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Velvet Merkin - Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Velvet MerkinVelvet Merkin

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

1,585 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1,585
Reviews: 213
rAvg: 4.29
pDev: 9.79%
Wants: 298
Gots: 582 | FT: 102
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: 1,585 | Reviews: 213 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Grinky
4.5/5  rDev +4.9%

Grinky, Oct 27, 2013
Photo of rdooley
4.25/5  rDev -0.9%

rdooley, Oct 27, 2013
Photo of mychalg9
4/5  rDev -6.8%

mychalg9, Oct 27, 2013
Photo of BeerBucks
4.5/5  rDev +4.9%

BeerBucks, Oct 27, 2013
Photo of MNBeerGeek
4.5/5  rDev +4.9%

MNBeerGeek, Oct 27, 2013
Photo of WolfsbaneBloom
3.75/5  rDev -12.6%

WolfsbaneBloom, Oct 26, 2013
Photo of Kopfschuss
4.5/5  rDev +4.9%

Kopfschuss, Oct 26, 2013
Photo of bozodogbreath
4.75/5  rDev +10.7%

bozodogbreath, Oct 26, 2013
Photo of blindpiggie
4/5  rDev -6.8%

blindpiggie, Oct 26, 2013
Photo of HoistinBrews
4.75/5  rDev +10.7%

HoistinBrews, Oct 26, 2013
Photo of joeseppy
4.39/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Just missed on tap by thiiis much. Hate when work gets in the way of my personal time. Scored a few bottles though.

Dark cola pour with decent cap and lacing.

Aromas of cereal, chocolate, lite bourbon and a hint of vanilla. I must state that all aromas are muted for me.

Taste steals the show. Complex yet so simple. Got chocolate, chocolate with espresso. Bourbon and coke going on extenuating the vanilla and caramel malts. Not over powering and ever so sessionable.

Velvety mouthfeel. Medium body and quite frankly-who really gives a truck. Carbonation substantiated and body is sticky.

What I want is taste, taste, taste-did I mention taste. If you love chocolate it's here. Old Fitzgerald has been my choice of everyday bourbon though the price tag fools most looking for thee "name brand". Fantastic bourbon priced for the working class-I'm not surprised Firestone went this route. This is incredibly drinkable, expensively sessionable and drinking great Now!

joeseppy, Oct 26, 2013
Photo of bsuedekum
3.75/5  rDev -12.6%

bsuedekum, Oct 26, 2013
Photo of Jd2391
4/5  rDev -6.8%

Jd2391, Oct 26, 2013
Photo of maxcoinage
4.53/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 22oz bomber into snifter with a decent half inch head, off white, that settled rather quickly. Color is a dark black but seems to have somewhat of a brownish hue.

Aroma is awesome, roasted malt, vanilla, a hint of bourbon and some oak

Taste has a nice complexion, some chocolate, dark fruits, vanilla, toffee, a tad bit boozy but not really getting any noticeable bourbon

Mouthfeel is very smooth to start, low carbonation, creamy, medium body, a bit cloying finish

Overall -this is the best Oatmeal Stout I've had! I actually haven't even had Velvit Merlin before, I need to find some of that. It's great to have a bourbon barrel beer that I can drink the whole bomber without getting drunk. Wish I was able to get more than one.

maxcoinage, Oct 26, 2013
Photo of magictacosinus
4.26/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

I'm glad it was easy to score a bottle of this, unlike the case with the Parabola hyped fiasco. Interestingly enough, this cost the same price ($15), but I still had high hopes for it. Anytime FW releases anything barrel aged I'll expect it to be, at the very least, an excellent, memorable offering. Poured out of a 22oz bottle into a tulip glass. Split with a friend.

Pours a nearly opaque blackened color (with some mere lightened brownish hues at the edges of the glass), complete with a lovely mocha colored head. Head retention is, as far as I'm concerned, pretty excellent here, as it lasted pretty much the entire time we drank this. Leaves behind a good deal of splattered lacing across the glass. I believe that this is slightly bottle conditioned as well, which would explain the excellent thickened appearance that a beer of relatively lower ABV levels than their other barrel aged offerings would contain. Still, excellent stuff as always, if only a little less refined.

The aroma is terrific - on par with any amazing bourbon aged and blended stout I've had. Notes of bourbon immediately hit the nose, with vanilla and brown sugar as the main flavors. Then, the stout base comes in, with flavors ranging from cocoa powder, coffee beans, oatmeal, caramel, and almonds. There's minimal dried fruits in this one, and the most we could find was maybe dates or prunes. Still, the powdery consistency of the chocolate is astonishing, often smelling like the actual freshly ground product. Combined with the nutty, baking spice notes from the oak, as well as bits of dust and mild cedar, this is a premier stout to be reckoned with in terms of quality and originality. A little boozy even here, but otherwise fantastic.

