Firestone 10 - Anniversary Ale | Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

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Firestone 10 - Anniversary AleFirestone 10 - Anniversary Ale
150 Ratings
Firestone 10 - Anniversary AleFirestone 10 - Anniversary Ale

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

Style: American Strong Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 12.00%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by dblinkhorn on 10-14-2006

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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Ratings: 150 |  Reviews: 102
Reviews by abfraser:
Photo of abfraser
4.67/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Toronado's FW12 event on 11/12

A: Nearly black, not much head.

S: Awesome. Vanilla, brown sugar, nice and spicy.

T/M: Vanilla and oak bourbon flavors, but nicely subdued and not overly dominant. Caramel and toffee. Nice and sweet, with a good full-bodied creaminess. Very nuanced and complex. This is drinking exceptionally well right now. Top notch.

D: Again with this FW anniversaries. Could drink them all night but the lack availability means it suffers in this category. Shame.

This was drinking extremely well. Liked it better than the FW12 I drank along side, as the recent release hadn't had the time to mellow out yet.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of abeerdude
4.5/5  rDev +6.6%

Photo of BeerAdvocate
4.52/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Review from Inaugural Issue of Beeradvocate Magazine.

A limited release, 10th anniversary, oak-aged ale that's a blend of ten separate batches, pulled from forty American oak barrels that were hand-selected from multiple Kentucky premium spirits producers. Includes three beer styles: Imperial Stout, Triple IPA and a Barley Wine. Only five hundred retail cases were produced. Insane.

Poured into snifters, the beer is opaque, dark brown, nearly black. Bit of a frothy lace; from the top it looks like a big glass of espresso. Mild oak, coffee overtones, barrel char, fresh vanilla beans, faint fruits, malty sweetness, fusel oils, pepper and a hint of leather build the aroma. Creamy, slightly syrupy body. Wonderfully complex, with strong notes of oak, milky vanilla, coconut, toffee, burnt caramel, freshly roasted coffee beans, and brown sugar. Smacks of blood orange and a spicy, peppery alcohol bite that, combined, creates a distinct, unique and classy, bourbon-y character. Sweet and mild pipe tobacco in the back.

The verdict: Hell yeah! One of the best beers we've tasted this year. We'd even go so far as to say that it's in our top ten of 2006.

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Photo of orbitalr0x
3.65/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Finally cracked the lone bottle of this I had in my cellar. Pours a deep dark brown with a quarter inch of tan head that leaves spotty lacing. Head quickly falls. Aromas of dense caramel and roasted malts colliding with boozy bourbon and wood tannins. Lots of dark fruits moving around here with some vanilla in the background as well. Alcohol comes through slightly.

First sip brings sweet rich caramel and dark malts upfront moving into roasted flavors with molasses and dark fruits popping through. Bourbon flavors move in along with woody barrel accents and tannins. Flows down with a touch of aged hop bitterness and quite a bit of alcohol bite on the end. Somewhat harsh overall, it doesn't come together as nicely as I was expecting.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and slick, but thinner than I expected for this brew. Sharing the bomber with a friend was the right decision as this would have been tough to take on solo. Maybe it was the age on the bottle, but this one really didn't live up to the reputation that was out there for this beer for me personally. Glad I tried it, but also glad I didn't spend / trade an arm and a leg just to do so.

 1,153 characters

Photo of Jason
4.5/5  rDev +6.6%

Photo of olradetbalder
4.5/5  rDev +6.6%

Photo of magictrokini
4.06/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Very dark reddish-brown pour with a short but thick tan head. Its not completely opaque, but close. Nice lacing. Strong bourbon nose up front. Behind it lie leather, smoke, tobacco, oak, vanilla, and funky old fruit. Unreal complex flavor. Oak, malt, smoke, and bourbon in large quantities. Not to be outdone, there is a nice, mellow molasses, caramel, brandy/cognac, and darker fruit side (currants?). Big alcohol warmth in the finish. Really enjoyable, one of the first blendeds I've ever tried.

