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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: 2,125
Avg: 4.24
pDev: 25.71%
Wants: 383
Gots: 920 | 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: 2,125
Photo of Taylor_Madison
4.76/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Unique oatmeal stout with a strong outmeal influence that quickly dissipates with little aftertaste. I tasted more coffee than chocolate which differed from the other tasters I was with. Has a very smooth feel and a light nose that has a slight bourbon aroma. Super easy to drink!

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Photo of Ryancthomas7
3.72/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

2015 Vintage
Tasty beer, but I am underwhelmed with the aroma/flavor. I was hoping to get more barrel notes, but that is just not the case. Carbonation level seems a bit high for the style as well.

Overall, this is an enjoyable beer, but I do not think it is worth the price point for me.

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Photo of sittinggc
4.35/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2015 vintage poured into Teku glass.

Look: Dark, however not as thick and black as an RIS. Translucent as poured into glass. Small khaki head which dissipates quickly.
Smell: Chocolate, oats and coffee.
Taste: Very much like the aroma. Lots of oats and chocolate. Also get some nice vanilla notes and sweetness from the bourbon...though bourbon presence is minimal. Also get nice coffee roastiness on the tail end. As the beer warms, I get more bourbon notes...and some whiskey ones which is kinda weird lol.
Feel: Very smooth and easy drinking. Not as chewy or hot as a BA RIS but that isn't necessarily a bad thing. As it warms it seems to get thinner.

Overall: I really like this beer. Really tasty and easy to drink. Only problem I have with it is the price...other than that I will very likely buy more and see what some age does to it. Cheers!

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Photo of Tele
4.33/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Serving Type: Bottle (2015)
Consumed: 10.2.15

A: 4.5 Pours a very dark brown with a small, khaki head. The head only lasts a minute and doesn’t’ leave much lace.

S: 4.5 The aromas one this beer are terrific. Unlike most BA stouts, the base beer is the dominant aroma. Dark coffee, roasted malt, marshmallows, cocoa powder, and fudge are the main things going on, like a really nice porter. There’s still good barrel presence though, bringing vanilla and caramel elements.

T: 4.25 Flavors are very similar to what the nose suggests, but dialed back a bit. There’s moderate sweetness, vanilla, raisins, and bourbon mixing in with light bitterness and roasted malt flavors. The finish is very smooth with a touch of bourbon heat and sweetness lingering.

M: 4.25 People bash the mouthfeel on this beer for being too thin, but (while that’s true to a certain extent) it’s also incredibly drinkable and the excellent carbonation almost makes it a non-issue.

O: 4.25 This is a really terrific and unique beer; it fills the gap between everyday stouts and huge BA imperials. It’s great for what it is, even though it may not push all the same buttons as something like Parabola or BCBS.

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Photo of CHickman
4.82/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

On tap at Sapsuckers, 2014 batch pours pitch black color with a small tan head that faded and left good spotty lacing. This brew's looks were fortunately the least impressive part, as it was all uphill from here.

Smells of ash, charred wood, burnt grains, coffee grinds, vanilla, burnt coffee, oak barrel, tree bark, cocoa powder, wheat bread toast, oatmeal and dark chocolate. Smells like bourbon barrel aged stout with a lot of char, grains and delicious chocolate. Pretty much the apex of an oatmeal stout.

This is an oatmeal stout on steroids, ridiculously flavorful and packed with oaky notes, earthy accents, and lots of chocolate and coffee. Taste shows off the burnt coffee, cocoa powder, light vanilla, charred wood, molasses, bakers chocolate, roasted malt, touches of syrup, tea leaf, light floral hops, tobacco, light booze which is a cross between rum and bourbon, toasted coconut and some toasted buttery wheat bread; it then trails off with more char and cocoa. As it warms the bourbon comes out and is so woody and oaky that it's like an actual bourbon with a lot of peat moss. Outstanding tasting, exceptional.

Mouthfeel is thin and smooth, but par for the course for the style; light to medium bodied with very little to no carbonation and the greatest if ease to drink. So smooth, so easy and so delicious, for a beer with this much flavor it should not be this easy to drink but it is. Overall an unbelievably great beer.

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Photo of smakawhat
4.35/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured from the bottle into a large snifter glass. Vintage 2015.

Deep walnut brown and some nice ruby red highlights. Quite clear but due to it's dark colors not easy of course to see through. Very light tan head, with a creamy top, and almost icing cake looking. Dissolves with little retention, manages a simple whispy top, and fine to a mix of small bubbles in the collar. A nice looking brew in the realm.

Real complex, diverse, and exciting aroma. Big malt whoppers candy, and a deep brown bread and cake like fluffy flavor. Hints of light brownie chocolate and excellent cereal grains. Sense of light and whispy like malts, taking away some of the barrel roundness but leaving a real distinct flavor. Sweetness is noticeable but not really large which is even better. Big count Chocula quality going on here with a cereal grain quality and husky density.

