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Firestone 15 - Anniversary Ale - Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Firestone 15 - Anniversary AleFirestone 15 - Anniversary Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
94
outstanding

305 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 305
Hads: 1,088
rAvg: 4.22
pDev: 5.69%
Wants: 170
Gots: 745 | FT: 32
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: brew3crew on 11-08-2011

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

18% Helldorado (11.7% ABV) Blonde Barley Wine.
17% Sticky Monkey (12.5% ABV) English Barley Wine.
17% Bravo (13.5% ABV) Imperial Brown Ale.
13% Double Double Barrel Ale (11.5% ABV) Double Strength English Pale Ale.
11% Good Foot (14.3 ABV) American Barley Wine.
10% Velvet Merkin (8.6% ABV) Traditional Oatmeal Stout.
9% Parabola (13% ABV) Russian Imperial Oatmeal Stout.
5% Double Jack (9.5% ABV) Double India Pale Ale.
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Reviews: 305 | Hads: 1,088
Photo of ThrewRedButter
4.4/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

L - Dark, murky ruby red with half a finger of tan head

S - Dark fruits, figs, caramel, toffee, bourbon

T - Heavy malt presence with toffee/caramel. Really sweet bourbon and a lot of brandy. Very subtle milk chocolate and coffee.

F - Very smooth, little carbonation. A slight warming, but no real booziness

O - Definitely an English barleywine with toffee and caramel, but also some nice dark fruits and plenty of bourbon make for a ton of flavor. Maybe not as complex as other Anniversary Ales, but still great. (517 characters)

Photo of Roguer
4.3/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Dark garnet brew, relatively clear at the edges, with a light cream head. OK retention, reducing eventually to bubbles and sheen. Little lacing.

Bourbon and oak complement an American Barleywine aroma: caramel and toffee, earthy American hops. A touch of port.

Flavor follows: it's big and up-front, very similar in flavor to SN Bigfoot. Lots of toast, burnt caramel, and hops.
The back third brings smooth, semi-sweet chocolate and coffee beans to go with vanilla. Flavor really starts to get complex at the end.
Bourbon and oak dance throughout, but they're relatively subdued.

Extremely bitter brew, fairly hot, but very drinkable for 12.5%.

This is a very nice brew, complex and in your face. Being heavily skewed toward barleywines, I don't like it nearly as much as 17, which was much more stout-influenced.

Reviewed with over 3 years on it, which likely contributes to a weaker overall bourbon presence. (915 characters)

Photo of gcamparone
4.05/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a 22 oz bottle into a Firestone Walker Proprietors Reserve snifter.

Pours a deep brown, chocolatey body that, once in the glass is deep black and opaque. Off-off head rises a couple inches then reduces to a small layer of foam, leaving blotchy lacing.

Aromas are delicious and inviting, vanilla cake and butterscotch upfront, heavy bourbon and caramel, slightly nutty, molasses.

On the tongue is caramel and brown sugar upfront, bourbon and vanilla on the follow through, slightly roasty on the finish. Slight hops on the aftertaste. Mouthfeel is kinda thin, medium carbonation.

Overall it started out nice but I think this may have fell off since bottling. Thin and weak on the palette. Nonetheless an enjoyable drink. (737 characters)

Photo of mxchap
4.12/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

FW Anniversary 15 (enjoyed on 1.27.15)

Appearance: Murky brown on first look, holding up to light reveals a gorgeous, rich array of reds and orange. Almost no head, tight ring of bubbles around the surface. Minimal lacing [3.75]

Aroma: Strong caramel and bourbon/vanilla presence. As it warms some alcohol/solventy aromas appear. Also some cherries and much more of a pronounced barleywine/quad feel [4.25]

Taste: Caramel and toffee big time, strong bourbon/vanilla contribution. Slight bit of solventy alcohol heat on the end. (warming effects the same as aroma). [4]

Feel: Sticky almost (big time sweetness). Carbonation is just right and up front. As it fades it yields to a nearly cloying sweetness (but not too much). The heat on the back end cuts through the sweetness. Interestingly I preferred this beer chilled. [4.25]

Overall: A hell of a beer. Surprsingly cohesive considering the blend, but very enjoyable [4.25] (930 characters)

Photo of AgentMunky
4.68/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Poured from a 22 ounce bottle into a Firestone Walker tasting glass.

