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Firestone 18 - Anniversary Ale | Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

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Firestone 18 - Anniversary AleFirestone 18 - Anniversary Ale
BA SCORE
4.56/5
World-Class
957 Ratings
Firestone 18 - Anniversary AleFirestone 18 - Anniversary Ale
BEER INFO

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

Style: American Strong Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 13.00%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
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

Added by ThatsThatDude on 08-13-2014

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

BEER STATS
Ranking:
-
Reviews:
104
Ratings:
957
pDev:
6.36%
Bros Score:
0
 
 
Wants:
208
Gots:
501
Trade:
52
HISTOGRAM
 
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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 957 |  Reviews: 104
Reviews by whoneeds8:
Photo of whoneeds8
5/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

More User Reviews:
Photo of maximum12
4.7/5  rDev +3.1%
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.

 1,268 characters

Photo of Brew_Bear
4.23/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Firestone 18th Anniversary, 2014.

38% Parabola (bourbon barrel aged Russiant imperial stout),
16% Helldorado (bourbon and brandy barrel aged blond barleywine),
16% Bravo (bourbon and brandy barrel aged brown ale),
14% Stickee Monkey (bourbon and brandy barrel aged quad),
5% Velvet Merkin (bourbon barrel aged oatmeal stout),
4% Hydra Cuvée (a blend too much of a mouthful to describe here),
3% Wookey Jack (black IPA),
2% OP Leghorn (English barleywine, collaboration with Three Floyds, aged in fresh barrels),
2% Double Jack (Double IPA)

Appearance: almost black and clear. Small head that disappears quickly.

Smell: anis is the first impression, followed by a brown sugar typical of Firestone. Then we realize that this beer is a dessert: pie, carrot cake, and most of all, ripe and sweet dates. The oak and the liquor of the barrels used for the blend are rather discrete.

Taste: initially pretty complex. Immediately the well ripe dates show up. A touch of tobacco and oak. Leaves a long lasting impression of cake. Interestingly, you can taste discern all the separate beers used in the blend, to some degree.

Mouth-feel: we expect something heavy, but no, not at all. Besides a touch of residual sweetness, the mouth feel is rather light, the dryness of the wood is almost absent. Not chewy nor viscous. Finishes on a note of alcohol, very pleasant.

Overall: a strong release. I think the presence of IPA, even in such a small amount, made a pleasant balance against the heavy weights, it was pretty drinkable.

 1,525 characters

Photo of RBassSFHOPit2ME
4.84/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

This is hands down the best blend for my palate of all their Anniversary series. I say that now having had 11-18 all fresh and all with age on them. Sorry 10, you escaped me in my infancy. :-/

Can I just say that in my honest opinion, Parabola should always be the primary blend in these yearly releases. Thank you...

I could go into all this hoopla, detailing the Appearance, Taste, Mouthfeel, Overall etc etc... But I'm not.

Best way to describe this beer is a straight up Macaroon Cake Parabola. Allowing to warm opens more of the dark fruits and other lesser blends, creating a unbelievably complex beer. This is THE BEST barrel aged beer I've had from FW and possibly the best Barrel Aged Stout-ish Beer I've had period, next to Bourbon County Brand Stout RARE. No problems slow sipping this entire 22ozer solo. I can't believe how refined FW has created of this style... This beer embodies everything that Bourbon (and Brandy) Barrels lend to what aging Big Beers is all about.

Well Freaking Done!

 1,009 characters

Photo of VelvetExtract
4.41/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bottle. I have noticed this anniversary offering from Firestone Walker has the highest percentage of Parabola I can remember. This anniversary brew pours darker than most I remember from FW. It is a very dark brown. Tan, thin, oily head. As anticipated, the nose is intense. Like a low rolling nimbus cloud of aroma. The barrel influence is as important as any aspect of the nose. Vanilla, roast, coconut, wood, burnt sugar and caramel. Boozy fig, plum and raisin. Aerated chocolate. The flavor slides right in where the nose left off. Dark fruit layered in roast and some bitter chocolate. Rich caramel, brown sugar candy sugar. A bit of coconut. Intense, yet regal barrel flavor. Not just oak or bourbon; barrel complexity. Finishes with a dense, decadent feel. Medium carbonation. Lots of body. Alcohol is noticeable but works well with all the barrel character. I have come to expect greatness from these FW offerings. No surprise, they have done it again.

 961 characters

Photo of waltc21
4.99/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A truly incredible brew that has one of the greatest taste you will ever experience! Very expensive, but well worth it! Drink it only with your closest friends who deserve it.

 175 characters

Photo of Marius
5/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A monster of a beer, boatloads of bourbon and vanilla oak making a super-smooth brew. Not sure what it is about Firestone's BA beers, but they can't be matched by anything I have tried so far.

