Bravo Imperial Brown Ale | Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

Bravo Imperial Brown AleBravo Imperial Brown Ale
BA SCORE
4.28/5
436 Ratings
Bravo Imperial Brown AleBravo Imperial Brown Ale
BEER INFO

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

Style: American Brown Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 13.20%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
A single-hopped strong brown ale brewed using the hop variety Bravo. This beer is then aged for up to a year in circa 1990's used Heaven Hill bourbon barrels.

Added by rayjay on 05-31-2007

BEER STATS
Ranking:
#830
Reviews:
124
Ratings:
436
pDev:
7.24%
Bros Score:
0
 
 
Wants:
52
Gots:
116
Trade:
14
HISTOGRAM
 
View: Beers | Events
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Ratings: 436 |  Reviews: 124
Photo of Furley80
4.75/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Photo of BEER88
4.5/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Delicious with strong barrel characteristics.

45 characters

Photo of jason_nwx
4.44/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of chossboss
4.27/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of FLBeerGuy
4.25/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of aasher
4.24/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of daem3384
4.09/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4

Photo of spoony
4.01/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

From a 355 ml bottle (2017 vintage) to a snifter.

A-The beer is dark, tawny brown with hints of red. There is no head, just a collar and a film of brown foam. There is no carbonation visible, either. It looks like a BA brown ale, which is good I guess.

S-The aroma is heavy on the booze and pretty sweet, too. I sniff some dates, figs, prune, hints of cocoa, brown sugar, and a healthy alcohol burn. This is not a beer that hides its ABV.

T-The taste tracks the smell for the most part. There is quite a bit of alcohol heat and moderate sweetness. I am tasting less fruit than I smelled, and more molasses, burnt caramel, and oak is present on the palate. There is still some dark, dried fruit in there but the sweetness is not overwhelming. After it warms I pick up a faint, leafy hit from the hops.

M-The body is medium in heft with very little stickiness and moderate carbonation. This makes a good sipper.

O-This is a pretty enjoyable beer. Firestone certainly knows how to work with barrels and this beer is no exception. I can see how this would make a good blending beer and I would probably buy another bottle for winter consumption when I was in the mood for something heavy, but did not want a stout or barleywine.

 1,231 characters

Photo of Rristow
4.61/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Tasted from bottle. Pours a slight hazy ruby brown with off white head. Huge robust aroma. Lots of molasses, caramel, toffee, nutty, dates, raisins, bourbon, cocoa. Taste is moderate to heavily sweet. Flavors similar to aroma with some more bourbon and earthy notes. Hides ABV incredibly well. Just an excellent beer.

 317 characters

Photo of cdwil
4.35/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of DanGeo
3.19/5  rDev -25.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.25

Photo of sjones5045
4.3/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Mikexw
4.03/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of chefbigjon
4.05/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of FirstInLine
3.43/5  rDev -19.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

On draft, clean brown with minimal head. Smell is harsh and boozy, bourbon is definitely there, in a big way. On taste, the alcohol presence is overwhelming. There are hints of the base beer, washing my tongue and relieving my palate with sweet brown sugar.

 257 characters

Photo of Newbeergeek1
4.29/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Didn't check the ABV until after a small swirl in my mouth and a swallow. I knew it was heavy with the ABV but in all honesty the brew has been done very well and a lot more tastes came through than just the high ABV that can be overwhelming if not done well. Really nice sipping beer and I am really glad this didn't come in a bomber!!!!

 339 characters

Photo of _nickg_
4.69/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Photo of Simon212
4.35/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Bouleboubier
3.7/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

(12 oz bottle, 2017 vintage... poured into a tiny tulip glass, sipped over 1 hr)

L: rosy chestnut-colored liquid, murky with chill haze and/or sediment, clearing up a bit over time, but not completely... little bit of foam on pour, collapses to thin collar

S: brazil nut, light caramel malt, subtle hint of molasses and vanilla... alcohol notably mellow - beer could be mistaken for 5-7% abv instead of 13+... overall, muddy definition, any discernible depth obscured under a soupy fog

T: certainly a brown ale... woody overtone, hint of burnt sugar... curiously subdued bourbon barrel character on the palate (i.e. vanilla, coconut, etc)... low bitterness, ... no stand out flavors fanning out or lasting through the finish

F: smooth, quiet flow... dull around the edges, little carbonation down the center... remarkably little heat

O: okay... the barrel character and some of the brown ale flavors seem to clash or cancel each other out - not living up to its potential?... I would be open to trying this on tap once

 1,023 characters

Photo of biboergosum
3.95/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

12oz bottle (2017 vintage), in a brown cardboard sleeve - another dear offering up here, but that's what special occasions are for, I guess.

This beer pours a mostly clear, dark red-brick amber colour, with one skinny-ass finger of weakly puffy, loosely foamy, and mostly just bubbly tan head, which leaves a few instances of not long for this world ice floe lace around the glass as it quickly melts away.

It smells of harsh Bourbon barrel (sweet boozy rye and acrid vanilla, essentially), bready and doughy caramel malt, a lesser biscuity toffee thing, muddled and oily bar-top nuts, chocolate-covered raisins, and some rather tame leafy, weedy, and sauced-up floral green hop bitters. The taste is gritty and grainy caramel malt, sweet toffee squares, a thankfully more restrained Kentucky whiskey astringency (vanillan wood, heat, and generic spice), mixed black Mediterranean fruit flesh, more indistinct nuttiness, bittersweet cocoa powder, and a still well understated earthy, musty, and dead leafy 'verdant' hoppiness.

The carbonation is fairly laid-back in its barely-there frothiness, the body a solid medium-heavy weight, and sort of smooth, as that Bourbon booziness has a thing or two to say right about now. It finishes on the sweet side, the alcohol, malt, and vanilla/chocolate really carrying the lingering day.

Overall, this is certainly a complex big-boy offering, with the barrel character glad-handing at best, and obtrusive at worst. While I appreciate the chance to try this one, when I can get a mid-shelf bottle of actual Bourbon for the same price, it begs the question - why would I? Oh, yeah. Beer.

 1,635 characters

Photo of Luscious_Malfoy
4.35/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of SaxmanRick
4.39/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Photo of TheHopsman
4.09/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Rammed96
3.4/5  rDev -20.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Photo of Vivs85
4.34/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Bravo Imperial Brown Ale from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 4.28 out of 5 with 436 ratings
  • About Us

    Founded in Boston in 1996, BeerAdvocate (BA) is your go-to resource for beer powered by an independent community of enthusiasts and professionals dedicated to supporting and promoting better beer.

    Learn More
  • Our Community

    Comprised of consumers and industry professionals, many of whom started as members of this site, our community is one of the oldest, largest, and most respected beer communities online.
  • Our Events

    Since 2003 we've hosted over 60 world-class beer festivals to bring awareness to independent brewers and educate attendees.
  • Our Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.