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Firestone 15 - Anniversary Ale - Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

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

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

1,027 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1,027
Reviews: 298
rAvg: 4.36
pDev: 11.24%
Wants: 158
Gots: 742 | FT: 37
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.

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.

(Beer added by: brew3crew on 11-08-2011)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,027 | Reviews: 298 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of BdubleEdubleRUN
4.22/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Review from notes bottle to tulip.
Pours a dark brown with a reddish hue and a light tan to off white head that fades quickly leaving some very light lacing. The nose caught me off guard as did the taste. Present in both is raisin, dark fruit, date, plum, toffee, fig, vanilla and some alcohol. It has a somewhat creamy medium body and lower end on the carbonation which fits the profile. Pretty good beer.

BdubleEdubleRUN, Feb 02, 2012
Photo of DovaliHops
4.22/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Weighs in at 12.5% ABV, not 11. Pours a very dark amber red/brown color with a small off-white head that disappears quickly. Scent is VERY sweet. I immediately get chocolate covered cherries. Smells more like a liqueur than a beer. Hints of chocolate with dark fruits and booze. Very faint orange zest aroma with some brandy. Taste is immediately faint tobacco and leather, immediately followed by cherries and some lovely dark fruits. Then you get some brown sugar in the middle of the tongue, with some lovely brandy and bourbon characteristics toward the back of the tongue. Some maple syrup and cinnamon linger as the beer warms. Delicious vanilla, chocolate, and oak characteristics throughout each tasty sip. Mouthfeel is medium bodied with medium-light carbonation. A sipper that is VERY COMPLEX. Drinkability is fairly high, as this is a big beer with some very sweet flavors that may get overwhelming after too much...much like a dessert wine. Overall, this is the most complex anniversary beer of the last three years IMO (I've only had 13, 14, and 15). Very tasty and love the chocolate covered cherry aspects. Got more bottles to see how this one develops.

DovaliHops, Nov 09, 2011
Photo of kkrez
4.2/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

To say the least, this beer is complex and extremely layered.

It pours a dark brown color with a tan head which dissipates.

Aroma is of vanilla, toffee, caramel, coffee and cocoa.

Starts out a little boozy hot, but then follows the nose and then some; caramel, vanilla, toffee, oak, tobacco, oats, leather, bourbon, dark fruits and Brandy notes, all finished off by a citrusy hop bite coming from the use of the Double Jack, which leaves the palate clean and ready for more.

Mouthfeel is perfect. medium to heavy body, perfect amount of carbonation that lasts throughout

But really, words do not do this beer justice. The interplay of flavors is divine and indescribable. The price tag is bold, but so is this beer. You want it.

kkrez, Dec 05, 2011
Photo of HalfFull
4.2/5  rDev -3.7%
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.

HalfFull, Nov 24, 2013
Photo of rlee1390
4.2/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-Clear deep ruby red almost brown, one finger head that doesn't last long.

S-Coffee, chocolate, caramel, oak and toffee.

T-Coffee, chocolate, caramel. Oak as well. Similar in many respects to a barleywine. There is some bitterness in there as well.

M-Medium to heavy, some carbonation and very smooth.

O-Glad I pulled the trigger on this one, not sure about getting another to age.

rlee1390, May 02, 2012
Photo of TheManiacalOne
4.2/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On-tap 12/4/2011 at Pour Farm in New Bedford, MA served in a half-pint glass.

A: The beer is a deep dark brown color with a short off-white head that fades slowly and leaves a thick on the glass.

S: The aroma contains bourbon, dark fruit, caramelized malts, vanilla and some hops.

T: The taste starts out sweet with flavors of bourbon, vanilla, dark fruit and caramel. Then a hearty roasted malt character comes in. The hops presence is mild but complementary and provides a good balance. There’s a hint of an alcohol booziness but it’s faint considering the 12.5% ABV. The after-taste is sweet.

M: Smooth and a little crisp, medium-to-heavy body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

D: Tasty, goes down dangerously easy, not too filling, strong kick, good representation of style, this is a nice high-octane beer to drink for as long as you can handle it.

TheManiacalOne, Dec 14, 2011
Photo of samie85
4.2/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a ruby-tinged cola color with a finger and a half of off-white head.

Big bourbon notes with sweet caramel and some chocolate, and some dark fruit.

Follows the nose with huge spicy bourbon notes and light caramel and a hint of chocolate.

A little hot with medium body with and very low carbonation.

