Firestone 21 - Anniversary Ale | Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

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Firestone 21 - Anniversary AleFirestone 21 - Anniversary Ale
217 Ratings
Firestone 21 - Anniversary AleFirestone 21 - Anniversary Ale

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

Style: American Strong Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 11.80%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
Velvet Merkin (42%)
Parabola (18%)
Stickee Monkee (17%)
Bravo (14%)
Rum Helldorado (9%)

"This year’s Anniversary beer is a magical blend of five components. Chocolatey, mild Velvet Merkin takes the lead setting the stage full of lush malt and barrel driven texture, yet tempered alcohol strength. The rest of the components fall perfectly in line, backing Velvet Merkin up with luscious caramel complexity and a creamy malt symphony. The final component adds a new twist – the rum barrel-soaked and lean Helldorado makes its Anniversary debut, bringing a fresh splash of island-spice to a ridiculously balanced barrel-aged brew. This is one of those times that the whole truly equals more than the sum of its parts. I couldn’t be happier with the result."
-Brewmaster Matt Brynildson

Added by ThatsThatDude on 08-22-2017

Bros Score:
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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 217 |  Reviews: 71
Photo of jvgoor3786
4.25/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours a deep black with almost no head on a vigorous pour. There's almost no lacing.

The smell hits with dark fruit and whiskey from several feet away. It's really amazing. There's molasses and a hint of milk chocolate also.

The taste is pretty complex. The whiskey is very strong with a subtle blend of dark fruits on the front end. Bitter dark chocolate and roasted malts come through and it finishes with a lingering, slightly bitter tobacco char.

The mouthfeel is low carbonation, slightly thick, but thinner than I expected.

The mouthfeel and char on the finish detract a bit for me, but the nose and complexity of the flavors are great.

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Photo of admonster00
4.25/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of rspauldi
4.24/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of larryi86
4.45/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Thank you y2kawakami for this
12 oz bottle poured into a tulip

A- Black with a two finger little mocha head

S- Cocoa powder, bourbon, oak, vanilla, caramel, some toffee, molasses.

T- Cocoa powder, bourbon, toffee, caramel, vanilla, bourbon, oak, roasted malts.

M- Smooth, medium to full body.

O- Another good anniversary beer from Firestone Walker. Definitely very Velvet Merkin heavy, not my favorite barrel aged beers from them, but the other beers in this make it better.

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Photo of Muss42
4.37/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of tbone1384
4.25/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of GrumpyGas
4.04/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle dated 10/20/2017 poured into a snifter shows a clear dark mahogany brown briefly supporting a 1/4in cream colored head sans lacing.

Aroma is sweet spice and dried fruit.

Flavors open up as it warms from molasses and raisin to rum, oak, vanilla, and cinnamon, with only subtle warmth from alcohol. A spicy, cinnamon, cardamom, allspice blended aftertaste.

Mouthfeel is a lighter medium. It fills the pallette and surrounds with just short of chewiness, finishing on the wet side of clean.

Overall a fine sipper for a cold early spring evening.

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Photo of REVZEB
4.68/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

For a strong ale this was incredibly smooth and rich. Smell at first was like oatmeal cookies that had been soaked in rum. However when allowed to warm up the aromas became extremely complex. So much going on! Taste was a playful combination of malt forward sweetness, with spiraling flavors of rum, coffee, caramel, wood barrel, and dark fruit. Rich, dark, complex, what more could you want in a strong ale?

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Photo of ryan1788a5
4.19/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

12oz bottle poured into a snifter.

A: Dark chestnut brown in color, almost approaching black. Beige head hangs around in a thin cap. Wispy lacing.

S: Roast and toast, chocolatey, chocolate-caramel chews, molasses. Whiffs of spiced rum, and faint bourbon underneath that. Oak. Pecans. Sugar dates. A bit shy on the nose- it takes its time to open up. Once it does, one is treated to some contemplative complexity.

T: Breakfast scones drizzled with chocolate. Toasty and nutty. Bread crust. Sticky molasses. Fudge and bourbon ball candy. The mid palate is bolstered by a wave of caramel and chocolate, closely tailed by a big oaky bourbon barrel presence. Warming alcohol. Dried dates. Rum barrel takes over in the finish, tapering into toasty malt and spiced rum.

M: Medium-full. Rich and round with a creamy and slightly sticky feel. Very chewy. Carbonation subtly and softly lifts the texture. Very warming.

