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Velvet Merkin - Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Velvet MerkinVelvet Merkin

Educational use only; do not reuse.

297 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 297
Hads: 2,121
Avg: 4.24
pDev: 9.67%
Wants: 384
Gots: 915 | 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: 297 | Hads: 2,121
Photo of Parmesan
4.59/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.5

2014 Vintage
Look: Dark black pour with a creamy brown tan head that sticks around for a while.

Smell: Lots going on here. Some caramel, toffee, peanut. Strong notes of bourbon, stone fruit and vanilla, some booze.

Taste: Very well balanced, lots of bourbon but the other flavors of toffee, roast malt, and chocolate come through well too. Has a nice coffee flavor in the finish. Alcohol is evident but not overwhelming.

Feel: The mouthfeel is a little light and not quite creamy enough. Low carbonation.

Overall: Other than the mouthfeel, this beer definitely lives up to the hype.

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Photo of imperialbeerdude
4.58/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

I had this months ago when it first came out and I hate to age beers, but this is a case where some age has really done the beer some good. I feel the additional time helped integrate the flavor more. I'm picking up much more coconut and vanilla in this bee, not much if any of the bourbon barrel. This is exactly what I want though, the bourbon to give some extra sweetness, vanilla and coconut. Don't drink this expecting big barrel character, instead expect a well integrated beer.

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Photo of pmangold
4.58/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

2013 vintage - poured into a snifter. jet black appearance with a thin khaki head. the aroma was bourbon with sweet notes. The taste was very elaborate with bourbon, vanilla, chocolate, oak and even toffee. This was a thinner BA stout but I believe that was the intention since it's a lower abv oatmeal stout. I will be seeking out more of these.

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Photo of womencantsail
4.57/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

On-tap at Oakquinox

Dark brown pour with a small tan head. The aroma reminds me of chocolate milk with a little bit of vanilla added to it. Minimal roast and coffee notes, just an overwhelming chocolate/vanilla blend. Great barrel and bourbon flavor with even more of the chocolate and vanilla going on. Moderate roast and a hint of coffee. Nicely sweet from some toffee malt flavors. So damn good.

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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 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 manfromanotherplace
4.56/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Like the Merlin, it looks a little thin, the finish is also slightly thin, but they are the only small negatives about this beer.Smell is great, taste is of chocolate, oatmeal, slight vanilla with a very subtle barrel presence.an excellent stout

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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 smb
4.54/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

The king of all oatmeal stouts, in my opinion. People who're complaining about this beer not being big enough, or having a thick enough mouthfeel need to remember its called Velvet Merkin for a reason. An incredible, smooth and at this point, underrated brew.

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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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Velvet Merkin from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
94 out of 100 based on 297 ratings.