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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.

980 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 980
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)
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Ratings: 980 | Reviews: 296 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Jakers90


4.5/5  rDev +3.4%

12-22-2011 01:12:33 | More by Jakers90
Photo of Pellinore1


4.5/5  rDev +3.4%

12-21-2011 13:33:44 | More by Pellinore1
Photo of sdhomebrewer


4/5  rDev -8%

12-21-2011 00:25:02 | More by sdhomebrewer
Photo of whahoppened


4.25/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This is a blend of eight beers, each of which surely has at least three fruits, nuts, herbs, pastries, etc. listed in its tasting notes somewhere. So does this mean I need to drop at least twenty-four names to properly review XV? If so, pre-emptive surrender.

FW builds its brand on barrels, and takes wine-envy a step further by presenting this scarce potion as a clinic in blending. A starting lineup of Central Coast winemakers led by Wine Spectator cover boy Justin Smith are behind the Barleywine/Brown Ale/IPA mashup here, and those of us who haven't tasted all eight component beers can only imagine how they have integrated into this incestuously malty Brady Bunch.

The first pour out of the bomber stank of bourbon, a ragged vanilla/dill that is the guarantee of sloppy-seconds American wood. As oxygen set in this outcast integrated, ingratiated, complementing the sticky caramel and oloroso sherry flavors that are reminiscent of unfermented wort.

Shit, I wish I had decanted this beer an hour before drinking it. It's an infant and needs a slap on the posterior to begin gasping air and embracing life.

In blends, elements come together only to disappear. And to beget new elements, promises and problems that would never have had a chance in eight different bottles. Bottom line is that XV is delicious. The only frontier left for this indispensable brewery is to apply the winemaker's conceit of "terroir" to beer. Fire walk with me.

Serving type: bottle

12-20-2011 05:58:39 | More by whahoppened
Photo of Pahn

New York

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

22oz bottle into Duvel tulip.

Appearance: Free pour yields a half inch offwhite head that dissipates quickly leaving a couple spots of lacing. Pours a clear but dark red brown, and leaves occasional spots of lacing.

Smell: From the bottle: caramel-y bourbon and piny hops. In the glass: more hops, citrusy and a bit dank. Coconut-y oak and bourbon influence present as a background that grows to dominance in short order. Spicy bourbon notes beyond just creamy oak type aromas. More caramel. Dark fruit somewhere between grape and cherry comes out as a welcome mainstay in the aroma as well.

Taste: First sip: surprisingly and impressively smooth and integrated. Somehow slightly herbal and citrusy hops swim around in caramel and vanilla oak and bourbon. Next sip has a more chocolaty bite.

Early on, my thoughts are: this beer is great. It's got deep, "decadent" flavors, but it comes across as more refreshing than decadent, due to the healthy carbonation plus vibrancy and lightness from the hop flavors. It's not a dessert beer, but it highlights many of the flavors that epitomize dessert beers. Interesting (and good!) stuff.

Lots going on in each sip. Sugary fresh American-made English barleywine hard candy flavors (like in Brooklyn Monster Ale or Founders Curmudgeon), the grape/cherry from the nose, caramel, some fresh bread dipped in chocolate, occasional oily and citrusy hop flavors that don't come across as dissonant. Finish is long and very reminiscent of drinking actual bourbon (it's hot, but active and spicy). Every so often has elements from a sugary, east coast DIPA, but they're tamed and highlighted by oak and bourbon.

This year's Firestone Walker Anniversary beer is a great blend. I like it better than last year's.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied. High side of moderate carbonation. Smooth, approaching creamy. Decent bitterness.

Overall: This beer is a success; a one of a kind, deep, enjoyable barrel aged beer formed out of blending several great beers. Looking back, I had trouble justifying the $25~ I spent on FW14, but I have no qualms with the $20~ I spent on FW15. It's worth paying premium for a beer like this. I'll greatly enjoy killing the rest of this bottle over the next hour or two.

