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Firestone 13 - Anniversary Ale - Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Firestone 13 - Anniversary AleFirestone 13 - Anniversary Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
97
world-class

372 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 372
Reviews: 224
rAvg: 4.41
pDev: 8.39%
Wants: 290
Gots: 126 | FT: 3
Brewed by:
Firestone Walker Brewing Co. visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Strong Ale |  12.00% ABV

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes/Commercial Description:
This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: Todd on 11-02-2009)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 372 | Reviews: 224 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of nataku00
3/5  rDev -32%

nataku00, Dec 22, 2011
Photo of phishphorce
3/5  rDev -32%

phishphorce, Jun 04, 2013
Photo of Alieniloquium
3.11/5  rDev -29.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

650 mL bottle poured into a snifter.

Appearance - Thin khaki collar but not much else. Black body.

Smell - Ack, lots of cardboard. This hasn't oxidized well. Bourbon. Vanilla. Chocolate. Brown sugar lingers.

Taste - Better. Less cardboard, but it's still present. Rich dark chocolate. Bourbon. Vanilla. Oak. Cardboard lingers in the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel - Medium body. Still decent carbonation. Seems thin.

Overall - This is way past its prime. Way past good, in fact. Too much oxidation.

Alieniloquium, Jul 05, 2013
Photo of craytonic
3.3/5  rDev -25.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Tried alongside 10, 11, 12 and 13

Pour: Coffee/mahogany brown/black, smallish head

Smell: Bourbon/booze, molasses, raisins, caramel, and toffee

Taste: Raisins, molasses, bourbon, toffee, caramel, chocolate. A bit hot and bitter

Mouthfeel: This but a bit hot

Drinkability: After fighting our way through 10-12 we poured half this bottle out to move onto other beers. This one tasted a bit young.

craytonic, Dec 19, 2010
Photo of jrallen34
3.35/5  rDev -24%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This beer pours a very dark brown with a light tan head, only rises about half a finger and is gone right away. Light lacing.

The aroma is medium in strength, pretty nice and complex. Bourbon, oak and vanilla present a lot, a pretty nice mixture of the three.

The taste is a little disappointing, doesn't really bring the sweetness of the aroma, just brings all the oak, bourbon and alcohol.

The feel is pretty light, not very drinkable.

Overall, another fw disappointment to me. FW 12, not that great, neither is this, altough a little better than fw12.

jrallen34, May 16, 2010
Photo of charlzm
3.38/5  rDev -23.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Consumed October 10th 2010 at Blue Palms, Hollywood, CA.

Beer is essentially black with a thin tan head made of extremely fine and uniform bubbles to start. It disappears fast, but leaves plenty of sheeting on the glass.

Subdued aroma consists mainly of some chocolate and red grape.

Compared to the other Firestone Anniversary beers, this one has a smaller flavor. Somewhat porter-like in malt character: dark and roasted but not to the point of a stout. Also detected oatmeal and a slight raisin trace. Low bitterness. Not a whole lot going on, really.

Somewhat thin in the mouth.

The smallest of the big Firestones, this one is somewhat lacking in the flavor department. A large glass of this would be overkill.

charlzm, Nov 13, 2010
Photo of leschkie
3.5/5  rDev -20.6%

leschkie, Nov 21, 2011
Photo of mendvicdog
3.5/5  rDev -20.6%

mendvicdog, May 29, 2014
Photo of ygtbsm94
3.5/5  rDev -20.6%

ygtbsm94, Jan 13, 2012
Photo of duceswild
3.5/5  rDev -20.6%

duceswild, May 26, 2014
Photo of aaronabv
3.52/5  rDev -20.2%

aaronabv, Sep 12, 2014
Photo of Arbitrator
3.53/5  rDev -20%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Re-review. I opened a bottle to celebrate the completion of a major manuscript. Yes kiddies, Arbitrator actually gets work done. Surprising!

I've had this beer multiple times, mostly bottles I opened because I keep missing all the *@^%ing tastings where this gets shared. But I'm not bitter.

