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Firestone 14 - Anniversary Ale - Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

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

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

636 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 636
Reviews: 289
rAvg: 4.4
pDev: 9.09%
Wants: 205
Gots: 554 | FT: 22
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:
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

(Beer added by: ZX6Chris on 11-02-2010)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 636 | Reviews: 289 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of DovaliHops


4.43/5  rDev +0.7%

Deciding to share this with some friends to celebrate Thanksgiving. Appearance is not nearly as dark as I was expecting. I recall 13 being a lot darker. This one pours dark brown, and a dark red when held up to light. Very small tan head. Scent is strong bourbon whiskey, dark fruits, coca cola, and delicious chocolate. Smells wonderful! Taste is wonderful as well. First I get really rich chocolate fudge, followed by a nice amount of bourbon whiskey and dark fruits. This is a great balance between an imperial stout and an american barleywine, and the bourbon flavors just blen the two worlds together so nicely. Mouthfeel is very full bodied and nicely carbonated. A great sipper with nice drinkability. Could slowly sip on this beer all night!

11-26-2010 08:03:10 | More by DovaliHops
Photo of Zorro


4.4/5  rDev 0%

The 4th in the Firestone Anniversary series.

There is a data sheet inside the box with the bottle of beer detailing the mix that went in to this beer.

Double Double Barrel ale (10.9% ABV) 31%
Sticky Monkey (12% ABV) 29%
Parabola (13% ABV) 27%
Velvet Merkin (6% ABV) 7%
Good Foot (13% ABV) 3%
Black Xantus (11%)

This is a clear very dark brown colored beer with a small yellowish brown colored head. This is considerably light in color than the anniversary beers from the previous three years.

Immediately upon opening I am hit with the scents of coffee and white wine before I even pour it in a glass. Strong scents are coffee, chocolate and bourbon whiskey. Deeper perception of the scent there is a strong vanilla and caramel aroma, makes sense this is a bourbon barrel beer. Coconut and chocolate are moderately strong and there is a perception of German Chocolate Cake in the smell of this beer. Coffee seems to be present but the smell doesn't stand out as anything more than patent malt scent. There is a slight tart scent here that I can only describe as the wine like odor you get from some lightly roasted coffees.

The taste starts out semi sweet with a German Chocolate Cake flavor that really has a long coconut aftertaste. Alcohol is slightly hot but this is really tame compared to last year's version. Mild bitterness as much from patent malt as it is from hops. This is a damn tasty beer.

Mouthfeel is thick.

This is one damn tasty beer. This is MUCH smoother than the 13th Anniversary beer last year and I would compare it favorably to being much like the 10th Anniversary ale. This is great as it is now, this will probably peak after 1-2 years of aging but it is damn good as it is now, go get some!

11-26-2010 01:09:28 | More by Zorro
Photo of phrankiebee


4.15/5  rDev -5.7%

I have been waiting for this for some time now. Finally had it on tap! I've had black Xantus and Velvet Merlin and you can definitely taste them in this.

Very smooth and alcoholy you can definitely taste the bourbon which is a good thing (in my book) but it will be better once it mellows out in a couple of years.

If I had to compare it to anything it would be "black Tuesday" from the bruery which I love.

This will be one to sit on and wait for in a few year. Can't wait till then

11-25-2010 08:49:55 | More by phrankiebee
Photo of xhuskr


3.3/5  rDev -25%

Awesome aroma on this beer along with an appearance that could make me wait. Very complex brew, but the alcohol was a bit too much overall for me. I didn't finish my glass so I share it with others. The bourbon flavor was a bit strong for my palate at this time, but I look forward to trying this again when it's not so hot. Two bottles have been put away along with my other FW anniversary brews. I would say this beer is a must try, but not a must finish...yet.

11-24-2010 18:55:28 | More by xhuskr
Photo of JamisonM


4.33/5  rDev -1.6%

A: brown as it comes out body is black in the glass

S: sweet bourbon and brandy with vanilla nice oak comes out as well what I found interesting was the toasted coconut I got in this beer

T: brandy and bourbon notes here along with a nice sweetness nice oak and vanilla toasted coconut is coming through on the taste also! warms the back of your throat going down.

