1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

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.

979 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 979
Reviews: 296
rAvg: 4.35
pDev: 11.49%
Wants: 157
Gots: 733 | FT: 35
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)
View: Beers (70) |  Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Latest | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 979 | Reviews: 296 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of alalvarez75

New York

3/5  rDev -31%

01-01-2012 07:38:57 | More by alalvarez75
Photo of bhir


5/5  rDev +14.9%

01-01-2012 05:17:32 | More by bhir
Photo of johnhenryconway

5/5  rDev +14.9%

01-01-2012 03:29:13 | More by johnhenryconway
Photo of bmwats


4.2/5  rDev -3.4%
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.

Serving type: bottle

01-01-2012 02:05:21 | More by bmwats
Photo of bigorange


4.5/5  rDev +3.4%

01-01-2012 00:54:17 | More by bigorange
Photo of Kranders


4.93/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a nice deep black that's deceptively transparent. Small head retention. The aroma just knocks you back. Huge hints of bourbon and sweetness come from all directions. One of the most complex tasting beers in a long time. Very sweet, with a ton of bourbon that somehow doesn't taste all that boozy. Lasts a while on the tongue with pronounced sweetness at the end. Fantastic beer.

Serving type: bottle

12-31-2011 22:24:35 | More by Kranders
Photo of coreyfmcdonald


4/5  rDev -8%

12-31-2011 18:25:28 | More by coreyfmcdonald
Photo of hawkmage


3.5/5  rDev -19.5%

12-31-2011 04:35:50 | More by hawkmage
Photo of GrindFatherBob

New York

4.5/5  rDev +3.4%

12-31-2011 03:43:03 | More by GrindFatherBob
Photo of Kaydogg


4/5  rDev -8%

12-31-2011 01:21:41 | More by Kaydogg
Photo of kevgod


5/5  rDev +14.9%

12-30-2011 23:20:11 | More by kevgod
Photo of Phelps


4.1/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a goblet.

Burgundy, dark yet partially clear when brewed from above. Amber highlights. Half a finger of cream-colored, frothy head descends to a thin ring after a while.

So much toffee in the nose, and it’s all buttery, sweet and rich. Deeper inspection reveals toasted bread covered with dark cherry marmalade, toasted coconut, cocoa nibs, and maybe even some orange juice.

The flavor is bright and fruity. Lots of citrus peel, dark cherry and brandy or sherry. The barrels impart notes of burnt oak, dark chocolate and a fairly heavy, boozy bourbon flavor. Some toasted coconut emerges as well. Compared to the tap version of this beer, this iteration of 15 is more like a barleywine, with less sweet toffee and more citrus. Fairly acrid, bitter finish.

I’d place the body right under medium-light, and it’s nice and smooth with light, tingly carbonation. Alcohol is tongue-numbing and actually a bit high.

I hate to be one of those guys, but Firestone 15 is just better from the tap. Whereas the glass I tasted before was sweeter and more like a barrel-aged old ale, the bottle gives me flavors that scream bitter barleywine. Less toffee-laden, more bitter and less smooth all around.

Serving type: bottle

12-30-2011 18:57:22 | More by Phelps
Photo of brystmar


4/5  rDev -8%

12-30-2011 06:35:32 | More by brystmar
Photo of ChugginOil


4.47/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served @ The House Pub on-tap.

Pours a nice mahogoney color with an inch of light tan colored head that dissipates quickly. A bit of spotty lacing.

The nose has a ton going on. Caramel, butterscotch, vanilla, oak, bouron and a bit of coconut. The heat is quite noticeable as well.

The taste is a complex replica of the nose. Butterscotch and vanilla are most noticeable and seem to be wrapped in a subtle bourbon blanket. There's a bit of cocoa happening as well. The abv is present but doesent take from the flavor.

The mouthfeel is rich and creamy with a velvet like feel. Nice on the palate with subtle carbonation level.

Overall, great characteristics are present without the barrels masking the inner-complexity. Fucking de-lic-ious.

Serving type: on-tap

12-30-2011 00:55:36 | More by ChugginOil
Photo of Auracom


3.68/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22 oz. on December 11th, 2011 into a mini pint taster.

A - Dark mahogany brown. Surprisingly clear. Thin white head with good lacing. Looks attractive enough.

