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Firestone 14 - Anniversary Ale | Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

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Firestone 14 - Anniversary AleFirestone 14 - Anniversary Ale

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

Style: American Strong Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 12.50%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
The blend consists of: 31% Double Double Barrel Ale, 29% Sticky Monkey, 27% Parabola, 7% Velvet Merkin, 3% Good Foot, 3% Black Xantus

Added by ZX6Chris on 11-02-2010

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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Reviews: 298 | Ratings: 705
Photo of lacqueredmouse
4.72/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Always a pleasure to try another of these releases. I hold high hopes for this one. This one was purchased in California and brought back to Sydney to share with @LaitueGonflable.

Pours a deep, heavy, viscous black-brown, with a mottled but reasonably solid head of mocha foam. Very fine static carbonation in the exceptionally heavy body. Lacing is almost non-existent, but that's not unusual in a beer this heavy.

Nose is just gorgeous. That perfectly balanced and sweet vanilla oak character, with dark chocolate and slightly astringent boozy notes. Even some dark toasted coconut—the barrel gives it such a redolent and mellow character, and the blending just gets the proportions right. Wonderful.

Taste is smooth and creamy, and genuinely darker than the previous release. Here we have big chocolate and coconut characters, like a toasted Bounty bar. It's so sweet and luscious, complementary and balanced. Still, it's smooth and leavened—it certainly doesn't have any roasted astringency. So smooth, and so drinkable young—and yet, it makes me want to squirrel away a bottle and see what it's like in ten or twenty years time. I think it would stand the test.

Such a gorgeous beer, and such a valid and perfect addition to the series. Genuinely one of the most well thought-out and well-balanced beers I've ever had. They put such a concerted and nuanced approach into these beers—I can't wait for number fifteen.

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Photo of DocJitsu
4.72/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a very dark brown with a taupe/tan head that attenuates quickly. The aroma is so pleasing with alternating toffee, bourbon, vanilla, and coconut. The aroma leaves little to be anticipated in the taste. So complex, yet the flavors seem to express themselves individually from start to finish. The creamy mouthfeel completes this phenomenal beer. It's a milder, more drinkable sibling to Abacus and Parabola.

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Photo of argock
4.72/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Served on-tap in a 10oz goblet/snifter at Beer Run (Charlottesville, VA).

A: Black with some brown highlights at the edge with plummy, light brown, 1/2-finger head with persistent crusty lacing.

S: Molasses, herbal-earthy hops, cocoa, and dark fruit like figs, and plums accented with a mild berry-cherry alcohol note. Smells delicious and much less ABV than what is stated.

T: Very luscious brew with a decided molasses note that is sanded down smooth with the blending. The cocoa and softer coffee notes really work well with the strong plum, fig, and date dark fruit flavors. The hops component is less prominent than in the aroma, but still contributes an ample punch of earthy goodness. Alcohol is a clear player, but it is not overwhelming or overbearing. FW 14 comes off as a masterfully calculated creation, and tasting it makes me wonder how many iterations of blending they went through to pull this exceptional ale together.

M: Velvety smooth and decadent with predictably low carbonation. The body is full on full but not a 30 lb bomb either.

D: One of the best 3 or 4 brews I have tried so far this year, and that includes PtE and Citra DIPA. This on-tap sample makes me almost tempted to go after a bottle, even at the ungodly $21.99 price tag. Decisions, decisions...

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Photo of keanex
4.68/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured from a 650ml bottle into a tulip glass.

A: Pitch black with a creamy caramel colored head.

S: Roasty chocolate with oaky bourbon.

T: Huge oaky bourbon upfront into a chocolate raspberry flavor. Very good, reminded me a lot of WWS actually.

M: Thick and creamy with very light carbonation.

O: Very complex with a very stout like feel and taste.

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Photo of mcallister
4.67/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Deep chestnut bordering on tar. A faint tan head whisps away to a ring around the snifter but reveals a molten lava like round.

Wow amazing nose, soft, feminine, full of bourbon, oak, sweet pitted dried fruits, burnt sugar, caramel, mollasses, milk chocolate, coconut, toasted oak, vanilla, fig, date and on and on. Layers so soft and velvety to the ole factor.