A: Clean and clear with a pretty red-orange color.

S: Great nose! Bright fruit. Wine-like complexity.

T: Oh goodness, very good! Pretty balanced, actually. The aftertaste especially is rather bitter, almost hoppy-bitter, with a lot of pale-sweet malt. You can really taste the paler barleywine (& DBA) influence.

M: Carbonated even still, with smooth sweetness. Well balanced.

O: A really phenomenal beer all-around. Highly recommended. Would love to have again. (536 characters)

Photo of Phyl21ca
4.24/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bottle: Poured a dark hazy brown color ale with a medium size off-white foamy head with OK retention and minimal lacing. Aroma of woody whiskey notes with some light residual sugar and toffee notes is extremely satisfying. Taste is also dominated by woody notes with some whiskey notes and toffee and caramelized sugar. Nice balanced between the sweetness of some of the base beers and the dryness of the whiskey barrels. Body is pretty full with good carbonation and warming notes. Very well put together with some good complexity. (533 characters)

Photo of chinchill
3.88/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

From shared large bottle on 8 Dec. 2014.
Body is smooth but a bit too thin and, despite plenty of aging, there is more alcohol harshness than ideal
The multiple brews used to compose this blend nicely yet leaving lots of subtle omplexities.
Tasty and not challenging, with a nice component of dark fruity. (308 characters)

Photo of dwagner003
4.33/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

So much bourbon on the nose. Almost like it is entirely barrel-aged and not just a blend. But it smells very complex and boozy, with a ton of toffee. As it warms, tastes of tons of vanilla and hot alcohol. It's the perfect beer to pair with a cigar. (249 characters)

Photo of laituegonflable
3.89/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark red-tinged brown, pretty lacklustre, just a pool of cream-coloured bubbles on the side. Lace is quite thin.

Smells intensely sweet. Mega vanilla with peanut brittle, toffee and peanut butter. Smells like sweet, caramelised nuts more than a beer really should. But, you know, nuts.

Taste is also very sweet. And nutty. There is a distinct nut character throughout - peanut and pecan with toffee crisp and caramel. Touch of roast on the back, but it's like the kid who asks to join your football game some 10 minutes from the end, it's already a foregone conclusion that this is a sweet beer and that roast kid ain't gonna make much difference. Really enjoyable though.

Bit boozey and warm. Nice body but a bit of ethanoic tickle.

Tasty, sweet desserty beer. That roast, you know, the forgotten late kid, it actually balances a bit. Still unnecessary, because the flavour's still nice, but it's there. (916 characters)

Photo of 4thelvofbeer
4.53/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Opened a bottle of this on 02 May 2014. Drink at room temp....the colder this was, the more flavors were muted, but as it warmed closer to room temp it really really opened up nicely...either that or I got more drunk! Either way, it was great! Not really gonna go into the finer points of this beer, but the overall finished product is flippin great. No problems with this beer at all. (385 characters)

Photo of GreesyFizeek
4.83/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

On tap MacGregor's Grill and Taproom in Henrietta, NY.

An aged keg, this was a huge surprise to find.

Pours a ruby garnet brown color, with a quarter inch head that recedes into a film on top of the beer that looks like overhead view of a hurricane on a weather map. Very small splotches of lacing remain down the glass.

Aromas include vanilla, caramel, brown sugar, dark fruits, and sweet bourbon.

The taste is similar and quite complex. At different times, I taste oak, vanilla, bourbon, marshmallow, dark fruits (figs, cherries, raisins), caramel, and brown sugar. The alcohol is mellow and provides a subtle bite.

Medium bodied, creamy smooth mouthfeel. Very easy drinking, despite the ABV. Almost no carbonation after 3+ years of aging.