Serving type: bottle

12-20-2011 00:01:35 | More by Pahn
Photo of BARFLYB


3.33/5  rDev -23.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

On Tap at Blue Monkey

Firestone fifteen is dark shoe polish brown with dark red tints in color with a centimeter or two of dark coffee brown foam. Leaves minor sticks and has pretty nice retention. It does look rather inviting. Smell takes at least 15 minutes to come out off the tap. Toasted oak, wet wood, bourbon scent, vanilla, almonds and some citrus zest from the double jack. It smells like 14 with DJ basically. Letting this sit for a while, I get citrus from the DJ up front backed by what im guessing is the blong barleywine. Oak plays a big part with faint wood mixing in with the bourbon. Faint coconut and almonds in the taste with a nice roasty taste from the malts, velvet? More citrus seems to round this one out.Im not all that thrilled about it. A nice firm body approaching full. A slight syrupy vibe on certain sips and I find the carb to be a bit lacking. The body is a step down in strength from fourteen. A longish aftertaste. I had a bottle of this and find the tap improves it slightly in texture and taste, but all together I think Im done with this beer.

Serving type: on-tap

12-20-2011 00:00:50 | More by BARFLYB
Photo of brez8791


5/5  rDev +14.9%

12-19-2011 18:33:30 | More by brez8791
Photo of mhaugo


5/5  rDev +14.9%

12-19-2011 15:38:40 | More by mhaugo
Photo of sjstraub


4.5/5  rDev +3.4%

12-19-2011 03:33:51 | More by sjstraub
Photo of krause316


5/5  rDev +14.9%

12-18-2011 23:39:03 | More by krause316
Photo of Daktyls


4.7/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a dark mahogany color with a minimal head that dissipates to a fine lacing almost immediately.

S: Hints of bourbon and oak are immediately present with some hints of vanilla and a slight breadiness. I'm getting a bit of chocolate and coffee as well as some dark fruits as well.

T: Wow that's good. Notes of vanilla and bourbon are present up front with dark cocoa and bitter coffee on the back end along with some dark fruits, figs and dates.

M: Heavy and complex flavors with a light amount of carbonation that suits this beer quite well.

O: Fantastic. This is one of those unfortunate times when I wish this beer/type of beer was not in fact a limited release, but available year round.

Serving type: bottle

12-18-2011 19:41:12 | More by Daktyls
Photo of huadog


4.5/5  rDev +3.4%

12-18-2011 04:41:15 | More by huadog
Photo of muttyd


4.5/5  rDev +3.4%

12-18-2011 03:57:35 | More by muttyd
Photo of amart80


4/5  rDev -8%

12-18-2011 02:52:14 | More by amart80
Photo of brealbg


4.5/5  rDev +3.4%

12-18-2011 02:51:30 | More by brealbg
Photo of brentk56

North Carolina

4.98/5  rDev +14.5%
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

Serving type: on-tap

12-18-2011 02:24:18 | More by brentk56
Photo of rwilde


3/5  rDev -31%

12-18-2011 01:14:08 | More by rwilde
Photo of Jwale73

Rhode Island

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

22oz. bottle served in my Captain Lawrence tulip. Pours a dark mahogany hue with a loose, quarter inch off-white head. Not much off the nose that is distinguishable - I get substantial malt aromas, as well as a suggestion of bourbon and burnt turbinado sugar and prunes. Taste reveals dark toasted malts, vanilla, a trace of butter and a pleasant, but not overpowering bourbon character. There is also a pleasant hops bite the expresses itself at the onset. Mouthfeel is medium-light with an assertive carbonation and a slightly creamy texture. Overall, a very good beer. Not something I would age, as I don't think it will stand the test of time; however, it's really quite good. That said, I had the opportunity to taste this beer on tap and I thought it was fantastic. Definitely worth trying if you have the opportunity; however, if you can try it on draft, don't pass it up.

Serving type: bottle

12-18-2011 01:09:50 | More by Jwale73
Photo of goldspire


3.5/5  rDev -19.5%

12-17-2011 21:05:45 | More by goldspire
Photo of dixonmp


5/5  rDev +14.9%

12-17-2011 08:09:11 | More by dixonmp
Photo of podunkparte


2.2/5  rDev -49.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

I love FW 14. I realize every Anniversary beer is different altogether, but I had high hopes for 15.