WOW! And even better in the mouth with basically what is in the nose but with a big roasty masculine punch in the teeth. Big bourbon fruitiness, thick toasted coconut, vanilla riddled oak, milk chocolate, toffee, date, fig, cherry, charcoal, pine, earth, some hints of grass, leather, tobacco. Sweet in the middle than dried out with some hop, and wood tannins, and then an oddness how it's both sweet, but roasty, yet tannic. Love it. Velvety smooth, chewy in the middle, and rounded throughout. Just a great beer.

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Photo of homebrew311
4.65/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Transcribed from notes of an earlier tasting.

Pours a deep reddish purple color with minimal head. Nice clarity here which makes for a dazzling appearance. The first thing that comes to mind in the aroma in the contribution of Abacus to the blend. Tons of vanilla and caramelized malts stand up front with some chocolate and coffee character in the back The bourbon looms large in this and seems to be well blended. The taste is incredibly smooth with vanilla, molasses, caramel, raisin, and mild stout qualities at the end. This seems to feature an array of styles (ie barleywine, stout, bourbon) which seems like it might clash, but the fine folks at Firestone Walker managed to blend this into quite the well integrated treat. The body is somewhat light relative to the high ABV, the carbonation is mellow. This is damn delicious.

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Photo of waltersrj
4.65/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured on New Years Eve.

Nose was absolutely intoxicating...a rich blend of roasted chocolate malt, sweet tobacco, bourbon, vanilla, caramel, charred oak, cherries, fig, citrus hops, and slight smoke.

Taste was also incredible, a beautiful array of bittersweet chocolate, roasted malt, slight roasted coffee bitterness, bourbon soaked cherries, chocolate cake, fig, caramel, burnt oak, bourbon, vanilla, and slight toffee with a smooth bourbon finish with hints of tobacco.

Mouthfeel was slightly creamy, moderately viscous, just near perfect.

Pour gave me around one finger of moderately creamy, dark tan head. The lacing was decent on the edge of the glass and the legs were swirling beautifully until the last drop was gone.

Final thoughts: An amazingly well blended barrel aged beer, combining many of my favorite aspects of barleywine and imperial stouts. Rich and decadent, a true showcase of professional brewing, barrel aging, and blending...a masterpiece.

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Photo of hopluva1
4.65/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served @ 50 degrees in a brandy snifter.

The pour is dark copper to brown with a trace of red. 1/2 finger tan head falls quickly.
Aroma is sweet coffee, bourbon ,and a little bit of raisins.
The flavor is where this beer shines. It has 6 distinctly different barrel aged beers blended together harmoniously. There are bourbon and brandy vanilla notes, as well as coffee, raisins, and some chocolate. A bit of alcohol helps clear the palate for your next drink. With all the flavors present it still finishes remarkably clean.

Craftsmanship is on display with this beer!

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4.64/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bomber to stemless. $22 for the single. Sampled on 8/13/11.

A: Pours with a 1 1/2 finger tall head, light to medium brown in color. The texture is foamy/creamy and the retention is above average given the style. Rich and extremely dark brown body. The thick film and collar remain for quite some time. Lacing is between spare and fair.

S: Overly rendered caramel mixed with molasses, leather and peaty earth. Light smoke or char. The barrel is as prominent as the bourbon and both fit perfectly within the aroma profile.

T: Enough complexity to stand up to the big, bourbon-based boozy structure of the beer. Added depth by way of toffee, vanilla, anise, toasted marshmallow, and essence of raisin - most distinguishable by the port wine-like flavor that hides underneath many layers of flavor.

M: Perfectly soft effervescence with a full body and thick, chewy texture. Impressively, FW 14 manages to stay away from cloying territory. The mouthfeel is drawn out and extends the flavor in a genuinely remarkable way.

O: The guys at Firestone Walker are brewer/blender savants and true master's of their craft. Their barrel program is top notch and ensures my yearly purchase of the applicable Proprietors Reserve Series beers. I love what they're doing over there.

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Photo of Gushue3
4.64/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A- Very dark almost black with no head when arrived at my table

S- hops liquor and malt. Smells amazing.

