Firestone 19 - Anniversary Ale
Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

Firestone 19 - Anniversary AleFirestone 19 - Anniversary Ale
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Style:
American Strong Ale
ABV:
13.8%
Score:
97
Avg:
4.43 | pDev: 6.32%
Reviews:
121
Ratings:
606
From:
Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
 
California, United States
Avail:
Retired (no longer brewed)
Wants
  80
Gots
  287
SCORE
97
World-Class
Firestone 19 - Anniversary AleFirestone 19 - Anniversary Ale
Notes: “We blended together 235 oak barrels and four different beers creating something truly complex and exceptional.”–Brewmaster Matt Brynildson

Parabola / Aged in Bourbon Barrels / 33.33% of Final Blend
-RussianImperial Oatmeal Stout

Stickee Monkee / Aged in Bourbon and Whiskey Barrels / 33.33% of Final Blend
-Central Coast Quad Brewed with Belgian Candi and Mexican Turbinado (brown) Sugar

Bravo / Aged in Bourbon and Brandy Barrels / 16.6% of Final Blend
-Imperial Brown Ale

Velvet Merkin / Aged in Bourbon Barrels / 16.6% of Final Blend
-Traditional Oatmeal Stout
View: Beers
Reviews: 121 | Ratings: 606 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of Sabtos
3.93/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark brown with a creamy then bubbly tan blanket.

I'm getting loads of toffee and caramel within the very woody whiskey that is present in the crisp medium-light body. The crackly carbonation even kicks up some bananas foster, but the malt has become a bit oxidized, giving off stale notes of cardboard. A mild booze brings a mature, candied nut heat before the dry finish.

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Photo of GuyFawkes
3.34/5  rDev -24.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Bottled 10/2/15; drank 12/10/15 @ Harvest Hop Haus.

Opaque brown/purple appearance.

Minimal tan head; no lace.

Plum, oak & booze heat notes in the nose.

Medium thick mouthfeel.

Plum & booze heat flavors up front; super dry oak notes on the finish.

Drinkable but not particularly appealing at the 2 month mark; perhaps time will be kind?

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Photo of Oh_Dark_Star
4.48/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Taste follows the nose with dates and dark fruits and Bourbon flavors dominating. There are also notes of leather, vanilla, toffee and molasses. A bit of booze but this is tolerable. Yum.

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Photo of StJamesGate
4.27/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Jet; brandy butter on Christmas pudding; licorice + treacle, brown wild honey, anise, lots of unsweetened chocolate, some bourbon barrel, loads of dark caramel, whiskey coffee finish; boozy end, heavy.

4 4.5 4.25 4 4.25

So… black. Residuals fermented right out. Mellow, big, sweet, with an edge. Fireplace beer.

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Photo of bobv
3.77/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

From Labor Day weekend notes:
Moderate pour yields a 1/2 inch light tan head over a brown body with some lacing. Nose of caramel, raisins, with a definite barley wine aroma. Taste of raisins and barley wine. Good feel and overall, I was hoping for better. Cheers!

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Photo of HawkeyeJosh
4.79/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Pours a deep brown, some light shows through around the edges. Smells like bourbon, chocolate, caramel, toffee, basically, it smells like a bourbon BA quad. Taste is super complex, I'm not good enough at this to describe it, but I'll attempt it. There is a lot of bourbon flavor, some chocolate, caramel, dates, toffee, maybe some coffee at the end. Mouthfeel is perfectly carbonated, and kinda sticky, like it coats your mouth. This is an amazing blend of beers, try it if you can.

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Photo of BillRoth
4.6/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

From notes -2016 trip to Central Coast. Had on tap at Barrelworks; couple of 3oz pours. Another excellent blended brew. Sticker Monkey really came through and stood out above the Parabola. Other beers really added well to complexity. Just a huge woody quad with a super full Imp stout. Then swatches of taste and smoothness from the brown and the oats. Big thumbs up.

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Photo of Jeffo
4.09/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Got this one from vanlingleipa a while back. Cheers!

From a bomber into a snifter

APPEARANCE: A clear light brown pour yields a big, four finger, fizzier, foamy light brown head with good retention. Bistre brown body, clear, with no real carbonation. Head fades down to a foamy cap. A splotchy wisp and ring remain until the end leaving dots of lacing gown the glass as it empties.

