Firestone 15 - Anniversary Ale - Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Firestone 15 - Anniversary AleFirestone 15 - Anniversary Ale

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BA SCORE
97
world-class

1,042 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1,042
Reviews: 299
rAvg: 4.36
pDev: 11.01%
Wants: 160
Gots: 745 | 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: 1,042 | Reviews: 299 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of lballstar
5/5  rDev +14.7%

Photo of Amdy
5/5  rDev +14.7%

Photo of jh1982
4/5  rDev -8.3%

Photo of leprakhan
4/5  rDev -8.3%

Photo of hansgruber
4.5/5  rDev +3.2%

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

Dark brown color with light brown head that dissipates fast.

Smell is vanilla, fig, brown sugar, and toffee.

The taste is boozy. Vanilla, brown sugar, toffee. It is a little too sweet, but I'm able to get past that as the rest of the flavor is good.

Mouthfeel is thick and sticky. The sweetness really comes into play in the mouthfeel and is a bit much.

Overall, a really good beer. My only real knock on it is the cloyingly sweet flavor and texture. Otherwise, I really enjoyed it.

Photo of Beerontwowheels
5/5  rDev +14.7%

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

On tap at Max's last night.

The beer pours a fairly dark brown color with good head retention and decent lacing. The beer smells terrific, as I pick up considerable milk chocolate, vanilla, light cherry and coffee. There's is also a considerable aroma of bourbon, which becomes increasingly pronounced as this beer warms. The flavor profile replicates the nose, and while absoltely delicious, this beer is definitely a bit on the sweet side. The alcohol is also pretty noticeable (it's not hot or heavy on the finish, but you can definitely tell you're drinking something with a considerable abv.), though I thought it well integrated into the flavor profile. Mouthfeel is full and fairly soft, with a long, rich, sweet finish. The carbonation comes across as fairly low, which I think works well with this particular beer.

An excellent beer, though given the sweetness and considerable alcohol, it's hard to imagine ever consuming more than one glass of this at a sitting.

Photo of StoutFest
5/5  rDev +14.7%

Photo of Gosox8787
3.5/5  rDev -19.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Presentation: Bomber bottle poured into my Cigar City Tulip. Served just below room temperature.

Appearance: Much lighter in color from the other Firestone Anniversary beers I've had. The high percentage of lighter barleywines in the blend is really apparent. Pours a cola light medium to dark brown. Pours a slight beige head that recedes quickly. Almost perfectly resembles Coke.

Aroma: Big caramel, brown sugar and molasses upfront. Very sweet. Bourbon and brandy notes are definitely present in the back. Also, a surprising amount of heat. I am not detecting a lot of the Double Jack in here, as I am getting mostly cloying sweetness.

Taste: Brown sugar, honey, and molasses really dominate. Oak and vanilla add some nice backing notes and work well with the sweetness. I definitely still get the bourbon and brandy. In some ways this blend is very nuanced and nice, but I can't help but feel it is too sweet and could have done much better with something to balance all the barleywines. I guess my final impression is a bit too cloyingly sweet. I would be curious to see how this ages though, as I think a little less heat and the components blending together better might serve this well.

Mouthfeel: Plenty of carbonation to not weight this down too much. Medium to full mouthfeel.

Overall, not as successful as some of the other Firestone Walker beers. It is overly sweet at times, but I never found it hard to drink. I also felt it was overly hot at times too. An interesting beer that might age well, but left me a bit disappointed considering the standard I usually hold Firestone to.

Photo of perrymarcus
4.28/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle served in a snifter.
bottled 10/07/11 (wish i could get double jack this fresh. not that this is exceedingly fresh but the most recent batch of double jack on the shelves around here is-, ok, sorry i digress. but we're talking ~6 months.)

pours a mahogany tone, sits a borderline black in the glass; yields a short-lived tan head.

as anticipated the nose is malt-forward. bourbon is clearly showcased, along with notes of vanilla and caramel and hints of chocolate and molasses.

flavor is intriguing, a lot more going on than i expected going solely off the aroma. vanilla, caramel, and molasses pull through (along with bourbon of course), but there's also a slight citric presence - as others have noted likely coming from the double jack - some raisin, and a touch of chocolate. complex and tasty. definitely on the sweet side but not overly sweet for me, though i can see where it might be for others. alcohol presence is there but not nearly as imposing as you might expect for a 12.5% ABV beer... medium-plus bodied mouthfeel with below-average carbonation.

overall i'm right in-between an A- and a solid A on this one, with A- seeming a touch low and A striking me as a hair too high. forced to choose, i'll give it the .5 bump. a really enjoyable beer.

Photo of ms11781
3.54/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22oz bottle poured into a snifter.

Pours a deep brown, nearly opaque, with some reddish/amber hues on the sides and bottom of the glass. There is almost no head at the pour and what little foam there is immediately disappears.

