Dismiss Notice
Save $5 when you subscribe to 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine by selecting auto-renew.

Subscribe now →
Dismiss Notice
Join Our Email List →

And we'll send you the latest updates and offers from BeerAdvocate, because knowing is half the battle.
Dismiss Notice

Pre-order your Respect Beer "Hipster" Hoodie today!

Plus: Free shipping (US only) on orders of $25 or more until 12/18/15. Just select "Free Shipping" at checkout.

Shop now →

Firestone 14 - Anniversary Ale - Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Firestone 14 - Anniversary AleFirestone 14 - Anniversary Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.

296 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 296
Hads: 698
Avg: 4.33
pDev: 14.09%
Wants: 224
Gots: 555 | FT: 23
Brewed by:
Firestone Walker Brewing Co. visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Strong Ale |  12.50% ABV

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: ZX6Chris on 11-02-2010

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

The blend consists of: 31% Double Double Barrel Ale, 29% Sticky Monkey, 27% Parabola, 7% Velvet Merkin, 3% Good Foot, 3% Black Xantus
View: Beers (83) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 296 | Hads: 698
Photo of Sammy
3.97/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark brown, some lace, a moderate sized head. Some sugr, tasty, drinkable, a dry finish. Bourbon in the aroma, lots of roast, alcohol burn. An imperial dry stout.
Fuller mouthfeel. A very nice sipper, though I do not seem to have enjoyed this as much as other anniversary editions.

 281 characters

Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.24/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Wowcoolman for sharing this one at the Firestone Walker night at Steingarten LA in Los Angeles, CA.

Pours an almost opaque super dark brown with a foamy dark khaki head that fades to nothing. No lacing on this one. Smell is of roasted and toasted malt, vanilla, caramel, toffee, toasted coconut, slight cocoa, cookie dough, and some wood and alcohol aromas. Taste is the same but the flavors are balanced and complex with a woody finish and not too bad of an alcohol kick on the finish. This beer has a good level of carbonation with a crisp and medium bodied mouthfeel. Overall, this is a very good beer that seems to be holding up quite well at this time. To me this one tastes great and has become a tasty and dangerously drinkable beer at this time.

 764 characters

Photo of StonedTrippin
4.4/5  rDev +1.6%

A great brew that has matured beautifully since it's release. Deep brown to cope in color and now with just a prickle of carbonation. The nose is heave whiskey barrel, and the malt of the big esb component seems to come through the most. Chocolate and roast on the front end of the taste while more fruitiness develops later on. Plums and dried dates come to mind, and the whole thing has a very brandy flavor to it. Vanilla and oak are long finishing and while the booze is back, the sweetness if the beer is robust, toffee like. Huge sticky body akin to other barrel aged beers from Firestone, silky as any too going down. A real treat to share this after all this time, I bet it could hold on a few more years, but no reason not to pop it open now if you are lucky enough to have one!

 787 characters

Photo of brentk56
4.42/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours a rich, mysterious brown color; while there is not much head and what there is doesn't last long, there are plenty of trace elements lingering around the chalice

Smell: The oaky barrel dominates the aroma, with Bourbon and vanilla, but underneath there is nougat, nuts, caramel and that German Chocolate Cake character

Taste: The German Chocolate Cake character is apparent right from the outset, with the chocolate, coconut, caramel and nut flavors dominant; by mid-palate, the boozy Bourbon and vanilla flavors build and after the swallow, the blend comes together; there is a bit of hop character that emerges in the finish, as well

Mouthfeel: Full bodied, with moderate carbonation and warmth, not only in the gullet but in the belly

Overall: I always look forward the the Firestone anniversary series and this one is no exception

Thanks, mrmiles, for the opportunity

 894 characters

Photo of Thorpe429
3.92/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On tap at Galaxy Hut. Served in a snifter.

Initial pour (to near the top) is nearly black with just a few tan bubbles around the edges. No head. We'll see how it does with a good swirl or two after I drink a bit of it down. Judging from 11 through 13, I don't think that'll be a problem. Nose off the fairly-cold brew brings some nice bourbon, molasses, and fruit notes. It's not going to get any more fragrant this cold, so I might as well drink some...

