Firestone 15 - Anniversary Ale - Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

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

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
93
outstanding

304 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 304
Hads: 1,085
rAvg: 4.21
pDev: 5.7%
Wants: 170
Gots: 745 | FT: 33
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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Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 304 | Hads: 1,085
Photo of Beaver13
3.07/5  rDev -27.1%
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. (383 characters)

Photo of Tschnab
4.17/5  rDev -1%
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. (520 characters)

Photo of oberon
4.47/5  rDev +6.2%
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! (394 characters)

Photo of Brabander
4.41/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I took this bottle home after a very nice tasting @ the Kulminator in Antwerps Belgium. Thanks Dirk and Leen for hosting this tasting. I had the bad luck that i could not drink any beers because i had to drive home.

This beer has a very nice touch of the barrel aging. There is no head or other nice thing to see when the beer is poured. Could be that the bottle lost its charm while transporting it.

A good boozy smell. The rest is just as good! (448 characters)

Photo of cfrances33
4.18/5  rDev -0.7%
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. (660 characters)

Photo of ngeunit1
4.42/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a dark brown with some mahogany around the edges and a thin layer of frothy khaki-chocolate colored head. The head fades down very quickly leaving behind a touch of lace.

S - Aroma is full of sweet caramel malts and brown sugar with oak, vanilla, Bourbon, Brandy, chocolate, dark fruit, maple, and a bit of citrus and booze.

T - Starts off with some strong caramel and toffee malts and brown sugar with some roasted chocolate, vanilla, dark fruit, and maple. Through the middle, the oak and toasted coconut flavors come through with some citrus and a bit of honey. The finish is mix of sweet caramel malts, oak, vanilla, Bourbon, with some toasted coconut, dark fruit, Brandy, and booze.

M - Full bodied with mild carbonation. Feels smooth and a bit creamy with a sweet and warming finish.

D - Very drinkable. Very bold, but well balanced and smooth. Very complex flavors that blend together nicely. (913 characters)

Photo of Tone
4.05/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a black color. 1/3 inch head of an off-tan color. Good retention and good lacing. Smells of alcohol, oak, yeast, sweet malt, slight roasted malt, and hops. Fits the style of an American Strong Ale. It is a blend of a Barleywine, IPA, and RIS!. Mouth feel is smooth and clean, with an average carbonation level. Tastes of alcohol, oak, sweet malt, slight roasted malt, hops, and slight yeast. Overall, very strong, but not overpoweringly liquor-centric. Good appearance, aroma, feel, blend, and body. (505 characters)

Photo of uustal
4.35/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep brown with a one-finger, quickly dissipating light brown head. Aroma of vanilla, oak, toffee, dark fruits and mocha with a touch of bourbon. Sweet silky start to the flavor. Vanilla, mocha, and coconut. Followed by a bit of cherry, hint of tartness, and fig before a warming, slightly boozy, bourbon finish. The booze in this one is no way a negative. A great blend of barrel aged beers. I'd describe it as a muted, or successfully aged version of a barleywine, with a bit more sweetness (vanilla, mocha, coco) from the big stouts shining through and lesser boozy and dark fruit notes. Great blend and beer overall.

300th Review (643 characters)

Photo of Etan
4.12/5  rDev -2.1%
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. (823 characters)

Photo of jmarsh123
3.77/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to drewba for the bottle!

Pours murky deep brown with a thin beige head and slight legs on the glass.

Smells of chocolate, coffee with a little caramel, booze and dark fruits.

Sweet toffee malts come through more on the flavor along with dark fruits. A bit of booze and barrel, but it's not overpowering. The barleywines components seem to dominate. I wish there were a bit more of the chocolate from the nose.

A bit thinner bodied than I'd prefer. Booze is present, but fairly mellow and well integrated for the ABV. Medium carbonation.

Solid and enjoyable, but I'd rather have a Parabola. This one is a bit sweet and could use some roasted malts or a little more bitterness to balance somewhere. (709 characters)

Photo of rodkin
4.34/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

On tap at Three Kings.

Pours a dark reddish brown, kind of a cola look. Almost no head.

Smell is oak, molasses, brown sugar, vanilla, bit of chocolate, bit of coconut. Tiny bit of roasty bitterness. Maybe a faint hint of hops. Really, really nice.

Taste is big chocolate, oak, and vanilla upfront. There's some coconut in there, too. Not as noticeable as it was fresh in the bottle, but it gets more noticeable as it warms, especially in the finish. It's really rich and decadent, but there's some heat from the alcohol that keeps it in check, so it never becomes cloying. Maybe a bit of dark fruit in there too? Raisin or plum.

Mouthfeel is just a touch thicker than medium. It coats the mouth nicely. Not too much carbonation, just about what you'd want from a beer of this size.

Really smooth, really drinkable, just delicious. Great beer. (848 characters)

Photo of PeterIngemi
4.3/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22oz bottle into a duvel glass.