Poured into a 12oz New Belgium snifter.

A: Deep dark red when held to the light. About a 1/2 finger light tan head that disappeared quickly. Barely any lacing at all. Meh.

S: Dry, unsweetened toasted coconut. That's all I get

T: Hint of an initial sweetness to begin that never delivers. Gives way to that trademark coconut flavor that was delicious in the 14 (accompanied by great sweet and roasty flavors) but is sadly revealed to not stand on its own here. Once you swallow that coconut flavor is gone and you have no aftertaste but a bit of strange dryness with a lingering alcohol essence. I compare it to tasting a very high alcohol vodka. Very disappointing. I find myself not looking forward to the next sip and that's sad.

M: Thin and dry. Nothing to really say here.

O: Sorry, but this is not a good beer. There's no depth, no character that I found in Parabola, Abacus, and FW14. Too dry, to thin, too uni-flavored.

Serving type: bottle

12-17-2011 07:46:36 | More by podunkparte
Photo of j1knapp


4/5  rDev -8%

12-17-2011 02:31:23 | More by j1knapp
Photo of Khazadum


4.38/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- Bit of a disappointment in the appearance. Laces alright, sticky lacing for what its worth. Its got a cola coloration, a decent head development, but the retention is all wrong.

S- Delightful oak character, vanilla, light woodiness, caramels, deep molasses, bourbon sweetness. Volatile dark fruit acidity. Is that brandy notes?

T- Its all about the barrel aging here. The characteristics are strictly barrel related with the malts giving a synergism that you wish was a bit stronger. Still worthy. Bourbon sweetness with ethanol. Dark chocolate off the bat that gives way to the next flavors. Its got the alcoholic tinge of bourbon without the intensity. Dark fruits mingle here and there and its laced throughout with a murky hop character that eludes you. Bittering, but enough to the point you know its balanced.

Right in the middle every once and a while you get slapped with a vanilla characteristic that also contains a custard. Hell, I'll just say it. You taste vanilla custard without the creaminess! It seamlessly transitions into a tropical citrus makeover. Nicely hopped!

Finishes oaken, wooden, grainy but delightfully so. Hints of plums and dates.

M- Oh it has a heat that will build and build if you let it! Full bodied, almost syrupy. Wish it was creamier. Good carbonation level gives its presence on the back end so the initial flavors aren't hampered or hindered.

Really like this. Great beer, not sure if its 20$ great, but definitely a complex and worthy brew to start Beermas.

Serving type: bottle

12-17-2011 01:58:13 | More by Khazadum
Photo of Harvey98


4.5/5  rDev +3.4%

12-16-2011 22:58:51 | More by Harvey98
Photo of 20ozmonkey


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

Drank this to celebrate the end of a stressful semester. Poured it into a Stone 15th Anniversary glass (Some good ass breweries popped up 15 years ago).

I was surprised to see how light it was as I was pouring it. I was expecting another pitch black imperial stout colored beer. While it is very dark it is still clear and you can see the light come through on the edges. No head at all but some bubbles comin' up.

Very strong toffee smell. Kind of like those weird (but awesome) candies from See's that are long flat bars of toffee covered in chocolate.

Sweet tobacco and toffee flavors on the front that turn into a bit of bitterness and cookie flavor on the finish. Flavors of dates, brown sugar, caramel and all that good stuff are loaded into this beer.

Lightly carbonated with a medium body. Slides down nicely.

I try to limit myself to one or two "Tastes/smells like" references, but this beer has a LOT going on and it tastes great. I'm glad I still have a bottle to hold on to. I imagine it will taste a lot different once the hoppiness from the Double Jack fades away.

Serving type: bottle

12-16-2011 22:58:40 | More by 20ozmonkey
Firestone 15 - Anniversary Ale from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
96 out of 100 based on 980 ratings.