First impression is a bit of light booze along with some rum-soaked dark fruits. As it warms in my mouth I get a touch of prickly carbonation on the back of my tongue. There's also some bourbon, light vanilla, and oak. Some roast there as well.

Body is medium with good carbonation and some definite booze. Drinks well enough but--at least at this point--doesnt reach the level of earlier versions.

 856 characters

Photo of largadeer
4.12/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Draft at Toronado.

Firestone's new anniversary blend looks much the same as the previous two vintages: a blackened, nearly opaque amber-brown. The head shows surprising longevity given the style and high alcohol, though it does eventually dissipate completely.

What an outstanding aroma. There's an abundance of toasted coconut and vanilla, rich caramel, oak, a hint of milk chocolate. Despite 1/3 of the blend being comprised of neutral barrel Double Double Barrel Ale, there's no lack of bourbon and brandy character here.

Firestone's anniversary beers usually have some heat and harshness to them when they're fresh, but that's not the case with XIV; the alcohol is very reserved. I had this side by side with Parabola and Abacus, and to my surprise, XIV showed greater depth and less heat.

There's a strong caramel and bittersweet chocolate presence on the palate, with subtleties of vanilla, coconut rum and brandy shining through. Oak contributes light tannins that cut the sweetness slightly, though it remains a rich and heavy beer. Alcohol is nicely integrated, a mild heat that balances rather than detracts.

Carbonation is at a lower-moderate level, just enough to give the palate a light scrubbing. The body is full, but not syrupy by any means; Firestone is excellent about making rich beers that aren't cloying.

While I still need to try this from the bottle to get a better feel for it, numerous glasses on tap leave me with the impression that this is one of the better anniversary blends.

Addendum: A better beer on tap than out of the bottle, though bottles are fairly good.

 1,599 characters

Photo of emerge077
4.32/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Deep ruby/garnet hue in the light, otherwise appears black. Initial pour summoned a half inch of tan foam, which subsided fairly quickly into a thin ring and spotty lace.

Aroma was really nice, fried plantain, brown sugar, plum, dates, and figs. Rich and slightly sweet, with a slight trace of alcohol when swirled and deeply inhaled.

Sweet and sticky with a medium heft to it... long lingering aftertaste with oaky presence. Rich flavors of dark fruits: fig and plum, dry oak tannin in the back, with a bit of bitter dark chocolate from the Parabola. Vanilla surfaces from the bourbon barrel, and there's a bit of distinct bourbon flavor faintly in the back too. The blend is well done, it's very smooth and one to sip for an hour or more. Booze is in check, though certainly present. Overall very nice, hope to also try on tap before it's all gone.

 853 characters

Photo of zeff80
4.12/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Poured out an opaque, dark burgundy color with a small, off-white head of soapy foam. It had some brief retention but left sudsy trails of lace.

S - It smelled of bourbon, malt and touches of vanilla. The was a mild oakiness.

T - It had a nice blend of bourbon, oak, vanilla, chocolate and toasted caramel malt. A nice bittersweet flavor.

M - It was smooth and crisp. A medium to full bodied ale with a dry finish.

O - This is a really tasty ale from Firestone Walker. Yet another great one!

 499 characters

Photo of mikesgroove
4.47/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

finally after staring at this in my fridge forever i decided to open it up. served into a snifter i used this as my night cap after a long day.

pours out a jet black color with only a minimal head that does not stick around too long but what is there is clinging to the sides and nice ans sticky. aroma is warming, lots of boozy notes, vanilla and oak coming through the air very clearly now, really showing off what it can do for sure. a nice and well rounded mix of bourbon, caramel, dark roasted malts, nice hints of toffee, and vanilla and a light brown sugar that seems to pop up in the finish. really nicely blended and a well deserved finish was smooth, silky and full of sweet flavor.

overall a very solid ale. cannot see what this becomes with some time on it, really is just a great, great way to end your night.

