Firestone 15 - Anniversary Ale - Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

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Firestone 15 - Anniversary AleFirestone 15 - Anniversary Ale

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1,077 Ratings
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Ratings: 1,077
Reviews: 305
rAvg: 4.36
pDev: 10.78%
Wants: 169
Gots: 745 | FT: 31
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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Ratings: 1,077 | Reviews: 305
Reviews by will1256:
More User Reviews:
Photo of gcamparone
4.05/5  rDev -7.1%
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.

Photo of laituegonflable
3.89/5  rDev -10.8%
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.

Photo of oberon
4.47/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had on tap at Cole's last night.Poured into a goblet a deep dark chocolate brown with a minimal head.Deep oaky and vanilla notes in the nose mixed with deep chocolate and alcohol,it's boozy but not in your face boozy.Mellow and thick in the mouth with chocolate and whiskey flavors dominating,some vanilla and sweet booze linger in the finish.A great sipping beer,complexand smooth.Great stuff!

Photo of SkiBum22
4.5/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a deep dark mahogany, slight head, decent lacing. A great looking beer.

S - Caramel, vanilla, oak and cherry. Mild bourbon.

T - Caramel, vanilla and bourbon just like the nose. Light oak notes. A nicely blended malt and hop character. Perfect balance.

M - Very smooth and with light creaminess. Barely any carbonation. Goes down quite smooth for the booziness in the nose.

O - Wow, I really enjoyed this beer. I can't see were all the negativity is coming from on this one. It is a little pricey but I think it's worth it. I can't wait to see this beer in a year. Should be an A+ then.

Photo of Beaver13
3.07/5  rDev -29.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

22 oz bottle. Pours brown with a medium creamy light tan head that goes to a thin film and leaves a little lacing.

The aroma is sweet dark fruits (plum, raisin) and vinous alcohol.

The flavor is sweet sugary dark fruits with some strong harsh alcohol in the finish. The mouthfeel is medium bodied and a little watery with low carbonation.

Overall, decent, but too sweet and boozy.

Photo of dogfishandi
4.59/5  rDev +5.3%
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.

Photo of ehammond1
4.25/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On Tap

Churchill's Pub & Grille
San Marcos, CA

A very dark ruby color, bordering on dark brown with a creamy, tight, small-bubbled off-white head that leaves the glass sticky with irregular lines of lace. This is a significantly lighter colored beer when compared to previous Firestone Walker Anniversary beers.

The aroma comes together quite nicely. It's rich in chocolate, coconut, a bit of dark fruit, and whipped cream sweetness. There's also a bright, almost citrus, hop component as well.

The flavor follows the aroma similarly, with the citrus hops actually making quite an impact. Along with the bright hops are flavors of coconut, chocolate, slight roast, and a bit of dark cherry.

Medium bodied with moderate carbonation.

A very nice blend and a distinct departure from previous Firestone Anniversary beers. I like this one, and am interested in how it will age, but it doesn't seem the prime candidate for cellaring where the previous iterations clearly were.

Photo of Beerandraiderfan
4.23/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Review #1900 A pretty dark beer, owes more to black than brown about 3/8" head to it, light brown, decent lacing, one of the best looking strong ale blends out there. Aroma was warming alcohol, made me think 'this is what a winter warmer should smell like'. Its a little bit of everything, oak, bourbon, brown malt, brown sugar, molasses, vanilla, cocao, chocolate, caramel. A plethora of smells if you will.

Many of the same aromas come out on the palate, and add a substantial amount of toffee, and a very minor amount of orange zest. Pretty easily put down, but definitely a sipper, the body is a little thinner than you would think from the strength and color of the beer. Moderate sweetness. Glad I was able to pick up multiples of this, the price point is a little up there, but its not like the product sucks or anything, so its going to make a nice treat beer for years to come.

Photo of chinchill
3.88/5  rDev -11%
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.

Photo of OStrungT
5/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This beer pours a mohogany color with a thin but fluffy brown head. the head fades slowly, leaving a decent lacing.

This beer has a great aorma. I get vanilla up front with some chocolate. I detect some bourbon as well. Sweet caramel and roasted malts mix in. All the aromas are mild and blend well.

This beer tastes just like it smells. So well blended. Caramel, vanilla, chocolate, bourbon. This beer is amazing.

The beer is smooth and full bodied. Carbonaton is low, fitting the style. The alcohol is well hidden throughout this beer.

