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Firestone 14 - Anniversary Ale - Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

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

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
97
world-class

682 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 682
Reviews: 296
rAvg: 4.4
pDev: 8.86%
Wants: 212
Gots: 562 | FT: 25
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
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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 682 | Reviews: 296
Photo of oline73
4/5  rDev -9.1%

Photo of mendvicdog
2.5/5  rDev -43.2%

Photo of Kegatron
4.19/5  rDev -4.8%
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.

Photo of XmnwildX12
4.25/5  rDev -3.4%

Photo of wethorseblanket
4.4/5  rDev 0%

Photo of jlindros
4.32/5  rDev -1.8%
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.

Photo of russpowell
4.59/5  rDev +4.3%
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!

Photo of MasterSki
4.5/5  rDev +2.3%
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.

Photo of drewone
5/5  rDev +13.6%

Photo of drabmuh
4.32/5  rDev -1.8%
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.

Photo of mdfb79
4.07/5  rDev -7.5%
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.

Photo of InspectorBob
4.5/5  rDev +2.3%

Photo of Mora2000
3.76/5  rDev -14.5%
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.

Photo of imperialking
4.75/5  rDev +8%

Photo of duceswild
3.5/5  rDev -20.5%

Photo of orangesol
4.22/5  rDev -4.1%
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.

Photo of GClarkage
4.75/5  rDev +8%

Photo of superspak
4.5/5  rDev +2.3%

Photo of nathanmiller
4/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of Gueuzedude
4.33/5  rDev -1.6%
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.

Photo of dbrauneis
4.5/5  rDev +2.3%

Photo of Halcyondays
3.74/5  rDev -15%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Glad to have a relatively innocuous path to this beer, so far the 11 is the only one I've had to go on an active search for, 25.4 oz. bottle,

A: Pours brown, with a moderate tan head for the so-called style, limited lace.

S: Lots of caramel, some booze. Treacle dominates, an inviting nose as all its brethen in the past have been.

T: Lots of dark chocolate, caramel and barrel. The booze is there a bit, but the overall flavour is nice. Good complexity overall.

M: Full-bodied, fairly smooth, little boozy.

D: Everyone's saying this is the best since the legendary 11, so I was real excited. It's good as they've all been, but the 12 was clearly better earlier. Like the 13 this is a beer that needs some time to find itself, it needs aging, that is my final suggestion for the 14, give it a year.

Photo of mothman
4.03/5  rDev -8.4%
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.

Photo of yourefragile
4.3/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 oz bottle poured into a snifter.

A: Bronze-chestnut color. Bubbly, khaki head. Average retention, dots and dashes of lacing.

S: Toffee, caramel, licorice, anise, alcohol, vanilla, oak, hops that fade as it warms, bourbon.

T: Molasses, milk chocolate, leather, citric hops, oak, tannins, brown sugar, toasted malt, light char, coffee.

M: Medium thick, mildly syrupy, light fine, fizzy carbonation.

No real major surprises going into a FW anniv. beer at this point. I haven't tried any others this fresh, so I don't have a great reference point for it at this age, but this is sweeter with a stronger accompanying hop presence than others. The contribution of Parabola, while noticeable, is not as strong as last year's blend. Alcohol presence becomes more potent as the beer warms. For such a large, complex beer this is drinking pretty nice right now, but hopefully will smooth out a littler more with time. My least favorite of 11-13 so far, but not to say this isn't a world class beer. Buy a few, drink a few, age a few, whatever, you won't lose.

Photo of mdaschaf
4.35/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

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Firestone 14 - Anniversary Ale from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
97 out of 100 based on 682 ratings.