This one could use a little more time in the bottle... still a little hot; unless you prefer your beers with alcohol heat.

samie85, Apr 15, 2012
Photo of PicoPapa
4.2/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle. Pours a dark brownish black color with no head. Some lacing. Aroma is boozey and oaky with some dark fruits, malts, caramel and earth. The taste mirrors the nose. Boozey oak and malt flavors. Dark fruits and more malts near the end with some sweetness and vanilla. Hints of chocolate. There is alot going on here. While I haven't had all the beers in this blend it tastes most like a barleywine although it is somewhat reminiscent of Parabola towards the end. The big bourbon flavor coupled with the high ABV make this a slow sipper. Overall, Firestone Walker impresses again. Worth buying another one, if I ever get the chance.

PicoPapa, Nov 30, 2012
Photo of bmwats
4.2/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Second pour from a 650 ml bottle into a tasting snifter.

A: Dark brown. Pours a half finger, foamy, brown white head. Settles quickly, leaving a smattering of foam and a slight beer ring. No lacing, but again this was a second pour.

S: Roasted coffee, molasses, raisin, and black licorice.

T: Woody, roasted, coffee malt with unsweetened dark chocolate, vanilla bean and licorice.

M: Strong alcohol profile. Bitter pungency lingers throughout the experience. Dry finish.

D: Sip and enjoy.

Good atmosphere. Solid appearance and a full malty nose with sweet and bitter components. Great balance of roasted malt with all sorts of bitter and sweet components to give it great character. Very well balanced, as all the flavors seem to make themselves available throughout the experience. Overall, this is a great quaff.

bmwats, Jan 01, 2012
Photo of beer4colin
4.2/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Union BrewHouse, 12 oz pour. Yesterday, they had a hidden gem of the 14th up from the cellar.

This is a big difference over that. Maybe it was the age of but I think it is the blend difference.

This pours a medium dark with a lucious head. Taste is very indicative of the barleywines. Nice bit of chocolate being imparted ffrom the stouts.

This beer is a rocker. I will not be having another until I am well situated in my comfy chair!

beer4colin, Jan 18, 2012
Photo of cfrances33
4.2/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle dated 10/07/11, enjoyed on 8/14/12. Poured into a FW snifter.

Pour: Deep dark brown that seems clear, but is so dark you can't tell for sure. Mahogany edges. Finger and a half khaki head that leaves a little lacing at first. Definitely some legs on this one too.

Smell: Bourbon banilla, oak, some dark fruits, and a little bit of tobacco.

Taste: Bourbon vanilla, oak, chocolate, sweet figs, caramel, some tannins, and a nice tobacco smokey/sweetness.

Mouthfeel: Lighter body than I expected, with a smooth low heat bourbon taste. Points off for a weird coating I get in my throat.

Overall: Pretty nice, but I definitely prefer Parabola and Sucaba.

cfrances33, Aug 15, 2012
Photo of RobinLee
4.2/5  rDev -3.7%

RobinLee, Aug 10, 2014
Photo of infi
4.2/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 oz. bomber, shared with BAs brun and r0nyn.

Poured into a brandy snifter.

Brown, cola-colored body with blood red hues. Off-white head that leaves speckled lacing upon glass.

Immensely packed with vanilla tannin, barreled oak, sharp boozy heat, caramel and burnt sugars. Incredibly complex and mellow smelling, especially considering the amount of beers in the final blend. Very potent once warmed to room temperature.

Tastes, just like style implies– very strong. Like a brandy to be sipped. Tannins, brown sugary sweetness, molasses and vanilla. Very barleywine like. Smooth, but particularly hot on the palate. Would probably be mellower after six months or more. Definitely one for the cold weather.

Medium body with low carbonation. Silky texture. Worth the buy– consider splitting the costs with someone else.

infi, Dec 25, 2011
Photo of Tschnab
4.2/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A ruby red pour almost mahogany with a half inch of khaki head and alcohol legs, spotty lace, little retention.

The aroma is a bourbony oaky vanilla with dark fruits and alcohol heat. The taste has these characters as well as well as a subtle chocolate and a big molasses sweetness, with candy sugar and cherries and alcohol on the finish.

Very enjoyable blend of beer here. I hoped the double jack would lend a hoppiness but I didn't detect that. I did pick up, though, a great example of barrel aging. Awesome stuff.

Tschnab, Oct 03, 2012
Photo of smakawhat
4.18/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle into my Dogfish Head snifter glass.

A faint tan head and coffee brown is made, that doesn't stick around much, leaves a whispy top and thin collar. Body color is a nice reddish brown dark brick color, with some nice orange highlights for the light to escape.

Nose is faint milk chocolate and toffee, fairly hot and noticeable alcohol heat. Seems like a malty barleywine. Salt caramel action comes out quite noticeably. Like this caramel action, but this nose doesn't feel very complex or varied.

Taste brings some real noticeable chewy caramel, and taffy sugars. Finish is quite stinging and numbing, quite dry also. Some noticeable tight fizzy mouthfeel and carbonation. Palate gets a little richer as it warms up a bit, slightly.

