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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.

1,052 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1,052
Reviews: 302
rAvg: 4.36
pDev: 10.78%
Wants: 163
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:
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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,052 | Reviews: 302 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of THECPJ
4/5  rDev -8.3%

Photo of noyellowfizzbeer
5/5  rDev +14.7%

Photo of Rusty18
4/5  rDev -8.3%

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

Appearance: Clear medium reddish-brown coloring with a fair-sized beige head that quickly fades.

Smell: Mild Bourbon, vanilla, and some faint hop notes. The barrel elements are the prominent features in the nose.

Taste: Bourbon, vanilla, slight oak, and hops. The finish is fairly dry with the hop notes present throughout but coming on stronger towards the end. Some slight heat but fairly subtle for the ABV.

Mouth-feel: On the light side of medium bodied with a modest level of carbonation.

Overall: For my tastes the bal-aging elements and hop presence seem to be at odds. In my world the hop presence is reduced to an Abacus level and I'm left with a tasty treat. Good beer, but I can do without the upfront hop presence in a bal-aged beer.

Photo of Bilco
4.5/5  rDev +3.2%

Photo of billab914
4/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle poured into a snifter. It poured a dark caramel color with a thin white head scattered across the top of the beer and clinging to the edges of the glass.

The first two things that jump out at me right away in the aroma is the hoppy citrus and the malty caramel flavors. I get some toffee, brown sugar and dark fruits to it along with a some of the barrel aged characteristics. The barrel flavors are pretty reserved in it overall though.

The taste shows a lot of the malty, barleywine flavors to it throughout. I get some notes of caramel, toffee, brown sugar and chocolate along with some hoppy, juicy citrus. The barrel flavors are there as, but again I find them a little more reserved. There is a lot of flavors going on, but they come together pretty well.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Overall it was a very flavorful and drinkable beer. It had a nice range of flavors to it but managed to stay relatively balanced. Very solid beer all around.

Photo of siege06nd
3.88/5  rDev -11%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a snifter...

A: Pours a deep, shadowy ruby brown. About a quarter finger of cream colored head that quickly dissipates to a frothy ring around the edge. Good lacing. Solid.

S: Smells of oak, dark fruit, plum, fig. Lots of dark fruit on this. Also quite a bit of citrusy and piney hops. Little bit of chocolate in the background.

T: Chocolate, oak, piney hops, dark fruit, and more chocolate. Lots of bourbon, vanilla, caramel. Pretty good alcohol burn and quite a bit of residual sugar. Hops are prominent at this point, but should calm down over time. Dark fruit and chocolate are most prominent. Good.

M: Full bodied, moderate carbonation, flavors are well integrated.

O: Not quite the revelation that FW 14 was for me over the summer. This doesn't have nearly the age on it that that one did when I had it, so that could be part of the problem here. As if a 4.0 rated beer is a problem. FW maintains its honors as a top notch barrel aging brewer. Not sure I'm loving the citrus and sweet notes that the hops are passing off to this right now, but I think age will do this one extremely well. A good beer now, but I expect great things in 6 mos. to a year.

Photo of mfield14
5/5  rDev +14.7%

Photo of maximum12
4.47/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to jmpizzo & my well-bred mule lurpy1 for bottles of one of my favorite annual brews. 22 oz. bomber piled into two tulips for immediate consumption.

Pours a lordly red blended with the darkest ingots of hell. The nose - oh, the nose. These beers always smell so bloody fine. Pretty much one of everything good in there, welded onto a bourbon. Thing.

Firestone Walker XV is a smile in a bottle. Huge caramel hits first, with a swift kick of bourbon that has at least fourteen long, lingering feet. Then tons of things beneath, as befits its ancestry as a blend. Distinct barleywine caramel slam, more caramel, woozy booze, grain alcohol, sweet malts, brown sugar. Vanilla & oak. Candied sugar really pummels the aftertaste, lingering long-time. Along with the bourbon. Of course. Slick, smooth, & ridiculously easy to drink.

A few of the former anniversary beers haven't been at their peak when released: I don't feel that way about XV. Not sure how this could improve. Excellent, complex, tasty, huge. Of course.

Photo of bauermj
4/5  rDev -8.3%

Photo of bluesplit63
4.5/5  rDev +3.2%

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

22oz bottle poured into a snifter.

A - Pours a deep crimson which is completely opaque. A relatively hard pour yields only about a finger's worth of tan head with low retention. The lacing as well is pretty minimal with only a few rogue strands of foam hanging around.

S - The aroma brings a rather unusual twist considering the composition of the blend, and one of the first things I notice is a sweet honey and toffee. The barrels are present here as well, but unlike the 14th Anniversary, the oak and vanilla and more subdued. I'm not sure if it's because of the increased proportion of barleywines in this beer or different barrels, but I am getting a lot more brandy notes than bourbon in the form of pitted fruits. A hint of butterscotch as well which I hope is intentional rather than the early onset of an infection.

T - The flavors in Firestone 15 are all about the barleywines and barrels, which shouldn't come as much of a surprise given the blend is 76% barleywine. Caramel, toffee, and coconut hit the mouth first, before being balanced by a rich cocoa and vanilla flavor. The bourbon qualities do come across easier here than in the nose, but I am still predominately tasting brandy over bourbon. This bottle is still pretty fresh, but the addition of Double Jack IPA is almost completely absent; I can't really taste any citrus hops here, and the best I can get is a slight hop bitterness in the finish, but even that is far down the ladder behind more robust flavors. It is certainly a bit hot overall, but the alcohol isn't as off-putting as one would assume and the complexity definitely offsets this.

