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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: 492 | 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 UCLABrewN84
4.03/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to MaxStout for sharing this one at jmgrub's birthday tasting.

Pours a clear dark orange with a foamy biege head that settles to an oily film on top of the beer. Small dots of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, brown sugar, caramel, toffee, and alcohol. Taste is much the same with a sugary flavor and an alcohol kick on the finish. There is a mild amount of woody bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a good level of carbonation with a crisp and dry mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good beer that is tasty but probably my least favorite of the Anniversary beers thus far.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
4.42/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

this is just sensational stuff. came in a box for 19 bucks with a two sided r page of notes about the blending process. wow, this defines craft to me, maybe a little over the top by some standards, but you have to be impressed by this level of attention to detail. the beer pours dark and a tad silty into a wine glass. its glowing red and brown and caramel and black all at once, with a quarter inch of tan bubbles that dont go anywhere and are easily reinvigorated with a gentle swirl of the glass. the nose is real intense, tons of booze and wood, dead giveaway for a blended beer. lots of stout it seems like here, big roasty malt profile behind all that bourbon, some definite rye too from the wookie jack. flavor is more hoppy than expected, and the small portion of tequilla barrel aged brew comes right up to the top of the flavor spectrum here. it almost starts and ends like a shot of nice tequilla. so much complexity here, oak, chocolate, heavy handed american hop varieties. just a wonderful glass of beer, with alcohol strength just radiating throughout. the feel is taken over by the booze. if you hold it it your mouth for a few seconds, its akin to licking a 9volt battery, caustic and electric. not to say thats a bad thing, because it works here, almost necessary to cut through the layers of flavor and bring a man back to earth. full body obviously, but not undrinkable in feel, just in strength for me at least. great bottle to share with other beer enthusiasts. its stuff like this that cements firestone walker near the top of the brewing hierarchy in my mind. not a hair out of place. this is a series i wait for every year, and it just keeps getting better. do not miss it.

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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 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 emerge077
4.25/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a mini nonic pint, compact thin cap of tan foam, arcs of lacing in the glass. Lasting skim across the surface, breaks after a few sips.

Toffee and plantains in caramel sauce. Slight hint of booze.

Chocolate and caramel, toffee, vanilla sweetness up front. Dry barrel tannins in the aftertaste. Full bodied though easily drinkable. Very smooth and a little viscous. Overall it's well blended and easily drinkable now... not going to improve with cellaring, so drink em if ya got em.

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Photo of zeff80
4.2/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Christmas dinner 2012

A - Poured out an opaque, jet black color with a one-finger, off-white head of foam. It left thin sheets of lace on the glass.

S - It smelled of vanilla and oak. Some dark chocolate notes, too.

T - It tasted of roasted malts, vanilla, oak, bourbon, toffee and a touch of bitter hops. Fairly boozy, too.

M - It was smooth and clean finish. A medium to full bodied brew.

O - This is fantastic. Firestone Walker's anniversary beers have all been great.

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Photo of TMoney2591
3.65/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served in an Illinois State shaker pint glass.

Now that the tacos and whatnot have been consumed, howzabout a digestif? This stuff pours a deep ruby-black-brown topped by a finger of dark khaki foam. The nose comprises roasted malts, whiskey, dry oak, toasted caramel, a hint of coffee, light dark greens, and a kiss of pine sap. The taste brings in more of the same, with a stronger contingent of green, leafy hops. Interestingly, though all components return, they don't express themselves as harmoniously as before, instead opting to individually spiking up against each other at various points. The body is a hefty medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a sorta/kinda dry finish. Overall, a solid blend, one that's generally enjoyable, but one that also suffers from a lack of refinement. Perhaps a bit of age would do this beer well, but as things stand now, it's good but not great.

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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 russpowell
4.35/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Picked up in Pineville, MO

Pours an effervescent ebony with 2 fingers of tan head. Stellar lacing & average head retention

S: Dark fruit, a touch of booze

T: Figs, raisins, a bit of dark chocolate & then a touch of port, & a hint of boozey cakeyness up front. Bourbon elbows its way forward as this warms, some toffee, figs, black currant & cherry (boozey bing cherries). Finishes slightly dry, with rich dark fruit, a little vanilla, caramel & chocolate, just a bit of leafy hops & booze coming through

MF: Chewy, ever so slight carbonation, sticky, much warming

Pretty easy to drink despite the heft & complexity. I really nice effort, not cheap by any means, but I'd buy again if given a chance. I'm so thrilled we have Firestone Walker in the near-by Show Me state!

