1. Extreme Beer Fest. March 20 & 21, 2015 in Boston, Mass. Join us!
  2. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  3. 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.
BA SCORE
96
world-class

1,021 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1,021
Reviews: 298
rAvg: 4.35
pDev: 11.49%
Wants: 156
Gots: 743 | FT: 38
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)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 1,021 | Reviews: 298 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of KidRagnarok
5/5  rDev +14.9%

KidRagnarok, Dec 05, 2011
Photo of Docer
4.15/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: (4.0)
- Nice rich dark and mostly clear brown. Big slowly forming off-white to beige colored head. Bubbly like a barrel aged brew should look. Settles with lace all about and a thin pillow riding on top. Nice looking!

Smell: (4.5)
- Great sweet malts and holiday dessert notes. Brown sugar, molasses, vanilla from the barrels.. earthy sweet caramel.. light grassy and herbal hop spice.. little roasty tobacco, and light alcohol. Almost a touch of licorice going on. Very good.

Taste: (4.0)
- Oh my. Where to start? Rich caramel and grainy molasses sweetness. Vanilla and oak character really shines through, and blends perfectly with the bready grain, and esters from the grain. Some fig, raisin, tobacco, earthy grassy hops with a slight citrus and spicy zest. Little alcohol, but very well hidden. Really good bourbon notes. May be a bit much on the bourbon side for some, guessing this will age perfectly.

Mouth Feel: (4.5)
- Super nice medium to heavy body with the perfect carbonation. Though a very sweet beer, it isn't too overly syrupy or sticky. Quite chewy and cloying really, and dries the mouth just a touch. This is a smooth winner.

Overall: (4.0)
- A very well made and carefully blended beer. I love barleywines, and I love bourbon barrel barleywines. This turned out very good and is very well balanced. A lot of good beers went into this, and simply created a fantastic beer. Worth picking up a few.

Docer, Dec 05, 2011
Photo of furthurgone
4/5  rDev -8%

furthurgone, Dec 04, 2011
Photo of drn
5/5  rDev +14.9%

drn, Dec 04, 2011
Photo of ejw127
4.5/5  rDev +3.4%

ejw127, Dec 04, 2011
Photo of GarrettB714
5/5  rDev +14.9%

GarrettB714, Dec 04, 2011
Photo of biolachris
5/5  rDev +14.9%

biolachris, Dec 03, 2011
Photo of drewburning25
5/5  rDev +14.9%

drewburning25, Dec 03, 2011
Photo of daysinthewake
5/5  rDev +14.9%

daysinthewake, Dec 03, 2011
Photo of dksl16
4/5  rDev -8%

dksl16, Dec 02, 2011
Photo of dylnthmsn
5/5  rDev +14.9%

dylnthmsn, Dec 02, 2011
Photo of localhost
4/5  rDev -8%

localhost, Dec 02, 2011
Photo of MasterSki
3.65/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Mike (AgentZero) for sharing this. Served in a Bell's tulip.

A - A finger of off-white foam settles to a thin collar, leaving behind a near-complete wispy cap and a few splotches of lace. Transparent dark cherrywood body. Quite attractive considering the high ABV.

S - Lots of oak up front, and perhaps a bit of spicy alcohol presence as well. Behind that there's some milk chocolate, honey cakes, nuts, a bit of fig, and perhaps a hint of anise. Lots of wood for sure, and also a slightly aged, oxidized quality that makes this beer seem older than it is.

T - Extremely sugary - a mix of turbinado, oaky vanilla, maraschino cherries, milk chocolate cherry cordials, and a honey and burnt crème brûlée finish. It's complex, but becomes cloying and overly saccharine very quickly. Alcohol is better hidden in the flavor.

M - Smooth, medium body, with lower carbonation, and a decidedly light tannic character. Alcohol isn't particularly present here, and there's a very mellow aged character.

D - Just too sweet for my tastes - the blend is basically all barleywines and brown ales, most of which have added sugar or honey. There's not enough whiskey or roast character in the flavor to balance out the intense saccharine qualities of this brew. Might be good as a 4oz dessert pairing, but it was a struggle for Mike and I to consume the 22oz bottle. Almost certainly my least favorite beer of the series. I also don't anticipate this aging well as it already tastes kind of old.

MasterSki, Dec 02, 2011
Photo of Nitrogenx
5/5  rDev +14.9%

Nitrogenx, Dec 02, 2011
Photo of AgentZero
3.48/5  rDev -20%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A - Nice looking beer. A rich mohagany color with good ruby on the edges. Off-white head with some decent retention and moderate stick.

S - There is quite a bit in the nose here. Nuts, fruit, vanilla, caramel, brown sugar, butterscotch and dark fruit. Smells quite sweet, but good.

