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.
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: 159
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)
View: Beers (79) | Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | Likes | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 1,042 | Reviews: 299 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of ejw127
4.5/5  rDev +3.2%

Photo of GarrettB714
5/5  rDev +14.7%

Photo of biolachris
5/5  rDev +14.7%

Photo of drewburning25
5/5  rDev +14.7%

Photo of daysinthewake
5/5  rDev +14.7%

Photo of dksl16
4/5  rDev -8.3%

Photo of dylnthmsn
5/5  rDev +14.7%

Photo of localhost
4/5  rDev -8.3%

Photo of MasterSki
3.65/5  rDev -16.3%
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.

Photo of Nitrogenx
5/5  rDev +14.7%

Photo of ObeMaltKinobee
4/5  rDev -8.3%

Photo of AgentZero
3.48/5  rDev -20.2%
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.

Photo of Rizalini
4.3/5  rDev -1.4%
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.

Photo of PretzelCity
5/5  rDev +14.7%

Photo of BradLikesBrew
4/5  rDev -8.3%

Photo of Overlord
3.53/5  rDev -19%
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.

Photo of SalukiAlum
5/5  rDev +14.7%

Photo of Lillie1128
4/5  rDev -8.3%
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!

Photo of hopluva1
4.5/5  rDev +3.2%

Photo of Rollzroyce21
4.94/5  rDev +13.3%
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.

Photo of imperialking
4.5/5  rDev +3.2%

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

Poured into a tulip glass from a 22oz bottle.

A - Pours a very dark dark amber with some nice ruby red hints. Almost like molasses or burnt caramel. The head is thin, at about .25 in and recedes quickly. It is light tan and leaves a ring around the glass.

S - Complexity is out of this world with so many brews blended in. Strong sweet molasses come up front quickly. There is also some mild ready and earthy grain notes in there. There is a bit of slight pine and DIPA citrus trying to come through. Definitely some vanilla and cinnamon notes as well as earthy wood notes. Very complex.

T & M - Such a complex brew. Very strong. The taste starts off similar to the nose. Sweet molasses and caramel that is tempered a bit by some bready grain notes. Sweet malt is present in the middle. THe middle also is highlighted by some more of the stout notes with some slight roast and mild cocoa. On the back end it has some of the Barleywine flavor profiles. Strong malt backbone with some slight piney hops. There is definitely some slight boozy sweetness and heat. Especially as the beer gets warmer the booze lights up. It is a nice addition and not a turn off. The beer finishes of with an oily and slightly sticky but smooth finish and some slight leathery and tobacco notes. There is also a distant vanilla and cinnamon finish. Very impressive and complex beer. Definitely excited to age some.

O - Very good offering from FW. I enjoy these Anniv. releases because they do a good job of blending the beers. This brew is strong, pleasant and well crafted. nice job.

Photo of ucsbmullet
5/5  rDev +14.7%

Photo of Durb777
4.5/5  rDev +3.2%

Photo of DavidEddie
5/5  rDev +14.7%

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