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
Photo of WeisGuy
4.2/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big thanks to Zorro for this bottle.

a - pours a deep dark brown/black, one-finger ivory head with retention around the edges, decent lacing

s - bourbon, oak, vanilla, all the signs of bourbon barrel aging here, nice roasted malts along with a hop presence, slight alcohol

t - very smooth taste, roasted malt mixed nicely with dark fruits, vanilla, some hoppy bitterness in the background, some bourbon, finish is slightly sweet, vanilla, nice alcohol warmth

m - moderate carbonation, medium-bodied, mildly dry finish, nice warming effect

d - not much alcohol detected in the taste for a 12% brew, more drinkable than most others at this strength, a sipping beer all the way though, I had no problem finishing the bomber

Very nice beer from Firestone. I really wouldn't call it an American Barleywine, but then again, I don't care much about style classifications. I'd love to have another bottle to see how it tastes after awhile in the cellar.

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

A: Into the oversized Reidel snifter it goes. Carbonation came and went, a few wisps remain on top with a minor ring of light sand colored foam around the sides. Body looks a lot like rootbeer with a chocolaty streak to it.

S: Yessir, there’s bourbon in this here beer. Lot of oak too with vanilla, blackberry liquer, almond rocca and toffee.

T: A whole lot of flavors swirling around here so its gonna be tough to isolate all of them…but here goes. Hops, toffee and vanilla are the primary focus study point at the beginning of the process. Really rummy saturated dark figs mixed with dark brown sugar and deep bittering hops teeter towards the pine side of the things. The bourbon and oak are extremely apparent, much more so than your run of the mill BB aged brew. Vanilla oakiness is astounding and quite delicious, almost rugged and unscrupulous. Has a sasparilla quality to it that really dances around the tip of the tongue adding minor medicinal moments to the overall feel. Finishes with lingering bourbon, overall vinous properties and slightly cloying sugar cookie malts.

M: Full mouthfeel, syrupy and rich.

D: Crazy effing beer. Don’t miss this one…quite the experience. Huge with multiple layers. Changes personalities like the seasons as the temperature changes in the beer.

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Photo of hoppymeal
3.68/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark cola-y brown to black in color with a 1-2 finger light tan head that recedes to a ring. Aroma is a nice deep roastiness, with a strong sweet smooth chocolate and some twangy boozy bourbon. Also a light sweet malty barleywine aroma as it warms, but definitely more on the roasted and chocolate notes. Taste shows a strong chocolate and roast presence as well with some dry woody oak that comes on in the backgound and maintains thru the taste. Some smokiness as well. The woody oak flavor is punctuated by a good sized level of bitterness that grinds on the palette and blends into a warming alcohol finish. Again, there are hints of sweet malty bw up front, but they are soft and quickly overtaken. Medium to heavy body is nicely cut by oakiness, bitter hoppiness and alcohol content. A very interesting beer. If there was a seperate category for style points this beer would be way up there. Here, I am just rating the liquid in the bottle, but have to say cheers to those at Firestone for their creativity. The letter and stat sheet included in the box are also a very nice touch for my inner geek. Overall I think there was a bit too much happening here, however I also have the impression that this beer could stand up to some good long aging, 3-5 years, and may let some flavors blend or some 'come to the top' and could turn out to be something extraordinary.

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Photo of neonbrown82
4.62/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

This is one hell of a unique beer. Many thanks to Zorro for the trade.

The beer pours to a nearly black color with a ruby hue when held to the light. Has a little off-white head. Retention could be better, but for the high ABV it isn't surprising. Lacing is washy, but it shows off the beer's legs when tilted back.

The smell is great. Very complex. Has a strong vanilla and coconut with a hint of barrelcharred smoke aroma. I can also smell different aspects of the blend, such as the chocolate and coffee notes from the imperial stout, and the nice hops flavors from the IPA. Also has a feint bourbon smell. Quite good.

The taste is every bit as wonderful. The primary taste, aside from the barrel notes, is the imperial stout. Also has a nice barleywine/DIPA flavor in the back. Of course, the barrel flavors are what really come out more than anything else. Vanilla, coconut, barrel char, bourbon and smoke. Everything is very well rounded. At 12% the alcohol is very well masked by the overall complexity of flavor.

The body is quite full and silky smooth. Carbonation is very light on the palate. The alcohol burn is quite minimal as well. Great blend between the roasty stout flavors and the bitterness provided by the hops. Very well rounded and balanced. I was quite surprised at how balanced this beer actually is for such an off-the-wall blend with a huge ABV. Very well done. Highly drinkable for a 12% beer as well. I will probably seek out another bottle or two before it disappears forever.