T - Taste is a lot like the nose. Really get a lot of brown sugar in this. As Alex said, reminds a lot of a brown ale. Bit of chocolate, slight hops. I don't really like Double Jack, which was supposed to be the "game changer" in this beer. Maybe that's what's making this one not as good as the last anniversary beers. Overly sweet, becomes a bit cloying and hard to drink.

M - Lower carbonation, close to full bodied.

O - My least favorite of the beers I've had of this series. It's got a lot going on to make for decent complexity, but it's too sweet and I wish they would have focused more on some of the more subdued notes.

AgentZero, Dec 02, 2011
Photo of Rizalini
4.3/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bomber into my Deschutes tulips glass...

A - Pours a deep mahagony color, with a minimal off-white head. Pretty much no lacing.

S - There's a LOT going on in my nose. I get chocolate waffer, bourbon, coconut, and woodsey oakiness.

T/M - The taste is that of a bourbon barrel barleywine. The smell carries very well over to the taste. It's kinda crazy, but it's like I can taste some of the beers blended in this one, especially Parabola and Abacus. Medium heavy mouthfeel, low carbonation.

O - This is the 1st Firestone Ann. I've had, and I love the concept. Blending different barrel agerd brews to perfection, and hiding the alcohol very well. Scary easy to drink since there's no boozy blowout, which is amazing for a 12.5% beer.

Rizalini, Dec 02, 2011
Photo of PretzelCity
5/5  rDev +14.9%

PretzelCity, Dec 01, 2011
Photo of BradLikesBrew
4/5  rDev -8%

BradLikesBrew, Dec 01, 2011
Photo of Overlord
3.53/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Sooo glad I didn't buy more than a bottle of this, though I had a chance to pick up multiples.

Pours a dark, burnt orange-ish brown with some very subtle notes of deep mahogany red.

Smells like brown sugar, a bit of booze soaked figs/raisins, and ... kind of an indistinct caramel toffee/barleywine aroma. Sounds better than it actually smells. A bit too much alcohol, nothing real fresh or distinct in the aroma. Kind of like you mixed a barleywine and an old ale and called it a day.

Taste is ... disappointing. Not good. Way too much sherry/oxidation/indistinct woodsy malty flavors. There's an offputting bitter note to the figs/raisins/dark fruits, almost like they've been laced with an inappropriate hop strain. Too much booziness. The heat is not integrated into any strong noteworthy flavors, it just kind of makes it feel like they dumped bourbon/whiskey with a drop of vanilla extract into it. Not a bad/terrible beer, but disappointing given the prior achievements of this series.

Mouthfeel is flat. No bubbling. This would be easier to take if this was a heavy beer with really strong distinct elements, but it's not.

This is by far the worst of the Firestone series. I think they maybe need to back off a bit and not release this every year. I think the recipes have become less and less inspired, and what used to be awesome barrel aged backgrounds are now becoming a bit of a muddled mess. Parabola and Abacus are both significantly better than Firestone 13, 14, or 15.

Overlord, Dec 01, 2011
Photo of SalukiAlum
5/5  rDev +14.9%

SalukiAlum, Dec 01, 2011
Photo of Lillie1128
4/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours a deep brown with a small white head

S - It's a really complicated smell. It's got a little bourbon with maybe some caramel.

T - It's complex to say the least. It's got a decent amount of bourbon balanced smoothly throughout. I also detect some caramel and spices. Just the tiniest bit of coffee.

M - Really smooth, medium bodied

D - Pretty low

This is a really interesting blend, but it's very enjoyable. Thanks to mthomas84 for this one!

Lillie1128, Dec 01, 2011
Photo of hopluva1
4.5/5  rDev +3.4%

hopluva1, Dec 01, 2011
Photo of Rollzroyce21
4.94/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I had a serving of this fresh about a year and half ago and thought it was an interesting blend that held inviting flavors of typical barleywine and hints of chocolate-covered cherries, molassas, and dark fruits. The heat was prominent, but wasn't so bad that it had a negative impact on the experience. I liked it overall, but had doubts that it was worth the price tag.

22 oz. Bottled 7-Oct-11
Cellared 15-Nov-11
Poured into stemless wine glass on 30-Mar-13 (aged about 18 months)

Decided to crack it open based on what I've been hearing on how it's been aging. It's straight-up like a fine port with notes of chocolate, caramel, and cherries. Such a beauty! The heat's still there, but doesn't interrupt the fantastic taste; only feel it in the throat as it goes down. A fantastic sipper. Better than XVI fresh. Regret not buying more when I had a chance.

Rollzroyce21, Dec 01, 2011
Photo of imperialking
4.5/5  rDev +3.4%

imperialking, Dec 01, 2011
Firestone 15 - Anniversary Ale from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
96 out of 100 based on 1,021 ratings.