 825 characters

Photo of womencantsail
4.37/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Review #1500 here on BA. Certainly worthy of FW14.

A: The pour is a dark brown color with minimal off-white head formation.

S: Sweet milk chocolate and vanilla to open things up. Lots of bourbon, caramel, and brown sugar. There's a mild oakiness and coffee, too.

T: The amount of chocolate here is ridiculous. Sweet milk chocolate and an almost chocolate malt flavor to it which is just great. Plenty of bourbon and vanilla, but nowhere near as hot as the previous blends.

M: The body is medium with a low to moderate carbonation. Overall, this beer is just silky on the tongue.

D: I said to a friend that this tastes like a Bourbon Vanilla Chocolate Malt and I'm standing by that. Of the anniversary blends I've had fresh (or relatively so), this is the best.

 765 characters

Photo of jlindros
4.32/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a light fizzy head over very dark brown murky coke syrup colored beer.

Nose has tons of aged malts, light porter roast, light booze, lots of soft aged dark malt flavors, light oak, a nice bourbon aroma, light fluffy nougat, brown sugar, toasted syrup.

Taste brings soft subtle aged malts, very nice malt profile, chewy malts as well, brown sugar, little nutty, light porter like roast, light chocolate, light earthy grassy hops even, fluffy nougat again, little minerality from the roast, syrupy caramelized sugars, dark chocolate light oats, light booze, very complex. Definitely age-able. Finish brines a slight sweetness but a bit dry as well, a nice long finish, fluffy aged malts, more spicy hop bitterness, coffee, roast, touch of dark chocolate and a little chalky and slight boozy.

Mouth is a bit heavier bodied with decent carbonation.

Overall a good beer, lots of dark malts, complex but drinkable, booze is there but drinks much better than 12.5%, little syrupy but smooth mostly, lots of aged malts and a bit of a nice spicy hop character, tasty beer that will age well.

 1,092 characters

Photo of Kegatron
4.19/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22 oz bottle into a couple of snifters. Thanks go to HopDerek for sharing this one with me.

Pours a pitch black, topped with about a ½ finger of fizzy dark mocha head. This rapidly dissipates from the glass, basically not having much in the way of retention or leaving any lacing back. I guess this wasn't too surprising, considering that this often happens in the case of barrel-aged beers but man, this did disappear fast! VERY warm bouquet on this, with notes of chocolate, toffee, fruit, molasses, coconut, brown sugars, and charred wood. There a lot of complexity here and the flavors themselves have a smooth integration but that big ABV and barrel character definitely leaves its mark here in the nose.

The taste is as fierce and complex as the aroma was, with thick sweet notes of chocolate, molasses, vanilla, dark fruit, and brown sugars that get roughed up a little on the edges by a darker presence of coffee, roasted coconut, and a deep burnt smokiness. This finishes with a dry parching tannic feel that consumes the palate. The barrel notes are very well integrated and blended here, as the flavor just seem to effortlessly flow in and out of each other. The mouthfeel is full bodied, with a prickly effervescent carbonation that fills the mouth. Make no mistake though; this is definitely a BIG BEER that forces you to take your time with it. Things do get a bit stinging although it isn't thankfully enough to interfere with the flavor profile.

What can I say, another year, another awesome anniversary blend from Firestone Walker. As other reviewers have noted, this was a noticeably sweeter than previous ones thanks to the Double Double Ale and Sticky Monkey making up the bulk of the blend but there was plenty of darker character to be had here as well. Like I said before, this still seems a little too raw and hot right now but I'm hoping that some time in the cellar will help tame this beast down a bit.

 1,936 characters

Photo of TMoney2591
4.42/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served in a flared pokal.

Big thanks to the Central PA group from the Gang Bang BIF for this bottle!