Overall not too shabby but not really feeling the love or wow factor on this one. Certainly wasn't worth the price I paid for it. This is really missing the "wow" factor.

smakawhat, Mar 16, 2012
Photo of ReelBigwigFish
4.18/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a Stella Chalice, this ale has an opaque dark brown color that gets to a dark amber around the edges. There is a minimal amount of light tan head that falls to loose bubbles on the edges of the glass. The aroma is of strong alcohol, coconuts, licorice, coffee, and vanilla. It sort of smells like a blend of coconut rum and bourbon.

The flavor is strong and overwhelmingly intense. Sweet boozy vanilla and coconut start it off while it blends together with dark fruit, candied sugar, and licorice. Getting towards the finish there is a dryer roasted malt espresso flavor mixing nicely with charred oak bourbon. In the end it finishes very smooth with lingering alcohol sweetness.

15th Anniversary Ale is definitely an experience, and I'm glad I had a chance to try this one. With that in mind, as delicious and complex as this beer is, I think it would be very difficult to finish it by yourself, at 12.5%abv in a 650ml bottle, this is a real sipper.

ReelBigwigFish, Jan 13, 2012
Photo of areich6
4.18/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Enjoying with my good friend pschul4

A: Takes on a very dark, dark, brown color, kind of like a quad. Very little head.

S: I can detect fruit such as mangos, peaches, and black cherries all mixed with some bourbon. Quite inviting.

T: The bourbon alcohol flavor is very apparent and I cannot pick out a lot of the fruitiness that the smell so generously promised. However, as far an American Strong Ale at 12.50% goes, this is a pretty good brew.

M: Slight carbonation, pretty smooth, quite drinkable. Pretty nice.

O: Pretty good, a little less than I was expecting, but quite good.

areich6, Mar 06, 2012
Photo of GregSVT
4.18/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22oz bottle into a tulip

A: Pours a light brown but darker in the bottle with a nice light tan head that fades to a ring and leaves some lacing on the glass.

S: The nose is weak at first. All I'm really getting is toasted oak, a bit of vanilla, some molasses, and some toffee. As it warms I get some brandy, red apple, and dark fruits.

T: The taste starts with brandy, apple, and bit of molasses with a touch of vanilla in the background. As it warms I get more vanilla, a bit of chocolate, and some cherry as well. The finish is closer to a belgian beer than a Strong Ale which makes this very interesting. Lots of complex flavors that are hard to pick out.

M: The feel is a tad thin but it's nothing horrible. I'd love to see a bit more thickness and creaminess.

O: I actually like this a bit more than 14 but it started out smelling exactly the same. I wish they would add more Parabola to the mix like 13 which would also bump up the mouthfeel a bit more. Not sure how this one will age given the fruit aromas and flavors from the brandy so I'd drink 'em now or within the first few years.

GregSVT, Jul 01, 2012
Photo of JamesShoemaker
4.16/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz bottle poured into two snifters. This bottle was the subject of some controversy in a recent thread, from which I learned much about being a better BA. Thanks to all the vets who provided useful criticism/advice. The bottle must be at least fifteen months old, but I imagine that it was cellared properly, considering the temperature control and the encasement.

A - based on the blend notes, it's actually darker than I expected it to be. Just under 40% barleywine, it pours more like a strong ale, dark, dark brown, lightening on the periphery. Very little head on the forced pour, no lacing. Nothing remarkable.

S - very sweet, very malty, just like you'd expect from an EBW. There's a little booze on the nose, but it's not overwhelming. Definitely the most pleasant aspect of this brew. Lingering chocolate, some butterscotch.

T - sweet, sweet, sweet. Caramel, lots of syrupy malt and barley, almost like some honey was integrated into the brewing process. It finishes sweet and pleasant. Nothing bitter. I think this bottle has benefited from its age.

M - as with most BBBWs, there's a stinging bitterness right on the end, but it's velvety, smooth, and finishes sweet on the cheeks. A burst of sweetness makes it a smooth finish. The alcohol doesn't dominate at all. Again, I think this beer has really benefited from its year+ on the shelf.

O - if it lingers, I may get another one. FW's BA program continues to impress. I've got a bottle of 16 waiting for the Elite Eight.

