Firestone 13 - Anniversary Ale - Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
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Ratings: 370 | Reviews: 224 | Display Reviews Only:
4.45/5 rDev +0.9%
Pours dark brown to black with a tan head. The aroma is bourbon, roasted malts and some chocolate. The flavor is dark fruit, chocolate, some roasted malts and some oaky bourbon/vanilla notes. I also get something that reminds me of rum. A very complex beer. Low carbonation and very drinkable. Very good beer.
12-31-2009 22:31:19 | More by Mora2000
4.5/5 rDev +2%
A- Pours a deep black hue with a one finger mahogany head.
S- Sweet malt, brown sugar, hints of oak.
T- Fig, hints of raisin, brown sugar ... an underlying quadrupel tone.
M- Medium carbonation and viscosity.
D- This was an excellent beer and the first of the run that has actually lived up to the hype for me.
12-31-2009 06:49:14 | More by Lothore
4.33/5 rDev -1.8%
Served in Stone RIS tasting glass (large beer tasting / cognac snifter style glass).
Enjoyed in Camas, Wa with the rest of the family after a successful Blazer's game.
Appearance: Very dark beer, has a vivid red looking hue on the outer edges. The head is a medium tan, very thin, dissipates quickly. Kinda disappointing head retention but the body of the actual beer is very pretty.
Smell: Strong boozy notes (bourbon), solid dark fruits, and dark roasted malts. You can smell the slight woody notes from the multiple barrels used to age the many beers.
Taste: Strong notes of bourbon, dark roasted malts make an appearance as well. Slight vanilla hints, likely from the combination of dark sugars and roasted barley. Very sweet throughout.
Mouthfeel: Creamy, a sugary and heavy. This beer quickly fatigues the pallet.
Drinkability: Always difficult to critique drinkability. This beer is exceedingly tasty (which is a positive boon) but also very heavy and requires a high level of endurance (of the pallet). To be frank, I'd rate the drinkability low on this beer, however I don't believe this at all effects how "good" it is. This beer is meant to be slowly sipped in small quantities and I will rate it as such.
12-31-2009 05:55:05 | More by iD9
5/5 rDev +13.4%
Purchased at Beverages4Less.
A - Dark as night.. No different than a stout.. Minimal tan head.. That dissipates rather quickly.
S - Bourbon and Vanilla with faint hints of oak . If you enjoy a nicely age bourbon, you're gonna LOVE the smell.
Taste - Bourbon, Vanilla, a hint of liquorice and oak undertones.THIS IS SO FREAKING GOOD!. The alcohol is well hidden, but you can definitely feel it.
Mouthfeel - This is a medium bodied beer. Just right for this blend.
Drinkability - This is a beer to be shared. Drink an entire bottle alone and call it a night. I'm midway through my first pint and I'm feeling rather lovely.
This is a beer that was definitely worth the cost. This beer meets my expectations by supplying me with flavors that I would not expect yet giving me flavors that are enjoyable. This is the definition of craft beer.
12-28-2009 03:10:29 | More by Pullen
4.53/5 rDev +2.7%
22oz bottle from Malt & Vine. Complete with fancy box and everything. This was my Christmas gift to me.
A- Pours a beautiful inky black with garnet/ruby highlights through the edges. Very clear and translucent. Minimal tan head on initial pour quickly recedes to almost nothing. Better head/head retention would have pushed this to a 5.
S- Wow. Bourbon, bourbon, and more bourbon. Some faint oak character but you can guess what stands prominent in the nose.
T- Hello! Heavy (yet tasteful) bourbon up front, that quickly leads to some faint roasted/chocolate notes. As the beer warms up a bit the barrels really come out and you can detect oak, vanilla, etc. Clean, yet complex. One of the best bourbon-barrel-aged beers I've had to date.
M - Yeah, it's cliche, but smooth, velvet, especially at warmer temps. Heavy to medium body, which is great for a beer of this magnitude. Not too thick, and nowhere near too thin.
D- Ok. On one hand I want cases and cases of this in my cellar. This is delicious. On the other hand, after one bottle I'm done for the night. This would be the perfect beer to share with one other person or would be the ideal nightcap.
Overall - Finally. A highly touted beer that more than lives up to its hype (especially after the sadness that was "TREAT" last night). Heavy on the bourbon yet tastefully done. Smooth, complex, and just plain delicious. The alcohol is perfectly hidden, and makes this a fantastic candidate for cellaring. If it were any less of a beer it would not be worth the pice tag paid for admission. Highly recommended. Maybe one day I'll have the fortune of trying the 12th, 11th, and/or 10th.