T- BOOZE. godly booze and cocoa note and dark fruit notes. Awesme hop finish

M- so smooth. Almost no carbonation

D- so good. Heavy booze taste and chocolate taste. I need moremore

3 of these got me trashed... as seen by my review.. still a great beer

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Photo of Angerhaus
4.63/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Per the information sheet in the box: "The blend consists of: 31% Double Double Barrel Ale, 29% Sticky Monkey, 27% Parabola, 7% Velvet Merkin, 3% Good Foot, and 3% Black Xantus. As a finished beer, 14 is brimming with amazing flavors and textures. DDBA leads the blend lending American toasted oak, English caramel toffee and light leather nuances. Newcomer, Sticky Monkey, folds in the taste of brown sugar, molasses, cinnamon, ginger and ripe figs. Parabola brings the familiar flavors of bitter dark chocolate and cherry pit. Velvet Merkin carries silky bourbon soaked chocolate cake goodness to the party while a touch of Black Xantus teases coffee and tobacco. Last, but not least, Good Foot brings the hops... hints of citrus zest and tangerine, which adds a pop to the aroma and nice finish to this big, sexy brew."

The coffee and hops have, of course, walked away like Sam and Frodo taking the one ring to Mordor. The flavor that I felt most survived is that of the figs and cherry. Those dark fruits hit you in the nose and follow on the tongue in a manner that reminded me a lot of smoked bourbon. Beyond that, the nose was such a pleasant mix of bourbon, dark fruits, and molasses that my birthday celebrators and I had a conversation about just that for almost 10 minutes.

Like many superior blended beers, it was dangerously drinkable. While we sometimes like to hoard our good stuff, I was glad to have a few friends with which to share this. Having it alone would have left me blitz out of my mind, and I don't know that I would have felt right drinking a bottle like this without some friends to enjoy it with me. I realize that such a statement is not the greatest way to empirically describe a beverage, but sometimes the intangibles are what help us to enjoy what we're drinking. Honestly, think to yourself about the beers you've celebrated in the company of good friends, only to find that they didn't have the same level of enjoyment on your own. This is not to say that I would not have found FW14 delightful on my own, merely that this goes into a class of beer that is best enjoyed with people that help you smile, people that help you laugh, and, quite simply, people that deserve to share your best bottles.

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Photo of MbpBugeye
4.63/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks for Spider889 for buying this for me on his trip to Chicago.

10/25/10 11:01 stamped on the neck. Poured into a snifter, as suggested by the description insert found in the box.

A- Deep, inky black body with visible weight to it. The head can be coaxed out to about 2 fingers in height. Its a sandy off white in color that creeps up the sides of the glass as it subsides. It leaves only a thick collar that throws small spots against the walls of the snifter.

S- Licorice is very strong, especially after a deep swirl. Second in line is a nice, rich cocoa along with dark fruits that border on that found in dark Belgians. Alcohol is very potent, its nearly stinging. A fresh oaky aroma encompasses everything.
I was really hoping for a little bit more here, its lacking a little bit of complexity. It does open with warmth, but its muted until about the 50 degree mark.

T- The taste is a huge improvement from the aroma. A nice bitter sweet blend of licorice, dark chocolate, fresh oak, vanilla, brown sugar, dark fruits and a flash of citrus on the back.

Sweet molasses and brown sugar kicks things off on the tip of the tongue. Oak is close to follow, and rightfully so, after reading the descriptions I see that there is a LOT of oak being used in this blend. The earthy, woody barrels blend into a deep fruitiness with licorice on the back. The finish is pretty strong on anise with a squeeze of citrusy hops to round it out.

This is quite the sweet tasting beer, but its so damn well integrated and very complex. Truly exquisite.

:EDIT: Coming back into this review a good 2 hours after opening this beer. Once its had the chance to fully warm the finish really comes alive. What was at first a strong licorice and alcoholic finish has settled and opened up into a very tobacco laden, milk chocolate melange. Sure, the alcohol is still there but it has been enveloped by the pipe tobacco, chocolate and brown sugar. A true work of art. Damn.

M- Upon the first sip I jumped ahead and marked this a 5 for mouthfeel. Typically the mouthfeel improves as you drink and the carbonation escapes a bit. This could be an exception to my rule though. The carbonation is already pretty low right out of the bottle. Now that its died down even more its nearly flat. The body is very full and chewy with a stickiness left on the lips. The alcohol is not ashamed of itself at all. It really comes alive on the swallow. Even though the carbonation has died a bit to much, its still an easy 5 for the feel.

