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Velvet Merkin - Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Velvet MerkinVelvet Merkin

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

1,377 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1,377
Reviews: 196
rAvg: 4.29
pDev: 9.79%
Wants: 289
Gots: 456 | FT: 88
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)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,377 | Reviews: 196 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of jeff1973
4.14/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 22oz bottle into a Stone IRS tulip. Bottled in 9/13, so around a month old? Bought at Whole Foods Newport Beach for $14.99.

A - Pitch black, no sign of red on the edges. Khaki head leaves nice lacing. Looks thick.

S - Slight vanilla and coconut. Followed by a milk chocolate and slightly ashy smell. Smell is not overwhelming.

T - Great balance. Smooth, creamy milk chocolate w/ a nice vanilla and coconut finish. Everything is subtle and blends really nicely.

M - Medium to full mouthfeel. Very smooth and creamy. Medium low carbonation that fits the style.

O - Really nice beer. The smell is a little muted, but the taste and mouthfeel make this a great beer. The price is a little steep for the enjoyment factor, but I would still categorize this a "great" beer.

jeff1973, Oct 04, 2013
Photo of ezperkins2
4.5/5  rDev +4.9%

ezperkins2, Oct 03, 2013
Photo of barleywinefiend
3.61/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Poured a deep, deep brown, nearly black with great carbonation yielding a nice tannish cap, a nice frothy one with pretty good retention. Lacing was minimal though.

S: Roasted coffee, a blend of bitter and milk chocolate, some oats and bourbon with a very minute hint of vanilla

T: A nice blend of roasted malts, oats and chocolate upfront. A nice, light bourbon tinge meets the taste buds as well and persists throughout the finish. The barrel provides some backseat vanilla. The taste itself is sordove muddy in my opinion and not really all that complex. The finish is sordove dry, light sweetness, light booze and sordove effervescent even

M: Medium bodied, well carbonated, a light creaminess. It feels thin, yes, but this is a single stout not a an imperial so it's not going to be as full and hearty as say a Parabola.

O: Not bad. I'm really not a fan of bourbon barrel againg every stout, especialy single stouts. I believe the body feels thin because it is thin compared to other barrel aged or imperial stouts. Not a bad beer but not sure I would drop cash on case of this as I would other FW offerings.

barleywinefiend, Oct 03, 2013
Photo of ThePaleRider
3.95/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A - Really dark brown stout. No light is visible through the glass. Very nice two finger head that quickly disappeared and just left a small layer of big bubbles. Head is a very light brown that left some decent lacing on the glass.

S - This smells like desert in a glass. Lots of chocolate, roasted grains, and a little bit of brown sugary whiskey. Maybe the best smell of any stout I've ever had. It smells like it's going to taste smooth, if that makes any sense.

T - Delicious. The flavor really comes on strong. Right up front your hit with the bourbon and oak. Gives you a little kick, tastes like the ABV would be a little higher. Way, way back in the back end of the flavor you begin picking up the malts, grains, and chocolate. The barrel taste really does a great job at sticking around. I do wish it was a little smoother.

M - Very crisp stout. Dry taste that keeps you wanting more..

O - I think this is a beer that needs to be aged a little. I couldn't resist opening it up, but I think it need to tone down and let the flavors mix a little more. Not a bad beer at all, now I need to find another one for my cellar.

ThePaleRider, Oct 03, 2013
Photo of CaptainQ
4/5  rDev -6.8%

CaptainQ, Oct 03, 2013
Photo of ralphw56
4.75/5  rDev +10.7%

ralphw56, Oct 03, 2013
Photo of bcm75
4.4/5  rDev +2.6%

bcm75, Oct 03, 2013
Photo of derftron
4.65/5  rDev +8.4%
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

derftron, Oct 02, 2013
Photo of Phobicsquirrel
4.25/5  rDev -0.9%

Phobicsquirrel, Oct 02, 2013
Photo of krl2112
4.25/5  rDev -0.9%

krl2112, Oct 01, 2013
Photo of ElSid
4.36/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

The Beers of California


Bottled Date: 2013

A: Deep black with a head of khaki foam. The variable sized bubbles slowly fade to a net of lace cling on the glass

S: Bourbon warmth, smooth hot cocoa sweetness, and earthy, woody textures. The admixture is balanced, smooth and stimulating resulting in the perfect nose.