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Photo of mdfb79
4.11/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

From 03/15/13 notes.

a - Pours a deep dark brown color with one inch of light tan head and moderate carbonatioin evident.

s - Smells of coffee, toffee, roasted malts, chocolate, espresso, alcohol, bourbon, oak, and vanilla. Loads of coffee up front and alcohol isn't too strong; pretty nice nose.

t - Tastes of coffee, alcohol, vanilla, roasted malts, chocolate, toasted malts, toffee, caramel malts, oak. More vanilla and alcohol than the nose, and less toffee. Nice but liked the nose a little better.

m - Medium to thick body and moderate carbonation. Body is pretty smooth with some light alcohol heat keeping it from being great.

o - Overall a nice strong ale with loads of coffee. Alcohol is prominent in the taste; like the other years this will probably get better with some age. Might buy 1 bottle to lay down for 1-2 years but unsure; will depend on what price I can get it at.

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Photo of MasterSki
4.05/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On-tap at Local Option. Served in a snifter.

A - Tan foam settles to a partial cap and thick collar, leaving behind splotchy lace. Brown body with some ruby transparency when held to the light. Impressive for a 13% barrel-aged blend.

S - Roasty, with some chocolate an coffee notes and mild oak. Fairly stout-like this year, but with some obvious English malt influences, as well as a decidedly English approach to the barrel-aging; oxidized fruits and mild vanilla in addition to dry wood.

T - The taste is similar, with a mixture of roasty stout, vanilla, molasses, dark fruits, and chocolate, with a milder barrel influence than the aroma. The tequila is thankfully understated and creeps in late, although it does assert itself more as the beer warms with a spicy faux hop herbaceous vibe to it. Booze comes out a bit as this warms, and this gets a tad heavy and fatiguing.

M - Dry, roasty, and tannin heavy, with a medium-full body, and fairly restrained carbonation. Alochol is reasonably well-concealed, making this a smooth drinker even with the grainy and oak-heavy texture.

D - I enjoyed this more than the disappointing XV, as I dug the heavier roast stout flavors and the restraint on the vanilla. This also doesn't have cloying sugary sweetness and oxidization like last year. I was a bit skeptical about the blend, but the tequila integrated better than expected. I'd be curious to try this again, but I don't anticipate it will age that well, as it's decidedly mellow to begin with. Probably too pricey for me to splurge on though, as there are beers I enjoy more at half the price. It took me a while to work through the snifter.

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Photo of mdaschaf
4.17/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Review from notes.

A: Pours a dark brown, practically black body with a surprisingly light tan colored head on top, about one finger in height. Pretty good retention and lacing for such a big beer.

S: Quite roasty with some coffee/mocha and chocolate. A little bit of dark fruit and oak at the end.

T: The dark fruit comes out more in the flavor profile as raisins and plum mixed with chocolate and a bit less coffee. Some brown sugar and a bit of molasses with light oak and vanilla.

M: Medium to full bodied with moderate carbonation. The alcohol came out a little bit, more so as it warmed.

O: It was nice, but I didn't love it. Certainly not worth the price tag attached to it, for me at least.

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Photo of tdm168
4.43/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to jtd1969 for sharing this gem!

A - black with a thin, brown head that has great retention

S - bourbon, raisins, prunes, sweet malt

T - chocolate, roasty, candy sugar, raisins, prunes, figs, bourbon, warming alcohol

M - full bodied, warm, well carbonated

This was an awesome beer! I don't how these creative geniuses pulled it off, but mixing all these different beers together works superbly. In both the nose and the flavor I get a lot of the English Barleywine characteristics such as the dark fruit and sugary malts. I also get some faint roasted malts notes that come through. The malt also offered some nice chocolate notes as well. The bourbon played nice and lent some balance to the whole mash-up. I am so glad my friend shared this one with me!!!!

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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 smakawhat
4.38/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Poured from the bottle into a large snifter glass.

A real nice dark walnut brown, with lots of red edges to it. Makes a creamy light tan one finger top from the pour with some real microscopic bubbles to it. Fairly impressive looking if basic.

Bouquet hits with a good amount of heat. Sense of raspberry, cherry, red fruits and dark raisins. Splintery wood sensations. Touch of vanilla hides in the back just barely.

Mouthfeel is the most noticeable on first sip. Extremely silky and roasty palate. Hits of chared roast with a creamy chocolate sense. Fruit angle of cherry seems to wash over real nicely too. Nice round oak body. Doesn't taste boozy either.

Overall it's just a real simple but good tasting aged brew, with hardly any hint that this comes in at a whopping 13 percent abv. Tastes like a roasty barleywine.