S - Oak barrel, heavy malt sweetness, lots and lots of toffee, some singularly-distinct hop notes. There's really not much integration of all these different barrel aromas beyond the predominant oak.

T - I would agree with the consensus here, the barleywine characters are much more overt than anything else. Molasses, caramel, and maple syrup. Almonds underneath, though not really roasted or anything of the sort. There's a peculiar light and dark fruit contrast behind the old ale flavors. Hops come in near the backend of the drink and a touch of alcohol warming down the throat.

M - Alright carbonation but a bit subdued. Medium body, too light to carry the load of sweet flavors. Shorter finish that I anticipated.

D - It's not awful by any means, but it's disjointed and underdeveloped. Glad I didn't buy a second bottle and really glad I went ahead and opened it fresh. I question where the hell the Parabola shown through the blend. Oh well.

Serving type: bottle

12-29-2011 20:31:19 | More by Auracom
Photo of jdhchi


4.5/5  rDev +3.4%

12-29-2011 19:53:06 | More by jdhchi
Photo of DefenCorps


3.58/5  rDev -17.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

How times have changed. When 12 came out, I called on friends, traded heavily and ended up with 8 bottles. Now, with the 15 on the shelves here, I grabbed just one.

In my Great Divide glass, this beer is a dark brown with reddish brown highlights. A dense, tan head rises briefly before falling off to a ring, leaving little lace. The nose is initially disappointing. Reeking of cheap bourbon, this is a boozy assault. Once it breathes, though, it does open up a little bit revealing a little cocoa, a little caramel and a rather stale malt aroma. The staleness is a little disappointing, showing characteristics of oxidized malt, and I'd be surprised if that wasn't from the blond barleywine in the mix. The barrel character is quite nice, as always, with coconut and booze. A little toffee is also present.As it warms up, some dark fruits become apparent, along with a moderate brandy character. Wit time, a mild citrus note appears too, brightening things up. However, mixed with the booze, it does seem a little harsh.

Opening quite boozy with a blend of caramel, toffee, a little cocoa, a little nuttiness and some brown sugar, this has a lot of wheatwine character to it - and that's a whole lot of nothing. Again, the stale malt character of the nose is distracting and takes away from the blend. The dark fruit character does kick in on the mid-palate, though apart from this aspect, this beer is a little watery here. A blend of mild hop bitterness, booze and tannins are present on the finish, along with some coconut and vanilla. Medium full in body with soft, lush carbonation, this feels really nice on the palate. While solid, it's far from the best anniversary blend from these guys. I'd argue that the individual base beers (at least the ones I've tried) are significantly better.

**Edit 29 Dec 2011**
I left about a third of the bottle in the fridge to breathe overnight, and it improved significantly. The dark fruit and brandy have increased, a little bit of grape and port-like character is noticeable, and strangely, a little bit of marshmallow fluff as well. The booze is mellower, and while the tannins are still too harsh, saving the bottle improved the beer, at least to my nose. I'd give this version a 4/3.5/4

Serving type: bottle

12-29-2011 03:27:11 | More by DefenCorps
Photo of tclapper

North Carolina

5/5  rDev +14.9%

12-29-2011 02:48:44 | More by tclapper
Photo of DonDirkA


4.78/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A blend of 8 different ales aged in 197 different oak barrels. The smell has definite toasted oak and bourbonesque vanilla notes. There's a little chocolate and a clear alcohol kick as well. Up front the taste has strong bourbon chords such as vanilla and oak followed by chocolate and toffee sweetness. There are definitely hints of honey and a slight floral taste. It has a pretty dry finish and fades out with a tiny bit of hops swirled in with vanilla and caramel. Afterwords the flavors stick with you and change. Awesome. This was hard to describe, its so complex and wonderful. This beer is definitely worth the $18-23 price tag. Luckily mine was a Christmas gift.

NOTE: Now that I've sipped on it a little longer there is definitely some spiciness in there like cinnamon or ginger. A little more of a piney hoppiness in the background too, reminiscent of British hops like East Kent Goldings. Very very slight though, almost undetectable.

Serving type: bottle

12-28-2011 08:41:33 | More by DonDirkA
Photo of ales4baldo


4.68/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

P-Nice bottle. Looks medival and strong and the label really shows off.

