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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.

309 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 309
Hads: 1,091
Avg: 4.26
pDev: 11.27%
Wants: 168
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.
View: Beers (83) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 309 | Hads: 1,091
Photo of Sammy
4/5  rDev -6.1%
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.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.36/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a clear crimson brown color with a 1 inch foamy tan head that settles to a film on the top of the beer. Random dots of lace form on the glass on the drink down. Smell is of coconut, wood, brown sugar, toffee, dark fruits, and some slight citrus zest. Taste is of toasted coconut, wood, toffee, some fruit, and citrus zest. A nice alcohol warmth in the back of the throat with each sip. This beer has a nice level of carbonation with a smooth and creamy mouthfeel. Overall, this is a very good blended beer and another winner from the barrel program in my opinion. This is my first of their Anniversary series and I must say I enjoyed this one very much.

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Photo of metter98
4.22/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: The beer is clear dark amber in color and poured with a thin beige head that died down but never completely faded away.
S: There are complex aromas of bourbon, brown sugar, caramel, dark fruits, oak and
T: Like the smell, the overall taste is very complex and has lots of notes of oak and vanilla flavors.
M: It feels medium- to full-bodied, very smooth and creamy on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This is a great beer to sip and savor due to the complex aromas and flavors; it tastes nothing like any of the beers that were mixed to create it.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
4.37/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

this is a divine offering. a blend of firestone's wood aged beers. pours a mahagony brown with a very thin tan head. smells like a glass of fine whiskey, vanilla notes, sweet and malty. smells rich and time honored. there is a modest alcohol aroma too, but very refined. taste is sensational, impossibly complex. there is just a touch of hop bitterness from the double jack, a ton of woody sweetness and a caramel vein throughout. youd be hard pressed to find a beer of this level of craftsmanship in the united states, unrivaled in my opinion as far as creativeness and complexity. worth every bit of the 25dollars it costs. wonderful warm buzz too

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Photo of brentk56
4.97/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Appearance: The cola brown liguid arrives with a small cap the quickly becomes a ringlet though it sheets lace around the chalice

Smell: Many elements here, including caramel, figs, chocolate, coffee, wood, bourbon, coconut, vanilla and a hint of pith

Taste: Layers upon layers of flavor, with a progression ranging from caramel, fig, bourbon, coconut and vanilla, up front, to a hint of citrus and dark fruit in the middle; after the swallow, whisky and chocolate bring on the finish, with some coffee lingering in the aftertaste

Mouthfeel: Full body with moderate carbonation

Overall: Really impressive, with a range of different flavor elements

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Photo of Thorpe429
3.65/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Huhzubendah for picking this bottle up from Capone's for me. Served in a wine glass.

Pours a very dark brown color with a thin light tan head and a nice collar throughout. The nose carries some oak and bourbon plus vanilla, chocolate, and roast. The flavor is fairly oaky with some tannins. Roast as well. The oakiness comes along with a bit of booze; probably a bit too young at this point, though still enjoyable.

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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 largadeer
3.58/5  rDev -16%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Clear tawny body with a small but lasting head.

A good mix of bourbon and brandy aromas, quite a bit of molasses, caramel and tropical fruit, along with a rather harsh ethanol character.

Palate is hot but pretty nice, surprisingly quite fruity with a big molasses/brown sugar character. Lots of brandy and bourbon, but not as much heat as the nose implies. The body is medium, a bit thin compared to past blends. Finishes a bit harsh, though I'm not sure if age will really improve this beer. Overall probably my least favorite of the FW anniversary blends.

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Photo of emerge077
4.26/5  rDev 0%
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.

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Photo of zeff80
4.39/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Poured out an opaque, dark, dark brown color with a one-finger, tan head of bubbly foam. It left sudsy trails of lace on the glass.

S - It smelled boozy and malty with notes of oak and vanilla. Some piney/resin aromas, too.

T - Good roasty flavor with pine notes. Boozy with oak and vanilla flavors. A strong bourbon taste, too.

M - It was crisp, sharp and smooth. A full bodied ale with a soft finish.

O - This is a great beer. An amazing blend brings amazing flavors. It was worth the wait and hype.

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Photo of oberon
4.47/5  rDev +4.9%
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!

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Photo of oline73
4.25/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I had this on-tap at Max's. Served in a sample glass.

Appearance: Pours a dark mahogany with a layer of smooth off white head. The head disappears completely.

Smell: Very sweet with some dark fruit and bourbon barrel. Caramel and alcohol with a very mild hint of soy sauce.

Taste: Quite sweet from the malt with some vanilla and caramel from the barrel. There is some bitterness and very hot alcohol in the finish.

