Firestone 18 - Anniversary Ale
Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

Firestone 18 - Anniversary AleFirestone 18 - Anniversary Ale
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Style:
American Strong Ale
ABV:
13%
Score:
100
Avg:
4.57 | pDev: 6.35%
Reviews:
112
Ratings:
991
From:
Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
 
California, United States
Avail:
Retired (no longer brewed)
Wants
  205
Gots
  488
SCORE
100
World-Class
Firestone 18 - Anniversary AleFirestone 18 - Anniversary Ale
Notes: We blended together 227 oak barrels containing 9 different beers creating something dark complex and 100% original.

38% Parabola aged in bourbon barrels, 16% Helldorado aged in bourbon & brandy barrels, 16% Bravo aged in bourbon & brandy barrels, 14% Stickee Monkee aged in bourbon & brandy barrels, 5% Velvet Merkin aged in bourbon barrels, 4% Hydra Cuvee aged in bourbon barrels, 3% Wookey Jack, 2% Ol' Leghorn aged in new American oak, 2% Double Jack
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Reviews: 112 | Ratings: 991 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of GuyFawkes
4/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2014 vintage; drank 8/26/16 on draft @ Northdown.

Brown/black appearance.

Nitro tan head; decent lace.

Blackberry, oats & milk chocolate notes in the nose.

Medium thick mouthfeel.

Marshmallow & milk chocolate flavors up front; booze heat notes on the finish.

Some nice flavors lurking here, but a bit too boozy for me to love.

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Photo of beertunes
3.89/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

22oz bottle poured into 14oz teku. Poured a solid black color with over a half-inch of tan head that had moderate retention and light lacing.

Some roast notes at the front of the aroma, Some booze and wood were also apparent, with some fruit-like notes in the background.

Very similar on the tongue, with the fruity aspect coming a bit more forward, and the booze toned down.

The body is full, smooth, and rich with a medium finish.

Drinkability is very good, but a sipper for sure.

Overall, a great beer. A must-try if you get the chance.

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Photo of Zythophile
4.57/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Bottle Date: 2014
Palate Contaminants: none

Color is very dark brown, and there is a little tinge of red toward the edges when in front of a strong light source. Fine, off-white head, but not much of it.

The smell is great. It's intense, but it's not particularly volatile. The main scent is lightly burnt sugar, all underlined by a pleasant vanilla. The sugar also lends itself to a scent somewhere between caramel and molasses. Over to the herbal, there are moderate amounts of cloves and cinnamon. Lots of great stuff in here, and enough of it.

The sugar is a bit more burned in the taste, and it's more intense. There's also a very heavy anise flavor. The vanilla has gone to the back. I usually don't associate bourbon with brew flavors as readily as some folks, but this has it. The sweetness/graininess/barrel... -ness is in the right proportions to trigger that for me. Cloves and cola come and go. So intense, man.

Medium weight for the type. Medium carbonation, but not prickly at all. Alcohol is detectable, which lends even more comparability to bourbon, but there's no burn. And the aftertaste seems almost as heavy as the taste. Anise still up front, and I might call the liquor more of a spiced rum during this part of the show.

I wish I had another bottle. Then another. Then another. Then ano—

You get the idea.

And it's also worth noting that this has aged extremely well. However, sometimes a strengthening cola flavor can be a sign of decline, so that's a consideration.

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Photo of Oh_Dark_Star
4.27/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

L: Dark brown with a thin tan head and light lacing fading slowly to a bubbly ring.

S: Sweet caramel and chocolate malts, lower roast, peat. Bourbon.

T: Dates dominate with notes of leather, oak, and tobacco. Milk chocolate, birthday cake, bourbon. Complex with decent balance.

F: Medium body with some perceptible viscosity and slightly lower than desired carbonation.

O: A wonderful brew, but still overpriced, a touch thin and underwhelming.

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Photo of HattedClassic
4.75/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

The beer pours a nice creamy chocolate brown head that dissipates quickly but still leaves some around the inside edges of the glass. The beer itself is a good looking dark chocolate black with an oily sheen and texture. It looks good.

The smell is delicious. The main notes are the sweet bourbon notes and a slight booziness that adds a distinct sweetness and burn. Generally, the barrel notes such as a slight wood contrasting with the sweet brandy notes are what dominate the nose. The other notes are a bit hidden underneath them though.