A good deal going on in the nose. A big bourbon aroma comes across first but quickly backs off, allowing some other characteristics to come across. When chillled, some chocolate notes are present, along with some caramel and toffee. When the beer warms the chocolate takes a backseat to a dominant caramel and coffee aroma with some nice vanilla and oak notes.

The taste follows along with the nose but it is very sweet, perhaps too sweet at times. The bourbon and vanilla notes are excellent but the caramel and toffee notes aren't so subtle and provide a substantial sweetness. There is a brown sugar aspect that wasn't in the nose that plays a huge part in the flavor profile. There is a nice warming at the back of the throat from some alcohol.

The body is pretty thick and viscous with low carbonation. Although the carbonation is low it feels a bit prickly on the tongue. Combined with the finishing alcohol, it gives the beer a bit of a kick that keeps it from being cloying.

Overall, this is an ok beer. It's pretty much a darker barleywine and those characteristics come through. It's too sweet for my liking. The aroma is great but nearly every characteristic in the nose comes across as sweet as possible in the taste. This beer would be extremely good if the sugary sweetness was dialed back a bit.

Photo of shanghai55
5/5  rDev +14.7%

Photo of Destral
5/5  rDev +14.7%

Photo of bpfrush
4.5/5  rDev +3.2%

Photo of womencantsail
3.63/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark brownish color with a small tan head. Smells of whiskey, milk chocolate, and vanilla, for the most part. A bit of wood and some toffee and caramel. The flavor is somewhat muted, even when warm. There is some milk chocolate, cocoa powder, whiskey, oak, and vanilla, though. On the thin side of medium in body with low to medium carbonation.

Photo of vasdef42
5/5  rDev +14.7%

Photo of mkotsayfan
4.22/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22oz bottle into a New Belgium globe. Pours a cola-like color (black with ruby) with about a finger of head that dissipates quickly. The aroma that stands out the most to me are the barleywine characteristics of dark fruits, along with some coconut and vanilla flavors. The taste has some heavy bourbon characteristics because of the barrel aging, along with the slight hops kick from the Double Jack, the same flavors from the aroma, and some roasted malts. The mouthfeel is surprisingly medium/thin with decent carbonation, and goes down very easy for a 12.5% beer.

Overall, a darn good beer I wouldn't mind revisiting again. I think I would enjoy it more if the balance of barleywine and stout was 50/50, but I enjoyed it, much more than other barleywines I've had.

Photo of Chico1985
4/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a light brownish orange, nice off-white head eventually reduced to a cap leaving some good lace.

Smell is good but a bit faint, surprising considering how strong the other Anniversary's were. Bourbon, caramel, vanilla, slight chocolate.

Taste is a big bourbon/vanilla/toffee bomb, caramel, honey, brown sugar, decent hop presence and some dark fruit. It's an interesting blend, it almost reminds me of bourbon soaked caramel popcorn...but in a good way. It is sweeter than previous Anniversary beers but I didn't find it cloying, my 8oz went quickly and I wanted more. Taste would probably be a 4.25 if that were an option.

Low-ish carbonation, slightly syrupy, big bourbon flavor but not very boozy. I actually found this less boozy than 14 fresh.

Mostly has a bourbon-blonde-barleywine feel so it makes sense that's what made up most of the blend, but it feels like many of the other beers are lost in the mix. A nice change up to the series, maybe if bottles are still around in a few months I'll pick one up.

Photo of Impfan
5/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Simply one of the most complex, balanced, fruity, chocolatey, sherry-like, velvety, silky creations I've ever tasted.

On balance, it's definitely sweet, and perhaps it could use a bit more roastiness to dry it out a tad, but its flavor is so voluptuous that I really couldn't knock it down even a tenth.

Photo of kkrez
4.2/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

To say the least, this beer is complex and extremely layered.

It pours a dark brown color with a tan head which dissipates.

Aroma is of vanilla, toffee, caramel, coffee and cocoa.

Starts out a little boozy hot, but then follows the nose and then some; caramel, vanilla, toffee, oak, tobacco, oats, leather, bourbon, dark fruits and Brandy notes, all finished off by a citrusy hop bite coming from the use of the Double Jack, which leaves the palate clean and ready for more.

Mouthfeel is perfect. medium to heavy body, perfect amount of carbonation that lasts throughout

But really, words do not do this beer justice. The interplay of flavors is divine and indescribable. The price tag is bold, but so is this beer. You want it.

Photo of KidRagnarok
5/5  rDev +14.7%

Photo of Docer
4.15/5  rDev -4.8%
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.

Photo of furthurgone
4/5  rDev -8.3%

Photo of drn
5/5  rDev +14.7%

Firestone 15 - Anniversary Ale from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
97 out of 100 based on 1,042 ratings.