 192 characters

Photo of Alieniloquium
3.85/5  rDev -15.6%
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.

 359 characters

Photo of Jjski
4.65/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

epic, better than 17 which I thought was too light and underwhelming

The Helldorado and Monkee attributes take charge, which is good in my mind. I find Parabola a little mild on my taste buds, afflicted with Imperial Palate Syndrome. This beer has: Barrel > bourbon> age> oxidation> sweetness= perfect

The flavor complexity is varied, yet sublime. Mouth is a tad lighter than more viscous stouts ( BCBS) but still substantial enough to satisfy.

Outstanding

 465 characters

Photo of GreesyFizeek
4.68/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Bottle purchased at Nathaniel Square Corner Store in Rochester, NY.

Pours a moderately dark black, with a small quarter inch head, and basically no lacing.

This smells almost entirely of Parabola, with a huge bourbon and chocolate flavor, some coconut, vanilla, and oak, and maybe a little bit of caramel.

It was a good move, going hard on the Parabola in the blend, as Parabola is delicious and makes this one delicious. Tons of chocolate and vanilla here, with a big woody oak presence, as well as the classic barrel derived coconut I get from a lot of FW BA beers. The other parts of the blend, probably Bravo and Stickee Monkee, provide some brown sugar and caramel to balance the big chocolate of the 38% Parabola. Maybe it's my imagination, but I do get some slight bitterness near the end that feels slightly piney. This might be the 2% of Wookey Jack or 2% of Double Jack that makes up the blend.

This is thick bodied, with an oily but creamy mouthfeel, along with a lower level of carbonation.

Another amazing blend from FW. I think 17 might have been slightly better, but this was still so tasty due to how much it leans on Parabola.

 1,148 characters

Photo of LiquidAmber
4.73/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Poured into a Firestone Walker snifter. Pours a very dark, nearly opaque brown with a thin khaki head that dissipates to patches, with slippery light lacing. Aroma of bourbon, dark fruit, vanilla, hints of nuts and chocolate, dominated by the bourbon barrel elements, very appealing. Flavor is wonderfully integrated dark dried and fresh fruit, vanilla, oak wood, bourbon, caramel, pale malt, and a hint of grassy hops. Finishes with bourbony dark caramel malt and a hint of molasses. Medium to heavy bodied, nearly syrupy. Complex but balanced, the flavors are well melded.The high ABV shows through even the dense flavor of this, but mostly as bourbon and toffee. Delicious. My choice for this New Year's Eve on the day I retired from work. I didn't regret it from the moment I opened the bottle.

 799 characters

Photo of crob3888
5/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Look: pours blackish with a thick tan head
Smell: Oak, bourbon, fruits, sweetness
Taste: Tons of fruit, from ripe dates to plums to bourbon-soaked cherries, all balanced by oak, bourbon, tons of caramel and chocolate flavors, some vanilla notes, brandy...I could go on and on. Easily one of the most complex brews I have ever had.
Feel: Fairly thick but not the highest level of viscosity you would expect. Thinner than Parabola but that's not a knock, just a description.
Overall: The best barrel aged beer I've ever had? Probably yes.

 536 characters

Photo of jlindros
4.64/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

This beer looks awesome, big blend of other awesome barrel aged beers. Been waiting for the right time to crack this, and new job lined up seems to be the right time.

Pours a darker colored fizzy creamy smaller head that fades fairly quickly, little lacing, long thick legs, super dark just about pitch black beer.

Nose is awesome, big stout and malty beer, a little smoke like a peated scotch, big sweet malts, caramel, fluffy nougat, dark chocolate, little fudgey cocoa and chocolate cereal, biscuity cookie candy wafer, hint of roast, nice vanilla oak and little bourbon, and even a touch of dark raisiny fruit covered in brandy.

Taste brings big malts again, tons of fudgey cocoa, biscuity cookie dough with dark chocolate chips, creamy fudge and fluffy nougat candy bar, and even caramel. A touch of toasty coffee, with layers of vanilla oak, bourbon with a nice brandy soaked candied dark raisiny fruit mixed in. Creamy toasty oats as well, with a touch of booze warmth, dry and not really syrupy. Finish is drier but still a bit sweet and slightly sticky, bit more booze heat, lingering all the awesome malt and candy characters with more fudge and bourbon vanilla oak, and brandy soaked raisins lingering.

Mouth is fuller bod, not really syrupy, nice carb and very little booze for the abv.

Overall incredible as expected. Even the booze is hidden well.I could drink this all day... and fall right on my face.