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

A- Poured a tad hard and you get a nice dark tan head about 1/4" high on a very dark amber body. Looks pretty much black or VERY dark brown unless held to light.
S- A very nice blend of deep toffee and caramel malts with some light citrus hops. Both balance very nicely and neither over powers the other to much. Alcohol is also in the nose along with a light smoky and almost wood aroma. Hints of some hard alcohol like bourbon and a dash of vanilla.
T- Toffee malts come out big with a good helping of hops to balance it out a bit. You can't really taste the hops but a light bitterness is there. Bourbon flavor comes out nicely and gives a big warming in the throat and chest. Oak character does come out also. Caramel in the aftertaste with a bit smoke flavor, light bitterness that lingers, and a nice warming in the chest.
M- Very smooth and silky. Low carbonation and full body.
D- Very nice drinking brew. It is a great barley wine. The mouth feel is just perfect, not cloggy but still really big. I wish these were easier to get and you could get them at least once a year. Guess I'll just have to enjoy this one that much more.

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Photo of RidiculedDisplay
4.85/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Before I review, I would suggest that a portion, at least, of the wonderful pamphlet explicating the brewing process of 10 that accompanies the brew be added to 10's as-of-now non-existent BA notes. In aiding that suggestion, here are what I deemed some important excerpts:

"(ed: Barrels used to age the individual lots:)

Barrels hand delivered by Tom Griffin fresh from Kentucky distilleries:
Old Fitzgerald Bourbon/Old Fitzgerald Wheat Whiskey
Heaven Hill Bourbon/Heaven Hill Brandy

Barrels purchased directly from American Coopers toasted to Firestone-Walker's specifications:
New American Oak produced by World Cooperage
Retired Firestone Union Oak produced by World Cooperage, Seguin Moreau and Barrel Associates

Components (ed: of 10):
The following brews were aged in six different barrel formats creating 10 distinctive component lots (pieces) that were blended together. Portions of these beers were also fermented in the Firestone Union oak barrel brewing system... :
Abacus - 5 barrel varieties
-Strong English Style Barley Wine (brewed 1-24-06 Racked to barrels 2-7-06)
OG=26P FG=5.1P IBU=50 Color=15 / Hopped with Amarillo and East Kent Goldings

Parabola - 2 barrel varieties
-Imperial Oatmeal Stout (brewed 2-09-06 Racked to Barrels on 2-20-06)
OG=28P FG=7.5P IBU=80 Color=Black / Hopped with Summit, Styrian Golding and East Kent Golding

Ruby - 2 barrel varieties
-American Style Barley Wine / Imperial IPA Formulated b y Jim Cibak while still working for Three Floyds Brewing
OG=26P FG=8.15 IBU=60 Color=20 / 100% Maris Otter Malt & Hopped with Simcoe and Summit

Bravo - 2 barrel varieties
-Imperial Brown Ale (Brewed 8-2-06 Racked to Barrels on 8-11-06)
OG=22P FG=4.8P IBU=45 Color=32 / Hopped 100% with an experimental hop variety provided by S.S. Steiner Inc.

Other Component Brews in the 10 Blend: Walker's Reserve, Humboldt Brewing Hemp Ale, 100% oak barrel fermented Double Barrel Ale"

Phew. Anyway, even if that isn't deemed addable by the BA Gods, I figure that will provide some nice background for anybody still considering searching 10 out. On to my review:

Poured into an oversized wine glass.

Appearance: Pours with a half-finger coffee bean colored head. Lacing is spotty but impressive for a beer this high in ABV - I'm used to solvent-like dense liquids when they get this high. The body, however, is where the appearance really shines. If there's anything to be said about it , it's that Firestone-Walker have somehow managed to copy the blueish dark effervescence of black licorice more accurately than any brewer I've come across. A "bute."

Smell: I waited for this to warm up a bit before imbibing (the pamphlet they attach recommends doing so, to at least 55 F). I found it amusing, when reading the attached pamphlet I keep referring to, that the winemakers F-W consulted to blend the beers were pushing up against the brewers' desire to make the beer strong and robust by asserting that the final product should have balance and subtlety. One can smell both of those assertions in this beer. Aromas coalesce and separate in a delicate waltz, requiring a wandering and patient nose to bring out all the individual nuances. However, there is still that "big beer smack" that one might expect from a large brew such as this. Stout-like dark chocolates and coconut, coconut milk, bourbon accents, charred oak aromas arising like pinpricks, vanilla, molasses, surprisingly slight alcohol, hop-driven pine and orange aromas, with a slight hint of grapefruit and some more assertive lemon, spices, almost hot chile-like back end aromas, like freshly cut Serranos and Habaneros, a general unindentifiable malt body. Incredibly complex, I could spend hours unearthing more aromas.

