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Firestone 16 - Anniversary Ale - Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Firestone 16 - Anniversary AleFirestone 16 - Anniversary Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.

161 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 161
Hads: 1,074
Avg: 4.3
pDev: 24.65%
Wants: 148
Gots: 491 | FT: 37
Brewed by:
Firestone Walker Brewing Co. visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Strong Ale |  13.00% ABV

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: AgentMunky on 11-15-2012

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

23% Velvet Merkin
22.5% Stickee Monkee
20.3% Double Double Barrel Ale
10.8% Parabola
8.1% PNC
5.4% Helldorado
5.4% Bravo
4.5% Wookey Jack
View: Beers (83) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 161 | Hads: 1,074
Photo of Phyl21ca
4.4/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bottle: Poured a dark cloudy brown color ale with a medium size foamy head with OK retention and minimal lacing. Aroma of bourbon, vanilla, caramelized malt and toffee is pretty singular and quite enticing. Taste is a super complex mix of an English barleywine with caramelized and toffee malt with light chocolate notes with some strong whiskey with woody and vanilla notes also noticeable. Body is full with medium carbonation and some warming alcohol notes. Quite an enjoyable treat to finish the night.

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Photo of HalfFull
3.75/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Bottle poured into a goblet. Pours a deep brown with some mahogany outskirts in the light. Bit hazy on first view. Thin cap of foam settles a bit but keeps a thin cap and ring. A swirl yields a nice aroma of the barrel and a hint of chocolate notes. Touch of brown sugar but not the depth I've come to expect though still fairly solid.

Taste is smooth and easy yet seems to lack a bit of the direction of years past. Bit muddled in a sense. Bit of chocolate/red cherry on the finish but brief it is. Feel is moderate and blah overall, and particularly given the lineage of this beer. Alas, good yet not my favorite Anniversary Beer by a longshot..

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Photo of Bfarr
4.3/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Deep clear brown with red highlights and thin tan head with no retention. Bold vanilla and bourbon oak and chocolate hints. Caramel, vanilla and oak flavors with milk and dark chocolate sweetness. Floral, citrus, and honey in the lightly dry finish. Full mouthfeel with a low carbonation.

Much more dominant in the stout and barrel aged flavors than the delicate, vinous flavors of XV. Still a rich beautiful beer well worth the investment. As usual, their anniversary beer is a feast for the senses.

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Photo of ThrewRedButter
4.58/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

L - Brown out of the bottle ,but pitch black in the glass. Half a finger of khaki head.

S - Plums, raisins, brown sugar, bourbon, oak, tequila

T - More quad than stout. Figs, raisins, some cherry. Subtle milk chocolate and roasted malt. A sticky molasses taste and hint of vanilla.

F - Thick and viscous. No alcohol at all. Not even a warming sensation.

O - While this is complex as all hell, I can't help but feel everything is slightly subdued. It was probably mind-blowing when fresh, but with age, this is still great and worth your time.

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Photo of brentk56
4.24/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Appearance: Pours a medium brown color with a nice head; splotches of lace hang around

Smell: Roasty, with chocolate, dark fruit and coffee notes

Taste: Roasted tones and a hint of molasses up front, with dark fruit and chocolate developing; the barrel tones add complexity with just a hint of Tequila on the finish

Mouthfeel: Full bodied with low to moderate carbonation

Overall: It has been a while since I have had one of the Firestone anniversary series and I had forgotten how good they are; after a few years in the bottle this is still an excellent beer

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Photo of tprinzing
4.96/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Consumed 2-15-2015. This is the best beer I've had to date. Extremely complex flavors and smell. I just wish I had more of these. I guess I'm just going to have to wait for my Anniversary 18's to age to get the experience again.

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Photo of SFC21
4.03/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Taste is roasty bitterness and bakers chocolate. Huge okay finish with a very boozy aftertaste. Very good but the aftertaste took away from it for me.

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Photo of fox227
4.36/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Consumed on 12/31/14. Full disclosure: This is my first and only Firestone Anniversary Ale, and it's been aging, so I don't have any reference points other than the beer in the glass.

Appearance: dark, small tan head, which soon falls to reveal the underlying abyss...

Smell: I notice whiskey, anise, milk chocolate, and caramel.

Taste: The slight anise aroma does not manifest on the palate, and the initially strong smell of whiskey proves to be rather muted, giving way to a prominence of caramel, toffee, and slight butterscotch, which could be considered a defect from improper storage, but is not deficient here. I also taste pumpernickel, and slight dark raisins.

Mouthfeel: surprisingly thin for a beer of such an intense profile. I also have to note that the ABV is not noticeable, at-all. I would have, however, preferred a thicker mouthfeel.

