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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.

308 Reviews
no score

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Reviews: 308
Hads: 1,091
Avg: 4.26
pDev: 21.13%
Wants: 170
Gots: 746 | 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: 308 | Hads: 1,091
Photo of MtnSoup
4.25/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Still drinking wonderfully - little to no heat compared to fresh, but toffee/caramel flavors are really at the forefront as opposed to any intense barrel flavor. Last one I have, but I'd imagine with proper cellaring conditions this one would continue to develop, but I'd not wait too much longer...

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Photo of DrMindbender
3.83/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

I shared a cellars bottle of this strong ale this past Saturday...upfront, this isn't my favorite style of beer but thought it was a good, not great, beer for its style.

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Photo of ThrewRedButter
4.4/5  rDev +3.3%
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.

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Photo of Nickcal
4.52/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Was good but could have been better. Bought it from my local liquor store. They had been aging it ever since. Don't know if this beer was the result of bad cellaring or what. Like I said though really a top shelf beer but would have liked to try when it had been released to compare. Stunk of booze but tasted medium bodied with a clean finish and no alcohol heat.

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Photo of Roguer
4.3/5  rDev +0.9%
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.

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Photo of gcamparone
4.05/5  rDev -4.9%
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.

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Photo of mxchap
4.12/5  rDev -3.3%
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]

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Photo of AgentMunky
4.68/5  rDev +9.9%
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.

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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.

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Photo of chinchill
3.88/5  rDev -8.9%
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.

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Photo of dwagner003
4.33/5  rDev +1.6%
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.

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Photo of laituegonflable
3.89/5  rDev -8.7%
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.

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Photo of 4thelvofbeer
4.53/5  rDev +6.3%
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.

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Photo of GreesyFizeek
4.83/5  rDev +13.4%
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.

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Photo of ricknelson
4.25/5  rDev -0.2%
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.

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Photo of AndyAvalanche
4.48/5  rDev +5.2%
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.

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Photo of Odysseyalien
3.69/5  rDev -13.4%
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

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Photo of elNopalero
4.65/5  rDev +9.2%
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.

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Photo of KYGunner
4.27/5  rDev +0.2%
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.

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Photo of HalfFull
4.17/5  rDev -2.1%
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.

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Photo of lacqueredmouse
4.1/5  rDev -3.8%
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.

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Photo of WoodBrew
4.93/5  rDev +15.7%
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!!!

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Photo of kojevergas
3.64/5  rDev -14.6%
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.


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Photo of dogfishandi
4.59/5  rDev +7.7%
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.

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Photo of timc100
4.37/5  rDev +2.6%
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.

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Firestone 15 - Anniversary Ale from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
94 out of 100 based on 308 ratings.