A-Cool brownish color. Soft head. About a finger of head thats black and tan. Somewhat off white also.

S-Like a pineapple rum. Sweet grapes and apples make their way in. Smooth alcohol and tons of wine. A merlot kind. Delicious fruits as well.

T-Wow! Lots of wine and sugar. Subtle toffee with light bourbon that blends in nicely. Pine and banana and cherries are all present.

M-Nice, sits well in the mouth. Its light and heavy and smooth all at the same time. Has good carbonation and finishes with crisp and crackle. Bourbon engulfs the mouth towards the end.

O-A really nice beer that blends in very nicely considering there are so many beers combined. Really smooth and sweet that seriously delicious. Clean alcohol finish thats stellar and also fruity.

Serving type: bottle

12-28-2011 03:42:11 | More by ales4baldo
Photo of xnicknj


3.9/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

poured from a growler into a snifter - thanks to Wiid

Pours a deep, dark browned caramel color with some softer golden hues. A beige head rests on top, leaving little lacing or retention while fading out.

Soft hoppiness in the nose with a smack of barrely sweetness. Woody bourbon and vanilla with an assortment of dark fruits. Roasted malts with caramel and bready notes. Plenty happening here.

Sweet and warm up front with a cornucopia of flavors and a underlying smack of bitter hops. Definitely boozy with wood and vanilla, driven by the assorted bourbon and brandy flavors. Some dark fruit notes with dates, raisins, and anise. Thick roasted malts with caramel and molasses. Boozy and warm in the finish.

Fuller body, nice carbonation, soft and smooth on the tongue. Another solid installment for the FW anny beers, although there's really a TON going on here at once which felt kind of confusing at times.

Serving type: growler

12-28-2011 03:40:59 | More by xnicknj
Photo of musicforairports

New York

4.43/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Dark brown, clear ruby hues when held to the light. A bit of head and lacing.

Smells of chocolate, oak, bourbon, vanilla, pine.

Flavor is a lot of barrel flavors--whiskey, vanilla, oak, charred wood--and some darker, sweet malts. Chocolate and caramel. Some pine and maybe citrus. Very smooth, complex, and tasty. The bourbon flavor is light and doesn't overwhelm. The hops are noticeable, but otherwise minor. The ABV has a slight bite, but is mostly undetectable.

Medium-thick mouthfeel, low to medium carbonation.

This is my first Firestone Walker Anniversary beer, and I really loved it. Complex and smooth, and it doesn't taste like I'm drinking watered-down liquor. I rarely enjoy beers this high in ABV, especially darker ones, but this is a notable exception.

Serving type: bottle

12-28-2011 02:19:45 | More by musicforairports
Photo of MrHirschybar


4/5  rDev -8%

12-27-2011 23:19:33 | More by MrHirschybar
Photo of YaKnowBrady

New Jersey

4/5  rDev -8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

It's a shame that these Firestone Walker Anniversary beers are so expensive, as I do enjoy the hell out of them.

Bottle purchased at Samz in Burlington, $21.99 a bottle. Bought 3.

Poured into a large snifter. Lighter coloration that previous anniversaries, likely due to the inclusion of lighter beers in the initial blend. Duh. Smells of vanilla, bourbon, and surprisingly, hops. Alcohol comes through in the scent, but to be somewhat expected, due to the high abv.

Taste also follows the similar FW -bal beers, with the vanilla-bourbon flavor, but with a higher alcohol burn than I'm used to with their boxed specialties. Hop flavor adds to the burn, like drinking lemonade after eating a sour patch kid. Somewhat off-putting, unfortunately.

Definitely a pleasant beer in the ever growing ocean that is modern -bal beers, but as a blended American Strong Ale, especially from FW, it is a bit unbalanced and the alcohol burn is too strong. I hope this will mellow out with age, before it falls apart like some of their other blends tend to do. Next time, leave out the DDBA and the Double Jack.

Serving type: bottle

12-27-2011 21:38:27 | More by YaKnowBrady
Photo of jm1229


4/5  rDev -8%

12-27-2011 11:29:59 | More by jm1229
Firestone 15 - Anniversary Ale from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
96 out of 100 based on 979 ratings.