 1,423 characters

Photo of oregonduck
5/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Mind blowing. Had on tap. The smell is amazing, Carmel and vanilla, like good carmel corn. It is hard to believe that a beer could smell this good! The taste is amazing too, it has a nice sweetness, but not too much. The texture is very nice, not as thick as Parabola, but also more carbonation than Parabola which I liked. This is the best beer I have had. It has most noticeably the flavors of Parabola but is very unique and complex with the blend that is used. At over 13% it is incredibly smooth with a bit of a bite, but without being hot or harsh. As a side note, I also tasted 17 which was amazing and complex too, but 18 stood out as being even better. 17 was a very different blend and had some cinnamon and spice flavors, where 18 was far more along the lines of Parabola with the Carmel and vanilla notes. Overall 18 is just a different level of beer, just fantastic.

 890 characters

Photo of Bosoxfan20
4.47/5  rDev -2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Bier Station. Pours near black, viscous, with a dense, creamy tan head. Looks amazing. Aroma of bourbon, chocolate, toffee, figs and other dark fruits, caramel and a touch of apples. Not overpowering, but divine. Flavor has a lot going on. An initial wave of sweet notes, followed by a dose of parabola, then comes a healthy hop profile and tobacco quality to stand up to the malt with a dry overtone. Toffee finish is a pleasant surprise to die for. Barrel character mingles nicely. Body is rich and creamy.
Overall, this is one complex beast. Baller status

 570 characters

Photo of Donco
4.71/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Most definitely one of the truly unique BA blended beers I've ever tasted. Firestone Walker is without a doubt the leader in barrel aged beers and this beer proves it. Very much like drinking a Parabola with different variants increasing the taste experience.
Drank my bomber over two different nights and enjoyed the second glass even more than the first. Highly recommended.

 376 characters

Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.26/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Bottled 10/10/14.

Pours an opaque black with a foamy dark khaki head that settles to wisps of film on top of the beer. Small dots of lace slowly drip into the remaining beer on the drink down. Smell is of dark roasted malt, toasted coconut, caramel, toffee, coconut macaroon, and bourbon aromas. Taste is much the same with chocolate syrup, toffee, caramel, vanilla, toasted coconut, bourbon, and wood flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of roast bitterness and an alcohol kick on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp and medium bodied mouthfeel. Overall, this is a very good beer with lots of tasty flavors, but the aromas coming from this one are much better and more distinct in my opinion.

Serving type: bottle.

 781 characters

Photo of kkleu357
4.88/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 5

Bought a bottle at Øl Beercafe in Walnut Creak CA. Pours a medium black with a slightly thinner body. Kind of expected since there are so many component beers, some of which of thinner bodies. Aroma is big chocolate and even bigger caramel. Excellent taste. I love Porabola, and the first flavor I get is that big chocolate woody taste of Porabola. Then, XVIII gets really interesting and a slight bitterness comes through, followed by a huge caramel taste that lingers for quite a while. As the beer warms up, it only gets better. More of the bourbon and oak starts coming through. Chocolate flavors get a little more prominent, and the caramel taste diminishes slightly. XVIII is excellent whether it is cold or cool. Would definitely recommend starting it on the colder end and drinking it slowly so you can see how it changes.

 831 characters

Photo of Dan_Inreallife
4.99/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A: Pours syrupy and viscous, dark mahagony/caramel in color, slightly lower in SRM than expected. Medium pour bring up a thick/pillowy khaki head.
S: Massive coconut/vanilla/oak/caramel, lots of sweetness, dark chocolate, some roast/spice.
T: Everything in the aroma and then some... incredible depth of flavor and complexity. Each element and base beer is well represented with each sip yielding slightly different but equally incredible flavors. Incredibly rich, sweet, and chock full of barrel notes without being overbearing. Alcohol is present but not overwhelming or boozy.
M: Liquid bliss... medium body which works surprisingly well given the ABV and overall blend. Carbonation is dialed in perfectly to compliment the sweetness and heavy viscosity.
O: Stunning...

 772 characters

Photo of BenwayPHD
5/5  rDev +9.6%

Pours a dark, dark brown with a slight burgundy. Smell is very heavy on the booze and wood. There are hints of vanilla, and figs, there is also a slight amount of earthy hop presence on the nose. Holy shit is tastes amazing. Toffee, vanilla, caramel, bourbon. It's creamy too, so creamy. This is the best barrel aged beer I've had. No contest.

 343 characters

Photo of DanGeo
4.08/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of tjk135
4.22/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Photo of t2grogan
4.5/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of abeerdude
5/5  rDev +9.6%

Photo of tbryan5
4.84/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

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Firestone 18 - Anniversary Ale from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 4.56 out of 5 with 957 ratings
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