Firestone 21 - Anniversary Ale
Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

Firestone 21 - Anniversary AleFirestone 21 - Anniversary Ale
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Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
California, United States
Strong Ale - American
4.33 | pDev: 6.47%
Dec 14, 2021
Aug 22, 2017
Firestone 21 - Anniversary AleFirestone 21 - Anniversary Ale
Notes: 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
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Recent ratings and reviews. | Log in to view more ratings + sorting options.
Photo of farrago
4.2/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
by farrago from New Jersey

Pours a finger's worth of deep tan to light brown foam, full mix of bubble sizes dot the surface. The liquid falls just short of full black, brown edges, clear enough to see some bubbles within. Nose of vanilla bean, German chocolate cake, molasses, figs and dates, maraschino cherry, no alcoholic burn, comes across as if a few years of bottle age has mellowed it. Medium-bodied, the carbonation is steady and manages to relieve some of the beer's natural density. More smoky than sweet here, some barrel char like notes, cocoa powder, dark chocolate. Light grilled nuttiness. Tends to leave a dry impression on the palate. Fresher cherry to plum fruit. Almost mentholated finish. Quite a smooth drinker and as with the nose handles the relatively high ABV very well. (Bottled 10/20/2017)

Dec 14, 2021
4.33 by TMoney2591 from Illinois on Dec 06, 2021
4.45 by rjp217 from Massachusetts on Sep 07, 2021
3.98 by NolaHopHead from Louisiana on Jul 11, 2021
Photo of Treyliff
4.46/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
by Treyliff from West Virginia

12oz bottle poured into a teku

A- pours deep brown in color with a one-finger foamy khaki head that has great retention before settling into a thin film on top

S- complex aroma, staring with chocolate and oaky bourbon up front. Beyond that, undertones of Stickee Monkey is found, with aromas of figs, raisins and Belgian candi sugar. Brown nutty malts, caramel, toffee, tobacco, brown sugar and brownie batter pop through. There's a hint of fruitiness and rum that you barely pick up on the close

T- rich, sweet and malty up front, with notes of caramel, toffee, brown sugar and chocolate cream. Mid-palate brings out a bright fruity note that I'm guessing comes from the Rum BA Heldorado. Dark fruit notes of raisin and fig, along with some nutty malts on the finish. Lingers of oaky bourbon, caramel and nutty malt

M- medium body with low carbonation leads to a creamy and silky mouthfeel, that continues into a velvety, slightly warming finish

O- another fantastic blend, this series doesn't disappoint

Jul 11, 2021
4.4 by BKotch from Texas on Mar 07, 2021
4 by broadway848 from New York on Dec 04, 2020
4.5 by Beernoobie from California on Oct 09, 2020
Photo of BerryKumquat
3.76/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5
by BerryKumquat from California

L: Odd amber black color.
S: Strong syrup notes.
T: A bit of malt and syrup but nothing else.
F: Nothing?
O: A quirky beer that is over hyped and under delivered.

Aug 09, 2020
5 by Tx-Brewer from Texas on May 23, 2020
Photo of TreyIsWilson
4.43/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
by TreyIsWilson from Michigan

A - Pours a dark brown with a thin tan head. Nice amount of soapy lacing.

S - Aroma is coconut, caramel, dark fruits and bourbon.

T - The taste is caramel, dark chocolate, figs, raisins, vanilla, coconut, oak and bourbon.

M - Medium body with medium carbonation. Creamy mouthfeel with a soft dry finish.

O - This is big, rich and decadent. Extremely drinkable at 11.8%.

May 13, 2020
4.5 by dsshuck from Delaware on Apr 21, 2020
4.19 by rbrefbeerman from California on Apr 01, 2020
Photo of dcotom
4.5/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
by dcotom from Iowa

Poured from 12-ounce bottle into a snifter. Cola-colored body, with a finger of tan head that left a bit of spotty lacing as it settled to a thin ring. Aroma and flavor profiles are dominated by bourbon and bourbon barrel, with caramel, cocoa, dark fruit, and roasted malt, plus hints of rum, molasses, vanilla, and spice. Very sweet, with a silky mouthfeel and lots of tartness lingering on the palate. Not too much alcohol heat for such a big brew. Delicious, decadent, and highly drinkable. What more could you want?

