Firestone 17 - Anniversary Ale | Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

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Firestone 17 - Anniversary AleFirestone 17 - Anniversary Ale
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
California, United States
firestonewalker.com

Style: American Strong Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 13.30%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
30% Bravo Barrel-Aged Imperial Brown Ale
25% Stickee Monkey Barrel-Aged English Barley Wine
15% Velvet Merkin Barrel-Aged Oatmeal Stout
15% Parabola Barrel-Aged Imperial Russian Oatmeal Stout
8% Double Double Barrel Ale
4% Helldorado Barrel-Aged Blonde Barley Wine
3% Wookey Jack Black Rye India Pale Ale

Added by dwagner003 on 10-30-2013

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

BEER STATS
Ratings:
1,413
Reviews:
124
Avg:
4.42
pDev:
7.69%
 
 
Wants:
197
Gots:
514
For Trade:
67
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Ratings: 1,413 |  Reviews: 124
Photo of kojevergas
2.33/5  rDev -47.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 2.25

BOTTLE 650ml. Comes packaged in a fancy cardboard box, probably to sell it as a luxury beer comparable to high-end scotch. The label isn't much to look at. Has a black foil-ed over branded pry-off cap.

Served cold into a pilsner glass and allowed to warm over the course of consumption. Reviewed live as a "barrel-aged blend" per Firestone Walker's website.

13.3% ABV. 30 IBU.

No bubble show forms as it's poured.

HEAD: It has a nice radiant complexion, but it's a meagre half inch in width at most. Has nice creaminess and frothiness, with an even and adequately thick consistency. Leaves no lacing in its wake as it recedes. Could be darker, creamier, richer, and more enticing.

Retention is average - ~2 minutes.

BODY: It's an opaque dark brown-black. It's a generally murky presentation. It lacks the ink-black colour and expressive sheen of the best imperial stouts, but it's also too dark to really deliver on any other style. I see no yeast/sediment.

For a barrel aged blend, it's decent-looking. But it won't have anyone salivating looking at it, and it's neither lively nor inviting.

AROMA: Complex, sure. Raisins, figs, brown sugar, molasses, sugarcane, plum, marshmallow, vanilla from barrel aging, dark malts, creme brulee, faint cocoa dust, candied/caramelized fruit, caramelized sugars, and dark malts. But nothing about it is every expressive or evocative; it's a bit of a muted beer, with no notes shining. Suggests a sticky sweet mess of a brew, though I applaud how well it disguises its high ABV; I'd say the aroma implies a beer of 8-9% ABV. It's probably closest to a Belgian strong dark ale.

The barrel aging seems wasted on the beer based on the aromatics. There's no rich white oak, toastiness, bourbon, etc.

Coconut does stand out as inviting, but for the most part this is a reticent brew.

Aromatic intensity is shockingly low.

TASTE/TEXTURE: It's not as sticky and sweet a mess as I anticipated, but nevertheless it's a chaotic build with a saccharine edge. Not so much imbalanced as unbalanced, this build - which is anything but gestalt - suffers from rough-around-the-edges integration of disparate flavours and a concomitant lack of cohesion, a casualty of the blending process by which it was created.

Its core is a generally underwhelming (and overly sweet) caramelized sugar backbone, with supplementary notes of caramelized/candied fruit (especially dark fruit like figs, raisins, and plums), brown sugar, and molasses. There's a blip of cookie dough in the early second act - which is nice - but it disappears all too quickly. It's not a boozy beer inasmuch as its a syrupy viscous one, and its stickiness clings to the palate, fatiguing the drinker.

There's no harmony of barrel to base. In fact, the barrel aging is subpar, bringing no expressive notes. There's some artificial tasting vanillin, but no genuine bourbon-y vanilla bean. Nor is there any rich toasted white oak, interesting barrel sugar presence, et al. And the coconut from the aroma is barely present here, to its detriment.

The barrel notes may be poorly integrated, but the good news is the base isn't anything special to begin with. I find no expressive flourishes whatsoever, no nuance, no layers of intricacy, no subtlety...why brew this? (Or sorry, blend this). Shallow as can be, with no depth or expressiveness whatsoever. All surface, no substance.