M: med/heavy mouth med/low carbonation just right

D: for being such a huge beer this thing drinks real well.

overall: the beer drinks fantastic right out of the gate with some age on this bitch it should be just stunning!

11-24-2010 00:51:39 | More by JamisonM
Photo of billshmeinke


4.58/5  rDev +4.1%

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.

11-24-2010 00:13:45 | More by billshmeinke
Photo of mdfb79

New York

4.05/5  rDev -8%

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.

11-23-2010 23:24:04 | More by mdfb79
Photo of berkey


3.93/5  rDev -10.7%

Served in an about 8 oz snifter at the Firestone Walker 14 release party at Beer Revolution in Oakland, CA. From notes 11/15/10.

Essentially black in color with a light brown ring around the rim of the glass in lieu of a head.

Aroma puts off a good share of burnt coffee acrid roastiness. Much more so than last years anniversary release. I guess that's the Bravo making it's presence felt. There's also a mildly sweet chocolate character and just the subtlest traces of soy sauce.

Alcohol is a little more present than I prefer and leaves a slight burn in the throat. Oak shines much more on the flavor than it did on the aroma while coffee bitterness stays very noticeable. Thankfully the soy sauce from the aroma stays in check and doesn't run wild like on some other high gravity, roasty, stout-type beers.

This has the makings of something that could turn out to be excellent but at the moment this is well short of FW 13 when that beer was as fresh. Based on this experience with the tap verson I'd recommend giving the bottles some time, this beer's pedigree makes it likely to improve nicely.

11-23-2010 01:58:08 | More by berkey
Photo of John_M


4.25/5  rDev -3.4%

On tap at the Galaxy Hut. Would have given long odds that this is one beer I'd never see on tap here on the East Coast (thanks for the heads up Dyan).

Poured into a 12 ounce brandy snifter, the beer is a dark brown color with very good head retention and considerable lacing. The beer was a bit on the cold side initially, but as it warmed I picked up a wonderful melange of light coffee, chocolate, plums and prunes, cherry, molasses and light bourbon. The flavor profile replicates the nose pretty closely in this moderately sweet beer, and I appreciate the long, lightly bitter finish. The bourbon barrel aging comes out a bit more on the palate, and undeniably the beer is a bit on the boozy side. Still, I thought drinkability was pretty decent in this beer, at least considering the 12.5% abv. Mouthfeel was full and fairly long, with the sweetness nicely balanced by the light hoppy bitterness on the finish.

Would be curious to see what a year or two of aging does for this beer, though certainly it's pretty tasty right now. Very nice...

11-22-2010 11:59:41 | More by John_M
Photo of blackie


4.1/5  rDev -6.8%

a: small goblet, translucent black in color, very little head but most likely a result of the serving than the beer itself

s: big sugary aroma, dark fruit puree - black fig and raisin most notasble, bourbon fruitcake, rich chocolate and roast compliment s of the stout side of the equation, nice vanilla, dark sugars, perfect booze presence, smells great and thoughtfully blended

m: lightly carbonated, with a full, slick body, sticky sugars lingering after the swallow

t: thick with sweet flavors of dark fruits - fig and raisin, well integrated barreling with smooth bourbon and oak, chocolate and roast, vanilla, heavily caramelized sugars, mildly hopped, warming alcohol, complex and satisfying