JamesShoemaker, Mar 30, 2013
Photo of clayrock81
4.16/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured a brownish red with good head that left minor lace ring on top of an almost vinous aroma, at least at first. The oaky, bourbon/whiskey barrel smell, along with alcohol, is potent, as well as good chunks of sweet/spicy (caramel and roasted are my generic go to words) malts and touches of fruity citric hops. A heavy body that still goes down smooth and gives off a strong alkie bite at the end that is damn enjoyable. Beer has a pleasant mix of roasted bready malts that tag team with the bourbon barrel aging along with some spices and sweetness of caramel, molasses toffee. These beer are in cohesion with hops that come across as not only citric but dark fruit/grapefruit esque and it seems the oak/oatmeal stout elements really smooth it out so it's not too harsh/syrupy/watery. For the high ABV and different blends of malts and hops this beer really pulls it off and is dangerously sessionable.

clayrock81, Jan 21, 2013
Photo of Docer
4.15/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: (4.0)
- Nice rich dark and mostly clear brown. Big slowly forming off-white to beige colored head. Bubbly like a barrel aged brew should look. Settles with lace all about and a thin pillow riding on top. Nice looking!

Smell: (4.5)
- Great sweet malts and holiday dessert notes. Brown sugar, molasses, vanilla from the barrels.. earthy sweet caramel.. light grassy and herbal hop spice.. little roasty tobacco, and light alcohol. Almost a touch of licorice going on. Very good.

Taste: (4.0)
- Oh my. Where to start? Rich caramel and grainy molasses sweetness. Vanilla and oak character really shines through, and blends perfectly with the bready grain, and esters from the grain. Some fig, raisin, tobacco, earthy grassy hops with a slight citrus and spicy zest. Little alcohol, but very well hidden. Really good bourbon notes. May be a bit much on the bourbon side for some, guessing this will age perfectly.

Mouth Feel: (4.5)
- Super nice medium to heavy body with the perfect carbonation. Though a very sweet beer, it isn't too overly syrupy or sticky. Quite chewy and cloying really, and dries the mouth just a touch. This is a smooth winner.

Overall: (4.0)
- A very well made and carefully blended beer. I love barleywines, and I love bourbon barrel barleywines. This turned out very good and is very well balanced. A lot of good beers went into this, and simply created a fantastic beer. Worth picking up a few.

Docer, Dec 05, 2011
Photo of DocJitsu
4.15/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours into my Samuel Smith tulip glass a dark amber with a coffe foam head. The head attenuates quickly to a thin cap with no lacing on the glass. Bountiful aromas of bourbon, chocolate, and coconut with a an alcohol tinge that begins to appear the longer it is inhaled into the olfactory. Despite an uncharacteristic fizziness as the beer is poured, the mouthfeel is very smooth and creamy. The aroma of this beer creates an expectation that, frankly, gets frustrated by the first pull into the mouth. A bourbon/chocolate liqueur cocktail, perhaps. It finishes with a nuttiness that competes with the alcohol warmth. Not FW's best effort. I was really excited about this beer, given my affection for 14. Perhaps it's been to soon since my last Abacus (a FW barleywine) to give this beer an objective appraisal. To be fair, it is a quality brew, just not what I expected.

DocJitsu, Mar 15, 2012
Photo of SpdKilz
4.13/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance – Pours a dark brown mahogany color into a tulip. About a half finger of tan head is achieved with a slight pour.

Smell – Heavy caramel and bourbon. Slight hops and citrus. A wonderful vanilla and toffee comes through at the end.

Taste – Bourbon, dark fruits such as figs and prunes, vanilla, toffee. Comes across as a barleywine first but then changes to a definite strong ale with the heavy bittersweet chocolate and caramel malt. An interesting beer versus

Mouthfeel – Thicker bodied, creamy, lower carbonation.

Overall – I had the 14 many times (both draft and bottle) and to be honest liked that more than this as of now. This is a very good beer, no doubt (and there is zero alcohol taste/warmth). Curious to see how this will age.

SpdKilz, Dec 26, 2011
Photo of lacqueredmouse
4.11/5  rDev -5.7%
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.

lacqueredmouse, Oct 26, 2013
Photo of Etan
4.1/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle into a snifter.

A: Pours a deep reddish brown - dark and barleywine-like. Small egg-shell head.

S: Smooth bourbon and oak, marshmallow, vanilla tannins, malty body within. Dried apricot, raisin, fig, sweet brown sugar and squash. Hint of sticky hop. Great aroma.

T: Marshmallow, bitterish oak and bourbon, maple, lots of vanilla and dark fruits, molasses, slight chocolate. Tannic with some hop bitterness in the finish.

M: Medium carbonation, thick body, that usual boozy sting you get with most FW barrel-aged beers.

O: Once again, nice barrel character, but the astringent tannins and booze are a bit much. Seems like the hoppiness from the Double Jack didn't help things either, as the bitterness just seemed to bolster the elements upsetting the smoothness of the beer. Excellent, but could be better.

Etan, Aug 06, 2012
Firestone 15 - Anniversary Ale from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
97 out of 100 based on 1,027 ratings.