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Photo of ehammond1
2.93/5  rDev -30.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Bottle (2006)

Thanks for sharing, mikedashg!

(Aged for 5 years)

Hazy dark brown and caramel in color with a very small brown head. Leaves dots of lacing down the glass.

The aroma nearly survived, but it's fallen off substantially from where it began, I'm sure. There's a bit of the wonderful coconut and oak notes I'm familiar with in other Firestone anniversary beers, but there's also strong sherry and alcohol notes throughout. The aroma doesn't seem particularly strong at all.

The flavor, I'm sure, is a shadow of it's former self. There's strong sherry and oxidation flavors along with quite a bit of harsh booze. There's some sweet malt and coconut character left, but overall, this one has been destroyed by Father Time.

Medium to thick bodied with low to moderate carbonation.

I really wish I had the opportunity to try this fresh, because as it stands now (at least this bottle), this isn't much of a beer.

If given the opportunity to try this beer again, I'll revisit this review.

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Photo of OStrungT
4.23/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer pours a very dark brown color with a tan head. The head fades slowly, leaving many thick laces.

This beer has a very sweet malty aroma. It also smells of chocolate, with a mild Bourbon aroma. A slight vanila aroma is also present. It has a nice dark fruit aroma also. Plumbs.

This beer tastes much like it smells. The biggest difference is that the dominate flavor is Bourbon. Other than that, it taste of sweet caranel malt, and chocolate, and some dark fruits.

This beer is surpriingly smooth. It leaves a mild Bourbon like aftertaste. It is low in carbonation, going well for the style.

I doubt this beer would make the best session beer. It is high in alcohol, so it would be hard to drink too many. One though, in no problem at all.

Overall: I am surprised to have a beer from Firestone Walker that was not booring. Everything else I have ever had from them has been simply middle of the road. This beer is pretty good.

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Photo of glid02
4.27/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle shared by Grant - big thanks!

Pours a murky copper-brown color with a half-finger off-white head. The head recedes into a wispy layer on top leaving decent lacing.

Smells of mildy spicy and earthy hops buttressed by solid amounts of chocolate malts and barrel character - vanilla with mild amounts of toffee. We I a betting man I'd say the hops had quite a bit more influence a few years ago.

Tastes similar to how it smells. Equal parts caramel malts and a combination of milk and dark chocolate flavors kick things off. Mild amounts of vanilla with milder hints of darker malts come in shortly thereafter. Midway through the sip spicy hop flavors enter into things and carry through to a mildly bitter ending.

Mouthfeel is very good. It's got a nice thickness with grainy carbonation.

Drinkability is also very good. I finished my glass without a problem and could easily have another.

Overall there were two expectations surpassed here - the expectation that I'd never try this beer and the expectation that it would still be this good. I can't imagine this one getting any better with age so give it a shot if you have it laying around.

 1,153 characters

Photo of acurtis
3.75/5  rDev -11.1%

Photo of ggaughan
4.32/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sampled at the Tria Fermentation School Russian River night. The beer poured a deep brown color, dense, with a medium deep tan head. The aroma is very intense. Good notes of bourbon, maybe a little vanilla in the nose. The taste is intense as well and very enjoyable. You get more of the high abv and the bourbon taste. The vanilla running through the body is enjoyable and rounds this beer out well, as does the touch of bitterness at the end. These tastes all make for a full body beer that although being at a high abv, I find very enjoyable and drinkable, at least for this glass.

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Photo of IntriqKen
4.57/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured a deep, dark amber just this side of midnight...almost black...with a half finger tan head that disappeared very quickly to a faint ring of lacing.
Aromas of brown sugar, dark fruits and alcohol. Definitely sense oak barrel in here and the oak scents are incredible.
Mouthfeel is rich, creamy, and 'slickery' on the tongue.
Taste is very complex....prunes, raisins, currents, sweet black malt, burnt malts, the oak, a little bourbon and definitely alcohol.
Aftertaste is a burning of the alcohol going down along with the burnt malt bitterness left on the palette drying your mouth.
Interesting....worthy of aging to allow the flavors to mellow and blend.
I'm looking forward to this one in a year or two, although I think only a year will do it---
UPDATE: Now May, 2007 and already everything is blending and mellowing beautifully. My only regret is that I only have 3 bottles left...I would love to re-visit this year after year. Drinkablility gets a 5 because I will return to it again and again, although a half or one bottle a night is more than enough.