In conclusion: a fine beer, perhaps mellowed to be overly easy drinking, over a couple of years, but certainly a feast for the senses.

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4.37/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Why drink a wonderfully aged two year gem like this one on a Tuesday night in December? Why not?

Pours to a blackish brown body that only lets a bit of light through on the edges when held to the brightest of flames. Head is a deep tan that stands at nearly three fingers. Retention is a bit short and leaves only a little bit of lace behind.

Nose is spectacular with tons of luscious bourbon, port, dark candied fruits and a background of molasses. There is still considerable alcohol heat to the nose even after two years of aging. The nose is truely enticing.

Enters the mouth like bourbon silk. Rich overripe dark fruits are carried by well represented oak smoothness. Alcohol still plays in the flavor profile considerably. There is a building dryness to the back side of the palate that resembles burnt molasses. This brew has a very lengthy and complex body that is best drank at room temperature.

Mouthfeel is a balance between rich sweetness and even dryness. Overall another wonderful anniversary from Firestone Walker.

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Photo of beerdrifter
4.53/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Picked this up from a great trade with Evan! Clear dark mahogany pour with a two finger beige head with great retention and lacing. The nose is toasty and very oak forward with hints of caramel, toffee, molasses, vanilla, subtle chocolate, tobacco and booze. The taste mirrors the nose with tons of oak and caramel along with hints of vanilla, toffee, brown sugar, tobacco, subtle dark fruit, chocolate, maple, coconut, and booze. The mouthfeel is medium bodied, slightly syrupy, perfectly carbonated with great balance and a subtle boozey warming finish. Overall, this is a bold, complex, and flavorful beer with huge drinkability for the ABV. Another awesome beer from one of my favorite breweries! Highly recommended!

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Photo of BrettonJay
4.25/5  rDev -1.2%

Drank on tap out of a tulip at Woodstock’s Pizza 10/17/14. The next guy’s tulip tapped the keg. The only thing I can compare it to was a Firestone Walker XVII which I opened right away and thought was too sour and strong. XVI was mellow and delicious.

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Photo of TequilaVoodoo
4.75/5  rDev +10.5%

I have hold to this beer for almost two years, this was my very first expensive beer, I think I paid about $20 for one bottle but coming from traditional beer it was pretty expensive.
Nice thick head and deep charred caramel flavor with really nice whiskey hints, body wise it has a nice full bodied texture. Definitely an anniversary beer. Well done fi

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Photo of kojevergas
3.31/5  rDev -23%

Brown glass bottle with black papered over pry-off pressure cap and paper pull-tab purchased in SoCal years ago and served into an Odell stem-tulip in me friend's gaff in high altitude Fort Collins, CO. Reviewed live. Expectations are above average; I'm skeptical of this brewery's beers but the current 96 rating is interesting.

Served cold and allowed to warm over the course of consumption. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

No bubble show forms as it's poured.

HEAD: One finger wide. Khaki colour. Nice even smooth consistency. Nicely creamy. Retention is above average - about 2.5 minutes. No lacing sticks to the sides of the glass as the head recedes.

BODY: Opaque dark black. Nontransparent; no yeast particulate or hop sediment is visible.

Appears adequately carbonated. Far from unique or special looking for the style.

AROMA: Vanilla, bourbon, and marshmallow. Neutral barrel sugars. My broken nose can't pick up anything else; all apologies.

A pleasant aroma of mild strength.

TASTE: Has a lovely bourbon tone throughout, with some nice vanilla and oak notes. Barrel sugars bleed in. Kisses of dark fruit; they blend in so well I can't isolate them. Caramel. Sticky dark fruits. Maybe a hint of raisin. Toffee. Dark malts. Marshmallow. Treacle.

On the sweeter side, but not boozy.

The oak is lovely, as is the complementary bourbon. It's surprisingly well balanced for a Firestone Walker blend, and boasts impressive complexity as well as some limited subtlety. I like it, and it has some loose cohesion, but it isn't gestalt. Well-executed and enjoyable.

Nice depth and amplitude of flavour. Above average intensity and duration of flavour.

TEXTURE: Fairly chewy. Full-bodied. Aptly thick. Smooth and wet. Has plenty of heft and weight on the palate, but while it's a sipper, it never feels overbearing or unnecessarily heavy.

Not oily, gushed, astringent, scratchy, rough, or harsh. The alcohol is present but doesn't distract. Decently carbonated.

OVERALL: She's a sipper, but she's enjoyable. A nice blend from Firestone Walker. I'm surprisingly happy I picked this up; it isn't as disappointing as most of this brewery's highly celebrated brews. I wouldn't necessarily get it again, but I do like it. Worth trying. I think this made the top 250 list upon release; that's unwarranted, but it is indeed tasty.