SMELL: Lots of caramel, toffee, oak, vanilla and cream, coconut, and a decent dose of bourbon as well.

TASTE: Lots of bourbon and caramel sweetness up front, with toffee, vanilla and oak at the swallow. Big finish of bourbon, oak, milk chocolate, coconut, vanilla, toffee and butterscotch sweetness lingers on the palate. Plenty of booze as well.

PALATE: Medium body and slightly higher levels of carbonation. Creamy on the palate, goes down okay with a big burn after the swallow, finishing somewhat sticky. Some decent heat lingers.

OVERALL: This is excellent. Boozy for sure and the fizzy head isn’t all that great, but the flavor and aroma are top notch. A good feel on this one to boot. FW usually does a great job with these anniversary blends and this is no exception to that. One that’s well worth the effort and price tag if you see it. Thanks again, vanilingleipa. Always a pleasure.

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Photo of Sammy
4.1/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.5

A masterpiece of complex bourbon, and blending. No carbonation yet a special barleywine. Smooth with above average mouthfeel. light brown, caramelized sweetness. Dangerously drinkable.

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Photo of garymuchow
4.5/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Wish I could remember who sent this to me via New Beer Sunday trading. I thank the BA who did. What a gift.
Rich malt and perfumey alcohol on the nose. Some deeper fruit, more like dried fruits resembling BDSA without the Belgian yeast qualities. . Still holds a full dense and dark head. A beautiful garnet in the light, otherwise moves towards brown. Richer and deeper is the taste as compared to the aroma, but resembling it it does. The fruit is a little sweeter and riper with a less dried quality and a little more varied. Very nice indeed.
Surprised how little warmth I feel considering the size of this big boy. In time the vanilla kicks in. Boy it that nice. Follow that up with a nice nuttiness. Bourbon shows up in time too. Even a wood character and hits of caramel. My there is a lot going on here. Balanced nicely all in all with the size of this.
A little bigger than moderate and an appropriately lower carbonation.
This is a rich and big one. Done well.

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Photo of Vixie
4.19/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A very dark beer, pretty much pure black. Forms a surprisingly large tan head, considering the strength.

Nice smell to it. Brown sugar, dried fruit, bourbon, and oak are the main things I detect.

Very complex, hard to pick out individual flavors, but I'll try. Vanilla and sweetness up front, brown sugar and toffee. Bourbon notes at the back end, the sweet mixing with coffee bitterness in the aftertaste.

Thick and smooth going down, this is what a big beer should feel like.

Another nice anniversary ale. No doubt this is a big beer, big flavor, big alcohol, not for the faint of heart. If you want a big potent beer, hard to top this one.

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Photo of ajm5108
4.66/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep espresso brown, slight lacing that is quite gossamer. Aroma is warm and fantastic - sticky toffee, roasted chestnut, caramel, a nice bourbon kiss underneath. More Stickee Monkee / Bravo on the nose than Parabola. Flavor starts out with a big toffee / caramel malt note with Italian espresso in the background, black molasses and some bourbon wood starting coming in through the mid-palate, finishes with bourbon vanilla, earthy nut and espresso. Lots of great flavors, but it is just a bit hot for me right now. Maybe more aging would smooth it out more. 18 was phenomenal and this a small step down. Still a fantastic beer. Mouthfeel is thick and velvety.

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Photo of RockAZ
5/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Thankfully I still have one more of these to taste a year or so from now, but it is awesome right now. Stickee Monkey is strong with this one, woody bourbon asserts itself all the way smoothing the overall sweetness in it. This was the full size bottle poured just below room temp so the carbonation was a little thin where the body of the beer was rather thick. Every sip added another complexity to the blend. Just a fantastic beer, could drink this almost every day in the winter even though I feel the stout contribution to this was minimal. Some will not like the dark roast chocolate tones and perhaps complain the brown sugar was too much but I liked it. Oh, drank the whole bomber by myself in one sitting - tis a potent beverage.

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Photo of Knapp85
4.26/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Poured out as a deep brown color with a thin tan head on top. The smell of the beer has a nice sweet aroma, lots of rich toffee and caramel, some raisin and oak in there too. The taste of the beer has some molasses-like flavors along with some earthy caramel and a pretty solid bitterness in the finish. The feel of the beer is medium bodied, kind of oily too. Overall this beer is pretty solid.