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Photo of Alieniloquium
3.43/5  rDev -20.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.5

650 mL bottle poured into a snifter.

Appearance - Deep brown caramel with a small khaki head. Settles quickly. Just a stray wisp on the surface.

Smell - Lots of barrel, but nondescript. A lot of different alcohols mixing here. Caramel and some darker malts.

Taste - Much more rich caramel than the nose and a more direct Bourbon barrel. Vanilla and bitter oak. Chalky and bitter finish. Mix of flavors that is impossible to discern.

Mouthfeel - Doesn't taste like 13%, but it had all sorts of other pitfalls. Rough bitter finished and a very odd flavor I can't pick out.

Overall - There's something there I can't pick out. Unpleasant in the back. Chalky is he best way to describe it.

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Photo of Halcyondays
4.29/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at Beachwood I,

A: Pours a deep brown with a light tan head, some lace, good head retention.

S: Lots of barrel character, bourbon, sugar cane, sweet brown sugar. Reminiscent of the 11.

T: Delicious malt flavour. Vanilla, some roast, lots of barrel/whiskey notes. Very well done, the best fresh since the 12 in my opinion.

M: Full-bodied, but never feels heavy. No real alcohol burn which is impressive. Soft, guiding carbonation.

O: As I said, the best fresh since the 12, a good beer, though I was never really spellbound with this one as I was with the 11 and the 12. The bomber price is far too much, but I loved trying this on-tap at a much better price point. It'll be interesting to see where this goes, since the boozier ones seemed to age better, i.e 13.

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Photo of liamt07
4.47/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle thanks to buzze40, 22oz into some tulips.

Deep brown, with a mocha head. Good lace and a little bit of retention. Nose has moderate bourbon, leather, oak and vanilla. Hella complex. Palate has more vanilla, oak, coconut, general whiskey barrel notes and chocolate. Again, complexity exceeds my descriptors. Medium full body, and exceptionally smooth palate. Ideal carbonation right out the bottle as well. Brilliant.

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Photo of Zorro
4.54/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Clear deeply brown colored ale with a small brown colored head. Amazing it can form a head at this alcohol level.

Smells the moment you pop it open of fig, brown sugar and whiskey. Strong vanilla aroma.

Whiskey, coconut, licorice, chocolate, and cherry are all quite strong. This is an intensely aromatic ale and the best thing I have smelled all year.

Starts out sweet, a strong flavor of chocolate, vanilla and coconut in the mouth with a lingering vanilla and caramel candy after taste. Intensely flavorful, this seems to be much more finished than last years version. Little bit of oak and butter are present. Bourbon is present but pleasantly so, this isn't a beer that tries to hide its strength, it boldly lets you know it is strong. Very tasty.

Mouthfeel is good.

Overall this is a damn tasty beer. No reason to age this one, it is ready now.

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Photo of Gobzilla
4/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: poured a very dark brown in color with brown reddish highlights and a half finger of head that left very little lacing sticking to the glass.

S: lots going on in the aroma but some of the components I was able to sniff out were caramel, toffee, sweetness all around, a little bourbon heat, some brown sugar hints of wood and mild dark fruit notes.

T: the taste was also very sweet like the nose indicated consisting of lots of caramel, toffee, brown sugar, plenty of toffee, some dark fruit such as raisins and dates. Good bourbon barrel character with signs of tequila qualities but with maple syrup flavor and a touch of wood.

M: the brew was medium to full in body with a moderate amount of carbonation which had a dark fruity, woody, boozy and very sweet finish.

O: honestly not a big fan of XVI maybe needs a little time to develop but still love my XIV all day.

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Photo of TheSevenDuffs
4.4/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle to CBS Snifter.

A - Poured dark brown and settled almost black - completely opaque with a thin layer of light brown head.

S - Massively complex nose. Vanilla, bourbon, brandy and oak all come though initially as the various barrels really shine up front. Toffee, dark caramel, cocoa, roast and a hint of tequila in the background.

T - Pretty heavy barrel flavours up front - bourbon, oak, brandy, vanilla and tequila. The tequila is not dominant but is definitely more prominent than the nose indicated. Cocoa, caramel, toffee and roast are all here too.

M - Medium body, creamy. Somewhat sticky at times. Light carbonation.

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Photo of John_M
4.31/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

On tap at Max's the other day.

