% barrel aged version of one of my favorite oatmeal stouts, and while Velvet Merkin might not quite live up to them, it's still a damn good beer.

Serving type: on-tap

10-18-2012 19:52:23 | More by axeman9182
Photo of corby112
corby112

Pennsylvania

4.43/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark brown, almost black color with a one finger light beige head that slowly settles into a lasting ring. Sporadic streaks of lace left behind.

Boozy bourbon barrel aroma that's nicely integrated into the base beer(which is partially bourbon BA). I thought amping it up to 100% BA might kill off some of those notes but they're still there underneath the barrel presence. Strong spicy bourbon, earthy oak, vanilla and coconut followed by roasted dark malt, chocolate, robust coffee and oatmeal.

Medium bodied but a bit thinner than I expected with a strong bourbon barrel presence that's excellently integrated into the flavor of the regular Merlin version. Sweet and spicy bourbon dominated up front with some boozy heat but it never becomes to hot. Feels stronger than 8.6 but not harsh. There's also some dry oak, toasted coconut and vanilla followed by roasted dark malt, silky chocolate, caramel, toffee and oatmeal. Subtle dry bitterness but never approaches burnt or acrid. Really well balanced and although there is a decent amount of heat it's very easy to drink.

Serving type: on-tap

08-21-2012 01:42:29 | More by corby112
Photo of womencantsail
womencantsail

California

4.58/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

On-tap at Oakquinox

Dark brown pour with a small tan head. The aroma reminds me of chocolate milk with a little bit of vanilla added to it. Minimal roast and coffee notes, just an overwhelming chocolate/vanilla blend. Great barrel and bourbon flavor with even more of the chocolate and vanilla going on. Moderate roast and a hint of coffee. Nicely sweet from some toffee malt flavors. So damn good.

Serving type: on-tap

07-17-2012 18:17:52 | More by womencantsail
Photo of cfrances33
cfrances33

Illinois

4.48/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at South Philly Tap Room during Philly Beer Week. Pour into a snifter.

Pour: Deep black with dark brown around the edges of the glass. Finger and half frothy deep khaki head.

Smell: Bourbon vanilla with some caramel and chocolate. Very boozy, but it complements the rest of the beer so well that it is very welcome.

Taste: More of the nose, but roastey chocolate comes out more. The bourbon vanilla is the headline here though.

Mouthfeel: Warming but light. Retains the drinkability of an oatmeal stout but commands that you have it slowly and enjoy it. Plus, this is a rare one, so you should be already.

Overall: So pumped that I got to have this, and even happier once I tasted it. Firestone Walker knows how to barrel age like no other. If you can get this, do it.

Serving type: on-tap

07-15-2012 18:53:23 | More by cfrances33
Photo of BARFLYB
BARFLYB

Pennsylvania

4.33/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On Tap at Teresa's Next Door. Served in a tulip glass.

Velvet Merkin pours the standard dark black color like the Merlin with a silky look. Black shade, off white head that is an inch that eventually fades, no cling. Smell is a nice and if not the best mix of oatmeal and bourbon ever. I'll admit, I am not a fan of huge beers, so i was a bit surprised at the alcohol difference between the former and the latter. I cant smell the eight some percent listed. OAts, ripe chocolate, vanilla, no oak, present bourbon. The taste is about the same with a focus of oatmeal and bourbon with a backing of chocolate. The great thing is, it's under 9%, meaning if i want another glsss, it would be a sinch. I loved the original and all the flavor and low abv, I love this version as well.

Serving type: on-tap

07-04-2012 02:54:17 | More by BARFLYB
Photo of rfgetz
rfgetz

New Jersey

3.9/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Pours a dark, copper tinted black, modest cap of brown froth, gone quickly, spotty bubbling. First whiff was solid, but not as bold as expected... light charachter from the burbon and oak blend with light roasted malt, faint creamy sweetness, minimal notes of cocoa. Taste brings a dry, oaky flavor, bourbon is present but not a star, roasty, a bit of a hop presence, light cream and sugar, minimal cocoa. Medium bodied, not full and creamy like an oatmeal stout, dry. Was anticipating this one immensely and left somewhat disapointed, expected big and bold and i got softer and milder. Still a good beer, just not great.

Serving type: on-tap

06-07-2012 13:10:45 | More by rfgetz
Photo of BeerForHokie
BeerForHokie

Pennsylvania

3.55/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Had on tap at Varga during Philly Beer Week in a 10oz chimay glass. Not at all what I expected but not necessarily a bad thing. My friend described it best, close your eyes and sip this beer and you meet think you were drinking a not so hoppy IPA. This stout was quite hoppy, bitter and a bit on the warm side--perhaps from being aged in e bourbon barrels. However, I did not taste any bourbon or traditional notes of coffee or chocolate usually found in a stout.

Overall a decent beer, although a bit of a let down (wish i would have tried the Parabola) and definitely not to be drank as a dessert or nightcap.

Serving type: on-tap

06-04-2012 04:04:20 | More by BeerForHokie
Photo of jwhancher
jwhancher

Pennsylvania

5/5  rDev +16.8%
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!

Serving type: on-tap

06-02-2012 13:19:32 | More by jwhancher
Photo of sidetracked
sidetracked

Illinois

3.9/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at Acre for Faux-BAB.

Pours black with a lingering off-white head.

Aroma is some bourbon and wood notes, malty with some roastyness. The base oatmeal stout is evident, but leans toward a neutral malty smell that doesn't add much.

Upfront taste is bourbon, wood, roasted malts, a little chocolate, and a slight bitterness. Finish is more barrel-forward with bourbon, wood, and vanilla mixing with a light bitter chocolate flavor. Lingering bourbon and roasted malts.

Medium body and creamy with low to medium carbonation.

Pretty good. The base oatmeal stout still shines through the barrel aging treatment. Nice to see they didn't overpower the original beer's flavors.

5/23/2012

Serving type: on-tap

05-26-2012 15:55:42 | More by sidetracked
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Velvet Merkin from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
95 out of 100 based on 1,018 ratings.