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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.
BA SCORE
97
world-class

1,059 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1,059
Reviews: 303
rAvg: 4.36
pDev: 10.78%
Wants: 164
Gots: 743 | FT: 36
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: 1,059 | Reviews: 303 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of weeare138
4.62/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appears a dense mahogany with a beige head that slowly fades into a mild cap and collar. Scattered spots of lacing are left around the glass.
Smell is of oak, rum, bourbon, cocoa, vanilla, caramel, molasses, and brown sugar.
Taste is of the aromas with a huge chunk of nougat and vanilla with caramel and cocoa.
Mouthfeel is full bodied, chewy, ballet, with some heat in the background.

Photo of jophish17
4/5  rDev -8.3%

Photo of trxxpaxxs
4.67/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A: When held to the light, this beer shows that it is an amazingly deep shade of red. There is only a small amount of white head that settles nicely along the top of the beer. There is minimal lacing as it drinks.

S: This beer smells amazing. It's big on the bourbon and brandy. There are layers of vanilla, oak, molasses, and candied stone fruits. There is a sweetness in there that is perfectly balanced with the large boozy hotness.

T: This beer does not fool around. Everything in the nose comes through in the taste. The alcohol is extremely noticeable, but it's never overwhelming. The vanilla/oak shine throughout as well. It's absolutely fantastic.

M: Full bodied beer. This beer is mega smooth. There is a wonderful sweetness mingling with high alcohol. The lasting remnants remind me a bit of campfires.

O: I'm super impressed with this beer. I think it is outstanding. I'd love to see what this is like in a few years, but I feel it might lose some of it's balance once the booze begins to mellow. I'm glad I have an extra bottle to find out.

Photo of MinorThreat
4.97/5  rDev +14%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Served from a 22oz Bomber Poured into Duvel Tulip

A- Deep and dark with a subtle ruby/mahogany hint when held to light.

S- While a bit colder (+/- 50) Oak was the predominant scent with underlying molasses, chocolate orange and vanilla. As it warmed up the sweet chocolate and citrus really became more noticeable.

T-So much going on in this one. Tons of bourbon like qualities such as vanilla and slight spice. The oak is somehow weaved through the great flavors of chocolate, coffee, vanilla, molasses and slight sherry without being too over the top. Very well integrated with the slightest hint of booziness (in a great way)

M-Rich and viscous

O-Exceptional, simply put. I will be aging a few bottles for a year or two but am very happy I was unable to resist the urge to get into one early.

Photo of Jakers90
4.5/5  rDev +3.2%

Photo of Pellinore1
4.5/5  rDev +3.2%

Photo of sdhomebrewer
4/5  rDev -8.3%

Photo of whahoppened
4.22/5  rDev -3.2%
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.

Photo of Pahn
4.47/5  rDev +2.5%
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.

Photo of BARFLYB
3.31/5  rDev -24.1%
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.

Photo of brez8791
5/5  rDev +14.7%

Photo of mhaugo
5/5  rDev +14.7%

Photo of sjstraub
4.5/5  rDev +3.2%

Photo of krause316
5/5  rDev +14.7%

Photo of Daktyls
4.67/5  rDev +7.1%
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.

Photo of huadog
4.5/5  rDev +3.2%

Photo of muttyd
4.5/5  rDev +3.2%

Photo of amart80
4/5  rDev -8.3%

Photo of brealbg
4.5/5  rDev +3.2%

Photo of brentk56
4.97/5  rDev +14%
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

Photo of rwilde
3/5  rDev -31.2%

Photo of Jwale73
4.1/5  rDev -6%
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.

Photo of goldspire
3.5/5  rDev -19.7%

Photo of dixonmp
5/5  rDev +14.7%

Photo of podunkparte
2.25/5  rDev -48.4%
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.

Firestone 15 - Anniversary Ale from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
97 out of 100 based on 1,059 ratings.