Bravo Imperial Brown Ale
Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

Bravo Imperial Brown AleBravo Imperial Brown Ale
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American Brown Ale
Ranked #5
Ranked #1,000
4.29 | pDev: 6.99%
Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
California, United States
Bravo Imperial Brown AleBravo Imperial Brown Ale
Notes: 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.
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Reviews: 167 | Ratings: 540 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Reviews by Donco:
Photo of Donco
4.49/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Very reminiscent of Sucaba.
This is a classic FW barrel aged brew. Lots of toasted coconut, vanilla, bourbon on the nose.
Let this one warm considerably towards room temperature and you'll be rewarded with the wonderful bourbon/vanilla/toasted coconut and oak barrel when you sip.
Pricey but worth seeking out the new 12oz. bottles

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More User Reviews:
Photo of PicoPapa
4.25/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

12oz bottle. Pours a dark brownish copper color with no head. Some lacing. Boozey, woody aroma. Oak, vanilla, caramel, toffee, brown sugar, and molasses. The taste is Bourbon with brown sugar, molasses, wood, and earth. Caramel and brown sugar finish with more Bourbon. A big sweet with a big alcohol presence. Light floral hops notes. Lightly carbonated. Anything that comes in a box by Firestone Walker is worth buying and this is no exception.

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Photo of superspak
4.3/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

5400th review! 12 ounce bottle into tulip glass; 2017 vintage, bottled on 12/7/2016. Pours lightly hazy/cloudy deep ruby red/light copper/brown color with a 1 finger fairly dense light khaki head with good retention, that reduces to a thin cap that lingers. Light spotty soapy lacing clings around the glass. Aromas of big caramel, brown sugar, vanilla, toffee, cream, bourbon, coconut, toasted oak, brown bread, and nuttiness; with lighter notes of milk chocolate, cocoa, coffee, raisin, cherry, fig, date, and oak/toasted earthiness. Damn nice aromas with great balance and complexity of dark/bready/light roasted malts and bourbon barrel notes; with great strength. Very minimal booziness in the aromas as it warms. Taste of huge caramel, brown sugar, vanilla, toffee, cream, bourbon, coconut, toasted oak, brown bread, and nuttiness; with lighter notes of milk chocolate, cocoa, coffee, raisin, cherry, fig, date, and oak/toasted earthiness. Light-moderate herbal/woody bitterness and bourbon/oak spiciness on the finish. Lingering notes of caramel, brown sugar, vanilla, toffee, cream, bourbon, coconut, toasted oak, brown bread, nuttiness, light chocolate/dark fruit, and oak/toasted earthiness on the finish for a while. Incredible complexity, robustness, and balance of dark/bready/light roasted malts and bourbon barrel flavors; with an awesome malt/bitterness and bourbon/oak spiciness balance; with no cloying/astringent flavors after the finish. Light-moderate dryness from bitter/spiciness, lightly increasing through the glass. Medium carbonation and medium-full body; with a smooth, moderately creamy/bready/grainy/tannic, and lightly sticky/chalky balanced mouthfeel that is great. Alcohol is well hidden; a small pleasant warmth with mild barrel booziness lingering after the finish. Overall this is an incredible barrel aged imperial brown ale! All around fantastic complexity, robustness, and balance of dark/bready/light roasted malts and bourbon barrel flavors; very smooth and easy to sip on for the huge ABV. Perfectly balanced malt and barrel flavors. Great complexity and nicely rich, without being too heavy for the style. Very similar to an American barelywine, but more roasty like a brown ale. Great barrel presence without being overly boozy, tannic, or drying. A highly enjoyable offering.

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Photo of dave_ackbar
4.31/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Look is reddish brown, little paler than. Normal brown ales.
Smell is so nice, hints of caramel, vanilla, and a great burn of bourbon.
Taste is smooth with the nice hint of bourbon, with a good burn.
Feel is smooth and warm.
Overall very good. I’d definitely have again.

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Photo of SomethingClever
4.11/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

12 oz bottle poured into pint glass

A: Very little head light khaki in color settles to a film. Body is a slightly murky caramel with some floaties suspended in it.

S: Soft bourbon, caramel, toffee, vanilla, a little nuttiness, light roasted malts.

T: Lots of bourbon, toffee, caramel, light roasted malts, some light nuttiness.

M: A little thin some nice alcohol slickness and a light cling.

O: This beer really does taste exactly as it implies it's a BA brown ale. Unfortunately, brown ales are that exciting to begin with, when you barrel age it mostly all you get is the barrel characteristics. That being said Firestone's Barrel characteristics are divine.

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Photo of Kegatron
4.59/5  rDev +7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at The Stone Brewing Bistro & World Gardens on 11/13/09 during their Firestone Walker 13th on the 13th event. Served in a snifter.

Pours a deep, somewhat clear, dark brown (just a wee bit of light is peeping through) with a thin covering of off-white foam. There is more of lightish look to the retention and lacing but the flare-up has a nice moderate look to it. Bourbon really comes out boldly here in the aroma, with some deep notes of burnt molasses. Fortunately, I'm also getting a get bit of the brandy too, as it gives off more of a dry and fruity feel. The Brown Ale is under there somewhere (with roast and caramel coming out the most) but the barrel blend seems to add most of the deep sweetness to this. Earthy tannic wood and some vanilla add a slickness to the nose.