The flavor is also excellent, and while it is a pleasure to drink, it's not without its faults during long-term consumption. At first, the palate is immediately coated with bourbon notes, ranging from vanilla, caramel, butterscotch, and brown sugar. The sweetness is almost immediately cut by the roasted, oat laden stout notes that provide chocolate, ground espresso, toasted oats, and dark fruit flavors to the palate. The bourbon enhances the roasted stout notes with slight dark dried cherries as well as nutmeg, mild coconut, baking soda, and a little bit of those dusty barrel qualities. Quite good stuff - yet, somehow, the alcohol makes itself a little bit more present throughout, almost to the point where it tastes like someone poured cheap bourbon into my stout when I wasn't looking. The burn becomes stronger as it warms up, and the beer, alas, starts to feel thinner. On one hand, this does retain the great qualities of top English and Irish dry stouts in terms of flavor, but I feel a little bit more body would reduce the boozy harshness. Who would have thought that a lower ABV variant of Parabola would be boozier? Great stuff as always, but seriously not as refined as I expected.

I don't tend to drink boozy beers, but I do love it when the extra alcohol provides a thickness and sweetness that compliments but doesn't overpower the flavors at the front. I really enjoyed it overall and I'd gladly have it again, but it might be a little overpriced for what it actually is. This goes to show how the bourbon chosen for the stout makes a huge difference. And maybe it's just me, but I personally believe that Four Roses (used for Parabola) is most definitely a more refined bourbon maker than Old Fitzgerald. However, I'm not going to sit and complain - I recommend this as it is an excellent barrel aged offering from FW, if only a little boozier than I usually like it.

magictacosinus, Oct 25, 2013
Photo of ygtbsm94
3.5/5  rDev -18.4%

ygtbsm94, Oct 25, 2013
Photo of BarrytheBear
3.5/5  rDev -18.4%

BarrytheBear, Oct 25, 2013
Photo of bnelson997
4.58/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served from a 22 oz bomber into a Firestone Walker Barrelworks Teku glass.

Appearance - black as pitch with a 1 1/2 finger cream head that quickly dissipated to a ring around the glass. Small amounts of lacing.

Aroma - Smooth oak and vanilla notes. The touch of barrel is very nice.

Taste - Smooth milk chocolate and vanilla right up front, middle and finish remind me of a slightly underdone in the middle brownie. Liquid brownie has a nice ring to it eh? ;-) Middle also has more of the oak barrel and slight bourbon notes.

Mouthfeel - despite the thin look of it, very medium bodied and creamy mouthfeel from the oatmeal

Overall - this beer is the easiest to drink of all the barrel aged Proprietor's Series offerings from Firestone Walker. I like to call this one "Parabola Light", as it is definitely the baby brother of that fantastic beer. You just can't go wrong when FW puts anything in a barrel then bottles it. Definitely a fantastic BA oatmeal stout.

bnelson997, Oct 25, 2013
Photo of kylelenk
4.53/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from bottle into snifter.

A-Much what you'd find from an oatmeal stout. Thick head dissipates quickly leaving just a peppering of haze that lays upon the surface. Solid outside ring leaves the walls coated as the beer is consumed.

S-Very muted tones of bourbon and oak muddled with a slight smokiness. Hop aromas are replaced with deep notes of grapes, currant, and figs.

T-When served cold, the beer presents an almost bitter character that is surprising. Leave it sit for a half hour and it will open and present itself to you. Nothing is overpowering here. A very balanced mix of porridge, maple, anise, and smoke.

M-A bit thin, although to be expected from a lighter bodied oatmeal stout. Carbonation may seem heavier to those familiar with the barrel aged category. In the end, Velvet Merkin leaves little bitterness left in your mouth.

O-A valid effort by FW. Those looking for it to rise through the ranks like Parabola, Black Note, KBS, etc. may be disappointed. In a world full of bazooka barrel aged stouts, Velvet Merkin is comfortable being a "session" amongst giants.

kylelenk, Oct 24, 2013
Photo of zonker17
4.5/5  rDev +4.9%

zonker17, Oct 24, 2013
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4.5/5  rDev +4.9%

SourAddict, Oct 23, 2013
Photo of nick_asian
4.75/5  rDev +10.7%

nick_asian, Oct 23, 2013
Photo of Eriktheipaman
5/5  rDev +16.6%

Eriktheipaman, Oct 23, 2013
Photo of StlHopHead77
4.5/5  rDev +4.9%

StlHopHead77, Oct 23, 2013
Photo of ititani
4/5  rDev -6.8%

ititani, Oct 23, 2013
Velvet Merkin from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
96 out of 100 based on 1,585 ratings.