Mouthfeel: Thick body with smooth carbonation and a slick finish. There is a warmth from the alcohol.

Overall: I thought this one could use some age, but I still enjoyed the blend. The sweet aftertaste was good and the taste was still able to shine.

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Photo of womencantsail
3.65/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark brownish color with a small tan head. Smells of whiskey, milk chocolate, and vanilla, for the most part. A bit of wood and some toffee and caramel. The flavor is somewhat muted, even when warm. There is some milk chocolate, cocoa powder, whiskey, oak, and vanilla, though. On the thin side of medium in body with low to medium carbonation.

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Photo of TMoney2591
4.42/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served in a snifter at WhirlyBall Vernon Hills.

That's right: Firestone XV at a WB bar. I'm sure as hell not gonna argue... It pours a dark russet-garnet topped by a half-finger of dirty off-cream foam. The nose comprises bourbon, cocoa, roasted malts, vanilla, toffee, light maple syrup, Belgian candi sugar, and light mandarin orange syrup. The taste brings in more of the same, though the toffee sorta morphs into lightly-buttery caramel, and some oak and background pine join the party, 'cause things just weren't quite complex enough. Sounds fair. The body is a hefty medium, with a very light moderate carbonation and a chewy-ish, pretty smooth feel. Overall, a damn fine brew all-around. Good times.

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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 TheManiacalOne
4.22/5  rDev -0.9%
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.

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Photo of Rifugium
4.2/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

First had: on tap at Pinocchio's, Media, PA

Poured a semi-cloudy, semi-opaque, dark brown color with a delicate ring of bubbles on top; nothing really to speak of in ways of retention or lacing, other than a bit of streaking on the glass. Aroma was pretty malt-dominant, with notes of caramel, chocolate, and woody bourbon. Nice complex taste, full of heavy malts, caramel--barleywine seemed to be the dominant factor here--definitely pretty boozy, with notes of oak, toffee, vanilla, roast, and a touch of bitter hops in the finish. (I guess I should pick up a bottle of this if I can.) Full body, smooth, and very drinkable.

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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 mdfb79
4/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From 12/31/11 notes. Big thanks to Ian for sharing this one. Poured from a 22 oz. bottle into a tulip, served side by side with the FW 14th Anniversary ale.

a - Pours a transparent dark reddish brown color with one inch of light tan head and low to moderate carbonation evident. The 14 was much, much darker.

s - Smells of vanilla, oak, bourbon, fruity malts, tropical fruits, light citrus hops. A lot of bourbon/vanill and fruit, which surprised me a bit.

t - Tastes of bourbon, vanilla, fruity, malts, caramel malts, tropical fruits, citrus, oak, roasted malts, toffee, and alcohol.

m - Medium body and moderate carbonation. Pretty thick body.

o - Overall I thought this was a good beer, but the 14 blew it away. While I know they are different blends, this reminded me of the 14 fresh in that they are both bourbon forward, and a bit boozey fresh, though good. With a year on it though, the 14 has become a really great beer, like some of the earlier anniversary beers, so I am hoping that happens to the 15 as well. 15 seemed a little more barleywine-ish while the 14 seemed more stout-ish, but I think this will age nicely. I'll open my bottle next winter.

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Photo of MasterSki
3.66/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Mike (AgentZero) for sharing this. Served in a Bell's tulip.

A - A finger of off-white foam settles to a thin collar, leaving behind a near-complete wispy cap and a few splotches of lace. Transparent dark cherrywood body. Quite attractive considering the high ABV.

S - Lots of oak up front, and perhaps a bit of spicy alcohol presence as well. Behind that there's some milk chocolate, honey cakes, nuts, a bit of fig, and perhaps a hint of anise. Lots of wood for sure, and also a slightly aged, oxidized quality that makes this beer seem older than it is.

T - Extremely sugary - a mix of turbinado, oaky vanilla, maraschino cherries, milk chocolate cherry cordials, and a honey and burnt crème brûlée finish. It's complex, but becomes cloying and overly saccharine very quickly. Alcohol is better hidden in the flavor.

M - Smooth, medium body, with lower carbonation, and a decidedly light tannic character. Alcohol isn't particularly present here, and there's a very mellow aged character.

D - Just too sweet for my tastes - the blend is basically all barleywines and brown ales, most of which have added sugar or honey. There's not enough whiskey or roast character in the flavor to balance out the intense saccharine qualities of this brew. Might be good as a 4oz dessert pairing, but it was a struggle for Mike and I to consume the 22oz bottle. Almost certainly my least favorite beer of the series. I also don't anticipate this aging well as it already tastes kind of old.

