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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

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 273
Hads: 2,033
Avg: 4.24
pDev: 9.67%
Wants: 369
Gots: 833 | FT: 131
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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Reviews: 273 | Hads: 2,033
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 bpasquini
4.56/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

A: Nice slightly oily black appearance to it, poured heavy and leaves a small light tan head that leaves little lacing around the glass, wish it had a thicker darker appearance to it though, can slightly see into the glass

S: The smell isn't strong at all, it is very hard to find many flavors in it but you can find a few, but what you can pick up smells good. I get some oatmeal, caramel, chocolate, vanilla, and of course the bourbon barrels, predominately bourbon barrels, wish the smell was a lot stronger

T: Based of the smell I expected the flavor to not be very existent, but it is the complete opposite! Loads of oatmeal upfront, then the bourbon barrels kick in, followed with a nice chocolate coffee flavor blend and finishes with a nice slight vanilla caramel blend with an ever so slight bitterness which is fantastic! Very slight alcohol presence is noticed when the bourbon flavors kicks in, the presence definitely compliments the flavor

M: Very thick but it feels light and creamy, I have got to say that this beer sits very well on the palate and probably has one of the best feels to it I've had so far, finishes a little dry leaving you begging for more!

O: An outstanding beer! Definitely search for this beer! It is easily my new favorite stout, at first it was hard to think about getting more with the price tag on it, but after drinking it the price doesn't matter anymore because it's that good, FW is going to make me go broke with this beer!

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Photo of Mahlik
4.55/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

On-tap on at the 2011 Holiday Ale Fest in Portland. Poured into the plastic souvenir mug.

* This is the 100% Bourbon Barrel Aged version. The ABV is listed as 8.6%.

A - Pours an opaque dark brown with a one-finger creamy, brown head. Head retention was average. Good lacing.

S - An amazing aroma of milk chocolate and coconut. Almost like a Mounds bar. Roasted malts are mixed in. I also really like what the additional barrel-aging did for this beer. The bourbon and oak notes really round out the aroma.

T - The smooth candy bar-like flavors of milk chocolate and coconut are complimented by roasted malts, vanilla and a touch of coffee. The bourbon wraps everything up to create a well balanced taste. Not overly complex but everything works to perfection.

M - This is the true standout for me. The mouthfeel is smooth and silky. The creaminess is so inviting and only makes me want to take any other sip. Medium-to-thick bodied with moderate carbonation. I had no problem downing my mug.

O - This was the standout beer for me at the Holiday Ale Fest. I'm pretty sure a lot of our people would agreed since it was consistently one of the longest lines at the fest. I ended up get a couple mugs of this. I wish the 100% barrel-aged version was always available.

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Photo of Kinsman
4.54/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

As the label suggests, this beer fills the glass as black as Newgate's knocker. Capped with a dark mocha colored head, albeit it is a bit short-lived without and aggressive pour.

Rich and sweet vanilla notes hit you right up front. Oak and spice notes play along as well. Some coffee and roasted barley notes round it all out.

First sip is not quite as sweet as the aroma would have suggested, but nicely balanced between sweet vanilla and fruit notes and more bitter roasted flavors. Bourbon flavors add a little heat and a nice bit of woodiness to it all. Rich and creamy mouthfeel helps carry all this flavor. Overall, Firestone has one the best barrel games in the business, and this one does not disappoint.

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Photo of Matonika
4.54/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

What I love about this beer is that it has big flavors with out being overly sweet and overly boozy. It has the complexity of bourbon which is awesome. What would make this beer better is if had a 10-15 price range not the 19.99 I paid.

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Photo of maxcoinage
4.54/5  rDev +7.1%
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.

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Photo of sweemzander
4.51/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

22oz. bottle poured into a snifter.

(A)- Pours almost totally black in color. Minimal tan froth.

(S)- A great vanilla oatmeal aroma up front. Some chocolate and caramel oak. Superb oatmeal characters on the nose. One of the most striking oatmeal stout smells I have encountered thus far.

(T)- A superb stand out oatmeal, chocolate, and vanilla combo. Some oaky char in there on the finish.

(M)- A smooth carbonation level. I dig the balance this has with a nice stand out oatmeal profile. It does get to be a bit sweet as it warms.

(O)- One of the more oatmeal forward stouts in recent memory. Very well balanced with a dessert quality to it. The barrel really showcases how well the oatmeal works with it. Fantastic now; I would be surprised if this improved any with age. I say drink now.

