Velvet Merkin | Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

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BA SCORE
94
outstanding
329 Reviews
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BEER STATS
Reviews:
329
Ratings:
2,263
Avg:
4.24
pDev:
9.43%
 
 
Wants:
401
Gots:
1,000
For Trade:
140
Velvet MerkinVelvet Merkin
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
California, United States | website

Style: Oatmeal Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.50%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
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.

Added by t0rin0 on 11-20-2008

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Reviews: 329 | Ratings: 2,263
Photo of zeledonia
4.32/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Bottle from the 2015 release. Tasted 24 October 2015.

Pours dark brown, nearly black in the glass. One finger of medium tan head, okay retention and good lacing.

Smell is sweet and heavy on the bourbon. Brown sugar, molasses, and something like plums. The oats provide a solid base, most support than is typical.

Taste is delightful. It's restrained and sophisticated, which is an unusual combination for a barrel-aged stout. Rather than slamming you over the head with every flavor in the book, the details come through in subtle waves. I get roasty notes, sweet candy, some charry bitterness. Each one flows through, allowing the next phase to come to the fore.

Feel is lovely. Smooth and luscious, though lighter than many BA stouts. Fluffy carbonation. Excellent.

I really like this beer. It's light for a barrel-aged stout, but the oats give it body and full flavors that would otherwise be lacking. Yummy.

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Photo of TjMosby
4.83/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

22oz. bomber poured into snifter
Vintage 2015

Appearance - Thick black opaqueness with a slight reddish brown at the top.

Smell - A remarkably sweet bourbon. Chocolate, espresso, oak.

Taste - Chocolate cream and espresso. With a very impressive bourbon finish.

Feel - I think this is exactly what an oatmeal stout is supposed to be in texture. It balances nicely in the mouth and finishes even better.

Overall- If there is any bourbon aged stout that should be considered top class, it is without a doubt this one. It has an overwhelming bourbon scent that is slightly misleading in the incredibly smooth pour. Dangerously drinkable.

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Photo of Motleydrunk56
4.81/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

22 oz bomber poured into a Firetone glass.Smell is chocolate with a hint of vanilla and coffee in the background.Maybe a touch of coconut.Very nice and smooth stout.The taste is chocolate up front with vanilla and coffee in the background.Great mix of flavors.ABV is 8.5 but you can`t taste it until it warms up and then a hint of bourbon comes thru.This one is a must try for all stout fans.Even if stouts are not your favorite,try it it`s that good.

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Photo of mothman
4.02/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Light tan head. Black color but nearing brown.

Definitely a porter. Thin compared to a stout. Lots of bourbon and vanilla. Oaky. Caramel and chocolate. A little heat. Fairly smooth. Some roast.

Good porter. I'd have this one again.

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Photo of justintcoons
3.96/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

2015 Vintage
22 oz bottle poured into a snifter.

Appearance
Deep chestnut brown (near black) with a short head that dissipates quickly. Some light penetrates around the rim of the glass.

Nose
Bourbon, fudge, dark chocolate, peanut, wood, coconut, and vanilla.

Taste
Semi-sweet chocolate, caramel, toffee, and peanut. Smooth bourbon, vanilla ice cream, and oak. Hints of fudge and toasted coconut.

Mouthfeel
Medium-light bodied, slick, smooth, and warming.

Overall
Smooth, warming, and decadent. While still a great Oatmeal Stout, this seems to be the least complex of the Firestone Walker barrel aged beers that I’ve had. I expect a little more for the $20 price point on this.

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Photo of LADaveBN
4.21/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2014 vintage. Pours dark with a tiny mocha head that dissipates quickly. Nose is roasty malt, bourbon, vanilla, coffee, chocolate. Front of palette I get toasted oats, subtle chocolate. Finish is quite dry, light, with a touch of coffee bitterness. Feel is lighter than expected. Overall, I really enjoyed this beer. It's much easier drinking than most of the Proprietor Vintage series.

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Photo of Taylor_Madison
4.76/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Unique oatmeal stout with a strong outmeal influence that quickly dissipates with little aftertaste. I tasted more coffee than chocolate which differed from the other tasters I was with. Has a very smooth feel and a light nose that has a slight bourbon aroma. Super easy to drink!

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Photo of Ryancthomas7
3.72/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

2015 Vintage
Tasty beer, but I am underwhelmed with the aroma/flavor. I was hoping to get more barrel notes, but that is just not the case. Carbonation level seems a bit high for the style as well.

Overall, this is an enjoyable beer, but I do not think it is worth the price point for me.

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Photo of sittinggc
4.35/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2015 vintage poured into Teku glass.

Look: Dark, however not as thick and black as an RIS. Translucent as poured into glass. Small khaki head which dissipates quickly.
Smell: Chocolate, oats and coffee.
Taste: Very much like the aroma. Lots of oats and chocolate. Also get some nice vanilla notes and sweetness from the bourbon...though bourbon presence is minimal. Also get nice coffee roastiness on the tail end. As the beer warms, I get more bourbon notes...and some whiskey ones which is kinda weird lol.
Feel: Very smooth and easy drinking. Not as chewy or hot as a BA RIS but that isn't necessarily a bad thing. As it warms it seems to get thinner.