12-25-2009 23:48:28 | More by mrandypandy
4.28/5 rDev -2.9%
Pours a blackish body with brown head and lace sticking to the glass. Has a complex smell of intertwining malts like bitter chocolate, molasses, toffee, vanilla, oak and some roasted malts along with hints of dark fruit like cherry or grape. The taste is a full bodied beer with an incredible blend of sweet malts like chocolate and vanilla (plus licorice?) along with a bouronesque barrel dryness that balances out and there are fruits like cherry and grape (maybe sour) that are picked up as well. Finish is dry but clean and complemented by high ABV. All this is tucked into a big, robust body that requires sipping and if it weren't for the price I'd stock up on these.
12-23-2009 23:30:07 | More by clayrock81
4/5 rDev -9.3%
22oz bottle poured into a goblet.
A: Body is pretty much black. Reasonably thick white head that doesn't leave much lacing.
S: Vanilla, coconuts, wood, and alcohol.
T: Pretty much the same as the nose. Complex, but not necessarily good. The alcohol is well hidden, though.
M: Middle of the road in body and thickness.
D: A pretty decent sipper. It's not something I'd go out of my way for, though.
12-23-2009 06:44:24 | More by BarrelO
4.53/5 rDev +2.7%
Another bottle popped open by PWoods.
Pours very dark brown, pretty much black in color. Nice frothy tan head on the pour. Only about a quarter inch of head.
Smell is roasty with some nice barrel notes of light bourbon and oak. Smell is quite nice.
There's a bit more bourbon notes in the flavor. Granted, this is still a somewhat fresh beer, so the heat from the alcohol is showing a little more. But that should die down a bit and meld with the rest of the beer better with time. There's a definite smoke flavor coming through in the finish.
This is an outstanding beer from an outstanding brewery. Top notch and well done.
12-20-2009 23:35:33 | More by FtownThrowDown
4.5/5 rDev +2%
Thanks to swnicholson for the bottle!
22oz. Brown bottle poues inti a chalice.
A: poured a deep brown, almost a loose black. Decent wispy head on the pour with a little bit of retention... Lots of barrel. Some lacing.
S: Soft but rich bourbon aroma with loads of deep barrel. A good healthy smokiness holds maybe a touch of smoky bacon and covers up some of the vanilla sweetness.
T/M: Great stout flavors with plenty of barrel flavors. The bourbon and brandy blends get a bit lost but still come through at times... More of just a bigger alcohol presence. More of the smokiness and light bacon, especially as it warms. Deep, rich sweetness, molasses. Body is medium full with some Belgian light carbonation.
D: Drinks incredibly well for 12%. Very tasty brew.
12-20-2009 23:18:22 | More by pwoods
4.6/5 rDev +4.3%
Bottle to snifter. I wonder if they cut down on all the packaging if they could sell this for a bit cheaper.
A: Black. Half finger tan head. Retreats to a very slight bubbly layer of foam on top and a foam collar around the edge of the glass.
S: Holy shit. Such a strong aroma. Bourbon, whiskey, brandy, tobacco, molasses, sweet chocolate malt, brown sugar, a bit of vanilla bean, maybe a touch of leather too, and some coconut. The bourbon, whiskey, brandy, molasses, chocolate and tobacco dominate. This beer smells like I want to smell when I'm retired.
T: Oak, bourbon, whiskey, brandy, molasses, brown sugar, coconut, and butter rum. Bitter dark chocolate and some vanilla bean. Alcohol spice comes in towards the end. A slight leafy hop bight at the end as well, but most of the hops have aged out. Very flavorful. Simply delicious.
M: Thick and chewy. Not quite syrupy. Thickness is just right. Medium carbonation, fairly creamy when swished around in your mouth. A bit warm going down to remind you of the abv. Just right.
D: Did you say 12% abv? Ok fine, maybe I believe you. The only reason you're gonna be sipping on this is because you don't want it to be gone too soon.
A truly decadent desert beer and a great winter beer. Seriously my favorite barrel aged beer that I have tried. Just awesome.
12-16-2009 23:04:09 | More by billshmeinke
4.72/5 rDev +7%
Roughly 6 oz or so of this poured from a bottle @ The Stone Brewing Bistro & World Gardens on 11/13/09 during their Firestone Walker 13th on the 13th event. Served in a snifter.
