Dark & Stormy
Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

Dark & StormyDark & Stormy
Write a Review
Beer Geek Stats: | Print Shelf Talker
American Strong Ale
Ranked #72
Ranked #8,904
4 | pDev: 12.5%
Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
California, United States
Very Good
Dark & StormyDark & Stormy
Notes: From the jungles of Jamaica to the barrel room at Firestone Walker Brewing Company comes Dark & Stormy—an exotic mashup of Helldorado and Velvet Merkin aged in rum barrels with a touch of hand-zested lime and ginger. Like its namesake cocktail, Dark & Stormy combines a rich sunset color with spicy rum goodness. Helldorado (blonde barleywine, 80%) sets the tone with its signature honey-coconut character, while Velvet Merkin (oatmeal stout, 20%) rounds out the blend with a hint of rich roastiness. Both beers were aged in barrels sourced from a leading Jamaican rum producer, imbuing Dark & Stormy with delectable rum qualities unlike anything Firestone Walker has offered before.

ABV varies by year
View: Beers
Reviews: 41 | Ratings: 120 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of maximum12
4/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Little 12 oz. bottle in a little box – I missed the $12 FW bombers. Get off my lawn, bitch!

The pour looks like eight ounces of tawny port, which sounds good right now, & smells like a ginger truck crashed into my front lawn. No rum, though.

Dark & Stormy was a great flick when Stormy….oh, wrong genre. The missing rum in the nose shows up with cleats on, along with plenty of ginger. Lime is MIA. Flecks of various things appear & vanish in the rum soup: coconut, caramel, mint, thongs, brown sugar. A bit rough. Split with my wife & I believe that was a fine choice.

Never tasted anything like it, yet it retains characteristics of an actual beer. Very nicely done.

 677 characters

maximum12 from Minnesota, Aug 17, 2019
Photo of Ozzylizard
3.67/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

$ 11.92 (Including tax and deposit)/12 oz bottle ($ 0.993/oz) at Alkies, Massena, NY. Reviewed 8/10/19.
Undated other than vintage. On shelf at store. At home, stored at 42 degrees and served at 54 degrees in a hand washed and dried Jester King snifter.
Appearance – 3.5.
First pour – Light amber, clear.
Body – Dark amber, opaque. When held to the light, reddish-amber, translucent.
Head – Large (Maximum 4 cm, aggressive center pour), light tan, medium density, fizzy, short retention, retracting to a two to three mm crown and thin island cap.
Lacing – None. As expected at 11.1% ABV.
Aroma – 4 – Rum and caramel, with a hint of lime following. Aftertaste is ginger. A slight gastric warming occurs.
Flavor – 3.5 - Rum dominates with a trace of lime tagging along. No alcohol taste or aroma (11.1 % ABV), no diacetyl, no dimethylsulfide.
Palate – 3 – Medium, somewhere between creamy and syrupy, moderate carbonation.
Impression and interpretation – 4 – Interesting. For me, the lime is the high point of this brew; too bad the rum cloaks the flavor of the Helldorado. Still, not a bad brew.

 1,127 characters

Ozzylizard from Pennsylvania, Aug 10, 2019
Photo of Thankin_Hank
4.54/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2018 Vintage. 11.1% ABV. An amber, cola, tea colored beer poured into a snifter. No head but lots of carbonation. Almost smells like a rum and coke but it's sweet, slightly citrus and alcoholic. Add ice and call it a Cuba Libre. I like the taste and I get the sweet, citrus and a hint of alcohol. The lime comes through. It's definitely unique and is sooo smooth to drink. Overall a most excellent brew that will never be seen again except by a different name. BEER BEFORE GLORY! Gosling makes Ginger beer.

 506 characters

Photo of MrOH
2.36/5  rDev -41%
look: 2.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

2018 vintage
Not the prettiest beer- slightly hazy chestnut, minimal head and lace
Rum is the foremost aroma, a bit of lime behind it. Some caramel.
Pretty much tastes like it smells
Full bodied, a little sticky, low carbonation
Maybe the ginger aged out, but that might have brought it all together.

 300 characters

MrOH from Maryland, May 12, 2019
Photo of Oh_Dark_Star
4.4/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Rum Barrel Aged. Rum is not usually my thing typically but I've enjoyed this brew multiple times. The lime and ginger are the perfect counterbalance to the Merkin’s roasty notes.

 180 characters

Oh_Dark_Star from Washington, May 03, 2019
Photo of stortore
3.94/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle into a snifter. Had 10/27/18.