It's full-bodied, with blatant overcarbonation - in spite of its flat, dull presence on the palate. Unrefreshing, of course - but that's to style. Thick for thickness' sake. Heavy and overbearing, lacking the depth of flavour to justify such weight and heft. Overall presence on the palate is poor. There is no harmony of texture to taste. This mouthfeel fails to elevate the beer, and fails to accentuate any specific notes.

The more I drink, the more I realize it's not merely muted - it's insipid.

OVERALL: It's a nice cash-grab blending already produced beers and marking them up. And that'd be fine if the resultant beer was incredible. But unfortunately, for all the marketing hullabaloo, the end product just isn't remarkable in any way, nor is it particularly good. This is difficult to drink given its syrupy sticky feel, general lack of quality, and high ABV - though I do applaud how relatively well the alcohol is disguised. Granted, in spite of the absence of the alcohol in the flavour profile, it does still heat the stomach. In any case, I continue to be confounded by the high regard for this series (and this brewery), and I can't see how any discerning drinker could claim this emperor has clothes.

In short, the whole is worse for having been a combination of its parts, and the result is a beer in which no note rings distinct and nothing guides; there is only a soulless mess of flavour. There is no music here, gentlemen - there is only noise.

D+ (2.33)

 4,859 characters

Photo of BGsWo22
3/5  rDev -32.1%

Photo of Kaveman
3/5  rDev -32.1%

Photo of jrallen34
3/5  rDev -32.1%

Photo of Mikeluzzjr
3.25/5  rDev -26.5%

Photo of mquartuccio87
3.25/5  rDev -26.5%

Photo of Jerryt0000
3.25/5  rDev -26.5%

Photo of beerexpertusahopps
3.35/5  rDev -24.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Very lovely caramel color with a bite of bitter wood flavoring finish and good alcohol kick that delights one on a cold wintery day. I was quite impressed with the smooth silky feel but noticed very little lace going down which seemed unusual. Very good overall.

 262 characters

Photo of maximum12
3.4/5  rDev -23.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Thanks thanks to the only non-digital chainsaw I know, analogchainsaw, for this bottle of my annual genuflection at the altar of Firestone Walker. 22 oz. bottle split with my wife.

Pour is a dark night with a bit of moonlight bouncing around, reddish blackish brownish brackish. Nose isn't especially strong, surprisingly, with vanilla & barrel coming out of the glass, but not much else.

Firestone Walker XVII is like a knee to the nads of expectations. Caramel toffee erupts from the brew, followed by a lighter strain of vanilla, sweet malts, barrel. All very very restrained & polite & I wish they were a bit more obnoxious.

I don't have much to say about this beer except that it's a huge letdown. The anniversary series has been one of the most intriguing, consistent bunch of beers out there, & this is the first beer since X that didn't make my toes curl. Pretty good, but I wish it were XVI. Or XI. Or XIV. Or XIII. Or XII. Or XI. Or X. Dammit.

 959 characters

Photo of Whatup14
3.47/5  rDev -21.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.75

Photo of j0hnc2468
3.47/5  rDev -21.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Photo of bjmartin14
3.48/5  rDev -21.3%

Photo of Hendrick24
3.5/5  rDev -20.8%

Photo of DarthKostrizer
3.5/5  rDev -20.8%

Photo of andrewsando
3.5/5  rDev -20.8%

Photo of chippo33
3.5/5  rDev -20.8%

Photo of michaeljstraub
3.5/5  rDev -20.8%

Photo of duceswild
3.5/5  rDev -20.8%

Photo of Sean9689
3.5/5  rDev -20.8%

Photo of yourefragile
3.5/5  rDev -20.8%

Photo of Domvan
3.5/5  rDev -20.8%

Photo of ElGordito
3.5/5  rDev -20.8%

Photo of madtowndmb1
3.5/5  rDev -20.8%

Photo of magictacosinus
3.5/5  rDev -20.8%

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Firestone 17 - Anniversary Ale from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
4.42 out of 5 based on 1,413 ratings.
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