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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.

1,053 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1,053
Reviews: 302
rAvg: 4.36
pDev: 10.78%
Wants: 164
Gots: 743 | FT: 38
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: 1,053 | Reviews: 302 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of yeahnatenelson
5/5  rDev +14.7%

Photo of beertunes
3.89/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Served in tulip. Poured a very dark brown, almost a light black, with just a slight bit of red on the edges. The beer had just a very little bit of brown head and had no retention or lacing.

The aroma was very good, a nice amount of roast and grain, but the dominant scent was bourbon. Lots of bourbon, maybe a bit too much. The flavors were pretty much the same, bourbon, grain and roast and had a noticeable alcohol taste.

The body was and clean but a fair bit thinner than I look for in a big beer like this. Drinkability was very good for such a big beer, but I'm not sure I'd have two in a row. Overall, this is a pretty good beer, bordering on very good. This certainly a must try if you see it.

Photo of avaldivia
4.5/5  rDev +3.2%

Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.36/5  rDev 0%
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.

Photo of ArrogantB
4.1/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle $22.99. This may be the freshest Firestone anniversary I've had yet, poured into two stemless snifters. Dark brown, looks red when I hold it up to the light, brief head. Smells good, coconut, alcohol, pretty good. Flavor is nice, chocolate, booze, well done. This is pretty much on par with all the previous iterations of Firestone Anniversary with the exception of 11 which was sublime. Still, I can;t help but think that Abacus and Parabola are just as good if not better than the anniversary blends and much cheaper.

Photo of kawilliams81
4.12/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a 16 oz. snifter.

A- Pours a dark brown with some amber. Dark cream head with good lacing that resides after 30 seconds or so.

S- Chocolate, tobacco, leather, bourbon, vanilla, oak

T- Roasted and amber malts, caramel, some bourbon, chocolate, fairly large pine hop flavors.

M- Full body, but heavy are super thick. Some hottness is present. Low/medium carbonation with a dry finish.

O- Another awesome beer from FW. Had 14 a year old and thought is was better than this beer is fresh, but will like to see what a year of aging will do to this beer.

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

On tap at falling rock and also opened a bottle. Pours a nice caramel color with tan head. Smells of bourbon, brown sugar, vanilla and caramel. A slight hoppiness in the background. The bourbon and brandy are very strong in the nose. Sipping this reveals a sweet, bourbony, caramel beer with nice hints of vanilla. Finishes with a little hop bitterness that I don't care for. Otherwise quite nice. Body is thick and sticky with medium carbonation. Overall quite good and will hopefully get better once the hops from the double jack fade.

Photo of StonedTrippin
4.37/5  rDev +0.2%
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

Photo of Doodler
5/5  rDev +14.7%

Photo of Halcyondays
3.81/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22 oz. bottle,

A: Pours a dark brown with a light tan head. Good retention, no lace.

S: Lots of vanilla and caramel, notes of coffee and dark chocolate.

T: Very boozy initially, but does blow off, though the whole beer has an ethyl undercurrent. Lots of toffee and caramel. Lots of malt character with a nice complex finish with some vanilla which I like.

M: Medium to full-bodied, not overly sugary which is nice. Hot to a point though I wouldn't call it boozy. Light aftertaste.

O: Better than 14 fresh for sure, reminds me a lot of 13 at this stage which aged great. 11 and 12 still are on another level early on.

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

My review from www.twistedsnifter.com

Appearance: Pours a deep amber with crimson hues. Dark but not black, the clarity of this beer is evident when held to the light. The head is light and wispy, sandy in color and constantly replenished by a thin stream of carbonation.

Aroma: The nose on this is surprisingly hop forward. Big citrus and passion fruit from American hops with a solid alcohol note. As it warms the hops give way to dark fruits, chocolate, vanilla and bourbon. Big. Luxurious. Bourbon. Some brandy too.

Flavor: Wow. This is a sweet beer with lots of caramel and ripe fruits. The hop flavor is still there without being overly bitter. Plum, raisin and sweet fruit characters contrast nicely to notes of chocolate and tobacco. There is a strong presence of brandy and bourbon, wood and vanilla in the finish to remind you that this is something special.

Mouthfeel: Fifteen is a heavy beer. Residual sugar leaves it with a thick mouthfeel but it manages this without coming across as cloying. The time these beers spent in barrels are reflected with a roundness of character that is difficult to describe. An acceptable and enjoyable amount of oxidation helps soften the edges.