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Photo of ISmith87
4.51/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A - 4.75 - nice brown-black beer with a mocha head on it, head sticks for a while and leaves nice lace
S - 5 - bourbon chocolate coffee caramel vanilla cocoa oak smoke
T - 4.25 - bourbon/oak up front, coffee, chocolate, smoke and roasted malts in the background. Oatmeal stands out quite a bit too.
M - 4.25 - medium to thick. Not as thick as the other imperial stouts. A little bit of boozy taste. Aftertaste is roasted malts, coffee, toasted oak.
O - 4.5 - the smell is pretty phenomenal. But as you drink it, it thins out quite a lot. Probably because its an 8% barrel aged beer. Given the choice I'd buy a DDBA or Parabola instead.

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Photo of kylelenk
4.51/5  rDev +6.4%
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.

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Photo of MacQ32
4.51/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

A - almost motor oil black with a minimal chocolate head, weak retention and OK lacing

S - Tons of sweet chocolate, smokey/almost roasty aromas. Lots and lots of oats. Tons of dry okay aromas and a wallop of bourbon

T - Sweet milk stout with tons of great oat flavor. Swear vanilla sweet bourbon flavor, lots of oak.

M - perfectly smooth. Minimal carbonation, thick, very warming combines with a great balanced but bkurbony flavor profile to form an incredibly nice drinking brew

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Photo of dahlen22
4.5/5  rDev +6.1%

I had this last night so I am going to try to get this right.

Appearance: Dark and syrupy with a slight brown head.

Aroma: Good stuff going on here. Coffee, Bourbon, Vanilla, Smokiness.

Taste: Smooth and velvety going down. Explosion of flavors here, including those in the nose and some dark chocolate. Easy drinking for the style.

Overall: Excellent beer here. Not a true oatmeal stout that many who like the style would expect, but an interesting melody of flavors and styles. What really came through were the vanilla and bourbon you would expect from barrel aged beer. Pricy, but very tasty. Cheers!!

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Photo of cindyjeffsmith
4.5/5  rDev +6.1%

appearance: Deep dark brown and nearly opaque as stout should be. Thick mocha head and messy lacing.
smell: Oh yeah, this has that rich chocolaty buttery FW barrel aged magic.
taste: More of the same.
overall: Very nice beer. Not quite the depth of the other FW barrel aged brews, kind of a "Parabola lite" and that ain't bad.

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Photo of KevinA107
4.5/5  rDev +6.1%

Enjoyed my first 2013 Velvet Merkin today.

The Velvet in the name should also be the description. If you are one to enjoy a Bourbon Barrel aged Beer, get some of this. Can't compare it to other Bourbon Barrel aged beers as this is in a class of it's own. Bourbon Country, BRRRRR and other highly scored beers are all part of the pilgrimage towards getting your hands on this.

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Photo of Celtics17
4.5/5  rDev +6.1%

You without a doubt get the bourbon character in the nose, and in the front. After awhile the bourbon character softens, and you get more of the oatmeal. I get a slight vanilla, but little to known of the chocolate flavors. Great beer.

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Photo of Clints1991
4.5/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had from a 22oz bottle in a snifter. It pours a darkish brown, black color. It has a nice tan head that lasts for awhile. It has a strong nose, of oak, bourbon, sweetness, On the taste, I got some oak, the sweetness of a bourbon, some oats, vanilla and some caramel. It has a medium/full bodied mouthfeel, with a nice dry but sweet finish. Overall this is one of the nicest bourbon barrel aged beers I have had. Firestone definitely does an amazing job!!

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Photo of Flight317
4.5/5  rDev +6.1%

I was quite satisfied with this brew. It's an oatmeal stout not a Russian imperial or American double. Those that say it feels a bit thin should rethink what it is they are drinking. I've had their regular oatmeal stout and it is one of the creamiest mouthfeels I can remember. This one follows suit with the bourbon barrel love. Oak, vanilla, booze, chocolate, a bit of a coffee taste and all around luxury. I rate my beers based off of the best I've had of the style and how much I enjoy it. This may be the only bourbon oatmeal stout I've had and it's great so 4.5 it is. Don't stack this one up beside parabola and judge it, drink it for what it is, what it was meant to be, and enjoy!

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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 cfrances33
4.48/5  rDev +5.7%
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.