d: drinks very well for the abv

draft at Galaxy Hut, Arlington

11-22-2010 01:34:47 | More by blackie
Photo of SolomonGrundy


3.98/5  rDev -9.5%

Really excited for this one also. Got the slow-roast pork going and Football Sunday so figured we'd break it out. A whopping 12.5% ABV, at a whopping $17.99/bomber, so this oughtta be interesting...Pours an inky brown with hints of ruby red at the edge. Not a lot of carbonation, and a very short cap of foam settles on this. Looked oily and thick on pouring, so probably a sweeter beer. Beautiful, complex aromas spill out of this - lots of semisweet chocolate, some bourbon cask and char, brown sugar and/or maple syrup, chocolate covered cherries. Yum. Huge, enormous, robust flavor. Like their Parabola, this is just almost overpowering. Not a sessionable beer by any means. Creamy smooth texture, and the flavors in the barrel-aging are fabulous. It is fairly sweet, but not cloying. Lots of espresso and chocolate notes, as would be expected. Alcohol hits near the finish and is very warming. The mouthfeel on this is incredibly rich, smooth, velvety and thick. Very awesome. Not enough carbonation, in my opinion, is one of the two minor flaws. The second being a finish that carries a tad too much alcohol. All-in-all, this beer defies real easy classification, but I would call it a wonderful accompaniement to Winter and a cigar.

What I like most: The incredibly rich, robust mouth and flavors.

What I like least: the price.

Verdict: Unreasonably expensive, but almost worth it. Absoultely worth tracking down and trying now, and maybe cellaring a few.

11-21-2010 21:34:11 | More by SolomonGrundy
Photo of DefenCorps


4.25/5  rDev -3.4%

On tap at Galaxy Hut tonight. And then, again. And then again, to make it a nice, round liter of this fine beverage.

Pouring a very dark brown with reddish brown highlights, there's a dense, brown head with good retention and lacing. The nose is outstanding. Clearly, this is different from the previous blends, the lack of Parabola is obvious. The base is clearly a barrel aged brown, there's toffee, maple, nougat, and plenty of bourbon. Vanilla, brown sugar are present, but there isn't much oak. The malt character of this blend is arguably a little disappointing. More or less simple, with a blend of sugar, brown sugar, there's a lack of a deeper complexity here. Initially, I am struck by the strength of brandy here, but the more it warms up, the more bourbon comes out.

The palate opens with a big, bourbon character, vanilla, oak and some brown sugar. Again, the lack of malt complexity translates to the palate here, I find mostly a simple blend of sugars present. The barrel expression is excellent. Bourbon and brandy are present, but really, the lack of roast and a balancing bitterness makes this less than excellent. Mildly drying on the finish, there's some oak and tannins present, but not too much. A touch of bitterness is present as well. The mouthfeel is sublime. Medium with mild carbonation, the flavors on the finish are excellent. Brown sugar and vanilla in moderate amounts, this allows for enjoyment of the flavors. I did drink 3 12oz glasses, and could have gone for more. This is quite excellent.

11-21-2010 03:57:05 | More by DefenCorps
Photo of Thorpe429


3.93/5  rDev -10.7%

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.

11-21-2010 01:17:58 | More by Thorpe429
Photo of tang3nt


4.5/5  rDev +2.3%

Poured from 22 oz bottle.
Pours a black color with a creamy tan head.
Very strong aroma of coconut and vanilla as well as a little brown sugar.
This beer tastes like desert - it's delicious! Very strong flavors of vanilla and coconut which work great together, as well as flavors of bourbon, brown sugar, molasses, dark fruits (fig?) and unfermented sugars. A little heat, but barely detectable.
Not much carbonation, but about right considering the style.
Overall a very drinkable beer, barely notice the alcohol, very rich and well balanced. This beer is right up my alley and wish it was cheaper 'cus I would buy tons of it. I have 2 bottles I'm going to cellar, but not quite sure how well they will hold up, I think this is the best Firestone Anniversary I've had fresh.

