Firestone 17 - Anniversary Ale | Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

Firestone 17 - Anniversary AleFirestone 17 - Anniversary Ale
BA SCORE
4.47/5
1,414 Ratings
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 StoutSnob40 on 10-30-2013

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

BEER STATS
Ranking:
-
Reviews:
124
Ratings:
1,414
pDev:
7.61%
Bros Score:
0
 
 
Wants:
196
Gots:
513
Trade:
68
HISTOGRAM
 
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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,414 |  Reviews: 124
Photo of Sammy
4.5/5  rDev +0.7%

Photo of kylehay2004
4.5/5  rDev +0.7%

Photo of acurtis
4/5  rDev -10.5%

Photo of Texasfan549
4.25/5  rDev -4.9%

Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.74/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Pours a clear honey brown with a foamy khaki head that fades to nothing. No lacing on the drink down. Smell is of malt, caramel, toffee, vanilla, bourbon, and wood aromas. Taste is much the same with vanilla, coconut, and wood flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of wood bitterness and an alcohol kick on the palate with each sip. This beer has a low level of carbonation with an almost flat and medium bodied mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer with great aromas and tasty flavors but this is not one of the better beers in this series in my opinion.

 572 characters

Photo of GRG1313
4.25/5  rDev -4.9%

Photo of spycow
4/5  rDev -10.5%

Photo of StonedTrippin
4.37/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

this anniversary series from firestone has become one of the most anticipated in all of beer, and it is the pinnacle of barrel aging and blending in my opinion. this one is different from years past, less thick and syrupy in feel, i was surprised how easily this one slid down, remembering the last few years as almost gelatinous texturally. this has a dark brown color to it. with some blacker shadows and a thin off white head, almost milky looking, but short lived. the nose is heavy bourbon barrel, a fair bit of the roasty rye from wookey, and a sweet candy-like barleywine middle. vanilla is again a dominant flavor from all the barrel, but the dark chocolate malts of merkin and parabola are more abundant than in other anniversary blends. it comes across as a darker barleywine, being entirely malt and barrel driven, extremely mature for being recently released, and not as hotly alcoholic as it probably should be at this strength. all of the component parts are impossibly well integrated, and while i can taste subtleties from each base beer, the synergy here is profound. its less about trying to pick out each beer than it is appreciating them in this combination. thankful to hops and pie for having this one on tap. and to firestone for continuing to challenge preconceived notions about blending and barrel aging. this is a special brew, now i just need a bottle to age!

 1,387 characters

Photo of kjkinsey
4.25/5  rDev -4.9%

Photo of djrn2
4/5  rDev -10.5%

Photo of Knapp85
4.11/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Photo of nmann08
3.92/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of oriolesfan4
4/5  rDev -10.5%

Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
4.5/5  rDev +0.7%

Photo of kojevergas
2.33/5  rDev -47.9%
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 oline73
3.75/5  rDev -16.1%

Photo of WillieThreebiers
4.75/5  rDev +6.3%

Photo of SocalKicks
4/5  rDev -10.5%

Photo of zeff80
4/5  rDev -10.5%

Photo of LXIXME
4.54/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Photo of largadeer
4.5/5  rDev +0.7%

Photo of zestar
4.25/5  rDev -4.9%

Photo of Kurmaraja
4.56/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Photo of mothman
4.27/5  rDev -4.5%

Coconut, bananas, chocolate, toffee, vanilla, caramel, bourbon, and oak. Very malty, light heat. Fruity esters.

111 characters

Photo of DrBier
4.75/5  rDev +6.3%

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Firestone 17 - Anniversary Ale from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 4.47 out of 5 with 1,414 ratings
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