T: Behind the medium bourbon booziness comes strong currents of toasted grain, cocoa nibs, raisin and brown sugar sweetness, along with wood and tobacco qualities. There are also hints of vanilla and marshmallow stickiness .

M: Medium bodied and velvety smooth with moderate carbonation.

O: This little of brother of Parabola is able to marry complexity with smooth drinkability. The Firestone barrel program succeeds again.

ElSid, Oct 01, 2013
Photo of jplopez21
4/5  rDev -6.8%

jplopez21, Sep 30, 2013
Photo of Devi0us
3/5  rDev -30.1%

Devi0us, Sep 30, 2013
Photo of alwaysplayin
4.5/5  rDev +4.9%

alwaysplayin, Sep 30, 2013
Photo of ahbithwabm
4.25/5  rDev -0.9%

ahbithwabm, Sep 30, 2013
Photo of sleuthdog
4.25/5  rDev -0.9%

sleuthdog, Sep 30, 2013
Photo of SoCalBeerIdiot
4.25/5  rDev -0.9%

SoCalBeerIdiot, Sep 29, 2013
Photo of ArrogantB
3.48/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

22oz bottle $14.99. I was real excited to try this as I like velvet merlin a lot but I will say I was quite let down. I guess I was expecting something more rich and decadent. This truly tasted like Velvet Merlin with hints of bourbon and it was kind of thin. Aroma was bourbon, a little oats, eh. Flavor was more of the same. Honestly I was expecting something like Parabola but different and this falls short. Just too think and too much like the base beer, I didn't feel like the time in the barrel changed it enough to make it worth my money.

ArrogantB, Sep 29, 2013
Photo of Uncleserg
4.75/5  rDev +10.7%

Uncleserg, Sep 28, 2013
Photo of EB1
4.25/5  rDev -0.9%

EB1, Sep 28, 2013
Photo of Jtrigonis
4.75/5  rDev +10.7%

Jtrigonis, Sep 28, 2013
Photo of coz
4.5/5  rDev +4.9%

coz, Sep 28, 2013
Photo of leschkie
2.5/5  rDev -41.7%

leschkie, Sep 28, 2013
Photo of eawolff99
4.5/5  rDev +4.9%

eawolff99, Sep 28, 2013
Photo of mfnmbvp
4.7/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22 oz. bottle, with no apparent bottled on date present. I bought the very first bottle from my local beer store, just minutes after they unloaded it off the truck. The blurb on the back of the box made my mouth water with anticipation. "Aged for a full year in seasoned bourbon barrels". Yeah, needless to say, I am exponentially stoked to have this bottle.

Poured into a clear balloon snifter glass.

A - Pours a solid opaque black with maybe just the faintest hint of brown-red highlights. Two fluffy creamy fingers of tan mocha head. Beautiful lacing.

S - Ahh yes, this thing smells like heaven. Chocolate, oatmeal, some raisins, figs, dates, smooth creamy vanilla, and earthy oak bourbon barrels.

T - Oh my. Truly lovely. Decadent. Delicious. Smooth "velvety" chocolate, coffee bean roast, oatmeal, creamy vanilla, & some warming bourbon presence. This beer is truly amazing.

M - This is one dangerously smooth, creamy, and "velvety" beer, that's for sure. Perfect low lying carbonation, and an almost nonexistent alcohol presence. Finishes with a bit of bitterness and stickiness on the palate, and a hint of booze warmth.

Overall, this is pretty much everything I could ask for in a bourbon barrel aged stout. I don't see how it could get much more amazing than this. Firestone Walker has truly wowed me with this one; it will be hard for them to top this. Highly recommended; trample innocent women and children to get this if you have to.

Firestone Walker Velvet Merkin ---4.5/5

mfnmbvp, Sep 27, 2013
Velvet Merkin from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
95 out of 100 based on 1,377 ratings.