This beer might make a decent session beer, but with a 12.5% ABV, I wouldnt recomend it.

Overall: This beer is a great beer. I decided that I couldnt think of a better day to drink it than on the eve of the first annual Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Fest. Hopefully they have it on tap tomorrow.

Photo of jeonseh
3.56/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle shared by awdturboiv @ NWI tasting group bottle share

A - Dark chestnut brown with a thick, syrupy look. No head and very light carbonation

S - malty beer. Light caramel and maple, dark raisins, strong nose

T - Big alcoholic beer with dark fruit, candied dates, light maple syrup. Still a bit hot with some alcohol in it. Get the oak barrel in the finish. Slight bitter hops as well.

MF - syrupy beer light carbonation. Light oak and alcohil in the finish that leaves a slight astringency

O - Solid beer with nice overall sweet flavor. Still a bit hot but it may settle down.

Photo of rhoadsrage
4.45/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

(Served in a tulip glass)

A- The dense brown body glows at the base with a slight reddish-brown hue. There is a thin tan head fades to a thick sticky film.

S- The rich full vibrant oak with some dark fruit hints. The bourbon notes are buttery with vanilla and cream with some chocolate mellow roast in the finish.

T- The boozy heat mixes with barleywine sweetness and some black malt notes and vanilla oak notes. Also honey liquor, brown sugar and coconut flavors come through. The pine hop crispness finishes the beer.

M- The medium mouthfeel has a full warmth of alcohol heat and an alcohol heat on the exhale aswell.

O- The deep full flavors are clear and delineated showing the complexity and the big barrel character making this a wonderful sipper.

Photo of timc100
4.37/5  rDev +0.2%
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.

Photo of MrVonzipper
4.32/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Not as dark as i thought it would be. A dark Mahogany with a touch of red. Underwhelming tan head with very little retention and lacing if any.

Nice nose with notes of raisin, vanilla, dark fruit, caramel and French oak.

Nice flavor. Needs to age a but I think and it will grow into something amazing. Notes of dark fruit, vanilla, faint bourbon, light French oak and rum raisins.

Full bodied mouthfeel. A little sticky and chewy. Low carbonation.

Overall it's a very nice beer, but young. I think this will be a phenomenal be with 1+ years age. Can't wait to revisit it then

Photo of GilGarp
4.42/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served at cellar temperature into a goblet.

Firestone XV is the first of the anniversary beers to arrive in Colorado so I am excited to try it.

The color is surprisingly pale, more the color of an American brown ale than a stout or barleywine. Good clarity and thick creamy head but the later settles quickly.

Aroma is evident from a distnace. Strong elements of oak-aging, bourbon, red wine, and vanilla.

Flavor is very pleasant with numerous nuances to take in. The fact that all of the beers that went into XV were oak aged is not surprising when you go to taste it. Probably the most vanilla-forward beer I've ever had. Sweet up front with caramel and bourbon, the middle has a little smoke, tobacco, and cherries. It finishes with a strong bitterness and dry alcholic burn. A little more age certainly wouldn't hurt.

Mouthfeel is medium-plus in body and smooth in carbonation. Alcohol is strong but seems about right for a young-ish 12.5% beer.

Overall a really excellent blend of so many good beers. I wish I could try them all alongside the finished product I have here.

Photo of Sammy
4/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Very smooth, though not super rich there is a lot of well balanced blending here. Not boozy despite 12.5% Lots of spice, and a nice blend of bourbon, vanilla, Cinnamon and spices. Definitely something special. A barleywine in that is on the somewhat sweet side.

Photo of zaphodchak
4.5/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Nice khaki head, bubbles in the body. Medium brown body.

Brandy, nutty sherry, and bourbon in the beautiful nose, along with cherry.

Dang son, this is supa dank. Kind of tastes like everything (Utopias-esque). Vinous tang like cognac, sweet malty backbone, a trace of burn and warmth along with plenty of wood and some bourbon. Hints of lightish fruit and a trace of vanilla. There's a bit of hops at the end, which will probably vanish in months.

Mouthfeel is quite smooth.

This is drinking great now; I had reservations about opening it so fresh, but it was great. Also, it paired well with goat cheese.

Photo of Roguer
4.3/5  rDev -1.4%
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.

Photo of SpeedwayJim
4/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz. bomber poured into a Cigar City snifter.