Damn, just reading the blend's breakdown is making me salivate... This stuff pours a dark brown-garnet topped by a finger of sandy tan foam. The nose comprises buttery biscuits, rye bread, toffee, oak, light bourbon, maple syrup, and light chocolate. The taste holds notes of light cocoa, rye bread, toffee, brown sugar, molasses, maple syrup, light bourbon, and a kiss of booze. The body is a stolid medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a lightly syrupy feel. Overall, a very tasty brew, one that, in retrospect, was probably a bit more complex than my 'buds led me to believe this time (though they went to bed happy regardless). I guess I'm just gonna haveta get another bottle...

 795 characters

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!

 1,144 characters

Photo of mdfb79
4.07/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Had on tap at Galaxy Hut tonight. Served in a snifter.

a - Pours a dark black color, almost black, with one inch of white head and almost no carbonation evident.

s - Smells of roasted malts, dark fruit, chocolate, molasses, and booze. Some caramel came out in the nose as it warms, and it started to smell sweeter. As it warms up it smells much better.

t - Tastes of dark fruits, especially raisins and plums, bourbon which is much stronger in the taste than the nose, roasted malts, caramel malts, and molasses.

m - Medium to full body and low carbonation, it's a bit hot.

d - Overall I liked it and thought it was pretty good, and just a bit hot. I thought as it warmed up the smell was great, and being a bit boozey was its only negative. I'm going to open a bottle in 6-12 months and think it could be awesome. Glad I got to try it on tap so I don't have to open a bottle now.

 885 characters

Photo of orangesol
4.22/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I brought this one to Imminent Liquidation II. Bottle poured into a taster glass.

A - Pours dark brown with a decent one finger tall off-white head leaving light streaks of lace down the glass.

S - Smells of chocolate, vanilla, brown sugar, caramel, toffee, toasted nuts and some warm bourbon. Some booze creeps in as it sits in the glass.

T - Starts off with quite a bit of sweetness - same flavors as in the nose - slowly giving way to the warm bourbon that only grows stronger as it sits in the glass. Finish can best be described as sweet heat. The combination works very well. Once the booze dies down a little more this one will really be something.

M - Rich, slick feel with plenty of candy sweet flavors and moderate carbonation. The only real drawback is that the booze is still pretty noticeable.

O - I really liked this one. It had nearly all of my favorite flavors and was fairly easy to drink. I hope to try this one again in the future, I think it could really end up being one of the better in the series.

 1,025 characters

Photo of MasterSki
4.5/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at Fountainhead. Hooray for this being on-tap locally. Served in a snifter.

A - Served with a finger-plus of tan foam that settles to a thin cap and features good retention. Glass-coating lace is left behind. The body is an opaque near-black.

S - Bourbon barrels, vanilla, earthy whiskey, roasted malts, cocoa, coconut, oak, coffee, and dark fruits. As it warms up more sugary malt and booze-soaked cherry flavors emerge.

T - Taste is heavier in burnt sugars, molasses, bourbon, oak, and brandy-soaked fruits. The finish is a little charred espresso bitterness. Surprisingly little overt alcohol, and presents more as a barleywine (which makes sense as I look at the blend information).

M - Smooth, medium-full body, medium carbonation, and a sticky, viscous finish. There's a mild amount of warmth, but nothing to suggest the list ABV.

D - This is very good, and seems ready to drink quite early into its anticipated lifespan. Competitive with the best of the anniversary beers for sure. At $20 I may be regretting not purchasing more of this.

 1,056 characters

Photo of mothman
4.03/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks Peter for sharing this one!

Poured into stone snifter. Pours a light layer of khaki beige head. Color is a deep copper hued brown.

Aroma: Oaky and vanilla. I definitely smell the black xantus. Chocolate and roasted malts. Some coffee. Very sharp. Whiskey or bourbon flavors.

Taste: Oak and bourbon here. Lots of chocolate and cocoa. Roasted malts and coffee. Some dark fruits. Vanilla. Parabola and Black Xantus flavors. A bit of heat.

Mouthfeel: Smooth and roasted. Velvety. Full bodied with a medium amount of carbonation. Ends a bit dry and roasted.

Overall, this was a pretty solid anniversary beer. Very enjoyable. I like the barrel flavors. Nose was a bit weak, but the taste made up for it.