As good as it is, though, is all that blending and effort really necessary? Other (i.e. superior) breweries make far better strong ales with far less tinkering. Maybe Firestone Walker should hire staff capable of blending their own good beers without requiring the input of others (and the marketing opportunities associated therewith). Ultimately, it's a bit too sweet, which holds it back.

Low B-

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Photo of foobula
4.12/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4.5

Apperance is dark brown, nearly opaque. Small tan head dissipated quickly. Aroma when cold is limited, mostly sour & a little bourbony sweetness. Taste-wise, after letting it rest on the palate, it's bourbony up-front. Some booze. some tangy flavors. Sweet honey. Some citrus flavors, coconut, some sourness. On the back of the tongue there's a bourbony finish, and that finish pleasantly stays with you for an hour or longer. This beer definitely shines with temperature, as would be expected (and as indicated in the accompanying literature.) Mouthfeel is on the thin side of medium. Carbonation present but somewhat lacking. When it first came out, I had this side-by-side with XV and was unimpressed by the lack of in-your-face bourbon. But separately, it stands on its own as a big tasty beer, despite being less of a syrupy bourbon-bomb than its predecessor.

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Photo of aleigator
4.01/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Thank you very much for this, Jason! Dark brown, almost black color, with a small beige lacing.

Aromas of honeyed malts, coated up by gentle bourbon aromas, both warming and fervent.

Earthy, warm malts form the first impression, which turns sweeter, as coconut flavor along with a huge enjoyable bourbon and rum note become visible on the palate. Alcoholic notes get detectable, as they wash over honeyed malts. Still, the overall balance of this beer remains, due to a complex chocolate defined body, wrapped up in intriguing cocoa and mocha flavors, which get softened on the palate by a fantastic oakiness. Bourbon flavor adds a gentle, stinging complexity to the toffeeish malts of the beer. Subtle coffee bitterness, along with warm alcoholic notes shape the complex aftertaste, completed on the palate by wooden oak. Full bodied beer with a very smooth mouthfeel, fantastic balanced.

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Photo of Tele
4.46/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: 4.5 Very dark brown (almost black) with a half inch light tan head.

S: 4.75 There's a lot going on with this beer and you can smell different elements as the beer warms up. First, the various barleywines are present with vanilla, caramel, figs and dark fruit. Floral aromas, spice and tequila from the PNC also show up, but they're fairly mild. Coconut comes last when the beer is a room temperature.

T: 4.25 Quite sweet, but is very similar to the nose. More barleywine coming through than the stouts. It really develops as the beer warms. More fruity and coconut than on the nose and very little bitterness. Bourbon, figs, coconut, and chocolate when at room temperature.

M:4.5 It could be a little thicker, but it’s very nice for a barleywine. Silky smooth and no burn.

O: 4.5 An excellent beer and an interesting experience tasting all the beers that went into it. Based on the percentage of the component beers, the stouts could be a bit more forward to offset some of the barleywine presence, but it overall it was really great.

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Photo of beergoot
4.17/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Deep brown body with a thin yet foamy and lasting head; minor lacing on the glass. Light caramel and roasted nut aroma; ripened dates and figs. Rich caramel and tobacco flavors mixed with vanilla; brown sugar, and booze. Heavy body; semi-sweet and rich mouthfeel.

Taste wins out with this heavy, heady brew. Robust malt flavors rumble with a big alcohol heat factor, creating an intense and enjoyable tasting experience.

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Photo of Huhzubendah
3.86/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Thanks to RussianDragon for sharing.

The beer is mahogany with crimson / russet highlights and a half inch of khaki head. Nice looking beer. Aromas of booze, vanilla, molasses, bourbon, brown bread, etc. No doubt a complex beer. The flavor is a bit boozy and muddled. Not bad, per se, but certainly not on par with some of favorites of the series. The body is a tad thin, with alcohol heat becoming a bit distracting at times. Perhaps this beer didn't take as kindly to a little bit of aging as one would expect? Anyhow, this is good, but disappointing considering the greatness of other FW Anniversary ales.

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Photo of vfgccp
3.89/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

Opened Apirl 13th, 2014

A - Beautiful ruby mahogany body. Nice khaki head with low retention and lace.

S - Great integration. Coffee, caramel, plum, warm booze and oak.

T - Nice flavor profile but surprisingly light. Caramel, cola, cocoa powder, booze, and marshmallow. Feels like it could use better integration.

M - Thinner than I wanted; medium-light body with relatively low staying power.

O - In a vacuum this is a fantastic beer, but relative to the history of anniversary ales from Firestone Walker it falls short of expectations. I'm concerned that the beer didn't age well.