Pours a black, black, and even more black, in the glass, with a thin covering of reddish and burnt tan head. This stays creamy on the edges, with a nice full flareup that leaves back thickish lace that hangs in spotty clumps on the sides. The aroma is smoky, sweet, tannic, and is just LOADED with thick and aggressive (and in no particular order) notes of chocolate, fruit, spice, brown sugar, vanilla, molasses, smooth smelling oats, and some burnt wood. Whew! There's initially a pretty sharp pang of heat here from the ABV but this does smooth out some the deeper I get into it.
The taste pretty much matches the nose to a tee, with a chewy mix of chocolate, vanilla, candied sugar, oats, fruity cherry, smoked meat, char, wet tobacco, and sticky molasses. The barrel notes, as usual, are just great here, making up a big chunk of the flavor but still allowing the character from the actual beers to be felt as well. The mouthfeel is full bodied but has an extremely mellow feel to the carbonation, which works well with the sweeter aspects of this. As does the slick and oaky feel that this possesses, helping keep all of these monstrous flavors flowing. There is a bit of heat and rawness to this but it never is quite enough to hold the flavors back and in fact, seems to be a bit more subdued than it was in some of the previous releases.
Another year, another awesome Firestone Walker anniversary blend. It's always amazing to me how magnificently complex, yet still smooth and approachable these are. I'm really looking forward to more of this down the road.
12-16-2009 21:10:07 | More by Kegatron
4.93/5 rDev +11.8%
A big thanks goes to jhenry04 for this one.
Let me preface this review by stating that prior FW Anniversary beers are some of my favorite examples of barrel aged ales in the world and this outstanding potable is no exception.
FW13 pours a deep russet color with minimal head even with a heavy-handed pour. Its viscosity is apparent with each sip taken as jagged, slowly descending legs form on the inside of my snifter as I draw the glass away from my mouth and revel in its glory.
A gorgeous nose features caramel, dark Belgian chocolate, Madagascar vanilla, notes of LBV port and a subtle hint of pecan.
The taste is so well layered with no hint of the slight alcoholic harshness of prior incarnations - gourmet English toffee, vanilla bean, Madera, a kiss of Belgian yeast spiciness and an ever-so-slight lingering taste of Mocha Java coffee.
The mouthfeel is lush with a little less carbonation than 11 or 12. This, and the disappearing alcohol, lead to a smoothness not found in many other high-gravity beers. This also leads to an uncommon drinkability which makes the bomber effortlessly disappear and a sense of deep longing set in. Needless to say I'm glad I've got two more of these to look forward to.
12-14-2009 22:14:18 | More by Rochefort10nh
4.5/5 rDev +2%
Bottle split with crazeguy and t0rin0 tonight.
A: The pour is just about black with a thin layer of dark brown colored foam.
S: The smell is quite similar to Parabola. A lot of smooth bourbon, chocolate, coffee, vanilla, and a bit of oak. There is also a bit of alcohol, but not very much at all considering the blend and the ABV.
T: The flavors are quite similar to the nose. The initial sips seem a bit boozy, but this quickly dies down. The dominant flavors are chocolate, vanilla, coffee, and roasted malt. There is a bit of alcohol and oak, but surprisingly balanced for its (young) age.
M: The body is quite full and the carbonation is moderate but quite proper for the beer.
D: I thought this would be a bit hot and tough to drink at its young age, but it is quite an exceptional beer. This one will surely get better with age, but it will be tough to keep my hands off of.
12-14-2009 06:10:42 | More by womencantsail
4.65/5 rDev +5.4%
So thrilled to be able to sample this one. I was lucky enough to be around a bottle when it was opened and a get a nice full pour of this one, well it helps when there are only two of us splitting it (Thanks Alex). Served in a snifter and consumed on 12/12/2009.
The pour was wonderful rich dark brown in color, nearly black and opaque. A nice dark brown head coalesces on the top of the glass, about an inch thick, but with tremendous staying power, really masterfully done I have to say. Rich, thick, enormous aroma now coming up to the forefront. Vanilla, nuts, oakey notes, lots of boozy aromas bouncing around and hints of chocolate malts. Freaking fantastic I have to say. As I take the first sip the warm booziness washes across the tongue with a silky smooth feel that is second to none. So many big beers lately have no carbonation to them, this was simply sublime. Rich vanilla and chocolate flavors hit me first, melt away though into a bourbony and oak filled smooth flavor. Each sip seemingly more complex then the one before it. Really just tremedous.