Taste: Oh, cherries! Dark, slightly unripe ones, sort of like pit cherries. That being said, cherries flambee. This is an incredible flavor, providing a bitter, earthy, firm base for the others. Slight pine, orange hops. Vanilla, charred oak more prevalent than in the aroma. Chocolate and very slight thin-bodied coffee. Cinnamon. Bourbon. Amazing. Overall, many of the aromas carry over to the flavor nicely, some more or less pronounced than they were in the nose.

Mouthfeel: This is, decidedly, a little hot. There is some astringency on the back of the tongue upon swallowing, and the edges of the mouth burn with a pepper-like spiced feeling after sipping. Still, well carbonated, and full-bodied, but surprisingly not as full-bodied or heavy in the mouthfeel as one might expect, which I think is a good thing.

Drinkability: The alcohol, while present, is surprisingly subdued here. Considering this was released sometime in early October, I was expecting more. However, again, it's hot enough that some age is required to mellow it out, I think, before you could say it is intensely drinkable. Still, it does a damn fine job for how young and huge of a beer it is. One of the finest pieces of brewing I've ever tasted. Makes me proud to live near FW.

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Photo of BeerRun13
4.92/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Had a hard time hunting this one down, but I finaly found a few locally. Cool how it's even packaged. Each bottle in it's own box. Inside with the bottle is a letter with all kinds of information on the brewing process and the story behind how this beer was created.
Ahhh, the Wife and kid are asleep...

Pours a beautifull, super dark, ruby color. A creamy tan head fades to a good sized ring, and laces nicely.
Sweet malt with some raison notes. Toasty and rich oak tones. Some hints of chocolate. Quite nice.
Malty sweet up front. Oakey flavors. Fruity cherry like, some chocolate and dark malt tones, and a touch of alcohol. Nice bitter hop flavor throughout. Really good flavor.
Full bodied with moderate carbonation. Alcohol warms and has the kick to go with it (without tasting overly alcoholic).
So complex, yet sop simply a great beer. It was very intersting to be able to read all about how this one came to life. Very enjoyable = very drinkable.

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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 BradBLR
4.67/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

First all I have to say is WOW! What a beer. This beer was the most complex beer I have ever had. This beer poured a very dark brown color with a slight red hue. The head was a medium tan color and very thick. Head lasted the whole beer and there was very nice lacing when the beer was done. The smell was crazy, I could smell chocolate, coffee, hops, toasted malt, a weird Guinness type of aroma, and maybe even some cloves. It seems that every time I took a whiff I smelled something new.

The taste of this beer was fantastic, I still am not sure what the main flovor was. There was a strong stout flavor and really sweet barley time flavor, but there was some thing that I could not put my finger on. I felt like the end was creamy hop flavor. I will have to have this one again after its had a chance to sit. The mouthfeel was great, CO2 perfect and the beer was very smooth. I could have drank a lot of this before I ever felt it, but the alcohol was there, it really snuck up on you.

What a beer, I am bumbed it was such a limited release and so expensive. How ever after having it, I would have bought a few more bottles. A MUST HAVE BEER!

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Photo of Greenfloyd
4.45/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

At the right temperature, this beer really delivers a holiday kick in the...

Poured a deep espresso, with a burnt sugar head that lasted pleasantly in my snifter. This is one of those beers that you close your eyes and re-smell the glass after the initial whiff. Caramel, toasted oak, light maple and vanilla....what's not to like about that? The taste was a roasted chocolate malt, with trails of warming brown sugar, light oaky vanilla, and even lighter alcohol tones. With it's smooth body, and complex dark fruit finish, this beer is a must have for the holidays. Paired well with honey baked ham, but the first glass alone before dinner even started was not to shabby...Enjoy

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Photo of TastyTaste
4.82/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Dark brown/maroon body, almost no head left after pour. Of what is there, the head is tan.

Smell: Oak, booze, strong sweet malt. Very nice smelling, the piney hops add to it, what you'd expect in a BA barleywine.