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Photo of Sammy
4.57/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

I lost my note of whom I traded with, what a find. This beer is everything, a yummy drinkable barkeywine, with an exceptional complexity of bourbon, whisky, vanilla, and wood. A strong ale, this is an evening 12% and it is drinkable yet deserves sipping, after several minutes of aroma.. All kinds of hops, spearmint, peppermint.

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Photo of jh1982
5/5  rDev +18.5%

Photo of augustgarage
4.33/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Sampled multiple small pours into a snifter as part of a vertical at the Firestone Anniversary party at Blue Palms. Matt, the brewmaster was standing over my shoulder for much of the time, answering my questions about barrel types, blending, etc.

Cordovan and burgandy body, with copper highlights. Dark liquid, but good clarity. No head, though there is a smattering of lacing. There seems to be an inverse relation between collar size and leg formation - the older the anniversary ale, the thinner the collar and more dense the legs.

Subtle, but stunning barrel aromatics. Compared to the rich intensity of the younger versions sampled, 10 may seem disappointing at first; however, it is the only one in which the contribution of brandy barrels is apparant. Subdued citrus (orange peels), dried apricots, cherry pits, plums, vanilla, molasses, and cinnamon aromatics along with an alcohol character that readily brings to mind a superior cognac or even an armagnac.

As with all of the blends, bigger than the sum of the parts. Leather, candied orange peel, cloves, charcoal, and myriad dark fruit. In addition to the vannillin you get more dark fruit, revealing the contribution of what is likely Spanish or black oak. Extraordinarily long finish; soothing and earthy, with hints of Irish whisky. Even the 10 retains a distinct Firestone signature, sharing the same soft doughy aftertaste found in Double Barrel Ale or Walker's Reserve Robust Porter.

A touch syrupy, but simultaneously somewhat thin.

10 may be flattening out, but it is turning into more of a quality liqueur even as it loses some of its integrity as what we normally think of as a beer.

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Photo of SpeedwayJim
2.62/5  rDev -37.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Thanks to Scalene for this one. By way of light whale BIF 2. 22oz. bomber poured into a Darkness snifter.

Pour generates a .5 finger dark cream colored head with poor retention. Beer is a cloudy, dark brown, almost mudyd. Lacing is spotty with little cling. Really fantastic legs though. Average for the style.

Nose is heavy on the abacus. Notes of caramel, brown sugar, and toffee along with a sap hoppiness. Some booziness peaks through also. Decent but not the most robust or deep flavors are present here.

The first sip is a harsh reminder that this beer is a shadow of its former self. Some roasted malt bitterness mixed with alcohol. Booziness is pervasive. Caramel and toffee are there but very muddle and exceedingly coarse. Some brown sugar sweetness pushed way in the back. End is boozy and sweet with a sap hop bitterness mixed with caramel aftertaste.

Light to medium bodied with low carbonation. Very, very thin in the mouth. Oily with some boozy harshness going down. Really a mess at this point. Finish is messy with a lingering aftertaste. Probably one of the worst bodies of the style I've had in a while though it does thicken up slightly as it warms.

Had this one about a year ago and it was already on the decline. At this point, its probably not even worth drinking. Very thin, flavors are muddled and the alcohol is becoming more and more prominent. If you have this, get rid of it now. Its fallen off significantly. Higher overall grade here just for what it once was.

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Photo of leschkie
3.5/5  rDev -17.1%

Photo of Photekut
4/5  rDev -5.2%

Photo of nickd717
4.29/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Tick - I mean review - number 900 on BA, and I may give this the honor of being my 2000th official tick on RB. Big thanks to Arbitrator for sharing this one. Consumed while wearing my "Ratebeer: Two ounces is all you need." (with thimble logo) shirt.