This was goddamn amazing. It's so drinkable, almost crushable, but it's best to savor the crap out of this one. (859 characters)

Photo of ricknelson
4.25/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Firestone's 15th Anniversary Ale came in 2nd in my recent 8 beer tasting of Firestone Walker's top beers. Out of the seven BA guys we had at the tasting, 15th Anniversary got great reviews for a beer that was about 3 years old. It beat out 16th & 17th Anniversary Ales, Double DBA, Scuaba, and Double Jack and Wookey Jack. Would have loved to have had it when it was fresher, but age did not seem to hurt it all. (412 characters)

Photo of AndyAvalanche
4.48/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

22 ox. bottle poured into a Duvel Tulip style glass. Liquid comes out of the bottle a nice amber brown color. While it collects in the glass a bit more of a reddish amber then brown. Off white to tan colored head with medium sized bubbles. Goes away faster than expected, but there's a ring of very small nitro looking bubbles that leave a ring around the edges. Not too much in the way of lacing, but there a little.

Smell is really good. It isn't overly strong, but it's complex, it has a hint of everything. Hints of bourbon, caramel, toffee, candy coated figs, and a very slight citrus hop presence. All of that is coated in a vanilla woody aroma. There's also a nice sweet decadent candy presence, sort of like if haribo did some type of sugar coated grape gummy bear.

Much like the smell, the taste is complex, layered, and delicious. Lots of oaky vanilla and a generous amount of carmel and toffee are extremely strong with a back hint of a mild coco in the back. Sort of like a barley wine blended with a reasonably robust porter at a 80/20 ratio in favor of the barley wine. Some of the above sugar coated figs and also cherries are present, as well as the candy coated grape flavors again. There's a nice citrus peele happiness masked in the back to provide just the right amount of bitterness. Alcohol is well hidden by the rest of the flavors.

Mouthfeel is straight up perfect. A hard medium to the lighter end of full bodied. It's got a lingering flavor that you'd expect in any full bodied beer, but it's not that heavy on the tongue, sot of thin, not something easily accomplished. Nice medium carbonation level that complements the feel quite well. It's sweet, in the best way possible, it takes the sweetest part from the barley, hops, and bourbon without this making it the slightest bit of a sugar bomb. Well balanced, perfect amount of bitterness from the hops and heat from the alcohol. As I said, the heat is present, yet I still wouldn't say this would pass the 12% range, still at 12.5% if someone were to tell me this beer was sub 10%, I wouldn't argue. Drinkability is ridicules, so easy to polish this one off. I've had it fresh, with a year on it, 2 years, and now a little bit more and I gotta say they are all delicious. Love what Firestone Walker is doing with blending and barrel aging beers, this is delicious. (2,347 characters)

Photo of Odysseyalien
3.69/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Firestone Walker's biggest competitor is Firestone Walker. This 15th Anniversary bottle is two years old and has aged well. The alcohol is still hot though the flavors have blended well in two years. Still, while this is a delicious strong ale or barleywine, it competes in my book with their Sucaba offering which is an amazing English barleywine. ---Rated via Beer Buddy for iPad (381 characters)

Photo of elNopalero
4.65/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Updated from 2013:
I tasted this as part of a flight at an epic bottle share. The review is from my notes, based on at least 1 ounce and at most 2 ounce pours. In most instances this would be an insignificant sample size but considering the fact that I could quite possibly never even see this beer again, well, I couldn’t pass it up. [This is my standard intro to my tasting notes from the series.]
This pours a dark caramel hue, like a malty amber orange brown. Great lacing!
I get a lighter aroma than other offerings, with a subdued caramel malt, touch of candied orange and a light hint of stone fruits. The flavor has notes of vanilla and toasted coconut, along with a subdued malty-candied orange. There’s a bit more booziness in this as well.

From 2011:
This year’s vintage is a blended barleywine and it’s absolutely fantastic. Drink it now, or save some to sit on—but definitely try it!