Palate goes for a little bit simpler quality, but memorable and unique flavors. Tannic mild wood but also a bit wet with not much body in malt to really push the flavors high. Mid palate though fills with an airy chocolate and mild sweetness of malt, and almost some tobacco sweetness to keep it interesting. The oats on this are really being pushed over board, with large cereal qualities becoming evident but without much chewy texture. Real mild sweetness as well, but lacking some complexity in the flavors. Much of expected barrel tones and particularly feel are really sort of lost here also.

This is a real interesting take and brew in the Firestone realm, there's much to improve here which would also though take away from it's easy drinkability.

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Photo of lochraneg
4.68/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

L: dark molasses with creme head that dissipates quickly
S: chocolate, bourbon, raisins
F: thick body that is mellow but hangs around on the palate
T: malt, chocolate, bourbon, vanilla
O: had the '14 and let it sit for about 4 months-- great

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Photo of lafoodie8808
3.4/5  rDev -19.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This beer is a whisky bomb when cold, but that improves as it warms. Unfortunately not enough to make this a winner. Not a bad beer, but doesn't live up to how amazing the rest of this series is.

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Photo of SaulFox
4.77/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

2014 vintage
Deep black, khaki head
Coffee, slight bourbon with signature woodiness
The taste is what makes this beer!
Vanilla, chocolate, molasses, coffee, bourbon.
Great mouthfeel despite lower alcohol content.
Just beautiful! Looking forward to popping this year's vintage....

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Photo of ChrisP802
4.73/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Pour - dark molasses, small dark beige head
Smell - chocolate, espresso, bourbon come right out
Taste - definitely taste the chocolate and espresso, bourbon was subtle but there
Overall - amazing brew, too bad it's so hard to find in Vermont

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Photo of Beer_Line
4.89/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

2015 Bottle

Appearance: Dark with khaki head

Aroma: a little bourbon, chocolate and Malts or oats

Taste: Incredible. This years is really similar to KBS. Light bourbon up front with oaty chocolate taste following. and the dark chocolate lingers on palate after swallowing.

Mouthfeel: Ultra smooth, too smooth, good thing this is not 15% abv.

Overall: 2015 vintage has bumped this brew into the world class ranks for me (due to the addition of the milk stout to the formula). The addition of the milk stout smoothed the brew out and really bumped up the mouthfeel. So dang good.

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Photo of 81tillinfinity
4.76/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Oh my goodness I could session this, but then I would be out of money. Rich, creamy, dark, and touch of sweetness spiked with a bit of bourbon like my morning coffee. Drink now or save just drink. No point trying to analyze this it's a world class beer you don't have to wait in line for.

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Photo of teromous
4.24/5  rDev 0%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

2015 Bottle.

Appearance: Black body with a small strata of medium brown foam that changes into a large light khaki head. Good head retention and lacing.

Aroma: I get a fairly strong wood, bourbon, and brown sugar. It's pretty average smelling for a bourbon barrel beer but it does have a nice mellow presence that doesn't overwhelm the senses.

Taste: There is a light roasted coffee flavor with a bit of cream. The bourbon and wood characters show great restraint leaving a wonderful showcase for notes of chocolate and brown sugar. The alcohol flavor is there, but it is not unpleasant at all. In fact I think this sets the bar a bit higher as far as what alcohol flavor you can get into a beer without overpowering it or turning it into a booze-bomb. The aftertaste leaves some sweet cream and date flavors.

Mouthfeel: It is incredibly smooth and drinkable. The mouthfeel is perfect.

Overall: I was very satisfied by this beer and the bottle went a lot faster than I had expected. It's an incredibly drinkable beer. It is not a huge thick beer with tons of flavor; it is a very deliberate and delicate beer that delivers its flavors like a fencer would choose their strikes. I do recommend it.

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Photo of jasonhostetler
4.89/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

2015 into a snifter. All I can say is wow. Bourbon, chocolate and vanilla on the nose. Body is a bit more heavy than 2014 with the added milk stout. Finish is burnt marshmallow, subtle burn with no burn and coffee. Easily the best oatmeal stout I have ever had and up there with the best stouts I've ever had. If you can find it, buy it!!

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Photo of papat444
3.64/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Looks great, maybe a tad too much foam and aroma has a nice soothing bourbon mixed with oats but the flavor and feel leave to be desired. Too much carbonation makes the mouthfeel uneven and prevents the flavor from fulling shining through. A disappointment for me.

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Photo of creepinjeeper
4.48/5  rDev +5.7%
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.

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Photo of Robomunky
4.56/5  rDev +7.5%
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.

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Photo of ttp86
2.38/5  rDev -43.9%
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.

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Photo of eifster82
4.26/5  rDev +0.5%
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.

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Photo of boilermakerbrew
4.31/5  rDev +1.7%
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.

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Photo of leroybrown10
4.26/5  rDev +0.5%
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.

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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

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Photo of BottleConditioned
4.07/5  rDev -4%
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.

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Photo of StinkyFishBoys
3/5  rDev -29.2%
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.

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Photo of W_Des
4.72/5  rDev +11.3%
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,

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