Jan 04, 2020
4.25 by Eziel from Ohio on Dec 19, 2019
4.34 by EdFed from Illinois on Dec 15, 2019
3.88 by DokiDokiLitFam from New Jersey on Dec 09, 2019
4.5 by Roy1586 from Massachusetts on Dec 09, 2019
3 by rare_bird from Michigan on Dec 02, 2019
Photo of pathman
4.5/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
by pathman from Ohio

10/3/19 draft @ Pub 365 Las Vegas

Dec 02, 2019
Photo of Wolvmar
4.5/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5
by Wolvmar from Michigan

Nov 2019.
Bottled Oct 2017. Bought at AJ’s Market or Beer 30 in Santa Cruz in May 2018. Poured into a tulip glass.

Pour: jet black with two finger tan foam head. Leaves a thin ring with some bubble lacing.

Nose : subtle, balanced rum, coconut, chocolate, dark fruit, dark roast malt. Hints of molasses and vanilla.

Taste: rum, coconut, chocolate, dark roast malt, bitter coffee/hops, marshmallow, caramel. Slightly vanilla sweetness. Extremely well balanced. Amazing.

Mouthfeel: moderate carbonation. Milkshake feel, not cloying. Easy to drink despite ABV.

Overall: awesome. If I could, would buy again in a second!

Nov 10, 2019
4.25 by smartassboiler from Illinois on Oct 28, 2019
Photo of Hopheadjeffery
4.38/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5
by Hopheadjeffery from Illinois

Tasted in a snifter from draft at Consume on May 28, 2019. This beer is unfiltered, so there will be a small amount of sediment in the bottom of the bottle. XXI is best enjoyed poured carefully into a half-filled brandy snifter or wine glass. Allow it to warm to 55F to fully enjoy the pleasing and complex aromas. As the beer sits and breathes in the glass the true complexity of this blend is revealed, so take your time. If you wait to open your bottle later, store it in a cool dark place. Like our other Anniversary offerings, this beer will age well and change favorably for years to come.

Oct 04, 2019
Photo of Zythophile
4.46/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25
by Zythophile from District of Columbia

Bottle Date: 2017
Palate Contaminants: other beer

Color is dark brown, near black, but with a reasonable amount of clarity still at 1/2 inch. Moderate off-white head.

The smell of this one is incredible. The scent that hits me first is vanilla, and it's heavy enough to be called extract. There's also a very pleasant oak scent that blends with... almonds? Haven't had that before. But what really lifts this is a rich caramel. And it all volatilizes so well. Along with that, there's a dairy element that's somewhere between butter and sweet cream. Overall, amazing. (This is why I'm stingy with the 5s.)

In the flavor, the wood character drifts a bit from oak, and the nut flavor drifts from almond, but there are still strong wood and nut elements. Herbs put in an appearance, and cloves are pretty strong. The burnt sugar drifts from caramel to dark rum. Interesting how -everything- in the nose shifts instead of various things simply appearing or disappearing.

Alcohol is definitely present, as one might expect for an elevenner. Medium weight. But it does have a spicy kick, which is intriguing. Moderate carbonation.

Sep 02, 2019
Photo of Thankin_Hank
4.52/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.25
by Thankin_Hank from Texas

Rich dark color with no head. Smells strong and the sweet molasses is very aromatic. The taste is strong, alcohol is present but not overpowering and the molasses is awesome. Mouthfeel is awesome too. Easy drinking. Overall it’s a fine specimen of a strong Ale. I have had some barrel aged brews that have this flavor and they are all good.
A 12 ounce boxed bottle at Ron’s Corner Tavern. 8/24/2019. BEER BEFORE GLORY!

Aug 24, 2019
Photo of Jrush666
4.9/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 5
by Jrush666 from Nevada

I was lucky enough to stumble across this at Lee's Liquor, on the craft beer selection wall hidden back in the back behind some delicious Firestone parabolas. I was a little surprised when I poured it since I thought it was an ale. I am a stout guy parabolas one of my favorites, that beer is incredible I am so saddened that I cannot get any more please again sometime in the near future recreate this nectar of the god special ale.

Aug 22, 2019
4.31 by MjBrewhouse from Idaho on Aug 17, 2019
4.21 by AlpacaAlpaca from New York on Jul 12, 2019
Photo of drtth
4.36/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5
by drtth from Pennsylvania

The solid dark mahogany brown, almost black, beer pours out into a snifter glass with a 1/4” medium brown head that slowly recedes to a small ring around the glass and some thin islands of foam while leaving some small legs and patches of lacing on the sides of the glass. Sipping creates a couple of slender arches and several small patches of lacing.

The aromas are mostly about the rich malt, with some chocolate, caramel, hints of dark fruits and a bit of dark roast. There’s also some rum, vanilla and spice.

The flavors are much as expected from the nose but the vanilla seems more forward. The malt sweetness is present but does not cloy. there’s also a bit of alcohol showing in the sweetness but it is well integrated with the other flavors and does not burn or overpower.