This pours a rich caramel color, a light molasses-tan in the light. It smells fantastic--sweet, with a light caramel and some toasted coconut. It’s flavor is just as fantastic—such a rich, intense, rounded, flavorful barleywine, with caramel, coconut, a rich maltiness and warming alcohol that doesn’t dominate. Smooth, even young. Light and delicate, for a barleywine, yet lingering. Followed my first snifter with another—to share. Could have had a third, easily. Yum. (1,391 characters)

Photo of KYGunner
4.27/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Dark mahogany coloring allowed a creamy like body. The head was bubbly and thick but sat atop for nearly the duration of the drink.

The aromas are classic Strong Ale with raisin, prune, dark candied fruits, chocolate and caramel malt.

The flavor is big with strong chocolate and caramel. There is a dry malt and grain at mid palate and then in an interesting turn I catch Apple and even pear.

The feel is very crisp, very easy and so easy to drink.

This was a very nice surprise as it was my first FW brew. (510 characters)

Photo of HalfFull
4.17/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bomber purchased about two years ago and cellared since. $15.69 at the time, a bit better than the $23.99 I was surprised with this year. Some but not too much age so a balance I hope for, though these blends are likely better a bit fresher I find. Finally a pre Thanksgiving excuse arises to justify its accompaniment.

Served up in a large wine glass, the XV pours a deep mahogany brown. Lighter in color than pryor and later versions yet with a bit more carbonation and foam retention as well. Mostly clear with a bit of haze but no deterring floatsam.

Aroma of sweet fig, brown sugar and some roasted malts beneath a pleasant barrel infused background. Some bourbon and wood are detected but not overdone. The aroma matches well to the blend given the preponderence of barleywine in the mix as well as the combination of brandy and bourbon barrels. Some milk chocolate notes with warming.

Taste kicks it up a notch and is smoother and less viscous sweet than expected from the nose. Nicely carbonated giving more of a spritz of body to the finish. Touch nutty on the finish with a lingering and everpresent barrel influence.

Feel is quite pleasant for what comes across as a BA Barleywine in that the sweetness is subdued and well balanced with oak and some caramel malt influences. This beer may have sung a different tune two years ago however. The ABV is felt yet quite well integrated after two years in the cellar. Overall quite good though I prefer the Stoutier anny blends. (1,490 characters)

Photo of lacqueredmouse
4.1/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz boxed bottle purchased from Belmont Station in Portland, OR, approximately 18 months ago, when it was already a little on the agèd side. Brought back to Sydney, where I sat on it for a while and then shared it with Rich and Sam.

Pours a pleasant deep umber brown colour, with a pale beige head that seemed to form swiftly, but in the end turned only into a mass of large bubbles around the edge of the glass. Body is thick, and it holds what minor straggling carbonation it has very firmly. Looks thick and old. That's good.

Nose is oaky and a little flat, perhaps with a tad of oxidation coming through, giving a slightly buttery note. Stacks of sweetness, but more oak. Slight vinous notes, a little roast and a hint of balsamic. I do think that it has a fair amount of oxidation and age on it, but there's still plenty to enjoy here.

Taste is very smooth and very pleasant. Here, the oxidation has been kinder, leaving a pleasant smoothness to complement the intrinsic oak notes. There's some roast and a richness on the back of the palate, suggesting sultanas and baked rye bread. Some estery notes still come through, more of those raisin notes and a touch of sweet overripe banana. It's very pleasant.

Feel is good, but has lost a bit of carbonation: just a fine tingling would help it a lot, but I fear that's something that has come and gone.

Overall, this is still great stuff, but I feel as though it's showing its age. As much as I feel as though you should be able to cellar these beers, the ones I've had in the past have been much superior to this one, and I had them sooner after their release. The next time, I'll choose to drink my FW anniversary ale earlier. (1,687 characters)

Photo of WoodBrew
4.93/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

HOLY SH&T!!! This beer is AMAZING. A buddy has been holding this one for about a year and it is AWESOME!!! The beer pours hazy brown with thin white head that is not leaving much of a lace. The scent is dominated by bourbon with hints of oak. The taste carries bourbon, vanilla, molassis or perhaps a dark cherry cream soda. The mouthfeel is full in body with smooth carbonation. Overall this is a F'CKING AMAZING BEER!!! (421 characters)

Photo of kojevergas
3.64/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Served on-draught into a stem-tulip at the Verdugo Bar in Silverlake, Los Angeles. Reviewed from notes taken during Verdugo's anniversary event. Due to the nature of the event (standing room only with few surfaces), I wasn't able to review as in-depth as I'd like. I intend to return to this beer if I'm given the chance.