Anyway, at release, it started out at a 4.7, moved up to a 5.0 in a few months when the small booziness faded, and since then it has been dropping. To MY palate it peaked about 6-8 months after release. Now the subtleties are fading and it's tasting more like Parabola. Weirdly enough, it's also getting hotter and harsher in the process. The finish is astringent. It's not a very enjoyable beer anymore. I'm glad I drank most of my bottles early on, but I regret holding on to the last two (well, now one).

~~~

Original review:

Chilled 22oz bottle into a glass. Shared twice by largadeer (thanks Chris), but I didn't feel confident in reviewing it then, so here's my own bottle to judge from.

A: Probably the weakest part of this beer, but that's not saying much. The body is a pitch black-brown that appears totally opaque in my snifter. The head is a light tan color that retains well for a 12%er. Agitation produces milky swirls on top of the brew.

S: Immediately upon cracking the bottle, I'm greeted with a puff of vanilla, coconut, and chocolate. Mmm. The poured beer also presents those aromas most strongly. The rest is a nuanced, subtle blend of caramel, oak, bourbon, oats (!), apricots (!), and tobacco. Wow. This is superlative.

T: The taste is up there, as well. Like the nose, it leads with vanilla and coconut. Chocolate is more subdued than expected, pairing nicely with earth, tobacco, and bourbon in the mid-taste. Oats and caramel sweetness emerge at times, along with dark fruits (I'm tempted to say raisin or even port), coffee, even some butterscotch. The finish brings out tannins and tobacco once more, along with a surprising presence of stone fruits. Apricots or peaches, I guess. A lightly lingering peppery / earthy / tobacco bitterness that cleans up the residual sugars.

M: Medium-full bodied, with low carbonation. It's nearly velvety on the tongue; very smooth, delivering lots of flavor. There is also some light heat at the end that reveals the ABV on this bad boy, but it doesn't ruin the experience.

D: What an amazing beer. What an AMAZING beer. I can put down a bomber myself without problems; at $23 it's (IMO) reasonably priced. I want to have Firestone 13's babies.

Arbitrator, Dec 22, 2010
Photo of DavoleBomb
3.55/5  rDev -19.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured into a snifter. Thanks to Alen for a chance to try this.

3.5 A: Murky dark brown, nearly black color. One and a half fingers of tan creamy/frothy hybrid head. Retention is poor, even given the ABV and a few spots of lacing.

4.0 S: Initial impression is that this is a bourbon forward brew. Leather, vanilla, oak, and booziness from the bourbon and barrel. While my initial impression is correct, there are aromas underneath strong enough to be distinguishable. Plum and raisin fruitiness. Tobacco, brown sugar, molasses, and some toastiness.

3.5 T: Bourbon is too dominant in the taste. It has a boozy bourbon aftertaste which is one of the main reasons I don't drink straight bourbon very often. Leather, oak, vanilla, some what tannic-y. Plum, raisin, tobacco are all there again, but cannot be fully enjoyed due to the booze overload. Brown sugar, molasses, bitter roastiness, and some chocolate.

4.0 M: Heavier medium body, but drinkable as if the body was less dense. The only issue I have is that the carbonation is a bit low. Could also be a bit creamier.

3.0 D: I honestly believe the great scores for this beer are a result of XIII riding the coat tails of the previous releases (none of which I've had). This beer is overly boozy and a bit of a mess. I like bourbon brews in which the bourbon complements the beer instead of dominating it. This one is definitely the latter.

DavoleBomb, Sep 27, 2010
Photo of muttyd
3.58/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A - Pitch black pour with a foamy tan head. Great lacing.

S - Huge vanilla & bourbon aroma upfront. Very boozy as well. As this one warms up, the chocolate and roasted malt notes come through.

T - Follows the nose. Very boozy. More reminiscent of a stout. Cherry, red wine, and leather also present.

M - Velvety smooth and chewy. Alcoholic finish.

D - Very boozy. Still average drinkability.

muttyd, Apr 15, 2010
Photo of cpetrone84
3.58/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Re-review in April of 2011, score from this.

Pours a jet black with a light brownish head, slighlty thicker than the 2 previous years in our verticle. Sweetest nose of the bunch, lightly roasted quality, hints of peat and oak, notes of anise. There are vinous grape notes, a blend of alcohol and dry wood. The flavor is more bright than 11 and 12, lightly roasted with strong vinous tastes. Hints of caramel and chocolate malts with dry wood and some light heat in the finish. Another big beer, full bodied with an assertive carbonation balancing that hefty body.

***

Original Review from 4/28/10

A-pours a dark brown, almost black liquid. The head is tan in color, tight and creamy with some bubbles on the top. There is only about one finger of head that dissipates quickly.

S-the nose is quite nice and reasonably big. Vanilla and oak set in right up front and hold a nice presence. A touch of plums and booze settle in softly behind all of the oak aging. Tons of chocolate follows in the middle with a touch of molasses.

