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Firestone 14 - Anniversary Ale - Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

Firestone 14 - Anniversary AleFirestone 14 - Anniversary Ale

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604 Ratings
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Ratings: 604
Reviews: 286
rAvg: 4.4
pDev: 8.86%

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)
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Ratings: 604 | Reviews: 286 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of blackie


4.1/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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

Serving type: on-tap

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


4.25/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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.

Serving type: on-tap

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


3.93/5  rDev -10.7%
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.

Serving type: on-tap

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


4.18/5  rDev -5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

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.

Serving type: on-tap

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


4.2/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

Serving type: on-tap

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


4.63/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

On tap @ Pizza Port Carlsbad.
Poured into a tulip (by request)

A- muddy black with a small ring of bubbles clinging to the edge of the glass.

S- dark fruits, caramel & mostly bourbon on the nose.

T- caramel, raisin & sweet bourbon. Some alcohol warming but not nearly as boozy as previous years. Lots of Barleywine characteristics.

M- velvety smooth, low to moderate carbonation. Appropriate for style. Alcohol VERY well hidden!

D- This concoction is dangerously drinkable. Smooth and masterfully blended. I could drink this anytime & often!

Serving type: on-tap

11-14-2010 20:27:56 | More by stawn
Photo of nataku00


4.03/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap poured into a tulip glass. Dark brown beer with no head. Some orange tint at the edge of the glass when held up to the glass. Not quite opaque as I could see the shadows through the glass, but a nice looking color to this.

Nose is mostly dark fruits (figs and dates), with some oak and caramel malts accenting. Not quite what I was expecting.

Taking a sip, alcohol burn initially, but the taste follows the nose mostly, lots of dark fruits soaked in alcohol, with minimal oak presence on the tongue. Alcohol burn follows through on the tongue with light pine hops in the aftertaste.

Decently carbonated medium bodied beer, but it seems 14 could use a year to help with the alcohol. I'll probably get a bottle to age as there was enough good in this sample to see this turning into something special.

Serving type: on-tap

11-14-2010 04:00:02 | More by nataku00
Photo of Dreadnaught33

District of Columbia

4.45/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Was very fortunate to try this excellent beer on tap at the new Rustico in Arlington, VA.

A: Black with brown shining through on the sides of the glass when seen up to the light. Nice head retention, tan colored head and very good lacing.

S: Wow, this is huge. Bourbon, lots of vanilla, oak, dark fruit like plum/prune, really malty overall. Awesome.

T: Lots of bourbon, vanilla, caramel, alcohol complexity, lots of malt, oak, chocolate, and dark fruit/figs. Very good, and I am really excited to get a bottle of this because with about 9months+ this will be even better, as it seems sort of young and a little hot, though the flavors are great and a little aging will make this an easy 5.

M: Heavy, coating feel, great. Low carbonation viscous stuff, I love it.

D: Very good beer, but hot right now as I said above. Wait 9 months or so before drinking this, yet this isnt too hard to get through at 12.5%.

Serving type: on-tap

11-12-2010 18:45:55 | More by Dreadnaught33
Photo of largadeer


4.1/5  rDev -6.8%
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.

Serving type: on-tap

11-11-2010 17:51:50 | More by largadeer
Photo of gregshead


3.63/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Jet black with little carbonation. Swirled it and had very little in bubbles stick to the side of the glass.

S: Mmm. Vanilla/Oak overwhelms my smell.

T: Oak taste dominates my palate. Other more suttle tastes are hard to pick out. Very well blended but lacks a complexity

M: Smooth with little but some carbonation.

D: A solid blended aged beer but it didn't blow me away. Lots of oak taste.

Maybe my palate is not ready for this masterpiece but it seems like it just didn't have the complexity I was hoping for in a blended beer like this. Overall a good beer but not amazing.

Serving type: on-tap

11-07-2010 05:55:07 | More by gregshead
Photo of 2LCrew


4.2/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thank you to the Firestone people for bringing their beer to Stone. I had a 4 oz. pour of 14 at the outside bar. It was a packed house and everybody was enjoying Parabola, 14, 13, etc. A great time.

A- When poured from the tap, it was dark brown and I couldn't see through. The head was minimal.

S- I gave it a smell and there was not much there. I do not know if it was the air outside or what but I was expecting a little more.

T- Amazing. For a blended beer, I liked it a lot more than I thought I would. Had a little bit of alcohol taste to it, but it wasn't bad.

M- Smooth.

D- I could enjoy a glass or two of this.

Depending on the price of the bottle, I may pick up a bottle.

Serving type: on-tap

11-07-2010 04:19:00 | More by 2LCrew
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Firestone 14 - Anniversary Ale from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
97 out of 100 based on 604 ratings.