A: Pours a half finger wide head of tan colour. Recedes in less than a minute; that's disappointing but explainable given the high ABV. Nice thickness and creaminess.

Body colour is an opaque solid black.

No yeast particles are visible. No bubble show.

Sm: Bourbon, light oak. Chocolate malt. Dark malts. Syrupy notes. Caramel. A light aroma, and not a particularly evocative one - especially considering the blending. You'd think there'd be a lot more depth here.

No yeast or hop character is detectable. I do notice some alcohol.

T/Mf: Syrupy. Smooth bourbon. Dark malts. Chocolate malt. Caramel. Well layered and balanced, but not real rich or evocative. It's somewhat reticent, actually. Has nice complexity, but it should be more subtly executed. Well put together as a blend I guess. Hides the alcohol quite well. It does lack a prominent focus. It's tasty, if understated.

Smooth and wet. Thick and syrupy. Viscous. Good carbonation. Doesn't have any bite. Has a pleasant alcohol warmth, but it's not hot or boozy per se.

Dr: Very drinkable for the high ABV. I'd get it again, but it's not worth seeking out or paying top dollar for. A good beer on-draught; age has done it well. Well blended and quite mellow. Impressive work from Firestone Walker.

(1,598 characters)

Photo of dogfishandi
4.59/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22 oz bottle a bit above fridge temp poured into a snifter

Pours out nearly opaque black, maybe a super dark brown? About one fingers worth of light tan to yellow colored head off the pour that quickLy fades to a thick ring and patchy foam. Lacing is quick to fall back into the beer, but some really nice alcohol legs.

Lots of bourbon and barrel character in the aroma, vanilla. Maybe a bit of brandy as well. Quite warming. Lots of wood. Sweet caramel, and maybe even hints of some sort of grain, maybe rye? Or maybe this comes from the wood?

Very nice, flavors meld together so nicely. Bourbon at the forefront with some brandy as well, a nice barrel character, oaky vanilla, quite warming on the palate. Lots of sweetness, dark caramel, maybe a bit of burnt sugars. Some grainy wood.

Thick and sweet, but not overly so. Boozey and warming all over.

This beer really brings it with bourbon and brandy flavors and some amazing barrel characteristics. Warming for sure, but quite amazing how it can have some much bourbon flavor without being overly boozey. Quite possibly one of the best BA beers I've had. (1,114 characters)

Photo of timc100
4.37/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.25

A: Looks like a great BABW. Murky brown, ruby red - still decently clear. For the abv, complex aging process and blending, there is a remarkable head - light beige, nice sticky lacing with big alcohol legs. Gorgeous beer.

S: The aroma is FW through and through - a lot of oak tannin, toasted coconut and oaky vanilla. The DDBA really shines through, if not dominates. I did not have an opportunity to have it fresh, and I am sure it was very different 2 years ago. Some fig and other dark dried fruit come through as well as some toasted brown sugar. When it warms there is some bourbon/brandy booziness as well as almond and hazelnut. No heat to speak of - has completely balanced out.

T: Oaky coconut and vanilla, almost no spirt booziness. Some chocolate kicks at the back end. Incredibly smooth and easy drinking. Rich caramel and toffee, some dark fruit and brown sugar sweetness. After warming up to room temp, chocolate and nuttiness comes though as well as brandy and bourbon booze, though not hot.

P: Perfect for the flavor profile. Incredibly smooth, minimal carbonation, kinda sticky, medium body.