The taste is absolutely succulent. While it has the same strong sweet notes from the bourbon and brandy along with a slight boozy note. The chocolate comes out more in the finish but the dark fruit notes are what really come out. There is a tiny bit of rye in the finish but it's almost undetectable.

The feel is pretty good. It has a heavy body but is very creamy and silky that it loses that weight and makes it scarily drinkable. The body is also slightly thin but still good. Despite aging for several years, there is a nice biting carbonation.

Overall, this is a fantastic beer even after aging it for several years in less than stellar conditions. The blend of all the different beer styles is fantastic because they both are able to have their distinct traits mix together but still be able to be picked out individually. This is definitely one to trade for if possible.

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Photo of REVZEB
4.59/5  rDev +0.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Got to try from the cellar at Niche in Geneva. Upon opening and first pour two things were very clear, the beer is jet black, almost silky syrupy, and even more noticeable is the aging clearly did not detract from the boozy scent. Speaking of the scent, it is wonderful. It is a dark temptress, calling you into the depths of all dark flavors, think bourbon, dark fruits, and malt. The taste is complex. So much going on, and yet so good! It is uncompromising and smooth in the body, that helps serves as a solid, boozy, backbone to the other decadent flavors.

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Photo of WickedBeer
4.71/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

227 different barrels?? Holy shit, this ones awesome. Tons of dark fruit, booze, coffee.. hints of chocolate.. this beer truly had everything, so many layers.

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Photo of ThickNStout
4.14/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Black foil capped 22oz bottle from LambicPentameter (thanks!). Bottled 10/01/14. Served in a Firestone Walker snifter. Enjoyed 8/28/17.

Pours a deep ruddy brown with a little more than two fingers of ecrue head. That foam recedes to a small island, an impressive bubbly border and a few sparce dots of lace.

Tons of sweet, oaky barrel on the nose. Apple, vanilla, wet wood, caramel, chocolate and some dark fruit.

Tastes of burnt sugar, dark chocolate, coffee, barrel char, subdued bourbon, grainy malt, reduced dark fruit, a balsamic-like sweetness, molasses and a subtle kiss of alcohol.

Semi-syrupy, medium full, oily feel with mild carbonation. Barrel-infused, bittersweet finish with notes of dark chocolate, grain and bourbon soaked charred oak.

Another outstanding cuvée from Firestone Walker. Their anniversary series continues to impress. Kind of like a stout... with a couple barleywines, plenty of barrel and an unexpected bitterness.

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Photo of rodbeermunch
4.13/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

The 18th anniversary beer was reminiscient of the 14th, basically both being beers that have a lot of roasted malt beers to them. They both pour black, although its not the heavy viscous black that you come across in an imperial stout. Feint beige head on the top, only 1/6" deep after the initial pour settles in. Aroma is plenty of bourbon. After that, roasted malt, vanilla and oak pick up the remnants of what you smell after the blast of bourbon.

Taste, a sweet sipper, the heavily roasted malt in beers like Parabola really imparts nothing here in the way of bitterness or roastiness. Its a lot more creamy, vanilla, sugary. While there is some booziness, it is nowhere as big as the abv would lead you to believe. Carbonation is a little lower than your average beer, but is entirely appropriate for this stuff. This was the first year I think the bottles exceeded the $20 range. I'll keep buying one of them each year I guess, they're good.

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Photo of BFCarr
4.72/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Wow. Pours dark with a thin tan head. Aroma is subtle bourbon. Taste follows with subtle bourbon notes and roasted malt flavor. Feel is stellar, so smooth with a little bourbon burn. Overall it's terrific.

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Photo of KevSal
4.66/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

dig this gem up recently. i've been let down with the last 2 abby's, but let's give it a go

22oz into a fw teku

apperence looks great, exactly how you'd expect a blended beer to look. super dark garnet colored hue

aroma punches you in the face! dark fuits, bourbon, brandy, vanilla, oak, seemlessly blended, let's hope the taste follows the nose

wow. this is impressive, makes xx taste like monkeys blended it. dark fruits, big brandy and bourbon, juicy fruits. layer stout, barleywine and quad. notes of chocolate. lingering dark fruit. highly recommend!

thick body, sticky and full. alch heat in the finish

over all this is world class. xix was good xx was alright, this might be fw magnus opus. wooly and double jack might be faded by now but everything is intetgrated nicely.