Overall this was fantastic. I was blown away by how complex and smooth it was being so fresh. Not nearly as hot as I remember 12 being. Just really well done.
12-13-2009 14:09:17 | More by mikesgroove
4.63/5 rDev +5%
Congrats on 13 years Firestone Walker! Hopefully this beer will be just as fine as the 10th - 12th Anniversary ales were.
Pours a very dark brown color with a thin and still tan head.
Impressive nose. Vanilla, chocolate, and lots of creamy sweetness. There are also notes of nuts, oak, and booze. This really does smell wonderful.
Taste is surprisingly subtle, but with very nice melded flavors. Light cola, molasses, dark malts, cream, nuts, oak and booze all float along well together. The malt flavors here are great, and the general sweetness is cut well with the oak and easy booze notes. Finish has a light crispness, and that nice alcohol warmth.
Mouthfeel is good, but I like a beer this big to have a really thick feel.
Drinkability?! Oh yeah!!! I really wonder if this beer will improve all that much, it seems pretty well dialed in right now. The subtle flavors match so well, and this beer drinks more like a 6% ABV brew. It kind of reminds me of wonderful full flavored brown ale. Well done Firestone Walker, thanks for another great and unique take on the barrel aging and blending process.
Side Note : I really cringed paying $25 for a bottle of this. While it is an excellent beer, I think this is right near my tipping point on price.
12-13-2009 06:38:40 | More by flexabull
3.65/5 rDev -17.2%
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.
12-12-2009 04:13:01 | More by alcstradamus
4.63/5 rDev +5%
Yet another gem sampled during the tasting event at Dyan's the other night. Yet another fine beer from the follks at Firestone Walker (maybe I can convince them to adopt me some day).
The beer pours a blackish brown color with very good head retention and lacing. On the nose I get a lovely blend of milk duds, coffee, chocolate, prunes and vanilla. On the palate this beer is just amazing. The flavors generally replicate the nose, and this beer is very rich and sweet, and ever so soft and creamy on the palate. Mouthfeel is excellent, and the beer is suprisingly light on its feet for the richness and abv. Sure, the alcohol is noticeable, but it doesn't intrude whatsoever. On the other hand, the sweetness, coupled with the fairly high abv., detracts just a bit from the beer's drinkability.
Yet another very exceptionally fine beer from Firestone brewing. Impressive.
12-12-2009 00:00:35 | More by John_M
4.72/5 rDev +7%
Large capped bottle, tremendous courtesy of jhenry04.
Poured into a snifter, it is nearly pitch black with a golden brown edge; one finger tan head dissipates rather quickly.
The aroma is wonderful as all other Firestone Anniversary brews I was lucky to try; it reminds me why barrel aging can be beautiful, and it also exposes the multiple abuses of indiscriminate barrel aging out there. Oak, lots of vanilla, chocolate and roasted malts more than previous years, at times even like a stout; and a faint hint of bourbon - it smells like great beer, not like bourbon.
Body is a bit thinner than It would be perfect, but still velvety and nice, quite close to full body.
I have to disagree with some reviews that mention ashy, acrid, hot notes; I did not notice anything off here; there is minimal noticeable alcohol, and all roasted notes are quite nice and well balanced with hints of coffee, chocolate, dark fruits, lots of vanilla, some oak.
Great beer, again. I have grown more and more suspicious of barrel aging, as in my modest opinion, most beers do not gain anything, frequently lose from barrel aging. Firestone anniversary is another story, even though there is no version not barrel aged for the proper comparison.
12-10-2009 01:35:29 | More by brdc
4.15/5 rDev -5.9%
Pitch black body, with ruby amber rim light. Darker tan head, fades to a slight ring.
s-bourbon, alcohol, vanilla, coffee bean, and nilla wafers.
t-up front vanilla, graham crackers, bourbon, oak and heat. lots of alcohol aparent in this beer. Finishes with dark fruit, heat and a lasting vanilla spice.
M-solid, chewey, and warming.
D-I can imagine that in a couple years this beast will be PERFECT but right now, theres way too much heat!
12-09-2009 23:24:38 | More by slayer3604
3.95/5 rDev -10.4%
On-tap at Beachwood BBQ,
A: Pours a medium dark brown with a soft light tan head. Nice spots of lace.