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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 StonedTrippin
4.48/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

just fantastic, thanks to claystation for bringing this over. long anticipated for me, this pours a honey thick mocha brown color, smooth as silk in the snifter, and showing off over an inch of oatmeal foam. it smells so much less alcoholic than I expected, mostly because of how alcohol forward most of the other boxed offerings have been. this one is sweet and rich, subtle spice and vanilla from the barrel, a lot of oatmeal body and sweetness, and an aggressively bitter cocoa barley vibe. its all blends together exquisitely well, and some of the heavier flavors of milk chocolate, tobacco, raisins, and butter cream come out in the last legs. alcohol never makes an appearance, not even at room temperature, and the bourbon contributes just the right amount of flavor and smoothness. these days so many barreled beers don't taste a lot like beer anymore, this one is perfect. speaking of perfect, the mouthfeel of this beer could not be improved. its full bodied as they come, not sharp at all from booze, palate coating but not sticky, thick but fluent, everything one could ask for in a stout like this. its sensational. worth the wait, worth the money, share it with a loved one or three. amazing stuff from the top shelf firestone stuff, never a surprise. luscious and dark, dangerously easy down, balanced brilliantly. this is a must.

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Photo of vic21234
4.47/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz bomber poured into a snifter. 2013 Vintage Batch 1.

A- Pours dark with a small amount of light visible along the top. A half finger worth of khaki colored head sticks around for awhile and diminishes to the sides of the glass.

S- Chocolate, dark fruits, and bourbon are most prevalent. This is a nice smelling beer.

T- Chocolate and espresso/ coffee bring out the front of the taste, before nice bourbon and oak characters come through. Complex beer for sure.

M- Body is actually on the lighter side I'd say for a BBA beer. Drinks quite hot initially for only 8.5% ABV but very flavorful and complex.

I love all of Firestone's Barrel Aged beers and this one continues my liking. A great beer and one to pick up an extra of and age.

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Photo of inlimbo77
4.47/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

8oz draft poured into a Pinocchio's snifter. On draft at Pinocchio's in Media, PA.

A: Pitch black. Good carbonation. About a quarter finger of head initially that fades quickly. Some reddish hues towards the edges.

S: A lot of the FW coconut notes. Some dark chocolate. Mild coffee. Then vanilla and oak hints.

T: On the tip of the tongue, I get some bitterness: either chocolate or coffee. But then it smooths into a nice vanilla/coconut sweetness. I bow to the FW barrel program. I think the oatmeal stout helps make this nice and smooth. Second sip really gives some nice chocolate. Also, toffee and caramel.

M: Full bodied. Nice rich mouthfeel. Silky smooth.

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Photo of scottfrie
4.46/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle poured into snifter. 2013 batch 1.

A: Pours a thick near-black color with a thin but dense and creamy looking light brown head that slowly faded into a fuzzy film and thick collar. Thick patches of lacing was left down the glass.
S: Rich a decadent nose with dominating notes of bourbon barrel. The bourbon is not hot, but it is definitely prominent. Behind the booze I get creamy scents of toasted oats and sweet milk chocolate, toffee, caramel, and caramelized sugar. Rich and smooth smelling.
T: Extremely rich and smooth flavors of creamy toasted oats, lightly sweet chocolate milk, and touch of caramel. The finish is full of vanilla and extremely smooth and mellow bourbon, and the aftertaste has a touch of raisin, toasted marshmallow, and more bourbon barrel spices.
M: Super smooth and rich mouthfeel, full creamy body, thick and mellow carbonation. This drinks like an awesome milkshake.
O: One of the best Firestone products to date, and probably the best oatmeal stout I’ve had. Super smooth and integrated fresh out of the bottle. Definitely need to go grab a few more of these.

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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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Photo of busternuggz
4.44/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 22 oz bottle into a tulip. 2014 vintage, aged in Rittenhouse Rye, Elijah Craig, and Woodford Reserve barrels.

Nice mostly opaque black color with a frothy, creamy beige 1/2" head. Recedes to about 1/8" with good retention. Leaves persistent spots of lacing.

Scents of sweet bourbon, chocolate chip cookies, blackberry pie filling, vanilla, a little coffee. So nice...

Big whiskey notes on the taste. I taste some spicy rye up front, sweeter bourbon follows. Creamy chocolate comes in next, followed by vanilla, toffee, some toasted oak, and a slightly bitter finish of roasted malt, coffee, and berries. More whiskey comes out as it warms up. Nice balance, the whiskey barrel is present but doesn't overpower the base stout.

Body comes on creamy and medium bodied, but ends kind of thin. Nice carbonation, but could maybe stand a little less.

Overall, hey, it's freakin Velvet Merkin. It's delicious, fuhgedaboutit. The body is a bit of a weak spot, but still a delicious FW beer.

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