D- Big, assertive alcohol keeps you sipping on this one. But thats a good thing. Finishing this bottle quickly would be a disappointment.

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Photo of MadeInOregon
4.62/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

173 reviews and the lowest is a B-. Finally, some consensus on a beer: we all think this is a good one! :)

Honestly, I had low expectations for this beer. I'm not sure why, but the box it came in and the information sheet that was included just seemed to be setting me up for disappointment, as if it was all too good to be true. Thankfully, the Firestone Fourteenth Anniversary Ale is quite simply put, the bomb.

THE APPEARANCE was one of the lowest points for me in that I couldn't seem to achieve much head when pouring into two different glasses. The dark brown beer resembled maple syrup, in some ways, which was interesting and made up for the lack of foam. There is also thick, goopy lacing with this beer which just seems to scream "aged and intense!"

THE SMELL is of very strong bourbon, chocolate, oak, vanilla, and alcohol. It is very complex and quite difficult to isolate any one particular aroma.

THE FEEL is thick and creamy. Nice and full, as it should be for such a beer.

THE FLAVORS, as the smell suggests, are very complex and varied. For me, it went like this: bourbon aged stout -> chocolate -> coffee -> chocolate. Incredibly, there is a good amount of coffee detectable as well ("Incredible" because a coffee-flavored beer only makes up 3% of this blend, according to the information sheet provided). This an extremely sweet, highly alcoholic beer. However, it is easily the smoothest, most drinkable bourbon-barrel beer I've had, and I bet it would hold it's own against the best of the rest. It's just amazingly drinkable. Because the overall quality is sweet and it is only slightly hoppy I can see many beergeeks frowning on this one. I think this beer has something for everyone though. In fact, it reminded me a lot of sherry, so I can see this beer having huge cross-over appeal for wine drinkers.

THE ONLY DOWNSIDE of this was the price. $20 seems a bit steep for a regular old brown glass bottle and standard, metal crown cap. The box and information sheet came across to me as justification for the high price. Deschutes charges half that for their aged beers and they probably carry a better reputation. I would value this at $15, max.

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Photo of bld81
4.62/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

bottle poured into a taster glass:
A: thick, dark brown pour, minimal head with no staying power
S: sweetness with dark fruit, bacon, heavy bourbon, slight vanilla
T: big, big bourbon flavor, alcohol, brown sugar, toffee, figs
M: Warms the tongue and throat with alcohol, thin to medium body
O: Fantastic blend, had this on tap when it was released and found it too boozy, after ten months of aging it is drinking perfect

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Photo of iflah45
4.62/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark dark brown with red highlights when held up to the light. Less than a one finger head that recedes to a creamy ring.

The aroma is rich and full of dark fruits, caramel, toffee, and booze! the alcohol scent is powerful yet it works. Hints of vanilla and oak from the barrels. Looks like a stout, smells like a barleywine!

The taste follows the nose with lots more vanilla in the forefront. Great smoky oak fr the barrel and a hint if cherry and dark fruit. Scrumptious!

Very low carbonation, silky smooth mouthfeel. Little alcohol kick at the end.

Such a treat. Definitely worth the price. It is a true work of art and I'm glad I found one hiding at a local store.

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Photo of Chaney
4.62/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

After making numerous trades with this bad boy and hearing much kudos about it, I decided to unchain it from my cellar and pop the cap.

I poured this into my trusty Cigar City snifter.

A: Poured a dark, dark brown.... but not pitch black color. The mocha head was slight, but had tremendous staying power.

S: The barrel-aging was most evident indeed! It smelled like a liquified "Tootsie-Roll." Additionally, I got soft dark fruit, raw cacao, oak, and a good bit of bourbon.

T: Very coconuty... like an "Almond Joy" candy bar even, with a good bit of heat to the ending that amounted to smoke. No soy sauce on this one... this was a dessert brew through and through!

M: Pretty thick, but not like snot. Beers like Dark Lord, Darkness, Huhnapuhs, etc are much thicker, but definitely not any better. The "American Strong Ale" classification is definitely right!

O: Wow... I'm almost speechless here... except to say that this: I've heard this one referred to as one of the biggest and baddest of 2011. I humbly agree...