The beer pours a very dark brown color with good head retention and lacing. The nose is attractive in this one, as I pick up considerable vanilla, milk chocolate, a hint of maraschino cherry and light bourbon. The beer smells as if it will be pretty sweet/rich, which of course it is. The flavor profile replicates the nose, and I'm really picking up a lot of milk chocolate, vanilla and light bourbon. It's pretty damn tasty, no doubt, but the beer does have a bit of heat on the finish (from the 13% abv. no doubt), that mars the flavor profile somewhat. Mouthfeel is fairly full and soft, though the beer doesn't come across as heavy or tiring on the finish (which is surprising in a beer that is so rich and high in alcohol). Pretty hard to imagine ever having more than small glass of this, given the sweetness and high alcohol, but there's no doubt this is another tasty, impressive beer from FW.

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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 barleywinefiend
4.47/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Poured a dark brown with a small tannish head which quickly fades leaving spotty lacing on the sides of the glass.

S: I get big notesa of caramel, toffee, a booze stings the nostrils. There is a light woodiness, vanilla and cocont with a subtle tequila note

T: Immediate heat. Hints of caramel, toffee and chocolate appear initially with some subtle dark fruits, vanilla, wood and coconut. There is a unique stinging quality to this beer, I do detect a very trace amount of tequila. The finish is warming, robust, silky and rather clean/dry

M: Full bodied, well carbonated. Loads of flavor that do not complete which was my biggest pet peeve against FW15.

O: Probbaly my favorite of the series only behind FW11 and FW13.

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Photo of corby112
4.53/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark chestnut brown color that appears pitch black and opaque in the glass with a two finger beige head that quickly settles into a thin, lasting ring. Decent retention considering the style and high ABV with sporadic spotty lacing left behind.

Complex, yet very inviting nose with a strong barrel presence that seems nicely integrated into the characteristics of the individual base beers of the blend. There's a nice toasted oak presence giving off hints of damp wood, vanilla, marshmallow and toasted coconut. This is accompanied by various spirits but bourbon seems to dominate. Sweet and spicy with some rye whiskey and brandy. Tequila barrels were used in the PNC portion of the blend but I can't really pick any of that up in the nose. Five of the eight beers in the blend were aged in bourbon barrels so that naturally dominates yet I can still pick out brandy and other spirit notes.

Although the barrel presence is strong it doesn't dominate the aroma allowing elements of the various stouts, barleywines and strong ales to stand out. There's a nice balance of sweet, earthy and roasted malt notes along with spicy rye and a complex hop profile. There's a decent leathery malt presence that's complimented by resinous, earthy hops that give off hints of grass and pine needle. I'm also picking up a faint citrus hop presence after the beer warms up a bit. Roasted coffee bean, burnt toast and oatmeal are countered by a silky dark chocolate presence as well as some caramel, toffee and fudge/chocolate cake.

Fuller bodied than expected with a surprising amount of carbonation. Viscous and chewy with a ton of intense barrel flavor which lingers over the various malt and hop flavors into a sweet, slightly hot finish. There is a strong bourbon barrel component but it isn't as dominant as it is in the nose. Lots of dry, toasted oak as well as some vanilla, coconut, subtle vinous fruit and a touch of ash. The bourbon presence is sweet and spicy without being overly boozy or abrasive. The brandy, spicy rye whiskey and other spirit flavors come through but I'm still not picking up much tequila. I would have never guessed that those barrels were used if I didn't read it in the description. Underneath the barrel flavors, there is a complex malt bill and a balanced hop profile that surprisingly stands out in the finish. I wasn't expecting as much barleywine character but it really stands out with leathery malt, bitter, earthy hops and vinous dark fruit flavor. These flavors are complimented by an assortment of sweet and roasted malt notes from the brown ale, black IPA and various stouts used in the blend. Sweet, silky chocolate/dessert like notes along with caramel, toffee and vinous fruit balanced by burnt malt, oatmeal, roasted espresso bean and toast. There is so much going on here and even though the Wookey Jack is only a very small portion of the blend(4.5%), the spicy rye, roasted malt and complex hop profile of that beer really stand out, especially in the finish with dry bitterness, earthy pine and subtle citrus.

Overall, this beer is pretty exceptional and drinks way too smoothly for something of it's complexity and strength. There are a lot of bold flavors bouncing off of one another but nothing seems to dominate. Something new is found in each sip and everything seems to go together perfectly. Finally, it's hard to fathom that this beer is 13%. Drinkability is a term that gets loosely thrown around but this beer is truly dangerous. I don't know how they did it but the blend they came up with expertly masks the high alcohol content. Sure, there is lots of alcohol flavor/sweetness but there's hardly and heat with just a bit of warmth in the finish. I usually enjoy the FW anniversary beers over the course of an hour but I had to slow myself down with this one. Another exemplary barrel aged/blended beer from the crew at Firestone Walker.

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