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 16 - Anniversary Ale - Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

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

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
96
world-class

958 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 958
Reviews: 151
rAvg: 4.35
pDev: 9.43%
Wants: 131
Gots: 493 | FT: 42
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:
This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: AgentMunky on 11-15-2012)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 958 | Reviews: 151 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of mdfb79
4.1/5  rDev -5.7%
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.

mdfb79, Mar 21, 2013
Photo of Rochefort10nh
4.25/5  rDev -2.3%

Rochefort10nh, Mar 04, 2013
Photo of DrunkinYogi
4.25/5  rDev -2.3%

DrunkinYogi, Jul 06, 2013
Photo of MarkyMOD
4.25/5  rDev -2.3%

MarkyMOD, Dec 21, 2012
Photo of XmnwildX12
4.25/5  rDev -2.3%

XmnwildX12, Nov 28, 2013
Photo of Halcyondays
4.3/5  rDev -1.1%
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.

Halcyondays, Dec 08, 2012
Photo of kojevergas
3.31/5  rDev -23.9%

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-

kojevergas, Aug 21, 2014
Photo of beernads
4.25/5  rDev -2.3%

beernads, Mar 26, 2014
Photo of GClarkage
4.5/5  rDev +3.4%

GClarkage, Jul 08, 2014
Photo of oriolesfan4
3.75/5  rDev -13.8%

oriolesfan4, Mar 01, 2013
Photo of imperialking
4/5  rDev -8%

imperialking, Feb 21, 2013
Photo of corby112
4.55/5  rDev +4.6%
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.

corby112, Feb 09, 2013
Photo of yourefragile
2.25/5  rDev -48.3%

yourefragile, May 01, 2013
Photo of orangesol
4/5  rDev -8%

orangesol, Jan 25, 2014
Photo of barleywinefiend
4.48/5  rDev +3%
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.

barleywinefiend, Dec 15, 2012
Photo of drewone
4.5/5  rDev +3.4%

drewone, May 14, 2013
Photo of duceswild
3.75/5  rDev -13.8%

duceswild, Mar 01, 2013
Photo of Zorro
4.53/5  rDev +4.1%
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.

Zorro, Nov 28, 2012
Photo of ejimhof
4.5/5  rDev +3.4%

ejimhof, Dec 23, 2012
Photo of afsdan
5/5  rDev +14.9%

afsdan, Aug 11, 2014
Photo of BARFLYB
4/5  rDev -8%

BARFLYB, Mar 24, 2013
Photo of Huhzubendah
3.84/5  rDev -11.7%
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.

Huhzubendah, Apr 20, 2014
Photo of Gonzoillini
4/5  rDev -8%

Gonzoillini, Dec 20, 2012
Photo of mdaschaf
4.15/5  rDev -4.6%
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.

mdaschaf, May 06, 2013
Photo of BillRoth
4.25/5  rDev -2.3%

BillRoth, Apr 07, 2013
Firestone 16 - Anniversary Ale from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
96 out of 100 based on 958 ratings.