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Photo of Dlish
4.62/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- a ruby dark brown, i was expecting near pitch black like 13, but being that there is as much barley-wine as there is stout it not surprising. The head pours thick with some good tan retention.

S- Once again Firestone does not disappoint with a wonderful aroma. I get a lot of bourbon, oak, vanilla deep coffee and tobacco. some very fresh aroma that are sweet and not as bitter as 13.

T- Wow this is a very barelywine inspired strong ale. Bet a lot of oak coffee chocolate malt a lot of tobacco, surprisingly not as heavy or chewy as I thought it was going to be from the smell. There is a coffee and fudge ice cream that kind of finishes out the palate. The burn from the alcohol unfortunately comes out in this years beer. It burns from the first sip. Although this burn helps the coffee flavors.

M- def not as chewy as 13 or parabola, surprisingly thin for what I was expecting. There is actually a large amount of carbonation that could account for a spreading of the flavors.

D- Another amazing blend by Firestone. I think Matt's written note to the costumer best describes the beer. Its a good mixture, and is not heavily based on any particular beer like last year. While the burn is pretty brutal now I have high hopes in a few months when it settle downs. The 12.5% is strong and within the first sip the alcohol haze starts to set in. Overall a beer to be enjoyed with friends or any other special event.

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Photo of drink1121
4.62/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A-Pours a deep mohagony with very little head and no real carbonation but it seems like this is what it's supposed to be like

S- Caramel, vanilla/oak, sweet bourbon, maple syrup, cinamon and a slight peperry spice - all the good stuff u would expect with a bourbon barrel aged beer. No real malt or hop presence

T- Not really the same as the smell. Not nearly the same bourbon character but more things like tobacco, black licorice, dark fruits and very slight booze at the very end, but it's great year

M- Not thick at all but I wouldn't say watery by any means either. It's a thin, dense feel with no carbonation. Reminds me of a wine feel.

D- Pretty high on this. Sharing with a few non BA friends but could do the brunt of the damage myself on this one. I am glad I have several more to go through in the next 10 years or so.

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Photo of beer4colin
4.61/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served in small 10 oz tulip at Union Brewhouse.

A - Dark as night. Even when held to sunlight minimal light gets through.
S - Bourban kegs.
T - dark chocolate. Someone said coconut and I can see that. Bourbon keg aging shines through and Then it fades to a big alcohol burn but I've had bigger.
MF - fills every nook and cranny.
D - this is an incredible cru'! Too grand for a pub. This is a fireside sipper. I can't be here all night but this beauty cannot - nay should not - be rushed.

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Photo of travMI13
4.6/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

650 ml bottle poured into a Founders tulip.

A: Pours a deep mahogany-black with about a half-finger of off-white head that dissipates quickly. Fairly transparent for a strong ale, it seems.

S: Smells of bourbon, oak, vanilla, and dark fruits. It smells very sweet, and the bourbon definitely dominates the nose.

T: Whoa. The aroma doesn't do this beer justice. Rich, deep notes of bourbon, vanilla, and oak are there, but there is a very strong dark chocolate presence in the middle. The sweet, dark fruits and some tobacco are there as well. There is a very slight burn from the bourbon, but it backs up and balances the sweetness of the beer. The flavor of this is nothing short of incredible.

M: Silky, smooth, and decadent. Perfect amount of carbonation.

O: What a spectacular blend by Firestone Walker. I wasn't sure what I was getting myself into with this one, but it really is drinking great. No need to age this one any further; I'm not sure how any additional age could improve it.

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Photo of billshmeinke
4.6/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a Delirium Tremens tulip. Have already had this on tap and from the bottle a few times, first time I got around to giving it a formal review though.

Pours dark black with a tinge of ruby highlights when held up to light. One finger light beige head. dies down to a nice bit of foam on top.

Wow, smells amazing. Brown sugar, toffee, cocoa powder and a hint of dark chocolate up front. Some smoke, leather and tobacco as well. Also, plenty of oak and jammy dark fruit.

The taste brings out toffee, brown sugar and molasses up front accompanied by dark chocolate (much more of the dark chocolate here than in the nose). Then I get some resin and tobacco again. Also, a really nice nutty presence. Some coconut as well. Luscious oakiness and even some vinous blackberry jam notes. Incredibly complex and tasty with a huge and lasting finish.