S: Light initially, but ended up getting some enticing butterscotch, molasses, and coffee.
T: Dark chocolate dominated with notes of coffee and licorice. Oak is prevalant, giving interesting wood notes, but more terpene like/actual wood flavour than vanilla-type flavours. Strong character in the taste I liked it a lot.
M: Not as thick or robust as I'd like, but solid overall, compared to the 12 though it's a bit of a lightweight right now.
D: This is clearly good beer. Maybe I'm expecting too much out of the Anniversary series right now, I'm expecting to be blown away out of the gate like I was with 11 and 12 which were exceptional upon release. This one is still really good, though I think it needs some time to achieve greatness.
12-09-2009 17:31:40 | More by Halcyondays
4.2/5 rDev -4.8%
Appearance: Dark Brown with a little light head
Smell: Oak and Vanilla ... some faint smoke in the background
Taste: lots of malt, Vanilla, slight smoke and oak. All smells come through in taste. Its a bit hot but with some time should mellow out.
Mouthfeel: not as thick as 12, but flavor is there. Was expecting a bit more thickness to coat the mouth better. This is the only area a bit dissapointing.
Drinkability: The thin body does make it drinkable. It has a pleasant heat as it goes down but smooth. I enjoy the alcohol in this one.
This will evolve very nicely. Can't wait to revisit in 6 months
12-07-2009 16:12:22 | More by MASPuros
4.63/5 rDev +5%
Bottle courtesy Diomede. Pours a brilliant, clear ruddy brown with copper highlights and a fading light-brown head. Aroma is, right off the bat, smokier than expected, with light bourbon and wood coming next. Deeper whiffs reveal caramel, chocolate, vanilla, and a touch of acetone, which could just be a bourbon sharpness. Flavor is far more subtle than 12 or 11, but at the same time smoother and very well-integrated. I guess the much-publicized exactness of the blending process was a worthwhile endeavor. I get smokey molasses, brown sugar, deep chocolate, light coconut, vanilla, a faint fruitiness, and a mildly roasted finish with a whisper of alcohol. It almost seems too seamless and smooth, sterile even. Nonetheless this is fantastic and a great accomplishment by the FW folks.
12-07-2009 03:03:27 | More by illidurit
4.47/5 rDev +1.4%
22oz bottle shared by Diomede. Almost black in appearance, with a small tan head. Smooth aroma that has less spirit influence than 12. There is a surprising smokey and burnt wood quality, chocolate, oak, wine, caramel, and burnt sugars. A little bourbon is evident, but is far from making a dominant impression. The flavor is very smooth already, with nice chocolate malt sweetness, lighter bourbon and whiskey, dried fruit, oak, and some vinous tannic and fruity touches. Full bodied and smooth with almost no alcohol bite at all. I had been saving a bottle of 12 to do a side by side, and the comparison is really making me want to lower my score of 12 because this is so much better. It has at the same time a more pronounced dark chocolate flavor, and more vinous and oaky nuances, without the hot alcohol and bourbon flavors that are more dominant in 12. Out of the last three blends, this is definitely my favorite, and they really took it to another level this time.
12-07-2009 02:50:53 | More by bulletrain76
4.53/5 rDev +2.7%
Very dark pour... not all light-absorbing, but dark enough. A thin, dark, brown head that recedes into a thin rim.
Lots of vanilla, heat, dark malty goodness in the sniffer.
Taste is the same but I'm getting some dark fruits as well. Figs too, perhaps? Coconut, caramel and chocolate cake flavors are also coming out as this warms.
There is a ton of booze, to be expected, present. This doesn't actually hurt the drinkability all that much though as I'm taking near full gulps. It has a thin mouthfeel with decent carbonation.
This should age like a champ!
12-06-2009 22:07:58 | More by rudylaw
4.1/5 rDev -7%
bottle courtesy of Diomede
S: Vanilla, malt, smoke, oak
A: Very dark brown, dark brn head
T: Vanilla, malt, oakey, little more heat than 12
M: Little thinner body than 12, but still good
D: Pretty good for abv, but thin body and alcohol presence makes it a little tough. This is a fresh bottle however.
Overall: Very nice, but maybe not epic.
12-06-2009 04:18:31 | More by bret27
Firestone 13 - Anniversary Ale from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
97 out of 100 based on 370 ratings.