Overall: I was truly impressed with this beer. This year’s version has the malt character of an English Barleywine, the hop profile of an IPA and a barrel character to rival the best. A big, bold beer that manages to be balanced and restrained at the same time.

Photo of Gatch
4.35/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at Papago Brewing in Scottsdale, AZ for a Firestone Walker special event on 11/18/11.

A - Deep, dark brown with no head whatsoever. Alcohol sticks to the glass like legs on a wine.

S - Caramelized sugar, alcohol, a brandy-like smell.

T - Holy hell. Sweet alcohol that tingles the taste buds. Toffee. Butterscotch. Vanilla. Brown sugar. Browned butter. Poached fruits. Has a syrupy character. You can almost taste each beer in the blend. Definite barleywine accents and even some roastiness from the Velvet Merlin.

M - Alcohol lingers like scotch and dries the throat. Smooth, sweet, syrupy but not cloying. Heavy malt profile. Definitely some unfermented sugars.

At first I scoffed at the thought of a blended beer. Especially a beer with eight or so different beers blended within it. But Firestone Walker resides in wine country and has a wine background so I knew they would pull it off well. It's an amazing and unique beer and I'm grateful to have the opportunity to try it.

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

On tap at Far Bar in Little Tokyo

Pours a deep burgundy color, no apparent head, lots of creamy swirls around the top of the glass. A faint ring appears along the rim of the glass, stick very well, no bubbles or any sign of carbonation, looks very much like cognac. The aromas are strong alcohol, malty grains and tangy dark fruits, nice balance that is both strong and bold but also sweet and inviting. The flavors are very strong, lots of cognac flavors, strong alcohol and malty grains. Raisin, plum and tangy grain also make appearances, the alcohol is very firm but not hot at all. The barleywine elements are the clear winners here, very strong on the barleywine. It's very thick and syrupy, no carbonation at all, but it's not a bad thing. This is pushing the limits of beer, really more of a fine liquor, it's definitely good now, will do amazingly well with age, will have to grab a bottle and see where it ends up in a few years.

Photo of ArchEnemyBrew
5/5  rDev +14.7%

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

Tasted nov. 19th 2011 (from notes)


A - an almost root beer looking color (much more red though), not a lot of off white/tan head and no head retention or lacing

S - very sweet and boozey, vanilla, molasses, licorice, red wine blend, nutmeg, hops, toasty malts, almond extract, bourbon, bread yeast, flowers, red wine and whiskey barrels, lots of wood, earth, cherry, dried fruits and just all around fruity

T - vanilla, nuts, red wine, tons of oak, terrior, bourbon, chocolate, anise, dessert spices, to s of toasted and very sweet malts, a very slight coffee, toffee, fruity, a very slight but fruity hop, cherry, very dark chocolate dipped berries and more booze

M - medium minus body, low acidity, huge complexity, balanced for the level of complexity and very long finish

D - this is a wonderful beer. Wouldn't say any novice should even attempt this beer, but anyone who likes a huge, boozey, very complex and delicious ale, you should give this one a whirl. I think aging this beer would and will taste great with nice aging

Final thought - $20 a bottle is high in price, but this beer is good now and will be amazing later

Photo of BeerOnTheWall
4.54/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 oz bottle poured into snifter.

Pours dark chocolate brown with some reddish-caramel colors near the edges. 1 inch egg shell colored head with small bubbles surprised me...for a beer with 12.5 abv I was impressed that it stuck around for a few minutes before dissipating. Minimal lacing with long alcohol legs.

The nose on this is outstanding! Toasted Coconut, caramel, toffee, damp wood, figs, dried cherry, coco, vanilla, some bourbon-like alcohol. All are layered in perfectly with only the coconut being a dominant component. WOW!

Taste is almost as impressive as the nose. It starts out firing off flavors quickly...hops, coconut, dried plums and figs; then it starts to slow down and develop with a very nice blend of oak-caramel-leather-earthiness. Alcohol hits you just before giving way to a luscious coconut/chocolate finish that lingers as the alcohol burn comes back to hit you in the back of your throat.

This is medium to full bodied with good carbonation for the style. Lots going on with this but it never feels too heavy, very mouth coating.

This is the most complex beer I've had in a while and I enjoyed it thoroughly. The depth achieved speaks volumes about the barrel aging program that Firestone Walker has put together and shows that blending is not a lost art. It's just an art reserved for a select few. Well done!