O: Somewhat of a departure from blends of the past. Velvet Merkin is used in the greatest percentage, rather than the traditional Parabola or barleywine base. It is immediately apparent with a softer and lighter body and less sticky malt texture and flavor. Loads of barrel character and plenty of warming alcohol mean this is still a sipper to be respected, but it drinks more easily than past blends. The rum barrel adds a unique and memorable twist as well. Balance and complexity, which have been the hallmarks of the Anniversary blends, are still achieved here too. It is a worthy blend, and though I prefer some of the past blends I would gladly jump at the chance to drink this whenever possible.

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Photo of Jacobier10
4.36/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle, 2017 vintage, dated 10/20/2017.

Black in color with a thick, creamy, tan head on it. I was worried off of the initial pour that this beer would be over-carbonated and fizzy, but it turns out it's not at all, which I'll get into later. Good head retention and sticky lacing on the glass.

Complex aroma filled with raisin, vanilla, cola, and chocolate. A bit of booze hints at what lies ahead, as the bourbon really comes out in the flavor. More of that dark fruit/raisin, cola, and chocolate gives the beer a nice base for the barrel character to play off of. Sweet in the finish.

Medium-full bodied, sticky, and warming. The carbonation is lively initially, which threw me off for a strong, barrel-aged ale, but it softens as time goes on. Never comes across as thin or fizzy.

This is my first Firestone Walker Anniversary beer and they did a great job with it! First off, the switch from 22 oz bottles to 12 oz was a smart decision. Less to drink in one sitting and more people get an opportunity to try it. Second, I usually don't giving the packaging much thought, but the packaging is awesome. The box contained a rolled up piece of paper with details on how the beer was created and a message from the brewery. I'll be honest, if I decide to drop $12 on a single bottle of beer, I appreciate all of the extras included with it. Lastly, and most importantly, the beer is excellent! The pricetag is hefty, but the quality is high here.

 1,456 characters

Photo of RMW66
4.46/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Photo of thinwhiteduke
4.25/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Wasatch
4.84/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

12 oz. Bottle

Poured into a Tree House glass a very nice dark brown/black color, very nice carbonation, with a very nice thick/creamy one-finger light tan head, which leaves a really nice huge creamy island, and some pretty nice sticky lacing behind. The nose is malty, with some nice chocolate/toffee, vanilla, pretty nice dark fruit complex (grapes, cherries, figs, dates, raisins, plums), bourbon/oak, slight rum, slight licorice. The taste is really really nice, malty, with a really nice touch of chocolate/toffee, vanilla, licorice, dark fruit complex (grapes, cherries, figs, dates, plums, raisins), nice touch of bourbon/oak, rum, nice sweetness. Full Body, ABV is hidden very nicely, a very nice complex brew. Overall, this one really surprised me, very tasty, just might buy some more. Definitely one of the best from FW. Highly Recommended!

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Photo of ultrasrs
4.34/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Photo of MurphDog14
4.5/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of beerbully
4.46/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

L_Pours jet black..........1 finger head that is coffee colored...head settles into a cap..........lacing is moderately thick......with medium retention

S-Sweet chocolate marshmallow, vanilla, bourbon, oak, caramel, brown sugar, prunes / raisins, brandy

T-a smorgasboard of flavor.......bourbon and oak kicks this off.......the middle is vanilla, caramel, brown sugar....finish is very chocolately with some heat from the booze........somewhere in there is some roasted coconut

F-a bit thin given the nature of the beer.......carbonation is right on......alcohol presence but not overwhelming especially for the ABV

O-Complex brew that provides complex flavors and aroma

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Photo of TrilliumFan
4.5/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of Corson
4.48/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Photo of Samdaddy
4.49/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of JLK7299
4.19/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Photo of SiepJones
4.5/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of spinrsx
4.51/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

On tap at Babes Palm Desert

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Photo of Boilerup
4.43/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.5

Photo of StArnoldFan
4.4/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of imbibehour
4.25/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured from the bottle into a large snifter glass.

Faint tan head, very small and dissolves to a bubbly collar. Decent body color, dark burnt red with some good clarity to it also. Simple whispy top and a nice glow also.

Aroma seems to go more for subtlety. Small hints of milk chocolate, and touches of raisin like fruit. Bit of a hint of wood like pepper notes on the nose which is interesting, but a little small.

Palate brings much more to the table. First sip is a giant and totally unexpected crispy toasted coconunt flavor, wild and exotic. Mid palate then fills with a bit more chocolate giving a classic Almond Joy candy bar quality. The mouthfeel though runs a tad thin for such a special brew though. Flirts very wet in feel particularly, not letting the flavors last and carry through. Hits at an odd fizz slightly also.

A real delicious flavor, but much of the other beers qualities unfortunately don’t seem to match up. However, its excellent flavors make for a far better than average experience, but overall gets taken down a notch personally in the Anniversary realm.

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Firestone 21 - Anniversary Ale from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 4.31 out of 5 with 217 ratings