Pours a mostly clear medium amber, with a one inch foamy head and spotty cling. Aromas of strong rum, toffee, dates, figs, brown sugar, malt, some ginger, a little oak, light char, lime as it warms. The taste is also considerably rum forward, then caramel, dates, brown sugar, malt, light ginger and lime, a hint of chocolate. It’s a little sweet, some alcohol warming. Smooth, a decent medium body- although fairly thin feeling, well carbonated.

This is interesting, but the rum barrels, while great, are pretty overwhelming. The ginger and lime wind up being far too subtle. Great aroma, which is where the add- ins show best. The skills of the brewers make this a pretty good beer overall, but it’s lacking for the Vintage Series.

 793 characters

stortore from Illinois, Apr 17, 2019
Photo of ryan1788a5
4.15/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

12oz bottle poured into a snifter.

A: Nice burnt siena color. Good clarity. Fine-bubbled head settles shortly. Sparse and whisky lacing,

S: Rum and lime are more forward on the nose initially. Nice butterscotch/vanilla and spice rum character. Rich barleywine-esque aromas or bread pudding, blonde brownies, treacle, and golden raisin. Warm ginger rides up to the forefront and sticks around for a good while. Perhaps a very faint hint of char and roast, though it hardly pulls through.

T: Treacle, toffee, blonde brownies and bread pudding meld with notes of char, burnt toast, and bakers chocolate in the malt base. Slight metallic note. The rum barrel rides up middle to end, with a decidedly molasses-like character. Lime and ginger fill in the rest in a pretty forward role as well, and it all somehow feels pretty cohesive. Finish is long, with a lot of rum and roasty malt as the oatmeal stout portion of the blend asserts itself.

M: Rich, thick, coating and sticky. Heavy body. Gentle but ample carbonation.

O: The dark and stormy is a favorite cocktail of mine, and this beer actually does capture the essence of the flavors at play in the drink. It adds a few more beery details, naturally, but it ends up melding a sticky malt and rum body with ginger and lime in such a way that evokes more of the cocktail inspiration than beer. Color me impressed. I’ve had many a cocktail themed beer, and this is one of the better ones out there.

 1,454 characters

ryan1788a5 from Massachusetts, Apr 16, 2019
Photo of VTbrewfan
4.09/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

9 oz pour in a wine glass on draft.

Has an appearance almost like a ginger beer or rootbeer. I get lime and coconut on the nose, strong booze. Strong flavors of coconut, lime, cola, sweetness. Lots of heat from the rum barrel aging. Seems to have picked up a lot of character from the run, which isn’t a bad thing but it’s not fooling around either. Kind of a syrupy mouthfeel, no carbonation.

Nice beer, definitely a sipper.

 431 characters

VTbrewfan from Massachusetts, Mar 22, 2019
Photo of Treyliff
4.18/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

12oz bottle poured into a snifter

A- pours a deep brown color with a creamy off-white head that has great retention long after the pour

S- ginger, citrusy hops, chocolate, brown sugar, rum barrel, caramel

T- light ginger hits the tongue up front, followed by a hit of rum sweetness, brown sugar, cola, oak, citrus peel and coconut. The finish gives a hint of lime and more ginger on the linger

M- medium light body with moderate carbonation leads to anfoamy mouthfeel and finish

O- another well blended beer, the adjuncts arenright in line

 548 characters

Treyliff from West Virginia, Mar 15, 2019
Photo of beerbully
3.8/5  rDev -5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

L-Mohagany.......kind of murky.......although the pour was mildly aggressive the result was a minimal head with almost no retention........lacing is moderate

S-Rum is the first to hit the nose.......some burnt sugars, vanilla, molasses, brown sugar

T-Rum is the dominant force.........some barrel notes, vanilla, brown sugar, some citrus notes on the back end...........a degree of maltiness......some dark fruits..........taste more like a boozy mixed drink than a beer, but I guess that is the intention

F-Slippery, slight alcohol burn, sweet......a bit thin

O-interesting, as advertised.......not really my style.........if you are looking for an island rum drink this is for you

 686 characters

beerbully from New Jersey, Mar 01, 2019
Photo of NathanBeets
4.31/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2017 version.

Pours a deep mahogany. Absolutely gorgeous brew.

Huge barrel characteristics.

Really wish I had more of this.

Great offering from FW.

 155 characters

NathanBeets from South Dakota, Feb 09, 2019
Photo of mothman
4.25/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Batch 2.

Khaki white head. Caramel brown.

Molasses, ginger, coconut, brown sugar, and rum. A tropical drink. Vanilla. Very unique. I like how FW is still being innovative with their barrels. This is a fun one.

 213 characters

mothman from Minnesota, Jan 24, 2019
Photo of BEERchitect
4.1/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pulling out all the stops, the Firestone Walker Brewing Company pulls out all the stops while finding inspiration in the cocktail world. The Dark & Stormy mixed drink routinely uses dark ale along with the snappiness of ginger and lime with a boost from rum. ...and this beer does the same.