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Photo of jrnyc
4.75/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Firestone Walker makes the best barrel aged beers hands down. This one is no different. Love this one. The kind of beer you just want to keep drinking and drinking.

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Photo of ivyman
4.75/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Pours very dark brown with very little head. Right off the bat is the aroma of
Vanilla and coconut. Tastes of bourbon and okay vanilla. Great mouthful.
FW's Anniverary ale have always been one of my favorites.

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Photo of Alieniloquium
3.85/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.75

650 mL bottle. Deep brown body. The nose is dominated by barrel aromas. Bourbon and brandy. Lots of oak. Nutty malts. Smells really sweet, too. Tastes of oak throughout. Really strong oak. Nutty malt. Brandy barrel more prominent than bourbon up front. Vanilla and then some fruity malts. Heavy and extremely boozy. Difficult to drink, but tasty.

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Photo of TrojanRB
4.61/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Poured 5/28/16 from cellar. Cellared at 55 degrees, drank at 60.

Smell: Plum, fig, brown sugar, molasses

Taste: Bourbon and vanilla join the party. Nothing is overpowering....everything is balanced, incredibly smooth

Feel: little to no carbonation. Not overly oily, not too sweet. Has a nice consistency that coats the tongue and keeps the flavors hanging around

Wonderful beer that has cellared gracefully

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Photo of raynmoon
4.65/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Pours a murky brown with some nice lacing and alcohol legs. Looks really nice.

Taste is huge bourbon and oak right up front with a nice kick of bitterness that follows with a lingering vanilla and coconut flavor. Very smooth, very well balanced.

mouthfeel is medium, not too sticky. Very drinkable.

Overall, just another great barrel aged vintage blend from Firestone.

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Photo of joberlander
4.57/5  rDev 0%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Dark dark brown, almost black. Definitely get bourbon and dark chocolate along with some dark fruits in the nose. Super smooth on the taste with dark chocolate and dark fruits like figs and plums on the taste. On the back end you get a slight warming from the bourbon. A little oak flavor too. Such a balanced beer for having so many components. Dangerously drinkable. The feel is a little thin but it doesn't take away from the flavors, I just like heavy beers with a little more thickness. Overall a world class beer and worth the money...can't wait to try my 19th.

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Photo of pbgnar
4.65/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Lots of dark fruit on both the nose and mouth. Surprising given parabola is the main beer in the mix.

Would like to get more coffee but this is still a fantastic beer.

A bit of alcohol heat in the mouth. This could probably use another year or more in the cellar

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Photo of maximum12
4.7/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Thanks to The_Wozz for catching me up on this venerable & much beloved series; I’d pick up any of them hitching in the dark of night near the Exorcist house. 22 oz. bottle split with my wife. Because if I didn’t, well, there would be hell to pay.

The pour is dark brown with a low-swinging head that doesn’t stick around for the party in my mouth. The nose speaks of bourbon, vanilla, nougat, toffee, & a sharpness that might be wood. Might be. Could be mine.

Firestone Walker XVIII is delicious. I couldn’t have identified it blind, but knowing it’s there, I can taste the love that is Parabola. Big bourbon bite is backed with an alcohol swab all along the frontage road. Set further back are vanilla, hard malts, toffee, nougat, pan-fried brown sugar, sugar-dusted chocolate. All dancing together like they were born from the same mother. Wood dries out the end & adds another layer to a cake rife with them. I’m sucking this down, & hoping my wife has to leave the room, for any reason, for just a minute. She won’t notice a missing sip, will she?

Once it warms, this is in the holy-shit-good range. Like, wish I hadn’t shared this range. Wish I had two more range. Wish I had a bucket full, I’d call in sick range. An elite beer; love it.

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Photo of scottfrie
4.34/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

22oz bottle into snifter.

A: Pours a deep dark beer bottle brown with a finger of fizzy dark tan head that faded into a faint collar and wispy film.
S: Vanilla, leather and caramel on the nose, with notes of tobacco, cocoa powder, and bourbon barrel.
T: Follows the nose with sweet and sticky flavors of caramel, vanilla, tobacco leaf, leather, and bourbon. The finish has a touch of chocolate, and the aftertaste has a lingering honey-like sweetness. Potent and rich flavors. Bourbon is smooth and mellow. The vanilla reminds me of toasted marshmallow at times, and adds to the sweet sticky quality of the beer. Mild bitterness balances the sweetness, and there a touch of spicy and leafy hops. Booze is mellow but noticeable, but not hot or even warming. Tobacco and cocoa lingers long after the swallow. Woody quality, slight raisin, and red grape.
M: Full body, slick and sticky greasy sweet mouthfeel, carbonation has some texture to it and isn't as splashy and smooth as it could be.
O: A fantastic sipper. Sticky sweet but complex and full of a medley of flavors. One of the better blends in recent memory.