Taste: Malty and very alcoholic, the oak adds big flavor and smoothes everything out. A touch of vanilla. Very nice, I can enjoy this one. I like Firestone's barrel aging.

Drinkability: This bottle was a pleasure, one the I will never get to have again. Thanks to Zorro for the boxed bottle as a part of Blue Max BIF.

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Photo of DogFood11
5/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Picked up a case at the Buellton Tap room. Couldn't sample it there as they couldn't serve bottles due to some liquor license type rule. Poured contents into a Stone Barleywine glass aggressively it forms a tan head. Head is small and fades fast, little to no lacing.

Quite woody, like a trumped up double barrel in the smell. Taste is incredible. Super complex and ultra bitter. Maybe it gets the added kick from the barrel aging, maybe its from the double barrel, or even the DIPA batches but this is a monstrous concoction that blends with my palate perfectly. It has a digging bitter edge and the alcohol fits this brew nicely. I had a chance to sample the unfiltered double barrel and this has that extra smokey edge that I noticed in the unfiltered DB. The mix is perfect. I would love to see this as a seasonal. Reading the notes about how this was prepared I see how it could be unreasonable to keep as a seasonal considering it takes 10 BATCHES OF BREW to make it all work.

Notes: It really tasted like a mix between a Double IPA, Barleywine Jones, and some double barrel, throw in some aging and a kendling woody backside and you have my beer of the year. Outstanding.

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Photo of ReebShorts
4.08/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a Westmalle Chalice, didn't expect much head, and there was virtually none to speak of. Color is Brown.

Oak comes through strong on the nose, also brown sugar, caramel, maple, marshmallow, cherries, i don't know what else but it smells good.

This is an ass kicker of a brew, alcohol is strong, and the flavor is unlike anything I've had. I must admit I was pretty skeptical of a beer that's the result of multiple stand alone brews mixed together. They have definately created a unique beer, and I do rather enjoy it I must say.

This does seem like it could use some taming, so I'm sure aging would balance this out a bit. There is almost no carbonation, and I feel it could use a bit, it's a rather flat, soupy drinker. You can tell alot of effort went into this one.

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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 jeffjfindley
4.85/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Black, with mahogany when you hold in front of the light. An antique white head dissipates to leave behind willowy lacing. The smell is rich, and suggestive of bourbon, dark chocolate, and a touch of pine.

As one other reviewer mentioned, there is an incredible synchronicity in the qualities of this beer. The taste and mouthfeel function as one luxurious experience. There is a velvety explosion of dark chocolate, then there is a wash of licorice, accompanied by a light, puckery bitterness. Throughout I experienced rich, roasted caramel maltiness, and more than a little bit of bourbon from the barrels.

This was an absolute pleasure to drink, exceeding my expectations. Incredible.

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Photo of fartingdog
4.47/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep chocolate brown, almost black, with a small rich head that disperses after a few leaving a scant layer with a small amount clinging to the edge.

Fist whiff was quite chocolatey, then hints of whiskey, oak. First taste followed the same- chocolate, faint whiskey, oak, followed pleasantly by roasted malt notes. You can definitely tell they used a stout in the blend, but otherwise is it an old ale? a barleywine? Very complex in flavors- so well that only the above mentioned stand out- I am betting that in time the prominent chocolatey-ness will fade, making this truly outstanding. I'll have to sock some away for a few years to find out.

A very good beer and a grand experiment in blending beers- I only hope this trend continues.

5-6-07: 6 mos in the cellar. Same visual characteristics, And the whiskey aroma is really showing nicely. Flavors have blended very nicely, nothing is jumping to the forefront and the flavor is only getting better and more balanced.

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Photo of blitheringidiot
3.85/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Attractive presentation bottle including an owner's manual with the 22'ozer in a box. 12 % ABV. What???!!!

Pours with a buh-lack brown hue allowing glimmers of light scoot in though the sides of the glass.

Nose conveys a wood oak and vanilla almost metallic flavor with a mixed style of porter and sherry. As ths warms, the awl-kee-hawl boozy aspect grows. This turns into a rummy booze bomb.

First swigs: Sweet syrup os maple syrup and some pancake malt to match. Powdery cocoa and a malt landslide. Sweet honeyish middle with a boozy coconut kick.

Last swigs: One of the most boozy noses ever! A bit of one trick pony.

Beer is good. Happy big barrel beering.