Sharing the namesake of that cocktail, Dark & Stormy pours a deep honey gold, shyly amber color before crowning with a firm, ivory topping. The lime zest and ginger pop on the nose with the brightness of ginger ale. But the beer's underling sweet scents and a spice of rum show that there's more to the beer than the additions. Sweetness splashes the tongue with a bold caramelized richness with peps of toffee, chocolate and candied pecans.

Sweetness stews away confidently on the middle palate while the barleywine in the blend brings dark fruit, toast and nutty flavors. On the flip side, the stout adds a cola, coffee and cocoa subtlety that brings out a true stormy character. The spice of ginger extends into a rummy, peppery and Caribbean sugary spice that sells the taste of rum exceptionally well.

A light bitterness seems coffee-like and woodsy while allowing the sweetness to excel into a full bodied texture with balance and a shocking sense of drinkability for such a strong ale. A long finish of rum and ginger outlasts the malt and lime for a hybrid cocktail-beer blend that fares much better than usual.

 1,413 characters

BEERchitect from Kentucky, Jan 10, 2019
Photo of Franziskaner
4.03/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Chestnut brown in color with a fingernail of beige around half of the rim and over traces of the top. The aroma is absolutely packed with rum and ginger. I'm tasting light rum and ginger. The mouth is very dry and lightly sticky.

 232 characters

Franziskaner from Missouri, Jan 06, 2019
Photo of HipCzech
3.95/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Serving: 12 oz bottle (2018 vintage) poured into 9 oz Libbey Embassy snifter.

Appearance: Clear, medium to dark nutty brown with a brief tan foam head.

Smell: Boozy rum nose; earth, and lime zest.

Taste: More boozy rum notes atop a big malty base made up of its blended brews; toffee, cocoa and dark fruit. Ginger hits midway along with brown sugar and lime rind.

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body with moderate carbonation.

Overall: An interesting riff on cocktail flavors built on a good blend of big, barrel aged brews.

 524 characters

Photo of arizcards
3.95/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Picked up a single from the Craft Beer Hop Stop 9-19-18 for $9.99. No bottling date visible; cold stored since purchase. Consumed on 12-27-18.

Beer poured a light brown with a beautiful white head that quickly dissipated.

Nose is rum forward with coconut and some ginger.

Taste was rum forward initially overpowering the barleywine base beer. The coconut, ginger, and lime become more prevalent with each sip but still the base beer is an after thought.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and pretty smooth.

Overall a fun beer to try but rum barrel aged beers seem to be pretty hard to do. It seems the time in the barrels needs to be very brief so as to not overpower the base beer.

 684 characters

arizcards from Arizona, Dec 27, 2018
Photo of REVZEB
3.85/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

The taste reminds me of rum and diet coke lime from college days, booze is very hot. There are some sugary wooden notes too, a sipper. Smell is too strong on the rum in my opinion, but not overly harsh. Beer starts to fall apart in the body as the sip progresses, flattening out to straight booziness.

 304 characters

REVZEB from Illinois, Dec 21, 2018
Photo of bbtkd
4.12/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Firestone Walker Dark & Stormy, 11.1% ABV. Pours dark brown with a one finger off-white head that left slight lacing. Nose is sweet rum, honey, moleasses, and ginger. Taste is rum and honey, a bit of bitterness in the middle, with a lime close. Decent dry mouthfeel, overall excellent.

 289 characters

bbtkd from South Dakota, Dec 19, 2018
Photo of Sabtos
2.78/5  rDev -30.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

Clear shimmering acorn varnish brown with a lumpy khaki blanket that dies to a thin ring.

This has a ginger snap taste and smells of musty, dusty Melba toast. Lime comes in minor accents and rum emerges on the tail end of a semi-dry finish. The body is crisp and lightly boozy.


 286 characters

Sabtos from Ohio, Dec 09, 2018
Photo of tigg924
4.88/5  rDev +22%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Pours clear, reddish brown in color with 1/4 inch head. Taste is big ginger, sandalwood, run, and lime. Medium-heavy bodied, sweet, medium-low carbonation. Loads of tropical flavor. This is one of my favorite cocktails and Firestone Walker captures it in a glass. Lives up to their barrel aged beers. Will look for this again.