T-this is fantastic and only improves on the nose. The flavors are similar and have melded together to form delicousness. Sweet plums right up front. Oak, vanilla, and some bourbon lie in the middle fading into a ton of dark chocolate, some roasted malts, and notes of molasses.

M-the body is huge, full, and chewy. It is so smooth on the palate. It is creamy and soft, coating the mouth lightly with a light carbonation, perfect to give it a good clean finish

D-this is an awesome beer, I want more! Great barrel aging and very complex. Insanely big and creamy. Awesome!

cpetrone84, Apr 28, 2010
Photo of alcstradamus
3.65/5  rDev -17.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Received earlier today, thanks Jeff. Couldn't wait to crack this one even though I'd rather let it age for a bit. Hope I made the right decision!

Black pour with a finger of head that drops down to a collar and leaves some webs of lacing. The smell is very smooth whiskey and toasted malts. Much more well integrated than even a year old 12th anniversary. Surprisingly subdued even. Hints of wood, toffee, and marshmallow in the background. A bit of agitation causes some boozy burn to rise. Pretty nice.

The taste is very big on burnt caramel maltiness. Vanilla on the mid palate, and an acrid coffee bean bitterness in the finish. Some hot booze rises up after the initial flavors pass. Notes of pine resin and some harsh oak. Not sure this one is quite ready yet, I would advise holding onto your bottles for at least 6 months or so. There is definitely some potential here though.

Mouthfeel is awesome. Heavy and rich with a tad bit of carbonation sting which is the only thing keeping this from being a 5 in this category.

One thing I have found with the 2 Firestone Anniversary beers that I have had the honor of drinking is they are unmistakably blends. I don't find that meshing of flavors that really makes a huge beer like this easy to drink, or even desirable really. I would drink this any time it was offered, but I would be hard pressed to purchase one if I saw it on a store shelf other than as a mere experiment to see how time changes it. This is definitely an above average beer, but in the world of gigantic barrel aging it is not on par with its peers.

alcstradamus, Dec 12, 2009
Photo of acurtis
3.75/5  rDev -15%

acurtis, Jan 20, 2013
Photo of GRG1313
3.75/5  rDev -15%

GRG1313, May 26, 2014
Photo of oline73
3.75/5  rDev -15%

oline73, May 27, 2014
Photo of Ajax84
3.75/5  rDev -15%

Ajax84, Apr 22, 2012
Photo of CityofBals
3.75/5  rDev -15%

CityofBals, Sep 12, 2013
Photo of t0rin0
3.75/5  rDev -15%

t0rin0, Sep 26, 2012
Photo of ChrisPro
3.78/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz bomber thanks to callmemickey. Pours black with hints of burgundy in the light. Thin tan head that fades quickly. Aroma is all over the place with bourbon, coffee, rye, cherry and a touch of coffee as well as some roasted coconut.

Good carbonation, medium body and ABV hidden well. Lots of hop flavor with a nice dry bitter finish.

Incredibly complex blend and I'm glad I had the opportunity to try it.

ChrisPro, Mar 29, 2010
Photo of Damian
3.78/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Drank from a 1 pint, 6 fluid ounces/650ml bottle
Acquired in a trade with oregonskibum
Served in a snifter

The dark chestnut brown liquid was topped by a thin film of khaki colored bubbles. Within seconds, the head dissipated to a clingy ring of froth.

The nose was sweet and smooth. Raisins and prunes were immediately noticeable. Molasses and brown sugar notes came through as well. Moderately boozy. A touch of vanilla was also detectible. Some leathery notes appeared as the beer warmed, along with a bit of smoke.

The flavor profile was malt dominant and much more roasty than I anticipated. Black coffee came through strong up front. Some vanilla notes too. Dark fruits appeared in the center, along with indications of brown sugar. Nutty. Notes of char and piney hops were detectible in the dry, tannic, oaky finish. Bourbon was present but it did not play as big a part as I would have liked.

The mouthfeel was medium bodied with a fine, moderate effervescence. Creamy, smooth and slick on the palate.

This beer drank incredibly well for its alcohol prowess. I definitely would not have guessed it to be 12% ABV.

After trying Firestone Walker's 11th, 12th and 13th anniversary beers, I can definitely say that this was my least favorite release to date. Perhaps if they cut back on the roastiness, the flavor profile would have been more balanced.

Damian, Dec 24, 2010
Photo of thetomG
3.78/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark brown color with a decent layer of tan head.

Aroma is roasty & has a nutty aspect to it as well. Flavor has some nuttiness as well, but also has a bitter element to it with underlying sweeetness. Medium mouthfeel - surprisingly bubbly though.

This one is tasting good now, but I think it could use even a little more time to age and improve.

thetomG, Jan 04, 2011
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Firestone 13 - Anniversary Ale from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
97 out of 100 based on 372 ratings.