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Photo of stephendr
4.39/5  rDev +4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 oz . bottle – coffee brown hue – nice off white head, small bubbles lingering – nose molasses , mocha , malt , vanilla , bourbon , oak , and assorted dried candied fruit (like in fruit cake) – taste coffee , coco , vanilla bean , bourbon , creamy milk , chocolate , malt , and molasses – smooth creamy palate - aftertaste cappuccino , and coffee dark roast

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Photo of TheLongBeachBum
4.05/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Firestone 10th Anniversary Ale – Special Release

Presentation: 22 ounce Bomber has a black label with grey and red decoration. The bottle is sealed with a dark gold ‘FW’ embossed plastic cover over the full-color crown cap, and this is deftly hidden inside a rather simple looking black box. The Box itself sports the words “10th Anniversary Ale” in gray text below the Firestone Walker logo and above the red scripted words “Special Release” which sit quietly at the base of the box on the front facet. The black projects an understated

Taking out the bottle from the packaging also dumps a lovely piece of thick cartographic paper which is literally festooned with an immense amount of information relating to this brew, far too much to add here.

As an Engineer I love to have clearly defined lines, borders, finite definitions and no gray areas. Sadly I find myself intensely frustrated by this offering, because it does not allow me to dissect the Appearance, Nose, Taste, Mouthfeel and Drinkability – moreover, all these dimensions seemingly blend and merge together into one big synergistic dimension that encapsulates this blended oak aged Barley Wine with Imperial Russian Stout overtones. The dark black sits at ease, but had ruby flashes when held to examination with incandescent light, its naked body revealing mahogany woodwork and some rich plum purples. The tanned head sits thin, but lasts the night. Carbonation is infinitely small and produces a smooth creamy conditioning. The nose and flavors read like a Barleywine Thesaurus hit by an Imperial Russian Stout Dictionary. It all starts and ends with Bourbon, in between there is a cruise ship full of passengers; dark chocolate, currants, coconut, tanned leather, dark berries, boot laces, oak, sherry, linseed oil, brandy, vanilla beans, port, wax boot dubbin, stout, aged plums, barley, figs, black alcohol soaked cherries, brown sugar, prunes, cognac, distilled molasses, toasted brown bread, hops, black shoe polish, caramel…..stop me if you’ve heard this one before….This just seems to go on and on and on…..It never reveals all, like a maze, each mouthful, neigh each sip, lends another twist and turn, complexity is such a simple term to use set in this context. That said, it is all married into a very smooth soothing brew that pairs with a long night rather well. This is a beer to sip, enjoy, examine, marvel at, and then at times sample whilst forgetting about all the who-ha. The 12% is here I am sure, but it is rounded away, partially hidden amongst the multifarious facets of this remarkable brew.

Overall: This is an incredibly intensive and intense beer. Way, way, way over the top, heck it takes nearly 5 minutes to read the double printed page that comes with this brew, and it took two readings of that, and then ten more minutes to actually follow what was printed and understand it once it all sank in. Firestone Walker "10" is more of a journey, a story that unravels from the Box, then the bottle and then the glass, and that’s just the start of it. Expensive and well worth trying, but I think that I have come to the end of the line for Barrel-Aging with this brew, it’s more like a “seen it, done it, bought the T-Shirt and got the Video” offering – it is bigger, longer aged and has offerings blended from innumerate sources but this doesn’t really offer anything that cannot be found elsewhere if I’m brutally honest. Another very interesting and high quality new sample to the ever-filling shelves of Special Barrel-Aged beers – but as interesting as it is, ultimately, to me at least, it seems to add only one more example to a very one-dimensional complexity – if that doesn’t sound stupid. Damned good stuff though, and yes I would recommend buying it if you can.

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Photo of Zorro
4.47/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Straight out of the bottle and into the glass I see a stout dark nearly black colored beer with a decent if not spectacular tan/brown head.

Smell is sweet and very fruity with strong Bourbon, vanilla and chocolate aromas. Additional aroma of coconut and grapes with some brown sugar and rum aroma. Definitely not "Made To Style" but a hell of a complex smelling brew to say the least.

Taste is sweet with a strong taste of Bourbon and coconut at the very beginning. Big flavor of chocolate and Bourbon with this beer. Yumm chocolate and Bourbon! Decidedly nutty in flavor this really isn't much like port wine though. Strong hop hit in the aftertaste but not as harsh as most barley wines. Malt is strong here but is mostly the flavor of molasses. If this had a strong coffee flavor to it, this would be a clone of Founders Kentucky Breakfast Stout. That is a pretty good beer to be like!

Mouthfeel is very good.