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Photo of dbrauneis
4.21/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A: Pours a clear very dark amber in color with some moderate amounts of visible carbonation and some dark brown highlights. The beer has a finger tall fizzy light beige head that quickly reduces to a medium-large patch of extremely thin film and a thin ring at the edges of the glass. Light to moderate amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Moderate to strong aromas of bourbon, oak, and vanilla with some moderate aromas of caramel, brown sugar, and just a touch of dark fruit (plum). Just a touch of alcohol.

T: Similar to the smell, there are moderate to strong flavors of bourbon, oak, and vanilla with just a touch of caramel/toffee malt sweetness. Very light notes of dark fruit (plum and raisin) along with moderate notes of brown sugar. Very light amounts of bitterness that fades almost immediately. Light amounts of alcohol are also present.

M: Just shy of full bodied with moderate amounts of carbonation. Silky smooth and creamy.

O: This is a great beer and is very enjoyable - lots of complexity to both the smell and taste. The combination (sum) of the different beers blended to make this are greater than the individual components. There is a slight amount of alcohol present but the barrel aging of the different components makes this a great sipping beer.

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Photo of drabmuh
3.5/5  rDev -17.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks Thorpe, at the time of this review, this is the #15 beer on the "Top Beers - American Strong Ale" list. I've had all of these anniversary ales and this one is a relatively big disappointment for me. Too thin, not enough barrel comes through. They should just make the 13th over and over again.

Beer is brown, dark, but clear, thin lazy head of small bubbles, minimal carbonation, minimal lacing.

Aroma is mildly sweet, a little toffee, interesting yeast character, and some bourbon.

Beer is thin in body, sweet, a little bourbony, not boozy at all, moderate finish. I was expecting something totally different. This should be called FW anniversary light.

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Photo of mothman
4.3/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a tan head. Color is a dark ruby bronze.

Aroma: coconut and barleywine flavors. Caramel and toffee. Chocolate, dark fruits, and raisins. Cirtus fruits. Oak and vanilla.

Taste: Tons of coconut. Caramel, toffee, and chocolate malts. Vanilla, raisins, and spices. Grapefruit and orange. Malty, hoppy. Then I finally get some barrel aged flavors. Oak and bourbon.

Mouthfeel: Warming and smooth. Medium to full bodied with a medium amount of carbonation. Ends sticky.

Overall, a great blend. I love the coconut flavors. Lots of barleywine flavors and dipa flavors. Solid stuff.

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Photo of ShanePB
4.47/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

Boxed, wrapped and capped 22 ounce bottle split with my girlfriend and family last night. Poured into a snifter glass.

A: Mahogany brown body with some reddish hues throughout, topped with a small off-white/tan head. A little lacing was left on the glass walls, but not much. The only remaining head was a thin bubbly ring around the edges. No complaints here, this is a high ABV, blended and barrel aged beer.

S: Dark fruits (fig and raisin), matured mellow bourbon, oak, graham cracker, caramel, toasted malts, sweet toffee and salt. Wow doesn't describe how complex and aromatic this beer smells. And it just got better as it warmed.

T: Bourbon, oak, sweet dark fruits namely fig, caramel and toffee are all up-front. My cheeks started to get that warming and tingly sensation from the alcohol, although you couldn't taste any heat. An interesting peppery spicy element came out after the swallow and lingered around. Very interesting and a component I wasn't expecting.

M: Low carbonation, slightly bubbly but it still only has a medium bodied. It's not really robust and full bodied like I thought it would be, certainly on the thinner side. Less than I hoped for yet very drinkable for the style and ABV.

This was simply wonderful, as has every other Firestone Walker barrel aged beer I've tried. The blend of this beer is so flavorful and complex, it's every changing as you drink it. By far my second favorite from them. Superb job.

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Photo of stakem
3.43/5  rDev -19.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Bomber into a snifter. The brew appears a dark mahogany color with ruby clarity seen when held to the light. A khaki head appears across the top and is quick to fade. Some faint spotty lace sticks to the glass.

The aroma is sweet with vanilla, caramel, toffee and a bit nutty to fruity alcohol inclusion. A bit of toasty coconut blends into some wood notes and herbal to medicinal character.

The flavor includes dark fruity hints of alcohol reminescent of raisin. A bit of oxidation and nutty grain across the middle with a boozy alcohol addition. More sips reveal cardboard, earth and herbs. Some barrel character like vanilla and caramel is noted towards the back.

This is a medium to light bodied brew with a low level of carbonation. I was not really a fan of this. It has some nice barrel presence but the booze comes out and the flavor falls apart with the light body. This is one of those cases where the sum is not as good as the individual parts.

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Firestone 15 - Anniversary Ale from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
94 out of 100 based on 309 ratings.