11-20-2010 19:30:11 | More by tang3nt
Photo of HopHead84


3.9/5  rDev -11.4%


Bottle split with my girlfriend. Appears much the same as the draft version: dark brown with a small beige head. This took a while to open up, but when it did the aroma was quite nice. Notes of caramel, toffee, bourbon, earthy hops, brown sugar, and chocolate are apparent. Alcohol is a bit stronger here. Overall, it smells good, but something is missing. Oxidation seems onerous compared to the keg, and the alcohol is a bit too strong. In the flavor I find notes of brown sugar, bourbon, toffee, caramel, oak, and a strong oxidation character coupled with powerful alcohol. Compared to the draft version, the booze and oxidation are much more apparent, and somewhat distracting. The various flavor components don't seem to meld as well as I'd hoped. Overall, it wasn't exactly how I remembered it tasting on draft, and it suffered for it. Still, a less good Firestone Anniversary is still a good beer. I don't think this one will age well. It seems like it would become more disharmonious, and though alcohol heat would wane, the oxidation is already starting off pretty strong and I don't see a solid foundation for it to build on. Though, I don't think 11, 12, or 13 have really aged for the better, so this isn't a new trend in the Firestone Walker Anniversary series, for me.

11-20-2010 08:58:14 | More by HopHead84
Photo of Beerandraiderfan


4.18/5  rDev -5%

Black. Expected lighter given the other beers in the blend that aren't stouts. Bourbon dominated nose.

Easy drinking for the abv. Muddles all the beers blended, I can't taste Parabola or Velvit Merlin, etc. . . but it is interesting. Bourbon is heavy, but not as much as its aroma was. A little bit of everything else, chocolate, oak, vanilla, rummy sweetness, brandy, some other kind of wood heavier than oak, chicory? Not too thick, actually on the thinner side of most beers in this abv range. Maybe a kick of dark sugar.

While this was great fresh on tap, I think it definitely has the build to age miraculously. Of my bottles, I'm going to hang on to all of them for at least one year I think. This really seems ageable.

11-20-2010 06:05:31 | More by Beerandraiderfan
Photo of OlieIPA


4.03/5  rDev -8.4%

Poured from a 22 oz. bottle into a Stone IRS tulip

A: Pours relatively black with hints of brown when held up to the light. The head is a bit fizzy, but settles down into a light cream colored blanket.

S: Tons of brown sugar, maple, dark fig, bourbon, and alcohol. That raisin/dark fig really seems to stand out as the beer begins to warm up as well.

T: I can definitely pick up the "Double Double Barrel Ale" on the initial sip! Extremely fruity, especially on the dark end, with strong influences of oak, bourbon, and molasses.

M: Masterful! Full body with just the right amount of carbonation.

D: It's a little hot, but rather drinkable at this stage. The flavor profile is quite enjoyable as well, so all in all...a great beer experience!

Overall: To be honest, probably my least favorite of all the anniversary blends so far...but put together well. A must try. Cheers!

11-20-2010 05:47:24 | More by OlieIPA
Photo of boMD


4.2/5  rDev -4.5%

This review is from a pour I had on tap at Belmont Station during the FW 14 release party. Poured black with a thick, frothy, tan head. This head dissipated fairly quickly, and what was left was a cola looking beverage. Aroma had bourbon, vanilla and toasted qualities. Lower carbonation but still full bodied. Very warming, much like port or brandy. Roasty, with sweet cocoa and dark chocolate. Sweet malts, light floral hops, toffee, burnt sugars, caramel, toasted oak, tootsie roll candied sweetness, and an amaretto liqueur flavor that boosted the alcohol heat qualities.

11-19-2010 21:01:42 | More by boMD
Photo of JustinA1


3.83/5  rDev -13%

Shared with ThreeWiseMen on 11/17/10. Poured into a Brandy Snifter.

A - Pours deep brown and turns pitch black in the glass with brown edges when held up to the light. Light bubbles grace the surface with a small head around the rim. Swirls to a burnt yellow with a half centimeter head.

S - Toffee, Malt Balls, Bourbon and Dark yet Sweet malts. Roasty with a bright nose.

T - Neutralized Bourbon with a light bitter finish. Frankly, hoping for more, Alcohol comes on strong and blasts through the lighter, milder malts without giving them a chance. There's an amber trying to break free. Finishes with a slight medicinal taste and a light hop bitterness.

M - Great, chewy, coats the mouth. Carbonation takes a back seat and allows the fantastic texture and viscosity to pervade. Alcoholic burn in the finish.