A: body's beer is almost black with touches of deep
Mahogany around the edges.. Almost two fingers of slightly browned head that dissapates nicley and leavs some nice sticky lacing.... Looks delicious.

S: booze, burbon, vanilla, oak, dark fruit, Very very complex and delicious. Loads of caramel and brown sugar, layer of deliciousness continue to develops as this brew warms.

T: caramel and dark fruit, raisin, brown sugar, prune, oak, burbon, booze, burbon, vanilla, toffee, light coffe and chocolate notes. I feel like this blend is deffinatly more dominated by barleywine, but the other components are deffinatly noticeable as well. This is an incredibly delicious and complex blend.

M: medium to heavy bodied with medium carbonation that keeps this brew from being to slick.... Its velvety,lush and delicious.

O: this is an incredibly unique and delicious beer. It is amazing how all these brews can blend together to make such a delicious whole, so much complexity, deffinatly a must try for any fan of barrel aged beers. (1,079 characters)

Photo of vfgccp
4.74/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A - Relatively loose off-white head with ok retention and lace. Deep mahogany body with cherry cola highlights.

S - Stellar nose. Vanilla, milk chocolate, brown sugar, dried plum, cappuccino, touch of cinnamon, booze, nutmeg, bready grains. The only think keeping this from a 5 is that it's just a shade too boozy. BA needs a 4.75.

T - Stellar balance and integration. Cadbury milk chocolate, oak, vanilla, molasses, warm booze, black cherry, cream, medium roast coffee, pumpernickel, almond milk.

M - Warm, incredibly smooth, and full bodied.

O - Possibly the most drinkable 12%+ brew I've ever had. The flavor profile, complexity and balance are fantastic. (662 characters)

Photo of Rau71
4.67/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured this ale into a Luettich Balloon. Poured a Dark Brown with red highlights. The smell is welcoming, sweet vanilla and bourbon. The taste is very unique, and changes throughout the bottle. At different points I picked up Vanilla, bourbon, oak, raisins, and caramel. This is an outstanding mix. I got not boozyness and only a hint of warmness. One of my favorite anniversary ales. (384 characters)

Photo of Bfarr
4.73/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Clear sherry colored and a thin tan head with no retention. Caramel, oak, and toffee with hints of citrus. Sweet barley, caramel, vanilla initially. Evolves to caramelized sugar and custard and darkening in the middle to chocolate and earthy citrus notes. Light molasses and bourbon all around. Light bodied smooth, vinous feel.

A beautiful colored beer is heavy on caramelized sweetness but opens up to a ridiculous amount of flavor at a warmer temperature. The oak flavors and dryness don’t dominate but they are always present creating the impression of a very drinkable and complex bourbon. Alcohol flavors aren’t present, only a gentle warming. It is very apparent this is a beer blended by wine makers. This is certainly one that MUST be enjoyed at a warmer temperature and if you have a friend who prefers wine complexity, then this is one to share with them. It’s expensive but I say it’s worth it at least once. (929 characters)

Photo of WeedKing4
3.9/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Picked this up in Buffalo. Pours a dark brownish black with creamy white head. Tastes of huge bourbon notes, a little too overpowering to be honest. Nice roastyness with vanilla and chocolate notes. But the bourbon stands out way too much. Can definately taste the booze in this. A interesting beer overall, just a bit too big for me. (334 characters)

Photo of draheim
4.41/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle into a snifter. Pours a very dark crystal-clear mahogany w/ a thin head that settles quickly to a surface film. Minimal visible carb.

Aroma is vanilla, bourbon, dark fruit, oak, caramel malt.

Taste is sweet malt, rum-soaked dark fruit, warm bourbon, vanilla, caramel, toffee, oak, and some floral bitter hops.

Mouthfeel is smooth and slick w/ a semi-dry, warming finish.

Overall another solid barrel-aged blend from Firestone Walker. (449 characters)

Photo of GregSVT
4.15/5  rDev -1.4%
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. (1,098 characters)

Photo of kemoarps
4.02/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a nice mahogany with a bit of head. Minimal lingering and no lacing. Some sediment settling in the bottom.

The nose has some alcohol behind it, more brandy than bourbon. Some raisin and almost a fig?

Taste follows through, raisins, brandy booze, a little brown sugar and some of those dark fruits. Mild hops hidden somewhere.