Sticky and just a touch sweet, very full, but with a nice bitterness and oakiness to dry it out sufficiently.

A true beer lover's desert beer, and possibly something your red wine loving friends might be into.

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Photo of russpowell
4.59/5  rDev +6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This one is courtesy of Bitterbill, a great trader! I love the complete/detailed background on the beer you get from the box info & the scroll included inside, beer geek heaven! Cheers Bill...

Pours an effervescent mahogany with a pinky of Mocha colored head. Viscous appearance to this. Above average head retention & some lacing

S: Nice Bourbon & oaky notes, plums & raisins too.

T: Rich dark fruittyness, dryness, prunes, vanilla & oakyness up front. Nice plummy notes as this warms, some hints of leafy hops, Bourbon sweetness, oakyness & dryness once warm, along with caramel, & dark cherries. Finishes dry, warming with dark chocolate, vanilla, cherries, rich Bourbon flavors, a slight kiss of coffee

MF: Chewy & warming, very little carbonation, so rich

Drinks fantastic for the style & ABV. Rumor has this brewery is headed this way in 2011. Here's hoping if we don't get it here, a neighboring state does, I like/love most of their offerings...

Still waiting for the 3-6 inches of snow we are supposed to get tonight, I wish it would have showed up with this in my glass, bummer that weather didn't deliver, the beer sure did!

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Photo of rhong187
4.59/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

served from a bottle into tulip glass

A - pours very dark, almost black with the exception of a tiny bit of light passing through the glass, with about a half a finger head.

S - definitely one of the most "bourbon-y" type aroma I've ever encountered. Bit of vanilla and sweetness up front.

T - Funny enough, it almost tastes like abacus from the start, although abacus isn't part of this blend. I picked up some toffee and caramel with a small touch of vanilla. Great tasting beer

M - medium bodied, which I found interesting given the fact that 30% of the brew consists of parabola and black xantus. medium to low carbonation.

Quite delicious and a vast improvement over the 13. This one was put together quite nicely, and makes me look forward to future anniversary ales (which the 13 made me a bit weary of).

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Photo of Xul
4.59/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours dark brown with some deep ruby highlights around the edges, capped by a finger of frothy, pale beige head. Retention is decent for the style as it settles down to a thin layer of foam.

S: Wow...lots of lightly roasted coconut up front, bittersweet chocolate, toasted grains, vanilla, light coffee, some faint wood character, leather, some light tangerines around the edges. There's so much to smell here, I almost just want to sit and sniff it. Bourbon and brandy barrel notes are detectable, but certainly not dominant.

T: Starts with caramel and toffee before opening up into bittersweet chocolate, dark chocolate, vanilla, light coconut and brandy. Some leather and wood come in towards the backend before a touch bourbon and alcohol heat come in near the backend, leading to a long, slightly warm finish.

M: Medium to full bodied with low, smooth carbonation...it could be just a wee bit thicker.

D: A sipper, but a sipper that I have to force myself to let sit for a few minutes between drinks. Absolutely stellar beer, I'm excited to see how this develops over time.

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Photo of rapidsequence
4.59/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22 oz bottle. I think it was $20 or so from Ned's. My 500th BeerAdvocate review.

Appearance: Pours a very deep brown that looks black in the glass, but shows brown and ruby highlights when held up. Thin light brown head with brief retention, some spots of lacing.

Smell: I don't pass out a lot of perfect scores, but the aroma of this beer really has the wow factor. Chocolate, dark fruits (raisin, fig), maple syrup, brown sugar, vanilla, and bourbon. Rich and sweet, but balanced such that no part stands out and dominates.

Taste: This is a delicious beer, but it falls a little short of the aroma. There's a little more bourbony heat than I'd prefer. Also, while the aroma seems to perfectly blend aspects of the different blended beers, it tastes more like a somewhat fruity BA imperial stout-- albeit an excellent one.

Mouthfeel: I expected the beer to be much thinner than this. Its got some heft, and its silky smooth. Great.

Overall: Pretty exceptional beer. Great job of blending some already excellent beers.

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Firestone 14 - Anniversary Ale from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
96 out of 100 based on 298 ratings.