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Photo of bowzer4birdie
4.71/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Got a bottle on Black Friday 2014, poured into my BCS 2015 snifter. Drinking this one always reminds me of the base BCS beer so of course it's a world-class drinking experience. This is one beer that I don't mind paying nearly 25 dollars a bomber for.

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Photo of ajm5108
4.92/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Pours pitch black with a very thin foam head that lingers slightly. Aroma was very vanilla-forward for me, but it has the usual barrel-aged bouquet (vanilla, oak, dark caramel - standard bourbon notes). I got a little butterscotch fudge in there as well. Sweet and inviting. I actually thought that fudge undernote carried over exceptionally strong to the taste profile. Lots of treacly chocolate flavor, with bourbon flavors really serving only as a softer supporting note. No heat or boozeyness. It is very balanced and really does a fantastic job bringing in the more decadent flavors (dark chocolate fudge, vanilla, burnt caramel) without it being cloying. Theres a good caramel malt backbone as well which helps even it out. Mouthfeel is slick and oily. Finishes easy, with a coating of the dark fudge leaving a great lasting impression. World class.

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Photo of Dustin_Sallitt
4.71/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

A special Christmas treat I've been looking to for a long time. Wow, tons of bourbon and brandy in the nose, notes of cherry as well. The first sip tells you this is a complex brew. Bourbon, chocolate, slight roast, brandy, a wave of dark fruits, ever so slightly tart, followed by coconut vanilla oaky goodness. Nice barrel character, one of my favorite oak flavors to date. The finish has a nice roast that last with a slightly bourbon and chocolate finish. The parabola is definitely noticeable here. Mouthfeel is nice, very little carbonation and a medium plus body, certainly not syrupy but not thin by any means. Wish I had more of this.

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Photo of Damian
4.19/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

Drank from a 1 pint, 6 fluid ounces (650ml) bottle purchased at Craft Beer Cellar, Belmont, MA
Served in a snifter

As most Firestome Walker anniversary beers do, this one poured a dark mahogany color and fairly thin. The liquid was topped by a small, khaki colored cap of froth that quickly dissolved. A thin ring encircled the liquid and lasted throughout the session. Tiny streaks of lacing trickled along the glass.

The first thing that hit me in the aroma was booze. I expected this beer to be ripping hot. The more I smelled, however, the more nuance I got. Sweet plums came forth. Some caramel and brown sugar. Rich and robust. Dark fruits were noticeable. Raisiny. Loads of bourbony sweetness. Perhaps a bit of port. Really interesting and complex. As the beer warmed, vanilla appeared.

The flavor profile was similar to the nose. Again, the booze was the first thing I noticed. Bourbon came through big time. Loads of sweet vanilla. Bit of coconut. Later, brown sugar and caramel notes appeared. Sweet and plummy. Raisins were noticeable. Touch of coffee and roast on the back end. Lots of oaky barrel. There was a surprising amount of piney hops and bitterness in the finish. Roasted malts and booze came through as well. I definitely felt all 13% of this brew.

The mouthfeel was medium bodied. A bit thin for a beer of this magnitude. The liquid turned somewhat creamy and frothy on the palate.

I always enjoy Firestone Walker's anniversary beers, but they rarely blow me away. This beer had a lot of interesting things going on, but the booze was quite distracting. Knowing its makeup, I am hesitant to say that its sum is greater than its parts.

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Photo of BiaSongThan
4.95/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Deep brown hints of red. Thin film of head. Aroma of roasted malt, toffee, bourbon. Taste starts with oak, vanilla, bourbon, toasted coconut. Then roasty a hint of smoke cocoa coffee dark fruits toffee finished dry and warming. Alcohol is superbly hidden. Everything in the flavor works together in complex layers and nothing overpowers. Exceptional beer glad my BiL saved it to share with me :)

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Firestone 18 - Anniversary Ale from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 100 out of 100 with 991 ratings