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Velvet Merkin - Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Velvet MerkinVelvet Merkin

Educational use only; do not reuse.

273 Reviews
no score

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Reviews: 273
Hads: 2,037
Avg: 4.24
pDev: 26.42%
Wants: 372
Gots: 841 | FT: 132
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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Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 273 | Hads: 2,037
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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Photo of atr2605
4/5  rDev -5.7%
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

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Photo of Sludgeman
3.55/5  rDev -16.3%
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

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Photo of kbwalters
3.92/5  rDev -7.5%
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.

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Photo of Cylinsier
4.4/5  rDev +3.8%
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.

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Photo of larryarms847
4.48/5  rDev +5.7%
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.

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Photo of MtnSoup
4.41/5  rDev +4%
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...

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Photo of brentk56
3.83/5  rDev -9.7%
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

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Photo of cjelden
3.44/5  rDev -18.9%
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.

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Photo of jellikit
4.65/5  rDev +9.7%
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.

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Photo of TX-Badger
4.46/5  rDev +5.2%
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.

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Velvet Merkin from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
94 out of 100 based on 273 ratings.