D - Lot of alcohol for a fairly mild-flavored beer. I'd give it time, but I worry slightly that age may accentuate some of the negative flavors. Will definitely try again in six months, though.

11-19-2010 05:43:46 | More by JustinA1
Photo of yemenmocha


3.98/5  rDev -9.5%

Pours dark brown and rather translucent. Almost looks cola colored and easy to see through. Virtually no head whatsoever, even with a somewhat aggressive pour into the snifter. Disappointing. Nose is rich with coffee, chocolate, and lots of caramel. On the palate it comes across with a slap of alcohol heat, gigantic caramel & bourbon notes, and some robusta coffee flavors. Finishes roasty, bourbon-vanilla, and boozey.

11-19-2010 02:45:43 | More by yemenmocha
Photo of ThreeWiseMen


4.38/5  rDev -0.5%

Split a bottle of Firestone 14 with my roommate, JustinA1, last night. We each reviewed the beer simultaneously, jotting down notes without saying a word, and then compared our thoughts afterward. It was actually pretty interesting. So interesting that we decided to pop a bottle of FW13 immediately afterward and do the same thing. Onto the review:

Poured into a Cigar City snifter.

Appearance: Stout-like in color: black throughout with shiny red-brown edges when illuminated. Head didn't amount to much off the pour; a thin ring of tan bubbles was all, though it retained that form for the entire session. A good swirl builds a layer of orange-gold foam and showcases the beer's thick, somewhat oily body. (Really fun to swirl.)

Smell: Mixed nuts, toffee, peanut brittle, and cocoa powder lay atop a beautiful oak-bourbon base. Once again, Firestone has found a way to accentuate the beautiful complexity of oak bourbon barrels, while minimizing the associated alcoholic burn. Gorgeous!

Taste: Bourbon, vanilla, molasses, and dark fruits kick things off. Raisins and brown sugar arise briefly in the middle, before the taste transitions into toffee and peanut brittle. Those final components linger deep into the aftertaste, where they're eventually accompanied by a slow, alcoholic burn. The flavor profile is actually much mellower than I anticipated, though it's very complex and balanced.

Mouthfeel: Full bodied, a touch syrupy, warm, and dry. Filling and chewy, especially when swished. Mellow carbonation rounds out some of the sharp edges. A very rich and robust feel for a bourbon barrel-aged beer. Impressive.

Drinkability: Surprisingly mellow (in terms of flavor) for a Firestone Anniversary Ale. There was certainly a good deal of heat, though I wouldn't call this one harsh. If you've got multiple bottles, pop one now. I'm really curious to see how this one's doing in 6-12 months.

11-17-2010 21:54:08 | More by ThreeWiseMen
Photo of lyletaka


4.85/5  rDev +10.2%

Again another great anniversary ale...I'll drive the 70 miles up to the taproom to get this stuff. Surprised to see other people on a Wednesday to be in line to buy this wonderful brew...and no wonder! Great taste and not as much sweetness as 13. My buddy and I enjoyed the brew and decided to play 27 holes with a sweet buzz. Looking forward to 15!!!

11-17-2010 16:10:07 | More by lyletaka
Photo of youradhere


4.03/5  rDev -8.4%

Had in a 12, 13, 14 Vertical.

Appearance is clearer than the 13, a dark brown with maroon and mahogany edges, red tinges the body in light. Smells of sweet beets, vanilla. Taste is cocoa, vanilla and oak; mouthfeel is drier and more tannic, bolder flavors that will mellow out with time I'm sure. Pretty drinkable, but the blend is young still and the flavors need some more time to take the sharp edges off.

11-16-2010 02:35:06 | More by youradhere
Photo of womencantsail


4.38/5  rDev -0.5%

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.

11-15-2010 07:44:44 | More by womencantsail
Photo of Dlish


4.6/5  rDev +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.

11-15-2010 04:45:18 | More by Dlish
Firestone 14 - Anniversary Ale from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
97 out of 100 based on 636 ratings.