 709 characters

Photo of drabmuh
4.32/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Growler of FW 14 served in a vertical epic tasting glass from Stone...close enough.

Beer is black with weak carbonation a low head and some legs of alcohol are left on the glass from the swirl.

The aroma is sweet with liquor and malts, smells pretty good.

Beer is medium bodied with lead off sweetness and booze. The finish is dry and mildly bitter from roasted malts....not much else. The beer is flavorful, some plum and more malt in the midpalate. Its a heavy beer though, a sipper for sure. A growler is a slight miscalculation, fortunately a tasting killed about 2/3 of it.

 583 characters

Photo of Huhzubendah
4.32/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle shared by drabmuh. Thanks Matt!

Firestone Walker tasting, including FW 10-14, Abacus, Parabola, Walker's Reserve, Black Xantus.

Order of preference and notes: 13, 12, 11, 14, 10
Abacus and Parabola still shined. Along with FW 13, these were my three favorites of the lineup, with FW 12 not far behind.

Dark hazelnut brown with an average sized head and a little lacing. The aroma is bold, with scents of vanilla, oak, leather, roasted malt, alcohol, and tobacco. This is some tasty beer. Very complex, masterfully crafted and balanced, this beer would make a great addition to the cellar, as it would almost certainly age gracefully. Drink now or age, Firestone Walker 14 is a great beer to share a few ways.

 718 characters

Photo of Mora2000
3.76/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to mar for sharing this bottle. I have been looking forward to this one.

The beer pours a dark brown coilor with a white head. The aroma is a disappointment. It it not bad, but it is not what I was expecting. I get a lot of soy and toffee, as well as some leather. I also get something that resembles trash. Hopefully the flavor will be better.

For the flavor, I get a lot of roasted malt and chocolate, which is coupled with a lot of barrel-aging characteristics. I get a nice amount of oak and maple, as well as quite a bit of vanilla. Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation.

Luckily, the flavor was much better than the aroma, which salvaged this beer. Glad I got to try this one.

 697 characters

Photo of smakawhat
3.99/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle into a snifter at a tasting. Thanks to Russwbeck for the bottle!

Pretty much like it's 13th brother, mahogany brown bottle, slightly silky coming out with a chestnut hue, and a faint tan collar. Looks slightly dead and lifeless with not much going on, almost kind of sludgy.

Classic bouquet of toffee and caramel, but with less of a fruit quality than expected from previous anniversaries. Thick and sticky.

Much of the palate is classic, but with a lighter drinking body. Light toffee with more of an emphasis on caramel. Some interesting notes of black licorice/anisette qualities as well. Simple rounded body with a fairly one dimensional solid palate.

Overall pretty good and a straightforward take on their classic strong ale series.

 765 characters

Photo of BARFLYB
4.12/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On Tap at Blue Monkey in New Jersey, this is the first time I traveled into Jersey to drink some beer. Baffled by how NJ gets FS before PA, but I live in a great location, The Fertile Crescent! Bitches better recognize..

Firestone came to me in a big ol Chimay chalice type glass with about 10oz or so in it. A big black ol body with a dark tan, semi mocha like head. Sudsy and firm. Some stick towards the side, spraypaint in some spots. Great looks for a big beer like this. Smell is incredible, getting alot of parabola with coffee, roasted malt, caramel, bourbon and the like. I kinda get a old ale feeling out of this, alot to say the least. Im greeted by like 7 different beers at once and the Parabola comes out the most with nice chocolate and roasted coffee overtones. I get some bourbon barrel from what im guessing is the double double barrel stout. Vanilla, slight oak, small butterscotch. This is alot of beers in one, alot going on, cant really describe it, but I know I taste that parabola, by god, that beer is good on it's own. Feel is what you would expect, rich and chewy, approaching full, yet not hot at all, ok maybe there is a burn towards the end, but I like the burn sometimes, it let's me know im alive. There was a one glass per customer allotment at the bar, I could of easily went for another if allowed and barring I had a taxi waiting for me. Better, stronger, maltier!!