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Photo of Marius
4.75/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Bottle shared at Klooster. Dark ruby-brown pour with a thin tan head. Notes of bourbon, toffee, toasted coconut, vanilla, oak, cherries. Medium body, low carbonation and a bourbon bitter-sweet finish.

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Photo of q33jeff
4.48/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

**
12/11/2016
Bottle to Wine glass. Shared with family at Christmas party.

LOOK: murky Black/Brown. Lasting off white head.
AROMA: the whiskey and brandy barrels are at the forefront, mixed with lots of sweet and leathery aromas from all the component beers.
TASTE: whiskey, leather, roasted barley, molasses, vegetable, wine, brandy. Really, something new in each sip. I taste the sweetness of Merkin, the woodyness of Parabola and the leather and tobacco of Stickee Monke e. Never tried Bravo on its own, but I imagine that it is represented as well as there is so much going on here.
FEEL: Creamy, but lively. Medium to heavy body, but not as thick as you might expect.

Excellent Beer. Mostly, I recognize the stickee monkee which works for me since that is one of my favorite beers. I'd take it over Parabola, even though I'm more of a Stout fan.

**

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Photo of Damian
4.01/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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

The beer poured a medium bodied, dark walnut color. Slightly thin for a beer of this magnitude. The liquid was topped by a film of khaki froth that transformed into a bubbly collar. No lacing whatsoever.

The aroma was really big and bold. I could smell this as soon the bottle was opened. Huge toffee and caramel notes. Quite sweet. Loads of smooth, fragrant bourbon. Big vanilla and coconut presence. As the beer sat, the alcohol became even more apparent.

The flavor profile was definitely much harsher than the nose. Oaky notes and woody tannins came through big time. The bourbon/booze was pervasive and not in a very pleasant way. Somewhat sweet in the center. Caramel notes were apparent. Some raisins and dark fruits as well. Hint of vanilla. More oak and wood on the finish. A touch of char and some bitterness was noticeable too.

The mouthfeel was smooth and lush and contained a finely beaded, medium effervescence. Somewhat frothy on the palate but also perhaps a bit thin. The alcohol was also rather intense.

I have purchased every Firestone Walker Anniversary beer since XI and have been less impressed with each release as the years go by. Because the recipe changes basically involve tweaks to the percentages of the base beers used in each blend, it seems that the issue I have with these anniversaries releases has to do more with my own personal taste preferences than with the quality of the beer itself. That said, craft beers have come a long way in the last ten years. As much as I respect the brewers and blenders at Firestone Walker, I would really like to see a completely new recipe formulation for future releases.

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Photo of jrnyc
4.88/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Amazing beer! Firestone Walker's barrel aged program is second to none. This beer has a smell that surrounds the nose. Mouthfeel is perfect. Fantastic taste, not sweet, nice and dry. Awesome beer!

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Photo of neurobot01
4.12/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Apparently I didn't rate this when I had it fresh. Here it is with a year on it.

Look: dark brown with a yellowish tan head.

Smell: strawberry, red wine, bakers chocolate.

Taste: pretty aggressively roasty, with a fair bit of sweet vinous character and a bit of harsh alcohol. Dark chocolate and bright coffee as well.

Feel: light side of medium, fairly low carbonation, mild alcohol heat.

Overall: I just had fresh XX last night, and that blew this out of the water. Without notes, I honestly can't remember how I liked this fresh, but at one year, I think this is my least favorite of XVII–XX (though I'll be revisiting XVII and XVIII over the next few days, so we'll see if they hold up to my memory of them). The taste just has a lot of bitterness, and also something almost tangy (not infection tho). Fans of roast will enjoy this more than I did.

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Photo of Rimbimhoot
4.3/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A: Very dark brown with reddish hue
S: Caramel, brandy, coconut, bourbon, molasses, brown sugar
T: Milk chocolate, bourbon, caramel, molasses, brandy, vanilla, oak, dark fruit, nutty
M: Medium thick
O: Pretty complex and in the same regard as the other anniversary beers.

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Photo of HattedClassic
4.47/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

The beer pours a nice off-white creamy head that dissipates quickly. The beer itself is a nice looking dark chocolate brown with an interesting texture. The beer has a thinness to it and a brown hue that strongly resembles something a bourbon would give off.