The mouthfeel is on the full side of medium bodied and fairly smooth with just a bit of lightly prickly carbonation. The finish begins as most of the various malt flavors start to fade into a long dry ending that seems woody, spicy and slightly bitter and with lots of vanilla in the background.

Overall this is enjoyable and very sippable in that as each sip finally fades away in the back of the palate I’m ready for another. The aromas/flavors are very complex and definitely change in their prominence as the beer warms. Recommended if you like lots of complexity among many different flavors.

Jun 24, 2019
5 by Kwright from North Carolina on Apr 26, 2019
Photo of Roguer
4.37/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
by Roguer from Connecticut

Humble head production, even from a fairly vigorous pour; dark tan foam quickly fades to nothing but a thin rim around the edge of the glass and an oily slick on the surface of the brew. Body is a very dark brown with slight purplish highlights, and while it is difficult to tell, it appears to be on the murky side.

Barrel notes are present immediately, with bourbon naturally leading the way, but a surprising showing from the Rum Helldorado (at less than 10% of the final blend!): mash, coconut, vanilla, oak, mild booze. Malts are showcased next: dark chocolate, caramel, earth, toffee, raisins, nuts, brown sugar, red wine grapes. The hops are a distant but still present last: earth, pepper, grass, and pine. Impressively complex and deep.

No less complex on the palate. The flavor is mostly a melange of coconut, chocolate, coffee, brown sugar, raisins, plums, caramel, oak, vanilla, pears, grapes ... it just keeps going on and on. I would prefer a more defined separation among flavors - some order amidst the chaos. As it is, only the waves of coconut on the finish (likely from both the bourbon and rum barrels) stand apart - but that's very nit-picky.

A touch fizzy on the feel up front, but only slightly; finishes silky, smooth, wet, and only a touch hot, with lasting coconut aftertaste.

Closing thoughts:

Nearly a quarter of this blend comes from Bravo and Helldorado, and I think it shows: this is thinner and more watery than I recall from previous editions, and perhaps hoppier as well, despite the age (enjoying this at about a year and a half of age).

The rum aspect of the Helldorado edition doesn't detract in any way, and in fact blends in seamlessly with the bourbon mash.

Going with Merkin over Parabola for such a huge portion of the base really brings down the heft; such a small component of Quad/BW characteristics (about 25% if you count both Monkee and Helldorado) yields less rich complexity than in years past.

Not overly sweet, not overly boozy or barrel-y. Very smooth and approachable.

Apr 14, 2019
4.4 by Montanabeerz from Montana on Apr 05, 2019
4.25 by TheWolf from Delaware on Mar 31, 2019
4.24 by Kdouble from Tennessee on Mar 24, 2019
4.25 by scottiethebody from California on Mar 22, 2019
4 by Birdlegs from Washington on Mar 17, 2019
Photo of keithmurray
4.24/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
by keithmurray from Connecticut

Appearance - dark brown mahogany body with tan head

Smell - chocolate, caramel, oak, brown sugar

Taste - chocolate, caramel, oak, brown sugar, tobacco

Mouthfeel - medium bodied, medium carbonation, chocolate and caramel sweetness upfront, oak and tobacco on the back end

Overall - nice beer here, flavors meld really well, booze is well hidden

Price Point - $7.99/12 oz bottle

Mar 16, 2019
4.63 by OregonGrown7 from Oregon on Mar 09, 2019
Photo of stortore
4.29/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25
by stortore from Illinois

12 ounce bottle into a snifter. Had 3/5/19.

Pours dark brown, amber in the light. Somewhat opaque, with a one and a half inch thick foamy head with good retention and lots of foamy lacing. Aromas of bourbon, caramel, figs, chocolate, cocoa, light tobacco, some rum- more as it warms, malt, some coconut, light butterscotch, a little oak and char. The flavor is not as intense as the aroma. Bourbon, rum, less chocolate than the nose, caramel, figs, toffee, malt, raisins, some coconut, light tobacco, a little oak. Smooth, a good medium to full body, well carbonated.

Writing this after the third crack at this beer. Took a while, but I finally appreciate this blend. What really elevates this, is the rum, which is surprising since the Helldorado is such a slight percentage of the blend. The aroma comes at you in waves, layers of goodness. Very good flavors, but not as robust as the other years that I’ve had, but maybe that’s consistent with the Velvet Merkin dominating the blend. Overall, very enjoyable.

Mar 06, 2019
4.26 by Mikexw from New York on Feb 19, 2019
Firestone 21 - Anniversary Ale from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 96 out of 100 with 328 ratings