Very smoothe. A unique blend, but it comes together and works. Tasty. May you be lucky enough to get your hands on some. (456 characters)

Photo of CuriousMonk
4.47/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from bomber into snifter glass. Pours clear, dark ruby with a nice off-white head with legs that lasted quite nicely throughout. Brown sugar nose, sweet malts, some of which are tangy. Big sweet, roasty, brown sugar flavor, some bourbon, bread, and wood. Full mouthfeel with fine carbonation throughout. Warm finish with light sting, wood, bourbon, brown sugar. A bit boozy overall, but still lots of surprising pleasant elements peeking through. (453 characters)

Photo of Kevlee722
4.42/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 oz bomber into stone old guardian glass, split with my pops for fathers day.
Pours a beautiful mahogany color with ruby highlights on the edges. One finger of khaki head that dissipates quickly leaving a small amount of lace behind.
Nose is huge bourbon, malt and some of the brandy. Bourbon leads the way, definitely the Kentucky spirits chargin hard on the forefront. Great aroma, the barrels show up in an immense and wonderful way.
Taste is equally as delightful, bourbon, oak vanilla and the slightest bite from the hops of the double jack show up. One of the best blends I've ever tasted, Firestone has a way with beer that I can't seem to stay away from.
Mouthfeel is perfection, crisp and carbonated with the right amount of smooth creaminess. A very enjoyable brew.
Very drinkable, smooth, crisp and everything you could want from a barrel aged blend. The work firestone did with the central coast winemakers shows through. This beer is balanced, beautiful and as delicious as they come. One of my favorite anniversary offerings from this awesome brewery. (1,069 characters)

Photo of BostonHops
4.25/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle served in a snifter.
bottled 10/07/11 (wish i could get double jack this fresh. not that this is exceedingly fresh but the most recent batch of double jack on the shelves around here is-, ok, sorry i digress. but we're talking ~6 months.)

pours a mahogany tone, sits a borderline black in the glass; yields a short-lived tan head. as anticipated the nose is heavily malt-forward. bourbon is clearly showcased, along with notes of vanilla and caramel and hints of chocolate and molasses.

flavor is intriguing, a lot more going on than i expected going solely off the aroma. vanilla, caramel, and molasses pull through (along with bourbon of course), but there's also a slight citric presence - as others have noted likely coming from the double jack - some raisin, and a touch of chocolate. complex and tasty. definitely on the sweet side but not overly sweet for me, though i can see where it might be for others. alcohol presence is there but not nearly as imposing as you might expect for a 12.5% ABV beer... medium-plus bodied mouthfeel with below-average carbonation.

overall i'm right in-between an A- and a solid A on this one, with A- seeming a touch low and A striking me as a hair too high. forced to choose, i'll give it the .5 bump. a really enjoyable beer.

(originally reviewed: 12-07-2011) (1,318 characters)

Photo of bcostner1
4.87/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

A: Deep, rich mahogany brown with some dark garnet undertones present. Thin tan head which quickly dissipates (not surprising given the high ABV).

S: Intoxicating. Vanilla, molasses, brown sugar, caramel. Faint EtOH present as well. This really is a fantastic smelling beer.

T: Outstanding. Follows the nose with heavy vanilla and caramel. Some definite molasses and brown sugar present as well. Mild, smooth bourbon. Rich figs. All brought together by the underlying woodiness of the barrel aging. Ridiculously delicious. Reminds me a lot of the Shmaltz Vertical Jewbelation (which is one of my favorite beers of all time) but this one may even be slightly better.
So complex. I think I could drink this over and over again and get something different every time.

M: Smooth. Ever so slightly on the thin side perhaps(?) The alcohol is detectable...faintly so but definitely there. Overall, very easy to drink.

This beer is phenomenal. I am becoming convinced that these blended, barrel aged brews (like this one and the before mentioned Vertical Jewbelation) are one of my top 3 favorite styles when done well. And this one is definitely done well to say the least. I am glad I bought 5 bottles of this (and would have bought more if it were available in my area and not so pricey). Still, this is an almost indescribably beautiful beer and I highly recommend it. (1,370 characters)

Photo of RuckusDu
3.75/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Just sent a couple of these out so I thought I would see how its tasting. Into Duvel tulip at about recommended temp.

A - Maybe a half finger of light beige head that quickly falls. Body is clear but a deep amber that is more red than brown. Almost no lacing.

S - Sweet and very similar to an english barleywine. Caramel, some chocolate, and just a hint of dark sour fruits. Cherry and prune mix.

T - Starts with a sour bite that sticks throughout as the beer develops. Then the faint flavor of harsh hops show up, but because it is faint, the harshness doesn't take away from anything. Last is the Parabola which I get a lot of.

M - Gets you in the back of your mouth with some sour. Good carbonation and medium body. Very barleywine like.

O - The flavors are complex and a lot going on, but it ends with that Parabola flavor and just makes me want one of those. (869 characters)

Photo of Bendurgin
3.82/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Shared by Andy and poured into a tulip. This one pours a dark brown with just a thin cap of foam.

The aroma has a nice rich aroma with some hints of toffee and chocolate with a little bit of dark fruit. Rich chocolate and hints of coffee and dark fruit on the pallet.

The body is thick and chewy with soft carbonation. Overall this one is pretty tasty. A little bit more barelywine characters than I remember from yeast; this one is very good. (446 characters)

Firestone 15 - Anniversary Ale from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 304 ratings.