Heavy pour creates a thin, light caramel colored head with poor retention. This one's different than the other anniversary beers but still very solid. Dark brown and amber. Not opaque black. Lacing is spotty and stringy. Great legs.

Nose is caramel, toffee, brown sugar, dark fruit, and a crisp, fresh, sap hop presence. Real sweet. Barrel and molasses make up the background. Chocolate, roast, and other stout flavors conspicuously missing. Real robust and deep.

Caramel, toffee, and a sweet, sap hop presence. Hints of brown sugar, honey, and molasses at the middle with a deep nuttiness. End is more sweetness with some barrel booziness coming through. Finishes sticky sweet molasses with the same aftertaste. Good complexity. Nice.

Medium to full bodied with low to moderate carbonation. Some bubbles in the mouth and hot going down. Sticky finish with a lingering aftertaste. Real solid for the style.

This one's very different from its predecessors as the barelywine component comes through a lot more in this blend. There's more dark fruit, caramel, brown sugar than there is chocolate, roast, and fudge. Still, a very good beer overall and I hope FW experiments with showcasing more other components with their anniversary series in the future.

Photo of dirtylou
4.25/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22oz bomber, boxed

a blend of 8 different beers , dominated by bourbon and brandy barrel aged barleywines.

appearance: served in my Old Wooly snifter, very dark garnet body, light tan lace - minimal retention

smell: lots of barrel - brandy, bourbon, oak, vanilla, brown sugar, dark fruits

taste: plum soaked in brandy, bourbon soaked oak, vanilla bean, raisin, brown sugar, chewy caramel malt, pine, lots of fruit - cherry, mango, plum. interesting concoction - a bit of a deviation from the past anniversary beers

mouthfeel: rich medium body, smooth finish, strong alcohol warming, moderate bitterness

overall: tasty

Photo of WoodBrew
4.93/5  rDev +13.1%
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!!!

Photo of tempest
3.95/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Had a mug at the Blue Tusk in Syracuse. This beer is surprisingly smooth for the strength, but I also think the massive blending doesn't necessarily help. The beer comes off with subtle cocoa and barrel-like vanilla and bourbon. There are mild citrus hop notes and fruity malt esters, but they're tough to discern. Few flavors stand out here. A great complex beer has notes that jump out on your tongue, but I'm not finding this here.

Photo of bpfishback
4.97/5  rDev +14%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This beer is blackish brown, barely transparent with some undertones of red. Head fades fairly quickly but leaves some lacing on the glass.

First smell is a familiar bourbon barrel aged smell, slight vanilla, sticky sweetness, then caramel, maybe slight oxidation, candied plums, cherries, chocolate, toffee, and a bit of spice.

Taste is dark fruits at first, cherries and plums. The dark fruit lingers for awhile, and after what seems like hours you get a finish of bitter chocolate and coffee.

The mouthfeel is very creamy, I would love to known the FG of this beer, it has a fullness in its mouthfeel but it is not cloying, it's a big beer yet I want to drink more and more.

I am really enjoying this beer. I was excited to try it and now I see why. An incredible balance between sweet and bitter, a beer with multiple dimensions, a work of art.

Photo of PeprSprYoFace
4.25/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a snifter. Pours a deep deep brown. Almost black. Had a nice tan head to start. Dissipated to a ring. Not a lot of lacing.

Aroma is very barley wine ish. Very malty and caramel like. Pretty boozy in the aroma. Bit of dark fruits. Not a crazy aroma.

Taste is awesome. Very barly wine ish. Lots of malt. Bit of sweetness. Kinda caramel and dark fruits. Little bit of boozyness with a bit of hop bite in the finish.

Mouthfeel isn't too thick. Nice and smooth. Good carb.

Overall I think this beer is too green and hot. Would like to see some age on it. Have 2 more to put in the cellar

Photo of hooliganlife
4.05/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

pour was a deep yet clear brown, very dark. light creamy head that gave way quickly. little to no lacing.

smooth bourbon. slightly sweet. very faint hint of alcohol.

sweet and smooth. light bourbon and really smooth vanilla. some darker brown ale flavors with some dark sweet fruit. some heat on the finish.

moderate carbonation with a slightly smooth.

pretty awesome for being so fresh, but seems more one dimensional than previous vintages.

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Firestone 15 - Anniversary Ale from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
97 out of 100 based on 1,077 ratings.