The taste is pretty similar to the aroma, with burnt maple syrup and char mixing in with a flush of fruity cherries. Notes of vanilla and oak weave mingle in, giving this smoothness. This is just so sweet and sticky, with the flavor moving effortlessly in and out of each other. The finish matches this, being warm, syrupy, and sugary on the lips. The mouthfeel is full bodied; with a bit of a heavier prickly carbonation up front, giving way to a slick and more viscous feel underneath. This definitely wears it's ABV on thee ole sleeve, having an assertive beef to it, but luckily that anticipated alcohol sting never comes. Really steady sipper here for the size.

I'd really like to see more of these bourbon and brandy blends done, as I love how each brought a different type of deep sweetness to the profile, yet they still played off each other brilliantly. Really tremendous stuff here that was definitely up there as one of my favorites from a pretty outrageous night of Firestone Walker beers.

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Photo of Floydster
4.79/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served in a snifter at the Blue Palms Brewhouse in Los Angeles for seven dollars, this beer is not retired, reviewed 11/14/08 from notes, it is an imperial brown ale and not a stout, it has sherry notes and not bourbon, and it is amazing

A-Deep dark brown with not much light shining through, though there is some red around the edges, miniscule 1/8 inch beige head that settles extremely quickly, minimal retention, no lacing
S-Sherry, hints of whiskey, grains, butterscotch, brown sugar, milk chocolate roasted nuts, dark charred malts, mild coffee, vanilla, oak, butter, cream, and tons of booze
T-Tastes starts off with lots of sherry and other mixed booze flavors, sugar and nuts made up the middle and provided some great texture, finish had more hard alcohol mixed with a great vanilla taste, this was served a little cold at first, once it really warmed there was a nice buttery cream taste in the middle that joined the malts, other breweries need to take a hint from Firestone and start using sherry more often, there is a bit of a port wine feel by the end but there is a nice brown sugar flavor, some cocoa that is fairly soft joined the mix and this was enjoyable to say the least
M-Hot with booze, sticky, spicy, and malty mouthfeel, medium bodied that was a little on the thinner side, nice low to moderate level of carbonation, taste lingers nicely with a bite
D-Alcohol is right up front and not hidden well at all but somehow this goes down with ease, light on the stomach for what it is, could have a few more glasses for sure, so so smooth

Being that it is the base beer of Firestone 11, I expected good things and I got great instead, this is better than the blend by itself in my opinion, if this stuff is bottled along with Parabola, the hype machine will be in full force, mark my words, such a great balance of barrel characteristics and a full body, would love to drink again, highly recommended

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Photo of biboergosum
3.95/5  rDev -7.9%
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.

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Photo of needMIbeer
3.95/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of fx20736
3.95/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Photo of von_kaiser
4.4/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Photo of sweemzander
4.35/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of drdiesel9483
4.47/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Look - dark brown and no read head but great lacing
Smell - smells sweet, bourbon and caramel... booze
taste - perfect balance between the sweet caramel bourbon and some tostiness
feel - full body with great medium light carb
Overall - probably the best brown I've had!

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Photo of Adamostella
3.75/5  rDev -12.6%

Photo of Goofster
4.74/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Photo of benzalman
3.34/5  rDev -22.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Photo of dpgoblejr
4.52/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Golden color, thick pour and sweet nose. Reminds me more of a quad than a brown but that's just nitpicking. Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this barrel aged offering.

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Photo of Shaymus
4/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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

Photo of shaunt0000
5/5  rDev +16.6%

Photo of Mikexw
4.17/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of justintcoons
4.5/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Vintage 2017, no. 001
12 oz bottle poured into a snifter.

Deep mahogany with ruby highlights. Virtually no head. Light sediment suspended throughout. Light carbonation.

Caramel, bourbon, toffee, oak, vanilla, and brown sugar.

Ultra smooth bourbon and huge caramel. Toffee, brown sugar, and molasses. Charred oak, vanilla, and slight toasted coconut.

Full bodied, silky, extra-smooth, warming, and well balanced.

That's a fine Brown Ale! The 13.2% abv is hidden extremely well in this smooth and decadent Imperial Brown Ale.

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Photo of breadwinner
4.41/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

In some ways, this is beer is all about the barrel - huge bourbon notes, bits of vanilla and molasses, touches of booze but impressively restrained for something north of 13% ABV. That said, if you look for it, you can find the brown ale beneath, slight hop character, sweet/chocolate malt too. Really cool stuff that manages to be extreme without being one-dimensional.

(Postscript: a giant kiss off to the whiny mouthbreathers who, somehow, are mad at Firestone for putting beers like this into 12oz bottles. This was a breeze to get, they are still available on shelves, 12oz is a perfect serving size, and I wasn't forced to drop $18 on a bomber I'll only drink half of because I had to share it with someone else because who the fuck drinks bombers of 13% beer alone? Oh, but price per ounce, blah, blah, blah! It's called opportunity cost, you selfish dicks. Sure, I paid an extra $1+ in price per ounce, BUT I STILL ONLY PAID $10. I HAD MORE MONEY IN MY WALLET AND USED IT FOR MORE BEER. What the hell is the issue here? No one can ever be happy, there's always something to complain about. Pound sand, you worthless sacks.)

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Photo of smutty33
4.36/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Tim725
4.58/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Bravo Imperial Brown Ale from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 95 out of 100 with 540 ratings