Pours dark brown in color with a one-finger bubbly tan head. Others commented that it looks a bit like Coke, and maybe the color is similar, but the softness of the foam on top definitely differentiates it from Coke for me.

Excellent aroma - barrel aging evident with oak, bourbon, vanilla, sherry, chocolate, and roast.

The flavor is excellent but maybe just a little past prime but still great. Pretty oaky with lots of vanilla and some bourbon. Caramel, chocolate, roast, and nuts as well.

Smooth on the mouthfeel, still a little booziness, with medium-low carbonation and medium body.

Really good overall. I'm happy to have finally ticked, and enjoyed, this. I actually went back for more than 2oz, believe it or not.

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Photo of Beertracker
4.5/5  rDev +6.6%

Photo of GRG1313
3.25/5  rDev -23%

Photo of akorsak
4.72/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Marvz for this bottle. I've been struggling to hold off on opening it. I poured it into a small snifter, so I can say that I had 4 glasses of it.

A: The ale is a study in contrasts, with a cola-colored brown body sitting under an eggshell white head. No lacing from this high gravity ale. The cola color renders the ale opaque, nearly black.

S: Thick treacly malts, oaken port, vanilla, bourbon, brown sugar, and coconut all make appearances. The nose is intense and intoxicating, a very mellow ale that throws quite a bit at you. The only drawback is that alcohol stands out with its strength.

T: This is a heavy ale. Dark malts lead the way with coffee, chocolate and molasses. Booze is present from the first sip, mixing with bourbon and oaken flavors. The carbonation is strong, scalding the tongue on each sip. Despite that, I love how the flavors swirl together. The barrels have added vanilla, brown sugar, bourbon and booze. Small sips are a treat, allowing them to warm in my mouth before swallowing. One of the components leaves a full chocolate flavor on the palate, but not before a beautiful oaken bourbon flavor calms the palate.

M: I don't know what to say. This ale is awesome, leaving so many flavors on the palate, that it is difficult to pick out a favorite. I am partial to bourbon, so the vanilla is a stand out. Other than the booziness, I struggle to find a negative. As complex an ale as I've ever come across.

D: At 12%, this is a sipper. I've been enjoying my time with this ale, an intense, complex blend that is near perfection. I'd love to be a fly on the wall when the FW crew dreams these beers up.

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Photo of emerge077
3.94/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

FW vertical sampling at Luda's annual cellar clearance, thanks Ben for bringing this one!
Served in a mini-nonic, quick review from transcribed notes.

Tawny dark brown with lighter highlights, ring of frothy bubbles around the edges, a swirl of skim and some spotty lace after each sip. lc. Murky with suspended sediment.

Leathery aroma, autolysed yeast and some barrel notes.

Viscous and full bodied, rich. Chocolate, whiskey heat, whoppers. Lingering dry tannic bitterness. Very rich and best shared. Of the group this one seemed to show the most oxidation, corresponding to being the oldest bottle of the vertical.

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4.67/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

An inch and a half of fluffy light brown head shows nice carbonation remains even after two full years of age. Body is a sexy blackish brown with even a hint of ruby on the outer edges. Carmel and sweet bourbon really come through upfront on the nose. Super ripe dark fruits and malty sweetness are everywhere in the fragrance. With first sip you can see that the complexity is a highlight for this beer. Toffee malts mix with rustic dry spices all over the tongue. Tones of plum and raisins in the middle of the palate. Hops take charge on the back half to add a dusty bitter feel that really adds a nice bitter feel. Although I would have loved to try this beer fresh, I have to think the age has done this beer wonderfully. Thick toffee sweetness teams with a consistent woodsy bitterness for a very attractive mouthfeel. Very nicely drinkable classic.

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Firestone 10 - Anniversary Ale from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 4.22 out of 5 with 150 ratings