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Photo of elNopalero
4.54/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

(From my 6+ month old notes)

This is the last of the series I tried as part of a flight at an epic bottle share.

As the most recent of the flight available (at the time of tasting) I found this beer to be “young” and still developing, at least in relation to the complexity, blended smoothness, and layers of the previous iterations.

This pours a dark black with cocoa colored foaming. I get a lot on the aromas, with some tobacco, stone fruits (figs and raisins), a bit of dark cherry and bitter chocolate. There’s an underlying boozy note that complements all this but the balance seems to be in process.

Flavorwise there’s more of the same. Lots of big flavors, from dried stone fruits to dark chocolates, and a hint of wood and vanilla beans. Wet leather? Tobacco leaf? Candied Orange? Yes, yes, and yes. A terrific blend but again, I would love to revisit this with a little more age on it. Since it’s a FW anniversary beer I’m not just looking for “good,” but transcendent.

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Photo of Jeffo
2.87/5  rDev -33.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Always been a fan of this series, so cheers for ScottO for sending one of these over!

From a bomber into a snifter

APPEARANCE: A clear brown pour yields a two finger, medium looking, foamy, light tan head with good retention. Clear bistre brown in color with medium levels of carbonation evident. Head slowly fades to a half wisp and ring. A ring remains until the end leaving a couple dots of lacing down the glass.

SMELL: Lots of oak, with some dark chocolate, coconut, caramel and toffee. Pretty nice, though there's a lot of wood on this one. Medium strength and nice enough.

TASTE: Lots of oak, caramel and coconut flavors up front, then a boozy and oak heavy finish with light vanilla, milk chocolate, toffee sweetness and alcohol. Some bitter dark chocolate, toffee sweetness and alcohol. Some bitter dark chocolate tries to balance. Okay, but not as nice as the nose. A little boozy overall with lots of oak and sweetness.

PALATE: Slightly thinner body with medium levels of carbonation. A bit creamy on the palate, goes down fine and finishes slightly sticky. Some heat lingers.

OVERALL: Definitely my least favorite of the series so far. Too much oak and alcohol in the flavor and the feel is a bit too thin and light. Not special, and the blend of beers just doesn't seem to do much of anything here. As if all the individual parts have just canceled each other out and left it without an identity. Disappointing for sure, as the other years have been really nice. Anyways, thanks again ScottO for sending this one over. Always happy to see new incarnations of this series.

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Photo of ricknelson
4.03/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Firestone's 16th Anniversary Ale came 4th in my recent beer tasting of Firestone Walker's top beers. Out of the seven BA guys we had at the tasting. Firestone's 16th Anniversary Ale got an average rating of 4.09 from the 7 judges. Being that it was 2 years old, and a retired beer, it held up pretty well.

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Photo of scottfrie
4.05/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle into 25oz snifter.

A: Pours a very dark brown woody color with a finger of creamy dark tan head that faded into a faint soft collar that left a touch of soapy lace.
S: Rich and potent notes of bourbon, leather, sweet molasses, raisin, and caramel. Mild spice and faint bakers chocolate as well.
T: Follows the nose with boozy flavors (not heat) of bourbon barrel spice, caramel and sweet molasses, vanilla, slight anise, and dried wood. Finish is woody, hints of vanilla, and the aftertaste is full of bourbon, sugar and chocolate. Not much tobacco. Not much hops but the aftertaste is still pretty bitter. Kick of licorice and earthy herbal bitterness.
M: Full thick body, chewy and viscous mouthfeel, low carb, tingly mouth, decent alcohol booziness but not necessarily warm. More bitter than I remember the last couple years being.
O: Not as good as I remember the last couple years being either. This one has a great flavor but a rougher mouthfeel. Still very drinkable, but maybe needs another year in the bottle.

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Photo of _solskei
4.23/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Wasn't sure how this Anniversary would match up with the Parabola and others aged 1+ years. It was actually delightful. I was hesitant, because the '12 Anniversary off the shelf wasn't near as good as some of the years prior, in my opinion. But... it was very good. The recipe for '13 seems a bit bolder and I'm anxious to trying that one next year this time. This one, great recipe even aged at a year. Thinned a little toward the end.

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Photo of MDDMD
4.41/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A-medium to dark brown color with a nice light tan head and some lacing

S-caramel, toffee, dark fruit, chocolate,vanilla, bourbon, light oak

T-toasted malt, caramel, toffee, raisins, chocolate, oak, bourbon

F-medium body with light to moderate carbonation, smooth, little booziness

O-great flavors, loved sipping this and even more enjoyable as it warmed

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Firestone 16 - Anniversary Ale from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
95 out of 100 based on 161 ratings.