M - Mouthfeel is medium-bodied with decent carbonation. Although not heavy on the mouth, the flavors linger for a long time on the palate, developing the profile as it settles to deliver layer upon layer of nuance.

D/O - Drinkability is moderately high. Surprisingly, I think I like this a little more than the 14th Anniversary, as it seems to incorporate a little bit more depth. The one thing I'd levy against it would be the amount of alcohol and bitterness, but it is still fresh at this point and can only improve.

Photo of hellcatsjg
3.5/5  rDev -19.7%

Photo of johnnnniee
3.88/5  rDev -11%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep garnet brown with a decent fluffy off white head that subsides quickly. Smells of oak vanilla and lots of dark pitted fruit with a touch to much alcohol. Slightly oxidized with a malty sweetness. Taste is sweet malty with lots of fruitiness. Hints of vanilla and oak play nicely off some smoke and roast. A touch of heat, but not like I thought based on the aroma. Long lingering fruity and roasty sweetness in the finish. Medium to thick body with a moderate level of carbonation and a sweet almost syrupy mouthfeel. There's a lot going on here and this is quite a flavorful beer. I think this blend would benefit from a little more time for the flavors to come together a little better.

Photo of Gmann
4.27/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a somewhat clear chocolate brown color with a short tan head that settled into a light ring.

The aroma is of toffee and caramel, raisins and figs. Quite the sweet candy like aroma. Some sweet bourbon and oak aromas as well. Toasted bread notes from the malt.

The taste has more woody, bark like notes. A nice earthy bitterness to the malt. Some burnt caramel and light toffee to go along with some raisin flavors provide some sweetness. The bourbon is subtle but noticable, provides additional sweetness and the oak provides some sourness. The flavors blend very well together.

The feel is moderate with some soft tingly carboantion. Drinks lighter than expected. It is sweet and sticky on the palate but has enough of an earthy bitterness to offset. Some ABV burn.

Drinks surprisingly light and well balanced. Nice complex flavors.

Photo of pzymali
4.5/5  rDev +3.2%

Photo of TheSevenDuffs
4.33/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured in to CBS Snifter.

A - Poured medium brown with a small amount of bubbly light brown head.

S - Bourbon, brandy, vanilla and brown sugar are the dominant aromas. The barrel aging qualities really shine though in the nose. The background has hints of roasted malt, dark fruit anda touch of chocolate.

T - Bourbon, vanilla and some oak are evident up front with some brandy present as well, but not to the degree that the nose indicated. The background has some subdues roasted malt notes along with brown sugar, dark caramel and some raisins. The barrel aging flavours take centre stage but don't completely overpower the flavours of the base beers. The ABV is warming but overall the 15% ABV is well hidden.

M - Medium body. Very smooth and silky but a touch thin at times. Light carbonation.

O - An excellent beer. I was a little bit surprised that the barleywine qualities didn't dominate here, given that they accounted for almost 50% of this blend. But that wasn't necessarily a bad thing.

Photo of hopsandstouts
4.5/5  rDev +3.2%

Photo of ScrimshawFan
4.5/5  rDev +3.2%

Photo of InfernalPotato
5/5  rDev +14.7%

Photo of THEriksen
5/5  rDev +14.7%

Photo of bonez05404
4.25/5  rDev -2.5%

Photo of korguy123
4.35/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle into tulip
A- Somewhat clear dark brown with ruby highlights. Three finger light beige head that lasts momentarily. Lacing is spotty with slight alcohol legs.

S- Right off the bat I get english and american barley wine bitterness and sweetness. Mixed with the floral and pine of the double ipa. Bourbon and brandy are there but very subdued. There is a slight oak mixed with smoke and peat. Chewey caramel and sponge toffee. Vanilla and brown sugar.

T- Super smooth bourbon with sweet brown sugar, toffee and vanilla. Definite English barley wine in there with a slight bitterness and malt bill. Alcohol is very subtle. There is a slight maple syrup note in the sweetness. The hops are very slight but definitely aid in cutting the sweetness down.

M- Smooth, medium bodied, low carbonation makes this feel like a brandy or port. Sticky on the lips with the slightest of alcohol warmth.

O- This is truly a masterpiece. The work and thought and time put into this is remarkable.

4.05/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 2 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

10oz draft served in a chalice for $5.50. Sampled today, 1/21/12.

A: Not much of a looker. Just after being poured, the beer arrives with no head, and only a whispy off-white crescent shaped collar remains. The body is dark brown with amber showing through on the edges - and even part way into the glass. Mostly opaque. No lacing.

S: Caramel is by far the dominant feature of the nose, coming across with homemade-like decadency. Toffee moves in with a light whiff of butterscotch further in the background. Bourbon notes are gentle, bringing in pure vanilla and a sweet nuttiness - something like almond extract. Toasted marshmallow, coconut and maple syrup are a possibility. Alcohol is most definitely there, but it's pretty well concealed on the nose.

T: Long lasting, syruppy sweet flavor and even sweeter than the nose suggested. This is more appropriately a dessert beer than 14 is or ever was. More toasted and less roasted for that matter. Bourbon and toffee infused rum come through judiciously, warming on the back end and exhale. Caramel remains prominent.

M: Mouthcoating but never cloying. Perfect level of carbonation throughout. Finishes just dry enough to prepare for the next sip. Great once again.

O: A small step back from 14 but does not disappoint. Firestone Walker is on another planet with their blending ability.

Photo of wdarcy77
3.5/5  rDev -19.7%

Firestone 15 - Anniversary Ale from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
97 out of 100 based on 1,052 ratings.