O: This is a great beer, but I am disappointed at it's lack of vibrancy. It is incredibly similar to DDBA and I was anticipating something more complex and over-the-top given the extensive blending and aging process. That being said, it is another success from FW's barrel program and a phenomenally well balanced and blended beer. (1,448 characters)

Photo of argock
4.1/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22 oz brown bomber into a clear glass snifter. Shared with my wife on my recent birthday. Reviewed from notes.

A: Dusky lightish brown with short-lived and slightly foamy beige head which leaves no lacing.

S: Caramel notes with some light herbal and citrus hopping. Some bourbon and vanilla character. Alcohol is surprisingly fairly tame in the aroma. Very lush and sumptuous aroma.

T: Falls on the sweet barleywine side of the equation, although there are plenty of dark malt flavors, light roast, some dark chocolate, and also a good dose of citrus and herbal hops despite this being 1+ years old. The barleywine components dominate with a range of caramel malt flavors accentuated by the wonderful, nicely balanced barrel character with light bourbon and a pretty hefty vanilla note. Bitterness is low-medium. Alcohol character brings a little sweetness but is not obtrusive at all.

M: This seemed way too thin for the style. The carbonation was fairly low but not too surprising for a big beer. The body was medium at most and left a little bit of a watery impression in the finish.

O: A really nice beer although not as good as previous FW Anniversary beers I have had previously, mainly due to the mouthfeel and that this falls on the sweet side. (1,272 characters)

Photo of Gueuzedude
3.64/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sampled January 2012
A vigorous pour into my Lost Abbey Teku glass produces a four finger thick, pale amber tinged, tan colored head; as the head slowly subsides it leaves some patchy lacing on the sides of my glass. The beer is a concentrated amber color that shows a clear, bright-amber hue when held up to the light. The aroma smells of caramelized, toasted grain and pine-like / herbal hops up front. A second take sees me noticing some spicy, woody, slightly astringent / sharp oak character along with a supple buttery note, a fruity Bourbon-like character, soft nutty notes and a soft, supporting vanillin note towards. Between the hops and the Barrels, the nose picks up an almost holiday like spiciness as it warms up (cinnamon, and perhaps a touch of allspice).

The beer is a bit too cold to start out, but still has a nice nutty not up front, somewhat of a bitter hop bite, some lingering pine like hoppiness and a finish that has some Bourbon / Oak spice and warmth to it. The alcohol warmth and the hops mix in the finish to get a touch harsh, but this gets reduced as the beer warms up. A hoppy citrus character contributes a marmalade like flavor as the beer warms up; this is also accentuated by the deep caramelized character that makes up the malt character in this beer. Lots of barrel influenced flavors play the dominant role in this beer, especially as it warms; flavors of sweet, lightly toasted coconut, ample vanillin, richly caramelized character, molasses coated toasted-nuts. This beer is certainly a rich, sipping beer, it is not excessively heavy, or even cloying though; it hits the right balance of being rich, chewy and viscous, without being excessively heavy.

The hop character isn't actually nearly as expressive as my description might seem, in fact it is less than I had been expecting, but it is noticeable and certainly an contributor to this beer. Really thought, the barrel character and malt play the more leading roles in this beer. At times this can be a bit hot & I bet this won't peak for a year or two once the heat has had some time to mellow. (2,094 characters)

Photo of emerge077
4.26/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

FW vertical sampling at Luda's annual cellar clearance, thanks Ben for bringing this one!
Served in a mini-nonic, quick review from transcribed notes.

Dark brownish black color with ruby glints in the light. Creamy surface foam, little bit of spotty lace after each sip. Better clarity than the older aged bottles.

Aroma is rich and full of vanilla, nutty toffee, and chocolate.

Vanilla flavor is big as well, chocolate, molasses, tobacco leaf, barrel notes are more defined. Rich and full bodied, viscous creamy feel, mellow carbonation but still lively. Not showing any signs of age yet, seems to be in the sweet spot right now. (634 characters)

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Firestone 15 - Anniversary Ale from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
94 out of 100 based on 305 ratings.