Overall: I really like this beer. Really tasty and easy to drink. Only problem I have with it is the price...other than that I will very likely buy more and see what some age does to it. Cheers!

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Photo of Tele
4.33/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Serving Type: Bottle (2015)
Consumed: 10.2.15

A: 4.5 Pours a very dark brown with a small, khaki head. The head only lasts a minute and doesn’t’ leave much lace.

S: 4.5 The aromas one this beer are terrific. Unlike most BA stouts, the base beer is the dominant aroma. Dark coffee, roasted malt, marshmallows, cocoa powder, and fudge are the main things going on, like a really nice porter. There’s still good barrel presence though, bringing vanilla and caramel elements.

T: 4.25 Flavors are very similar to what the nose suggests, but dialed back a bit. There’s moderate sweetness, vanilla, raisins, and bourbon mixing in with light bitterness and roasted malt flavors. The finish is very smooth with a touch of bourbon heat and sweetness lingering.

M: 4.25 People bash the mouthfeel on this beer for being too thin, but (while that’s true to a certain extent) it’s also incredibly drinkable and the excellent carbonation almost makes it a non-issue.

O: 4.25 This is a really terrific and unique beer; it fills the gap between everyday stouts and huge BA imperials. It’s great for what it is, even though it may not push all the same buttons as something like Parabola or BCBS.

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Photo of CHickman
4.82/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

On tap at Sapsuckers, 2014 batch pours pitch black color with a small tan head that faded and left good spotty lacing. This brew's looks were fortunately the least impressive part, as it was all uphill from here.

Smells of ash, charred wood, burnt grains, coffee grinds, vanilla, burnt coffee, oak barrel, tree bark, cocoa powder, wheat bread toast, oatmeal and dark chocolate. Smells like bourbon barrel aged stout with a lot of char, grains and delicious chocolate. Pretty much the apex of an oatmeal stout.

This is an oatmeal stout on steroids, ridiculously flavorful and packed with oaky notes, earthy accents, and lots of chocolate and coffee. Taste shows off the burnt coffee, cocoa powder, light vanilla, charred wood, molasses, bakers chocolate, roasted malt, touches of syrup, tea leaf, light floral hops, tobacco, light booze which is a cross between rum and bourbon, toasted coconut and some toasted buttery wheat bread; it then trails off with more char and cocoa. As it warms the bourbon comes out and is so woody and oaky that it's like an actual bourbon with a lot of peat moss. Outstanding tasting, exceptional.

Mouthfeel is thin and smooth, but par for the course for the style; light to medium bodied with very little to no carbonation and the greatest if ease to drink. So smooth, so easy and so delicious, for a beer with this much flavor it should not be this easy to drink but it is. Overall an unbelievably great beer.

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Photo of smakawhat
4.35/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured from the bottle into a large snifter glass. Vintage 2015.

Deep walnut brown and some nice ruby red highlights. Quite clear but due to it's dark colors not easy of course to see through. Very light tan head, with a creamy top, and almost icing cake looking. Dissolves with little retention, manages a simple whispy top, and fine to a mix of small bubbles in the collar. A nice looking brew in the realm.

Real complex, diverse, and exciting aroma. Big malt whoppers candy, and a deep brown bread and cake like fluffy flavor. Hints of light brownie chocolate and excellent cereal grains. Sense of light and whispy like malts, taking away some of the barrel roundness but leaving a real distinct flavor. Sweetness is noticeable but not really large which is even better. Big count Chocula quality going on here with a cereal grain quality and husky density.

Palate goes for a little bit simpler quality, but memorable and unique flavors. Tannic mild wood but also a bit wet with not much body in malt to really push the flavors high. Mid palate though fills with an airy chocolate and mild sweetness of malt, and almost some tobacco sweetness to keep it interesting. The oats on this are really being pushed over board, with large cereal qualities becoming evident but without much chewy texture. Real mild sweetness as well, but lacking some complexity in the flavors. Much of expected barrel tones and particularly feel are really sort of lost here also.

This is a real interesting take and brew in the Firestone realm, there's much to improve here which would also though take away from it's easy drinkability.

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Photo of lochraneg
4.68/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

L: dark molasses with creme head that dissipates quickly
S: chocolate, bourbon, raisins
F: thick body that is mellow but hangs around on the palate
T: malt, chocolate, bourbon, vanilla
O: had the '14 and let it sit for about 4 months-- great

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Photo of lafoodie8808
3.4/5  rDev -19.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This beer is a whisky bomb when cold, but that improves as it warms. Unfortunately not enough to make this a winner. Not a bad beer, but doesn't live up to how amazing the rest of this series is.

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Photo of SaulFox
4.77/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

2014 vintage
Deep black, khaki head
Coffee, slight bourbon with signature woodiness
The taste is what makes this beer!
Vanilla, chocolate, molasses, coffee, bourbon.
Great mouthfeel despite lower alcohol content.
Just beautiful! Looking forward to popping this year's vintage....

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Photo of ChrisP802
4.73/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Pour - dark molasses, small dark beige head
Smell - chocolate, espresso, bourbon come right out
Taste - definitely taste the chocolate and espresso, bourbon was subtle but there
Overall - amazing brew, too bad it's so hard to find in Vermont

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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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Velvet Merkin from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
94 out of 100 based on 329 ratings.