Most definitely a sipping beer and a very good choice for the holidays and sharing. I would have put this in the Old Ale classification. If you are a big fan of Bourbon Barrel beers you will love this.

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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 Tawnos
4.24/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Tried this both on regular and nitro tap at Spike's Pub in downtown San Luis Obispo, CA. Served into a Firestone 10 4.5 oz snifter.

Appearance - The beer pours a dark brown, similar in color to their reserve porter. A thick head (both on nitro and carbo) dissipates slowly, lacing the glass with sugars. Bubbles creep slowly up the sides of the glass, leaving a small amount on the top.

Smell - Probably the weakest part of this beer. It doesn't smell like much, and as you sniff it you have NO idea what you're getting yourself into. There's a very slight hint of fruitiness, almost plum-like, but there's no detectable alcohol. The sugariness can be smelled on the nitro tap (which was served room temperature), but otherwise the beer is close to neutral smelling.

Taste - Oh, the taste. It's sweet, the hops and malt mask the 13.5% ABV (according to the bartender). As you swallow, you can tell there was quite a bit of alcohol in the drink you just had. A dry chocolatey taste, with slight caramel. Extremely tasty.

Mouthfeel - The carbo was a 4.5, and nitro was a 5. It's creamy on the tongue, smooth, dry, and you can feel the alcohol only post consumption.

Drinkability - It's a great beer, but there's no way I could drink it all night. Too strong, but a great first or last glass.

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Photo of goschool
4.03/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

On-tap at JJ Brewsky's in Camarillo, CA.

This is a 12% beer, not a 10%.

Appearance: Black with a tiny ring of off-white foam.

Smell: The nose is surprising weak. There's a strong alcohol aroma upfront along with lesser notes of roasted malts and cherries. It reminds me of Tawny port.

Taste: Hmm, I didn't know Samichlaus made an imperial oatmeal stout. Big warming alcohol hits right away and sticks around while the roasted malts bring coffee, chocolate, and oatmeal. Sweet dark fruits, namely cherry and plum, come in towards the end, and a touch of spice- clove, cinnamon, and pepper- and hops make themselves known at the finish.

Mouthfeel: The body is oily, thick and sticky with good carbonation.

Drinkability: Everything about this beer is massive. I thought this had 10% ABV and I was going to nurse a Telegraph porter before heading home, but it's very much 12% ABV, so the Telegraph had to wait. Try it if you see it.

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Photo of ReDave
3.81/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4


Very Dark, pretty much as dark as Firestone's- Walker’s Reserve, which they call a porter. Surprisingly thick light colored head.

Aroma seemed lacking, some alcohol, and roasted malt, but it seemed it was sered too cold, or something....

Wow! BIG big flavors... Seems much stronger than 10%
surprisingly smooth, but lots of alcohol. [Served in a nice snifter]
I'd like to try this again, warmed up some.

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Photo of dblinkhorn
4.2/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

On tap @ the brewery. Served into a small snifter glass.

Appearance - Has a very dark, almost opaque murky brown. It had a small one-finger dark tan head that quickly dissipates. It settles at a thin layer of patchy lacing on top of the beer. Spotty lacing all the way down, just here and there and thin.

Smell - Has a port-like alcohol up front. Dark ripe cherry and fig are also very strong aromas right away. Some rich roasted malt smell in the background with notes of chocolate, oats, and coffee. There is a mellow peppery spiciness scent as well. The hops are slightly bitter, but are more stout-like and difficult to pick out on the nose. A strong warming alcohol scent at the end.

Taste - Very dark and very ripe cherry and fig right away. Super oily hop character that is slightly bitter. A hint of clove with mainly peppery spiciness, with corriander also present. Dark roasted malt again with chocolate and coffee. A very slight sweetness likened to molasses can be tasted as it warms in your mouth. Herbal notes begin to come through toward the finish. As you swallow, a strong hot alcohol presence comes through. The aftertaste is mainly earthy flavors with a slightly tingly/burning sensation from the strong alcohol.

Mouthfeel - Wow! So smooth! Full-bodied and extremely velvet. The carbonation is very mellow and holds up all the way through the taste.

Drinkability - Very strong flavors and a very strong alcohol presence take some points off for this category. Not a beer for those interested in "hot summer day" beers.

A superb blended barleywine. The flavors are fantastic and very port-like. Cherry and fig definitely dominate. It has an heavenly mouthfeel as well. A perfect sipper on a cold night. The bartender they will be releasing a limited bottling of this stuff approx. two weeks from now. A must have and unique beer.

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