 1,402 characters

Photo of Alieniloquium
3.25/5  rDev -24.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

650 mL bottle poured into a snifter. Reviewed from notes.

Appearance - Dark, not quite black. No head. Some legs and lace.

Smell - Bourbon barrel, but mostly the spirit smell. Lacks a complex barrel aroma. Sweet. Vanilla and caramel come through, but that's about it. It's all bourbon and only a hint of beer.

Taste - Alcohol. Caramel. Booze. No oak. The barrel seems lost again. Very sweet with bourbon. Hop bitterness but not enough to give it any semblance of complexity.

Mouthfeel - Boozy and sweet. Low carbonation. Thick and syrupy. Slow to drink.

Overall - It's bourbon without any of the good barrel notes that usually accompany it. I don't really love the beer behind it, either. Uninteresting.

 708 characters

Photo of Gueuzedude
4.33/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A solid pour into my Lost Abbey Teku glass produces a two-finger thick, lightly browned, dark tan colored head. The beer is a dark, deeply concentrated brown / amber color that shows clear, brown tinges around the edges when held up to the light. The aroma smells of deeply caramelized wood (think toasted coconut and vanillin) and malt; the malt gets rich and concentrated enough to smell umami like with notes of savory, chewy, at times almost smoky raisins, deep caramelized sugar and even some slight sherry / nuttiness. Touches of roasted grain seem to add to the sherry notes some how and in the finish there is definitely some light touches of noticeable roasted character that contributes dark toasted / burnt, whole grain bread-crust aromatics as well as a hint of dark espresso roast character. The up front barrel derived caramel and vanillin notes accentuate a concentrated, caramelized fruitiness that reminds me of rum soaked raisins, dark molasses and notes of brandy. At times this can seem a bit too focused on the barrel / wood character, but the whole thing is so well integrated and there is truly a lot of complexity noticeable in the subtle portions of the nose.

Thick, chewy and viscous as it first hits my palate, the beer lingers for quite some time almost seeming to coat the mouth with a layer of viscous, sweet beer. Somehow the beer does not end up being cloying, much of this is due to the complexity of all the flavors. The long finish sees a bitter, herbal hoppiness meld with some roasted bitterness as well as some warming / spice from the alcohol and some additional spiciness from oak. Up front the beer tastes of deeply caramelized malt sugars, some notes of molasses, rum or even brandy soaked raisins and dates as well as really reminding me of a dense, sweet, incredibly moist, brown sugar and molasses focused cake or bread. Showing up in the flavor is a rich, umami like malt character that, while not quite as expressive as in the nose, still produces flavors that hints at salty-smoky peat and savory concentrated malt notes (not really teriyaki or soy, but that is the best I can describe this flavor with). There is actually a fair amount of herbal hop character (including the bitterness) that this beer has; I don't know why but I wasn't expecting a lot of hop character from this beer. A biting bitterness (that is honestly a bit overwhelmed by the rich malt), a nice herbal / pine / touch of hemp oil hop flavor in the middle and perhaps a hint of citrus character that gets subsumed in the rich maltiness of this brew.

Coming back to this beer after dinner, my changed palate has me noticing subtle notes of dark cocoa in the finish that melds quite well with the rich molasses like malt character. The herbal hop character seems to also play a more prominent role now as does the spicy, warming alcohol.

This is drinking very nicely right out of the gate, while not a dominant character, I am really enjoying the vibrant hoppiness that this beer currently has. Wow, again I am just quite impressed with how tasty this beer is right now; I haven't had 13, but this beer is definitely starting out much stronger than any of the other beers of this series have for me. This is purely a contemplative sipping brew, there is a ton of complexity and it is way too sweet to be something to be drunk quickly; despite the ample sweetness I am quite enjoying this beer, I expected / wanted it to be rich and satiating, and this beer most definitely is. I wish I had quite a bit of this beer in my cellar right now and not to age, but so I could drink a lot of this beer this winter.

 3,627 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Firestone 14 - Anniversary Ale from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
96 out of 100 based on 296 ratings.