The smell is absolutely delicious. The smell is a dominated by caramel notes mixed in with bourbon while there is a light and sweet dark chocolate underneath it all. Furthermore, the light saltiness can definitely be detected. There is a slight alcohol note to give it a decent burn to it but it doesn't detract from it at all.

The taste is fantastic and a bit more complex than the smell. Upfront, the beer has a good, moderate milk chocolate notes with a strong caramel and light salt note that really works. In the middle, the molasses notes come out and add a good bit of bitterness alongside a sweet bourbon and light rum that run from the beginning to the end. The finish has a slight alcohol note to it but it doesn't detract anything from it at all.

The beer is surprisingly smooth with light carbonation. The overall texture borders on creamy with a bit of thinness from the barrel aged notes. The beer also has a slight burn in the nose and the finish but that adds rather than detracts from anything.

Overall, this is another delicious Anniversary Ale from FW even after it's been aged. The salted caramel is a good unique note that worked well this time.

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Photo of OompaMentor
4.6/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle poured into tulip glass. No carbonation and minimal head. Very subtle hint of bourbon but on first taste the bourbon comes alive; WOW!! The toffee, vanilla, brown sugars are well balanced given the fact there are 4 beers paired together! Lays easy on the palate and is very enjoyable! Another great brew by Firestone!

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Photo of gatornation
4.49/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark mahogany color with some crimson highlights a khaki head and streaks of lacing. Smell was dark fruit wood leather,bourbon , toffee,vanilla.Tastes follows the nose with exquisite barrel presence, a mix between fine mellow bourbon and a sipping cognac. flavors of candied sugars mix with dark fruits, with toffee and caramel and of course a delicious bourbon finish. FW never dissapoints

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Photo of SawDog505
4.74/5  rDev +7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Poured at near room temperature into a 13 oz Weyerbacher tulip glass looks like it was bottled 10/2/15 hard to tell. Pours a beautiful mahogany with a two finger tan head that leaves behind plenty of webs of lace.

Smell dates, toffee, caramel, biscuit, molasses, vanilla, leather, and some wonderful oaky bourbon.

Taste follows nicely, dark fruit, toffee, caramel, molasses upfront, with bourbon, oaky vanilla, and molasses in warming long finish.

Mouthfeel is little above medium, with moderate but creamy carbonation, a little dry from the bourbon, and exceptional drinkability for 13.8% ABV.

Overall this is one of the greats. Like sipping a fine cognac. Every sip warms the soul.

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Photo of CHickman
4.88/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2015 Vintage, pours pitch black color with a 1+ finger foamy tan head that was full of tiny bubbles and dissipated on the quick side, leaving minimal spotty lacing as most of the foam slid back down into the brew. Looks like what I expected.

Smell is wonderful with toffee, molasses, brown sugar, bourbon, wet tobacco, oaky barrel notes, vanilla, caramel, cocoa, dark rum, fresh coffee beans, peat moss, brandy and a lot of malty sweetness. Perhaps there are hops in the mix, but the bourbon, woody notes and vanilla make this a pleasure to inhale.

These Anniversary Ale's are my favorites from Firestone Walker, bringing so much depth and complexity to each sip. Flavor has the malty sweetness to start, with toffee, soy sauce, cocoa, vanilla, molasses, brown sugar and some fresh ground coffee, followed by the boozy bourbon, merlot and oaky barrel notes which shifts between an intense sweetness and a woody, oaky barrel perfection that releases nutty flavors, brandy, chocolate malts, dark fruit like raisin and dates, wet tobacco, leather and maple syrup. The craftsmanship to blend all these barrel aged beers is remarkable, as the end result is fantastic (again).

Overall I love this beer and the whole experience. It was well aged with at least a year in the bottle, resulting in a smooth delicious beer that was thick and chewy with a heavy body, a mild cloying sweetness, little to no carbonation and an incredible ability to mask the ABV and yet make this seem like the big, bad-ass barrel aged beer that it is. This beer is the equivalent of an NFL offensive lineman: big and bold, yet surprisingly like-able and dynamic in more ways than expected. I'm looking forward to drinking the second bottle I have aging and highly recommend this beer.

8/30/2019-Drank the second bottle and it was as enjoyable in every way as the first bottle. The bourbon and malty blends did not fade and this actually seems smoother and more complex. World class indeed.

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Firestone 19 - Anniversary Ale from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 97 out of 100 with 606 ratings