 332 characters

tigg924 from Massachusetts, Dec 01, 2018
Photo of metter98
4.11/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

A: The beer is brown in color and when held up to a bright light it is clear orange and amber with a light to moderate amount of visible carbonation. It poured with just a collar consisting of medium-sized off white bubbles around the edge of the glass and delicate lacing covering the surface.
S: Moderate to strong aromas from the rum barrel aging are present in the nose.
T: The taste follows the smell and has lots of flavors of rum along with hints of lime towards the finish. No other alcoholic or boozy-like flavors are present.
M: It feels medium-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation. The rum adds a touch of warming to the mouthfeel.
O: This beer doesn't seem nearly as heavy in body compared to most other beers in the style and as a result is quite drinkable as long as you can get past the strong dose of rum flavors in the taste, especially since it isn't boozy at all.

Note: 2018 vintage

Serving type: bottle

 951 characters

metter98 from New York, Nov 28, 2018
Photo of HorseheadsHophead
4.22/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Comes in a clear dark amber, light brown color with a small tan head. Fairly retention, no doubt due to abv. A thin ring remains, and some spots of lacing.
The aroma is boozy but sweet. Smells like a gingerbread cookie. Molasses, ginger, cinnamon, brown sugar, honey, toasted oak, and a sneak of that lime.
The taste follows the nose. Massive gingerbread cookie flavor. Brown sugar, molasses, rum, ginger, and a hint of lime zest. Sugary sweetness with toasted grainy character, leaning into oak character with a hint of boozy warmth. Surprisingly drinkable for its abv level, crisp and well rounded.
The feel is medium, a bit light for the abv, with moderate carbonation.
A really unique and tasty beer! I haven't had anything like it before, but it is good.

 768 characters

Photo of joe1510
4.29/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

12oz Bottle
Prisco's Market - Aurora, IL

Dark & Stormy looks about as pretty as a big bruiser can look. The body is the deepest of reds, mahogany, with chestnut brown highlights through the near perfect clarity. This beer glows, warming. The foam has a beige cast to it and is full on velvet. A finger in height on the pour before lazily receding to a respectable crown. Near perfect drink lines are left after each sip.

The nose on this guy is more reminiscent to a winter warmer than I would think of anything Caribbean. Gingersnaps kick start this one with soft baking spices in the background. It's got that spiced cookie note that pops up around Christmas time. Toffee brings about a sturdy backbone as well while candied lime peel adds a touch of candy-like sweetness. Nutmeg, cardamom, wood spice, and soothing vanilla make up the rum barrel presence. This stuff smells pretty special.

The flavor follows the nose pretty closely. It's gingersnap and lime peel off the bat, neither of which are harsh or intrusive as they can be. That spiced cookie presence is just right when combined with the depth brought about by the rum barrels. Toffee, soda bread, fruitcake. This beer is loaded with malt complexities while every other aspect is complimentary. This beer has layer after layer of complexity with no hard edges.

If I were forced to choose my least favorite aspect of this beer it would be the mouthfeel. With that said, it's still good. A few ticks over moderate in weight it has a slickness and a touch of stick on the finish. It could use a bit more chew but that's some serious nitpicking. The carbonation is soft and dialed in perfectly. This thing goes down dangerously easy.

Dark & Stormy sounded like it could be a big mess to me, but then I figured "It's Firestone, barrel aged, and in a box. It can't be all bad." Luckily, it was excellent. Like I said upfront, it's very holiday season-esque with the spice, malt profile, and rum aging. Great depth of flavor and perfectly even handed.

 2,018 characters

joe1510 from Illinois, Nov 12, 2018
Photo of Dragginballs76
4.3/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - Pours crystal clear deep red almost brownish resin color with a thin but tight off white head that settles to a thick ring. If you hold this up to the light it looks like dried sap just beautiful. No lacing to speak of.

Aroma - Getting a good bit of ginger and lime, nice oak and dark rum coming through just a bit.

Taste - Very nice smooth rum and oak flavors up front along with a touch of caramel. The ginger I am getting is more in the form of an earthiness and not the pure ginger I picked up in the nose. The dark rum is very present in flavor but really compliments the other flavors. All of the flavors in this are so balanced and really smooth.

Feel - Medium bodied with really soft feel, there is just a hint of warming from the alcohol but really smooth and easy drinking for the ABV.

Overall - Really impressed with pulling this off, flavors are well balanced great nose easy drinking

 913 characters

Dragginballs76 from South Carolina, Nov 11, 2018
Photo of GuyFawkes
3/5  rDev -25%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bottled 8/16/18; drank 10/28/18 @ the Yarchives.

See through purple/orange appearance; champagne bubbles throughout.

Lime, oak & ginger ale notes in the nose.

Sticky medium mouthfeel.

Lime juice & soda water flavors up front; mild tequila & faint coconut notes on the finish.

Although rum barrels were used, I get a slightly queasy tequila cocktail vibe here; it's not one I'll return to.

 398 characters

GuyFawkes from Illinois, Oct 28, 2018
Dark & Stormy from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 89 out of 100 with 120 ratings