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

Thanks to MrVonzipper for the bottleshare

Look: Pours a dark brown color with light traces of brown picking up the edges of the beer. Sadly the pour yielded no head and it had no lace

Smell: The nose carries very nice notes of brandy vanilla and some dark fruits

Taste: The beer taste like a very young old ale. Is that a oxymoron?? But seriously the beer has some nice characters to it the plums and figs are there with a vanilla oaky sweetness to it. Surprisingly I did not get to much bourbon I was hoping for more

Mouthfeel: Full body with low carbonation and a bit oily feeling

Overall: Right now and fresh this Anniversary is my least favorite of Firestones anniversary beers but that is not saying that it is not a good beer its just not great like some of the others. I have several bottles to age and I will re-look at this one after a period of time

Photo of emaciated
5/5  rDev +14.7%

Photo of leschkie
4/5  rDev -8.3%

Photo of baseball1976
1.31/5  rDev -70%
look: 4.5 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1.5

I had this on tap at Papago Brewing in Phoenix. It was recommended by one of the workers. I was put off by the price, but when others around me said that it was quite good, I gave in and got one. Let me say, I wish I had passed.

It came in a snifter, so I knew it was going to be strong. Here is what I thought:

A - looks great. I love a dark beer, and dark this is.

S - I was put off by this. The first warning sign. It did not smell appealing at all. It was almost as the beer was spoiled. It just had a unique smell.

T - Not good. All I could taste was bitterness and alcohol...and lots of the alcohol. The aftertaste was better, almost sweet, but the alcohol lingered and was not enjoyable.

MF - well, if I did not enjoy the taste, there is not much sense to go into any further detail here.

Overall - a let down. I was expecting the holy grail of beer and what I got was something loaded with the taste of alcohol. Chaulk it up as a loss.

Sadly, I think I am the only person who did not like this.

Photo of Devi0us
4.5/5  rDev +3.2%

Photo of rtaps
4.35/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Shared with mrvonzipper,darthkostrizer.
pours almost black until deep red wine highlights are shown when held to the light, with a small khaki head decent retention leaving lacing on the glass.

smell is very nice. getting raisins, vanilla, some oak, and hints of the bourbon

taste is nice with is still fresh, similar to the smell. raisins, vanilla, chocolate, fruit, some oak and bourbon. all balanced well

full bodied little carbonation, and smooth the a bourbon way.

overall pretty satisfied with this beer and holding up to the hype. will be aging some to enjoy at a later date.

Edit opened a bottle with a friend that new to the craft world

Aroma is alot more fig like the taste also brings alot more fig to it and chocolate. Kind of a Brady more than a bourbon now it's good as it warmed it got a little more "hot"

Photo of TotallyHosed
5/5  rDev +14.7%

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 FosterJM
4/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

953rd Review on BA
Bottle to Snifter


App- A bit of a whiskey brown this year without bringing that crimson, red, purple note to it. A small off white one finger head came and went and fell to only the thinest of bubbles around the edges. From the edges get lighter to darker as a spirit would.

Smell- I like one posters description of bubblegum. This smelled like a liquid pink bubblicious with some dark brown sugars, vanilla, oak, bourbon and malts. There are many layers to this one and a warming effect needed to happen to bring them all out. Although even saying all this still very much like a full rich BW overall. Seemingly the stout/ipa additional blends get lost to me.

Taste- Very much like all the components blended with Abacus, this seems to be a well done oak-aged Barelywine. More smooth, rich and lush flavors from the BW with a malt presence a little bit of wood notes, some earthiness and just a touch of bitter from the addition of the double jack. A little bit of ABV feel from being over the 10% mark and reaching to 11%. This was assertive not but not stingingly boozy. A little sweet on the back on the tounge.

Mouth- A bit thin this year. More taking a cue for smoothness versus being a filling feel. The body was a good bit of medium with a little bit of residual bitter notes from the hops of the double jack. The carbonation level was a low medium and left some nice bubbles.

Drink- Overall, for the series this comes from and where this was intended to go, I feel it missed the mark a bit. It had the addition of the DJ for the first time and it was nice but I feel it could've been left out. Especially for the % that was included in the final blend. FW makes some good beers and this is still one of them. I can't speak for everyone who has had 10-15, but for me, I've had 13-15 and Ill rank them in that order 13-15. Not sure about aging this one either. I don't feel as it sits it will do much. I do have another bottle for my 30th Bday in May 2012. So we will see.

Firestone 15 - Anniversary Ale from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
97 out of 100 based on 1,053 ratings.